Apr 172017
 
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Conor McDermott, UCLA Bruins (October 8, 2016)

Conor McDermott – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Offensive Tackles

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*Please Note Cam Robinson (OT grade 81) and Forrest Lamp (OT grade 80) will be in the OG/C post.

WHERE THEY STAND

A first round pick at left tackle. A first round pick at left guard. And a 2nd round pick at center. All since 2014 with some considerable money thrown in to the free agency pool as well. All of those resources and the NYG offensive line played like a bottom third unit in 2016. The running lanes weren’t there and Manning’s mental security in the pocket was never quite there, and rightfully so. Even though the offense is host to a bevy of short passes with 3-5 step drop backs, he was too often scrambling for his life or even worse, rushing himself in to poor throws. I have been very critical of how this line has been built and I still believe it is the one thing that will hold this team back as a whole.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – Conor McDermott – 6’8/307 – UCLA: 80

Summary: Fifth year senior. Two time 2nd team all Pac 12 selection and 2-plus year starter. Was a big time high school basketball player, winning a Mr. Basketball award in 2011 as a senior. McDermott has tools that don’t come around very often. He is a better athlete that he is on tape, but lacks the confidence to trust it. He bails on his technique too often and will make him look horrific at times. If he can be put in to the right system and really hone in on strength gains, there is a potential here that most tackles simply do not have. He is a risk, but one with a high potential reward.

*I’m aware there isn’t anyone out there with a #1 ranking on McDermott. While I do like him and the upside, it is likely more a result of just not liking this OT class as a whole. For the record, Robinson and Lamp were graded out above him, but I am keeping them in the OG group. McDermott had an awful, awful game against a healthy Myles Garrett and I think that performance unfairly stuck to him in some peoples eyes. What I saw late in the year was an enormous frame with plenty of room for growth that had a violent initial punch and really athletic footwork. In time, I think he is a quality starting LT.

Upside Pro Comparison: Nate Solder – NE

2 – Garrett Bolles – 6’5/297 – Utah: 79

Summary: Spent one year at the FBS level after a dominating two-year junior college run. Bolles had a very rocky teenage stage of his life, but is more than a few years removed from it and appears to be on track. His athleticism and hand strength are among the best in this class, respectively. His progression will need to come once he gets in to an NFL strength and conditioning program and that does take time, something that may go against the soon to be 25 year old. In a weak tackle class, however, Bolles could be the top prospect.

*This is an interesting situation, on that carries an equal amount of risk and potential reward. Bolles certainly appears to have his head on straight enough. The issues he has had off the field don’t bother me too much nor does his age. He has the tools you want to work with and there may not be a more aggressive, angry player in this entire group. But there is a ton of sloppiness to his game that will be exploited in the league and he simply needs to get more core strength. He’s a gamble, that’s for sure.

Upside Pro Comparison: Joe Staley – SF

3 – Ryan Ramczyk – 6’6/310 – Wisconsin: 79

Summary: Fourth year senior that sat out the 2015 season because of transferring to Wisconsin from Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Started every 2016 contest and earned 1st Team All Big 10 honors. In his one season at the FBS level, Ramczyk played at a level that may very well put him at the top of this year’s offensive line class. He will have to prove his hip is fully healed and ready to go, however. If those medicals check out, the body control, size, and fluid technique is enough to label him a potential week one starter.

*The fact this kid only played for one year at the Division I level is bothering me. The fact he has a bad hip AND shoulder coming in to the league is bothering me. It’s hard to ignore those two when considering his upside. Ramczyk is such a smooth operator and with the uniform he wore in college, it’s hard not to think about Joe Thomas when scouting him. While I don’t see the physical upside of an elite tackle, there is a natural sense of ability with him that makes you feel comfortable despite the red flags. Probably a safer pick than Bolles, but with less potential.

