Chubb was the defensive leader for the 24th-ranked Wolfpack, who harassed reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson the entire night with the win over Louisville at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. Chubb entered with 5 1/2 sacks on the season and the All-American added another as he blew past Louisville left tackle Geron Christian, a 6-6, 315-pound junior also considered an NFL prospect. That Thursday game drew plenty of NFL talent evaluators. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, Washington vice president of player personnel Doug Williams, Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney and Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas.
Chubb’s quickness also gives him the option of shooting the inside gap. He combines it with good snap awareness to give himself a step on the competition.His commitment to gaining inside hands helps him employ an effective power rush. He is able to fire off the ball, maintain leverage and push the blocker into the face of the quarterback. Chubb is a heady player who knows when to use what pass rush move.This is a two-way defender who plays the run with integrity. He uses his inside hands to keep clean and hold at the point of attack. Chubb does a good job stacking and shedding when the ball carrier is in his area.
He plays with a high motor and will chance the play several yards down field. This effort plays a role in his success as both a pass rusher and run defender.NC State has asked Chubb to drop into coverage from time to time. He didn’t look overwhelmed in this task, but it keeps from rushing the passer which is his best attribute. However, it’s nice for defensive coordinators to have options.Chubb is a top-flight prospect who should hear his named called early in the 2018 NFL Draft. His combination of natural talent and production is what evaluators look for in a defensive end prospect. He’s in the running to be the first pass rusher selected in the upcoming draft.
Chubb vs South Carolina 2017:
I noticed he moved from Left DE to Right DE. And the majority of the time when South Carolina ran the ball. It was away from Chubb. He was all over the field, He chased down a wide receiver forcing him to go out of bounds only getting to the line of scrimmage, He totaled 5 tackles, 2 for loss and 1 pass deflection. He should great hustle playing on the right side of the offensive line and having to run to the other side of the field to help make a tackle for no gain (If he doesn’t hustle that play could go for 10-15) The only negative play is when he missed a tackle behind the line and allowed the runner to get in the end-zone. Overall i’d give him a B+
1. Derek Rivers (Youngstown State EDGE)*drafted 3rd Rd 83rd overall to the New England Patriots
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.
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.
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.
13. Chad Williams (Grambling State WR) * drafted 3rd Rd 98th overall to the Arizona Cardinals
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
73. Jody Webb (Youngstown State RB)
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)
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
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)
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!
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.
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.
Bears- Jonathan Allen DLine Alabama
Jaguars- Leonard Fournette RB LSU
Titans- Solomon Thomas DLine Stanford
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.
Chargers- Malik Hooker FS Ohio State
Panthers- Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio State
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.
Bills- Mike Williams WR Clemson
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.
Browns- OJ Howard TE Alabama
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.
Eagles- Christian Mccaffrey RB Stanford
Colts- Reuben Foster LB Alabama
Ravens- Cam Robinson OT Alabama
Redskins- Deshaun Watson QB Clemson
Titans- Corey Davis WR Western Michigan
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.
Broncos- Garrett Bolles OT Utah
Lions- Jarrad Davis LB Florida
Dolphins- Gareon Conley CB Ohio State
Giants- Derek Barnett DE Tennessee
Raiders- Marlon Humphrey CB Alabama
Texans- Patrick Mahomes QB Texas Tech
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.
Chiefs- Dalvin Cook RB Florida State
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.
Packers- Forrest Lamp OG Western Kentucky
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.
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.
Corey Levin (OG, UT Chattanooga)
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.
Joe Loschiavo (Center, Slippery Rock)
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.
Matt Frank (OG, James Madison)
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.
Mitchell Kirsch (OT/OG, James Madison)
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 (OG, Charleston Southern)
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Position: Free Safety
School: Saint Francis (PA)
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.
School: Southern Utah
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.
School: San Diego
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.
School: Portland State
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).
Position: Free Safety
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.
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.
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.
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.
8. 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.
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.
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.
