Day 2 (Round 2 and 3) Live Grades

33. Cleveland Browns: Austin Corbett, G, Nevada

Grade: B-

I love adding to the offensive line and Corbett was a fast riser in the process leading up to the draft. However, Will Hernandez was still on the board, so I have to question the move a bit. I’m expecting a running back next for the Browns.

 

34. New York Giants: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

Grade: A

Fantastic. A road grader to open big-time holes for Saquon Barkley. Gettleman has a solid draft plan to this point and I’m quite impressed. I always had Hernandez in the first round, so this is excellent value. He’s no slouch in pass protection either.

 

35: Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

Grade: B

There’s that running back, and this is a fine value for the player at this spot. The Browns apparently loved Rashaad Penny, so they’re clearly trying to build a power running game. Chubb was better earlier in his college career, but a knee injury ultimately cost him a lot of his burst. We’ll see if he can regain that in his pro career. Right position, but I would have expected Guice here, who I think is a better value.

 

36: Indianapolis Colts: Darius Leonard, LB, SC State

Grade: B-

I’ve heard some seriously good things about this player, and he could develop brilliantly, but it’s strange that the Colts passed on some of the players that are inexplicably sliding. Linebacker was undoubtedly a need.

 

37. Indianapolis Colts: Braden Smith, G, Auburn

Grade: A-

Wow, the Colts are very serious about building a pocket for Luck to step into. Smith fits the range here, though he has limitations in his game that could cause him to struggle with the best pass rushers. I like the idea of doubling up on interior lineman in this very strong class.

 

38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ronald Jones II, RB, USC

Grade: B-

I’m cool with this pick, though I like Guice a little better as a player. This was certainly a position of need, but I think the Bucs really overlooked an opportunity to improve their awful secondary by taking a player like Justin Reid or Josh Jackson here.

 

39. Chicago Bears: James Daniels, C, Iowa

Grade: A

I’ve been critical of Ryan Pace’s drafts and free agency management in the past, but I love the offseason he’s putting together and Daniels here is a steal. Certainly the best interior lineman available and was a borderline first rounder. Heck of a draft so far and an upgrade at C that allows Cody Whitehair to kick out to guard, where he looks much better as a player.

 

40. Denver Broncos: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Grade: A

I love the Broncos being proactive with refueling their secondary, and giving Case Keenum another big bodied, highly talented target. Sutton was a first round talent, so this is a steal. The Broncos have needs elsewhere, but this was definitely also a need, so I have no problem at all with it. Great pick.

 

41. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, DE/OLB, BC

Grade: A

Regardless of Vince Young’s absolute botching of the pick (Shazier did better), Landry is an excellent choice, as I had him going to the Titans in the first round. Well worth the trade up. This guy is one year removed from a 16.5 sack season, and his drop in production for 2017 could be due to lingering injuries. He’s an outstanding talent here in the second.

 

42: Miami Dolphins: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

Grade: B-

Gesicki was not the best tight end available, that honor belongs to Dallas Goedert, who inexplicably still hasn’t gone. Gesicki is, however, an athlete on the level of Evan Engram from last year’s draft. We’ll see if he has the same type of production as a rookie, but I like this pick pretty well regardless. Gesicki’s also not much of a blocker, so the Dolphins can’t keep him on the field for every down.

 

43. Detroit Lions: Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn

Grade: C+

Kerryon Johnson is a fine player, and at a huge need position, but the Lions had a chance to grab Derrius Guice here, which would have been a massive steal. Strange choice.

 

44. San Francisco 49ers: Dante Pettis, WR, Washington

Grade: C

Yikes. I like Pettis, but Anthony Miller and Christian Kirk are still on the board and both are better values here. This is even worse because they traded up. Do not like this pick much.

 

45. Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Grade: A+

This is the first major steal of the draft. Jackson is a one year starter at Iowa, but in that one year he had eight interceptions and caused an opposing QB rating lower than if all QBs had thrown at the dirt instead of him on every play. Another player that had one year starting from last year’s draft? Marshon Lattimore. Jackson is a stud, and the Packers were very smart to double up on corner. By the way, I had the Packers taking Jackson in the first round, so obviously I love the value.

 

46. Kansas City Chiefs: Breeland Speaks, OLB, Ole Miss

Grade: C

This dude is a tweener and those guys tend to struggle at the next level. He has some serious talent, but there is just as serious a question mark for where he fits in this, or any, NFL defense.

 

47. Arizona Cardinals: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Grade: A+

This is the second major steal of the draft. I love what Kirk brings as a runner after the catch and he brings a dynamic element to this Cardinals offense that it’s been lacking. He’s also a capable player in kick and punt returns. He was a first round talent, so I love the value.

 

48. Los Angeles Chargers: Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC

Grade: B-

I understand this pick more than I like it. Linebacker was a huge need, but this is a bit of  a reach. Nwosu struggles in pass coverage, which limits his ceiling as a pro. The Chargers were kind of bullied into this pick by the board, but should have waited and taken a better prospect here, maybe an O-lineman

 

49. Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

Grade: A+

This is probably the biggest steal of the draft so far. The Eagles jumped ahead of the Cowboys to steal a tight end that has fallen way too far. Witten just retired, so Goedert would have made sense for them. The Eagles had bigger needs, but Goedert was too good to pass up.

 

50. Dallas Cowboys: Connor Williams, G/T, Texas

Grade: A

Williams has all the potential to develop into a stalwart. His 2017 tape is rough, but his 2016 was that of a future all-pro at the position. Excellent value here, and tackle was a big area of need for the Cowboys. Love it.

 

51. Chicago Bears: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

Grade: A

Ryan Pace’s coming out party continues with another outstanding addition to a fully revamped receiving core. The commitment to surrounding Trubisky with talent is clear and this draft has already made the Bears significantly better. That’s the job, and Pace is doing it like a master.

 

52. Indianapolis Colts: Kemoko Turay, DE/OLB, Rutgers

Grade: B

This is a slight reach at a position of need, so I understand it. I like Turay as a prospect, but think he fits better in a 3-4, which the Colts are moving away from under new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Turay has the potential to be a sack specialist, which would be welcome in Indy, so I’m totally fine with this pick overall.

 

53. Tampa Bay Bucanneers: MJ Stewart, CB, North Carolina

Grade: B

He’s a first round talent with off-the-field issues. Hardly the sure thing the Bucs needed in the secondary. He could work out, but he could also flame out, so I don’t love it despite the solid player at the position of need.

 

54. Cincinnati Bengals: Jessie Bates III, S, Wake Forest

Grade: A

This is a true center fielding safety, and a great replacement for Reggie Nelson (though 1 season late). I like Bates a lot and expect him to start immediately. Obviously, that’s great value in the second round.

 

55. Carolina Panthers: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

Grade: A

Great value for this speed demon of a corner. His game is a bit unrefined, but his potential is through the roof, and he’s more polished than Jalen Collins was a few years ago. This was a position of need after the departure of Daryl Worley.

 

56. New England Patriots: Duke Dawson, CB, Florida

Grade: C-

There are many better corners still available in this draft, and Dawson is considered a borderline third round pick. I’m sure he’ll work for the Patriots because they’re the Patriots, but this is early for a physical intimidator in the slot without significant playmaking ability.

