Nick’s Picks: 2019 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Welcome back to Nick’s Picks. With the divisional round done and over with, the draft order has been updated. With each week that goes by, prospects’ draft stock are in constant flux, so look for some inconsistencies in where prospects are put in the draft.

1. AZ: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

New week, same pick. Yes, with Kyler Murray declaring for the NFL Draft and Kliff Kingsbury’s documented interest in the Oklahoma QB, it could be possible the Cardinals take him. However, for this mock draft, I have them taking Bosa.

2. SF: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

I have been skeptical on putting Williams here, but I think the 49ers will look at what the Rams have in Aaron Donald and see how critical defensive tackles are in the modern NFL.

3. NYJ: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

The first order of business for new head coach Adam Gase: protect Sam Darnold. Williams is a great offensive line prospect and can help both the run and pass game.

4. OAK: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Looks like Kyler plays in Oakland after all! (Assuming they don’t move to Vegas next season). I think Gruden and new GM Mike Mayock will look to move Derek Carr and start fresh with the Heisman trophy winner.

5. TB: Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

The Bucs are so deprived of talent that they need to get the best player available. Allen could play at the edge position or as an outside linebacker, and I’m sure Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles will extrapolate the most out of him.

6. NYG: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

This is the second week where I have Haskins going to the G-Men, and it’s looking more and more likely. Manning needs to depart before his entire reputation is tarnished.

7. JAX: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

In last week’s mock, I had the Jags taking a receiver, but I’d like to see how the mock draft shakes out with them taking a QB. Lock could be a nice fit in Duval County.

8. DET: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Man, I love this fit. The Lions are so desperate for a receiving threat for Stafford and Metcalf is among the best big body receivers in the draft.

9. BUF: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

Josh Allen missed a decent amount of games this year due to injury. In order for the Bills to have success moving forward, protecting their quarterback is essential.

10. DEN: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

The Demariyus Thomas + Emmanuel Sanders duo was nice while it lasted. Now, with Thomas gone and Sanders coming back from injury, the Broncos need a new receiving duo. Courtland Sutton and N’Keal Harry could very well be the newest tandem to rock the AFC West.

11. CIN: Devin White, LB, LSU

The Bengals can go so many different directions with this pick, but their defence was historically bad this season. White brings attitude and would become an immediate starter for Cincy.

12. GB: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

What a steal this would be if it comes into fruition. Ferrell is a great pass rusher who brings an immediate presence to this Packers defense.

13. MIA: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Oliver slips a little bit, but I think the Dolphins will find a lot of value in replacing what they miss in Ndamukong Suh.

14. ATL: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

I didn’t have Wilkins going in the first round in my previous mock draft, but his national championship performance and his above and beyond football personality will make teams fall in love with him. Wilkins can either replace or play alongside Grady Jarrett and fortify this defence.

15. WAS: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

I still can’t believe that Washington released D.J. Swearinger. I liked the move to trade for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but who knows if he re-signs with them. Thompson acts as a nice insurance policy (also, he’s an Alabama defender, which seems to be a trend for this team).

16. CAR: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Byron Murphy is shooting up draft boards, but I don’t see the cornerbacks in this draft going too high in this draft. Murphy will be a nice edition to a cornerback group with includes Donte Jackson and James Bradberry.

17. CLE: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State

The Browns are pointing in the right direction, but protection was a bit of an issue for them in 2018. Risner can become the franchise left tackle for years to come.

18. MIN: Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma

The main thing Minnesota needs to focus on is protecting Kirk Cousins and giving holes for Dalvin Cook. Oklahoma’s Cody Ford can make Cousins’ crazy deal look like it was worth it.

19. TEN: Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan

I don’t see Gary going super high in the first round due to his size and his lack of production, but his potential is through the roof. With Jurell Casey getting older, Gary can slide in and be a new face on this defensive line.

20. PIT: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Wow, what a slip for Greedy Williams. The Steelers need some better quality defenders, and Williams is arguably the top corner in this year’s draft.

21. SEA: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

The Seahawks surprised many by getting into the playoffs, but they still need to protect Russell Wilson. By the way, it seems like this is always my message every year and the Seahawks never solve this issue. Hopefully they invest in Wilson’s future is all I’m saying.

22. BAL: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

I initially had a receiver going into the first round, but would that really help the development of Lamar Jackson? He doesn’t love to throw to wide receivers, as he heavily utilizes his tight ends. So, I chose to focus on defence in this mock with this dominant DT.

23. HOU: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Houston has a few offensive needs such as offensive line and tight end. I was tempted to pick an offensive lineman here, but Noah Fant would help Deshaun Watson progress into a top 10 QB.

24. OAK (via CHI): DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

The Raiders have a ton of needs, and with Baker falling to 24, Oakland can have a shutdown CB for the future.

25. PHI: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

I’m surprised Gardner-Johnson isn’t getting more first round love, but I think he’d fit perfectly in Philadelphia. By adding a safety, this youthful secondary can be lead by Gardner-Johnson and veteran Malcolm Jenkins.

26. IND: Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Wow, the Colts surely over-performed this season. Their defence is most definitely underrated, but they could use some more interior pressure, and Simmons is among one of the best interior defensive line prospects in this year’s draft.

27. OAK (via DAL): Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

I’m convinced that the Raiders didn’t sign Khalil Mack because Mark Davis didn’t have enough money. That’s the only reason. Now, they have to settle for Brian Burns – who could be a good player, but he won’t be Khalil Mack.

28. LAC: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

The Chargers have a really solid roster, but they struggled at guard all season long. Lindstrom is a solid guard and could start day one.

29. KC: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

The Chiefs defence really impressed me against Indianapolis, but their cornerback play is suspect. Love can compete for the CB1 day one.

30. GB (via NO): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown could be a dynamic playmaker for the Packers.

31. LAR: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

The Rams are in good shape moving forward, but they need some improvement at linebacker. Wilson is an athletic thumper who is going to be yet another product of Nick Saban’s defence.

32. NE: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Tom Brady won’t last forever (even though it’s looking like it). Jones can come in and learn from the GOAT and eventually be the Pats QB for the future.

Nick’s Picks will be posted weekly and draft orders will be updated.

Nick’s Picks: 2019 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Welcome back, fans of Nick’s Picks! It’s been some time.

