Month: April 2017

Small School Big Board: The Aftermath

Top 100 

1. Derek Rivers (Youngstown State EDGE) *drafted 3rd Rd 83rd overall to the New England Patriots

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New England rookie Derek Rivers looks to make a huge impact as an early starter.

 

Though Rivers was the second player off the board, he goes to the best situation. He has an excellent defensive coordinator in Matt Patricia, that will put Rivers in the best positions to succeed. He could go from Youngstown State to being a Super Bowl winner in one season.

-Jason Tyrant

2. Adam Shaheen (Division II Ashland TE) *drafted 2nd Rd 45th overall to the Chicago Bears

3. Julien Davenport (Bucknell OT) *drafted 4th Rd 130th overall to the Houston Texans

4. Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington WR) *drafted 3rd Rd 69th overall to the LA Rams

5. Tanoh Kpassagnon (Villanova DE) *drafted 2nd Rd 59th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs

6. Jordan Morgan (Division II Kutztown OG) *drafted 5th Rd 147th overall to the Chicago Bears

With a little polish and refining, Jordan can be an absolute steal. He shows promise as a mauling run blocker and will fight for starting time soon.

-Jason Tyrant

 

7. Corey Levin (UT Chattanooga OG) *drafted 6th Rd 217th overall to the Tennessee Titans

8. Lorenzo Jerome (Saint Francis FS) *Signed as UDFA with San Francisco 49ers

9. Brendan Langley (Lamar CB) *drafted 3rd Rd 101st overall to the Denver Broncos

10. Jessamen Dunker (Tennessee State OG) *Signed as UDFA with the NY Giants

11. Ezra Robinson (Tennessee State CB) *Signed as UDFA with the Jacksonville Jaguars

12. Javancy Jones (Jackson State LB) *Signed as UDFA with the Arizona Cardinals

Jones is a fierce competitor with a chance to stick on the Cardinal’s 53 man roster. He’s a versatile player, with a quick first step. Look for some splash plays to secure his spot.

-Jason Tyrant

13. Chad Williams (Grambling State WR) * drafted 3rd Rd 98th overall to the Arizona Cardinals

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14. Keionta Davis (UT Chattanooga)

15. Roderick Henderson (Alabama State NT) *Signed as UDFA with the Tennessee Titans

The Titans can use a true nose tackle in a division that now has Leonard Fournette. Henderson is ridiculously athletic for his size and will make his presence known at camp.

-Jason Tyrant

16. Javarious Leamon (South Carolina State OT) *Signed as UDFA with the NY Jets

17. Kendrick Bourne (Eastern Washington WR) *Signed as UDFA with the San Francisco 49ers

18. Samson Ebukam (Eastern Washington EDGE) *drafted 4th Rd 125th overall to the LA Rams

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19. Jylan Ware (Alabama State OT) *drafted 7th Rd 231st overall to the Oakland Raiders

HBCU Spirit of America Bowl standout Jylan Ware, is a great developmental prospect. With a little work, he can end up as as a starter.

-Jason Tyrant

20. Ethan Cooper (Division II IUP OG) *Signed as UDFA with the Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Munchak will turn Cooper into a Pro Bowl caliber player. Bold prediction? Maybe, but this marriage of  athleticism and coaching talent bodes well for the Steelers.

-Jason Tyrant

21. Connor Harris (Division II Lindenwood LB) *Signed as UDFA with the NY Jets

22. Brad Seaton (Villanova OT) *drafted 7th Rd 236th overall to the Tennessee Titans

23. Grover Stewart (Albany DT) * drafted 4th Rd 144th to the Indianapolis Colts

24. Karter Schult (Northern Iowa DE) *Signed as UDFA with the Cleveland Browns

25. Cameron Lee (Illinois State OG) *Signed as UDFA with the New Orleans Saints

26. Erik Austell (Charleston Southern OG) *Signed as UDFA with the Denver Broncos

27. Winston Craig (Richmond DT) *Signed as UDFA with the Philadelphia Eagles

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Richmond DT WInston Craig as he gets after the passer.

Craig is a great scheme fit here. He’s an exceptional pass rusher from the interior defensive line. He’s got a solid shot to make the 53 as well.

