Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Justin's Final Mock Draft

1) Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M – The Browns clearly need as much talent as possible and with there being no clear cut franchise quarterback, they go best player available. Turns out that man is an absolute animal. Garrett is a do it all defensive end that can fly off the edge and pummel the quarterback. Garrett, if healthy, will be a perennial pro bowler for years to come. Don't overthink this Cleveland!

2) San Francisco 49ers
Jamal Adams, S, LSU - Yes, the fresh face San Fran general manager was one of the best safeties the NFL has ever seen. He should eventually find his way into the Hall of Fame but John Lynch knows how important the safety position is. Especially one that can affect a defense in a multitude of ways. Adams can play two high safety or can come up in the box and lay the hammer. Adams is a freak of nature and a future building block for this defense.

3) Chicago Bears
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State – Cornerbacks are a hot commodity now with the national passing league reigning supreme. But when you have a chance at a true shut down corner, you grab him. The Bears have some talent on defense. If a playmaker like Lattimore is inserted onto the field, it instantly creates a young and hungry defense that can cover with the best of them.

4) Jacksonville Jaguars
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford – Jacksonville signed Calais Campbell to a monster deal to help the pass rush. His leadership role cannot be overlooked though as he can teach the young Jaguars defense how to act on and off the field. Drafting Thomas will give this defense the pass rush off the edge that it needs to compete in this division. But Thomas bringing the versatility to kick inside on pass rush downs is what truly makes the Stanford product a valuable piece.

5) Cleveland Browns (TRADE)
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina - The Titans have been actively trying to trade back and have definitely been blowing the smoke screens that quarterbacks are going earlier than they should. This causes the Browns to panic and jump up to grab the guy they want. Trubisky has an Alex Smith feel to him, but I am sure that Cleveland would take a quarterback of that caliber.
6) New York Jets
OJ Howard, TE, Alabama - The best and most rounded tight end in this draft finds a new home in New York, though not with the New York team you want to be on. The Jets have holes all over so why would they select a tight end this early? Because OJ Howard is that damn good. Howard was surprisingly underutilized in Lane Kiffin's offense but his best is ahead of him. He will be a monster in the pass game with his athleticism catching defenders off guard but it is his blocking that can help the Jets. A 6'6, 251 pound athletic tight end is worthy of a top ten pick.

7) Los Angeles Chargers
Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State – The Chargers can go one of two ways. Reach for an offensive lineman or grab a backend piece to the secondary that can strike fear into the hearts of quarterbacks. While I have my qualms about Hooker, his ceiling is unreal. How quickly he can diagnose a play and then fly over to the ball to intercept the pass is something very few free safeties can do. Add in the fact that with the ball in his hands, he is a threat to take it to the house. Plus, I'm sure Joey Bosa will be pleading to play with one of his fellow Buckeyes.

8) Carolina Panthers
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford – Now, one may ask, if I rank Leonard Fournette as the best running back why would McCaffrey go over him. Plain and simple because McCaffrey fits Carolina's offense better. Running back is just a title for this kid as he will be an offensive weapon for the Panthers. He CAN run between the tackles but his ability to catch the ball better than any of Carolina's wide receivers is the real reason he finds his home in North Carolina. McCaffrey can help take the pressure off Cam Newton and make this an offense to be respected.

9) Cincinnati Bengals
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michgan – Andy Dalton needs more weapons as Brandon LaFell is not a legitimate starting wide receiver. AJ Green would appreciate not seeing double coverage on every play and with him mentoring a player of that caliber this offense could spread the field, even with the incumbent Andy Dalton at the helm. Being a big-time playmaker, Davis will add a whole new dimension to that offense with his yards after the catch ability.

10) Buffalo Bills
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida  True, the Florida corners did not test well but when watching the tape they never shied away from anything. They were physical and impact players every step of the way. Wilson, in my eyes, was the better of the two Gators and Buffalo needs more playmakers in their secondary.

11) New Orleans Saints
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee – Pass rushers are always needed and Barnett can get after it. His production backs up his play as he was a solid player week in and week out. Having Barnett and Cameron Jordan off the edge, can help spell the quarterback play that is dominating the NFC South.

12) Tennessee Titans
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson - Tennessee manages to make another tremendous trade again this year and still come away with the player that they desired. Mike Williams is the big body playmaking receiver that Marcus Mariota needs. The Alshon Jeffrey clone does not create the separation that most number one receivers can in the NFL but Mariota can place the ball anywhere. It helps that Williams excels at going up and getting the ball. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

13) Arizona Cardinals
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama - Arizona has a serious issue. Age. Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer are a combined 70 years old and are nearing the end of their professional career. Problem is, they are still a playoff caliber team and don't want to use this early of a pick on a developmental quarterback. Plus they there aren't any number one receivers worth grabbing at this spot. Humphrey helps bring that defense up the level it was at in 2015.

14) Indianapolis Colts
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU - The slide of Fournette finally comes to a halt. He is easily one of the most talented players but if Carolina doesn't grab him at 8, then he can fall. Andrew Luck needs somebody to take the load off his shoulders and a bell cow running back can do that. Give Fournette the ball 20 times a game and let Luck do his thing in the pass game and this offense could be unstoppable.

15) Philadelphia Eagles
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State – Philadelphia has been salivating over Christian McCaffrey but unless they trade up into the top ten, it looks like he may not be available. Dalvin Cook is the next best running back that they can grab. He does come with baggage, on and off the field but if he can keep his head clear, stay healthy and leave his fumbling issues in college, Cook will have a very successful pro career.

16) Baltimore Ravens
John Ross, WR, Washington – Why not pair a true burner like John Ross (4.22 forty yard dash) with a big armed quarterback like Joe Flacco. The Ravens lost their number one receiver in Steve Smith Sr. but combining Ross with Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, if he can ever get on the field, can create a lethal offense.

17) Washington Redskins
Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama – My favorite general manager and talent evaluator, Scot McCloughan, was relieved of his duties because Dan Snyder is a horrible person who shouldn’t be allowed to own a car. Foster is an animal and can play most of Washington's linebacker positions. Foster is the obvious pick because he is the best available player on the board, but I hope this franchise messes it up.