With the 2018 NFL Regular Season complete, 20 teams now have their draft slot solidified (unless they trade their pick). These picks are subject to change, due to the typical NFL draft nonsense (risers, fallers, Laremy Tunsil-like situations, etc). Now, let’s take a look at the 1.0 version of Nick’s Picks – 2019 edition.

1. AZ: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Have you taken a look at the Arizona Cardinals’ depth chart? Good God, it needs work.

I contemplated putting Quinnen Williams with this pick, since the Cardinals have a decent pass rush with Chandler Jones and Markus Golden, but there’s no guarantee that Golden returns in free agency (and Bosa’s just so much better than Golden). Bosa’s the pick, and the Cardinals ought to hit a few home runs in this year’s draft.

2. SF: Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

I struggled with this pick a lot, since the best player available is Quinnen Williams, but he doesn’t fill a need. I think Devin White could be in the mix for this pick, but it’s a bit rich for my taste.

Allen is a versatile defender who can rush the passer and also play coverage. He’s a tone setter for this defence and will hopefully make John Lynch look smart.

3. NYJ: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Maybe I’m looking at the wrong mock draft sites, but I can’t seem to find anyone who has Williams to the Jets – and I cannot understand why.

I think some believe that the Jets’ defensive line is good – it’s not bad – however, Quinnen Williams with Leonard Williams would be a nice pairing for years to come.

4. OAK: Devin White, LB, LSU 

I can’t stand looking at the Raiders’ roster. Jon Gruden has littered this roster with washed up veterans who he liked in 2008. Did you know that Leon Hall is playing for them? Unbelievable. Anyway, the Raiders need a tone setter on the defence, and Devin White is a culture changer.

5. TB: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

The Bucs are putting all their chips in with Jameis Winston, and they need to better protect him. Donovan Smith has been a disappointment throughout his career, so potentially Williams could be a franchise blind-side protector.

6. NYG: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Eli Manning will likely start next year, but I envision a Joe Flacco – Lamar Jackson transition with Manning and Dwayne Haskins.

I still can’t believe that Justin Herbert is going back to school. But, at least Haskins can cash out on his impressive year and be the successor to the fringe Hall of Fame quarterback.

7. JAX: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Wait, what??? Not a QB? In this scenario, I believe the Jags will realize that the QBs in this draft are not a high enough calibre to build a franchise around, so they acquire Joe Flacco on a one year prove-it deal.

Jacksonville once had a nice wide receiver duo in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, but now all they have is the underrated Keelan Cole. Harry adds a new dimension to this offence.

8. DET: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Remember in the 2017 NFL Draft when 3 wide receivers went in the top 10? I don’t think it’ll escalate to 3, but there could be multiple.

The Lions need a weapon for Matthew Stafford. He gets a lot of flack, but I don’t think people realize what he’s working with. Metcalf brings a big body presence to the Lions’ receiving corps.

9. BUF: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

I wasn’t a big fan of the Josh Allen selection in 2018, but he looks like someone you can build around. The Bills need to revamp this offence to tailor to Allen’s strengths.

Little is a solid protector and I believe has the versatility to play left and right tackle, or even guard. He’s exactly what Allen needs, and Buffalo will recognize that.

10. DEN: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

The Broncos have quite a few needs – including quarterback – but I wouldn’t draft any QB here. Their secondary needs a playmaker, and Thompson fits this scheme well.

11. CIN: Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma

Side note: I’m shocked that I lived to see the day that Marvin Lewis was fired as Cincy’s head coach.

The Bengals need a lot of help on the offensive line, even with the draft pick of Billy Price last year. Yeah, the pick isn’t sexy, but I’ve never really attributed sexy to the Bengals anyway.

12. GB: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

This season exposed the Packers’ lack of defensive talent. The bright side of Green Bay’s defence are their corners, linebacker Blake Martinez and defensive tackle Kenny Clark – that’s about it. Ferrell brings a spark of pass rush to this struggling defence.

13. MIA: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Ryan Tannehill looks to be out of Miami at the beginning of next season. Lock, although limited, looks to be a good leader and the best QB available. A new horizon is setting in South Beach.

14. ATL: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Some may think that Williams is a top 10 pick, and he very well could be, but I believe that there are more talented prospects that will be selected before him.

Atlanta needs some more personality on their defence. When you get someone named “Greedy”, you get some personality.

15. WAS: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

Josh Norman is on the decline, and there’s no one else on this team with CB1 potential. Baker is among one of the best defenders in this draft and will give stability to this rocky franchise.

16. CAR: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

I like James Bradberry and Donte Jackson, but I think they need a bona fide shut down corner.

Carolina’s defence has an odd mix of both young and old players. They must stop relying on old vets like Julius Peppers, Thomas Davis and Captain Munnerlyn and add more young players.

17. CLE: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

How did Ed Oliver slip this far into the draft? I question Oliver’s size transitioning into the NFL, and I know that some don’t care about the “jacket-gate” situation with Houston’s head coach, but I think some teams will question Oliver’s character. Cleveland selects him opposite Larry Ogunjobi.

18. MIN: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State

It seems like a lot of people have this, and I tend to agree with the mock draft community. I didn’t like the Kirk Cousins signing, but I do think that he’d be better with more protection.

19. TEN: Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan

The Titans have a few needs, one of which is a versatile defensive lineman. Gary would be a steal at this stage of the draft and would be a nice pairing with veteran Jurell Casey.

20. PIT: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Wow, who would have thought that the Steelers would be just shy of making the playoffs? One of the main reasons why I’m surprised is that they have a very complete roster. Perhaps having a right tackle for the future will help Ben in his final years.

21. SEA: Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

The Seahawks surprised me this year, but they need to build up their defence. Simmons is among the best defenders still available, and he’d pair up nicely with Jarran Reed in the interior of that defensive line.

22. BAL: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

Is Lamar Jackson the future in Baltimore? I’d say yes, but he needs help at wide receiver. It’s up for debate as to who’s the best receiver available, but A.J. Brown has some nice traits and will fit well with the Ravens.

23. HOU: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

Deshaun Watson was fighting for his life against the Colts in the Wild Card round. If he had a bit of protection, perhaps Watson leads the Texans to victory. Houston finds a versatile lineman in Cajuste.

24. OAK (via CHI): Brian Burns, DE, Florida State 

I like the Mike Mayock hire for one reason: he knows how to evaluate talent in the draft. Burns is a nice pass rusher who probably won’t be as good as Khalil Mack, but he could emerge as a double digit sack artist.

