David Syvertsen

David Syvertsen, aka Sy'56, has worked for Ourlads Scouting LLC since 2013, starting off as a college depth chart manager and now a lead scout for one the most-sold NFL draft guides year-in, year-out. He has been scouting for over 10 years and will compile anywhere from 400-600 scouting reports per season, with that number increasing year by year. He watches and studies game films 20-25 hours per week throughout the entire year with his main focus being NFL Draft prospects.

Apr 242019
 
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Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State Buckeyes (January 1, 2019)

Dwayne Haskins – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Quarterbacks

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop into weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

QUARTERBACK

WHERE THEY STAND

NYG is in a familiar place. They are “stuck” with an aging Eli Manning at QB, a top 6 pick in the draft, and unsure if they should use that pick on one of the class’ top rated signal callers or use it on a higher graded player who can help build the foundation of the current rebuild. Nobody believed this QB class was going to live up to anything special last summer and here we are days before the draft and that notion remains the same. Drafting a QB at 6 would be, by almost all accounts, a reach. But because we all value the position more than others and some believe a new, young QB alone is going to reverse the fortunes of this franchise, many want to go get our guy in round 1. I won’t say it is a bad idea, but buyer beware when you shop hungry. The Giants are building a better roster and culture around their two time Super Bowl MVP quarterback and even though there is no denying he as seen better days, Manning has not fallen off a cliff. He is still a threat to win games if the supporting cast is there. Behind him, there appears to be next to nothing.

TOP 25

1: Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State – 6’3/233

Grade: 81

Summary: Fourth year junior entry who was the main guy for Ohio State for just one season, although he got his feet wet initially in 2016. Haskins played behind all-time great (collegiately) JT Barrett. While he had to wait his turn, Haskins came in prepared and took full advantage of the starting role in 2018. He threw for 50 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards with his best football being played down the stretch. Haskins two standout traits; accuracy and intelligence. This is a kid who truly understands concepts and understands how to react quickly, swiftly, and efficiently. When it comes to throwing the ball, he rarely misses his target when he throws from a steady position. The issue that popped consistently was a lack of carry over to being under pressure. Haskins is not a good athlete, as he plays heavy-footed and tight-hipped. The lack of fluidity below the waist is a problem and could really impede his progress in the league. He projects as a starter but the fact he started for just one year and shows mechanical problems means he needs to sit for at least a year.

*Throughout the entire pre-draft process, Haskins has always been the guy who I trust the most. Accuracy, decisions, and swagger in big situations are standout traits that I think carry over into the NFL very well, especially a market like New York. Haskins has a few things that he really needs to clean up, however. His lower body is a mess and he didn’t respond well to productive pass rushes. I also have a few concerns with the fact that Ohio State was loaded with talent all over the place. There are also some concerns with weight management and being professional in his approach off the field. Not a troublemaker at all, but some question if he can change and lead a locker room. I thought that was notable. In the discussion at 6 I’m sure, but another one I would rather hold off on until 17.

NFL Comparison: Ben Roethlisberger / PIT

2: Daniel Jones – Duke – 6’5/221

Grade: 80

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. A three year starter and two time team captain. Despite playing with inferior talent both up front and at the skill positions nearly every week, Jones put together a productive career as both a passer and rusher. The prototypical quarterback when it comes to size and playing style showed glimpses over the past two years of what a first round QB should look like. His NFL-caliber mechanics from head to toe give him the look of a professional passer and him being coached by David Cutcliffe, the college coach of both Peyton and Eli Manning, only helps strengthen the notion of how ready he is. Jones pairs that with toughness and grit that doesn’t come around often. However, there were constant red flags in his tape that are hard to ignore. He didn’t see things well and his decisions were too inconsistent. There just seemed to be a lack of a true feel for the pocket, the defense, and angles. Jones checks a lot of boxes but there is a lot of gamble in the team that takes him even though he comes across as a “safe” bet to some.

*I wanted to like Jones more than this, I really did. I have a thing for tough quarterbacks and I do think he brought his teammates to another level. That’s a trend that can really make a kid break out in the NFL. While I do have a 1st round grade on him and I do think he can be in play at 17 because of the position he plays, I think NYG may need to steer clear here. Jones has enough arm strength, touch, and athletic ability. But there isn’t a quick mind here, he doesn’t see everything a top tier QB does whether it is coverage or pass rush based. After a long time scouting him, he is a pass for me.

NFL Comparison: Ryan Tannehill / TEN

3: Drew Lock – Missouri – 6’3/228

Grade: 77

Summary: Three-plus year starter from the SEC who was among the conference leaders in the big passing statistics each year despite multiple schematic and coaching changes. Lock’s special arm talent earned 2nd Team All SEC honors as a senior, the first time he completed over 60% of his passes as the program introduced more pro passing concepts to the offense. The upside with him is higher than any passer in the class, as he possesses the rare ability to flick to wrist and shoot the ball out of his hand deep downfield with no wind up or warning. Lock has several plays on tape that scream top tier first round pick but the lack of consistency when it comes to accuracy and mechanics are alarming. The two are usually tied together, thus the notion that he can hide the issues with time to work on the details of the position is out there. It’s hard to imagine, however, after 1,200 passing attempts in college and seeing where he ended mechanically that all of the sudden those issues will disappear. The margin between his floor and ceiling is as wide as anyone.

*I remember watching him for the first time in the fall of 2017 and I immediately thought Matt Stafford 2.0. The release, quick and easy zip on his balls, and athletic base were attractive but I can’t get past the inconsistencies across the board. There are so many easy throws that he missed, so many times where his mechanics were a train wreck. Sure, you can say these things will change once he gets into an NFL coaching environment but I am of the thought that after the amount of experience he’s had and the mistakes he is still making, we will see more of the same in the NFL. That, to me, is not a franchise QB.

NFL Comparison: Jay Cutler / FA

4: Kyler Murray – Oklahoma – 5’10/207

Grade: 77

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Initially began his career at Texas A&M but transferred to the Sooners program after just one year in Aggie country. Was a two-sport athlete at Oklahoma and was actually the 9th overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft, receiving a multi million dollar contract and signing bonus from the Oakland A’s. The fall of 2018 was supposed to be a farewell-to-football tour for Murray but a Heisman and Davey O’Brien award winning, All American season caused Murray to think otherwise about his future. Ultimately he returned the money to the A’s and entered the NFL Draft, where many expect him to the top overall pick. Murray is a dynamic athlete with quick, smooth, and accurate release. His short limbs and explosive twitch give him a unique level of speed as both a rusher and passer. The height alone makes him a major risk and he doesn’t enter the league with a lot of starting expedience, either. The Murray risk that someone will take in round 1 will be the ultimate case study and a true testament to how much weight analytics can, or cannot, trump over traditional scouting. Murray is a swing for the fences by Adam Dunn, meaning he will be a major whiff or a 500-foot homerun. Nobody would be surprised by his success, nor would it be a shock if he were playing baseball within 5 years.

*I actually think my 77 grade here is generous and part of me thinks his future in the league would be brighter as a running back. His athletic ability may actually be underrated by some because so much of the discussion surrounds his height and ability to throw the ball. But guys, this dude is a legit sub 4.4 runner with outstanding vision and change of direction. Do I want that to be the main weapon as a quarterback? No way, but he is intriguing. I wouldn’t put my job on the line with him, but there is no denying the excitement he brings to the table. But there are so many question marks, big question marks, that I just couldn’t handle him being my guy. There are a few major character question marks I have here too. Let someone else take him and enjoy the show, for better or worse.

NFL Comparison: Russell Wilson / SEA

5: Ryan Finley – NC State – 6’4/213

Grade: 77

Summary: Sixth year senior. Began his career at Boise State and had a career to forget there. After his redshirt season in 2013, Finley got a few starts in 2015 before breaking his ankle, forcing him to medically redshirt. He graduates in three years, which made the process of transferring to NC State simple. The three year starter for the Wolfpack put together three straight seasons of 60+% completion percentage and a 60:25 QB:INT ratio in the Wolfpack’s pro style offense. The two time All ACC quarterback had a span of 339 passes without an interception which approached Russell Wilsons school record 379 attempts, an FBS record. Finley is a smooth and under-control signal caller who makes good decisions in all situations. His body needs some more bulk to sustain NFL-caliber hits and he may lack the upside of a true starter, but he will be in the league a long time as a solid backup at least. He lacks the pop but can make up for it with intelligence and accuracy to a point. He will get a shot at some point in his career and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him succeed.

*Finley was my top senior prospect leading up to the 2018 season and finished #1 on #2 on that list. I trust this kid even though I will acknowledge his upside doesn’t approach the guys above. He has a lot of pro-caliber traits to his game, both on and off the field. He still has the high schooler-body and there seems to be something lacking with his twitch and explosion as a passer. He would greatly benefit from a situation like NY where he would fully take in the benefits from watching Eli Manning for a year or two while working on his strength and presence. Finley and the possibility of him being taken day 2 by NYG isn’t discussed enough, it is a real possibility.

NFL Comparison: Sam Bradford / FA

6: Jarrett Stidham – Auburn – 6’2/218

Grade: 75

Summary: Fourth year junior. Began his career at Baylor but left the school amid the school’s sexual assault scandal After skipping out on football for a year, Stidham took off once he earned the starting role at Auburn, earning SEC newcomer of the year in 2017. While he didn’t take off in year two, Stidham leaves school as a prospect who checks a lot of boxes and could have his best football ahead of him once he enters a pro offense. He throws a nice ball, plays with a good blend of athleticism and throwing ability, and is always a coach’s favorite. There seems to be a struggle when it comes to reading the entire field and making adjustments when his initial target isn’t there. Stidham will instill the belief he can be a starter in the league at moments but inconsistencies are all over the place.

*I wanted to like Stidham. I have heard great things about him from both in and out of his circle as a person and leader. You know he has the talent, as he’s been the favorite of many QB coaches and evaluators when it comes to workouts. However the tape just doesn’t match the expectations and I question if he has it. Another guy I am not touching until day 3, but I expect him to get drafted earlier.

NFL Comparison: Trevor Siemien / NYJ

7: Will Grier – West Virginia – 6’2/217

Grade: 74

Summary: Fifth year senior. The son of a coach, Grier began his career at Florida and lasted 2 years. He got on the field for 5 starts but had a couple run ins with the coaching staff and a suspension that stemmed from a performance-enhancing drug. He sat out 2016 so he could transfer to West Virginia where he started to reach the potential many saw in him as a highly touted recruit. Grier threw over 70 touchdowns and completed over 65% of his passes in the Mountaineers spread attack. The husband and father has some of the best highlight reel throws in the class but he proved to be overly dependent on space and timing. When his rhythm was thrown off and traffic approached his landing spots, Grier’s performance took a step backwards. The accuracy has been overblown, as he struggles to his points on the move. Grier still plays with a sense of entitlement via poor body language and repeatable mistakes. He projects as a backup at the next level.

*Another popular name connected to NYG if we are talking day 2 of the draft. Grier was a hot player in the fall but as the scouting process got deeper and deeper, too many boxes remained unchecked. I don’t see it with him. The arm talent is average, the dealings with pressure are average, his athleticism is average, and I don’t see a leader that elevates others. Grier has some body language issues that strengthen the notion that he is in his own world. I wouldn’t call him uncoachable by any means, but the debate is whether or not he’s worth even trying to work with is enough for me to pass on him unless we are talking day 3.

NFL Comparison: Kirk Cousins / MIN

8: Taylor Cornelius – Oklahoma State – 6’6/220

Grade: 74

Summary: Fifth year senior. The long time backup to record setting Mason Rudolph, Cornelius finally got his shot as a senior in 2018 and flashed enough to warrant day three consideration. The tall, wiry, strong armed signal caller has professional athlete bloodlines and high jump accolades dating back to high school. He is a very composed, even keel player who shows tremendous touch on his deep balls and more than enough zip throughout the intermediate route tree. A lack of experience and inconsistent accuracy are red flags, but to think of what this kid can evolve into once in an NFL system is worth the excitement. Day three project with starter upside.

*This kid was originally a walk on at Oklahoma State and won the starting job early over Mason Rudolph. However a change of heart in the 11th hour by the coaching staff put Rudolph atop the depth chart and we know what happened there. It’s hard not to think that could have been Cornelius and after that, it’s hard not to think Cornelius may be really undervalued. He has a lot of work ahead of him but he already proved he can be persistent and he has a lot of attractive tape.

NFL Comparison: Matt Schaub / ATL

9: Tyree Jackson – Buffalo – 6’7/249

Grade: 73

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Three year starter who missed some time in 2017 with a knee injury. The 2018 MAC Offensive Player of the Year, Jackson oozes talent and upside stemming from an enormous frame and elite-level arm. He has a knack for making the highlight reel throws on the move. The two way threat can handle a lot of contact as he plays strong and powerful. Coupling that with his big arm and the fact he is relatively raw compared to other quarterback prospects, Jackson is a day three target who teams will want to take a chance on. He has a lot to clean up when it comes to his long release and lack of lower body engagement. In addition, there will be an enormous learning curve, making Jackson a 2+ year project who teams need to be patient with.

*Those who were going gaga over Josh Allen at this time last year are going to like Jackson. He is similar in that he has a big time arm that is especially notable when he is on the move. Jackson is light years behind when it comes to reading defenses and trusting his mechanics. He is a pretty sloppy prospect who plays like he is in the school yard with a bunch of buddies. While the talent is there, it takes so much more to be a quarterback in this league and he really has a ways to do.

NFL Comparison: Paxton Lynch / SEA

10: Easton Stick – North Dakota State – 6’1/224

Grade: 72

Summary: Fifth year senior. Got his first exposure in 2015, filling in for an injured Carson Wentz, going 8-0 as the starter. As a redshirt sophomore in 2016, Stick was named a team captain. He won the national championship in 2017 and 2018, leading the way with a dual-attack approach and knack for making the big play in big moments. Stick is a little rough around the edges but he plays with swagger and grit. He has shown the ability to handle himself well against pressure, holding on to his mechanics and progressions. He will need time to adjust to the NFL but whoever gets this kid in their system will have a high upside player who has more potential than a lot, if not all of the other day 3 quarterbacks.

*Fans will like this kid a lot. He is a spark plug, an exciting, blue collar quarterback who can make a lot happen with his feet. While I do get nervous about guys who rely so much on their legs, Stick has shown enough on tape via his passing skill set to get him a backup spot somewhere in this league. I’m not sure I see a guy who will evolve enough, but having an athlete and competitor like this on the depth chart would be nice.

NFL Comparison: Drew Stanton / CLE

11: Gardner Minshew – Washington State – 6’1/225

Grade: 72

Summary: A former junior college national champion, Minshew transferred to East Carolina but never quite took grip of the full time starting gig. He did get some action via injuries to the guy in front of him and played pretty well. Washington State Head Coach and offensive guru Mike Leach took a liking to him and brought him in for a Gradate transfer year. It was the best thing that ever happened to Minshew, as he was won the Pac 12 Offensive Player of the Year award and was among the nation’s leaders in multiple passing categories. While statistics aren’t a great measureable coming from that offensive system, Minshew has something in him that is overly attractive. He has all the swagger and confidence that can make others better. Teammates and coaches at WSU loved him and I think there is a gamer in him that some don’t have. The talent is a little short, but I do think he has enough to get a shot at some point once he gets used to the NFL style.

*I would put it at under 10% odds that Minshew ends up being something in the NFL beyond a backup, but he has something that you don’t see often. The ideal blend of confidence and cockiness that doesn’t rub people the wrong way, but instead makes others better. He is the kind of guy who can make others better, plain and simple. There is a lot of contagious to him and if the talent can be enough and he works hard to clean up his game, he is the kind of backup who comes on the field halfway through a year and rejuvenates a club. Just not sure he can sustain long term success.

NFL Comparison: Case Keenum / WAS

12: Brett Rypien – Boise State – 6’2/210

Grade: 71

Summary: A four year starter and four time 1st Team All Mountain West Conference honoree. Ended his career winning the conference Player of the Year Award. Nephew to Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien. Rypien is a statistical compiler who did nothing but produce since the moment he stepped on the field. The debate on him will center around a lack of size, arm strength, and athletic ability. Mechanically and mentally, he has it. But the ceiling on him is capped.

*A lot of college fans like this kid a lot. He does look the part when he drops back and dishes the ball out, but he had it pretty easy in the MWC. He didn’t see a lot of pressure and the system he played in doesn’t necessarily translate to the league. I like him as a smooth and dependable backup with a lot of knowledge of the game, but I wouldn’t draft him with the mindset of him ever becoming more.

NFL Comparison: Brian Hoyer / NE

13: Trace McSorley – Penn State – 6’0/204

Grade: 70

Summary: Fifth year senior and a three time team captain for the storied program. McSorley is a gamer in every definition of the word who will lead his way into the discussion of a starting role at some point in his career. The size, arm strength, and overall style of play likely won’t fit in the league but he has made a habit out of proving people wrong. The winning attitude and approach does mean something in the grading process and while he has career backup written all over him, don’t completely count him out.

*Maybe it is the old school mentality I have, but despite the fact I have so many negatives from game notes and grades, I still consider this kid draftable late day 3. I don’t see a big time upside, but I do think he will have value in a QB room at the next level. He is a good team guy to have around and when it comes to the QB position, that is worth something. He had productive career too, so it’s not like we are talking about a stiff. He has talent, can make most of the throws too.

NFL Comparison: Taylor Heinicke / CAR

14: Clayton Thorson – Northwestern – 6’4/222

Grade: 70

Summary: Fifth year senior. Son of former Giants quarterback, Chad Thorson. Thorson tore his ACL late in 2017 but was back in time for the start of his senior year. The two time All Big 10 quarterback never had the sexy stats that some of the other prospects putout but the scheme he played in didn’t often give him the opportunity to air it out often. Thorson is a sneaky arm talent with enough foot speed to evade pressure un and out of the pocket. His experience and leadership will be a welcomed addition to any quarterback room but he won’t evolve into a starter.

*Not much to say or see here, except I think Thorson underachieved in 2018 because of the really quick ACL recovery and a lack of talent around him in addition to poor OL play. He is a better athlete than what we saw on tape and I like the maturity level. Carries himself well and plays really smart, but there is no starter upside.

NFL Comparison: Mason Rudolph / PIT

15: Jacob Dolegala – Central Connecticut – 6’6/240

Grade: 70

Summary: A three year starter who went under-recruited out of high school because of a shoulder injury. Dolegala was a relative unknown to many throughout the fall but he was on our list last August. The tools are there but his play at a low level of college football was far from dominant. He didn’t see many complex coverages but he still seemed to struggle when it came to multiple reads and progressions. But when this kid lines everything up, he can rifle it like a pro. Underrated athlete too who can take on contact with ease. Long term project but interesting tools.

*This is the kind of kid you draft late and try to hide on the practice squad but judging the amount of eyes that were on him at his Pro Day, you may have to keep him on the 53 to avoid someone grabbing him. Anyway, this is a shot in the dark based purely on tools but there isn’t anyone down this far on the list that has what he has.

NFL Comparison: Cardale Jones / LAC

Jake Browning – Washington – 6’2/211: 69

Eric Dungey – Syracuse – 6’3/222: 69

David Blough – Purdue – 6’’0/205: 69

Nick Fitzgerald – Mississippi State – 6’5/226: 69

Jordan Ta’amu – Ole Miss – 6’3/221

Kyle Shurmur – Vanderbilt – 6’4/230: 67

DrDrew Anderson – Murray State – 6’4/220: 66

Justice Hansen – Arkansas State – 6’4/218: 66

Kyle Kempt – Iowa State – 6’5/224: 66

Andrew Ford – Massachusetts – 6’3/210: 65

NYG APPROACH

Let me start off by saying 2 things. One, this QB class isn’t close to what the 2018 QB class was. Two, Josh Rosen is a couple tiers above all of these guys and as I said in February, I am willing to give up a 1st round pick for him if it came down to that. If WAS offered their 15th overall pick, can NYG maybe offer #6 and get back Rosen plus ARI #33 overall? I think it is a bargain to pay for a franchise QB. If you told me last year at this time that NYG could have Rosen AND Barkley AND 3 picks in the top 37 of the 2019 draft, I am not even thinking about it. That is a no brainer in my eyes.

As for this class, none of these guys should be in play at #6 in my opinion. I think Haskins and Jones stand out as the two guys I could see evolving into “franchise QBs” in the same sentence as someone like Mitch Trubisky, but we aren’t talking elite level guys. It really depends on what you want out of drafting a first round QB. DO you want someone who is simply “good enough” or do you want a guy who is going to take over games and be THE guy for a decade-plus? With where the Giants are now, I personally prefer to use the early picks on building a better team around Eli Manning and come back to the QB situation again in a year because I think you will always be able to find QB prospects with this kind of upside that Jones, Haskins, Lock…etc.