Upside Pro Comparison: Joe Thomas – CLE

4 – Will Holden – 6’7/311 – Vanderbilt: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior ended his career with 37 consecutive starts and a 2nd team all SEC nomination. Has experience at both tackle spots and could likely offer something as a guard in the NFL. While his strength is questionable at times, Holden showed the ability to anchor and stay on his man more often than not. He can handle any version of a defensive lineman. He may not have ideal measureables or athleticism, but he is a guy that plays with reliable technique that will add the needed strength to his large frame in time. Holden will be a starter sooner rather than later.

*One of my favorite day 2 prospects in the class that some people are considering a day 3 guy. Holden quietly but consistently was one of the top OL in the SEC over the past two seasons. Like Ramczyk, I think there is a lack of top tier physical ability and potential but you know what you’re getting. Very smart, very repeatable player that can be the immediate 6th lineman on a team with versatility and the upside of being a starter anywhere within a year.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ja’Wuan James – MIA

5 – Taylor Moton – 6’5/319 – Western Michigan: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior with four years of starting experience. Primarily a right tackle, but did start for the entire 2015 season at right guard. Earned a First Team All MAC honors after he made the move back to right tackle in 2016. Moton may not have the ideal footwork and fluidity to play outside in the NFL, but his power presence and hand strength can make up for some shortcomings. It’s possible his ideal future is inside at guard, where a team can take advantage of his elite power and strength. He will need to continue to work on his foot speed and reaction time before he can be trusted.

*I graded Moton as both a guard and tackle and he ended up with the same number at both. I can understand those that say he is a guard-only, but there are certain things he can’t do well enough inside that would bother me. As a tackle, Moton has the ability but doesn’t seem to always trust it. When he has ducks lined up, Moton is as dominating as anyone in this class. He has some of the strongest hands and can anchor against NFL power right now. The foot speed won’t ever be a strength but he can hide it well enough.

Upside Pro Comparison: Andrew Whitworth – LAR

6 – Andreas Knappe – 6’8/325 – Connecticut: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior that took over the starting right tackle job halfway through 2014 and never looked back. Despite not earning any postseason accolades, Knappe was one of the most consistent offensive linemen in the conference in 2016. He originally came from Denmark and was put on a fast learning and adjustment curve during his redshirt season. His upside was always something that jumped off the screen but it looked like it really started to come together in 2016. Knappe has all the measureables you want in a tackle. His techniques and body control appear to be easy and repeatable. He is a smart, hard working kid. Everything is lined up for this kid to start in the league within a year or two with big upside.

*One of the most overlooked, underrated players in the class when considering his long term upside. Knappe is more raw in comparison to a lot of the players in this group, but I think there is more to come from him than most. His arrow is pointing straight up. There were games last year where I thought he could make the case for being on the same level as the top guys in this class. Consistency isn’t quite there but if you watch him at the end of 2016 as opposed to the beginning of 2015 and you’ll notice the big improvement. I think that path will continue.

Upside Pro Comparison: Marcus Gilbert – PIT

7 – Justin Senior – 6’5/331 – Mississippi State: 75

Summary: Fifth year senior with three years of starting experience, primarily at right tackle. Very bright kid off the field. Hails from Canada and is projected as their top prospect as of right now. Senior will more than likely opt for NFL, at least for the start of his pro career. He is an overlooked tackle in this class that does all the little things right and has succeeded against some of the toughest edge talent the nation had to offer. While he does need to improve his lower body and core strength, there are plenty of reasons to state why he is a starting caliber right tackle.

*I don’t think he would ever pass up on the NFL for Canada, but I guess it is something that needs to be looked in to. Senior caught my eye hard this year. He has THE body of a right tackle and we aren’t talking about a guy that couldn’t handle SEC athleticism. He is an all around, very well balanced player. I liked him in Mobile, too. There is a part of me that wanted to throw him higher up, but the grade is the grade. He can be a starter at RT early, in my opinion. Some teams are looking at him as a RG too.