25. PHI: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College 

Regardless on where you stand on the Nick Foles/Carson Wentz debate, it’ll be important for the Eagles to protect their QB. Their left guard position has been shaky, and Lindstrom is a plug-and-play type of player.

26. IND: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

Darius Leonard is in contention for DROY, but the rest of the linebacking corps is suspect. Fifth rounder Anthony Walker and seventh rounder Zaire Franklin get a lot of reps currently, which could be an issue against the Chiefs. Wilson adds another athlete to this defence.

27. OAK (via DAL): Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Oakland has many options on how to build via the draft, and I think they’ll try and build their front seven. Brown is an upgrade over P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst and has a tough mentality.

28. LAC: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Philip Rivers is having an excellent year, but how many years does he have left? Since they hardly have any needs, I think getting an intriguing QB prospect in Jones is a smart move.

29. NE: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

The end is near for the Pats. Perhaps Brady has a few more decent years left, but he needs more weapons. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is an electric playmaker who could extend TB12’s career.

30. LAR: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

When watching the Peach Bowl this year, I was shocked by how active and productive Gardner-Johnson was against Michigan. His ascension has made him worthy of a first round grade, and the Rams could use his talents.

31. KC: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

The loss of Marcus Peters has made Kansas City’s defence among the worst in the league. Love can be a day one starter and make the Chiefs’ secondary respectable again.

32. GB (via NO): Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

The Packers need to help out Aaron Rodgers, one way or another. Harmon is a solid receiver who is better than everyone other than Davante Adams in the Packers’ receiving room.

Nick’s Picks will be posted weekly and draft orders will be updated.

Who are the Early Candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year?

We’re four weeks in and this season has been nothing short of riveting. As a draft geek, I love seeing how rookies fit with their new teams, and there have been some standouts thus far on both sides of the ball.

Today, let’s take a look at who are the early offensive rookie of the year candidates.

8. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb.

Just barely nudging into consideration is an emerging weapon for Baker Mayfield. Chubb has been an afterthought thus far, but his performance against the Oakland Raiders put the league on notice.

Chubb rushed for 105 yards on 3 attempts (yeah, that’s an average of 35 yards per carry) against Oakland, and the Browns are looking to give him more carries moving forward.

7. Josh Rosen, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen.

This is a true dark-horse pick, but if Rosen can turn this struggling franchise around, then he’ll most definitely be considered for OROY. I thought it was foolish to throw him into the fire against the Bears, but he showed some encouraging traits in his first start against Seattle.

Against the Seahawks, Rosen went 15 for 27 for 180 yards and 1 touchdown. Although these aren’t great stats, given that this was his first start and he didn’t throw any picks, it’s not bad. If Rosen can show that he can be an upper-tier QB in the NFL, he’ll OROY consideration.

6. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay.

Lindsay is the only undrafted rookie I have on this list, but boy is he deserving of it. I wanted to also include Lindsay’s teammate, Royce Freeman on this list, but Lindsay has shown way more explosiveness and he jumps off your screen.

So far this season, Lindsay has 267 yards rushing and he’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry. If Lindsay can continue with this type of production and be a factor in the passing game, Lindsay should get be in the OROY discussion.

5. Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold.

In some aspects, it’s been a tough transition for the former USC quarterback. He’s thrown 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and his first appearance on Thursday Night Football ended in a loss to Baker Mayfield’s Cleveland Browns. However, Darnold has shown that he’s the future of the Big Apple.

His performance against the Detroit Lions put him on a pedestal that was probably too high for him, but he showed some spark. If he can revive this season and put the Jets in the middle of the pact, Darnold could become this year’s OROY.

4. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions 

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson.

Johnson has had a quite, but impressive first four weeks of the NFL season. He became the first Detroit Lions running back since 2013 to rush for over 100 yards in one game.

Through four weeks, Johnson has run for 216 yards for 5.7 yards a carry. He has also been a factor in the passing game, too. In order for Johnson to become OROY, he must be entrusted to be the bell-cow and he must be given the ball more in the passing game.

3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns 

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

It looks like Hue Jackson’s plan of benching Baker for Tyrod Taylor for a year didn’t work in his favour. That’s alright, though, since Mayfield has shown promise in both his first appearance and first start, respectively. Could Mayfield become Cleveland’s saving grace? If so, would a mediocre record be enough of an accomplishment for him to win OROY?

In his first appearance against the New York Jets, Baker went 17 for 23 and 201 yards. In his first start against the Raiders, the Oklahoma QB went 21 for 41 and 295 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Not a stellar performance, but Cleveland’s offence putting up 42 points is noteworthy. The title of number one overall pick has lofty expectations, and if Baker can meet them, he’ll be OROY.

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley.

Let’s not lie to ourselves, everyone thought Saquon would be the unanimous OROY coming into the 2018 NFL season. Has he lived up to expectations? I don’t think he has, but I blame a lot of that on how poor the Giants are as a collective. It’s no secret: Barkley is versatile. However, in order to win OROY, he must demonstrate that he is an elite running talent.

Over the first four weeks, Saquon has accumulated 260 rushing yards with 3 touchdowns. As well, Barkley has 27 receptions for 193 receiving yards. He’s been good, but he has to push it into the next gear to get my OROY vote.

1. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley.

Perhaps an unlikely leading candidate for OROY, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley has been incredible in the first quarter of the season. Ridley has been an excellent complimentary piece to Julio Jones, and while that isn’t translating into wins, the Falcons must be happy with what they’ve seen.

Ridley has 264 receiving yards and a league-leading 6 receiving touchdowns. Julio takes a lot of targets, as he leads the league in receiving yards, but Ridley will get his fair share of attention from Matty Ice. Look out for Ridley to be my pick for OROY.

2019 NFL Draft Preliminary Evaluation: Oregon QB Justin Herbert

2019 NFL Draft Preliminary Evaluation: Oregon QB Justin Herbert

Justin Herbert Preliminary Draft Profile

When looking at the 2019 NFL Draft at first, one of the most noticeable characteristics one can recognize right off the bat is that this class appears to pale in comparison to last year’s at a position of considerable importance: quarterback. However, many of the potential choices in the next crop of signal-callers offer the talent to skyrocket up draft boards or solidify their stock with a convincing 2018 campaign. This article will be spent on an early evaluation of one of the (expected) upcoming QB prospects who fits in with the latter category: Justin Herbert.