I will be the first to tell you Manning isn’t what he was. His feet are slowing down, his reaction times are slowing down, his arm is getting weaker. But this team can still win with him at the helm just as much as you can win with a fringe-first round talent youngster. A new face isn’t always a better face, remember that. There are red flags with each of the QB prospects in this class who could easily turn this offense into complete mush if they took over, and that wouldn’t even be until next year. Drafting a QB this year just for the sake of it is like covering a cut with a band aid when you really need to get stitches. It is a gamble that may, in the long run, make this awful run NYG is on even worse.

I would rather not see them use another mid round pick on a QB for the 3rd year in a row hoping to get lucky. Late day 3? Sure. But in 2017 NYG picked Davis Webb, I wanted them to choose DT Montavious Adams or CB Desmond King (an All Pro). In 2018 they picked Kyle Lauletta and I wanted them to choose Tyrell Crosby, a versatile backup OL. Point is, those selections are valuable.

If NYG loves one of these kids, then go for it. But not at 6. Draft an impact guy at 6 and trade up from 17 aggressively. Perhaps that is the thought in having 2 first rounders anyway. Time will tell.

Apr 222019
 
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Josh Jacobs, Alabama Crimson Tide (January 7, 2019)

Josh Jacobs – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop into weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

RUNNING BACKS

WHERE THEY STAND

The Giants’ brass made the bold move to draft Saquon Barkley at #2 overall in 2019 over a few franchise quarterback. It is a move that will be under the microscope for years because of the fascination some have with the notion that running backs can’t be taken high because they aren’t that important. Well, Barkley ran away with the Rookie of the Year award after his NFL leading 2,028 total yards behind a terrible offensive line and next to a passing game that saw more than its fair share of struggles. Barkley is the real deal and will continue to be one of the best players in the NFL. Wayne Gallman is the team’s primary backup with the forgotten Paul Perkins and unknown Robert Martin peeking through the back of the depth chart. Elijhaa Penny offered solid fullback play and can bring something to the table as a ball carrier as well.

TOP 25

1: Josh Jacobs – Alabama – 5’10/220

Grade: 80

Summary: Junior entry. He forced his way into the rotation more and more as the 2018 season progressed. Jacobs brings an old-school approach to the game. In an era where the passing game and finesse style has become prominent, Jacobs has proven that the physical running game still trumps all. There is a no-nonsense style to his rushing plans in that he wants to get the ball and run over anyone who crosses his path. He plays like he has something personal against the defense and combining that with elite lower body strength and pop, it is a style that works. Jacobs rushed the ball just 251 times in his college career so while he does lack some experience, he pretty much enters the league with as much fuel in the tank as any running back in the class.

*You can view his lack of experience as a good thing if you like the fact he hasn’t been beat up as much or you can view it as a bad thing if you want to see a more proven skill set. I am going with the former, as I think Jacobs will enter the league as a physical downhill force who can make an impact right away. I don’t see an elite level back but there are several teams that could use this kind of presence in the backfield. I think someone takes him in round 1.

NFL Comparison: Jordan Howard / CHI

2: Damien Harris –Alabama – 5’10/216

Grade: 79

Summary: After the surprise decision to return for his senior season, Harris continued to show his NFL-ready, physical style that can keep the chains moving. While he lacks standout, top tier attributes within his game, Harris is as safe a pick as you will find in the 2019 Draft. His legs are bricks and his footwork more good enough to factor in space. He also showed more ability as a receiver in 2018 as the offense transformed to a more traditional passing attack in contrast to the previous two seasons. This is a week 1 contributor who will excel in power-back role but could end up being much more.

*This is a guy who you know can just get it done. Put him in any situation and you know what you will get. There are some slight delays and heavy movement within his game at times, but he doesn’t even need to be discussed that much. Get him in your rotation and you have a solid between the tackles back who will work hard, produce in spurts, and surprise you every now and then.

NFL Comparison: Jonathan Stewart / FA

3: Rodney Anderson – Oklahoma – 6’0/224

Grade: 79

Summary: Fourth year junior who has been through the ringer when it comes to injuries. Season enders to his leg, back, and knee have cut him short in 3 of his 4 years with the Sooners. The medicals with him could be the make or break when it comes to the final grade. On the field, Anderson is as impactful as any running back in the class. He has the kind of lower body ease and fluidity paired with a nice burst and long speed that can take a small window into a huge gain. Anderson moves exceptionally well and the fact he does it at 220+ pounds with excellent vision and feel make him a very attractive prospect. If the health stays on the positive side, Anderson could be one of the best players in this class a few years from now.

*One of the biggest injury risks in the draft, I won’t deny that. I did factor that into my grade and if he had a complete clean bill of health, we are talking about a top 10 overall player, as I think he does have that kind of ability. Anderson moves exceptionally well for a back with his size and there is a natural ability to find lanes and creases. I love his game but there is no denying his risky, to be kind, injury history.

NFL Comparison: Darrell Williams / KC

4: David Montgomery – Iowa State – 5’10/222

Grade: 78

Summary: Junior entry. A two-plus year starter who ended up on the All-Big 12 squad in both 2017 and 2018. Montgomery lacks some of the sexy highlights that some other running backs can put on display, but make no mistake about his final grade. He is a chains mover who constantly breaks through initial contact and picks up plenty of yards after contact with a running style that breeds contact balance and vision. His hands are a weapon and as long as he can improve his blocking presence, he has every-down starter written all over him. Never a star, but certainly a safe and reliable back you should not sleep on.

*In a complimentary fashion, Montgomery reminds me of a poor man’s Saquon. He doesn’t have anything near the tools Barkley has, but the way he can see things, change direction, and burst from a small position gets him a lot of extra yards. Montgomery is a tough dude too, one who will always fall forward and stay hungry to make things happen. Starting caliber back.

NFL Comparison: Mark Ingram / BAL

5: Trayveon Willians – Texas A&M – 5’8/206

Grade: 77

Summary: Junior entry. After two solid years for the Aggies where he led the team in rushing both times, Williams broke on to the national scene in 2018. The 1st Team All SEC running back led the conference in rushing while setting a school-single season rushing record. The big play back brings the kind of excitement and big play potential to the field the second he steps foot on it. Despite being on the small side, Williams is very effective in both space and traffic. He can see the field and make fast decisions, sneaking by defenders and wiggling his way into the open field. Once there, he can take it the house every time. While he isn’t the every down franchise back, Williams is a weapon right away that can change an offense.

*This kid is a gamer. He plays with the kind of attitude I want out of a back when it comes to hunger, desire, and hustle. He runs bigger than his listed size and even though I don’t see him as a 20+ touch per game guy, he would be a nice compliment to a backfield that needs spark. Impressed in interviews as well, although his workouts left a little to be desired. Really could see him in round 2 and round 5 based on what teams want.

NFL Comparison: Nyheim Hines / IND

6: Bryce Love – Stanford – 5’9/200

Grade: 75

Summary: After sitting behind Christian McCaffrey for 2 years, Love broke out in 2017 with a 2,000+ yard season, winning the Doak Walker Award. He opted to return for his senior season to finish his degree, which may help him with life after football, but on the field it did not. For the second straight year he fought through nagging ankle injuries before ultimately tearing his ACL late in the season. His pre-draft process is all about rehab rather than displaying his sub 4.4 speed. The recovery is key to his grade but even if he gets the green light, teams will have to be worried about a 200 pound back in the NFL. His best fit would be in an offense where is a package player early on, not a focal point.

*Love could have come out last year and been, at worst, a top 75 pick. Now that he went through another year if lower body injuries including the torn ACL late, Love is in the day 3 discussion. He could be one of the steals of the entire class if he can get and stay healthy but that appears to be a big if. Love runs bigger than his size and the stutter step-to explosion is top tier. He has a way of missing contact which is fun to watch. If a team wants to take a chance day 3, the dividends could be enormous.

NFL Comparison: James White / NE

7: Miles Sanders – Penn State – 5’11/211

Grade: 76

Summary: Junior entry. Former top high school recruit got stuck behind Saquon Barkley for two years. In his lone season as the guy, Sanders responded with a 2nd Team All Big 10 performance and replicated a version of Barkley at times. With excellent vision and versatility, Sanders can be a weapon in any role. The underrated power runner can consistently fall forward as well as break through initial contact to create on his own. His ability as a receiver far outweighs his impact as a blocker and he can be a weapon within a committee approach right away. Lacking star power, Sanders is a sure bet to be a contributor for awhile.

*There are some out there who think Sanders is the top back in this class. While I did like him early and projected him as a day 2 pick throughout the fall, I’m not as sold on him being more than a solid rotational guy. The ball security issues with him are bad and if they show up in training camp and preseason, that will be the quickest and most direct route to the bench.

NFL Comparison: Tevin Coleman / SF

8: Qadree Ollison – Pittsburgh – 6’0/228

Grade: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior. Ollison has had a back and forth career when it comes to both playing time and production. In a backfield that had a lot of changes via the James Conner situation early in his career, Ollison showed promise right away, winning ACC Rookie of the Year in 2015. Even though his role and playing time lacked consistency, Ollison is one of the more intriguing height/weight/speed backs in this class. In addition, he is more than just an athlete. His vision and short area burst combined with powerful downhill steam make him a dangerous back if he is thrown into the right situation. The versatile back enters the league with a good amount of tread left and could be one of the breakout performers early in his career.

*Ollison had a weird career and there may be a lot of untapped upside here. The whole James Conner situation through off the start of his career and Pitt was hell-bent on running the 2 back system n 2018. If Ollison had been in the right situation with the full slate of carries with a better program, we may be talking about a 2nd rounder. High upside guy here and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him as the top back in this class 3-4 years from now.

NFL Comparison: Todd Gurley / LAR

9: Alexander Mattison – Boise State – 5’11/221

Grade: 76

Summary: Junior entry from San Bernardino, California. Two year starter who was Honorable Mention All MWC in 2017 and first team in 2018. Mattison is an every down back who can help a team in several ways. He excels between the tackles and also carries standout blocking traits. His ability to naturally catch the ball and move north right away adds yet another dimension to his game that can keep him on the field at all times. The upside has a cap on it, but this kind of back is as safe a pick as a team can make especially in the late day 2, early day 3 area.

*Nothing stands out about this kid’s athletic ability but he is just so solid on all levels and if I had to pick one back in this class to pass protect, it is him. Now I know you aren’t gonna draft a kid based on that, but we’ve seen a lack of blocking really hurt young backs and their offenses. Mattison is better between the tackles than you think and could be an immediate guy right away.

NFL Comparison: Isaiah Crowell / OAK

10: Tony Pollard – Memphis – 6’0/210

Grade: 76

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. AAC Special Teams Player of the year in 2016 and 2017. Pollard had 7 career kickoff return touchdowns, an all time FBS record. While he made his name on special teams, Pollard proved that he can factor on offense in a variety of ways as well. He does a lot of little things right and constantly passed test after test as his role with the Tigers expanded. He is a jack-of-all-trades type who can fill multiple roles with one roster spot.

*When initially looking at this kid’s college career, you may be under the assumption I view him as a returner. To be honest, I barely accounted for his 7 return touchdowns and overall production throughout the process. I really like the versatility he can bring to an offense in all situations, he just needs the right offensive mind running the show.

NFL Comparison: Ty Montgomery / NYJ

11: Benny Snell – Kentucky – 5’10/224

Grade: 76

Summary: Junior entry with NFL lineage. Son and nephew to former NFL running backs. After his Freshman All American season in 2016, Snell went on to earn 1st Team All SEC honors in 2017 and 2018, leaving Kentucky as the program’s all time leading rusher. Snell has a lot to be impressed by on paper when it comes to production and consistency, but there are athletic holes in his game that can prevent his power running style to become a consistent presence in the NFL. He is an old fashioned, between the tackles back who can find a role and be reliable, but don’t expect much more.

*Don’t underestimate running backs who play with a high level of hustle and hunger. Snell may lack some of the twitch I like out of RBs, but he is a guy who consistently gets the most out of his touches and will impose that will on tacklers. He would be a nice guy to have on your team if you are looking for between the tackles production and a change of pace from a space-dependent back.

NFL Comparison: Jamaal Williams / GB

12: Alex Barnes – Kansas State – 6’0/226

Grade: 74

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. A 2nd Team All Big 12 back in 2018 who was the team’s focal point out of the backfield in Kansas State’s run-heavy offense. Barnes may not jump off the screen when it comes to versatility and dynamic playmaking ability, but the ultra-violent and powerful back can elevate the physical style of an offense right away. He carries 225+ pounds with ease and loves to bring the heat when his hands are on the ball. With an effective run blocking line, Barnes can be an excellent short yardage back who will provide good blocking and special teams play.

*This kid tested off the charts on some physical evaluation grading systems. It made a lot of scouts go re-check his tape and there are traits that are nice to see. If you want a short yardage back who essentially doesn’t really look where he is going but just explodes into the traffic and falls forward, Barnes is your guy. I don’t see every down duty but he can be a really effective role player.

NFL Comparison: Peyton Barber / TB

13: Darrell Henderson – Memphis – 5’8/208

Grade: 74

Summary: Junior entry. First Team All American in 2018 after he averaged nearly 9 yards per carry. A big play back in every sense of the term who scored 11 touchdowns from 50+ yards out in 2018 alone. Henderson is an all or nothing type player who doesn’t exactly have elite speed or agility, but he is a quick-reaction type mover who plays with hunger and desire. He is a smart runner that understands situations, not just a back that is always looking for the home run. While the stats may have been inflated from poor defensive play by the opponents, Henderson can’t be ignored. There is a natural feel and knack for finding space that will translate at the next level, albeit he won’t be an every down player.

*Hard to ignore the production here. I mean, 9 yards per carry in an FBS conference? Like I said before, you have to consider some of his opponents but he did play well against some of the better teams on their schedule too. Henderson shows vision and easy change of direction. While he won’t break tackles in the NFL routinely, there are traits to his game that will create big plays. I suspect he will go higher than where I have him.

NFL Comparison: Devonta Freeman / ATL

14: Mike Weber – Ohio State – 5’10/211

Grade: 74

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Winner of the Big 10 Freshman of the Year Award in 2016 and Honorable Mention All Big 12 in 2018. Weber is a plain, but effective back who can bring a physical presence to the backfield. He excels between the tackles and could be the ideal compliment to a team that already has speed and space-dependent backs on their depth chart. His ceiling may be limited, but a team will know exactly what they have in him.

*A no-nonsense runner and professional off the field, Weber is one of those day 3 backs who will earn his way into a rotation in year one. I’m not sure I see the very down back in him but he is a safe, reliable guy.

NFL Comparison: Lamar Miller / HOU

15: Justice Hill – Oklahoma State – 5’10/198

Grade: 74

Summary Junior entry. After a freshman season that ranked as one of the best in school history, Hill was a 1st Team All Big 12 back in 2017 after leading the conference in rushing. He was a name to watch as a junior, but nagging injuries and the emergence of James Conner-clone Chuba Hubbard, Hill didn’t have the season many were hoping for. However when looking at traits and what he can do for an offense that provides space, Hill is dangerous. He can explode and dart away from defenders but he can’t be the sole focus in a backfield, as the body just isn’t there. Complimentary back who will be a big play asset.

*If you watched Hill play early in his career, you would have made the assumption he was an eventual first round pick. The fear with him resides around durability within his sub-200 pound frame, not a common size for NFL backs. His straight line burst and speed in pads make him a big play threat, but he doesn’t show enough shake to prevent a lot of contact by defenders. The plan needs to be to limit his touches but the ceiling is high when it comes to potential impact.

NFL Comparison: Dion Lewis / TEN

16: Ryquell Armstead – Temple – 5’11/220: 74

17: Jordan Ellis – Virginia – 5’10/224: 74

18: Devine Ozigbo – Nebraska – 5’11/233: 73

19: Elijah Holyfield – Georgia – 5’10/217: 72

20: Reggie Gallaspy – 5’11/235: 72

21: Devin Singletary – Florida Atlantic – 5’7/203: 71

22: Karon Higdon – Michigan – 5’9/206: 71

23: DJ Knox – Purdue – 5’7/211: 71

24: Jordan Scarlett – Florida – 5’11/208: 69

25: AJ Oullette – Ohio – 5’10/209: 70: 69

**TOP UDFA SLEEPER**

Jalin Moore – Appalachian State – 5’10/212

Fifth year senior who finished as the 1st Team All Sun Belt Conference running back in both 2016 and 2017. A nasty, borderline horrific leg and ankle injury cut his 2018 short in October. There were talks about that injury being a career ender but he has recovered and shown enough in workouts in recent weeks to give the idea he will make a near-full recovery. Moore is a really well built, really strong, really decisive runner who can make something out of nothing. And my trend with RBs who I like is how hard they play, and Moore plays with the energizer bunny mentality. There will be some teams that think twice about the ankle/leg, but he is worth the gamble as a priority UDFA.

NYG APPROACH

It may be crazy to think about adding a running back the year after spending #2 overall on one in addition to the fact they have a solid backup in Gallman. I think there needs to be a discussion about a power/short yardage back though, more specifically towards the end of the draft where there will likely be a value available. The only reason I like the idea is if you want to keep Barkley as fresh as possible for as long as possible from both a macro and micro perspective, having him avoid the hits in a lot of traffic on short yardage situations could be a huge help. You don’t want to take the space-touches away from him and you want him catching a lot of balls, but if there is a spot to save him a bit, it would be on the 2nd and 2, 3rd and 1 situations during the middle of the game. In addition, if this team is truly going to be a run-based offense, depth is important. Gallman is solid, but it would be smart to get another body in there just in case.

Apr 202019
 
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A.J. Brown, Mississippi Rebels (November 22, 2018)

A.J. Brown – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Wide Receivers

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop into weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

WIDE RECEIVERS

WHERE THEY STAND

Put me in the crowd of onlookers who are completely shocked Odell Beckham won’t be wearing the NY uniform in 2019. Golden Tate and the newly -xtended Sterling Shepard will see the majority of the team’s WR snaps with Evan Engram sure to see some action out there as well. Beyond them they have a handful of roster hopefuls and/or guys who are best used for depth, not a serious amount of snaps. Bennie Fowler, Corey Coleman, Cody Latimer, Alonzo Russell, Russell Shepard, and Jawill Davis aren’t exactly fear-inducing pass catchers.

TOP 25

1: AJ Brown – Ole Miss – 6’0/226

Grade: 82

Summary: Junior entry. First team All SEC and Third Team All American. Drafted out of high school by the San Diego Padres and he has not completely thrown the idea out of pursuing professional baseball at some point. Not a traditional receiver by any means, Brown brings some extra size and strength to the position that can create major issues for defensive backs, in particular those who play the slot. His physical style and reliable hands to go with dangerous after-catch ability will be a tough matchup in the middle of the field. His toughness and grit can at least somewhat hide a lack of top end speed and burst. While his game may be limited when it comes to vertical speed and burst, his impact on short and intermediate routes will be force with the right quarterback.

*I don’t see the fit with NYG because I think Brown is best suited for the slot where his plus-size and toughness can really factor. But he still enters the draft as my top overall WR in a group that is very deep but a little light at the top. In a league where tackling seems optional at times, Brown is the kind of bruiser who will create a ton after the catch. A really good route runner with the intelligence who can take it to the next level will be a stud if he can get paired with the right QB.

NFL Comparison: JuJu Smith-Schuster / PIT

2: N’Keal Harry – Arizona State – 6’2/228

Grade: 81

Summary: Junior entry. Two time First Team All Pac 12 in which he caught 155 passes for 2,230 yards and 17 touchdowns on team that struggled to produce solid secondary targets. An all around, every-down difference maker who has enough explosion and agility to get enough space underneath. A force when the ball is in the air with his combination of power, strength, and size. Harry has the developed NFL body that will be tough for most defensive backs to hang with physically and more than enough athleticism to make plays after the catch. He has number one receiver written all over him.

*Harry was the top WR on my board last summer and he pretty much stayed there all season. Him and Brown are close enough to really label them 1A and 1B. One thing that worries me about Harry, though, is the lack of separation he can generate via route running and short area burst. That has made things very difficult for past prospects I have graded well with a similar skill set. But his competitiveness, toughness, and ability after the catch (which is very overlooked), can hide those issues a bit. He is a very healthy and twitchy 230 pounds, not something that may pro WRs can say.

NFL Comparison: Demaryius Thomas / NE

3: JJ Arcega-Whiteside – Stanford – 6’2/225

Grade: 80

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Son two professional European basketball players and has an accomplished background on the hardwood himself. After a breakout, 1st Team All Pac 12 season in 2018, Arcega-Whiteside vaulted into near-1st round consideration. He is a potentially dominant possession receiver who does not need to be open in order to be thrown the ball with confidence because of his plus-ability to gain the positional advantage over the cover man. He showed, over and over, both mental and physical prowess over defensive backs all year in traffic. While his speed and burst can be questioned, there is so much he can bring to the table. NFL ready right now.

*Another thicker-than-normal receiver with excellent ball skills and the competitive spirit you want out of a possession guy. Arecega-Whiteside caught my eye early in the year because of his skill set as a route runner and pass catcher. The more I saw, the more I realized his athletic ability was upper tier as well. The way he can plant his foot and burst through a window can be utilized exceptionally well in a quick passing attack. I don’t see a number one wideout here, but I do see a guy who is under appreciated around the league but whoever has him knows how valuable he really is.