-Jason Tyrant

28. Avery Moss (Youngstown State DE) *drafted 5th Rd 167th to the New York Giants

29. Josh Thornton (Southern Utah CB) *Signed as UDFA with the Detroit Lions

30. Tarik Cohen (North Carolina A&T RB) *drafted 4th Rd 119th overall to the Chicago Bears

31. Nicholas Morrow (Division III Greenville SS) *Signed as UDFA with the Oakland Raiders

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31. Morrow signed with the Oakland Raiders as an UDFA

32. Folarin Orimolade (Dartmouth LB)

33. Jamal Agnew (San Diego CB) *drafted 5th Rd 165th overall to the Detroit Lions

34. Karel Hamilton (Samford WR)

35. Eric Saubert (Drake TE) *drafted 5th Rd 174th overall to the Atlanta Falcons

36. Alek Torgernsen (Penn QB) *Signed as UDFA with the Atlanta Falcons

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36. Torgernsen looks to fight to be Matt Ryan’s backup

 

 

 

37. Mitchell Kirsch (James Madison OG) *Signed as UDFA with the Chicago Bears

38. Whitney Richardson (Division II Lane DE)

39. Patrick Ricard (Maine DT) *Signed as UDFA with the Baltimore Ravens

40. Brandon Barnes (Alabama State TE) *Signed as UDFA with the Detroit Lions

41. David Jones (Richmond FS) *Signed as UDFA with the New England Patriots

42. Dylan Cole (Missouri State LB) *Signed as UDFA with the Houston Texans

43. Donald Payne (Stetson SS)

44. Xavier Coleman (Portland State CB) *Signed as UDFA with the NY Jets

45. Jack Nelson (Division II Winona State QB)

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46. De’Angelo Henderson (Coastal Carolina RB) *drafted 6th Rd 203rd overall to the Denver Broncos

Henderson could end up as a work horse back for the Broncos. He has the talent to do so, he just needs the touches.

-Jason Tyrant

 

47. Krishawn Hogan ( Division II Marian WR) *Signed as UDFA with the Indianapolis Colts

48. Jerry Ugokwe (William & Mary OT) *Signed as UDFA with the Indianapolis Colts

49. Dante’ Blackmon (Kennesaw State CB)

50. Collin Bevins (Northwest Missouri State DT) *Signed as UDFA with the Arizona Cardinals

51. Khalid Abdullah (James Madison RB)

52. Paul Butler (Division II Cal TE) *Invited to Pittsburgh Steelers training camp

If Butler can channel his inner Heath Miller, he has a shot to stick with Pittsburgh. Butler is a solid run blocker and an underrated receiver.

-Jason Tyrant

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Cal. (PA) TE Paul Butler

53. JP Flynn (Montana State OG) *Signed as UDFA with the San Francisco 49ers

54. Donovan McCray (Grambling State DT/DE)

55. Zack Johnson (North Dakota State OG)

56. Tyler Williams (Central Arkansas CB)

57. Caleb Kidder (Montana DE) *Signed as UDFA with the Minnesota Vikings

58. Tyson Graham Jr (South Dakota LB/SS) *Invited to San Francisco 49ers training camp

Graham’s best fit here is probably as an in the box type SS. He is a sound tackler with good hands.

-Jason Tyrant

59. Christian Kuntz (Duquesne LB) *Signed as UDFA with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

60. Brady Gustafson (Montana QB)

61. Marquis Ragland (North Carolina A&T DT)

62. Antonio Pipkin (Division II Tiffin QB) *Signed as UDFA with the Arizona Cardinals

63. Sam Ekwonike (Coastal Carolina OG) *Signed as UDFA with the NY Giants

64. Billy Brown (Division II Shepherd TE) *Signed as UDFA with the Philadelphia Eagles

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64. Billy Brown is a Philadelphia Eagle.

65. Lenard Tillery (Southern RB)

66. Garry Brown (Division II Cal WR)

67. Landon Lechler (North Dakota State OT) *Signed as UDFA with the Cincinnati Bengals

68. Damani Taylor (UT Martin DT)

69. Casey Deandrade (New Hampshire FS)

70. Alex Scearce (Coastal Carolina LB) *Signed as UDFA with the Chicago Bears

71. Frederick Henry-Ajuda (North Carolina Central EDGE)

72. Max Rich (Harvard OT) *Signed as UDFA with the New England Patriots

Rich is a poor man’s Nate Solder. Though not the same caliber player initially, he has potential to develop into a starter.