 

Photo Credit/www.goducks.com

STRENGTHS

Herbert is as poised as they come in the face of pressure. His willingness to stand in the pocket and deliver while staring down the barrel and taking a hit is quite the attribute to have as a college sophomore.

Herbert comes prototypical height and size, but more importantly, the skill set coveted in a franchise QB. His arm talents jumps out as one of his greatest assets; Herbert’s ability to sling the ball downfield with relative ease, fire with velocity, and excellent touch over the top means there’s not a spot on the field Herbert isn’t capable of hitting. He has no problem making throws outside the hashes as well. His mechanics are clean for the most part. While he has a longer release, Herbert makes up for it with a lightning fast follow through and fluid weight transfer through his motion.

Although his effortless arm strength is captivating, what sets Herbert apart from his fellow draft hopefuls is the stunning accuracy he displays for a player who’s only been 20 years old for a couple of months now. Whether he’s dicing up opponents with laser beams in the middle of the field or hitting receivers on vertical shots in stride for huge gains,  Herbert routinely exhibits outstanding ball placement to all areas of the field. He’s able to put the right amount of touch on throws to drop the football in between levels of the defense.

He makes brilliant, jaw-dropping dimes in tight coverage and small windows in between zones. His proficiency in vital areas of QBing, such as timing and anticipation, at such a young age are encouraging signs that he has a realistic chance to blossom into a superstar. On multiple occasions, Herbert has been able to connect on beautiful throws in between the back of the end zone and a defender with exceptional placement and trajectory.

If he wasn’t impressive enough, the Eugene, Oregon native has already looked to master the art of the back-shoulder throw. He combines perfect timing and location of the ball to put it in a spot where a defender couldn’t possibly make a play on it, and allows his receiver to get in a position to use his body to shield a defender and extend for the catch.

Not only is he a surgeon in a clean pocket, however; Herbert’s ability to thread the needle is still very much present even when his feet aren’t set. On the move and throwing off just about any platform, he’s an incredibly precise passer who keeps his eyes downfield when he gets forced off his spot.

It only helps that he possesses the desired athleticism to escape pressure, extend plays, and rip off considerable yards as a runner. He’s no Cam Newton, but Justin Herbert can be a reliable chain mover and can be utilized as a weapon in the red zone with his legs.

Herbert’s eyes are just as lethal as his rocket right arm. He shows the ability to decipher coverage pre-snap and weed out potential mismatches. Post-snap, he’s proven more than capable of scanning the field and working past his first read and through multiple progressions at an NFL level (or at least close to it).

Where Herbert shines most of all is his ability to manipulate defenders through body language. Using subtle movements in his dropback and his eyes, Herbert finds tremendous success in creating gaping throwing lanes over the top. He excels at forcing deep safeties to account for other potential targets, leaving his intended target open to cash in.

 

WEAKNESSES

Lower body mechanics appear to be an issue Herbert has. As Matt Waldman describes, he rushes his process when faced with pressure, and the size of his base varies as he transitions from target to target. Ideally, an accurate ball is delivered with feet placed shoulder width apart. When they get too wide, the risk of sailed passes/misfires increases greatly.

Rushed process due to pressure leads to early release, overthrown ball, and an interception.

 

EARLY COMPARISON

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles. Not many quarterbacks in the league share too many similarities with Herbert, but his blend of size, arm talent, accuracy, and mobility gives him serious playmaking ability that reminds me of the young Philly phenom. Wentz displays the same traits that made him the 2nd overall pick in 2016, but also the same flaws: Wentz needed to work on shortening his stride in his transitions and making safer decisions with the ball under pressure. Herbert’s style of play fits in very well with the evolving offenses in today’s NFL and his athleticism and precision on the move should get him looks in rollouts and boot-action.

 

PRELIMINARY GRADE

Top 5 prospect. Herbert has all the makings of a franchise quarterback. He’s a special talent who is quite a bit more advanced in his development than his peers. With steps in his development of course, Herbert can establish himself as one of the better players in the game at his position.

Bold Predictions for the 2018 NFL Draft Class

Bold Predictions for the 2018 NFL Draft Class

The 2018 NFL Draft has come to an end. Now that the dust has settled, let’s talk about how the first round picks will pan out.

2018’s first round picks will be graded using a scale ranging from future Hall of Famer to absolute bust. Let’s see how each team’s pick will do for them.

1. Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Prediction: Bust

The pick that shocked the world will end up in flames. Mayfield is accurate and an electric playmaker. However, I have my concerns with him. He’s had legal issues, unsportsmanlike conduct on the field and on the sidelines, which does not bode well for the prototypical NFL quarterback. He isn’t Johnny Manziel, but he won’t be Peyton Manning, or even Joe Flacco, for that matter.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Prediction: Pro Bowler

This is a match made in heaven. Some suggested that the Giants should have drafted a quarterback, but when’s the last time Eli Manning had a running game? The answer: since Tiki Barber. Barkley will be an electric playmaker for the Giants and the trio of Manning, Beckham and Barkley will be quite the spectacle.

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley.

3. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Jets must have sprinted to get that draft card in to the commissioner. Darnold fell into their lap, and he should be a nice fit in the Big Apple. Darnold has good leadership intangibles and has great QB traits. I doubt he’ll be a Hall of Famer, but he’ll make a few Pro Bowls and lead his team to some respectable playoff runs.

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold.

4. Cleveland Browns: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Many suspected that the Browns would have taken Bradley Chubb with the fourth pick, but they opted for local standout Denzel Ward. Personally, I like the move, since I’m not as high on Chubb as some are, and I like the idea of having more Ohio State players. Ward won’t be as good as his former teammate Marshon Lattimore, who won Defensive Rookie of the Year, but look for Ward to make some Pro Bowls in the future.

Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward.

5. Denver Broncos: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Like I said before, I’m not as high on Chubb compared to others, but he’ll be a quality starter. It’ll be interesting to see who will start opposite Von Miller, since Shane Ray is still a solid starter. The Broncos will likely regret picking Chubb, since there will be players who were picked after who could make a great impact for their respective teams. However, I’m happy they didn’t select a quarterback.

Denver Broncos DE Bradley Chubb.

6. Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Prediction: Future Hall of Famer

The Colts may have gotten the steal of the draft. Yes, Nelson is a guard, but ask any QB who has to play Aaron Donald or Fletcher Cox and they’ll tell you that guard play is important. Andrew Luck has been a human piñata since he got into the league, and his resurgence will be attributed to the additional protection.

Indianapolis Colts G Quenton Nelson.

7. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Prediction: Bust

Buffalo traded up with Tampa Bay to select their quarterback of the future. Allen has a cannon of an arm, but he’s very unpolished and will need to adapt to NFL defensive schemes. His football IQ is lacking and he has to play Bill Belichick twice a year. Evidently, he’ll become a bust in Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen.

8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter

I’m a big fan of Smith going to the Bears. He fits Chicago’s mantra of being blue collar and tough, and he gets to join his former teammate Leonard Floyd. Smith will end up being a staple in the Bears’ defense.

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith.

9. San Francisco 49ers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Prediction: Quality Starter

San Francisco invested in Jimmy Garoppolo’s future by getting a tackle in Mike McGlinchey. Left tackle Joe Staley is old and they traded their right tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots. McGlinchey will start at right tackle and eventually slide over to left tackle. McGlinchey will struggle early in his career, but I see him having a Eric Fisher type career where he struggles early on, but improves as the years pass.

San Francisco 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey.

10. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Arizona Cardinals traded with the Oakland Raiders to nab their future starting QB. Rosen is loved by some and hated by many, due to his smug behaviour. Because of this, Rosen fell to 10. The UCLA product was my favourite QB in this year’s draft, but I think his ceiling is limited. He may make a few Pro Bowls, but he won’t be a generational talent.

Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen.

11. Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Miami got a great player in Minkah Fitzpatrick. His outstanding work ethic and Alabama pedigree makes him a special talent. The Dolphins lack hard working, dependable players, and Fitzpatrick has the ability to be a culture changer. Because of this, he will make a few Pro Bowls in a likely successful career.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Prediction: Bust

I like Vea, but I don’t see him succeeding in Tampa Bay. The thought of him and Gerald McCoy in the middle of the defensive line is scary, but Vea will be marginalized by McCoy’s exceptional play. Hopefully this doesn’t happen, but I envision Vea being a bust.

13. Washington Redskins: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Prediction: Quality Starter

I was not a fan of this pick, but Washington won’t be too disappointed by this pick. Payne gets to join former Alabama teammate Jonathan Allen in the Capital, but Payne won’t be a difference maker, even with a supporting cast. He’ll be a decent player, and that’s about it.

14. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Prediction: Bust

The Saints traded a boat load to the Green Bay Packers in order to select Marcus Davenport, and it will end up not being worth it. Davenport tests well, but he doesn’t dominate his lower level competition as much as one would want. Davenport won’t end up being the dominant edge rusher opposite Cam Jordan that NOLA wants him to be.

15. Oakland Raiders: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Prediction: Quality Starter 

Oakland shocked many draft analysts when they selected Kolton Miller. Their right tackle position hasn’t been solidified, and Donald Penn is getting closer to retirement. Miller will be a decent tackle, but Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie could have maximized the value of this pick more.

16. Buffalo Bills: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Buffalo traded up to select their next great defender in Tremaine Edmunds. His impressive tape and athletic ability will make him a Pro Bowl talent for the Bills.

17. Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, S, Florida State

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Chargers were the beneficiaries of James slipping to them. His instincts and playmaking ability will make him a great safety. He learned his swagger from former Florida State teammate Jalen Ramsey, and that alone will earn him a few Pro Bowls.

18. Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Packers nabbed one of the best corners in this year’s draft. Alexander is a physical, ball hawking corner who’s skill set can fill a void in the Packer defense. His flashy play will help him be respected around the league, but his size will hurt him from being a Pro Bowl talent.

19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Dallas Cowboys have been solid at drafting in recent years, and Vander Esch shouldn’t disappoint. Some analysts believe he could be Brian Urlacher, which I vehemently disagree with, but he has that old school mentality. He won’t be a Pro Bowl level linebacker, but he’ll be a solid starter.

20. Detroit Lions: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

Prediction: Quality Starter

I’ll never understand this pick, but to be fair, I’d consider it a safe pick. It’s a reach, most definitely, but Ragnow will be a quality starter in the NFL. He didn’t warrant a first round pick, and James Daniels is the better center prospect, but Matthew Stafford should be happy that he has a quality snapper now.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Billy Price, C, Ohio State

Prediction: Quality Starter

Again, I don’t understand why these teams take average centers in the first round. Again, the Bengals and Andy Dalton will be happy to have a decent center with Price, but they could have gotten better offensive linemen at this stage of the draft. In essence, bad pick, yet still a good player.

22. Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Prediction: Pro Bowler

The Titans’ strategy in this draft was quality over quantity. They traded up for three of their four draft picks, and it should work out for them. Rashaan Evans, their first round pick, has Pro Bowl potential and will slide right into this defense.

23. New England Patriots: Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter 

With Nate Solder signing with the New York Giants, the Patriots used one of their first round picks on an undersized tackle. Isaiah Wynn is a good prospect who could be a great guard, but it seems as though Bill Belichick wants to play him at tackle. His 6’2″ height is concerning for a blindside tackle, but perhaps he can make it work.

24. Carolina Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Prediction: Bust

I didn’t understand the D.J. Moore hype train during the late stages of the draft. He’s a solid prospect, but he’s not a first round talent, so I expect him to be a bust. Cam Newton might be able to make him a better player, but Carolina would have been better off with a Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton.

25. Baltimore Ravens: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

Prediction: Quality Starter

The Maxx Williams experiment didn’t work out, so the Ravens got two of the top tight end prospects in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. Hurst is a volume catcher who can be a game changer, and Joe Flacco (or Lamar Jackson) will love to throw to him.

26. Atlanta Falcons: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Prediction: Quality Starter

Julio Jones’ future in Atlanta is up in the air, but if he comes back and is paired up with Calvin Ridley, the league will be put on notice. Matt Ryan should be ecstatic to get Ridley who’s an excellent compliment to Jones. I don’t see him being a Pro Bowler, but he’ll be respected around the league.