NFL Comparison: Keenan Allen / LAC

4: Paris Campbell – Ohio State – 6’0/205

Grade: 78

Summary: After a very successful high school track career, Campbell arrived at Ohio State and had to wait awhile before he made a big impact on offense. He turned from athlete to football player and ended his career with two straight All-Big 10 seasons, 2018 being a 1st Team honor. The team captain showed glimpses of elite, game breaking talent who is based on speed and easy movement. He is one of those players who is simply playing at a different speed than his opponents, no matter who is on the field. He still has some rawness to his game but receivers in the Ohio State offense don’t always get the full opportunity to show what they can really do. There is a boom or bust label next to Campbell’s name, but at the very least he will be a dangerous return man and gimmick-player who opposing defenses do not want to deal with.

*I was recently told by someone I trust that Campbell is “definitely” going to be the first WR taken. The NFL loves his skill set and top tier explosion. Campbell has the look of a star but there are a couple things missing for me. First, I think he lacks some of the toughness that is required to be an effective slot and there is an inconsistent attention to detail that isn’t always needed in the OSU offense. Upside is undeniable and I do think he will make plays, but I wouldn’t want him to be my number one guy.

NFL Comparison: Michael Gallup / DAL

5: Darius Slayton – Auburn – 6’1/190

Grade: 79

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Slayton arrived at Auburn as an accomplished high school track athlete and enters the NFL with a very high ceiling. His speed and burst are functional and usable on the field, he is much more than a track athlete. He consistently averaged near-20 yards per catch over his career and displayed dominant stretches against SEC cornerbacks.. He is a deep threat who will make a defense account for him at all times. While there are limitations to his game underneath and at the point of attack, this kind of deep threat and ability to extend plays after the catch is worth the risk. Boom or bust.

*I am taking a chance on Slayton, I simply have too many plus game notes over the past two seasons to ignore it. The Auburn offense is difficult to scout as it could create numerous false opportunities but at the same time it may prevent a guy like Slayton from really showing everything he can do. I love the way he moves and his worst case may be a Ted Ginn caliber vertical threat.

NFL Comparison: Ted Ginn / NO

6: David Sills – West Virginia – 6’3/211

Grade: 79

Summary: Fifth year senior who had two different stints at West Virginia. After a highly-touted high school career at quarterback, Sills was put into the WR rotation in 2015 but left the program to pursue his QB career at junior college. Ultimately he realized his NFL future was solely at WR, thus he returned to the Mountaineers and put together two straight All American seasons. In West Virginia’s high-power spread attack, Sills was a touchdown machine who pushed 50/50 balls to 70/30 balls in his favor. 33 touchdowns over those two years were among the many highlights he has on tape. Sills lacks some important athletic and measurable testing numbers, but there is no denying how special his ball skills and awareness levels are. Pair him with an accurate thrower and Sills will be producing at a high level, but he is just a step shy of being a number one.

*I am a tad higher on Sills than the market, I think. He will have a hard time getting open via athletic ability but he is so savvy, so coordinated that I trust him as much as anyone in traffic. The internal debate I have with him centers around how physical he is. Does he have some dog on him? Or does the body type and lack of strength make him hesitant when an NFL safety is coming at him? Little bit of a boom or bust because I think he needs a specific quarterback throwing him the ball.

NFL Comparison: Tyrell Williams / OAK

7: Riley Ridley – Georgia – 6’1/199

Grade: 78

Summary: Junior entry. Brother to Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley. A two year starter for the Bulldogs, Ridley is a bit of an unknown as he enters the league. He was the top pass catcher albeit in a run first, run second, pass third offense. There are a few constants to his game that will translate to the NFL very well. One, he is a pro-caliber route runner who shows the understanding of the subtle but vital nuances. And second, his ball skills are near-top tier which can somewhat hide his lackluster movement tools. He won’t burn by anyone and may struggle to consistently create space between him and the defender underneath, but he is a safe bet to at least be a reliable possession receiver.

*Ridley is a different kind of receiver than his brother but they both ran routes like pros in college and they both attacked the ball with their hands. I like Riley with the ball in his hands a bit more, though. He has some running back caliber traits and toughness and I’m not sure there is a more competitive blocker in this group.

NFL Comparison: Tyler Boyd / CIN

8: DK Metcalf – Ole Miss – 6’3/228

Grade: 78

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. His 2016 season was cut short after just 2 games due to a broken foot and also missed the final 5 games of 2018 with a serious neck injury. That only leaves 2017 as his lone full season. The lack of experience is evident on tape and despite the rare combination of size and speed, Metcalf is rough around the edges. There isn’t a lot of cleanliness to his game, although his potential will be hard to ignore for long. Vertical threats like this don’t come around often and he does have impressive showings against multiple SEC schools. Boom or bust.

*Don’t mistake the #8 rank at the position for a label that I don’t like Metcalf. I was actually touting this kid back in September but the neck injury brought him down from an 80+ because even though some are giving him a clean bill of health, I know some have taken him off the board because of it. So there is something going on there. Anyway, Metcalf has some Terrell Owens in him. If he works hard at improving within the subtle areas of the game, he can be one of the top deep threats in the NFL right away. I just don’t use a 1st round pick on someone like this although I bet someone does.

NFL Comparison: Terrell Owens / RET

9: Deebo Samuel – South Carolina – 5’11/214

Grade: 78

Summary: After an early career that was marred by injuries (hamstring and broken leg), Samuel finally put together a full year in 2018, earning 1st Team All SEC honors. The very non-traditional receiver has shown the ability to use his thickness and strength as an asset while hiding them as a liability. Samuel plays a strong, blue collar game that shows up when it matters most. While his movement isn’t anything that will scare defenders and put them on their heels, Samuel understands how to get open and he will not be deterred by contact in traffic. He would be a different kind of slot receiver but much like Hines Ward, one who can get things done at a high level for a long time.

*The name Hines Ward that I used in the report-summary keeps popping up in my head when I watch this kid. Ward had a very good career for a few really good Steelers’ teams but I think they are both players that you can rightfully question, do they need the right situation? Throw in the fact that he has had multiple issues staying healthy and I had to keep him as a day 2 pick. I like Samuel’s game, but I think you can find a guy this good any year and I don’t see a 1st round grade.

NFL Comparison: Golden Tate / NYG

10: Hakeem Butler – Iowa State – 6’5/227

Grade: 77

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. A two year factor for the Iowa State offense, finishing Honorable Mention All Big 12 in 2017 and 2nd team in 2018. Butler set a school record for receiving yards this past season and showed several flashes of being a truly dominant player. They don’t come bigger than Butler, measuring in on the elite side across the board. He almost always has the advantage in 50/50 situations and a quarterback won’t ever be afraid to loft it up his way near the red zone. His issues revolve around attention to detail and effort, however. The question can be asked, does he truly care? Will he work hard? The tools are undeniable but that isn’t enough. Pre-draft interviews and his willingness to work are crucial.

*Butler’s public grade seems to be getting higher and higher as the game tapes get further and further from us. That is always a red flag to me. While his size is overly impressive, I can’t come away with the thought that it should be overshadowing his lack of consistency as a pass catcher and attention to detail. There are some ego problems here as well that make me keep him towards the back end of day 2 although I can see him going at the top of round 2.

NFL Comparison: Kenny Golladay / DET

11: Gary Jennings – West Virginia – 6’1/214

Grade: 77

Summary: Two year starter from Stafford, Virginia. Honorable Mention All Big 12 in 2018, 2nd Team in 2017. Jennings is an overlooked player in West Virginia’s high octane offense but he has a chance at being the top pro from this program in a long time. Jennings brings a solid combination of size, speed, and football awareness to the table that can be molded into a versatile every down threat at the next level. His playing speed outweighs his impressive timed speed and the ability to process information quickly can make him seem even more explosive. Jennings will need to clean up his routes and get his hands stronger, but there is an upside here that most receivers in the class cannot touch.

*I know a couple guys who I really respect that say Jennings is a borderline 1st rounder and could be the top value pick at the position in the entire class. His game wasn’t very versatile at West Virginia but that had a lot to do with the scheme more than his skill set. There is more speed here than people think and he can play outside and inside. He will likely need time to adjust more so than others, but someone may be able to get a very good #2 here towards the end of day 3.

NFL Comparison: Kenny Stills / MIA

12: Jamal Custis – Syracuse – 6’4/214

Grade: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior who was an afterthought coming into 2018. Custis entered his fifth year with 13 career receptions and a few durability issues. However a 2nd Team All ACC year with a lot of flashy tape put him right into day 2 talk. Custis is a big, physical, commanding pass catcher who started to show his true colors and the best is yet to come. His size and strength is a tough matchup for anyone who takes on the task of covering him. The ball skills and route running still have a little ways to go but he has shown enough in combination with his top tier tool set to give star-receiver thoughts when it comes to his potential.

*I am much higher on Custis than what I have seen out there, but I believe in the skill set and his mindset is in the right place. I do get nervous about a 1 year contributor, so there is a lot of risk here, but he is a guy who has the look of a better NFL player than college player. Those who love to tout Hakeem Butler as a big time prospect have to acknowledge the fact Custis has an awfully similar combination of tools and skills.

NFL Comparison: Devin Funchess / IND

13: Dillon Mitchell – Oregon – 6’1/197

Grade: 76

Summary: Junior entry. Broke out in 2018 with a school record 1,184 yards as he was the team’s top deep and intermediate target. Mitchell is a polarizing player because he flashes elite playmaking ability paired with above average long speed, however he has attitude problems and his work ethic isn’t anything to brag about. He is on the wrong side of the line between swagger and selfish, but if a team can get him focused on cleaning up the weaknesses in his game, he has an upside that most simply do not.

*I have a few games notes from earlier in the season where I wrote “Odell” under this kid’s name. Maybe not the same level of explosion and burst, but Mitchell showed similar movement patterns and ball skills in addition to the ability to find yards after the catch. While he didn’t quite reach that level overall when it came to the final scouting process, there is still a lot of excitement within his game. He needs extra screening though, as I had a near-first round grade on him but the character issues bumped him down quite a bit.

NFL Comparison: Robert Woods / LAR

14: Preston Williams – Colorado State – 6’4/211

Grade: 76

Summary: After two quiet years at Tennessee, Williams transferred to Colorado State and fell into trouble away from the field with a domestic violence incident. After being suspended and reinstated, Williams finally found his flow in 2018 and left an impression that left coaches saying he was the most talented receiver they have ever been around. Williams, also an accomplished triple jump track athlete, has a very unique blend of size, foot quickness, and ball skills. There simply aren’t many pass catchers who possess this combination of tools and skills. On a weekly basis, Williams would make multiple eye opening impressions with difficult catches made easy, route running, and body control. If he is and can stay clean off the field, he has star-potential.

*Similar to my top WR in last year’s class Michael Gallup, Williams comes into the league from the Colorado State program with off-field questions but enormous talent. Williams’ issues are bit more serious, however and he also didn’t impress in workouts. All things considered, Williams is worth a day 3 gamble because he has multiple flashes where he looks like an elite-ball skill guy who can get vertical as well as catch the ball in traffic. Love this kid’s upside but where you take him needs to be very calculated.

NFL Comparison: Mike Williams / LAC

15: Ashton Dulin – Malone – 6’1/215

Grade: 76

Summary: Three year starter from Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Chose the Malone program over Division I offers so he could play football and run track. A school-record setter in the 60 M, 200 M, and 60 M hurdles. Left the GMAC as record holder in 5 outdoor track events. 2018 GMAC Offensive Back and Special Teams Player of the Year. Dulin is a ball of clay who a team will want to mold for a couple years. If done correctly, the ceiling with him can rival a few of the best receivers in the class in addition to making impact in the return game. He is a big, strong, fast competitor who is more than just an athlete. Dulin is a football player in ever sense of the word who could be one of the best day 3 picks in the draft.

*Dulin is my favorite small school prospect at the position. He will need time, probably more than a year, but the tools and flashes he has shown can be molded in a legit #1 receiver in this league. He checks all the boxes physically and I’ve been told his workout/interview process was among the best in the class.

NFL Comparison: Davante Adams / GB

16: Xavier Ubosi – UAB – 6’3/215: 76
17: Terry Godwin – Georgia – 5’11/184: 76
18: Demarkus Lodge – Ole Miss – 6’2/202: 76
19: Anthony Johnson – Buffalo – 6’2/209: 76
20: Andrew Isabella – Massachusetts – 5’9/188: 75
21: Stanley Morgan – Nebraska – 6’0/202: 75
22: Hunter Renfrow – Clemson – 5’10/184: 75
23: Kelvin Harmon – NC State – 6’2/221: 75
24: Marquis Brown – Oklahoma – 5’9/166: 74
25: Miles Boykin – Notre Dame – 6’4/220: 74

**TOP UDFA SLEEPER**

AJ Richardson – Boise State – 6’0/212

Fifth year senior who has been the #2 guy in that Boise State passing offense for 2 years. Lacking in some ideal tools, Richardson has some of the strongest hands in the class and it is amazing how many balls he comes away with in traffic. I love the late hands and ability to adjust. He is the kind of WR I point to when discussing the importance of ball skills over speed and size. The WR’s job is to catch balls, and he does it as well as anyone in the class. I see a 1-2 year project and a guy who could eventually be on the same level as a Deebo Samuel.

NYG APPROACH

Before I go into how I think NYG should handle the WR position in this draft, know that this is the DEEPEST group of pass catchers I have ever seen by a wide margin. I almost posted by next 15 grades because I have 40+ who have a top 5 round grade. With that said, there will be enormous value available late day 3 and after the draft concludes. The Giants are not overly deep or very top heavy at the position, but also remember they have a plus-target at tight end and a major-plus target at running back. Would it be nice to grab one of these oversized targets in the first 3-4 rounds? Sure. But considering the holes on this team, the style they plan on playing to, and the fact there WILL BE value drops available at the end of day, I think they need to resist the urge. Wait until rounds 6 and 7 to address this spot.

Apr 192019
 
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T.J. Hockenson, Iowa Hawkeyes (January 1, 2019)

T.J. Hockenson – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Tight Ends

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop into weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

TIGHT END

WHERE THEY STAND

The Giants offense is leaning towards a run-heavy attack with a quick strike passing game. Their QB’s arm is declining year by year and he can’t evade in the slightest form of pressure, their top deep threat is off the team, and the front office traded resources to beef up the offensive line. I talk about this because Evan Engram, as much as he has flashed and as athletic as he is, may not be the fit this personnel grouping needs. He is a below average blocker in the trenches and unless the team plans on using more two tight end sets and/or splitting Engram out as a WR, his days here may be numbered. Rhett Ellison and Scott Simonson both fit the bill more so but neither are anything to write home about. While NYG can survive with these three, I’m not sure they are ideal fits.

TOP 20

1: TJ Hockenson – Iowa – 6’5/251

Grade: 81

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. A steady piece of the two-tight end rotation the Iowa offense employed throughout his career. Broke out in a big way in 2018, winning the Mackey Award despite sharing snaps and looks with fellow Hawkeye tight end prospect Noah Fant. Hockenson is a throw back, hard-nosed player who has unusual short-area quickness and reliable ball skills for a player his size. He still has a ways to go when it comes to physical development and blocking presence, but the body type and mindset are both there. In time, Hockenson can be a solid every down player and starter with the ceiling of being a matchup nightmare.

*If there is one tight end I would be looking at in the first round, at 17-not 6, it is Hockenson. He is a true every down trench player who is athletic and effective enough in the passing game. While I do think some have gotten carried away with touting his blocking and athletic ability, he is on the plus-side in both departments. If NYG really did want to go with a two tight end offense to fit their approach, Hockenson does make sense but a case could be made it is still a reach at 17.

NFL Comparison: Greg Olsen / CAR

2: Dawson Knox – Ole Miss – 6’4/254

Grade: 79

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. A former high school receiver and quarterback who was a highly touted track athlete. Knox will “wow” many in workouts with top tier explosion and speed at his size, but still has a little ways to go when it comes to the football skill set. Knox didn’t get a lot of looks in the loaded Ole Miss passing attack but when he did, he often delivered. The former walk on has a grinder-mentality that, matched with his natural ability and improving techniques, can be molded into a difference maker at the next level.

*If it is determined that the two TE offense is the way to go but the agreement in the room says Hockenson isn’t worth pick 17, Knox is a very solid fall back option who doesn’t get a ton of attention from the media. But from what I see, he is the kind of kid teams want to develop. Talent is there and the dude plays hard, really hard. Not hard to believe he just didn’t get to show the world what he can do playing in that WR-heavy offense at Ole Miss.

NFL Comparison: David Njoku / CLE

3: Noah Fant – Iowa – 6’4/249

Grade: 77

Summary: Junior entry. First team All Big 10 in 2018. Burst on to the scene in 2017 with 11 touchdowns and 16+ yards per catch, both school records for the tight end position. Fant continued his progression in 2018 despite the ball being spread around even sharing duties with fellow position-group teammate and NFL Draft prospect TJ Hockenson. Fant is the kind of athlete who will cause the opposition to game plan around him. His blend of size, speed, and ball skills are near-impossible to stop with one player alone. He still plays and comes across raw at times, but he has shown enough in two years to, at the very least, be dangerous threat in the passing game. His ceiling is as high as any pass catcher in the class.

*Fant was the flavor of the fall but when I really dove into his game from a big picture perspective, there are multiple holes. As good of an athlete as he is, and we are talking elite, Fant doesn’t make much happen without space. He doesn’t cut well, he doesn’t break tackles. Blocking, well you are drafting him to block. A team that wants a mismatch in the passing game but shortcomings elsewhere can value him higher than where I do, but I see an end of day 2 type guy. I think someone takes him top 15 though.

NFL Comparison: Eric Ebron / IND

4: Drew Sample – Washington – 6’5/255

Grade: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior. Three-plus year starter and two time Honorable Mention All Pac 12. Sample is a classic tight end prospect who has blossomed from blocker to all around threat. He is a tough, hard nosed competitor who may rank among the best blockers in this class at the group. However he showed that defenses cannot sleep on him as a pass catcher. He shows the necessary twitch and ball skills to keep them honest and similar to Will Dissly a year ago in SEA, could be a guy who breaks out as a pass catcher in the NFL.

*Keep an ear out for this kids name come draft weekend. NFL teams that want every down duty from a new tight end are going to like this kid’s game. He can do everything at a good enough level to factor right away and his pre-draft process checked a lot of gray boxes.

NFL Comparison: Kyle Rudolph / MIN

5: Irv Smith Jr – Alabama – 6’2/242

Grade: 77

Summary: Junior entry. One and half year starter who stood out on a few occasions in 2018, earning 2nd Team Al SEC honors. While undersized, Smith plays bigger than he looks, most notably as a blocker in space. There is more power in that frame than you think and it makes a difference after the catch. He is a really balanced and under control, with route running that really developed as the year went. I got more and more impressed with him but I would be lying if I said I thought he was ready for the league now. He also may have a hard time blocking in line. Get him into an H-Back type role and he can be a difference maker.

*People love players from Alabama, which I understand. However every year I think some guys get a tad overrated for wearing the Crimson, and I think Smith fits that bill because I have heard a few say he might be a first rounder. Simply put, Smith is way undersized and while his speed is good, we aren’t talking elite. I think Smith can carve a nice role for himself but he is a day 2 guy, not even close to round 1.

NFL Comparison: Trey Burton / CHI

6: Jace Sternberger – Texas A& M – 6’4/251

Grade: 76

Summary: Fourth year junior who has jumped around a bit. Started off at Kansas before dropping to the junior college level in an effort to kind of re-do his recruiting process. Was highly sought after but settled in at Texas A& M and put together an All American season. Sternberger is wiry-framed, solid straight line athlete with plus ball skills and ability after the catch. His aggression and desire as a blocker is a good sign of what he can be once the weight is added over time. He can be a complete, every down tight end with starter potential down the road.

*Sternberger snuck up on a few people this year. There is a lot to like when it comes to his playing style, straight line burst, and ball skills. He needs some extra time in the weight room because the power presence isn’t there, but he is a guy who plays hungry and simply made a lot of plays this year against stiff competition. High upside player, but he needs time.

NFL Comparison: Jeff Heuerman / DEN

7: Josh Oliver – San Jose State – 6’5/249

Grade: 75

Summary: Four year starter. The former linebacker made the move to tight end during his freshman season and it was a move that paid off. Oliver earned 1st Team All Mountain West honors as a senior. The team captain shows glimpses of elite movement and ball skills, giving him the high-ceiling label. The body control combined with size and speed in the receiving game can make him a major matchup problem for defenses. He will need a year or two to add more power and mass to his frame, but the list is short when it comes to players with this kind of ceiling.

*I’ll tell you what, this 75 grade may not be the best reflection of how I think about this kid and his upside. If he can add more power to his blocking and toughen up a little, he has elite potential. The size, the way he moves, how he catches the ball, it is a thing of beauty that won’t come around often. But the fact he plays soft and doesn’t seem interested in the physical components of the game bother me. Boom or bust type, but the boom could rightfully warrant someone taking him in round 2.

