No announcement yet.

McGinn Draft Series

First Prev Next Last
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • McGinn Draft Series

    Not since 1949 has the NFL conducted a draft without having a wide receiver or tight end selected in the first round.

    The odds of that happening April 26 aren’t strong but, strange as it might be given the proliferation of passing at all levels of football, it’s a poor draft class at both positions.

    “This is the worst wide-receiver draft I’ve seen in my life,” one grizzled personnel man exclaimed. “Name me a first-rounder other than Ridley?”

    The favorite to be the first wideout picked certainly is Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, a lithe route runner who took over for departed Amari Cooper as a true freshman in 2015 and averaged 74.7 receptions per season in an NFL-preferred, pro-style offense.

    In a poll of 14 scouts requesting them to name their top five wide receivers in order, Ridley drew 11 first-place votes to win going away.

    Ridley’s 65 points (5 for a first, 4 for a second and so on) easily outpaced Maryland’s D.J. Moore (40 points), SMU’s Courtland Sutton (30, one first),
    Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk (24, one first), Oklahoma State’s James Washington (20) and Memphis’ Anthony Miller (13, one).

    Following, in order, were LSU’s D.J. Chark (eight), Washington’s Dante Pettis (seven) and UCLA’s Jordan Lasley (three).

    “Ridley is the only one worthy of a first-round pick,” said another executive. “There’s nobody in the top 15. He’s not as good as Amari Cooper, but that type.”

    Over the years, coaches and scouts have come to classify wide receivers as 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s and 5’s. Five scouts said Ridley shouldn’t be considered a No. 1 receiver.

    “Every offensive coordinator would love him but he doesn’t have the dominant triangle numbers (height, weight, speed) to really be a top-tier guy like Calvin Johnson or Julio (Jones) or A.J. Green,” one scout said. “His size bothers me.”

    Not only does Ridley (6-0 , 190) lack size, he worked out like a late-round draft choice at the combine. The vertical jump (31 inches) and the broad jump (9-2) were stunningly ordinary. According to one scout whose team throws all kind of current-historical data into a computer to gather positional rankings, Ridley fell somewhere in the 80’s at wide receiver this year.

    Ridley wasn’t eligible for the Senior Bowl because of his status as an underclassman but his collegiate coach, Nick Saban, attended for a day. In an interview with NFL Network, it was interesting that Saban would choose to compare Ridley with a player that hasn’t been in uniform in a decade.

    “He reminds me of like Keenan McCardell but probably with more speed,” said Saban. “He’ll make a lot of plays in the league.”

    Saban was serving as defensive coordinator at Cleveland under Bill Belichick in the early 1990s when McCardell’s career slowly picked up steam. Drafted in the 12th round by Washington in 1991, McCardell forged a distinguished 16-year career with the Browns, Jaguars, Buccaneers, Chargers and Redskins.

    The craftiest of route runners, McCardell ranks 23rd all-time in receptions (883) and 33rd in yards (11,373).

    At the 1991 combine, McCardell (6-0, 175) ran 4.55 with a vertical of 36 and a broad jump of 10-2.

    As good as McCardell was, he was almost never the guy during his career. Someone like Jimmy Smith, Keyshawn Johnson or Antonio Gates was always there to attract coverage. His lone Pro Bowl selection came in 1996.

    If Ridley’s career would play out comparable to McCardell’s, would his employer be satisfied?

    Yes, probably, but would that team care to expend a first-round draft choice on what essentially was an exceptional possession receiver?

    Given the disappointment that teams have experienced drafting wide receivers in the first rounds of the last three drafts, there appears to be growing sentiment that a wideout better be really good to get in Round 1.

    “If he’s not a walk-in-the-door No. 1 why do you take a guy high in the first round?” one executive said. “They’re out of spread offenses mostly. They don’t know how to run a route. They don’t have the timing. They don’t know how to get off the press.”

    A whole bunch of teams got fat at the position in 2014. All five of the first-round picks have been good to outstanding. In draft order, they were Sammy Watkins (192 catches for 3,052 yards), Mike Evans (309-4,579), Odell Beckham (313-4,424), Brandin Cooks (280-3,943) and Kelvin Benjamin (184-2,641).

    That draft also included Marquise Lee (171-2,166), Jordan Matthews (250-2,955), Davante Adams (237-2,811), Allen Robinson (202-2,848) and Jarvis Landry (400-4,038) in the second round.

    It also started a trend in which six wide receivers in 2015, four in ’16 and three in ’17 were drafted in the first round. Other than Cooper (203-2,903), who has made one Pro Bowl, one could say all the others haven’t done the job.

    So far, the best producers have been Jamison Crowder (192-2,240) in the fourth round and Stefon Diggs (200-2,472) in the fifth round from 2015, Michael Thomas (196-2,382) in the second round and Tyreek Hill (136-1,776) in the fifth round from 2016, and JuJu Smith-Schuster (58-917) in the second round and Cooper Kupp (62-869) in the third round from 2017.

    “Some people are anti-wide receiver as far as drafting them too high,” said one executive. “I’m starting to side with them. There are a lot of good receivers that haven’t been drafted in the first round.”

    The last draft minus a wide receiver in the first round was a decade ago. That year, leading prospects such as Devin Thomas, James Hardy and Malcolm Kelly hurt themselves to varying degrees off the field. When it came to Draft Day, teams let the first round pass before taking 10 off the board in the second round.

    In what was one of his greatest maneuvers as general manager of the Green Bay Packers, Ted Thompson traded down six slots to No. 36 and made Jordy Nelson the third wideout off the board behind Donnie Avery and Thomas.

    There were busts galore in that second round, including Limas Sweed, Dexter Jackson, Jerome Simpson, Thomas, Hardy and Kelly.

    From that entire draft, three wideouts stand out: Pierre Garcon (604-7,568) in the sixth round, DeSean Jackson (548-9,487) 13 slots after Nelson in the second, and Nelson (550-7,848).

    Obviously, it always comes down to evaluators making the proper choice.

    Not having a tight end in the first round has become a common occurrence in recent years. Three went off a year ago but there weren’t any in 2011, ’12, ’15 or ’16.

    In the five drafts since 1949 in which there wasn’t a wide receiver in the first round there always was at least one tight end. That list included Dustin Keller (30th pick) in 2008, Eric Green (21) in 1990, Milt Morin (14) in 1966, Pat Richter (seven) and Tom Hutchinson (nine) in 1963 and Monty Stickles (11) in 1960.

    Only in 1949, when the 25-round affair was conducted on Dec. 21, did the 11-man first round slip by without an end of any kind.

    If Ridley and the other wideouts all fall out of the first, don’t expect one of the tight ends to jump in and save opening night for the receivers. Half a dozen scouts projected little or no chance for a tight end to make the first round.

    “Nothing much to write home about,” said one personnel man. “This might be worse than the receivers, and they’re bad.”

    The 14 scouts gave South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst 12 first-place votes compared to one apiece for Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews and Penn State’s Mike Gesicki.

    Hurst, who totaled 68 points, was followed by South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert (42), Andrews (39) and Gesicki (31).

    Rounding out the vote were Central Florida’s Jordan Akins (nine), Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli (7 ), Miami’s Chris Herndon (six), Indiana’s Ian Thomas (five), Stanford’s Dalton Schultz (two) and Central Michigan’s Tyler Conklin (one-half).



    1. CALVIN RIDLEY, Alabama (6-0 , 190, 4.46, 1-2): Third-year junior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “Ultra quick, fluid, explosive route runner,” one scout said. “Can run the whole (route) tree. Has vertical speed and excellent hands. Polished player. Average size and strength.” Didn’t test well at the combine. “He’s not dynamic but he knows how to get open and get deep,” another scout said. “Very competitive player. He’s a No. 2 receiver, and on a top team he’s a No. 3. Little bit of an overachiever, too. Ridley has less of a bust factor because of his ability to play multiple spots.” Finished with 224 receptions for 2,781 yards (12.4-yard average) and 19 TDs. “He’s probably more mature than Amari (Cooper) but you’ll get the same level of player,” a third scout said. “But he has to be complemented with a bigger guy. Biggest thing is the size on 50-50 balls. He wasn’t a big 50-50 winner in college. He’s just not a big, explosive guy.” Scored 15 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test. “He really bothers me because he’s slight,” said a fourth scout. “When people get their hands on him he can’t get off. Now he played with a guy (Jalen Hurts) that can’t pass. But late in the season they were throwing the ball to those freshman receivers.” In his last three games – the Iron Bowl against Auburn and two playoff games – he caught merely 11 for 109 (9.9).

    2. D.J. MOORE, Maryland (6-0, 212, 4.45, 1-2): Third-year junior. “He earns your respect because he has excellent hands, he’s fast enough, he’s big enough and he’s a really good route runner,” one scout said. “Plus, he doubles as an effective punt returner.” According to one scout, Moore “went to the combine and became a star” with a WR-leading broad jump (11-0) and a vertical jump of 39 . “I didn’t think he’d run that well,” another scout said. “I thought he’d be 4.6. He’s a good little player. Good hands. I just thought he was really slow. You didn’t see a whole lot of quickness and speed. More of a third receiver, to be honest with you. Not nearly as good as Mohamed Sanu.” Handicapped by playing with four or five QBs in 2017 but still posted a 1,000-yard season. Finished with 146 receptions for 2,027 yards (13.9) and 17 TDs. “He can go deep and catch over the shoulder,” said a third scout. “He’s really good at that. He will go over the middle and go get the football. He snatches it out of the air. Off the film he looks like a 6-2 or 6-3 kid.” Matched Ridley’s score on the Wonderlic. From Philadelphia.

    3. COURTLAND SUTTON, Southern Methodist (6-3 , 219, 4.54, 1-2): Fourth-year junior. “He’s like what came out last year with (Corey) Davis and (Mike) Williams,” one scout said. “Big, physical guy still learning the position. He really is. He was a free safety in high school. He can high-point balls. He’s a really good athlete. He’s just going to be one of those big X receivers. The back injury (in 2014) is a little bit of a concern, which is why I think you’ll see him fall. In his heyday in the NFL he’ll be a solid No. 2.” Finished with 195 receptions for 3,220 (16.5) and 31 TDs. “For a big man he can make the acrobatic catch, the athletic catch, the tough catch,” a second scout said. “You don’t think there won’t be people that will put him in the slot to challenge the safety. Holy (bleep). How would you like to be a safety and have to cover a 4.55 guy that’s 6-3? If you’re tall and won’t extend, then you might as well be 5-11. But this kid is tall and has made some unbelievable one-handed catches.” From Brenham, Texas. “He’s going to take a lot of work,” a third scout said. “He don’t know (bleep) about running routes. The best kid ever, probably. Great kid. Has great hands but not the toughest guy.”

    4. CHRISTIAN KIRK, Texas A&M (5-10 , 202, 4.50, 2): Third-year junior. “He’s a winning-type player,” one scout said. “Does something after the catch because he has a real strong build down low. He’s got really good quickness and can gain separation easily on the inside. I see him stepping in Day 1 as a No. 3 slot receiver and being that for the next six, seven years. I like Kirk over Ridley.” Finished with 234 receptions for 2,856 yards (12.2) and 26 TDs. “He fits Tom Brady’s offense,” another scout said. “He wants somebody that can get down 10, 12 yards quick and then be alert. He’s courageous and gets up the field.” From Scottsdale, Ariz. One of the top three return specialists in the draft. “He is a slot but he’s not special,” a third scout said. “He’s just not as dynamic as you had hoped. He’s really raw. Pretty good hands. I thought he’d be a little better after the catch.”

    5. JAMES WASHINGTON, Oklahoma State (5-11, 213, 4.53, 2-3): Three-year starter led FBS in receiving yards (1,549) as a senior, averaging 20.9. Can he keep winning deep in the NFL with 4.53 speed? “He’s got a chance,” said one scout. “I think I see Chris Chambers a little bit. I know he didn’t run as fast but he’s got good length (32 3/8-inch arms). He can track it. Plays faster than he ran. Good timing, leaping (vertical of 39). He’s not dynamic after the catch.” Finished with 226 receptions for 4,472 yards (19.8) and 39 TDs. “He’s a running back playing receiver,” said a second scout. “He’s a little tight. Can’t run routes.” Hails from Stamford, Texas. “In college, he used his body against a lot of people to get separation,” another scout said. “He’s not going to do that. They’re going to cover him up … blanket him in the NFL. It won’t translate. He can be a No. 4, or maybe a No. 3 on a bad team.”

    6. ANTHONY MILLER, Memphis (5-11, 200, 4.54, 2-3): Compared by two scouts to the great Antonio Brown (5-10, 183, 4.53), who was the Steelers’ sixth-round pick in 2010. ”Very similar traits coming out,” said one. “Every quarterback in the league would love to have him. He’s a ready-made NFL slot guy. Maybe has the biggest chip on his shoulder of anybody. Hellacious football player. He may not burn up a 40 clock but he’s quick and extraordinarily intelligent. He is a great blocker … he won’t be a guy that goes outside and runs away from people on the vertical stuff. His game is inside. He understands leverage, route concepts, how to adjust. He’s cocky, but in a very likeable way.” Led the top seven WRs on the Wonderlic with 26. Walked on at Memphis, his hometown team. “Oh, man, that is a football-playing dude,” another scout said. “He’s not the biggest, not the fastest, but this guy knows how to play. Tough as nails. One of the best run-after-the-catch guys I have ever done. He’s a great second-round pick.” Finished with 238 receptions for 3,590 yards (15.1) and 37 TDs. “He’s just a good little football player,” a third scout said. “Small, slow. Just made play after play for them in that system. Just not a lot of pro up side.”

    7. D.J. CHARK, Louisiana State (6-3, 198, 4.41, 2-3): Fastest of the top 10 WRs. “He’d run 9’s, speed posts, deep shots every play I can,” said one scout. “If you like the deep ball, or least a guy that can at least scare the (bleep) out of the safety, he will be that guy. He will bring it every time to the lid of the coverage. He can run all day. If you try to make him into a possession guy, that’s not what he is.” Soldiered through an ordinary career at LSU playing with inferior quarterbacks, and then turned in unimpressive practices at the Senior Bowl. Then he exploded for an MVP award in the Senior Bowl game (5-160-1) before notching a fast 40 plus a 40-inch vertical jump at the combine. “People always saw him as a straight-line guy who could run but never could get the ball consistently there,” another scout said. “He’s had a huge rise since the season.” Finished with 66 receptions for 1,351 (20.5) and six TDs. “His No. 1 asset is vertical speed,” a third scout said. “He’s got to work on his route running and his strength.” From Alexandria, La.

    8. DANTE PETTIS, Washington (6-0 , 187, 4.54, 3): Great punt returner, averaged 14.2 and scored nine TDs. “He’s a better kick returner than he is a receiver,” said one scout. “He is quick, quicker than fast. They didn’t run him deep that much. He doesn’t excite you as a receiver. He excites you as a returner. He played the slot there. Inconsistent ball security.” Finished with 163 catches for 2,256 yards (13.8) and 24 TDs. Highest Wonderlic of the top 20 WRs (32). Managed just 11 reps on the bench press. From San Clemente, Calif.

    9. MICHAEL GALLUP, Colorado State (6-1, 199, 4.49, 3): Poor grades sent him to junior college for two seasons. “Excellent speed and deep separation,” said one scout. “Thing I liked most about him was run after the catch. Blocking was the only thing I had against him.” Struggled academically in Fort Collins, and the ability to grasp an NFL offense might hold him back. Wonderlic of 14. “We had him in the (interview) room,” said another scout. “He may have the best hands in the draft but he can only play one position.” Finished with 176 receptions for 2,685 yards (15.3) and 21 TDs. “Inconsistent,” a third scout said. “Has pretty high-end traits. Needs a lot of route technique work. He’s a little bit rigid but has the size, the speed, the production and the strength that you want.” From Monroe, Ga.

    10. TRE’QUAN SMITH, Central Florida (6-2, 202, 4.51, 3-4): Fourth-year junior with the longest arms (33 3/8) of the leading WRs. “He started off a little slow but he’s not a sleeper anymore,” said one scout. “He ran like a scalded dog. He’ll catch in the middle and he will block. He may have been the best blocking wide receiver I saw. He’ll be there in the third day because nobody’s talking about him but will end up being a good, solid player.” Finished with 168 receptions for 2,748 yards (16.4) and 22 TDs. “Strong, physical,” a second scout said. “He’s a windup speed guy. Excellent downfield blocker. They used him more as a possession receiver. He was not the primary. No. 5 (Dredrick Snelson) was. He’s a nice project.” From Delray Beach, Fla.

    11. DEON CAIN, Clemson (6-2, 206, no 40, 3-4): Pressed into duty as a true freshman in 2015 when future first-round pick Mike Williams was injured. He delivered on exceptional offenses quarterbacked by Deshaun Watson. Third-year junior. “He’s a straight-line vertical type receiver if you want to categorize him as something,” said one scout. “He has some potential. Obviously, he would have been better served to have come back for another year. His value will be depressed. Probably about a third-rounder. He’d go higher next year. He can run and push the top off a defense. He’s a legitimate flyer.” Finished with 130 receptions for 2,040 (15.7) and 20 TDs. “Fourth-rounder,” a second scout said. “That (run fast) is all he can do.” From Tampa.

    12. DaeSEAN HAMILTON, Penn State (6-0 , 203, 4.54, 4): Crafty route runner excelled in Senior Bowl practices. “He’s not a tester but he is a good player,” one scout said. “He’s not going to run away from you or out-size you. But somehow, some way he gets open and he catches the ball. As far as I know, that’s how you play wide receiver. He was one of the better guys at the Senior Bowl. He really knows how to play.” Broke the Nittany Lions’ school record for receptions (214) and wound up second in yards (2,842). Averaged 13.3 and scored 18 TDs. “I was surprised he ran that fast at pro day,” said a second scout. “He just can’t get away from press and tight coverage, but he catches the (bleep) out of the ball.” Wonderlic of 27. From Fredericksburg, Va.

    OTHERS: Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame; Keke Coutee, Texas Tech; Daurice Fountain, Northern Iowa; Cedric Wilson, Boise State; J’Mon Moore, Missouri; Dylan Cantrell, Texas Tech; Marcel Ateman, Oklahoma State; Deontay Burnett, Southern California; Damion Ratley, Texas A&M; Jordan Lasley, UCLA; Justin Watson, Penn; Allen Lazard, Iowa State; Jester Weah, Pittsburgh; Antonio Callaway, ex-Florida; Auden Tate, Florida State; Braxton Berrios, Miami; Trey Quinn, Southern Methodist; Jaleel Scott, New Mexico; Simmie Cobbs, Indiana.


    1. HAYDEN HURST, South Carolina (6-4 , 250, 4.64, 1-2): Spent 2013 as a minor-league pitcher for the Pirates before the “yips” sent him to the outfield for a second season. Returned to football as a walk-on in 2014 and redshirted. Toiled on special teams in 2015 before becoming a two-year starter. “He’ll be 25 starting this year (Aug. 24),” one scout said. “You’ll get seven years out of him. You get seven years out of somebody, that’s a pretty good player. Reminds me of Greg Olsen. He’s quicker and more maneuverable than (Mike) Gesicki.” Declared a year early. “He’s not the type of athlete where you sit there and go, ‘He is my No. 1 option on offense,’” another scout said. “He’s got to be your No. 3 or No. 4 option on offense. He can be your No. 1 tight end. His blocking game is still coming around. He does have all the intangibles for the position. He’s still just learning the game.” Finished with 100 receptions for 1,281 yards (12.8) and three TDs. “He’s OK,” a third scout said. “Not great speed. Good size. Doesn’t block. He can get open in the scheme but he’s not a threat.” Wonderlic of 21. From Jacksonville, Fla.

    2. DALLAS GOEDERT, South Dakota State (6-4 , 255, 4.68, 1-2): Played nine-man football in Britton, S.D., before walking on. “He’s got some Jason Witten-like qualities,” said one scout. “People think of Witten now as an annual Pro Bowler but he slipped in the draft (third round, 2003). Goedert has the size, the athletic body control, the hands. He’ll improve as a blocker.” The most complete tight end in the draft, according to another scout. “Small-school product with immense size and soft hands,” a third scout said. “He’ll have to learn how to block more and be more explosive. He can go vertical. He’s going to have to learn to take the next jump to the pros but he’s got a lot to work with.” Wonderlic of 34, improving nine points from his first attempt. “I’m sure he can get better than he is (blocking) but he doesn’t have much interest in it,” a fourth scout said. “He’s got a brain where he should be able to block.” Finished with 198 catches for 2,988 yards (15.1) and 21 TDs.

    3. MARK ANDREWS, Oklahoma (6-5, 254, 4.67, 2): Fourth-year junior. ”He’s real solid,” one scout said. “He’s one of those good No. 2 type tight ends. He blocks well enough. He catches the easy passes. He’s a chain mover. He’s not a stretch-the-field guy. He’ll play a lot.” Two-year starter with 112 receptions for 1,765 yards (15.8) and 22 TDs playing primarily detached from the formation in the Baker Mayfield offense. Said a second scout: “I like him because he can catch it.” From Scottsdale, Ariz. “Excellent receiver,” a third scout said. “He has size and knows how to position his body. Catches the ball well. He wouldn’t block me.”

    4. MIKE GESICKI, Penn State (6-5 , 251, 4.57, 2-3): One of the main stars at the combine. Led TEs in the 40, vertical jump (41 ), broad jump (10-9), short shuttle (4.10) and 3-cone (6.76). His arms (34 1/8) also were the longest at the position. “He’s the intriguing one after the workout but I didn’t like him that much on film because he was a strider,” said one scout. “He’s been a volleyball player. In high school he did everything. Hell of an athlete. He won’t block anybody. He’s that new type tight end.” Earned 12 letters in football, basketball and volleyball at Southern Regional High in Manahawkin, N.J. Scored 1,867 points in basketball and won the state dunk contest in 2014. “He has vertical catching ability but isn’t a very good route runner,” a second scout said. “Doesn’t block. Kind of a one-trick pony. Jump-ball guy.” Finished with 129 receptions for 1,481 yards (11.5) and 15 TDs. “I do not like this player,” a third scout said. “He’s a really good receiver that’s allergic to blocking. But it’s a passing league.”

