Category Archives: Pigskin Paul

More post-Draft thots

Been seeing a lot of nay-saying in post Draft-land. I would like to remind all that with 7-8 Draft Picks per team, on average it is quite unrealistic to expect bad teams to turn it around based on a single Draft effort. The impact last season of ELLIOTT/PRESCOTT was unprecedented in my 50-plus years of watching pro football. Don’t expect that big of a Rookie impact even from the BROWNS this season with BARRETT-PEPPERS-NJOKU all coming aboard in one few swoop. As good as those players are, and are likely to be, their impact is likely to be less than a couple more wins in 2017. The big swing for this BROWNS franchise would likely be getting SAM DARNOLD/QB/USC into the fold next Draft.

Let’s stick with the BROWNS for a minute and try to calculate out what they were able to add to the roster thru the 2017 NFL Draft process. Clearly the 3 aforementioned players will all “start” in some manner for the majority of the season. ZANE GONZALEZ/K (R7) should win the PK job and be an upgrade. If 6th Rounder CALEB BRANTLEY/DT is cleared of legal charges he should certainly be in the 2-deep DL rotation. LARRY OGUNJOBI/DT, Round 3, should also crack that rotation. QB/KIZER & OT/JOHNSON are projects who should be inactive all season, but have long range starting potential. HOWARD WILSON/CB looks to have what it takes to catch on to the NFL game right away, at least in sub-package units. And last, but not least, it is my belief that RB/MATHEW DAYES (R7) could be a very pleasant surprise and get some significant playing time and touches as RB depth. I’d even talk to you about the URFA signings that the team has made since the official end of the Draft, but I don not see much there to be excited about. Only TAYLOR McNAMAR/TE & CHANNING STRIBLING/CB look to be of possible pro timber to me.

The RAIDERS have finally reached the stage of rebuild where significant talent additions at a couple of positions could make a big difference if they can go into the 2017-18 Play-Offs with a healthy QB/DERK CARR. And to my eyes their biggest needs going into the Draft were in their back 7 (or 8) on Defense. Assuming that First Rounder GAREON CONLEY/CB is cleared of his legal issues he could start right away in replacing D.J. HAYDEN. OBI MELIFONWU, in Round 2, could be a large talent upgrade and it would not surprise me if he does not play multiple roles for them. But CB is not one of them. Despite excellent athleticism I am skeptical of him playing on the Corner. But I could see him as a match-up defender who splits time between S and OLB. He’s a productive tackler with the athleticism to handle multiple coverage roles. It may take him a while to absorb all his potential duties, but watch out for his work in the second half of the season. I would also watch carefully for the work of ILB/MARQUEL LEE (R5) who is a solid athlete and a productive player.

It may not be this season, but perhaps in 2018 we might want to pay rapt attention to URFA TE/PHARAOH BROWN, who looked like an all-world player until a horrific knee injury put him out of action several years ago. The rehab has been long, and is still ongoing, but he’s a big target with long arms and big hands, who could make a very dangerous downfield receiving prospect in time. Also watch for WR/ISHMAEL ZAMORA, another URFA from Baylor who has a troubled off-field situation, but fits the old-time RAIDERS tradition of large, athletic receivers (6’3/224). The team did not draft a WR this year, but likes to add WR talent to their roster each year. I would also add that I like the Draft addition of RB/ELIJAH HOOD. With a guy named LYNCH now heading their RB depth chart it could give HOOD the chance to mature and develop while BeastMode does his thing prior to the Vegas relocation.

Post DRAFT thoughts from Pigskin

Nope not doing team Draft grades. Not yet, actually not ever. But if you pay attention over there next month or so you can probably figure who’s work I admire and which fan bases are in for disappointment come next September.

My first kudos go out to the BROWNS organization. I am not saying that they got everything right, but what I am saying is that they held their water, kept things under control and the roster looks stronger once again post-Draft. That would be 2 years in a row. Despite all the speculation, and cheap bar talk, the team took the best player available at Pick 1 and they played around a bit, moving down and then back up, to get additional players who look like keepers to me. Despite jumping around a bit they still ended up with double-digit total picks. Best of all perhaps, is the work they did to get themselves another First Round Pick in 2018. Live for today, and live for tomorrow!
I luv the fact that they pretty quietly drafted one of the top 4 QB way down at Pick 52, and quickly stated that their was no immediate expectation for KIZER capture the starting QB job. As much as how many games the team wins in 2017, HC HUE JACKSON will be judged on what kind of progress he can make with KIZER. Assuming the BROWNS are out of Play-Off contention come December, we should expect to see KIZER get a couple of starts at the end of the season. If not, then let the questioning begin relative to Hue Jackson’s reputation as an Offensive whiz and QB Whisperer.
I also liked the fact that the team did NOT cluster draft at any specific position group like they did last year by drafting what seemed like a WR at every other Pick. I was concerned that perhaps the football version of saber-metrics was to draft volume and hope someone turned out to be an NFL caliber player. In fact they did not draft a single WR this year.
I don’t even have a major issue with their selecting DT/CALEB BRANTLEY who had an off-field incident a couple weeks before the Draft. Once again a woman, in a bar, claims BRANTLEY punched her. If that turns out to be reality then the team has basically already said they will cut BRANTLEY. I’m OK with a risk pick in Round 6 on a player who two months ago was in the Round 2/3 range.
I also like the fact that the team took a stab at fixing their ongoing Kicking situation by drafting ZANE GONZALEZ in Round 7, Pick 224. He’s a record setting kicker, who seemed to have added about 10-yards to his range as a senior last season. He has a solid chance to fix the team’s PK merry-go-round, which might actually be worth a couple of wins right away.
Way to go BROWNIES! BROWNS fans should feel like more solid progress was made two weekends ago in an attempt to create something good along the lakeshore.

Overall 2017 was a solid Draft. The talent ran deep. But once I looked at each team’s drafted player lists I think I would revise some of my enthusiasm and say it was a deep, if not star-studded Draft Class. Lots of guys should make rosters and improve the bottom end of team rosters, but we may not be raving about 1st Rounders who are immediate stars, like we were last season when instant stars emerged like FAK PRESCOTT, CARSON WENTZ, EZEKIEL ELIOTT, JORDAN HOWARD, JALEN RAMSEY and more. In fact, assuming the now customary 100 Underclassmen apply for the Draft in 2018 I would project that group, led by SAM DARNOLD/QB, will be more exciting, and just as deep, as the 2017 group we just witnessed.

Jealousy and envy are two potent and ugly emotions within the human race. And as they pertain to the NFL the PATRIOTS are a target for many whose teams continually fail to catch up with BELICHICK/BRADY and company. So let me pass on to you some important information to temper your recent rants about what a “Nothing Draft” the PATS had. It is true that the team only selected 4 players in the 2017 Draft. But let’s talk about what they got for those missing Picks. The team added BRANDIN COOK/WR/RS, KONY EALY/DE, DWAYNE ALLEN/TE, MIKE GILLISLIE/RB & JAMES O’SHAUNESSEY/TE in return for Picks. Chances are this group will contribute more in the next few years than the drafted Rookies might. And that is important because a guy named BRADY is fast approaching his 40th birthday. So for the PATS winning now means everything.
And to make you haters feel even worse I would contend that the guys they did draft may all be major forces in 2018, after a year of coaching & indoctrination in the Patriot Way of doing business in the NFL. DEREK RIVERS/ER & ANTONIO GARCIA have starter potential for 2018. DEATRICH WISE/DE & CONOR McDERMOTT/OT look to be solid role player, back-ups. Wanna feel even worse haters?! They are likely to find some roster help from an impressive/solid group of URFA they signed after the Draft itself.

In a strange geographical twist an Ohio team had a very Raiders-esque west Coast Draft last month. The BENGALS looked for all the world like the AL DAVIS Raiders of old early on. In Round 1, in true DAVIS tradition, they selected the fastest player in this year’s Draft. The record setting (4.22) JOHN ROSS/WR/Washington. We shall see how he works out for them, but for once the actual fastest guy may be a real football player. He is quick and elusive after using his speed to get open, and will specialize in Cliff Branch’s favorite play call, ‘Go Long’. Then in Round 2 the team selected JOE MIXON/RB/OKLAHOMA. MIXON, IMO, is the best all-around RB to come out of college since a guy named ADRIAN PETERSON. He’s an even better pass receiver than PETERSON or EZEKIEL ELLIOTT. But a video of MIXON punching out a female student as a freshman at Oklahoma was too abhorrent for more than a few folks from multiple NFL organizations to risk public backlash by drafting him. After those 2 Picks the BENGALS Draft got pretty normal, but it was a controversial start. Now we will wait to see how it plays out. I will just say that the players just mentioned fill some serious need areas for the Bengals, who look to be scrambling a bit to avoid a slip from recent perennial Play-Off team to something seriously less.

One upon a time there was a team in Texas whose leadership saw the wisdom on using computers to collect and sort through player information like height, weight, speed, jumping ability, and more, thus generating notebooks of information on Draft eligible players. This was in a time when those computers and their servers took up multiple rooms in the NFL team’s headquarters. It is also believed that despite denials some NFL teams were still using Street & Smiths college annual magazine to help select their players. TEX SCHRAMM, with a big assist from Gil Brandt, led the cutting edge concept that= the Cowboys had a better idea on who to draft than most teams for years. Over time as other teams began to copy their methods and catch up COWBOYS leadership began to get cute and felt they could use their scouting and computer system to unearth “gems” that other teams still couldn’t find. That approach led to too many wasted picks and the COWBOYS slid back to mediocrity until a football genius named JIMMY JOHNSON came along. I like to say that SCHRAMM & BRANDT got too “cute” by thinking they could outsmart their competitors.
Which brings us to 2017 and the recent approach to things as practiced by guys named SCHNEIDER & CARROLL, who have had solid success doing things their collective way in Seattle. But if you look carefully you might notice that not too much has panned out for them since they had a hunch on a smallish QB named RUSSELL WILSON, who is clearly amongst the NFL’s elite. They ended the 2016 season with only one First Round player on their roster, and the current cast failed to carry them very far once the Play-Offs began.
Well, the boys did it again in their execution of the 2017 Draft. They traded away their First Round Pick to gain volume, and then pretty much spent the rest of the Draft weekend selecting players a round or two sooner than their talent warranted, IMO. In Round 2 they selected MALIK McDOWELL/DL/Michigan Sate, who just might have been the biggest underachiever in the Draft. At Pick 58, they selected ETHAN POCIC/OC/LSU, a solid player, then immediately told the world they saw him as a RT. And so it went. Their final 4 Picks in Rounds 6 & 7, featured not one player I saw as draftable. I would have expected all 4 of them to be URFA types. They got some serviceable players who may help the bottom of the roster, but overall not enough to stop their slide in Power Rankings. SEA HAWKS fans gird up your loins and make the 12th Man even more raucous and supportive at home games this coming season. This team is going to need all of your support, and then some, to make a Play-Off run again in 2017. The biggest factor in their favor is that they play in the NFC West, which may be one of the NFC’s weakest divisions.

That’s all for now, but I will have more collective Draft thoughts later in the week.

Pigskin

COMBINE Draft Results

Please understand that the following article is meant in no way to be an indictment of the NFL Combine. Consider it a few after-the-fact observations of the process and some of it’s flaws, both intended and circumstantial.

This year’s Combine had an official list of 330 invitees. This year’s Draft had 253 Picks in it. If you bother to go to the Combine website, nflcombine.net , you will see their stated goal is to include every player who will be drafted at their event. Relatively speaking their performance on that account was better than average in 2017.

My manual count shows 225 players present in Indy out of the 253 actually drafted last weekend in the NFL Player Selection Process. That is an 88.9% success factor. When I was in school that would be a solid B Grade, maybe even B+. But shouldn’t a group of paid professionals be able to come closer to one of their stated goals? Probably so, but in their defense they have a few obstacles to overcome in their efforts to invite the 330 most likely to be Drafted prospects in the country.

One of the biggest factors playing against them is the way the NFL handles declared underclassmen issues. By the time the actual declaration to forfeit eligibility is done and processed, it is almost too late to invite many of those players to an All-Star Game venue for on-field, in-pads scrutiny. So the League buries its head in the sand and prohibits these games from inviting underclassmen to participate. In its first year in existence the NFLPA Game invited a handful of declared underclassmen to their game, and the NFL threatened to fine any member teams that sent their scouts to even watch those players work out. So as a result, almost all of the Underclassmen get invited to the Combine every year, because it helps NFL Personnel people gather a lot of workout numbers in a small amount of time as they play catch-up in evaluating underclassmen. The problem with that practice is that most years only about 2 of every 3 underclassmen declared get drafted. With the number now totaling about 100 players overall each year having declared, it means about 33 invited players take up space that some seniors could have occupied. Chances are that might also inflate the number of Combine participants who actually would get drafted.
It is also an accepted, but not talked about reality, that teams who belong to National Scouting and pay most of their bills with membership fees, are known to request certain players be invited for their particular scouting purposes. I can’t tell you a total number, or percentage of actual draftability of those players, but I would surmise it too, brings down the success rate of draftees to Combine participants. In essence this process overrides the player selections that National’s scouting staff likely recommends for invite.

It has also been mentioned on a regular basis by some, that the relative value of some of the exercise/events that make up the on-field activity at the Combine should be changed or modified from year to year. For instance, why are OL & DL running 40-times. Make it a 20-yard run, with 10-yard splits. But the most commonly voiced complaint about that concept is that doing so would take out long term comparable stats to players of decades ago. That makes some sense, but you can’t redraft DEION SANDERS. The fastest guy at this year’s Combine (John Ross) in the 40 is still the fastest guy out there for this year’s Draft.

Enough already before we end up debating micro-minutia, redundancy intended. Unless several major items are going to change, then I would strongly urge National Scouting & the NFL , just delete the sentence proclaiming their goal to invite every drafted player to the event each year. Why set yourself up for failure and second guessing every single year just because of the nature of the beast.

Pigskin

2017 NFL Draft Recap

Colin has already presented you with multiple numbers to digest from the Draft last weekend, so I will try my best to avoid duplicating too much in this brief article.

As most of you know by now, I am a big fan and proponent of our annual January Star Games, as Colin likes to refer to them. The Big 3, are the Senior, Shrine & NFLPA games. Trying to sift through the players involved (over 300) it gets hard to pin down an exact output to the Draft from each game. Players at the weigh-in will differ by as many as double digits from those who actually play at the end of the week, primarily due to practice injuries. And of course we have players from the Shrine & NFLPA (which play on the same day) getting called up to the Senior Bowl to fill out roster spots. All that being said I went through the Weigh-In rosters and came up with this count of players drafted from each game:

SENIOR BOWL 83
SHRINE Game 24
NFLPA Game 21

It’s not hard to see the pecking order, but I would point out that the newest game appears to be catching up with the Shrine venue. Please remember that Declared Underclassmen cannot participate in any of these games, which means that 67 of the 253 Draftees never had a chance to participate.
So do some quick math and you understand that 186 of the draftees were eligible for the Draft and 130 of those 186 attended all-star games, minus a few double-dippers.
A tip of the cap to TONY SOFTLI, who now heads up the NFLPA player scouting/recruitment. Only a few years ago that NFLPA number was in single digits. The Shrine venue got a similar roster boost when Dan Shonka of OURLADS began helping them with their player recruitment a few years ago.