NFL Comparison: Zach Ertz / PHI

8: Kahale Warring – San Diego State – 6’5/251

Grade: 74

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Late comer to the game, as he played football for just one year in high school. A preferred walk on, Warring developed nicely in his time at San Diego State and ended up Honorable Mention All Mountain West in 2018. He is very much a projection-type prospect but there is so much natural talent oozing out of his nicely developed frame that he could end up going a lot higher than people think. Warring has size, speed, ball skills, and a really hungry approach as a blocker. There is still a little ways to go when it comes to skill set, but he can be a starter within 2-3 years.

*A surprise declaration turned into a prospect who has the high ceiling label with a higher-than-initially-perceived floor. This kid is so raw and new to the game but there are traits here that raise eyebrows. I bet if Warring went back to school in 2019, he would be in the top 60 overall discussion next draft. Like Oliver, a guy who I could see going much higher than this.

NFL Comparison: Ryan Griffin / HOU

9: Foster Moreau – LSU – 6’4/253

Grade: 73

Summary: One and a half year starter. Wore the #18 jersey for the Tigers, given to the team’s leader and one who exemplifies grit, hard work, and competitive spirit. Moreau will be drafted based on his ability to block both in space and in-line. He has some fullback capabilities to his game as well. Moreau has a soft pair as hands as well and will make the easy but often overlooked catches. He is a little lethargic and late as a route runner and he wont scare anyone athletically, but he can factor on all three downs. He looks like a really solid backup and rotational player who will stick around for awhile.

NFL Comparison: Geoff Swaim / JAC

10: Trevon Wesco – West Virginia – 6’3/267

Grade: 72

Summary: Fifth year senior, former junior college player who missed a season with injury. Wesco was a little off the radar coming into the 2018 season but he broke out and earned 1st Team All Big 12 honors. He is best known for his blocking prowess but now that he is entering the league and into a pro offense, Wesco could be a guy who produces more regularly. His game translates well into the role of a tight end who splits time between the trenches and the backfield. He has violent pop as a blocker but also excels as a short to intermediate pass catcher. He is limited athletically and there is a medical red flag here, but he will be drafted and I bet he plays relatively early.

*Interesting kid here. I wouldn’t want him as a starter in my offense, but I would find a role for him on at least 30% of the snaps. He can play tight end, h-back, and fullback. I do get worried about some lower body stiffness and some awkward movement, but he is a dirty-work guy who can fill some needed holes. Versatility is key for day 3 guys and he has plenty of it.

NFL Comparison: Rhett Ellison / NYG

11: Alize Mack – Notre Dame – 6’4/249: 71
12: Kendall Blanton – Missouri – 6’6/262: 70
13: Kaden Smith – Stanford – 6’5/255: 70
14: Zach Gentry – Michigan – 6’8/265: 69
15: Andrew Beck – Texas – 6’3/257: 68
16: Keenan Brown – Texas State – 6’2/250: 68
17: Isaac Nauta – Georgia – 6’3/244: 68
18: David Helm – Duke – 6’4/249: 67
19: Tommy Sweeney – Boston College – 6’4/251: 67
20: Donald Parham – Stetson 6’8/237: 67

**TOP UDFA SLEEPER**

Jerome Washington – Rutgers – 6’2/243

A Fifth year senior who has previous stops at junior college and 1 year stint at Miami, Washington has the look that caught my eye back in 2017. Well, his senior year was marred by injuries but when looking at the physical package, I think he can fit somewhere as an H-Back/Tight End mix. Rutgers’ leading receiver in 2017, Washington shows nice ball skills and tested well athletically.

NYG APPROACH

As stated earlier, much of this depends on the team’s approach to Evan Engram and his fit within this offense. Personally, he is not a talent I would want to give up on and he really turned it on late in the year when he got healthy. This kid can be a big time difference maker. However, if NYG decides to trade him for other assets that fit in with their long term plan, this is a top heavy group that offers what they ma be looking for. True 3 down tight ends who can play right away can be had in the top 3-4 rounds but it is a drop off after. This group isn’t particularly strong and I think it shouldn’t be a top priority especially with Engram in the picture.

Apr 172019
 
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Jonah Williams, Alabama Crimson Tide (January 7, 2019)

Jonah Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Offensive Tackles

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop into weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

WHERE THEY STAND

The Ereck Flowers experiment finally came to an end in 2018, as the team cut him loose and after JAC wanted nothing to do with him, he currently sits as a backup in WAS. That left undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler to take over at right tackle, a role that looked overwhelming for him at several points in his second year. 2019 will be telling as to whether or not he has a long term future with the club. Nate Solder had a year to forget on the other side after signing a monster contract with the team last offseason. A lingering neck injury didn’t help and his play did stabilize a bit down the stretch, but there is some long term concern there. Similar to their situation inside, the depth leaves a lot to be desired. Jylan Ware and Brian Mihalik have not impressed in their limited playing time on Sundays and Victor Salako may not be athletic enough to handle the speed of the NFL. This group needs talent and depth.

TOP 25

1: Jonah Williams – Alabama – 6’4/302

Grade: 87

Summary: Junior entry. A three year starter dating back the beginning of his freshman season, a rarity under the Nick Saban era along the offensive line. One year at right tackle before settling in for two seasons at left tackle. First Team All SEC in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Williams is likely to be the unquestioned top offensive lineman in the class. He has the pro-caliber technique and control that can mirror just about anyone with a sense of ease and consistency. While he does have some work to do in the weight room, his upside is that of a 10+ year starter at a position that can be very hard to fill for some clubs. What he lacks in current power presence can be more than made up for with his arsenal of blocking-tools. Some will view him as a guard early on in his career, but his fit will depend on the team that drafts him. Week 1 starter regardless.

*The entire pre-draft process, Williams has been my guy for NYG at #6, cat is out of the bag (unless they sign Remmers). I believe in this kid both as a player and as a person and if there is one guy I am the most confident will be at least a very solid player for a long time, it’s this kid. Williams has experience at right tackle and I think he is a week 1 starter who can handle the Ryan Kerrigans, the Demarcus Lawrences…etc right away. After watching how badly this OL has impacted the potential of this offense and team overall, this could be the final piece that, in combination with Zeitler, creates a right side of the line that can be one of the best in the league coming up from one of the worst.

NFL Comparison: David Bakhtiari / GB

2: Andre Dillard – Washington State – 6’5/315

Grade: 84

Summary: Fifth year senior. Three year starter and two-time First Team All Pac 12. The jury may still be out if he is better suited inside or on the edge, but no matter the case Dillard will be a long-time solid pro. His movement-efficiency and contact-balance will be a weapon against any kind of defender whether it be at the point of attack or in space. Dillard checks a lot of boxes and will give a team multiple options how to use him both right away and in the future.

*Over and over again, Dillard just screamed smooth and consistent. The term “dancing bear” that I have heard Gettleman use several times fits Dillard very well. I do question some power and aggression traits, but not to a point where I bumped him down out of the top 15-20 overall. If NYG goes defense early, I think Dillard will very much be in play at 17. Another guy who can handle RT right away and gives the offense a lot more confidence.

NFL Comparison: Jake Matthews / ATL

3: Jawaan Taylor – Florida – 6’5/312

Grade: 84

Summary: Junior entry. Three year starter who has seen the majority of his action on the right side and that is where he likely ends up in the pros. Taylor is a massive, silver-back who can dominate on contact time after time. When his lower body is bent enough which keeps his feet in the game, there isn’t much that can be done to beat him in pass protection. The awareness and confidence are apparent, as he never seems to lose himself no matter who he is matched up against. Taylor has as high a ceiling as any lineman in this entire class as long he puts the work into shore up simple, but vital, technique components.

*There is more boom or bust in Taylor’s projection than most of the guys at the top of this list, but the more I scouted the more I liked. He has heavy hands and such a sturdy base that if his footwork and leverage can be just OK, he will win the one on one battles. I think there is a strong chance he is the first OT off the board if I am predicting what will actually happen. Looking hard at JAC.

NFL Comparison: Ja’Wuan James / DEN

4: Cody Ford – Oklahoma – 6’4/329

Grade: 79

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Former left guard with just seven career starts entering 2018. Ford made the move to right tackle and earned 1st Team All Big 12 honors. He projects equally well at both spots in the NFL but his technique shortcomings and inconsistency may keep him inside initially. The footwork, triangle numbers, and desire all have checks in their respective boxes. Drafting him is a gamble because there is an assumption is he will continue to develop the notable shortcomings, as he just doesn’t have a lot of experience to look back on.

*I think most teams are looking at Ford as a tackle and if NYG brings him in, that will be the case. I am split on where he fits best but with tackles being harder to find, that is where I think he ends up. Getting past that debate, Ford was really hot and cold on my sheet when it came to grades. He was inconsistent but when he was on, he looked as reliable as anyone. The sticky hands and play-through-the-whistle mindset are attractive but I’m not sold on him being ready right away.

NFL Comparison: La’el Collins / DAL

5: Max Scharping – Northern Illinois – 6’6/327

Grade: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior who has had one of the most successful careers in MAC history. He started all 52 games of his career split between both tackle spots and some action at guard. Scharping was a three time 1st Team All MAC honoree and a top tier kid off the field. His jump to higher competition at the senior bowl exposed some core strength and functional athleticism issues, but Scharping is as advanced as anyone when it comes to technique and consistency. His hands and feet are constantly where they need to be and he rarely compensates them based on what the defender is doing. If his ability can catch up to his skill set, Scharping will be a solid starting caliber tackle.

*During the year I had a 1st round outlook on Scharping. I always have a thing for tackles who play with plus technique and consistency because at the end of the day, I want reliability from that spot. But when the Senior Bowl came around, Scharping struggled more than I thought and it made me re-think the grades a tad. I still like him but I view it more as a Day 2-like meaning I think he needs a year before he can be thrown in there. But I mean it, if this kid can get stronger and more stable, he can be one of the best OTs coming from the class. He checks a lot of boxes.

NFL Comparison: Ryan Ramczyk / NO

6: Yodny Cajuste – West Virginia – 6’5/312

Grade: 76

Summary: Sixth year senior who overcame knee issues early in his career to eventually earn All Big 12 honors in 2017 and 2018. Cajuste showed stretched of play where he looked like a first rounder and week 1 starter in the NFL. However it was almost always followed by stretches of play where he looked like a day 3 prospect at best. Throw in the notion that scouting and projecting tackles from the West Virginia offense can be difficult and makes Cajuste one of the riskier prospects in the class. He will bring physicality and toughness to the trenches but the hope will reside in how he develops the skill set. If he does, he will be a long time starter.

*Another guy who, early on in the year, I was all over and had him heading towards round 1 territory. However the more I watched and after seeing him in a different light, his grade went backwards. Cajuste isn’t completely clean off the field, either. There is a heavy handed beast who lives inside though and when he really gets after it, it is bad news for the opponent. It just comes down to him always playing like that and taking in NFL coaching. If he does, look out. Also a shot he moves inside to guard.

NFL Comparison: Bobby Massie / CHI

7: Dennis Daley – South Carolina – 6’5/317

Grade: 76

Summary: Former junior college All American who started for two years in the SEC at left tackle, matching up against some of the best edge defenders college football had to offer. Daley has been a very up and down player throughout his career. His low points make him look undraftable but his best tapes make him look like a day 2 pick. He is somewhere in the middle of those two and lot of his success will depend on how hard he works at his craft and a team not rushing him into action. Daley is a solid left tackle prospect worth taking a chance on if you can promise he sits and cleans himself up for at least a year.

*Daley really has the upside of a top end starting tackle if he can apply himself and clean the little things up. He isn’t far away but it will come down to the situation he is brought into and how hard he grinds. He has the goods and he has proven they are fully functional on numerous occasions, the consistency just needs to show up.

NFL Comparison: Reilly Reiff / MIN

8: Yosh Nijman – Virginia Tech – 6’7/324

Grade: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior. Former defensive end who was quickly moved to tackle during his redshirt year. Nijman has starting experience at both tackle spots but missed time in both 2017 and 2018 with injuries. There is still a lot of rawness to his game but he has flashed some really good tape against some really good competition. Nijman has natural power and heavy hands combined with a mammoth frame that can end things quickly if he is accurate with his hands. The stiffness and inconsistent technique along with the medicals are all red flags, but there is something about this kid that screams upside.

*I didn’t get a full medical report on Nijman like I do on most others, so there is a little asterisk mark here. That aside, I have been drawn to Nijman for the past few months. I really like what I saw in flashes and even though there are movement limitations, I think he has enough length and hand power to keep tackles from reaching the edge. A 1-2 year project who has the upside of a really good starter.

NFL Comparison: Rob Havenstein / LAR

9: Chuma Edoga – USC – 6’3/308

Grade: 76

Summary: After some spot duty in 2015 and 2016, Edoga put together two very solid years as the starting right tackle for the Trojans. He ended his career with a 2nd Team All Pac 12 season and is viewed as one of the best athletes at the position. He lost over 50 pounds of bad weight since arriving at USC, but the athletic tools were always there and now he needs to put some more quality weight back on. His gifted lower body in terms of athleticism and flexibility can make him a weapon if he enhances his strength and power. He is likely a guard in the NFL and one who zone blocking schemes will be especially attracted to.

*I’m not all in on the idea that tackles need to be a certain height and I think the league is past that as well. Edoga has the necessary length and footwork to handle the best speed rushers in the game, but he lacks power presence and hand strength. There is enough stand out tape to his name, but I wouldn’t want him in there right away similar to what MIN ideally wanted to do with Brian O’Neill a year ago. However he was forced into action because of injuries and fared OK down the stretch. Edoga could be in a similar situation.

NFL Comparison: Charles Leno Jr / CHI

10: Greg Little – Ole Miss – 6’5/310

Grade: 75

Summary: Junior entry with 2+ years of starting experience. First Team All SEC in 2018 after being named second team in 2017. Little has the ideal physical package for the hard-to-find left tackle position and more than enough to tape to warrant the belief he can be a solid player there in the NFL. The athletic ability is there and while his power presence appears good enough against the bull rush, he struggled to lock defenders up over and over all year. The hand-techniques are vital to success in the NFL and it may be his biggest issue. A lot of work to be done for Little and if he consistently works at it, his future is bright. But the one thing a team will need to be sure about is his work ethic/passion/drive.

*I know I have Little a lot lower than where most people project. But this is a kid everyone touted as a first rounder last summer. Halfway through the year he “dropped” if you will, into the 20’s. Now most don’t think he is a first rounder. Well his stone dropped into the deeper end of the pool for me, as I think his potential is solely based on the tool set but nothing to do with his skill set of drive. Little doesn’t have a great reputation among coaches and looks to be yet another gifted but chronic underachiever. Day 3 is the soonest I would look at him.

NFL Comparison: DJ Humphries / ARI

11: Donnelle Greene – Minnesota – 6’5/335

Grade: 75

Summary: Fifth year senior. After two years in junior college, Greene transferred to Minnesota and started his last two and a half years. He locked himself into left tackle and earned Honorable Mention All Big 10 honors two straight seasons. Greene is a wide, physical power blocker who is capable of winning most matchups when he locks his bear paws on defenders. He has a way of putting defenders through the ground and really controlling his gaps as a run blocker. His issues reside in pass protection where his balance and inconsistent foot and hand placements can hurt him. If he can take in coaching and work hard at his craft for a year or two, he has starting tackle or guard written all over him.

*If a team really wants to enhance their run blocking with a little loss in pass protection, Greene can be a higher target than this. He is a nasty, angry dude when he gets to move north and push defenders around. He doesn’t look nearly as efficient or confident when he has to drop back and play the balance game. Still a decent amount to work with here.

NFL Comparison: Brandon Shell / NYJ

12: Justin Skule – Vanderbilt – 6’7/320

Grade: 74

Summary: Four year starter in the SEC who checks a lot of boxes but his weaknesses are obvious every week. Skule is a well oiled, technique-savvy veteran who knows how to play the game with his feet. His balance and control make it easy for him to adjust in space, but the lack of lower body strength and overall aggressiveness came back to bite him over and over. The base is there, but he needs time to really improve his body and core strength.

*A multi year project who has a lot of things going for him from a coachability and technique perspective. Throw in the really wide long frame, Skule could be a candidate to throw in the weight room with a sleeping bag and tell him to come out in 2021 ready for action.

NFL Comparison: Anthony Castanzo / IND

13: Tytus Howard – Alabama State – 6’5/322

Grade: 74

Summary: Fifth year senior. Four year starter from Monroeville, Alabama. The former high school quarterback and basketball star progressed year by year into a 1st Team All SWAC tackle who played on both sides of the line. Howard’s background and body scream upside, but his tape doesn’t always agree. While he shows some natural combat ability, his lower body is slow and heavy and he is going to need a lot of time and work to improve vital techniques. Howard needs to replace some of his bad weight so he can sustain his power on them move outside. A move inside may even be in the forecast.

*Howard is a really hot name who many are projecting as a 2nd rounder. Trust me I went back a couple times and I just didn’t see it. There is so much sloppiness to his game and he is not the athlete many make him out to be. I see a backup caliber guy who you just don’t want to see in there because he loses too many battles inside and outside. I can understand the desire to bring him in late, there was some quality tape from the Senior Bowl week, but he is a major project.

NFL Comparison: Germain Ifedi / SEA

14: Paul Adams – Missouri – 6’6/317

Grade: 74

Summary: Fifth year senior and three year starter. Two time team captain. Adams has had a lot of ups and downs, but he put together a solid pre-draft process and the thought is that his best days are ahead. He is a tough, hard nosed competitor who was up against some of the best competition college football had to offer. He fought through a couple injuries as a senior but when he’s right, he proved to be capable of handling speed, but not power. There is a lot of extra core strength needed here but if he can acquire that in time, he could be a very capable, versatile backup.

*Adams is in a cluster of tackles who project to backup roles, but I want to keep him at the top of that cluster. I like his game from an athleticism point of view and he plays really hard. Constantly the guy downfield looking to pick up the extra block. Some are saying he will move inside, but I think he gets a shot at tackle initially.

NFL Comparison: Ty Sambrailo / ATL

15: Mitch Hyatt – Clemson – 6’5/303

Grade: 74

Summary: Four year starter with 59 starts to his name, a school record. Freshman All American in 2015, Two time All American, two time winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the best offensive lineman in the ACC. Hyatt has more experience and more accolades that can fit on a normal sized shelf. He has been a steady piece to arguably the top team in the nation in recent years. His tools aren’t overly impressive, as he lacks a lot of push and hand power, but he is a consistent and constantly repeated player who can project to a few spots. Hyatt may not translate into an NFL starter, but he is the kind of quality backup every team is looking for.

*Just looking as his career experience for maybe the best college football team in the nation in recent years, Hyatt should be projected a lot higher. There are some initial tests that he passes with flying colors, but for the past two years I have seen a ton of him and the same issues exist. He doesn’t have a power game and he isn’t a very gifted mover in space. I just see a very limited ceiling here, although I wouldn’t mind a guy like this backing up a few spots.

NFL Comparison: Chris Hubbard / CLE

16: Ryan Pope – San Diego State – 6’7/320: 73

17: Williams Sweet – North Carolina – 6’6/313: 73

18: Trey Pipkins – Sioux Fallas – 6’6/309: 73

19: Bobby Evans – Oklahoma – 6’4/312: 72

20: Oli Udoh – Elon – 6’5/324: 72

21: Calvin Anderson – Texas – 6’4/297: 71

22: David Edwards – Wisconsin – 6’6/308: 71

23: Jackson Barton – Utah – 6’7/310: 71

24: Martez Ivey – Florida – 6’5/315: 70

25: Joe Lowery – Ohio – 6’6/300

**TOP UDFA SLEEPER**

Christian Harris – Duke – 6’5/300

A fifth year senior who really only started for a year. A late bloomer who still has a ways to go physically, Harris stood out to me on several occasions from a balance and technique point of view. I look for that more than most, and I think he has the base you want to work with when talking about candidates for your practice squad. I liked what I saw against Clemson, his stiffest competition and I think he can be a guy you revisit in a year to see what kind of power improvements he made, because the other things are there.

NYG APPROACH

A lot depends on the Mike Remmers situation, as the need for a starter significantly decreases if he is brought in. Ideally that situation is figured out before the draft, but who knows. Anyway, the Giants marching Chad Wheeler out there isn’t the worst thing in the world because this line has potential to be strong enough elsewhere, but if there is a possibility to bring a highly graded player to take that spot, I think they need to go for it. A quality offensive line is near-mandatory with the current personnel and situation at the NYG skill positions. Jonah Williams at #6 or Andre Dillard/Jawaan Taylor at #17 needs to be heavily discussed. I think NYG fans have lost track of just how much of a difference a quality line can be, especially for a team with an immobile, nearly done QB and a superstar RB. If they look past OT early, fine. But they need more talent on this team at that spot at some point, plain and simple.

