Apr 292017
 
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Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama Crimson Tide (January 9, 2017)

Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 28, 2017: BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas of The NFL Draft Report, and BBI’s SY’56 about the New York Giants’ selection of defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in the second round and quarterback Davis Webb in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

SY’56 has been scouting 500+ players per year since 2006 and has developed his own grading system. His work has landed him a position with Ourlads.com. He spends 20-25 hours per week on scouting players throughout the year.

Apr 282017
 
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Evan Engram, Mississippi Rebels (November 5, 2016)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 27, 2017: BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas of The NFL Draft Report, and BBI’s SY’56 about the New York Giants’ selection of tight end Evan Engram in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. They also discuss how the rest of the NFC East did.

Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

SY’56 has been scouting 500+ players per year since 2006 and has developed his own grading system. His work has landed him a position with Ourlads.com. He spends 20-25 hours per week on scouting players throughout the year.

Apr 262017
 
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De'Veon Smith, Michigan Wolverines (December 30, 2016)

De’Veon Smith – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 26, 2017: With one day to go before the 2017 NFL Draft, BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas of The NFL Draft Report, and BBI’s SY’56 to talk about the Giants’ needs and projections, SY’s Mock Draft, and rumors, thoughts, observations, and tidbits before the draft starts.

Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

SY’56 has been scouting 500+ players per year since 2006 and has developed his own grading system. His work has landed him a position with Ourlads.com. He spends 20-25 hours per week on scouting players throughout the year.

Apr 252017
 
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Jamal Adams,LSU Tigers (December 31, 2016)

Jamal Adams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Safeties

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

One of my best value picks of the 2015 NFL Draft, Landon Collins, broke out in a big way in his sophomore season. The two way threat made several All Pro teams and appears to be a cornerstone of this defense moving forward. The spot next to him continues to be a revolving door, however. Darian Thompson, Mykkele Thompson, and Nat Berhe combined for more missed games than actual games on the field. In their absence, UDFA Andrew Adams showed some promise. All four will compete for the starting job this summer but it looks like the 2016 3rd rounder Thompson has the inside track. All in all this group is young and versatile, but also unproven outside of Collins.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Jamal Adams – 6’0/211 – LSU: 91

Summary: Junior entry that was a factor in the loaded Tigers’ backfield from day one of his college career. Adams was an All American in 2016 and may be the top safety prospect to come out in over a decade. His game can factor on any play in any situation against any opponent. He is at his best in the box and in pursuit. There is a natural gravitation towards the action and a rare ability to close and finish. The athletic tools he possesses are rare and very functional on the field. Adams can easily be moved around and his impact will always be felt. The intangibles and leadership qualities in addition give him the franchise player caliber-level.

*Adams can make a case for being the top overall player in this class. He doesn’t have the ideal size but by no means can he be considered small. He has longer arms than some offensive linemen and a frame that will easily add 10 pounds when all is said and done. Adams can fill every role, including nickel CB, based on the situation. I love how he can sniff things out and finish plays off. Very smart, intelligent, hard working. Motor always on. He is a guy a defense can be built around and to be honest, if I am CLE a #1, I would consider him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Eric Berry – KC

2 – Malik Hooker – 6’1/206- Ohio State: 84

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Just a one year starter that took full advantage of his time in the spotlight, earning 1st Team All American honors. Second in the nation with 7 interceptions and very high quality play in the box. Hooker is still very green in comparison to other prospects. He’s only been playing football for five years which is almost hard to believe because of the high level of instincts and awareness he plays with. One has to believe the arrow is still very much pointing up for him. His issues revolve around the physical presence of the game. He misses more tackles than a safety should and there have been times where he shies from contact. His surgically repaired shoulder shouldn’t decrease his grade much, if at all. There is always risk with one year starters, but his upside is through the roof.

*I have never seen a prospect that reminded me so much of Ed Reed, the guy that I think should be considered the top safety of all time. Hooker has such a natural feel and instinct for anticipating throws and routes. Excellent ball skills with some of the biggest hands you will ever find (yes, that matters to scouts). His issues, however, are a lack of experience and iffy tackling. Despite those issues I still have a high grade on him and even though I see a second coming here, I have to admit Hooker may be one of the bigger risks of the class.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ed Reed – RET

3 – Desmond King – 5’11/200- Iowa: 83

Summary: Four year starter and 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner. Opposing offenses avoided throwing him the ball in 2016 for the most part, hence the drop in production. However he looked just as good, if not better on tape and will be one of the most versatile defensive backs in this class. King can play a cover 2 cornerback role with his ability to anticipate and react. If a team wants to roam him as a safety, he has more than enough physical presence and versatility on coverage to more than hold his own. The lack of ideal size and speed can limit him, but this kid is a playmaker that will help much more often than a hurt a defense.

*I came in to the year with King right under DE Jonathan Allen as my top senior prospect. Her e we are, the week of the draft, and King is still at or near that spot. The question here is, what position does he play? As a CB, he is graded a tad lower but not much (81). King doesn’t have the ideal size for safety, nor does he have the ideal speed for CB. But at the end of the day I think he can play both in the NFL and would benefit from a nickel, third-safety type role. He is an elite tackler for the defensive backfield and he may be one of the smartest players in this class. I’ll take a kid like this every day and know you have a guy that could actually play both spots at a high level.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jairus Byrd – FA

4 – Budda Baker – 5’10/192 – Washington: 83

Summary: Junior entry and three year starter. 1st Team All Pac 12 two years in a row. The former 100 M state champion was a huge get for Washington in the recruiting process. His career has been on the uptick from the beginning and despite a lack of size and strength, he has had as much impact on the team’s defense as anyone. Baker is a natural lead by example type with his never-off engine and presence all over the field. He can impact the game several ways. There is cornerback-caliber lower body movement in man coverage and a feel for deep zone coverage that is hard to find. He may not be a bruiser in the box, but he’ll get the ball carrier to the ground. He can do it all.

*Hard not to enjoy how this guy plays. We are talking about an all out, all the time versatile threat that, with the right defensive mind calling the shots, can put him in a position to make a deep impact on the game each week. The size is a glaring issue and there no arguing that. While he is a very good tackler, the ability to hold up considering his size is questionable. Baker needs to play a split slot CB/roaming safety role. I’m not sure he would hack it as a traditional safety.

Upside Pro Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu – ARI

5 – Marcus Maye – 6’0/212 – Florida: 81

Summary: Fifth year senior. Three year starter that has quietly been one of the best players on the Gators defense over that span. He was named an All American in 2015 but a broken arm in November ended his senior campaign short. Maye doesn’t have a lone standout trait to his game. However his all around, balanced abilities and skills can give a secondary versatility and reliability. He has plenty of experience in the box, in man coverage, and in deep zone. He is at his best when playing near the line of scrimmage, but he is no slouch in the other areas. Maye can be a starter early in his career.

*I’m not sure how many people have a 1st round grade on Maye, but I don’t really care. He is a versatile threat that tackles as well as anyone. This is the kind of defender you want as your last line of defense. Really intelligent, instinctive player. Pro-ready week 1 and I think he can be a starter for NYG right away if they were able to snag him in round 2 or 3. A lot of these safeties in this class lack a power presence and/or speed. Maye has both and he plays smart.

Upside Pro Comparison: Eric Reid – SF

6 – John Johnson – 6’0/202 – Boston College: 79

Summary: Fourth year senior that blossomed his senior year, showing a versatile skill set that can be used in deep coverage as well as near the line of scrimmage. Johnson isn’t a household name, but he is as quick and instinctive as any of the safeties in this class. Johnson has the athletic ability to match up with receivers in man coverage but also makes an impact as a downhill tackler. He has all the range and easy reactions to factor in zone coverage. For schemes that like to intertwine their safeties, Johnson can be viewed as an early day 2 pick.

*I’m higher on Johnson than anyone I’ve seen out there. I simply believe his arrow is really pointing up at this point and the he can be had before he proves to everyone there is a lot of talent here. Such a fluid mover and quick reaction based player that tackles well. He could use some more meat on those bones and in time, he likely well. Whoever gets him is going to be very happy 3 years from now.

Upside Pro Comparison: Glover Quin – DET

7 – Jabrill Peppers – 5’11/213 – Michigan: 79

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Had a ton of buzz surrounding him out of high school. Was jostled around position-wise but spent the majority of his snaps at linebacker in 2016. Peppers is a jack-of-all trades prospect, almost to a fault. There is no denying that his ability with the ball in his hands is elite. However, as a defensive prospect, there are several holes in his game. There may not be enough skills and instincts for the defensive backfield, and there aren’t any linebackers at his size. Drafting Peppers will be a risk for a few reasons, the main one being trying to choose what he is best at and let him develop from there.

*Here it is. The most polarizing prospect in the entire draft. So much of me wants to say this kid is a top 5 player and will impact the league multiple ways for a decade. The other side tells me he isn’t a football player. He has been a superior athlete at that’s what made him a quality asset to a team. Now he is entering a league where, to be frank, he is slightly above average athletically. I can speak about Peppers for hours but to sum it up, he is a guy without a true position. That can be a good thing in the right scheme, or a bad thing in the wrong scheme. And I will take this to my grave…he would be a better RB in the league than defensive player. While he doesn’t meet the grade for #23 overall…it would be exciting to see this kid in blue.

Upside Pro Comparison: Keanu Neal – ATL

8 – Obi Melifonwu – 6’4/224 – Connecticut: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior that never left the starting lineup since week one of his redshirt freshman season. A consistently productive and versatile player that ended up on the 1st Team All American Athletic conference list in 2016. Melifonwu is sure to get several scouts and coaches excited about his through the roof upside. The combination of tools may be among the best in the class and he proved that he is more than a model. Melifonwu has a developed skill set and knows how to impact the game several ways. There are some vitals he needs to clean up, mainly tackling, but this kid is pro-ready right away. He can be a starter on most teams.

*This kid is one of those “Greek God” looking guys. He gets off the bus and you wonder how a human being can look like he does. And you know what? He is actually a player. Some teams are actually looking at him as a CB because of how fluid he can move and he showed a ton of promise in press coverage. Very unique player but I still consider him very raw. Borderline hesitant and not secure in his decision making yet. If he blossoms, he can be a star.

Upside Pro Comparison: George Iloka – CIN

9 – Rayshawn Jenkins – 6’1/214 – Miami: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior that missed 2014 while recovering from a back injury that occurred during offseason weight training. Jenkins started for three years. The 3rd Team All SEC safety plays a physical brand and has the size to back it up. He can knock ball carriers in to tomorrow but also shows advanced footwork and awareness in coverage. He wore a lot of hats for that Canes defense. You’ll get a high effort, intense, physical guy here that can be moved around a bit.

*Jenkins is an interesting guy. One of 16 children growing up, he plays the game as hungry and intense as anyone. Leader of the defense type. The former high school running back and track champion will be a special teams demon week 1 and could likely physically start in year one as well. I don’t think he will ever be a star but you may not need him to be. He will be reliable,physical, and fast.

Upside Pro Comparison: Morgan Burnett – GB

10 – Xavier Woods – 5’11/197 – Louisiana Tech: 77

Summary: Four year starter and three time 1st Team All Conference USA member. 17 interceptions over his final three years is the number that stands out from Woods. He has cornerback type traits and could likely fill the nickel role on some teams that want more physical presence at that spot. Woods has some of the best instincts and awareness of all the players in this class. He is always in the right place mentally and his movement ability is near top notch. Woods is overlooked but I bet he gets drafted sooner than some think.

*I like this kid a lot. Some things, mostly his size, tell me not to put him this high on this list but at the end of the day, he isn’t much smaller than most of these fellow safeties. Woods is always moving in the right direction and I think he can fit in to any scheme and wear multiple hats. Maybe never a big time player, but he can contribute early in different roles.

Upside Pro Comparison: Micah Hyde – BUF

11 – Justin Evans – 6’0/199 – Texas A& M: 77

Summary: Fourth year senior that played and started for two years at Texas A& M. The former junior college standout earned 2nd Team All SEC honors in 2016, displaying an all-over-the-field style of play. Evans is an outstanding athlete for the position that will lay the lumber to oncoming ball carriers but also factor in deep coverage. He can wear multiple hats for a defensive backfield, but must show he can do a better job of reading receivers and quarterbacks before he can be relied on. He takes too many false steps for a position that needs to rely on instincts, feel, and anticipation. If he can harness his aggression and add some bulk, he can be a quality starter.