In a side note number related to those above, 104 Underclassmen were declared eligible for the Draft, and 67 were drafted. Most of there rest will be in an NFL Training Camp as URFA come July.

I do not believe in grades for individual teams and their Draft efforts. But I realize readers like to see another opinion of some sort on how their team did. I am toying with a code system that will at least present you a relative scale on how I think the teams did. It may be as simple as 3 levels of ranking: +, = , – . Bet you can figure out what they pretty much mean. I’ll keep plugging away at it over the next week and hopefully come up with a report card in the next week or two.

Don’t forget that it will take a wee bit longer to get a grasp on total Draft Process outcomes for all teams. We have to wait until the Undrafted Rookie Free Agent (URFA) signings are wrapped up and reported. Which in some cases will not be officially released ’til after Rookie mini-camps this weekend for most teams. And for those of you carelessly predicting the demise of the PATRIOTS after only 4 Draft Picks, please remember they made a series of trades and RFA signings that count as part of their 2017 Draft Process.

Please be aware that yours truly will still be writing about the Draft a month from now. Unlike some millennials who have a rear view mirror of life after about 2 days, I feel totally entitled to discuss things well after their occurrence.

Pigskin

RAIDERS 2017 Team Mock Draft

A RB named LYNCH is in the house and I am ready to do one last Mock for Alternative America’s Team. With a healthy DEREK CARR at the helm another good Draft from the McKenzie twins would almost certainly make this team a serious Super Bowl contender in 2017. So let’s help those guys do some talent adding to their roster.

Round1 Pick24 CURTIS SAMUEL/WR/RB/RS OHIO STATE 5’11/196. PPR#26
In loving memory of AL DAVIS the team selects a guy who ran a 4.31/40 at the Combine and can actually play big time football. He’s an explosive, multi-dimensional player who might have actually played some time at RB for them if LYNCH were not now there along with some other explosive young guys. But he can augment a WR group and spice up the return game for the Raiders. He caught 74 balls last season for the Buckeyes, which included 11 TD. Good thing in his favor is that he has not carried a heavy load for their offense over his college career, meaning he should be fresh for the NFL wars. His 9 1/2″ hands are enticing when compared to some small handed pass catchers. Her’s a very dangerous threat on counter plays and reverses. Mark him down as an instant impact addition.

Round2 Pick46 KEVIN KING/CB WASHINGTON 6’3/200. PPR#49
He’s available here in my rankings and they will grab him in a flash. Good cover corner who can run with just about anyone. Is adept at peaking at the last minute and using his 32″ arms to break up a catch. Not a real big Pick guy, he seems to prefer to make sure he breaks up the catch rather than gamble on an INT. Had 2 INT, but also 13 PBU in 2016. His 4.46/40 time is a bit deceiving. With his long frame it takes him a while to reach top speed. He should be an instant starter for his new team.

Round3 Pick88 TYUS BOWSER/OLB HOUSTON 6’3/247. PPR#89
Had BOWSER stayed healthy for the entire 2016 I doubt he would have been available in Round 3. He missed 5 games with a broken orbital bone around his eye. In 7 games he had 47T- 12TFL- 8.5S- 9QBH- 3PBU. Very good athlete who played some mean basketball in high school.Has long arms (33″) & big hands (10 3/8″). Looks to me like a potential starter at OLB for the Raiders. More than held his own during practices at the Senior Bowl. Look for him to get more and more playing time as his Rookie season progresses.

Round4 Pick129 EDDIE VANDERDOES/DT UCLA 6’3/305 PPR#126
This kid was all everything coming out of high school and started as a frosh for the Bruins. Missed most of 2015 season with a bad knee injury. Came back slowly in 2016, in part because he ballooned up to about 330 lbs. He plays low and just pushes blockers around. He also showed how heavy handed he is during bag work drills during Senior Bowl practices. His hands are weapons that he uses against blockers. His potential is high, but he will need motivational coaching. I think it is a real positive that he had his weight down to 305 lbs, for the Combine. Will tie up two blockers on most plays. This pick is based on potential upside more than recent productivity.

Round5 Pick168 FREDDIE STEVENSON/FB FLORIDA STATE 6’0/236. PPR#147
the Raiders are one of the few teams in the league that still consider the FB an integral part of their offense. But those guys are harder and harder to find nowadays. STEVENSON is more than just a blocker. He has above average hands and is a hard, straight-line runner. On the rare occasions when he got the ball in college he reminded me of former Seminole KARLOS WILLIAMS on the playing field. Luckily he does not seem to have WILLIAMS’ off-field issues. He would also make a very solid Special Teams player. He would make an interesting pick, with solid long range potential IMO.

Round6 Pick158 XAVIER WOODS/S LA TECH 5’11/200. PPR#216
This guy was a scouts’ favorite going into the Draft. Tough nosed kid who plays stronger and tougher than his size would indicate. A four year starter. His 2016 stats are very impressive: 89T- 6.5TFL- 6PBU- 5 INT. Loves to come up in run support and can cover most slot receivers. His 4.54/40 time is more than adequate for his probable role as a pro. Special Teams? You bet! Great value at this Pick.

Round7 Pick242 CAMERON TOM/OC SOUTHERN MISS 6’4/291. PPR#247
When you come from the WOLF/THOMPSON school of scouting & drafting like GM Reggie McKenzie does, you feel obligated to draft an OL prospect each year. But don’t for a minute think this is a throw away Pick. TOM may be one of the best pure athletes in the OL group for this Draft. Finished his career with 47 straight starts. Very fluid with great body flexibility. Is naturally strong, but they will try to add about 10-15 lbs. to his frame in the weight room. Has long, 33 5/8″ arms, and uses his hands well to leverage defenders. With more bulk and strength this guy could be an NFL starter someday. Reggie’s mentors would be especially proud of this pick.

A solid talent haul with one eye on today and the other on the future. This kind of solid, start rafting keeps your roster strong enough and deep enough to push toward the Super Bowl.

Pigskin

REDSKINS 2017 Team Mock Draft

This may be a very telling year for the ‘Skins in the Draft. With the team parting ways with Scott McCloughan the Draft process is pretty much back in the hands of Bruce Allen, son of the late/great Trader George. Some interesting personnel decisions have already been made this year, including the continued lack of financial commitment to QB/KIRK COUSINS. The team has a whopping 10 Picks and needs each and every one of them to supplement their dwindling roster numbers and talent base.

Round1 Pick17. HAASAN FREDDICK/ER/LB TEMPLE 6’2/237. PPR#17
The fastest rising player this off-season just happens to fill a big need on a struggling Defense. REDDICK was an edge-rusher of note entering the 2016 college season, but turned into much more with his move to LB. He can still pressure the QB, and even looked good in coverage at Senior Bowl week in Mobile. Had 22.5 TFL last season, including 10.5 Sacks. He also had 4 PBU & 1 Int to show how quickly he is catching on to coverage responsibilities. Should be an immediate starter for the team and an upgrade for the LB crew.

Round2 Pick49 TACO CHARLTON/DE MICHIGAN STATE6’6/277 PPR#47
A late bloomer at Michigan who really came to life under the HARBAUGH regime last season. Not an explosive edge-rusher but uses his length and strength to push thru blockers. Should have some serous upside and looks well suited to me for their 3-4 base scheme. 34 1/2″long arms play a big part in his success. He had 10 sacks as a senior. Most everyone I talk with expects bigger things ahead for him. Another guy who should earn a starting job as a Rookie.

Round3 Pick81 TAYLOR MOTON/OG/T WESTERN MICHIGAN 6’5/320. PPR#80
Mountain of a man, who looks best suited for an Interior OL spot. He’s really solid in pass-pro, and that’s at RT. He has big hands (10 3/4″) and long arms (34 1/8″). He should also have a chance to capture a starting role in their OL. He’s fairly athletic despite his jumbo size. At worst could act as a 3-4 position back-up as a Rookie if he can’t win a starters role.

Round4 Pick114 ArDARIUS STEWART/WR ALABAMA 5’11/205. PPR#115
Probably ‘Bama’s most reliable receiver last fall. Ran a somewhat disappointing 4.50/40 at the Combine. Had that been a 4.44 he might have been a Top 100 draftee. Pretty raw as a receiver in many ways, so patience will be key in his development as a pro. Could eventually be a No. 3 WR option, IMO. Upside is the key in his acquisition.

Round4 Pick123 JUSTIN EVANS/S TEXAS A&M 6’0/193. PPR#121
A very good value at this Pick. His biggest problem may be the fact that he tends to knock himself out of action with the ferocity of some of his hits. Wants to hit like he weighs 15 lbs. more than he actually does. Good all around athlete with an impressive resume’ at A&M. Kinda small/light for a SS in the NFL. In 2016 he had 87T-5TFL-8PBU- 4INT. He should make a nice Special Teamer as well. Must learn patience and anticipation to go with his aggressiveness.

Round5 Pick154 JALEN MYRICK/CB MINNESOTA 5’10/220. PPR#150
Myrick is the guy who surprised everyone with his blazing 4.28/40-time at the Combine.He had a solid week of work at the Shrine venue, with his aggressive nature and energy level. He was caught in a crowded CB situation with the Gophers but made the most of his senior season with 41T-12PBU- 1INT. May not be a ball hawk, per se, but has good cover skills, and ball awareness. He also likes to deliver a blow to receivers, or in run support. Should be a Special Teams ace and a good sub-package player right away. Might have a shot as a Nickel-Corner early in his career.

Round 6 Pick201 COLLIN BUCHANAN/T/G MIAMI(O) 6’5/316. PPR#200
He would be ranked even higher, after a solid career in the MAC, but he is likely to also be a better pro fit inside at OG versus his college position at OT. He has fairly short arms, at 32 3/8″, and his 5.30-40time is pretty indicative of his overall movement ability. But he’s a bruiser and a hard worker. In a short area he can handle his business against DL. He does have big hands (10 1/2″) and can lock onto DL in tight spaces. Is a natural knee bender in pass pro. Good value who may fight for a starting job in a couple of years.

Round6 Pick 209 WAYNE GALLMAN/RB CLEMSON 6’/215. PPR#203
Adding another bruising runner to their stable is a good idea. GALLMAN can do it all. He runs hard, catches well & is a solid blocker in pass-pro. He’s not a speedster, but his 4.59/40-time allows him some nice intermediate distance runs if the blocking opens up a good hole for him. Very solid value as a rotational RB in Round 6.

Round7 Pick220 GROVER STEWART/DT ALBANY STATE 64/347 PPR#220
Small-school player who indeed dominated his in his level of play. Was invited to play in the NFLPA Game and made his mark. he is naturally strong and can run a bit once he gets going. Perfect as an oversized Nose in a 3-4 scheme. For Round 7 he is worth a look because of his natural size and the fact that their DL group is rather thin right now.

Round7 Pick235 JAYON BROWN/LB UCLA 6’0/231. PPR#248
I must admit I am probably underrating him this late in the process. Had some big numbers at UCLA as a senior. He recorded 120T-7TFL-6PBU-3INT. His 4.71/40 would be OK for an ILB, but his weight indicates he’ll likely be asked to move outside. Then it doesn’t look so good. But he was so productive and is a nice athlete overall that you just can’t ignore him this late in the Draft. Could be a very pleasant surprise as your last Pick.

Looks like a very nice talent haul indeed. But I have chosen to ignore their QB position. I think they already have a better than average QB and should pay the man. But for some reason they don’t seem to value him enough to pay him Franchise QB money. So look for them to use a pick on a QB, who is not likely to surpass COUSINS in any respect.

Pigskin

PIGSKIN PAUL’s Final Top 100 Prospect List 2017 NFL Draft

1) MYLES GARRETT/DE TEXAS A&M
2) LEONARD FOURNETTE/RB LSU
3) JAMAL ADAMS/S LSU
4) SOLOMON THOMAS/DE STANFORD
5) JOE MIXON/RB OKLAHOMA
6) MALIK HOOKER/S OHIO STATE
7) MIKE WILLIAMS/WR CLEMSON
8) CHRIS McCAFFERY/RB STNAFORD
9) JONATHAN ALEN/DL ALABAMA
10) MITCH TRUBISKY/QB UNC
11) COREY DAVIS/WR W. MICHIGAN
12) OJ HOWARD/TE ALABAMA
13) DEREK BARNETT/DE TENNESSEE
14) OHN ROSS/WR WASHINGTON
15) MARSHON LATTIMORE/CB OHIO STATE
16) DAVID NJOKU/TE MIAMI
17) HAASON REDICK/LB TEMPLE
18) REUBEN FOSTER/LB ALABAMA
19) DALVIN COOK/RB FLORIDA ST
20) TAKK McKINLEY/DE UCLA
21) DESHAUN WATSON/QB CLEMSON
22) FORREST LAMP/OG W. KENTUCKY
23) RYAN RAMCZYK/OT WISCONSIN
24) CHARLES HARRIS/LB MISSOURI
25) TJ WATT/LB WISCONSIN

26) CURTIS SAMUEL/WR OHIO STATE
27) GARETT BOLES/OT UTAH
28) JABRILL PEPPERS/S/RS MICHIGAN
29) PATRICK MAHOMES/QB TEXAS TECH
30) CAM ROBINSON/OT ALABAMA
31) TRE’DAVUIOUS WHITE/CB LSU
32) ADOREE’ JACKSON/CB/RS USC
33) GAREON CONLEY/CB OHIO ST
34) DaSHONE KIZER/QB M\NOTRE DAME
35) DAN FEENEY/OG INDIANA
36) ALVIN KAMARA/RB TENNESSEE
37) EVAN ENGRAM/TE OLE MISS
38) OBI MELIFONWU/S UCONN
39) BUDDA BAKER/S WASHINGTON
40) MARON HUMPHREY/CB ALABAMA
41) JARRAD DAVIS/LB FLORIDA
42) ZACH CUNNINGHAM/LB VANDERBILT
43) ZAY JONES/WR EAST CAROLINA
44) JORDAN WILLIS/DE KANSAS ST
45) RAEKWON McMILLAN/LB OHIO ST
46) JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER/WR USC
47) TACO CHARLTON/DE MICHIGAN
48) QUINCY WILSON/CB FLORIDA
49) KEVIN KING/CB WASHINGTON
50) DION DAWKINS/OG TEMPLE

