Jun 082022
 
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Richie James, New York Giants (June 7, 2022)

Richie James – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 8, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants 3-day, mandatory mini-camp was held on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. No live contact is permitted during the mini-camp, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

INJURY REPORT…
Players wearing red jerseys because of injury issues included WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, WR Sterling Shepard, LT Andrew Thomas, OC Nick Gates, OT Matt Peart, ILB Blake Martinez, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, CB Aaron Robinson, CB Darnay Holmes, and CB Rodarius Williams, among others.

Golladay participated in individual drills while Toney and Shepard worked on the side.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • For the second day in a row, the Giants had four tryout players in attendance: WR Keelan Doss, WR Isaiah Ford, TE Jaeden Graham, and DL Kobe Smith.
  • It was a lighter practice on Wednesday, with only one full-team, 11-on-11 period, which was in the red zone. Approximately the last 30 minutes of practice was an extended walk-thru without helmets for both the offense and defense.
  • Both rookie tight ends Daniel Bellinger and Austin Allen received first-team reps.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, QB Davis Webb threw a nice deep pass to tryout player WR Keelan Doss.
  • In full-team, 11-on-11 drills in the red zone, QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown passes to RB Saquon Barkley, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, and WR C.J. Board.
  • DL Leonard Williams knocked down a QB Daniel Jones pass.
  • QB Tyrod Taylor threw a “beautiful” fade pass to WR Richie James, who made an over-the-shoulder catch for a touchdown. Taylor also ran for a touchdown.
  • QB Davis Webb threw touchdown passes to WR Austin Proehl and WR Collin Johnson.
  • Wide receivers David Sills and Robert Foster both made nice sideline catches. Sills also caught a deep pass from QB Daniel Jones.
  • CB Maurice Canady caused two incompletions, including one pass defense.
  • PK Graham Gano kicked a 53-yard field goal to end practice. The reward was the team did not have run after practice.

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

Jun 072022
 
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Leonard Williams and Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants (June 7, 2022)

Leonard Williams and Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 7, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants 3-day, mandatory mini-camp was held on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. No live contact is permitted during the mini-camp, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

“Really it’s just an extension of the OTAs is really what it is,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “Had an extra walk-through. Everything else is pretty much the same. One thing we’ll do different is watch practice after since we got a little bit more time after this practice. But the structure of practice, that will all be the same… It really is an extension of what we’ve been doing with a little bit more time meeting and an extra walk-through.

We’ve been at it for a long time with the extra (mini-) camp. We’ve had two. Guys have had great attendance. Feel very good about where we are at in terms of the spring and what we’ve got accomplished. Thrown a lot at them. The guys have come in every day with really blinders on ready to work and get better and taking it day by day. Great appreciation for the work ethic that those guys have put in and the coaches. Long way to go, but we’ve got a lot accomplished this spring.”

INJURY REPORT…
Players wearing red jerseys because of injury issues included WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, WR Sterling Shepard, LT Andrew Thomas, OC Nick Gates, OT Matt Peart, ILB Blake Martinez, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, CB Aaron Robinson, CB Darnay Holmes, and CB Rodarius Williams, among others.

I’ll probably be pretty vague most of the time,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll when asked for injury updates.

Thibodeaux participated in walk-thru drills, Golladay participated in individual drills, and Robinson participated in individual and team drills. Thomas also participated in some drills early in practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Officials were present for practice.
  • First-team offensive line: LT Joshua Ezeudu, LG Shane Lemieux, OC Jon Feliciano, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Evan Neal.
  • Second-team offensive line: LT Devery Hamilton, LG Ben Bredeson, C Jamil Douglas, RG Marcus McKethan, and RT Matt Gono.
  • Third-team offensive line: LT Roy Mbaeteka, LG Josh Rivas, C Ben Bredeson, RG Max Garcia, and RT Korey Cunningham.
  • With all of the injuries at wide receiver, the first-team receivers were  C.J. Board, David Sills, and Richie James. Rotating in with this unit was Darius Slayton, Wan’Dale Robinson, and Travis Toivonen. Toivonen was active catching the ball.
  • First-team defense included DL Leonard Williams, DL Dexter Lawrence, OLB Azeez Ojulari, CB Adoree’ Jackson, S Xavier McKinney, and S Julian Love.
  • Jihad Ward and Elerson Smith also received many first-team reps at outside linebacker as did Michael Jacquet at cornerback and Dane Belton at safety.
  • When the Giants went with a 3-man line, the other lineman was usually David Moa or Justin Ellis.
  • A blitzing defensive front got good pressure on the quarterbacks for much of practice. The defense clearly looked ahead of the offense.
  • In full-team, 11-on-11 drills, S Dane Belton blitzed twice and probably would have “sacked” the quarterback.
  • QB Daniel Jones would have also been “sacked” on back-to-back redzone plays later in practice. By one account, he was not terribly accurate, finishing 13-of-21.
  • When the offense did make a play, it usually involved RB Saquon Barkley catching the ball.
  • WR Richie James was also active catching the football.
  • CB Aaron Robinson broke up one pass from QB Daniel Jones. CB Cor’Dale Flott also flashed in coverage when Jones was at quarterback and broke up a pass.
  • CB Zyon Gilbert broke up a QB Tyrod Taylor pass.
  • LB Carter Coughlin broke up a pass.
  • By one account, QB Tyrod Taylor finished 8-of-13.
  • RB Matt Breida caught a few passes from QB Tyrod Taylor.
  • Catching touchdown passes were RB Saquon Barkley (from QB Daniel Jones), RB Matt Breida (from QB Tyrod Taylor), and RB Antonio Williams (from QB Davis Webb).
  • TE Jordan Akins caught a couple of passes from QB Davis Webb.
  • Practice ended with QB Davis Webb picking up a bad snap and hitting WR Alex Bachman in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.

    HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
    The transcript of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

    THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

    GIANTS AND JETS TO HOLD JOINT PRACTICES DURING TRAINING CAMP…
    Head Coach Brian Daboll revealed on Tuesday that the Giants and New York Jets will hold joint practices at the Giants’ Quest Diagnostics practice facility in August during training camp.

    “Yeah, plan is right now we’re going to do it,” Head Coach Brian Daboll said. “I think it’s good to practice with the guys from down the street, play in a different conference. I know Jets Coach (Robert) Saleh. He’s a really good coach. We’ve had some good talks. I think it’s a good chance to come out here and be competitive against some other players that you’re not practicing against throughout the summer as long as you do it the right way. We want to treat those guys that they’re just like our teammates when you’re practicing. So, I think that coach and I have had some good conversations and looking forward to it.”

    Jun 022022
     
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    Brian Daboll, New York Giants (May 13, 2022)

    Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

    JUNE 2, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
    The Giants held their ninth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Thursday, and third one open to the media. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. The last remaining OTA practice will be held on Friday. A mandatory mini-camp will also be held June 7-9.

    Just rolling right along here,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “Practice nine. We have another one tomorrow, then we’ll have our mini camp next week. Roll into the summer break. Get ready for training camp in terms of logistics and all those things. So there’s been a lot of meetings relative to that. We’ll have more and try to be set here once next week hits. So go out there and try to have another good practice today.”

    INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
    Players wearing red jerseys because of injury issues included WR Kadarius Toney, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Collin Johnson, LT Andrew Thomas, OC Nick Gates, OT Matt Peart, ILB Blake Martinez, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, ILB Cam Brown, ILB T.J. Brunson, CB Aaron Robinson, CB Rodarius Williams, and CB Darren Evans

    “The guys are still in red jerseys,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “They’re rehabbing. When they’re ready to go, they’ll be ready to go… (Thomas is) doing a good job. Everything we’ve asked him to do rehab-wise, really all the guys, they’re doing what they can do. When they’re ready to go, they’ll be ready to go… I think they’re all at different spots, the guys in red jerseys. Knock on wood, hopefully he’ll be good to go (by training camp).”

    WR Kenny Golladay, CB Darnay Holmes, and S Jarren Williams were not spotted at practice.

    PRACTICE NOTES…
    Some snippets from various media sources:

    • There was a heavier emphasis on 11-on-11 team drills in this practice.
    • First-team offensive line in team drills was LT Joshua Ezeudu, LG Shane Lemieux, OC Jon Feliciano, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Evan Neal. Ezeudu appeared to have issues at left tackle giving up pressure off of the edge.
    • Daniel Bellinger appeared to receive most of the first-team reps at tight end.
    • The second-team offensive line was LT Korey Cunningham, LG Jamil Douglas, OC Ben Bredeson, RG Marcus McKethan, and RT Matt Gono.
    • The first-team defense usually featured DL Leonard Williams, DL Dexter Lawrence, OLB Azeez Ojulari, ILB Tae Crowder, CB Adoree’ Jackson, S Julian Love, S Xavier McKinney, and S Dane Belton.
    • Rotating in on the first-team defense were DL David Moa, DL Justin Ellis, OLB Elerson Smith, OLB Jihad Ward, ILB Justin Hilliard, ILB Micah McFadden, CB Cor’Dale Flott (slot), CB Michael Jacquet. Flott and Belton in particular saw a lot of first-team snaps.
    • By one account, QB Daniel Jones finished team drills 18-of-24. One of his passes should have been a pick-6 but CB Adoree’ Jackson dropped it. Jones also probably would have been “sacked” three times, including once by DL Leonard Williams.
    • QB Daniel Jones threw three touchdown passes, including to  TE Daniel Bellinger, WR Richie James (corner of end zone during 2-minute drill on 4th down), and WR David Sills on 4th down (who may have stepped out-of-bounds)
    • WR Wan’Dale Robinson dropped what should have been a touchdown pass from QB Daniel Jones.
    • QB Daniel Jones’ most frequent target was RB Saquon Barkley, who picked up a sizable gain on a play out of the slot.
    • OLB Niko Lalos picked off QB Davis Webb in the end zone for a defensive touchdown.
    • OLB Elerson Smith had at least two “sacks” and applied consistent pressure.
    • WR Darius Slayton dropped two passes, including a nice deep pass from QB Tyrod Taylor for what should have been a touchdown. Taylor avoided blitzing LB Carter Coughlin on the play.
    • OLB Quincy Roche broke up a pass that he almost intercepted.
    • CB Zyon Gilbert flashed in coverage twice and CB Maurice Canady also broke up one pass.
    • WR Alex Bachman was active catching the ball from QB Davis Webb.

    HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL…
    The  transcript and video of Brian Daboll’s press conference on Thursday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com.

    THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

    May 262022
     
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    Don "Wink" Martindale, New York Giants (May 19, 2022)

    Don “Wink” Martindale – © USA TODAY Sports

    MAY 26, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
    The Giants held their sixth voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Thursday, and second one open to the media. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

    The four remaining OTA practices will be held on May 31-June 3. A mandatory mini-camp will also be held June 7-9.

    INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
    Players wearing red jerseys because of injury issues included WR Kadarius Toney, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Richie James, WR Collin Johnson, LT Andrew Thomas, OC Nick Gates, OT Matt Peart, OL Jamil Douglas, DL Dexter Lawrence, ILB Blake Martinez, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, ILB Cam Brown, ILB T.J. Brunson, CB Rodarius Williams, and CB Darren Evans. Some of these players participated in practice on a limited basis, while others did not.

    (Thibodeaux will) be in a red jersey today along with some of the other guys,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “I’d say this with the red jersey guys, they are all making progress, taking it day-by-day, but they are all doing a good job of doing the rehab that they need to do, whatever that’s required of them… I think the red jersey guys are making progress and hopefully we’ll have everybody ready to go.”

    WR Kenny Golladay was not wearing a red jersey, but he did not practice.

    Not present were OT Matt Gono and PK Graham Gano.

    PRACTICE NOTES…
    Some snippets from various media sources:

    • Spirited practice for an OTA.
    • 1st-Team OL: LT Joshua Ezeudu, LG Shane Lemieux, OC Jon Feliciano, RG Mark Glowinski, RT Evan Neal
    • 2nd-Team OL: LT Korey Cunningham, LG Max Garcia, OC Ben Bredeson, RG Josh Revis, RT Marcus McKethan
    • 1st-Team Defense (install session): DL Leonard Williams, DL Dexter Lawrence, OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux, OLB Azeez Ojulari, ILB Blake Martinez, ILB Tae Crowder, CB Adoree’ Jackson, CB Aaron Robinson, CB Darnay Holmes, S Xavier McKinney, S Julian Love
    • During team drills, DL Justin Ellis, OLB Jihad Ward, OLB Elerson Smith, and ILB Darren Beavers got work with the first team.
    • 2nd-Team Defense (install session): DL Justin Ellis, DL David Moa, OLB Elerson Smith, OLB Oshane Ximines, ILB Carter Coughlin, ILB Micah McFadden, CB Zyon Gilbert, CB Michael Jacquet, CB Cor’Dale Flott, S Jarren Williams, S Dane Belton
    • 3rd-Team Defense (install session): DL Jalyn Holmes, DL D.J. Davidson, OLB Tomon Fox, OLB Niko Lalos, ILB Cam Brown, ILB Justin Hilliard, CB Maurice Canady, CB Darren Evans, CB Khalil Dorsey, S Yusuf Corker, S Henry Black
    • In 7-on-7 drills, WR Wan’Dale Robinson made a twisting, highlight-reel grab of a deep ball from QB Daniel Jones against CB Aaron Robinson despite tight coverage.
    • CB Micheal Jacquet broke up a pass after a double move by WR Alex Bachman.
    • S Jarren Williams knocked away a deep pass.
    • Elerson Smith recovered a fumble knocked loose by LB Carter Coughlin on a QB Tyrod Taylor dump-off pass to a running back.
    • QB Tyrod Taylor threw a nice deep sideline pass to WR C.J. Board, and then followed that up with a big gain on a throw to WR David Sills on a crossing route. Taylor later connected on another deep pass to WR Alex Bachman.
    • QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR Darius Slayton off a double move on a deep-route over CB Adoree’ Jackson.
    • CB Adoree’ Jackson jumped an out-route on a pass from QB Daniel Jones intended for WR Richie James, who slipped on his break. Jackson picked off the ball and returned it for a touchdown.
    • TE Daniel Bellinger received a lot of reps with the first team and continued to flash good route running and hands. He was very active, including catching two passes from QB Daniel Jones in 11-on-11 drills for 1st downs.
    • WR David Sills bobbled a pass from QB Daniel Jones that was intercepted by S Xavier McKinney and returned for another defensive score.
    • OT Korey Cunningham and OLB Quincy Roche got into a fight, throwing punches.
    • RB Saquon Barkley was used in a variety of ways out of different formations and continues to be deployed as both a runner and receiver.
    • RB Matt Breida caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from QB Tyrod Taylor.
    • QB Tyrod Taylor broke off a long, zig-zag run which he might have scored on in a real game.
    • CB Maurice Canady broke up a pass in the end zone.
    • CB Aaron Robinson ended practice by breaking up a pass in the end zone.

    THE COACHES SPEAK…
    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

    THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
    Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

    May 192022
     
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    Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney, New York Giants (May 19, 2022)

    Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney – © USA TODAY Sports

    MAY 19, 2022 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
    The Giants held their third voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Thursday, and first one open to the media. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.

    We’re on really our third practice day today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll before practice. “We’ll be inside. A little slick outside. Working on some 1st and 2nd down stuff. We’ve had two good days. I’d say we’ve improved a little bit each day, worked on some different situations. Still a long way to go, but it’s been a good start… We’ve had everybody here… We’ve had, I’d say, exceptional attendance… It’s just good to have all the guys here so we can implement our stuff.”

    The seven remaining OTA practices will be held on May 23-24, May 26, May 31-June 3. A mandatory mini-camp will also be held June 7-9.

    INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
    Players wearing red jerseys because of injury issues included WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Collin Johnson, WR Richie James, WR Austin Proehl, OT Andrew ThomasOC Nick Gates, OT Matt Peart, OL Jamil Douglas, ILB Blake Martinez, OLB Quincy Roche, ILB Cam Brown, ILB T.J. Brunson, and CB Rodarius Williams. Some of these players participated in practice, while others did not.

    Yeah, so we’ll have some guys in red jerseys today,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll. “Some can do a little bit more than others. Some are rehabbing. There will be I’d say a number of guys right now in red jerseys. I’m not going to get into the specifics of it right now at this point in time, but you guys will end up seeing them… (Gates) had a tough injury, but he’s done a good job with his rehab. Probably still a little bit a ways away. I’d say him and Matt Peart, they’re rehabbing every single day, getting better each day, so we’ll see where they’re at.”