27. Seattle Seahawks: Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

Prediction: Bust

Seattle had one of the most surprising selections of the first round in drafting Rashaad Penny. Ultimately, it’ll end up not panning out for them. Penny is an all-round back, but he doesn’t warrant a first round pick and the expectations surrounding a first round running back.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

Prediction: Quality Starter

Pittsburgh surprised the football world when they picked Edmunds, but he’ll end up being a good player for them. He has good instincts and a solid work ethic, and should personify the Pittsburgh Steelers well.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Prediction: Bust

The Jags opted to draft another Florida product in the first round. Bryan has a lot of good physical traits, but he lacks instincts and might find himself lost in the mix in Jacksonville’s competitive defensive line.

30. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

Prediction: Future Hall of Famer

This prediction might seem bold, but I really like this fit for Hughes. Him and Xavier Rhodes will be an exciting one, and they could have a better Legion of Boom on their hands.

31. New England Patriots: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

Prediction: Quality Starter

New England picked two Georgia products in Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel. Michel was highly productive at Georgia, even with Nick Chubb taking some of the carries. Michel is a great fit in New England, since they have a running back by committee approach.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Prediction: Pro Bowler

Few players fit their team’s mantra quite like Lamar Jackson does to the Baltimore Ravens. His electric play will make him supersede the average Joe Flacco. Eventually, I see Jackson becoming a Pro Bowl quarterback.

NFL Draft Recap: Day One

NFL Draft Recap: Day One

The NFL Draft is known for its unpredictability and this draft has been called one of the most mysterious drafts in recent memory. With that being said, an epic first round has finally come to a close so lets recap the moves made here on day one.

1. Cleveland Browns

Pick: QB Baker Mayfield

Opinion: Wow. Reports had surfaced over the coming days speculating that the Browns were interested in selecting Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick and I honestly did not believe they would do it. Mayfield is in my opinion the third best quarterback in this draft and though he may have potential, his attitude and issues on and off the field are a concern, but not enough for the Browns to take him off their big board as their number one ranked prospect. I think there were better and safer options out their and the risk of taking Mayfield is really high, but if you believe a player may be your guy, no matter what or where, you pick him and that is what the Browns just did.

 

2. New York Giants

Pick: RB Saquon Barkley

Opinion: Barkley has been connected to the Giants since he had declared back in January and Dave Gettleman had never once denied the possibility of selecting a running back with the second overall pick and now we see why. Barkley is a high potential player and I can describe him as a more mature version of Ezekiel Elliot. Barkley now pairs with Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and Evan Engram as a nice tandem on offense as the Giants look to make one more run with Eli under center.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold about to throw a pass.

3. New York Jets

Pick: QB Sam Darnold

Opinion: Sam Darnold is the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft. Turnovers have been a question mark for him during his collegiate career but you can coach a player away from making mistakes. Darnold has good size, a solid arm and good pocket presence and if he could reduce the turnovers, he has the potential to not only be a winner, but finally be the franchise guy the Jets have been looking for since Joe Namath left the Jets in 1977 to sign with the Rams.

 

4. Cleveland Browns

Pick: CB Denzel Ward

Opinion: It has been long rumored that the Browns may trade the fourth overall pick but make the right decision by staying at fourth overall and selecting maybe the top corner in this draft in Denzel Ward. Though Cubb is a better player, the Browns looked at need rather than best player available and see Ward as a pro bowl talent and a day one starter. Ward is a grinder who always seems to be around the ball and will be a big upgrade to an already improved secondary

 

NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb.

5. Denver Broncos

Pick: DE Bradley Chubb

Opinion: The Broncos had Bradley Chubb fall right into their lap at 5th overall. Chubb is without a doubt the best defensive player in this draft and some may argue he is the best player in the draft overall. Chubb will play alongside All Pro linebacker Von Miller and former first round pick Shane Ray. The Broncos have officially commit to Case Keenum for at least this season with them passing up on both Josh Allen and Josh Rosen.

 

Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson.

6. Indianapolis Colts

Pick: OG Quenton Nelson

Opinion: I have Nelson as the safest pick in the 2018 draft and after years of struggling to build a decent offensive line, the Colts pick up a franchise guard with the sixth pick. Nelson has the potential to be All-Pro as a rookie and with the Colts getting their day one starter at guard at sixth overall and acquiring more draft capital after trading back from 3rd overall, this is the best overall pick in the draft.

 

Photo Credit/Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images

7. Buffalo Bills( from Tampa Bay Buccs)

*Tampa Receives picks 12, 53 and 56. The Bills also received a 7th round pick*

Pick: QB Josh Allen

Opinion: It took 6 picks, but we finally have the first trade of the night. The Bills have finally got their wish of trading into the top ten and did not have to give up both first round picks. With the 7th pick, they take Josh Allen who I think has the highest potential at the quarterback position in the draft. Allen has a canon for an arm, has the pocket presence and the size to succeed but accuracy has been the major issue with him. Allen has been compared to Carson Wentz, who has nearly the same measurables as Allen. I believe if Allen could improve his accuracy issue, he has the potential to be a Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo type player.

Photo Credit/Jamie Squire, Getty Images

 

8. Chicago Bears

Pick: LB Roquan Smith

Opinion: After trading up the previous two seasons, the Bears stay put at 8th overall and select Roquan Smith out of Georgia. Smith is a high touted linebacker that has the qualities to be a four down linebacker in the NFL. He has the size and the ability to be a solid producer in the NFL and has Ray Lewis like qualities. He will join a solid Bears defense who finished top 10 in the NFL last season.

 

9: San Francisco 49ers

Pick: OT Mike McGlinchey

Opinion: The 6’8 Tackle has the commitment and the passion to be a elite level tackle in the NFL. He learns from his mistakes and is the cleanest tackle in this draft. This may not be the “sexiest” pick on paper, especially since there were players like Marcus Davenport, Tremaine Edmounds, Vita Vea and Derwin James on the board, but the offensive line is the most important part of a football team after getting a quarterback. Jimmy G. gets himself a solid offensive lineman and will most likely move over to replace Joe Staley after the 2018 season.

 

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen about to complete a pass.

10. Arizona Cardinals( via Oakland Raiders)

*Raiders receive picks 15, 79, and 152

Pick: QB Josh Rosen

Opinion: Some may say that Rosen is the best pocket passer in the draft, and while he may look decent in the pocket, I am not a fan of Rosen overall and still believe that he is a 2nd round pick. He lacks mobility, makes somewhat questionable throws and his injury history in college makes him a major question mark. Not to mention his off the field issues. With all that said, Rosen still has the potential and could have a career similar to Eli Manning if he cleans up his attitude and his game(maybe not the rings but that is to be seen later).  Like the Browns, the Cardinals got their guy and hope that he will be their starter for the next ten years.