*Exciting player to watch. Plays with a chip on his shoulder and his presence is bugger than his listed size. That said, I think he is on the very thin side and it always worries me when a player with his frame plays at hard as he does. Will he hold up? We are talking about hitting a different breed of athletes in the NFL. Evans is almost over-aggressive and is often catching up from missed reads. Sometimes it helps, but sometimes it just kills a defense. All or nothing in more ways than one.

Upside Pro Comparison: Quintin Demps – CHI

12 – Josh Jones – 6’1/220 – NC State: 75

Summary: Junior entry. Full time starter for two and a half years that has somewhat flown under the radar. Jones is a productive-across-the-board defender that totaled eight interceptions over his career in addition to be an aggressive run defender that flies all over the field. His tools are top notch, but mentally he shows too many lapses in concentration and an overall lack of instincts. He’ll need to show he can play with more discipline before he can be depended on as a last line of defense.

*For teams that are looking for more size and presence among a safety group that is pretty undersized as a whole, Jones may be higher on their board. He is a great downfield, physical tackler that will react as fast as anyone. He can close that 10-15 yard window as quick as anyone. What Jones consistently did poorly, however, was read quarterbacks and receivers. He got fooled weekly and sometimes, very badly. Does he have instincts? If not, I wouldn’t want him. If he can clean that up, he has a very high ceiling.

Upside Pro Comparison: Reshad Jones – MIA

13 – Nate Gerry – 6’2/218 – Nebraska: 75

Summary: Fourth year senior with three years of starting experience. In each of those three years, he was a part of the Big 10 All Conference team. Gerry played a hybrid LB/S role for this defense but n 2016 he saw more deep coverage duties in which he performed admirably. Gerry will be drafted for his run defending presence, but he has proven he is not a major liability on coverage. Still a limited athlete, Gerry can be a solid compliment to a coverage safety.

*Gerry was suspended for the team’s bowl game this past year because of academics. I wouldn’t call it a character red flag though. Gerry plays the game physical and borderline dirty. He likes to be a bully and some teams will love that about him. He is an enforcer that is athletic enough to carry tight ends up the seam. I wouldn’t trust him in deep coverage or in a matchup against NFL WRs, but he can find a role.

Upside Pro Comparison: JJ Wilcox – TB

14 – Marcus Williams – 6’0/205 – Utah: 75

Summary: Started through all four years of his career, earning all conference honors in 2015 and 2016. Despite missing some time this past season with a knee injury, Williams proved to be one of the top ballhawks in the class. He shows a very advanced skill set when it comes to getting himself in position and making plays on the ball. Even though he has a good reputation of constantly being in or near the action, Williams was too easily fooled and let up a lot of big plays. As a last line of defense in the secondary, he needs to do a better jump of diagnosing what is real and what is not. In addition, his frame needs more meat so that he can add a presence to his tackling rather than getting knocked backwards so often. Developmental, potential starter down the road.

*Most will have this guy as a day 2 pick, but I’m not quite there with him. Williams is very good when the ball is in the air. He can high point the ball and position his body well. What concerns me though is a lack of quick twitch and unplanned movement. He isn’t a good reaction guy and combining that with a lack of tackling presence, I just see too little impact between his turnovers. Sure he can make some plays in specific situations but I just think it is too specific.

Upside Pro Comparison: Mike Mitchell – PIT

BEST OF THE REST (15-29)

15 – Delano Hill – 6’1/216 – Michigan: 75
16 – Tedric Thompson – 6’0/204 – Colorado: 74
17 – Randall Goforth – 5’10/186 – UCLA: 72
18 – Jonathan Ford – 5’11/205 – Auburn: 72
19 – David Jones – 6’1/205 – Richmond: 71
20 – Eddie Jackson – 6’0/201 – Alabama: 71
21 – Lorenzo Jerome – 5’10/204 – St. Francis: 70
22 – Jamal Carter – 6’0/218 – Miami: 70
23 – Derek Barnett – 6’0/192 – Kansas State: 70
24 – Donald Payne – 6’0/217 – Stetson – 70
25 – Montae Nicholson – 6’2/212 – Michigan State: 70
26 – Ahmad Thomas – 6’0/217 – Oklahoma: 69
27 – Shalom Luani – 5’11/202 – Washington State: 68
28 – Josh Harvey-Clemons – 6’4/217 – Louisville: 67
29 – Orion Stewart – 6’0/203 – Baylor: 67

NYG APPROACH

With potential superstar Landon Collins in place for the near future, it’s important this team finds someone to put next to him. If you’re traditional, the ideal battery mate should be able to play the deep centerfield role whole Collins is roaming all over the field and creeping up towards the line of scrimmage often. Darian Thompson looks like he has the proper blend of tools, size, and instincts to at least warrant the opportunity. In addition, it appears he will be fully healthy and ready to rock before summer. However, like I said last year I’m not sure he can hold up with his style of play and lack of a sturdy frame. And is he really that much of a factor in coverage? I don’t see it. This safety class has a few guys that can wear the multiple hats you want a safety to show. I’m looking at a Budda Baker in round 2 or someone like Xavier Woods in round 4. Guys that can play some nickel CB but also the deep cover safety when called upon. In addition, Collins could use a quality backup, a guy that plays the run hard and can move with tight ends. Late day 3 there perhaps.

Apr 232017
 
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Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State Buckeyes (October 15, 2016)

Marshon Lattimore – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Cornerbacks

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

What used to cause as much stress to an NYG fan as anything, the cornerback group can rightfully be considered the team’s top unit. Janoris Jenkins was worth every penny that Reese spent in free agency. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie may not be the household name of the group anymore but you’re going to have a hard time convincing me there are better #2 CBs in the league than him. Make that two incredible free agent signings by Reese at the position in recent years. To back them up, tools-rich Eli Apple took his rookie lumps in 2016 but he flashed several times. He looks like a keeper but we need to see more in 2017. Behind these three, a case can be made that the rest of the depth is replaceable. I like Antwon Blake (signed from TEN), a signing that I think we will be looking back on about 6 months from now as a solid under the radar move.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Marshon Lattimore – 6’0/192 – Ohio State: 86

Summary: Third year sophomore entry with only one full year of experience. Missed the final five games of 2015 with his chronic hamstring problems but played every 2016 contest, earning 1st Team All Big Ten honors. In most scenarios, the lack of career experience and injury woes would be enough to really bump a player’s grade down quite bit. However the 20 year old Lattimore could make a case that he has the most impressive blend of tools and skills within this deep cornerback class. The size, speed, and ball skills are all top notch and he can fit in to any coverage scheme or role. The upside is through the roof here as long as his hamstrings can be trusted.

*Two red flags here. The hamstring issues that plagued him for 2+ years and a lack of experience. I factored both in to the grade and he still finishes at the top of an unbelievably talented and deep group of CBs. Lattimore is as smooth and instinctive as it gets. Very quick reads, even quicker burst matched with ball skills and enough size. Lattimore has true shutdown capabilities. He is a lock for top 6 overall.

Upside Pro Comparison: Johnathan Joseph – HOU

2 – Kevin King – 6’3/192 – Washington: 85

Summary: Three year starter that has saw a lot of time at safety early in his career before making a shift to cornerback in 2015. Two time Honorable Mention All Pac 12. King fits the mold of what the NFL is looking for in cornerbacks. He is tall, long, and fast. His top tier ability to change direction and burst is just as attractive. King has had some shoulder durability issues on that slight frame of his, but when he is on the field he proved to be a cover corner on the way up. His skill set is starting to catch up with his elite, top tier tools. Enormous upside.

*I always get Washington games early on in the year for whatever reason. I went in to their week 1 matchup against Rutgers ready to scout Baker, Jones, Qualls, and Victor. I came away, in that game alone, with the notion that King was the best prospect on that team. Here we are a week before the draft and that thought never left me. King has superstar potential, probably even more so than Lattimore. This kid’s height, length, easy acceleration, and agility can make him able to cover anybody. My fear with him is a lack of bulk. He is an aggressive tackler and I’d hate to see him break in to pieces when he takes on an NFL downhill power runner. But when it comes to coverage, King is top notch. Needs to refine a few things but I think he is heading to top tier status.

Upside Pro Comparison: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – NYG

3 – Gareon Conley – 6’0/195 – Ohio State: 82

Summary: Fourth year junior with two seasons of starting experience. Ended his career with a 2nd Team All Big 10 nomination. A tall, very long, and more than fast enough cover corner that has the potential to excel on the outside. Conley has as much upside as any cornerback in this class. Very few match-ups give him trouble but he will need to develop the mental side of the game. He can be fooled and he’s shown a consistent struggle defending the deep ball, but if he can shore those up his he has upper tier starter written all over him.

*Every time I scouted Apple last year, Conley flashed. He jumped off the screen as much as, if not more. I think he has more natural coverage ability and instincts than Apple did. Slightly less talent, but he was more consistent (if that makes any sense I know). Conley excels in man coverage, especially on the short and intermediate routes. I think he will need some work before you can toss him on an island against speed, but the upside warrants a 1st round pick. He is a possible top 10 pick.

Upside Pro Comparison: Byron Maxwell – MIA

4 – Quincy Wilson – 6’1/213 – Florida: 81

Summary: Junior entry with two years of starting experience, the latter of which he earned 2nd Team All SEC honors. When looking for the current era’s ideal cornerback, the image of Wilson comes up. Very big, tall, long, strong, and fast. These are all physical traits on Wilson’s sheet and he proved that there are football skills to go with them. Even though he appears raw and borderline reckless at times, Wilson has the goods that most cornerbacks will never have. The ability and skills are there, but the consistency is not. If he takes to NFL coaching and pays attention to details, he can be a star.

*You want upside? I feel like a broken record here…but Wilson is another guy that could easily be the top CB in this class. He is a little on the non-traditional side, but the kid gets it done. Really physical as a press corner, probably the most aggressive cover man in the class. He is ultra-confident, has the short memory you want, and the talent just drips off him. There is some rawness to his techniques and he is going to need to know that his ability won’t be enough against NFL WRs. If he applies himself and takes in coaching, watch out.

Upside Pro Comparison: Aqib Talib – DEN

5 – Ahkello Witherspoon – 6’2/190 – Colorado: 80

Summary: Under the radar high school recruit. Started off as a 5-foot-8 junior college corner but then grew 5 inches prior to joining the Colorado roster. In his senior season, Witherspoon led the nation with 23 passes defended and earned 2nd Team All Pac 12 honors. The arrow is pointing up for this kid as much as any player in the draft. His tools and ball production were top notch all season and there are plenty of reasons to believe his upside is through the roof. As long he takes in NF coaching and improves his techniques, Witherspoon is headed towards being a household name.

*A name that wasn’t on my radar prior to the season, he abruptly climbed to my top 10 of the group by midseason. The height, length, speed, and ball skills are enough to get anyone high on him. But I saw a level of competitiveness that few players have. He relishes the role of being matched up on an island and I love that about him. He can be a star. There are some very important things he needs to work, like maintaining speed and body control on deep balls. He is a day 2 name NYG would have to think about.

Upside Pro Comparison: Richard Sherman – SEA

6 – Tre-Davious White – 6’0/197 – LSU: 80

Summary: Four year starter on a defense that breeds NFL defensive backs every season. He capped his career off with a 1st Team All SEC nomination while wearing the honorable #18 jersey, given to the team’s leader. A four year starter in the SEC with his kind of production, versatility, and consistency says a lot about what he can offer in the NFL. He won’t ‘wow’ anyone with tools, but his ability to stay on the hip pocket and play with proper techniques will get him on the field early in his career. His best fit may be defending the slot, but he can easily be moved around depending on the situation.

*In this high ceiling CB class, I think White gets overlooked. While he may not have the top tier measurables (he’s no slouch there) in comparison to the others, White can make the case that he accomplished more than any of these guys over his college career in the SEC from a school known for producing NFL talent at defensive back. White is a “know what you’re getting” prospect. Very solid player that can fit in to any coverage role right away.

Upside Pro Comparison: Casey Hayward – LAC

7 – Fabian Moreau – 6’0/206 – UCLA: 80

Summary: Fifth year senior that came to UCLA as a running back before making a switch to cornerback during his first year. He went on to become a four year starter and earned All Conference honors 3 out of those 4 years, the only not being 2015 where he suffered a season ending foot injury. Moreau is one of the best pure athletes in the entire class. His development is ongoing and if he can reach his upside, he could be the top corner in the class. He has a rare blend of tools and a skill set that appears to be catching up. The lack of feel and instincts is worrisome and could expose him early on, but in the right role he can be a difference maker while he develops.