    5. JORDAN AKINS, Central Florida (6-3, 250, no 40, 3-4): Played four seasons as an outfielder as a third-round draft choice of the Texas Rangers, never advancing beyond Class A ball. Enrolled at UCF, backing up at WR and returning kickoffs in 2014 before his 2015 season was cut short by a knee injury. Moved to TE in 2016 and started 19 of 25 games over two years. “He’s got the most up side of the group,” said one scout. Fourth-year junior turned 26 Thursday. Knee injury prevented him from running the 40 at the combine; a hamstring stopped him at pro day. “I don’t think he can run,” one scout said. “He doesn’t play fast and he doesn’t play hard. He has good hands but nothing special. He won’t block. He won’t hit the floor if he fell out of bed. He’s an undersized guy so you’ve got to be able to at least wham block or stalk block. He wouldn’t do anything. He’s just a big target that has pretty good hands. Not a very good football player.” Finished with 81 receptions for 1,149 yards (14.8) and eight TDs. “He kind of just came on the scene,” said another scout. “Did some nice things at the Senior Bowl. Made some nice catches. He’s athletic.” Wonderlic of 15 was the lowest of the top 10 TEs. From Atlanta.

    6. CHRIS HERNDON, Miami (6-3 , 251, no 40, 4): Underwent surgery in November for MCL damage so scouts won’t have a 40 time. “Still developing,” said one scout. “He’s got big-time up side. He can develop and do both (block and catch). He can be a starter eventually.” Rotated with David Njoku in 2015-’16 before taking over in ’17. Finished with 86 receptions for 1,048 yards (12.2) and seven TDs. “He’s an H-back type,” said another scout. “Looks like he can run.” From Norcross, Ga.

    7. IAN THOMAS, Indiana (6-3 , 258, 4.76, 4-5): Played two years in junior college, hardly played for the Hoosiers in 2016 before starting 10 games in ’17. “Has not played a lot of football,” said one scout. “A good move guy. Very good athlete. He’s going to shine as a receiver first. He can be a matchup problem for linebackers. He will block. He has improved his strength. He’s tough. He’s been through a lot in his life to get to where he is. He has proven he can overcome adversity.” From Baltimore. “He’s got some intrigue about him because he’s got size, athleticism and growth,” a second scout said. “He could be top 50.” Caught 28 passes for 404 (14.4) and five TDs.

    8. DALTON SCHULTZ, Stanford (6-5 , 244, 4.81, 5): Fourth-year junior, two-year starter. “He’s not flashy but he just does his job basically,” said one scout. “He’s not overpowering or anything. Above average to average in everything. He’s not in the class of those other big-time Stanford tight ends. If he’s a starter I’d be surprised.” Caught 55 passes for 555 yards (10.0) and five TDs. “Scrappy jack of all trades, master of none,” said another scout. “Kind of a poor man’s Rhett Ellison. Probably a better blocker than he is a pass catcher. Not explosive. They don’t feature him at all. He’s a better athlete than what he shows.” From South Jordan, Utah. Wonderlic of 32.

    OTHERS: Will Dissly, Washington; Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin; Deon Yelder, Western Kentucky; Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan; Durham Smythe, Notre Dame; Jordan Thomas, Mississippi State; Ryan Izzo, Florida State; David Wells, San Diego State; Nick Keizer, Grand Valley State;
    Ethan Wolf, Tennessee.



    Will Dissly, TE, Washington: A consensus choice as the best blocking tight end in the draft. “Somebody will take him late because he’s a blocking fool,” said one scout. “There’s no ‘Y’s’ (conventional tight ends) anymore. Everybody plays the spread.” Shifted from DE to TE late in the 2015 season. Adequate size (6-3 , 261), below-average speed (4.88) and 35 on the Wonderlic.


    Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA: Fourth-year junior with 110 receptions for a 17.1 average and 14 TDs in 20 games (12 starts) the past two seasons. “He probably made more big plays than any receiver I saw this year,” said one scout. ”He’s a basket case, though.” Lasley (6-1, 204, 4.52) was suspended multiple times for various violations of team policy. “He’s got a lot of off-the field problems,” said the scout.


    Clyde Goodnight, E, Tulsa: Third-round pick in 1945, Don Hutson’s final season. In ’46, Goodnight (6-1, 195) and fellow Tulsa alum Nolan Luhn shared the team lead in receptions with 16. He improved to a career-best 38 in ’47, four behind Luhn, before leading again in ’48 with 28. Playing most of 1949-’50 with Washington, Goodnight finished with 112 receptions for 1,967 yards (17.6) and 15 TDs.


    NFL scout: “We don’t pay much attention to pro-day times. At the combine we know it’s legit because they’re tested. Strength coaches say there are things you can take to make you faster on one day.”
    Last edited by GShock; 04-22-2018, 06:37 PM.

  • #2

    Those decision-makers across the NFL who catch themselves fretting about the flaws of the quarterbacks available in this draft ought to go back and revisit what some of their scouting brethren endured five years ago.

    Compared to the wasteland of 2013, the class this year represents an embarrassment of riches for teams seeking a quarterback.

    Personnel men consistently have said there isn’t a safe pick in this group to rival John Elway in 1983, Troy Aikman in ’89 or Peyton Manning in ’98 as the first overall pick. At the same time, one can reasonably expect two, three, perhaps even four or five more starting quarterbacks from this draft to join the 13 that have entered the league from the last four drafts.

    “I don’t know that it’s not that good of a group,” an AFC personnel director said. “There just aren’t any sure bets. But there are some great traits.”

    In 2013, five clubs with a serious desire to draft a quarterback owned top-10 picks. Kansas City GM John Dorsey owned the No. 1 pick and wanted a quarterback, as did Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie at No. 3, Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly and GM Howie Roseman at No. 4, Buffalo GM Doug Whaley at No. 8 and New York Jets GM John Idzik at No. 9.

    Not only wasn’t there any quarterbacks, there also weren’t many blue-chip players. It’ll go down as one of the poorest drafts ever.

    After Dorsey ended up selecting tackle Eric Fisher of Central Michigan with the first choice, Jacksonville took tackle Luke Joeckel and McKenzie traded down nine spots with Miami.

    Whaley traded back as well, enabling St. Louis to move up eight places. Then, at No. 16, the Bills took quarterback E.J. Manuel, a considerable reach.

    Eleven quarterbacks were drafted, and not a single one became a starter. The best player might have been Mike Glennon, who’s already on his third team.

    A personnel man for a team with an established starter at the position recognized some of the current angst. Then he looked at a board with Southern Cal’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Wyoming’s Josh Allen at the top and had many more positive thoughts than negative ones.

    Don’t even suggest that he might be happy not to be in position of having to draft a quarterback next week.

    “You know, you can say that every year,” the NFC executive said. “It’s kind of a copout. I wouldn’t be worried. At least you have some good candidates.”

    So good, in fact, that this might be the first draft in which four quarterbacks are selected in the first 10 picks. It’s also possible that this could be the second draft since 1971 (Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, Dan Pastorini) in which quarterbacks were plucked 1-2-3.

    “My guess is these guys will be fine,” said another AFC personnel director. “If they go to the wrong systems, yes, they have potential to bust. But I wouldn’t be scared of any of them.

    “You have aspirations and hope for them. You like what you see on tape. But there’s always a risk factor.”

    A poll of 14 personnel people reflected the lack of consensus. Each scout was asked to rank his best quarterbacks from 1 to 5, with a first-place vote worth 5 points, a second-place worth 4 and so forth.

    Darnold drew seven firsts compared to five for Rosen, one for Allen and one for Mayfield. In a separate poll that asked 14 scouts to name the best player in the draft regardless of position, Mayfield’s one vote was the only one that went to a quarterback.

    “He dominates against everybody,” said the scout that went all in on Mayfield. “He makes everybody better. There’s no fatal flaw.”

    Nonetheless, Mayfield fared no better than fourth in the point totals.

    Darnold led with 59 points, and was followed by Rosen with 55, Allen with 43, Mayfield with 35, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson with nine, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph with eight and Washington State’s Luke Falk with one.

    Two of the 14 declined to answer which of the six leading players had the best chance to bust. The 12-vote results showed five bust votes for Allen, four for Jackson and three for Mayfield.

    “I think all of the quarterbacks are overhyped and overrated,” said one of the pessimists in the profession. “Allen’s inconsistent accuracy, Darnold’s turnovers, Mayfield’s height and demeanor, Rosen’s know-it-all attitude and Jackson’s ability to learn are all negative factors.

    “In two years, Allen could be the best one. This weekend, Mayfield could probably go out there and play.”

    His ballot, in order, was Allen-Darnold-Mayfield-Rosen-Jackson.

    “If you asked me this a month ago it probably would have been different,” the executive said. “Two months ago it’d have been different. Next week it would probably be different.

    “Honestly, I have no idea.”

    He wasn’t alone. An NFC scout conceded that Mayfield, whom he rated fourth, might turn out to be better than Darnold, his first choice.

    The last time five quarterbacks were drafted in the first round was 1999. In order, they went off Tim Couch (1), Donovan McNabb (2), Akili Smith (3), Daunte Culpepper (11) and Cade McNown (12). As we know now, Couch, Smith and McNown were busts, McNabb was selected for two Pro Bowls and Culpepper made one.

    Jerry Angelo, at the time director of player personnel for Tampa Bay, predicted there would be two or three busts.

    He was correct although, in a poll of 19 scouts that year, the majority didn’t have the order right. Asked to guess who would be the biggest bust, McNabb, Culpepper and Smith all received five votes whereas Couch and McNown each had two.

    Of the so-called Big Four, Mayfield is a fifth-year senior, Allen is a fourth-year junior, Rosen is a third-year junior and Darnold is a third-year sophomore.

    Listen in as one personnel man went stream-of-consciousness regarding the top prospects.

    “Is Mayfield Johnny Manziel? I don’t think so,” the executive said. “Is he Drew Brees? I don’t think so, either. He’s somewhere in-between.

    “Some of the stuff Mayfield has done, whether it’s getting in scuffles when he was younger or grabbing his crotch, you want those guys competitive, you want those guys arrogant.

    “Josh Rosen … is he Jay Cutler? You can draw your own comparisons.

    “Is Sam Darnold refined enough to understand NFL systems and coverage?

    “Is Lamar Jackson just an athlete? I think he’s more than that.

    “Staying healthy is No. 1 for Josh Allen. He’s got a really strong arm. Is he ‘Big Ben’ (Roethlisberger) or is he (Brock) Osweiler?”

    The influx of quarterbacking talent since that awful draft of 2013 leaves only half a dozen teams in need of a starting quarterback. With most of those clubs congregated near the top of the draft, the passer will move fast.

    “There are five guys but we’re not going to see any of them,” said a decision-make for a team in the lower third of the first round. “I like a lot of the guys but they all have slight holes.

    “It’s a pick ‘em, really. Depends on what hole you’re willing to accept.”


    1. SAM DARNOLD, Southern California (6-3 , 219, 4.86, 1): Bypassed two seasons of eligibility; won’t turn 21 until June. “He’s Mr. Cool under pressure,” said one scout. “Nothing rattles the kid. He’s a gamer. No situation is too big for him. He’s at his best in the big-time situations. In the clutch.” Completed 64.9% of 846 passes for an NFL passer rating of 103.4. “He needs to clean up some footwork and taking care of the ball,” said another scout. “But he’s going to be a player. He’s got some (bleep) you can’t coach. He’s the opposite of (Josh) Rosen. He’s a great kid. I think he’s a better locker-room guy. He has a very good arm. I was at the workout in the rain and it was impressive.” Didn’t fare as well statistically in 2017 as he did in ’16. Finished with 21 fumbles and 22 interceptions in just 24 starts. “I love the makeup and the character,” a third scout said. “He has play-making ability. He has toughness and poise. The turnovers are a major concern. He’s so jittery … scattered in the pocket. He’s not going to be able to keep getting away with that.” Scored 28 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test. Ran for 332 yards and seven touchdowns. “He’s Andrew Luck when Luck was a sophomore,” said a fourth scout. “He’s 100% football. He’s got hitches in his motion. Great athlete, strong arm. He makes some bad decisions.” From Capistrano Beach, Calif. “His arm’s not like (Brett) Favre’s but he has a little bit of that in him,” a fifth scout said. “He makes some throws on the move. Not real natural in the pocket yet. Best on the move.”

    2. JOSH ROSEN, UCLA (6-4, 221, 4.91, 1): Widely regarded as the best pure passer in the draft. “Rosen is as classic a passer as you could have,” one scout said. “His mechanics are impeccable. He’s got arm strength. He reads the field. Whether he’s the leader or not is the question.” Completed 60.9% of 1,170 passes for a rating of 93.6. “He looks the part when he throws the ball but lacks the rest of the assets you need to be a winning quarterback up here,” another scout said. “Off the field he doesn’t have the profile you want for someone leading your team. If everything’s clean and he can just sit back and throw it, he looks good. If it’s not, he’s not very effective. In the NFL, things aren’t clean. Against pressure he’s not very good. He’s been hurt. Those are big concerns.” Missed half the ’16 season because of a right shoulder injury that required surgery. Missed two games last year with two separate concussions. “He’s the best pure passer I’ve seen since Drew Brees,” another scout said. “Only thing that worries me is his body. He’s slightly built and he gets hurt. He also has not improved since his freshman year. When he was a freshman the guy was fantastic.” Comes from an academic family in Manhattan Beach, Calif. His father is an orthopedic surgeon and his mother is an heiress of a publishing house. Wonderlic of 29. “He’s a thinker, an intellectual,” another scout said. “He’s inquisitive. Very bright kid. Personable. More on the quiet side when it comes to his leadership.” According to one scout, one of Rosen’s former coaches at UCLA told him Rosen was three things: smart, talented and spoiled. “Football’s not his life,” the scout said. “He doesn’t go around with the guys. If Rosen’s mentally into the game and dedicated he certainly has the mechanics and accuracy.” The Bruins went 17-13 with Rosen as the starter. He might have become a pro tennis player, too. Two scouts compared his abrasive attitude to Aaron Rodgers coming out of Cal. “He’s a smart ass,” said one. “He’s probably smarter than the quarterback coach. You have to challenge him intellectually. He’s worldly. He’s got a lot of things he wants to do in life.”

    3. BAKER MAYFIELD, Oklahoma (6-0 , 215, 4.84, 1): Fifth-year senior walked on at Texas Tech, started seven games and departed with Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes on the roster to walk on at Oklahoma. First walk-on to win Heisman Trophy (2017). First player since Georgia RB Herschel Walker to finish among the top four in Heisman voting three times. “In my heart of hearts I think Mayfield has a great chance,” said one scout. “I like him the best but he’s got that short thing going. If he were two inches taller he’d clearly be the best one.” The most efficient passer in NCAA history, he finished with an outrageous passer rating of 131.1 and completion mark of 69.8% for his 40 games at Oklahoma. “Quick delivery, accurate, big arm,” said a second scout. “But he is best late in the down. You’ll have to tailor your offense to his strengths. He’s little, and looks to bail too early. Really good at making plays outside the pocket. He benefits from a lot of one-read throws in their system so it’ll be an adjustment to play in a pro-style offense.” Has been arrested and suspended for various offenses. Often compared to Johnny Manziel (5-11 , 207, 4.65), who had a Wonderlic of 32 but flopped as a first-round pick in Cleveland. “Same antics, same background,” a third scout said. “He’s got a stronger arm than Manziel but can’t run as fast. I see too much Manziel. Most of his game is outside the pocket and those guys get hurt. When he runs he doesn’t slide.” Having interviewed Mayfield, another scout said: “He’s not half-cocked. He’s humble. I think he’s an outstanding competitor.” Cried as he gave his Heisman acceptance speech, calling himself a chubby, non-athletic kid growing up in Austin, Texas. “He’s a cocky little (bleep),” another scout said. “I think it will get him in trouble a little bit. He’s a little bit too full of himself. Now he is a hard worker and he loves football. I’m playing the percentages. Not many of those 6-foot quarterbacks work. Joe Theismann. Doug Flutie. Michael Vick. Russell Wilson. Drew Brees. That’s it.” Wonderlic of 25. Added one scout: “Guys have his back. He’s a little bit obnoxious but he’s very high energy. If he’s on the other team you (bleep) hate him. If he’s on your team you love him.”

    4. JOSH ALLEN, Wyoming (6-5, 234, 4.77, 1): Led all QBs in a stunning six categories: the 40, Wonderlic (37), vertical jump (33 ), broad jump (9-11), arm length (33 ) and hand size (10 1/8). “Looks like Carson Wentz on the hoof … or Troy Aikman,” one scout said. “He is the biggest and best physical specimen of all of them. He’s just not as far along.” One scout drew four parallels between Allen and Aaron Rodgers: both hailed from small California towns (Firebaugh for Allen), both grew late and weren’t recruited out of high school, both spent one year in junior college and both landed scholarships when colleges coaches noticed them by accident while recruiting other players. Missed most of 2015 with a broken collarbone and two games in ’17 with right shoulder damage. Completed merely 56.3% of 649 passes for a rating of 90.6. “The wonder boy,” said another scout. “There’s been nobody that’s been good with his poor stats, his lack of dominance, the low percentage and the lack of winning. I just don’t think he has a good feel for the game. That’s his problem. And this guy is not in the SEC or the Big Ten. This guy played in a terrible level of competition (Mountain West). Even the good players from small schools (Eastern Illinois) like Jimmy Garoppolo, those guys dominated. When you start making excuses for a guy, it’s over with. You should stop right there. You do it or you don’t.” One of his coaches said he can throw a ball 89, 90 yards. “I’m not saying his arm is Terry Bradshaw’s but it’s as good an arm as you’d want,” another scout said. “Those kids at Wyoming couldn’t hang on (to his passes). Ten years from now you’ll think this kid was the best kid in the class. I think he’ll have a long and storied career.” Another scout compared Allen’s accuracy issues to Jake Locker, who hit 54% at the University of Washington before the Titans drafted him with the eighth pick in 2011. That scout also compared Allen to Tim Couch (6-4, 224, 4.89). Several times, another scout brought up Blake Bortles (6-5, 230, 4.91) as the best comparison. “Can throw through a wall,” one scout said of Allen. “Man, does he have some accuracy issues that I cannot see getting better. He’s got a big arm but there have been a lot of quarterbacks like that that have failed.”

    5. LAMAR JACKSON, Louisville (6-2, 214, no 40, 2-3): Became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy in 2016 before finishing third in ‘17. “Defensive coordinators are going to be scared to death to play against him,” said one scout. “The dynamic athletic ability doesn’t even need to be talked about. What he doesn’t get enough credit for is the type of passer he is and the (pro-style) system he runs. When he’s in the pocket he stays in the pocket. When he gets out of trouble he still looks to throw. He’s not just running around when he doesn’t have to. He isn’t careless with the ball.” One of the greatest running QBs in NCAA history, finishing with 4,132 yards (6.3) and 50 TDs. Completed merely 57% of 1,086 passes for a rating of 95.1. “You’ll have to build what you do around him,” said a second scout. “There’s not a lot of NFL offensive coordinators that want to throw out the playbook and start over and do it differently. There will be somebody that does, though.” Besides accuracy, the chief hesitation on Jackson is mental aptitude. Just nine quarterbacks in the last 15 years were drafted with a Wonderlic of 15 or less, and Jackson scored 13. Those that made the NFL were Vince Young, Tyrod Taylor, Seneca Wallace, Josh Johnson and Troy Smith. Those that never played in a game were Zac Robinson, Nate Davis, Andre Woodson and Josh Booty. “He didn’t even know how to call the plays the right way when he was a freshman,” said a third scout. “In our room, he did better talking about his offense. He’s a neat kid. Loves football. But if you look at every Super Bowl-winning quarterback there’s not one guy like Lamar Jackson. Athletic, run-around quarterbacks don’t win Super Bowls.” Teams won’t ever have a 40 time on Jackson because he refused to run on two occasions. One scout bet he would break 4.3. “He’s like Bo Jackson was in his day athletically but he is not an NFL-winning quarterback,” the scout said. “He’s a one-read guy, his accuracy is inconsistent and he holds the ball forever. I’ve love to have ‘LJ’ on our team. I’d give him a package at quarterback, I’d put him in the backfield, I’d (use) him at wide receiver and make him a punt returner. I want him to get the ball.” From Pompano Beach, Fla.

    6. MASON RUDOLPH, Oklahoma State (6-4 , 231, 4.92, 2-3): Led a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Oklahoma as a true freshman in 2014 and went on to start 41 games. “He reminded me of Matt Ryan,” one scout said. “He’s calm, cool, collected, accurate. He’s faster than Ryan. Pocket passer. High three-quarters delivery. Excellent deep-ball accuracy. Good enough athlete. Not a runner. People are down on him but all he does for four years is win. People say that’s where Brandon Weeden came from. They’re not even close.” Completed 63.2% of 1,447 passes for a rating of 107.7. “He could be kind of a Kirk Cousins,” said another scout. “If he’s your starter you’re an 8-8 kind of team. He’s not going to take everybody to the next level but he’s going to do the right thing and be a game manager.” Improved from 20 to 28 on his second crack at the Wonderlic. “I think Rudolph is better than Weeden but he would scare me,” a third scout said. “He throws pretty well but he had a bad combine workout. Little bit stiff as an athlete. Seems to me he had to have a clean pocket. There’s a ton of easy reads in that OSU offense.” From Rock Hill, S.C.

    7. LUKE FALK, Washington State (6-3 , 215, no 40, 3): Walked on with Cougars coach Mike Leach and started the last 40 games of his career. “I’d take him over (Lamar) Jackson any day,” said one scout. “He plays well. Got to be that short-intermediate type.” Completed 68.3% of 2,054 passes for a rating of 99.8. Not a runner. “I think he’ll be a 10-year backup,” a second scout said. “He’s not athletic enough to ever start but Colt McCoy has been a backup for how many years?” The answer is eight. Falk, who had 29 on the Wonderlic, will need developmental time because he didn’t take a single snap under center last year in Leach’s Air Raid attack. “He’s a product of the system,” a third scout said. “He’ll be like all the Texas Tech guys. He’s nothing special.” From Logan, Utah.

    8. KYLE LAULETTA, Richmond (6-2 , 220, 4.82, 4): MVP in the Senior Bowl after completing eight of 12 passes for 198 yards and three TDs. “He’s got the face, the body type, the maturity,” said one scout. “You automatically like him. There’s some real substance to this kid. I don’t know if he’s got enough arm, truly. But if he gets in a timing system where it doesn’t require explosive arm strength … he had four different coordinators in four years. You got a chance this year to see him do everything. That’s a rarity nowadays. His dad and brothers all played quarterback. He just grew up around it.” Completed 63.5% of 1,194 passes for a rating of 99.7. Suffered a torn ACL in late 2016 but returned in time for 2017. His career record was 24-12. “Everybody wants to love him because he’s smart and affable,” a second scout said. “He’s a coach’s dream. But, physically, he doesn’t have the talent.” Wonderlic of 29. From Exton, Pa.