51) DUKE RILEY/LB LSU
52) TARELL BASHAM/DE OHIO
53) DAVIS WEBB/QB CAL
54) CHRIS GODWIN/WR PENN ST
55) MARCUS MAYE/S FLORIDA
56) CHIDOBE AWUZIE/CB COLORADO
57) JOSH JONES/S NC STATE
58) MARCUS WILLIAMS/S UTAH
59) FABIAN MOREAU/CB UCLA
60) JAKE BUTT/TE MICHIGAN
61) MALIK McDOWELL/DL MICHIGAN ST
62) ALEX ANZALONE/LB FLORIDA
63) BUCKY HODGES/TE VA TECH
64) RASUL DOUGLAS/CB WEST VIRGINIA
65) RYAN ANDERSON/ER ALABAMA
66) DORIAN JOHNSON/OG PITT
67) COOPER KUPP/WR E.WASHINGTON
68) ANTHONY WALKER/LB NORTHWESTERN
69) SIDNEY JONES/CB WASHINGTON
70) DESMOND KING/S IOWA
71) AMA DARBOH/WR MICHIGAN
72) CARL LAWSON/ER AUBURN
73) TANO KPASAGNON/DE VILLANOVA
74) CORDREA TANKERSLEY/CB CLEMSON
75) TEEZ TABOR/CB FLORIDA

76) ANTONIO GARCIA/OT TROY
77) LARRY OGUNJOBI/DT CHARLOTTE
78) TIM WILLIAMS/LB ALABAMA
79) ROD JOHNSON/OT FLORIDA ST
80) TAYLOR MOTON/OG W. MICHIGAN
81) CARLOS WATKINS/DT CLEMSON
82) BRAD KAAYA/QB MIAMI
83) DEMARCUS WALKER/DL FLORIDA ST
84) DALVIN TOMLINSON/DT ALABAMA
85) JORDAN LEGGETT/TE CLEMSON
86) CARLOS HENDERSON/WR LA TECH
87) JOSH MALONE/WR TENNESSEE
88) JOSH REYNOLDS/WR TEXAS A&M
89) TYUS BOWSER/LB HOUSTON
90) CHRIS WORMLEY/DT MICHIGAN
91) MIKE ROBERTS/TE TOLEDO
92) D’ONTA FOREMAN/RB TEXAS
93) JERMAINE ELUEMUNOR/OG TEXAS A&M
94) GERALD EVERETT/TE SOUTH ALABAMA
95) DAMONTAE KAZEE/CB SAN DIEGO ST
96) MONTRAVIUS ADAMS/DT AUBURN
97) EDDIE JACKSON/S ALABAMA
98) JOHN JOHNSON/S BOSTON COLLLEGE
99) DEREK RIVERS/LB YOUNGSTOWN ST
100) NATHAN PETERMAN/QB PITT

COWBOYS 2017 Team Mock

There is a challenge ahead for the COWBOYS for 2017. They need to prove that the 2016 regular season was not a mirage, and the team is back on track to being a perennial participant in the Play-Offs. They have lots of work to do in the 2017 Draft so here is my attempt to help them out.

Round1 Pick28 JABRILL PEPPERS/SS MICHIGAN 5’11/213. PPR#28
Given that this pick and player rating match up I have a feeling that JERRY JONES the showman just won’t be able to resist the chance to add a big name star to his team. The toughest part of handling PEPPERS is likely to be finding a specific position for him to play. But in today’s “flex” NFL they just might use him in multiple roles not unlike HC JIM HARBAUGH did in college. It would be convenient if he developed into an instant star at a S slot where the team needs an upgrade after the loss of S/BARRY CHURCH. His 4.47/40 at the Combine is a solid statement of his speed. And take a look at his defensive stats alone from the 2016 season: 71T- 15TFL- 3.5S-7QBH- 1FF- 1INT. Some would tell you that he’s best as a return man which is highly desirable. Enjoy the pub fans and his versatility.

Round2Pick60 BUCKY HODGES/TE VIRGINIA TECH 6’6/257 PPR#63 JASON WITTEN is in a wind down mode, and the team gave up on GAVIN ESCOBAR as his eventual successor. Hodges is an overgrown WR who may have huge upside. And if he will absorb all that WITTEN can teach him he may be a star in the future. He’s not much of a blocker yet, but certainly has the size to handle that job. His 4.56/40 is pretty impressive at his size. So are his 10 1/8″ hands. He is a good hands catcher and can really stretch out that frame. Expect him to be an immediate hit as a Red Zone weapon. Of his 48 catches last season for the Hokies, 7 of them went for TD. I don’t see a replacement for WITTEN among the current TE listed on the Dallas roster. Let the development of HODGES begin.

Round3 Pick92 JERMAINE ELUEMUNOR/OG/T TEXAS A&M 6’4/333. PPR#93
These bull of a young man was one of the fastest risers as a pro prospect coming out of the 2016 college season. The COWBOYS spent a lot of time and effort rebuilding their OL earlier this decade. But they lost 2 starters this off-season in DOUG FREE (RETIRED) and RONALD LEARY (VFA). ELUEMUNOR looks best suited for OG with average arm length (33 1/4″) and height of just under 6’4. But it would be premature to state that they would not give him a shot at replacing FREE at RT. He’s very agile for his bulk, and is relatively inexperienced right now. He’s aggressive with a lot of upside. His family moved to the States in time for him to take up American Football in high school. Just might be too good to pass up at this Pick.

Round4 Pick133 ELIJAH LEE/OLB KANSAS STATE 6’3/229. PPR#129
I’m not sure why this excellent athlete and productive player has not gotten more luv on prospect lists. He was one of the few juniors to not be invited to the Combine, which made no sense at all to me. He started for two seasons and led the Wildcats in tackles both of those years. Has the athleticism and feet to drop nicely into pass coverage and could stand a bit more beef on his bones. But look at his on-field resume’ for the 2016 season: 110T- 6.5TFL- 5PBU- 2INT. He ran a 4.69/40 at his campus Pro Day. He looks to have starting potential to my eyes.

Round6 Pick211. CHAD WILLIAMS/WR GRABLING 6’0/207. PPR#216
I know we should be grabbing more defensive help but I just couldn’t pass on adding this guy to the Dallas WR group. He has a nice size/speed ratio to his game having posted a 4.43/40 at his pro Day workout. Another guy who strangely was passed over for the Combine. He looked really solid at the Senior Bowl venue with good route running, solid hands catching and an edge to his competitive attitude. He should make a very good Special Teams player while he works to see the grass from scrimmage.

Round7 Pick228 D.J. JONES/DT OLE MISS 6’1/320. PR#226
A very productive DL rotation guy, who was overshadowed by all those pass rushing Land Sharks on the Oxford campus. Is immovable against the run up the middle. Can also push the pocket a bit with his strength and bulk. His 5.03/40 was an eye opener at the Combine. If he can worked into better condition, without losing his brute strength he could be a key anchor in short yardage defensive fronts. Needs to be rested often right now, but will give you a very active 6-10 plays per possession for your opponent. Has quick feet and good balance in a short area of play.

Round7 Pick246 TREVOR KNIGHT/QB/? TEXAS A&M 61/219. PPRT#255
So your first thought is where’s the Defense? Do we really need another QB? I am not too excited that KELLEN MOORE is their back-up QB right now. And KNIGHT has been knocking out numbers that rock the boat. He was by far the most athletic athlete in the QB group at the Combine. His Wonderlic score was a 30, 3rd highest for QB prospects. He ran a 4.54/40 at the Combine. But because of his sturdy, athletic build he may also get a long look as a SS. He can likely play a “mean” Special Teams role or two. He is just too interesting and athletically gifted to ignore. I watched him run and work out in Orlando at the Coach TOM SHAW Performance Camp, without knowing exactly who he was, back in January. He was impressive, before he packed his bag to head over to the GRUDEN QB Camp for the afternoon session. Don’t sleep on this guy. This could be a steal pick, in more ways than one!

As often happens in the drafting process, quality at the Pick will often overrule picks for need. That is exactly what happened here, where my initial intent was nothing but Defense. Sorry ROD MARINELLI, DC, but I got you some help! Hopefully, your scouts have found more help to be signed in the URFA segment of the 2017 Draft process.

Pigskin

DA BEARS 2017 TEAM MOCK

Just in case someone out there missed it, this team is in total rebuild mode, no matter what DA Bears house mouthpieces tell you. Spin it anyway you want, but when a team just cuts loose players like CUTLER & JEFFERY & others, they are starting that roster over. So, let’s help give them some more new blood to hopefully finish off their foundation.

Round1 Pick3 JAMAL ADAMS/S LSU 6’0/214 PPR#3
Don’t tell me you can’t take a S this high. Remember we just agreed it’s start over time for this team. And ADAMS is a great starting point. He is so talented that it’s almost scary. He can run and he can hit. And he does it faster and harder than most others out there making their living in football. The son of a former first round draft pick (George/RB/Giants) he can be the guiding light of a newly restocked secondary as the coaches try to sift the pepper from the fly shit. His 4.44/40 speed is outstanding. So are his 33 3/8″ arms. Just look at his stats from his 2016 season: 76T-7.5TFL-1S-4 PBU-1 INT- 1FF. Draft him and let him play.

Round2 Pick36 EVAN ENGRAM/TE OLE MISS 6’3/235 PPR#44
The beauty of this pick is two-fold. It adds some depth, starting near the top, to the TE corps & provides another downfield threat for GLENNON to throw to. All because ENGRAM is the best of the move/hybrid TE class. He ran a 4.40/40 at the Combine and that is a legit speed for him. He’s not inline, but every team is finding someone like him to help spread the field and stretch the secondary. His 10″ hands & 33 1/2″ arm length create a large target area to throw at. He caught 65 balls for 926 yards & 8 TD last season for the Rebels. Even though he is a TE he effectively replaces ALSHON in their receiving corps.

Round3 Pick67 TANOH KPASSAGNON/DE VILLANOVA 6’7/289 PPR#73
Help yourself to a huge piece of clay to be molded into a Pro Bowl DL. He’s raw as hell but the upside is phenomenal. Try picturing 10 7/8″ hands & 34 7/8″ arms. Those are vines folks. And how about a Combine 40-time of 4.82. Fans in Japan would probably nickname him Godzilla, affectionately. He was a big star on the big stage that is the Senior Bowl. And as MIKE MAYOCK likes to say, ‘he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet’. He should blossom in a couple of seasons, which is when the roster should be coming together to contend for an NFC North title run.

Round4 Pick111 ELIJAH QUALLS/DT WASHINGTON 6’1/313 PPR#115
While we are fixing the DL a bit, let’s top off the job with one of the most physical and gifted big men in the game. QUALLS absolutely amazes at times with his combination of power and agility for his body type. He and EDDIE GOLDMAN should give the team a very solid NT tandem to rotate. QUALLS is very quick off the snap and is often able to shoot gaps to collapse the pocket. His 5.16/40 isn’t all that bad for his bulk and body size. He will chase the ball further than you might expect from a guy his size and shape.

Round4 Pick117 CHAD HANSEN/WR CAL 6’2/202 PPR#116
Don’t let his 4.53/40 time fool you. Once this long strider gets his momentum going and puts some moves on defenders he is often able to be wide open 15-20 yards downfield. He and ENGRAM should really buoy up the receiving corps. Last year at CAL he caught 92 balls for 1249 yards & 11 TD. And that was while missing the last 2 regular season games to injury. He has 10 1/8″ hands sprouting from his 32 1/8″ arms. His best is yet to come.

Round5 Pick147 ADAM BISNOWATY/OT PITT 6’6/305 PPR#146
Been looking for an OT to add to their OL group since Round 2. But rather than reach beyond value at the Pick I held out hope that we could find some quality later on. And here he is. Best aspect of his game is in the run game, which plays to DA BEARS running game as triggered by JORDAN HOWARD. He’ll be best served at RT. Pass pro is not his forte’ but his long arms (33 7’8″) and huge hands (11 1/4″) do help his cause in pushing pass rushers away from the pocket, thus buying some extra time for his QB. He’s a tough kid, who likes to mix it up. Defenders don’t look forward to battling him all day long. He has a chance to beat out BOBBY MASSIE for a starting job. More than held his own against top level competition every day in Mobile.

Round7 Pick221 AVERY GENNESEY/OT/G TEXAS A&M 6’4/318 PPR#215
Was projected as a top 10 OT prospect heading into the 2016 season. But he slipped back, primarily due to some poor fundamentals and less than nimble feet. But with some special coaching help he might be able to clean up some of those issues and eventually fight for a starting job, perhaps inside. But at the least he might offer a very good option as a 4-position backup on game days. 5.40/40 at the Combine confirmed his lack of quickness and foot speed. But his 9 1/2″ hands & 33 5/8″ arms are at least adequate for short term duty at OT if needed. Good value for Round 7. Seems to have some upside.

That’s all we can do for now BEARS fans. DA BEARS would now appear to be in a position to sort through some areas where they have volume but unproven quality, like in the DB group. If keepers can be established this year, then next year they should be able to target very specific need areas in VFA and the 2018 Draft. Patience along the Midway, while more Monsters are accumulated.

Pigskin

QB PROSPECT throwing velocity 2017

Thanks to DAN SHONKA at Ourlads.com for providing the following info that appeared in their annual Draft Guide, which was mailed out last week to smart subscribers. It’s a list of throwing velocity from the top QB prospects. The throwing was done at the February COMBINE in Indy. I have also now included Wonderlic scorers as provided by Bob McGINN of jssports.com

56 mph DAVIS WEBB CAL. W=25
55 mph C.J. BEATHARD IOWA W=26
55 mph TREVOR KNIGHT TEXAS A&M W=30
55 mph PAT MAHOMES TEXAS TECH W=24
55 mph MITCHELL TRUBISKY NORHT CAROLINA W=25
53 mph NATHAN PETERMAN PITT W=33
52 mph DeSHONE KIZER NOTRE DAME W=28
51 mph JOSH DOBBS TENNESSEE W=29
51 mph JEROD EVANS VIRGINIA TECH W=21
————————– MENDOZA LINE—————
48 mph BRAD KAAYA MIAMI(F). W=34
46 mph COOPER RUSH CENTRAL MICHIGAN.
46 mph SEFO LIUFAU COLORADO.
45 mph DESHAUN WATSON CLEMSON. W=20

Some would question if these numbers have any serious bearing in projecting QB success in the NFL. I would suggest, once again, that it is one more measurable in a long list of numbers accumulated in the prospect evaluation process. But for those who dismiss its significance completely, remember that the margin for error for squeezing a ball into a receiver in coverage decreases significantly from college to pro. QB who can’t rip the ball into coverage tend to be more interception prone and may have a lower completion percentage overall. To those who saw these numbers and declared that WATSON was off their Boards, I would say “REALLY”! That would be a classic overreaction.

Let me also put in a little pitch for a QB who most of us discounted a long time ago in TREVOR KNIGHT/Texas A&M. You can see above that he tied for second in throwing velocity. I would also note that while at the Combine he posted the fastest 40-time of any QB @4.53; had the highest vert @35.5″; had the longest Broad Jump @ 10’5″; ran the fastest 60-yard shuttle @ 11.28 seconds. I happened to watch KNIGHT working out at the Tom Shaw Speed Camp in Orlando in January. He’s quite a physical specimen at 6’1/219. Don’t be sleeping on this sleeper. I now think there is a good chance he goes somewhere in Round 7 and may play Special Teams while being groomed as a possible 3rd QB on an NFL roster. This is also the guy Katy Perry thought was really “cute” and even inquired about dating last fall. Maybe Katy was on to something before most of the rest of us.