*Every now and then, you actually see the top tier athlete develop in to a high quality, skilled player. That is Moreau. He’s always been an eye-popping athlete but in 2016 he showed a different level of skills and instincts. He is a nicely built, smooth operator that can still evolve in to an even better player. Very high upside and yes, you guessed it, could be the top guy in this group a few years from now.

Upside Pro Comparison: Patrick Peterson – ARI

8 – Jourdan Lewis – 5’10/186 – Michigan: 79

Summary: Three year starter that, after missing the first 3 games with an injury, capped his career with a 1st Team All Conference nomination, winner of the Big 10 Conference Defensive Back of the Year Award, and Jim Thorpe Award finalist performance. Lewis had an ultra-productive career and seems to be ready for an NFL role week 1. His abilities are best suited to defend the slot because of his seamless transitions out of his breaks and ability to cut off routes. If he gets matched up against bigger receivers, he can be pushed around easily. However his performance inside could be top tier.

*It took 8 guys to find a corner under 6 feet and below a 1st round grade. Lewis, who just missed a 1st round grade in my book, is more than a slot corner. He can play outside as well. I think he is one of the top corners in the class when it comes to playing the ball and maintaining his body control downfield. That can certainly make up for some of the size deficiencies. Lewis is a little under the radar but I think he is almost a sure thing to factor in the league at a high level.

Upside Pro Comparison: Brent Grimes – TB

9 – Adoree Jackson – 5’10/186 – USC: 79

Summary: A four year starter that has as many accolades and awards on his mantle as anyone. Jackson has played all over the field for the Trojans and no matter where he was, he excelled. Jackson will enter the league as a cornerback, where he won the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award and earned All American honors, but his quality tape as a receiver and running back will give NFL coaches some ideas to try out. In addition, the All American track and field star will immediately become one of the league’s top return specialists. Now that he can fully focus on football, Jackson’s arrow is pointing up as much as anyone.

*Watch this kid’s highlight reel and you may wonder why he plays cornerback because he has some big time, legit ability with the ball in his hands. As a CB alone, he may not be graded this high but because of what he can offer on special teams and a special offensive package, he is borderline round 1 for me. He was an accomplished collegiate track and field athlete but now that his training is solely on football, I think you may see an uptick in his skill set as a cover man. Jackson has some holes and lacks some instincts, but he can be a starting corner in the league for sure. If not, you have one of the most dynamic playmakers with the ball in his hands in this class.

Upside Pro Comparison: Robert Alford – ATL

10 – Chidobe Awuzie – 6’0/202 – Colorado: 78

Summary: Four year starter that finished his career as a 1st Team All Pac 12 honoree after being named to the 2nd Team in 2015. Co-recipient of the team’s MVP Award in 2016, as well. The Colorado secondary was among the best in college football this past season and it was Awuzie that led the way. The quick twitched, physical corner can excel from the slot and in most outside coverage responsibilities. He may not have the confidence in his deep speed to man up the NFL’s fastest downfield threats, but everywhere else this kid can be a factor. He plays with an excellent combination of technique, instincts, and quick-twitch reaction. He can play week 1.

*The best tackler and the toughest competitor in this group. Don’t be fooled by the #10 ranking of the group, I think this kid can be a fan favorite and integral piece to a good defense. He may need a specific scheme, one that is more zone based. But I love the way this kid plays and he is a quiet leader that plays as hard as anyone. Smart, instinctive, and quick to react. Someone is going to get a great player here if they put him in the right role.

Upside Pro Comparison: Darrelle Revis – FA

11 – Marlon Humphrey – 6’1/198 – Alabama: 77

Summary: Third year sophomore entry and two year starter. A former high school state champion sprinter and son of former 1st round pick Bobby Humphrey. An overly aggressive, talent-filled cover corner that was among the best players on the best defense in the country. Humphrey is ready to start in the NFL week one and he won’t show an ounce of fear. He is an overly confident, overly aggressive defender. He needs to improve his consistency from a skill ad technique perspective, however. Talent can only take you so far at cornerback. If he can learn to trust his footwork and track the ball better, Humphrey can be a quality starter.

*I wouldn’t go as far as saying I don’t like Humphrey, I just simply believe there is a lot of work to be done. I hate to see that his weaknesses are the in the same place as they were in 2015. He has talent, he has the mindset to play the second toughest position in football, but there are too many inconsistencies with his technique. He has a high ceiling but in such a stacked CB class, I could see him falling deep in to day 2.

Upside Pro Comparison: Stephon Gilmore- NE

12 – Sidney Jones – 6’0/186 – Washington: 77

Summary: Junior entry that started all three years and finished with two straight 1st Team All Pac 12 nominations. Jones came in to 2016 with very high expectations after a breakout sophomore campaign in 2015. The size, speed, and physical style led some to compare to him to former Huskie and current Chiefs star Marcus Peters. Jones isn’t quite on that level, but his upside can scratch that surface. He knows how to play the ball once in the air and he forecasts well. The issues with him are very correctable but they’ve been there for awhile now with little-to-no progress. He needs to clean up vital techniques to the position. If he does, he has star written all over him. If not, he will be a major liability. High risk, high reward.

*Since my report was filed, Jones went through arguably the worst situation imaginable during the pre draft process. He ruptured his Achilles during the Washington Pro Day on a simple cut in DB drills. He will more than likely be out for all of 2017. So anyone that spends on a pick on him will be deferring that selection to next year AND dealing with an injury that is not easy to bounce back from. That said, Jones was a top 5 CB in this class no doubt. The upside is enough and you know what? NYG could be a landing spot for him considering their need at CB at this time next year could be much stronger. If he is there in round 4, it’s an easy decision. Before that….flip of the coin.

Upside Pro Comparison: Josh Norman – WAS

13 – Corn Elder – 5’10/183 – Miami: 77

Summary: Former top tier running back recruit made the move to cornerback his freshman year. Elder has a lot of athletic and style of play traits that can make him a defensive weapon in the league. His issue may be that he is too small for every down outside duty and not quick enough for nickel duty. If he can be put in to the right scheme, Elder will make a team very happy. While the desired measurables aren’t quite there, he has shown he can make up for them with his aggression, toughness, and instincts.

*The first corner in the group that I think purely a slot guy. He has the short area quickness and reads routes as well as anyone. Very instinctive and smart. In addition, Elder can give Awuzie a run for his money as the top tackler in this group and that is always a plus for guys that play the slot.

Upside Pro Comparison: Chris Harris – DEN

14 – Brian Allen – 6’3/215 – Utah: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior that began his career as a wide receiver. After making the switch, Allen started just 13 games over the course of four seasons. The size and speed to go along with his ball skills create a sense of potential and high ceiling here, but at the end of the day is was too easily beaten by receivers that knew that there were doing. He is a long term project .

*I’m likely waiting until day 3 for Allen, as I just don’t see the early impact from this guy and there is a lot of risk associated with a prospect like this. I love the size, speed, and aggression as much as the next guy but he looks overly raw to me at times. A terrible tackler and he gets fooled easily. Gamble worth considering if you have enough short term security at CB.

Upside Pro Comparison: Sean Smith – OAK

15 – Channing Stribling – 6’1/188 – Michigan: 76

Summary: Fourth year senior with a year and a half of starting experience. A former Division I basketball recruit ended his career with a 2nd Team All Big 10 season. Stribling initially comes across as too frail and thin, but it won’t take long to realize he has all the aggression and playing strength a cornerback needs. He is a tough, hard nosed player that will not hesitate to get dirty in oncoming traffic. Stribling showed top tier ball skills and paired with his length, it could make up for a lack of long speed.

*The Michigan defense was so stacked. It took forever to get a hold of all their guys in the scouting process and for no particular reason, Stribling was one of the last guys I really zeroed in on. I was very impressed with how consistently well he played the ball in the air. I love his competitiveness and knack for being in the right place at the right time. I don’t see a high ceiling here because his speed can be beat and he still plays with a light presence at times, but I think he can be a top tier backup that gets on the field in nickel/dime situations.

Upside Pro Comparison: Dre Kirkpatrick – CIN

BEST OF THE REST (16-30)

16 – Jalen Myrick – 5’10/200: 75
17 – Shaquil Griffin – 6’0/194 – Central Florida: 75
18 – Damontae Kazee – 5’10/184 – San Diego State: 75
19 – Ryan Lewis – 5’11/192 – Pittsburgh: 74
20 – Cameron Sutton – 5’11/188 – Tennessee: 74
21 – Teez Tabor – 6’0/201 – Florida: 74
22 – Nate Hairston – 6’0/196 – Temple – 74
23 – Cordrea Tankersley – 6’1/199 – Clemson: 74
24 – Aarion Penton – 5’9/177 – Missouri: 73
25 – JR Nelson – 6’1/187 – Montana: 73
26 – Howard Wilson – 5’11/200 – Houston: 73
27 – William Likely – 5’7/180 – Maryland: 73
28 – Jeremy Clark – 6’3/220 – Michigan: 72
29 – Rasul Douglas – 6’2/209 – West Virginia: 71
30 – Treston Decoud – 6’2/206 – Oregon State: 71

NYG APPROACH

This is the deepest AND most top heavy CB I’ve seen. For any teams looking for secondary help, this is the year to get stocked. Throw in the safety class and you could make the argument this is the best DB class ever. Even though the NYG top three corners can be called the best in the NFL, there is without a doubt room for another guy in there. The position has been hit by injuries every year and we’ve seen in the past that weak backups at corner can ruin a defense. Might as well use one of these picks to stock the shelves for depth and future reasoning. Round 1 is likely out of the question, but after that I think all bets are off. This class is so deep, I’m confident the right value will be there almost every time NYG is on the clock. When you actually take one can be debated but let’s not forget how quickly this position as a whole can get ugly.

Apr 232017
 
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Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (October 15, 2015)

Forrest Lamp – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Podcast of April 21, 2017: With one week to go before the 2017 NFL Draft, BBI’s Mike Siegel chats with veteran draft scout, Dave Te Thomas, of The NFL Draft Report, to talk about the Giants, the draft, and some of his thoughts, observations and tidbits as the clock is ticking down to the draft. Since 1968, Dave Te Thomas has been producing scouting reports on draft prospects for professional football teams, writing articles about the draft and NFL preseason, and appearing on local and national broadcasts across the country.

Apr 212017
 
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Jarrad Davis, Florida Gators (September 17, 2016)

Jarrad Davis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Linebackers

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

For the first time in awhile, it doesn’t come across that NYG is in desperate need of new talent at the LB group. It was getting bad in there for awhile and I have always been critical of the approach that “4-3 linebackers aren’t that important” type approach. NYG hasn’t seen a trio of truly effective LBs in such a long time that they have failed to realize how much better this defense could be with better players at this spot. Keenan Robinson was an important piece to their defensive success and Devon Kennard has been quietly very good. There seems to be a spot up for grabs in the middle, as last year’s BJ Goodson should get a shot. While the starters appear set, there is still a lack of overall talent and depth here. None of them are particularly good pass rushers and there isn’t a playmaker within the group.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Jarrad Davis – 6’2/230 – Florida: 84

Summary: Four year contributor with enough speed and explosion to get anyone excited. Tough hard nosed leader that takes pride in the role of a linebacker. Davis brings the attitude and physical prowess you want in the middle of your defense. His violent presence as a tackler and aggressive nature in pursuit makes him a legit sideline to sideline threat against the run. He has all the range and tackling ability in the world, but Davis will need to show more discipline and awareness in the NFL, however.

*If it weren’t for some durability issues, Davis would be a couple points higher and ultimately end up in the top 6 overall in this class for me. He entered the year as my favorite LB and has since been passed by a couple guys, just to have Davis end up back on top right before the draft. This is an almost-perfect blend of speed, power, quickness, and intelligence. Davis can think AND move his way in to production. Very effective in coverage. Effective blitzer. He is an every down threat that has top tier talent and a blue collar approach. In NYG’s scheme, he would be a perfect weak side fit.

Upside Pro Comparison: CJ Mosley – BAL

2 – Reuben Foster – 6’0/229 – Alabama: 79

Summary: Two year starter that lost about 20 pounds prior to the 2016 season which helped bring his game to another level. The 2016 Butkus Award winner and 1st Team All American proved that he could sustain his elite level power and functional strength at a lighter weight, enabling him to be a guy that never comes out of the game and factors all over the field. Foster has presence, aggression, and reaction that will make a difference on any defense right away. His main concern revolves around shoulder problems he had earlier in his career.