    Not present were WR Wan’Dale Robinson (NFL rookie symposium), TE Ricky Seals-Jones (personal), and DL Dexter Lawrence (personal).

    PRACTICE NOTES…
    Some snippets from various media sources:

    • The starting offensive line was LT Korey Cunningham, LG Shane Lemieux, OC Jon Feliciano, RG Mark Glowinski, and RT Evan Neal.
    • The second-team offensive line was LT Devery HamiltonLG Joshua EzeuduOC Ben Bredeson, RG Marcus McKethan, and RT Matt Gono. Max Garcia also alternated with Bredeson at center. McKethan also saw reps at right tackle.
    • TE Daniel Bellinger received first-team reps. He made a nice catch on an out route from QB Daniel Jones.
    • First team defense had Leonard Williams and Justin Ellis on the defensive line. They were backed up by David Moa and D.J. Davidson. Third-team defensive line was Chris Hinton and Jalyn Holmes.
    • Blake Martinez and Tae Crowder were the first-team inside linebackers; Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari worked outside. Second-team was Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin inside and Jihad Ward and Elerson Smith outside. Third-team was T.J. Brunson and Justin Hilliard inside and Oshane Ximines and Niko Lalos outside.
    • Adoree’ Jackson and Aaron Robinson were the first-team cornerbacks with Darnay Holmes serving as the nickel corner. Second-team was Zyon Gilbert and Darren Evans outside with Cor’Dale Flott in the slot. The third-team was Michael Jacquet and Maurice Canady outside with Khalil Dorsey in the slot.
    • The first-team safeties were Xavier McKinney and Julian Love. Second-team was Jarren Williams and Dane Belton; third-team was Yusuf Corker and Henry Black.
    • Offensively, the team showed a ton of empty sets and pre-snap motion. There was an emphasis on RPOs. QB Daniel Jones made a big gain on a designed run.
    • In 7-on-7 drills, QB Davis Webb scrambled and threw a long touchdown pass to WR C.J. Board.
    • QB Daniel Jones badly overthrew one pass that was intercepted by S Julian Love.
    • QB Tyrod Taylor made a perfect deep sideline throw to WR Robert Foster over CB Zyon Gilbert.
    • LB Kayvon Thibodeaux would have had a sack on QB Daniel Jones in team drills. Thibodeaux also had nice coverage on two other plays.
    • LB Jihad Ward, DL Jalyn Holmes, and DL Ryder Anderson would have had sacks on QB Tyrod Taylor.
    • WR Travis Toivonen, WR C.J. Board, and WR Alex Bachman were active catching the football.
    • Running backs Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Antonio Williams, and Gary Brightwell were active catching the football. Barkley lined up in the slot on one play. Breida showed a nice burst after the catch.
    • LB Darrian Beavers and LB Justin Hilliard forced incompletions with solid coverage.
    • CB Michael Jacquet broke up two passes.

      GIANTS ADD ANOTHER DEFENSIVE BACK…
      The Giants have signed free agent cornerback Michael Jacquet. To make room, the team also waived defensive lineman Antonio Valentino.

      The 25-year old, 6’1”, 203-pound Jacquet was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2020 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Jacquet played in seven games with two starts, accruing 18 tackles, one sack, three pass defenses, and one forced fumble. He spent time on both the Practice Squads of the Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021.

      Valentino was an undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Giants after the 2022 NFL Draft.

        THE COACHES SPEAK…
        Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

        THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
        Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

        Apr 282022
         
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        New York Giants 2022 NFL Draft Review

        Round Pick in Round Overall Selection Player Selected Video
        1 5 5 Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux (Video)
        1 7 7 OT Evan Neal (Video)
        2 11 43 WR Wan’Dale Robinson (Video)
        3 3 67 OG/OT Joshua Ezeudu (Video)
        3 17 81 CB Cor’Dale Flott (Video)
        4 7 112 TE Daniel Bellinger (Video)
        4 9 114 S Dane Belton (Video)
        5 3 146 LB Micah McFadden (Video)
        5 4 147 DL D.J. Davidson (Video)
        5 30 173 OG Marcus McKethan (Video)
        6 3 182 LB Darrian Beavers (Video)

        2022 Draft Pick Scouting Reports

        1st Round – Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux, 6’4”, 254lbs, 4.58, University of Oregon

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Junior entry from South Central Los Angeles. Three-year starter that came out of school as a topflight, 5-star recruit and delivered. Earned 1st Team All-Pac 12 honors all three years, won the 2020 Morris Trophy, and landed on both the 2020 and 2021 All American squads. Thibodeaux has a long, explosive frame that can bend in and out of small creases with tremendous power and strength. His lockout game combined with a strong initial burst consistently gives him initial positional advantages on blockers. Sometimes, that alone is good enough as he can work through the shoulder of a blocker with consistent ease whether he is rushing the passer or defending the run. He is equally productive against both. Where Thibodeaux struggles, however, is when he is matched up against pro-caliber size and power when it comes to secondary rush moves. He needs to show more technique refinement and continue to try and strengthen his base, which plays small and gets too narrow at times. His lack of body control will cause issues as well when it comes to reaction-based action. His tool set is top shelf, but he is far from a finished product and will need to fix a lot prior to being labeled a dependable player.

        *I am going to try and not make this too long because the Thibodeaux fans get really offended, really easily. First off: I have 800+ grades on my master sheet along with another 400+ “training camp body” labels. Thibdodeaux is in the top 15. So yes, I do like him, and I do project him to be a very good football player in the NFL. A starter with high, sky-high, upside. There is some Harold Landry in his game. That said, I do not see him being the All-Pro or even perennial Pro Bowl type. When it comes to the “effort” shortcomings, this is NOT a guy that walks up and down the field. He does NOT play with the “I don’t care” label. There is more to effort than sheer hustle, however.

        My issues with Thibodeaux revolve around what he did against his best competition. If he lost initially, if he got locked onto, I did not see the secondary moves. I didn’t see the secondary wiggle to try and re-gain a position. The contrast between him and the other top 5 edge guys in the class in that department is obvious. He also had too many dumb penalties. When it isn’t easy for him (he matched up against some awful OTs), he got frustrated and immature. He didn’t pin his ears back and elevate his game. To me, that is effort and mental toughness that just isn’t there. It is a crucial, borderline vital trait to playing the edge.

        That is where I left it with him. And then hearing how he talks about himself and a contract. I have a saying “…he works at his craft like he is above it all already…” simply rubs me the wrong way. Enough that I would be too nervous to use #5 or #7 on him with the other guys available. That is all.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:We’re ecstatic with the two players we got, obviously getting Kayvon Thibodeaux, a really good pass rusher at five, we are excited about that. Thought of getting him there with Azeez (Ojulari) on the other side and the pass rush is important to us, so two young pass rushers on the team now that we are definitely excited about…He’s a very outgoing individual. He’s got a lot of personality. I’m sure you guys will enjoy your time with him meeting him, but a really good kid, likable kid, works hard…Also with Kayvon, he had a serious ankle injury. And a lot of people, with his draft status and draft stock, could have hung it up and said, we’ll call it a season and I’m not going to play anymore. He fought back. And we talked to several people at the school, and he worked his way back and practiced, and a lot of people — he didn’t necessarily need to do that.” (Full Transcript)

        Brian Daboll’s Take:Kayvon is quick off the ball. I think he has a wide variety of pass rush moves, but he can also set an edge for us on our defense, and it’s no secret we play multiple schemes with Wink as our defensive coordinator, and we envision Kayvon being able to do a lot of different things for us. He’s going to have to come in here and earn it, but a productive player the time he’s been at Oregon.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Kayvon Thibodeaux: (Full Transcript)


        1st Round – OT Evan Neal, 6’7”, 337lbs, 5.04, University of Alabama

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Junior entry from Okeechobee, Florida. Three-year starter at three different positions (LG, RT, LT). A 2019 Freshman All American that ended his career as a 2nd Team All American and 1st Team All SEC honoree. Neal, a team captain, is lauded by both the on-field coaches and support staff inside the walls. His attention to detail, intelligence, and work ethic have helped him deliver on his 5-star recruit profile out of high school. The fact he started right away as a true freshman for Nick Saban along the offensive line, a rarity, and progressed each season of his 3-year career while playing 3 different positions speaks volumes about his mental game. The obvious with Neal is the elite physical tools. His size is second to none, his power comes easy and natural, and the explosion within his blocking can put him in a rare tier of offensive line prospects. He did struggle with consistency throughout his career, as he showed low body awareness in several situations. He often oversets, leading to balance and control issues. Defenders were able to shake him off too many times. Neal’s upside is as high as it gets but the constant new-position he dealt with every year may have thrown off some important development. That versatility may help his outlook to some teams but once he is drafted, his true value will come when he settles into a position. Neal can eventually be one of the best linemen in the game.

        *Prior to the start of the year, I had nearly no-doubt Neal was going to finish in the 90+ tier. But this is where you have to toss pre-conceived notions out the window when watching the tape. The truth is, Neal did not take a step forward. There are shortcomings within his skill set that arose weekly. The positive? These are all very correctable issues, and we see them corrected all the time. He has some of the same issues that Tristan Wirfs did coming out of Iowa in 2020. Wirfs was my OT1 in that class with a similar grade and is now an All-Pro. Neal can get on that path just as quickly, but I think he needs to settle into a position and remain there for a couple years. That hasn’t been the case since he was a high schooler. NYG would be an ideal destination for him. Insert him into the RT spot week 1 and they could have a top tier OT pair within a year or two. I would be excited to get this kid in blue.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:Evan Neal, again, I’m sure it will come up, but starting off we’ll be putting him at right tackle. Obviously, we really like his versatility, 40 career starts in three different spots in the SEC, only missed one game in his career with COVID. So both 21 years old, young players, both still have upside to develop.” (Full Transcript)

        Brian Daboll’s Take:Evan has played multiple positions. He’s long — it takes a guy the long route to go to the quarterback. He’s got long arms. He’s a big, massive man, played multiple positions, had a lot of people down at Alabama that I trust and had a lot confidence in him and had a lot of good things to say about him and along with (offensive line coaches) Bobby Johnson and Tony Sparano, the guys that have looked at him, we thought very highly of him.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Evan Neal: (Full Transcript)


        2nd Round – Wan’Dale Robinson, 5’8”, 178lbs, 4.38, University of Kentucky

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Junior entry from Frankfort, KY. Spent two seasons at Nebraska before transferring to Kentucky for the 2021 season. Honorable Mention All-Big 10 in both 2019 and 2020, second team All-SEC in 2021. Robinson has been a hybrid receiver/running back from the start of his career and will give an NFL offense the opportunity to create a big-time playmaker out of him. He has the well-balanced athletic ability and overall skill set to do multiple things, align from different spots, and create on his own. He is much more than an undersized, underneath threat that can occasionally take a jet sweep. He has had a lot of success in the deep passing game and plays with the kind of competitive fire that an at least somewhat make up for the lack of ideal size. Because he has lined up all over the offense, Robinson is a little rough around the edges when it comes release and route nuances, but all can be corrected in time. He is a big play threat every time he gets on the field no matter where he lines up.

        *Robinson is a guy I have a feeling about. The quickness and burst he has the instant he touches the ball is exactly what gets overlooked by many when looking at measurables. He has the knack to find creases immediately. He is also one tough, strong dude that understands he can use the diminutive frame to his advantage, as a weapon. He is a gadget player, not someone that is always on the field. An argument can be made that only an established offense should be using a pick on a guy like this. I would not agree. Robinson is someone that can make things happen on his own. He can create big plays from nothing and that is what a growing offense needs. Robinson will make grown men hold their breath every time he gets the ball. The way Daboll used Isaiah McKenzie in Buffalo is a nice template: 77 catches – 27 rushes – 21 punt returns – 29 kick returns since 2019. I see Robinson being a better version of that. Keep an eye here.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:Good football player we’ve had our eye on, generator with the ball in his hands, very good run after the catch, very good route runner, can separate. And for what we are going to do offensively, we thought he would be a very good fit for us…He’s a generator when the ball is in his hands. He can run after a catch. He can separate from DBs, he gets open. He played some running back at Nebraska (before he transferred). That’s a versatile piece you can use in your offense. If you look at some of the other guys, how you can use them, and if you look at Daboll’s past or you look at Kafka’s past in terms of the creativeness in their offense and the weapons they can utilize, I think you can kind of see what the vision may look like.(Full Transcript)

        Brian Daboll’s Take:Versatile, got quickness, explosiveness, he’s tough even for a smaller guy. Been a very productive player really going back to high school when he played there in Kentucky. So a guy we’re anxious to get our hands on and work with and implement into our scheme…I think he can play inside, and I think he’s strong enough and fast enough, even though he’s a smaller, shorter guy, that he can contribute outside, too…What we’re trying to do is put as many generating pieces out there to create pace and stretch the field, whether it be vertical or horizontally, and this is another good guy that has ability to run after catch, which is an important aspect of it.(Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Wan’Dale Robinson: (Full Transcript)


        3rd Round – OG/OT Joshua Ezeudu, 6’4”, 308lbs, 5.19, University of North Carolina

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Fourth-year junior entry from Lawrenceville, GA. Three-year starter that earned Honorable Mention All-ACC honors in 2021, second-team in 2020. Because of injuries and inconsistent play throughout the entire line, Ezeudu was moved around often. Throughout his career he played every spot along the line with some of his best tape coming from his snaps at left tackle. His top position will be inside at guard but that kind of versatility can boost his stock a bit. Ezeudu excels with his hands and displays quick feet, always a good place to start. The natural top-end athletic ability is limited, however, and it shows up when he needs to adjust laterally. His knee bend is inconsistent and there is a recoil in his reaction-times because of it. If he can improve some lower body techniques, there are some quality traits to work with.

        *When looking to add offensive linemen early day three, I love the idea of getting a guy that has credible experience and ability at multiple spots. There is no question Ezeudu projects best to guard, but I do think he could be a swing tackle if needed. So many teams have depth issues there. You see a guy or two go down with an injury and all of the sudden the entire offense needs to change. Ezeudu looks pro ready on most levels. His movement just seems a step too slow right now but I think he is better than over half the backups in the league right now. Throw in the versatility and I think it is a brilliant pick if he can be had in the right slot.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:So Josh Ezeudu out of North Carolina, a player we liked obviously. History of playing multiple spots on the offensive line. He’s got guard-tackle flex. Again, we’ll bring him in, I’m not sure, not going to say exactly where we’re going to start him, but we like the versatility that he can play guard, he can play tackle, compete to start probably inside, with outside flex…Impressive (at switching spots). He’s impressive. It’s rare. I was fortunate enough to see him play live twice this year, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. He’s a big man, and it’s impressive. Again, he could play multiple spots not only on a week-to-week basis but within a game, within drives. So it’s very impressive, and he’s an outstanding kid. You guys will like getting to know him.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Joshua Ezeudu: (Full Transcript)


        3rd Round – Cor’Dale Flott, 6’0”, 175lbs, 4.40, LSU

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Junior entry from Saraland, AL. Two-year starter that saw time outside and at nickel. Cousin to fellow draft prospect Velus Jones, a wide receiver from Tennessee. Flott is a smooth mover that gets in and out of his breaks with no wasted motion. He plays faster than he times because of it. He lacks a physical presence on contact and there is not much of a frame to build on. Because of that, Flott will need to be near-flawless when it comes to route anticipation and reaction. He will likely project as a backup nickel that can see the field in deeper sub packages. He has some safety type traits against the pass only as well. He may be a guy without a true position and I’m not sure I see a ton of special teams upside.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:Cor’Dale Flott is a guy we liked out of LSU, athletic kid, versatility, play inside, outside. Both kids we spent a lot of time with throughout the spring, and we’re happy to have them…I think position one, ideally, he’s inside, but he can play inside and outside. He has height, and he does have length. And again, the kid is 20 years old. I believe he turns 21 in August or September…So still young, still developing. Three-year guy at LSU that played in a really talented backfield and a good conference. We’re excited. He’s got really good movement skills to play inside, but with the size and length, can play outside as well.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Cor’Dale Flott: (Full Transcript)


        4th Round – TE Daniel Bellinger, 6’5”, 253lbs, 4.63, San Diego State University

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Senior entry from Las Vegas, NV. Three-year starter than earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors in 2020. Bellinger has the tool set and ability to play the traditional Y tight end spot. While his skill set is more receiver-friendly, he does show enough upside and ability to create impact as a blocker. He plays a twitchy, sudden game and understands his role well. Bellinger may not have the man-strength quite yet to have a big role, but he should fill the back end of a depth chart early on. He is a plus-athlete with some sneaky upside to him when it comes to getting open and making things happen after the catch.