 

57. Oakland Raiders: PJ Hall, DT, Sam Houston State

Grade: B+

I’m big into this player, who’s a small school gem with pass rush ability from the interior of the defensive line. That’s a rare breed, so the pick makes sense, but this might be like 10 picks too early, so it’s not a slam dunk for me. This was a big time area of need though.

 

58. Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Oliver, CB, West Virginia

Grade: A

Wow, great pick. Oliver was definitely a first round talent, though he has scheme limitations due to his struggles in zone coverage. For the Falcons, he’s excellent depth and might be a starter this year. Not at all shabby in round 2.

 

59. Washington Redskins: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Grade: A

This is a big-time steal for a team that desperately needed more talent at the position. Wonderful pick, and far too long of a tumble for Guice. Guice does everything well, and he’s a seriously feisty runner.

 

60. Pittsburgh Steelers: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

Grade: B-

This makes too much sense as a replacement for Martavis Bryant, but the Steelers still have some big-time holes on their roster, and I view Washington as a third round prospect. This is a great situation for him to come to, so he might maximize his value, much like Juju Smith-Schuster did last year.

 

61. Jacksonville Jaguars: DJ Chark, WR, LSU

Grade: A

To me, Chark is a first round talent, and he showed it by destroying the competition at the Senior Bowl. He’s a burner, but he’s more than that with great hands and natural route running. This is an outstanding selection for the Jags and fills one of their few remaining needs as a redzone threat with his size.

 

62. Minnesota Vikings: Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh

Grade: A-

This feels like a perfect fit for the range, and I love the idea of the Vikings bolstering their oline. O’Neill is also extremely athletic, so his upside is tremendous. This isn’t a steal, so it gets marked down a half grade. Make no mistake though, this pick is excellent.

 

63. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Grade: A+

The MJ Stewart pick makes more sense now, and Davis is a big-time steal here. He’s a borderline first round talent, and we’re nearing the end of the second round. Heck of a player, at a position which was their biggest need going into the draft.

 

64. Indianapolis Colts: Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State

Grade: C-

Wow, this isn’t Sam Hubbard? That’s pretty shocking. Lewis is the slightly inferior prospect and there are much better ends available. Lewis flashes ability, but has little upside.

 

Gone to see Avengers: Infinity War. I will return.

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Draft Night Eve Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Josh Allen

In no way do I agree with this pick. If I were GM of the Browns, Allen would not be on my draft board at all. I am of the camp that believe accuracy is innate, and Allen is not accurate. His career completion percentage in college, against Mountain West competition primarily, hovers around 56%.

I understand how scouts and executives can fall in love with Allen’s rocket arm, demeanor, and ideal quarterback size. I don’t understand how they could overlook such poor tape as Allen put up in 2017. The fact, though, is that Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plains Dealer indicated Allen would be the pick. I trust that source, and Allen has been in the running since the Senior Bowl anyway.

 

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

Saquon Barkley

To me, this is GM Dave Gettleman’s mark on this team. Jonathan Stewart is not the answer and he knows that. He knew he was in optimal position to come away with as good a running back as one could hope to find at the college level. Barkley doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses as a prospect, and his combine numbers are absolutely insane. The Giants need help on the offensive line, but Barkley should be able to help mask those weaknesses.

 

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

Sam Darnold

The Jets love Baker Mayfield, but I’m sure they never imagined Darnold would be available. He has less question marks to his game than Mayfield and represents the lowest risk in the draft. The Jets take the layup here, and are ecstatic about it.

 

4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

Bradley Chubb

Chubb is a premium player at a premium position, easily the best available at this spot. Everyone seems to forget that Emmanuel Ogbah is a pretty solid option opposite Myles Garrett, but Chubb’s value here makes too much sense, as does bolstering a strength position which could help improve the defense as a whole.

 

5. TRADE Arizona Cardinals: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (Broncos receive Cardinals 2018 1st, 2nd (40), 3rd (71), 2019 2nd, 5th)

Rose Bowl Game - Oklahoma v Georgia

PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 01: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws a pass during the 2018 College Football Playoff Semifinal Game against the Georgia Bulldogs at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Cardinals covet Mayfield more than any QB in this draft, make no mistake, and the trade makes sense for a team that can afford to let Mayfield learn at his own pace and take over the franchise whenever he’s ready. As for the Broncos, they also like Mayfield a lot, but the value of the trade is too good to pass up, and the middle of the first round is an excellent value spot in this draft.

 

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

Quenton Nelson

While Nelson might be the most impressive and safest prospect in this class, he plays guard so I don’t see a way he makes it into the top 5 where he belongs. A dominator on the interior of the line, with the nasty demeanor, incredible play strength and technical proficiency of an NFL veteran, Nelson should line up next to Ryan Kelly and give Andrew Luck a clean pocket to step into for the first time in his career.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (29) during the NCAA college football game against the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 in Atlanta. (Ric Tapia via AP)

The Buccaneers have a plethora of needs, a big reason they’re picking in the top 10, but secondary may just be their most dire, with 35-year-old Brent Grimes once again grading out as their best corner. 2016 1st rounder Vernon Hargreaves took a step back last season and there’s no guarantee he’ll improve going forward, and the Bucs safety position has been a black hole for years. Fitzpatrick will fit somewhere and brings the kind of talent they haven’t seen since Aqib Talib.

 

8. Chicago Bears: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Denzel Ward

This is a fit between player and team that I’ve liked since very early in the process. Ward is the best corner in the draft, with the kind of mirroring skills that define the top corners in the NFL. He’s a perfect long-term running mate for Kyle Fuller and should help mask some of the deficiencies on a talented-yet-incomplete Bears defense.

 

9. San Francisco 49ers: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Roquan Smith

Word is, the 49ers view Roquan Smith as a player that can replace Reuben Foster if the allegations against him prove true. Even if they’re proven false, he would be a perfect complement to Foster as an adept pass coverage specialist where Foster is an instinctive penetrator in the run game. This pick just makes sense.

 

10. Oakland Raiders: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Tremaine Edmunds

Edmunds is the type of dynamic athlete that the Raiders seem to favor in their defensive rebuild, and could grow into a player that’s far and away the best player at the second level of their defense in the last decade. At worst, he’ll be pretty good, and that’s better than what they had last year.

 

11. Miami Dolphins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington

Nov 25, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive lineman Vita Vea (50) pressures Washington State Cougars quarterback Luke Falk (4) during the second quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Ndamokung Suh is gone, and the Dolphins have to be ecstatic to find such an imposing presence to replace him on a rookie salary. Vea has all the potential to become a top 5 defensive tackle in this league with his unique blend of size, speed and pass rush ability.

 

12. Buffalo Bills: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

NCAA Football: California at UCLA

Nov 24, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws a pass under pressure from California Golden Bears guard Tony Mekari (97) in the second quarter during an NCAA football game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rosen is widely considered the most polished passer and pro ready QB in this draft. His medical causes him a tumble, as do questions about his leadership and love for the game, but I can’t think of a better landing spot

 

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

Da'Ron Payne

A perfect running mate for last year’s pick Jonathan Allen, Payne brings an imposing force to the middle of the Redskins defensive line, as a run-stopper with attitude. He has the potential to develop as a pass rusher after an impressive showing in the college football playoffs.