Apr 162019
 
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Chris Lindstrom, Boston College Eagles (September 9, 2017)

Chris Lindstrom – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Guards and Centers

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop into weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

GUARDS/CENTERS

WHERE THEY STAND

The interior of the NYG offensive line in 2018 was a major road block at any consistency on that side of the ball as a whole. Will Hernandez will be back after a strong finish to his rookie season and the team acquired Kevin Zeitler from CLE in the Vernon trade. Zeitler was one of my favorite guard prospects backs in 2012 and since then, he’s been one of the league’s top guards. Center was a revolving door as the team traded Brett Jones last summer and Jon Halapio missed almost the entire season with a leg injury. Spencer Pulley was brought back for depth after an underwhelming 2018 with the team a he joins the unknowns Evan Brown, Chad Slade, and Kristjan Sokoli on the depth chart.

TOP 25

1: Chris Lindstrom – Boston College – 6’4/308

Grade: 82

Summary: Son of former NFL lineman, Chris. A four year starter who ended his career as a 1st Team All ACC lineman. A very solid run blocker who can make an impact in traffic and in space, Lindstrom has the playing style and athletic ability to make an impact early in his career. He needs to prove he can handle the power of interior defensive linemen, but the nasty streak who always appears to be on combined with his more-than-solid technique translate well. The former tackle will be most sought after by teams that employ zone blocking concepts.

*In a class full of solid interior blockers, Lindstrom is the lone prospect who I am confident can start in year one and be a impact guy on multiple levels. He has the hustle and grit combined with plus foot speed and technique. He is a fun player to watch and no matter what scheme he gets put into, he will be able to more than hold his own in year one. There is some sloppiness here and there that needs to be cleaned up, but he is a sure-bet to be a long time player.

NFL Comparison: Joe Thuney / NE

2: Dalton Risner – Kansas State – 6’5/312

Grade: 79

Summary: Fifth year senior who has starting experience at center and right tackle. A three time 1st Team All Big 12 honoree and 2018 All American. Risner was the leader of the Kansas State offensive line for three years and leaves the program as arguably the top player at the position group in school history. Risner is an old school, punch-you-in-the-mouth type blocker who uses a lot of upper body and desire to get the job done. His farm-boy hands can stifle even the most powerful defenders but if he doesn’t clean up his footwork, he will struggle in pass protection. He got away with a lot in college that he simply will not in the NFL. His future is inside where some of those issues can be hidden and his ability to move people in the running game can be used more often.

*I forecast a move inside for Risner at the next level, as I jus don’t love his bending in space in pass protection. He is at his best inside where he can beat guys up in a phone booth. He does have experience at center and tackle and he could be the valuable 6th lineman right away and fill in where needed as the season progresses in year one. Risner is a tone setter, the kind of young buck you want in the trenches based solely on hustle, aggression, and mindset.

NFL Comparison: Brandon Scherff / WAS

3: Garrett Bradbury – NC State – 6’3/306

Grade: 79

Summary: Fifth year senior. Began his career as a tight end and ended it as a three year starter and 2018 Rimington Trophy Award winner. Mentally, Bradbury is exactly what every team wants in the middle of their offensive line. He is a coach who wears pads and bangs helmets with the opponents. Bradbury’s intelligence combined with his top tier movement skills and ability will make him a major draw to teams that demand a lot of lateral movement from their center position. There are legitimate fears about his ability to maintain ground and position against the bigger defenders in the NFL, but that can be hidden inside. Bradbury is a week 1 starter and a long time pro.

*I like Bradbury but I am not on the first round train like many are. If I am drafting a center in round 1, he needs to be a guy who can handle the big, powerful nose tackles by himself. I’m not sure I trust Bradbury there. Movement wise, intelligence wise, he has the goods. I trust him to be a solid player but I would wait until round 2 to take him, that’s all.

NFL Comparison: Cody Whitehair / CHI

4: Elgton Jenkins – Mississippi State – 6’4/310

Grade: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior. Has started games at both tackle spots and at left guard before settling in at center for the past two years. Jenkins is a mammoth for the position and considering his versatility he showed throughout his college career, he can be viewed as a versatile backup right away. He is intelligent enough and if the scheme is a right fit, he may be viewed as a better guard prospect. Wherever he plays, his stoutness and ability to get movement will make him an asset to any running game, but whether or not he improves his foot speed and balance in space will be the biggest determining factor when it comes to his impact.

*Antonym to Bradbury, Jenkins is the kind of stonewall you want inside against power rushers. He anchors really well and is always fighting through the whistle, but the late start that I saw out of him from time to time could make him a liability against the smaller but quicker interior guys who are becoming more and more popular. Jenkins is the kind of kid who will work his butt off and in time, I think he is a reliable starter especially for a team that wants to run the ball.

NFL Comparison: Travis Frederick / DAL

5: Nate Davis – North Carolina-Charlotte – 6’3/316

Grade: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior with three years of starting experience at right guard and one at right tackle. The two time All-Conference USA selection did miss time early in the 2018 season due to a NCAA suspension, but the quality tape he put out as a right tackle was more than enough for him to warrant day 2 consideration. Davis is built like the ideal guard with a stout presence, athletic feet, and ability to adjust. He is really twitchy for a lineman and that translates very well to the next level. His solid week at the Senior Bowl confirmed he is one of the better guard prospects in this class.

*The quality tape Davis has at tackle is only going to help his overall grade not because anyone is actually going to play him out there, but it showed twitch and comfort in space that scouts didn’t know he had. He is more than a power guy. If it weren’t for some immaturity issues that have popped up a few times in recent years, Davis would be a 1st round grade. I do think he can play right away for any blocking scheme that brings him in. Keep him in mind towards the end of round 1, he has a shot at hearing his name called.

NFL Comparison: Joel Bitonio / CLE

6: Hjate Froholdt – Arkansas – 6’5/306

Grade: 78

Summary: After moving to the United States as a high school senior, Froholdt put himself on the radar as a raw but highly talented defensive tackle. After a year on the defensive side of the ball at Arkansas, he was moved to the offensive line where he started three straight seasons. Most of his time was spent at guard, but he did see some action at center as a senior. Considering how new he is to the game in comparison to other prospects, Froholdt’s level of play and consistent techniques are overly impressive. He projects to both inside spots at the next level but his lack of length may keep him at center long term. No matter the case, Froholdt is an elite pass blocker with perhaps the best tape all year against Alabama’s star tackle Quinnen Williams. He is going to be an early starter in the league.

*This is a guy I am really targeting day 2, and there is a shot he is there early day 3. I am higher on Froholdt than what I see out there, but for what we consider to still be “raw and learning”, Froholdt’s tape is come of the cleanest out there. He is a big guy who plays with plenty of knee bend, light feet, and inside hands. I think his ideal role is at OC, but early on when he isn’t in the starting lineup he would be valuable interior backup.

NFL Comparison: Nick Easton / NO

7: Erik McCoy – Texas A&M – 6’4/303

Grade: 78

Summary: Fourth year junior. A three year starter who didn’t miss a game since the start of 2016. The team captain and coach’s favorite started to turn heads as 2018 progressed where he was putting together multiple big time performances against the stiffest competition in the SEC. McCoy brings plus athleticism and a stout frame to the table. His game can wear multiple hats, as he shows fullback type movement in space as a lead blocker but more than enough leg drive to anchor against the power tackles. McCoy is a safe bet to be a solid starter in the league for a long time.

*A popular name among many when it comes to teams looking for a week 1 starter, McCoy jumps off the screen with athleticism and range. He really can cover the B gap with ease in either direction, as seen how often they pulled him outside to lead block on outside runs. I’m not completely sold on immediate contribution unless it is an ideal scheme fit though. He is inaccurate with his hands and he doesn’t get a ton of push. Solid but not much more, yet. High upside.

NFL Comparison: Pat Elflein / MIN

8: Mike Jordan – Ohio State – 6’6/312

Grade: 77

Summary: Junior entry. Jordan was the first true freshman to start right away on the offensive line for Ohio State in 23 years when the great Orlando Pace did so. He was a Freshman All American and followed that with two All Big 10 performances in consecutive years at different positions. Jordan doesn’t play with the ideal quickness of a center and he did struggle with shotgun snaps. He best projects at right guard in a scheme where he won’t need to move laterally often. His size and power are natural and ever-present. He does a lot of little things right but he will need to improve balance and quickness before he can be thrown into the fire.

*I was excited about Jordan at the start of the 2018 season. Rarely do you see a guy with this kind of body play with his kind of leverage and lateral range, but I just don’t think OC was the spot for him. I prefer his tape at OG and that will likely be the spot he ends up at in the NFL. He won’t be a fit in every scheme, but some power run-game offenses could end up having a 2nd round grade on him.

NFL Comparison: James Carpenter / ATL

9: Keaton Sutherland – Texas A&M – 6’5/322

Grade: 76

Summary: Three-plus year starter who has battled injuries throughout his career. 2018 was a solid campaign for the senior, as he earned the honor of playing in the East West Shrine game after coming into the year as a near-unknown. Sutherland has the frame and athletic ability that will make a coach salivate. The techniques are pretty far along and he shows easy, natural knee bend. There is a lot to like here and had his injuries stayed away earlier in his career, we may be discussing him as a top 32 pick.

*Really like this kid when day 3 rolls around. He was a pretty awful miss by those that select who goes to the combine and what not. His 2018 tape combined with his tools and athletic ability is among the best in this group. I do think he will need an extra year to build up his body since much of his college career revolved around recovering from injuries but there is no denying the fact this kid has eventual starter written all over him.

NFL Comparison: Kyle Long / CHI

10: Brandon Knight – Indiana – 6’4/314

Summary: Three year starter from Noblesville, In. After earning the team’s Newcomer of the Year award in 2015 as a rotational tackle and blocking tight end, Knight earned a starting role. After missing a combined 7 games over 2016 and 2017, Knight was an every week starter as a senior and earned Honorable Mention All Big 10 honors. He is at his worst the further into space he gets and his body type screams interior lineman. Knight will move to guard, maybe even center, and develop into a quality starter with the upside of being more. His technique and combination of fast feet and hands translate well and once he enhances his strength and power presence, he could be a blocker who has it all.

*Another guy a really high on if he can be there early day 3. Knight will almost surely make the move to guard at the next level where his body type and ability in space is more natural. He had some of the nicest looking techniques in spurts that I saw all year, but just didn’t bring it all year. He fought through injuries and it sounds like there may still something going on with him that could hamper his next few months, but I want this kid on my team to mold and strengthen up for a year or two.

NFL Comparison: Kevin Zeitler / NYG

11: Kaleb McGary – Washington – 6’7/317

Grade: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior. 3+ year starter who made the full time transition to tackle from defensive end during his redshirt year. Two time 1st Team All Pac 12. McGary played tackle his entire career but there is some debate whether or not he will stay out there or move inside at the next level. Athletically he moves with fast feet but there are balance issues and enough poor tape to make me think he has to stay inside. He is a violent, try-hard player who can really do damage in the running game. Early on he projects as a solid, versatile backup but in order for him to take the next step, plenty of work needs to be done.

*McGary is a guy who I could equally project inside and outside. If I had to choose, I am going for guard because of his style and over-aggressive manner that can sometimes get him into trouble in space. While guards who stand this tall don’t often pan out, McGary is a different kind of athlete which has teams looking at him really hard as a day 2 guy. I am not quite there, but I won’t deny the upside. Blocking is so much about grit and desire, McGary has all of it. It may not sound sexy, but I would draft this kid to be my 6th lineman for a long time, a guy who backs up every spot other than OC.

NFL Comparison: Alex Lewis / BAL

12: Dru Samia – Oklahoma – 6’5/305

Grade: 76

Summary: A three year starter who earned 1st Team All Big 12 honors in 2018. Samia was an overlooked part of the OU offensive line coming into his senior season, but he came out of it as maybe the second best pro prospect among the group. Samia checks the size, speed, and strength boxes but what sets him apart from others is the consistent desire and effort to be physical and aggressive. He gets everything out of himself and more. Teams looking for more presence inside, particularly in the running game, will love Samia. He can be a starter, a solid one at that, within a year or two.

*Samia is one of those prospects who earned his way on to the radar with quality play week after week. I went into the OU games looking at other players but he kept standing out not because of talent or tools, but his nasty mean streak and constant desire to play through the whistle. I want those guys on my team, especially in the trenches and especially in an offense that wants to run the ball early and often. He is sloppy and lacks some tools, but I think he can will himself into a starting role over time.

NFL Comparison: Andrew Norwell / JAC

13: Connor McGovern – Penn State – 6’5/308

Grade: 76

Summary: Junior entry. Three year starter who has played multiple interior spots and could project to any of the three at the next level. A two time All Big 10 performer, McGovern was the leader of that PSU offensive line on and off the field. He has the body and athleticism combined with an aggressive, hands on approach to blocking. Offensive line coaches will love his dedication and grit along with his versatility. The concerns around his pad level and lower body engagement will need to be addressed over time, but he can be a very solid backup with the potential to be more.

*I think McGovern will go higher than where I have him. He has the pro-body and with a little more fine tuning below the waist, he could have the complete package. I wouldn’t say I look down on him at all, but I just think he is going to struggle if he gets thrown in there right away. Athletically I think he can handle it, but there are several moments on tape where his reactions are a hair too slow and he couldn’t make up for it. I see him as a long time, quality backup.

NFL Comparison: Justin Britt / SEA

14: Michael Dieter – Wisconsin – 6’5/309

Grade: 75

Summary: Fifth year senior with a school record 54 consecutive starts ranging from left tackle, left guard, and center. The two time first team All Big 10 and 2018 All American enters the draft as one of the most versatile linemen in the class. The flexibility he can bring to a team’s depth chart can raise his overall value a tad, but at the end of his day his talent and upside are limited. He doesn’t show consistent lateral movement and his anchor against the quality bull rush looks weak at times. Dieter does bring a lot of consistent effort to the table and should help full multiple spots on the bench, but his potential as a starter is limited.

*I often left the Wisconsin scouting assignments being more impressed with Deiter than Benzschawel. It is ironic I had them graded exactly the same when all was said and done. Anyway, Deiter’s versatility will help his cause because a guy who can actually play multiple spots and has experience doing so can make game day roster decisions a lot easier. I’m not sure I want to rely on a guy like this to start, but I am comfortable him my sixth or seventh lineman.

NFL Comparison: Caleb Benenoch / TB

15: Beau Benzschawel – Wisconsin – 6’6/309

Grade: 75

Summary: Fifth year senior who started 49 games over his career. Three time All Big 10 honoree, first team in 2017 and 2018. A tall and rangy blocker who specializes in run blocking stemming from strong initial contact and powerful hands. Benzschawel has a lot of attractive and ugly tape each week, as he struggles with pad level and lower body balance. While he brings the right mentality to the field week in, week out, the inconsistencies and struggles with staying upright with proper leverage can be eaten up in the NFL. He can be an eventual solid starter in the NFL, but it will take time to get there.

*Benzschawel may have been one of the more disappointing prospects of the year for me personally. In my preseason stacks, I had him as a 1st round player who could eventually sneak into the top 10 overall, boy was I wrong. The size and flashes of dominance make me think there is still more than enough to work with, but he is just way too stiff and awkward to be considered anything more than a 4th or 5th rounder on my board. I think a few NFL coaches will want to work with him so he could go earlier, but buyer beware.

NFL Comparison: Spencer Long / BUF

16: Tyler Jones – NC State – 6’3/306: 75

17: Ross Pierschbacher – Alabama – 6’4/307: 75

18: Lamont Gaillard – Georgia – 6’3/305: 74

19: Wes Martin – Indiana – 6’3/311: 74

20: Fred Johnson – Florida – 6’7/326: 72

21: Phil Haynes – Wake Forest – 6’4/322: 72

22: Sam Mustipher – Notre Dame – 6’5/324: 71

23: Ryan Bates – Penn State – 6’4/306: 70

24: Stefano Millin – Pittsburgh – 6’3/300: 70

25: Oshea Dugas – Louisiana Tech – 6’4/335: 69

**TOP UDFA SLEEPER**

Joshua Miles – Morgan State – 6’5/300

Fifth year senior who started 3 years and was forced to sit out 2017 because of academic reasons. Miles had a solid week at the Shrine Game and considering the tool set, there is an upside and enough quality tape to warrant a decent amount of attention. He is a sloppy mover but I think it is more technique based than what he is physically. He is a practice squad type who, if he grows into his frame with quality weight and keeps his head on the details, could be a very solid backup.

NYG APPROACH

With the acquisition of Kevin Zeitler and the assumption that Will Hernandez will build off his fine rookie season, the Giants appear to be set at both guard spots. Their lack of young depth at center showed up in 2018, however, as Jon Halapio went down with a severe leg injury early on and there simply wasn’t anyone to step up. Expecting Halapio to come back and offer a high level of play is a risk in and of itself, thus I think NYG needs to look at OC at some point in the first 4 rounds. In addition, we have all seen what a lack of depth can do to an offensive line when the near-inevitable injuries arise. Does NYG have that? I don’t think so. While they won’t be drafting a candidate to start in 2019, that isn’t always the point of the draft. This offensive line needs to be built in the draft year after year and with the amount of quality prospects with 2nd-4th round grades, there is a strong chance a strong value grab will be there early day 3.

Apr 142019
 
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Nick Bosa, Ohio State Buckeyes (September 15, 2018)

Nick Bosa – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Edge Rushers

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop in to weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

EDGE

WHERE THEY STAND

In the Giants scheme that implements both 3-4 and 4-3 concepts, their quest for more edge talent can dip in to multiple forms and identities of the role where as in their former 4-3 days, there were certain players that just didn’t fit. The current status of the edge presence on this team is among the weakest in the NFL purely from a personnel point of view. The “headliners” if you want to call them that are second-year, super-athlete Lorenzo Carter who flashed at times as a rookie and free agent signing Markus Golden, who has missed 17 games since 2016, a year in which he recorded 12.5 sacks. Kareem Martin offers solid run defense from his backup role and Avery Moss is likely in his make or break third season after no impact to this point.

TOP 25

1: Nick Bosa – Ohio State – 6’4/266

Grade: 87

Summary: Junior entry. Son of John and brother to Joey, both 1st round picks. After winning the 2017 Big 10 Defensive Lineman of the year Award, Bosa entered the 2018 campaign as the nation’s top prospect and he more than strengthened the label through 4 games this past fall. He had 6 TFL and 4 sacks but an abdomen injury put him on the sideline and he opted to not return. Despite a lack of ideal experience, Bosa still sits at the top of this class because of what he has shown on tape and his lineage. His physical traits may not jump off the screen like past top edge prospects, but the way he plays the game via technique, awareness, power, and hunger is more than enough to warrant a high pick. Bosa won’t ever be the best in the league, but he will be a building block asset for a long time.

*Bosa leaves the strenuous grading process as my top prospect, but I can’t say I view him on the same level as guys like Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb. I am confident he will be a player, but the lack of game experience and the fact his brother has been injury riddled so far in his young career create some hesitation. The one thing I go back to is how many different faces his game has via talent and mental approach. The upside is elite, no question. However I think his floor may be lower than what you want out of a top pick.

NFL Comparison: Joey Bosa / LAC

2: Montez Sweat – 6’6/260

Grade: 83

Summary: A multi stop career that began at Michigan State ended with two straight 1st Team All SEC seasons. Sweat has been arguably the top edge rusher in the conference since the start of 2017 that has performed his best against his top competition. He shows up weekly and it seems to be that it is only a matter of time before he makes a play. Sweat has the ideal NFL body with what appears to be the proper blend of tools and desire. While he may need some time to add meat on that frame, his upside is that of a solid starter with a specialty in edge rushing and playmaking via speed and range.

*The pre draft process boosted Sweat from borderline first rounder to a potential top 10 spot on my board. He outperformed expectations at the Senior Bowl and put together one of the most impressive combine performances in history. Lastly, this kid has been notably impressive in interviews and whiteboard sessions from what I have been told. While I like everything about the past few months, the tape has some holes that we can only hope get filled in the coming years. I don’t love his movement in short areas, which is where football is played. And there are some power issues from his lower half, something that can ruin potential. A high risk, high reward player here that needs the right system and right role.

NFL Comparison: Marcus Davenport / NO

3: Clellin Ferrell – Clemson – 6’4/264

Grade: 83

Summary: Third year junior entry. Has been a team-leading force since 2016, recording 50 TFL and 27.5 sacks. He has proven to be a force against his stiffest competition over the years and will be ready for NFL action week 1. Ferrell is the stereotypical 4-3 defensive end that can stay on the field in all situations. His subtle, but vital techniques need work as he won’t ever be a “blow by you” type edge rusher, but the tools he currently has combined with the passion he plays with makes him a safe bet to be a very good player at the next level.

*Perhaps some of his production has been inflated by the abundance of talent around him, but you have to like the tools and grit here. Ferrell is one of the top hustlers in this class and I have several game notes from the past two years that note the passion he plays with. I think that can really translate. There is some stiffness to him that gives me hesitation to call him a sure top 10 guy, but I still see a 1st round talent that can play right away.