Pigskin

BROWNS Mock Draft 2017

This is ny BROWNS team mock which appeared online two weeks ago in the Orange & Brown Report. I have made no changes to what appeared at that website.

R1P1 MYLES GARRETT/ER TEXAS A&M 6’5/272 PPR#1

R1P12 MITCH TRUBISKY/QB UNC 6’2/222 PPR#10

R2P33 GAREON CONLEY/CB OHIO STATE 6’0/195 PPR#35

R2P52 DION DAWKINS/OG TEMPLE 6’4/315 PPR#50

R3P65 MARCUS MAYE/S FLORIDA 6’0/210 PPR#68

R4P108 PAT ELFLEIN/G/C OHIO STATE 6’3/303 PPR#111

R5P145 ELIJAH LEE/LB K-STATE 6’3/229 PPR#129

R5P175 JEREMIAH LEDBETTER/DE ARKANSAS 6’3/281 PPR#177

R5P181 HOWARD WILSON/CB HOUSTON 6’1/184 PPR#180

R5P185 MACK HOLLINS/WR/ST UNC 6’4/221 PPR#187

R6P188 COLE HIKUTINI/TE LOUISVILLE 6’4/247 PPR#201

This Mock and some other BROWNS related thoughts can be found at the Orange & Brown Report, which covers BROWNS activity in great depth.

Pigskin

VIKINGS 2017 Team Mock

Two years ago the VIKINGS roster had me thinking they were clearly gaining ground on the PACKERS in the NFC North. Coming off a mediocre 2016 season and losing some key pieces from that roster now has me thinking the team has some major holes to fill and needs an infusion of new young talent at multiple positions. And on top of all that, their Round 1 Pick is missing for the acquisition of SAM BRADFORD. Let’s proceed with my attempt to help them upgrade their talent base in the 2017 Draft.

Round2 Pick48 TIM WILLIAMS/OLB/ER ALABAMA 6’3/244 PPR#47
The solid career of CHAD GREENWAY is over and the roster is thin at the LB spots. So let’s grab a good college player, from a top collegiate program. And let’s take a guy who appears to have some serious upside to him. WILLIAMS is an unpolished player, but a very good athlete. MIKE ZIMMER & DC GEORGE EDWARDS should be able to develop this young man. I would envision a platoon situation where WILLIAMS & LAMUR split time depending upon which down/distance situation develops. WILLIAMS top skill was providing edge-rush for the Tide, but should be able to develop into even more if coached up.

Round3 Pick79 TAYLOR MOTON/OG/T WESTERN MICHIGAN 6’5/320. PPR#80
MOTON is a huge guy who may be best suited moving inside to OG as a solid partner for ALEX BOONE. MOTON was a 4-year starter for HC FLECK, who now resides across town, leading the Golden Gopher program. MOTON is massive with long arms (34 1/8″) and big hands (10 3/4″). But his feet may be too slow to man OT in the NFL. He is a mauler and that should play well inside at the pro level. I would look for him to move another ex-MAC player, Willie Beavers, out of his starting job at RG. Its another need Pick, but with good value at this spot. A potential plug and play starter. And he may be worth an initial look-see at OT when Training Camp opens if the need is greater there.

Round3 Pick86 JOSH MALONE/WR TENNESSEE 6’3/208 PPR#91
MALONE is a really good athlete, who had a breakout year in 2016 for the VOLS. He caught 50 balls, for 972 yards & 11 TD. He ran a fast 4.42/40 at the Combine but may play even faster than that in pads. He is always a threat to go long, which will help stretch the field in the secondary, opening up more routes for BRADFORD to survey. He has strong, good sized (9 3/4″) hands to win possession battles with smaller defenders. If he can adjust to the pro game quickly and a guy named TREADWELL can come on in his second year in the League, the VIKES could have a very deep, talented receiving corps.

Round4 Pick120 JUSTIN EVANS/S TEXAS A&M 6’0/193 PPR#121
HARRISON SMITH has become one of the top S in the NFL. But his partner in the deep secondary, Andrew Sandejo, is a hard working, over achieving player, who is often over matched trying to cover receivers deep. EVANS presents a potential upgrade over Sandejo. In fact EVANS biggest flaw may be that he hits so hard, and recklessly, that he knocks himself out at times. A bit more discipline and better judgment could open up a starting slot for EVANS, maybe even as a Rookie. In 2016 EVANS recorded 87 tackles, 8 PBU & 4 INT for the Aggies. He recorded a 4.57/40 at the Combine. Those numbers cry out that EVANS has starter potential.

Round4 Pick128 VINCENT TAYLOR/DT OKLAHOMA STATE 6’3/304 PPR#128
Some time ago the Vikes selected a DT from Okie State named KEVIN WILLIAMS who played at a Pro Bowl level for a decade or so in Purple & Gold. TAYLOR isn’t as big or as talented as that guy, but he made a lot of noise controlling the middle of the DL during his college career. He was a Team Captain for the Cowboys and in 2016 he recorded 51 tackles, which included 13 TFL. He ran a respectable 5.10/40 at the Combine and his hands measured 10 1/8″, while his arms were 34 3/4″ long. I doubt he’s stout enough to dominate at the pro level, but with questions about the return to health of SHARIF FLOYD from a knee injury TAYLOR may need to step up as a rotational player as a Rookie. And from my watching of him in action, I think he can get the job done as a pro.

Round5 Pick160 CORN ELDER/CB MIAMI(F) 510/179 PPR#154
ELDER may be a bit small and a tad slow (4.50/40) to be considered a potential starter at CB in the NFL, but the tough little guy, who recorded 76 tackles last season, to go along with 13 PBU & 1 INT, shows no fear on the football field. He should have no problem assuming a prominent role in several sub-packages for the Vikes and will gladly play on Special Teams units. What he lacks in size & speed, he more than makes up for in quickness and toughness, both mental & physical.

Round6 Pick199 WAYNE GALLMAN/RB CLEMSON 6’/215 PPR#203
GALLMAN shows no special skills that would make him a Top 100 draftee. But he can do a bit of everything which could make him a very nice fit with MURRAY & McKINNON. He is a violent, punishing runner who gives himself up for the team. He is also a solid receiving threat out of the backfield and is a good blocker in pass-pro. That last skill may be his ticket to some third down playing time. This represents a very good value at the Pick situation.

Round7 Pick232 RICKY SEALS-JONES/WR/TE TEXAS A&M 6’5/243 PPR#234
I present to you a guy who represents what a 7th Round Pick is designed to be in today’s NFL. A highly touted high school athlete who never really developed in his college career. For a guy of his size and talent to be ranked this low is a crime. If the Vikes coaches can wake up this sleeping giant he could be something special. Given his size and mediocre speed (4.69/40) he cries out to me to be a TE conversion project. The team is not deep at TE right now and it could allow them to work with him if he shows a good work ethic this summer. A combination of cracking the whip, with one coach to counsel him & encourage him, could spark some fire in him. Worth a flier in my opinion.

That’s what I think your team needs and should get VIKINGS faithful. Time to develop and play the youngsters in that beautiful new stadium folks.

Pigskin

TOP RANKED SMALL SCHOOL PROSPECTS 2017

I will doing one final Prospect Rankings revision this weekend. But I thought I would share with you (while I take a brief respite from Team Mocks) my top ranked small school guys as of today. Small school basically includes FCS, D-2 & 3 and a few other categories. For good measure, I have also included a couple of players from newly-promoted FBS schools that still barely register on the big-time college football radar.

67 COOPER KUPP/WR E. WASHINGTON 6’2/204
73 TANOH KPASSAGNON/DE VILLANOVA 6’7/289
77 LARRY OGUNJOBI/DT CHARLOTTE 6’3/305
99 DEREK RIVERS/ER/OLB YOUNGSTOWN STATE 6’4/248
102 ADAM SHAHEEN/TE ASHLAND 6’7/278
140 JULIEN DAVENPORT/OL BUCKNELL 6’7/318
145 BILLY BROWN/TE SHEPHERD 6’4/254
152 BRENDAN LANGLEY/CB LAMAR 6’0/200
168 JORDAN MORGAN/OG KUTZTOWN 6’3/310
169 ANTHONY AUCLAIR/TE LAVAL(CAN) 6’6/256
170 LORENZO JEROME/S ST. FRANCIS 5’11/205
171 ROBERT DAVIS/WR GEORGIA STATE 6’3/219
176 JESSAMEN DUNKER/OG TENNESSEE STATE 6’4/318
190 KEIONTA DAVIS/DE CHATTANOOGA 6’3/274
194 JYLAN WARE/OT ALABAMA STATE 6’7/316
216 CHAD WILLIAMS/WR GRAMBLING 6’0/207
218 ERIC SAUBERT/TE DRAKE 6’5/253
220 GROVER STEWART/DT ALBANY STATE 6’4/347
227 EZRA ROBINSON/CB TENNESSEE STATE 5’11/189
237 TARIK COHEN/RB N CAROLINA A&T 5’6/178
277 KRISHAWN HOGAN/WR MARIAN(IN) 6’3/222

One of the best aspects of All-Star Games is that the top 3 (Senior Bowl, Shrine Game & NFLPA Game) all bring in a solid number of these small school guys on their rosters. Combine that with Combine invitations for many of them and we get a chance to see which ones are worthy of watching game film of. This is a solid group to look at, and a few others not listed will sneak onto NFL Training Camp rosters as well.

Cheers for now…

Pigskin

BUCCANEERS 2017 Team Mock

Once the RAIDERS move to Vegas, Florida will lead the NFL with 3 franchises. But only one can currently be considered a Play-Off caliber club and that is the BUCS in Tampa Bay. QB JAMEIS WINSTON has quickly become the cornerstone of the franchise after the BUCS wisely chose him No. 1 overall two years ago. It is critical that the team add some serious young talent to add depth to their current roster. So let’s help them with their 7 Picks coming up next week.

Round1 Pick19 HAASON REDDICK/LB TEMPLE 6’2/237 PPR#22
I don’t think anyone has risen up draft boards faster/further than REDDICK in this post-season. He was arguably the top performer in Mobile during Senior Bowl week. And then he flashed a ton of athleticism at the Combine. And he should absolutely fit in with the young, athletic LB the BUCS currently have in DAVID & ALEXANDER. He should start right away, allowing others on the depth chart to specialize in Special Teams play. REDDICK ran a 4.52 at the Combine and may play even faster than that. In his first full season as a LB he had 22 1/2 TFL while also dropping into coverage to record 1 INT & 4 PBU. He should only get better with more playing time as a LB. Mark him down to make their LB group the best young unit in the NFL.

Round2 Pick50 JOSH JONES/S N.C.STATE 6’1/220 PPR#57
The team is not desperate in the deep secondary but with the loss of Brad McDougald they could use another full-time S. JONES really emerged in his Junior season at State and represents a very athletic upgrade. He’s an aggressive tackler, with 109 during the 2016 season. He can find and get to the ball, as evidenced by his 11 PBU & 3 INT last season. He ran a CB-like 4.41/40 at the Combine. His biggest challenge as a Rookie may be to curb his enthusiasm and not overreact to what he thinks he sees. But most of his flaws are coachable and correctable. His upside and athleticism could well make him an elite pro S.

Round3 Pick84 JOSH REYNOLDS/WR TEXAS A&M 6’3/195 PPR#88
REYNOLDS plays even longer than his 6’3 frame would indicate. He can outreach most defenders for high throws and has enough speed to outrun many defenders once he gets the ball in the open field. His 4.54/40 at the Combine was a disappointment, but I trust what I saw at the Senior Bowl. He gets open and can go the distance once the ball is his. He averaged 17 yards per catch in 2016 and scored 12 TD. When a team has their Franchise QB it is crucial to provide him with a steady stream of targets. REYNOLDS combined with VFA DeSEAN JACKSON should seriously upgrade the target selection on game day for Jameis.

Round4 Pick125 JAMAAL WILLIAMS/RB BYU 6’/211. PPR#127
The BYU grad topped off a solid college career by running for 1375 yards as a senior for an average of 5.9 ypc, while scoring 12 TD. He’s a slashing runner who can turn on the jets when he hits the open field. He can also run over smaller DB. He also provides a solid target as a receiver having caught 60 balls in his career at BYU. His weak spot is his pass-pro blocking. Unless he shows significant improvement in that part of his arsenal he won’t see the field much after 2nd down. He also will need to improve his ball security. But given the DOUG MARTIN uncertainty he should provide another viable option for the BUCS running attack.

Round5 Pick 162 CHARLES WALKER/DT OKLAHOMA 6’2/310 PPR#165
The BUCS need some extra beef and athleticism along their DL and WALKER could solve both of those issues. But he’s the guy who left the Oklahoma team to go to a performance camp in December. If that situation has been properly vetted he could be a steal for some team this late. He’s Top 100 talent, but still seems a bit too selfish and perhaps lazy. He will require extra attention from the coaching staff and an attitude adjustment, but the pro level talent is there. If you don’t see him drafted next week then know that he flunked his interviews badly.

Round6 Pick204 COLE HIKUTINI/TE LOUISVILLE 6’4/247 PPR#201
A JC Transfer who only started as a senior for Louisville. But he showed enough athleticism and receiving acumen to be invited to the Senior Bowl. A knee injury caused him to miss that venue, as well as receive a medical exemption at the Combine. But he accounted for 50 catches and 8 TD before his injury. He’s a long guy, who will work in the middle of the field when needed. He catches well, in part because of a 10″ hand spread. Wins a lot of jump balls. Needs to run tighter patterns and block better, but appears to have upside. Good value in Round 6.

Round7 Pick237 JAYON BROWN/LB UCLA 6’/231 PPR#248
Many folks have him rated a lot higher than I do, but I am concerned about his size. He played inside in college and he’s just not big enough for that at the pro level, IMO. But he did rack up 120 T, including 7 TFL, as well as dropping into coverage to produce 6 PBU and 3 INT in his senior season. Those are some very nice combo numbers. He ran a 4.71/40 at the Combine. He should be an immediate hit on Special Teams, while they try to slot him into their D. The BUCS like smaller, active LB do don’t count him out in the long run. Could be a big value Pick who pays a lot in a season or two, if he responds to coaching. Long term, sub-packages and Special Teams could make a solid pro career.

That runs us out of Picks BUCS fans. My only big regret is not finding an OT of value in the middle rounds to try to develop. The team may have to try to sign another VFA after the Draft to fill a depth need there, as well as sign an URFA OT or two as well. Many folks would agree with the teams ongoing slogan that “It’s a BUCS life!” with WINSTON at the helm.