 

14. Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Josh Jackson

Jackson brings something the Packers secondary distinctly lacks, playmaking ability. With eight interceptions in his one season as a starter in college, and boasting ideal size for a press man corner, Jackson can be the retcon for the Packers biggest mistake of the last 5 years: letting Casey Hayward walk in free agency.

 

15. Denver Broncos: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

Mike McGlinchey

With years of impressive tape, NFL bloodlines, a polished game and ideal size, McGlinchey is the top tackle in a weak class for the position. The Broncos need a replacement for the departed Russel Okung, and (more accurately) Ryan Clady. Case Keenum should be given every opportunity to succeed on a relatively cheap contract for the next couple of years and McGlinchey is a good step in that direction.

 

16. Baltimore Ravens: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan

Sep 24, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) rushes on Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (73) in the second half at Michigan Stadium. Michigan 49-10. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Ravens have Brandon Williams, and need help on the offensive line, but Pro Football Focus grades Hurst as the third best player in the draft, and while some teams have downgraded him for various reasons, his game compares favorably to Aaron Donald. The Ravens will not pass up on such staggering value at this stage.

 

17. TRADE Dallas Cowboys: Derwin James, S, Florida State (Chargers receive 2018 1st, 3rd (81))

Derwin James

In the wake of injury and a slightly less impressive 2017 season, coupled with the dwindling value on safeties at the NFL level that I’ve outlined in previous mocks, I think James is the most logical player to tumble. He is, however, a top ten talent in this draft at a position of dire need for the Cowboys after allowing Barry Church to walk in free agency last offseason and the talk of Byron Jones converting back to corner. The Chargers move down makes sense as most evaluators agree that the strength of value in this draft is on day 2.

 

18. Seattle Seahawks: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

Will Hernandez

A big, athletic mauler, Hernandez is exactly the type of player that can help the Seahawks convert back to the power running scheme that worked so well for them between 2012 and 14.

 

19. TRADE New Orleans Saints: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA (Chargers receive S Vonn Bell, 2019 2nd)

Marcus Davenport

To bolster one of the few weak spots on the roster, the Saints unload a promising young player at a position where they paid Kurt Coleman starter money to play alongside Marcus Williams. Vonn Bell is a fantastic addition for the Chargers and should thrive in a role that should include more man-to-man coverage opportunities in an aggressive defensive scheme. Davenport is the perfect complement to Cam Jordan as an ultra-athletic, big bodied edge player and fits the type of player the Saints covet at the position. There is a big dropoff in talent at the position after the first round, so the Saints felt the need to be aggressive here and get their man.

 

20. Detroit Lions: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Leighton Vander Esch

2017 first rounder Jarrad Davis needs a running mate, and Davenport is off the board, so Vander Esch perfectly fits a need with the best player available. In two years, the Lions turn a position of extreme weakness to one of strength.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

Frank Ragnow

Ragnow has been compared to Max Unger, the Bengals need that type of player desperately as their talented offensive line from the early 2010’s has been completely gutted through free agency.

 

22. Buffalo Bills: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland

DJ Moore

Moore is a physical intimidator that can add an edge to a receiving corps that seriously lacks intensity (not to mention talent). Pairing Rosen with Moore should bring noticeable added points per game to this Bills offense.

 

23. New England Patriots: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

Mike Hughes

Hughes is a complete corner, and an excellent replacement for the departed Malcom Butler. The Patriots have plenty of needs, but Hughes maintains one of their biggest strengths, boasting one of the most impressive secondaries in the NFL.

 

24. Carolina Panthers: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

Harold Landry

Some evaluators suggest ignoring Landry’s injury-riddled 2017 campaign, and focus on a seriously impressive 12 sack season in 2016. I don’t believe in ignoring entire years, but I do believe in anomalies, and I think the upside for Landry causes the Panthers to jump on a potential outstanding pass rusher to pair with Mario Addison.

 

25. Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State

Sam Hubbard

With NFL veteran hand usage, and ideal edge setting size, Hubbard makes a ton of sense opposite Brian Orakpo for a team that believes it’s on the cusp of a deep playoff run.

 

26. TRADE Pittsburgh Steelers: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (Falcons receive Steelers 2018 1st, 3rd (92))

Lamar Jackson

Jackson is a player that needs time with NFL coaches to tap his enormous potential, and the Steelers give him an ideal opportunity. The Falcons aren’t in ideal position for their needs, so a move down the board makes sense, as does the Steelers jumping the Chargers who might have pounced on the tumbling Jackson.

 

27. Los Angeles Chargers: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

AllState Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Alabama

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 01: Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide breaks up a pass intended for Hunter Renfrow #13 of the Clemson Tigers in the first quarter of the AllState Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

A player of Evans caliber is an excellent find at a position of dire need (where Hayes Pullard is their starter), and it’s even better with all the draft capitol and players the Chargers have picked up as they slid down the board. Evans is just scratching the surface as a player, and has the downhill motor that makes sense in the speedy, aggressive Chargers defense.

 

28. TRADE Denver Broncos: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State (Falcons receive 2018 2nd (40), 3rd (99), 2019 6th)

Mason Rudolph

The Broncos see extreme value in the fifth year option for a player that has ideal size and excellent college production to go with solid intangibles. Rudolph has more upside than Case Keenum, so it makes sense to snag him here, but I don’t love how much they had to give up to do it since they have numerous positional needs. The Falcons don’t love the players they’ve found available in the late first round and stockpile for better value. They can afford to, with a highly talented roster across the board that needs depth.

 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

courtland sutton

An ideal replacement to the departed Allen Robinson, and a much-needed redzone threat for a team that will likely become too predictable trying to cram it up the middle with Leonard Fournette.

 

30. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State

Billy Price

After a pectoral injury at the combine, Price tumbles a bit, and the Vikings aren’t complaining as they go back to the Ohio State well they plumbed so effectively last year with excellent rookie Pat Elflein. Price has familiarity with the aforementioned Elflein, which should only help solidify an offensive line that was one of the few weaknesses on a hugely talented roster.

 

31. New England Patriots: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Calvin Ridley

After a weak-ish combine, Ridley has tumbled quite a bit, but he is widely considered the best route runner in this draft and represents outstanding value as a perfect fit for Josh McDaniels’ system.

 

32. Philadelphia Eagles: Connor Williams, T/G, Texas

Connor Williams 1

Much like Landry, Williams drops because of a disappointing 2017 season, unlike Landry, Williams is being selected as the final pick in the first round and won’t be asked to start right away. This is the perfect spot for the Eagles to take a risk that could pay off brilliantly as Williams has all the potential to be the perfect bookend for Lane Johnson.

 

Scouting Report: Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold, USC

6’4 225 lbs

Tape Viewed: 2016 v. Cal, 2017 v. Washington State, 2017 v. Ohio State

 

OVERVIEW

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California

Make no mistake, Sam Darnold is a very good quarterback prospect coming out of USC, despite a fall-off in production and some very poor tape at times in 2017.