        *It would not surprise me one bit to see Bellinger sneak into the end of round two. The triangle numbers are really solid, and he didn’t drop a single ball over his last two seasons. I just wish he got more looks in the passing game at San Diego State. He will likely be a year two guy at earliest because he had a hard time with defensive linemen in the Mountain West. I think NFL guys will eat him early on.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:Daniel Bellinger was our first pick today, tight end out of San Diego State. A guy that we liked, size, speed, athleticism, should be able to help us on special teams, was in Senior Bowl, was at his pro day, too, and a guy we’ve liked throughout the process.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Daniel Bellinger: (Full Transcript)


        4th Round – S Dane Belton, 6’1”, 205lbs, 4.43, University of Iowa

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Junior entry from Tampa, FL. Two-year starter that earned All Big-10 honors in both 2020 and 2021, first team in 2021. Belton played a hybrid safety/linebacker role that saw him involved in the box more often than not. He has a sturdy, strong frame with plus-power and straight line speed. He factors well in pursuit sideline to sideline and had a high success rate as a tackler. Belton started to turn a corner as a junior in coverage. He showed quality ball skills and plus-body control out of his breaks. He shows minimal wasted motion once he made up his mind. He can get into trouble when trying to forecast routes and throws, as he seems a step behind mentally and shows tightness in his hips laterally. He projects as a nickel or dime safety that can creep up toward the line and he will be a weapon on special teams.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:Dane Belton, another guy we liked, the versatility in the player, he’s got ball skills, he can play from depth and down in the box, can pay nickel.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Dane Belton: (Full Transcript)


        5th Round – LB Micah McFadden, 6’1”, 240lbs, 4.75, Indiana University

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Senior entry from Tampa, FL. Three-year starter that earned honorable mention All-Big 10 honors in 2019, first team in 2020, second team in 2021. Also a third team All-American in 2019. McFadden is a well-put together, quick and sudden linebacker that flies all over the field and brings a high success rate as a tackler. He can defend the inside run with stout power and will get to the sideline against the outside running game. He excels in pursuit. McFadden does have the occasional lapse in concentration and will over-pursue his intentions, leaving him vulnerable and top heavy. He does not factor well in man coverage, as his hip tightness and eager mentality can be easy to toy with. He projects as a solid special teamer that could develop into a rotational inside linebacker in a 3-4 front.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:Micah McFadden from Indiana, another guy with very good size, speed. He was a captain, he’s athletic. I think he’ll help us out. He can play inside, outside, and he’s a good blitzer as well. Again, another versatile piece.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Micah McFadden: (Full Transcript)


        5th Round – DL D.J. Davidson, 6’3”, 327lbs, 5.20, Arizona State University

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Fifth year senior from Mesa, AZ. Took an additional year off between high school and college. Three-year starter that earned second team All-Pac 12 honors in 2021. Davidson will best project to a zero-tech in a 3-4 front. There, his natural power and ability to two-gap will be used most effectively. In an even front, he will not offer much as a pass rusher, but he could fit into a situational role as well. Davidson can play with quick feet in addition to a hard-to-move presence against the run. He has a natural sense to feel blocks and flow to the ball. He needs to work on lower body bend and techniques so his pad level can be better. The lack of leverage wins will eat him up at the next level. Davidson needs to fully buy into fixing his body and skill set for a couple years before he can be trusted.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:D.J. Davidson, see him more as a nose, out of Arizona State, be a good depth player that has some upside. We are excited about working with him inside, again, trying to add some depth up front there.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with D.J. Davidson: (Full Transcript)


        5th Round – OG Marcus McKethan, 6’6”. 340lbs, 5.31, University of North Carolina

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Fifth year senior from Barnwell, SC. Three-year starter that has the body of a tackle but played right guard all three seasons. Two-time Honorable Mention All-ACC. McKethan looks like a tackle prototype with elite girth and length from head to toe. His power and lockout game are enough to stop professional defenders in their tracks right away. The issue with him revolves around reaction time and bend. He does not keep the feet active post-engagement and he will always struggle to win the leverage battle. McKethan is a project that a team will want to develop in undrafted free agency most likely, as the holes in his game are both hard to fix and far away from being pro-ready.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:Marcus McKethan, another guy obviously we spent some time with, the North Carolina kids. Huge human being. Very good size, length. Again, some versatility, he’s played tackle and he’s played guard. Again, going to add depth and competition to the roster. We’ll probably start him at guard, but he does have tackle flex.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Marcus McKethan: To be provided. (Full Transcript)


        6th Round – LB Darrian Beavers, 6’4”, 237lbs, 4.85, University of Cincinnati

        Sy’56’s Scouting Report: Fifth year senior from Cincinnati, OH. Spent 2017 and 2018 at Connecticut before transferring to Cincinnati. Four-year starter between the two programs. Second team All-AAC in 2020, first team in 2021. Was also a Butkus Award Finalist in his final season. Beavers brings a unique tool set to the table and it was used all over the front seven in college. He primarily lined up off the ball, but he saw over 250 snaps along the edge on-line over his three years at Cincinnati. The heaviness in his hands and overall ability to play both stout and fast should get the attention of versatile defensive schemes. He does not play very sudden and there are too many inconsistencies with his tackling and aggression in space. There won’t be a fit for him in every scheme but at the same time, he can bring versatility to a multiple-front defense that others cannot.

        *I have in my notes from the 2021 season that Beavers “…looks like an old school Steeler or Patriot…” Some make the mistake that Baltimore (Martindale/Ryan) went after the same personnel. I don’t agree. Martindale wants a bit more speed and twitch in his linebackers and even though Beavers tested OK with times, he doesn’t always play fast. I will say this though: He is an alpha. Beavers is a mean, powerful dude and he did line up all over the front seven. That said, he was not a very successful outside rusher.

        Joe Schoen’s Take:Darrian Beavers is another guy that we really liked, versatile piece, he played inside and he played outside. I was at his pro day. He did some stuff as an outside rusher and that looks like something that may be part of the package. Like his versatility to be inside, outside, and play on special teams.” (Full Transcript)

        Media Q&A with Darrian Beavers: (Full Transcript)


        Rookie Free Agent Scouting Reports

        RB Jashaun Corbin, 6’0’’, 221lbs, 4.58, Florida State University (Video)
        Corbin is is a north/south runner who does his best work between the tackles. He is a patient runner with good vision. He has some shiftiness to his game and can run through tackles. Corbin also can catch the ball out of the backfield, but he needs work in pass protection.

        FB Jeremiah Hall, 6’2’’, 248lbs, 4.96, University of Oklahoma (Video)
        Built more like an H-Back or fullback than tight end, Hall was used in the slot, inline, and out of the backfield in college. Hall is a good receiver who runs tough after the catch. Good blocker.

        TE Andre Miller, 6’3’’, 220lbs, 4.54, University of Maine (Video)
        Miller was a big receiver in college with good overall athletic ability. The Giants intend to convert him to tight end.

        TE Austin Allen, 6’9’’, 255lbs, 4.83, University of Nebraska (Video)
        Allen is a tall, narrow tight end with a big catch radius and sure hands. He gives an effort in the blocking department, but is more of a position blocker given his frame.

        OG Josh Rivas, 6’6’’, 317lbs, 5.32, Kansas State University (Video)
        Rivas is a big lineman with decent athleticism for his size. He needs a lot of technique work.

        DE Ryder Anderson, 6’6’’, 4.92, 266lbs, Indiana University
        Anderson has good size, strength, and length. He can control the point-of-attack against the run, but lacks ideal quickness to be factor rushing the passer.

        DL Christopher Hinton, 6’4’’, 310lbs, 5.28, University of Michigan (Video)
        Hinton lacks ideal size and athleticism, but he is a tough, strong run defender. He plays with leverage and holds his ground. Hinton does not offer much as a pass rusher. Reliable and he plays hard.

        DL Jabari Ellis, 6’3’’, 278lbs, 4.77, University of South Carolina (Video)
        Ellis was a team captain who played six seasons in college.

        DL Antonio Valentino, 6’3’’, 312lbs, 5.27, University of Florida (Video)
        Valentino is a big, strong, hard-working lineman who lacks ideal athletic ability and quickness.

        OLB Tomon Fox, 6’3’’, 260lbs, 4.79, University of North Carolina (Video)
        Fox lacks ideal athleticism, but he is instinctive, productive, and plays hard.

        CB Darren Evans, 6’3’’, 174lbs, 4.53, LSU (Video)
        Evans is a tall, thin corner who has decent overall athleticism. He is aggressive against the run. Evans needs to make more plays on the ball.

        CB Zyon Gilbert, 6’1’’, 182lbs, 4.42, Florida Atlantic University (Video)
        Gilbert played both safety and cornerback in college. He combines good size and overall athleticism and speed. Gilbert is aggressive against the run, but he needs work in coverage in terms of his anticipation skills and technique.

        S Yusuf Corker, 6’0’’, 197lbs, 4.53, Kentucky, University of Kentucky (Video)
        A physical, aggressive, and instinctive safety, Corker makes plays on the ball both as a run and pass defender. A bit stiff, he lacks ideal speed and change-of-direction skills. He needs to become a more consistent tackler.

        S Trenton Thompson, 6’2’’, 200lbs, 4.58, San Diego State University (Video)
        Despite playing six years in college, Thompson only became a full-time starter in his final season. He has good size, but lacks ideal speed. Instinctive, he does play faster than he times. Big hitter. Thompson is a good special teams player.

        S Jordan Mosley, 6’1’’, 210lbs, 4.69, University of Maryland (Video)
        Mosley has good size, but lacks ideal overall athleticism, speed, and agility. An instinctive player, Mosley is also a good tackler.

        Apr 262022
         
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        Malik Willis, Liberty Flame (December 18, 2021)

        Malik Willis – © USA TODAY Sports

        QUARTERBACKS

        90+: All Pro Projection

        85+: Pro Bowl Projection

        81-84: 1st rounder – Should be able to play right away

        79-80: 2nd rounder – Should be able to rotate right away – Year 2 starter

        77-78: 3rd rounder – Should be able to rotate by end of rookie year – Year 2/3 starter

        74-76: Early Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup/possible starter

        71-73: Mid Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup / gamble starter

        68-70: Late Day 3 – Back end of roster / Practice Squad / Development guy

        65-67: Preferred UDFA

        60-64: Undrafted FA

        1: Malik Willis – Liberty – 6’0/219

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Atlanta, GA. Two-year starter at Liberty after two seasons as a backup at Auburn and a full season where had to sit out because of transfer rules. Willis, a late bloomer that was not highly recruited out of high school, is a pure boom or bust prospect. The talent is obvious and known. He can make plays with the ball in his hands like a running back and his frame fully supports that kind of role. His arm strength and torque created from his hips are both at the elite of the elite level. That is about where it ends, however. Willis appears light years behind when it comes to forecasting and reading a defense. The indecisiveness and lack of feel for where defenders are, both in the pass rush and in coverage, is alarming. Willis also has mechanical issues with his drop backs that create inconsistent ball placement. His ability to run will hide some of the issues but he will certainly need at least a season on the sidelines before he can be trusted to lead an offense.

        *In a quarterback class that lacks clarity, Willis is the one standout that could flip this group (and entire draft class) upside down. While there is a lot of work to be done, Willis is the potential superstar. While I doubt we see him come off the board at #2 to Detroit, the value of the position in relation to team-success in this league can certainly lead to it happening. Someone is going to take a swing for the fence with this kid. Keep in mind, there isn’t a scout or coach or GM that doesn’t believe in Willis’ intangibles. He is a rock-solid kid that is going to be great for a locker room and will work hard at his craft. His ideal scenario is to get involved in an offense that will be tailored for him specifically, similar to what Baltimore did with Lamar Jackson and sit for an entire year. Is it worth considering NYG as a possible destination? I don’t think so. This ownership (they’re still very involved) will request Jones gets a shot with this new system (his third in four years).

        2: Kenny Pickett – Pittsburgh – 6’3/217

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Oakhurst, NJ. Four-year starter who broke out in his final season, earning numerous accolades including first team All-American, ACC Player of the Year, and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm. Pickett’s late decision to skip the 2021 NFL Draft paid off and could end up being the first quarterback taken in 2022. His 42 touchdowns broke a conference record previously held by Deshaun Watson and Picket ended up re-writing the Pitt program’s passing records. When it comes to pro projection, he has several traits that carry over well. He is a plus-athlete with outstanding accuracy on the move to all levels of the route tree. He showed the ability to progress through multiple reads in a pro-style offense. And he plays with tremendous grit. Pickett does not have plus-arm strength, however, and turnovers were a problem. He threw over 30 interceptions and fumbled 38 times in 49 career starts. Pickett also struggled to see the entire field on traditional drop backs. He will get a starting nod at some point but will most likely end as a career backup.

        *Gun to my head, I think Pickett goes before Willis and will be the top overall quarterback selected. He feels safer than some of these other guys because he appears to have at least a little bit of everything. If you were ranking all the physical and mental traits, Pickett may not rank number 1 in any of them but I bet he is second or third all of them (minus the hand size). Yes, the hand size matters when he has the high fumble number in his stat line. Is that what prevents him from a higher number? No. I simply don’t see Pickett as the one to step up and carry an offense. He can be a solid starter on a team that is strong around him, but I don’t see the guy the makes everyone else better. And then yes, I hate turnovers.

        3: Desmond Ridder – Cincinnati – 6’3/211

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Fifth year senior entry from Louisville, KY. Four-year starter that earned first team All-AAC honors in both 2020 and 2021 while also taking home the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year Award. Ridder took over the job week one as a freshman and never looked back, re-writing several school and conference records respectively. He won over 40 games and shined in big moments. Ridder carries all of the intangibles and leadership qualities a coach could want at the position. He has a live arm with a quick, snappy, but smooth and repeatable release. The icing on the cake is a top shelf set of movement-based tools. He has elite speed in the open field and firecracker footwork as a passer. The overall upside and ceiling are a bit of an unknown considering he did not play against a lot of stiff competition in college and the accuracy is inconsistent. He also needs to process coverages quicker. Ridder will, and should, get an opportunity as a starter down the road. At the very least, he is someone that a team can feel good about as a backup.

        *Ridder was a guy I did not give a ton of attention to until after the season. Nothing ever really jumped out at me when watching him play or as I was scouting players that he was on film with. A deeper dive exposed some solid truths for him, though. His footwork and overall mechanics are the best of the group. He is a dangerous athlete in the open field. And he shows good mental toughness and leadership qualities. This will simply come down to how talented of a passer he actually is. Everything else is there, but the gray area is a big one. There are too many inaccurate throws on tape, and he does not seem to see the whole field. There won’t be success for him in the league unless those two improve mightily. I can easily see him feeling “safe” for NFL decision makers though.

        4: Matt Corral – Mississippi – 6’1/212

        Grade: 78

        Summary: Fourth year junior entry from Ventura, CA. Three-year starter that earned 2nd Team All SEC honors in 2021. In a simple, quarterback-friendly offense Corral shows the occasional glimpse of greatness. His lightning-quick release along with a rocket-arm will create the opportunity for a play designer and caller to widen the possibilities with what can be done of offense. Corral also brings a high level of speed and easy vision when carrying the ball on both designed runs and scrambles. He can make every throw at a high level. Mentally, he is a risk taker that plays with a short memory when adversity arrives. Corral overlooks several key components to basic fundamentals too often, however. He air mails far too many deep balls, showing a lack of natural touch and accuracy. He has poor ball handling mechanics, with just under 25 career fumbles in 27 starts. His body type may not be able to handle a slew of NFL contact a scrambling quarterback normally absorbs over the course of the season. He needs to become a more precise passer and will need time to transition to the complexity of the league.

        *Corral has had moments, and enough of them, to be rightfully considered the top quarterback prospect in this class. Even with that in mind, he is not a first rounder. There are too many shortcomings that quality starters in this league avoid on a routine basis. My biggest red flags are the ball security and body type. One of his key strengths revolve around his ability to run and create with his legs. His body type presents extra risk AND there are significant fumble issues. In fact, he was fortunate to not have fumbled more with how far away he gets that thing from his body with one hand on the ball. Corral’s release and live arm, however, are very attractive. He has some unique, borderline elite-level throwing traits that are worth trying to develop, but his upside is similar to what Jones brings to NYG, if not a little less.