NFL Comparison: Bud Dupree – PIT

4: Josh Allen – Kentucky – 6’5/262

Grade: 82

Summary: Three year starter that showed a steady progression throughout his career that ended with him being named 1st Team All SEC and a consensus All American as a senior. Allen gained 20 pounds last offseason and combining that with his top tier athleticism has vaulted him in to the 1st round tier, maybe even in to the top 10. At his size with his frame, Allen is a rare athlete that shows the kind of skill set that screams upside. There are important strength and power components to being a pass rusher that aren’t quite there yet, however. His eventual upside is as high as any player in the class, but it’s hard to call a rusher elite that struggles against power blockers. He still has a little ways to go.

*Allen has been labeled an automatic top 5 player in this draft. I do have a 1st round grade on him but I don’t think he is close to the elite level. I love the frame and I do think he has the potential to put on even more weight, but I borderline think it is mandatory for him to add the power to his game. He lost too many one on one battles where he didn’t get the initial position advantage and that rubs me the wrong way. However I love how he can fill multiple roles and I think he plays the game the right way. He will be dependably and consistently solid, but that is where it ends for me.

NFL Comparison: Anthony Barr / MIN

5: Rashan Gary – Michigan – 6’4/277

Grade: 80

Summary: Junior entry. Former blue-chip recruit with a tool set that was ready for NFL action two years ago. Gary earned 1st Team All Big 10 honors two straight years and continued to display a top tier tool set that took over games at times. The issue here is a lack of consistency and production. For a player that has such a distinct physical advantage over opponents, there weren’t enough lays being made to make him an elite draft prospect. He did fight through a lower body injury in 2018 but he still has the boom-or-bust label attached to his name.

*From what I have seen and heard, you are one of two people when it comes to Gary. One that falls in love with the tools and occasional plays, thus labeling him a legit top 10 prospect. Or you’re like me, one that respects the upside he brings to the table but just constantly felt underwhelmed by the tape. I always left the times I scouted him wanting more. He did play through a couple of injuries over the past two years but I can’t label him the top tier guy that many do, including the one scout I respect the most. For the record I think he goes top 10 and I do think NYG is looking at him hard at #6.

NFL Comparison: Carlos Dunlap / CIN

6: Zach Allen – Boston College – 6’4/281

Grade: 80

Summary: Two year starter that has been one of the most productive defensive ends in the ACC over that span. The two-time All ACC honoree totaled over 40 TFL and 18 sacks over his career from multiple spots along the defensive line. He is not a traditional burner that explodes up the edge, but his skill set is advanced even by NFL-measures. The technique is top notch and combined with his power, size, and strength he will be a versatile force in the league. This inside-out defender is a sure bet to be an effective starter with the potential to be a star.

*This is a name I am surprised isn’t getting more talk when it comes to NYG picks, notably the 2nd round. Allen is made for the 5 technique, a spot I think NYG will be looking to fill with another body or two in the coming in weeks. He isn’t the same athlete that JJ Watt is, not even close, but the similarities to their styles is very notable. Hands and footwork, versatility, toughness, IQ, and grit. Allen faced off against some solid talent over the past two years and he is the kind of guy that elevated his play against the toughest opponents. His Clemson tape was some of the best I saw all year.

NFL Comparison: Adam Gotsis / DEN

7: Ben Banogu – TCU – 6’3/250

Grade: 80

Summary: Fifth year senior. Began his career at Lousiana-Monroe where he won the Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year Award in 2015. Banogu spent two years in the Big 12 with TCU and recorded 34.5 TFL and 17 sacks. When it comes to the ideal measurables of an NFL edge rusher, Banogu comes up a bit short when it comes to size and speed. There is a lot to like in his game, however. He is really crafty, powerful, and balanced. While some of his tricks may not work on NFL-caliber blockers, he is a gamer that will find ways to get the job done. He has consistently produced at a high level every year he was on the field.

*Banogu caught my eye in 2017 when a scout tipped me off before anyone knew him. I’ve had my eyes on him ever since and I think he would be a near-ideal fit for the Giants edge role opposite of Lorenzo Carter. I think there is some Vernon in him, the younger, more productive version of Vernon. Love him in a phone booth and there is more explosion there than people think. TCU misused him a bit and I think his ceiling is as high as any of the guys on this list.

NFL Comparison: Dante Fowler / LAR

8: Jachai Polite – Florida – 6’3/258

Grade: 79

Summary: Junior entry. A breakout performer in 2018 that earned 1st Team All SEC honors. Polite’s ability to fire out low and fast with easy agility can make him a tough guy for blockers to lock their paws on to. If that is the case, Polite will win several battles each week and produce at a high rate. His lack of power presence makes him a bit of a one trick pony, however and the run defense may be a detriment. In the right edge rushing roe, Polite can be a stud but the lack of prowess across the board keeps the final grade down a notch.

*The pre-draft process has been odd here. Polite did not look good in workouts, both his times and his body. Then he had some very questionable interviews with the media and it sounds like he didn’t impress during team meetings. If you watch the right tape with him, though, he looks dominant at times. He can play at a really high speed with plenty of twitch and bend. He looks lethal at times. High risk, high reward.

NFL Comparison: Vic Beasley/ ATL

9: Charles Omenihu – Texas – 6’5/280

Grade: 79

Summary: First Team All Big 12 defender finally blossomed in 2018, his senior year. Omenihu is one of the more impressive specimens in this class when you are looking at simple triangle numbers. He has the NFL body right now and will make an impact early on as a run defender from any and all angles of the defensive line. Omenihu can be graded at different positions based on which scheme he is placed in to, but no matter what his upside is intriguing and he will be a physical force against the run. If he can continue to progress as a pass rusher the way he did in 2018, he will be one of the more dangerous inside-out defenders in the NFL.

*Similar to Allen above, Omenihu has the traits and playing style that can really fit in to this scheme at the 5 technique, a position of need. When looking at this kid’s body and 2018 film, it is easy to get really excited about him. But I am still unsure if he has the football player in him from an awareness and technique perspective. Those are the 2 red flags on his grading sheet but if a team can really coach him up, he can be a big time player.

NFL Comparison: Cameron Heyward / PIT

10: Jonathan Ledbetter – Georgia – 6’4/280

Grade: 78

Summary: Senior with two-plus years of starting experience. The 2nd Team All SEC pick won’t wow anyone with production or athletic ability, but his pro-caliber power presence and overall consistency was noteworthy in the SEC. Ledbetter isn’t the kind of defender that will stand out play to play, but those that really pay attention will appreciate how dependable and violent he is. The blue collar, versatile threat won’t ever jump off the stat sheet but he is the kind of quietly effective defender that can start for a decade in the league. The team that drafts him needs to have a plan for him, as the talent is limited but his ability to role-play at a high level is there.

*”Heavy hands” is something this front office and coaching staff have discussed often when looking for defensive linemen. This is the one thing I noticed about Ledbetter over and over during tape study and I think he is at a different level than other prospects. I think he can be a really solid 5 technique, one that starts in the league for a long time but nobody appreciates enough. And I think there is more pass rush potential with him than people think, as Georgia had him do a lot of the dirty work.

NFL Comparison: Tyrone Crawford / DAL

11: Chase Winovich – Michigan – 6’3/256

Grade: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior. Two time 1st Team All Big 10 and capped his career with an All American campaign in 2018. Winovich was “the other guy” on that Michigan defensive line over the past two years, with much of the attention being on teammate Rashan Gary but it was Winovich that led the Wolverines in tackles for loss. He doesn’t have the ideal body or frame for the NFL tranches right now, but his style of play and well-balanced attack will translate to at least a base-level of success in the NFL. Motors like this combined with technique and quickness trend well at the next level.

*The biggest question with Winovich entering the draft is the injury and surgery he had to his hand/wrist area. I’ve been told that thing may keep him off the field longer than expected, may even hamper the start of the 2019 regular season. Take that out of the picture because you have to think eventually that is a complete non factor, Winovich has traits and techniques combined with the mentality that will make a difference. How much of a difference? I don’t see him as a double digit sack guy but I do see a three down player that will be consistent and reliable.

NFL Comparison: Jerry Hughes / BUF

12: Brian Burns – Florida State – 6’5/249

Grade: 77

Summary: Junior entry. A two-plus year starter that began his career earning Freshman All American honors and ended his career with a 1st Team All ACC honor. Burns has the explosive first step and easy bend that can make him a terror off the edge. He played small in college and while there may be some issues keeping mass on, his role as pure speed rusher will be a factor at the next level. The issues with him revolve around power and run defense, both areas of his game that were apparent weaknesses. If he finds the right role, ideally a 3-4 outside linebacker without run defense responsibilities, he can be a factor.

*I am pretty low on Burns, as many have him as a sure thing 1st rounder, potentially even a top 15. The burst is there and I think may are assuming he will add and keep on mass. I fear edge guys that are purely based on burst and speed, especially guys that don’t have top shelf burst and speed. Burns has a lot of attractive tape on multiple levels but he disappears way too often. Boom or bust type that could be a stud in the right role.

NFL Comparison: Leonard Floyd / CHI

13: Jaylon Ferguson – Louisiana Tech – 6’5/271

Grade: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior. First Team All Conference USA in 2016, 2017, and 2018 respectively. He ranks number one overall on the FBS career sacks list, passing Terrell Suggs during his last game. The 2018 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year award winner brings an elevated skill set to the table along with the mentality every defensive coach wants to work with. He is a strong and powerful bully that can play a subtle finesse game when needed. While the jump in competition can make things slow for him at the start, Ferguson has the kind of upside and aggression that will make things happen in the pros. Just give him time.

*A lot of media chatter around him falling because of a bad 3-Cone and Short Shuttle time. Just another example of some people that don’t watch game tapes enough overreacting to workouts. Ferguson has been a day 2 guy the entire process for me and nothing about his workouts changed that. This is the kind of guy you want on your line if you need more physical play. He is a big, mean dude that can help change the personality of a team. He won’t be a Terrell Suggs pass rusher in the league, but he can be more than stout against the run and will find a way to consistently impact the pass rush.

NFL Comparison: Carl Nassib / TB

14: John Cominksy – Charleston – 6’5/286

Grade: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior. The former high school quarterback has gained over 70 pounds in his time at Charleston and slowly but surely progressed each year. His career ended with three straight All-Mountain East honors including a senior season where he won the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. Even though he has 5 years of training and playing experience on the defensive side, he is still a bit of a developmental prospect that has a lot of work to do from a technique standpoint. With that said, players at his size and speed with his kind of hustle simply don’t come around often. He lined up all over the defensive line and that kind of role will carry over to the NFL. High upside pick that can be trusted based on hustle and grit.

*Several scouts think this kid can be the top 5-tech in the class from a developmental perspective. His name keeps coming up in discussions which I always find noteworthy. He held it together at the Senior Bowl pretty well and now that his body mass is ready to go, it is all about cleaning up the techniques and skillset. He might be a 1-2 year project but there is an upside here paired with a high floor that teams like to take chances on.

NFL Comparison: Arik Armstead / SF

15: LJ Collier – TCU – 6’2/283

Grade: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior. A rotational player for the first three years of his career, Collier finally got the starting nod in 2018 and ended up on the 1st Team All Big 12 defense. The 280 pounder with top-tier length and easy knee bend showed pro-caliber technique and a never ending engine. He brings a physical brand to the line and showed enough production as an inside rusher to give him the versatility that most teams want on third down. While his impact as a speed rusher is limited, the ways he can help a defense are too numerous to overlook. Collier is an underrated prospect that will be a better pro than he was in college.

*One of the more underrated players in the class. Collier has a lot of tools and quality tape but because he was just a one year starter, there is some hesitation. I trust that his skill set fits really well in to the league and a team with a multi-look front can keep this guy on the field constantly because of how well he can adjust his approach. A physical tone setter that already checks a lot of pro-ready boxes.

NFL Comparison: Michael Bennett / NE

16: Austin Bryant – Clemson – 6’4/271: 77
17: DeAndre Walker – Georgia – 6’2/251: 76
18: Maxx Crosby – Eastern Michigan – 6’5/255: 76
19: Shareef Miller – Penn State – 6’4/254: 76
20: Wyatt Ray – Boston College – 6’3/257: 76
21: Joe Jackson – Miami – 6’4/275: 75
22: Anthony Nelson – Iowa – 6’7/271: 75
23: Porter Gustin – USC – 6’4/255: 74
24: Christian Miller – Alabama – 6’3/247: 73
25: Oshane Ximines – Old Dominion – 6’3/253

**TOP UDFA SLEEPER**

Malik Reed – Nevada – 6’1/234

38 career starts and a three time All Mountain West honoree. Reed is very undersized and may not have the frame to handle much more weight, but I do think the pro-caliber strength and conditioning program will put him in the right direction. He is a practice squad type guy that comes in to the league with a skills et that can create issues. He has excellent footwork, quickness, and bend. Just a kid that knows how to beat blockers in a variety of ways. If he can add some power to his game, he can be a difference maker.

NYG APPROACH

The way I look at the Giants edge roles and situation is this. They need a 4-3 defensive end type, one that is almost always rushing the passer and/or mixing it up in the trenches. They then need a 3-4 outside linebacker type that will rush the passer and drop in to coverage and/or play in space. Lorenzo Carter should develop in a fine 3-4 OLB type but could be better suited for rotational duty, meaning he isn’t a guy you make plans around if a guy you really like is available. The Markus Golden/Kareem Martin duo is likely to fill the defensive end role, meaning they will always be rushing in to the trenches. Without any solid depth, I think NYG needs to attack both of these roles in the draft as early as pick 6 if the value is right. This defense is a train wreck when it comes to pass rush and they traded away Vernon, their top edge guy. NYG fans know that a quality and consistent pass rush makes all the difference in the world.

Apr 122019
 
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Quinnen Williams, Alabama Crimson Tide (January 7, 2019)

Quinnen Williams – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Tackles

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop in to weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

WHERE THEY STAND

I am including the defensive ends they have, as their front has a very 3-4 look to it. BJ Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson moved to their more natural positions after the Damon Harrison trade during the 2018 season. Both are solid players but it can be debated neither are a true fit for the nose tackle spot. Tomlinson is penciled in there for now but he is more of a penetrator that struggled to be stout over his first 2 years. Pierre Olsen was signed from ARI and he will compete for the starting 5-tech spot with RJ McIntosh, a high upside player that got his feet wet towards the end of last yea after missing a lot of time with a sickness. The group is thin and it looks like they will be bringing in more veteran talent before training camp.

TOP 25

1: Quinnen Williams – Alabama – 6’3/303

Grade: 86

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Was off the radar entering 2018, as his impact as a redshirt freshman in 2017 wasn’t until late in the year. When it comes to his play on the field, Williams helped his stock as much as any player in the class. 2018 All American. He was a dominant force week after week, the standout defender on a loaded Alabama defense. Williams is a tough assignment to block because he can alter his approach snap to snap. It is hard to find such elite levels of play across multiple styles. The speed-to-power will immediately become one of the best in the league. A scheme that will let him penetrate through different lanes and angles will benefit from Williams in a way where their entire defense will be elevated. He is a big time difference maker right away.

*It is possible Williams falls right in to the waiting arms of NYG at 6 if the teams ahead of them are pursuing more edge presence and someone grabs a QB. While his size isn’t anything to write home about, Williams would be an ideal fir for the NT in Bettcher’s scheme. He is all about penetration via power and speed but can more than hold his own against double teams in the running game. He still has some growing to do and when all is said and done, I think he has a strong chance at being the best player in this class.

NFL Comparison: Kawann Short / CAR

2: Dexter Lawrence – Clemson – 6’4/342

Grade: 85

Summary: Junior entry. A blue chip recruit that made an impact right away, winning the ACC Freshman of the Year Award in 2016. He then went on to earn two straight 1st Team All ACC placements even though his production wasn’t anything noteworthy. Lawrence can be a missing piece to a defense that struggles against the run. His mere presence demands attention from multiple bodies and he is no slouch when it comes to pursuing the ball. Even though he is almost always the biggest and most powerful player on the field, Lawrence needs to shore up techniques and be more consistent. He is not an every down player, but certainly one that can dominate in stretches.

*If there is one non-QB I think NYG may be looking at with their 17th pick, it’s Lawrence. He fits the bill with what Gettleman wants up front and the trade of Harrison left that NT role wide open. Lawrence was the piece that made that loaded Clemson front go. I can remember seeing him play as a true freshman and at that moment in time, I said he was ready for the NFL. There is a rare combination of size, speed, and power to go along with more awareness and intelligence than you may think. Big time potential here that can change a defense right away.

NFL Comparison: Haloti Ngata / RET

3: Christian Wilkins – Clemson – 6’3/315

Grade: 84

Summary: One of the best defenders in Clemson history that has been a dominant force since 2015, where he was a Freshman All American. The three time All-American and two time Nagurski Award finalist was moved around the defensive line over the years but what never changed was his impact on the game. The sheer volume of plays made from the trenches over the years is incredibly rare. The coach’s favorite, when all is said and done, can be put anywhere along the line and it is as close to a guarantee as it gets that he will produce. He is a winning football player that makes others better and will be a defensive coordinators favorite, most versatile toy.

*My initial grade on Wilkins was one of the top 2 overall grades in the entire class. I have a thing for this kid and while I will stick to my board when draft time rolls around, I’d be ecstatic if he ended up in blue. And you know what? His best role in college was at the 5-technique and that is the gaping hole on this defensive line. While further scouting exposed some power-deficiencies, Wilkins is a true gamer that will wear several hats for a defense. A scheme that likes to switch things up and move guys around, Wilkins can be a stud. Top notch kid and a true culture-builder.

NFL Comparison: Gerald McCoy / TB

4: Ed Oliver – Houston – 6’2/287

Grade: 84

Summary: Junior entry. The only three-time All American in school history. Chose Houston over top tier programs out of high school. An ultra-productive player that has been one of the most explosive, dangerous defensive linemen in the country since he stepped on the field. Elite, rare-level speed and quickness for the position that can impact the game in ways that very few can at any defensive position. An ideal 3-technique from a speed and burst perspective that will need to improve his staying-power and stay-at-home defense so he isn’t a one-trick pony. Elite ceiling but carries plenty of risk as well.

*One of the more polarizing prospects in the class. Part of me wants to throw all of my chips in the middle of the table for Oliver because I have never seen a DT move like him, ever. The other part of me says he won’t be able to handle NFL lineman and there just isn’t enough discipline in his game. At the end of the day, whichever team drafts him needs a very specific plan for him. You need to get him moving laterally, alter his pre-snap positions, and let him pursue. Houston mis-used him in 2018 and showed the world he can’t just live inside and bull rush. The explosion and quickness can be a weapon, but there is more to it than just that. Does he fit with NYG? I’m not sure because I don’t think Bettcher has ever used a guy like this. But there is no denying the upside to impact this defense, and this league, in a big way.

NFL Comparison: Geno Atkins / CIN

5: Dre’Mont Jones – Ohio State – 6’3/281

Grade: 83

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. After a couple years of promising flashes, Jones broke out in 2018 with a 1st Team All Big 10 performance that included 8.5 sacks and 13 TFL. Jones is a standout athlete that can be moved around the defensive line. His size and athleticism can cause matchup problems for any blocker depending on the situation. He has some work to do on his strength/power game, but the tools and skill sets are there. If he continues to stay on his current trajectory as a versatile inside defender, Jones has the upside of a Pro-Bowl caliber player.

*There is something about Jones that makes me think NYG is going to go after him at #17 if the chips fall their way. He is a true fit for the 5 technique spot, one that will add a big time pass rush presence to a front that is starving for sacks. Jones is arguably the most efficient and prolific mover in this group when it comes to short areas and technique. His frame can handle more weight and in time he could be one of those rare 3-4 DL that grabs 8-10 sacks a year.

NFL Comparison: Trey Flowers / DET

6: Jerry Tillery – Notre Dame – 6’6/295

Grade: 82

Summary: A former high school offensive tackle that was highly touted on that side of the ball, Tillery made the move to the defensive side right away at Notre Dame. After some questionable character hiccups early in his career, he grew up and molded himself in to a fine and potentially elite prospect. Tillery is a really unique blend of tools and skills that don’t come around often, plain and simple. He finished his career as an All American, causing plenty of disruption as a pass rusher, run defender, and on special teams. He is the kind of defender that can simply beat quality offensive linemen even when they do everything right because he has such a physical advantage. The path he has been on since the start of 2017 and the progression he has shown is on the path to stardom.

*Occasionally I will get nervous about defensive tackles that are this tall, as they just have such a hard time with leverage battles. Not Tillery. He plays low, strong, and fast. What he has become over the past 2-3 years makes me think this kid is going to be one of the draft-weekend bargains. He flashed stretches of sheer dominance via power and athletic ability multiple times and while I wish he was more consistent, he has “pro” written all over him. Another good locker room presence kid that will be in the league a long time and offer big time upside.

NFL Comparison: Cameron Heyward / PIT

7: Renell Wren – Arizona State – 6’5/318

Grade: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior. 2018 was the only season where he was a full time starter and it ended in him earning Honorable Mention All Pac 12 honors. Wren was moved around the line early in his career, but he settled in at the nose tackle in 2018 where his elite power and reach was a difference maker in the middle of their line. Wren was a fun player to watch because of how much he imposed his will and presence on centers. I almost felt bad for a few of his opponents, as it just looked unfair. Wren won’t be a pass rusher early in his career, but any team that wants consistent presence along the inside will want this guy. High upside pick because of his naturally dominant traits.