-Jason Tyrant

73. Jody Webb (Youngstown State RB)

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74. Mark Spelman (Illinois State Center) *Signed as UDFA with the Chicago Bears

75. Brian Brown (Richmond WR) *Signed as UDFA with the Dallas Cowboys

76. Anthony Firsker (Harvard TE) *Signed as UDFA with the NY Jets

77. Stephen Evans (Division II North Alabama OG)

78. Marquis Smith (Savannah State LB)

79. Tyler Condit (New Haven LB/FB)

80. Jac’que Polite (Division II Winston Salem OT) *Signed as UDFA with the Buffalo Bills

81. AJ Wentland (Division II Mckendree LB)

82. Jared Holloway (Samford DT)

83. Ryan Radke (Division III Thiel WR)

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84. Kedrick Harrison (Stephen F Austin DE)

85. Jordan Norris (NW Oklahoma State CB)

86. Anthony Warrum (Illinois State WR)

87. Connor Bozick (Delaware OG)

88. Lorin Winston (Grambling State DT)

89. Darien Anderson (Alcorn State LB)

90. Robert Tonyan Jr (Indiana State TE) *Signed as UDFA with the Detroit Lions

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Detroit Lions UDFA Tonyan Jr.

89.  Jaylen Hill (Jacksonville State CB)

90. Leroy Alexander (Youngstown State FS)

91. Guy Stallworth (Grambling State SS)

92. Taylor Gadbois (Southeastern Louisiana OT)

93. Cass Weitl (Division II NW Missouri State DE)

94. Bryant Frazier (Division II Virginia State DT)

95. Josh Barge (Jacksonville State WR)

96. King Frazier (North Dakota State RB)

97. William Stanback ( Division II Virginia Union RB)

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98. Terrence Singleton (Prairie View SS)

99. Kade Harrington (Lamar RB)

100. Christian Carpenter (Gannon FS)

 

 

 

 

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First Round Mock

2017 First Round Mock Without Trades. Decisions based on team needs and players available that fit teams play style. Analysis for some picks provided. The countdown is on now!

 