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SAINTS 2017 Mock Draft

Went on the air over in Louisiana with former NFL WR BILLY RYCKMAN for his Tuesday radio show. I walked through a potential SAINTS Draft with him. Here is that Draft.

Round1 Pick11 DEREK BARNETT/DE TENNESSEE 6’3/259 PPR#14
Kinda fun when a serious team need pretty much coincides with a player, or two, who happen to rank near a team’s Pick. BARNETT is the guy who broke REGGIE WHITE’s career sack record with 33. Even though it was a different time, and a different game it should be noted that they both did it in 3 seasons. BARNETT is a high rev motor guy, who plays full tilt. His energy can be contagious. My guess is he will be used at both OLB & DE as a pro. He can play the run despite being a bit light in the pants. He spends a lot of time in opposing backfields as evidenced by his 19 TFL in 2016. He would make a very nice bookend opposite CAM JORDAN.

Round1 Pick32 CAM ROBINSON/OT ALABAMA 6’6/322 PPR#28
Even though I have him ranked at 28, I am thinking there will be a run on QB in the second half of Round 1, which could allow CAM to drop into the SAINTS lap. He is a good OT with the physical tools to be great if properly motivated. CAM & ARMSTEAD would make a very athletic young OT tandem to protect DREW BREES in the latter stages of his career. CAM is even better as a run blocker, IMO. First true freshman ever to start at LT for SABAN. At worst they could hide him inside at OG, and he’d probably go to Pro Bowls as well.

Round2 Pick42 ZAY JONES/WR EAST CAROLINA 6’2/202 PPR#49
Nice player who caught 158 balls as a senior. Would help the team replace the traded Brandin Cooks. Is a tireless worker with a very high FBI. As he showed at the Senior Bowl venue he can win jump balls as well as beat some defenders deep. Very good runner once the ball is in his hands. Can gain extra yards on dump-down throws. Great gene pool with his dad being NFL LB ROBERT JONES and his uncle being QB/JEFF BLAKE. Drafting him should make BREES feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Not the same kind of receiver as COOKS, but could put up some impressive numbers in their offense.

Round3 Pick76 MARLON MACK/RB SOUTH FLORIDA 5’11/213 PPR#77
Nice sized runner who can run between the tackles, but also has enough speed (4.49/40) to get to the corner and turn it upfield. Is also a good receiver. As a junior, her rushed for over 1,000 yards at 6.8ypc., while scoring 15 TD. He also caught 28 passes last season. A very nice replacement for TIM HIGHTOWER who departed via VFA. The last 3 Picks would clearly let BREES know that the team is looking out for their leader at QB. Could make a very nice complimentary player to INGRAM.

Round3 Pick103 JOSHUA DOBBS/QB TENNESSEE 6’3/216 PPR#123
Even though the team just signed CHASE DANIEL as their back-up QB, he’s a career back-up and is now 30+ years old himself. DOBBS would be the their apparent, and likely get at least a couple of years to learn the pro QB slot working with BREES & HC PAYTON every day. A natural leader with a high FBI and some serious physical skills. He should be able to learn a lot from PAYTON relative to play calling and reading a defense over time. DOBBS clearly has aced the interview process and showed very well overall during Senior Bowl week back in January. Thus his stock is ascending as the Draft approaches.

Round6 Pick196 BRIAN ALLEN/CB UTAH 6’3/215 PPR#189
You just don’t find guys this big and athletic playing out on the Corner. In his first full season as a starter in 2016 ALLEN was credited with 4 INT & 10 PD. He also burned up the Combine with a 4.43/40. If the CB thing doesn’t work out he could surely be tried at S. Should also be a solid contributor on Special Teams. ALLEN is a prime example of how deep the 2017 Draft is. Talk about value at the Pick.

Round7 Pick229 RALPH GREEN/DT INDIANA 6’3/317 PPR#229
GREEN had to bide his time at IU, but really came on as a late bloomer, under the new coaching staff in 2016. He’s a long, good athlete who will slug it out every down. He can also shoot the gap to disrupt the pocket up the middle. A high effort player, as well as a cheerleader for his teammates. Some trash talk, but mostly support. His 34 1/2″ long arms allow him to move blockers around. A quick-twitch player, which often befuddles Interior OL at he snap of the ball. Could be quite effective in a rotation system, which the Saints now have enough young bodies to employ.

Mr. Ryckman was quite happy with most of these Picks, and I like the mix, if I do say so myself. Watch closely the Sunday of Draft weekend, because the SAINTS are another team that actually counts on URFA signings to contribute to their roster makeup on a yearly basis.

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PACKERS Mock Draft 2017

While I was in Wisconsin last week I stopped by the Sports Den in Wausau to talk Draft with Downtown Ollie Burrows. Being in the land of Green & Gold I just had to do a Packers Mock with him on the air. Here are my selections.

Round1 Pick29 TRA’DAVIOUS WHITE/CB/RS LSU 5’11/191. PPR#29
Between injuries & VFA defections the PACKERS secondary is in need of help again. With the latest WATT brother already off the Board I see WHITE, a 4-year starter, as being a potential plug & play CB. In 2016 he had 2 INT & 14 PBU for the Tigers. He is also a very elusive Punt Returner. He should make a solid replacement fort MICAH HYDE, with even more upside than Micah had.Could win a starting job as a Rookie if the vets aren’t careful.

Round2 Pick61 DORIAN JOHNSON/OG PITT 6’5/300 PPR#66
The Pack has lost both of their starting OG in the past 12 months. Even though Thompson has traditionally not drafted Int OL in the Top 100 JOHNSON is worth the Pick. He is more athletic than your average OG and has OT size, including 10 7/8″ hand size & 35 1/4″ long arms. I especially like the fact that he stays off the ground most of the time. A 3-year starter in college. He looks like an instant pro starter to me if given the chance to compete.

Round3 Pick93 D’ONTA FOREMAN/RB TEXAS 6’0/233 PPR#87
Looks like a solid replacement for Eddie Lacy. Played at almost 250 lbs. as a Longhorn, but weighed 233 at the Combine & his Pro Day. Is a powerful runner with good balance and run after contact ability. Not a polished pass catcher yet, but that’s TY MONTGOMERY’s forte. Averaged 6.4yards/carry as a senior when he gained 2028 yards, behind a mediocre OL. Had a heavy workload last season, but lighter loads prior to 2016. With MONTGOMERY/MICHAEL/FOREMAN the Pack might be OK at the RB position in 2017.

Round4 Pick134 CARROLL PHILLIPS/DE/OLB ILLINOIS 6’3/252. PPR#131
Played DE primarily for the Illini, but showed potential at OLB during Senior Bowl week. The kind of athletic, long defender that DC DOM CAPERS likes to work with. IMO, could be a better pro fit for Capers than the departed Datone Jones. Is a harder worker than JONES! As a senior he had 56 tackles, 20 TFL, including 9 sacks. Gotta luv those 33 3/4″ long arms. He showed he could run with TE/RB in coverage in Mobile, but will need to improve his ability to find the ball in the air. I like his upside.

Round5 Pick172 CHARLES WALKER/DL OKLAHOMA 6’2/310 PPR#165
The only real questions about this player are about his head & heart, which are both important. He has a solid combination of size and strength including his 33 3/4″ long arms. Has the quickness of the snap to penetrate. Upset many observers by passing on rejoining the Sooners after getting concussion clearance late in their season. He chose instead to go to a Performance Camp to get ready for Combine. This Pick is conditional on his impressing during pre-Draft interviews. Is likely to require baby sitting, but if his head gets right he’s a 5th Round steal with 3rd Round talent. Take the risk Packers, you need more talent along the DL, and your locker room is solid.

Round5 Pick182 MARQUEL LEE/ILB WAKE FOREST 6’3/240. PPR#183
Nice looking athlete, with innate instincts to find and react to the ball. Has some coverage ability, but has the athleticism to improve there. IN 2016 he was the team’s leading tackler with 105, including 20 TFL. Very physical tackler, who uses his hands to shed blockers. Can play inside or outside which would give CAPERS some flexibility on where to use him. Also looks like a natural for Special Teams units, which is important for Day 3 Draftees.

Round6 Pick212 AVERY GENNESEY/OT/G TEXAS A&M 6’3/318 PPR#215
Going into his senior campaign AVERY was ranked as a Top 100 prospect. But under closer scrutiny he seemed a bit slow footed and often got tangled up trying to keep up with speed edge-rushers. At 6’3, he would be the shortest OT in the NFL. So he likely projects inside to OG, where he would rate quite highly as an athlete. Hard worker, with a PMA. Has nice long arms, 33 5’8″, which means he could make a solid game day active, able to play 3 or 4 spots as a backup. High upside for a pick this late.

Round7 Pick247 BRAD WATSON/DB WAKE FOREST 6’0/192. PPR#246
Another DEMON DEACON for the PACK. I really like his versatility and productivity. All he lacks is deep speed, which also reminds me of the departed HYDE. Can play multiple roles in sub-packages and is a willing tackler in run support. Should also fit nicely on Special Teams, all units. Has more intangibles, than numerical qualities. Will be tough to deny a roster spot to once Camp starts.

So there it is. A bit over everything, but special emphasis on OL & DB help. Just what the doctor ordered for Mr. Thompson. Their current roster lacks depth at a lot of positions. Don’t forget to watch closely for URFA signings on Day 4 of the Draft for this team. THOMPSON and his scouts usually find 4-5 developmental projects to sign each year.

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EAGLES Mock Draft 2017

More than a few folks believe a solid Draft could help put this team in a position to contend for an NFC East title run. I tend to agree. So here is my attempt to draft some very useful new blood.

Round1 Pick14 MARSHON LATTIMORE/CB OHIO STATE 6’0/193 PPR#15
Luckily, filling a big need happens to play into one of the positional strengths of this draft class. LATTIMORE is a very good athlete, with nice size and solid CB fundamentals. The only ? would be the brief resume’ he brings to the party. In his one season as a starter he had 4 INT and 9 PBU. Huge upside and should start right away.

Round2 Pick43 ZACH CUNNINGHAM/LB VANDERBILT 6’4/234 PPR#42
I see a long, lean athlete who does not shy away from contact. He had over 100 tackles each of the past two seasons. I don’t see any issues with him transitioning to OLB. Just give him plenty of pre-season playing time and good coaching. His length and ability to cover ground are exceptional. Could have a very high upside.

Round3 Pick99 JALEEL JOHNSON/DT IOWA 6’3/316 PPR#97
Right beside “hard worker” in the dictionary is a picture of Jaleel. Typical hard working Iowa player who has been coached to max out his potential by Hawkeyes staff. Has good strength and can hold the point of attack. Nice player to rotate with BEAU ALLEN as they replace BENNIE LOGAN.

Round4 Pick118 BRIAN HILL/RB WYOMING 6’1/219 PPR#113
A solid, though unspectacular runner. Never averaged below 5.0ypc in 3 years in college. Will have to work hard on his pass-pro technique for the NFL game. Should make a very valuable back-up option for the oft injured Ryan Mathews.

Round4 Pick139 AHKELLO WITHERSPOON/CB COLORADO 6’3/191 PPR#138
Long, lean cover Corner who really came on as a senior for the Buffalos. Led the nation in PBU. Might not be a starter, but should still see a lot of action in sub-packages, which consume a large percentage of playing time in the pass happy NFL.

Round5 Pick155 RYAN SWITZER/WR/RS NORTH CAROLINA 5’9/181 PPR#151
The team is rebuilding its receiving corps, and SWITZER could make a nice slot receiver candidate with his quickness and speed. Darren Sproles has indicated that this will be his last NFL season. SWITZER could be a replacement in waiting as the teams Return Specialist. Had almost 100 catches last season at UNC.

Round6 Pick194 KYLE KALIS/OG MICHIGAN 6’4/308 PPR#193
What this guy lacks in athleticism may be made up for in his passion for the game of football. He also has an above average FBI. May never start, but for injuries, but could likely handle multiple spots along the OL as a back-up. Tough, physical player, i.e. mauler. Has NFL genes in his family.

Round7 Pick230 XAVIER WOODS/S LOUISIANA TECH 5’11/200
A physical and reasonably athletic, if slightly undersized player. Had 14 INT in his college career, along with 277 tackles. Has the perfect temperament for Special Teams work. Will be a valuable bottom of the roster addition with versatility.

There you go for 2017 Eagles fans.

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STEELERS Mock Draft 2017

The GBN Report gets a lot of traffic from STEELERS fans, so at the risk of upsetting too many of them, here is my Draft projection for their beloved team.

Round1 Pick30 OBI MELIFONWU/FS UCONN 6’4/224 PPR#38
A while back the STEELERS used their 1st Round Pick on an undersized, super active S, by the name of TROY. OBI is the polar opposite from a size standpoint, but he was incredibly athletic and productive as a collegian. He should make a great defensive weapon to scheme with for DC Keith Butler. Had 118 tackles, along with 4 INT last season for the Huskies.

Round2 Pick62 RYAN ANDERSON/ER/DE ALABAMA 6’2/253 PPR#62
The search is still on to find an adequate replacement for JAMES HARRISON. ANDERSON is an explosive edge-rusher and a very physical player in general. And a productive HARRISON is still around to mentor him and possibly rotate at the position. A productive player, with natural edge-rush tools. Reminds me of a young & healthy LAMARR WOODLEY.

Round3 Pick94 MONTRAVIOUS ADAMS/DL AUBURN 6’3/304. PPR#96
The D-Line in Pittsburgh is talented but not terribly deep right now. ADAMS will help fix that. He’s a good candidate to play as both an E & Nose, and allow for more DL rotation on game day. When he plays hard he can dominate a game. MIKE TOMLIN should be a big factor in helping to motivate ADAMS to play at a high energy level.

Round3 Pick105 MIKE ROBERTS/TE TOLEDO 6’4/270 PPR#105
The team likes Jesse James as their starting TE, but would like to get even more out of their TE slot. A Late bloomer, ROBERTS is a red zone threat with his length and sure hands. He will develop as a blocker. This Pick could secure their TE position for the foreseeable future.

Round4 Pick135 JEREMY McNICHOLS/RB BOISE STATE 5’9/214 PPR#133
The team needs some quality depth behind Le’Veon Bell. He’s a workhorse, but at his current workload rate he’ll he used up this decade. McNICHOLS is short but not small. He’s a tough., elusive runner, who can also catch the ball. He rushed for over 1300 yards last season, and also caught 37 balls, scoring 27 total TD. He should make a nice replacement for DeAngelo Williams, who is flat out old for an NFL RB.

Round5 Pick173 MARQUEZ WHITE/CB FLORIDA STATE 6’0/194. PPR#163
Underrated player, IMO, due to talent logjam in FSU secondary. But when he played he was quite effective. Very good size, with 32’+ arm length. Instinctive to the ball in the air. Caught some eyes at the Senior Bowl with his practice work. Sub-Package player right away, with chance to fight for starting job in a few years.

