Trey Flowers is an outstanding, intelligent young man and a physical, violent edge rusher. He’s absolutely relentless playing DE in 4-3 front, he never stops moving, talking or walking. In his life as well as on the field. He’s built to be an outstanding team-mate, professional and contributor at the next level and beyond. He’s strong in the pass game and has played above his size, beating bigger, more physical, tackles to the punch. He has a quick first step and is quick enough of the line. Against the run he shows good discipline both with his eyes and setting the edge, though too often he gets caught up in his block and doesn’t disengage quick enough. He’s a high-floor/low-ceiling type of player who can contribute from day one for most organisations on the field and in the locker room.
Agholor is a Nigerian born, pro-ready receiver who’s been overlooked through the process for more glamorous, explosive, receiving prospects. He has natural separation skills, particularly against press, and is clean and polished in and out of his breaks. He’s a pro-ready player running the kind of combination routes at his school (USC) that he’ll be running on Sunday’s. He has some physical limitations; catching radius, elite speed and the ability to win contested deep balls against lengthy defensive backs. But he’s already ahead of a lot of prospects in his route running, understanding of defensive concepts, play-recognition and versatility. All necessities at the next level.
Devin Smith is an elite vertical threat who commands double teams time and time again. He has an outstanding burst and glides effortlessly down the field. He’s a terrific threat after the catch, though is below average in traffic, and he can not only stretch the field vertically with speed but with skill and separation skills. Smith utilises head bobs and dummies as well as anyone. In shorter timing routes Smith can be somewhat of a liability. He has a propensity to duck his head going over the middle and struggles getting in and out of his breaks. There’s questions about his ability to learn pro-style concepts but as a sole deep threat isolated on one side of the formation, he could be elite.
I’m much higher on Golden than most. He’s an impressive individual on and off the field and is a true workout warrior. Considered a ‘tone-setter’ by the coaching staff and was named a team captain in 2014. He’s an ‘effort’ player who gets a lot of his production on pursuit plays and second/third efforts. He has a slight ‘tweener’ build (converted from linebacker to defensive end in 2014) but he’s best suited to play DE in the 4-3. Golden can get blown of the ball when kicked inside at five-technique. As a pass-rusher he’s extremely violent with his hands and bends the edge well enough to be productive at the next level. He can get pushed back in the run game, but as is the theme with Golden, he efforts his way through a lot of plays and has good instincts. He’s slated as a 4th/5th round pick most place but I’d be comfortable taking him in the second.
Humphries is a raw player with the prototypical size and frame for an NFL tackle. He has excellent foot speed, good upper body strength and lands more ‘kill shots’ than any of the tackles in the class. Though he has some unbelievable physical qualities he is extremely inconsistent on tape. He lunges far too often, is regularly unbalanced and can be beaten at the snap by quicker edge players. That said you cannot teach his size and physical gifts and he flashes enough on tape to get any coaching staff very excited.
Dorsett is a lethal speed threat. He ran the second fastest time for wide receivers at the combine and is easily the quickest player in the draft in pads. He comes with durability concerns due to his size and history (torn MCL in 2013) and his focus and production comes and goes within games. He’s an unbelievable catcher of the ball with stats of the charts. You can argue his catching radius and some of his mechanics but the results are too good to have any real valid argument. His biggest plus is the speed.
He’s a legit homerun threat any times you get the ball in his hands. He can play from the slot as an after the catch guy, be used in motion, jet sweeps and can play outside the numbers to draw safety help.
I continue to get back and forth on the inside linebackers in this class. The best talent in the class all grades closely between 84-81 and I still believe Kwon Alexander (LSU) is the better value selection for when you can grab him and his talent compared to Kendricks, Perryman and McKinney. Kendricks is a vocal leader who’s slightly undersized and has been plagued by injuries throughout his college career. He’s an outstanding ‘diagnose and attack’ player. He reads and reacts well, shows quick reactions and does a great job in coverage. He shows good range against the run and is an above average tackler. His major advantage is his ability in space and in coverage. He has good enough spacial awareness and speed to match up against running backs and tight ends. He’s a better fit in a 4-3 than a 3-4.
