Greg Gabriel
The Director's Report


Philadelphia Eagles

When Andy Reid was Head Coach in Philadelphia, he thought it was both necessary and good business to draft a young quarterback if not every year at least every other year. With Howie Roseman back in charge of football operations, the Eagles are going back to that same philosophy. With that thought in mind, the Eagles traded up from the 8 slot to number 2 overall to draft one of the two top quarterbacks in this draft.

It’s my opinion that Roseman and the Eagles wanted North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz all along. Regardless ofJared Goff going first overall, Wentz has more upside than any other quarterback in the draft. He is big, strong, athletic and has played in an NFL style system while at NDSU. Will there be a learning curve? Of course and it would serve him better if he can sit and learn for a year, but in the end, the Eagles got themselves a potentially great player.

Isaac Seumalo has size, strength and versatility. He has experience at guard, center and tackle. That versatility will let him be one of 7 linemen that dress on Sunday’s a rookie. While Seumalo may not be ready to start as a rookie, he will be a starter by year two and has very good upside.

At 5’10 – 208, Wendall Smallwood does not have ideal size but he has exceptional speed (4.41). In today’s NFL, more and more teams are going to a rotational back scheme and Smallwood will fit very well into that type of roll. He is quick to the hole, has power, can make people miss and is a very reliable receiver.

Auburn’s Blake Countess will be a slot corner and can be very good matching up against the smaller quicker slot receivers in the league. Jalen Mills can be a 7th round steal. While he had some off field issues that caused him to drop, his talent level is more of a mid-round type of prospect.

New York Giants

Word out of New York was that the Giants were looking at Michigan State’s Jack Conklin as their top choice. After the draft day slide of Laremy Tunsil, Conklin went at number 8 to the Tennessee Titans after they traded up to get him.

That left the Giants looking at Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd, but the Chicago Bears sensing that moved ahead of the Giants to draft him. The Giants then chose Ohio State corner Eli Apple. Apple with his size and length has the talent to be outstanding. He still had two years of college eligibility left so he is raw, but there is no mistaking the upside.

In my opinion, Oklahoma receiver Sterling Shepard was the best slot receiver in the draft. He is an exceptional athlete with very good ability to get in and out of cuts. His hands and run after skills are excellent also.

Boise State free safety Darian Thompson is an interception waiting to happen. He has great awareness and anticipation playing the backend to go along with great ball skills. B.J. Goodson is a throwback type of Mike linebacker. He has strength and power at the point of attack and can stuff the run. There is no way UCLA running back Paul Perkins should have lasted until the 5th round, but except for Zeke Elliott, all the backs fell in this draft.

Dallas Cowboys

Around the league it was believed that Cowboy Head Coach Jason Garrett was pushing hard for the selection of Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. He felt that after the Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray in free agency the run game went downhill quickly. Elliott is similar to Murray in that he is very physical but he is also an improvement in the pass game over Murray.

No one knows when or if Jaylon Smith will ever step onto the football field again, but with the Cowboys orthopedic surgeon having done the surgery on Smith, they know better that anyone else as to the prognosis. If the Cowboys guessed right, Dallas got two picks with top 5 value.

Maliek Collins can play on the nose or the 3-technique in Rod Marinelli’s defense, but I believe he will be better off at nose. Charles Tapper gives Dallas a pure edge rusher who very well could have gone much higher in the Draft.

Quarterback Dak Prescott showed much improvement from 2014 to 2015. That said, he is still a work in progress and it will take time for him to adjust to playing in a pro-style offense. The Cowboys have to hope that Tony Romo is around at least a couple of years to help Prescott with the transition.

Anthony Brown is a developmental press corner with size and length. He may need a year on the practice squad.

Washington Redskins

I felt that Josh Docson was the best receiver in this draft. While he may not have the natural physical traits of Corey Coleman, he is a better route runner and can be effective both short and deep.

Washington lists Su’a Cravens as a safety, but I feel he is more of the nickel linebacker type who many teams covet right now. He has experience at both safety and linebacker and has coverage skills as well as defend the run type traits. A very solid pick!

Corner Kendall Fuller is coming off a knee injury but when he is ready to go he will fit nicely into the Redskins scheme. He may start out as the team’s third corner as upside to becoming a very good second corner.