What sets Darnold apart from most is his willingness and ability to consistently try to place balls in the tightest of windows. He throws his receivers open, and threads the needle with the best of them. While this is an ideal mindset for a franchise quarterback, it has led to a significant uptick in turnovers in 2017. To take his game to an elite level, he must learn situational aggressiveness and read the field better from the pocket.

While Darnold is outstanding in much of the macro elements of playing quarterback, the devil is often in the details. He needs serious help on his footwork and windup. The long windup in particular directly led to a strip sack against Cal in 2016. There have been incremental improvements in both areas this past season, but he also stands to improve in manipulating the defense with his eyes, more subtle pocket movement, and identifying blitzes and hot routes.

Essentially, Darnold is a college quarterback. He’s raw, and will need time to develop before potentially becoming an above average NFL starter. It’s hard to envision Darnold becoming a top 5 quarterback at the next level, but he could turn in a decade’s worth of competent signal calling and, in the right situation, win a ring or two.

 

PASSING

Accuracy: 12 out of 15

When he misses, Darnold tends to miss high, regardless of where he is throwing on the field. That is mainly due to his below average footwork, clean that up, and he has the arm talent to make every throw on the field.

 

Power: 4 out of 5

While Darnold’s power is competent to make NFL throws and hit on deep balls, his velocity is not blistering, and he might struggle in the NFL trying to get the ball downfield beyond 45 yards.

 

On the run: 5 out of 5

Darnold is a natural passer on the run, this points to his outstanding arm talent. He can drive it in the tightest windows when on the run, as his footwork doesn’t get in the way. He’s also clearly more comfortable outside the pocket.

 

Consistency: 8 out of 10

Usually, what you see is what you get with Darnold, and that’s a healthy dose of good and bad. He’s got all of the passing prowess in the world, but struggles to manipulate defenses and can sometimes press and make bad decisions. Against better defenses, he tends to play a little worse, which is nothing out of the ordinary.

 

Field General: 16 out of 20

While Darnold shows flashes of ability in this area, it’s definitely not at an elite level. He’s ahead of spread offenses, or one read and runs, but it’s clear that he sometimes doesn’t see the field and locks in on his first read, as evidenced by the pick six he threw in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl against Ohio State.

 

Athleticism: 3 out of 5

Darnold will never be considered a plus athlete and likely won’t run many (if any) designed runs at the next level, but when asked of him, he runs with authority and determination and has decent enough balance.

 

Pocket awareness: 9 out of 10

Clearly, he has that innate sense of pressure, and makes adjustments, my main gripe is in the nuance, sometimes he runs himself out of trouble to get himself in more trouble. He’ll need to learn how to use micro-movements like side steps and shoulder turns to throw off defenders in the pocket or he’ll make some bad plays worse at the next level.

 

Poise: 8 out of 10

As referenced before, Darnold seems to be very comfortable when a play breaks down, and actually seems to thrive when throwing off-platform. The main concern is his ability to diagnose the blitz presnap, identify the hot read or adjust protection accordingly.

 

Clutch: 4 out of 5

Anyone who watched the Rose Bowl in 2016 against Penn State knows what Darnold is all about. The guy is a gamer and often takes his game to the next level under the brightest lights and in the biggest moments. There are some high profile letdowns on tape in crunch-time however. The entirety of the Ohio State and Notre Dame games, as well as the game-losing strip sack against Washington State spring to mind.

 

Size: 5 out of 5

Darnold looks rock solid as a player, with the ideal frame for a quarterback.

 

Reliability: 10 out of 10

No off-field issues to speak of, seems to genuinely love football, and hasn’t missed a game to injury yet in his career. He will be available on Sundays should his team need him.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 84 out of 100

 

Pro Comparison: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

Sam Darnold

The more I watched of Darnold’s tape, the more I saw the pure grit and determination that exemplifies Stafford’s game. While not considered consistently among the elite, Stafford’s arm talent is second to none, and Darnold has similar ability. Like Stafford, Darnold has all the intangibles one could hope for from a franchise quarterback, but both are also prone to bone-headed mistakes when trying to rally their teams.

Mock Draft 1.0

  1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

6′ 233 lbs

Saquon Barkley

It’s time for the Browns to add a dynamic athlete to the backfield, one that teams will be forced to gameplan against, regardless if it’s Tyrod Taylor, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield or some other quarterback taking snaps. Barkley has a similar all-around skillset to Ezekiel Elliott, who brought an entirely different dimension to the Cowboys two years ago. Barkley will not make it to the Browns next pick, so jumping on him here makes the most sense in a draft where there is no consensus top player.

Team Needs:

  • Running back
  • Safety
  • Cornerback
  • Linebacker
  • Quarterback
  1. New York Giants: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

6’5 329 lbs.

Quenton Nelson

Do I think the Giants will be this intelligent? Not necessarily, but new GM David Gettleman is known to build a running game first, as opposed to Jerry Reese who built a running game never. The word out of New York is that Eli will remain the quarterback this year which, while a mistake, eliminates the likelihood of a player like Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen here.

Nelson himself is an outstanding prospect, perhaps the best guard prospect I’ve ever seen. Watching his tape, it just looks easy for him, and I can’t point out a single flaw in his game. He’s a technician, has ideal size, and outstanding athleticism. He’s just as good in pass-blocking as run-blocking. Putting Nelson on this line will immediately improve a mediocre Giants offense and it is the right move. Will Gettleman make the right move? I’m betting on it, albeit accidentally.

Team Needs:

  • Offensive Tackle
  • Offensive Guard
  • Quarterback
  • Linebacker
  • Cornerback
  1. Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

6’4 269 lbs

Bradley Chubb

The way people are talking about Chubb, he reminds me of when Khalil Mack came out a few years ago. If that’s the kind of player he is, the Colts should jump on him immediately regardless of greater needs on the offensive line. It’s likely that Nelson would be the pick here if he were available, but Chubb is arguably the best defensive player in the draft and fits the MO of second year GM Chris Ballard.

Team Needs:

  • Offensive Tackle
  • Offensive Guard
  • Wide Receiver
  • Defensive End
  • Cornerback
  1. Cleveland Browns from Houston Texans: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

5’10 191 lbs.

Denzel Ward

Denzel Ward is the top corner available after he blazed a 4.32 at the combine and already had outstanding tape. He reminds me of Chris Harris and that type of impact could mean the world for a Browns defense loaded with talent and on the cusp of contention.

I view Minkah Fitzpatrick as more of a safety, and I’ve noticed a decline in the market of safeties in both free agency and the draft in recent years (Jamal Adams notwithstanding) so I would be extremely surprised if Fitzpatrick or James were the pick here, even with their outstanding potential.

Team Needs:

  • Running back
  • Safety
  • Cornerback
  • Linebacker
  • Quarterback
  1. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

6’5 233 lbs.

Josh Allen

This is a case where fit trumps who’s actually on the board at this point. Josh Allen is not the best QB in this class, and he may not be the fifth best, but John Elway has been trying to draft himself for years. To me, this is just another at-bat.

Allen has serious potential, an outstanding arm, and moxie to compete against higher competition which he displayed in the senior bowl. Case Keenum is a nice bridge quarterback, but the Broncos would be smart to start developing a future starter.

Team Needs:

  • Quarterback
  • Tight End
  • Runningback
  • Defensive Tackle
  • Cornerback
  1. New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

6’3 220 lbs.