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  1. Browns- Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M– This pick has to happen even with the rumors that Trubisky is still in consideration. Garrett is a game changing talent that can get after the Quarterback. He displays traits and play style that you do not see often. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it he is the number one player in this draft.
  2. 49ers- Jamal Adams S LSU– This pick will dictate the rest of the draft. New GM John Lynch has said that he is taking calls for this pick and I expect them to move out, but if they are forced to stay Adams is a game changer. He brings a tough mentality and leadership that can help boost a poor team play style. The 49ers are not one player away from being competitive this is about building a culture and Adams can bring that immediately.
  3. Bears- Jonathan Allen DLine Alabama 
  4. Jaguars- Leonard Fournette RB LSU 
  5. Titans- Solomon Thomas DLine Stanford
  6. Jets- Mitch Trubisky QB North Carolina- Trubisky is likely to be the first quarterback off the board and the Jets do need a quarterback. But, look for a trade to move the Jets out of this spot and maybe perhaps the Browns to move up. If the Jets stay Trubisky could provide hope for a franchise that just let all the major stars go and is just beginning a major rebuild.
  7. downloadChargers- Malik Hooker FS Ohio State 
  8. Panthers- Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio State 
  9. Bengals- Ryan Ramczyk OT Wisconsin- Many people have the Bengals taking a defensive player and a lot are predicting a linebacker such as Reuben Foster. But, Foster has had quite the rough lead up to the draft. The latest development is a dilluted urine test which again raises eyebrows after already suffering a dismissal at the combine. In comes Ramcyzk with his own hip injury and worries, but after watching more tape he displays the ability to be a day one starter. The Bengals have holes all over their offensive line and with this pick they could help keep Dalton upright. Rumors are also saying they will be looking for a running back, but with Fournette off the board it seems a little unreasonable to place one to them here.
  10. Bills- Mike Williams WR Clemson
  11. Saints- Hassan Reddick LB Temple- By far one of if not the biggest risers in the pre-draft process. Reddick played on the line in college and also drops into coverage, while some games lining up primarily at linebacker. The versatility he displays is incredible and with more experience at linebacker he should be able to develop into a year in year out pro bowler. With Reuben Foster sliding the Saints will still be happy to take Reddick and help their god awful defense.
  12. Browns- OJ Howard TE Alabama 
  13. Cardinals- Deshone Kizer QB Notre Dame– Many people have Kizer as the fourth rated QB, but I think his ceiling is much higher than that of Watson’s and his learning curve is much less than that of Patrick Mahome’s. Kizer is a big arm QB with a big frame which sounds like someone head coach Bruce Arians once coached? Ben Roethlisberger was great under Arians when he was offensive coordinator and I think Kizer could develop a year behind Palmer and then thrive in Arians vertical passing game.
  14. Eagles- Christian Mccaffrey RB Stanford 
  15. Colts- Reuben Foster LB Alabama 
  16. Ravens- Cam Robinson OT Alabama 
  17. Redskins- Deshaun Watson QB Clemson 
  18. Titans- Corey Davis WR Western Michigan 
  19. Bucs- David Njoku TE Miami- Expect the Bucs offense to be much improved next year regardless with the addition of Desean Jackson. With Njoku they would have two new weapons, both of which providing speed and explosion to a powerful Mike Evans. Every young QB loves a target over the middle and having an explosive one in Njoku would be great to get Winston over the hump. Not to mention the middle of the field will be wide open with the safeties having to help over the top on Jackson and on the other side help a corner being bullied by Evans.
  20. 2483081.jpgBroncos- Garrett Bolles OT Utah 
  21. Lions- Jarrad Davis LB Florida 
  22. Dolphins- Gareon Conley CB Ohio State 
  23. Giants- Derek Barnett DE Tennessee 
  24. Raiders- Marlon Humphrey CB Alabama 
  25. Texans- Patrick Mahomes QB Texas Tech 
  26. Seahawks- Obi Melafonu CB/S Connecticut- This fit seems to be perfect for a defense that loves to be physical and has had great experience with long tall corners. Melafonu has risen up boards due to testing through the roof at the combine. He has to learn the technique of the corner position, but who better to learn from than Richard Sherman. Did I also forget to mention that the Seahawks have been discussing trading Sherman? So you get Sherman to train him up and then you trade Sherman and hopefully have his replacement. Can’t get much better than that.
  27. Chiefs- Dalvin Cook RB Florida State 
  28. Cowboys- Jabrill Peppers S Michigan- The Cowboys need all the help they can get on the defensive side of the ball so why not take a player that can fit in a new position week to week? Peppers would provide great versatility with Byron Jones on the back end of the defense. Peppers could hopefully come in and force turnovers, unlike he did in college, for a defense that badly needs some.
  29. Packers- Forrest Lamp OG Western Kentucky 
  30. Steelers- Budda Baker FS/SS Washington- What happened to the stingy Steelers defense? The Steelers now win the most of their games on offense instead of being a feared defensive team. Baker plays everywhere much like Polumalu did for them back in the day. Baker lays the wood and has terrific defensive instincts that continuously put him in the right place at the right time.
  31. Falcons- Malik Mcdowell DLine Michigan State 
  32. Saints- Tre’Davious White CB LSU 

5 Small School Steals: Offensive Line Edition

Every year there are Offensive Linemen that experts overlook, that go on to have great careers.  Removing players like Bucknell’s Julien Davenport and Kutztown’s Jordan Morgan, who are starting to receive their deserved hype, we’ll take a look at some sleeper picks.

 

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Corey Levin (OG, UT Chattanooga)

Ht: 6’4

Wt: 307

Analysis:

Levin is an athletic interior prospect, that moves well in space and would fit well with a zone blocking scheme. He has solid footwork and a nice punch. Realistically, Levin has the frame to add more functional weight and strength. He has played both Tackle and Guard at UT Chattanooga, which makes him a versatile swing player.

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Joe Loschiavo (Center, Slippery Rock)

Ht: 6’2

Wt: 312

Analysis:

Loschiavo is next in line for the Division II Offensive Line factory, that produced names like Viking’s Brandon Fusco and Packer’s Cory Tucker. He is a well balanced interior player that’s fundamentally sound. He has a well placed punch that has some pop. While, he underwhelms athletically his blue collar approach to the position will earn him some respect where ever he goes.