    9. MIKE WHITE, Western Kentucky (6-4 , 222, 5.14, 4-5): Started 15 games at South Florida in 2013-’14 before transferring. Sat out one year, then started all 27 games the past two years. “Beautiful throwing motion,” one scout said. “Throws a really tight spiral and a catchable ball. When Jeff Brohm was head coach they were in this wide-open vertical deal and this kid thrived. It was a little more West Coast dink-dunk this year. He’s accurate. He protects the ball. Only problem is he’s not very nimble of foot. He’ll have some problems avoiding pressure. He’s very smart (Wonderlic of 27). Gets rid of the ball quick. If you give this kid time he will carve you up. He’s a sleeper starter who, at worst, is a great backup.” Completed 62% of 1,393 passes. His rating was 65.1 at USF and 109 at WKU. “Better passer than Lauletta,” another scout said. “He doesn’t have the quarterback pedigree that Lauletta has. He can spin a nice ball.” From Pembroke Pines, Fla.

    10. CHASE LITTON, Marshall (6-5, 230, 4.95, 5-6): Third-year junior with 34 starts. “Big, strong arm. Athletic, accurate, still developing,” said one scout. “He could be the super sleeper of the group.” Departed a year early after a checkered off-field history of suspension and arrest. Completed 60.7% of 1,197 passes for a rating of 91. Wonderlic of 24. “He has all the talent,” a second scout said. “Watch their game against North Carolina (Sept. 9). I gave him a first-round grade based on that game. Has a really nice throwing motion. He’s mobile. Probably a better pure passer than Josh Allen.” From Tampa.

    11. RILEY FERGUSON, Memphis (6-3, 213, no 40, 6-7): Fractured his tibia while redshirting at Tennessee in 2013 and bolted school, sat out ‘14, surfaced at a junior college in ’15 and started 25 games at Memphis in 2016-’17. “When he was a freshman at Tennessee he was their best quarterback among (Josh) Dobbs and (Nathan) Peterman,” said one scout. “They admitted it. He’s got the ability. He’s not afraid to chuck it and take shots. His biggest thing is maintaining weight and that shoulder (injury) he has had to deal with in the past. Not a big-framed guy. Little bit of a loopy delivery. I think he developed it compensating for the shoulder injury. He has to mature.” Completed 63.1% of 884 passes for a rating of 107.6. Wonderlic of 21. “He reminds me of a very poor man’s Brett Favre in terms of being a gambler,” said another scout. “He totally turned his life around. He’s skinny and kind of a schoolyard player.” From Matthews, N.C.

    12. KURT BENKERT, Virginia (6-2 , 216, 4.97, 6-7): Missed all 2015 with a knee injury before starting 23 games in 2016-’17. “He’s so sporadic,” said one scout. “You never know where the ball’s going.” Completed 57.5% of 925 passes for a rating of 83.5. Went 8-15 as a starter, going 1-6 down the stretch last season. “People are trying to sell him?” said a second scout. “What did they have? Two wins? One win?” Actually, the Cavaliers finished 6-7. Wonderlic of 37. From Cape Coral, Fla.

    OTHERS: Tanner Lee, Nebraska; Logan Woodside, Toledo; J.T. Barrett, Ohio State; Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech; Brandon Silvers, Troy; Brogan Roback, Eastern Michigan.



    J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: Went 38-6 as a starter (4-0 vs. Michigan) en route to breaking Big Ten records set by Drew Brees for passing touchdowns and total yards. His passer rating was 105.8 and he ran for 3,263 yards. Barrett (6-1 , 225, 4.73) tested poorly and scored 19 on the Wonderlic. “His accuracy is not there,” said one scout. “Phenomenal kid. I’d almost think about trying to make the guy a linebacker.”


    Tanner Lee, Nebraska: At 6-4 and 217, with 4.95 speed and a Wonderlic of 26, this fourth-year junior has tools. He also has a powerful arm. Plagued by inaccuracy (55.2% career) and a slew of poor decisions. “He’s interesting,” said one scout. “He’s just so inconsistent.”


    Scott Hunter, QB, Alabama: Sixth-round draft choice in 1970. Started all 14 games on a division-winning 10-4 team in 1972, attempting just 14.2 passes per game and completing 6.1. Split time and ultimately lost his job to Jim Del Gaizo and Jerry Tagge in ’73. Released in ’74, Hunter started 13 of 29 games for the Bills, Falcons and Lions from 1974-’79. His career passer rating was 55.0 and his record was 21-18-3.


    NFL personnel man: “People get all excited about the juniors. The seniors become boring. You’ve watched them a long time. Those guys that come back, they make a mistake. People will watch you the next year and find flaws.”


    • #3

      If the NFL draft had been conducted in January, as it often was through 1975, guard Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame and tackle Orlando Brown of Oklahoma would no doubt have profited.

      Nelson probably would have gone off almost unchallenged as one of the greatest guards to enter the league in years. Brown probably would have been drafted high in the first round, too.

      Back then, there was no combine in which hundreds of scouts and coaches from NFL teams view mass auditions of players at one location. There also was only six weeks from the close of the regular season for teams to set their draft boards, not the four months as it is today.

      All-star games have been around forever, but this pro day circuit that now starts in early March and doesn’t conclude until early April is a relatively new phenomenon, too.

      In any event, the T-shirt and shorts time of year known as the off-season wasn’t helpful for Nelson and was downright ghastly for Brown.

      Given months to double back on collegiate tape and study combine/pro day results and tapes, feelings change toward players when maybe they really shouldn’t.

      In Indianapolis, Nelson tweaked a hamstring warming up for the 40-yard dash. Two weeks later in South Bend, he chose not to run the 40.

      Nelson put up 225 pounds in the bench press 35 times at the combine, confirming the superlative upper-body strength scouts figured he possessed. What proved interesting to the personnel people were his pedestrian times and leaps in other disciplines and the manner in which he moved during the football-like drills.

      Half of the 12 scouts interviewed regarding Nelson expressed some degree of reservation over his athletic ability. Some of that may have popped if the draft had been in January, but probably not to the same degree.

      “I was drinking the Kool-Aid at first,” an executive in personnel said. “But he is not a great athlete. The more film you watch, the more you see it. If you really want to see that exposed watch Miami (Nov. 11). It left a very bad taste in my mouth. He is not an elite athlete.”

      Another scout brought up that very same performance by Nelson against the Hurricanes as well as the Oct. 28 contest against North Carolina State. Both of those defenses will have more than one defensive lineman drafted.

      “That (R.J.) McIntosh guy got some leverage and pushed him a couple times that concerned me about him being a top-10 pick,” said the scout. “You isolate Nelson, he’s not that quick laterally.”

      Another veteran scout said he couldn’t possibly project Nelson in the company of Hall of Fame guards such as John Hannah, Mike Munchak, Larry Little or Randall McDaniel.

      “I didn’t see that kind of athletic ability,” he said. “He can operate in space but he ain’t great in space. Those guys were.”

      At the same time, the other half of the scouting world appears ready to anoint Nelson as an all-time player.

      “He’s as good of a college guard as I’ve ever graded,” said an AFC decision-maker with more than 15 years in the field. “I think you think of Zack Martin, and I think this guy might be even a little bit better than Zack.

      “He comes into the league certainly as a top-5 guard as soon as he’s drafted, and then maybe the best guard in the league by the first year.”

      An AFC personnel director with 20-plus years of experience said Nelson was the best guard he had scouted.

      “Of the guards I’ve laid eyes on he’s the best I’ve seen,” an NFC executive with an extensive resume said. “Big, moves well, tough, strong. He’s got it all.”

      Fourteen executives in personnel were asked to list their seven best offensive linemen in the draft regardless of position. A first-place vote was worth 7 points, a second-place vote was worth 6 and so on.

      Nelson dominated the affair just as he dominated many an opponent, finishing first on 11 ballots compared to two for UCLA’s Kolton Miller and one for Ohio State’s Billy Price.

      The first half of the vote showed Nelson with 91 points, followed by Notre Dame teammate Mike McGlinchey (65), Miller (59), Texas-El Paso’s Will Hernandez (29), Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn (28), Arkansas’ Frank Ragnow (24) and Texas’ Connor Williams (23).

      Rounding out the 14 votegetters were Price (22), Iowa’s James Daniels (20), Nevada’s Austin Corbett (13), Auburn’s Braden Smith (five), Oregon’s Tyrell Crosby (five), Louisville’s Geron Christian (four) and Mississippi State’s Martinas Rankin (four).

      Are there great players at tackle this year?

      “None at all,” said one scout. “I’m not in love with any of the tackles. I think they’re way overrated.”

      Much in agreement, an NFC executive offered this terse summation: “This is a (expletive) tackle and a good guard-center draft.”

      The most likely tackles to be headed for the first round would seem to be McGlinchey and Miller. If this were Feb. 28, Brown probably would have been with them.

      In mid-December, an NFL decision-maker said he assumed Brown would be the first tackle selected. A three-year starter at left tackle with vines for arms, he had been named offensive lineman of the year in the Big 12 Conference twice. Protecting Baker Mayfield’s blind side in a prolific offense, there had been tons of exposure, too.

      On the morning of March 1, Brown walked into the bench-press arena at the combine and proceeded to put the bar up all of 14 times.

      Excuses were made because of his long arms and his breathing patterns gone awry. NFL people weren’t buying it.

      A day later Brown performed even worse. Jiggling down the sideline track at Lucas Oil Stadium, his 40 time was 5.82. It only got worse, too, with a vertical jump of 19 inches and a broad jump of 6-10.

      On March 14, Brown improved his 40 to 5.68, his bench press to 18, his vertical jump to 25 and his broad jump to 7-5.

      So where does this nightmare of an offseason leave Brown’s draft standing?

      Not good, certainly, but Brown’s handlers can always console him with, “Well, it only takes one team.”

      Thirteen personnel people were asked what round, if any, they would feel comfortable drafting Brown.

      Three said they wouldn’t take him at all.

      “I think it’s a wasted pick because there aren’t any tackles in the NFL that run 5.65,” said one NFL exec. “There are people in my room that like him. I don’t.”

      “He’s going to go third or fourth round … for me, no,” another scout said. “He’s not a mess. But I’m not drafting that body.”

      The vote of the other 10 scouts broke down like this: one said first round, one said second round, three said third round, two said fourth round, two said fifth round and one said sixth round.

      My records show that four offensive linemen with a 40 time of 5.68 or higher were drafted in the last 20 years. The list includes tackle Char-ron Dorsey (6-5 , 348, 6.02) of Florida State in the seventh round by Dallas in 2001; tackle Wes Shivers (6-5, 321, 5.68) of Missouri in the seventh round by Tennessee in 2000; guard Yusuf Scott (6-2, 324, 5.75) of Arizona in the fifth round by Arizona in 1999, and guard Joe Wong (6-5 , 314, 5.70) of Brigham Young by Miami in the seventh round in 1999.

      Here are their career games played and career games started: Scott (24-0), Dorsey (12-3), Shivers (3-0) and Wong (2-0).

      “First thing I did when I saw that (combine) workout was text (a friend) and say there’s nobody that runs 5.8 and can play,” said one scouting veteran. “Let them start making excuses. Everything was bad. Low numbers in everything. I kept his name there because of his dad but he’s way down. He did play pretty decent at times on that tape.”

      Brown’s father, Orlando, was an extremely physical right tackle for the Browns and Ravens from 1994-’99 and 2003-’05. Undrafted out of South Carolina State in ’93, “Zeus” Brown (6-7, 360) worked his way up to being a top-10 tackle before an errant penalty flag struck his eye and cost him three seasons.

      The father, who died in September 2011 of serious diabetes complications, wasn’t fast, either, but scouts remember him as a more aggressive player.

      “The son has that same sort of size but he’s got a softer body,” said one scout. “’Zeus’ was chiseled. I didn’t see that from this kid.

      “That offense is offensive line-friendly. I never thought he was a first-round pick. I didn’t think his testing would be as bad as it was. He’s just a get-in the-way, classic college spread offensive lineman.”

      A few other scouts plan to put aside Brown’s workouts.

      “I don’t care what he runs,” said one. “He’s not going to be running 40 yards. He is an excellent pass protector and an average run blocker … he’s a natural left tackle. The guy can move his feet. I saw 10 games this year.”

      The last word, in an ESPN interview this month, goes to Brown: “I think I’m an unusual prospect, the way my film is and my unusual testing. Yeah, it’s a pretty big deficiency, but the film speaks for itself. Hopefully, these NFL teams look at that and recognize I am and what I can do at the next level.”



      1. MIKE McGLINCHEY, Notre Dame (6-8, 310, no 40, 1): Started at RT in 2015 and at LT in 2016-’17. “He’ll be a good pro,” said one scout. “He’s just steady. Know what you’re getting. Nothing is great. Everything is really good. He’ll be a better right tackle but he can play left. Intangibles are through the roof.” Led tackles in the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test with a score of 37. “He’s a great kid,” said a second scout. “He acts like a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He’s not a devastating left tackle but he gets his man every time.” Arms were 34 inches, hands were 10. Those measurements represent good, not great length. “When he went against somebody good he wasn’t that impressive,” a third scout said. “He got exposed against Georgia big-time. He was probably just OK against (Harold) Landry and Boston College. I went back in the last two weeks and watched him. There’s some things he does well but, wow, he is nowhere remotely close to an (Jonathan) Ogden or (Tony) Boselli or Joe Thomas.” From Philadelphia, where he was an outstanding prep basketball player.

      2. KOLTON MILLER, UCLA (6-8 , 309, 4.99, 1): Fourth-year junior. “He’s the best tackle I’ve seen at UCLA since the guy (Ogden) that went to the Ravens a long time ago,” said one scout. “He’s a tall guy who can play with leverage. His workout wasn’t good; it was excellent. Look at his hand size (a tackle-leading 10 ) and arm length (34 1/8). For 6-8 he can really bend his knees. Most tall people are tight in the hips and don’t bend well. Not the most powerful guy in the world.” His 10-1 broad jump also led all tackles. “He’s not ready right now,” said a second scout. “He got better this year as the year went on. You’re banking on the fact he’s super athletic. He just needs to get stronger.” Started 14 games at LT and nine at RT. “Not a fan,” a third scout said. “He’s talented but he’s soft and weak. He’s got great length and can run and all that but he’s really mild. He’s almost introverted.” From Roseville, Calif.

      3. GERON CHRISTIAN, Louisville (6-5, 300, 5.39, 1-2): Spent three seasons blocking at LT for QB Lamar Jackson in coach Bobby Petrino’s pro-style offense. “He has a lot of arrows going up,” one scout said. “He was a surprise declaration as a junior. Nobody expected it. He’s got to get stronger (22 reps on the bench) but love his athleticism and his length (35 arms, 10 hands). He’s got really very good pass pro skills. You don’t want to play him early. Basically redshirt him for a year. Deactivate him. Get him stronger. He’s got a ton of up side.” Characterized as “lazy” by one scout. Ran much slower than expected. “He really should have stayed in school,” said another scout. “The guy that recruited him didn’t even think he was ready. He’s a big-time project.” From Ocala, Fla.

      4. TYRELL CROSBY, Oregon (6-4 , 310, 5.27, 2): Long arms (35 ), big hands (10 ). “He probably would be best suited for guard,” said one scout. “He doesn’t anchor great. He’s not great working laterally. Catches. Struggles against speed off the edge. You like his size. He can move his feet pretty well but not on the left side. Not a great finisher.” Made 19 starts at RT and 17 at LT. “I don’t think he got enough credit because people think Oregon plays soft,” a second scout said. “Got feet and movement. Adequate run blocker.” Outstanding prep basketball player at Henderson, Nev. “I think he busts when it’s all said and done,” a third scout said. “He’s got skinny ankles. He’s not strong (17 reps on the bench).”

      5. JOE NOTEBOOM, Texas Christian (6-5, 312, 4.98, 2): Bench-pressed more times (27) than any of the 12 top tackles. “Extremely interesting guy,” one scout said. “He is an athlete and he can pass protect. Very average run blocker.” Made 29 starts at LT and 11 at RT. “Adequate length (34 3/8 arms) and rare speed,” a second scout said. “Finesse type but tough and has been durable.” Wonderlic of 33. “He’s got damn good feet,” a third scout said. “Eventually he’ll be a starter, possibly at left tackle. He’s not a mean guy. He’s kind of a mild guy.” From Plano, Texas.

      6. BRIAN O’NEILL, Pittsburgh (6-7, 296, 4.84, 2): Delaware state basketball player of the year in 2014. Recruited as a TE after playing both TE and WR as a prep. “You’ve got a lot to work with,” one scout said. “He was one of the top fuel eliminators at the combine in terms of size, speed, quickness and agility. But he didn’t play very hard. He’s got a long ways to go. He was a former tight end. That’s where some of the lack of toughness and aggressiveness (stems) from.” Moved to offensive line in 2015, starting at RT in 2015-’16 and at LT in ’17. “You do have a lot of athleticism to work with,” a second scout said. “He does get bull-rushed. He doesn’t have any playing strength at all. He will need to improve that drastically or he’s going to have problems. He should have stayed in (school).” Wonderlic of 29 and 22 reps on the bench. “He kind of reminded me of Justin Pugh,” another scout said. “He was an underclassman grad. You hope he’s a left tackle but maybe he’s not. I would think that offensive line coaches are all over this kid because they’re going to think we can improve his strength and fix some of his hand-technique issues.” From Wilmington, Del.

      7. BRANDON PARKER, North Carolina A&T (6-7 , 302, 5.41, 2-3): Four-year starting LT from the FCS ranks. “He can really develop,” said one scout. “I love what I see so far. He’s a starter down the road. In this tackle draft he’ll probably be drafted a little bit (higher).” Arms were 35, Wonderlic was 32. “Long, athletic left tackle who is smart, plays tough and with balance and control for his exceptional size, both in the run and pass game,” another scout said. From Kannapolis, N.C. “I didn’t like him at all,” said a third scout. “No lower body strength as a run blocker.”

      8. DES HARRISON, West Georgia (6-6, 305, 4.85, 2-4): One of the mystery players in the draft. Started junior college in 2011 but his only snaps at a four-year college came in 2017 at Division II West Georgia (nine starts at LT). “Talented as hell,” one scout said. “He’s the most talented of all these guys besides Nelson. He’s had a checkered past and all that stuff but he can move.” Dismissed after two seasons at Texas; NFL teams said he flunked multiple drug tests amid academic failure. Played no football in 2015-’16 before surfacing at West Georgia. “He’s probably the best athlete in the whole group,” another scout said. “Nasty. Tries to finish. Dominated the competition. He can pull. Plays in space. He can change direction. Footwork’s a mess. Needs to get stronger. Left tackle feet. Pretty smart when you talk to him but he’s got a ton of (bleep). He got kicked out of Texas for I don’t know how many tests he failed.” Improved from 13 to 20 on his second try at Wonderlic. “(Bleep) him,” said a third scout. “He’s a turd. He can start but he’ll be high maintenance, I think.” Weighed 291 in March 2017, 279 at the Senior Bowl, 292 at the combine and 305 at pro day March 14. Will be 25 in October. From Houston.

      9. ORLANDO BROWN, Oklahoma (6-8, 340, 5.68, 3-4): Fourth-year junior hurt his chances significantly with a horrendous combine. “I don’t worry about the bench press (18 reps) when you’re talking about a guy who’s 360,” said one scout. “Good luck moving him off the spot. He’s never been a good athlete. Those things will always make him look bad … I don’t love him. Some of the bravado he comes with is fake. After-the-play-pushing-on-a-smaller-guy type stuff. I don’t think he’s a road-grader. His dad (‘Zeus’) was just a mean guy. This guy’s not. But he’s probably going to start at some point. Not his first year. His big thing is maintaining his weight, his physical fitness. Is he going to be dedicated to the game?” According to Sports Illustrated, he weighed 300 in sixth grade and 400 in eighth. Three-year starter at LT but looked terrible in drills. “His body structure and body fat, it is so immature and I’m sure he is, too,” said another scout. “His whole body shaking like a bowl of jelly. I don’t know how you take a kid high and bring him into a pro football locker room. The veteran players are going to go, ‘This is a first-round draft pick? He looks like a free agent and works out like a free agent.’ They’d run your ass out of the GM department. Watching him at the combine was embarrassing.” Long arms (35). Wonderlic of 15 was second lowest among the top 20 tackles. “He’s Zach Banner (6-8 , 353, 5.59) all over again,” a third scout said in reference to the Colts’ fourth-round pick in 2017 already with his third team. “He just can’t move. I saw this first-round stuff early and I didn’t know what people were doing. The 40 and all that didn’t surprise me at all because he doesn’t move well on tape. He grabs and holds guys and throws them down. That’s where he gets all those highlights.” From Baltimore.

      10. WILL RICHARDSON, North Carolina State (6-5 , 306, 5.26, 3-4): Fourth-year junior. “He wasn’t spectacular but this is what a lot of people are looking for as a right tackle,” said one scout. “Not explosive. He could be a 10-year player.” Started 30 games at RT. “His shortcomings are his pass protection, his strength (16 reps on the bench) and his body control,” a second scout said. Long arms (35 ). Has had several off-field issues involving drugs and alcohol. “Talent-wise, second round,” said a third scout. “Just makeup. Been suspended. He’s got starting talent.” From Burlington, N.C.

      OTHERS: K.C. McDermott, Miami; Jaryd Jones-Smith, Pittsburgh; Alex Cappa, Humboldt State; Toby Weathersby, Louisiana State; Timon Parris, Stony Brook; Brett Toth, Army; Greg Senat, Wagner; Jamil Demby, Maine; Zach Crabtree, Oklahoma State; Tim Gardner, Alcorn State; Jacob Alsadek, Arizona.