Matt Ioannidis is a tough physical inside defensive lineman who will most likely play on the nose. Nate Sudfeld is a developmental quarterback.

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Greg Gabriel
The Director's Report


I have been involved in some way with the NFL Draft since 1981. That said, the 2016 NFL Draft was one of the strangest drafts I have ever witnessed. A month ago no one would have thought that quarterbacks would go first and second. Up until the Tennessee Titans traded away the number one pick to the Los Angeles Rams on April 14th, Laremy Tunsil the big tackle from Ole Miss was looked at as the likely first pick in the draft. The following week the Philadelphia Eagles traded up from the number 8 slot for the second overall pick. Those two trades assured us that for the second consecutive year quarterbacks would be selected with the first two picks and Tunsil was basically out of luck.

Now the question was “when will Tunsil get selected”? At first, many thought that San Diego with a need on the offensive line would be the team to select him. Then a few days before the draft, word got out that if San Diego did draft a tackle, it would be Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley. With it pretty much a certainty that both Dallas and Jacksonville would pass on drafting a tackle that meant the earliest Tunsil could go was the sixth pick to Baltimore.

Now, fast forward to the night of the Draft. About 15 minutes before the start of the Draft, someone hacked Tunsil’s twitter account and posted a video of Tunsil with a gas mask and a bong smoking marijuana. In all the years I have been involved with the draft, I have never seen anything like this. A damaging social media post cost a player at least $7 million dollars!

Granted it was Tunsil in the video, but it was also obvious that the video was made a few years earlier as Tunsil looked much younger. Still, NFL clubs had to immediately make a decision and for many it was “pass” and Tunsil kept dropping. The Miami Dolphins finally took a chance at number 13 and made Tunsil their first round selection. Getting one of the premier members of this class at 13 is a steal though the pick does come with some risk.

This was the first time that social media had an influence on where a player got drafted. Something tells me it won’t be the last!

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are in a must win situation in 2016 and in order to do that, the defense has to show improvement. Part of that improvement will come with last year’s first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. stepping on the field. Fowler suffered a knee injury before training camp even started and missed the season. His presence will give the Jags a gifted edge pass rusher.

In free agency, Jacksonville added former Denver Bronco Malik Jackson who will give the Jags another top pass rusher. In the draft, Jacksonville concentrated on defense as well with their first pick being Florida corner Jalen Ramsey. In the second round they chose UCLA linebacker Myles Jack who until it was revealed that he had an arthritic knee condition was thought to be a top three selection. In the third and fourth round, the Jaguars selected edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue from Maryland and explosive 3-technique Sheldon Day from Notre Dame. In the sixth round Jacksonville selected Montana edge rusher Tyrone Holmes who ran in the mid 4.6’s on his pro day. The common denominator for the Jacksonville draft was speed and athleticism. With the players they acquired, the defense became much faster. This could turn out to be a great draft for Jacksonville.

Tennessee Titans

When a club has a rookie General Manager running his first draft there are always questions as to how good their draft will be. In the case of new General Manager Jon Robinson, he scores an A for what he achieved.

The first thing Robinson did was trade the first pick in the draft to the Los Angeles Rams for a number of picks both this year and in 2017. The he made the most of those picks. Loaded with enough ammunition to move around in the draft, Robinson traded up from the 15 slot to number 8 in order to draft Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin. That took care of the offensive tackle need the Titans had.

In the second round, Robinson had three picks and made the most of them. With the first two he selected Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd who can play the 5 or outside linebacker. Next he took big Penn State defensive tackle Austin Johnson who can play on the nose or defensive end. He closed out the round by selecting Alabama running back Derrick Henry who could be the second coming of former Titan great Eddie George. You could argue that both Dodd and Henry were first round caliber talents.

After the second round, Robinson loaded up with players to add depth to a roster that needed turnover. Many will argue that Middle Tennessee safety Kevin Byard selected in the third round will compete for a starting spot and even win it. Tennessee is well on their way to staying out of the AFC South basement.