 

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Matt Frank (OG, James Madison)

Ht: 6’2

Wt: 307

Analysis:

Frank is the definition of perseverance. He was told he didn’t have the size to play Guard at the Division II level, so he walked on to FCS James Madison. He added over 50 pounds en route to his Senior year’s National Championship and Second Team All-CAA honors. He was part of a Offensive Line that only gave up one sack in the last seven games of the season. He is a good well rounded blocker, and looks for work when uncovered.

 

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Mitchell Kirsch (OT/OG, James Madison)

Ht: 6’4

Wt: 306

Analysis:

Kirsch was an anchor for the Dukes during his time at James Madison. Though average in space, Kirsch could have a high ceiling with a kick inside to Guard. He’s a powerful blocker that could excel brawling inside. He has adequate footwork, and a nasty punch. He lost a good portion of his Senior campaign to an injury, but will look to bounce back.

Erik Austell

Erik Austell (OG, Charleston Southern)

Ht: 6’3

Wt: 301

Analysis:

Austell is an a 2x FCS First Team All-American. He is athletic and moves well. At the second level, Austell does well choosing targets and making contact. He has potential to do very well as an interior Offensive Lineman, but needs to add some weight and functional strength. He would do well to land on a team that utilizes a zone blocking scheme.

Draft Needs: Tennessee Titans 1st round

The Tennessee Titans were one of the more surprising teams of the past season. They went from 3-13 in 2015 to 9-7 in 2016 showing dramatic signs of improvement. They have a young roster with a quarterback on the rise and physical run offensive scheme. The routes they could go vary depending on how they want to build the team. The main positions in question are wide receiver, defensive backfield (particularly CB), and defensive line. They have the 5th overall pick and 18th pick providing many options for moving around the board. There have been rumors stating they would like to trade one of the picks while looking to add a second round pick, that as of now are lacking. GM Jon Robinson likes physical players as you can see with how the offense was built. We’ll look at a few prospects that could fit at their current draft positions.

Fits for 5th pick:

  1. Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB – With a defensive backfield that was underwhelmed in terms of talent this seems like a great pick. Lattimore is widely considered the top cornerback in this draft due to his size, speed, and natural athleticism. He could be a top tier corner in a pass happy league and help a pass defense that finished 30th in total yards allowed. Lattimore would be a plug and play corner capable of matching up against the top wideout week to week if it were needed. With the signing of Logan Ryan the Titans would be able to let Lattimore learn from an experienced player while taking on the opposing teams second wideout for the majority of his rookie year.  If Lattimore is here at five the front office would have a hard time passing up a player that fits a major team need and would be one of the better players left on the board. Southern Miss LSU Football
  2. Jamal Adams (LSU) SS– If Jamal Adams falls to five I think Jon Robinson would be looking at the player of his dreams. Finding athletic physical back end players is easier said than done, but with Adams that’s exactly what you get. The Titans did sign SS Jonathan Cyprien who is somewhat of similar player to Adams in terms of play style. The difference is that Adams has proven to be a capable cover man which is where Cyprien has struggled thus far into his career. Adams would be great in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s  3-4 scheme. While having a good combine some were worried about his 4.57 40 time, but at his pro day he ran a 4.33 40 which definitely solidified his spot in the top 10 in my mind. I think he has the potential to be a game changing talent who enforces the back end of a defense.

3. Jonathan Allen (Alabama) D-Line – With the switch to a 3-4 defense this pick seems to make a lot of sense. The Titans are a physical team on the offensive line with some of the best young talent in the whole league. With the pick of Allen they would be trying to duplicate on the defensive line. Allen is a solid all around player that would provide physicality to a defense with no identity. The defensive front currently only has one player that would be deemed above average in Jurrell Casey and adding Allen would provide a good young talent group. Some have been worried about Allen’s red flags of shoulders, but he played throughout college with the same worries and was very productive and durable. This pairing would also be very good during obvious passing downs when they bump inside due to both being above average interior pass rushers. Playing in the SEC Allen has shown his strength while also being a very good athlete ask Trevor Knight.

