The Director’s Report

Draft Review – The NFC North

Laquon Treadwell

Chicago Bears

The Bears had three goals going into the 2016 NFL Draft, get younger, get faster and get more athletic. Looking at their selections over the three day event and you can see that they achieved those goals.

First pick Leonard Floyd the edge player from Georgia was the most athletic pass rusher in

Chicago Bears

The Bears had three goals going into the 2016 NFL Draft, get younger, get faster and get more athletic. Looking at their selections over the three day event and you can see that they achieved those goals.

First pick Leonard Floyd the edge player from Georgia was the most athletic pass rusher in the draft. Yes he needs toad strength and bulk but when you look at his frame, speed and overall athleticism he has the necessary tools to be exactly what the Bears want.

Second pick Cody Whitehair played left tackle at Kansas State but will move inside to guard. He tested out as one of the more athletic offensive linemen at the Combine. Bears offensive line coach Dave Magazu is looking for players who have versatility and the ability to play in space which matches the skill set of Whitehair.

The Bears passed up chances to draft Alabama defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed in the second round and selected Florida’s Jonathan Bullard in the third because they again wanted athleticism and pass rush ability. Bullard may not be as stout versus the run as the Alabama players but he is a far better pass rusher.

Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski is a tackling machine who will provide depth and special teams play as a rookie. Safety Deon Bush from Miami has a chance to start at strong safety and Northern Iowa’s Deoiondre’ Hall has rare height and length for a corner. He is very similar to Charles Tillman coming out of college.

Fifth round running back Jordan Howard from Indiana is a north-south power runner who gives the Bears the type of inside power running that Jon Fox prefers.

Detroit Lions

With a new General Manager handling the Lions draft, not many knew the direction the Lions would take. The Lions needed to add depth to both lines and that’s exactly the area where General Manager Bob Quinn would go.

In the first round Quinn selected Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker who should be able to play on the left or right side. Decker is a big, powerful mauler who instantly upgrades the Lions line. Second round selection A’Shawn Robinson from Alabama is a physical defensive tackle with upside. Robinson will be a 21 year old rookie and has only beginning to scratch the surface of how good he can be.

Third round pick Graham Glascow from Michigan has the versatility to play guard or center. My guess is that he will line up at center first. Safety Miles Killebrew  is a physical strong safety type who could also fill the nickel linebacker role in sub packages. Joe Dahl played left tackle at Washington State but will move inside to guard in the NFL. He is strong physical and athletic. Jake Ruddock the quarterback from Michigan gives the Lions a developmental type quarterback behind Matthew Stafford.

Green Bay Packers

General Manager Ted Thompson has always been a strong believer of building through the draft and since he has been in charge the Packers have drafted extremely well. This year was no different.

With B.J. Raji retired, the Pack needed a powerful interior defensive lineman and got that in UCLA’s Kenny Clark. Clark is best suited to play on the nose, but he can also play the 5-technique.

Second round pick Jason Spriggs was one of the more athletic tackles in the draft. HH

He has all the physical tools to be a top notch left tackle in the league. While his athletic numbers are second to none, he does have a tendency to play tall which he will have to correct once he gets to training camp.

Third round pick Kyler Fackrell should be able to play either inside or outside linebacker in the Packers defensive scheme but he is more suited to play outside. He has very good size and strength. Dean Lowry from Northwestern will be a rotational player along the defensive line.

I feel sixth round pick Kyle Murphy the tackle from Stanford is a steal. Like many college linemen, he needs to get stronger, but he is technique sound and has versatility.

Minnesota Vikings

No one can complain about the Vikings first two selections. Until his pro day when he didn’t run as well as expected, Laquon Treadwell was thought of as the best receiver in the draft. While he won’t be a deep thread, he will be an Anquan Boldin type possession receiver and put up big numbers for the Vikings.

Second round pick Mackenzie Alexander has to be a steal. Many felt he was a late first round type. He has excellent press cover skills and will challenge receivers. His height and timed speed hurt his overall draft value.

Willie Beavers is a developmental tackle. He has the size, length and athleticism to play left tackle nut needs to use his hands and position himself better when in pass protection. Beavers has a lot of upside.