Upside Pro Comparison: Mitchell Schwartz – KC

8 – Adam Bisnowaty – 6’5/305 – Pittsburgh: 74

Summary: Fifth year senior that started all four years after his redshirt. Missed some time early in his career. Manned the left tackle spot and was named 1st Team All ACC in 2015 and 2016. Bisnowaty is an interesting case because he showed flashes of both top and bottom tier over the past two seasons. He passed a few of the eyeball tests weekly when it came to knee bend, aggression, and run blocking. However his up and down execution as a pass blocker gives off the notion he may be best suited inside in a zone blocking scheme at either guard or center. He has a style of play that could excel in that role.

*Early in the 2016 season, scouts were talking about Bisnowaty as being the top guy in this class. Potential top 10 overall type. It’s easy to see why because of his easy movement out of his stance and ability to mirror a defender with excellent lower half balance and quickness. He did suffer an injury somewhere around the midpoint of the season that made his tape look weak in the second half, but even at full strength I never quite saw it from him. He didn’t move guys. More of an absorber rather than an attacker. Too easily thrown around. Those things bother me as much as a guy with really slow feet. I think he may be best suited for backup swing duty.

Upside Pro Comparison: Justin Britt – SEA

9 – David Sharpe – 6’6/343 – Florida: 74

Summary: Junior entry. Two year starter at left tackle for the Gators that may need to make a move inside in the NFL. His size and easy power are very attractive, ever-present traits. His foot speed and leverage issues will be exposed on a play by play basis however if he doesn’t get them corrected.

*The initial look at Sharpe and you start to think Jonathan Ogden. Just so massive and so powerful that it seems impossible for anyone to simply move around him. Then the initial look at his foot speed and you wonder if he could ever hack it during a preseason game. Sharpe is going to be a bit of a project but there is some natural ability and talent here that you won’t find often. And in the SEC, he was more than OK. If he can develop some understanding and consistency with his lower half, he can be a dominant RT.

Upside Pro Comparison: Moses Morgan – WAS

10 – Antonio Garcia – 6’6/302 – Troy: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior with four years of starting experience. An ever-improving left tackle-caliber athlete that did not allow a sack in over 900 snaps his senior season. Garcia brings it every play from an effort and intensity approach, but his execution is very shaky. He is a developmental type player that has attractive tools and tape, but is simply behind the curve when it comes to core strength and technique.

*In an offensive tackle class that is overall just so weak, there are some people that have Garcia near the top of the group. This year more than ever, it simply seems like depending on the team, it could be one of 5-6 guys that are selected as the top tackle. Garcia is mean, nasty, and athletic. A gamer. He just needs to be tuned up and strengthened. Maybe a year or two away from competing.

Upside Pro Comparison: Matt Kalil – CAR

11 – Joseph Dieugot – 6’6/294 – Florida International: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior and three year starter. Earned Honorable Mention All Conference USA honors in 2016. Joseph is a raw talent that still has a ways to go when it comes to strength development, but there are tools here worth taking a second look at. He has the length and foot speed to go with quality technique and level of play. His arrow is pointing up.

*My favorite under the radar tackle. Still being graded out as a day 3 prospect and if I had to make a prediction on where he goes, it’s likely undrafted. I helped get him to the Shrine game and he was the most impressive left tackle there by a long shot. I bet he would have performed well at the Senior Bowl as well. Tall and lanky, needing of more bulk, Joseph moves with a sense of control and understanding that you won’t see from a lot of project-tackles. He isn’t powerful, but I wouldn’t call him a push over. I think he has starter potential down the road.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jason Peters – PHI

12 – Roderick Johnson – 6’7/299 – Florida State: 72

Summary: Junior entry. 31 straight starts and the two time winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the ACC’s top offensive lineman. Johnson has the frame and tool set to excite coaches and scouts alike, but his performance was so up and down, back and forth. His main issues revolve around strength and technique, two things that can be developed. There is upside with him, but also many holes.