18) Tennessee Titans
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida – The Titans have been making the right decisions and Tabor can help add to those very wise selections. He can create an extremely difficult defensive matchup because he can play the nickel corner spot for the early part of his career and be a true playmaker at it. As much as I despise the Titans for stealing my Jaguars playbook in 1999, this is a team trending in the right direction.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple – Tampa Bay is creating a monster on offense. They need the pass rush to follow and Reddick is a do it all type of linebacker that can fill in what your defense needs. His special talent is getting after the quarterback. He has some natural bend in his body that can scoot around offensive tackles or he can drop back and cover some of those athletic tight ends. 

20) Denver Broncos
Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah - Denver needs to protect whomever is under center next season. The offensive line was a problem last season. Insert Bolles, who can play either tackle position, and this will give their quarterback time to throw the ball or open up holes in the run game.

21) Detroit Lions
Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama – Allen takes quite the tumble. He is an excellent player but we don’t have the knowledge the teams have about his medical history. Just random reports that claim things. If his shoulders are that bad, he could fall out of the top twenty but he is a special talent and the Lions would love this scenario of getting a top five talent at twenty-one.

22) Oakland Raiders
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State - The best cornerback nobody had heard of up until a week ago was recently accused of sexual assault. In the weeks leading up to the draft, somebody needs to sit these kids down and lock them in a weight room so they cannot be accused of anything. Whether it's true or not, Conley very well may slide into the second day despite being a fast rising talent. The Raiders need help in their secondary and Conley can help shore that up.

23) Miami Dolphins
Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State – This draft is so deep that a clear top 15 prospect can fall to the bottom of the first round. McDowell gives the Dolphins a monster defensive lineman to add to the rotation and with Cameron Wake getting in his face, there will be no lack of motivation. McDowell could be an absolute force.

24) New York Giants
Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin – The Giants made a mistake by not drafting Laremy Tunsil last year and have suffered because of it. Ereck Flowers is god awful and shouldn't even be on the field. Ramcyzk, despite needing offseason surgery for a torn labrum, would push Flowers to guard or the bench. David Njoku is very much in play here.

25) Houston Texans
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – Brock Osweiler is gone. Bill O’ Brien can move onto finding his quarterback but he needs a very cerebral player to learn his playbook. Watson is a smart kid and has the knowledge of playing in Dabo Sweeney's offense. Time will be needed for him to be successful but if this Houston team can go 9-7 with a shitty quarterback, watch what they could do with one with actual upside. 

26) Green Bay Packers
Kevin King, CB, Washington - It's well documented that Green Bay needs corner help. Everything that I have heard and read is that Dom Capers' defensive scheme is very tough on the secondary and they need time to get acclimated with it. Problem with that is they need to be on the field to be useful. King is a smart, tough and reliable corner that fits the Green Bay mold of a corner.

27) Seattle Seahawks
Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky – I kept trying to find a place to put my favorite player in this year's draft but I had a tough time doing so. Lamp is an extremely talented offensive lineman that can play all over the line. He would be a serviceable left tackle but if he played either guard position, he could be an all pro. Seattle has holes all over the offensive line and I would not be surprised if they grab a few linemen this year.

28) Pittsburgh Steelers
Obi Melifonwu, S/CB, Connecticut - A potential star in the making, the man who leaped out of this year's NFL combine (44 inch vertical), Melifonwu, can play multiple secondary positions. The Steelers' secondary blows and this kid could help plug whatever is their biggest hole in the backend.

29) Atlanta Falcons
Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC – Dan Quinn is starting to build something in Atlanta.  Adding a corner that can play outside or inside will help that pass rush even more. His return ability can make this team lethal though. The run of corners leave Atlanta with Jackson. That is not to say the former Trojan is not a good player but he is in the second tier of corners in my eyes.

30) Kansas City Chiefs
Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma- Mixon will go in the first round. He would be the second best running back, behind Fournette, but may be a better all purpose back than his LSU counterpart. The off the field concerns would easily scare anybody. If his interview process checks out, Alex Smith will have a fun time handing the ball off to him.  Andy Reid has shown that he is okay with taking players with extra baggage and Kansas City is a place that will accept their players as long as they contribute on and off the field.

31) San Francisco 49ers (TRADE)
Davis Webb, QB, California - Kyle Shanahan gets John Lynch to jump up to one of the "QB spots" so they have that all important fifth year option. Shanahan knows he needs a quarterback and he has gotten to see and hear a lot of hype about the Cal kid. He fits the Matt Ryan mold as a fairly accurate quarterback with a pretty good arm but he also will have time to be groomed into the player that his coach wants him to be.

32) Arizona Cardinals (TRADE)
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech - Bruce Arians stated a few weeks ago that he does not want to leave this Arizona team in the same state of quarterback purgatory as when Kurt Warner retired. GM Steve Keim also agrees. Carson Palmer's best years are behind him and if does start to regress towards the playoffs, Mahomes could end up being thrust into the starting lineup.

2017 Tight End Rankings

1) O. J. Howard, Alabama Crimson Tide
Career Stats: 114 Receptions, 1726 Yards, 15.1 YPC, 7 TDs
Height: 6'6          Weight: 251
40 Yard Dash: 4.51 Seconds
Vertical: 30 Inches
Bench Press: 22 Reps

To me, Howard is another case of what could have been. Not because he was terrible, but because he was so painfully underutilized by Lane Kiffin during his four years on campus. Howard is an athletic marvel and who Mike Farrell, Rival's director of scouting, called the best tight end he'd scouted in 15 years. All you have to do is look to his two national championship games against Clemson when he hauled in over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is an incredible athlete, like Jimmy Graham or Greg Olsen, who creates mismatches as linebackers are usually too slow and safeties get out-muscled by him. And when we say that he is fast, he is truly a superb athlete. He is both heavier and taller than Leonard Fournette and ran the exact same forty time. Watch him take this simple slant route to the house as he outruns both linebackers and the entire secondary. One of the most valuable things that a tight end can bring to the team is the ability to make big plays up the seam which is what Howard brings to the table. What I really like about Howard is that he came back for his senior season to improve both his route running and blocking, in which he accomplished both. He isn't as bulky as some tight ends and may never be a dominant blocker, but he should be good enough that he isn't going to come off of the field. In terms of where he needs improvement, there aren't a lot of areas that concern you right away. He does have a tendency at times to let the ball come to his body instead of attacking it. He has very good hands so it shouldn't be hard to coach him into trying to rip the ball down instead of letting it come to him. And outside of that, I'd like to see him be a bit more physical when running. He can create separation with his speed, but being able to fight off linebackers at the line will be an area he has to improve on for the NFL. But there is no doubt that this kid is oozing with talent and could be taken in the top ten.