Cann has a chance to be a second round steal. He’s an unbelievable worker in the weight room and film room. He has really good athleticism for the position and thrives at the second level and as a pulling guard. His fundamentals are flawless. He does not wow you with elite athletic ability or overwhelming power but he’s consistent in all categories and every game.
McKinney is another player who’s solid to above average in all major categories but not elite in one particular area. He has good ‘diagnose and attack’ skills and seems to have a natural feel for the game. He’s always around the ball despite not having elite speed, range or coverage skills. He has a powerful upper body and is a better blitzer than Eric Kendricks but struggles in coverage against running backs. The McKinney/Kendricks argument comes down to scheme fit. I’d take McKinney in a 3-4 and Kendricks in a 4-3.
Perriman is a big physical receiver who’s gathering momentum as we get closer to the draft and has a chance to sneak into the bottom of the first round. He’s a strong vertical threat who struggles with precise timing routes but does extremely well high pointing and fighting for the football. He gains easy leverage with his combination of speed and size and flashes after the catch speed. He’s a constant big play threat waiting to happen through the air though he is an inconsistent catcher. He’s extremely good outside the hashes (rare) and that’s immediately going to catch the attention of teams with elite quarterbacks picking at the back-end of the draft; Green Bay, New England, New Orleans etc. Obviously it can be said for any receiver that playing with an elite quarterback is important for the player, but some wide receivers can thrive regardless; Sammy Watkins, Josh Gordon, Mike Evans etc. I think Perriman has to land with a good signal caller.
La’El Collins is another offensive tackle (though likely to play guard at the next level) who does nothing to leap off the screen but does everything well. He’s a physical player who flashes a mean streak and is a very good finisher. He’s athletic, so naturally has been played outside, but may be a better pro prospect on the interior. He’s scheme versatile and can play in either a man or zone scheme and will likely be a good player for some time.
Another LSU defensive back with first round potential. Collins is an elite press-cover corner prospect. He has great natural size and speed and is as fluid as any corner in the draft. He beats people at the line and wins at the line more often than he loses. He’s a decent recovery defender, due to his length, if he is beat but does not have a second or third gear to keep up with receivers who do. He displays good route recognition and patience when playing off man, but has below average instincts and rarely, if ever, jumps the ball. He’s hard working in the run game, has linebacker like diagnostic skills and can really deliver a blow when he lowers his shoulder. Given how much press the league is now playing he’ll likely be a first round pick but I worry if he’s beat at the line consistently by the historically good level of receivers around the league.
Ekpre-Olomu has been dropping and dropping down several draft boards as we go through the draft process but I remain one of five people with residence of Ekpre-Olomu island; his mother (queen), father (Josh), Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, Oregon defensive coordinator Dom Pellum and myself. I still think Ekpre-Olomu is an elite prospect with a chance to be a star. He has elite coverage skills and instincts with football IQ off the charts. He transitions in and out of breaks quickly and with an explosive closing burst. He’s confident and plays with swagger and an edge. He tracks the ball well and has the production to show for it.
Olomu is underrated in the run game and is a willing, physical tackler who continues to get stronger. The only issue with Ekpre-Olomu is his health. He suffered a devastating knee injury that has seen many people write him off. But as we continue to rave about Todd Gurley’s recovery let’s remember that Ekpre-Olomu suffered the same injury and visited the same doctors. He can’t participate in pre-draft workouts so it’s absolutely a gamble to take him but it’s a gamble that’s absolutely worth taking. If healthy he’s at least the second corner back taken in the draft sole due to his lack of size. Unhealthy, he may slide and that will be to the benefit of whoever lands him.
Thompson is another player whose island I’m on as he falls down others boards. He can legitimately played outside linebacker, safety or even running back and I love scheme versatile players. He has good speed for a linebacker and below average for a back and safety and it’s likely he’ll play linebacker at the next level and a 3rd down safety hybrid. Thompson has spectacular range against the run and covers sideline to sideline effortlessly. He has great instincts and high football IQ, displayed by his ability to play either linebacker or safety. He’s an extremely good tackler, breaks down well, wraps up and can, when needed, deliver a blow. Thompson’s biggest issue is as an edge rusher. He lacks the ideal size and weight to rush the passer from the outside. He gets off the ball very well and can win at the POA by getting off the snap first but he regularly loses against bigger blockers. He’s an intriguing prospect but if he lands with an elite defensive mind; Bill Belichick, Todd Bowles or Rex Ryan he can be a very special hybrid player.