*I like Foster as a player a lot. Incredibly quick twitched, instinctive, explosive, violent. He dropped some weight prior to the season and it was a great move, as his range improved but his power presence remained. How come I have him as a borderline first rounder? The shoulder issue is worrisome. Potentially very worrisome. And there is now a good amount of smoke surrounding him off the field. Lastly, if you really spend time watching all of the Alabama tape, you’ll notice there wasn’t a LB in this class that went untouched more than Foster. There was such an unreal amount of talent on that unit and I hate to say it, but there were weeks where it was easy for Foster to produce. Health and off field stuff aside, Foster could have been around an 81/82 overall. But I don’t see the top 10 talent that most will talk about with him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Lawrence Timmons – MIA

3 – Haason Reddick – 6’1/237 – Temple: 79

Summary: Former high school running back blossomed from defensive end project to a 1st Team All Athletic Conference honors in 2016 after finishing third in the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss. Reddick played a defensive end type role for the Owls, but will likely project as a 4-3 SAM or WILL in the league. His athletic traits ans very solid week at the Senior Bowl lead to the notion that the move shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Reddick has a natural nose for the ball and can beat blockers several ways. He can be a swiss army knife for a creative defensive scheme that produces in any situation multiple ways.

*One of the guys I have spent the most time scouting over the past few months. I didn’t have a great read on him late in the season. Initially I labeled him a day 2 talent but when I saw how well he moved in coverage and in pursuit at the Senior Bowl, I was thinking round 1 for awhile. He is a big time athlete with all of the versatility you want in today’s NFL linebacker. That said, I still think he is a 2nd rounder if you put a gun to my head. I’ve noticed he isn’t overly physical at the point of attack and he doesn’t tackle well. He can be pushed around by big, physical blockers. Gets locked on to and doesn’t quite have that presence I look for in traffic. In the right role, he can be a stud. But you are gonna need to really protect him and try to hide is weaknesses.

Upside Pro Comparison: Thomas Davis – Panthers

4 – Tyus Bowser – 6’3/247 – Houston: 78

Summary: Two year starter that was positioned to break on to the national scene in 2016 before breaking an orbital bone (face), forcing him to miss 5 games. Still, Bowser finished the year with 2nd Team All Conference honors. The movement in traffic and space are both top tier, as he has the phone booth quickness to miss blockers and the long speed to cover tight ends up the seam. His role within the Houston 3-4 defense saw him wear many hats, showing NFL coaches and GMs that he can do it all. Versatility and athletic ability are key for Bowser. Through the roof upside.

*Bowser is a freak athlete that can rush the edge and cover as well as anyone when it comes to the combination of the two skill sets. He can really bend and get under blockers. Outstanding physical traits with a frame that can likely handle more weight. Coaches have every right to get really excited about a player like this. My downfall on him is he doesn’t play overly aggressive and seems hesitant at times. Runs around blockers too much and doesn’t seem willing or effective to really attack a blocker head on. Perhaps that can come with time. I don’t see round 1, but as a round 2 prospect he fits the bill for NYG has been looking to do at OLB for years.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jamie Collins – CLE

5 – TJ Watt – 6’4/252 – Wisconsin: 78

Summary: Fourth year junior. Initially came to Wisconsin as a tight end and redshirted his freshman year. Watt then missed all of 2014 with a knee injury and was limited throughout the 2015 offseason with another injury to his opposite knee. 2016 was his only real full season as a starter for the Badgers. The brother of All-Pro JJ, TJ earned 2nd Team All American and 1st Team All Big 10. His frame and style of play screams 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end as long as he can put on the weight he needs. He is short on talent but as advanced as a college player can be when it comes to technique, smarts, and phone booth-movement. Dark horse prospect.

*I wonder if some 4-3 teams are looking at Watt as a DE. Part of me thinks that is where he should end up, because I think he easily adds 10-15 pounds to his frame. No matter what he ends up doing, he is a guy that I would be very secure with in round 2. He is as good as anyone at defeating blockers and making plays. He can be an extra edge rusher on passing downs and an elite run defender elsewhere. He isn’t a very fluid athlete and I wouldn’t want him in certain coverage roles, but there is a ton to his game that would help the NYG defense. May have to get a little creative here but I feel like NYG has been looking for this kind of player for years.

Upside Pro Comparison: Anthony Barr – MIN

6 – Samson Ebukam – 6’2/240 – Eastern Washington: 78

Summary: Three year starter that steadily improved from athletic freak to football player each year. Earned 3rd Team All American honors in 2016. The hybrid OLB/DE has a unique combination of speed, explosion, and short area power that can give any blocker a handful. His football intelligence and hustle are top notch and the coaches speak volumes about his leadership and character traits. Ebukam isn’t a household name because of where he went to school, but when considering everything he can do, he has to be considered one the highest upside prospects in the class.

*Here you have it. Ebukam is my top sleeper in the draft and I have him graded as a legit 2nd rounder and I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see him outperform both Reddick and Bowser. They are all very similar prospects, yet Ebukam is rarely discussed. Athletically, he tested out as well as any LB in the entire class and on the field this kid is a terror. He mostly rushed the passer but in limited opportunities, he showed natural and easy movement when dropping back. I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here. Combing the talent with his approach, I see a potential star here.

Upside Pro Comparison: Bruce Irvin – OAK

7 – Brooks Ellis – 6’2/240 – Arkansas: 77

Summary: Four year contributor for the Razorbacks that led the team in tackles in both 2015 and 2016 respectively. Ellis won’t jump off the screen athletically, but his ability to almost always be in the right place at the right time covers that weakness for the most part. He can’t fit in to every scheme but at a position where instincts and anticipation trump all, Ellis has enough there to be a quality backup at least.

*You want a smart, reliable, consistent performer in the middle? Ellis is your guy. Nobody is going to confuse him with Luke Kuechly, but Ellis is going to be a solid presence on all three downs in any scheme. He is more athletic than you think and combining that with his quick reads and anticipation, you know this guy is going to rack up the tackles. Not a star but he doesn’t need to be. He will get the job done each week.

Upside Pro Comparison: Chad Greenway – RET

8 – Ben Boulware – 6’0/238 – Clemson: 76

Summary: Fourth year senior. Team captain that has been the signal caller of the Clemson defense for two years. Boulware is an old school, blue collar linebacker that lacks ideal tools but more than makes up for them with his instincts and repeatable techniques. He does all the little things right and can be a major difference maker in any defensive scheme. His role should be best suited inside where he can make the calls and sniff things out. He is not a space player and he won’t be a major factor against the pass. However his value could be through the roof between the tackles.

*While I don’t like this guy the way I liked Chris Borland a few years ago, I do think Boulware is the kind of prospect that can come in year one and lead your team in tackles. He isn’t the same kind of athlete and there is some lack of power presence, but he can simply think his way in to a lot of production. Such a smart player that can play the role of quarterback on your defense. He sniffs plays out with the best of them. He may be a guy that comes off the field in certain situations, but for a 3rd or 4th rounder you could do much worse.

Upside Pro Comparison: Denzel Perryman – LAC

9 – Jalen Reeves-Maybin – 6’0/230 – Tennessee: 75

Summary: Fourth year senior that started for three years, leading the team in tackles in both 2014 and 2015. After missing most of 2016 with a shoulder injury, Reeves-Maybin opted to enter the draft rather than apply for a medical redshirt. Reeves-Maybin is one of the best short area movers in this class. He understands how to use his lack of ideal size to his advantage, shifting through traffic with ease. He is a hard guy to get a hold of and he knows how to finish. Reeves-Maybin will have to prove his shoulder is stable but if all checks out, he could be a weak side starter week 1.

*Interesting prospect here. Reeves-Maybin does look smallish initially, but this guy has an incredibly strong and quick-twitched lower body. That is a nice combination to have. He is an excellent open field tackler and there aren’t many guys that can pursue as well as he does. In addition, we are talking about an excellent cover linebacker and in today’s NFL, this is the kind of guy that can really excel on all three downs.

Upside Pro Comparison: Wesley Woodyard – TEN

10 – Raekwon McMillan – 6’2/240: Ohio State: 75

Summary: Junior entry. Team leader in tackles two years straight. Butkus Award Finalist in 2015 along with 2nd Team All Big 10 honors. Earned a spot on the 1st team in 2016. McMillan is an old school between the tackles force that can own the opposing inside running game. He is very stout and physical downhill player that can make the tough tackles in traffic. His point A to point B burst us underrated, but nobody can say he is a top tier athlete. He needs a specific inside role but in there, he can be a big time difference maker.

*If you are a fan of David Harris from NYJ, you’re gonna have to like McMillan. Very tough and stout in the middle. Can sniff out plays and knows how to finish. He can close that 10-15 yard gap downhill as fast as anyone and when he gets there, watch out. He isn’t a great lateral mover and he does struggles to change direction and adjust his weight. 3-4 teams may have a higher grade on him.

Upside Pro Comparison: David Harris – NYJ

11 – Duke Riley – 6’1/230 – LSU: 75

Summary: One year starter that took full advantage of his opportunity. Riley led the Tigers in tackles and proved he can make plays despite being undersized. His speed and aggression are big time factors. He projects as a weak side-only type but can be a weapon on special teams and eventual starter in the NFL. If Riley is in the right scheme with the right players around him, he can be a force.

*Speed is the name of the game for Riley, as he struggles to make the impact between the tackles and won’t get off a ton of blockers. But get this kid in space and tell him to chase the action, you may have yourself an elite playmaker. He needs to be protected but if you can keep him clean and out of traffic between the tackles, watch out.

Upside Pro Comparison: Kwon Alexander – TB

12 – Zach Cunningham – 6’3/234 – Vanderbilt: 75

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Overlooked high school recruit that evolved in to a two time 1st Team All SEC linebacker, while adding a 1st Team All American honor to his wall. In a league speed and versatility is the name of the game, Cunningham is going to raise a lot of eyebrows. Despite the less than ideal frame for physical play, his ability to play sideline to sideline and run like the wind will potentially be in high demand. Cunningham stood out weekly on a defense with very little talent. He is a playmaker that, if used correctly, can be an immediate impact. There are holes in his game that could be significant in the NFL. High risk, high reward.

*I have never quite seen it with Cunningham. I just hate the slender build and straight-line-only athleticism. Everything want in a LB, Cunningham basically can only project to. He has tools that some others don’t, but he isn’t Barr from MIN. He gets pushed around too much and won’t impact the game between the tackles well enough. You can gamble on his upside, but in round 1 or 2? I say no way.

Upside Pro Comparison: Thurston Armbrister – DET

13 – Jordan Evans – 6’3/232 – Oklahoma: 74

Summary: Three year starter that was second on the team in tackles in both 2014 and 2015 before leading the team in 2016. Two time 2nd Team All Big 12. The leader of the Sooners defense was a big time high school running back as well. His athleticism is more than noteworthy, as his ability gets him involved in the action often. He is a reaction-based player that can beat blockers and ball carriers to a spot, but he has struggled to show he can anticipate running lanes and read blockers. He will need to start off as a special teamer, where he could excel, while he develops the mental side of the game. If he can do that, he has a very high ceiling.

*You have the like the package you are getting with Evans. He is a guy that comes on to your team and immediately becomes the best cover LB in all likelihood. That’s how he can get on the field right away and from there, we’ll see if he can develop in to every down duty. Evans needs to get stronger and tackle better. He is a reaction player rather than an anticipation player, which can always backfire. But I like the upside if we are talking day 3.

Upside Pro Comparison: KJ Wright – SEA

14 – Connor Harris – 5’11/242 – Lindenwood: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior that missed the majority of his true sophomore season with a shoulder injury. The three time team captain is the all time, all-NCAA career tackle leader with a total of 633. His production would have been high at any level, not just Division II. Harris is a smart, instinctive, powerful, fit-into-any-crease type defender that is always around the ball. He was born to play linebacker. His physical limitations will have an impact on his versatility in the NFL, but there is a place for him in most defensive schemes. Harris should not be overlooked. In fact, he should be considered one of the safer picks in the class.

*If you like Boulware, you have to at least Harris a little bit Very similar players when it comes to instincts and reaction. Very similar players when you stack their measurables next to each other. I actually think Harris is better put together and can handle NFL blockers easier. He is an absolute rock. He plays a little stiff and likely needs to be taken off the field more than some of these other guys, but he will be productive in the right role. Coaches love these guys inside.

Upside Pro Comparison: Mychal Kendricks – PHI

15 – Vince Biegel – 6’3/246 – Wisconsin: 73

Summary: Four year contributor for the Badgers, earning a spot on the All Big 10 Football squad twice. Biegel hails from a football family and his passion for the game is obvious. He is a worker bee that relishes his opportunity. He is a limited impact type guy, but it’s safe to assume he can at least fit in as a quality backup as a 4-3 SAM or 3-4 rush ‘backer. Medicals need to be looked in to concerning his foot which has been a recurring issue.