Number to Know - 83: For being a potential top 10 pick, Howard only had 83 catches in his last two seasons.

2) David Njoku, Miami Hurricanes
Career Stats: 64 Receptions, 1060 Yards, 16.7 YPC, 6 TDs
Height: 6'4          Weight: 246
40 Yard Dash: 4.64 Seconds
Vertical: 37.5 Inches
Bench Press: 21 Reps

Njoku is another name that has been shooting up big boards and he could see himself picked as high as the mid teens after a very successful final year at Miami. He was one of Brad Kaaya's top targets and one of his best friends on the field, which did show in the game tape. Kaaya was constantly looking for his friend whenever he ran into trouble. Njoku is a bit more well rounded as a tight end than Howard is as he looks like he is a better blocker at the point of attack. Njoku just looks like he is more physical than Howard is at this point in his game. He is going to break a lot more tackles than Howard with his pure strength and seems to relish in running through would be tacklers. The athleticism this Hurricane displays would get him drafted in the first round alone. He can go up and highpoint the ball and uses his body well to box out defensive backs. The cliche comparison for Njoku is Jordan Reed from the Redskins, but truth be told it fits. He flies all over the field and has a knack for creating big plays. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the NFL with a quarterback that can hit him in stride and allow him to take it to the house. 16.7 yards per catch is un freakin' real. It seemed, and ended up being true, that every one of his catches were for over twenty yards. The best part of Njoku is how he raw he still is. The ceiling is so unknown for him and his game still has more room to grow. He will be drafted very early, the question is how early?

Number to Know - 11.2: Number of yards AFTER the catch that Njoku had.

3) Evan Engram, Ole Miss Rebels
Career Stats: 162 Receptions, 2320 Yards, 14.3 YPC, 15 TDs
Height: 6'3          Weight: 234
40 Yard Dash: 4.42 Seconds
Vertical: 36 Inches
Bench Press: 19 Reps

The trend the NFL is moving towards is the smaller, faster tight end position. Clearly athleticism is becoming a more and more natural thing in kids these days and Evan Engram embodies that. Standing at 6'3 and weighing in at 234 pounds, Engram plays like a bigger wide receiver than a tight end. But don't call him a wide receiver. Sure he would not play much on the line alongside offensive tackles, because he would get destroyed by defensive ends, but he can definitely come in and chip and contribute when needed. Engram is a pass catching tight end and he is a mismatch nightmare. Most defensive backs are too small to cover him, especially with that 36 inch vertical leaping ability, and linebackers won't be able to keep up with him. His 4.42 forty yard second dash proved what was on tape, Engram is freaky fast. If OJ Howard is Greg Olsen and David Njoku is Jordan Reed, who does Engram most emulate? The answer is Jordan Reed. Engram and Njoku are very similar players. The athleticism and rawness is very apparent but Engram could be on another level. While always being productive and finding ways to get on the field, he seemed to find another level his senior year. Engram is following that new trend of tight ends but is creating another level of mismatch nightmares for defensive coordinators.

Number to Know - 4.42: Engram's forty time was the top forty yard dash for all tight ends at the 2016 NFL Combine.

Derek's Final Mock Draft

1) Cleveland Browns select Myles Garret, Defensive End, Texas A&M Aggies
I'm curious to see how the Browns are able to fuck this up. I don't think that Garrett is head and shoulders the best player in the draft, but he is the prototypical edge rusher that teams crave and that you simply cannot afford to pass up on. He has tremendous length, speed, and power and can beat offensive tackles with any one of his tools. He has been criticized as being a bit lazy against the run, but from what I saw he is able to set the edge adequately. The Browns simply need all the help that they can get on their defense. They don't have anyone who can get after the quarterback consistently, although they have some nice pieces already there in Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib. Adding Myles Garrett to that line gives them a difference maker and someone with double digit sack potential from day one.

2) San Francisco 49ers select Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU Tigers
This is actually a pretty hard pick to mock here as I want to give them a top lineman like Allen or Thomas, but with the Niners going defensive line the last two drafts it seems a bit redundant to add another here. Thus, they should look to improve their atrocious secondary and it just so happens that Adams is an elite player who fills a big need. The Niners have lost a lot of guys in the past couple of years who once made up an incredibly feared secondary. Taking Adams would get them closer to having that again. He is a do it all safety who can play both down in the box as a strong safety and can also be a center fielder. He loves to lay guys out for coming into his territory and is a capable playmaker on the ball. Teams love guys who bring versatility to the field and Adams is probably the most versatile secondary player in this draft. This would be my pick, but don't be surprised if the Niners end up trading down in the actual draft from here.

3) Chicago Bears select Jonathan Allen, Defensive End, Alabama Crimson Tide
I said it in my defensive tackle rankings, but I wouldn't be surprised if Allen ended up having a better career than Garrett does as he is a plug and play type of guy who is ready to contribute right away. He played both edge rusher and defensive tackle in Alabama's 4-3 defense, but he would probably play edge rusher in the Bears' 3-4 defense. Allen is a tremendous prospect who has dominated the SEC over the last two seasons. He shows an excellent combination of size, power and speed and made a lot of offensive tackles look like fools when he went up against them. The Bears' defense has really gone downhill over the last few years and they do not have a feared pass rusher like they once did. The path to their division runs through Green Bay and they need to get guys who can close in on the quarterback quickly. Allen brings that and should be a staple on this defensive line for the next decade.

4) Jacksonville Jaguars select Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU Tigers
I'm sure Justin is screaming at me that this isn't Solomon Thomas, but the fact of the matter is that the Jags have gone defense in the past few drafts and heavily in free agency and should look to add to their offense now. It is unclear if Bortles is going to be in their plans moving forward as he has severely regressed, but he has never had much of a run game. Fournette changes that almost instantaneously. He is a dominant running back who is capable of carrying the ball around 25 times a game and can be the focal point of an offense. His ability to run over or around guys makes him incredibly dynamic and the comparisons to Adrian Peterson really are not all that far off. He isn't a guy who will catch a lot of balls out of the backfield and there is no doubt that he needs some improvement in his pass protection, but if Zeke Elliott can go this high then Fournette certainly can too. He won't have nearly the same caliber offensive line, but his ability to create yards will help to mitigate that.