        5: Sam Howell – North Carolina – 6’1/218

        Grade: 76

        Summary: Junior entry from Indian Trail, NC. Three-year starter that earned All-ACC honors in both 2020 and 2021 in addition to a second team All-American honor in 2020. Howell was a big deal the moment he stepped foot on campus at Chapel Hill and ended up re-writing record books for the program and finishing as one of the most productive passers in ACC history. The short, but stout and powerful signal caller plays an innovative game with both his arms and legs. While he does not have blazing speed or quickness, the savvy ball carrier creates big plays when things break down in the pocket. He will need to clean up his throwing motion and overall mechanics, however, as he will not shake tacklers in the NFL the way he did in college. Howell is a quiet, but effective leader with a knack for the accurate deep ball. He is coming from an incredibly simple offense but there is enough on tape to warrant the idea of him becoming a top tier backup and potential starter in time.

        *Everyone had huge expectations for Howell heading into 2021. If you asked me last summer who would be the guy that ends up at the top of the draft, it would have been Howell or Kedon Slovis (transferred to Pitt for 2022). I guess this is why we play the games. Anyway, Howell took a couple steps backward in 2021. I took a deep dive into his game all year and he was a mess. He had very little integrity and feel in the pocket. He jumped into scramble mode way too often. He rushed through mechanics, and it caused several errant throws weekly. He also played in a very simple offense even for college standards. Howell does not look like a pro to me even though he does throw the prettiest deep ball of the group. Everything else is backup caliber.

        6: Bailey Zappe – Western Kentucky – 6’0/214

        Grade: 76

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Victoria, TX. Four-year starter for Houston Baptist (FCS) before grad-transferring to Western Kentucky where he started for one season. 2021 first team All-Conference USA and Conference USA most valuable player. In Western Kentucky’s high-powered attack, Zappe ended the season as the nation’s leader in yards and touchdowns. His 62 touchdowns are a new all-time NCAA record. He threw the ball 686 times. The third-place finisher (Bryce Young from Alabama) threw the ball 547 times. While the production is a tad inflated, Zappe is a credible pro prospect that broke out at the right time. He was a relative-unknown at Houston Baptist (8 wins in 4 years), but there are traits here that deserve a look at the next level. Zappe has incredible accuracy and ball placement along the short and intermediate portions of the route tree. He throws with excellent tempo and timing to pair with a quick release. His lack of size and sheer arm-power will make life difficult early on and he will need time to learn the nuances of playing under center within a complex pro offense. He will be in the league for a long time as a backup but should get a starting nod at some point.

        *Zappe can make a push for being the fifth quarterback taken. I don’t think it will happen, but I think it should. Out of all the passers in this class, Zappe’s ball placement is the most consistent. Does he respond well to a dirty pocket? That is an unknown. I see a ton of Chase Daniel here. A guy that will be a welcomed back up in several cities for years and at some point, someone will want to give him a shot. Zappe is a competitive dude that did elevate his play in big moments. He plays with that underdog mentality that I love to see. Could NYG look here day three? I wouldn’t be against it at all.

        7: Jack Coan – Notre Dame – 6’3/218

        Grade: 75

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Sayville, NY. Two-year starter at Wisconsin prior to transferring to Notre Dame in 2021, we he started 13 games. Honorable Mention All-Big 10 in 2019. Coan is a player that gets the most out of himself. He is smooth and calm in the pocket and fully understands how to play with tempo. He progresses through reads in a hurry and keeps his lower body in sync with his throwing motion consistently. The lack of arm strength has a tendency to show up on passes to the sideline and he does not strike fear in to defenses when it comes to the deep ball. Coan, however, excels at getting the ball out in a hurry and shows plus-accuracy with proper touch when needed. His upside is limited but he can be trusted to protect the ball, play within a system, and take what is given. He will be a backup for the first few years of his career but should see a starting gig at some point if/when injuries arise.

        *I like Coan a lot, but I do understand the limited ceiling he plays with. His throws to the outside die before they reach the target. He does not have an easy release for the deep ball. His athleticism is average. But remember this: falling in love with tools when it comes to the quarterback while neglecting the mental capacity that is required, the overall mechanics, and toughness under pressure has forced many men to lose their jobs. Coan is on the opposite end of that spectrum. He does a lot of the little things right and plays a lot of mistake-free football. I feel good about having a guy like this as a backup and seeing if there is some physical development that can take place once in the league. I would applaud a day three pick used on Coan.

        8: Carson Strong – Nevada – 6’3/226

        Grade: 71

        Summary: Fourth year junior entry from Vacaville, CA. Three-year starter that earned first team All-MWC honors in both 2020 and 2021 while also winning the conference’s Player of the Year Award both seasons. Strong re-wrote the record book at Nevada while also protecting the ball at a record-rate. He went 299 attempts without throwing an interception. The team captain is an emotional player that will stare down the barrel of a gun while in the pocket. He has plus-arm strength and shows the ability to layer the ball to all levels of the route tree. Strong will be entering the league with a beat up knee and a severe lack of mobility. He will struggle to escape pressure and there are too many throws on tape where the lower half is not engaged. He is a long-term project that will have his upside very much dictated by the health of his knee.

        *There has been some chatter about Strong going higher than where I have him, that he could be the number 6 guy in the class. I can see why. He has the look of a pure, old school pocket passer that can hit every throw. He throws a nice deep ball. But when I looked further into his game, there were too many things I did not like. He seemed a bit too emotional for the position, very up and down. His knee (think of it as a knee that belongs to a 50-year-old) impedes his ability to really activate his lower half when throwing the ball hard/far. He can’t move. And there were a ton of throws where it was just a simple, thoughtless “chuck it” and hope. That won’t fly in the league. There are too many reasons why I would not touch him anywhere near day 2.

        9: Kaleb Eleby – Western Michigan – 6’1/208

        Grade: 70

        Summary: Fourth year junior entry from Maryland Heights, MO. Three-year starter that earned second team All-MAC honors in 2021, third team in 2020. Eleby is a risk taker that shows no fear when it comes to trying to fit the ball into tight windows. He has a quick release and powerful snap to his throws. He was deeply involved in a RPO attack that did not require him to make many reads. Because of that, he will need extra time to adjust to a pro passing attack. He rarely saw snaps under center and there are inconsistencies with his release point that will cause the occasional errant throws. Eleby also needs to improve his ball handling. He does not have the athletic ability to constantly evade defenders, thus he needs to protect the ball better. Eleby will likely need a redshirt year in the NFL before battling for a backup job.

        *I was surprised Eleby came out. 23 starts from a MAC program while having another year of eligibility probably was not the smartest move. He had D’Wayne Eskridge and Skyy Moore, two pro receivers, to throw to in a conference full of defensive backs that will not play in the league. With Moore in this draft class, that could be why he wanted to leave but they have another kid, Jaylen Hall, that will be a pro prospect at this time next year. He could have used another year of seasoning because I do see some pro traits that could have gotten him drafted in the round 3-4 area in 2023. Now? He might get his name called late day three.

        10: EJ Perry – Brown – 6’1/211

        Grade: 70

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Andover, MA. Two-year starter at Brown after transferring from Boston College where he was a backup for two seasons. Two-time first team All-Ivy and 2021 Ivy Offensive Player of the Year and All American. Perry is a gimmicky quarterback that has a way of creating on his own. He shows a great feel in the pocket for where the pressure is coming from and will make quick decisions to avoid it. His ball placement and consistency in that department on the move can extend plays and keep the defense on their heels. The overall arm talent and bad habits show up too often to project him as a starting quarterback at the next level. Perry has a hard time seeing through the traffic on plays that go beyond one simple read. He turned the ball over a lot and does not have the natural, powerful trigger to make all the throws. He will live on the back end of a depth chart.

        *Perry looked solid at the East-West Shrine Game. That was my first exposure to him, and I did a deep dive on five of his game tapes afterward (less than ideal for QB). There were a lot of nuances to his game that I did not like. He has an overly-crouched position after he gets the ball and drops back. He is already on the short side, and I felt that, along with slow decisions as a passer, really hurt his odds at seeing and anticipating. He got away with a lot in college that he has not shot at getting away with in the NFL. Solid competitive juice and a real athlete (played basketball for Brown and received a scholarship offer to play baseball for Boston College) can get him a look, but there is a lot of work to be done and I don’t see enough upside in the arm.

        BEST OF THE REST

        11: Dustin Crum – Kent State – 6’1/210: 69
        12: Cole Kelley – Southeastern Louisiana – 6’7/249: 69
        13: Chase Garbers – California – 6’2/215: 69
        14: Skylar Thompson – Kansas State – 6’2/217: 68
        15: Brandon Peters – Illinois – 6’4/228: 68
        16: Brock Purdy – Iowa State – 6’1/212: 67
        17: Aqeel Glass – Alabama A& M – 6’4/231: 67
        18: Zerrick Cooper – Jacksonville State – 6’2/230: 66
        19: Anthony Brown – Oregon – 6’1/217: 65
        20: Jawon Pass – Prairie View A& M – 6’4/240: 65

        NYG APPROACH

        Simply put here, I do not see NYG being in the market for a new franchise quarterback. Reason one: The franchise still has an unknown in Daniel Jones and even though he is sliding towards a no-go, he is better or on the same level as all these top guys. Reason number two: Next year’s crop of QBs will likely be much better than what this draft class is producing. And reason number three, there are too many good players rounds 1-3 that NYG would be passing on in order to take one of these guys. I do not see the point in going for anyone unless we are talking about day three and hoping to find the next backup and/or long term project. The number one reason why I want NYG to consider trading back (if the opportunity is there) would be to net extra picks in 2023 (ideally a first) so they can march into next draft with some money in the bank should they need to make an aggressive move up for a quarterback at the top. These guys simply are not worth it although I am intrigued to see what becomes of Willis.

        Apr 242022
         
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        Kenny Walker, Michigan State Spartans (March 4, 2022)

        Kenny Walker – © USA TODAY Sports

        RUNNING BACKS

        90+: All Pro Projection

        85+: Pro Bowl Projection

        81-84: 1st rounder – Should be able to play right away

        79-80: 2nd rounder – Should be able to rotate right away – Year 2 starter

        77-78: 3rd rounder – Should be able to rotate by end of rookie year – Year 2/3 starter

        74-76: Early Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup/possible starter

        71-73: Mid Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup / gamble starter

        68-70: Late Day 3 – Back end of roster / Practice Squad / Development guy

        65-67: Preferred UDFA

        60-64: Undrafted FA

        1: Kenny Walker III – Michigan State – 5’9/211

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Junior entry from Arlington, TN. Two-year starter that starred in his one season at Michigan State after transferring from Wake Forest. 2021 Doak Walker Award recipient, unanimous first-team All American and Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year. Walker III is a no-nonsense runner that will excel between the tackles. He has enough lower body strength to complement his quick, high feet that enable him to work through traffic well. He breaks a lot of tackles and can win in space a variety of ways. The quick-trigger acceleration and ability to make fast decisions will make him a dangerous threat as he gets through traffic. He needs some work to be considered an every down player, as he is a poor blocker and does not seem to have a natural receiving skill set. That will determine just how useful he can be overall but at the very least he will be a solid addition to an inside-running game.

        *There is one medical issue from his high school days that COULD scare some teams off, just FYI. Walker has two of the biggest traits I look for in a back: yards after contact and vision. If I had to rank all of these backs in those two departments, Walker ranks at the top of both. You may look at the size and assume he is not a power back, but that would be wrong. This kid is as strong as you will find at that size and runs bigger than most backs that weigh 220+. The one thing that prevents him from approaching the 85+ tier, and it is a big one, is the lack of impact he has in the passing game. His receiving is simply an unknown and his blocking is poor. Not a good combo there. I do not see him being on the NYG radar.

        2: Breece Hall – Iowa State – 5’11/217

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Junior entry from Wichita, KS. Three-year starter that won the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and was a first team All American in both 2020 and 2021, respectively. The two-time finalist for the Doak Walker Award re-wrote 11 school records and scored a touchdown in 24 consecutive games, a NCAA record. Hall is a highly decorated back that brings a combination of size, natural power, and burst that will fit best into a zone-based scheme. His patience comes from the confidence he has to reach his top gear in a hurry while running through arm tackles. While he isn’t the fastest or most agile ball carrier, his ability in a phone booth (where most of his game is played) is top notch. He is a smart runner that understands how to read and manipulate the situation in front of him on the fly. He has number one running back ability for teams that a horse to lead the group but can also be an accessory piece to a two-back system that needs a sizeable part. Either way, his ability to produce will be there from day one and has big upside. Imposing figure that carries 220+ pounds with ease.

        *If I had to gamble on it, I think Hall goes before Walker. I just prefer Walker, but the two are graded out the same. Hall is going to need a better offensive line to produce. He gets a little too patient in the backfield and the speed of the NFL could make that a glaring negative. I do like his ability to turn on the jets and he can be really heavy on contact. A decade or two ago I bet this guy is a top 15 pick but, like Walker, I’m not sure he will impact the passing game enough to warrant anything higher. Again, a guy I don’t see NYG pursuing.

        3: Isaiah Spiller – Texas A& M – 6’0/217

        Grade: 79

        Summary: Junior entry from Spring, TX. Three-year starter that earned All-SEC honors in both 2021 and 2020, first team in 2020. Spiller is a jack of all trades, master of none type back. He can be a fit in any role out of the backfield with his blend of size and athleticism. He proved over his three-year career in the SEC that his blend of tools and knack for coming up with the big play in big moments will create a skill set that a team can work with. While there is a limit to his upside, Spiller feels safe and secure when projecting his floor. He would be an ideal number two back.

        *Texas A& M has an underclassman running back that may end being a “special” caliber kid. We will see. He ate into Spiller’s playing time quite a bit, but that may not be a bad thing. I like the fact he did not get too many touches because he was used a lot in 2019 and 2020. Spiller is the kind of back that makes the most out of whatever is thrown at him. If he has space, he will make guys miss and run away from them. If he is in traffic, he finds the available crease and falls forward. I feel safe with him, but expectations should not be too high.

        4: Brian Robinson Jr – Alabama – 6’2/225

        Grade: 78

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Tuscaloosa, AL. One-year starter that earned first team All-SEC honors in 2021. Robinson at one point was above Najee Harris on the Alabama depth chart. He played behind multiple future pro running backs throughout his career and patiently waited for his time as a fifth year senior. He did not disappoint. Robinson thrived as a feature back and proved he can handle a full load of snaps as an every down player. His greatest impact will be found between the tackles as a bruiser picking up the tough yards. He pushes piles and rips through cheap contact by a defense. He won’t ever go down easily and is the kind of back that can wear down a defense. Robinson’s athletic upside may not be overly explosive, and his running style may lead to injury here and there. He would be an ideal complement to a backfield looking for a power piece, one that shows up as a runner and blocker.

        *This is the first name I would strongly consider for NYG, likely in round 3. There is a possibility he makes it to day three, however. May be worth the gamble since there is not an overly pressing need at the position. Robinson is a bruiser that actually runs to his size and frame unlike the other 225-pound back in blue right now. I trust running backs from this program on multiple fronts. They are physical, but not poor athletes. They specialize in running between the tackles, but they can do well enough as blockers and receivers. And, most importantly, they freakin’ play hard. NYG needs more toughness in the backfield and Robinson will, at least, give you that. It looks like this team needs to prepare for life after Barkley and Robinson would be a nice start.

        5: James Cook – Georgia – 5’11/199

        Grade: 77

        Summary: Senior entry from Miami, FL. Two-year starter that has been a steady part of the backfield rotation since 2018. The brother of Vikings running back Dalvin, James brings a similar level of natural feel and elite burst to the table. He looks like he plays the game on ice skates with how fluidly his hips swivel in and out of breaks. The cuts he can make while moving at a high rate of speed are sharp enough to rip through a bone. Cook’s greatest value will be found in space. Simply put, there are not many backs under 200 pounds that can stick around in the league for a long time. Cook can carry the ball, but he needs to be in the open field. His skill set could even pass for a slot receiver with how well he runs routes and the fact he doesn’t have a single drop on his resume over the past two years. Put in the right situation and he can be an excellent accessory piece to an offense as a big play threat.