*There are some issues here, mainly with his foot and the fact he essentially played 3-4 OLB in college. He is such a smart player though that understands hustle and reading offenses. Good combination. Better athlete that people think too and if they strike out on the some of the outside guys we talked about above, Biegel is a nice fallback option.

Upside Pro Comparison: Rob Ninkovich – NE

BEST OF THE REST (16-30)

16 – Cole Langer – 6’0/239 – Missouri State: 73
17 – Jayon Brown – 6’0/231 – UCLA: 73
18 – Kendell Beckwith – 6’2/243 – LSU: 73
19 – Alex Anzalone – 6’3/241 – Florida: 72
20 – Anthony Walker – 6’1/235 – Northwestern: 72
21 – Ryan Anderson – 6’2/253 – Alabama: 72
22 – Brandon Bell – 6’1/233 – Penn State: 71
23 – Ukeme Eligwe – 6’2/234 – Georgia Southern: 71
24 – Carroll Phillips – 6’3/243 – Illinois: 70
25 – Steven Taylor – 6’0/228 – Houston: 70
26 – Riley Bullough – 6’2/226- Michigan State: 69
27 – Charmeachealle Moore – 5’11/223 – Kansas State: 69
28 – Ben Gedeon – 6’2/244 – Michigan: 69
29 – Marquel Lee – 6’3/240 – Wake Forest: 69
30 – Tanner Vallejo – 6’1/223 – Boise State: 69

NYG APPROACH

The linebackers are good enough to get the job done for a quality defense. And this may be the first time I have gone in to the draft saying that in quite some time. But in no way am I crossing these guys off the list if the value is right, and that is starting with Jarrad Davis in round 1. I have had my eye on this kid for 2 years now and I am as sure about him as any player in this class. He is going to be a difference maker, a rock for a decade if he stays healthy. He represents everything I want in a LB. Besides him, I can understand the desire for the edge rushing 4-3 guy that can play the run and drop in to coverage. Very hard to find, but if there are a few in this class that can fit that mold. I simply don’t want to use the 23rd pick on any of them because I just don’t see the value grade wise and I think there will be better talent available. Reddick and Foster will likely be gone before I think they are worth taking. But a solid round 2 target could be Watt or Bowser. After that the players are very similar grade wise and it will depend on what you want out of the position. There will be quarterback of the defense types there as well as the athletes with upside. Either way, I think a pick should be used on one. Keep your eye on Ebukam!

Apr 202017
 
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Chris Wormley, Michigan Wolverines (October 29, 2016)

Chris Wormley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Tackles

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

After the departure of Hankins for IND, we can now label this group the significant hole on the team. Last year’s free agent signing Damon Harrison is a Pro Bowl talent that will be locked in for the next few years. Big time player. Next to, and behind, him is a whole lot of nothing. NYG was pretty fortunate last year with Harrison and Hankins playing so many snaps. One injury and thus group becomes one that could lose games. I’m sure NYG will sign a veteran free agent between now and training camp but there is a reason those guys are still available. I don’t see Jay Bromley as a difference maker, although it appears we will find out this year what he’s got.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Chris Wormley – Michigan – 6’5/298: 84

Summary: Fifth year senior, four year letterman. First team All Big 10 selection in 2016. One of the most versatile defensive linemen in this class that could fit in to any scheme. Wormley has the size, power, and flexibility combination that simply won’t come around very often. His NFL-ready technique and high on-field IQ will get him on the field early and often. He is an assignment-based player that may not make a lot of plays on his own, but he will be an-ever reliable presence that can be moved around based on the situation and matchups.

*Like Demarcus Walker, some are saying Wormley can be considered in round 2. For me, he is a very real option for the pick at #23 overall. Wormley is a freak and nobody talks about it. Baffling. This guy has the frame you dream for and lower body flexibility that you won’t see in most defensive ends. He is a naturally big, powerful presence that can play assignment football exceptionally well. He can do multiple things for a defense, including shifting outside to LDE in certain situations. First class individual that pays attention to details. You know what you are getting from a guy like this.

Upside Pro Comparison: Richard Seymour – RET

2 – Caleb Brantley – 6’3/307 – Florida: 80

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Two year starter that was more disruptive than the stat sheet suggests. Brantley lost about 15-20 pounds prior to his senior season and showed he can be a disruptive three technique in the league. He is very quick and borderline hard to touch for some interior blockers. His hustle and short area pop can be a difference maker in some 4 man fronts. His limitations as a stay at home, space and blocker eater defender are apparent, though.

*Brantley used to play heavier He was 315+ in 2015 and played a little more of a run stuffing role. He can do that well, but the 10-15 pounds he lost prior to 2016 made a huge difference in his burst off the snap. He is a really disruptive guy but also shows the staying power to handle double teams and keep linebackers clean. He is a true every down threat that will contribute early. There is a strong chance he goes in round 1.

Upside Pro Comparison: Kawann Short – CAR

3 – Dalvin Tomlinson – 6’3/310 – Alabama: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior. Tore one ACL in 2011 and the other in 2013. One year of starting experience for the Tide, but has been a steady rotational contributor since 2014. Tomlinson is not your average kid off the field. He’s been through more adversity than most, losing both parents before he turned 18. He is very accomplished in the classroom and actually had an opportunity to go to Harvard, but chose Alabama instead. The former three-time state champion wrestler has the ideal size and power to play inside in any scheme. While he may be limited, his ability to control inside gaps will be there right away.

*One of the more interesting and impressive kids in the class when it comes to the off the field story. Tomlinson doesn’t have standout physical traits but you know you are getting a guy that will get the job done. While he is a different sized player than Linval Joseph, I feel he will have a similar impact early in his career. Just a reliable presence inside that makes guys around him better with the potential to blossom in to more. Really watch some Alabama tape and you’ll see him do things you didn’t think he could do. 2nd round is where I strongly consider him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ahtyba Rubin – SEA

4 – Montravius Adams – 6’4/304 – Auburn: 78

Summary: Four year contributor, three year starter. First Team All SEC and Second Team All American in his senior season. Adams was always a talented player but he didn’t take in coaching very well until his final offseason. That resulted in him being a consistent week to week dominant force rather than the occasional flash in a pan. His experience in multiple fronts and roles will only help his overall outlook around the league. He can be a factor in any defensive scheme. His man strength is already here and despite not having ideal measurables, Adams will be a more-than-solid player in the NFL.

*From early on in the season, Adams has been a favorite of mine. He was a fun dude to watch, pure gamer. He played the role of bully week in, week out and purely relished it. Adams doesn’t have top tier talent or tools, but he gets off the ball looking to physically dominate his opponent. Really good assignment guy that will also make plays far away from the point of attack. Hustler that is constantly on. The light switch turned on for him in 2016 and it put him in to day 32 territory and I would strongly consider him in the 2nd.

Upside Pro Comparison: Cedric Thornton – DAL

5 – Carlos Watkins – 6’3/309 – Clemson: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior. Missed all of 2013 because of injuries sustained in a fatal car accident and didn’t make much of an impact in 2014. He started to blossom in 2015, earning 2nd Team All ACC honors but really turned it on his senior season. The 1st Team All ACC and 2nd Team All American showed what he can do on any down, any situation. He presence in the middle was too much for almost every lone opponent he faced up against. Not only did blockers have a hard time moving him, but he showed he could make an impact behind the line of scrimmage. He may not win athletically and there are technique flaws, but Watkins is a brute-force champion. He is a difference maker.

*If a team is looking for a guy that can press the pocket and occupy double teams, Watkins may be their guy. Even though I have a borderline day 2/3 grade on him, I think he can be a 2nd rounder because his specialty is near top tier. Watkins was simply stronger and more powerful than everyone he played against. He isn’t a dynamic athlete and there are some long term injury red flags, but this guy is a plug and play force that can compliment a pass rushing DT very well.

Upside Pro Comparison: Chris Baker – TB

6 – Larry Ogunjobi – 6’3/305 – Charlotte: 75

Summary: Four year starter and the poster boy for a program that was brought in to college football his freshman season. He has been the team’s top player from the beginning, never missing a start and repeatedly producing behind the line of scrimmage. The 1st Team All Conference USA honoree has excellent short area quickness and easy change of direction. In the right role he can be a solid rotational tackle. He shows some serious pass rush potential but won’t be an every down player.

*I wasn’t really turned on to this kid until the Senior Bowl, actually. He immediately jumped out to me during the practices and I found out some guys were talking day 2 on him. I’m not quite there with him, but I’m close. He moves really well off the snap and I think there is still some rawness to his game that a quality coach and situation can really work with.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jay Ratliff – FA

7 – Ryan Glasgow – 6’3/302 – Michigan: 74

Summary; Fifth year senior. 2nd team all Big Ten in 2016. Brother, Ryan, is a starting guard for the Lions. After missing some time in 2015 with a torn pectoral muscle, Galsgow came back strong and won Michigan’s Defensive Lineman of the Year award. He is a blue collar, dirty work guy that will play to his assignment and make a lot of hustle plays He may be a little short on talent, but he can be part of a rotation in most schemes.

*You know those prospects that you really like, through the grading process you can’t really justify a high grade? Guys that you know will impact the team they are drafted by and will out-play several plays drafted head of them? That is Glasgow. He doesn’t have a ton of talent and he won’t ‘wow’ you, but he is such a steady, consistent blue collar type. Draft him and at worst you have a #3 DT that will play his heart out when a starter needs a blow.

Upside Pro Comparison: Nick Hayden – CLE

8 – Nazair Jones – 6’5/304 – North Carolina: 74

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Football career was almost ended his junior year of high school, as he suffered from complex regional pan syndrome. Under the radar high school recruit that managed his disease and gained over 40 pounds in his redshirt year. Jones is a naturally gifted player that has a high ceiling. He proved he can be a disruptive interior force but needs to clean up his technique in time.

*For what it’s worth, I’ve been told Jones is a guy NYG has zeroed in on. When? Not sure. I would imagine the round 3-4 area. He fits the profile of what they have been chasing off the street lately and what they have drafted in the past. Tall, long, and a frame that can handle more weight with ease. Jones is raw but when he’s on, he can be very hard to move. I’m not sure I see a starter type, but you can’t deny the tools and upside.

Upside Pro Comparison: Michael Brockers – LAR

9 – Malik McDowell – 6’6/295 – Michigan State: 73

Summary: Third year junior entry. 1st Team All Big 10 defender in 2016 despite missing 3 games with an ankle injury. Has seen starting experience at DT and DE. Freakish physical traits and abilities that can take over games for stretches but marked down by inconsistency. McDowell is a gifted athlete that, when playing hard, can dominate. His speed, quickness, and aggression off the snap is a weapon that any team could use along their line. However his motor isn’t always on and the technique issues can make him a very beatable player. High upside, low floor prospect.

*I’ll be the first to tell you this is a guy that has first round talent and could be a major factor in the league. At his size, his movement off the ball is rare and when he has everything on, he can slip through small creases and really disrupt a passing game. However his inconsistency from an effort point of view really bothers me and when he’s not on, he can absolutely kill a defense. He needs to clean up a lot of techniques and I’ve been told his interviews were among the worst. Immature but woefully talented.

Upside Pro Comparison: DeForest Buckner – SF

10 – Jaleel Johnson – 6’3/316 – Iowa: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior, two year starter. Named to the First Team All Big 10 team after a strong 2016 performance. Johnson shows solid one-gap penetration as a pass rusher. His 7.5 sacks were among the nation’s leaders from interior defensive linemen. Johnson shows flashes of dominance that can wreck havoc from the inside. He has a quick first step and developed hand moves that can prevent blockers from gaining inside position. He will need to work on play-to-play stoutness and awareness before he can be considered an every down player, however.

*Here is another role-guy that could warrant a higher draft position if a team is looking for an extra stout guy for their interior. Johnson stands out as a guy that won’t be pushed back. He is always at the point of attack and he showed more promise as a pass rusher in 2016. I think he has a high floor.

Upside Pro Comparison: Brandon Williams – BAL

11 – Charles Walker – 6’2/310 – Oklahoma: 73

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Did not start until 2016 but he was still a 2nd team All Big 12 player in 2015, as he proved to be a penetrating force that could be moved inside/outside. Walker only played in 4 games in 2016 before suffering a concussion. In a somewhat controversial move, Walker opted to not return for the rest of the season despite being recovered because he wanted to prep for his NFL career. Walker doesn’t have a ton of tape to show scouts and coaches, so teams will be forced in to projecting him more so than others. He can fit in to any scheme.