*Again, another guy that some scouts love. Nobody is going to tell you he is pro-ready, it’s simply not true. He has some game tape that is up there with some of the worst in the class. But there are also stretches where he appears to be ready for NFL left tackle duty tomorrow. His tools are solid, but he needs to be honed in a bit. The lack of body control and balance after starting for 3 years is alarming.

Upside Pro Comparison: Manelik Watson – DEN

13 – Dan Skipper – 6’10/309 – Arkansas: 71

Summary: Four year starter with experience at both tackle spots and guard. Ended his career with First Team All SEC and 2nd Team All American honors. Has been the leader of that offensive line for two years and was known as Mr. Reliable. Consistent techniques and awareness led him to rarely being flagged. While his ability won’t jump off the screen, the fact that he wins much more often than he loses will grab attention. Also blocked several field goals over his career. Projects as a versatile backup.

*He may never be a starter, but Skipper would be a great guy to have backing up all four spots (not center). He is a technician that plays smart, but angry. Blue collar guy that you know will work hard and take on whatever is thrown at him. He is an interesting athlete that will always have to struggle with leverage, but he proved he could get the job done for 4 seasons in the SEC. Pro style offense. Something needs to be said for that. I’ll take a Skipper as my 6th OL any day even though I know the upside is limited.

Upside Pro Comparison: David Diehl – RET

14 – Nick Callender – 6’5/325 – Colorado State: 71

Summary: Fifth year senior, 2+ years of starting experience at left tackle. Honorable Mention All Pac 12. The body control and knee bend that I look for are there, just lacks some of the power presence. Somewhat reminiscent of Ty Sambrailo from a couple years ago that many liked, except I think Callender has more upside. Some can view him as a tackle, some as a guard. But as his size with his foot speed and easy knee bend, he should be given a shot at backup LT duty.

*Another one of my day three sleepers. Callender does a lot of little things right and well. Very repeatable movement and technique, strong hands. Smart player that I think can make a roster early as a versatile backup and if he develops in to what I think he can, you could have yourself a starting left tackle here.

Upside Pro Comparison: David Bakhtiari – GB

15 – Zach Banner – 6’8/353 – USC: 69

Summary: Fifth year senior. Also spent a year on the USC basketball team. Capped his career off with a First Team All Pac 12 honor. Three year starter with experience at both tackle spots. Struggles with speed and leverage defenders, but the frame alone is enough to get Banner a second look. If his lower body flexibility and agility can improve just a little, there is a high upside here.

*You can make the argument this guy is so big, that it won’t matter how slow and heavy his feet are. Getting around him is a chore. However in the NFL, we know better. Banner has some pro-traits already. If he really gets his hands on you, its over. But man, he is a bad mover and he comes in to the league with hips that are about 10 years older than him. Maybe willing to take a shot on him very late because of the upside should his footwork and speed improve.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jon Runyan – RET

BEST OF THE REST

16 – Sam Tevi – 6’5/311 – Utah: 69
17 – Javarius Leamon – 6’7/332 – South Carolina State:68
18 – Chad Wheeler – 6’7/306: 68
19 – Jerry Ugokwe – 6’7/321 – William & Mary: 68
20 – Jylan Ware – 6’8/295 – Alabama State: 65
21 – Julie’n Davenport – 6’7/318 – Bucknell: 66
22 – Jon Heck – 6’7/300 – North Carolina: 65
23 – Brad Seaton – 6’7/310 – Villanova: 64
24 – Jonah Pirsig – 6’9/326 – Minnesota: 64
25 – Daniel Brunskill – 6’5/273 – San Diego State: 63

NYG APPROACH

As I have said for awhile now, none of the names on this list are worth considering at #23. When I post the rest of the OL grades, there are a couple of guys in there worth discussing. But adding any of the names on this list early is simply adding what NYG already has plenty of, question marks along the OL. I don’t think OT should be completely ignored, but I think it would be wise to wait until day three to approach any of the names on this list. There are some sleepers here that I am confident can out-perform names that will be chosen in front of them if they get enough time. The one guy I would consider strongly AND a guy that I think will be there in rounds 3-4 is McDermott. He has tools, footwork, technique and played in a scheme that asked him to do a lot. Drafting him in that area would not put any pressure of him competing for a spot right away, as I think he needs a year to bulk up. He would be a nice safety net should Flowers prove in year 3 he can’t hack it outside. In addition, it may be nice to see what happens to Flowers if someone was brought in and put on his heels in line.