        *If NYG really wants Cook, it may have to be with their early 3rd rounder. I just don’t see him being there past that point. One caveat to that statement, though, is the history of backs that weigh under 200 pounds drafted in the first 3 rounds is incredibly low over the past decade. Cook’s counter point to that is the elite level route running and hands. Also, and yes this means something, his brother (Dalvin) having enormous success in the league will help him draft weekend. They move similarly. If NYG wants to add an element to the passing game via the backfield, this is the top option. He will be an impact guy right away. He will not be his brother, a true every down force you give the ball to 20+ times every week, but that isn’t as important anymore. He would be a fun kid to watch in this offense.

        6: Rachaad White – Arizona State – 6’0/214

        Grade: 77

        Summary: Senior entry from Kansas City, MO. Spent two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College prior to transferring to Arizona State where he started for two years. Earned second team All-Pac 12 honors in 2021. White makes the game look easy and smooth. He never looks out of control or off-balanced. He plays at different gears and understands timing-plus-angles so well that it almost appears as if he is playing slow at times. He then shoots out of a cannon and explodes through a crease. He is an ideal back for a zone blocking scheme but will also add a dangerous element to the passing game. He uses that movement skill set to run good routes and his concentration on the ball is high-caliber. White does not bring a lot of power to the table as a runner or blocker, but his impact on a backfield can be huge if the right system and situation brings him in.

        *White is one of my favorite pass-catching backs in the class. The grade is steered in that direction. Although I do think he is good for 5-6 carries per game, I would bring him in to help the passing game more than anything. He is a receiver-caliber route runner and has better ball skills that several of the players at that position as well. He can be a big play back in the regard and another name I think NYG could use behind Barkley. I want a bruiser or a pass catching specialist behind him, and White brings the latter along with some size and credible ability as an inside runner on occasion.

        7: Kyren Williams – Notre Dame – 5’9/194

        Grade: 77

        Summary: Third year sophomore entry from Saint Louis, MO. Two-year starter that earned second-team All ACC honors in 2020 and won the conference’s Rookie of the Year. 2021 first team All-American. In a league where very few teams use a one-back system, Williams can be viewed as the ideal third down back in any offense. His skill set fits any role you want from that kind of player. He can run routes and catch the ball like a receiver, he can be fully trusted as a blocker, and he can create as a rusher in space. The team-first, tougher-than-nails attitude and play style will be highly sought after by coaches if they have much say in the draft room. He is a safe pro, albeit with a limited upside, that will be dependable on multiple levels. A rusher, pass catcher, and returner all wrapped into one that can handle 15+ touches weekly.

        *I am just a tad down on Williams. The size is near-bottom tier, and his workout was below the ideal line as well. I did not move him down much, however. It’s hard not to love this kid’s tape and overall approach to the game. He is one of the best blockers in this entire group despite the frame and anchor. He catches the ball, he makes guys miss, he has excellent vision. I think the numbers tell you he will not be an every down guy, which is fine with me. NYG would be a solid destination for him if he can be had day three. He may not grade as high as some of other prospects at other positions but if Daboll sees that use in him, I am fine with it round 3 or 4. He is a good culture guy and I trust him to get whatever he has in him on to the field.

        8: Zamir White – Georgia – 6’0/214

        Grade: 76

        Summary: Senior entry from Laurinburg, NC. Two-year starter that has been a key piece to the Bulldogs’ backfield rotation from the beginning. The team’s leading rusher each of the past two seasons and team captain brings a physical, no-nonsense approach to carrying the football. He consistently runs behind his pads and gains yards after contact. He shows the ability to make aggressive, explosive cuts left and right but will also show no hesitation in putting his head down and pushing the pile. The two glaring negatives here are a lack of experience in the passing game (17 career receptions) and past injuries (tore both ACLs). While the lack of creativity and wiggle can limit his running style, he excels at what he does so much that it will warrant a spot as a power back on a pro depth chart. Well-built below and above the waist with minimal bad weight.

        *The medicals are crucial here. It could bump him all the way to end of the draft or it may not be a huge deal to some teams. I am grading him without access to those reports. I love the way this kid runs with the ball. He takes on contact and delivers the blow as hard as anyone. He will change the personality of a running game, but it is hard to ignore the potential issues.

        9: Dameon Pierce – Florida – 5’10/218

        Grade: 75

        Summary: Senior entry from Bainbridge, GA. Technically a one-year starter but has been a steady presence in the rotation for three seasons. Pierce was under used at Florida which, considering the position he plays, can be considered a good thing as he will enter the league with less wear and tear. He had ten carries in a game just eight times in four years. When it comes to his tape, Pierce shows all the tools and skills to be an effective inside runner that can pick up all the difficult, hard-to-find yards. He has functional thickness and strength below the waist along with light, easy footwork. He can run with several different tempos and speeds and there is a sense of hunger to his style. Pierce shows enough to be used on third down as well, but his biggest impact will be found in short yardage and near the goal line. If he can find a role as a complement to a space-friendly, pass catching back he will be an early and often contributor.

        *Florida’s offense was not an ideal fit for Pierce. He is a traffic-back that can move the chains, run with success between the tackles, and break tackles. His contact balance is top notch. But in an offense that creates space, likes to throw, and predicates on speed, he was more of an accessory. I see a similar role and usage at the next level. Pierce is dependable but won’t offer much more than you see. Two things that coaches will like and could end up getting him into day two is the quality blocking and special teams defense. He has a linebacker-feel to his game, and it shows up. A strong and powerful dude that would be a complement to Barkley who struggles as a blocker and does not run with enough success in short yardage. Pierce will need a very good line though.

        10: Kennedy Brooks – Oklahoma – 5’11/209

        Grade: 74

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Mansfield, TX. Three-year starter that sat out the 2020 season due to Covid-19. Honorable Mention All-Big 12 in 2019, second team in 2020. Brooks walked a bumpy road over his career. He came to Oklahoma with a recurring shoulder injury that began in high school which led to a redshirt. He was accused of mental and physical abuse by a woman which had to be investigated by the school (he was cleared). And lastly, he sat out 2020 because of the Covid pandemic. When looking strictly at the film, however, Brooks is easy to like. He runs like a pro when looking at several angles. His tempo, vision, and decision making will bring him to a much higher level than his tools suggest. Brooks does not have stand out triangle numbers. He won’t be a blazer in the open field, nor does he play overly big. However, this is a back that fully understands the intricacies of the position. He stays within the scheme and knows when to get to the next gear. The contact balance and mental side will create production as a sold complementary back.

        *I am taking a bit of a risk here. But I can’t get away from what my gut says after watching him run. Some guys have natural and ever-present tempo when they get the ball. It is rare. When someone truly has it at the pro level, it is a near-automatic success. Brooks runs with several different gears and just feels the spacing and timing exceptionally well. The asterisk there is the fact he played in the Big 12. The OU scheme creates more space than what he will see in the league and the defenses in that conference are a joke. I just have the good feeling here. There was an incident (he was fully cleared) that centered on physical and mental abuse with an ex-girlfriend. Never know with that stuff but he will be looked into. Athletically, nothing special either.

        11: Tyler Badie – Missouri – 5’8/197

        Grade: 73

        Summary: Senior entry from Memphis, TN. Three-year starter that capped off his career earning first team All-SEC and second team All-American honors after finishing second in the nation in yards from scrimmage. Badie has the natural instincts and vision to gain the obtainable hidden yards both inside and outside. He lacks the standout physical traits when it comes to size and speed, but he has proven to be a productive asset for an offense both as a rusher and receiver. He is a reliable pass catcher and moves with savvy, subtle quickness in small areas to create bigger runs than he should be able to obtain. He can be a solid number two or three back that is situationally dependent

        *I like Badie as a consolation prize day three if NYG wants a pass catcher but does not get one of top guys in that department. He plays bigger than his size. He is stout and runs with excellent contact balance. The catch radius isn’t great, and I question the ability to really get out in space and make moves. But when backs like James White make such a strong impact in the right passing scheme, I can see Badie coming in and making similar plays. Never a feature guy, but potentially an important part to an offense.

        12: Jerome Ford – Cincinnati – 5’10/210

        Grade: 72

        Summary: Senior entry from Tampa, FL. One year starter that began his career at Alabama before transferring to Cincinnati prior to the 2020 season. First team All-AAC in 2021. Ford had to wait his turn after a slow start to his career in the crowded Crimson Tide backfield. Even at Cincinnati, he did not get more than ten carries until mid-December in 2020. He then took off as a senior and gave the league a glimpse what he could be. Ford is a big play back with the kind of burst and acceleration that will not be caught from behind once in the open field. His play speed is excellent. He runs like a back that needs more experience, however. There is not much feel or innovation to his game but at the same time, he will come in with substantial tread on the tires.

        *Ford is a big play back. The kind of guy that gets a few yards and will create a touchdown run from it. He truly runs away from guys in space. I don’t see the kind of guy that comes in and makes the impact of Jamaal Charles, though. He fumbled too much, and his vision lacks consistency. For an offense starving for big plays, however, Ford is a nice guy to have on the depth chart for 3-5 runs per game. I liked what I saw in his increased receiving role in 2021 as well.

        13: Pierre Strong – San Jose State – 5’11/207

        Grade: 72

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Little Rock, AR. Four-year starter with enough accolades to fill a bookshelf. Won the MVFC Freshman of the Year award in 2018. First team All-MVFC three times and a three-time All American. Strong was a dominant force on the FCS level since the day he stepped foot on campus. His production speaks for itself. Physically he plays fast and tough with good reaction time as an inside runner. He is the kind of back that will make the most out of what is given to him. Once in the open field, he does have the juice to create more with his movement abilities. There are some concerns with his overall build and lower body mechanics. He may not ever be an every down, top of the depth chart guy but he can fit in as a backup for a team that has a no-nonsense approach to the running game. He will need to improve as a receiver and blocker to really stick.

        *Strong is a candidate to be the day three back in this class that comes out of nowhere and ends up being a force early on. He has a solid combination of explosion, long speed, and toughness. Is he going to break tackles in the NFL? That is my one concern. The speed and power jump he is making will be a hard adjustment for his body type and he lacks some of the late wiggle in his hips to really avoid hits. He can get away with that when matching up against boys. The question will be if that shows up against men.

        14: Keontay Ingram – USC – 6’0/221

        Grade: 71

        Summary: Senior entry from Carthage, TX. Spent three seasons at Texas where he started off and on all three years. Transferred to USC for 2021 and earned the starting role which led to an honorable mention All-Pac 12 recognition. Ingram is a physical, strong runner between the tackles with excellent running back mechanics. He stays behind his pads with a solid forward lean that will rip through arm tackles. He can gain a lot of yards after the catch and plays hungry. Ingram also proved he can factor on third down both as a pass catcher and blocker. This is a back that can do it everything across the board with a physical brand.

        *Ingram is one of my favorite day three players in the class. Not because I think he will be the Elijah Mitchell of the group, but because I think he can come in right away and contribute. He is a back you feel safe with in multiple roles. Never a starter, but always a reliable backup and rotational force. Ingram has pro-ready vision and tempo. He can break tackles and he can block. If NYG waits until late to add a back, this is one of my guys that I think fits the situation well.

        15: Sincere McCormick – UTSA – 5’8/204

        Grade: 71

        Summary: Junior entry from Converse, TX. Three-year starter that has been earning accolades since his career began at UTSA. 2019 Conference USA Freshman of the Year, 2020 and 2021 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, two-time 1st Team All-Conference USA and two-time All American. McCormick broke, and the re-broke the program’s single season rushing record en route to becoming UTSA’s all-time leader in the department. The natural runner anticipates running lanes with ease and has the burst to couple with it to create big play after big play. In a league that is filled with committee-approaches in the backfield, McCormick will be a highly sought after back for teams looking to complement a power back. He runs inside and outside equally well in addition to offering a steady presence as a receiver. The quick-hit mentality and aggressive finishes to his runs will make an impact early and often.

        *I’ve had a thing for McCormick since the early part of the season. I saw a potential star here. He has a lot of big plays on his resume and there is a sense of quick vision and toughness that drew me in. His no-nonsense approach was refreshing to watch. The running back position has changed so much to the point where I cringe watching some of these kids dance around while missing out on what is right in front of them. Not McCormick. He takes what is there and will create big plays from that approach. Does that carry over to the next level against much faster defenses? We will see. But I wanted NYG to draft Khalil Herbert last year in the 7th round for similar reasons. He had over 530 yards as a rookie on just 117 touches and made some noise as a kick returner. I bet he starts games in the league at some point. I have a similar feel here with McCormick.

        BEST OF THE REST

        16: Tyler Allgeier – BYU – 5’11/224: 71
        17: Abram Smith – Baylor – 6’0/213: 71
        18: Ty Davis-Price – LSU – 6’0/211: 70
        19: Zonovan Knight – North Carolina State – 5’11/209: 70
        20: D’Vonte Price – Florida International – 6’1/210: 70
        21: Max Borghi – Washington State – 5’9/210: 70
        22: Ty Chandler – North Carolina – 5’11/204: 70
        23: Snoop Conner – Mississippi – 5’10/222: 70
        24: Tyler Goodson – Iowa – 5’9/197: 69
        25: Kevin Harris – South Carolina – 5’10/221: 69
        26: Leddie Brown – West Virginia – 6’0/213: 68
        27: ZaQuandre White – South Carolina – 6’0/206: 68
        28: CJ Verdell – Oregon – 5’8/196: 68
        29: Hassan Hankins – Michigan – 6’2/228: 68
        30: Isaih Pacheco – Rutgers – 5’10/216: 68

        NYG APPROACH

        Only if the opportunity presents itself for solid value can I see NYG using a pick at running back. That could be as early as day 2 (I would still be surprised), it could be early day three (still not likely), but probably with one of their final two picks. I see the spot on the depth chart for a rookie, no question. One can easily make the case that backups Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell, Antonio Williams, and Sandro Platzgummer are number 3-4 backs at best. From that perspective, NYG does not have a true backup behind a running back that has missed 21 games in 3 years (18 over the past 2). Then, the kicker…it is very realistic NONE of the backs, including Barkley, will be on this roster a year from now. Sounds like I could end up talking myself into an earlier pick on a running back. Yes, of course, there are more pressing needs on this team, and it is easier to find day three value at this position in any draft. I do see a huge cluster of those day three backs who make sense here. You want a power guy because Barkley runs too soft on urgent situations? Snoop Conner and both of the kids from South Carolina can be a nice add. You want a pass catcher? Leddie Brown and Max Borghi will likely be there late and could play right away. I think the debate is, do you want to grab a James Cook, Brian Robinson, Dameon Pierce, Rachaad White in round 3? Or do you wait to see which guy falls into your lap in day three? Again, I am looking at this draft not for this upcoming season, but for 2023. With that in mind, I look at this position as a group that can use an asset as early as round 3 if the value is right.

        Apr 222022
         
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        Garrett Wilson, Ohio State Buckeyes (January 4, 2022)

        Garrett Wilson – © USA TODAY Sports

        WIDE RECEIVERS

        90+: All Pro Projection

        85+: Pro Bowl Projection

        81-84: 1st rounder – Should be able to play right away

        79-80: 2nd rounder – Should be able to rotate right away – Year 2 starter

        77-78: 3rd rounder – Should be able to rotate by end of rookie year – Year 2/3 starter

        74-76: Early Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup/possible starter

        71-73: Mid Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup / gamble starter

        68-70: Late Day 3 – Back end of roster / Practice Squad / Development guy

        65-67: Preferred UDFA

        60-64: Undrafted FA

        1: Garrett Wilson – Ohio State – 6’0/186

        Grade: 85

        Summary: Junior entry from Austin, Texas. A former 5-star recruit that also had Division I offers out of high school for basketball. Two-year starter, two-time 1st Team All Big 10 honoree and a 2021 2nd Team All American. Wilson is the kind of dynamic and explosive playmaker that is a threat to score each time he steps on the field. The size and speed are, respectively, both good enough but neither are top shelf traits. What makes him different is the elite body control and special awareness. He can twist and turn late in ways that most others simply cannot. The game slows down for him when defenders are near and the second, he makes his move, those defenders are often found wondering what just happened. Wilson can project to both the outside and the slot depending on the offense that brings him in. No matter what, expect him to make plays right away and ascend to one of the more dangerous threats in the league at the position.