With the draft roughly a month away teams are starting to identify certain players that they want to target. It’s almost inevitable that some information will come out to knock someone down the board or someone will be a late riser but, right now the top 5 is looking to be some combination of these players. There are all types of rumors out there of who will pick who, but I will release mock picks, these picks will be based on team needs, what I would do as GM, and players available.
With this pick the Brown’s could finally do something right in the draft and change the direction of the franchise. Practically everyone in the league is expecting the Brown’s to draft Garrett and the Brown’s have said they will not be trading the #1 pick. In Garrett Cleveland will be getting a pass rusher that has excellent size and speed with the opportunity to be a franchise changing talent. Garrett can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up and has countless moves to rush the quarterback. Pairing Garrett with Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton, and Joe Haden would provide the Browns with a good young defensive core to build around. By the time draft day comes everyone will be wondering about the #2 pick, because this pick is about as close to a lock as it gets.
2. San Francisco 49ers Pick: Jamal Adams (LSU) SS
Not many people have Adams mocked here, but think about who the new GM is?? John Lynch. I’m thinking he would like to add a game changer just like himself in the defensive backfield. Pairing Adams with FS Eric Reid would provide for a nasty, ultra athletic, and young pairing of safeties. Adams plays with physicality while also having the skills to interrupt plays at all levels of the defense. He is consistently around the ball and would provide leadership for a young team looking to rebuild. Kyle Shanahan has said they would like to replicate the Seahawk’s defense and what a perfect way to start by getting two young safeties, just like Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
3. Chicago Bears Pick: Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DL
Thomas plays with a burst of explosion not seen very often for linemen of his size. Watching his bowl game against North Carolina shows his explosion and ability to disrupt plays in the backfield. The Bear’s have many different needs, but none of the players remaining provide the upside and immediate contributions that Thomas offers. The Bears were 27th last season in rush yards per game allowing 121.9 yards, Thomas could help fix that problem and also provide inside pass rush on sub packages. New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would have plenty of ideas in mind to move Thomas around in his 3-4 scheme.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars Pick: Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
If Fournette is here for the Jaguars they should debate on him and DT Jon Allen, but taking Fournette would dramatically help Blake Bortles. The Jaguars made off-season moves to sign Calais Campbell this year and Malik Jackson last year, while Allen would help, the Jaguars need a punishing running back to take time off the clock. Tom Coughlin would love the idea of a grind it out football game with what should be an above average defense and Blake Bortles not throwing the ball so much. The Jaguars finished 22nd in rush yards per game at 101.9 yards and Fournette could certainly boost that number by a significant margin. Fournette offers a rarely seen combination of size (240lbs) and speed (40 yard dash- 4.5 sec) that was last seen by the likes of Adrian Peterson. With Fournette the Jags could finally get a running game to help Bortles and hope the few passes he does throw won’t be intercepted and taken to the house.
The Tennessee Titans are sitting back in their chairs thinking about how they stole the Rams pick last year. The Titans will be looking for help in the defensive backfield and also wide receiver to help young Marcus Mariota. Picking a wide receiver here would seem a little high and I would not be surprised to see the Titans trade back and gain a second round pick. But, if they stay Marshon Lattimore would be a great pick and an instant starter. He has the speed and size to stick with most receivers in the NFL and pairing him with Logan Ryan would provide the Titans with a formidable young cornerback duo. Lattimore is seen by many as a perfect prospect and after watching his film there’s not much to dislike unless you really want to knitpick. He does have hamstring problems that have bothered him in his college career which could be worrisome to some teams, but the Titans will be willing to take the chance and get a day one starter.
The New York Giants were one of the most interesting football teams in the NFL last season. They went from a struggling 6-10 team to an 11-5 team with one of the more dominant defenses in the entire league. This team wasn’t perfect, however, and their weaknesses were exposed in the Division Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. Eli Manning was constantly being chased due to having statistically the worst Offensive Tackle duo in the NFL, the wide receivers proved ineffective in the cold with dropped balls, and the defense had some holes.