Round6 Pick213 JEROD EVANS/QB VIRGINIA TECH 6’3/232. PPR#228
Not NFL ready after only 1-year of D1 play, but upside could be quite high, while Big Ben finishes out his great career. His 63.5% completion rate last season was higher than KIZER, PETERMAN, KAAYA, WEBB & DOBBS. 29TD/8INT ratio is also impressive. He is also a natural athlete and good speed and can scramble and/or extend plays.

Round7 Pick248 SHAAN WASHINGTON/ILB TEXAS A&M 6’3/235 PPR#249
Very productive defender for the Aggies. Nice value at the Pick. He’s very active and finds the ball. Can drop into coverage a bit. Should shine on Special Teams units while developing into an NFL LB.

That’s it folks. I think these Picks represent a nice blend of football talent and pro potential, with every one of them helping fill needs on the team’s roster.

GIANTS MOCK DRAFT 2017

With deference to our Editor, let’s start off my Team Mocks with his favorite team the G-Men in NYC. I will expect a critique and alternate picks from him, in short order, after this is published. But for now…

Round1,Pick23 HAASAN REDDICK/LB/TEMPLE 6’2/237 PPR#22
Once upon a time the GIANTS D was ruled by perennial Pro Bowl LB like L.T., HARRY CARSON, VAN PELT, HUFF, etc. In recent years the LB talent has been mediocre, at best. REDDICK instantly becomes the teams top LB.

Round2,Pick55 JAKE BUTT/TE/MICHIGAN 6’6/246 PPR#60
Assuming that BUTT has cleared on medical tests regarding his knee, he could be an instant starter and remind GIANTS fans of a guy named BAVARO who excelled in the Big Apple once upon a time.

Round3Pick87 JERMAINE ELUEMUNOR/OL/TEXAS A&M 6’3/233 PPR#102
This big guy has been rising up Draft boards since the Combine. His arms might be a tad short out at OT, but he could dominate inside at OG. He also has dominant power and good feet. He’s a bit raw, but could be really good, soon, if coached up properly. They should try him out at OT first.

Round4Pick140 ELIJAH HOOD/RB/UNC 6’0/232 PPR#139
A big, power back with some burst to balance out their fairly “small” RB group.

Round5Pick167 CHARLES WALKER/DT/OKLAHOMA 6’2/310 PPR#165
Versatile, athletic DL who could help provide some quality depth in their DL rotation.

Round6Pick207 COLE HIKUTINI/TE/LOUISVILLE 6’4/247 PPR#201
Since they are building their TE position let’s give them another fairly athletic TE.

Round7Pick241 NATE GERRY/SS/NEBRASKA 6’2/214 PPR#245
A big, physical S who should help a lot on special Teams.

Sorry GIANTS fans you only have 7 Picks this year.

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PROSPECT Rankings 2017 DRAFT

Lots of work to do between now and Draft so lets wrap this up and take my Prospect List out to my Top 200 players…

1) MYLES GARRETT OLB TEXAS A&M 6’5/272
2) LEONARD FOURNETTE RB LSU 6’0/240
3) JAMAL ADAMS SS LSU 6’0/214
4) SOLOMON THOMAS DE STANFORD 6’3/273
5) JOE MIXON RB OKLAHOMA 6’1/225
6) MALIK HOOKER S OHIO STATE 6’1/206
7) MIKE WILLIAMS WR CLEMSON 6’4/218
8) JONATHAN ALLEN DL ALABAMA 6’3/286
9) COREY DAVIS WR WESTERN MICHIGAN 6’3/209
10) DALVIN COOK RB FLORIDA STATE 5’10/210
11) O.J. HOWARD TE ALABAMA 6’6/250
12) JOHN ROSS WR WASHINGTON 5’11/188
13) REUBEN FOSTER LB ALABAMA 6’0/229
14) DEREK BARNETT DE TENNESSEE 6’3/259
15) MARSHON LATTIMORE CB OHIO STATE 6’0/193
16) MITCH TRUBISKY QB NORTH CAROLINA 6’2/222
17) DAVID NJOKU TE MIAMI(F) 6’4/246
18) GARETT BOLLES OT UTAH 6’5/297
19) RYAN RAMCZYK OT WISCONSIN 6’6/310
20) CHRIS McCAFFREY RB STANFORD 5’11/202
21) TAK McKINLEY OLB/ER UCLA 6’2/250
22) HAASON REDDICK LB TEMPLE 6’2/237
23) FORREST LAMP OG WESTERN KENTUCKY 6’4/309
24) CHARLES HARRIS OLB/ER MISSOURI 6’3/253
25) T.J. WATT OLB WISCONSIN 6’5/252
26) CURTIS SAMUEL WR/RS OHIO STATE 5’11/196
27) JABRILL PEPPERS SS MICHIGAN 5’11/213
28) DAN FEENEY OG INDIANA 6’4/304
29) TRA’DAVIOUS WHITE CB/RS LSU 5’11/191
30) DeSHAUN WATSON QB CLEMSON 62/221
31) ADOREE’ JACKSON CB/RS SOUTHERN CAL 5’10/186
32) DeSHONE KIZER QB NOTRE DAME 6’4/233
33) CAM ROBINSON OT ALABAMA 6’6/322
34) PATRICK MAHOMES QB TEXAS TECH 6’2/225
35) GAREON CONLEY CB OHIO STATE 6’0/195

36) ALVIN KAMARA RB/RS TENNESSEE 5’10/214
37) TACO CHARLTON DE MICHIGAN 6’6/277
38) OBI MELIFONWU S UCONN 6’4/224
39) BUDDA BAKER S WASHINGTON 5’10/195
40) MARLON HUMPHREY CB ALABAMA 6’0/197
41) MALIK McDOWELL DL MICHIGAN STATE 6’6/295
42) ZACH CUNNINGHAM LB VANDERBILT 6’4/234
43) JORDAN WILLIS DE KANSAS STATE 6’4/255
44) EVAN ENGRAM TE OLE MISS 6’3/235
45) RAEKWON McMILLAN ILB OHIO STATE 6’2/240
46) JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER WR SOUTHERN CAL 6’1/215
47) TIM WILLIAMS OLB ALABAMA 6’3/244
48) QUINCY WILSON CB FLORIDA 6’2/211
49) ZAY JONES WR EAST CAROLINA 6’2/202
50) DION DAWKINS OG TEMPLE 6’4/315
51) ANTHONY WALKER LB NORTHWESTERN 6’1/238
52) TARELL BASHAM DE/ER OHIO 6’4/269
53) JARRAD DAVIS LB FLORIDA 6’1/238
54) CHRIS GODWIN WR PENN STATE 6’1/209
55) DAVIS WEBB QB CAL 6’5/229
56) CALEB BRANTLEY DT FLORIDA 6’3/307
57) JOSH JONES SS NC STATE 6’1/220
58) MARCUS WILLIAMS FS UTAH 6’1/202
59) FABIAN MOREAU CB UCLA 6’1/205
60) JAKE BUTT TE MICHIGAN 6’6/246
61) CHIDOBE AWUZIE DB COLORADO 6’0/202
62) KEVIN KING CB WASHINGTON 6’3/200
63) BUCKY HODGES TE VIRGINIA TECH 6’6/257
64) RASUL DOUGLAS CB WEST VIRGINIA 6’2/209
65) RYAN ANDERSON ER/LB ALABAMA 6’2/253
66) DORIAN JOHNSON OG PITT 6’5/300
67) COOPER KUPP WR EASTERN WASHINGTON 6’2/204
68) MARCUS MAYE SS FLORIDA 6’0/210
69) SIDNEY JONES* CB WASHINGTON 6’0/186
70) DESMOND KING S IOWA 5’10/201
71) AMARA DARBOH WR MICHIGAN 6’2/215
72) CARL LAWSON ER/LB AUBURN 6’2/261
73) TANOH KPASSAGNON DE VILLANOVA 6’7 289
74) MARLON MACK RB SOUTH FLORIDA 5’11/213
75) TEEZ TABOR CB FLORIDA 6’0/199

76) ANTONIO GARCIA OT TROY 6’6/302
77) LARRY OGUNJOBI DT CHARLOTTE 6’3/305
78) BRAD KAAYA QB MIAMI(F) 6’4/214
79) RODERICK JOHNSON OT FLORIDA STATE 6’7/298
80) TAYLOR MOTON OG/T WESTERN MICHIGAN 6’5/320
81) CARLOS WATKINS DT CLEMSON 6’4/310
82) GERALD EVERETT TE SOUTH ALABAMA 6’3/239
83) K.D. CANNON WR BAYLOR 5’11/182
84) ALEX ANZALONE ILB FLORIDA 6’3/240
85) JORDAN LEGGETT TE CLEMSON 6’6/258
86) CARLOS HENDERSON WR LOUISIANA TECH 5’11/199
87) D’ONTA FOREMAN RB TEXAS 6’0/233
88) JOSH REYNOLDS WR TEXAS A&M 6’3/195
89) JOHN JOHNSON FS BOSTON COLLEGE 6’1/205
90) CHRIS WORMLEY DL MICHIGAN 6’5/298
91) JALEEL JOHNSON DT IOWA 6’3/316
92) CORDREA TANKERSLEY CB CLEMSON 6’1/199
93) ELIJAH QUALLS DT WASHINGTON 6’1/313
94) DUKE RILEY LB LSU 6’1/231
95) DAMONTAE KAZEE CB SAN DIEGO STATE 5’10/183
96) MONTRAVIUS ADAMS DT AUBURN 6’3/304
97) JOSH MALONE WR TENNESSEE 6’3/208
98) SHAQUILL GRIFFIN CB CENTRAL FLORIDA 6’0/195
99) DEREK RIVERS OLB YOUNGSTOWN STATE 6’4/248
100) NATHAN PETERMAN QB PITT 6’3/225

101) DALVIN TOMLINSON DL ALABAMA 6’3/310
102) JERMIANE ELUEMUNOR OG TEXAS A&M 6’4/332
103) MATT DAYES RB NC STATE 5’9/205
104) VINCE BIEGEL OLB WISCONSIN 6’3/246
105) MICHAEL ROBERTS TE TOLEDO 6’4/270
106) ETHAN POCIC OC LSU 6’6/310
107) DeMARCUS WALKER DE FLORIDA STATE 6’4/280
108) TYUS BOWSER OLB HOUSTON 6’3/247
109) DEDE WESTBROOK WR/RS OKLAHOMA 6’0/178
110) CAMERON SUTTON CB/RS TENNESSEE 5’11/188
111) PAT ELFLEIN OC/G OHIO STATE 6’3/303
112) EDDIE JACKSON S ALABAMA 6’0/201
113) BRIAN HILL RB WYOMING 6’1/219
114) SAMAJE PERINE RB OKLAHOMA 5’11/233
115) ADAM SHAHEEN TE ASHLAND 6’7/278
116) CHAD HANSEN WR CAL 6’2/202
117) KENDELL BECKWITH ILB LSU 62/243
118) ISAIAH FORD WR VIRGINIA TECH 6’1/195
119) DANNY ISIDORA OG MIAMI(F) 6’3/306
120) DAVON GODCHAUX DT LSU 6’3/310
121) JUSTIN EVANS S TEXAS A&M 6’0/199
122) KAREEM HUNT RB TOLEDO 5’10/216
123) JOURDAN LEWIS CB MICHIGAN 5’10/188
124) ARDARIUS STEWART WR ALABAMA 5’11/204
125) JEREMY SPRINKLE TE ARKANSAS 6’5/252
126) EDDIE VANDERDOES DT UCLA 6’3/305
127) JAMAAL WILLIAMS RB BYU 6’0/212
128) VINCE TAYLOR DT OKLAHOMA STATE 6’3/304
129) FREDDIE STEVENSON FB FLORIDA STATE 6’0/234
130) JOSH DOBBS QB TENNESSEE 6’3/216
131) CARROLL PHILLIPS OLB ILLINOIS 6’3/252
132) ZACH BANNER OT SOUTHERN CAL 6’8/343
133) JEREMY McNICHOLS RB BOISE STATE 5’9/214
134) NICO SIRAGUSA OG SAN DIEGO STATE 6’4/319
135) RAYSHAWN JENKINS SS MIAMI(F) 6’1/214

136) GEORGE KITTLE TE IOWA 6’4/247
137) ZANE GONZALEZ K ARIZONA STATE 6’1/201
138) AHKELLO WITHERSPOON CB COLORADO 6’3/198
139) ELIJAH HOOD RB NORTH CAROLINA 6’2/232
140) JULIEN DAVENPORT OT BUCKNELL 6’7/318
141) JOE WILLIAMS RB UTAH 5’11/210
142) DAWUANE SMOOT DE ILLINOIS 6’3/264
143) ISAAC ASIATA OG UTAH 6’3/325
144) JOSH CARRAWAY OLB/ER TCU 6’3/241
145) BILLY BROWN TE/WR SHEPHERD 6’4/254
146) ADAM BISNOWATY OT PITT 6’6/305
147) ELIJAH LEE LB KANSAS STATE 6’3/229
148) JAMES CONNER RB PITT 6’1/233
149) TYLER ORLOSKY OC WEST VIRGINIA 6’3/298
150) JALEN MYRICK CB MINNESOTA 5’10/200
151) RYAN SWITZER WR/RS NORTH CAROLINA 5’9/181
152) BRENDAN LANGLEY CB LAMAR 6’0/200
153) NOAH BROWN WR OHIO STATE 6’2/222
154) CORN ELDER CB MIAMI(F) 5’10/179
155) NAZAIR JONES DL NORTH CAROLINA 6’5/304
156) MALACHI DUPRE WR LSU 6’2/196
157) DAESHON HALL DE TEXAS A&M 6’5/265
158) FRED ROSS WR MISSISSIPPI STATE 6’1/213
159) CHASE ROULLIER OC/G WYOMING 6’4/312
160) JEHU CHESSON WR MICHIGAN 6’3/204
161) TRAVIS RUDOLPH WR FLORIDA STATE 6’0/189
162) DEANGELO BROWN DT LOUISVILLE 6’0/312
163) MARQUEZ WHITE CB FLORIDA STATE 6’0/194
164) WILL HOLDEN OG VANDERBILT 6’7/313
165) CHARLES WALKER DT OKLAHOMA 6’2/310
166) QUINCY ADEBOYEJO WR OLE MISS 6’3/197
167) BEN BRADEN OG MICHIGAN 6’7/329
168) JORDAN MORGAN OG KUTZTOWN STATE 6’3/310
169) ANTHONY AUCLAIR TE LAVAL 6’6/256
170) LORENZO JEROME FS ST. FRANCIS 5’11/205
171) ROBERT DAVIS WR GEORGIA STATE 6’3/219
172) ELI McGUIRE RB LA/LAFAYETTE 5’11/214
173) TREY HENDRICKSON DE/ER FLORIDA ATLANTIC 6’4/266
174) TAYWON TAYLOR WR W. KENTUCKY 5’11/203
175) JORDAN STERNS S OKLAHOMA STATE 5’11/196
176) JESSAMEN DUNKER OG TENNESSEE STATE 6’4/318
177) JEREMIAH LEDBETTER DE ARKANSAS 6’3/281
178) JALEN ROBINETTE WR AIR FORCE 6’3/220
179) DELANO HILL SS MICHIGAN 61/216
180) HOWARD WILSON CB HOUSTON 6’1/184
181) AVIANTE COLLINS OL TCU 6’4/295
182) JONNU SMITH TE FLORIDA INT’L 6’3/248
183) MARQUEL LEE LB WAKE FOREST 6’3/240
184) TANZEL SMART DT TULANE 6’1/296
185) JON TOTH OC KENTUCKY 6’5/308
186) DAMORE’EA STRINGFELLOW WR OLE MISS 6’2/202
187) MACK HOLLINS WR/ST NORTH CAROLINA 6’4/221
188) NATE HAIRSTON CB TEMPLE 6’0/192
189) BRIAN ALLEN CB UTAH 6’3/215
190) KEIONTA DAVIS DE CHATTANOOGA 6’3/274
191) DEATRICH WISE DE ARKANSAS 6’5/275
192) BRYAN COX DE FLORIDA 6’3/265
193) KYLE KALIS OG MICHIGAN 6’4/308
194) JYLAN WARE OT ALABAMA STATE 6’7/316
195) AMBA ETTA-TAWO WR SYRACUSE 6’1/208
196) TRENT TAYLOR WR/RS LA TECH 5’8/181
197) DEANGELO YANCEY WR PURDUE 6’1/220
198) TRESTON DeCOUD CB OREGON STATE 6’2/206
199) JOSH HARVEY-CLEMONS SS/LB LOUISVILLE 6’4/217
200) CHAD KELLY QB OLE MISS 6’2/222