        *In a strong receiver class that lacks anyone near the elite-tier, Wilson gets the nod for the top spot. This could easily belong to one of the next few guys based on the style of offense a specific team plays. Wilson likely fits into any offense, however, as the skill set can go in a variety of ways. He is going to get open on all levels of the route tree and he can make special plays look easy. There is a looseness and flexibility to his core than screams playmaker. I do wish he had a little more presence against contact after the catch, as he goes down fast too often, but that is a negative I’ll deal with as long as he keeps everything else together. Wilson’s ceiling is similar to what we see in Stefon Diggs (a 5th round pick). I wouldn’t sleep on NYG making an aggressive move at WR in this draft. There are a lot of questions there on this team and the new regime did not bring any of the current ones on to this roster.

        2: Jameson Williams – Alabama – 6’1/179

        Grade: 84

        Summary: Junior entry from St. Louis, MO. One year starter for Alabama after spending two seasons at Ohio State where he started six out of 22 games played. First team All-SEC and first team All-American in 2021. Finished the season number three on the program’s all-time single season receiving list behind only DeVonta Smith (2020) and Amari Cooper (2014). Williams sure did capitalize on the transfer away from Ohio State where he would have been competing with three other future first round picks for targets. He can play as fast and smooth as it gets. The ability to call on different gears at any point, whether he is running routes or carrying the ball, can change an offense. His movement is so sure with nothing wasted no matter what he is asked to do. To match that athleticism is an aggressive mindset and gamer’s mentality. Williams was also known as one of the team’s hardest working players in practice, he is often found making downfield blocks, and he was used on special teams as both a gunner and returner. The torn ACL will impact his rookie season but when it is fully recovered, we are looking at a top tier talent that can be one of the best playmakers in the NFL.

        *The tape-grade was the same as Wilson’s. The torn ACL, even though he is expected to recover fully, did bring him down a point. You just never quite know and that goes deeper than just the ligament and knee itself. The soft tissue problems that can stem from this are part of the fear. Regardless, Williams’ body type can be a small concern as well. If he had more size and contact-strength, we could be talking about a guy near the 90-range. Williams has the movement and playmaking skills that can truly change an offense. There could be some Justin Jefferson here if he bounces back. The lack of game experience does create some extra gray area here, but that really could go in both directions. This is a tough, physical dude that will not shy from contact when needed. If he gets on the right offense, which is the case for a lot of skill position players, watch out.

        3: Chris Olave – Ohio State – 6’0/187

        Grade: 83

        Summary: Fourth year junior entry from San Marcos, California. Three-year starter that earned 2nd Team All American honors in 2021 in addition to 1st Team All Big 10 in both 2021 and 2020, 3rd Team in 2019. Olave is a smooth and easy operator that moves with the kind natural suddenness to constantly get open underneath and intermediate. No matter where lines up, he will find the holes in coverage and become a quarterback’s best friend. In a league where separation is key, Olave may be the most reliable in that department. His attention to detail and ability to glide while moving at his top rate will bring him to open space. While his response to traffic and approach the catching the ball needs some refining, Olave is a safe bet to an ideal complementary, number two target in any kind of passing attack.

        *You have to feel safe with Olave. I think he is the one guy up here that you know exactly what you’re getting out of when you draft him. He is such a smooth and easy mover, and it shows up every snap, every week. If he can be put into a role that gets him in space, I really don’t see a cornerback being able to stick to him. Olave is just too quick, too fast, and the body control is too easy for him. It would be a mistake to project him to be a true number one guy, however. He gets tossed around at the catch point and I don’t love the catching mechanics. He is an Isaac Bruce type. If GB or KC gets their hands on him, that is the type of situation where he starts catching 90+ balls per year. Put him on the wrong offense and he struggles to make an impact. Again, not an earth-shattering statement but he, more than most of these guys, needs that kind of plus-situation around him.

        4: George Pickens – Georgia – 6’3/195

        Grade: 82

        Summary: Junior entry from Hoover, AL. Spent one season as a starter but was a on the field a ton in his first season in. addition to missing almost all of 2021 with a torn ACL. Pickens put the nation on notice as a true freshman when he led the Bulldogs in catches, yards and touchdowns all by wide margins. While he has not taken it to the next level since, the tools and ball skills are worth an extra look. He has a lot of natural talent and easy movement about him. The suddenness combined with his size can create a lot both off the line and in contested situations. He showed something when he came back from the torn ACL suffered in March before playing games in November. This is a competitive player with the NFL size and speed and plus ball skills. If his maturity can be polished, Pickens has the ceiling of a first rounder but there are several bullet points under the risk factor.

        *Yet another player that I had to go back to 2019 to find his best tape. I was surprised Pickens declared after missing nearly all of 2021 with a torn ACL. While I am impressed he fought hard to get back on the field just 8 months after the injury, there are several maturity question marks with Pickens. When I think about what Schoen wants on the field and in the locker room, I don’t see a potential marriage here. But I do want to say this: Pickens has the ability and upside of every WR in this class. If his head is on straight (and stays on straight), there will be a very lucky offense out there when he puts their uniform on. This is not the time for NYG to take that kind of risk, but I would be lying if I said I never thought about taking him in round 2. He has credible WR1 ability.

        5: Drake London – USC – 6’4/219

        Grade: 82

        Summary: Junior entry from Moorpark, California. Three-year starter that earned 2nd Team All-Pac 12 honors in 2020, 1st Team in 2021 in addition to 3rd Team All American honors in his injury-shortened junior campaign. London fractured his ankle in USC’s eighth game of the season. He was the only receiver in the country to average 11 catches per contest and he finished second in the nation with 135.5 yards per game. The former Division I basketball player brings a combination of size, grace, and power presence to the table that can make him a threat in traffic at all times. There have been some maddening inconsistencies in his game as a ball catcher, however. He allowed too many balls to bounce off his hands and hit the turf. Considering he also lacks the final gear to separate downfield, London’s ceiling falls short of a true number one threat. He can be an asset short, intermediate, and in the red zone but don’t bank on him being a top dog.

        *At the time of this writing, London still has not had his private Pro Day. I’m not overly concerned by that situation in relation to his ankle, though. I have London as a first rounder, but not someone I am considering really high. There are too many little things about his game that add up to a grade that I feel is lower than what is out there. I see a cheap version of Mike Evans. Maybe he could evolve into something close to him, and in that case would be fully worth a high first rounder, but I think there will be issues separating from pro corners at the next level. I want my size-guys to catch the ball at a high level. I want to see them rarely let the ball hit the turf when they get near it. London needs to prove more in that department. I don’t see him being in the plans of NYG unless they trade down into the 20s, maybe late teens.

        6: Jahan Dotson – Penn State – 5’11/178

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Senior entry from Nazareth, PA. Four-year starter that left Penn State top five in program history across all major career receiving records. Earned second team All-Big 10 honors in 2021, third team in 2020. Dotson, a high school state champion long jumper and anchor in the 4×100 meter relay, brings elite movement in all directions to the table. His burst, quickness, and acceleration give him constant space to work with. He can run himself open on all levels of the route tree and once the ball is in the air, his ability to seal the deal with a catch is as good as it gets. His hands are like magnets to the ball and the body control is always there. Dotson’s lack of size and contact presence can hinder his impact in specific situations, but he often played bigger than what he looks like. Add the dynamic ability with the ball in his hands after the catch and in the return game, Dotson has potential to be a game-changing force at the next level.

        *Which receiver has the best hands in the draft? Here you go. There are guys with excellent hands and there is Dotson. In this class, he is in a class of his own. His looseness below the waist as a route runner and the core flexibility when reaching for the ball in any direction makes him an inviting target to throw to despite the lack of true size. Dotson’s weight and presence against contact does concern me. That is what prevents him from a first round grade. He would be an excellent number two or three option in a high-powered offensive attack. With where I project him to possibly go (maybe late round 1), he could find himself in an offense like GB and KC and that is where he could be overlooked and evolve into a 100+ catch per year guy. Does he fit in with NYG? I can see Daboll liking him but again, I think he is an ideal complement to a true number one guy. Still very important, yes. Not sure I see NYG going in this direction though. I won’t ever bash a pick on a guy with this level of ball skills, though.

        7: Treylon Burks – Arkansas – 6’2/225

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Junior entry from Warren, AR. Three-year starter that capped his career off earning first-team All SEC honors. The versatile offensive weapon fits the mold of a growing trend in the NFL; strong and thick enough to make a difference with the ball in his hands and fast enough to pose as a downfield threat in the passing game. Burks lined up all over the field and produced from a variety of roles. In addition to his 146 career receptions, he also carried the ball 41 times and returned 12 punts. Simply put, no matter the situation or role, Burks is the kind of player that will create in a unique way when the opportunity is there. His skill set as a route runner and ball catcher are still developing, but the strides he made in 2021 were enormous and showed he has some number-one-receiver upside in him.

        *The idea of Burks may exceed his physical potential. With that said, there are a few offensive minds that could truly get the most out of this versatile skill set. Are the Giants one of those teams? I’m not quite sure yet because even though Daboll has proven himself with Josh Allen and Buffalo, the talent here is not even close to that. Burks is a long strider. That isn’t a bad thing, but his speed only shows up after he gets a decent head start. I don’t see the sudden route runner that will get him open consistently. Now, I do like the strength at the catch point, and he does track the ball well downfield. I may be a bit low on him, but I think he is closer to Cordarelle Patterson than he is Deebo Samuel. Still a very good player, but someone I would slot into round 2.

        8: Christian Watson – North Dakota State – 6’4/208

        Grade: 79

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Tampa, FL. Three-year starter that earned All-MVFC honors all three seasons, first team in both 2020 and 2021. Also, an All-American in his final year. Watson is the son of former NFL safety Tim Watson. The tall, long, and explosive receiver is dripping with tools that are enticing. He was a big play threat throughout his career at North Dakota State, averaging over 20 yards per catch. His ability to run, jump, and play with toughness can go a long way at the next level. He is making a significant jump in competition and overall athleticism; thus, his adjustment curve will likely be steep. Watson needs to shore up some techniques as a pass catcher and route runner, but this short-term project should add a significant downfield threat to a vertical passing game.

        *On paper, I can see why there are some that view Watson as a potential first rounder. It is incredibly rare for a receiver from FCS to break into round 1, just for the record (has not happened since 2001, and just once since 1989). Watson is a physical freak with tools that many will create dreams from. I like the ceiling here and I think it is worth looking into day two. But his issues with drops, lack of a variety in routes, and soft tissue problems after a 2019 knee surgery concern me enough to keep him closer to round 3.

        9: Skyy Moore – Western Michigan – 5’10/195

        Grade: 79

        Summary: Junior entry from New Kensington, PA. A lightly recruited former high school cornerback and quarterback that transitioned to wide receiver right away at Western Michigan. Three-year starter that earned first team All-MAC honors in both 2021 and 2019, second team in 2020. Moore has the elite quickness and precision as a route runner to consistently gain initial separation at the next level. He split time evenly between lining up at the slot and out wide, but he will likely project inside. His toughness and ability after the catch that stems from balance and vision can make him a force with the ball. He plays stronger and bigger than he looks. His lack of size and long speed will likely keep him from being an outside threat but there should not be a need to put him out there considering how refined and ready his skill set it to impact the game from the slot.

        *For teams that need a slot, it is very possible he ends up with a top-of-second-round grade. He is the best pure slot guy in the class and in some offenses, the role of importance there is just as high as the outside receiver. Moore is a tough dude that plays at a high speed at all times. He makes some plays that scream Wes Welker. He has a long way to go to reach that level but the urgency, suddenness, and toughness are in that tier. I hope he finds a quality offense; he can be fun to watch. NYG will need a slot at this time next year, I think. Shepard’s days are numbered, and I would not be opposed to getting a guy in right now to learn the system and take over that role full time in 2023. If he falls to round 3, he is an option.

        10: John Metchie III – Alabama – 5’11 – 187

        Grade: 78

        Junior entry from Brampton, Canada. Two-year starter full time and also started four games as a freshman because of injuries. Earned second-team All SEC in 2021. In a very crowded wide receiver room, Metchie III caught 151 passes in 26 games. Built like a slot receiver, his inside-out versatility will help him get on the field early on. The play speed and burst can make things happen after the catch. He did not make a lot of deep catches over his career, but he can do a lot of damage within the short to intermediate portions of the route tree. While his top end potential may not be high, his impact within a quality passing game can be strong off the bat. He plays fast, moves with power, and is still developing the overall skill set that has shown quality flashes throughout his career.

        *Metchie’s medicals are going to be very important. He has had multiple lower body injuries over the past two seasons, including a torn ACL this past December. He also had surgery the year prior, and he has an enlarged heart. This is one of those situations where you could see him drop multiple rounds over the course of the weekend and everyone is left wondering what happened. On the field, Metchie is potentially a top tier slot receiver. His routes and lower body stability have left several NFL-caliber corners dead in their tracks. He can stick in the league for a long time if he passes the medicals.

        11: Jalen Tolbert – South Alabama – 6’1/194

        Grade: 77

        Fifth year senior from Mobile, Alabama. Three-year starter that earned first team All-Sun Belt honors in both 2020 and 2021. Tolbert was a late bloomer in high school and did not receive a lot of attention from major programs. He then suffered a knee injury in 2017, forcing him to redshirt. He started to show glimpses of greatness in 2019 before really taking off a season later. Tolbert went on to set, and then re-set school records. The silky-smooth athlete makes certain components of playing the position look easy that certainly are not. His ability to play at different gears and attack the ball with precision and strength can make him a dangerous threat on all levels of the route tree. His skill set needs a lot of work, however, and a team will need patience before they throw him on the field. Tolbert drops too many balls and his body control as a route runner is inconsistent. These things are correctable, and his natural gifts are noteworthy.

        *Tolbert is going to need some extra time to truly develop as a route runner and pass catcher. He is no longer going to be the top athlete on the field. He is going to longer have substantial size advantages over others. That said, the physical package this kid brings to the table is attractive. Perhaps NYG is looking at this receiver group knowing most of them will not be around in a year? That would be a good situation for a receiver like Tolbert to come into. No urgency to get on the field, learn the offense, enhance the skill set, and hopefully be the number one or two guy in 2023.

        12: Wan’Dale Robinson – Kentucky – 5’8/178

        Grade: 76

        Summary: Junior entry from Frankfort, KY. Spent two seasons at Nebraska before transferring to Kentucky for the 2021 season. Honorable Mention All-Big 10 in both 2019 and 2020, second team All-SEC in 2021. Robinson has been a hybrid receiver/running back from the start of his career and will give an NFL offense the opportunity to create a big-time playmaker out of him. He has the well-balanced athletic ability and overall skill set to do multiple things, align from different spots, and create on his own. He is much more than an undersized, underneath threat that can occasionally take a jet sweep. He has had a lot of success in the deep passing game and plays with the kind of competitive fire that an at least somewhat make up for the lack of ideal size. Because he has lined up all over the offense, Robinson is a little rough around the edges when it comes release and route nuances, but all can be corrected in time. He is a big play threat every time he gets on the field no matter where he lines up.

        *Robinson is a guy I have a feeling about. The quickness and burst he has the instant he touches the ball is exactly what gets overlooked by many when looking at measurables. He has the knack to find creases immediately. He is also one tough, strong dude that understands he can use the diminutive frame to his advantage, as a weapon. He is a gadget player, not someone that is always on the field. An argument can be made that only an established offense should be using a pick on a guy like this. I would not agree. Robinson is someone that can make things happen on his own. He can create big plays from nothing and that is what a growing offense needs. Robinson will make grown men hold their breath every time he gets the ball. The way Daboll used Isaiah McKenzie in Buffalo is a nice template: 77 catches – 27 rushes – 21 punt returns – 29 kick returns since 2019. I see Robinson being a better version of that. Keep an eye here.

        13: Alec Pierce – Cincinnati – 6’3/211

        Grade: 76

        Senior entry from Glen Ellyn, IL. Three-year starter that earned second team All-AAC honors in 2021. Pierce, an accomplished jumper and volleyball player in high school, has the kind of explosion and straight line burst to pose as a downfield threat the next level. He averaged over 17.5 yards per catch over his four-year career. His linear movement and plus-length can be a dangerous weapon for a vertical passing offense looking to add an outside threat. He is not the twitchiest underneath route runner and there are occasional issues with his ability after the catch when it comes to innovation and creating extra yards, but in his lane, he can be a solid player. He will be role-specific, but in that role, he has traits that are hard to find. He is a physical gem when considering the secondary set of tools beyond an-already impressive set of tools.

        *The size and leaping ability here are a big deal. He is going to be a weapon in the vertical passing game and near the red zone. Pierce has the potential to be a menace on third down. There are going to be issues separating though, and that is a big enough concern for me to keep him in the day three tier. He would be an asset to an offense that had other movement-based options in the passing game.