5) Tennessee Titans select Marshon Lattimore, Corner Back, Ohio State Buckeyes
Thanks to the Rams' stupidity, the Titans are in an excellent position to add an elite player to their team and help make them a consistent playoff threat. They have a hole at corner which works out well as the top player on the board is also a corner. While there are legit questions about his durability, but there are no questions about what he brings to the table as a player. His numbers at the Combine were simply off the charts and his tape doesn't lie either. He has the length and athleticism needed to be a shutdown corner back in the NFL. He plays great coverage and doesn't let up a lot of separation and showed excellent ability to track the ball and make a play on it. The AFC South has some excellent receivers in it which necessitates having a lockdown corner. I'd love to see how Lattimore is playing in a few years in a Dick Lebeau coached defense.

6) New York Jets select Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson Tigers
This is the first real spot that I could see a quarterback being drafted, but I think it would be a bit more wise to see what they have in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg (not a lot) and put themselves in a position to draft high in next year's star studded quarterback class. If the Jets do decide to roll with those two quarterbacks, it would behoove them to get some playmakers to help in the transition. The Jets lost Brandon Marshall to the Giants and they need to replace him as soon as possible. Williams looks to be a good replacement as he is another big body receiver with solid size who is a redzone threat. Williams is 6'4 and has a tremendous vertical which helps him win a lot of contested balls. He simply rips the ball away from anyone who is guarding him which makes him a great target over the middle of the field and in the endzone. Some of expressed concerns about his ability to separate from NFL corners, but I think that Williams should be fine at that and his ability to win 50/50 balls also mitigates that issue.

7) L.A. Chargers select Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State Buckeyes
The Chargers struck gold by picking an elite talent from Ohio State last year, so why not go back and do the same thing this year? The Chargers have had a hole in their secondary since they left Eric Weddle walk and their defense has suffered as a result of that. Fortunately, Hooker is a tremendous prospect who could go even higher than this but is coming off of off-season hip surgery which could push him down into double digits. However, he has quite possibly the most impressive sideline to sideline range and ball skills I've seen out of a college safety prospect. His ability to track the ball and come down with it could end up making him a perennial All Pro player. There isn't a whole lot of good quarterback play going down in the AFC West, but having a guy like Hooker will make anyone thing twice about going deep with him roaming back in the centerfield.

8) Carolina Panthers select Solomon Thomas, Defensive End, Stanford Cardinal
In most of my recent mocks, I had the Panthers reaching for an offensive tackle since Cam Newton was pulverized last year. However, they could probably find some value later int he draft while they have a top defensive lineman falling to them in this scenario. Thomas has been knocked a little bit as a tweener, but his athletic potential is off the charts and some think he can go as high as second overall. He has the ability to bend around the edge and uses his hands well to keep offensive lineman off balance. The Panthers once had a frightening defensive line but inexplicably traded away promising pass rusher Kony Ealy to the Patriots and saw some regression last season out of the unit as a whole. There is always the chance that they could end up going with a corner back here if they fall in love with one, but Thomas is just too intriguing and too valuable to pass up.

9) Cincinnati Bengals select Derek Barnett, Defensive End, Tennessee Volunteers
Despite their record and where they are picking in this year's draft, I honestly do believe that the Bengals have one of the most well constructed roster in the league. One area that they are lacking in though is at defensive end. Outside of Carlos Dunlap, this team struggles to get pressure from the edges. I will be the first to admit that this is probably a bit too high for Barnett to go, but pass rushers are always getting bumped up in the draft as they have the ability to impact a game on every single defensive snap. Barnett has rare ability to bend and get around an offensive tackle and when combined with his ridiculous burst off of the line of scrimmage, he can be a nightmare to handle. The biggest criticism of him is that he seems to lack power and can get bullied around by faster offensive lineman who are able to get a hand on him. Since this is a team without a lot of holes, they could be a candidate to trade down and try and find better value on a pass rusher.

10) Buffalo Bills select Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan Broncos
The Bills did the right thing in getting Tyrod Taylor a contact extension and now they have to go out and get him playmakers so as to not passively sabotage his career. The Bills have a major need at receiver as they lost Robert Woods in the offseason and Sammy Watkins has been hurt and hasn't lived up to the billing of his draft spot. There have even been rumblings that Watkins could end up not being retained by the Bills after next season. Even if he is, another receiver is needed on this roster to take the focus away form him. Justin sent me some clips of Davis and when I watched him, I saw a bit of a mix of Julio Jones and AJ Green. Davis a big receiver who runs silky smooth routes and is a dynamic player when he gets the ball in his hands. He simply dominated his competition and performed well against Power 5 teams despite them all knowing he was going to get the ball. The Bills can take him this high and not expect him to produce right away as they already have a veteran in Watkins and are a run first team behind Shady McCoy. Davis would be a great pickup here at 10.

11) New Orleans Saints select Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama Crimson Tide
Even with the recent diluted drug test, I still think Foster has a chance to go this high and it makes a ton of sense for a team like the Saints to take him. Stephone Anthony hasn't produced to his first round selection and I couldn't even tell you who the other starting inside linebacker is. Foster is an absolute beast at linebacker and showed the ability to do everything that was asked of him. He only started one year but that isn't surprising since he sat behind so much other talent at Alabama. He has the speed to chase plays down sideline to sideline and can match up with tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. He has good instincts and plugs up running lanes quickly. The Saints have one of the worst linebacking corps in the league. so adding a player who could step in right away and contribute should be a no brainer for them.

12) Cleveland Browns select OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama Crimson Tide
If the Browns are able to draft both Myles Garrett and OJ Howard, they may want to just go home after this selection so not to ruin the rest of it. Some believe that Howard could go top five, but I have a hard time seeing a tight end go that high. But this is about the right range for him and would be a huge asset to a underwhelming offense. The Browns have almost no offensive weapons and would be smart to take a mismatch nightmare like Howard. He has the ability to stretch the field from inside and split out wide and can look borderline uncoverable at times. Defenders really struggle to contain his size and speed combination. Whether the Browns decided to take a quarterback in a later round or just stick with what they got in Cody Kessler, having a weapon like Howard will make anyone's life and job just a bit easier.

13) Arizona Cardinals select Pat Mahomes, Quarterback, Texas Tech Red Raiders
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cardinals go for their quarterback of the future as I believe that their championship window is just about closed right now. They struggled pretty mightily last year and it might be high time for this team to start thinking about life after Carson Palmer. Mahomes has been rising up big boards recently and while he isn't my top quarterback, I think he is more along the lines of what Bruce Arians wants in a quarterback. He has the best arm in the draft and has shown the ability to connect on some stunning passes. He is far from a finished project, but that is totally fine as I think Palmer has another year or two left in him. Mahomes would be able to fine tune himself while waiting in the wings for his chance to start. It doesn't always work out, but sometimes you need to think about five years down the road instead of next year. If that is how the Cardinals' front office wants to approach this draft, then Mahomes makes all the sense in the world.