 

TIRE TREAD on RB Draft prospects

Sooner or later when you take your car into the garage for preventative maintenance the technician will look you square in the face when handing you back your keys, as well as presenting you with a bill for the damages, and say “You might be in need of new tires the next time around. Your tires are getting a bit light on their remaining tread.”
Well, it’s that time of Draft prep when Pigskin Paul likes to take a look at the RB prospect group and talk about how much tread some of these young men may have left on their body after toting the rock for their college teams. Of course there is no exact number to tell you when a player is used up, but it seems safe to say that the body reacts to wear and tear over time. So just for chuckles let’s take a look at how much wear and tear the top 15 RB for the 2017 Draft have subjected their bodies to over the course of their college careers.
Here are my Top 15 RB for this year’s Draft and how many times they have taken the ball from scrimmage, thus exposing themselves to the poundings of multiple defensive tacklers.

LEONARD FOURNETTE/LSU. 616 rushes + 41 receptions = 657 touches As you can see over 90% of his contact came on runs. One could probably make an argument that suffering through some nagging lower leg injuries during the 2016 campaign held down the overall ravages of contact required under the 3-year eligibility rule for Draft entry and actually helped his long term health projection. We all knew what he can do with the ball after two seasons. Low mileage count for a big, power back.

DALVIN COOK/FLORIDA STATE. 687 rushes + 79 catches = 766 touches Over a hundred touches more than FOURNETTE, with a history of missed time while nursing a banged up body for a game or two multiple times in his 3-year resume’ for the Seminoles. Not a frightening number of touches, but he might be well served to add a few pounds of padding to his currently lean frame if he can do so without losing quickness/explosion.

CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY/STANFORD. 632 rushes + 99 catches = 731 touches This might be considered a highly desirable number and mix of touches by NFL personnel people. And if you have been following the Draft prep process then you know he is really emphasizing his receiving skills over his running ability in workouts right now. In today’s NFL many teams treat short passes to their RB as nothing more than long handoffs, getting their RB more quickly out into space. At 5’11/202, McCaffrey is not likely to last long as a pro if he’s taking a pounding from rush carries too often. He is also an excellent return man so that has to be factored into his potential NFL career of 25 touches per game… max.

JOE MIXON/OKLAHOMA. 300 rushes + 65 catches = 365 touches Another bonus for teams with MIXON if they can see their way past his punching video to draft him. He was suspended for his frosh season by HC Stoops for that incident and then alternated carries with PERINE for two seasons. Thus he has avoided heavy college mileage and might even be termed ‘gently used’. Logic says he’s got plenty left on his powerful 225 lb., muscled frame.

ALVIN KAMARA/TENNESSEE 210 rushes + 74 catches = 284 touches Thanks to some early off-field issues and the transfer to the Vols program, BUTCH JONES hardly got this guy broken in. He is by the far the least used guy in this position group. As long as a team is comfortable that his resume’ is thick enough to trust, then another bargain might be looming here in terms of longevity. He also has a pretty nice padded frame at 5’10/214.

MARLON MACK/USF 586 rushes + 21 catches = 607 MACK was lucky enough to have some quality backs to rotate with during his BULLS career. He also has a tendency to take carries out to the boundary because of his good burst after taking the hand-off. Not used much at all as a receiver in college, his overall tread life looks pretty good right now.

BRIAN HILL/WYOMNG 775 carries + 41 catches = 816 I saw a few expressions of surprise that he declared to come out a year early, but look at that carry total! And he’s pretty much a between the tackles runner. He’s proved his value with the ball in his hands with a solid 5.5 ypc average for his career. He’s the heavy lifter so far on the list.

JAMAAL WILLIAMS/BYU 726 rushes + 60 catches = 786 touches Not an unreasonable number of carries, but more than enough. He did get one season off (2015) because of a school rules violation, and came back to have best season in 2016. That’s about average wear and tear, and teams like his frequency of trips into the end zone at 36 for his career.

JEREMY McNICHOLS/BOISE STATE 571 rushes + 60 catches = 674 touches Packing 215 lb. on a squat 5’9″ frame makes him a very difficult guy to get a squared-up hit on once he gets out to open spaces. And his overall total of hits puts him slightly below average for a used commodity on this list.

KAREEM HUNT/TOLEDO 782 carries + 73 catches = 855 touches I really enjoyed watching HUNT work during his Toledo career. He’s a hard runner with good instincts. Reminds me a bit of Kenneth Davis/La Tech, last year. But that comparison is based on good part on the heavy volume of load they both carried for their teams. Over 850 touches takes a toll, and he’s far from a finesse runner. I worry that these tires are very well worn.

SAMAJE PERINE/OKLAHOMA 685 rushes + 40 catches = 725 touches There is nothing in the least bit subtle about Perine’s running style, and it subjects his body to an incredible amount of contact. He missed all, or parts, of multiple games because of being “dinged up” as he plowed on for 3 years between the tackles. He may a bit like the vehicle that has been in the body shop way too many times already, never mind the actual tire wear.

MATT DAYES/NC STATE 550 rushes + 98 catches = 648 touches DAYES is another guy who has shared backfield time in college, thus sparing his body a bit of wear. His 249 carries as a senior was his heaviest workload to date. He should have considerable tread left on his tires and his best may be yet to come as a professional.

JAMES CONNER/PITT 668 rushes + 30 catches = 698 touches The wild card in measuring the tire tread for COONER is his battle with cancer just two years ago. His heaviest work load came back in 2014 when he carried the ball 298 times. Scouts may appreciate that he appears to worked hard on his receiving skills during his cancer recovery period. His 21 catches last season were more than his previous 3 year total. We certainly wish him nothing but the best, but many health care professionals use a 5-year mark to measure a patient being cancer free. Give ’em hell, James!

ELIJAH McGUIRE/LA-LAFAYETTE 710 caries + 130 catches = 840 touches This number of touches is pretty high, but his high catch total and the fact that he spread the load out over 4 seasons somewhat mitigates that fairly high total of 840 touches. He also has a nice solid frame to absorb some collisions at 5’11/214. But however we spin it, he’s the third most used RB on this list.

DONNEL PUMPHREY/SAN DIEGO STATE 1059 carries + 100 receptions = 1159 touches This number is just plain insane. Especially when you throw in the fact that he’s 5’8/176 lbs. Yes, I agree he can make himself skinny and avoids a lot of hits, but my eyes say his tires are bald. But then again he’s been doubted all along and still broke all Marshall Faulk’s career marks at State, as well as passing a tank named Ron Dayne as the NCAA’s leading career rusher. He already has defied all logic in his career, but he would NOT even be on my team’s Draft Board! That said, I will be rooting for him to make me look silly!

That’s a look at the top RB, based on past usage as they hope to embark on NFL careers. No matter what the previous wear and tear, and lack of tread left on your tires, good luck guys!

Pigskin

More COMBINE Thoughts from PIGSKIN

I cannot believe today’s “NOW” society at times. I’m still pulling together numbers and notes from the NFL Combine, and being accused of living in the past by some. The Combine wrapped up less than one week ago! How can it be old news?! All of our observations cannot be based on first impressions, so I will continue to propose more thoughts on last weekend’s event in Indy in the coming week or two.

Another of my more surprising moments from the Combine was the disappointing 40-times run by both Florida Gator CBs. TEEZ TABOR, could only manage a 4.62/40, while his teammate QUINCY WILSON was acceptable, but not elite, with a 4.54 posting. Both of these players have been listed as Top 10 CB with TABOR even appearing in many Mock First Rounds. There is more to being a top pro CB than straight-line speed, but it is a given that being fast is expected. Both of these guys will have to make up some time, so to speak, at their Pro Days to stay in the Top 50, in my eyes. Expect better in Gainesville, but I sure hope some NFL folks who attend the workout measure to make sure the sprint is on a full 40-yard run basis.

On a brighter note on a CB from the Sunshine State, and UCF, SHAQ GRIFFIN really impressed during his time in Indy. It started at the weigh-in when he was a solid 6’0 and 194 lbs. His 32 3/8″ arms were a real positive as well. He blazed a 4.38/40, as well as showing loose hips in his ability to flip them in coverage drills. His 38.5″ Vert was a clear indicator of explosion in his lower body. A sub-7 second 3-Cone time @ 6.87 was also what scouts like to see. He’s an aggressive player, who should only get better under pro coaching. Watch for him to crack the Top 100 in the Draft. And if you like back-stories check out that of he and his 1-handed brother, SHAQUEM.

An annual mystery to me is trying to figure out what is going on with players who show serious weight differences between their post-season work and what they looked like during their college career. A couple such guys have emerged again since January in this years Draft Class.
KAREEM HUNT was a record setting RB at Toledo, on a winning program during his career there. He was a strong player at over 220 lbs., with good hands as a receiver. He was an explosive runner while at the Senior Bowl venue, but surprised many with a weigh-in number of only 208 lbs. At the Combine he was back up to 216 lbs. running a 4.62/40. Now clearly we know that his game film shows a productive, hard running player who should fit an NFL RB rotation quite nicely. But as Mike Mayock likes to say, ‘I want to know who he is’ in referencing his playing weight. It creates another variable that personnel folks must sort through. Can’t wait to see his weight at the Toledo campus Pro Day.
Another mystery man, probably of even more significance, is TE/GERALD EVERETT of South Alabama. EVERETT is of the same ilk as EVAN ENGRAM, with some scouts ranking him above ENGRAM, who wowed at the Senior Bowl. EVERETT is the hybrid TE type, ala JORDAN REED of the Redskins, but his weight has been all over the place of late. He was listed in the college game programs at a generous 240 lbs, but drew polite gasps in Mobile when he weighed in at only 227 lbs. At the Combine he was back up to 239 lbs. while running a less than blazing 4.62/40. The timing of such a weight gain/loss in advance of running his 40 is questionable to say the least. It was also a bit disconcerting to have his hands measure in less than 9″, at 8.5″. I don’t think EVERETT helped his Draft status with the weight fluctuation and resultant workout numbers. He’s got some explaining to do, and some speed to flash, at team workouts and perhaps his Pro Day.

A sleeper who I mentioned back last Fall in my Who Caught My Eye column, got my attention again at the Combine. I am referring to Ole Miss DT, D.J. JONES. JONES had some excellent workout numbers in Indy. He was right on target measuring in at 6’1/319 lbs. Albeit in a very limited area, he shows some surprising quickness and pursuit along the line of scrimmage. He also has excellent hand strength and obviously a nice low center of gravity. For a team looking for a big bodied, plugger for the middle of their DL he could make a very valuable late round draftee in April. For a team that likes him, waiting tis after the Draft to get him as URFA could become somewhat problematic.

Another oddity that caught my eye watching hour after hour of workouts over the length of the Combine, was my mind’s comparison of the running of the gauntlet drill by receivers and DB groups in general. One of the intangibles that personnel people look for during this drill is for players to run straight along the yard-line that they begin the drill on. It looked quite clear to me that it was the DB group that stayed true to that line, while many in the receivers group were zig-zagging most of the width of the field. Not sure how that gets judged/ranked in scout notebooks, but it was conspicuously noticeable to me.

I am perfectly willing to admit that I do not watch an equal amount of game film on every player that I venture a scouting opinion on. And a guy who I only watched twice this past season (I discounted the hurricane mud-bowl game vs Notre Dame) was JOSH JONES/SS/NC STATE. I thought he looked OK in those 2 games I did watch, but was a bit surprised when I saw he had declared to leave school early for the 2017 Draft. I feel like he blew up his Combine opportunity with a standout display of athleticism and football related skill. It began with his 4.41/40 which he ran at a SS weight of 220 lbs., on a 6’1 frame. He looked very smooth in drill work whether running in forward or reverse mode. He added a 37.5″ Vert and a 132″ (that’s 11′ to you math challenged folks) broad jump, He also has functional strength, which include 20 reps in the Bench Press, with 32″ long arms. Throw his workout numbers on top of a 2016 season that included 109 tackles and 3 Int., and you have a young man who could be headed for a Draft slot as high as Round 2.

Though not as clear-cut good as JONES, a bit of a pleasant surprise in the secondary group was DELANO HILL/S/Michigan. HILL had a decent showing at the Shrine venue back in January, and really looked good at the Combine. He displayed a bit more athleticism at the Combine than expected perhaps, which should make it more likely to actually be drafted than we thought in December. HILL measured 6’1/216 lbs. and was able to run a 4.47/40. He also has 9 3/8″ hand spread & 32 1/8″ arm length. His 6.96, 3-cone time shows he has some change of direction flex to his body. He is lacking a bit in ball skills, but can run with receivers downfield. He showed solid all-around skills out on the field in 2016 with 52 tackles, 4.5TFL, 3 PBU & 3 Int. His ability to run and change direction was obvious in drill work in Indy, and he got mention on several occasions during NFLN broadcast times. Do not sleep on this guy once we get into Draft Saturday.

That’s what I have for today, but chances are good I’ll have more thoughts early in the coming week. I intend to watch the NFLN replay of the RB group workouts later today. I had satellite reception issues on that Combine Friday so I’m thinking I’ll have some additional thoughts on that group in particular early next week.