Sam Darnold

Here’s another team with a massive need at the game’s most valuable position even after resigning Josh McCown. Darnold has the potential to be a solid starter at the next level, which would be a massive upgrade at the postion for a Jets team mired in mediocrity for years. More importantly, Darnold can be a symbol of hope for a success-starved fanbase and a catalyst for a team that should continue to play hard for its coach.

Team Needs:

  • Quarterback
  • Cornerback
  • Running back
  • Wide Receiver
  • Defensive End
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

6’6 265 lbs.

Marcus Davenport

The Bucanneers really need a running back, as I don’t buy Peyton Barber as a starter, but their defense was so disappointingly poor last year, that the opportunity of adding a dynamic athlete like Davenport to an already promising pass rush featuring Noah Spence and Robert Ayers can’t be passed up. Davenport is the best player at a position of need, and may be the best available player period at this juncture.

Team Needs:

  • Running back
  • Defensive End
  • Safety
  • Cornerback
  • Offensive Tackle
  1. Chicago Bears: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

6’0 189 lbs.

Calvin Ridley

The Bears also have serious deficiencies at each level of their defense, despite a bevy of promising young playmakers on that side of the ball. What they really need is to support the growth of their young quarterback by providing him with NFL-level talent to throw to. Even after signing Allen Robinson, they could still use more talent. Forget the combine, Calvin Ridley is a polished route runner with great hands and adequate NFL speed. He’s exactly the kind of quarterback friendly target Trubisky needs, and reminds me a lot of Michael Crabtree, who was integral to Derek Carr’s development.

Team Needs:

  • Defensive End
  • Cornerback
  • Linebacker
  • Wide Receiver
  • Tight End
  1. San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia

6’5 250 lbs.

Tremaine Edmunds

Wow, the word from this kid is wow. 19 years old. 6’5 250 lbs, with the ability to excel in both pass coverage and run defense. The sky really is the limit for this kid, though having said that, he may not look brilliant on the field in his first year and whoever drafts him is drafting him on talent and potential and will have to be patient. The 49ers have a serious problem on their hands in the middle of the defense if Reuben Foster can’t get out of his own way with his off-the-field problems. Edmunds can be a worthy insurance policy if it doesn’t work out with Foster, and form an awesome tandem with him if it does.

Team Needs:

  • Wide receiver
  • Linebacker
  • Cornerback
  • Defensive End
  • Offensive Tackle
  1. Oakland Raiders: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

6’8 312 lbs.

Mike McGlinchey

This pick is based on the idea that the Raiders never value their need at linebacker as highly as they should (although it is dire). I believe the weakness of that offensive line has always lied on the right side, where a move like this will allow them flexibility to move around their assets. Donald Penn may not be the option at left tackle he once was, but this could be a perfect transition whenever McGlinchey and Penn are ready to switch spots. As for McGlinchey himself, playing next to Kelechi Osemele should mask nearly all of his minor issues.

Team Needs:

  • Linebacker
  • Wide receiver
  • Defensive tackle
  • Cornerback
  • Right tackle
  1. Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

6’4 226 lbs.

NCAA Football: California at UCLA

Do I think Rosen lasts this long? Maybe. I definitely think two of the top four should survive the top ten, whoever they are. This isn’t a premium QB class by any stretch, although I do expect the usual trading frenzy to affect the top half of this first round. Because this is a non-trading mock draft, we’ll stick with the current order and in this scenario, I think the Dolphins jump at the chance to reset their quarterback position with a promising (and more pro-ready than Ryan Tannehill is now) talent in Josh Rosen.

Team Needs:

  • Quarterback
  • Right tackle
  • Linebacker
  • Tight End
  • Running back
  1. Cincinnati Bengals: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

6’0 230 lbs.

Roquan Smith

Smith could fall, due to the medical red flag that popped up during the combine. We don’t have extensive details on the issue, but a similar injury (paired with concerns about his ability to diagnose offenses) caused Reuben Foster to fall last year. I view Roquan Smith as perhaps the surest thing in the draft not named Quenton Nelson, and worthy of a top 5 pick if fully healthy. I’m splitting the difference here, and the Bengals would be ecstatic to add a playmaker of his caliber after getting by with journeymen like Emmanuel Lamur and Vincent Rey in recent years.

Team Needs:

  • Tight End
  • Left tackle
  • Right Tackle
  • Left Guard
  • Linebacker
  1. Washington Redskins: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

6’3 218 lbs.

courtland sutton

The Redskins swung and missed bringing Terrele Pryor in to help compensate for the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. They need to keep swinging, because Alex Smith has virtually no one to throw to right now. I’m honestly quite surprised about the lack of excitement surrounding Courtland Sutton. His height weight speed combination is ideal and he was highly productive in college. There are questions about his ability to separate, but I think an accurate thrower like Alex Smith is just what Sutton needs to maximize his potential early in his career.

Team Needs:

  • Wide receive
  • Offensive line
  • Linebacker
  • Safety
  • Cornerback
  1. Green Bay Packers: Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

5’10 189 lbs.

Mike Hughes.jpg

Even before the Packers dealt Damarious Randall to the Browns, this move made a ton of sense. This is an opportunity to infuse a stale as day-old-pizza secondary with some young playmaking talent for new GM Brian Gutekunst. Hughes was a big reason why UCF was able to complete an undefeated season last year. He’s an ascending player that should only get better with NFL coaching and already has all the athletic gifts one could want in a corner.

Team Needs:

  • Pass rusher
  • Center
  • Tight End
  • Cornerback
  • Safety
  1. Arizona Cardinals: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

6’1 215 lbs.

Rose Bowl Game - Oklahoma v Georgia

I think Mayfield has all the potential to be the best in this class. He reminds me a bit of Sam Bradford (who incidentally just signed a one-year deal here) coming out with his outstanding completion percentage and the fact that they’re both from Oklahoma. Mayfield has the added bonus of not being made of glass and having plus athleticism to boot. Forget his height, and forget the long list of quarterbacks that haven’t made it at 6 foot and under, Mayfield, like Brees, Wilson, Doug Flutie and Fran Tarkenton before him, is the exception to the rule.

Team Needs:

  • Quarterback
  • Offensive tackle
  • Wide Receiver
  • Linebacker
  • Safety
  1. Baltimore Ravens: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

5’10 200 lbs.

Christian Kirk

I love me a true polished route runner. You can see just how much a player like that can transcend an offense by looking no further than Adam Thielen in Minnesota. Kirk has that kind of ability, though I think he compares a bit more to Jarvis Landry. He’s what Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense has been missing for years.

Team Needs:

  • Wide Receiver
  • Right tackle
  • Offensive guard
  • Linebacker
  • Cornerback
  1. Los Angeles Chargers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama

6’1 215 lbs.

Minkah Fitzpatrick

If you’re curious why Minkah Fitzpatrick would fall this far, you’re right to be because he probably won’t. I’ve explained earlier that I believe the safety position is being devalued, and Fitzpatrick has very little game experience as a corner. Some team will fall in love with his potential and combine numbers, and he’ll probably end up with a team in some kind of trading scenario. With no trades and as the board falls, I couldn’t find a place where fit met need until here with the Chargers. Fitzpatrick, if he does make it this far, could transcend a defense that’s already threatening to be one of the most exciting units in the NFL headlined by the pass-rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

Team Needs:

  • Right tackle
  • Center
  • Linebacker
  • Safety
  • Defensive tackle
  1. Seattle Seahawks: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

6’1 192 lbs.