      1. QUENTON NELSON, Notre Dame (6-5, 333, no 40, 1): Fourth-year junior. “Reminds me of (Steve) Hutchinson,” said one scout. “He’s not John Hannah. He was a road-grader. This guy is damn good, OK? But he’s not John Hannah. But he could be all-pro, no doubt in my mind.” Started 36 games at LG. “He wants not only to block a guy but put the guy in the ground and pound him,” a second scout said. “Just a very tough, nasty person. He can pull but not that athletic. Against NC State he got pushed some before settling.” Teams probably will never have a 40 timing. Wonderlic of 27. “I like him a little better than (Pittsburgh’s David) DeCastro,” another scout said. “I don’t think he’s the next coming of Steve Hutchinson or someone like that … The O-line coach at Notre Dame (was Harry Hiestand, now with the Bears) is one of the best in the business. Every year he’s got somebody that comes out high in the draft and doesn’t produce as well in the NFL. He gets the best out of his players. Then when you go work them out they’re not as good as they looked on film.” From Holmdel, N.J.

      2. ISAIAH WYNN, Georgia (6-2 , 317, no 40, 1-2): Generally started at LG in 2015-’16 before moving to LT out of necessity for a playoff team in ’17. “He has to be a guard or a center,” said one scout. “Strong, good football player. Ideally not a first-round guy but he’s among the best. Competitive, smart, good athlete, good strength for his size.” Finished with 21 starts at LT and 19 at LG. “Is he dominant? No,” a second scout said. “He’s a good starter in the NFL. Name the last (top) Georgia offensive lineman? It’s been a long time. Matt Stinchcomb, maybe.” Arms were 33 3/8 but his hands are tiny (8 ). “He does everything you want,” a third scout said. “He’s got arm length, he’s competitive, he’s big. He has a sense how to play the position.” From St. Petersburg, Fla.

      3. WILL HERNANDEZ, Texas-El Paso (6-2 , 325, 5.18, 1-2): Bidding to become the Miners’ first first-round draft choice since LB Fred Carr went to Green Bay (fifth pick) and G George Daney (22nd) went to Kansas City in 1968. “He’ll be a mauler-brawler,” said one scout. “He overpowers everybody. I think he’s going first round. Hernandez is a man, and he’s mature like a man.” Honored his commitment to UTEP despite academic difficulties out of high school in Las Vegas. Went on to start 49 straight games at LG. “Oh, but he’s a mean (bleep), but not as mean as that guard from Notre Dame,” said another scout. “I couldn’t take him in the first because of his test scores.” Tallied 11 and then 15 on the Wonderlic. “Even though he’s got limited intellect he’s a smart football player,” said a third scout. ”He’s very, very strong. Great anchor. He’s a little bit rigid in pass protection against quick guys but you can’t bull-rush him. He’s got a lot of power moving guys off the ball. Reminds me of (Richie) Incognito. Guard only.” Led all guards on the bench press with 37 reps. Short arms (32). “UTEP was horrible,” said a fourth scout. “He is one tough sucker, and tough guys play.”

      4. BILLY PRICE, Ohio State (6-3 , 305, no 40, 1-2): Replaced Andrew Norwell (Panthers) at LG in 2014 and started 25 games there. Started at RG in ‘16 before replacing Pat Elflein (Vikings) at center in ’17. “Pat Elflein was drafted in the third round and ended up starting but this kid is light years better,” one scout said. “This kid is big and rocked up. He could run sub 5.1. He’s a first-rounder all the way.” Unable to run a 40 because he suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle benching at the combine. “He’s got to be discounted because of the torn pec,” said a second scout. “He’s not as good as Elflein. That (Corey Linsley) is about where he is.” Short arms (32) might make center his best position. “He can do more than Elflein but maybe not as nasty,” said a third scout. “Plays with heavy hands. He’s smart and tough and instinctive.” From Austintown, Ohio.

      5. AUSTIN CORBETT, Nevada (6-4 , 309, 5.15, 1-2): Walked on in 2013 before taking over for Joel Bitonio (Browns) at LT in ’14. “He’s better than Bitonio,” said one scout. “This guy is physical. Shows drive as a run blocker and quick to the second level. Can mirror, but has some problems reacting back inside as a pass blocker. I don’t know if he’s a left tackle but he’s a guard for sure.” Started 49 straight games at LT but one scout said he could have five-position versatility. “Arm length (33 1/8) would be a concern at tackle,” said another scout. “He’s a physical dirtbag. Aggressive.” Tested well athletically and posted 30 on the Wonderlic. “That (bleep) is tough,” said a third scout. “He’s an overachiever. He can play guard or center. He went to the Senior Bowl and he really grew on me. He is a top-shelf kid.” From Sparks, Nev.

      6. CONNOR WILLIAMS, Texas (6-5, 300, 5.04, 1-2): Third-year junior started three seasons at LT but some teams see his future at guard. “His arms are too short (33) to play tackle,” one scout said. “Watch the Maryland game (Sept. 2). He looked like a fifth-round pick. Remember this. The Big 12 had no pass rushers except the little old Oklahoma midget (Ogbonnia Okoronkwo).” Missed seven games of his final season with knee ligament and cartilage damage. “He’s spoiled,” said another scout. “His parents have enabled him since a young age. He has talent. If you go watch his ’16 film he is really good. He’s got flexibility and he understands technique.” Wonderlic of 34 led the guards. So did his 34-inch vertical jump. “He looks it and he’s pretty and he’s got tools,” said a third scout. “The tape wasn’t great. He was pretty good two years ago. He’s just an odd duck. I don’t know.” From Coppell, Texas.

      7. BRADEN SMITH, Auburn (6-6, 312, 5.23, 2): Tied Nelson’s 35 reps on the bench. “Like the guy from ‘Rocky,’ Ivan Drago,” said one scout. “Got a little bit of that in him. Probably better in a gap power scheme because he’s a weightlifter. His ability to recover is a little iffy. He’s a good straight-line guy. He understands his deficiencies. If he gets beat, he doesn’t get beat again. You’re getting a good, solid, consistent starter.” Three-year starter (39 at RG, two at RT). “Big … monster big,” said a second scout. “Road-grader. Nasty son of a gun. Very serious kid. All about football. He’s the type of guy that loves what he’s doing. If you can draft him you’ll never have a problem.” Another scout dismissed him as “just a weightlifter guy.” Added a fourth scout: “He matched strength against (Da’Ron) Payne of Alabama. That’s what impressed me.” From Olathe, Kan.

      8. CHUKWUMA OKORAFOR, Western Michigan (6-6, 321, 5.27, 2-3): Grew up in Nigeria, South Africa and the Republic of Botswana. Didn’t play offensive line until his junior year in Southfield, Mich. “He looks like Tarzan,” said one scout. “Good athlete. Just not real aware. Mental is a real concern. Played pretty good against the good competition. Against the lower level he didn’t play quite as well. Disinterested at times. He’s just not nasty and struggles to learn.” Started 26 games at LT, 13 at RT. “He is a big, athletic human being,” a second scout said. “He is also the epitome of a finesse player. He can pass pro. He has the physical talent and he should be a top-10 pick. He’s second or third round, and he’s got a high bust factor. He does not have a great passion to be good.” Arms were 34 . Won’t turn 21 until August.

      9. JAMARCO JONES, Ohio State (6-4, 300, 5.45, 3-4): Apprenticed behind Taylor Decker (Lions) in 2014-’15 before starting at LT in 2016-’17. “Has to be a guard,” said one scout. “Kind of a bad body guy. More of a guard athlete.” Longest arms (35 1/8) of the guards. “I thought he was a guard who could play right tackle in a pinch because he has played left tackle in an elite program and wasn’t terrible at it,” said a second scout. “He’d be an interesting guard because he is athletic. For teams that think he can play tackle, he may be a second-rounder. He’s not strong (18 reps on the bench) but he plays with a pretty good degree of toughness. Doesn’t fit the usual Ohio State offensive line profile but he is talented.” From Chicago (De La Salle).

      10. WYATT TELLER, Virginia Tech (6-4 , 316, 5.25, 4): Reluctantly shifted from defensive line to offensive line as a redshirt freshman and became a 3 -year starter at LG. “No position versatility,” said one scout. “He does have some strength (30 reps on the bench) and can set the bottom of the pocket. Not overly mobile. He’s a decent backup candidate or maybe a need-based starter as your sixth lineman. I think he can get by.” Led guards in the broad jump (9-6). “Try-hard effort guy,” said another scout. “Needs a little bit more strength but he’s athletic enough.” From Bealeton, Va.

      OTHERS: Colby Gossett, Appalachian State; Skyler Phillips, Idaho State;
      Cole Madison, Washington State; Dejon Allen, Hawaii; Maea Teuhema, Southeastern Louisiana; Rod Taylor, Mississippi; Taylor Hearn, Clemson; Nick Gates, Nebraska; Tony Adams, North Carolina State; Brendan Mahon, Penn State; K.J. Malone, Louisiana State; Tyrone Crowder, Clemson.


      1. FRANK RAGNOW, Arkansas (6-5, 310, 4.99, 1-2): Posted the best 40, vertical jump (33 ), broad jump (9-7) and bench press (27) of the centers. “Versatile, big, smart, tough,” said one scout. “He’s got strength, movement, length (33 1/8 arms). Outstanding leader. Very bright.” Played tackle at Chanhassen High in Minnesota before being moved to center by Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema upon arrival in 2014. Backed up there as a freshman, started 13 games at RG in ’15 and then 18 at center in 2016-’17 before a high ankle sprain in Game 7 ended his senior season. “Kind of a slow-footed guy,” said a second scout. “He’ll end up being a starter. Don’t love him. If he has to be one of the better talents on the team then they’re going to struggle.” Wonderlic of 26. “He’ll struggle with more explosive interior guys,” said a third scout. “Those Grady Jarrett type guys are going to give him hell. He can become a starter at center.”

      2. JAMES DANIELS, Iowa (6-3 , 308, no 40, 1-2): Third-year junior. “He worked out like a phenom,” said one scout. “Everybody loves the guy. There’s a kid that’s a leader.” Became the first true freshman since Bryan Bulaga in 2007 to start on the offensive line for coach Kirk Ferentz . Made two starts at LG in 2015 before making 23 at center in 2016-’17. “I like the athlete,” said a second scout. “I like the effort. I like the fact he’s an Iowa offensive lineman. He could be a solid player.” His brother, LeShun, preceded him at Iowa as a RB. “Needs a lot of work,” a third scout said. “Good athlete and makes it look easy. Needs to get a little stronger in the upper (body). He’s got a real strong lower (body). He’s a sharp guy.” Tied for longest arms (33 ) at the position. Wonderlic of 27. “He is really athletic,” a fourth scout said. “Excellent pass blocker.” Won’t turn 21 until mid-September. From Warren, Ohio.

      3. MASON COLE, Michigan (6-4, 308, 5.25, 3-4): First freshman offensive lineman in Wolverines’ history to start a season opener. “That says something,” said one scout. “Played a lot of ball. Not a great looking kid on the hoof. You look at him and you’re, like, ‘You’re good? You don’t look good.’ But a good football player. He’s not a power guy but he’s a better athlete than he looks. He’s one of these guys that knows how to play football. He’ll play for a long time.” Started at LT in 2014-’15, at center in ’16 and again at LT in ’17. “He played left tackle this year so that hurt his development a little bit at center,” said a second scout. “But I think he’s a center.” Wonderlic of 30 led the top centers. “He’s going to have problems because he’s not that strong and he’s going to get pushed,” a third scout said. “I watched him play center in 2016. He doesn’t get good leverage on people. He’s soft.” From Tarpon Springs, Fla.

      4. SCOTT QUESSENBERRY, UCLA (6-3 , 309, 5.10, 4): His brother, David, was drafted as a tackle in the sixth round by the Texans in 2013. “He’ll make it,” said one scout. “Bad shoulders are the problem. Strength-wise, he’s going to be OK. Like a coach on the board. If he can play he’ll become a team leader.” His 44 starts included 26 at center, 12 at RG and six at LG. He missed 2015 after having shoulder operations. “Smart, athletic and really good in pass pro,” a second scout said. “Needs to improve on his run blocking.” Wonderlic of 28 and vertical jump of 33 , but arms were just 31 . “He’s a bona fide UCLA offensive lineman: not strong or physical,” said a third scout. “Free agent.” From La Costa, Calif.

      5. MARTINAS RANKIN, Mississippi State (6-4 , 307, no 40, 4): Played two seasons in junior college, redshirted in 2015 and was healthy enough to start 19 games at LT in 2016-’17. “His best position is guard, maybe even center,” one scout said. “He took snaps in practice. He’s extremely smart. Is he athletic enough to stay at tackle? Right tackle, yes. Left tackle, I’d be concerned. The better pass rushers are going to beat him. Inside, he’d be a good zone-blocking guy. He’s got length (33 arms) and growth potential. I think he ends up at center.” Played some center in spring football. Has five-position potential. “He’s one of those guys, because he looks like an athlete they say he’s an athlete, but he’s not,” said another scout. “He’s not strong. He has a long ways to go.” From Mendenhall, Miss.

      OTHERS: Sean Welsh, Iowa; Will Clapp, Louisiana State; Brian Allen, Michigan State; Austin Golson, Auburn; Brad Bozeman, Alabama; Jake Ohnesorge, South Dakota State; Coleman Shelton, Washington; Jake Bennett, Colorado State.



      Jaryd Jones-Smith, T, Pittsburgh: Suffered a horrendous knee injury in the summer of 2015 that almost ended his career. Made it back in ’16 and then started nine games at RT in ’17. Jones-Smith (6-6 , 318, 5.23) had the longest arms (36 ) at the combine.


      Maea Teuhema, G, Southeastern Louisiana: Went to LSU in 2015 as the top guard recruit in the nation. Started at LG as a freshman and at RT in ’16 before being suspended in August 2017 and departing for FCS. Logged 11 starts at LT before declaring a year early. Teuhema (6-4, 311, 5.49) is a solid power player but off-field issues cloud his future.


      Merv Pregulman, G, Michigan: First-round draft choice in 1944 (seventh pick). Joined the Packers in 1946 after the completion of World War II and played 11 games as the starting RG. Pregulman (6-3, 215) returned to his native Michigan for two seasons with the Lions as a center-linebacker-kicker before finishing up in ’49 with the 1-10-1 New York Bulldogs.


      NFL personnel man: “Any time I ever heard in a meeting, ‘He needs development,’ my question was: ‘Do we have the people in place to develop this guy?’ If your answer is yes, then select him. If not, then we need to put him on the board with the not-for-us guys. You hire 18 coaches and you think they all can develop talent, but they don’t.”


      • #4

        We pause now to interrupt the NFL war rooms in which executives are spending the last few days hoping against hope they can come up with some big men that can rush the passer.

        There’s defensive end Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State and then … well, no one’s quite sure who’s next.

        That should all change a year from now, assuming underclassmen on the defensive line declare for the draft at the same rate they have in recent times.

        “If you want to jump ahead a year the defensive line will be the strength of the draft,” an executive in personnel said. “My best players for next year are all defensive linemen. I can name four guys next year that will go in the top 10.”

        The scout rattled off Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell and Boston College’s Zach Allen as edge players ala Chubb. In the next breath, he listed Michigan’s Rashan Gary, Alabama’s Raekwon Davis and Houston’s Ed Oliver as the leading defensive tackles.

        In the meantime, every team must wring what they can from a draft board that’s thin in 2018.

        Chubb, a classic 4-3 defensive end, will be covered with the other edge players in Part 5 of this series. This part will cover players that generally are considered 0-1-3-5 techniques and weigh at least 280 pounds.

        Two players, Washington’s Vita Vea and Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne, stand head and shoulders above the pack. In fact, they tied for most total points in a poll of 14 personnel men.

        Vea garnered eight first-place votes compared to five for Payne and one for Florida’s Taven Bryan. A first-place vote was worth 7 points and a second-place was worth 6 as scouts ranked their top seven big men in order.

        Vea and Payne emerged tied with 87 points. Sixteen players drew votes, and the first division also included Bryan (68), Michigan’s Maurice Hurst (40), Mississippi’s Breeland Speaks (21), Stanford’s Harrison Phillips (19), Miami’s R.J. McIntosh (16) and North Carolina State’s B.J. Hill (14).

        Filling out the second division were Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand (eight), Florida State’s Derrick Nnadi (eight), Ohio State’s Jalyn Holmes (seven), North Carolina State’s Justin Jones (five), Virginia Tech’s Tim Settle (four), Fort Hays State’s Nathan Shepherd (four), Virginia’s Andrew Brown (three) and Miami’s Kendrick Norton (one).

        “That’s a bad group,” one personnel man said. “After the first two there’s nobody intriguing.”

        That might be a little harsh. Still, the talent pool can’t begin to compare to a year ago when seven defensive linemen went in Round 1.

        The dilemma for each organization this year is just how high Vea and Payne, who essentially are nose tackles, should be taken.

        Vea (6-4, 347, 5.07) is an incredible physical specimen with stunning speed for his bulk. Payne (6-2 , 309, 4.96) flourished down the stretch as the interior cornerstone of the Crimson Tide’s national championship team.

        Still, Vea finished with just 9 sacks in 40 games and Payne totaled only three in 44 games. Some scouts say each player has underdeveloped traits to become a better rusher in the NFL, but doing that against pro pass blockers won’t be easy.

        “If you’re going to pay a big price to get a guy on your roster he’s got to be able to rush the passer,” an NFC personnel man said. “Everybody says, ‘Well, you need a two-down guy, too.’ But you don’t. They pass as much as they run on run downs today.”

        At some point in the first round Vea and Payne will be selected, and it would appear Vea should go first. But is a nose tackle, no matter how unique his ability might be, worth a top-15 pick let alone a top-10?

        “We’re not that high on Vea,” said one scout. “He’s what he is. No pass rush. People are probably a little stung by Danny Shelton who came out of there (Washington in 2015).

        “Similar guy. Big space-eater. It’s kind of hard to draft one of those guys high. He’s not going to be in there in subpackages.”

        In 2009, the Green Bay Packers used the ninth pick on a nose tackle, B.J. Raji. He weighed 333 before that draft, so let’s use that as a cutoff to see how prominent big men 333 and above have fared as pass rushers.

        This influx of incredibly large defensive tackles has only been going on for 10 years or so. From 1992-’06, there were just three defensive tackles of significance that entered the draft weighing 330 or more.

        The list that follows shows 10 massive nose tackles from the last 25 years arranged by average sacks per game.

        Chester McGlockton (6-4, 337, 5.05): Oakland’s first-round pick (16) in 1992 … 51 sacks in 179 games, an average of one every 3.5 games.

        Eddie Goldman (6-4, 336, 5.28): Chicago’s second-round pick in 2015 … 8 sacks in 36 games, 4.2.

        Grady Jackson (6-1, 340, no 40): Oakland’s sixth-round pick in 1997 … 35 sacks in 185 games, 5.2.

        Haloti Ngata (6-4, 339, 5.13): Baltimore’s first-round pick (12) in 2006 … 31 sacks in 167 games, 5.3.

        Dontari Poe (6-3 , 339, 4.91): Kansas City’s first-round pick (11) in 2012 … 15 sacks in 94 games, 6.1.

        Phil Taylor (6-3, 334, 5.16): Cleveland’s first-round pick (21) in 2011 … seven sacks in 44 games, 6.3.

        B.J. Raji (6-1 1/2, 333, 5.15): Green Bay’s first-round pick (nine) in 2009 … 11 sacks in 91 games, 8.3.

        Vince Wilfork (6-1, 335, 5.08): New England’s first-round pick (21) in 2004 … 16 sacks in 189 games, 11.8.

        Gilbert Brown (6-2 , 335, 5.11): Minnesota’s third-round pick in 1993 … seven sacks in 125 games, 17.9.

        Danny Shelton (6-2, 338, 5.61): 1 sacks in 46 games, 30.7.

        Talented people like Chester McGlockton and Grady Jackson don’t come along often.

        “Vea and Payne are subtle pass rushers,” said one scout. “For big guys they rush deceptively. For big guys they rush pretty well.”

        The comparison between Vea and Shelton is made constantly given their similar size and the same school. Although Vea at 5.07 could run circles around Shelton, it’s notable that the far slower Shelton made more plays for the Huskies than Vea.

        In 53 games (41 starts), Shelton finished with 208 tackles (24 for loss) and 11 sacks.

        In 40 games (18 starts), Vea finished with 100 tackles (15 for loss) and the 9 sacks.

        “Danny Shelton might have made more splash plays,” said one personnel man. “But they’re similar guys.”

        Just as NFL teams feel they have an excellent idea what to expect from Vea, the same holds true of Payne. That’s because Alabama has had 12 big men drafted since coach Nick Saban took over in 2007.

        Here are those 12 players in order of selection round:

        Marcell Dareus (6-3, 319, 4.94): First round (three) by Buffalo in 2011.

        Jonathan Allen (6-2 , 285, 5.01): First round (17) by Washington in 2017.

        Terrence Cody (6-3 , 349, 5.66): Second round by Baltimore in 2010.

        Jarran Reed (6-3, 309, 5.16): Second round by Seattle in 2016.

        A’Shawn Robinson (6-3 , 310, 5.16): Second round by Detroit in 2016.

        Dalvin Tomlinson (6-3, 311, 5.16): Second round by the New York Giants in 2017.

        Josh Chapman (6-0 , 317, 5.04): Fifth round by Indianapolis in 2012.

        Quinton Dial (6-5 , 312, 5.31): Fifth round by San Francisco in 2013.

        Jesse Williams (6-3 , 325, 4.94): Fifth round by Seattle in 2013.

        Ed Stinson (6-3 , 288, 5.00): Fifth round by Arizona in 2014.

        Jeoffrey Pagan (6-3 , 308, no 40): Sixth round by Houston in 2014.

        Brandon Deaderick (6-4, 315, 5.39): Seventh round by New England in 2010.

        Those 12 players have combined for 54 sacks, with 36 belonging to Dareus.

        “Because of the discipline of the ‘Bama’ scheme it negates the sack production of their defensive linemen,” one personnel man said. “I think Payne can develop as a rusher pushing the pocket.”

        Saban’s sacks generally have come from edge rushers and both inside linebackers and safeties in pressure packages..

        “I don’t think they tapped into Payne’s pass rush and up side,” said another scout. “They didn’t develop that. They just let him be a big, violent, physical, power-handed guy.

        “As a rusher he needs a lot of technical work. I think there was a lot more there.”

        At least the personnel people can be comforted knowing far better prospects are just one year away.