14) Philadelphia Eagles select Marlon Humphrey, Corner Back, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Eagles defense started out hot last year before cooling off and a big part of that was that their secondary play dropped dramatically. This problem has been exacerbated by Nolan Carroll not being retained as he played 16 games last season. The big knock on Humphrey has been that he has a tendency to rely too much on his pure athleticism than letting his technique play for him. But he is a big corner back who is immensely physical and showed a great ability to reel in interceptions over his three seasons at Alabama. I think that he could really work out well learning the nuances of the game under Jim Schwartz. The Eagles are pretty pressed to get help in the secondary as well as they have to deal with OBJ and Dez Bryant twice a year each. You need a guy that can go toe to toe with either of them for a full sixty minutes.

15) Indianapolis Colts select Forrest Lamp, Guard, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Now that the Colts have dumped Ryan Grigson, maybe they have a chance at getting the most out of Andrew Luck. The Colts have made some attempts to help out Luck, and while defense will need to be addressed heavily in this draft, Lamp is too good to pass up here. Luck was still constantly under siege last year and a lot of that pressure came from up the middle. Lamp is a phenom of a guard who is sturdy and tough to move around. He gets good movement in the ground game, but most importantly for the Colts, he is rock steady as a pass protector. I didn't scout, but after Justin watched him he raved about his game for weeks. Against Alabama's ridiculous array of pass rushers, he did not allow a single pressure on his quarterback. That is the kind of lineman that has teams salivating and the Colts should waste no time getting their draft card in if Lamp is on the board.

16) Baltimore Ravens select Charles Harris, Outside Linebacker, Missouri Tigers
Harris has been a bit of an enigma as he was viewed as a top ten pick prior to the season, seemed to fall into second round consideration, and is now moving back up the boards. He played as a defensive end at Mizzou, but because he is only about 6'3 I think that he makes a great candidate as an outside linebacker who blitzes off the edge. He has a lightening first step and showed the ability to bend and close on the quarterback. The Ravens lost Elvis Dumervil this offseason and have the come to terms with the fact that Terrell Suggs is another year older and will not be around forever. It is time for the Ravens to start grooming a new crop of pass rushers. Todd McShay recently said that Harris is a guy who could play for all 31 teams, plus the Browns, a testament to his athleticism and overall talent. If Harris lives up to his potential, this could be one of the better picks in the first round.

17) Washington Redskins select Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State Seminoles
I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins picked a quarterback here as Dan Snyder's final middle finger to Kirk Cousins. But since I'm GM here, Cook is the pick. This may seem a bit odd as the team recently lost Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson, but I'm higher on Cook than I am on John Ross. Plus, the Redskins running backs weren't exactly inspiring a lot of hope last year. Cook is a dynamic running back who I think will end up being drafted in the second round as teams question what his upside is and begin to drag up some issues he had at FSU. But I really enjoyed scouting Cook as he was a slashing runner who doesn't need a huge hole to get through the line of scrimmage and hit the second level. He can run inside and out and is a capable pass catcher out of the backfield. I think he is more of a complete running back than Fournette is at this stage although he is not the same caliber of "pure runner". But he is a guy who should be able to handle a load of 25 or so touches a game.

18) Tennessee Titans select John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington Huskies
I love what Mike Mularkey has done with this team. He was committed to "exotic, smash mouth football" and stuck with that by investing heavily in the offensive line and grabbing Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Now, it is time to draft a receiver who can help take advantage of Mariota's abilities. The Titans weren't able to keep Kendall Wright around and now lack both a number one receiver and a deep threat. Ross can be both of those. While he is most well known for his blazing, record setting 40 yard dash, he is not afraid to do the gritty work of going over the middle and making the tough catches. With the Titans' desire to run the football, Ross should expect several deep plays a game as safeties move closer and closer to the line to stop the run. He is just a big play waiting to happen and could soon be leading the league in explosive plays (plays of 20+ yards).

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Taco Charlton, Defensive End, Michigan Wolverines
The Bucs said that they wanted to get as many weapons for Jameis this offseason as they could and did a good job in grabbing Desean Jackson. I think that they can afford to focus on defense with this pick and try to look for more play makers later in the draft. Pass rush has been a bit of an issue with this team as they have swung on and missed with guys like Adrian Clayborn and Daquan Bowers. Right now they really just have Gerald McCoy in the middle applying pressure. Charlton's biggest critique is that he is still a bit raw, but he has all the physical tools to become a good pass rusher in the NFL. He has a relentless attitude and motor, good length, and bend. He will need to develop some more pass rushing skills to fully succeed at the next level but he has a good base right now to be able to make an impact as a rookie. Again, in this division pass rushers are needed and are prone to be over drafted, but sometimes it is a necessity.

20) Denver Broncos select Caleb Brantley, Defensive Tackle, Florida Gators
The Broncos suffered typical post Super Bowl attrition and were most drastically affected at defensive tackle and linebacker. The biggest loss in my opinion was losing Malik Jefferson to the Jaguars last year. As a result of this, their ability to stop the run really went downhill last year. Linebacker could be in play here, but I like what Brantley brings to the table as an interior pass rusher. He is the kind of guy who will not light up the start sheet but guys like the writers at PFF will absolutely love. He is a disruptive pass rusher who forces quarterbacks out of the pocket and allows the edge rushers to mop up. He's shown the ability to get after the quarterback on his own, but can be a bit inconsistent in finishing those plays. He is also a very skilled run defender as he stands up guards and sheds blocks and make the tackle. If the Broncos don't take a defensive tackle, don't be surprised if they end up taking the next guy below.

21) Detroit Lions select Haasan Reddick, Linebacker, Temple Owls
Reddick is another name that has been flying up draft boards after a strong Combine workout and after teams have delved into the tape from this small school prospect. In today's NFL, you need a linebacker who can go sideline to sideline and take away the mismatches that offensive coordinators try to create with tight ends and running backs. The Lions do not have that at this point, but a selection like this would get them the guy that they need. Reddick has exceptional quickness and instincts that helped him become one of the most feared linebackers in the country. You can use him to cover tight ends or you can ask him to come off of a blitz and he will be equally effective. Mel Kiper recently said that he is a player who could play any linebacker position in any scheme. He would like play outside linebacker for the Lions and would be a welcome sight on a defense that was very inconsistent last year.