*What I like about Walker is that you can pretty much do anything you want with him. He is a very solid, very versatile presence that can expose different matchup problems. The lack of experience has to worry anyone at least a little, and there seems to be some smoke off the field with him. He’s a major mystery but one with a big potential reward.

Upside Pro Comparison: Corey Peters – ARI

12 – Tanzel Smart – 6’1/296 – Tulane: 73

Summary: Three year starter. Two time 1st team all American Conference selection. Can use his low to the ground frame and initial quickness to his advantage consistently against blockers that have a hard time bending well. Smart may not be the most physically imposing player on the field, but he can make a difference as a rotational tackle. He is a hard guy to lock up at times and knows what to do when he is free within the tackle box.

*Some smaller DTs play to their size very well without losing out too much on presence. Smart is one of those guys. He can be borderline annoying for some of the more sizable blockers in the league. He has powerful legs and a quick first step. In addition he has some wrestler in him, meaning he fully understands leverage and angles to take advantage of a blocker that won’t bend well. Smart is a rotational guy at best but one that can make a difference.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jerrell Casey – TEN

13 – Isaac Rochell – 6’4/280 – Notre Dame: 72

Summary: Three year starter for the Irish and has played multiple roles along the defensive front. Team captain in 2016. Rochell recovered from an offseason back injury leading up to 2016 and didn’t get a lot of strength work. It appears that may still be his downfall. He has power off the snap but lacks the mass and strength to factor post-engagement. The tools and natural ability are there, but there is a lot of physical and skill development that need to be done.

*At his size, Rochell needs to be a better pass rusher if he is going to make a high grade. I do like his style, he does a lot of little things right and he has a very heavy pair of hands. He can stifle guys. But he isn’t a very powerful guy and he may be too much of a tweener to consider using anything more than a day 3 pick on him, more likely towards the 5th/6th round. There are better fits around the league for him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Mitch Unrein – CHI

14 – Deangelo Brown – 6’0/312 – Louisville: 71

Summary: Fifth year senior. Missed 2013 with an Achilles injury. Brown will be overlooked initially by any because he doesn’t have the ideal measurables. However after watching what he can do on a consistent basis when it comes to winning the line of scrimmage and doing a lot of dirty work, Brown can be viewed as a difference maker. He is a nightmare to block because of his elite playing strength and extremely low center of gravity. He may not be an every down player, but he is a guy that forces the offense to game plan around.

*Once again, Brown as an overall DT won’t grade out very high on anyone’s board. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take him until the guys above are gone. As a short term run stuffer, Brown is among the best in this class. He isn’t a guy you want on the field for a long time, as his conditioning is poor and his pass rush skills are below average. But as a guy that sits over the center and creates a new line of scrimmage, Brown is a difference maker. If you need a run defending presence, Brown can be worth taking early day 3.

Upside Pro Comparison: Brandon Mebane – LAC

15 – Ralph Green III – 6’5/315 – Indiana: 71

Summary: Fifth year senior. A raging force inside with the mindset of a bully, Green can make an immediate impact as a rotational defender. His ability to fire off the snap and deliver a violent blow can be used in any scheme. If he wants to be a mainstay however, he needs to show more discipline on and off the field. If he can improve technique, Green has the tools to be a starter.

*If he checks out OK off the field, NYG is going to like this guy He fits the profile of what they have been going after at DT lately. Big, mean, physical. He occupies a lot of space and multiple blockers. He was one of the best players at the Shrine Game. He can be a solid backup that can get on the field in short running situations right away.

Upside Pro Comparison: Alan Branch – NE

BEST OF THE REST (16-25)

16 – Jarron Jones – 6’5/315 – Notre Dame: 71
17 – Grover Stewart – 6’4/347 – Albany State: 70
18 – Eddie Vanderdoes – 6’3/301 – UCLA: 70
19 – Josh Tupou – 6’3/353 – Colorado: 70
20 – Vincent Taylor – 6’3/310 – Oklahoma State: 69
21 – Davon Godchaux – 6’4/299 – LSU: 68
22 – Phil Ivie – 6’3/301 – Florida: 68
23 – Nick James – Mississippi State: 6’4/328: 67
24 – Stevie Tu’ikolovatu – 6’1/350 – USC: 66
25 – Cole Langer – 6’1/314 – South Dakota State: 65

NYG APPROACH

As I said earlier, this is the one glaring hole on the roster and I think there needs to be a sense of urgency here. Obviously I am not saying to reach for a guy and neglect the grading process, but because of how the DT spot was approached this offseason, some of the NYG’s cards are out on the table. They will need to find a guy that can contribute in 2017. With that said, it doesn’t need to be an every down threat and considering how much easier it is to move a DE inside on passing downs, I would lead towards bringing in a run defender with one of the first 3-4 picks. Some names I am looking at are Wormley, Tomlinson, Watkins, Brown, and Johnson.

Apr 192017
 
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Myles Garrett, Texas A&M Aggies (October 8, 2016)

Myles Garrett – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Ends

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

With the two bookends locked up for the long term, NYG appears to be mostly set at the position. They have young backups that have shown flashes in limited opportunities but is it enough to neglect the position as a whole? Odighizuwa and Okwara are tools-rich but at the end of the day, they haven’t proven much. Kerry Wynn is a hybrid DE/DT that can easily be replaced, but he does make an impact on specials. With the amount of pass rushers this defense tries to get on the field on 3rd downs, you could make the argument that there is a need for another young, fresh pass rusher.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Myles Garrett – 6’5/262 – Texas A& M: 92

Summary: Third year junior entry. Unanimous All American. Initially called the next Von Miller but will likely finish the grading process regarded higher. If you manufactured an edge defender in a factory it would look and move like Garrett. His tool set is matched with a developed skill set that led to 48.5 tackles for loss and 32.5 sacks over his three-year career. Garrett is widely considered the top prospect in this class and will be a high impact edge defender day one.

*Not much else to say with this kid. He is as talented and possesses as much upside as any defensive prospect I’ve seen. The ability is through the roof and he’s only going to get bigger and stronger. If I had to discuss something negative with him, it would be the fact that he was hampered by lower body injuries a few times and it is a result of not protecting his legs. He can get a little lackadaisical out there and go through the motions. That won’t fly in the NFL. Whatever, this kid needs to be the #1 pick in the draft.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jadeveon Clowney – HOU

2 – Solomon Thomas – 6’3/273 – Stanford: 88

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Former fie star recruit evolved in to a one man wrecking crew for the Cardinal defensive line. He earned 1st Team All Pac 12 honors in 2016, leading the team with 15 tackles for loss. A plus-plus run defender that shows enormous upside as an interior pass rusher, Thomas has the look of a guy that can be moved around the line to exploit matchups. His best role may be in a 3-4 scheme at defensive end, but his style of play can be used all over. A creative defensive mind could do wonders with him.

*Man I fell in love with this kid in October. Part of me knew back then it was foolish to think he could fall in to the NYG draft plans, and that will be the case. Thomas is actually in the running for #2 overall from what I have heard. He is the ideal outside/inside guy that can take advantage of matchups. He is extremely quick and powerful and plays the game like a pro already with his techniques and awareness. Thomas will work his tail off 24/7/365 for the team that hires him. He might be a special player.

Upside Pro Comparison: Lamaar Houston – CHI

3 – Jonathan Allen – 6’3/286 – Alabama: 85

Summary: Fourth year senior that ended his career with a bang, winning All American honors as well as both the 2016 Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski Awards. In a league where matchups are constantly trying to be exploited by defensive coordinators, Allen can be a fit in to any scheme. His short area quickness, power, and overall awareness can win most one on one situations. He can do the dirty work but also get plenty done behind the line of scrimmage. Allen is not a traditional edge rusher or interior defender, thus he shouldn’t be treated as one. With the right coach, Allen can be a star.

*I graded Allen out at both DE and DT and he ended up with an 84 at both, so you can put him in either. Allen needs to be watched from start to finish in a game numerous times to get a true appreciation. His ability to move inside and out and be equally effective is something every defensive coordinator wants. He can fill two desired roster spots by himself, very rare. Allen won’t wow anyone with athletic ability and I wonder if it will cause him to drop a little. If there is one guy that I could see dropping out of the top 15, it is him. NYG would be a perfect landing spot for him if that somehow happened.

Upside Pro Comparison: Malik Jackson – JAC

4 – Demarcus Walker – 6’4/280 – Florida State: 84

Summary: Four year senior that started games every season of his career. Capped it off with an All American campaign in 2016, finishing second in the nation with 16 sacks. Walker’s impact was felt both inside and outside, as the FSU coaching staff loved to move him around to exploit matchups and use his high on-field IQ to disrupt the opposing offense. Walker may not have a true every down position, but in a scheme that likes to move guys around, his potential is sky high. He may not thrive as well if someone puts him in one spot every down.

*A very similar version to what we see in Allen. Early in the year, Walker was put on my list of guys that I wanted for NYG. He has some of the most dominating tape of all the defensive linemen line in the class. He had stretches where no lone blocker, guard or tackle, could stick to him. Walker can beat guys so many different ways and the attention to detail is what will make him a productive player in the league. His arsenal is huge. Some say NYG should look at him in round 2. Well I think they should be looking at him in round 1.

Upside Pro Comparison: Derrick Morgan – TEN

5 – Jordan Willis – 6’5/250 – Kansas State: 84

Summary: Three year starter and team captain. Lauded for his intangibles by long time Head Coach Bill Snyder. Winner of the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2016. Willis does a lot of the little things right and his top tier intangibles are what every coach wants to work with. He playing strength and power presence are a notch below NFL caliber right now. His relentless pursuit of the ball and ability to get to the action consistently can get him on the field, however. In time he will need to show strength and size gains to hack it as an every down player in the 4-3 scheme. As a 3-4 outside rusher, his talent may not be enough to warrant starting roles.

*Like Walker, Willis is a guy I think NYG should be looking at with the 23rd pick. His upside is bigger, as I think he is a guy that will add 15+ pounds to his frame pretty quickly. Willis is such an all around, diversely talented defender that also carries all the intangibles you want in a young player. I think this would be a nice stop for him because he won’t be forced in to action right away. Let him add some weight to take on NFL blockers and refine some moves, and in time his presence will be felt. Remember, a third DE is borderline vital to a defense’s success.

Upside Pro Comparison: Demarcus Ware – RET

6 – Derek Barnett – 6’3/259 – Tennessee: 83

Summary: Third year junior entry. Only player in SEC history with three straight 10 sack seasons. 29 of his 33 career sacks came against SEC opponents. Barnett takes over games for stretches and seems unblockable at times. His hand power and lower body strength consistently give him the initial advantage over blockers and he can finish them in multiple ways. Barnett won’t win any awards in workouts nor does he look the part of your typical top tier defensive end prospect. He lacks the length and speed, but his on-field IQ and well-developed technique can make up for any physical shortcomings that he may have. He is a consistent three-down threat that shows passion and fire for the game. He will find ways to impact the game weekly.

*If any f you have kids that play football, show them some Barnett tape. He plays the game as hard as anyone from start to finish each week. He is short on tools and talent when it comes to comparisons to the other top guys in this class, but he gets the most out of himself. A case can be made that this kid is going to struggle against the sheer size and speed of NFL tackles. Effort helps, but we are talking about different breeds of pass blockers in the league. Even with that in mind, Barnett is a guy worth looking at should he fall in to the Giants lap.

Upside Pro Comparison: Terrell Suggs – BAL

7 – Tanoh Kpassagnon – 6’7/289 – Villanova – 78

Summary: Fifth year senior. Top tier intangibles and off field intelligence with an educational background that is rare. On the field, Kpassagnon showed steady improvement throughout all five years at Villanova. After tearing his MCL in 2014, the light clicked and he was named to the 1st Team All Colonial Athletic Conference Team. In 2016, he took it to another level and was named an FCS All American. His blend of tools and intangibles don’t come around often. Plain and simple, he may be a risk but he offers a level of upside that very few do in this entire class at a premium position.

*It’s hard not to fall in love with this kid when you initially watch him. He is a very rare prospect. The tools are top tier, his intangibles are there, and he had some dominant stretches at the Senior Bowl. If he can take in NFL coaching and strengthen his core up a bit, he’ll be a difference maker. I still think there is an outside shot at him sneaking in to round 1 because of he hits the upside, watch out.

Upside Pro Comparison: Carlos Dunlap – CIN

8 – Daeshon Hall – 6’6/260 – Texas A& M: 78

Summary: Four year contributor that made a full time position move from outside linebacker to defensive end in 2015. Hall still has some rawness to his game but the tools and ability cannot be overlooked. He has some of the best natural talent and overall upside in the entire class. His strength needs to catch up to his weight gain but when it does, every other trait is ready to go. Hall has uncanny bend-ability and straight line explosion, making him a nightmare for any blocker. His versatility as an inside-outside rusher could really get a defensive coordinator excited. Enormous upside.