        1. VITA VEA, Washington (6-4, 347, 5.07, 1): Fourth-year junior. “He’s so big and athletic,” one scout said. “I mean, he can do whatever he wants. The guy weighed 347 and we had him in 5.05. That’s a big old (bleep). He’s really light on his feet. He just tosses guys like they’re elementary-school kids. He’s up and down in motor but he’s hard to block.” Doubled as a RB in high school at Milpitas, Calif., and played basketball, too. Spent time covering kicks for the Huskies. “He blocked a punt against Colorado by bull-rushing the personal protector right into the punter,” said a second scout. “It was a regular routine by the punter. Vea got so much penetration and so fast it was sick. He’s a freak. The scary thing is he’s only going to get better. They had him in this weird frog stance (and) kind of reacting. More of a power rusher now.” His 41 reps on the bench were second highest among DL. “Going to be a hell of a player,” said a third scout. “A guy that big that moves that well and plays that hard, he’ll be a Pro Bowler.” Scored 17 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test. “Is Vea as good as (Haloti) Ngata?” said a fourth scout. “I’m kind of thinking not but I bet he gets drafted somewhere in that same area (12th, 2006).” Arms were 32 5/8 inches, hands were 10 inches. “He’s the same guy as (Danny) Shelton,” said a fifth scout. “He’s a two-down run stuffer. Those kind of guys are losing their luster.”

        2. DA’RON PAYNE, Alabama (6-2 , 309, 4.96, 1): Backed up as a true freshman in 2015 before starting 29 games at NT in the Crimson Tide’s 3-4 defense the past two years. “Tough, blue-collar, physical,” said one scout. “But still able to make plays. He can two-gap. He rushed better later in the year. He ran well. Consistent player. Better run than pass but I think he can play on third down.” Finished with 102 tackles (five for loss) and three sacks. “He’ll put his hands on a guard’s chest in the NFL and they’ll feel it,” a second scout said. “They’re going to feel him every play. He does have some quickness. He’ll always be a push-the-pocket guy but he has up side as a penetrator. He’s a first-round pick in any draft. I’ve seen him take both the guards and the center and he’s walking them to the backfield.” From Birmingham, Ala. “He’s not quite as explosive maybe as Marcell Dareus but I’d rate him above Jarron Reed and A’Shawn Robinson,” a third scout said. “Payne can be a better pass rusher than Robinson. This kid is really gifted for a big man. He can get on half of a man.” Wonderlic of 21. Arms were 33, hands were 9 3/8.

        3. TAVEN BRYAN, Florida (6-5, 292, 5.05, 1): Recruited early as an offensive tackle, he came to enjoy defense more and became the first player from Wyoming (Casper) to sign with Gators. “He’s a disruptor but he doesn’t finish,” said one scout. “He might be the most explosive of all these guys. Florida’s defensive line was so bad he got double-teamed most of the time. He has pressures, not sacks.” Third-year junior, one-year starter. “I like everything,” said a second scout. “His person, his athleticism and his ability to get off the ball. He can be a one-gap or a two-gap player. If he gets to the right scheme he can flourish. People think he’s goofy but he’s not. He is who he is.” Minimal production, finishing with 67 tackles (10 for loss) and 5 sacks. “If you were his parents you’d be proud of him because you could say, ‘My son plays his butt off,’” said a third scout. “And he does. But this guy leaves more plays on the field than anybody with his skill set that I’ve ever seen. He is so much more into intensity at the expense of discipline and sound football. He’s going to have to be uncoached … He puts his hand on the ground and just winds up his engine and if he’s got to be in the B gap he’s going to be in that B gap so hard that by the time he finally gets himself in a position to find where the football is it’s already seven yards downfield. Every once in a while he’s going to make not just a normal play but it’ll be a sensational play where he just throws you for an 8-yard loss because every once in a while blind hogs get acorns. They do. If he guesses right he’s a beast. If he guesses wrong he’s upside down some place.” Led defensive linemen in vertical jump (35 inches), broad jump (9-11), short shuttle (4.48) and 3-cone (7.12). “I don’t see it at all,” another scout said. “He plays erect, gets pushed around in the run game, didn’t have a feel for the game. Straight-line, no moves. I’m perplexed.” Wonderlic of 26. Added a fifth scout: “He goes to the combine and his interviews were awful. Little immature just the way he acts and the way he does things. But I’d take him in the 20 area.”

        4. MAURICE HURST, Michigan (6-1 , 291, 4.98, 1-2): Played extensive from 2014-’16 but didn’t become a starter until his senior season. “He’s more of the prototypical 3-technique than anybody in the draft,” one scout said. “Everybody wants that length at that inside position but I look at the Pro Bowl every year and everybody that gets voted to it is 6-1 or less. He’s a lot like Aaron Donald. Only thing where they’re not alike is Donald can just jolt your shoulders over your heels and rock you right back into the quarterback. I haven’t seen that quality in this guy. His plays were made on quickness.” Finished with 132 tackles (32 for loss) and 12 sacks. “He’s just got to fit your system,” a second scout said. “He has to continue playing hard. He’s a quick penetrator. He’ll get hammered if he plays two gaps.” Arms just 32, hands only 9 . Wonderlic of 26. “What you’ve got is a very small man,” a third scout said. “He’s not like Warren Sapp or Tommie Harris, any of those super 3-techniques. I just don’t see it. He’s a good rotational player.” Prevented from working out at the combine when doctors discovered an irregularity with his heart. Later was cleared by doctors and worked out fully at pro day. His father, Maurice, started at CB for the Patriots from 1989-’95. From Westwood, Mass.

        5. BREELAND SPEAKS, Mississippi (6-3, 285, 4.90, 2): Fourth-year junior started 19 of 37 games. “Got a lot of talent,” said one scout. “Has big-time flashes. Burst, power, plays hard, disrupts a lot. He’s a versatile guy who can fit different fronts.” Played mostly as a DE in 2016 before moving inside last year. “On run downs he’s a base left end,” said another scout. “That’s the tone-setting, stout guy that you want. On third down put him over the guard and let him go. He’s a good power-leverage rusher. He doesn’t have the body twitch for backward movement … Had a rough sophomore year (2016). A lot of off-field stuff happened (DUI, suspension). He lost a lot of weight. He can be a really good player in the right setting under the right coach. Given that, he’s probably a Pro Bowler. If he gets (Cowboys defensive coordinator) Rod Marinelli, somebody like that. Under a coach who’s not going to (challenge) him every day.” … Finished with 127 tackles (15 for loss) and nine sacks. “He got kicked out of the Mississippi State game (Nov. 23),” a third scout said. “He’s a disruptive force but there are games he doesn’t do anything. If everything went right I thought he could be a first-rounder. I don’t know that it has.” From Jackson, Miss.

        6. HARRISON PHILLIPS, Stanford (6-3, 305, 5.18, 2-3): Fourth-year junior, two-year starter at NT in a 3-4. “Does things right,” said one scout. “Solomon Thomas was different but this guy fits in with some of those Stanford guys they had before.” Led the Cardinal in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks (7 ) in 2017. “He’s a dominant guy from the standpoint of controlling the center of the line and making a defense where you’re strong in the middle and all of that,” said a second scout. “You can see that he’s got great power in his upper body (led D-line in bench-press reps with 42). He throws people around. But I’m not sure he has the acceleration or has the fluidness to ever be a great pass rusher. He gets a hold of the guy blocking him and he then recognizes pass and he throws the guy, but by that time the ball’s off. His best position might be 5-technique.” Finished with 159 tackles (28 for loss) and 16 sacks. Exceptional prep wrestler in Omaha, Neb. “What makes him so productive is he has a first-round motor,” said a third scout. “But he struggles against double teams and there’s a lot of tackle production down the field.” Led the position with a Wonderlic of 35.

        7. R.J. McINTOSH, Miami (6-4 , 286, 5.12, 2-3): Third-year junior praised for his pass rush from 3-technique in the Hurricanes’ 4-3 defense. “Athletic twitch up the field,” said one scout. “An up-field penetrator. He needs to get stronger against double teams. A true 3-technique.” Finished with 103 tackles (23 for loss) and 5 sacks. Impressed scouts Nov. 11 with his performance against Notre Dame LG Quenton Nelson. “Gave Nelson a lot of problems,” said another scout. “Can hit the gap and disrupt. Explosive take-off.” From Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

        8. B.J. HILL, North Carolina State (6-3 , 308, 4.99, 2-3): Largest hands (10 5/8) among the top 15 DTs. “He’s a banger,” one scout said. “Not an elite guy. Doesn’t make a whole lot of plays. Good rotational guy.” Started at NT in a 4-3 for three years, finishing with 187 tackles (26 for loss) and nine sacks. “Line of scrimmage guy, not a pass rusher,” a second scout said. “High pad level. All power.” Bench-pressed 35 times. “He is the absolute leader of that team,” said a third scout. “Blows you away in an interview. Other than a couple spin moves he doesn’t have much. If I like anything about him is that he’s a snap-to-whistle guy.” From Oakboro, N.C.

        9. DERRICK NNADI, Florida State (6-1, 310, 5.39, 3): Started 37 of 48 games at NT. “Plays strong,” one scout said. “For a short, squatty guy he’s got a little bit of pass rush so you don’t always have to take him off the field. He’s a hold-the-point guy, first and foremost. Pretty instinctive guy.” Finished with 153 tackles (24 for loss) and 11 sacks. “I like him better than Hurst,” another scout said. “Plays harder. Plays more violent. Hand use and leverage guy.” Parents are Nigerian. Ran a terrible 40. “Tested poorly,” said a third scout. “Pretty good player on tape. Good guy.” From Virginia Beach, Va.

        10. DA’SHAWN HAND, Alabama (6-3 , 298, 4.94, 3): Described as an “underachiever” by one scout. Said another: “He doesn’t play as well as he worked out. He’s a prototypical body for a 5-technique. He’s not going to be great rushing over a guard because he doesn’t have a lot of twitch or body quickness. He’s going to have to win with power. A true 3-4 team like Pittsburgh, he has value there. You try to make him a pass rusher, you’re doing him a disservice.” Smart (Wonderlic of 28), long-armed (34 3/8), strong (28 reps on the bench) and fast. State champion prep wrestler. “Always lacked durability,” said a third scout. “Had some back and knee stuff. Lots of stalemates at the line of scrimmage. Tight ends tend to block him. As a rusher he struggles to uncover. A five-star guy that kind of underachieved.” Didn’t start until 2017, finishing with 71 tackles (15 for loss) and 10 sacks. From Woodbridge, Va.

        11. JALYN HOLMES, Ohio State (6-5, 284, 4.85, 3): Never started a game from 2014-’16 before starting nine in ’17. Saw most of his action inside on passing downs. “He hasn’t ever produced to the level of his talent,” one scout said. “What he does best is rush as a 3-technique in sub. He is athletic and tough.” Also has 34-inch arms. “Reminds me of Carlos Dunlap,” another scout said. “Not a great player but a steady, solid player in the league. That’s what this guy can become if he gets the right coaching. He’s not a sudden guy. His pass rush seems planless and lacks creativity. Kind of a down-home, sincere kid. Didn’t have an agenda.” Finished with 84 tackles (13 for loss) and four sacks. “Overrated,” said a third scout. “He’s pretty and he’s an athlete, but he doesn’t make any plays.” From Norfolk, Va.

        12. JUSTIN JONES, North Carolina State (6-2 , 308, 5.11, 3): Started at DT in a 4-3 for two seasons. “He’s a competitive and intense 3-technique,” one scout said. “Needs pass-rush development. He was stuck in front of his blocker an awful lot for a 3-technique. We’d like our 3-technique to be a three-down player and I don’t think this guy is that. He’s one of those guys that wrestles and spars with blockers.” Finished with 115 tackles (21 1/2 for loss) and 7 sacks. “The North Carolina State D-line was the best D-line in college football last year,” a second scout said. “I like his ability to play the run. He can hold the point and gives a semblance of pass rush.” From Austell, Ga.

        13. NATHAN SHEPHERD, Fort Hays State (6-3 , 314, 5.11, 3-4): A 205-pound LB in Ajax, Ontario who spent two years at Simon Fraser in British Columbia before departing. Worked for two years before walking on at Division II Fort Hays (Kan.) State. “Canadian kid that has bounced around for six years (will be 25 in October),” said one scout. “He’s still very, very raw. He was a big fish in a small pond. He had real good production the three years he played but that’s a level you should have if you’re a big, strong guy. He’s played every position but he’s basically a 3-technique.” Finished with 168 tackles (27 for loss) and 10 sacks. “He walks into the room and he looks like an NFL DT, maybe even a 3-4 DE,” said a second scout. “He did really impressive position work at the combine. He’s just so raw and is going to advance so quickly. He’s going to be a player.” Wore a sweater and tie each night for interviews at the Senior Bowl.

        14. ANDREW BROWN, Virginia (6-3 , 292, 5.02, 3-4): Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2013. “Kind of an enigma,” said one scout. “He’s quick and he’s strong and he picks his spots. Looks good. Seldom finishes.” Two-year starter with 94 tackles (26 for loss) and 10 1/2 sacks. Long history of injury. “They played him at end but he’ll have to transition inside,” another scout said. “When he did that at the Senior Bowl he looked pretty damn good.” From Chesapeake, Va. “Strong hands versus tight ends but struggles against bigger bodies,” said a third scout. “He’s better working edges. Five-star recruit who never lived up to the billing. He’s got long arms (34 ).”

        15. P.J. HALL, Sam Houston State (6-0 , 308, 4.76, 4): One of the best stories of the draft. Established FCS records for tackles for loss (86 ) and blocked kicks (14) to go with 42 sacks as a 55-game starter. Fastest DT in the draft. “He’s not a workout guy,” said one scout. “He’s got 85 tackles for loss. He started out as an end and they kicked him back inside. He’s a 3-technique. He’s a short one but he’s big.” Registered 284 tackles in four-year career after red-shirting in 2013. Vertical jump of 38 also led the position. “I looked at him yesterday again,” a second scout said. “Ran 4.76, 28 on the bench. He’s getting drafted in the sixth round. At least.” From Seguin, Texas.

        OTHERS: Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee; Trent Thompson, Georgia; Kendrick Norton, Miami; Tim Settle, Virginia Tech; Folorunso Fatukasi, Connecticut; Bilal Nichols, Delaware; Zach Sieler, Ferris State; Deadrin Senat, South Florida; Kentavius Street, North Carolina State; Du’Vonta Lampkin, Oklahoma; John Franklin-Myer, Stephen F. Austin; Bruce Hector, South Florida; James Looney, California; Poona Ford, Texas; Henry Mondeaux, Oregon; Lowell Lotulelei, Utah.

        THE SKINNY


        Zach Sieler, DL, Ferris State: Stunned scouts by declaring a year early. Sieler (6-5 , 288, 4.83) had 19 of his 33 sacks in 2016 for the Division II Bulldogs. Besides working out extremely well, he scored 34 on the Wonderlic. “He’ll just brawl kids at that level on his way to a sack,” said one scout. “Kid’s brilliant, graduated and already been offered a job by Chrysler. He was a 215-pound walk-on (from Pinckney, Mich.). A 3-4 team would probably draft him late as a 5-technique because they’re hard to find. He’ll fight you.”


        Du’Vonta Lampkin, NT Oklahoma: Redshirted in 2015, started two of 17 games in 2016-’17 and renounced his final two years of eligibility. Lampkin (6-4, 345, 5.24) has the longest arms (35 ) at the position, benched 31 times and can run. Served a six-game suspension in 2016.


        Jim Temp, DE, Wisconsin: Second-round draft choice in 1955. After a two-year hitch in the Army, Temp played 43 games for the Packers from 1957-’60. Later, he served on the team’s board of directors and executive committee. He was an all-time athlete at La Crosse Aquinas High School.


        NFL personnel man: “Everybody talks about get-off and acceleration, they talk about all those things. I think the smooth coordination of your hands and feet, if you look at the great ones, that stands out to me as the No. 1 trait in successful pass rush.”


        • #5
          Props for posting this.


          • #6
            Damn this dude is harsh as hell on the receivers. Takes a bit of wind out of sails on the DJ Moore train. You got one for LBers?
            I was on the draft LVE train. I was for trading for Amari before it happened.
            'nuff said


            • #7
              Originally posted by lostxn View Post
              Damn this dude is harsh as hell on the receivers. Takes a bit of wind out of sails on the DJ Moore train. You got one for LBers?
              I don't know if that's him as much as it's just him piecing together comments made to him about players.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post
                I don't know if that's him as much as it's just him piecing together comments made to him about players.
                It is like that every year.


                • #9
                  Edge Rushers

                  Of the 22 players that accepted invitations to attend the NFL draft this week in Dallas, 21 have a reasonable chance to be selected in the first round.

                  Shaquem Griffin, a linebacker from Central Florida, is the outlier.

                  As you probably know by now, Griffin has overcome the amputation of his left hand at age 4 due to Amniotic Band Syndrome to forge a career in football. He became a national story at the combine in March when he bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times with the use of a prosthetic to grasp the bar. He also ran fast and worked out well.

                  The league wanted Griffin at the draft because his story might be the most compelling of any to the average fan. General managers across the league will be paying rapt attention, too.

                  “He’s probably the most interesting guy from the standpoint of where he’ll be picked,” an AFC decision-maker said. “Yeah, I think there’s a place for him.”

                  In the last three weeks a panel of 13 personnel men were asked if they would draft Griffin and, if so, in what round?

                  Nine said they would. Four said they wouldn’t.

                  Of the nine, one said he would take Griffin in the second round, two said third round, three said fourth round, one said fifth round and two said sixth round.

                  Griffin (6-0 , 224) played for the South team in the Senior Bowl that was coached by the staff of the Houston Texans. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel expressed in an interview with NFL Network what many in the league would like to see occur come Draft Day.

                  “To be able to do what he does with only one hand, that impresses me,” said Crennel, a hard-bitten septuagenarian whose NFL coaching career began in 1981. “I think there will be a role for him somewhere in the NFL. He played outside linebacker, pass rusher and safety some here. Hopefully, everybody in the NFL sees what he brings to the game.”

                  Phil Savage, the executive director of the Senior Bowl for six years and a longtime NFL scout, said Griffin would go down as the most inspirational player in the 69-year history of the game.

                  “Not even close,” said Savage. “The reaction he got when he went to the hospital and the food bank was off the charts.”

                  As Savage paused to project Griffin’s pro career, he said, “The head coach isn’t going to have to do a lot of motivating. All he’s got to do is say, ‘Feel sorry for yourself? Look at that kid. He’s not quittin.’ He’s an amazing story.”

                  That story, however, can last only so long. General managers are hired and fired on their won-lost record. It’s only fair that the debate in all 32 draft rooms must begin and end on a player’s ability to help a team win, and that includes Griffin.

                  “It’s a feel-good story but I don’t live in that environment,” said one NFL decision-maker. “Well, you do, but you don’t.

                  “Why would you do that? He’s got one hand. He can’t create separation. He’ll get crushed at the point of attack.

                  “He’s got incredible passion but I still wouldn’t do it. This is the National Football League. It’s a big boy league. He’s got the heart of a lion but it takes more than that. It’s a wasted draft pick.”

                  Several scouts with 30-plus years in the profession have never seen a player without one hand. One scouted a player who was deaf and another who was blind in one eye.

                  Two personnel people brought up the name of Carl “Sugarfoot” Joseph, who was born without a left leg and declined to use a prosthesis. He still managed to run down on special teams and play as a defensive lineman and linebacker for Bethune-Cookman University in the 1980s. In 2009, he was inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

                  Some teams appear convinced that Griffin will join his twin brother, Shaquill, as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Shaquill, a third-round pick last year from UCF, had a strong rookie season as a starting cornerback.

                  “Just the vibe I’m getting from things,” said one scout. “Some of the comments made by some of their guys about the type of kid he is and the football player he is and what he embodies.”

                  Griffin barely played as a safety in 2014-’15 before new coach Scott Frost shifted him to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Flying off the edge, Griffin finished with 175 tackles, including 33 for loss, 18 sacks and 13 passes defensed.

                  “He played a 7-technique and just runs right by people,” said one scout. “He is probably the most explosive of the (edge) group. He is a good player. You can’t coach the explosion that this guy has.”

                  Will his pass-rush style work in the NFL? Some scouts say no, that just like many small speed rushers Griffin will be routinely turned aside by long-armed, massive and athletic tackles.

                  “My idea for him is ‘will’ linebacker off the ball and run and chase and occasionally blitz,” one personnel man said. “Maybe not even as a starter but as some sort of situational player. Then he’ll cover kicks. The punt protection could be problematic but you could play him at gunner because he obviously runs fast enough to do it. Whether 4.38 was legit or not, he’s still a 4.5 guy.”

                  Griffin missed more than his share of tackles, which probably was understandable but can’t be excused in the analysis and has never been excused by Griffin himself.

                  “But, hell, there’s guys with two hands that can’t tackle people and they get taken in the first round,” another scout said. “This guy gives you everything else. He runs around and does what he can. Tough guy. Heck of a story.”

                  That personnel man would select Griffin in the fourth round. Another scout with a fourth-round grade expected Griffin to become a “special teams dynamo.”

                  Added another scout: “The kid’s got flaws all over the place. He’s got a little paunch gut. He’s smooth-muscled. He’s not really big enough to be an end. He’s a little bit knock-kneed so he’s not a DB.

                  “But I’ll tell you what. He has got burst, a nose for the ball and he always hustles. He has a useful place on a team.”

                  Griffin went from nothing at UCF to a standout. He even showed his resolve on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test, almost doubling his score of 11 in March 2017 to 20 a year later at the combine.

                  “I’ve been ready since I was a kid,” Griffin told in November. “I’m waiting for somebody to say, ‘You can’t do it.’”

                  OK, here goes, although undoubtedly Griffin has been challenged many times by team personnel during interviews here, there and everywhere during the draft run-up.

                  “No – you’re always going to be compensating for that arm,” said one experienced personnel man. “When you’re playing linebacker, what are you going to use first? Your hands.

                  “I wouldn’t touch him. Let somebody else campaign for him or whatever. You don’t need him. He’s not going to be a superstar where you miss somebody. I wouldn’t draft him.”

                  Most teams are also very much aware of the public relations impact of drafting Griffin, both good and bad.

                  “When you draft him, he’s going to be on the front page (news section) of the newspapers,” said one executive. “What happens if the guy can’t play? You can’t cut him after what he’s achieved in life.

                  “Whoever takes him backs themselves up against a wall if the guy can’t do it. Because you’d have to keep the guy around for a couple years with what he’s overcome. If you cut him, you become a jerk.”

                  As speculation builds about Griffin’s draft placement, there is no question regarding the best edge player. That would be Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State.