Apr 152017
 
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Apr 142017
 
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Jared Odrick, Jacksonville Jaguars (December 13, 2015)

Jared Odrick – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN JARED ODRICK…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants have expressed interest in free agent defensive tackle Jared Odrick. The Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles are also supposedly interested in his services.

The 29-year old Odrick was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent in March 2015. The Jaguars cut him in February 2017. Odrick has played in 87 regular season games with 63 starts. After not missing a game in five seasons, Odrick missed 10 games in 2016 with a shoulder injury. Odrick is big, tall lineman who can play both tackle and end. He has nice combination of quickness and power. He flashes at times on the pass rush with 23 career sacks.

 

 

Apr 142017
 
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Kerry Wynn, New York Giants (October 4, 2015)

Kerry Wynn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

KERRY WYNN VISITS THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS…
New York Giants restricted free agent defensive end Kerry Wynn visited the New England Patriots on Wednesday. Wynn received an original-round tender (1-year, $1.797 million) from the Giants before free agency began, meaning that the Giants have the right to match any offer from another team. But since Wynn was an undrafted rookie free agent, the Giants would receive no compensatory pick for losing Wynn if they chose not to match the offer.

Wynn saw his playing time decrease in 2016 (11 percent of defensive snaps). He played in 14 regular-season games with no starts and finished the year with 12 tackles and 0.5 sacks. Wynn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has played in 34 regular-season games, with seven starts, for the Giants in his three years with the team. Wynn has a nice combination of size, strength, and overall athletic ability. Wynn is a better run defender than pass rusher as he lacks dynamic quickness on the outside pass rush. He is able to play defensive tackle in pass-rush situations.

ARTICLES…

Apr 142017
 
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Apr 132017
 
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David Njoku, Miami Hurricanes (December 28, 2016)

David Njoku – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Tight Ends

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WHERE THEY STAND

Since his rookie season, Eli Manning has always liked to use the tight end. He’s been through several that have achieved more here than in other places. No matter who is there, there are a lot of targets heading their way. Will Tye was the primary starter in 2016 but to no one’s surprise, he averaged 8.2 yards per reception with just 1 touchdown despite getting the third most passes thrown his way on the team. Jerell Adams showed something in his rookie year, albeit limited opportunities. I still like his potential as an extra receiving threat if he can learn the playbook. Rhett Ellison was signed to a long term deal but I’m not sure what their plan is. Fullback/tight end/H-Back? We’ll see.

TOP 10 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – David Njoku – 6’4/246 – Miami: 85

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Former national champion high jumper in high school that actually participated on the Miami track and field squad. Elite level athlete that will wow anyone and everyone in workouts. Njoku is more than a freakish athlete. He performs overly well on the field with pads on and has the makings of a big time playmaker at the next level. The former high school wide receiver is still learning the position, mainly the blocking components, and will need time before he is a factor in NFL trenches. What he can add to a passing game, however, very few in this class can.

*I’ve been on this kid since the fall of 2015. His size and movement jumped off the screen and I followed him very closely throughout 2016. I won’t sit here and tell you he is going to be a good blocker, but I will tell you I think he will be good enough. The reason for drafting someone like Njoku is fully because of his ability to create mismatches as a receiver. He is an incredibly gifted athlete that has shown more than enough skills to warrant high first round draft pick. This kid has some special in him, and I really mean that. He would be the ideal fit for NYG because thy can ease him in to blocking roles while creating the matchup problems from a position Manning loves to throw to.