Josh Jackson

After jettisoning Richard Sherman (finally), and with the secondary rebuild already begun last season, pairing the ultra-athletic Shaq Griffin with a true ball-hawk like Jackson would be a coup. The Seahawks will need to find some answers at safety as the Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor connection seems destined to be broken, but with this pick, they will complete an impressive two year reset at one of the game’s most important positions.

Team Needs:

  • Tight end
  • Right tackle
  • Guard
  • Defensive end
  • Cornerback
  1. Dallas Cowboys: Derwin James, S, Florida State

6’3 215 lbs.

Derwin James

The Cowboys haven’t had an elite athlete at the safety spot since Darren Woodson, and it’s time to remedy that situation with a player whose stock fell just enough from last season for the Cowboys to reap all the benefits. Without his heart condition, Maurice Hurst would have been the pick, but the Cowboys can’t afford to pass on another elite secondary player after Choosing Ezekiel Elliott over Jalen Ramsey in the 2016 draft.

Team Needs:

  • Safety
  • Defensive tackle
  • Wide receiver
  • Left guard
  • Tight end
  1. Detroit Lions: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

6’4 347 lbs.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington

The ideal cut-and-paste replacement for Haloti Ngata, who will likely share a rotation with him for the next couple of years. Vea will help Ziggy Ansah maximize his massive potential and free up lanes for last year’s top pick Jarrad Davis to attack the running game. In short, he’ll make the whole defense better with his impressive athleticism and even more impressive size.

Team Needs

  • Linebacker
  • Defensive Tackle
  • Wide Receiver
  • Tight End
  • Guard
  1. Buffalo Bills: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

6’2 282 lbs.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan

Hurst doesn’t fall too far due to the heart condition, since I believe he’ll be ready to contribute for a defense immediately and should play at least through his first contract. It’s the team that wants to sign him in free agency five years from now and make the highest paid defensive player that will need to worry. Hurst’s ability can’t be overstated and he’s an ideal replacement for the departed Marcel Dareus precisely because they’re not the same type of player. Hurst is a penetrator and will add a pass-rushing edge to the middle of the Bills defense that they’ve been needing for years to disrupt Tom Brady’s rhythm.

Team Needs:

  • Quarterback
  • Defensive Tackle
  • Cornerback
  • Linebacker
  • Tackle
  1. Buffalo Bills from Kansas City Chiefs: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

6’5 235 lbs.

Mason Rudolph

And for their second pick, a quarterback who has been underrated throughout the process. Few quarterbacks are as natural with the deep ball as Rudolph is, but his massive production in the Oklahoma State offense suggests he gets it to all areas of the field effectively. Rudolph also has ideal NFL size, and that makes for a welcome change for Brandon Beane, Sean McDermott and company who struggled with the limits of their offense with Tyrod Taylor as a starter.

Team Needs:

  • Quarterback
  • Defensive Tackle
  • Cornerback
  • Linebacker
  • Tackle
  1. Los Angeles Rams: Arden Key, OLB, LSU

6’6 238 lbs.

Arden Key

This is perhaps the most natural fit for me of any of the first round picks. Wade Philips gets his true 3-4 OLB and elite pass rusher in Arden Key, who (if he keeps his nose clean) should be able to benefit from the elite talent around him. The defense the Rams are building is starting to look scary, and adding a top 10 talent like Key without having to trade up following a playoff season has to be considered a serious win for GM Les Snead.

Team Needs:

  • Inside Linebacker
  • Outside Linebacker
  • Tackle
  • Wide Receiver
  • Running back
  1. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

6’2 300 lbs.

Isaiah Wynn

The Panthers simply have to replace Andrew Norwell to keep that running game moving forward. It won’t go otherwise, and a roadgrader like Wynn should pair with the rest of the Panthers interior line nicely to form an intimidating power running game. Of course, they’ll also need to consider adding an every down runner at some point this offseason, as I don’t think McCaffrey is a true workhorse.

Team Needs:

  • Guard
  • Tackle
  • Wide Receiver
  • Defensive tackle
  • Cornerback

 

  1. Tennessee Titans: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

6’3 252 lbs.

Harold Landry

It’s been far too long since the Titans had a high-impact pass rusher at the end spot. Brian Orakpo was past his prime by the time he arrived. Landry may not have the best tape in 2017, but it’s worth the chance late in the first round that he can regain his 2016 form.

Team Needs:

  • Defensive end
  • Linebacker
  • Cornerback
  • Guard
  • Tight End
  1. Atlanta Falcons: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

6’2 311 lbs.

Da'Ron Payne

Don’t get me wrong, I like the talent at defensive tackle in this year’s draft. There are some excellent players, but the needs and fits caused some highly talented players to slide and the Falcons are happy to grab a cheap, young replacement for Dontari Poe as Dan Quinn continues to build a talented and exciting young defense to compete with some challenging and complex offenses in the NFC.

Team Needs:

  • Guard
  • Defensive tackle
  • Free Safety
  1. New Orleans Saints: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa

6’1 235 lbs.

Josey Jewell

I think I might be onto something here, as I feel New Orleans likes to throw curve balls and the end of the first round is where lines start to get blurred. I believe the Saints are candidates to trade up for defensive talent, but Josey Jewell perfectly fits the high football IQ, competitiveness and desire the Saints have come to all-but-require in their players. I believe he’s a highly underrated prospect and the Saints, should they choose to go this direction, will be rewarded handsomely.

Team Needs:

  • Defensive End
  • Tight end
  • Linebacker
  • Defensive Tackle
  • Wide Receiver
  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

6’4 256 lbs.

Leighton Vander Esch

This is a case of perfect fit after the devastating, and very unfortunate, injury to Ryan Shazier (among the most exciting young linebackers in the game prior to his injury). Vander Esch may not have played against the strongest competition in the mountain west, but he was a production machine and flashed elite traits, which combined with his ideal size make him a highly enticing gamble at the end of the first round.

Team Needs:

  • Linebacker
  • Wide Receiver
  • Defensive Tackle
  • Cornerback
  • Quarterback
  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

6’6 250 lbs.

Dallas Goedert

The Jags offense needs more sure-handed targets for Blake Bortles to throw to. With plenty of talent on the defensive side, the Jags find a player here at the bottom half of the first round that has the potential to be one of the best playmakers coming out of this class.

Team Needs:

  • Wide Receiver
  • Tight End
  • Quarterback
  • Tackle
  • Linebacker
  1. Minnesota Vikings: Conor Williams, OT, Texas

6’5 320 lbs.

Connor Williams

The Vikings fully revamped their offensive line after mighty struggles in 2016, now it’s time to start building on that foundation with a young stud like Conor Williams. Adept in both pass protection and run blocking, and with ideal size, I expect to see the more dominant 2016 Williams than the 2017 variety which struggled at times.

Team Needs:

  • Tackle
  • Guard
  • Cornerback
  • Strong Safety
  • Running back
  1. New England Patriots: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

6’4 291 lbs.