*If you watch Dexter Lawrence play and fall in love with the push he gets at the point of attack, you almost have to like Wren and what he brings to the table. He finally found his home at nose tackle in 2018 after being moved around too much early in his career. Wren won’t be an every down player but he is the kind of guy you want on your side when you need to stop the run. He demands a lot of attention and he was arguably the most consistent force at the point of attack when it came to sheer movement and presence I saw all year.

NFL Comparison: Malik Jackson / PHI

8: Gerald Willis III – Miami – 6’2/302

Grade: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior that began his career at Florida. After a few run-ins with the coaching staff, Willis was kicked out of the Gators program and landed at Miami. After more personal issues in 2017 that kept him on the scout team, he came back on fire as a fifth year senior and put together an All American season. Willis is a three technique that has shown more than enough ability and potential. He is a true disruptor that makes the offensive line adjust to him, not the other way around. If he can stay clean and drama free, he is some simple development away from being a dangerous force.

*There will be extra screening needed here, as Willis has had multiple issues off the field and his coachability has been questioned. That said, the performance he put together in 2018 was, no doubt, 1st round caliber. This is the kind of player that can change a defensive front right away. I do think his best role is a 3 technique where he can shoot gaps and disrupt, but there is more to his game than just that. One of the wildcards of this entire class.

NFL Comparison: Akeem Spence / MIA

9: Jeffrey Simmons – Mississippi State – 6’4/301

Grade: 76

Summary: Junior entry. Two time 1st Team All SEC and a 2018 All American. Simmons was soaring his way in to round 1 territory in the eyes of some but a torn ACL while training for the combine grays his 2018 in a big way. In addition he had an arrest a few years ago that included violence against a woman, something the NFL as a whole has really tried to come down on. While that won’t impact his playing status in the pros, it is noteworthy. On the field, Simmons is a really impressive specimen. He has plenty of straight line speed and a body that makes scouts drool. However I see a lot of issues in his game, most notably reaction-based quickness and leg stiffness. Throw in the injury and I just don’t see him where others do although I think someone will gamble on the upside early day 2.

*The ACL injury is part of the grade but even then, I had him as a borderline first round talent leaning towards the top of round 2. I like Simmons and his athletic-freakness, but I never saw the elite player that some are talking about. I see too much stiffness and a lack of leverage that can eat a player up in the NFL. The off field stuff from years ago really isn’t a part of the equation for me. Simmons is a slid 3 technique prospect that likely won’t factor much in 2019 until late in the year. I would rather someone else take the chance on him.

NFL Comparison: Leonard Williams / NYJ

10: Isaiah Buggs – Alabama – 6’3/306

Grade: 76

Summary: Former junior college player that was a major get for the program prior to 2017. A two year starter that has been a steady pass rush presence from inside the tackles, as he led the team with 9.5 sacks in 2018. While Buggs won’t impress many with tools, he may be the most technique-savvy and smartest player along the ‘Bama front. The coaching staff loves how he takes things in and applies them to games and that stood out to me. Buggs is a safe, reliable player that won’t be a star but I bet he has a 10-year career.

*One of my favorite day 3 targets here, not because I think he will blossom in to a star, but because I think he will be Mr. Reliable for a long time. I actually think he has Patriots written all over him. Buggs can fit in nicely to multiple inside roles and I don’t see his physical shortcomings being an issue with his style of play.

NFL Comparison: Matt Ioannidis / WAS

11: Daylon Mack – Texas A& M – 6’1/338

Grade: 74

Summary: Former junior college player that was a major get for the program prior to 2017. A two year starter that has been a steady pass rush presence from inside the tackles, as he led the team with 9.5 sacks in 2018. While Buggs won’t impress many with tools, he may be the most technique-savvy and smartest player along the ‘Bama front. The coaching staff loves how he takes things in and applies them to games and that stood out to me. Buggs is a safe, reliable player that won’t be a star but I bet he has a 10-year career.

*For a team that is looking strictly for a two down run stuffer, Mack’s grade can certainly be moved in to day 2 territory. He has the kind of body that simply won’t be moved by single and double teams alike. I’m not quite sure what his deal was in 2016 and 2017, but the 2018 version of him showed flashes of dominance. He might be a guy that you need to keep in check with his diet and work ethic, but there will be a starting role for him somewhere.

NFL Comparison: Brandon Williams / BAL

12: Kingsley Keke – Texas A& M – 6’3/288

Grade: 74

Summary: Three year starter that progressed well over his career. Finished as the team’s 2018 sack leader. Keke is a really twitchy athlete with the length and easy bend that can give interior blockers a fit in pass protection. He is inconsistent, a lot of disappearing for stretches but when he plays to his upside, he can wreck a game. He will need time to develop his body but he has solid rotational pass rusher written all over him.

*His best fit is likely in a 4-3 scheme we he can shoot gaps and use the quick footed, long-armed frame to his full advantage. He can’t be trusted as an every down run defender but there is enough he can do against the pass to warrant a highly-used spot. May have to wait a year or two for him though, he needs body work.

NFL Comparison: Larry Ogunjobi / CLE

13: Greg Gaines – Washington – 6’1/312

Grade: 73

Summary: Fifth year senior. Three year starter that has been one of the staples of Washington defense for years. He was All Pac-12 all four seasons, ending his career on the 1st Team. Gaines primary role at the next level will be inside gap run stuffer. He can control two at a time and demand attention. But he proved he can’t be slept on from a playmaking perspective. For a player that doesn’t exactly specialize in burst and movement, he makes a lot of plays away from the starting point. He is as blue collar as it gets and will be a safe bet to provide solid 2 down run defense.

*Similar to Mack above, there are some teams that may have a day 2 grade on Gaines based on the need for more run defending presence. He is a rock in the middle that plays hard and smart. A really reliable, yet limited, player that NYG may want to give a hard look to on day 3 if they want a NT presence that brings something different to the table than Tomlinson.

NFL Comparison: Brandon Mebane / LAC

14: Armon Watts – Arkansas – 6’5/300

Grade: 72

Summary: After a really quiet career leading up to 2018, Watts broke out and led the Razorbacks with 7 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He is still a bit of an unknown but its hard not to be drawn to him when re-watching his tape. He has a lot going for him when it comes to size and power. There are some red flags from earlier in his career when it comes to attitude and effort, but this kid took a turn this past yea off and on the field. Someone may be getting a huge bargain on day 3.

*Big, mean, physical and quietly very skilled. Watts has the look of a kid that enters training camp and starts tossing veterans around and wrecking havoc. Where he was for the first three years is a little unknown besides the fact that he didn’t work hard, but something seems to have changed and 2018 was a glimpse of what this kid might be in the NFL.

NFL Comparison: Ashawn Robinson / DET

15: Tito Odenigbo – Miami – 6’3/300

Grade: 72

Summary: Fifth year senior. After playing three years at Illinois where he never quite stood out, Odenigbo transferred to Miami for the 2018 season and started to shine as the year progressed. After breaking his way in to more playing time, Odenigbo finished the year with 5 TFL over the final 5 games. His quick and easy power comes natural and the pad level he can play with generates even more effort for blockers to put out. Odenigbo is a but of an unknown by the flashed some really solid traits and should be drafted.

*Maybe my top sleeper along the DT group. If it weren’t for a few character red flags, I may have had him closer to the 4th round area despite a lack of experience in college. Odenigbo really showed me something when he got in to the steady rotation and I think there are NFL traits here that most schemes could use.

NFL Comparison: Davon Godchaux / LSU

16: Dontavious Russell – Auburn – 6’3/319: 71
17: Chris Slayton – Syracuse – 6’4/307: 71
18: Cortez Broughton – Cincinnati – 6’3/292: 71
19: Olive Sagapolu – Wisconsin – 6’2/340: 71
20: Trysten Hill – Central Florida – 6’3/308: 70
21: Albert Huggins – Clemson – 6’3/305: 70
22: Khalen Saunders –Western Illinois – 6’0/324: 70
23: Chris Nelson – Texas – 6’1/312: 70
24: Terry Beckner – Missouri – 6’4/296: 69
25: Daniel Wise – Kansas – 6’3/281: 69

**UDFA SLEEPER**

Roderick Young – North Texas – 6’1/299

There are a couple of really interesting prospects on the North Texas squad, but Young is a guy that flashed over and over. For those that fell in love with Khalen Saunders at the Senior Bowl, Young has to get some attention from you. Similar frame, similar style of play, and comes with a little more mobility. I think Young can be a solid addition to stash on the practice squad for a year or two and watch him blossom in to a disruptive nose tackle.

NYG APPROACH

The more you look at this depth chart, the harder it hits you that this team has holes everywhere. The defensive line, when it comes to the demands of a 3-4 scheme, is just fine when you look at the starting trio and like I said earlier, I think one more free agent will be signed in the coming weeks. However the depth, should someone go down, just isn’t there. I was a believer in McIntosh when they drafted him a year ago but the sickness he went through really put a hitch in his needed physical progression. At the top, I am not sold on Tomlinson being a guy that you overlook a really solid NT prospect should someone be there in the first. I think the odds are that NYG will be pursuing an interior force with one of their first 3 picks.

Apr 102019
 
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Devin Bush, Michigan Wolverines (January 1, 2018)

Devin Bush – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Linebackers

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop in to weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

LINEBACKER

WHERE THEY STAND

The trade for Alec Ogletree proved to be an effective move for the sheer fact that they finally have a reliable leader in the middle. While he isn’t and won’t be a star, he is a leader of the defense type that brings what you think he will bring each week. BJ Goodson has had issues staying fully healthy but the bruiser impressed late in the year and seems to be a nice fit for the Bettcher scheme. His issues are apparent when it comes to every down duty though and he may be best used in a rotational role. The depth inside is very limited.

1: Devin Bush – Michigan – 5’11/234

Grade: 85

Summary: Junior entry. Son to Devin Bush Sr who played in the NFL. The 2018 Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year and two-time Butkus Award finalist brings a top tier combination of power and speed to the table that doesn’t come around often. The short, but stout enforcer is the kind of player that can immediately change the personality of a defense. Don’t be fooled by the lack of height when diagnosing his size and presence, as he is big where it matters and is often the most physical player on the field. Bush is a three down linebacker that will have to prove he is healthy and durable, but there is almost no risk with him. He is going to be a stud.

*I am still going to label Bush as a top 10 player in this class and while I know he won’t be the pick at #6, he would in the discussion if it were up to me. Sometimes guys with a lack of stereotypical size are mistaken for a lack of physical presence and power, but Bush might be the most physical one of the bunch. NYG has struggled with consistent LB play for a long time and I’ve had many debates whether or not premium picks should be spent on this spot, but I think it is being proven over and over a guy like this can change an entire defense right away.

NFL Comparison: Myles Jack / JAC

2: Devin White – LSU – 6’0/237

Grade: 83

Summary: Junior entry. Two time First Team All SEC defender that has finished at the top of the conference in tackles/tackles per game each of the past 2 years. Was initially recruited and graded as an athlete coming out of high school. Has rare speed and explosion for the thickness he has on his frame. The kind of versatile linebacker that can impact the game in several ways each week. White is a tone-setter that plays the game tough and violent but also has the speed to make things happen up and down the seam and sideline to sideline. There isn’t a role that White will struggle to fill from the linebacker position. He has some areas to improve when it comes to defeating blockers, but he is a sure-thing to be an impact player.

*While I am not sold on him being an elite player like some, I do think White is a week 1 starter that can add the physical brand to a defense that many teams are looking for. His standout traits revolve around burst and pursuit speed. He is such a hungry player and excels in reaction-based assignments. I think he can be better off on the weak side, not so much at MIKE linebacker. He isn’t the most instinctive guy and there are a few whispers about intelligence/knowledge of the game. No matter what, he can be a game wrecker.

NFL Comparison: Bobby Wagner / SEA

3 – Bobby Okereke – Stanford – 6’1/239

Grade: 80

Summary: Fifth year senior with three years of starting experience. Two time Honorable Mention All Pac 12 defender. Okereke fits the mold for today’s ideal linebacker when it comes to skill set. He is more than athletic enough to factor in coverage with his plus-top end speed and easy fluidity in his hips. The length is another plus there and he can really make his presence known physically. He is a tough, hard nosed linebacker that will let you know he hit you. Okereke lacks some of the vital instincts and natural flow and he may struggle with how fast things transpire in the NFL. However he is a solid weak side candidate that can make plays in space and give a defense options. Likely an eventual solid starter.

*Last year I had Darius Leonard as a top 5 overall player in the draft, he ended up being taken in the 2nd round and won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award. I bring that up because I have Leonard comps in multiple places for Okereke. I don’t see the same caliber but when it comes to skill set, they are similar. The elite, rare length paired with fluid hips can make him a major weapon in coverage and he is a violent player in traffic. There is a lot he can do, and he will be a true 3 down player.

NFL Comparison: Darius Leonard / IND

4 – Ben Burr-Kirven – Washington – 6’0/230

Grade: 78

Summary: Two year starter. The former high school star took time to translate to the college level, but the 2018 First Team All American led the nation with 176 tackles, with the next highest being 158. He is more than just a tackle machine, as he forced 6 fumbles, intercepted 3 passes and broke up 11 more in his last two seasons. Plain and simple, this kid is a baller that finds ways to produce no matter the situation or opponent. He has tremendous speed, quickness, and instincts. While the size might be a slight turn off, Burr-Kirven is a sure bet to be at least a productive weak side linebacker that will play assignment football at a high level on all three downs. Never a star, but likely a solid contributor.

*It’s hard to watch this kid and not walk away being impressed. The size issue gets a tad overrated especially for the amount of plays he makes in traffic. He knows how to use it to his advantage and there are things he can do that bigger guys simply cannot. I want linebackers that play instinctive and smart in addition being able to cover. If I have to give some stoutness away, that’s fine.

NFL Comparison: Wesley Woodyard / TEN

5 – Jahlani Tavai – Hawaii – 6’2/253

Grade: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior and four year starter that was All Mountain West three seasons in a row. 2018 didn’t go as many hoped, as he was suspended for a game stemming from an offseason arrest before missing the final month with a shoulder injury that is still hampering him right now. That medical is going to be important for him. Tavai is an attractive linebacker because of his ever-present instincts and aggression. You won’t find a player that gives more hustle and grit that Tavai. That said, he needs to show more a ability against blockers coming at him. He gets a little lethargic at times and doesn’t have the explosion or pop to make up for it. I do like the style and I do think there is 3 down potential here as long as the shoulder checks out.

*Tavai was one of my names to watch coming in to 2018, but the game 1 suspension and shoulder injury knocked him down a tad. But the tape, especially from 2017, doesn’t lie. This kid is all over the place but it is more than high-effort. He has legit talent the ability to forecast plays. Really violent player that brings intensity to the players around him. I have some discipline questions here, but I got some feedback regarding his team interviews and meetings and they were all positive.

NFL Comparison: Benardrick McKinney – HOU

6: Drue Tranquill – Notre Dame – 6’2/234

Grade: 78

Summary: Fifth year senior and two-time team captain. The former safety suffered torn ACL injuries in both 2014 and 2015, but has bounced back 38 games over 3 years. Tranquill is a blue-collar player that has a couple limitations physically, but seems to always find a way to get the job done on all three downs. He is as smart and quick to react as you will find. Combine that with the violence and aggression he plays with and Tranquill looks like an eventual starter on the weak side and special teams star. The medicals will be important for him.

*One of the more underrated players in the class. I’ll tell you what, if the medicals were completely clean here, I would have Tranquill as a first round player. Hard to find someone with the coverage ability, nose for the ball, and toughness like this kid. His athleticism issues are a little overblown and I think he proved that in workouts. I like that you know exactly what you are getting here play by play, week by week.

NFL Comparison: Christian Kirksey / CLE

7: Blake Cashman – Minnesota – 6’1/237

Grade: 77

Summary: A former walk on and just a one year starter for the Gophers, Cashman did earn 3rd Team All Big 10 honors as a senior after being on nobody’s radar entering the year. Cashman’s play slowly but surely got noticed more and more as the season progressed. He all-out, all-the-time approach to the game coupled with his speed and violence can make him an asset in most schemes. His weaknesses reside in coverage and he won’t do much to rush the passer, thus his role may be limited at the next level. At worst, he is a core special teamer and solid backup but I see him starting at some point in his career.

*While I see a 2 down player here, I think a team looking for a run stuffer in the middle can get a lot out of Cashman. He is a better athlete than advertised based on his reaction time and instincts. Also he is a guy that rarely misses tackles, something I constantly value.

NFL Comparison: Blake Martinez / GB

8: Justin Hollins – Oregon – 6’5/248

Grade: 75

Summary: Fifth year senior. Three year starter that spent a season at defensive end before the team moved him to a hybrid edge role. Hollins spent most of his time on the edge but he proved to be a factor in coverage to the point where his versatility grade is what really makes him. Hollins is an every down threat capable of impacting the game in several ways. He plays fast and twitchy, shows developed skill sets across the board, and has a constant sense of hustle. With his frame and athletic ability, there is an upside worth trying to develop.

*There is some unknown with Hollins and a lot of what he is being graded on is based on long term projection and development. That said, if he blossoms in to what he can be, he can be one of the top linebackers in this group when all is said and done. He needs to fill the frame out a bit and handle contact with blockers better, but someone with this height, length, speed, and versatility can be a big time weapon.

NFL Comparison: De’Vondre Campbell – ATL

9: Cameron Smith – USC – 6’2/238

Grade: 75

Summary: Four year starter that has overcome a few injuries to his shoulder and knee respectively, but still managed to start 45 games. He began his career off with a bang, winning Pac 12 Freshman of the Year honors before he tore up that knee. He became the leader of that defense real fast and there are almost zero concerns when it comes to his ability to impact the run defense and mental side of things. Smith is a better athlete than some give him credit for, but I still think his primary role will be on early downs. He can hold his own but the impact he can make as a tackler is far greater. Really solid player that can’t do everything, but can do enough.

*Bringing in Smith is all about quality depth with the possibility of run defending presence. He won’t be a start but he will be reliable and effective in the right role. Safe player as long as his medicals check out.

NFL Comparison: Vince Williams / PIT

10: Mack Wilson – Alabama – 6’1/240

Grade: 74

Summary: Junior entry. Full time for the first time in 2018 but was a steady part of the rotation in 2017 and half of 2016. 2nd Team All SEC to cap his career. If you catch Wilson on the right week, he looks like yet another first round ‘Bama linebacker. However the inconsistencies constantly left me wanting more. Maybe it was just inexperience and maybe had he retuned for his senior season he would have been a sure thing first rounder next year, but I can’t put him much higher than this just because of flashes. I question his ability to forecast and diagnose and I do think a lot of his production came from the talent around him. Still a solid upside pick here with legit talent, but still think he is a ways away.

*Man I wish this kid went back to school for his senior season, which I know the coaches were trying to push him towards. Wilson was maddening to watch because he had flashes of big time, just to be followed by the look of a backup just plays later. I won’t deny his upside but I think the talent around him and the fact he is coming from the ‘Bama program inflated his outlook by the general public. I don’t trust him enough.

NFL Comparison: KJ Wright / SEA

11: Sione Takitaki – BYU – 6’1/238

Grade: 74

Summary: Fifth year senior. Took a redshirt season in 2016 after being a part time contributor over his first two years. The former defensive end made the full time move to linebacker in 2018 despite being the team’s defensive player of the year in 2017. He took 20 pounds off his frame and slowly but surely earned his way up draft boards with quality, consistent play. Takitaki needs some extra screening, as he was a troublemaker early in his career and was nearly kicked out of the program. He got married a couple years ago and since then, he has been a new person. A very focused and driven player on and off the field, Takitaki has the look of someone drafted day 3 but ends up starting in his rookie year.

*Interesting player here. I’ve been told a few teams are looking at him as a day 2 pick. I don’t trust him in coverage but I think he has enough versatility to stay on the field all three downs. He has a knack for winning one on one battles against blockers and I think his experience as an edge guy can only help. He is what I would call a calculated shot in the dark. I predict NE to draft him day 3 and he ends up being a stud, he has that kind of look to him.

NFL Comparison: Kyle Van Noy / NE

12: Germaine Pratt – NC State – 6’2/240

Grade: 74

*Fifth year senior. Former safety that redshirted in 2016 because of a shoulder injury and came back as a linebacker, blossoming in to a 1st Team All ACC defender in 2018, his lone season as the starter. Pratt brings a lot to the table. He is an excellent, physical, wrap up tackler with natural ability in coverage and some pass rush traits that many overlook. On the other hand, he mightily struggles taking on blocks and gets lost in traffic too often. Drafting Pratt is all about the future because he has a ways to go when it comes to learning the game and overall techniques. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him starting in 2 years for a good defense.