Upside Pro Comparison: Antonio Gates – LAC

2 – Evan Engram – 6’3/234 – Ole Miss: 84

Summary: Three time 1st Team All SEC tight end and the program’s all time leader in receptions and yards at the position. Ended his career with a 1st Team All American honor. Engram fits the mold of a hybrid tight end/wide receiver that can be moved around in to different starting positions to keep a defense on its heels. His quickness off the like and near-top level ball skills will make him a quarterback’s best friend on third and reasonable. While his blocking impact may not be as high as some of the others, he is no slouch. The two time team captain leaves it all out on the field each week and his weaknesses can be somewhat hidden in most situations.

*During the grading process, I thought there was a legit shot Engram would finish atop this list. He was close and to be honest, these two may be back to back on the overall big board. If Njoku is gone and Engram ends up being the pick, I wouldn’t be disappointed one bit. Engram is essentially a top tier speed WR that weighs 234 pounds. While he is a notch or two below as a blocker from most of these guys, he still got the job done in the SEC against linebackers consistently. In terms of what his role would be long term, think of how the Redskins use Jordan Reed. He has that kind of ability, if not more.

Upside Pro Comparison: Aaron Hernandez – JAIL

3 – OJ Howard – 6’6/251 – Alabama: 82

Summary: Former top tier high school recruit that has been starting since his freshman season. Tools-rich, hard working player that comes from a pro-style offense that saw plenty of time blocking and running routes. Howard has the physical ability and upside to excite anyone and everyone. He poses as a matchup nightmare for defenses because of the size and speed, but also showed flashes of being a capable blocker. He was often overlooked by the Alabama offense and lacked the consistent dose of opportunities to shine. If he can gain strength and power, ultimately leading to an increase in confidence as a blocker, Howard could be a rare weapon in the NFL.

*I’ll likely go in to draft weekend with the same thought I’ve had for awhile, NYG is going to take Howard if he is there. But he’s visited with a few teams in the top 15 and I’d put the odds at 50% or less of him being there. He is a more traditional TE, yes. The size, speed, experience at Alabama are all plus marks. But I have always thought this kid was a bit of an underachiever, like he just didn’t play at the level you would assume he could. I feel this way as both a blocker and receiver. That said, I still have a 1st round grade on him but I’m not sure he will be in my top 23 overall. Upside is there. Talent is there. But does he play like he really wants it? I don’t think so.

Upside Pro Comparison: Travis Kelce – KC

4 – Jordan Leggett – 6’5/258 – Clemson: 78

Summary: Fourth year senior. First Team All ACC in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Mackey Award Finalist in 2015. Leggett leaves Clemson has one of the top tight ends in the storied program’s history. He is a more-than-solid all around player that can offer presence as both a blocker and receiver day one. His strength is currently more present as a weapon in the passing game with his blend of size, speed, and ball skills. The blocking remains a work in progress, but the tools are there and he did show a good amount of improvement over the past year. High ceiling prospect.

*If someone told me Leggett was their top TE in this class, I wouldn’t dispute it. He has the dream tools, the experience, and has made a ton of plays against top tier competition. I’ve always left the Clemson games wishing he had shown more, however. He doesn’t move guys as a blocker despite weighing just under 260 pounds. He has below average strength and presence and simply seems like a guy that doesn’t really get after it. He shows a high ceiling as a pass catcher though. I just can’t shake the thought of Jace Amaro when I watch him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Kyle Rudolph – MIN

5 – Adam Shaheen – 6’6/278 – Ashland: 76

Summary: Fourth year senior that has split his time between two different Division II schools. Shaheen began his career as a basketball player but one year in he transferred to Ashland to play football. Over his final two years, he set several school and national records for the tight end position. He ended his career with a 16-touchdown season. Shaheen has a dream body that moves exceptionally well. He truly does look like someone that came right ff the hardwood. His physical presence and blocking abilities are a step behind, however. He has a tremendous learning curve heading his way but this is a kid that can get you excited.