                  When 14 personnel people were asked to name the best pass rusher in the draft, 12 voted for Chubb. Receiving one vote each were Texas-San Antonio’s Marcus Davenport and Louisiana State’s Arden Key.

                  The edge position includes average-sized defensive ends best suited for a 4-3 defense, 3-4 outside linebackers and 4-3 strong-side linebackers. Part 7 of the series, linebackers, will cover inside linebackers in a 3-4 defense and both middle and weak-side linebackers in a 4-3. In other words, linebackers that line up off the line of scrimmage.

                  In the edge position poll, 14 scouts listed their seven top prospects, with a first-place vote worth 7 points, a second-place vote worth 6 and so forth.

                  Chubb, a unanimous choice, received the maximum total of 98 points. Others finishing in double digits were Davenport (79), Boston College’s Harold Landry (58), Key (44), Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard (32), Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter (20) and Rutgers’ Kemoko Turay (15).

                  Following, in order, were Southern Cal’s Rasheem Green (nine), teammate Uchenna Nwosu (nine), Florida State’s Josh Sweat (nine), Ohio State’s Tyquan Lewis (seven), Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor (four), Oklahoma’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (three), Griffin (two), Mississippi’s Marquis Haynes (two) and Kansas’s Dorance Armstrong (one).

                  “I think there’s some guys that have rush ability,” said an AFC personnel director. “Landry, Carter, Green, Turay, Key, Davenport. And there are some inside rushers that are pretty good, too.”

                  RANKING THE EDGE RUSHERS

                  1. BRADLEY CHUBB, North Carolina State (6-4 , 270, 4.66, 1): Consensus pick as the best defensive player in the draft. “I did five games on him but I knew what he was in five plays,” one scout said. “There’s the Clowney’s, the Garrett’s and now the Chubb’s. They’re the great ones … He’s hard to pin down because he’s so slippery with his feet. He runs 4.66, which is good-plus, not great. But he’s so much quicker than he is fast. I mean, this guy is a cat. He could play in the 3-4, too.” Jadeveon Clowney (6-5 , 266, 4.52) was the first pick in 2014. Myles Garrett (6-4 , 270, 4.64) was the first pick in ’17. Garrett’s arms were 35 inches, Clowney’s were 34 and Chubb’s were 34. “Little bit like Garrett but probably has a little more grit,” a second scout said. “He’s got a full game. Plays hard. Sets the edge. Has range. Physical, strong, quick, fast as a rusher. He’s long. He can bend. Good contact balance. (Jason) Pierre-Paul (6-4 , 266, 4.72) was probably a freakier athlete but this guy is ready to go.” Finished with 204 tackles (60 for loss), 26 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 49 games (38 starts). Scored 19 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test. “He’s got a little stiffness but he’s OK,” said a third scout. “He’s a 4-3 right end. He’s got tenacity in his heart. I like that.” From Marietta, Ga.

                  2. MARCUS DAVENPORT, Texas-San Antonio (6-5 , 263, 4.59, 1): Enrolled at 200 pounds, backed up in 2014 and started at DE for three years. “He’s got everything you want physically,” said one scout. “He’s raw. He’s got really good pass-rush potential. Plays with pretty good instincts. Needs to get bigger and stronger (22 reps on the bench). I like the way that he plays hard. He’s into some weird (bleep), poetry and (bleep) like that. He has other interests. He’s not an alpha dog, but he’s a pretty talented guy.” Arms were 33 5/8, hands just 9 1/8. “He’s no sure bet,” said a second scout. “He’s got to learn to protect his legs better. He’s got real traits, though. He’ll be making a pretty big jump. I think strength is going to be an issue initially … I don’t have any huge concerns. He’s not a classic football personality but Von Miller is about as eccentric as you can get so it doesn’t worry me. Any time you say he’s got this personality trait I can name a great player who has that same trait. Sometimes you can overanalyze stuff.” Finished with 186 tackles (38 for loss) and 22 sacks as a three-year starter. Played primarily as a standup DE. How did he win as a rusher? “Head of steam,” said a third scout. “If he was A and the quarterback was B, it was a straight line into that. If there was something there he’d run over it if he could. He would stab people with a long arm and work off that. He (seemed) willing to learn, but he has a lot to learn about what to do. He has to learn even to put his hand on the ground.” From San Antonio. “No (bleep) way I’d take him top 20,” said a fourth scout. “He scares the crap out of me. He’s a renaissance man. I don’t know if football is really that big for him. There’s times he can be soft. He’s got flashes of brilliance. He’s got length (33 5/8 arms). But people are going to be scared on his personality.” Added a fifth scout: “There’s a little bit of a concern, ‘All right, is this all going to be too big for him?’ Kind of a weird kid. The interview was weird. That was kind of the vibe of our room.”

                  3. HAROLD LANDRY, Boston College (6-2 , 253, 4.67, 1): Played DE in a 4-3 defense, starting for three years. “When big linemen get their hands on him, which they will, there’s not much left after that,” said one scout. “He gets swallowed up some at the point of attack. He’ll have more value to a 3-4 team because he’s got great get-off, great acceleration and an impressive dip move. He can dip his shoulder and do it with lean and bend and accelerate at the same time. That’s a very unique talent. He’s around the quarterback a lot. You free him up, he’ll run you down.” Posted the best short shuttle (4.19) of edge rushers but arms were just 32 7/8. “I don’t think he’s a pure pass rusher,” a second scout said. “He’s not a first-round property. I don’t think he can stand up (in a 3-4). He’s too tight in the hips. He’s a little guy and he doesn’t have the burst. Fool’s gold.” Led FBS with 16 sacks in 2016 before slipping to five in ’17 when he sat out the last five games with an ankle injury. Finished with 160 tackles (47 for loss), 26 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. “Had all the production last year,” said a third scout. “Not a physical guy. Not strong at the point of attack. Doesn’t really play hard. Not a dynamic pass rusher. He’s more of a fall-into-sacks guy.” From Spring Lake, N.C.

                  4. ARDEN KEY, Louisiana State (6-5, 238, 4.89, 2): Third-year junior and three-year starter, including the last two at OLB in coordinator Dave Aranda’s 3-4 defense. “If Arden didn’t have a shoulder (surgery, May 2017), the other stuff and his weight didn’t balloon (to 280 last fall) he’d have been the No. 1 pick in the draft,” said one scout. “Position value. Dominant player. I had Clowney and Garrett, and as a sophomore (2016) he’s the best pass rusher. If he worked out the best he could he’s a 4.65, 4.75 guy and more in that Aldon Smith, ‘JPP’ (Jason Pierre-Paul) mold. Where he’s going to go is nowhere near his talent level. Arden, he likes to party. You’re going to have to control it.” Compared by many scouts to Dallas DE Randy Gregory, who was suspended multiple times in college and the NFL for failed drug tests. Two teams have removed Key from the draft board. “I’m not willing to take a shot on him,” said a second scout. “He probably will go second round. He’s as talented as any player there is.” Finished with 130 tackles (26 for loss) and 21 sacks. Also missed time with a sprained knee and hand surgery. Wonderlic of 18. “Probably won’t be on our board,” a third scout said. “He’s been to rehab. Loner. Not a bad kid … but it’s Randy Gregory all over again. He ran 4.88 at 238. That’s terrible, but he plays fast.” Added a fourth personnel man: “You can have him. A year ago he was considered to be a top-10 talent. He’s almost peed all of it away. I think he’s way overrated. He’s going to get blocked a lot in the pros. Somebody will probably roll the dice on him in the second or third round. He also could be one of those guys that completely falls off the map.” From Atlanta.

                  5. SAM HUBBARD, Ohio State (6-5 , 267, 4.96, 2): High-school safety and lacrosse player converted to DE in 2014 redshirt season. “Good football player,” said one scout. “He’s a base left end who I think could play outside backer in a 3-4. His feet are good in space. He just doesn’t have long speed. He’s really, really smart. Knows how to use his hands. Good effort guy. He never goes to one Pro Bowl but he’ll be a really good player and play 10, 12 years.” Replaced departed Joey Bosa (Chargers) in 2016. Finished with 116 tackles (29 1/2 for loss) and 16 sacks. “With him, what you see is what you get,” another scout said. “He was smart to come out because next year people would compare him to (Nick) Bosa and say this guy’s not very good. Best as an edge rusher with good take-off. Probably best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He does drop easily. Very disciplined player. Coaches are going to like this player because he’s going to do exactly what they tell him to do. Fourth round.” Wonderlic of 35 led edge rushers. Arms were 33 1/8. “Just more of a try-hard type guy,” said a third scout. “Not an elite talent. More of a backup type player.” From Cincinnati.

                  6. LORENZO CARTER, Georgia (6-5, 251, 4.54, 2): Played extensively at OLB in a 3-4 defense for four seasons, starting 26 of 54 games. “He was supposed to be the next big deal,” one scout said. “Ideal fit for the 3-4. Looks the part. His production and the way he played is just sort of OK. His test numbers (10-10 broad jump led all edges) are much more impressive than when you’re actually watching him. He does flash. There’s just no consistency He’ll go to sleep for periods of time when he’s just sort of out there.” His 40 time was eclipsed at the position only by Shaquem Griffin. “He thinks he’s an end but I don’t think he’s got the (bleep) in his neck play in and play out,” said a second scout. “He’s a big, long (arms were 34) athlete. He needs to develop pass rush.” Finished with 165 tackles (20 for loss) and 14 sacks. “He’s body beautiful,” said a third scout. “Underachiever. Not tough. Doesn’t have really good football temperament. Flash kind of guy. He’ll be a disappointment for somebody.” Plays the tuba and the cello. Father is a minister. From Norcross, Ga.

                  7. KEMOKO TURAY, Rutgers (6-4 , 251, 4.69, 2): Came to the U.S. from Guinea at age 3 but didn’t play varsity football until his senior year in Newark, N.J. “I see raw talent that can be developed,” one scout said. “There’s something there. He’s got height. His game is so much more athletic than strength. When he gets in tighter quarters he gets mauled a little bit. He’s slippery as a run defender and flashes skills accelerating while making moves as a pass rusher. Not a real bright kid. He’s got height.” Ran a fast 40 and the best 3-cone (6.81) of the edges. “When he walks in the room you go, ‘Oh, my gosh, where did this guy come from?’” said a second scout. “Turay’s production has never matched the potential but I have to think his best football is out ahead of him.” Played four years but didn’t start until 2017 for an armpit of a program. Finished with 103 tackles (20 for loss) and 15 sacks, including a career-high 7 in ’14. Has had shoulder surgery. Some scouts says he probably isn’t smart enough to play OLB. “He can run, comes off the edge, can bend and dip and contort his body,” said a third scout. “There’s things this guy does on film that are just like, ‘Holy (bleep).’ There are concerns about his level of mental toughness. Not necessarily a natural football guy. Not a finished product.”

                  8. RASHEEM GREEN, Southern California (6-4 , 274, 4.74, 2-3): Third-year junior played DE in a 3-4 defense and moved inside on passing downs. “He’s naturally an outside guy,” said one scout. “One of the reasons he’s leaving is there was word they planned on him continuing to work inside. He sees himself as a defensive end. He’s super talented and super young (will turn 21 in May). He needs to get stronger. Probably would have benefited staying in an extra year. His best football is ahead of him.” Finished with 117 tackles (20 for loss) and 16 sacks. Two teams have major medical concerns about his knee. “Kind of a potential guy,” said a third scout. “He’s got some inside pass rush. He’s not quite man enough inside and doesn’t have quite the juice outside. You’re hoping to project him to 3-technique. He doesn’t like going inside because I don’t think he’s tough enough.” From Los Angeles.

                  9. UCHENNA NWOSU, Southern California (6-2, 249, 4.67, 2-3): The Trojans’ co-MVP with QB Sam Darnold in 2017 by vote of teammates. Several scouts used “good football player” to describe him. “Just average in all respects,” said one. “You can use him as a backer or a rusher. He’ll play because he’s smart and can make plays and is instinctive. He doesn’t have that real edge speed you’re looking for.” Two-year starter at OLB in a 3-4. Finished with 168 tackles (20 for loss), 12 sacks and 20 passes defensed, including 14 as a senior. “He gets up the field so far and he jumps,” said a second scout. “He had like 12 tipped balls this year. Once people get their hands on him he just stops. He’s very stiff and he can’t play in space.” Hands (9) were the smallest of the top 12 edges. Added a third scout: “Tough guy. Played hard. More of an overachiever type talent.” From Carson, Calif.

                  10. JOSH SWEAT, Florida State (6-4 , 245, 4.56, 3-5): Four scouts discussed Sweat’s left knee first when his name was mentioned. “He’s got (knee) problems,” said one scout. “He’s going to fall. Big time. He could only practice once a week in college. He’s a talented dude. Good player.”
                  Suffered a knee injury as a senior in high school that almost required amputation. Third-year junior with 31 starts in 37 games. Led edges in vertical jump (39 ) and was second in the 3-cone (6.95). Arms were 34 5/8. “Super high measurables,” said another scout. “Very, very big recruit. Had that knee and I think it will end up holding him back a little bit. He’s got the traits, for sure.” Finished with 138 tackles (29 for loss) and 14 sacks. “Reminded me of the guy from there who went to the Ravens. Built like him. Peter Boulware,” said a third scout. “Got that type of take-off. Really like him (Sweat). He can flip (his hips) and burst around the corner.” Five-star recruit from Chesapeake, Va.

                  11. TYQUAN LEWIS, Ohio State (6-3, 267, 4.70, 3): Three-year starter at DE, but also played inside on passing downs. “Ass kicker on every down,” one scout said. “He’s strong and ran better than everybody thought he would. Not a great athlete but he knows how to use every ounce of athleticism in his body. Down guy all the way. He’s too stiff and not quick-footed enough in space to play a 3-4.” Finished with 112 tackles (36 for loss) and 23 sacks. “Kind of a tough guy,” another scout said. “Banger. Just a little bit stiff. Mid or later rounds.” From Tarboro, N.C.

                  12. DUKE EJIOFOR, Wake Forest (6-3 , 265, no 40, 3-4): Started for 2 years at DE in a 4-3. Projected by teams as a DE. “Talented, but a finesser,” said one scout. “You’re not sure he loves it.” Parents are immigrants from Nigeria. Late bloomer with 133 tackles (43 for loss) and 23 sacks in 42 games (31 starts). Missed seven games in 2014-’15 with concussions. Arms were 34 7/8, longest at the position. “He’s got rush traits,” another scout said. “He can bend. He’s got length. Athletic.” From Houston. “He’s got talent,” said a third scout. “He also sucks the soul from your body with his complete lack of effort.”

                  13. OGBONNIA OKORONKWO, Oklahoma (6-1 , 248, 4.81, 3-4):

                  His parents came from Nigeria, too. In fact, he and Ejiofor were teammates at Houston Alief Taylor High. “He’s a DPR (designated pass rusher), not an outside linebacker,” one scout said. “He’s certainly not big enough to be a defensive end. People want to try to compare him to a (Dwight) Freeney. No way. He doesn’t have that kind of speed or twitch. If he goes higher than the fourth and somebody actually thinks he’s going to be a position player, I think they’re making a mistake.” Regarded as the best pass rusher in the Big 12 Conference by one scout. “He’s going to go high,” said a second scout. “He’ll be a top 100 pick. He’s got juice off the corner but he’s a little, little, little guy. He’s not even close to (Vic) Beasley.” Finished with 164 tackles (34 for loss) and 21 sacks as a two-year starter. Long arms (33 ) for his height. “He’s not as good as that little guy (Eric) Striker who didn’t get drafted (in 2016) and went to Buffalo,” said a third scout. “Bigger than Striker but not nearly as good of a college player.” Okoronkwo replaced Striker as a starter in ’16.

                  14. MARQUIS HAYNES, Mississippi (6-2 , 234, 4.61, 4): Started for 3 seasons at DE in a 4-3. “They put his hand on the ground and said, ‘Go get the quarterback,’” said one scout. “When he goes, he can run like a deer. He can run anybody down. When he doesn’t, he is lazy as hell. He chases when he wants to. He had production as a pass rusher but he’s not doing that in the NFL. He’s too small. This isn’t Tim Williams (Alabama, 2016). He doesn’t have the frame to get to 250.” Broke Greg Hardy’s school sack record, finishing with 32 to go with 172 tackles (47 for loss) and 12 forced fumbles. “Kind of a wild card,” said a second scout. “Ole Miss wasn’t that good on defense but he was always sort of the standout player for them. Nobody knows what position to put him.” One scout argued that he would be best converting to will LB in a 4-3. “I think he’s a see-ball, get-ball guy,” that scout said. “At weak side, you put him behind the 3-technique, you’re just asking him to go find the ball. This is a guy who wants to see the ball and go get it. If there’s too much thinking involved that’s when he shuts it down.” From Jacksonville, Fla. Played in 50 straight games.

                  15. ADE ARUNA, Tulane (6-4 , 263, 4.66, 4): Lived in Nigeria until 2010. Hoped to land a basketball ride and didn’t play football until his senior year of high school. “Came here to play basketball,” said one scout. “His brother is still in Nigeria. He might be a sleeper.” Played DE in a 4-3 before being miscast playing inside in a 3-4 as a senior. Biggest hands (10 5/8) at the position to go with an impressive vertical jump (38 ) and broad jump (10-8). “There were times this year he looked like a camp guy,” said another scout. “The athlete is far beyond that. He is a complete project. He does play hard. Just doesn’t know football. Doesn’t understand it. It wouldn’t surprise me if three years down the road he’s had some good coaching and has a six, seven sack season as a backup. Played hurt all this year. He got beat up by Orlando Brown of Oklahoma (Sept. 16) and busted his ankle.” Missed just one game with the ankle. Finished with 107 tackles (19 for loss) and 12 sacks.

                  OTHERS: Dorance Armstrong, Kansas; Shaquem Griffin, Central Florida; Chad Thomas, Miami; Kylie Fitts, Utah; Jeff Holland, Auburn; Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State; Ola Adeniyi, Toledo; Joe Ostman, Central Michigan; Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State; Garret Dooley, Wisconsin; Trevon Young, Louisville; Jake Pugh, Florida State; Davin Bellamy, Georgia; Leon Jacobs, Wisconsin; Trent Harris, Miami.

                  THE SKINNY

                  UNSUNG HERO

                  Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State: Prolific pass rusher, finishing with 43 sacks to fall one short of Terrell Suggs’ career mark for an FBS school.
                  Rolland-Jones (6-2, 252, 4.82) has durability issues, average athleticism and modest arm length (32 3/4). “Very bad tackles in the Sun Belt,” said one scout. “He went against guys that will have nothing to do with football the next four years. Super productive.”

                  SCOUTS’ NIGHTMARE

                  Chad Thomas, Miami: Five-star recruit from Miami, Thomas (6-5, 278, 4.85) looks the part. Three-year starter on a strong front but played the run phlegmatically and registered just 11 sacks. He needs a tough coach and a more energetic approach.

                  PACKERS’ PICK TO REMEMBER

                  Ezra Johnson, DE, Morris Brown: First-round draft choice in 1977 (28th). Amassed 85 sacks in 11 seasons as a Packer, but 43 came from 1977-’81 and the NFL didn’t recognize sacks until ’82. Clay Matthews is the team’s official leader with 80. Johnson had 20 in ’78, or one better than Tim Harris’s club record set in ’89. Johnson (6-4, 240) added 14 sacks for the Colts and Oilers from 1988-’91 before calling it a career with 99 sacks. He was a magnificent speed rusher off the edge before a series of three back surgeries and the move to a 3-4 defense slowed his career.

                  QUOTE TO NOTE

                  NFL personnel executive on Kemoko Turay of Rutgers, who had scores of 5 and 11 on the Wonderlic intelligence test: “He may be one of these kids that can’t read but he can learn football. That test is all about reading comprehension. More than anything else.”


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lostxn View Post
                    Damn this dude is harsh as hell on the receivers. Takes a bit of wind out of sails on the DJ Moore train. You got one for LBers?
                    One a day until the draft. LBs should be tomorrow.


                    • #11


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pdom View Post


                        No NFL draft in the last 25 years has had two top linebacker prospects as tall as Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds and Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch.

                        Few drafts have had two better players from the Southeastern Conference at linebacker than Georgia’s Roquan Smith and Alabama’s Rashaan Evans, who dueled in the FBS championship game in January.

                        As much as general managers would like to see a better supply of pass rushers and cover guys on their boards, at least all is not lost on the defensive end of this draft. If you want someone to play every snap and, at least in time, probably run your defense, there are four players answering that call.

                        “Those four are better football players than these pass rushers after (Bradley) Chubb,” an executive in personnel for an NFL team said. “I don’t know what you’re getting out of those guys rushing the passer.”

                        If the “Big Four” linebackers do go in the first round, it would be the first time since 1990 for four off-the-ball linebackers.

                        Speed among the group is in abundance with 40-yard times ranging from Smith’s 4.53 to Evans’ 4.68 seconds.

                        Intelligence isn’t an issue, either. Smith, Evans and Vander Esch each scored 24 on the Wonderlic test whereas Edmunds has 22.

                        Edmunds, who won’t turn 20 until May 2, is one of the youngest players in the draft. The oldest of the “Big Four,” Vander Esch, turned 22 in February.

                        Probably the greatest talent is Edmunds. He has been compared by scouts to Brian Urlacher, Anthony Barr and LaVar Arrington.

                        Vander Esch, the other giant, outperformed Urlacher at the combine: vertical jump (39 inches to 34), broad jump (10-4 to 10-2), short shuttle (4.15 seconds to 4.30) and 3-cone (6.88 to 6.94). Urlacher bested Vander Esch in the 40 (4.62 to 4.65), the 60-yard shuttle (11.10 to 11.57), the bench press (27 reps to 20) and the Wonderlic (he had 28).

                        At 6-4 for Edmunds and 6-4 for Vander Esch, they will cut quite a figure in the middle of some defense come September.

                        In the last 25 drafts, the only off-the-ball linebackers selected in the first two rounds standing 6-4 or better were Benardrick McKinney (6-4, 247, 4.65) in 2015, Barr (6-4 , 251, 4.46) in 2014 and Quinton Caver (6-4, 227, 4.70) in 2001.

                        Eight inside linebackers from 1993-’17 stood 6-3 and went in the first two rounds. That list includes Zach Cunningham (6-3 , 235, 4.67) in 2017, Kiko Alonso (6-3 , 236, 4.75) and Jamie Collins (6-3 , 250, 4.62) in 2013, Luke Kuechly (6-3 1/2, 243, 4.60) in 2012, Rolando McClain (6-3 , 259, 4.70) in 2010, Karlos Dansby (6-3 , 249, 4.66) in 2004, Urlacher (6-3 , 258, 4.62) in 2000 and Ted Johnson (6-3 , 238, 4.71) in 1995.