*Pratt was a favorite of mine initially. He doesn’t miss tackles, I like the 3 down versatility, and he has a very all-business type approach to the game. Bu t after scouting 8 games, the ever-present issues he has against blockers and overlooking assignment football is maddening enough to wait until day 3. For the record, I believe he goes earlier than this.

NFL Comparison: Todd Davis / DEN

13: Andrew Van Ginkel – Wisconsin – 6’3/241

Grade: 73

Summary: A one year starter. A career that began at South Dakota in which he was in the running for the FCS Freshman of the year, Van Ginkel bounced around a bit because of a coaching change. With a pit stop at Iowa Western, he ended at Wisconsin and contributed for two years. The 2018 starter led the team with 5.5 sacks in 2018 and totaled 12 over his two years with the team. His pure athletic ability and passionate style of play can somewhat make up for some hesitations and lack of true power. The pass rush upside will largely depend on development and whoever drafts him will need to be patient, but he can be an impactful special teamer.

*Upside player here that has the tools and occasional flashes of impact off the edge. Van Ginkel still needs time to mold his game and strengthen his frame, but there is a lot of natural in him. He wasn’t on my radar until late in the year but he showed enough and there is more untapped upside to him than others.

NFL Comparison: Samson Ebukam – LAR

14: Vosean Joseph – Florida – 6’1/230

Grade: 73

Summary: Junior entry. Two year starter that plays the hot/cold style as much as any player in the class. While his effort and hustle are both always on, Joseph really struggles with the skill-based aspects of the game. He makes incorrect reads and poor decisions, one of the reasons the Florida coaches permanently moved him to the weak side. When it comes to speed, explosion, and pop, Joseph has standout ability. He can wreck havoc in the backfield with a violent finisher type style. That athletic ability translates well to the passing game as well, whether he drops back or blitzes. Joseph is an all or nothing player right now but if the right coach gets his hands on him, look out.

*Similar to Mack Wilson above, I really wish this kid went back for his senior year. There is 1st round potential in him but the inconsistencies were too frequent for my liking. When he is in full blown attack mode, Joseph is a fun player to watch they can take over a game. He has that kind of talent. If he can sit for a year or two with an attachment to getting better mentally, someone will get a bargain.

NFL Comparison: Jerome Baker / MIA

15: Sutton Smith – Northern Illinois – 6’0/233

Grade: 72

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. One of the most productive edge rushers in FBS since 2017 will need to make the move to off-all linebacker at the next level. Two time All American and two time Ted Hendricks Award finalist. The lack of size and power showed up on tape during the season and really showed up at the Senior Bowl. Smith has the body and athletic ability to factor as a strong side linebacker that can be used in specific pass rush packages as a blitzer. The stutter step quickness and knack for finding windows to sneak through can be used by the right scheme.

*Smith’s production is as good as anyone in the class but I think that was derived from a lack of competition and scheme more so than sheer talent. Nonetheless, he will be a solid backup and very good special teamer. While he was embarrassed the Senior Bowl as a pass rusher, I still think there are things you can do with him.

NFL Comparison: Nick Vigil / CIN

16: Deshaun Davis – Auburn – 5’11/234: 72

17: Otaro Alaka – Texas A&M – 6’3/239: 72

18: Dakota Allen – Texas Tech – 6’0/236: 72

19: Cody Barton – Utah – 6’2/237: 71

20: Jordan Kunazyk – California – 6’3/235: 71

21: Joe Dineen – Kansas State – 6’1/235: 71

22: David Long – West Virginia – 5’11/227: 71

23: Chase Hansen – Utah – 6’3/227: 70

24: Ryan Connelly – Wisconsin – 6’2/241: 70

25: Terrill Hanks – New Mexico State – 6’2/242: 70

**UDFA SLEEPER**

Tre Watson – Maryland – 6’2/233

*Fifth year senior that played 4 years at Illinois before grad-transferring to Maryland. He ranked 5th in the Big 10 in tackles and I have several game notes on him saying he has “it”. The inherent ability to locate the ball, beat blockers to spots, an finish off the ball carrier. He doesn’t jump off the screen when it comes to triangle numbers but he proved plus-burst and quickness at his pro day. He will be a core special teamer and has the look of an UDFA that ends up starting somewhere down the road.

NYG APPROACH

NYG would be smart to take a hard look at Devin Bush and Devin White in the first round. These two are every down players that can impact the running and passing games right away at a high level. I have never bought in to the concept that this position is not valuable enough for high picks. Too often has this defense been burned by poor second level play. The day 2 options aren’t as deep but no matter what, this group needs to be addressed at some point. Linebacker impact can be based on scheme, so the fit will be there at some point.

Apr 092019
 
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Byron Murphy, Washington Huskies (September 8, 2018)

Byron Murphy – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Preview: Cornerbacks

*Grading Scale:

90+: Elite, All Pro

85-89: Immediate starter, building block for a decade, franchise player

80-84: First round talent, starter and/or majority of the snaps each week

77-79: Day 2 pick, starter within their first 16-24 games as a pro

75-76: Fourth rounder, has starter traits but needs development

71-74: Fifth/Sixth rounder, should develop in to weekly contributor over rookie contract

68-70: Draftable, hopeful for special teams impact and long term development

67 and under: UDFA

*NFL Comparison are not a projection of how good they are, more so their style of play.

CORNERBACK

WHERE THEY STAND

One of the hardest position groups in the NFL to consistently fill year by year, NYG is standing at the edge of a cliff with their CB group. Janoris Jenkins is still a solid number one but they are banking on young, unprovens behind him.. Sam Beal is in line for major playing time after missing his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury. Grant Haley flashed as a nickel in 2018, but the UDFA looks limited. Antonio Hamilton, Tony Lippett, and Michael Hunter round out the group and when it comes to comparison with the rest of the league, these guys don’t stand out to say the least. Hunter, however, has always been a guy that I have wanted to see get more and more action.

TOP 25 GRADES

1: Byron Murphy – Washington – 5’11/190

Grade: 83

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Murphy missed 7 games in 2017 with a broken foot but came back with a 1st Team All Pac 12, 2nd Team All American performance. Despite the lack of game–experience, Murphy proved to be one of the more NFL-ready corners in the class with his top shelf athletic ability and ball tracking. He does play a little light which will need to change in the NFL, but his aggressive style and fast twitch reactions make him scary to throw near. If the technique can get cleaned up and he can improve in zone coverage, he has quality starting corner written all over him.

*Physically Murphy is probably the safest and most reliable corner in the class. Everything seems smooth and easy for him. Body control and balance is just as important as speed at the CB spot and Murphy is top-shelf there. If there is one corner that I think sneaks in to the top10 , it’s this kid.

NFL Comparison: Brent Grimes / FA

2: DeAndre Baker – Georgia – 5’11/193

Grade: 83

Summary: Baker was a three year starter for the Bulldogs that progressively improved as a prospect from the beginning of 2017. The two-time all SEC defender (1st Team in 2018) brings the kind of confidence and swagger that can take on the numerous challenges of playing cornerback in the NFL. He can be left alone on an island and stick with anyone on all levels of the route tree as well as make plays on the ball like a receiver. His issues can be correctable, mainly the technique-based and mental ones. The lack of power presence can be an issue at times but in a league where contact is allowed less and less in coverage, the corners that can get the job done via instincts, agility, and speed stand out a bit more.

*Another safe pick here that may have a limited upside, but at this position you just want reliable. That is Baker is a nutshell. I love the competitive spirit, the swagger he shows on the outside. Do I trust him against a Michael Thomas on an island? Probably not. But at the end of the day that isn’t the job of a #1 corner on most teams. He can fit in to any coverage scheme and any role, right away.

NFL Comparison: Tre’Davious White / BUF

3: Rock Ya-Sin – Temple – 6’0/192

Grade: 82

Summary: After three seasons, two of which as a starter, at Presbyterian after the program dropped from a scholarship program. He transferred to Temple without having to sit out and made his mark in a big way. The physical, chiseled, speedy corner earned 1st Team All AAC honors and became a leader of the defense right away. He quickly earned a single digit jersey number, given to the team’s toughest players, and he proved he deserved it all year. Ya-Sin is one of the best competitors in this entire class and he pairs that with a solid size/speed combination. His skill set needs to be cleaned up to avoid penalties, but he has #1 corner written all over him if he does.

*I was on this kid pretty early in the year and I am glad to see him get the attention he deserves. The frame and physical presence stands out the second you turn the tape on, but I think there are some inherent traits that can’t be taught. He shows the ideal blend of aggression and patience combined with enough playing speed to factor in any situation. If he cleans up the techniques and gets more consistent, he has the most upside of all the CBs in the class.

NFL Comparison: Darius Slay / DET

4: Julian Love – Notre Dame – 5’11/195

Grade: 82

Summary: Junior entry that was an All American in both 2017 and 2018. Leaves Notre Dame as the all time leader in pass break ups and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award this past season. Love is a pro-ready corner that checks a lot of boxes when it comes to technique, reaction speed, and quickness. He is a weapon against the pass when covering the short and intermediate passing game. While his lack of size and strength can be exposed by certain matchups, Love has the kind of game that can be moved inside-out. Safe and reliable corner that has starter written all over him.

*The thing that stood out to me about Love over and over was his safe, dependable play. He looked like a pro each week from an awareness and technique perspective respectively. Rarely did I ever find him out of position or lacking the control needed to make plays on the ball. I know I’m not getting a star here, but I am getting dependability and as I said earlier, that is what I want at the position.

NFL Comparison: Logan Ryan – TEN

5: Joejuan Williams – Vanderbilt – 6’4/211

Grade: 81

Summary: Junior entry. Two year starter that evolved in to one of the top corners in the SEC in 2018, earning 2nd Team All conference honors. Williams stands out among his peers off the bus with his rare combination of height, length, and weight. After he puts the pads on and starts moving around on the field, it’s hard not to get overly excited. Williams is a fluid and easy mover that has so much range and a wide radius that throwing in his direction is a risk in and of itself. He really took his game to another level as 2018 progressed and an argument can be made he has the highest ceiling among all corners in this class.

*It is rare to see a cornerback with this kind of size that nobody even discusses as a possibility to be moved to safety. The long-limbed mover has a unique skill set that can be the kind of factor in a defense that opposing QBs don’t even want to look at in coverage. The radius here is ridiculous and he isn’t a poor athlete at all. The ceiling here is the highest in the class. I know of 2 current scouts that say their teams list him at #1 in the group.

NFL Comparison: Aqib Talib – LAR

6: Greedy Williams – LSU – 6’2/185

Grade: 80

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. In his two seasons as a starter, Williams was an All American and 1st Team All SEC both years respectively. He has the ideal length and height for the position but not at the expense of movement. His hips are fluid and flexible and the body control he shows while facing the action is top shelf. Williams comes from the Deion Sanders’ school of defending, meaning he wants nothing to do with tackling or the physical side of the game. He lacks strength and desire but the ability and potential to shut down a number one receiver is enough to make up for it. Williams has star potential but needs to clean up some deep passing-defense.

*The outlook on Williams very much depends on what a team is looking for from their corners. If you want a guy that can move with any kind of receiver all over the field and make plays on the ball, this could be your guy. However if you want someone that is physical, blue collar, intelligent, Williams can be far down your list. He makes the highlight tape look legit, but if you watch 5-6 games of his in the SEC, you’ll see more negatives than positives. The upside is real, though.

NFL Comparison: Sidney Jones / PHI

7: David Long – Michigan – 5’11/196

Grade: 79

Summary: Junior entry with two years of starting experience. A First Team All Big 10 defender that may not have the ball-production that some look for, but Long is one of the best pure cover corners in the class. His ability to minimize separation between himself and the receiver on all levels of the route tree is something that will translate to the league right away. His hips are fluid and his feet are light. Long also plays with a pitbull-mentality. He wants to fight his man and shows no hesitation when it comes to mixing it up and playing physical. There is a combination of positive traits here that can really turn in to something at the next level. Quarterbacks rarely want to throw in his direction.

*Kind of the complete opposite from Williams above. Long doesn’t have the most attractive highlight tape but a big part of that is the fact QBs did not want to throw his way. He may be a top 3 man-cover corner in this class and he brings the baller mentality to the table. I believe most have Long as a day 3 pick but if you do end up getting him there, it might be the steal of the draft.

NFL Comparison: Stephon Gilmore / NE

8: Lonnie Johnson – Kentucky – 6’2/213

Grade: 79

Summary: Fifth year senior. Originally committed too Ohio State but he didn’t make the grades and ended up at junior college where he played safety for a couple years. He started for a year and a half at Kentucky but it wasn’t until we were a few weeks in 2018 where he really started to stand out. In a uber-talented secondary, Johnson leaves as the top pro prospect. Physically he can do it all. Tall, long, fast, physical, and under control. He still has a rawness about his skill set but nobody would be surprised if he ended up being the top CB in this class down the road.

*I know a handful of scouts that say Johnson, by a wide margin, is the top CB in the class. I never fully bought in but I will see he is the most impressive specimen. I think he deserves a “buyer beware” label. And I will go on record that he is the one CB in this class that I think is worth trying to move to safety. He has the body, he has the mentality, and he has the experience. The holes in his game as a CB can be hidden a bit at safety, a spot where I think he could be a legit sideline to sideline rangy guy that NYG may be a perfect fit for.

NFL Comparison: Trumaine Johnson / NYJ

9: Jordan Brown – South Dakota State – 6’0/201

Grade: 77

Summary: Fifth year senior. A former wide receiver that ended his career with two straight years where he ended up on the 1st Team All Missouri Football Conference list. His production across the stat sheet also got him an All American spot in 2018. Brown is still relatively new to the cornerback spot in relation to other prospects and he has shown flashes of very high quality play. His size and foot-speed in addition to the natural ability to make plays on the ball makes him an attractive draw. There are holes and he is making a big jump in competition but the progress path he is on right now could lead to a starting caliber pro corner.

*Quick funny story. A scout was at the combine, clearly delusional after being there all week (it is a tough week for them), and was writing down notes for the draft’s top corner Byron Murphy while watching Brown in drills. Ironic part is, my game notes from the fall had Byron Murphy comparisons multiple times. Ok maybe not that funny to you. Anyway, Brown stood out all year albeit against low-level competition. Not only did he look like he was on a different level, his techniques and body control were on point. Really intrigued by him.

NFL Comparison: TJ Carrie / CLE

10: Trayvon Mullen – Clemson – 6’1/199

Grade: 77

Summary: Junior entry with two years of starting experience. Honorable Mention All ACC in 2017 and 2nd Team in 2018. Mullen fits the mold of the ideal cornerback when it comes to height, length, and speed. He can cover a lot of ground and showed the ability to stick to his man as a straight line mover up and down the field. His has loose hips, quick feet, and knows how to attack the ball like a receiver. He is limited by a lack of physical hunger and hustle that may be hard to all of the sudden change in the NFL. Mullen wasn’t challenged much in college so there is a lot of unknown here, but the tools are there and he can wear a few hats. He is a high-upside, inside-outside corner with a boom or bust label.

*High risk, high reward prospect here. I just haven’t seen enough on tape from him that screams starting-caliber corner. It came in flashes here and there, but for a kid that played more games than most corners over the past two years, I wish he showed more.

NFL Comparison: Bashaud Breeland / KC

11: Brian Peavy – Iowa State – 5’9/194

Grade: 77

Strong Points: Fifth year senior. A four-year starter that made the All Big 12 team every season. A consistently productive across-the-board defender that plays bigger than he is listed with exceptional quickness and body control. After playing through a torn pec during his entire senior season, Peavy was one of the biggest combine snubs in the nation. While he lacks the ideal triangle numbers, the growing importance of nickel corners should boost this kid up in to early day 3, maybe even late day 2 territory. Whoever grabs this kid is going to be pleasantly surprised, as I think he will outperform several corners drafted ahead of him.

*Within the next year or two, a the nickel corner may be considered a starting lineup spot in every defense. If you look at snap totals, they are on the field just as, if not more often than the third linebacker. Peavy wasn’t at the combine but I’ll bet my full salary on the fact he gets drafted higher than 5 of the guys that were invited. Productive, tough, quick, and smart. Put this kid in the slot and watch what happens.

NFL Comparison: Anthony Brown / DAL

12: Justin Layne – Michigan State – 6’2/196

Grade: 77

Summary: Junior entry. Former wide receiver that made the move to cornerback halfway through his freshman year. He was a natural at the position and surprised coaches with how quickly he picked up on the nuances. Layne is a natural because of his tremendous lower body fluidity and aggressive approach to the game. He is limited against the vertical passing game, but he knows how to cover it up as much as possible and he can be a dangerous corner to throw near underneath. His body type may not hold up against the power game, but in time he can be a very solid zone coverage corner that will make plays.

*Layne is a popular pick among the media and fans. By no means do I dislike him ,after all I still see day 2 here. I think he has the size and speed that everyone wants to work with in today’s NFL but there were too many negatives on tape that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. I’ve been told a few teams have a round 1 grade on him by the way.

NFL Comparison: William Jackson / CIN

13: Iman Lewis-Marshall – USC – 6’1/207

Grade: 77

Summary: Four year starter that burst on to the scene as a freshman in 2015, earning 1st Team Freshman All American honors. Minus a hiccup in 2017 where a knee injury hampered him, Lewis-Marshall quietly had one of the best careers of all the corners in this class. There are athletic-based shortcomings in his game, namely long speed, thus a move to safety may be in his future. No matter where you put him, though, Lewis-Marshall brings a constant sense of urgency, physical play, and instincts to the secondary. He is the kind of day 2, early day 3 pick that ends up starting in year 1.

*Here is the other corner that I think some teams should look hard and long at when it comes to making the transition to safety. I don’t mind starting him at corner, where he balled his entire career at USC. But the pitbull mentality can be better used while also hiding some movement issues he has.

NFL Comparison: Trevor Williams / LAC

14: Isaiah Johnson – Houston – 6’2/208

Grade: 77

Summary: After an accomplished track and field career in high school, Johnson found himself at the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart at Houston for two years. He was then moved to cornerback prior to 2017 and while he did go through growing pains, he showed more than enough upside as a senior in 2018. He showed the obvious ball-skill advantage with his history as a pass catcher but the fluidity combined with size and speed make him a project worth gambling on. He needs time to add some strength and become more physical, but all of the tools and more than enough ball production are there.

*Another high-ceiling prospect that some are labeling a first rounder based merely on upside and potential. Johnson’s tools and lack of experience have made some believe they can coach him up in to a top tier, shut down cover man. I don’t see it because of short area movement and I’m not sure I could come up with a list of 5 players in this class that are worse at the physical side. I understand upside, but not higher than the bottom of round 3.

NFL Comparison: Jalen Ramsey / JAC

15: Ugo Amadi – Oregon – 5’9/199

Grade: 75

Summary: Four year contributor that was in and out of the starting lineup based more on formations and schemes, not his play. Two time Honorable Mention All Pac 12 that had a knack for making plays. Those last two years, he totaled 6 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 defensive touchdowns, and a punt return for a touchdown. The explosion in short spaces along with his muscular, powerful frame is attractive if you are a team looking for a lot. I think he brings some versatility to the middle of the field and can help a team in a variety of ways.

*Another slot corner that could easily be taken much higher, or much lower, than where I have him. I know, major risk there. Amadi carries a lot of the mentality and short area burst traits that I like, but I question the awareness and instincts. He was a kid that had a hard time holding on to a specific role at Oregon and while that may have been a coaching error more than anything, it could have also been that his football IQ issues kept showing up. Nonetheless, I like how this kid plays.

NFL Comparison: Jimmie Ward / SF

16: Amani Oruwariye – Penn State – 6’2/205: 75

17: Sean Bunting – Central Michigan – 6’0/193: 75

18 – Ryan Pulley – Arkansas – 5’11/209: 74

19 – Montre Hartage – Northwestern – 5’11/190: 74

20 – Savion Smith – Alabama – 6’1/199: 73

21 – Kris Boyd – Texas – 5’11/201: 73

22 – Jordan Miller – Washington – 6’1/186: 72

23 – Ken Webster – Ole Miss – 5’11/203: 72

24 – Derek Baity – Kentucky – 6’2/197: 72

25 – Michael Jackson – Miami – 6’1/210: 72

**TOP UDFA SLEEPER**

Deion Harris – North Dakota – 6’2/200

An intriguing small school prospect off the beaten path, Harris has had plenty of big play success over his career. After missing all of 2017 with an achilles injury, he bounced back to form, where he put himself on the radar with an All American season 2016. Triangle numbers are attractive as are the anticipation and instincts. He was notably lacking power presence at at a lower level of football, thus he has practice squad written all over him as he needs to build the body a bit. There are some naturals with him that I like a lot, though.

NYG APPROACH

I’m not sure many realize how susceptible this position group is, especially if Jenkins were to ever go down. While the argument can be made that any team would really suffer if you took their top corner out of the picture, I think the lack of depth here is among the worst in football. Sam Beal is the wildcard but we can’t act like he was ever a top rated prospect anyway. The extra picks NYG acquired via CLE could have been very much about adding a piece to the CB group earlier than most think, maybe as early as #17 overall. Lack of quality CB play with a questionable pass rush (and that is being kind) is a recipe for disaster.