*I wasn’t turned on to Shaheen until late in the year but once I saw him play once, I got pretty excited. He looked like Gronkowski with his dominating size and soft hands. He was so good at catching the ball in traffic that it didn’t really matter if he could separate or not. Now, that may be a different story in the NFL but the baseline here is higher than almost every TE. If he can develop, he will be a stud. Guys like this are hard to find.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jermaine Gresham – ARI

6 – Jeremy Sprinkle – 6’5/252 – Arkansas: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior that had to wait his turn to really shine, playing behind current Chargers tight end Hunter Henry on the depth chart until 2016. Sprinkle proved to be a very solid prospect himself, especially over the past two seasons. His unique combination of tools give him an upside very few at the position possess. Sprinkle’s size alone make him a friendly target to throw to. Add in the dependable ball skills and long strides, he is a threat that defenses will have to plan around. The blocking is a developing plus.

*I came in to the 2016 season with Sprinkle at the top of my board for the position. He jumped off the screen almost every time I scouted Henry last year with his length, speed, and ball skills. I was hoping for more progression than what he showed, however. Sprinkle has tools but still has a ton of awkward, unbalanced movement to him. He also didn’t always catch the ball with his hands, too often trapping it against his body. All in all I still see the upside but he won’t warrant anything more than a 3rd or 4th round consideration.

Upside Pro Comparison: Martellus Bennett – GB

7 – Bucky Hodges – 6’6/257 – Virginia Tech: 75

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Originally signed with the Hokies as a tight end, but made the full time move to tight end during his redshirt year. Despite being listed by most at tight end, Hodges essentially played a wide receiver type role in 2016. His experience as an inline blocker is limited and doesn’t grade out well. However what he can do with the combination of athletic ability and size can be a major difference maker in the NFL. He is a potential matchup nightmare for opposing defenses that needs a specific role.

*I’ve been in the discussion with a few of you over the past few months on whether Hodges was a TE or a WR. Things like this happen every year, and what I do is grade the player at both spots and take the higher one. I graded Hodges as a 74 at WR, and a 75 at TE. He has tremendous ball skills and any defender could be in a bad spot for having to cover him. However the fact that he hasn’t lined up with his hand in the dirt at all and that he had trouble blocking cornerbacks, I had to give him the minimum grades when it came to the physical part of the position. The frame is there to improve, but he simply is a guy that doesn’t like contact. The receiving ability is very good though.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ladarius Green – PIT

8 – Eric Saubert – 6’5/253 – Drake: 75

Summary: Fifth year senior that went from an overlooked 185 pound, under-recruited high school senior to arguably one of the top size/speed specimens at the tight end group in this draft class. Saubert, a two time FCS All American, has matchup problem written all over him. If he can learn to hone in his concentration and clean up some technique, his impact will be felt on the passing game. In addition, his approach and effort are already there for the blocking game, just needs to get stronger.

*Saubert may need more time than some of these other prospects in terms of strength and skill development, but his upside rivals everyone above him on this list and I mean that. He can really run and track the ball well. His consistency isn’t there yet as a pass catcher, just dropping too many balls in traffic. That will have to change as does his strength in the trenches. He didn’t stand out in that department among college kids that won’t ever play pro football. Now that he is making the move to playing against grown men, it’s gonna be a lengthy ride to a starting position but he can do it over time.

Upside Pro Comparison: Gary Barnidge – CLE

9 – Jake Butt – 6’5/246 – Michigan: 74

Summary: Four year contributor that found himself on the 2nd Team All American squads in both 2015 and 2016. The team captain was an every down player that is coming from a pro style offense. The torn ACL may delay the start of his pro career, but not by much. Butt’s frame and toughness make him an every down threat once he gets back on the field. While he doesn’t exactly grade out at the top of any particular category of the position, his above average level across the board will get him on the field early and keep him there. Low ceiling, but a higher than normal floor prospect.