Dallas Cowboys

Leading up to the Draft, there was a lot of speculation as to where Notre Dame Linebacker Jaylon Smith would be drafted. As you all know, Smith suffered a severe knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. Smith tore his ACL and LCL ligaments as well as suffer nerve damage. While the ligament injuries are healing nicely, there is still nerve dame that is causing a drop foot condition. At the Scouting Combine medical re-checks in mid – April it was said that the nerve dame had not shown much noticeable improvement since the Scouting Combine ended in late February. Because of this, it became almost impossible to predict when Smith would be drafted.

Most if not all the NFL teams are in agreement that there is no way Smith will be able to play this season. Being that there is nerve damage there is also no telling as to when if ever Smith will be able to resume playing football. Some analysts felt Smith would be drafted in the third round, while others felt he would not get selected until Day 3 of the Draft.

The advantage that the Dallas Cowboys had in the matter concerning Smith is their Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Dan Cooper performed the surgery. No one knows Smith’s knee and prognosis better than Dr. Cooper. With that knowledge in hand, the Cowboys selected Smith in the second round knowing full well that he probably won’t be able to pay in 2016.

While a question mark remains as to when/if Smith is able to play, if the Cowboys get a player even close to the Jaylon Smith we saw the last three years at Notre Dame, they got the steal of the Draft.

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Dr. David Chao
The Training Room


Medical always plays some role in the NFL draft; however, the 2016 version would have a completely different look without two “red light” knee issues on two top players. If linebackers Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack were healthy, they would have been selected at the beginning of the first round, instead both fell out of the first day into the top of the second and the “dominos” fell differently as a result.

The Cowboys gambled on Jaylon Smith out of Notre Dame who has been described as a generational linebacker. If he fully recovers from the multi-ligament knee injury and his peroneal nerve wakes up, he could be the steal of the draft. On the other hand, if he becomes the next Marcus Lattimore and doesn’t play a down, Dallas fans will surely lament the pick.

It is hard not to root for Smith, who has done everything right, except have a bad luck horrific knee injury during the Fiesta Bowl game. He couldn’t have found a better landing spot as the Cowboys team doctor performed his surgery and he will be reunited with his older brother who is a running back on the team.

Smith is still using an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) due to his persistent foot drop. It would be unprecedented to have someone play his career with an AFO, much less make a Pro Bowl while wearing one. His surgeon has shown great optimism for a full nerve recovery going against others who were more pessimistic. The Cowboys exhibited a lot of faith in their team physician by selecting Smith so high.

His doctor knows best if the nerve will wake up, but no one knows for sure as nerve recovery is unpredictable. Even if the nerve recovers, the chance is small that it will return to 100% function. Without the nerve issue, an ACL, PCL and posterolateral corner injury is still career threatening. With the nerve issue, the odds are stacked against Smith.

It takes three things to recover from any major injury. First, the injury has to be amenable to recovery. Second, one needs good surgery. Third the player needs to be motivated and have good rehabilitation. I compare it to needing a good snap, hold and kick to make any field goal. Smith certainly had good surgery as his doctor is tops. No one can question his work ethic in rehab. The remaining issue of the nerve is really out of Smith’s or his surgeon’s hands.

Smith remains optimistic saying he “absolutely” could play in 2016, but there is no guarantee he will ever play at all, much less perform to his potential. The best hold and kick may not be able to overcome a bad snap.

Myles Jack is the other top linebacker with medical issues and his situation is the opposite of Smith. Jack is healthy and able to play today, but the question is for how long? The Jaguars were rumored to be interested in selecting Jack with their number one pick and overall 5th selection. With the medical issues, they nabbed him at the top of round two.

Jack reportedly has an osteochondral defect (osteochondritis dissecans – OCD) lesion involving his knee articular cartilage and the underlying bone. This is essentially a separate issue from his meniscus tear and is likely congenital. The irony is the OCD may never have been discovered by teams absent the meniscus issue. There would have been no reason to X-ray or MRI the knee if there was no knee injury history.

No one knows how long Jack will play. If, or some say when, the OCD lesion breaks off, microfracture type surgery with up to a one year recovery is needed. Regrowing articular cartilage is the “holy grail” of orthopedics as typically the new cartilage is not as strong as the original.

If healthy, these two linebackers would be the stars of this draft. Jaylon Smith is the proverbial “start up company” with huge potential that may never get off the ground, Myles Jack is the “newspaper” that is popular today but needs to retool to the internet age to stay relevant. Best of luck to both.