At the end of the regular season, they addressed some of their needs and provided positional competition via free agency:
WR Brandon Marshall (NYJ)
OT/G DJ Fluker (LAC)
TE/FB Rhett Ellison (MIN)
CB Valentino Blake (TEN)
QB Geno Smith (NYJ)
And with the draft rolling around, I wanted to take the time and explain who the Giants may possibly draft come April 27. I will provide a full analysis, along with some alternatives* that could also suit the Giants.
*Alternatives do not account for any previous pick stated in the mock.
Eli Manning finally gets the supporting cast to get the aerial attack going. Cam Robinson is the best offensive tackle in the NFL Draft and would be the most overall beneficial to the team. The Giants could definitely go halfback, tight end, or linebacker here but with the draft being as shallow as it is with offensive tackles, I would expect them to snatch this guy up. In the film above, you will notice Robinson dominate the widely considered potential first overall pick, Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett. So have Ereck Flowers and DJ Fluker compete for right tackle and have the loser of that positional battle compete with John Jerry for the right guard spot. Here is the ideal offensive line situation, following this pick:
Alternatives: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama. | Christian McCaffrey, HB, Stanford.| Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky | Haason Reddick, LB, Temple. | Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan.| David Njoku, TE, Miami.
2nd Round: Alvin Kamara, Half Back, Tennessee
The Giants draft an underrated all-around back who had one of the best combine performances this year. He can break through arm tackles, juke defenders, catch the ball and run. Has great balance and stays upright He has good open field vision. With the revamped offensive line stated above, running lanes should be easier to come by. Kamara would make a great compliment with Paul Perkins and perhaps Orleans Darkwa.
Alternatives: Curtis Samuel, HB/WR, Ohio St. | Taylor Moton, T, Western Michigan | Dion Dawkins, T, Temple | Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss | Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
Desmond King is an interesting prospect. He led the NCAA with 8 interceptions in 2015. He was projected as a 1st round pick in the 2016 draft, but he decided to attend his final year at Iowa to get his degree. This year raised questions about his speed, and with his stats not living up to his previous year, his stock began to freefall. Not all of the NFL’s all-pro cornerbacks or safeties have 4.3 speed, yet his stock has plummeted for this reason. He is being shunned by scouts and the draft community, and they will regret it. He is an amazing athlete, considering he was in the top 15 in the 3 cone drill, 60-yard shuttle, and 20-yard shuttle out of 61 defensive back prospects. He also ran an unofficial 4.52 40-yard dash at his pro day, which would make him the 6th fastest safety. He has the ability to play either cornerback or safety very well. Fluid hips, great hands, great awareness. Steal in the 3rd round.
Alternatives: Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida | Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU |Chris Wormley, DL, Michigan |Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
4th Round: Jake Butt, Tight End, Michigan
The Giants decide to go against most projections and don’t bite on Howard or Njoku. Instead, they draft Jake Butt, a complete tight end prospect from Michigan. Jake is currently recovering from a torn ACL and did not participate in the Combine or his school’s pro day. He has great size for a tight end being 6’6″ 250lbs. He is also nimble and can catch the ball pretty well. He is a pretty good run blocker as well. Reminds me of Zach Ertz with his body size and ability together.
Alternatives: Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama | Damontae Kazee, CB, SDSU | Duke Riley, LB, LSU | Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
Could be a 2nd round pick, and I still have him ranked as the #3 best wide receiver in the draft. Will be taken around here unless a team absolutely falls in love with him. Dede Westbrook is an amazing wide receiver with some flaws that prevent him from being selected much earlier. 1. His frame. He’s 6’0″ and only 179 lbs. Very wiry for a wide receiver who’s 6’0″. 2. He’s 24 years old, so he has limited years remaining in his professional career before it even begins. 3. He also had some domestic violence issues which really puts teams in an awkward position. But, on the bright side, he’s one of the draft’s best route runners, ran a 4.3 unofficial 40-yard dash at his pro day, has amazing balance for sideline catches and escaping tackles, and has great hands. Would really benefit from being around Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham, and former college teammate Sterling Shepard, someone he really looks up to and is very close with.