22) Miami Dolphins select Jabrill Peppers, Safety / Linebacker, Michigan Wolverines
Jabrill the enigma. I cannot remember the last time there was a more highly debated prospect than him. Some see him as a guy who was not properly utilized at Michigan and who has the talent to become an All Pro player while others see him as an athlete who just happens to play football. The truth is much more complex in that he lies somewhere in between and he could end up falling to either end of the spectrum. I think that the Dolphins are actually a very good fit for Peppers as they have questions at linebacker and safety, both of which are roles that Peppers could end up playing in. If he does end up at safety, it would have to be at strong safety as he has shown that he can get lost in pass coverage and doesn't have the ball skills to be a free safety. But if you allow him to cover tight ends and chase down plays behind the line of scrimmage, you have a dynamic player who will do that job well. He is the guy that we could be looking back at in ten years asking why he fell so far.

23) New York Giants select David Njoku, Tight End, Miami Hurricanes
The Giants have a championship caliber defense, but their offense was hot fucking garbage last year and cost them a lot of games, including their playoff game against the Packers. Much of this has to do with the fact that they ran an 11 Personnel package on 90% of their plays and that gave no variety to their play selection. Manning has always been at this most comfortable when he has a good, reliable tight end to work the middle of the field. Just think back to when he had Jeremy Shockey. Njoku is a big, physical tight end who loves to make plays over the middle of the field and fights with everything he has for extra yards. Not only that, he is a good blocker which is needed as the Giants' offensive line was pretty terrible last year. Adding some height to this team to help out their woeful redzone production also wouldn't be a bad idea. If he is selected by the Giants, I see him as a day one starter who catches about 65 passes and 7 touchdowns as a rookie, which might just be good enough to get the Giants deep into the playoffs.

24) Oakland Raiders select Adoree Jackson, Corner Back, USC Trojans
Out of all of the players that I scouted this year, Jackson was my absolute favorite to watch. This kid is such a dynamic athlete that it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up like Chris Gamble and played both offense and defense. But at the moment, I have him projected as a corner in the NFL. Jackson has great ball skills, the athleticism to turn and run with a lot of receivers, and the vertical to make up for his small size. He has a tendency to play a little loose, but with a good secondary coach he will learn to trust his technique more and could become an interception machine. The Raiders would gladly take that as they have struggled with their secondary for several years now. They just let go of first round bust D.J. Hayden and Sean Smith didn't play as well as expected last year after coming off a strong few seasons in Kansas City. Jackson may not play right away on the outside, but he could see some early time as a nickel corner. Add in what he could bring to this offense and on returns, and Jackson makes an excellent fit in Silver and Black.

25) Houston Texans select Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback, UNC Tar Heels
The second quarterback to come off the board is all the way in the mid twenties, and it is the guy most people will be taken ahead of Mahomes. I do like Trubisky, but I still would be hesitant about taking him in the first. He has little experience, didn't ever have to operate an NFL offense at UNC, and was unable to beat out a quarterback who wasn't even drafted during his 3 years in Chapel Hill. But there is solid upside to him and frankly, what else are the Texans going to do? They really don't have any major holes on their team other than quarterback and are really just wasting the primes of some of their stars. I doubt that Trubisky can start right away and find success, especially in O'Brien's complex offense, but if he is able to sit for a year or two and learn then maybe he could have more of a chance than starting right out of the gate. At this point, I think the Texans could be willing to take the gamble.

26) Seattle Seahawks select Ryan Ramczyk, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin Badgers
The Seahawks offensive line is BAD. I mean, they are seriously terrible. PFF released their season grades for all positions, and every member of this line ranked in the bottom 5 of their position. It is seriously a miracle that this team made it to the playoffs. They drafted an offensive tackle last year, but he was so bad that they moved him inside to guard in favor of an undrafted player. They absolutely have to do something about that or they are going to get Russell Wilson killed. I believe that Ramczyk could be a starter somewhere along this line as a rookie and be an instant upgrade. He isn't as physical as some reason Wisconsin linemen, but he is very quick and light on his feet and can mirror the edge rushers which is becoming so much more valuable in today's game. The Seahawks still managed to run the ball well last year, so they do not have to focus on run blocking. Just keep your franchise quarterback in one piece.

27) Kansas City Chiefs select Malik McDowell, Defensive End, Michigan State Spartans
Another year, another crushing playoff loss for the Chiefs. Like a few other teams, the Chiefs have to feel disappointed that they let down such a good season with an awful game in the playoffs. The biggest loss may be that their talented defense just got another year older too and cannot seem to stay healthy. Andy Reid has shown a penchant for drafting lineman early as his style is to really control the trenches. McDowll is an incredibly talented kid who has not lived up to his potential thus far. His desire to improve his game and apparent lack of motor has made some question just how good he can really be. That is obviously hard to say, but Reid has shown to be able to work well with defensive lines. With his potential, this could be an important piece to add to a defense that showed they can get after the quarterback as well as anyone else when they are on.

28) Dallas Cowboys select Gareon Conley, Corner Back, Ohio State Buckeyes
I had this whole thing completely written before the allegations against him surfaced, so I'm just going to try and give the benefit of the doubt and keep this selection. Conley could well be worth it as he is still developing but has shown a lot of promise so far. He showed continuous improvement as his two years as a starter and has the potential to be a very good man to man corner. In terms of needs, the Cowboys may as well just go for one of the top defensive players on the board. Their defense played better than expected last year but they lost some key pieces and can't count on guys like Randy Gregory. They were hit the hardest in their secondary where Mo Claiborne opted for a contract elsewhere after finally having a breakout season. They need both pass rushers and corner help, so if Conley is available he could be in consideration. However, with the allegations against him, whether true or not, might cause him to slide pretty significantly.

29) Green Bay Packers select Kevin King, Corner Back, Washington Huskies
If it weren't for an injury to his team mate, King might not be selected in the first round instead of his teammate Sidney Jones. But King was overlooked at Washington due to guys like Jones and Buddha Baker being the starts of the secondary. Yet he was turning heads after showing great athleticism for a guy who stands about 6'3. His length and athleticism has coaches wondering what they can have on their hands if they can refine him a bit. The Packers were hit hard last year by injury in their secondary, but it wouldn't hurt for them to get more talent either. They nearly missed the playoffs because their defense, and secondary primarily, was a sieve that just gave up huge chunk plays. And when it came time for their game against the Falcons, well, they just never had a chance against Julio Jones. Not saying that King will automatically fix that, but it would at least be a good start to overhaul a defense in dire need of that.