                        Jack Lambert (6-4, 220) is the only inside linebacker in the Hall of Fame with that kind of height. Ray Nitschke and Dick Butkus were listed at 6-3.

                        “We have never had a real tall linebacker,” one scout said in reference to Vander Esch. “But he runs good.”

                        Four scouts talked about Smith (6-1, 234, 4.53) in the same breath as Ray Lewis, the all-time great for the Ravens who was 6-0 , 237 and ran 4.73 out of Miami when he went to Baltimore with the 26th pick in 1996.

                        “He’s certainly got more attractive measurables than Ray had coming out, and similar production,” said an AFC personnel man who scouted Lewis. An NFC scout who was scouting at the time said Smith would rank as the better collegiate player.

                        Lewis started 24 of 31 games for the Hurricanes, finishing with 388 tackles (18 for loss), six sacks and four interceptions.

                        Smith started 25 of 40 games for the Bulldogs, finishing with 252 tackles (20 for loss), 6 sacks and no interceptions.

                        “When I first watched his tape I said, ‘God, this kid’s Ray Lewis,’ within 10 plays,” another scout with seasoning said. “Roquan is the ultimate pro linebacker of the modern era.”

                        Evans (6-2, 231, 4.68) isn’t as fast as Smith, and there are reservations about his capability to run a defense whereas in Smith’s case there are none. Yet, Evans tops Smith in a facet of play that has always separated linebackers.

                        “He’s the most explosive linebacker in the draft,” said one personnel man. “C.J. Mosley wasn’t as violent as this kid. Rashaan can uncoil on people in tight spaces.”

                        The dominance of the “Big Four” was reflected in the results of a poll in which 13 executives in personnel listed their top seven best linebackers. A first-place vote was worth 7 points, a second-place vote was worth 6 and so on.

                        Edmunds edged Smith in points, 84-83, thanks in part to a 7-5 margin in first-place votes. Evans drew the other first.

                        Also with double-digit point totals were Evans (65), Vander Esch (49), Texas’ Malik Jefferson (28), Brigham Young’s Fred Warner (12), South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard (11) and Ohio State’s Jerome Baker (10).

                        Rounding out the votes were Memphis’ Genard Avery (nine), Iowa’s Josey Jewell (eight), Vanderbilt’s Oren Burks (two), Virginia’s Micah Kiser (one), Arizona State’s Christian Sam (one) and Ohio State’s Chris Worley (one).

                        RANKING THE LINEBACKERS

                        1. ROQUAN SMITH, Georgia (6-1, 234, 4.53, 1): Third-year junior. “Plays the game the right way,” one scout said. “Smart as hell. Plays his ass off. Fast. Space guy, just flies around. Real instinctive. Just little and kind of straight-line fast. Not as explosive as Ryan Shazier. Not a take-on type guy. In the modern game he’ll fit in well.” Another scout said he was better than Atlanta’s Deion Jones. “He’s probably more explosive than (Tremaine) Edmunds but can’t carry as much range,” he said. “He’s country. He is an articulate, smart, driven person.” Out of Montezuma, Ga. “He’s a ball-playing Jesse,” a third scout said. “He can run, he can hit, he can cover. He can run the defense. If you can live with him being 6-foot tall you’re going to have yourself a really good player. He’s got zone instincts and awareness. Only thing you don’t like about the kid is his height. Look at the size of tight ends and wide receivers, and he has to try and cover those guys?”

                        2. TREMAINE EDMUNDS, Virginia Tech (6-4 , 251, 4.55, 1): Third-year junior, two-year starter. “I said he’s Brian Urlacher because of his size, speed and range,” said one scout. “Anthony Barr is a good comparison. He does anything you want. He can run, he can stack, he can use his arms, he’s got eyes and he’s a great person. A slam dunk.” His father, Ferrell, played tight end for the Dolphins and Seahawks from 1988-’94 and went to two Pro Bowls. Has the longest arms (34 inches) at the position. “You like the length and athletic ability and the speed,” a second scout said. “Just kind of raw. Just has to hone his game.” Finished with 226 tackles (35 for loss) and 10 sacks. Played inside in the Hokies’ 4-2 base defense. “He is easily the best athlete,” a third scout said. “He will run and he will hit. But I’ll tell you what. He has marginal instincts. But he’s so fast and so quick that he can recover. He makes a mistake instinctive-wise by taking a false step but he will get off the block and chase the guy down.” From Danville, Va.

                        3. RASHAAN EVANS, Alabama (6-2, 231, 4.68, 1): Backed up Reuben Foster and others for three years before finally starting on the weak inside last year in the Crimson Tide’s 3-4 defense. “He’s in the C.J. Mosley class,” said one scout. “Not as fluid of an athlete in space but he’s more explosive as a tackler and more physical … when Bama beat Clemson for the national title (in January 2016) the key defensive player in that game was Rashaan Evans because he had to mirror Deshaun Watson. That was the real difference in that game.” Finished with 152 tackles (23 for loss) and 15 sacks. Coach Nick Saban used Evans often with his hand down outside on passing downs. “He can rush the passer (from end),” said another scout. “He is an elite interior pass rusher as a linebacker. He’s got elite suddenness and change of direction. He’s a twitchy guy. He plays like a guy who runs 4.50. They get trained so well and they’re so fast with their reactions. Physical practices every day. So they play super fast.” The nagging question on Evans is his ability to call and direct a defense. MLB Shaun Dion Hamilton was considered the brains of the Alabama defense. “I wouldn’t do it,” said one scout. “He just hasn’t had any experience at that. He could probably line up the guy next to him. Rashaan is Zack Brown (Redskins). A little more violent.” From Auburn, Ala.

                        4. LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH, Boise State (6-4, 255, 4.63, 1-2): Walked on at Boise State after playing eight-man football at Salmon River High in Riggins, Idaho. He was one of 11 in his graduating class. “I thought you could put him outside and he might be able to take a tight end out of the game for you,” said one scout. “If you’ve got a guy like ‘Gronk’ (Rob Gronkowski) and the linebacker has to take him down the seam, this guy can do it. He could cover ‘Gronk’ because he’s big and strong, and he’s tough. I didn’t think he had inside instincts but this kid plays hard, is smart and will hit you. He’s not quick. Tad bit of a strider.” Redshirted in 2014, played special teams at 215 pounds in ’15 and backed up in ’16 before missing six games with a stinger that one team said remained a concern to its medical staff. Started in ’17 before declaring a year early. “One-year player,” said a second scout. “Had some medical issues. He’s got up side. He’ll have to work on his strength and his block take-on and shedding and some balance. But plays hard, makes a lot of plays, got great range. He can play in coverage and can play against the run.” Finished with 188 tackles (13 for loss) and five sacks. Added 16 pounds since mid-December. “He’s a different guy, a guy like Scott Fujita,” said a third scout. “He’d beat up a tight end. Not a great pass rusher but a good, solid football player. He made that New Orleans’ defense in the Super Bowl better. Early second round, late first.”

                        5. MALIK JEFFERSON, Texas (6-2, 237, 4.55, 2): Five-star recruit, third-year junior and three-year starter at various positions. “Can play inside or outside and can rush the passer,” one scout said. “Excellent athletic ability and quickness. Good tackler. Around the ball. Fills and fits well. Does not let the blocker get much contact on him.” Not durable, missing games each of his three seasons. “He is everything you want athletically,” said a second scout. “But I thought the instincts were off and the production was off. He didn’t get to the plays he should. He’s what I call a clear-view linebacker. If there’s nobody blocking him, if the defensive line keeps everybody off and if it’s right there between the tackles he can hammer you. But go try and find the ball, I thought he was really lacking. He looks just like you draw guys up. ‘Oh, my God, you want a linebacker, that’s the guy you want.’” Finished with 233 tackles (25 for loss) and 12 sacks. “Stiff,” said a third scout. “Big and can run and can hit. He’s a little lacking in instincts, and he’s stiff.” From Mesquite, Texas.

                        6. FRED WARNER, Brigham Young (6-3 , 235, 4.65, 2-3): Started 42 of 49 games over four seasons, basically remaining injury-free. “Great size and excellent measurables,” one scout said. “He’s right on the cusp of the top group. He needs to be more physical.” Posted 32 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test, best among the top 12 LBs. “Good kid,” said a second scout. “That (toughness) is the question on him. He’s more that rangy, run-and-chase, back-side player. He’s not that attack and shed, power, hit you in the mouth type guy.” Had 264 tackles (32 for loss) and 6 sacks. “I don’t know what to do with that guy,” a third scout said. “Played in space a lot … like a safety. He is not a good tackler but he can move. Looks good physically.” From San Marcos, Calif.

                        7. DARIUS LEONARD, South Carolina State (6-2, 230, 4.73): Four-year starter on the weak side in a 4-2 defense. “He plays at South Carolina State so he’s got that going against him,” said one scout. “He’s got to be a little more physical but he certainly has speed and production.” Finished with 394 tackles (54 for loss), 22 sacks, eight forced fumbles, six interceptions and 13 passes defensed. All Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference defensive player of the year in 2016 and ’17. “He’s everything you want in a player,” a second scout said. “He’s a great person. Sees the ball.” From Lake View, S.C. “He’s tiny, the size of a safety,” said a third scout. “He played his butt off for them at that level. I’m not sure where he’s going to play in the league. He was like 215 (actually 213) coming into (the ’17 season).”

                        8. JEROME BAKER, Ohio State (6-1, 231, 4.53, 3-4): Third-year junior and a two-year starter. “He’s an exceptional sub backer,” said one scout. “Fast and athletic. He can play man and zone. He has shown the ability to play the ball although he was inconsistent this year. He’s soft against the run. More of a jump-around guy. How much do you value your sub backer? How turned off are you by the finesse style of his game? He’s a legit 4.45. That’s what he plays. Kind of an oddball, too. He could go in the third round. It’s a passing league.” Led the Buckeyes in tackles in 2017 after finishing second in ’16. Had 158 tackles (17 for loss) and seven sacks. “Just a space guy,” a second scout said. “He wouldn’t take me on but, as a space guy and moving laterally, he’s good. I didn’t see him being physical at all.” From Cleveland.

                        9. GENARD AVERY, Memphis (6-0 , 249, 4.60, 3-4): Most of his 34 starts over four seasons came inside before he was moved outside down the stretch in 2017. “James Harrison is his mold,” said one scout. “Stout, short, yoked-up. Looks like a fullback. Bowed-up dude. As a leverage bull rusher he can be a problem. I’m not playing him at ‘mike’ or ‘will’ or ‘sam.’ He missed too many gaps. He’s late seeing it develop. He can fly like a bat out of hell when he gets there but he might wreck the whole damn gap (structure). Might knock a few people down on the way. There’s some sleeper qualities. They didn’t let him rush the passer really until this year.” Finished with 233 tackles (45 for loss) and 21 sacks. “Off the ball he’s barely a free agent,” said a second scout. “He tested well but he has no instincts. They moved him to right end with his hand down because they didn’t want him to have to think anymore. The kid’s got edge speed. The Steelers have had some short outside backers.” From Grenada, Miss.

                        10. JOSEY JEWELL, Iowa (6-1, 236, 4.82, 3-4): Fifth-year senior started the last 43 games of his career. “He makes every tackle,” said one scout. “He don’t test good but he does everything else good. Put the film on. He makes every (bleep) tackle. He may not be as good a pro player but he was a better college player than (Anthony) Hitchens.” Hitchens preceded Jewell on the inside of the Hawkeyes’ defense. Jewell was Big Ten defensive player of the year in 2017. “He’s small, he’s slow,” said a second scout. “He’s like a lot of those guys that come out of Iowa. Tough little guy.” Finished with 437 tackles (28 for loss), 10 sacks, six interceptions and a phenomenal 32 passes defensed. “Always in the right places in zone,” said a third scout. “Never saw him in man. He’s a chase guy, not a take-on guy. He’s a block catcher who gets engulfed by offensive linemen at times. If you have big defensive tackles that can keep people off him the guy’s a good player. The more you watch him the less you like him.” From Decorah, Iowa.

                        11. CHRISTIAN SAM, Arizona State (6-1, 240, 4.76, 4): Third-year junior received a medical redshirt after suffering a season-ending foot injury in the 2016 opener. “He’s a box guy who is strong and a good tackler,” one scout said. “He is tight and struggled some in space.” His 28 reps on the bench press led the position. “Nigerian kid,” said a second scout. “Can run a defense and make adjustments. Sincere and trustworthy. You won’t ever have any problems with this kid.” Finished with 228 tackles (17 for loss) and seven sacks in 39 games (26 starts). From Allen, Texas.

                        12. OREN BURKS, Vanderbilt (6-3, 232, 4.62, 4): Started 19 games at free safety in 2014-’15 before shifting to ILB in a 3-4 defense the past two years. “Smart as a whip,” said one scout. “There’s no doubt this guy will play. What a great kid. This is the type of kid you search for.” Finished with 237 tackles (15 1/2 for loss), 4 sacks, five interceptions and 26 passes defensed. Tied for the positional lead in the vertical jump (39 ) and led the broad jump (10-10). “Good instincts against the run,” a second scout said. “Can roam, match up and blitz on third down. Tough.” Wonderlic of 24. From Fairfax Station, Va.

                        13. MICAH KISER, Virginia (6-0 , 237, 4.68, 4-5): Three-year starter inside, including 2015 in a 4-3 and 2016-’17 in a 3-4. “Really instinctive,” one scout said. “He short. He’s slow, if you want to say that. Not really that explosive. But he’s got a nose for the ball. They love him at UVA. The floor is being an excellent backup. He’s a good glue guy for a team.” Won the so-called academic Heisman Trophy (Campbell Trophy). Wonderlic of 26. “Two-down player,” a second scout said. “He takes people on and can shed blockers and is a good tackler, but he struggles in space.” Led the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles three years in a row. Added a third scout: “I don’t think he’s any good.” From Baltimore.

                        14. JOEL IYIEGBUNIWE, Western Kentucky (6-1 , 230, 4.60, 4-5): Fourth-year junior started outside in 2016 and inside in ’17. “Just call him ‘Iggy’ – that’s what everybody there calls him,” one scout said. “Like to have him. Like his range, his cover skills. At worst, you’re getting a guy that can be a sub linebacker and quality backup/special-teams player. He’s got a chance to be a starter. Great kid.” Had rash of major injuries from 2012-’14. “Boundary linebacker who moved to 7-technique in some passing situations,” a second scout said. “Quick to the flat, good zone drops. Seems to have good feel for coverage. Has some pass-rush ability. Needs to be more physical.” Finished with 200 tackles (22 for loss) and 6 sacks. From Bowling Green, Ky.

                        15. JACK CICHY, Wisconsin (6-2, 236, no 40, 4-5): Decided not to apply for a sixth season (medical hardship) after suffering season-ending torn ACL in August. Also missed half of 2016 with a torn pectoral. Worked out at Badgers pro day March 14 but didn’t run the 40. “It’s a shame because I don’t know what he is,” said one scout. “He hasn’t played in a year and a half. He didn’t look 100% in the workout. I don’t know what you’re getting. If you’re getting the player he was, then he’s certainly a worthwhile guy. So that will be held against him a little bit.” Finished with 121 tackles (15 for loss) and 6 sacks. Improved from 31 to a LB-leading 36 on the Wonderlic. “Very, very instinctive,” said a second scout. “Smart player with ability. He’ll play for somebody because he’s so smart. He’s going to have to be protected because he doesn’t take people on. Good tackler.” From Somerset, Wis., but attended high school in the Twin Cities.

                        OTHERS: Kenny Young, UCLA; Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson; Tegray Scales, Indiana; Chris Worley, Ohio State; Mike McCray, Michigan; Skai Moore, South Carolina; Azeem Victor, Washington; Matthew Thomas, Florida State; Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State; Tre Williams, Auburn; Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama; Brian Jones, Saginaw Valley State; Keishawn Bierria, Washington.

                        THE SKINNY

                        UNSUNG HERO

                        Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson: Two-year starter on the strong side for the Tigers’ powerhouse defenses. O’Daniel (6-0 , 223, 4.60) looks like a safety but has never played in the secondary. A terrific athlete, he led LBs in the short shuttle (4.07) and the 3-cone (6.64). “He’s a guy we’d love to have on teams,” a NFL special teams coach said. “All the good ones are ‘will’ linebackers.”

                        SCOUTS’ NIGHTMARE

                        Azeem Victor, Washington: Victor (6-2, 239, 4.71) started at MLB from 2015 until October 2017 when he was benched. In mid-November, he was suspended indefinitely after being pulled over for a DUI, the latest in a series of off-field infractions. “When he was on his game and in shape in 2016 he was looking like a second-round pick,” one scout said. “Then this year you look at him as a free agent the way he played. He’ll be like Vontaze Burfict if he doesn’t get his stuff together.”

                        PACKERS’ PICK TO REMEMBER

                        Tom Bettis, LB, Purdue: First-round draft choice (fifth overall) in 1955. Played 84 games from 1955-’61, starting for most of his career before finally being replaced by Ray Nitschke. Traded to Pittsburgh in July 1962, he played one year there and the ’63 season in Chicago before embarking on a 29-year career as an NFL assistant coach. He died in February 2015.

                        QUOTE TO NOTE

                        NFL executive in personnel: “It’s human nature. I think all of us grade helmets and grade systems.”


                        • #13
                          Makes me feel better about Evans.
                          I was on the draft LVE train. I was for trading for Amari before it happened.
                          'nuff said


                          • #14
                            Evans is a good prospect, would really juice up our blitzes, although I do worry that he's a bit mechanical and not great in man coverage, although how often is he going to be manned up in reality?

                            He's towards the back end of the group I like at 19 but I'd be fine with the pick.


                            • #15

                              It was inevitable. Some people just are sick and tired of Alabama football.

                              Winning five national championships in the last nine seasons and at an .868 clip (132-20) overall under coach Nick Saban has placed the Crimson Tide front and center when it comes to the NFL draft, too.

                              The position that Saban takes great pride in continuing to coach on a daily basis, the defensive backfield, could have five of its members drafted this week.

                              That’s F-I-V-E from one secondary. Roll Tide, indeed.

                              Minkah Fitzpatrick, the star of that group, looked like a top-10 if not top-5 pick not that many weeks ago. With the draft one day away, Fitzpatrick could be one of the biggest droppers of the first round.

                              “I don’t get the whole fascination with this guy,” an executive in personnel said. “Solid player, not an elite player. He’s a tweener. He’s a heady guy in their system. He’s not an elite talent.”

                              Fitzpatrick (6-0, 204) started 17 games as a nickel back, 14 games as a strong safety and seven games as a cornerback. Saban has praised him profusely for what his all-around skills can bring in today’s NFL. Some personnel people aren’t buying in.

                              “He’s a good football player but there’s no up side to be great,” said one personnel director. “He’s solid, soothing and solid. Welcome to Alabama football. There’s a lot of hype … a lot of hype.

                              “He’s not better than Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I’m just telling you. I’ll bet you a dollar to a doorknob that he can’t go cover a wideout outside. No way he could play corner. As a tackler, well, he gets you down.”

                              In December, Fitzpatrick was named the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s most outstanding defensive back. The previous 11 recipients averaged 5.6 interceptions in their season of their triumph. Fitzpatrick made one in 2017.

                              “What the (bleep) is all the hype with this guy?” another personnel director said. “He’s a good, smart player but he’s probably not good enough to be a corner and he’s not as big and as physical as you want for safety.

                              “These Alabama guys get so overblown. I don’t know if he drops. Some people get enamored with these Alabama guys.”

                              Fitzpatrick gained eight first-place votes as the best safety in the draft from a group of 13 personnel men that were surveyed in the last month. The other five firsts went to Derwin James of Florida State.

                              “James plays football the way a safety is supposed to play it,” said one decision-maker. “He has better film than Fitzpatrick. He’s the better player. I wouldn’t be shocked if he goes ahead of Minkah.”

                              One of the executives that voted for Fitzpatrick went so far as to say that in 15 years he’ll be in the same distinguished category as Rod Woodson and Charles Woodson, two other players that started their careers at cornerback before moving to safety in their 30s.

                              “If you’re going to take him high you’ve got to draft him as a corner and slide him inside as a slot,” the scout said. “You’re taking away from his strength if you put him at safety. That (cornerback) is where he can help you the most.

                              “He can blitz. He can run support. He can cover in the slot. He can coordinate the whole defense. He’s a ball magnet, like a coach on the field.”

                              In the poll, scouts ranked their top five safeties and top five cornerbacks. A first-place vote was worth 5 points, a second was worth 4 points and so on.

                              Fitzpatrick edged James in points, 60-57. Following, in order, were Alabama’s Ronnie Harrison (27), Stanford’s Justin Reid (20), Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates (14), Texas A&M’s Armani Watts (seven), Penn State’s Marcus Allen (three), Virginia Tech’s Terrell Edmunds (three), Texas’ DeShon Elliott (two), Penn State’s Troy Apke (one) and Tennessee’s Rashaan Gaulden (one).

                              At cornerback, Ohio State’s Denzel Ward captured 12 of the 13 first-place votes, and Central Florida’s Mike Hughes received the other.

                              The first five were Ward (63 points), Hughes (39), Louisville’s Jaire Alexander (29), Iowa’s Josh Jackson (27) and Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver (19).

                              Other votes went to Wisconsin’s Nick Nelson (seven), Louisiana State’s Donte Jackson (five), Auburn’s Carlton Davis (four), Florida’s Duke Dawson (one) and North Carolina’s M.J. Stewart (one).

                              “It’s decent,” one executive said of the cornerback class. “It’s deeper in like the third and fourth rounds than early on.

                              “It doesn’t have a Champ Bailey in it. There’s a drop-off from Ward to the rest.”

                              Saban, who took over in 2007, has watched 10 drafts of Crimson Tide players that he has coached. Alabama has had a defensive back drafted every year except 2008 and 2011. In all, 14 of his defensive backs – seven cornerbacks, seven safeties – have been drafted, including 10 in the top three rounds.

                              His first-round cornerbacks were Kareem Jackson (20) in 2010, Dre Kirkpatrick (17) in 2012, Dee Milliner (nine) in 2013 and Marlon Humphrey (16) in 2017.