Taven Bryan

Make no mistake, somebody will be trading up to get Lamar Jackson, and I expect that to happen with this pick. Stay tuned for my trade-filled post free agency mock for all of that action. As it stands now, Taven Bryan looks like he could be a physical stud in the mold of Dominique Easley (who the Patriots drafted in about this spot a few years ago). The Patriots need more talent in the front 7 to continue to maximize their Super Bowl window.

Team Needs:

  • Tackle
  • Defensive End
  • Linebacker
  • Cornerback
  • Wide Receiver
  1. Philadelphia Eagles: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

6’3 234 lbs.

AllState Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Alabama

Evans falling this far seems surprising, but guess what? Surprising things always happen on draft day. Evans is rough around the edges and may not be quite ready to contribute from a technique standpoint as a starter. He is, however, a good pickup for a team with two established starters in Hicks and Kendricks, and represents very good value.

Team Needs:

  • Linebacker
  • Tackle
  • Defensive End
  • Cornerback
  • Wide Receiver

Scouting Report: Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

6’3 270 lbs

Barnett

Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Texas A&M, 2016 vs. Florida

OVERVIEW

Barnett is bizzare to watch play. At times, he looks sluggish beyond belief and yet covers ground quickly. At times he looks like he’s carrying way too much weight on that relatively small (for the position) frame. And yet, you see this outstanding quickness, hand fighting ability, bend around the edge and excellent finish that have made him a premiere sack specialist in the SEC.

Derek Barnett also boasts the experience and consistency against top level competition, at times taking over the entire game against Alabama’s Cam Robinson (also a potential first-rounder). This is the one question mark in Myles Garrett’s game, so it’s certainly encouraging to see Barnett thrive regardless of who he’s lined up against.

PASS RUSH

Moves: 2 out of 5

It seems that this is the area on tape, consistently, where Barnett shows a lack of versatility. He’s pretty much just a finesse rusher, using superior agility and hand fighting to weave his way through lineman. He must add more to the arsenal at the next level.

Technique: 14 out of 15

Of this, Barnett may be among the cleanest in the draft, his hand use, footwork and control of his body allow him to consistently put himself in the correct positions and gain advantages on his opponents where sheer athleticism would seem to indicate that he should be less effective.

Bend: 4 out of 5

This is one of the biggest reasons Barnett was the leading sack specialist in his three-season span in the SEC. He has that uncanny ability to contort his body in any way to get around the edge, and also the knowledge of exactly when to do this for optimal opportunity at the QB. The one concern I’d have here is that he tends to round out his rush at times, though this is only a problem on a few snaps on tape.

Finish: 5 out of 5

This is the other aspect that leads to those insane sack numbers, Barnett knows what to do when he gets home, it’s a sack, a tackle, in fact he had a play where he tipped a pass to himself for an interception. If Barnett is near to making a play, it’s a safe bet he’ll make it.

Tenacity: 4 out of 5

Not to say that Barnett ever takes plays off, on the contrary, he’ll chase across formation when the play is moving away from him, but he seems to realize he doesn’t have the speed to catch plays that go beyond him, and he often doesn’t try.

Consistency: 10 out of 10

What more can you say for a man who has averaged 10+ sacks per season in his 3 years as a starter against the top-level competition he faces playing in college football’s premiere conference? He’s rock solid steady.

RUN STOPPING

Edge Setting: 8 out of 10

The only times I really see this to be an issue is when the play calls for a pass rush, his quickness and anticipation gets him upfield early and can sometimes take him out of running plays.

Tackling: 9 out of 10

While not a perfect tackler, there are very few discernable issues in positioning, technique, want-to or ability to bring down any ball carrier that comes his way. He’ll continue to develop that consistency at the next level and should be among the league’s most reliable.

Double Teams: 3 out of 5

I wouldn’t say that Barnett lacks the functional strength to hold up in double teams, but he does seem to lack the desire to use it, this is shown by his distinct lack of a bull rush, however, he is quite effective at using his finesse to work through double teams and make plays on ball carriers.

Lane Discipline: 10 out of 10

Barnett is as smart and pro-ready as any evaluator could dream in terms of his ability to see offensive plays developing and put himself in the right position to leverage the play to his advantage.

Consistency: 10 out of 10

Honestly, Barnett never looks to be out of position, or tired, or overwhelmed by level of competition and this quality extends to his run defense.

GENERAL

Reliability: 9 out of 10

Though perfectly available throughout his college career, Barnett has been limited in recent weeks (going into his pro day) with a hamstring injury. He is expected to perform regardless, and that’s been Barnett’s MO as a player, but going forward, teams will need to be aware of that potential and keep him in the ice bath after games.

Total Prospect Rating: 89 out of 100

Pro Comparison: Trent Cole, DE, Indianapolis Colts

Barnett 1

Cole

Sharing nearly the exact same dimensions, elite hand and foot technique, ability to get after the quarterback and penchant for punishing hits once they arrive, the comparison came to me pretty immediately. Cole has been an underappreciated impact rusher for most of his career, who boasts an all-around game that suits him to any defense. The kind of skills that Barnett boasts should give him similar versatility. I expect Barnett to get off to a quicker start than Cole, who took a few years before he became elite, production-wise.

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Scouting Report: Mitch Trubisky

By: Shae Dougall

Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

6’2”, 222lbs

Trubisky

Tape Viewed:

North Carolina vs Stanford (2016)

North Carolina vs Florida State (2016)

North Carolina vs Miami (2016)

 

OVERVIEW

Mitchell Trubisky (also known as #MitchNotMitchell) is the young, talented up-and-coming quarterback out of North Carolina who is likely to fly up draft boards on draft day due to his immense talent, big arm, lack of injury history, intangibles, and a bunch of other things that NFL GMs moan about in their sleep. In my opinion, Mitch is being underrated in the draft process, as I think he could eventually develop into a Diet Aaron Rodgers type of player (more on that later).


Mitch is also technically a dual-threat QB who ran a boatload of read option plays in college, so he’d be well-suited to go to a team that is willing to let him tote the ball a bit, because he has a lot of experience in that area. As a result of these read option plays, Mitch will need to learn how to drop back in a proper, traditional NFL offense, but there’s no reason he can’t be successful as we recently saw Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota excellently transition from shotgun shotfun to taking snaps from under center. The key for Mitch is landing spot, he’ll need to find a situation where he can continue to develop. If he’s forced to start right away, I fear a worse fate than the perennially underwhelming Ryan Tannehill. Though again, this is not a knock on Mitch’s talent level, but rather his relative inexperience as a signal caller.

 

PASSING

 

Accuracy: 12.5 out of 15

Short- No issues on any quick routes or screens.

Intermediate- The first tape I watched had Mitch hitting an 18 yard streaking receiver into the endzone between two defenders. The window was fairly tight, and taught me all I needed to know about Mitch’s willingness to throw into coverage and to do so with excellent accuracy. Another note: Mitch completes 62.1% of his intermediate passes, easily outstripping other QBs in this class. I also saw him throw behind a receiver and throw a pretty bad interception, so

Deep- Mitch has a big enough arm and throws with enough velocity to consistently attempt the deep pass, but he’ll need to work on his accuracy in this area. He overthrew receivers a lot, which is at least better than underthrowing.