Photo Credit/www.sbnation.com

11. Miami Dolphins

Pick: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

Opinion: I am a huge fan of Fitzpatrick. He is a lengthy player that plays with heart and has the speed to play both saftey and corner in the NFL. He reminds me a lot of Malcom Jenkins and will more than likely be used in the same way the Eagles use Jenkins. I would assume he will pair up next to Xavien Howard at corner come week one. The only concern is where he will play on the field, but as a mentioned before, I believe he could play both secondary positions at a high level and be a major upgrade for this Dolphins team that has been desperate for help.

 

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers(from Buffalo Bills)

Pick: DT Vita Vea

Opinion: Vea has been called a “more athletic version of Haloti Ngata” and that is the perfect comparison for him. He may not have the sack numbers or the super flashy statistics, but he is a fierce run stopper and will pressure the quarterback when asked. He slides in nicely on that Tampa defensive line and the Buccs drop back, add draft picks and receive a monster on the defensive line as a result. Nice job by the Tampa front office.

 

13. Washington Redskins

Pick: DT Da’Ron Payne

Opinion: Payne is a prototypical defense tackle and will now pair up with his former teammate Jonathan Allen. He is known for being one of the best run stoppers who can clog up lanes and stop anyone in his direction, but the potential for sacks is there. The Redskins really need help on that defensive-line and now add Payne who they believe will be a starter from day one.

UTSA Defensive End Marcus Davenport.

14. New Orleans Saints (from Green Bay Packers)

Pick: DE Marcus Davenport

Opinion: I love the Saints being aggressive and moving up i the draft to add the player they think would take their championship caliber team to the next level. Do not get me wrong, I love Marcus Davenport and I think he will be a good player on that team, but the Saints gave up their 2019 first round pick to select a non-quarterback at 14 and had a shot at drafting Derwin James and making a major upgrade to their secondary. Non the less, Davenport is a athletic lineman who can get to the quarterback and stop the run. He is a boom or bust type player, but I believe he has more qualities to succeed in the league than fail. The Saints add another quality piece to their defense as they look to win another title before the Drew Brees era comes to an end.

 

15. Oakland Raiders (from Arizona Cardinals)

Pick: OT Kolton Miller

Opinion: I am not a big fan of this selection. Some may say that he is the best tackle in the draft but I beg to differ. He has the intangibles to be a franchise player, but his game tape, to me, shows day two talent. The bigger thing is the fact that the Raiders have big defensive needs and had so many more talented and safer players at their selection. Yes, they have more draft picks as a result of their trade with Arizona, but you want to make a solid pick in the first round(see Tampa Bay) and the Raiders failed to do so. Raiders fans have the right to feel concerned.

The Raiders also announced that they traded a third round pick to the Steelers for wide receiver Martavis Bryant. I will be making post draft outlooks for every team in the future , but Bryant helps make up for the Raiders first round selection as he is a number one type weapon for Derek Carr.

 

16. Buffalo Bills (from Baltimore Ravens)

* Ravens receive picks 22 and 65 in this years draft. Bills also get pick 154

Pick: LB Tremaine Edmounds

Opinion: Edmounds is the youngest player in this draft. Being only 19, Edmounds is yet to completely fill up his frame and that should not be a probably once beginning an NFL training program. He was predicted to be drafted top ten, so it is a suprise that he was still on the board at 16, which led the Bills to trade up once again to get him. I rated Edmounds as the best linebacker in this draft and his ability to play in cover and his long lengthy body only adds to his athleticism. This Buffalo defense is looking extremely solid.

 

Florida State S Derwin James.

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Pick: S Derwin James

Opinion: James is an absolute steal at pick number 17. He is the best pure safety in the draft and fits the Chargers defense perfectly. His play style is similar to Eric Berry and is an absolute stud when playing cover. This pick makes the Chargers defense very nasty and continues their goal of getting  younger. He will add to a secondary that already consists of Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett, giving the Chargers a ligament chance at being a top ten, even top 5 defense in all the NFL.

 

Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander picks off a pass against Purdue.

18. Green Bay Packers (from Seattle Seahawks)

*Seattle receives picks 27, 76 and 186. Packers also get pick 248

Pick: CB Jaire Alexander

Opinion: The Packers desperately needed a cornerback after all the losses this secondary had this offseason. Not only did they acquire more draft picks to add to the 12 they had before the draft even started, they get a day one starting corner who plays with swagger and enthusiasm. He is a smooth cover corner and will hopefully not have the career Morgan Burnett had with Jay Cutler, with Mitchell Trubisky.

 

LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 16: Leighton Vander Esch #38 of the Boise State Broncos tackles quaterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks during the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boise State won 38-28. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

19. Dallas Cowboys

Pick: LB Leighton Vander Esch

Opinion: The Cowboys are the next team to get a steal in this draft by selecting Leighton Vander Esch. He has been compared to and called the next Brian Urlacher for many reasons, but I believe he plays just like his new teammate Sean Lee. The Cowboys now have a solid line backing core consisting of Vander Esch, Lee and Jaylon Smith as the Cowboys try and make the playoffs after missing them last season.

 

20. Detroit Lions

Pick: C Frank Ragnow

Opinion: He is touted as the best center in the entire draft and for the third time in four seasons, the Lions pick an offensive linemen in the first round to protect Matthew Stafford. Ragnow will slide right in between Taylor Decker and TJ Lang and the Lions hope Ragnow is a hit unlike Laken Tomlinson and Riley Reiff, whose tenures as Lions first round draft picks where not as promising. It is to note that Ragnow can also play guard.

 

Ohio State guard Billy Price running onto the field with his teammates.

21. Cincinnati Benglas

Pick: C Billy Price

Opinion: Price was the best center to me in this draft and unfortunately suffered a pectoral injury at the combine. However, he is expected to be ready for training camp and could be a solid player for them at 21. The Bengals needed a center so this pick makes sense.