Don’t be surprised if Kentrell Brothers becomes a starter early in his career. He was perhaps the most instinctive inside linebacker in the draft. His timed speed (4.8) dropped him some on value boards.

Wide receiver Moritz Boehringer has excellent physical traits, but no one is more raw. He played in a German league that isn’t as competitive as the Division III leagues here but with his size, speed and overall athleticism to warrant a look. He will most likely need a year on the practice squad as he adjusts to NFL style football.

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The NFC East Draft Review

Carson Wentz

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

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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Some thoughts on the 2016 NFL Draft

Jared Goff

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

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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Gabriel’s Mock Draft 4.0 for the 2016 NFL Draft

NFL draft

When I did my first “final” mock draft yesterday, I inadvertently left out Paxton Lynch, so here we go again. Obviously with the Lynch addition, there are some changes from yesterday. For the record, I expect at least two more trades within the top 10.

Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff – QB – California

When I did my first “final” mock draft yesterday, I inadvertently left out Paxton Lynch, so here we go again. Obviously with the Lynch addition, there are some changes from yesterday. For the record, I expect at least two more trades within the top 10.

Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff – QB – California – Personally, I like Wentz better but I’m hearing that Goff is the Rams guy.

Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz – QB – North Dakota St – I think that the Eagles wanted Wentz all along as he has the best upside of the two quarterbacks.

San Diego Chargers – Laremy Tunsil – OT – Mississippi – This could very well be a defensive pick but for now the Chargers get a player who can help keep Philip Rivers on his feet.

Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa – DE – Ohio State – A week ago I would have gone with Myles Jack, but with both Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence getting suspended, the Cowboys don’t have a pass rusher.

Jacksonville Jaquars – Jaylon Ramsey – DC – Florida State – David Caldwell adds another strong player to the defensive side of the ball.

Baltimore Ravens – Ron Stanley – OT – Notre Dame – The selection not only fills a need, but gives the Ravens the best player available.

San Francisco 49ers – Paxton Lynch – QB – Memphis – With the 49ers saying that there is a good chance Kaepernick gets traded this weekend, they have a huge need for a quarterback. Lynch may be Kelly’s type because of his great athleticism and passing skills. He played in an Oregon type offense at Memphis.

Cleveland Browns – Ezekiel Elliott – RB – Ohio State – I think Elliott goes in this slot but it may not be to the Browns.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Vernon Hargreaves III – DC – Florida – Hargreaves is from the Tampa area so this will be a very popular selection in the Tampa Bay area. And by the way, it also fills an important need.

New York Giants – DeForest Buckner – DT – Oregon – The Giants took care of defense in free agency and may go offensive tackle here but Buckner is too good to pass on.

Chicago Bears – Shaq Lawson– OLB – Clemson – A strong edge pass rusher that the Bears need. A big 5-technique could also be in play here.

New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Rankins – DT- Louisville – Rankins gives the Saints a versatile defensive lineman who can be an explosive inside pass rusher.

Miami Dolphins – Derrick Henry – RB – Alabama – I know, this is a surprise but The Dolphins need a RB and I’m a big fan of Henry’s

Oakland Raiders – Reggie Ragland – ILB – Alabama – Personally I feel this is too high for Ragland, but the Raiders are said to be enthralled with his traits.

Tennessee Titans – Jack Conklin – OT – Michigan State – The Titans would have selected a tackle had they stayed at one, Conklin is the best one available, though he probably goes higher.

Detroit Lions – Leonard Floyd – LB – Georgia – Floyd gives the Lions and combo OLB/Edge pass rusher. The Lions could go for a pure DE here also.

Atlanta Falcons – Myles Jack – LB – UCLA – Who knows how far Jack will fall, my guess is here.

Indianapolis Colts – Eli Apple – DC – Ohio State – The Colts would prefer an O-Linemen, but the top ones are gone. Apple gives them a tall, long corner who matches up well against the taller receivers in the league.

Buffalo Bills – Kevin Dodd – DE – Clemson – With Mario Williams gone, the Bills have a strong need for an edge rusher. Dodd gives them an excellent replacement.