30) Pittsburgh Steelers select Takk McKinley, Outside Linebacker, UCLA Bruins
Pittsburgh continues to overhaul their defense and more specifically their pass rush. Jarvis Jones didn't pan out as planned and was released this offseason. The Steelers still managed to rack up 38 sacks year which is a pretty good total, but James Harrison lead the way with 5 sacks and is another year older. They cannot continue to rely on him going forward and could use an injection of youth for their pass rush. McKinley has been projected all over the first round, but I think that snagging him at the end of the first round is pretty appropriate range. McKinley has good burst off of the edge and has the ability to bend and close on the quarterback. He has been knocked for his size which could end up being a concern as lineman with longer arms can knock him off his course before he makes first contact. But with this being such a big need, I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers took a flyer on him at this juncture.

31) Atlanta Falcons select Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Florida Gators
The Falcons are in need of a pass rusher off the edge or possibly a defensive tackle, but there isn't someone who really fits the value range with who is currently on the board. That isn't too big of a problem as they could also use help at linebacker and this could is a good range for Davis as well. He played a lot faster than his numbers at the Combine would indicate and is someone who can cover up tight ends and running backs. He also has great instincts which translates to him playing well against the run. But more importantly, he showed to be an above average blitzer when he was asked to. Atlanta can really use whatever they can get on defense. As the end of the Super Bowl showed, the defense is still a work in progress before this team is a consistent Super Bowl contender. They should take whoever they think can be a plug and play guy.

32) New Orleans Saints select Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford Cardinal
I considered dropping him out of the first after the news of Adrian Peterson signing came bout, but this pick actually does make a lot of sense. Sean Payton has never been afraid to use his entire stable of backs during a game. Simply put, McCaffrey is a play maker who is likely to go MUCH higher than this in the actual draft. He has exceptional speed and lateral quickness that freezes defenders in place. I can't tell you how many times I saw this kid get a linebacker going one way only to put him on skates and go the other direction. But while he will certainly be playing a role at running back, it wouldn't surprise me if Payton began to run a significant amount of plays with McCaffrey in the slot. David Shaw did this a lot with McCaffrey and it is not an exaggeration to say that he can run the full route tree better than a most college receivers. Payton is all about getting guys into space and once he comes into the league, McCaffrey may already be one of the top playmakers.

2017 Interior Offensive Line Rankings

1) Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Height: 6'4          Weight: 309
40 Yard Dash: 5.00
Bench Press: 34

If you want to see how an offensive lineman can translate to the NFL, watch them play against their best opponents. And when the best opponent you play is Alabama, you know you will see how that player can handle NFL caliber players. Forrest Lamp more than held his own against Bama’s front seven. While playing left tackle, he routinely went up against future first rounders in Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. The combination of speed, power and technique that Lamp held down was astonishing. He is a tough and nasty player that I can see playing all over the offensive line. He may best be moved to guard but I definitely think he can play either tackle spots. The technique that Lamp plays with is fantastic. His kicksteps are perfects and well balanced. When a player pulls a swim move on him, he resets and balances his body and continues with his blocking. Bull rushing Lamp is not a wise move as the 6’4 and 309 pound lineman does not get pushed around but rather drives players off the ball. I understand that he has short arms, but Lamp is the type of player that you can plug and player anywhere. There is some talk about him playing center. While I haven’t seen him play the position, he is definitely athletic and intelligent enough to play there. Lamp is one of my favorite players this year and I cannot see a scenario where he falls outside of the top twenty. Guards are impact players.

Stat to Know - 34: Number of bench presses of 225 pounds that Lamp did. He was also a top performer at the combine in the forty yard dash, board jump and three cone drill. Athletic and strong.

2) Dan Feeney, Indiana Hoosiers
Height: 6'4          Weight: 305
40 Yard Dash: 5.24
Bench Press: 26

The guard position is a peculiar position. There are so many instances where guards are drafted after the third round and go on to have long and successful careers. That is one of the reasons why so many teams wait to draft interior offensive linemen but there are certain ones that you can’t sit around for. The Dallas Cowboys have begun to dispel this myth with three of their men on the offensive line being first round picks (and La’el Collins should have been one too). When a player is talented, you grab him. Dan Feeney is one of those players. Everything aside, the thing that grabbed my attention was at the Senior Bowl. Feeney was the leader of his team. The offensive line is a brotherhood like no other position on the field. Those men do everything together and Feeney seems like the kind of player that can fit right into that. The former Hoosier is a nasty, put your head down kind of guard that will run you the hell over. He aims to put defenders on their backs and succeeds more times than naught. Feeney pulls very well for a guard. Pulling guards are part a pretty important part of run blocking (depending on your line scheme) and when one is good at it, you keep at it. He would best be suited in a zone blocking scheme, which the majority of the NFL currently runs. Paving the way for current NFL stars, Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard, was Dan Feeney. Why would you not want this guy on your team?

Stat to Know - 7.52: Feeney’s three cone drill was third at the combine this year. Show his athleticism which translates to his pulling ability.

3) Pat Elflein, Ohio State Buckeyes
Height: 6'3          Weight: 303
40 Yard Dash: 5.32
Bench Press: 22

I am always astonished how undervalued the center position is. The entire offensive line in general is underrated but center and left tackle are the two key positions. The left tackle spot is pretty obvious. The blindside is the blindside but the center is the heart, soul and brains of the entire line. Nick Mangold held down that New York Jets line for years and with him playing it was obvious how indispensable he was. When Mangold was out, that offensive line never seemed right. The reason I bring up the former Jets center is because I see a lot of Pat Elflein in him. The obvious is that they were both Ohio State centers but there is much more than that. The footwork, intelligence, nastiness and grit are all things you want in your center and these two are the epitome of that. Elflein is not as athletic as Mangold but you would still take him on your team. He has experience playing both guard positions and center so you can grab him depending on your offensive line situation. The former Buckeye has a great wrestling background that shows he is athletic enough to move around the line and this shows when he snaps the ball and pulls for a kickout block. Not too often do you see centers pull but Elflein pulls it off extremely well. I’ve watched this year’s Ohio State vs Michigan tape multiple times as there are a wealth of pro prospects and this center always stood out. He holds his blocks and created many lanes for the OSU ballcarriers. This is the type of player that you grab to help gel your offensive line together and he will surely not disappoint.