Jackson is yet another Florida State player (and Florida State lineman) on my top-100 board. Jackson is a reserved player off the field who turns into a run-blocking monster on the field. He’s powerful and can anchor the interior of the line. You can anchor him inside and run pull and power plays off him. He’s best suited for a man blocking system. He’s good enough in the pass game to hold his own but absolutely needs to land with a run dominant team.
Harold is one of the quickest risers on my board and In all honesty could be ten to fifteen spots too low by the next time I do this list. Harold is a player who completely incubuses one of my favourite terms ‘take the brain out player.’ Some edge rushers get completely over evaluated. Sure Harold’s instincts are adequate and he doesn’t show great range as a tackler in the run game. But he’s a pure edge rusher and that’s what he should be. Take the brain out, take out any complications in the scheme and let him go rush the passer on each down. There’s no need to get too smart and stop dropping him into coverage, though he can certainly hold his own in coverage, let him get after the offensive tackle and chase the passer. He plays stronger than he weighs, jars blockers and can bend the edge. He disengages quickly and packs a strong inside punch at the POA. He still has room to improve, but has a great engine and initial pass rushing instincts. Just let him go play.
Funchess is a tight end converted to wide receiver, though his skill set is exactly the same. He’s tall with thigh end size, a tight end catching radius and above average speed for his size. He has a huge catching radius and quarterbacks just have to place the ball in his area code and he’ll grab it. He flashes the ability to make acrobatic, one-handed catches as well. He has outstanding big play ability down the field and is a mismatch nightmare in the red zone. He’s going to catch touchdown passes. I have no doubt in my mind. I still question whether he can be anchor a passing attack as an isolation player drawing double coverage.
Funchess still struggles on contested balls and in traffic. But he’ll certainly catch red zone balls and can make splash plays downfield. He’s best suited to go to a versatile offense like in Denver, New Orleans or New England rather than be the go to number one or two guy in an offense.
I recently drafted him to the Patriots in my ‘What I’d do if I was GM’ draft 1.0 where he could be a ‘Y’ move tight end in a twin tight end offense with Rob Gronkowski or be a mismatch nightmare in a stacked formation that features Funchess, Gronkowski and Edelman. He has an intriguing skill set and I’m fascinated to see where he’s going to land.
Bud Dupree is an outstanding player with elite top-end speed and range against the run. He has the ability to play multiple positions all over defensive formations and never has to come off the field. He’s an ‘effort’ player with great pursuit skills and great instincts. He shows the ability to read keys and has shutdown read-option plays vs opponents. As an edge rusher he’s average and struggles against lengthy and bigger bodied tackles. He flashes the pop needed at the POA but does not get consistent initial pressure on the pocket. His biggest upside is his work ethic and versatility. He can line up on 3rd downs against running backs and tight ends but can also play outside at outside linebacker or on the line at defensive end.
Williams is a versatile tight end who doesn’t have elite big play ability but does stretch the seams vertically. Williams moves all over the formation and is an adequate blocker who can play off the line, in the slot or split out as a wide receiver. As a catcher he attacks the ball, displays good concentration in traffic and makes extremely difficult catches effortlessly. He plays really hard and shows a nasty streak. He’s a typical ‘someone you want to play with but not against.’
Jordan Phillips is an unbelievable athlete for his size. He has great size, a huge frame and elite mobility. Phillips is a big bodied nose tackle who can be extremely violent against the run and has great range for someone playing at his weight and often played, and penetrated, double teams in college. As a pass rusher he’s inconsistent. He fires out of stance and flashes the ability to collapse the pocket, single-handedly, while facing double teams. A has a bunch of ‘wow’ plays that leap of the screen. His tape against Clemson was one of the best I’ve seen all year.
His biggest issue is his effort. It comes and goes not just week to week, or quarter to quarter, but down to down. He often looks uninterested and particularly frustrated when facing double teams. Now, will that frustration go if he’s one on one at the pro level? possibly, he is just a redshirt sophomore entering the draft. But it’s a huge gamble to take on a first round pick. He’s a boom or bust type player. I grade him extremely well in all categories and if the intangible effort was there he’d be a 90 player. But it’s not. It’s huge a gamble and one, personally, I would take the upside is just too great. But there are plenty who wouldn’t spend a high pick on a player with question marks over his interest in the game and someone who plays immaturely.