Here are some more draft medical observations:

MMMD 1: No false medical info leaked

There was suspicion that teams were leaking false information to drive down the values of Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack. Many teams leak false information about their interest in a player, but I have never seen a team tell lies about a player’s medicals. It just would be unethical. As it turns out, both of these players have real knee issues.

MMMD 2: Jaguars defense to add three top-five players

Dante Fowler, last year’s first round pick, tore his ACL at the first mini-camp and missed the season. Myles Jack is a first round talent who dropped to the second due to medical issues discussed above. No one questions the top-five talent of Jalen Ramsey.

Fowler, Jack and Ramsey could turn Jacksonville’s defense into a force. When is the last time a team added three top-five level players at one time?

MMMD 3: Shaq Lawson still says no surgery

Despite my analysis, and a report from Adam Schefter that surgery is needed, Lawson still denies it. No one is panning the pick or saying he can’t play this year, but he will need a brace.

In the end, the Bills are likely to recommend labral repair surgery after this season to give more time for recovery. If Lawson plays well with his shoulder brace, stabilizing the shoulder should make him an even better player as the harness keeps the shoulder in the socket but limits his range of motion.

MMMD 4: Raiders top two picks with medical questions

First pick Karl Joseph is coming off ACL surgery. Second pick Jihad Ward is said to need a knee scope.

Joseph appears to be recovering well from October ligament reconstruction but don’t be surprised if he is not activated with the start of training camp. He will contribute this season but may not be in full form until the middle of the season.

Ward has denied the need for surgery but his potential knee surgery should not prove to be a big deal. Anticipated recovery should not be more than four to six weeks and look for that to happen after mini-camp breaks.

MMMD 5: Top 2 picks overcame throwing side injury

An injury to anywhere on the throwing upper extremity of a quarterback is a cause for concern. This year the first and second overall picks beat their injuries.

Jared Goff had shoulder surgery on his AC joint after his freshman year and has done well since. Carson Wentz missed the second half of last season with a scaphoid fracture. Both should be healthy. In the end, this is football. Players will get injured. What type of injury determines if there are any potential future problems. No issues with that on these two top picks.

MMMD 6: 49ers follow recent tradition

In the Trent Baalke era, there has been a penchant to get value by drafting players coming off ACL injuries. This year was no exception when the 49ers selected cornerback Will Redmond who tore his ACL in October. That makes a seventh player since 2013, which is essentially a normal full draft class.

MMMD 7: End of the magnet era.

There is no official count, but the day of draft magnets is ending. The small custom player magnets loaded with info were ubiquitous in war rooms for decades. Now most teams are in a hybrid system or switched entirely to an all-electronic draft board.

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The picture was from Mike Silver’s 2014 war room visit with the then St. Louis Rams. Images shared from this year’s Los Angeles Rams show a much different 100% electronic video board system. Things do change in the NFL

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Dave Miller
College Football Report


With the calendar flipping to May and spring practices completed for programs across the country, it’s time to take a look at the National Football Post’s post-spring Top 25.

1. Alabama: Nick Saban’s defending national champs aren’t going anywhere, as the reload continues in Tuscaloosa. Blake Barnett, Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell and Jalen Hurts will try to win the starting job under center, but it may not matter who is the starter because the Tide are loaded on defense.

2. Florida State: The biggest question for the Seminoles is whether Deondre Francois or Malik Henry can beat out senior Sean Maguire for the starting quarterback gig. We know that Dalvin Cook will remain a beastly and productive running back after setting the single-season school record with 1,691 rushing yards, but the ‘Noles need to be able to make big plays through the air. The defense will feature new starters, but safety Derwin James leads a talented unit.

3. LSU: It was ridiculous that Les Miles had to deal with the “hot seat” drama late last season, but that’s the world of big-time college football that we live in these days. The Tigers certainly enter the new season with high expectations, as a boatload of veteran talent returns. Leonard Fournette recorded a school-record 1,953 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns last year, but can Brandon Harris or Purdue transfer Danny Etling provide a steady force under center? I’m convinced that Harris is poised for a strong ’16 campaign.

4. Tennessee: Is this the year for the Vols? Butch Jones led his team to six straight victories to close out last season, and most of the main pieces are back from that squad, including linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and cornerback Cameron Sutton on defense and quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd on offense. The defense is deep and experienced, but can the offense be more explosive and pick up bigger chunks of yardage in bunches?