New York Jets – William Jackson III – DC – Houston – The Jets would prefer a quarterback, but there is not one worth taking at this time.

Washington Redskins – A’Shawn Robinson – DT – Alabama – Robinson has the versatility to play the 5-tech or on the nose.

Houston Texans – Corey Coleman – WR – Baylor – Coming from the Baylor offense, Coleman isn’t the most polished receiver, but he has by far the most talent.

Minnesota Vikings – Josh Doctson – WR – TCU – Docson is the most ready to play receiver in this draft class. He can help the Vikings right away.

Cincinnati Bengals – Darron Lee – LB – Ohio State – The Bengals got rid of A.J. Hawk. Here is his replacement.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Mackenzie Alexander – DC – Clemson – The Steelers have don an inordinate amount of work on corners. Alexander is the best corner available.

Seattle Seahawks – Jarran Reed – DT – Alabama – Reed can play either tackle spot in the Seahawks defense.

Green Bay Packers – Emanuel Ogbah – DE – Oklahoma State – Ogbah can play OLB or at the 5-tech in the Green Bay defense. He is one of the better natural pass rushers in this draft.

Kansas City Chiefs – Artie Burns – DC – Miami – Burns replaces Sean Smith who was lost to the Raiders in free agency.

Arizona Cardinals – Ryan Kelly – OC – Alabama – Kelly is the highest rated interior offensive lineman in the draft. Can play center or guard and will start right away.

Carolina Panthers – Chris Jones – DT – Mississippi St. – Jones is young and raw, but has a lot of upside. Needs to play with a bit more consistency.

Denver Broncos – Connor Cook – QB – Denver doesn’t have a quarterback who is good enough to start in the NFL. Cook is by far the best quarterback left on the board and has starter traits.

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Gabriel’s Final 2016 Mock Draft

A month ago we never would have thought that QB’s would be the first two picks of the 2016 NFL Draft. After trades we all know that it’s now a lock.

Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff – QB – California – Personally, I like Wentz better but I’m hearing that Goff is the Rams

A month ago we never would have thought that QB’s would be the first two picks of the 2016 NFL Draft. After trades we all know that it’s now a lock.

Los Angeles Rams – Jared Goff – QB – California – Personally, I like Wentz better but I’m hearing that Goff is the Rams guy

Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz – QB – North Dakota St – I think that the Eagles wanted Wentz all along as he is the best upside of the two quarterbacks.

San Diego Chargers – Leremy Tunsil – OT – Mississippi – This could very well be a defensive pick but for now the Chargers get a player who can help keep Philip Rivers on his feet.

Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa – DE – Ohio State – A week ago I would have gone with Myles Jack, but with both Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence getting suspended, the Cowboys don’t have a pass rusher.

Jacksonville Jaquars – Jaylon Ramsey – DC – Florida State – David Caldwell adds another strong player to the defensive side of the ball.

Baltimore Ravens – Ron Stanley – OT – Notre Dame – The selection not only fills a need, but gives the Ravens the best player available.

San Francisco 49ers – Myles Jack – LB – UCLA – If there wasn’t a question about Jacks knee, he may have gone a few slots higher.

Cleveland Browns – Ezekiel Elliott – RB – Ohio State – I think Elliott goes in this slot but it may not be to the Browns.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Vernon Hargreaves III – DC – Florida – Hargreaves is from the Tampa area so this will be a very popular selection in the Tampa Bay area. And by the way, it also fills an important need.

New York Giants – DeForest Buckner – DT – Oregon – The Giants took care of defense in free agency and may go offensive tackle here but Buckner is too good to pass on.

Chicago Bears – Shaq Lawson– OLB – Clemson – A strong edge pass rusher that the Bears need. A big 5-technique could also be in play here.

New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Rankins – DT- Louisville – Rankins gives the Saints a versatile defensive lineman who can be an explosive inside pass rusher.

Miami Dolphins – Derrick Henry – RB – Alabama – I know, this is a surprise but the Dolphins need a RB and I’m a big fan of Henry’s

Oakland Raiders – Reggie Ragland – ILB – Alabama – Personally I feel this is too high for Ragland, but the Raiders are said to be enthralled with his traits.