*I’ve been back and forth on Hall a few times. Whenever I would scout Garrett, I kept noting that the guy on the other side of the line was quite the tools-rich prospect himself. They looked like two NFL DEs playing against college kids. Upon further review, I noticed that Hall lacked a physical presence when engaged with blockers. He didn’t get much push and struggled to disengage from quality players. I really saw this at the Senior Bowl. Re-watching some of his game tapes I noticed some of the same things. His talent and upside are high, but I wish I saw some more physical play from him. This is a guy NYG will have a high grade on.

Upside Pro Comparison: Michael Johnson – CIN

9 – Taco Charlton – Michigan – 6’6/272: 76

Summary: Charlton was a rotational, situational player up until his senior season. He was a late bloomer but took full advantage of his opportunities as a senior, finishing third in the Big Ten with 10 sacks, earning 1st Team All Conference honors. It’s hard to believe that a player with this tool set took this long to make the impact. His triangle numbers are some of the best in the class and the skill set is on the way up. The upside here is enormous and he could see more progress than most, as his uptick has only just begun.

*One year starters always have to worry you, but there were a few stretches during the season where I was going to have Charlton with the top 3-4 guys in the class at DE. If you are looking at these guys in pads and watching them get off the ball, Charlton has the goods. He looks like JPP and even showed some flashes of playing like him as well. There is some information that he wasn’t a hard worker, wasn’t very coachable. Little bit of a red flag but at some point you have to give in to the upside he presents.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jason Pierre-Paul – NYG

10 – Ifeadi Odenigbo – Northwestern – 6’3/258: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior that was forced in to a redshirt n 2012 because of a shoulder injury. Over the next three seasons, Odenigbo was a pass rush specialist that showed flashes, but he never quite took over every down duties. He added 15 pounds prior to his senior season and broke out, finishing 2nd in the Big 10 with 12 sacks. There is a blend of strength, quickness, and pro-caliber technique here that coaches will love when scouting him. He has day 2 potential.

*It took me awhile to get around to Odenigbo, as he never quite stood out when I scouted Anthony Walker (LB). But as the pre-draft process transpired, I noticed a guy that was very controlling of blockers and athletic enough to out-move his opponents. He is a very smart, very effective every down player. He looks like a solid rotational DE that can evolve in to a starter.

Upside Pro Comparison: Olivier Vernon – NYG

11 – Takkarist McKinley – UCLA – 6’2/250: 75

Summary: Two year starter for the Bruins after spending a year in junior college then a year as a backup. Earned 1st Team All Pac 12 honors in 2016 after finishing second in the conference in both tackles for loss and sacks. High upside prospect that shows glimpses of tools that are tough to come by. McKinkley is a plus-straight line athlete that has some of the best speed of all pass rushers in the class in addition to the strength to play a stout role against the run. A true every down impact type player. There is a skill set that needs to be developed though, as he shows several inconsistencies from a technique point of view. He needs to prove he can stay healthy, as well.

*He is a hot name but I think his better fit is in the 3-4 scheme. I don’t think he is a guy that will come in and make the every down impact as a 4-3 DE, nor do I think he warrants a high pick as a specialty player. He has some good get off and uses leverage to turn the edge, but he is a very beatable player. He’ll be gone before I would consider him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Demarcus Lawrence – DAL

12 – Derek Rivers – 6’4/248 – Youngstown State: 74

Summary: Three time 1st Team All Missouri Valley Conference defender. Leaves Youngstown State as the program’s career sack leader with 38.5. Rivers is a high upside prospect but will need time to mature his body. He needs more weight and strength so that he can deal with NFL tackles and avoid simply getting locked on to upon contact. There is a combination of tools and skills here, however, that is difficult to find. His ability to play low, fast, quick, and explosive can make a tackle think twice about being a step late out of his stance. Rivers is a top notch kid that will bring a chip on his shoulder in to the league. 3-4 teams will especially be interested.

*Again, a guy that needs to be graded much higher if you are a team looking for a 3-4 OLB. Rivers isn’t the ideal fit for NYG but this is a guy that plays more physical than his size but also has the short area burst to put any blocker on his heels. This is one of my favorite early day 3 options but recently heard some teams have a top 32 overall grade on him. I can see why, but very dependent on scheme.

Upside Pro Comparison: Whitney Mercilus – HOU

13 – Tim Williams – 6’4/244 – Alabama: 74

Summary: Played four seasons for Nick Saban, really contributing for his final two. 2nd Team All American in 2016 and was the top edge rushing threat for the nation’s top defense. Williams has the straight line burst and agility to make him a nightmare for tackles to get their hands on. He showed that he is more than an athlete in 2016, however. His rush move repertoire took a step up as he diversified his approach to reaching the passer. His ideal fit would be a 3-4 rush linebacker. The drug and gun issues are major red flags however, thus he will have a lot to answer in the pre-draft process.

*I had a higher grade on Williams, but point blank this guy is gonna have trouble staying away from failed drug tests. I hope I’m wrong because he has the kind of talent every team, no matter the scheme, is looking for on the edge. He can burst and bend with the best in this class and we aren’t talking about a string bean. Williams was one of the most powerful lower body lifters at Alabama. He can be a big time impact player in the right role if he stays clean.

Upside Pro Comparison: Bruce Irvin – OAK

14 – Ejuan Price – 5’11/241 – Pittsburgh: 73

Summary: Sixth year senior. Began his career as an inside linebacker but then missed serious time with multiple chest and back injuries. He missed the entire 2012 and 2014 seasons, respectively. After a move to defensive end, Price became one of the most productive defenders in the country over the past two seasons. He ended up on multiple All American teams in 2016 in addition to two straight 1st Team All SEC placements. Price will be overlooked by many because he lacks some of the “vital” tools. However he is OCD about his technique and understands how both mentally and physically beat a blocker. He is a nightmare for tackles to handle. There are lot of tricks up his sleeve and he understands how and when to use him.

*I don’t think I have ever graded a sub 6-foot defensive higher than the UDFA tier. But I’ve seen Price as much as any prospect in the class I think he is probably the most consistent player on this list.. Sure, there will be limitations and he may struggle to be an every down player, but for where you can get him in the draft and what he can do in specific situations, I think he is worth looking hard at day 3. Price is powerful, hard to get a hold of, and incredibly advanced when it comes to pass rush techniques. I can see a lot of production with him if he lands in the right spot. 4-3 DE may not be that spot, but I wouldn’t hesitate to give him hard look.

Upside Pro Comparison: James Harrison – PIT

15 – Tarrell Basham – 6’4/269 – Ohio: 73

Summary: Was having a very solid career until he really blossomed as a senior, winning MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in addition to setting Ohio’s all time career sack record with 29.5. Basham has a lot of tools and skills, in addition on-field aggression, that every team wants in their pass rush repertoire. He needs to develop certain vital components, namely agility and flexibility, before he can be labeled a difference maker in the NFL. His top tier intangibles, glimpses of dominant tape, and a solid Senior Bowl week should give the notion he is heading in that direction.

*There were some whispers early in the pre draft process that Basham was going to be a first rounder. Those talks have been tempered but I still think he will end up in the second day. I’m not as high n him, as he really just beat up on mediocre talent. Some of the tools are there but when you put him on the field as the other legit prospects, he looks pretty average. I think he is a solid option for a rotational defensive end.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ryan Kerrigan – WAS

BEST OF THE REST (15-30)

15 – Dawuane Smoot – 6’3/265 – Illinois: 73
16 – Hunter Dimick – 6’3/272 – Utah: 72
17 – Charles Harris – 6’3/253 – Missouri: 72
18 – Carl Lawson – 6’2/261 – Auburn: 72
19 – Trey Hendrickson – 6’4/266 – Florida Atlantic: 72
20 – Deatrich Wise Jr – 6’5/273 – Arkansas: 69
21 – Fadol Brown – 6’4/276 – Ole Miss: 68
22 – Josh Carraway – 6’3/242 – TCU: 68
23 – Keionta Davis – 6’4/270 – Chattanooga: 68
24 – Al-Quadin Muhammed – 6’3/253 – Miami: 68
25 – Bryan Cox – 6’3/265 – Florida: 68
26 – Collin Bevins – 6’6/285 – Northwest Missouri State: 67
27 – Garret Sickels – 6’3/261 – Penn State: 67
28 – Ken Ekanem – 6’3/257 – Virginia Tech: 66
29 – Tashawn Bower – 6’5/250 – LSU: 66
30 – Avery Moss – 6’3/264 – Youngston State – 66

NYG APPROACH

I am split on what NYG should do with the position. Part of me says they have their two starters locked in long term, they have upside-based, talented backups and a guy that can move around a bit. With that in mind, use their picks to build other areas of their roster that lack depth. But man, I look at this DE class and I see so much talent that I want on this roster. There are a handful of guys that bring the kind of versatility that Spags loves to use on passing downs. I ask myself the question, if one of the starters goes down with an injury, what’s the outlook? I have a negative perception at that point and because of that, I think NYG can look for the DE value at any point in the draft and if its right, go for it.

Apr 182017
 
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Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (October 15, 2015)

Forrest Lamp – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Guards/Centers

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

As I said in my OT preview, serious resources have been put in to this group. When it comes to the interior guys, Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg were 1st and 2nd round picks respectively. The former will be a free agent next offseason and the latter has been more down than up so far in his career. At right guard, John Jerry was brought back on a 3-year deal but with that said, it’s an easy contract for the team to get out of after one season. As I said when he was signed, I think the signing of DJ Fluker to a one year deal had more RT intentions as Bobby Hart isn’t a guy you want in the starting lineup. The long term future of the interior is very much up in the air and you could make the argument none of these guys will be here next year. Pugh is worth keeping around but the contracts guards have been getting free agency have to make you think.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Forrest Lamp – 6’4/309 – Western Kentucky: 84

Summary: Fifth year senior that started all four years. Has been their left tackle almost from the beginning of his career, capping it off with two straight First Team All Conference USA nominations. Lamp will likely have to move inside at the next level, where his size won’t be as much of an issue. His style of play may not be ideally suited in there because of a lack of moving power, but he proved against some of the best competition college football had to offer that he can simply get it done. Maybe never a star, but Lamp will be a solid starting caliber interior lineman for a long time.

*There may not have been an OL that performed better against Alabama than Lamp all year, and I mean that. He dominated Jonathan Allen, a guy that is destined to be a top 10 pick. His body control and consistency are as impressive as it gets in this draft class. Upside? Well he may not be an All Pro type, but I think he is as safe as you will find at the position. Can he shift outside in a pinch? I think so but I believe you are drafting this guy to be a rock inside for 10 years. NYG should consider him at 23.

Upside Pro Comparison: Zack Martin – DAL

2 – Cam Robinson – 6’5/328 – Alabama: 83

Summary: Junior entry. Nick Saban’s first ever true freshman full time starter at left tackle in 2014 never looked back and ended his career with unanimous All American Honors in addition to being the winner of the Outland Trophy (Nation’s top lineman) and Jacobs Blocking Trophy (SEC’S top lineman) respectively. If he can shore up some lower body technique issues, he is a top grade starter in the NFL. There could be some debate he is better suited for guard at the next level, but either way he is an immediate upgrade to almost every offensive line in football.

*The debate with Robinson is OT or OG and after all the hours I’ve spent on him, I still don’t have a hard answer. In terms of NYG, this is what I think. He is worth considering at #23 and he could be a week 1 starter at RG. I think NYG fans underrate Jerry but I’ve always thought Robinson has the upside of an All Pro, yes All Pro OG. He has things that NEED to be cleaned up though and I did take a few points off his grade for the gun issue last year. From all accounts I’m told he’s not a bad kid, but the gun stuff is almost no tolerance for me. Anyway, if Robinson dominates at guard, you’re set. But I do still believe there is high upside here at left tackle should NYG be looking for a new one in 2018. His balance in space is worrisome, but it can be corrected I think. That said, I wouldn’t draft him in round 1 to start at LT in 2017. RG? Sure.

Upside Pro Comparison: Kelechi Osemele – OAK

3 – Dion Dawkins – 6’4/314 – Temple: 81

Summary: Three year starter, mainly at left tackle, that ended his career with a First Team All-American Athletic Conference season. Dawkins has a little bit of raw still found in small areas of his game, but he has steadily improved each season of his career. Showing that he is very coachable and still very much on the rise. He has a natural and always-present level of power that you simply cannot teach. His future is likely at guard or right tackle in the league. If his technique continues to improve, he is a quality starter with some dominant traits.