5. Baylor: Quarterbacks Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham return to an offense that should be stocked again with leading rusher Shock Linwood and a receiving corps that is still deep despite the losses of Corey Coleman and Jay Lee. The defense is undergoing a bit of a rebuild, but coordinator Phil Bennett’s unit should be steady enough to complement the explosive offense.

6. Clemson: The Tigers nearly captured the national title last season, and they’ll have a chance to win one this year behind stud quarterback Deshaun Watson, who could be the top overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. He’ll be surrounded by weapons such as running back Wayne Gallman and wide receiver Mike Williams, who was lost to a neck injury last season. We saw how good the Tigers were defensively last year despite losing a ton of talent to the NFL, but can that level of play be sustained after returning just four starters from the ’15 unit and losing cornerback Adrian Baker to a torn ACL in March? Three defensive backs left early for the draft, and pass rushers Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson also departed.

7. Michigan: Jim Harbaugh has put his stamp on the Wolverines faster than most had expected, so expectations are very high for the ’16 squad. Star defender Jabrill Peppers will be used as a hybrid linebacker by coordinator Don Brown, so his athleticism will be depended upon when facing teams with spread elements. Offensively, can former Houston signal-caller John O’Korn lead the unit as well as Jake Rudock did last season?

8. Notre Dame: Brian Kelly and his offensive staff must decide on a starting quarterback after junior Malik Zaire and sophomore DeShone Kizer both proved capable of carrying the load. Kizer was thrown into a difficult situation but managed to help the Irish to a 10-win season after Zaire was hurt early in the season at Virginia. The team certainly lost top-level talent in this past weekend’s NFL Draft, but the cupboard isn’t bare in South Bend.

9. Oklahoma: The Sooners made the College Football Playoff last season, but they didn’t have the Orange Bowl experience that many had expected. Baker Mayfield is back to run the offense, which should continue to be efficient under coordinator Lincoln Riley. Mayfield completed over 68 percent of his throws last season, while Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon combined to rush for over 2,500 yards. But can the defense replace the level of play that performers such as Zack Sanchez and Eric Striker provided? Tests against Houston and Ohio State will answer that question early in the season.

10. Stanford: The Cardinal reached their third Rose Bowl in four seasons in ’15, but longtime starting quarterback Kevin Hogan is gone. However, do-everything Christian McCaffrey, who notched 3,864 all-purpose yards last season, returns for another Heisman Trophy run. The question is whether Ryan Burns or Keller Chryst will be able to do enough through the air to complement McCaffrey’s game.

11. Ohio State: Urban Meyer seems to do his best work with young squads, and the ’16 version of the Buckeyes will indeed feature youth. The program lost 15 starters from last year’s one-loss team, but keep in mind the national championship team from two years ago was short on experience. It helps that this will be J.T. Barrett’s offense again.

12. Houston: Tom Herman put together a magical first season as a head coach, as the Cougars earned a berth to the Peach Bowl where they handled Florida State. Can Greg Ward Jr. (3,936 yards of total offense and 38 total touchdowns in ’15) and an opportunistic defense (35 takeaways last fall) actually compete for a College Football Playoff berth in ’16? The schedule may allow for it to happen, as UH opens against Oklahoma and hosts Louisville.

13. Georgia: Kirby Smart landed his dream job in Athens, and he inherits a team loaded with talent. When will true freshman quarterback Jacob Eason get his chance to run the offensive show? Greyson Lambert may get the call against North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, but Eason will see the field very soon. Oh, and star running back Nick Chubb is expected to be at full strength after tearing knee ligaments last October.

14. Michigan State: The Spartans will be replacing Connor Cook at quarterback with either Tyler O’Connor or Damion Terry, and whoever wins the battle will be working behind a line that lost some key pieces. However, the backfield is deep, and the defense is filled with experience such as defensive end Malik McDowell, linebacker Riley Bullough and safety Demetrius Cox.

15. TCU: The Horned Frogs showed a lot of resiliency throughout last season, including in the team’s bowl game. Injuries decimated the squad, but Gary Patterson still notched 11 wins. Foster Sawyer and Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill are battling to replace prolific signal-caller Trevone Boykin, and a lot will be expected of the winner of that QB derby because the offense only returns three starters.