        14: Calvin Austin III – Memphis – 5’8/170

        Grade: 75

        Fifth year senior from Memphis, TN. Two-year starter that was also a key return specialist. Earned first team All-AAC honors in both 2020 and 2019. Also, a member of the school’s Track and Field Team where he earned multiple All Conference honors and was a 2019 All American. Austin was a nine-time state champion in high school on the track in several events. He will enter the league and immediately become one of the fastest players on the field every Sunday. What makes him different, however, is the suddenness and functional movement traits that show up on the field in multiple versions. He is a dangerous returner, he gets off press coverage with quickness, and can run routes with precision. Austin’s size and lack of natural ball skills will show up from time to time and will prevent him from being a steady and consistent player. With that said, a team that needs more juice on their offense will be able to use the speed of Austin to create opportunities for the offense as a whole right away and he should make an impact on special teams.

        *Austin is a fun kid to watch, and it is easy to fall into the thoughts of “what if” with him. His long speed is elite but even better, the short area quickness and burst are next level. He is going to get open in the NFL as long as he doesn’t get eaten up by a quality press corner. He is going to run away from guys with the ball. This is how I felt about a guy with a scary-close profile, Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin battled significant injuries early in his career, but he has made plays. 2017 was his peak, catching 56 passes for 962 yards. He has 14 career touchdowns but never quite made the impact as a returner. If you could guarantee Austin would have a similar career, where would you draft him? That is what I think he will end up being.

        15: David Bell – Purdue – 6’1/212

        Grade: 74

        Summary: Junior entry from Indianapolis, IN. Three-year starter that earned accolades all three seasons. Three-time All Big 10, 2019 Big 10 Freshman of the Year, and 2021 Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year. Capped off his career earning 1st Team All American honors. Bell is not the most physically talented receiver. He is no slouch athletically but where he made his money came from how advanced he is with the skill set of being a playmaker. His routes, releases, and ball skills all stand out in a big way. He is a smooth criminal that will steal the ball away from defenders in traffic, make them look silly in the open field, and show a nasty side to him after the catch. He is a football player, plain and simple. While he won’t be an elite downfield threat and his separation downfield will be limited, he will make a strong impact if the right team finds the right role for him.

        *Bell falls below the minimum speed numbers for some teams at both the 20-yard shuttle and 40. It is possible some will not even view him as draftable. I am still looking at him in that late 4/early 5 area because of dependable he is when the ball gets in the air. He tracks it as well as anyone and there is a competitive fire in him that I like. Bell is also an advanced route runner. Watch his footwork in cohesion with his hips and core control. He has it down. There are some young receivers that never get to that level. But you do have to be careful here with the speed and lack of ability to create space. As much as I like his game, the corners at the next level are an entirely different level than what he played against.

        16: Erik Ezukanma – Texas Tech – 6’2/207

        Grade: 74

        Summary: Fourth year junior entry from Forth Worth, TX. Three-year starter that led the Red Raiders in receiving all three seasons. Earned All-Big 12 honors in 2020 and 2021. Ezukanma is a tough, hard-nosed receiver with excellent play-strength. He plays bigger than his above average-frame will suggest both with the ball in his hands and attacking a pass in traffic. His mechanics as a receiver of the ball are consistent no matter what angle he is coming from. Ezukanma trusts his hands and has an automatic turn upfield immediately after the catch. There is some rawness to his route running and his speed is just average. The skill set will need time to improve but there is a lot to like here if he can fine-tune some of the little things.

        *This is an intriguing day three target. I do think this is where NYG will pursue a receiver, that round 5-6 area where you stash a guy toward the back end of the group and possibly use him on special teams. Ezukanma does not have a lot of experience as a gunner, but his skill set and toughness lead me to believe he can do it. As a receiver, guys from Texas Tech have always been hard to project to the next level. Their scheme is relatively simple and there is a lot of unknown. One thing that does stand out beyond the toughness is his straight line ability. He can really go north and he can really jump. Throw in the plus-hands and aggressive style, there are multiple facets to his game that add up. Also, a good situation for him to be in for a year.

        17: Velus Jones Jr – Tennessee – 6’0/204

        Grade: 73

        Summary: Sixth year senior from Saraland, AL. Spent three seasons at USC prior to transferring to Tennessee in 2020. First team All-SEC in 2021 and second team All-Pac 12 in 2019 as a special teamer. Co-winner of the 2021 SEC Special Teams Player of the Year Award. Jones is going to make his initial and most likely mark in the league on special teams. He is a natural playmaker in the return game, stemming from his field vision and contact balance. His burst to speed and easy change of direction makes him an intriguing project at wide receiver as well. The body thickness is unique and could thrive in a quick-strike offense as an underneath target. There are multiple ways he can help and team and that should give his overall grade a boost. He did not get many intermediate-to-deep looks in the passing game at all and there are some catch radius issues, but Jones is a gamble at receiver with a high floor because of what he will offer on specials right away.

        *Jones will turn 25 just days after the draft. He had a pretty rough path to Tennessee, but he was never in trouble and there are not any concerns there. Once he settled in, Jones started to show he was more than a special teams weapon. He gets off tight coverage in a hurry, he has the deep speed to get away from corners, and he may be one of the toughest dudes in this class with the ball in his hands. While I think his role should be centralized to the slot on offense, there is extra value he brings on special teams. He has a kick couple return touchdowns on his resume and I think there could be a potential gunner here too. Jones is a very poor man’s version of Deebo Samuel. My game notes on the two are scary-similar. Both have that running back thickness and power with the ball, but both will roast you in the passing game on multiple levels. Jones does not have some of the fluidity and his routes need work, but this is one of the bigger sleepers in the class.

        18: Kevin Austin – Notre Dame – 6’2/200

        Grade: 73

        Summary: Fourth year junior entry from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. One-year starter that played in just two games from the start of 2019 to the end of 2020. He was suspended from the team in 2019 for repeated violations and injured his foot multiple times in 2020, requiring multiple surgeries. Once on the field for good in 2021, Austin’s talent that had been lauded for a long time finally broke through. He led the Fighting Irish in receiving and proved to be a big play threat, averaging just under 19 yards per catch. What he brings to the table, physically, is as good as any receiver in the class. He is an explosive mover in all directions and his strength plus contact presence can be too much to handle for defensive backs. Because of injuries and the 2019 suspension, he simply did not gain the experience to properly develop his tools into refined skills. This is a super high risk, high reward prospect.

        *Because of what I think this regime is going to pursue, especially in this draft, when it comes to “safety” in their picks, I don’t see Austin as a guy they will pursue. Remember the name though. This can be a worthy risk for an offense that is already explosive. If he hits, you have yet another weapon which makes the “embarrassment of riches” notion even stronger (KC? LV? LAC? MIN?) or it can make a decision easier when financial issues arise with a player coming off a rookie deal. For the record, there is one guy (a college coach) that I bounce thoughts off of when it comes to receivers and backs. He said Austin is a “top 3 WR in this class and nobody knows it”.

        19: Tyquan Thornton – Baylor – 6’2/181

        Grade: 73

        Summary: Senior entry from Miami, FL. Three-year starter that earned second team All-Big 12 in 2021 and honorable mention in 2019. A former accomplished track star, Thornton is going to bring an element of speed and big play potential to the table right away. He is a smooth accelerator that maintains quality body control as he tracks the ball downfield. His length and concentration as he approaches the ball with his hands showed up several times on tape. There needs to be some more versatility to his game, notably after the catch and as an underneath route runner. He is not overly physical or strong, and that will need time to develop, but there are some sneaky-high end traits here worth taking a shot on day three.

        *There are a lot of guys that like the tool set Thornton brings to the table. He has a lot of speed and showed the ball skills that give him a deep threat label. There may not be a ton of variety to his game, so I do think he will be a niche player, but still someone that can create the explosive plays. That is the craze of the NFL right now and because of that, you may see this kid go a little higher than where I have him. The height and length will make him appear even bigger and faster at times. He can get to balls that others come up just short on. There will be some extra transition time for him, as he didn’t run a deep route tree. Nice potential project pick for NYG if they can find him day three and a cheaper option than what Darius Slayton brings to the table.

        20: Khalil Shakir – Boise State – 5’11/196

        Grade: 71

        Summary: Senior entry from Murrieta, CA. Three-year starter that earned All Mountain West honors all three seasons, first team in both 2020 and 2021. Shakir’s body type and water bug movement skills scream slot receiver at the next level. He also shows the necessary toughness and competitive streak to go headfirst into a crowd without hesitation. Shakir is the kind of asset on offense and special teams that could get the ball a combined ten times a game, three different ways. The drops and overall radius are both alarming, however. If he does not shore up the consistency, the speed and toughness he shows with the ball will be tough to utilize. His margin for error is very small. At the very least he should add value as a returner and does present upside as a hard-to-touch slot.

        *If there was a separate grading stack for slot receivers, Shakir would be pretty close to the top of it. I could see him getting drafted toward the round 4 area if an offense wants a guy strictly for that role. He is quick and sudden but what I like the most is the contact balance post-catch. He is a tough guy to bring down. The issues with drops really bother me, however. It is a personal rule of mine that if you are going to be a slot-only, your hands need to be elite. Throw in length-issues and I just think he needs to be a mid to late day three guy.

        BEST OF THE REST

        21: Makai Polk – Mississippi State – 6’3/195: 71
        22: Danny Gray – SMU – 6’0/186: 71
        23: Romeo Doubs – Nevada – 6’2/201: 71
        24: Braylon Sanders – Mississippi – 6’0/194: 71
        25: Kyle Phillips – UCLA – 5’11/189: 70
        26: Justyn Ross – Clemson – 6’4/205: 70
        27: Bo Melton – Rutgers – 5’11/189: 70
        28: Dareke Young – Lenoir-Rhyne – 6’2/220: 70
        29: Tre Turner – Virginia Tech – 6’1/184: 69
        30: Jacquarri Roberson – Wake Forest – 6’1/186: 69
        31: Charleston Rambo – Miami – 6’1/177: 69
        32: Jalen Nailor – Michigan State – 5’11/186: 69
        33: Devon Williams – Oregon – 6’5/210: 69
        34: Slade Bolden – Alabama – 5’11/193: 68
        35: Isaiah Weston – Northern Iowa – 6’3/214: 68
        36: Mike Woods – Oklahoma – 6’1/204: 68
        37: Tanner Conner – Idaho State – 6’3/226: 68
        38: Reggie Roberson – SMU – 5’11/192: 68
        39: Jerreth Sterns – Western Kentucky – 5’7/178: 68
        40: Tay Martin – Oklahoma State – 6’1/184: 68

        NYG APPROACH

        This is a position that is going to need a lot of attention in the next year or two. I can easily see all three of Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton not on this roster at this time next year. In fact, I would parlay that bet and be very confident in it. So, what is NYG left with? The unknown of Kadarius Toney (drafted by the previous regime), although we should get some clarity in the 2022 season. All of the other current receivers are roster-hopeful types. There will be more money to spend the next two offseasons, thus we can assume a mid-to-high priced free agent will be brought in, perhaps even a trade (similar to what BUF did with Diggs). That still will not be enough. They are going to use pick(s) on a receiver in the next year or two, no question. Daboll likes receivers who can play BOTH the slot and on the outside based on situations and matchups. They don’t need to be overly big, but they need to be tough at the catch point and run quality routes according to the pro standard. There are a few guys in every tier who I think profile best to that kind of role. It is a long shot, but Wilson in the first round (even in the top 10) is a fit there. Day two I see guys like Jahan Dotson and John Metchie III being the fit. On day three, which is where I am expecting them to probably use a pick on one, names like Calvin Austin, Erik Ezukanma, Makai Polk, Danny Gray, and Reggie Roberson are names to keep an eye on. In today’s NFL, you can never have enough playmakers. NYG is starting from the bottom tier in that department.

        Apr 202022
         
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        Trey McBride, Colorado State Rams (November 6, 2021)

        Trey McBride – © USA TODAY Sports

        TIGHT ENDS

        90+: All Pro Projection

        85+: Pro Bowl Projection

        81-84: 1st rounder – Should be able to play right away

        79-80: 2nd rounder – Should be able to rotate right away – Year 2 starter

        77-78: 3rd rounder – Should be able to rotate by end of rookie year – Year 2/3 starter

        74-76: Early Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup/possible starter

        71-73: Mid Day 3 – Special Teams – Future backup / gamble starter

        68-70: Late Day 3 – Back end of roster / Practice Squad / Development guy

        65-67: Preferred UDFA

        60-64: Undrafted FA

        1: Trey McBride – Colorado State – 6’4/246

        Grade: 83

        Summary: Senior entry from Fort Morgan, CO. Four-year starter. Winner of the 2021 Mackey Award and earned unanimous All-American honors, a first in the program’s history. Three-time All-Mountain West, first team in 2021 and 2019. McBride excelled in multiple sports growing up. He left high school as the all-time leading scorer in basketball and the all-time leader in home runs on the baseball field. His success on the gridiron, ending with the top award in the nation as a senior, speaks volumes of how much he can excel at anything he takes part in. McBride is not the top shelf athlete, and he falls just short of ideal size, but his production and feel for the game across multiple domains creates a near-sure thing at the next level. He is as competitive as it gets and there is a skill set both as a blocker and receiver that should land him a starting job early in his career. He specializes at coming away with the ball in traffic and will put everything he has into beating his man in the running game.

        *McBride has been at the top of my TE stack since August and his 2021 season only hardened that position. I think this kid is a stud, and I am probably higher on him than most. I do wish he was a little bigger/longer. If he was, he would be in the 85+ tier, a credible Pro Bowl projection. McBride is a better athlete than most think (4.54 forty), he plays with tenacity across every aspect of the game, and he breeds success every time he gets on the field. This is what I want NYG to have at tight end. He is a crazy-close profile to George Kittle and I think the ball skills are even better. If he is there in round 2 (I don’t think he will be), there won’t be many guys I want more than him.

        2: Jeremy Ruckert – Ohio State – 6’5/252

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Senior entry from Lindenhurst, NY. Two-plus year starter that earned honorable mention All-Big 10 honors in 2021. After being the number two overall tight end recruit from the 2018 class, Ruckert never quite matched the hype because of an overly crowded and talented wide receiver room at Ohio State. His looks in the passing game just weren’t frequent enough to showcase his talent. He saw just 71 targets over the three seasons he was a big part of the offense. He did, however, display his ability to block both in-line and up the field. Ruckert’s hands, physical nature, and high on-field IQ made him a weapon on plays he was not thrown to. His impact will be felt there right away, and he could end up showing more as a receiver at the next level than he did in college. This is a guy that dropped just one pass over his career and scored 12 touchdowns on those 71 targets. He can be a weapon and an asset, one that sneaks up on the league in a classic “Y” tight end role.

        *Ruckert is another round 2 option (I think most are projecting round 3) for NYG in my eyes. This guy is a full blown starting tight end week 1 in his rookie year. I don’t say that about a lot of guys, as the transition from college to NFL for tight ends is just brutal. Ruckert is the best blocker of the group (besides guys that are only blockers). He has a lot of Dalton Schultz in his game in that he will be equally reliable as a receiver and blocker but if he gets consistent looks in the passing game, his production will be higher than any Giants tight end since Shockey. I think he is one of the safest picks in the draft, just don’t expect Travis Kelce.

        3: Greg Dulcich – UCLA – 6’4/243

        Grade: 80

        Summary: Fourth year junior entry from Glendale, California. Two-year starter that earned 1st Team All-Pac 12 honors in 2021, 2nd Team in 2020. Dulcich proved to be a big play threat from a position that is usually reserved for threats underneath. Over his two seasons as a starter, he led the Bruins in receiving (1,242) and yards per catch (18.2), uncommon for the position. He has a unique blend of burst, speed, and ability to play an acrobatic brand. While he still has some developing to do physically, he brings a high-effort and no-nonsense style to the field that can create mismatches across the board. Dulcich won’t be an every down player early on, but his contributions to the passing game can be immediate and if he adds enough power and mass to his frame, he can be a very good starter at the next level.

        *Sometimes you watch a guy one time and just “have a feeling”. I watched Dulcich against LSU early in the year and immediately said he was going to be a 1st or 2nd rounder. Nobody even had him entering the draft at that point. I never wavered and here we are, Dulcich declared and may be the highest-upside receiver at the position in the class. He has a unique style of movement to him, and he can really go up and get it. The one issue beyond his low-level blocking? I’m not sure I would label him a “soft-hands” type. I think he may be a guy that drops some easy balls. The question is, will the big plays overshadow the lowlights? It didn’t work with Engram but there are situations where it does pan out. I have a high enough grade on him to be in the discussion round 2.