*Some people see a left tackle here, I don’t. I think he is too sloppy and gets too top heavy. I think Dawkins has the upside of a Pro Bowl guard, year in and year out. What I want to see is a guy that has more consistency from quarter to quarter, as almost every one of my game notes have remarks concerning his difference in technique within the same contest. Conditioning may be his biggest issue and that can be corrected. Power, coachability, and short area athletic ability are all NFL-ready. Dawkins is another guy that could compete for a starting job week 1 at RG for NYG. And yes, there is some RT potential here as well, although I think his best fit is inside.

Upside Pro Comparison: Joel Bitonio – CLE

4 – Isaac Asiata – 6’3/335 – Utah: 80

Summary: Sixth year senior. Put his career on hold for a church mission trip in 2012. Finished his career with a 2nd Team All Pac 12 nomination. Cousin to Minnesota running Matt Asiata. When looking at the more physically imposing linemen in this draft, Asiata’s name is near the top of the list. He can move guys like few can and his experience at right tackle as well as both guard spots will only increase his grade. His struggles are athletically based but he has shown enough there to convince teams he can at least be a credible, versatile backup early on.

*I’m not sure we are looking at an elite-upside player here, but I think he can start early in his career and be a rock inside for years. Asiata will handle NFL power presence the second he steps on the field and for the rest of the guys below his name on this list, that will be the issue for most of them. It is an overlooked part of scouting interior guys in my opinion. They need to be able to anchor and not give up ground. Asiata will do that right away and he is a good enough mover to be a factor on trap blocks. Can he be a weapon in space? I’m not as confident but that’s not a factor the way it used to be.

Upside Pro Comparison: Mike Iupati – ARI

5 – Dan Feeney – 6’4/305 – Indiana: 79

Summary: After making several Freshman All American teams in 2012, Feeney sat out 2013 with a foot injury. After that, he went on to become a two time team captain, All American, and anchor of the Hoosiers offensive line. Hs future is inside in the NFL, but he did fill in a right tackle when the team needed him to in 2016. Feeney gets by on good initial contact and high on-field IQ. He understands important nuances to protecting the passer and staying on his man as a run blocker. His best fit is in a zone blocking scheme where a team can let him move laterally and not have to drive defenders backward.

*Feeney may not be the ideal fit for every scheme, but I think some teams will end up with a 1st round grade on him. He gets out of stance exceptionally well and shows proper mechanics/technique consistently. He came in to the year as my top guard, and the only guys that “passed” him weren’t on my guard board entering the year other than Asiata. Classic blue collar prospect that won’t ever be a star blocker, but you know what you are getting.

Upside Pro Comparison: Andy Levitre – ATL

6 – Dorian Johnson – 6’5/300 – Pittsburgh: 78

Summary: Former blue chip recruit began his career as a tackle, but was moved inside and blossomed in to a First Team All American by the end of his career. Johnson is the frame and foot quickness to excite anyone when pondering is long term potential. He has all the tools and more than enough quality tape to be the top guard in the class. He showed several glimpses of dominance across the board and proved he could be the guy a team relies on week in, week out. With some added man-strength and power, he could be a perennial Pro Bowler.

*For most of the year, Johnson was my top rated guard without the official grading process. From the naked eye, he has it all. A nice frame, excellent footwork, and a pair of hands that can control blockers. I do wonder if some teams are looking at him as a potential RT because he does have experience on the outside and his frame suggests he can hack it out there. I will say the pre-draft process hasn’t been great for Johnson, however. His workouts have been less than what I thought and he was one of those guys that you have to go back and re-watch tapes. He does struggle with some movement basics but not enough for me to bump him out of the day 2 area. He needs more core strength as well. A nice guy to have on the bench for a year and I think he can be a starter within a couple seasons.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jermon Bushrod – MIA

7 – Ethan Pocic – 6’6/310 – LSU: 75

Summary: 1st Team All SEC center that has also played guard and tackle throughout his career at LSU. Very natural athlete and leader for the position. Pocic won’t ever be a dominant force inside but he can hold his own and make a plus-impact as a lateral blocker. Teams with zone blocking schemes will have a good outlook on him.

*Probably the thing I like the most here is Pocic could likely play all over the line. I’m not sure I would want to enter the season with him starting right away, as he needs to add some strength to his game, but he would ease some confidence in the picture as a versatile backup. Pocic moves very well and he is really smart. Two traits you want to see at center. Can he handle an NFL bull rush? Maybe next year.

Upside Pro Comparison: Matt Birk – RET

8 – JJ Dielman – 6’5/309 – Utah: 75

Summary: Fifth year senior. Cousin to former Pro Bowl guard Kris Dielman. Dielman was the team’s starting right tackle in 2014 and 2015, earning 2nd team All Pac 12 honors as a junior. For the sake of the team and because of what was on Utah’s roster, Dielman made the move to center for his senior year. He accepted the role nicely and played a solid 5 games before suffering a season ending leg injury. He appears ready for action and could be viewed as a starting caliber center prospect.

*Dielman was catching my eye early in the year every time I watched Asiata. He got off the exceptionally well and did a nice job with his hands. He wasn’t a guy that was really moving people, but he was able to stick to defenders and the dude played really hard. I like his ability as a mobile center but he may struggle against NFL power.

Upside Pro Comparison: Weston Richburg – NYG

9 – Danny Isidora – 6’3/306 – Miami: 74

Summary: Fifth year senior. Ended his career on a 39 consecutive start streak. Lacks some of the ideal physical traits and abilities, but Isidora was a guy that constantly got the job done. He didn’t always make it look pretty, but he’s a fighter will NFL caliber power right now. Limited upside but has some starter potential down the road.

*Not much to say about Isidora other than the fact he was a guy that just almost never got beat. The catch is, it rarely looked pretty. And I know, who cares what the bug uglies look like and to a point I agree. But I think there may be some technique issues that NFL defensive linemen will be able to constantly take advantage of, whereas in college the kids didn’t know the game well enough. He would be a depth upgrade for most teams, but you aren’t getting a starter right away here.

Upside Pro Comparison: John Miller – BUF

10 – Kent Perkins – 6’5/326 – Texas: 73

Summary: Three year starter that finished his career with a 2nd Team All Big 12 honor. Perkins split time between right tackle and right guard, shown the kind of versatility teams look for in the middle of the draft. His power presence and surprising foot speed could get him on the field sooner that players drafted ahead of him. Perkins has serious short area pop but lacks consistency when it comes to technique and balance. The two are tied together and with proper coaching and progression, he could be a starter early in his career. His ideal fit is likely at guard but could be a backup to the outside spots as well.

*His 2015 tape was much better than what I saw in most of 2016, but I think he dealt with some lower body injuries and his size, it really hampered his play. Perkins is a JV version of what we see out of Dawkins and Robinson. Doesn’t match their upside but I do think he is worth taking a chance on day 3. He has the ability to be a starter, a good one, if things fall right and he applies himself.

Upside Pro Comparison: Quinton Spain – TEN

11 – Pat Elflein – 6’3/303 – Ohio State: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior. Two year starter at guard and finished his career off with a season full of starts at center, a position he was an All American at. The three time 1st Team All Big 10 lineman is a terror to deal with when he gets his hands inside. He is very powerful and efficient when engaged. He was a high level wrestler in high school and he plays the game like one. He doesn’t excel athletically in space, as there is plenty of tightness in his hips when he moves laterally, but if you can keep him at center he will get the job done much more often than not.

*He’s the top center on most boards from what I’ve heard but that won’t impact by day 3 vie of him. He is really solid in tight spaces but more and more we see centers having to move around a bit. I don’t think he can handle NFL speed and quickness. He does play stronger than his listed size but if power is one of his strengths, it’s not strong enough.

Upside Pro Comparison: Corey Linsley – GB

12 – Jordan Morgan – 6’3/320 – Kutztown: 73

Summary: Former walk on for a Division II program. Played left tackle and earned All American honors two straight years. Winner of the Gene Upshaw Award, given to Division II’s top blocker. Morgan is making a huge jump in competition, but his if his day to day improvement in Mobile is any indicator, he is a diamond in the rough once he adjusts to the playing speed in the NFL. The tools are there, he will simply need time to take in coaching and experience.

*If there was one player that I felt had the biggest progression from Tuesday to Saturday at the Senior Bowl, it’s Morgan. His power presence and ability to pop a defender off the ball was always present, but early on his couldn’t stick to anyone and kept losing his balance. Fast forward to later in the week, including the game, and we saw a kid that was able to beat anyone in one on one matchups. There is a ton of margin for this kid to gain. Day three pick because he won’t help out year one, but I think there is some starter in him down the road.

Upside Pro Comparison: Gabe Jackson – OAK

13 – Nico Siragusa – 6’4/319 – San Diego State: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior. Two time First Team All Mount West selection. Road grader that can excel in a power run scheme. Showed that he can handle strength and power with a natural ease but struggles with any sort of quick twitch defenders that can play low and fast. Siragusa projects as a backup that needs work on foot quickness and mechanics.

*Again, some people really like this guy and consider him a day 2 pick. Teams looking for a road grading type (NYG) may be looking hard at him. Siragusa can hack it as a run blocker week 1, but there are too many holes in his game as a pass blocker for me to consider him anything more than a day 3 backup.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ronald Leary – DEN

14 – Chase Roullier – 6’4/312 – Wyoming: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior that played two seasons at guard before making the transition to center for his senior season. The team captain earned 1st Team All Mountain West honors in 2016. Roullier gets the job done inside against any kind of defender. He is very effective in a phone booth. With his combination of lower body strength and quick hands, he has the potential to start at center down the road.

*I got to see a lot of Wyoming this year and Roullier was one of the more consistent blockers, albeit against a lower level of competition. He plays really aggressive and smart, two things you want from a center. He will have a hard time early on adjusting to the size and strength of NFL DTs, but in time he may be able to hack it.

Upside Pro Comparison: Russell Bodine – CIN

15 – Ben Braden – 6’6/329 – Michigan: 71

Summary: Fifth year senior with starting experience at both tackle spots and left guard. His size and athletic ability can be suited for inside and outside spots in the NFL, although he was most comfortable at guard. The 2nd Team All Big 10, blue collar blocker has a limited but high floor type ability. He doesn’t take over any one on one matchups, but he does consistently get the job done. Versatile backup that could give some potential as a starter down the road.

*I like Braden because I feel you know what you will get. I scouted the Michigan offensive line as much as any in 2016, and Braden was the most consistent. Never the best, never dominating, but he was the same guy every week. That is a nice trait to a player when teams are looking for backups. He has a great frame and could likely be a #7 OL on a team week 1.

Upside Pro Comparison: David Diehl – RET

BEST OF THE REST (15-30)

16 – Jon Toth – 6’5/305 – Kentucky: 71
17 – Max Halpin – 6’3/295 – Western Kentucky: 71
18 – Travis Averill – 6’3/304 – Boise State: 71
19 – Collin Buchanan – 6’5/316 – Miami (OH): 71
20 – Kareem Are – 6’6/325 – Florida State: 70
21 – Geoff Gray – Manitoba – 6’5/319: 69
22 – Sean Harlow – Oregon State – 6’4/303: 69
23 – Tyler Orlosky – 6’3/298: 69
24 – Jermaine Eluemunor – 6’4/332 – Texas A& M: 68
25 – Adam Pankey – 6’5/316 – West Virginia: 68
26 – Erik Magnuson – 6’4/303 – Michigan: 67
27 – Zack Johnson – North Dakota State: 67
28 – Nate Theaker – 6’5/315 – Wayne State: 67
29 – Kyle Fuller – 6’5/315 – Baylor: 66
30 – Damien Mama – 6’4/325 – USC: 65

NYG APPROACH

The closer the draft gets, the more I think NYG is strongly considering using #23 overall on a starting right guard. Yes, it would be yet another 1st/2nd round pick on the OL, but when looking at what this is struggling with the most, it may be necessary. If Lamp or Robinson is there, I wouldn’t be at all surprised or disappointed if NYG went in that direction. Jerry, although liked by the coaching staff, is really only locked up for one year when considering the buyout option. In addition, drafting someone like Robinson or Lamp (or even Dawkins) gives them options. They can play guard or tackle if need be, and who knows what the Justin Pugh contract situation will be like next offseason. As I always say, a bad O-line can absolutely ruin an otherwise fine team. The interior needs to be addressed with one of the first 3-4 picks.