*The injury was very unfortunate for Butt, obviously. I think he was heading towards being a top 50 pick. That said, I never had a high grade on him. Without the injury Butt may have been a few spots higher than this, but he wouldn’t have been with Engram/Njoku/Howard. He didn’t impress me as an athlete in space, nor did I think he was plus blocker. When I charted him, he almost always came out with negative blocking scores and for a guy that is considered an every down player and that being one his strengths, that bothered me. I think he is serviceable and will likely fit in somewhere as a 1B type tight end, but I don’t see a very high upside with him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jack Doyle – IND

10 – Gerald Everett – 6’3/239 – South Alabama: 74

Former basketball player that spent just one year in high school on the gridiron. He spent year in community college before getting noticed by UAB where he had a promising first season with the school. When the program shut down, he transferred yet again to South Alabama where he took off, earning 1st Team All Sun Belt honors two straight years. Everett is a dynamic athlete that is at his best running up and across the intermediate portion of the defense. He catches the ball on the move exceptionally well and can make things happen with the ball in his hands. He is undersized and very raw as a blocker, but he will pose as a threat to any defender covering him right away. High ceiling prospect.

*Everett is very well liked by a lot of scouts. Coaches will see him run routes and catch the ball and start to salivate over what he can be. I’ve seen him 10 times now and I still can’t shake the notion that he is simply a poor man’s Evan Engram. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but when you compare the two, Everett doesn’t do anything on the same level. They aren’t in the same league. What I do like with Everett is that he as moved around a lot in college and he was asked to block often. So there is a baseline to work with there, but I simply don’t see him being more than a situational pass catcher.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jordan Reed – WAS

BEST OF THE REST

11 – Jonnu Smith – 6’3/248 – Florida International: 71
12 – Michael Roberts – 6’4/270 – Toledo: 71
13 – Cole Hikutini – 6’4/247 – Louisville: 71
14 – George Kittle – 6’4/247 – Iowa: 71
15 – Phazahn Odom – 6’8/250 – Fordham: 69
16 – Anthony Auclair – 6’6/254 – Laval: 68
17 – Hayden Pinke – 6’4/264 – UTEP: 67
18 – Blake Jarwin – 6’5/248 – Oklahoma State: 66
19 – Pharoah Brown – 6’6/255 – Oregon: 66
20 – Cethan Carter – 6’3/241 – Nebraska: 66

NYG APPROACH

The biggest hole at the NYG skill positions is at tight end. The receivers are solid, the running backs can get by, and the quarterback shouldn’t be worried about for this season. The lack of talent at tight end has made it a much simpler process to game plan around Beckham. There is no threat of someone bursting up the seam, splitting the safeties, and coming up with a big play. They have been trying to piece together the production from this position with a handful of mediocre talents that simply never sacred anyone. With what they have in-house right now, this team should absolutely draft one of the top guys if they are available. Njoku and Engram would present proper value at 23 and a case could be made for Howard as well. The difference those guys could make in the passing game far outweighs some of the struggles they may have as blockers early on. What I think they should avoid is spending another late pick on a developmental player because they already have Adams here for that. So basically…round 1-2 or avoid the position altogether.

Apr 132017
 
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Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants (November 27, 2016)

Johnathan Hankins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS SIGN JOHNATHAN HANKINS…
New York Giants unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins has signed with the Indianapolis Colts. ESPN is reporting that the contract is a 3-year, $30 million deal that includes $14.5 million in guaranteed money.

The New York Post reported on Wednesday that the New York Giants offered Hankins a 4-year, $28 million contract when free agency began and that offer remained on the table. The Post also reported that Hankins was originally seeking a contract that would pay him $15 million per season, and later reduced his asking price to $10 million per season.

Hankins started every game and finished the 2016 regular season with 43 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble. Hankins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. Hankins has excellent size, strength, and overall athleticism. He is a stout run defender who occasionally flashes on the pass rush.

The Giants are currently very thin at defensive tackle with only three players on the roster: Damon Harrison, Jay Bromley, and Robert Thomas.

Apr 132017
 
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