Carl Davis is another player who runs hot and cold within games. Though Davis’ issues seem to be more physical (looking gassed) than mental (effort) and in a pro training regime you’d expect that to change. Davis is a versatile lineman who can play one-technique or three-technique in a 4-3 front or with his athletic ability can even play five-technique in a 3-4 front. He’s a disruptive pass rusher he wowed coaches at the Senior Bowl after having a lack of production in college. His pressure is formed mainly of his step and violent hands. He needs to learn more effective moves (bull rush, swim etc.). In the run games he can stun people and has really good range and initial burst from the DT spot. You’ll hear it often through this process. There’s lots of really good DT prospects. They all have a very good initial jump, but none penetrate as well as elite prospect Aaron Donald last year.
Green-Beckham is the ultimate boom or bust player in this year’s draft. Bryan Perez at DraftBreakdown put it best ‘top-ten talent on the field. Undraftable off it.’ Green-Beckham’s character is a major concern. I’m sure several people have heard this many times as we build to the draft but I’ll list the perceived red flags below;
– Difficult upbringing moving from multiple foster homes before being adopted by his football coach.
– Suspended for one game in 2014 as a freshman at Missouri after being arrested for marijuana possession.
– Arrested in January 2014 for possession of marijuana. Chargers were later dismissed.
– In April 2014 he was questioned after allegedly forcing his way into an apartment and pushing a woman down stairs. He was not arrested but was dismissed from Missouri.
– Tried to transfer to Oklahoma but the NCAA turned down his waiver to play.
There are some serious issues there, including consistently being in the wrong place at the wrong time regardless of his actions when he was in those places.
On the field he is a top-ten talent. He has an otherworldly leap and is a physical freak with long arms, long strides and elite speed for his size. He’s not in his league but he is in the ilk of Calvin Johnson. He frequently breaks tackles after the catch and makes a lot of tough catches in traffic. He’s an inconsistent route runner and needs work in the area, but creates natural separation with his size, length and speed. He’s a big time red zone threat with a huge catching radius, an ability to elevate and an ability to contour his body in the air. He has huge hands and a large wingspan.
When his mind is right he can be unstoppable but the question remains if he can ever get his mind right. Josh Gordon provides a cautionary tale not of players smoking weed but being consistently in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Perryman is the top rated inside linebacker on my board. Perryman has equal diagnose and attack instincts to Eric Kendricks, though Perryman is a superior tackler. He plays low to the ground and covers the field like a true defensive field general. He displays the art of tackling like no one else in the draft and barely, if ever, misses. Perryman makes tackling look simple even against players with superior, elite, speed (Ameer Abdullah). He breaks down perfectly nearly every time and when he arrives he delivers a forceful blow (7 forced fumbles). He’s a good player in coverage and again can diagnose and attack in passing situations. He can hold up against running back motioning out and can handle tight ends over the middle. He’s not CJ Mosley but I have him graded between Mosley last year and Manti Te’o the year before (top two ILB last two years).
Malcolm Brown is another player who could see a huge leap on my board. I’m currently three games through my evaluation and he’s moving up after each and everyone. He could end up being a top-ten selection. Brown’s a star against the run and can be a true anchor of a defensive line. he consistently wins in one on one situations and has shown the ability to penetrate against double teams. As a pass rusher he’s pretty average. Everything is based on power. He can thump initially and disengage quickly when needed but if he doesn’t win at the punch he struggles to generate any pressure. His extra dimension is his versatility. He’s had experience playing every position in every base front. NT, DT, DE in a 4-3 and NT and DE in a 3-4.
TJ Clemmings is an unrefined tackle with huge upside. Clemmings is extremely athletic with a powerful strong frame. He’s only played right tackle at college and is extremely raw (former defensive tackle) but he displays the footwork and pivot ability to play left tackle at the next level. His athletic ability allows him to move effortlessly to the second level and he maintains his eye level better than I thought he would at this stage in his development. He’s a project, long-term, left tackle but he can play as a guard from day one. He’s going to struggle early on against NFL calibre rushers but given some time he could be a really good lineman given his natural abilities and his development on limited time thus far.