Tennessee Titans – Jack Conklin – OT – Michigan State – The Titans would have selected a tackle had they stayed at one, Conklin is the best one available, though he probably goes higher.

Detroit Lions – Leonard Floyd – LB – Georgia – Floyd gives the Lions and combo OLB/Edge pass rusher. The Lions could go for a pure DE here also.

Atlanta Falcons – Darron Lee – LB – Ohio State – Lee is in the mold of Myles Jack, an athletic versatile playmaker.

Indianapolis Colts – Eli Apple – DC – Ohio State – The Colts would prefer an O-Linemen, but the top ones are gone. Apple gives them a tall, long corner who matches up well against the taller receivers in the league.

Buffalo Bills – Kevin Dodd – DE – Clemson – With Mario Williams gone, the Bills have a strong need for an edge rusher. Dodd gives them an excellent replacement.

New York Jets – William Jackson III – DC – Houston – The Jets would prefer a quarterback, but there is not one worth taking at this time.

Washington Redskins – A’Shawn Robinson – DT – Alabama – Robinson has the versatility to play the 5-tech or on the nose.

Houston Texans – Corey Coleman – WR – Baylor – Coming from the Baylor offense, Coleman isn’t the most polished receiver, but he has by far the most talent.

Minnesota Vikings – Josh Doctson – WR – TCU – Docson is the most ready to play receiver in this draft class. He can help the Vikings right away.

Cincinnati Bengals – Jarran Reed – DT – Alabama – Reed will be an excellent complement to Geno Atkins in the Bengals front four.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Mackenzie Alexander – DC – Clemson – The Steelers have don an inordinate amount of work on corners. Alexander is the best corner available.

Seattle Seahawks – Chris Jones – DT – DT – Mississippi State – Jones is a bit raw, but has tremendous upside. The Seahawks can afford to wait on that talent.

Green Bay Packers – Emanuel Ogbah – DE – Oklahoma State – Ogbah can play OLB or at the 5-tech in the Green Bay defense. He is one of the better natural pass rushers in this draft.

Kansas City Chiefs – Artie Burns – DC – Miami – Burns replaces Sean Smith who was lost to the Raiders in free agency.

Arizona Cardinals – Ryan Kelly – OC – Alabama – Kelly is the highest rated interior offensive lineman in the draft. Can play center or guard and will start right away.

Carolina Panthers – Vernon Butler – DT – Louisiana Tech – The Panthers would love to take a corner here, but there are none rated high enough to take at this time.

Denver Broncos – Connor Cook – QB – Denver doesn’t have a quarterback who is good enough to start in the NFL. Cook is by far the best quarterback left on the board and has starter traits.

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The Top Guards in the 2016 NFL Draft

Vadal Alexander

The offensive line class this year has depth and there are a number of players who have the athletic traits to play more than one position. Such is the case with most of the players talked about here. All of these prospects will line up at guard first with some being able to play outside

The offensive line class this year has depth and there are a number of players who have the athletic traits to play more than one position. Such is the case with most of the players talked about here. All of these prospects will line up at guard first with some being able to play outside at tackle and others able to also play center.

Vadal Alexander – LSU –

Alexander is a four year starter with position versatility. He has shown durability and has started 45 of 49 career games. Alexander was moved to right tackle in 2015 after starting at right guard in 2013 and 2014. He is more suited to play guard at the NFL level. Alexander is a massive man who is well coached and plays hard. He is very strong and though he can get tall at times he still keeps his feet moving on contact and is able to get movement. In pass protection he shows a good punch, can mirror and anchor. He played at over 330 during the season and was at 326 at the Combine. May want to keep his weight at about 320 to be most effective.

Cody Whitehair – Kansas State

Cody is a four year starter with experience at both tackle positions as well as guard. At 6’4 – 301 with 32.5” arms, he is more suited to play inside at guard the NFL level. He may also be able to play center. Whitehair is tough and competitive with good to real good play strength. He is alert and does a real good job picking up stunts and blitzes. He shows quick hands and plays with bend. Has some explosiveness on contact and can generate movement in the run game. In pass protection he shows he has the lateral agility to stop wide speed and the recovery quickness to mirror versus counter moves. Played from mostly a 2-point stance at Kansas State so he will have to learn to play with his hand on the ground at the NFL level.