Cheers

Pigskin

PIGSKIN’S COMBINE THOUGHTS 2017 Part 1

Seems like I never learn from some of my previous mistakes. Every year I make the same mistake around NFL Combine time. I watch hours and hours of coverage on NFLN and take notes while I watch. Then I decide to wait until I see a bit more the next day before writing anything for the website. Before you know it the event is over and I am sitting with a dazed look on my face and brain lock form information overload. Then the real issue kicks in… at what point to start writing.

As of right now it seems that a good start might be to begin with some names and observations that I clearly did not see coming. I’m not going to try to rank them in significance or chronological order so let the thought flow begin.

AVIANTE COLLINS/OT TCU. COLLINS was not on my prospect list at all before the Combine invite list was put out for consumption. And his name did not inspire me enough to do any pre-Combine research on him. Just another name that some team really wanted to get a better look at so they pestered National Scouting into inviting him. Happens every year with 10 or so guys, most of whom quickly establish that they are in over their heads against the real prospects. COLLINS measured in at 6’4, 295 lbs., so the first thought, if one bothered to venture a thought on him, was that because of his height and arm length he would be switching inside to OG in an NFL Training Camp next summer. Then the guy pushed the bar up 34 times in the Bench Press. But what caused jaws to drop with the stopwatch crowd was a 4.81/40 at his size. That’s the kind of number about half the TE group put up in Indy during a normal year’s Combine. I suppose you could say we should have seen this coming since his dad and brother are noted track athletes, but still.. What does it mean going forward? It means a lot of scouts will be watching TCU game film, and heading to the TCU Pro Day to see if he can duplicate that number. It may also ported the possibility that some scouts potential steal of the Draft is now on a lot of radar screens. Look for him to turn out to be a Round 5-6 Draftee in April.

With a tip of the hat to GBN friend and contributor LARRY, he was the first guy to point me in the direction of ADAM SHAHEEN (almost a year ago no less) the hulking basketball turned TE at D-2 school ASHLAND. We knew he was big (6’6/278), and as a successful basketball player likely to be athletic. But it was still breath taking to watch him in action on the field with the big boys, and showing some of them up. His arms are not super long at 33.5″, but it was still impressive to see him pump iron up 24 times to tie for the lead in the TE group. He certainly looked more than OK running around in shorts during drill work. His hands are big and dependable. There could be a run of TE drafting in the top rounds this year, given overall quality of the position group, which could mean that SHAHEEN hears his name called early on Day 3 of the Draft.

I can still recall watching JAELN MYRICK/CB/Minnesota during Shrine Week practices and noting to myself that I liked his style of aggressive play for a short guy, with a muscled body. He practiced hard and seemed to be trying to learn from his coaches. But I could not find any specific mention of his explosiveness or speed/quickness anywhere in my notes. So imagine my surprise when he went out and toasted the entire DB group with his 4.28/40. Were it not for the blazing, record setting dash by JOHN ROSS @ 4.22 MYRICK would still be heading Combine wrap headlines. As it is I am guessing this run may propel him into an early 3rd Day Draft slot. Assuming that he impresses in the interviews over the next two months, I would bet his game tape will put him Round 4 consideration. By the way credit where credit is due, the last words out of Mike Mayock’s mouth on air before MYRICK took off was ‘this guy could run really fast’. Chalk that one up in the Mayock win column.

On the other hand, I’m gonna say I nailed it on FABIEN MOREAU/CB/UCLA, when I projected him as a top prospect at the Shrine, when he clearly showed he had recovered most, if not all, of his speed in recovering from a knee injury two years ago. And at 6’0, 206 lbs. what NFL team wouldn’t want him in their secondary. Especially, when you throw in that 4.35 he posted in his 40. The only things perhaps keeping him from being considered elite could be his apparent lack of ball skills, and a bit of stiffness to his frame. But I think he is clearly Top 100 in a very top heavy DB class.

You had to be impressed as MYLES GARRETT/Texas A&M posted great workout numbers that cemented his status as likely the first selection in April’s Draft. It’s hard to not be impressed by a 4.64/40 time at 272 lbs. But I want to go on record here in noting that I thought GARRETT looked far from smooth with his running. He looked somewhat awkward to me, listing to one side as he grunted his way to some excellent numbers. It may speak volumes for his work ethic and inherent athleticism, but I sure wouldn’t use the word “smooth” in describing his sprinting or backpedal. Go back and compare the film on VON MILLER running his drills. Now that is smooth!

I’m not exactly what I want National Scouting to do about it, but it bothers me when they list a bunch of edge-rushers, most of whom will have to stand up most of the time as a pro at OLB. The talent and skill set disparity between a guy at 230 lbs., and a real DE at 290 makes their numbers look very disparate on a stat sheet listing the top 40-times within the DL group.On the Combine player list it showed 59 DL and only 29 LB prospects. I counted 12 players that should have been reassigned based on their likely potential pro positions. That would have made it 47 in the DL group, and 41 in the LB group. Just saying!

Seems like a lot of people like JORDAN WILIS/DE/KANSAS STATE better the more they see of him in action. He was a rising star at the Senior Bowl and put up some numbers in Indy that I really did not expect from him. He’s more athletic than I ever thought watching him in action at K-State the past two seasons. His 4.53/40 time was good enough to call him a LB at 255 lbs. His 39 ” vert and 125″ board jump indicate more explosion than I would have expected. His hustle and effort are elite, but apparently so is his athleticism. I’m still not seeing him as a First Rounder, but must admit he’s knocking on the door. He may end up being a surprise as a pro, ala RYAN KERRIGAN of the Redskins, who I thought was too slow and stiff to stand up, but has proven my judgement wrong.

Gotta run for now. I’ll go through more notes and post more Combine impressions in a day or two.

Cheers

PIGSKIN

Ranking DEFENSIVE Position Groups 2017 DRAFT Part 2

Now it’s time to finish up my group rankings as we prepare for the NFL COMBINE this coming week.

ILB Group There is always a bit of disagreement within the scouting community on ILB vs OLB, but not too many would dispute that the best pure LB prospect may be REUBEN FOSTER?alabama. FOSTER reminds me a lot of former ‘Bama ILB MOSLEY, now wit the RAVENS. FOSTER shows the ability to defend effectively against the run and pass, which means he’s more likely to remain on the field for all three downs. FOSTER should be in the first half of Round 1. RAEKWON McMILLAN/Ohio State, who also shows versatility born of his athleticism is the other probable 1st Rounder in this group, tho he will be later in the Round.
I project another 3 ILB to be taken in the Top 100 selections in April. The average number of ILB taken per Draft is 10, with 12 being taken in 2106. I think somewhere in that 10-12 is a realistic range this year.
A perplexing prospect has emerged this year within this position group by the name of ALEX ANZALONE/Florida. ALEX is a nice sized, very athletic defender, who covers the field with speed and a nose for the ball. He shows some pass rush ability as a blitzer and is adequate in mid-field coverage duty. His best spot might be Inside in a 3-4 scheme, at 6’3/240, with a 76 1/4″ wingspan. He was invited to the Senior Bowl and was a standout all week. But he has missed more games in his college career than he has actually started. In the contact sport of football it is very hard to ignore his preponderance of injuries. Who rolls the ice on him, and how high in the Draft may end up becoming an ongoing saga come April.
Group Grade: B

CB Group This should be an exceptional year for teams needing some CB help on their roster. And the variety to choose from is part of the reason. There are big press-cover guys and quick twitch slot cover guys. There are zone defenders who will run step for step with speed receivers. Most of these Corners are willing participants in run support. The cherry on the cupcake is that as a bonus there are numerous CB who are excellent Return Specialists as well.
I expect a half-dozen guys to be taken in Round 1: MARSHON LATTIMORE/Ohio St, SIDNEY JONES/Washington, QUINCY WILSON/Florida, TRA’DAVIOUS WHITE/LSU, MARLON HUMPHREY/Alabama & ADOREE’ JACKSON/USC. HUMPHREY might be taken as a S. I also see as many as 15 CB in the Top 100.
The average number of CB taken in a Draft is 33, with 35 taken last year. I look for the same number this year.
As we head to the Combine I strongly recommend that you keep your eyes and ears open whenever you hear the name of FABIAN MOREAU/UCLA mentioned. He’s a full sized guy @ 6’/204. He bounced back very nicely last season from a nasty knee injury the year prior. He looked excellent in his play in the Shrine venue, and had many wondering why he was not in Mobile as well.Based on pure talent and size he’s very close to being a first rounder. His medical evaluation will be critical, and if that knee checks out OK his speed and quickness numbers will be scrutinized closely. Many think that a healthy MOREAU could run a sub-4.4/40. If he does, put his name down in late Round 1 for a team like the PACKERS.
Group GRADE: A-

S Group This could be the deepest and most talented S group in some time. In this era of pass-happy offensive attacks the S slots have re-emerged in importance for teams looking to stop big plays, down the deep middle of the field. It is also fashionable again to have a S or two who can be effective and impactful for blitzing situations.
I have 4 Safeties slotted for Round 1, which is a high number compared to most years. Right now my four are JAMAL ADMAS/LSU, MALIK HOOKER/Ohio State, OBI MELIFONWU/UConn & JABRILL PEPPERS/Michigan. ADAMS & HOOKER could be Top 12-15 if they post the expected numbers at the Combine. Overall I project about 10 S going in the Top 100.
In a normal year the League drafts 18 S, with 17 going last year. Play the over if your in Vegas in April, as I could see about 20 being drafted this year.
A sure-thing to fall in the Top 100 should be one of the best CB in college football the past 2 seasons in DESMOND KING/Iowa. KING is a real ball hawk as well as a great tackler. Unless he proves otherwise in Indy, the expectation is that he will be a bit slow, and a tad tight in the hips to be considered an elite CB for the pro game. But he could become the next BOB SANDERS/Iowa, who folks in Indy remember fondly for his All-Pro play as a crunching S. IF you like the play of MICAH HYDE for the PACKERS, expect KING to be just a step above in overall ability.
Group GRADE: B+

THat’s a wrap heading into the Combine. There is no doubt that we will see the prospect meter shift a bit based on some players who exceed expectations in Indy, and some who disappoint a bit. It’s always fun if you are tracking the detail of prospect evaluations.

This group of prospects is a bit light on proven skill position stars, but is long on potential and very deep in talent in general. I’d be glad to swap my first rounder for extra picks in Rounds 2-3-4. There may be little to separate prospect 50 from 100, which will make it critical for teams to identify the players who really fit the schemes of their current coaching staffs. It could also precipitate a rash of trades late in Round 1. And remember this is the first year that teams are allowed to trade Compensatory Picks, which were just announced. One more bit of spice to stir into your Draft gumbo.

Cheers

PIGSKIN

RANKING DEFENSIVE Position Groups 2017 DRAFT

Our defensive discussion will start with the big guys up front. For this year’s projection I am going to work with the time honored position groups of DE, DT, ILB, OLB, CB & S. But bear in mind this kind of breakdown is starting to feel more and more outdated with the absolute lust for edge-rushers about to force us to create a whole new position category for them. For now I will place those guys at either DE or OLB depending upon size and style of play, but keep in mind that calling that approach imperfect is putting it mildly, to say the least.

DT Group This will be comprised of guys playing on the Nose in a 3-4 scheme, or at DT in a 4-3 scheme. This is a solid year for the big guys who anchor the defensive front, even though a few of them actually excel in pressuring the pocket. I am only projecting 2 DT for Round 1 at this time: CALEB BRANTLEY/Florida & CARLOS WATKINS/Clemson.
The irony of these two being the only first rounders is that they are contrary in their style of play. BRANTLEY is cat quick, with strong hands that allow him to push past OL and record TFL and/or inside pressure on the pocket. WATKINS is a bit more traditional. He is above average in quickness, but is more of a power rusher. But he is NOT a Nose Tackle.
I see another half dozen DT being worthy of Top 100 selection. In an average year 18 DT are drafted overall, with 20 selected last year. I’m thinking I’d take the under for 2017 if I were a betting man.
Grade C+, some nice talent, but too many of them will play only on early downs, not full-time, thus limiting their value.

DE Group Remember now that this category must include 4-3 DE, as well as 5-technique guys for base 3-4 schemes. For players who I feel will play the majority of their time standing up, with their hand off the ground (which includes 3-4 OLB types) you will find them coming up later as OLB. Have I got you confused yet?
I see a solid 4-5 DE in this year’s prospect group. THe best of all is JONATHAN ALLEN/Alabama as the almost perfect 5-technique, but also capable of sliding inside for pass-rushing situations, and also being able of staying on the field in 2-man DL fronts. That versatility and his athleticism should make him a Top 10 draftee.
ALso likely to be taken in Round 1 are SOLOMON THOMAS/Stanford, CHARLES HARRIS/Missouri, DEREK BARNETT/Tennessee & TACO CHARLTON.Michigan State pretty much in that order. That’s a total of 5 for Round 1, and I would project another 6-7 in the Top 100. The average DE taken per Draft is 21, with 19 last year. Let’s round it off and say 20 this year.
A guy who really intrigues me is DEATRICH WISE/Arkansas. He played in the Shrine Game and had an excellent week’s work there. Physically he is a monster at 6’5/275, with 10 3/8″ hands and 35″ arms, with an 85″ wingspan. He’s a lot of legs, and had trouble staying on the field during his college career. But when he is healthy, as he was all week in St Pete, he can dominate a game for a series or two. At his best he looks a lot like JADEVEON CLOWNEY. How early will someone take a flyer on him? If he tests well at the Combine (which he should) and does well during the interview process, he could be an early Day 3 draftee.
Grade: B, a good just not great group.

OLB Group I’ll jump to this group next since I am pulling out multiple collegiate DE to stand up and play the position, especially in 3-4 base schemes.
Included in that category is the potential top pick on the Draft, MYLES GARRETT/Texas A&M, who I think is a just a bit bigger version of VON MILLER/Broncos, himself a former Aggie. GARRETT battled injuries this season but still impressed overall. He’s long and has a knack for spinning his way into the pocket. Like MILLER, he’s likeLy to learn on the fly and be headed to Pro Bowls in a couple of years.
I would also project the following guys to be first round OLB types: TAK McKINLEY/UCLA, ZACH CUNINGHAM/Vanderbilt, TIM WILLIAMS/Alabama, T.J. WATT/Wisconsin. That would mean 5 guys for Round One. I would also project another 5 OLB in the Top 100. The average Draft class sees 22 per year, with 24 drafted in 2016 as OLB. Unless the scouting community transitions quite a few more DE to stand up, then I might bet the under and place the 2017 Draft as having 20 taken overall.
One of the biggest ground gainers through the all-star process was HAASON REDDICK, who was outstanding in everything he did. The biggest surprise for many was his ability to match-up in coverage with RB & TE all week in Mobile. Two seasons ago he played almost exclusively as a pass rushing DE with his hand in the dirt. The expectation is he will rock the Combine with his athleticism, which tells me he could jump up into Round 2 of the Draft.
Grade C+, a few too many conversions projects here and that makes me a bit nervous.

Cheers for now.
PIGSKIN