Stat to Know - 3188: Ohio State’s rushing yards in 2016. This was the year AFTER Ezekiel Elliott left.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 Linebacker Rankings

1) Reuben Foster, Alabama Crimson Tide
Career Stats: 211 tackles, 23 TFL, 7 sacks
Height: 6'          Weight: 229
40 Yard Dash: N/A
Bench Press: N/A

Linebackers are such an old fashioned position but I absolutely love it. There is nothing like that true blue collar, hard nosed football player running around the field trying to decapitate the opponent. Inflicting as much physical pain as possible. Reuben Foster is an absolute animal on the field. He flies to the ball with controlled recklessness. Aiming to pop the ball carrier, Foster really does bring the hammer. Showing his commitment to the game, he dropped 20 pounds heading into senior year and really improved his quickness. He can either bulk back up and become a true middle linebacker or stay around 230 pounds and be a Will linebacker with the ability to cover tight ends and running backs. Nick Saban knows his defense and he has routinely given compliments of the highest standard to Foster because he knows what a dynamic player he is. The downside to Foster could definitely be the medical evaluations. Much is to be discussed about this issue and the little outburst he had that sent him home early from the Combine. The former Crimson Tide player could have a little bit of a tumble on draft day, but when it is time to play, this guy will be ready. When picking players to start a football team, Foster is bound to up there.

Stat to Know - 115: Number of Foster’s tackles this past year.

2) Jarrad Davis, Florida Gators
Career Stats: 201 tackles, 20 TFL, 5.5 sacks
Height: 6'1          Weight: 238
40 Yard Dash: N/A
Bench Press: N/A

Growing up a Florida Gators fan, I have been watching Jarrad Davis play since 2013 and you could tell he was destined for stardom. He is an instinctive and tough nosed linebacker and was truly the heart and soul of these fantastic Gator defenses. He plays with a true defensive physicality that is needed in this day and age of football. But it’s that damn injury bug that keeps biting at University of Florida linebackers. Davis tried playing through his ankle injury but it proved to be too much pain amid being a first round selection. A downhill run stuffer, Davis shoots to the ball carrier and brings them down. He makes shoestring tackles, booming hits and has pretty good coverage ability. His junior year was a thing of beauty. Showing he is a playmaker all over with 94 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and 4 pass deflections. I really do believe that his best football is ahead of him on Sundays. A true lover of the game, his work ethic and leadership coupled with his on the field ability should have Davis going in the first round. While I will miss watching this former Gator star play for my beloved college team, I know Davis will be a hell of a player in the NFL.

Stat to Know - 154: Number of Davis's tackles in his last twenty-three games.

3) Haason Reddick, Temple Owls
Career Stats: 149 tackles, 47 TFL, 17.5 sacks
Height: 6'1          Weight: 237
40 Yard Dash: 4.52
Bench Press: 24

Disruptive. That is the word to describe Reddick. He is disruptive in the run game when he is chasing down ball carriers in the backfield and affects the pass game when he drops back into coverage. Oh, he can also get after the quarterback pretty damn well as noted by his 9.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss in 2016. Playing running back and safety in high school, the former Temple Owl does look a bit hesitant as he is still somewhat new to the linebacker position but there is so much raw talent. That talent and athleticism is what will get him drafted early. Quick twitched, athletic linebackers are far from what most teams want but with the transition to these pass heavy offenses players of Reddick’s nature are needed. Three down linebackers need to be able to cover or rush the passer and this kid can do both. 17.5 career sacks and 47 tackles for a loss show what he can do in the backfield. He does have some issues disengaging from blockers but that is the former defensive back in him. Ryan Shazier is a great comparison for Reddick. They are both fast linebackers that are not “Jack Lambert” physical but they get the job done. Lifting weights and getting stronger is a must for this former Owl but when all's said and done, he gets to where he needs to be.

Stat to Know - 35.5: Reddick’s tackles for loss over the past two seasons.

4) TJ Watt, Wisconsin Badgers
Career Stats: 70 tackles, 17 TFL, 11.5 sacks
Height: 6'4          Weight: 252
40 Yard Dash: 4.69
Bench Press: 21

Another Watt in the league??? Okay, while TJ may not be as good as older brother JJ he is still a damn good player. The versatility to play inside or outside in a 3-4 or outside in a 4-3 will have Watt quite high on many team’s draft boards. His ability to rush the passer shows his true skill (11.5 sacks). TJ Watt followed in a very similar career path as JJ. Coming to college as a tight end, they both made the transition to the defensive side of the ball. This ability shows the true nature of a Watt because their athleticism and instincts are second to none. TJ is not an overly great athlete but his time at tight end did produce a very good linebacker. The option of pass rush moves at Watt’s disposal is not of the highest quality. While he does a good job of engaging and disengaging blockers, the edge bend that pass rushers need to posses is not there for him. His older brother isn’t the best at that either but the amount of power that he can generate coming off the ball and then combining that with a nasty spin move makes JJ one of the most dominant and feared defensive ends in the league. TJ will need some lessons from his brother. One year of playing collegiate football is a detriment and the fact that TJ had some pretty bad injuries to his knees does not bode well for him. But Watt’s are a success story in this league and I don’t believe I can doubt TJ.
Stat to Know - 6.79: Watt’s three cone drill time. He can definitely get to the quarterback.

5) Alex Anzalone, Florida Gators
Career Stats: 75 tackles, 5 TFL, 3 sacks
Height: 6'3          Weight: 241
40 Yard Dash: 4.63
Bench Press: 16

The relatively unknown Anzalone was one part of a two headed linebacking dragon at the University of Florida. While Jarrad Davis garnered the majority of the attention, Anzalone is a physically impressive player in his own right. So much is not known of the former gator as he was constantly hurt. Whether it was his shoulder or his broken left arm, one thing after another took Anzalone from the football field. If he has time to get fully healthy, this kid can make an impact. Weighing the risk vs reward factor, the former five star high school recruit could be an absolute steal in the later rounds. The injuries do add up though and must be carefully examined and considered. Standing at 6’3 and over 240 pounds, Anzalone is a mammoth. Consider his 4.63 yard forty yard dash and you have a potential sideline to sideline linebacker that smacks ball carriers around. Having experience playing all three linebacker positions and being a vocal leader will help this guy to make and stick a team. For him, it’s a matter of staying on the field. The best ability is availability.

Stat to Know - 4.63: Anzalone’s forty yard dash was less than .2 slower than Jabrill Pepper’s and he was forty pounds heavier.