 

Fits for 18th pick:

  1. OJ Howard (Alabama) TE– This is a bit of stretch because I think Howard could go way earlier. Out of all the prospects in this draft this could be the most ideal fit for a team that bases it’s offense around a power run game. Howard is a conventional tight end that exceeds in blocking while still being a great athlete and above average receiver. Adding him would give Mariota another weapon and continue to help him through his development. Not to mention a two tight end set of Howard and Delanie Walker would provide major mismatches to most if not all defenses. I would say they should draft him at five, but it would be somewhat of a reach at that point. This would be dream scenario for the Titans in adding a defensive player with their first pick while still being able to find a scheme fit to help offense.
  2. Corey Davis (WMU) WR– Davis has lost some of the hype he had leading up to the combine. It is rather hard to evaluate him against his competition in the MAC and his ankle injury that has kept him out of the combine and pro day. He has incredible athleticism that allows him to out muscle and out run defenders. he does have occasional concentration drops that hopefully will be remedied in the NFL. His physical play and speed would give Mariota a legit #1 option that has not been available in his first two years. Davis would allow the field to be stretched like never before for the Titans, which would only enhance the effectiveness of their running game. The running game by itself provide man coverage for the rookie making the task of getting open much easier.
  3. John Ross (Wash) WR– Adding John Ross would be interesting and could provide major benefits in terms of stretching the field. He has the capability to be the next Desean Jackson barring injury. His vertical ability is hard to match and would force the defense to leave a safety over top, making the run game once again a heck of a more dangerous. Ross does have injury concerns that would need to be approved by the medical staff. Also, he doesn’t seem to fit the team identity of physical play making this the least likely option in my opinion. If the Titans already had an established #1 receiver this would be more likely, but expect to see Davis over Ross in this situation.

5 Small School School Steals: Secondary Edition

The NFL has transitioned from the days of smashmouth rushing attacks, to more high octance passing games. Not to say that those throwback offenses don’t exist, but they are far more rare these days. With that in mind, let’s look at a few prospects from small schools that could help your favorite team’s Secondary.

 

 

 

Lorenzo Jerome

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Position: Free Safety

Height: 5’10

Weight: 204

School: Saint Francis (PA)

Overview:

 

Lorenzo Jerome is perhaps one of the most instinctive players in this year’s drafts. At the FCS level, Jerome took calculated risks when playing the ball and most times it paid off. He was a turnover machine at the collegiate level and also showed his propensity to create turnovers at a higher level with outstanding showings at the NFLPA Bowl and The Senior Bowl.

 

 

Josh Thornton

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Position: Cornerback

Height: 5’10

Weight: 180

School: Southern Utah

Overview:

 

Thornton is a speedster with good coverage skills. He was clocked at 4.39 during his Pro Day. Thornton looks to follow in the foot steps of last year’s Leshaun Sims, who was selected by the Tennessee Titans. Thornton could have a good career covering the slot and could make an impact on Special Teams immediately.

 

 

Jamal Agnew

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Position: Cornerback

Height: 5’10

Weight: 190

School: San Diego

Overview:

 

Agnew is a solid coverage man, with above average press skills. He’s been clocked as low as 4.35 in the 40 yard dash. He had an excellent career at San Diego and left as the all time leader in pass breakups with 48. Similarly to Thornton, Agnew could excel as a slot Cornerback at the next level.

 

 

Xavier Coleman

NCAA Football: Portland State at Washington State

Position: Cornerback

Height: 5’11

Weight: 190

School: Portland State

Overview:

 

For teams utilizing more of a man scheme, Coleman is an ideal late round selection. He has all the physical tools needed to be a starter at the next level. But, he must show he can adjust to the speed of the game. He looks to follow his former partner in crime in Portland State’s secondary, Patrick Onwuasor (Baltimore Ravens UDFA).

 

 

David Jones

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Position: Free Safety

Height: 6’1

Weight: 205

School: Richmond

Overview:

 

Jones played as a Cornerback in his Freshman and Sophomore season, before converting to Safety for his last two seasons. He has excellent range and a nose for the ball (14 career interceptions). He ran a 4.43 40 at his Pro Day, and would be way more high on everyone’s radar if not for an injury that sidelined him for part of his Senior Season.