                              His first-round safeties were Mark Barron (seven) in 2012 and Clinton-Dix (21) in 2014.

                              Two of the 14 players, Giants safety Landon Collins (second round, 2015) and Clinton-Dix, have been voted to a Pro Bowl. The biggest bust was Milliner.

                              The pipeline in the secondary from Tuscaloosa to the pros certainly is impressive, but one personnel man indicated the Crimson Tide’s usually effective pass rush deserves some of the credit.

                              “We were just watching that,” the scout said early in the week. “These Alabama guys don’t have to cover very long.”

                              Fitzpatrick, according to Sports Illustrated, was referred to as “Coach Saban’s son” by teammates. He scored 30 on the Wonderlic intelligence test, abstains from alcohol and drugs and is known for his commitment to preparation.

                              “He’s a good person,” said one personnel head. “But he’s not a fire and brimstone guy.”

                              If Fitzpatrick’s career is successful, it might resemble those of other first-round players that started early at cornerback before settling at safety. Antrel Rolle (6-0 , 197, 4.61) from the 2005 draft, Malcolm Jenkins (5-10, 195, 4.40) from 2008 and Devin McCourty (5-10 , 193, 4.42) from 2010 aren’t all-timers but each made multiple Pro Bowls.

                              Can Fitzpatrick become a great player?

                              “If used correctly,” said another decision-maker. “I don’t think he’s a corner because he’s not great at the top of breaks. He’s instinctive. He’s got a great football mind. I think he’s got ball skills.

                              “At worst, he’ll be good to very good. Whether he becomes Ed Reed (5-11, 205, 4.51), I’m not willing to say that.”

                              RANKING THE DEFENSIVE BACKS


                              1. DENZEL WARD, Ohio State (5-11, 187, 4.31, 1): Played special teams as a true freshman in 2015, rotated with Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley in ’16 and started 13 games in ’17 before declaring a year early. “The more I watch him the more I grow to appreciate him,” said one scout. “There are times he is (great) at the ball, and there are times he is not. He will turn and track the ball. He’s got great, great feet and great change of direction. Willing tackler.” Led all CBs in the broad jump (11-4) to go with a 39-inch vertical jump and score of 21 on the Wonderlic intelligence test. “He’s sticky in coverage,” said a second scout. “Loose hips. Good route anticipation. Can read routes. He’s just the whole package. He’ll come up and tackle. He’s a definite Day 1 starter. It’s really up to him whether he becomes a No. 1 corner or a No. 2.” Finished with 67 tackles, two interceptions and 26 passes broken up. “He’s much better than the guy the Raiders drafted (Conley, first round) last year,” said a third scout. “He’s so quick. Only thing against him is his height. He had some red-zone problems against (Indiana’s Simmie) Cobbs because of the height thing.” From Macedonia, Ohio.

                              2. MIKE HUGHES, Central Florida (5-10, 190, 4.49, 1): Played sparingly as a freshman at North Carolina, transferred to a junior college as a sophomore and started for unbeaten UCF as a junior before declaring early. “Just as a football player, if he was taller you’d be talking about him as the No. 1 (cornerback),” said one scout. “He’s twitchy, quick, fast enough. He’ll come up and hit you. I don’t see the lack of length with Denzel as I do with this kid. I saw bigger receivers making plays over the top of him. He wasn’t getting beat deep … (but) on 50-50 situations down the field he was getting bodied up.” Finished with 60 tackles, four picks and 18 PBUs. “Not as fluid as (Jaire) Alexander but more physical,” said a second scout. “He can press. Little reckless. Will miss some tackles because of it. He’s solid. You wish he were bigger.” Was accused of sexual assault during his year at North Carolina but no criminal charges were filed. “It’s going to be a company call, an ownership call, probably,” said a third scout. “He’s been cleared.” Also was suspended for two games in 2015 and did 100 hours of community service on a misdemeanor assault charge after he got into a fight at a fraternity house. From New Bern, N.C.

                              3. JAIRE ALEXANDER, Louisville (5-10, 195, 4.38, 1-2): Third-year junior. “Really like him,” said one scout. “He has more plays on the ball than Ward. Little more of a gambler than Ward.” Converted from WR to CB in 2015, had a five-interception season in ’16 and played just six games in ’17 because of a sprained knee and broken hand. Can he start outside? “Eventually,” a second scout replied. “He has enough athletic skill and speed. Pretty good instincts and arm length (31 1/8). He can really run. He can cover. Really raw with his technique. Wasn’t as good in ’17 as he was in ’16 due to injury. Plays with a little swagger. Not the most physical guy in the world.” Finished with 71 tackles, seven picks and 22 PBUs. “The 2017 tape looks really bad,” a third scout said. “If you go back to when he was healthy he’s a first-round talent. I don’t know if a team will take him in the first but he’s going to be good.” From Charlotte.

                              4. JOSH JACKSON, Iowa (6-0 , 192, 4.54, 1-2): Came out of nowhere as a first-year starter in 2017. Led FBS in interceptions (eight) and PBUs (26) to become Big Ten defensive back of the year and earn consensus All-America honors. “What a player,” one scout said. “He didn’t run very good but I’m going to tell you, he can play. He’s got vision, instincts and hands like a wide receiver, which he was at one time. No wasted steps; plants and drives on the ball … if you’re going to line him up like the old Oakland Raiders, he’s not that guy.” Played mostly zone coverage for the Hawkeyes, then ran disappointing times at the combine and pro day. “Ridiculous ball skills to get interceptions,” a second scout said. “Some of the best I’ve ever seen. The concern is scheme fit. He probably would be better in a zone-heavy scheme where he can play off and just do the quarterback and can utilize his route awareness. As opposed to him lining up in press and having to deal with some of those burners on the edge.” Started just one of 26 games from 2015-’16 before declaring a year early. “Average run support,” a third scout said. “He’s a low tackler and doesn’t wrap up. I didn’t see a burst. They played a lot of zone and he used a bail technique. If he went to Tampa in the old days the guy would be fantastic. I don’t see a guy playing man.” From Corinth, Texas.

                              5. ISAIAH OLIVER, Colorado (6-0 , 197, 4.51, 1-2): Third-year junior, one-year starter. “He’s got a lot of skills,” said one scout. “Very athletic. Good length (33 arms were the longest at the position). Really good in press. Off (coverage), he needs a lot of work. Not very strong. He might go in the first.” Elite track athlete in high school at Goodyear, Ariz., earning all-state honors in the decathlon. “He’s better playing the deep ball because he does have makeup speed and the ability to track the ball,” said a second scout. “Average instincts and inconsistent reaction to short and intermediate routes. Just average physicality in run support and as a tackler.” Finished with 71 tackles, three picks and 35 PBUs. “He won’t hit anybody but, boy, he’s got really good cover skills,” said a third scout. “He’s got to cover an outside guy. He can’t cover those inside slot kids.”

                              6. DONTE JACKSON, Louisiana State (5-10 , 176, 4.31, 2): Third-year junior started 24 of 37 games. “He’ll be a real good nickel,” one scout said. “He can run with any of them. Best thing that could happen to him is playing against Antonio Brown early and him getting the dog beat out of him. Cocky as hell, which you want your corners to be. Not a bad kid. From a maturity standpoint, he needs somebody to embarrass him early. Doesn’t play with much technique because he’s so much more talented than the guys he’s playing.” Tied Ward for the fastest 40. “Reminded me of Philip Buchanan,” a second scout said. “He’s got that size and quickness. If he had size he’d be a top-5 pick. He is really good. Excellent one-on-one cover ability. Has problems against tall receivers.” Just seven reps on the bench. Arms were 29 1/2. “He’s not one of those trackmen with a track mentality,” a third scout said. “If they feel a bit of a twinge they don’t run or practice. No, this kid plays. The problem is, he gets run over a couple times by big backs or big linemen kicking out, I tell you, it just takes its toll on you. If you’re going to invest a high pick on him he might not be there by the end of the year.” Finished with 114 tackles, four picks and 24 PBUs. From Metairie, La.

                              7. CARLTON DAVIS, Auburn (6-1, 205, 4.51, 2): Third-year junior with 32 starts in 38 games. “He’ll be a solid press corner, not great,” one scout said. “He’s got that length (32 arms). It wouldn’t shock me if he ended up being a Pro Bowl corner like Nnamdi Asomugha. He’s got some of the same issues where he just doesn’t have loose hips and he’s not explosive in transition. He can (harass) you at the line. His biggest issue will be confidence. If he’s playing with confidence he’s a good player. If he gets beat a couple times he’ll lose. Mid-second round.” Finished with 138 tackles, four picks and 33 PBUs. Ran a disappointing time at the combine but was better at pro day. “He’s overrated,” a second scout said. “He’s one of those bigger, longer, stiffer type corners. You want to get him in space and go after him. I don’t think he can move.” From Miami.

                              8. NICK NELSON, Wisconsin (5-10 , 199, 4.49, 2-3): Started 21 games at Hawaii in 2014-’15 before transferring to UW after Hawaii coach Norm Chow was fired with a record of 10-36 in four seasons. Sat out 2016 before starting 14 games in ’17 and declaring a year early. Had 42 PBUs and not one interception. “You’ve got to question his hands,” one scout said. “Not a great finisher. He’s got short arms (30 ). He’s a little stiff in and out but he’s a pretty good athlete for his size. He can press or play off. Probably better in man. Still a little slow to match in zone. There’s something missing when you have that many PBUs and no interceptions.” Led FBS with a Badger-record 21 PBUs in ’17. Suffered a torn meniscus during a private workout with the Lions earlier in the month and underwent knee surgery last week. “He’s gone down the board,” said a second scout. “Not way down but he’s down enough. He gets discounted.” From Suitland, Md. Wonderlic of 26.

                              9. DUKE DAWSON, Florida (5-10 , 196, 4.50, 3): Playing sparingly for two years, served as nickel back in ’16 and started in ’17. “He’s similar to Jaire Alexander, just not quite as good,” one scout said. “He can play inside or outside. Got good feet and speed and awareness. Good, solid overall player. Not an elite guy.” Finished with 82 tackles, six picks and 23 PBUs. “He ran 4.45 but he doesn’t play to it,” a second scout said. “Competitive nickel. He’s fairly tough. He’s had a history of concussions which may hurt him.” From Cross City, Fla. Added a third scout: “Love him. He’ll be a nickel corner and get on the field right away and play.”

                              10. M.J. STEWART, North Carolina (5-11, 198, 4.53, 3-4): Played extensively as a freshman and then started for three years. “He’s excellent,” said one scout. “Just doesn’t have the blazing speed that you want. It wouldn’t surprise me if he played safety. He’s certainly tough enough to do it. Having said that, he’s pretty good around the ball now.” Built like a RB, which he was with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons in Arlington, Va. “He’s a thicker kid but he’s not stiff,” said a second scout. “Didn’t test as well as I thought he should have tested.” Wonderlic of 27 was the highest of the top 10 corners. Suspended for two game with Mike Hughes for the 2015 fight at the frat house.

                              OTHERS: Anthony Averett, Alabama; Holton Hill, Texas; Tarvarus McFadden, Louisiana State; D.J. Reed, Kansas State; Arrion Springs, Oregon; Isaac Yiadom, Boston College; Tony Brown, Alabama; Darius Phillips, Western Michigan; Kevin Toliver, Louisiana State; DaVontae Harris, Illinois State; Quenton Meeks, Stanford; Parry Nickerson, Tulane;
                              Taron Johnson, Weber State; Levi Wallace, Alabama; Danny Johnson, Southern; Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech; Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech; Andre Chachere, San Jose State; Grant Haley, Penn State; Tremon Smith, Central Arkansas.


                              1. DERWIN JAMES, Florida State (6-2, 216, 4.44, 1): Third-year junior with a vertical jump of 40 and a broad jump of 11-0. Arms were 33. “He’s not a master of all trades but he’s pretty damn good at everything,” one scout said. “Everyone used to want one safety to be a hammer. Now everyone wants cover guys. That’s why I think he’s going to move up and be more of a cover guy from the linebacker position or a close-up safety. You can put him out and have him cover a big wide receiver or a tight end whether they can run or not. But he can’t cover those quick, shifty slot guys. He’s a little bit leggy.” Five-star recruit from Haines City, Fla. Started eight games at SS in 2015 before blowing out his knee in Game 2 of ’16. Returned as the FS in ’17, starting 12 games. “He wasn’t playing 100% this year,” a second scout said. “He’s a true interchangeable safety. He can play on the hash and cover ground. Yet he can come down to the slot and cover. He’s what you want. He’s a stud.” Finished with 186 tackles (15 for loss), three picks and 19 PBUs. “He was kind of disappointing,” a third scout said. “You’re basing it on what he did as a freshman. An ACL takes a full year to come back.” Wonderlic of 15. “He’s living off his rep,” a fourth scout said. “Just kind of floats around. How he looks is what gets him by. You won’t see a better looking guy physically but he just doesn’t make a lot of plays or factor a lot. Lot of hype. You’re banking on that he’ll look better (next year).”

                              2. MINKAH FITZPATRICK, Alabama (6-0, 204, 4.48, 1): Possibly coach Nick Saban’s favorite player in his Alabama tenure. Saban told Sports Illustrated that Fitzpatrick was the “prototype” of a modern college defensive back. “Reminds me of Eric Berry from an interview and character standpoint,” one scout said. “He can be a great safety. He’s got better coverage ability than Eric Berry. I don’t see him as good as Ronnie Lott … for all the hype he gets he’s very down to earth. He has played all the DB positions. That hurt him in a sense. If you can concentrate on one position you can be great at it.” Third-year junior immediately learned the defense. Started 38 of 42 games, finishing with 171 tackles (16 for loss), nine picks, four touchdowns and 35 PBUs. “He’s a vocal guy but he’s not leader-like,” said a second scout. “He’s not the juice man, I guess you (could) say. He’ll have some trouble with more sudden guys now and then. You saw that with Christian Kirk in the (Texas) A&M game. As a pure outside corner, you’re hoping for more than you’re actually getting. He isn’t an elite athlete and he doesn’t have elite dimensions. Minkah’s kind of a tweener.” Average workout numbers and shortest arms (31 ) of the top five safeties. “I don’t see the big-time, play-making talent,” a third scout said. “Not as good as Landon Collins or (Ha Ha) Clinton-Dix. Ha Ha was a much more impactful player than this guy. He’s one of those who gets a lot of praise for playing a lot of positions but he’s not a physical guy if he played safety and he’s not really a cover guy at corner.” From Old Bridge, N.J.

                              3. RONNIE HARRISON, Alabama (6-2, 215, 4.64, 2): Declared a year early after starting 30 of 44 games in three seasons. “He is a jawbreaker tackler compared to Minkah,” one scout said. “Eddie Jackson did all the mental work (in 2016) and Minkah did it all this year. He’ll drop down as the dime guy and cover tight ends and slot receivers. He’s got some athletic ability. He didn’t run well.” Longest arms of any safety (33 3/8). Wonderlic of 25. “Prototypical strong safety,” a second scout said. “He can be a violent striker but he’s more of an engulfing tackler. He’s a big presence in the alley. He’s tough to get around. He’s got a little better coverage ability than you think. He won’t have a problem covering tight ends unless his eye discipline gets bad. Same qualities as Kam (Chancellor) but a better coverage player. Kam couldn’t cover anybody.” Finished with 177 tackles (seven for loss), seven interceptions and 24 PBUs. “No, he’s not smart,” a third scout said. “Everybody tries to build him up as the guy but he’s not the guy.” From Tallahassee, Fla.

                              4. JUSTIN REID, Stanford (6-0 , 207, 4.40, 2-3): Third-year junior, two-year starter at FS. “If he can put it together this guy could be really good,” one scout said. “He’d be a cover safety who could play man. He’s not there yet. Little arrogance about him. Will he fit?” Highest Wonderlic (31) of the safeties. “He ran 4.4 flat but he doesn’t play that way,” a second scout said. “Plays the run well but I never saw that kind of burst out of the kid.” Finished with 179 tackles (10 for loss), six picks and 20 PBUs. “Struggles in space,” a third scout said. “People just kept running by him and throwing at him and beating him in one game. He’s a box-area type.” From Prairieville, La. His brother, Eric, played at LSU and started at safety for San Francisco from 2013-’17. “He’s not an intuitive player,” a fourth scout said. “Physically, he has all the gifts. He has no instinctive feel for playing the position.”

                              5. JESSIE BATES, Wake Forest (6-1, 199, 4.51, 3): Bypassed his last two seasons of eligibility after redshirting in 2015 and starting 20 games in 2016-’17. “Physical,” said one scout. “Square, strong tackler. He’s like your prototypical strong safety. He’s pretty good.” Minimally recruited out of Fort Wayne, Ind. “Don’t see burst,” a second scout said. “Adequate aggressiveness. Tight straight-line guy. He will tackle.” Finished with 179 tackles (9 for loss), six picks and 15 PBUs.

                              6. ARMANI WATTS, Texas A&M (5-10 , 208, 4.64, 3-4): Four-year starter at both FS and SS. “I really liked him last year (2016),” said one scout. “I had him in the third round and now I’ve got him in the sixth. He did not have a good season. He can’t run. He was extremely physical last year but he wasn’t this year. Now you end up with a guy that’s 5-10 and runs 4.65.” Had 10 interceptions and six forced fumbles in 48 games (42 starts). Made 327 tackles (24 for loss) and 29 PBUs. “Tough and instinctive,” another scout said. “Good athlete. Just not real big or fast.” From Forney, Texas.

                              7. TERRELL EDMUNDS, Virginia Tech (6-0 , 218, 4.45, 3-4): Hails from an athletic family in Danville, Va. Father, Ferrell, was an NFL TE; older brother, Trey, signed as a free-agent RB with the Saints, and younger brother, Tremaine, will be a first-round pick as a LB. “He’s a physical freak but he’s got some limitations, too,” one scout said. “He’s not his brother. He hits but he doesn’t have fluidity in his hips. He’s not a cover guy.” Besides cranking out a spectacular 40 at 218 pounds he led safeties in the vertical jump (41 ) and broad jump (11-2). His hands (10 ) were the largest, too. “Not a great space player,” said a second scout. “He can run but he doesn’t play to the speed. Probably best downhill in the box. Doesn’t have great eyes or anticipation.” Finished with 182 tackles (6 for loss) in 31 starts, including eight as a CB. Also had six picks and 20 PBUs. Underwent shoulder surgery and missed the last three games of ’17. “That’s why I was shocked he came out,” a third scout said. “Best as a two-deep safety. He can’t cover.” Wonderlic of 27.

                              8. MARCUS ALLEN, Penn State (6-2, 212, 4.65, 4): Four-year starter. “He’s a box guy,” said one scout. “A really tough guy. Has problems in space. He can’t run but he hits people. Late rounds. He can’t play now.” Finished as the fifth leading tackler in Nittany Lions’ annals with 321 (17 for loss). Just one pick and 12 PBUs. “He’s almost like a glorified linebacker,” said another scout. “He’s a big tone-setter that’s limited in coverage.” From Upper Marlboro, Md.

                              9. RASHAAN GAULDEN, Tennessee (6-1, 194, 4.58, 4): Emotional, heavily-penalized third-year junior. “He just didn’t run as well as we would have liked,” one scout said. Used almost strictly as a nickel back in two seasons as a regular. “He doesn’t have that kind of quickness,” another scout said. “He’s a flexible, fluid athlete. His speed was OK but he doesn’t have corner feet. You look at him, he’s skinny but a pretty good run defender. You can make him a free safety. He doesn’t exactly have the ideal range but he’s got enough. Or you could make him a press corner because he’s big and has long arms and he could be disruptive at the line of scrimmage. Kind of a (bleep) but nothing criminal. Jack of all trades, master of none.” Finished with 140 tackles (9 for loss), one pick and 10 PBUs. From Spring Hill, Tenn.

                              10. KYZIR WHITE, West Virginia (6-2, 219, 4.69, 4-5): Followed older brothers Kevin (Bears’ first-round draft choice in 2015) and Ka’Raun (WR in this draft) from Lackawanna Junior College to Morgantown. Started two seasons for the Mountaineers as a combination safety-LB. Two scouts had White rated among their top three safeties before he ran horribly at pro day. “He’ll end up being a linebacker,” one said. “I like the football player but I can’t get out of my mind that he ran 4.70. Which you don’t see on film. This kid played fast. He’s a heat-seeking missile. When this guy hits you the whole world knows it. It’s not like he’s stiff in coverage. At worst, he is a sub linebacker and your third safety.” Finished with 152 tackles (14 for loss), three picks and 12 PBUs. “The brother ran (well),” said a second scout. “He was my second best safety. Talk about a guy who hits.” From Macungie, Pa.

                              OTHERS: Troy Apke, Penn State; DeShon Elliott, Texas; Tray Matthews, Auburn; Dane Cruikshank, Arizona; Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern; Tracy Walker, Louisiana-Lafayette; Natrell Jamerson, Wisconsin; Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh; Quin Blanding, Virginia; Joshua Kalu, Nebraska; Siran Neal, Jacksonville State; Trayvon Henderson, Hawaii.

                              THE SKINNY

                              UNSUNG HERO

                              Arrion Springs, CB, Oregon: Three-year starter for the Ducks but didn’t merit an invitation to the combine or any of the all-star games. Springs (5-10 , 208, 4.45) had a top-notch pro day. He finished fourth in the Ducks’ record book with 44 passes broken up. Wonderlic of 20. “I don’t see him being a perimeter starter,” one scout said. “I could see him playing a lot in the slot.”

                              SCOUTS’ NIGHTMARE

                              Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State: At 6-2 and 203, McFadden has the size every team is seeking. A third-year junior, he started 26 games the past two years. In 2016, he finished second in FBS with eight interceptions. This year, he didn’t pick any and followed it with a slow 40 (4.62).

                              PACKERS’ PICK TO REMEMBER

                              Scott McGarrahan, S, New Mexico: Sixth-round draft choice in 1998. McGarrahan (6-1, 192, 4.56) was active for almost every game from 1998-’00 because of his special-teams zeal. He was released at the end of training camp in ’01 but went on to play for the Dolphins, Titans, Chargers and Lions from 2001-’05. Green Bay reacquired McGarrahan in a trade with Miami in late August 2003 for a conditional seventh-round pick. The deal was voided when the Packers cut him six days later.

                              QUOTE TO NOTE

                              NFC personnel man: “Two places you can’t have confidence and personality issues: corner and quarterback. If you lose confidence at corner and go in the tank, then you can’t cover anybody.”