 

Power: 5 out of 5

Mitch has a big arm. There is no denying that. The ball explodes out of his hand with jaw-dropping velocity. I actually wonder if he can put consistent touch on his passes, but that’s a concern for a different category.

 

On the run: 5 out of 5

Mitch is absolutely brilliant on the run. I saw quite a few opportunities at the end of the Stanford game where he had to escape the rush and then make off balance intermediate-length throws without setting his feet…and he nailed every one of them. Unfortunately, almost all of them were dropped by the receivers!

 

Consistency: 7.5 out of 10

It was a little concerning that Mitch only started for one full season of his entire college career, and the team wasn’t particularly great during his tenure as the starter. This is a very hard category to judge because of the lack of data and tape to go off of, but it’s definitely concerning that he can complete 81.5% of his passes at Florida State and then hit under 40% at home against Virginia Tech the very next week! What the heck?

Generally, though, Mitch had a great season and very few head-scratching games. I’ll give him what I believe to be a fair score for a strong season.

 

Field General: 17.5 out of 20

Arguable the most important category for any quarterback is his ability to read the field and understand where pressure is coming from, in addition to understanding where the ball needs to be placed. Mitch is solid in both categories, making up for his slight blitz reading deficiencies with exceptional read quickness. He is very, very good at determining the assignments of downfield safeties, and I trust him to not make too many crushing mistakes. With just one year of starting experience, Mitch has so far shown tremendous potential to get even better.

 

Athleticism: 4 out of 5

Great speed and lower body explosiveness to get away from oncoming defensive ends. Frequently ran read option plays out of shotgun, so he clearly has the ability to outspeed slower defensive edge players and break through weak tackle attempts.

 

Pocket awareness: 8 out of 10

Competent in the pocket by any definition, but it remains to be seen whether or not Mitch has the ability to drop back in a traditional NFL offense, since 100% of his college snaps came out of the shotgun.

 

Poise: 10 out of 10

Mitch is consistently ready to go in any and all pressure situations. He can dodge defenders and make plays down the field with flair and spectacular awareness.

 

Clutch: 4 out of 5

Came up just short against Stanford in the Sun Bowl, but did have a spectacular final drive that featured no fewer than 4 dropped touchdown passes and terrible offensive line work. Lost close games against Duke and NC State (tape not viewed), but engineered a terrific game-winning drive against Florida State early in the season.

 

Size: 4 out of 5

Mitch has decent height at 6’2”. Plays at an appropriate weight for his height.

 

Reliability: 9.5 out of 10

Mitch is tough both mentally and physically, never missing a game due to injury or choking under pressure due to mental fatigue. Despite only being 6’2”, he plays much bigger than his advertised size, and probably won’t suffer too many early NFL career wear-and-tear related injuries since he rode the bench for much of his college tenure.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 87/100

 

Pro Comparison: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Trubisky 1

Rodgers

Okay, don’t freak out. I know that there is almost no way that Mitch will reach the career heights of Aaron Rodgers. But the category says to look for similarities in play styles and the number one thing that sticks out to me is how much Mitch is willing to gun the ball in there every single time. Seriously, the ball explodes out of his hands and he has great short and intermediate accuracy. Both players stand 6’2” and have the same playing weight. Both have outstanding read-the-field ability. WHAT MORE COULD YOU POSSIBLY ASK FOR? Can you tell I love the prospect of Mitch Trubisky under center for an NFL franchise? Time shall tell if he works out, but my money is on Mr. Ohio.

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Scouting Report: Jamal Adams

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Jamal Adams, S, LSU

6’0 214 lbs

Adams

Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Alabama, 2016 vs. Auburn, 2016 vs. Texas A&M, 2016 vs. Alabama

 

OVERVIEW

Already an outstanding player early in his LSU career, Adams added a new dimension of polish and urgency to his game in his final collegiate season.  Very few plays on tape show Adams even remotely struggling.

While he’s an outstanding in-the-box safety who clearly likes to be close to the ball and set the tone, some of his most impressive plays on tape showcase his insane range playing from the deep middle. One knock I have is that he doesn’t appear to have much experience playing that “last-line-of-defense” role. I do, however, think he projects really well into that role.

He also has an ideally sturdy build which goes well with his rangy, physical style of play. When you think of the term enforcer on a football field, you need look no further.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 14 out of 15

Adams looks like he has a deep intelligence and understanding of the keys to read nearly any offense. There are few times where he appears to be out of position.

 

Speed: 5 out of 5

His 4.56 40 time notwithstanding, Adams’ speed on the field pops on tape constantly. He covers ground so quickly that he often reacts on screens before the receivers do.

 

Pursuit: 8 out of 10

This is a tough one to grade because Adams has the ability to close space so effectively on horizontal plays, but when plays move vertically, he struggles a bit and gives up ground. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s often enough to be notable.

 

Man: 3 out of 5

On a 5-yard out against Texas A&M, Adams runs the route better than the receiver, coming from the middle of the field. This shows his potential and ability to read the hips of receivers. His reaction time is outstanding, but his hips aren’t as fluid as they need to be.

 

Zone: 8 out of 10

The knock I have on Adams here is his ability in deep zone. There are times where he allows receivers to get behind him which is a concern for the next level where better QBs will torch him if he doesn’t clean it up. He does, however, have brilliant plays all over the rest of the field in zone.

 

Tackle: 9 out of 10

Adams uses a player’s momentum and leverage against them by wrapping up their legs and allowing them to take themselves down. This is consistently effective. When a player is already engaged, Adams also knows to go for the ball.

 

Ball Skills: 3 out of 5

In 2015, he had 4 interceptions, but this was an anomaly. While Adams has all of the attributes to be a ball-hawk and didn’t drop any opportunities that I saw, he needs to find a way to be in position to pick the ball off more, or at least rack up more PBU’s.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 8 out of 10

He improved a lot in this regard from early in his career to 2016, where he not only increased his total tackles, but TFL’s to career best. However, as Adams tends to be flying around near the line of scrimmage, he sometimes forgets to sink his hips which causes him to fly off the players he intends to tackle.

 

Play Recognition: 15 out of 15

Adams is pretty unbelievable in this regard. He’s almost always the first to recognize a play-fake. This is showcased in the 2015 game against Alabama on a fake end around bootleg where Adams was the only one that stayed with QB Jake Coker. He turned what was undoubtedly a 15 yard gain into a TFL.

 

Willingness: 5 out of 5

Adams appears to be happiest and most eager on the field mixing it up at the LOS, flying in, even through interior lanes, to be involved in run defense.

 

GENERAL

 

Reliability: 10 out of 10

Adams has the character, squeaky clean injury history, stout frame, leadership qualities and empty rap sheet that makes him among the safest picks in this draft.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 88 out of 100

 

Pro Comparison: Reshad Jones, S, Miami Dolphins

Adams 1

Jones

While Jones is a more accomplished ball-hawk, both players share the same leadership ability, knack for the tone-setting play and outstanding run defense. Jones and Adams share a stout frame which allows them to deliver serious force as tacklers, and serious range to make plays all over the field and rally the defense on any given play.

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