16. Ole Miss: The Rebels lost some top talent to the NFL, as head coach Hugh Freeze has to replace 12 starters from a team that helped the program to its first 10-win season in 13 years. Quarterback Chad Kelly is back after setting program records for total offense and total touchdowns, but he’ll need some help from the running back corps.

17. Louisville: Bobby Petrino brings back an electric quarterback and an experienced defense. There’s no question that Lamar Jackson needs to be more consistent and efficient through the air, as he completed just 54.7 percent of his passes and tossed eight interceptions last fall. However, the sophomore nearly ran for 1,000 yards and had 11 TDs on the ground. Can he consistently resemble the player we saw go off in the Music City Bowl? Former TCU linebacker Devonte Fields paces the defense and had 11 sacks and was a force against the run last fall.

18. Iowa: The Hawkeyes were a goal-line stand away from making the second College Football Playoff, but longtime head coach Kirk Ferentz was still able to lead the program to its first Rose Bowl in 25 years. Can the Hawkeyes prove that 2015 was not a fluke? They have a chance with quarterback C.J. Beathard, who proficiently led an offense that was more wide open in ’15.

19. USC: Clay Helton had the interim tag removed from his title, but can he navigate a tough schedule and the high-stakes pressure of being in the Los Angeles spotlight? The Trojans open up the season against defending national champion Alabama, and either junior Max Browne or redshirt freshman Sam Darnold will be under center. Offensive weapons abound, but can the defensive line hold up for an entire season?

20. Washington: The Huskies are a sleeping giant in the Pac-12 under Chris Petersen. The team closed ’15 strong, and the duo of quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin will pace the offense. How much time will junior cornerback Budda Baker see at wide receiver? The defense returns a lot of key players from a unit that led the Pac-12 in scoring defense and total defense.

21. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys bring back a lot of experience from a team that won 10 games in ’15, although the Pokes did drop their final three contests of the season. Better offensive line play is needed, as OSU ranked 113th in the FBS in rushing yards per game and allowed 32 sacks. Road trips to Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma loom.

22. Florida: Jim McElwain claimed an SEC East title in his first season in Gainesville, and he’ll need to find a quarterback if the Gators want to repeat and put up a better fight than they did in their showcase games to close the ’15 campaign. Luke Del Rio is the favorite to start at quarterback, and plenty of talent remains on defense.

23. Boise State: Bryan Harsin has taken over play-calling duties on offense after coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz left for NC State, while linebackers coach Andy Avalos was promoted to defensive coordinator to replace Marcel Yates, who left for Arizona. Quarterback Brett Rypien passed for 3,353 yards with 20 touchdowns as a freshman, while running back Jeremy McNichols grounded out 1,337 rushing yards and 20 scores.

24. North Carolina: The Tar Heels advanced to the ACC title game and gave Clemson fits before ultimately falling short. Still, Larry Fedora led the program to its first 11-win season since 1997. UNC made a dramatic improvement on defense last year, so a similar effort will be needed along with stability at quarterback with Mitch Trubisky, who is replacing the prolific Marquise Williams.

25. Miami (FL): New head coach Mark Richt inherits Brad Kaaya, who is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and has logged consecutive 3,000-yard passing seasons. We don’t know what the future holds for running back Mark Walton (DUI charge), who had a team-high nine touchdowns last season. But Joseph Yearby ran for 1,002 yards in 2015.

Under consideration:

Oregon
Wisconsin
UCLA
Arkansas
Washington State

Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.





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Danny Shimon
NFP Fresh Voices


With the 2016 NFL draft less than 24 hours away here is my take on how the first two-rounds of the draft might play out.

1. LA Rams: Jared Goff, QB, California

Rams make the big splash and trade up to the top spot to select local boy Jared Goff and make him the face of the franchise.

2. Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, QB, NDSU

Eagles take my top rated quarterback in Wentz. Even with the limited amount of starts at NDSU, Wentz played in a Pro-Style system and is the most ready to play signal caller between he and Goff.

3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DT, Oregon

Rumored to be taking an offensive tackle to protect Phillip Rivers, the Chargers decide to go defense and take Oregon’s Buckner. Where he will be a building block along the Chargers defensive front.

4. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

The need pick here would have been Bosa, but the Cowboys go with the top defensive back in the draft in Ramsey, who when paired with last year’s first rounder Byron Jones, gives Dallas two very versatile and athletic back-half defenders.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

If Myles Jack’s knee was 100% healthy he would be the pick here, but Gus Bradley and GM David Caldwell can’t afford to have their last two top picks both be entering 2016 coming off major need surgeries. So they “settle” for Bosa who could be one of the draft’s better pass rushers.

6. Baltimore Ravens: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens have the top offensive lineman fall down to them filling a major need. They wanted a pass rusher but with Bosa and Buckner gone they opt to protect Joe Flacco’s blindside.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

The draft’s first “Wow” moment comes here when Chip Kelly picks his quarterback in Paxton Lynch. This selection should be followed shortly by a trade of Colin Kaepernick to another team. Lynch has length, arm strength, and mobility to go along with good accuracy downfield. He will need some time to adjust and might not play right away, but he will be a very good NFL quarterback.

8. Miami Dolphins(via Trade With Cleveland): Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

The Dolphins will trade back-up into the spot they had previously held and shipped off to the Eagles as a part of the Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso trade to select Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. The former Buckeye will fill a major need for Miami and also help alleviate some of the offensive burden off the shoulders of Ryan Tannehill.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

Tampa Bay selects the local kid Hargreaves to help improve a secondary that allowed 31 passing touchdowns last season. There are some rumblings that the Bucs might go with Sheldon Rankins at this spot, to help improve their interior pass rush so this pick might still in flux.

10. New York Giants: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

The Giants stop the Myles Jack fall and select the UCLA linebacker. Jack is one of the most talented defensive playmakers in this draft and if it was not for the uncertainty surrounding the knee he would not have been available for New York. Meantime the Giants are ecstatic to get Jack and add him to a defense that, if you factor in their free agent acquisitions, should be an improved unit next season.

11. Chicago Bears: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

With their free agent acquisitions, that helped fill holes on both offense and defense, the Bears have the luxury of picking the best available player at this spot, and that happens to be Stanley. The former Golden Domer will come in and compete right away with last year’s starter Charles Leno for the starting left tackle position.

12. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Saints look to improve their interior pass rush by selecting Rankins, who down at the Senior Bowl practices was unblock able in one-on-one pass protection drills. Rankins interior push should complement the outside rush provided by Cameron Jordan.

13. Cleveland Browns(via Trade with Miami): Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

Rumors are that the Browns might still look to move down from this spot to try and collect more picks, but if they stay here they select Conklin out of Michigan State to play right tackle and fill the void left by Mitchell Schwartz departure to Kansas City.

14. Oakland Raiders: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

GM Reggie McKenzie gambles here on talent and goes with Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche who, if he can eliminate his off-field distractions, can be one of the most talented defensive line prospects in this draft. The Raiders will rely heavily on Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr, and Defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, to motivate and bring out the best in Nkemdiche.

15. Tennessee Titans: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia

The Titans were expected to go offensive lineman here, but instead go with the best player available and give defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau another weapon on defense with Floyd. Floyd can lineup at linebacker or defensive end, and will add speed and quickness to the Titans defensive front.

16. Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

Detroit fills a major need at right tackle with the selection of Decker, who should start right away. The Lions had journeyman Michael Ola start seven games at right tackle last season.

17. Atlanta Falcons: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

One of the fastest linebackers in Darron Lee goes to the Falcons whose head coach emphasizes speed, speed, and more speed on defense. Seems like a perfect fit for me.

18. Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama

Alabama center Ryan Kelly is one of the best interior lineman in this draft, and he will help try solidify a unit that almost got Andrew Luck killed last season.

19. Buffalo Bills: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama

Buffalo finds a running mate for underrated inside linebacker Preston Brown, while Rex Ryan also gains a defensive leader and future defensive captain in Ragland. Having been coached by Nick Saban at Alabama Ragland comes to the NFL well-prepared and should make an immediate contribution.

20. New York Jets: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

Another “Wow” moment happens here when the Jets go with TCU receiver Josh Doctson. With starters Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker having good seasons last year, the Jets look to add some depth and talent behind them. Doctson increased his stock immensely at the scouting combine where he displayed better speed than anticipated and some terrific lower body explosiveness.