 

22. Tennessee Titans (from Ravens)

*Ravens receive picks 25 and 125. Titans also get pick 215

Pick: LB Rashaan Evans

Opinion: With the loss of Avery Williamson in the offseason, Evans will replace him nicely and look to be a leader on that Tennessee defense that keeps on improving. Evans is a three down linebacker and may have a few flaws in his game but it is nothing major or concerning.

 

23. New England Patriots (from Rams)

Pick: OT Isiah Wynn

Opinion: The Patriots needed an offensive tackle now that Nate Solder is now with the Giants. He was a beast in Georgia and with the Patriots depth at guard, I would be surprised to see Wynn play anywhere other than tackle.

 

24. Carolina Panthers

Picks: WR D.J. Moore

Opinion: Big fan of this pick and Moore at of Maryland. He had an impressive combine which led to him leaping over Calvin Ridley as the number one receiver in the draft. The Panthers wanted to get a speedy pass catcher for Cam Newton and they get a darn good one with the 24th pick.

 

25. Baltimore Ravens (from Titans)

Pick: Hayden Hurst

Opinion: The Ravens add more picks by trading down and fill a major need by selecting the best overall tight end in the draft. The Ravens have struggled with their selections a of tight ends with both Maxx Williams and Crockett Gilmore and their past free agent signing of Benjamin Watson. Hurst reminds me of Jason Witten and is a good blocker, which will help Joe Flacco out a ton.

 

Photo Credit/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

26. Atlanta Falcons

Pick: WR Calvin Ridley

Opinion: Usually one player falls in the first round and this year, that player was Calvin Ridley. Ridley was a star at Alabama but he did lack to break out in big games. He did not have a great combine, and as a result, he started to slide straight down draft boards. The Chicago Bears were trying to trade back into the first round to select Ridley, but the Falcons ended that scenario with this selection. Calvin Ridley will still be a good receiver and putting him in a receiving core with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu will only make him better and allow him to go. This pick puts the NFC on notice and arguably makes the Falcons the scariest offense in the league

 

27. Seattle Seahawks (from Packers)

Pick: RB Rashaad Penny

Opinion: Not of fan of this. He is a very nice runner but he is under six feet and may not be an every down back in the NFL. The Seahawks have many other needs and while running back was a major one, they did not even take the best one in this draft.

 

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pick: S Terrell Edmounds

Opinion: He is the brother of now Bills linebacker Tremaine. Edmounds had a good combine and was a prime example of a rising player in the draft process. He is a prototypical Steelers pick but he is a playmaker. This selection was over shined by Ryan Shaizer who walked out to the podium and announced this selection. Extremely powering and inspirational. Brought a tear to everyone’s eye.

 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

Pick: DT Taven Bryant

Opinion: The Jags add to an already stacked defensive line and it makes sense. Any championship type team needs depth at all defensive positions. It is to note that with all these defenive linemens, the Jags cant afford to sign them all so Bryant is a cheap option who can play. Good pick.

 

Jan 1, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Central Florida Knights defensive back Mike Hughes (19) returns a kickoff against the Auburn Tigers in the fourth quarter in the 2018 Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

30. Minnesota Vikings

Pick: CB Mike Hughes

Opinion: Watched Hughes a lot at UCF and he is a sneaky good cover corner. He has length and size and it is known that Mike Zimmer loves working with corners so it will be interesting to see how great he will play on a stacked Viking defense.

 

31. New England Patriots

Pick: RB Sony Michel

Opinion: He will replace Dion Lewis who is now with the Titans. He is the typical Patriots running back: the receiving back. There were questions abouthis knee injury and numerous reports came out saying that Michel may slip in the draft because of concern over his knee injury being “bone to bone”. Non the less, he might have been taken higher than expected as he was projected to be a second round pick. He was a productive runner and receiver at the college level and he will join Rex Burkhead, James White, and Mike Gillislee in a loaded running back room.

 

32. Baltimore Ravens (from Eagles)

*Eagles get picks 52 and 125 in this draft, and a 2nd round pick in 2019. The Ravens also get pick 132

Pick: QB Lamaar Jackson

Opinion: The last first round pick for Ozzie Newsome was a big one, selecting a former Heisman winning in Lamaar Jackson. Jackson did not run a 40 at all through the draft process as teams had been rumored to of been interested in Jackson as a receiver, which did not flatter him at all. Jackson had all talent and speed to be a quarterback in the NFL, but his small frame is a concern. He is a developmental quarterback and will be looked to be Joe Flacco’s replacement. Flacco could be released without a cap penalty at the end of the season, so Lamaar may see action as soon as 2019. Now, with a major chip on his shoulder, watch for a motivated Lamaar Jackson to work his butt off and become the NFL starter he and others know he could be.

 

Three Draft Sleepers at Every Position: Safety

Three Draft Sleepers at Every Position: Safety

Like cornerbacks, safeties are an important part of modern NFL defenses. Safeties like Malcolm Jenkins now have the responsibility to play a linebacker role in certain sub-packages. NFL teams are trying to find hybrid players who have versatility, so finding sleeper picks in the 2018 NFL Draft will be a priority for many teams. So, who are the three sleepers at safety in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Marcus Allen, Penn State

Don’t get this guy confused with Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen. Allen, the safety, was apart of the Penn State resurgence. He’s tough and has good speed and strength, and with a better football IQ through studying tape, Allen can be a special player.

Projected Round: 5th Round

Projected Team: Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers’ safeties lack depth or even talent, for that matter. Allen will be a nice fit in the secondary that includes Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett.

Penn State safety Marcus Allen.

Kyzir White, West Virginia

White is one of the more underrated safeties in the NFL Draft. He’s feisty and is a classic West Virginia defender. His average athleticism makes him slip in the draft a little, but whoever nabs him will be pleased.

Projected Round: 4th Round

Projected Team: Buffalo Bills

Buffalo doesn’t have a pressing need at safety, but White’s tough demeanour makes him a great fit for the nickel role. Also, White is exceptional depth under Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

West Virginia safety Kyzir White.

Van Smith, Clemson

Smith isn’t the fastest or the biggest hitter, but he’s consistent and is a smart player. Decision making is an underrated skill, and Smith is one of the best decision makers at safety in this draft.

Projected Round: 5th Round

Projected Team: Green Bay Packers

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Josh Johnson could be a nice duo in 2018, but they need more depth at safety. Smith would be excellent depth and could start at the “money backer” role.

Clemson safety Van Smith.