        4: Jelani Woods – Virginia – 6’7/253

        Grade: 78

        Summary: Senior entry from Ellenwood, GA. Three-year starter at Oklahoma State prior to transferring to Virginia for the 2021 season where he also started for one year. Two-time honorable mention All-Big 12 and capped his career off earning first team All-ACC honors in 2021. Woods’ frame and long stride speed stand out. He is such a tall and wide target in the passing game with a raw feel. The former quarterback still has some nuances to fix as a route runner, but his ball skills and ability after the catch are noteworthy and present long-term promise. He may not be ready for life in the trenches early on, but the competitive streak and tools are there to be an all-around player at a classic tight end set up.

        *I am excited about Woods’ upside. I see so many Marcedes Lewis comparisons with his tool set. However, him reaching that kind of ceiling will come down to what Lewis did after he was drafted. That dude took a lot of pride in his blocking and developing that skill set. The size, speed, and ability to catch the ball in traffic and on the move is already there. If Woods wants to be that kind of player, he needs to LOVE blocking and truly understand how much a team needs a presence from that role. I am not sure I see the fire in him, but Lewis didn’t either coming out of UCLA. Woods is a high risk, high reward guy.

        5: Cade Otton – Washington – 6’5/247

        Grade: 77

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Turnwater, WA. Four-year starter that earned first team All-Pac 12 honors in 2021. Otton brings a very high floor to the table for teams that want a steady, long-term starter at tight end. He checks all the boxes when it comes to size, athletic ability, and ever down impact. He shows tremendous upside as a blocker with his explosive hands and sturdy base along with a keen sense of where to be and what to do. Otton also brings a sense of steadiness to the passing game with his ability to get suddenly open and fight through traffic for the ball. His greatest trait arises after the catch. He is a load to bring down and runs with a lot of will and toughness. He barrels over defensive backs and looks like the biggest kid at recess that nobody wants to deal with. Otton has some limitations when it comes to speed and agility but he is good enough in those departments to complement his style well. Has the ideal frame and body type for an every down role.

        *The standout trait that I like here is how physical Otton plays with the ball in his hands. He will get those yards after contact that stem from defensive backs that don’t know how to tackle. The size and strength are solid, but it is the attitude and “want to” that he plays with. He will be a good, not great, blocker too. There are a few of the day two guys / projected starters that I prefer but he is a solid fall back option.

        6: Charlie Kolar – Iowa State – 6’6/254

        Grade: 77

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Norman, OK. Three-plus year starter that earned first team All-Big 12 honors in 2019, 2020, and 2021 in addition to third team All-American honors in both 2019 and 2020. Kolar, an award-winning student as well, fits the mold of the “Y” tight end perfectly. His size from any and every angle is top tier and he proved to be a reliable pass catcher that can be key component to an air attack. The lack of speed and burst could limit the routes and depth of target he brings to the table, but his success in traffic over the years means something. Kolar does not have standout athletic traits and he needs to learn how to block with more urgency and toughness, but his floor is very high. Kolar will be a starter or second tight end that sees the field a lot. A sure thing to at least be useable and reliable week to week.

        *Kolar has had a really solid pre-draft process. His workout at the Pro Day went better than expected and he showed well at Senior Bowl week. While I still don’t see a sudden mover on tape, Kolar’s size and strong catching mechanics in traffic are enticing. I think he may need a transition year before being depended on as an every down guy, but he had a weird role at Iowa State. They used so many tight ends and Kolar was split out way more than he was in-line. Get him stronger, get him more comfortable with his hand in the dirt, and view him as a starter in 2023.

        7: Daniel Bellinger – San Diego State – 6’5/253

        Grade: 76

        Senior entry from Las Vegas, NV. Three-year starter than earned Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honors in 2020. Bellinger has the tool set and ability to play the traditional Y tight end spot. While his skill set is more receiver-friendly, he does show enough upside and ability to create impact as a blocker. He plays a twitchy, sudden game and understands his role well. Bellinger may not have the man-strength quite yet to have a big role, but he should fill the back end of a depth chart early on. He is a plus-athlete with some sneaky upside to him when it comes to getting open and making things happen after the catch.

        *It would not surprise me one bit to see Bellinger sneak into the end of round two. The triangle numbers are really solid, and he didn’t drop a single ball over his last two seasons. I just wish he got more looks in the passing game at San Diego State. He will likely be a year two guy at earliest because he had a hard time with defensive-linemen in the Mountain West. I think NFL guys will eat him early on.

        8: Jake Ferguson – Wisconsin – 6’5/250

        Grade: 74

        Summary: Fifth year senior from Madison, WI. Three-year starter that earned first team All-Big 10 honors in both 2021 and 2020, honorable mention in 2019. Ferguson falls just below the line when it comes to difference-making speed and size for the position, but he brings a well-balanced skill set to the table that can at least somewhat hinder that. He is a smart and savvy receiver with plus-ball skills. He makes the acrobatic catch look easy and can create with the ball in his hands. He struggled to make a consistent impact as a blocker, as the strength below the waist and inability to latch on to his man showed up on tape several times. He will fill the back end of a depth chart early and can develop into a rotational player if he can gain and maintain mass and power.

        *Ferguson is a pure football kid from a pure football family. His grandfather is former Wisconsin Head Coach Barry Alvarez. While I think he is a tad short on talent and upside, I feel safe with him as a backup that plays a few snaps weekly and can be used without a specialty outlook. That means he is a threat to catch or block, not just one or the other. I don’t see the upside as a starter, but that does not mean he is a bad day tree pick. He feels safer than some of the other guys in this tier.

        9: Isaiah Likely – Coastal Carolina – 6’4/245

        Grade: 73

        Summary: Senior entry from Cambridge, MA. Three-year starter that earned first team All-Sun Belt each of his last two seasons and was also a second team All-American in 2021. Likely’s production was somewhat a product of the scheme he played in that had a lot of easy catches for him programmed within. However, a deeper look into the film and there is a reel of high difficulty catches down the field in traffic. He is an athletic, natural receiver with soft hands, dropping just one pass out of 79 targets in 2021. The issue with him revolves around blocking and overall size. His grades there are as low as it gets, and he does not seem overly interested in impacting the play unless he is a target in the passing game. He can make it as a move-tight end but with fewer and fewer teams using that kind of weapon, the demand for his services will be low. In the right system, Likely can be a sneaky-good option though.

        *Catch the right film and you will think Likely is a top 100 guy that belongs in the tier with the first six on this list. I don’t see that, but he does have good athleticism and soft hands. Always a good place to start. He won’t ever factor as a blocker, so you really need to carve out that role for him. How much is it worth unless we are talking about an elite receiver? Likely is not that. It is un-Likely we will see him as a top tier guy, but you could find a spot if the scheme wants someone to motion pre-snap and mostly run routes.

        10: James Mitchell – Virginia Tech – 6’4/249

        Grade: 73

        Summary: Senior entry from Big Stone Gap, VA. Three-year starter that played in just two games in 2021 due to a knee injury that required surgery. Mitchell will project to a motion-tight end at the next level. His best blocking performances are on the move in space, as he matches up well enough against speed and quickness. He is a savvy receiver with enough shake and suddenness at the top of his routes to create some separation. He won’t need much, as his ball skills and contact presence at the catch point look sturdy and reliable. Mitchell is a savvy player on all fronts that will get the most out of himself. He will be coming off an ACL injury and surgery, but this is a long-term player that will be in the league beyond his rookie deal as a solid number two tight end.

        *After watching all of Mitchell’s film that I could get my hands on from 2020-2021, I saw someone that I wanted on the back end of my depth chart. If I have a starter and quality backup, Mitchell is someone I want. His game looks pro-caliber across multiple spectrums. I will admit he is short on tools and won’t stand out anywhere in particular, but there are subtle things I see on tape he does better than other guys. And he has made some ridiculous catches on tape. Coming off the ACL may delay his start a bit, so that factored in a little as well.

        11: Chigoziem Okonkwo – Maryland – 6’2/238

        Grade: 71

        Senior entry from Power Springs, GA. Spent two years as a part time starter before sitting all out of 2020 because of a heart condition. Okonkwo came back strong in 2021, starting full time and earning Honorable Mention All-Big 10 honors. While the size and power presence will prevent Okonkwo from playing every down, his potential in a hybrid / H-Back role will be a draw to several teams. He plays incredibly quick and twitchy in addition to showing the ability to run away from defenders in space. Okonkwo is not a fit for every scheme, but a creative mind can find ways to use his talent.

        *I could have put Oknokwo in with the fullbacks. He is going to be someone that teams use in multiple roles. In-line, motion, and the backfield. The Chargers used Stephen Anderson like this in 2021 and it was a very underrated aspect of their offense. This dude is a specimen and a very good athlete. I think he has some upside worth trying to develop. If the new offense wants to get away from using a roster spot on a fullback, Okonkwo is a guy worth pursuing. He can do it.

        12: Teagan Quitoriano – Oregon State – 6’6/256

        Grade: 71

        Summary: Senior entry from Salem, OR. Four-year starter that earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors in both 2020 and 2021. Quitoriano was a two-sport star in high school that also excelled on the hardwood. He brings that kind of skill set to the table; a power forward capable of using his big frame to box out defenders and his quick feet to get initial advantages. The tool set he has should fit in nicely toward the bottom of a depth chart early on. With the role he expects to play as an in-line tight end, he needs to get much stronger as he will be matched up against pro defensive linemen often. He had issues sustaining blocks. His lack of athleticism, especially when moving laterally, will not permit him to be a true big-time threat as a receiver. He should be able to find a role as an underneath threat in the red zone on third down, however.

        *Big country kid that shows the upside of being a problem for guys trying to prevent him from catching the ball. Someone with this size that also has a basketball background will always be a draw. He is more developmental than the mid-rounders but he also has a higher ceiling. Another really solid option for a day three pick that sits on the bottom of the depth chart. Has some young Kevin Boss to him.

        13: Peyton Hendershot – Indiana – 6’4/250

        Grade: 69

        Summary: Fifth year senior from North Salem, IN. Four-year starter that earned All-Big 10 honors three times. Hendershot was a big part of the Indiana passing game. He finished second on the team in catches in 2019 and led the team in 2021. He does not have a standout physical trait but if he gets his hands on the ball, he will bring it in. He dropped just two passes over the past three years, an amazing ratio to his 121 catches. He needs to prove he can handle himself in the trenches against linemen, but he has the desire and want-to. Hendershot as an arrest on his record that needs to be investigated.

        *Hendershot is a grinder. He plays through traffic so well. He is a tough dude that will create with the ball in his hands. He was a focal point of a passing game and rarely dropped the ball. The issue is upside stemming from lackluster tools. What is the upside here? He looks maxed out, but I like having young hungry guys like this on a bad roster. They bring the energy and can help build the culture. Hendershot won’t be a big factor in the league, but this is the kind of guy that sticks around.

        14: Cole Turner – Nevada – 6’6/249

        Grade: 69

        Senior entry from Clackamas, OR. Two-year starter that earned All-Mountain West honors both seasons, first team in 2020. Turner has the body of either an oversized wide receiver or undersized tight end. Throw in the fact he mostly lined up in the slot away from the defensive line, and we are looking at a hybrid space-dependent player. He will not survive against pro defensive ends and outside linebackers as a blocker. His value will revolve around making plays on the ball downfield. He does not have blazing speed or explosive traits, but he does have quality tape in contested situations. For teams that reserve a role for a tight end that lines up split out, Turner will be an intriguing player to try and develop over the course of two or three years.

        *Turner was a WR for a couple years before moving to “tight end” in 2020. I put that in quotes because he lined up in-line under 100 times. He really was an oversized slot in that offense. His body is terrible. Just looks like a guy that couldn’t decide if he wants to be a receiver or tight end, so he chose neither. He has some quality ball skills and production though. At his height and knowing he is nowhere near where he could be physically, there is a sliver of hope for him. Late round gamble only.

        15: Jalen Wydermyer – Texas A& M – 6’4 – 255

        Grade: 69

        Summary: Junior entry from Dickinson, TX. Three-year starter that earned 2nd Team All SEC honors all three seasons. A 2020 Mackey Award finalist. Wydermyer is dripping with tools, talent, and potential. He has the prototype body plus some extra length and ability to track the ball. He shows flashes of being an ideal tight end target in today’s pass-happy NFL, one that will cause matchup nightmares across the board. He is capable of adjusting his weight to the pass in an instant and has made multiple highlight-reel plays over his career. The issue is everything in between. His drop rate and blocking grades are bottom tier. The lack of consistency and reliability make him a very boom-or-bust prospect. If he can approach his own progression with more attention to detail and passion for the small things, he can be quality starter and true difference maker. If he stays on this current track, he will live on the bottom of the depth chart.

        *What a major fall for this kid over the past year. This time about 12 months ago, many were assuming top 45 pick. He had quality tape, good production, and appeared to have the tools. There were some off-field red flags but nothing too serious. He then goes out and puts out poor tape week after week. Dropping balls left and right, missing blocks, and looking lethargic. Then, puts together one of the worst Pro Day workouts of all time for the position. He ran a 5.02 forty, a space usually reserved for linemen. His jumps are bottom 5% historically. There have been 2 tight ends in history drafted with this kind of package, both primarily for blocking. Wydermyer is not a good blocker. The only reason he makes a late round draftable grade is the fact he has some quality tape from a couple years ago. Not sure what happened but it is worth looking into to see if someone can motivate him.

        BEST OF THE REST

        16: Nicholas Muse – South Carolina – 6’4/258: 68
        17: Gerrit Prince – UAB – 6’4/241: 68
        18: Armani Rogers – Ohio – 6’5/226: 68
        19: Grant Calcaterra – SMU – 6’4/241: 68
        20: Derrick Deese Jr – San Jose State – 6’3/236: 67
        21: Chase Allen – Iowa State – 6’6/251: 67
        22: Austin Allen – Nebraska – 6’8/253: 67
        23: Curtis Hodges – Arizona State – 6’8/257: 66
        24: Trae Berry – Boston College – 6’6/247: 66
        25: John Fitzpatrick – Georgia – 6’7/262: 66
        26: Zaire Mitchell – Florida Atlantic – 6’4/256: 65
        27: Lucas Krull – Pittsburgh – 6’6/254: 65
        28: John Babicz – North Dakota State – 6’6/255: 65
        29: Jamal Pettitgrew – McNeese State – 6’6/244: 65
        30: Erik Krommenhoek – USC – 6’5/245: 65

        NYG APPROACH

        If you take position value out of the equation, a. strong case can be made for tight end being the number one need on this team. Now that Evan Engram can officially be labeled a first round bust, the cupboard is bare. There are ways around an offense not having one and I feel Daboll is just the guy to handle that responsibility. He knows how to scheme around a hole at a position to maximize what a team actually has. The issue? This team just does not have much to scheme into. Nothing to sink teeth into. Nothing to put trust into. With that in mind, this front office needs to get a tight end in here, preferably early and I will tell you why.

        A quality every down tight end (running and blocking) will elevate what this team can do both in the running and passing game. The NYG offensive line will likely still be an issue. They will have at least one rookie on the line, the likely spot being right tackle. Ricky Seals-Jones and Chris Myarick and Jake Hausmann are not going to help enough when trying to open up running lanes for Barkley or provide aid in pass protection. In addition, the tight end needs to be a big part of the third down offense. That spot needs to have a guy who can quickly get into his route and catch balls in traffic. This will be a quick-strike offense, thus that tight end needs to feed into that approach. While Seals-Jones can give some oversized wide receiver assistance, there is a reason why he has averaged under 3 starts a year over his five-year career. He has never caught more than two-thirds of his targets either.

        The tight end spot is important regardless of how spread open you think this offense will be. Dawson Knox, for example, was on the field for just under 90% of the team’s snaps in Buffalo last year. He was second on the team in touchdowns (9) and second on the team in passer rating when targeted (127.8). NYG needs to find their version of Knox as soon as possible. I prefer McBride (round 2) or Ruckert (possibly round 3). While they may not pay the dividends you want right away, this draft is mostly about being ready to compete in 2023. No matter who the quarterback is at that time, a more-than-serviceable tight end will be a huge part of this offense getting out of the basement. In fact, I wouldn’t even mind a double dip at the position if there was a late day three value there like Quitoriano.