21. Washington Redskins: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

The Redskins add a talented run defender in Reed who, just like Ragland, comes well-coached and prepared for the NFL by Alabama’s Nick Saban.

22. Houston Texans: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

Houston continues adding to their offense this off season by selecting Baylor’s speedy playmaker Corey Coleman. Coleman will give the Texans offense the element of speed which will help draw some of the attention away from DeAndre Hopkins on the other side.

23. Minnesota Vikings: LaQuon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Minnesota gets lucky and has what many might consider the best receiver in the draft drop right to them. Treadwell will help balance out the Vikings offensive attack by supplying size on the outside and in the red zone. He will be a good compliment for the quicker and shiftier Stefon Diggs on the opposite side of the formation.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Seeing a run on receivers happen right before their pick, Cincinnati goes on the defensive and selects the third Crimson Tide defensive player in this first round in Robinson. Robinson, who looks like he is 40 years old, is just 21 years old and at the moment is a better run defender than pass rusher. With the Bengals he will have a chance to back-up and learn from one of the best defensive tackles in football in Geno Atkins, who can help Robinson improve as a pass rusher.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia

Rumors are that head coach Mike Tomlin loves Joseph and has banged the table for him in predraft meetings. As long as the knee checks out medically, the Steelers will have selected one of the most underrated players in the draft.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

Big, long corner who can play zone or man-to-man and likes to get his hands on a receiver, Eli Apple sounds tailor made to be a Seattle Seahawk and the newest member of the Legion-of-Boom.

27. Green Bay Packer: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech

Packers look to fill the void left by BJ Raji’s retirement with Vernon Butler. Butler has the size, strength, arm length, and power coupled with quickness not usually seen with players his size to play any position along the defensive line.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: William Jackson III, CB, Houston

Losing Sean Smith to the Raiders forces the Chiefs to go cornerback in the first round for the second year in a row. Jackson is a press corner, who needs to add strength, but has shown to have good ball skills.

29. Arizona Cardinals: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

Having added Chandler Jones in a trade earlier this off season pass rusher was not a dire need, but in this case Lawson was too good to pass up. Lawson is the type of physical defender that GM Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians love having on their defense.

30. Carolina Panthers: Artie Burns, CB, Miami

Losing Josh Norman, coupled with the possible retirement of Charles Tillman made cornerback a vital position of need for Carolina. Burns has good size with long arms and is comfortable in either press or zone coverage.

31. Denver Broncos: Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M

The defending Super Bowl Champions look to add to their offensive line with A&M’s Ifedi. He is a massive, well-built thick bodied offensive right tackle who eventually might be moved inside to guard. Ifedi would be able to backup two positions along the offensive line, or possibly start inside for Denver as a rookie.

Second Round

1. Cleveland Browns: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
2. Tennessee Titans: Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
3. Dallas Cowboys: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
4. San Diego Chargers: Noah Spence, Edge, Eastern Kentucky
5. Baltimore Ravens: Emmanuel Ogbah, Edge, Oklahoma State
6. San Francisco 49ers: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mackenzie Alexander, CB, Clemson
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
9. New York Giants: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
10. Chicago Bears: Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
11. Miami Dolphins: Keanu Neal, S, Florida
12. Tennessee Titans: TJ Green, DB, Clemson
13. Oakland Raiders: Su’a Cravens, S, USC
14. Tennessee Titans: Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
15. Detroit Lions: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
16. New Orleans Saints: Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
17. Indianapolis Colts: Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois
18. Buffalo Bills: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
19. Atlanta Falcons: Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
20. New York Jets: Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise State
21. Houston Texans: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
22. Washington Redskins: Darian Thompson, S, Boise State
23. Minnesota Vikings: Deion Jones, LB, LSU
24. Cincinnati Bengals: Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
25. Seattle Seahawks: Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame
26. Green Bay Packer: Nick Martin, OG/C, Notre Dame
27. Pittsburgh Steelers: Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
28. Kansas City Chiefs: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
29. New England Patriots: Devontae Booker, RB, Utah
30. New England Patriots: Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
31. Carolina Panthers: Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State
32. Denver Broncos: Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU

Danny Shimon is a graduate of Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. 

Follow Danny on Twitter @dshimon56
































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