Alternatives: James Connor, HB, Pittsburgh | Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee | Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas | Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
6th Round: Javancy Jones, Linebacker, Jackson State
The small school prospect with a whole lot of potential. Javancy Jones can play middle linebacker, edge / outside linebacker, or defensive end. He is 6’2″ 245, which is a great size for a linebacker. He came onto the scene when he blew up the East-West Shrine Game and continues to impress. He also had a great pro day, with a 4.5-4.7 40-yard dash and 26 reps on the bench press. He’s an explosive athlete who can wrap up and hit hard. A disruptive force in the backfield. Would compete for right outside linebacker or middle linebacker, depending on where Keenan Robinson is not playing.
Alternatives: Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss | KD Cannon, WR, Baylor | Elijah Hood, HB, North Carolina |Aviante Collins, G, TCU | Chad Williams, Wide Receiver, Grambling
The Giants take a gamble on a low production player who’s a world-class athlete with off the field issues. Speedy Noil was once expected to be the next big thing in the NCAA being that his measurables are off the charts, but he never found his niche in the Texas A&M system but did manage to find trouble with the law with marijuana. They take the risk to turn his off the field issues around and to get a new return specialist and gadget player, which could be a huge payoff. He ran a 4.40 at his pro day at Texas A&M. Here are his combine measurables via mockdraftable:
All of these 7 selections would be immediate impacts for the Giants. This would be a very strong draft class. They get a cornerstone left tackle, a workhorse running back to pair with Perkins, a player who really help out the secondary as either cornerback or safety, a new big and athletic complete tight end, a gifted wide receiver, a very talented linebacker, and a cheaper return specialist who is more of a gifted athlete than almost anyone in this draft. We will see how it really plays out April 27.
This is a very big man that has a nasty streak in him that most offensive lineman hope to not see. He is often questioned for his work ethic and his love for the game, but if someone can passionately coach him and get the most out of him he has the chance to be a special player. When I say special I mean multiple all-pro teams and year after year pro bowls, he’s that talented!
He disrupts plays with his explosive fire off and quick first step that often leave the opponent wondering what just launched into them. In the games (ND 16′, BYU 16′, Nebraska 15′) I watched he consistently dominated in the run game and pass game. His ability to stay low and fire off for such a big man poses problems for the offensive lineman. Once the offensive lineman is engaged he uses his length to control the offensive lineman and do as he pleases with them. Mcdowell has a variety of moves that he displays effectively and he also is a force pass rushing. He consistently swims or rips the offensive lineman or just straight bull rushes and collapses the pocket. Inside pass rushers are hard to find and if you have one they are special, think Aaron Donald.
Mcdowell offers versatility as well having lined up in a multitude of positions and successfully completing the tasks at each. I was very surprised to see him rush on the edge and have enough bend to get around the corner, but he did it, multiple times. The versatility he offers will be valued greatly in the NFL as he would be a three down lineman that would never have to come off the field. I believe that NFL teams will overlook his work ethic concerns, because lets face it Michigan State had a very down year. If you watch his tape from the beginning of the year compared to the end of the year you can notice some drop of intensity. I attribute this to thinking it will go unnoticed and him knowing he makes millions if he does not get hurt. I particularly went back to 2015 to watch the Nebraska game to see how he played then and I saw no signs of work ethic concerns. Same thing can be said in the 2016 Notre Dame it was beginning of 2016 before the season took a down turn and he completely DOMINATED! The way I think of it is that if I were in his shoes and the season was going down the drain I might ease up slightly too. Also other prospects sat out the bowl games McCaffrey, Fournette, and heck Charles Walker sat out the whole year practically at Oklahoma.
With a motivated coaching staff there to get the most out of Mcdowell I think he will be a steal in the draft. Other teams can be worried all they want about work ethic, but its overblown and not to worried about when you see him on film. This guy is a gem who needs to be pushed, but he should be taken in the first round and should be top 15 easy based on film. So, if your teams gets him after that consider it stealing and write him down for a week 1 starter.