Deshaun Watson: Scouting Report

The QB crop in the 2017 class has as much debate as any position in the draft, which is particularly rare for the QB class. Often by this point in the process there is a confirmed number one and everyone knows who will be the first QB off the board. This year is different in that Mitch Trubisky (UNC) only has one year of film which leaves questions ask to his real skills and value. Deshone Kizer (ND) showed promise only to benched in season and most recently called out by his coach. Patrick Mahomes (TTU) shows good potential, but his transition will be difficult coming from an air raid offense that does not focus on the minute aspects of playing the quarterback position. As you can see each one has their flaws and now we’ll discuss another top option Deshaun Watson QB (Clemson).

Watson has proven to be a gamer playing great in big games and coming away from the 2016-2017 season with a National Championship. Watson plays with an edge and looks as if he provides the necessary leadership to lead a team of grown men. When thinking of the modern NFL Watson looks to have the tools athleticism, leadership, and arm talent (kinda). Let’s dig in more.

Watson showed his ability to throw with touch to all levels of the field particularly over the middle of the field. However, when he throws the long ball he is very inconsistent missing long and short. When a quarterback misses long and short it is worrisome due to the inaccuracy that is being shown to control the ball at all. There were several times when a receiver would be running wide open downfield and the throw would be nowhere near the receiver not even giving him a chance. In the NFL missing long ball throws will only make the field more condensed and daring him to throw long even more. Watson does throw with good anticipation on short to intermediate routes which is due to his somewhat average arm strength. When looking to drive throws he can become inaccurate and the ball begins to wobble, which could become worrisome in adverse weather (Stay away Browns).

When he is in the pocket he does a good job of standing tall and working through the limited reads he had. Pressure in the pocket did not have a tremendous impact on his throws as he often looked to escape and was able to get outside the pocket, while keeping eyes downfield still looking to throw. Plays after pressure did look as if it made him flee the pocket rather quickly, with no pressure in sight. In the NFL I would assume whoever picks him look to move the pocket and give him half field reads while also looking to exploit his athleticism. When he does run he shows the athlete he is, although he does take big hits that will injure him if he doesn’t learn how to slide. Him being an intelligent player I’m sure he will get the memo on sliding in one of his first practices.

Mentally Watson is said to be a student of the game so he should be able to comprehend a NFL playbook. His awareness has to get better as he did throw 17 interceptions last season and several of the throws were right to the defenders. He just flat-out misses defenders sometimes which can be attributed to a fairly simple offense with many keys for the defense and his lack of reading the defense post snap. With film room work this could be eliminated, and a good QB coach to speed up his mental process post snap.

As for his NFL projection I believe it will take some time and would be better off coming in mid-season in first year or starting his second year. He is a GAMER and some team will love that enough to take him first round, but he would be best off in a Dak Prescott situation with a strong team around him as he will not carry a team right off the bat. If he can improve upon his accuracy which is definitely possible he could develop into a very good starting quarterback that provides passion and leadership to a team while making throws he’s supposed to make and limiting his mistakes. As a somewhat similar comparison think Alex Smith but more athletic and actually wins and plays good in big games. Think of Alex Smith struggles with inaccuracy in early stages of career. Should go round 1 late first 2nd or 3rd QB off the board.

1st Round Mock: Picks 6-10

With the first five picks already mocked you should definitely check it out to see who is already off the board Mock: 1st Round, Picks 1-5. Teams have begun to call in players for private workouts and you can start to see which teams are interested in certain position groups and individual prospects. Teams in this range are only a player away and could find the guy to get them over the hump with smart drafting. The Jets are not one player away, but they need to find something for their fans to hopeful about. The Chargers, Panthers, Bengals, and Bills can all enter the 2017 season with playoff hopes, some more than others. This makes hitting on these top picks so important for these teams to achieve their goals.

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6. New York Jets Pick: Mitch Trubisky (UNC) QB

The Jets finally gave up on Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick, but now they have Josh Mccown, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg on their roster. None of the current or former players should have inspired hope or have shown any real promise. Hackenberg in my mind should have been given more of a shot last year, but them being afraid to put him in during an awful season tells you a lot about what they think of him. Trubisky has critics who say he did not play enough games (only 13 in college) to get a good read on him. From the film I have seen he looks to have the quality arm strength, accuracy, mind, and athleticism that teams covet from their starting quarterbacks. As the season went on at UNC you can see his coaches put more and more responsibility on his plate. Trubisky can make all the throws and has relatively good footwork for being a shotgun quarterback, his accuracy is shaky on intermediate and long throws. He does good on rollouts and has a quick release that should bode well for him in the NFL. As long as the Jets can groom him and work on the accuracy he should be a starting caliber quarterback. After watching him on film the comparison I came up with was a stronger armed, more athletic Kirk Cousins. If the Jets can bring that out of Trubisky they can begin to hope for a brighter future.

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7. Los Angeles Chargers Pick: Malik Hooker (OSU) FS 

Still sounds weird to say Los Angeles instead of San Diego, but hopefully the team will play better with a fresh start on the horizon. To do this they need to help Phillip Rivers out and not let him throw the ball 40-50 times a game. If Keenan Allen returns to pre-injury form and Melvin Gordon progresses the offense has hope as long as they can somewhat protect Mr. Rivers. Malik Hooker displays great ball skills and has a knack for coming up with interceptions. He had 7 interceptions during his sophomore (RS) year and the Chargers could replace the loss of Eric Weddle. Pairing Hooker with Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward would provide for a youthful ball hawking defensive backfield. Hooker is coming off two surgeries that were conducted after the season which could be a bit worrisome for some teams, but he is said to be ready for the training camp. Many have drawn Ed Reed comparisons to Hooker, but I think that’s a bit far-fetched and look at him to have a little lower ceiling. Hooker could be a great deep safety roaming the back half of the field, but his run game support is a bit concerning. I believe people are infatuated with his ball skills and flash plays, but as an all around football player he has a bit of room to grow. Year one could be rough for Hooker, but as long as injuries don’t plague his career he will be an above average big playmaking safety.

jon allen8. Carolina Panthers Pick: Jonathan Allen (Alabama) D-Line 

The Panthers had a let down year after reaching the Super Bowl the year before. Allen falling this far would be a great situation for Carolina. Currently they would be relying on Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers to be the main pass-rushers and starters. Neither Johnson or Peppers are meant to be anything more than situational players at this point in their career. Mario Addison and Kawaan Short had great years, but to counting on them to produce again without Kony Ealy will be optimistic. Allen offers versatility to play all over the line which would be ideal when you have situational pass rushers to put in the game. Allen is outstanding in the run game and offers a good pass rush as well. He plays with a great motor and would instill some toughness back into a once stingy defense. The Panthers could look to shore up the back-end of the defense with a corner, but a rookie corner covering with no pass rush would be less than ideal.

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9. Cincinnati Bengals Pick: Cam Robinson (Alabama) O-line 

Robinson is not being projected here often, but think about who the Bengals lost this off-season. Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth will not be there and there have been no moves to address those holes. This pick will need to address those holes and keep Andy Dalton upright. Robinson was a LT in college, but he translates better to a RT or Guard in the NFL due to run blocking being his strength. He would be able to use that strength more often while worrying less about the speed rushers on the edge. Pairing Robinson with Cedric Ogbuehi could provide the Bengals with a dynamic side if both progress to their fullest ability. Robinson played against quality competition in the SEC and showed he had what it takes. He plays with a nasty streak that is refreshing to see from a college lineman in today’s game. Some teams could be concerned with past legal issues, but the Bengals have been known to take risks on players and they have a strong locker room to keep those issues in check.

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10. Buffalo Bills Pick: Mike Williams (Clemson) WR 

Clemson keeps supplying the NFL with good receivers and the Bills have already enjoyed the success of one Clemson alumni. Granted Sammy Watkins has not been able to stay healthy but, that makes this pick make even more sense. With the loss of Robert Woods the Bills have limited options in the passing game. Williams is a big body receiver that makes contested catches look routine. He high points the ball well and has strong hands that allow him to catch the ball away from his body. People watching Deshaun Watson should notice that Williams consistently catches balls that not many other receivers would have a chance at. Williams size would provide a nice combination with Watkins speed and defenses would have to pick their poison on how to play coverage. The defense would have to worry about the deep ball on one side and leaving an undersized corner most likely on the other. This would open up the run game even more for an already run heavy team. With Watkins injury history Williams would provide the option of taking up WR1 role. This pick seems to make too much sense for a team that desperately needs to add threats on offense.

 

Written by @Brett_nfldraft, give me a follow!!