Joe Dahl – Washington State –

Another player with position versatility. He has started games at both tackle and guard but it has been two seasons since he last played inside. Dahl measures 6037 – 301 with 32.75” arms, so with that frame there is no way that he will play outside in the NFL. Dahl is very strong and physical and plays at a high level of intensity. He is easily athletic enough to play in space and adjust on the move. Joe plays a physical style game, always looks to finish blocks and also had a strong week at the Senior Bowl. In the run game, he has some snap through his hips and though he isn’t the biggest guy, he can play with power. Had foot surgery following the eighth game but came back to start in Washington States Bowl game.

Josua Garnett – Stanford –

In recent years, Stanford has put out some fairly good defensive linemen and Garnett is another one that is similar to those before him. He is productive as both a run and pass blocker, knows how to use his hands and is very alert. If there is a negative to his game, he doesn’t consistently play with good bend and he is more strong than explosive. Still he keeps his feet moving on contact and is able to generate movement. He is well coached with good technique. While he played his entire career at guard, I see no problem with him also being able to play center. Will come in and start for most teams as a rookie.

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The Top Centers in the 2016 NFL Draft

Ryan Kelly

I have always thought of center as an undervalued position. By the nature of the position, the center is the leader of the offensive line group. He not only has to be productive, he also has to smart, aware and instinctive. It’s his job to recognize defensive formations and instantly make the line calls and

I have always thought of center as an undervalued position. By the nature of the position, the center is the leader of the offensive line group. He not only has to be productive, he also has to smart, aware and instinctive. It’s his job to recognize defensive formations and instantly make the line calls and protections. That said, the group this year is as strong as I have seen it in years. Not only are there some quality players at the position but there are also s few guards that can also slide over and play center in a pinch. I will talk about those prospects when I write up the guard group later this week.

Ryan Kelly – Alabama

Kelly is a fifth year senior, a three year starter and the Remington Trophy winner. At 6’4 – 311 with 33 5/8” arms he has ideal size to go along with outstanding smarts and instincts. He has the strength and power to move big nose tackles and the athleticism to adjust on the move and get to the second level on combo blocks. In pass pro, he sets quickly, has a strong punch, can mirror and anchor as well as pick up blitzes and stunts.

Earlier in the scouting process, I felt that he would easily start as a rookie, but as I have watched more tape, I can see that Kelly is the type of player who will be a future Pro Bowl type player. He will be the first center selected and could perhaps get drafted in the later part of the first round.

Nick Martin – Notre Dame

Martin was a three year starter for Notre Dame and has starts at both center and guard. He is also the younger brother of All Pro guard Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys. While at Notre Dame he accumulated 37 starts. Martin has good size at 6’4 – 300. While his arms are a bit short at 32 ½”, he has very good strength and power to go along with very good overall athleticism.

Martin grades out well as both a run and pass blocker. He stays low coming off the ball and has some snap in his hips on contact. He demonstrates good hand use, keeps good position and can anchor and mirror in pass protection. He easily gets to the second level and does a good job in space. When at guard he can pull and adjust on the move to hit a moving target. While Martin may never be an All Pro like his brother, he will be a solid starter who should be able to come in and start as a rookie.

Max Tuerk – USC

Earlier in the process I had Tuerk as my number one center. That was before he tore a ligament in his knee, had surgery and missed the rest of the season. He was unable to work out for any clubs during the post combine evaluation period.

Tuerk has excellent size (6’5 – 300) to go along with very good overall athleticism. He has made starts at center, guard and tackle for USC during the course of his career. Tuerk is a sound technician and plays with strength and power. He plays an aggressive game and demonstrates the movement skills to be very good in space. He shows he can play with bend and he is a consistent run and pass blocker. If he has a negative, it’s that his lower body is a bit on the lean side. To compete at a high level in the NFL he will need to add some lower body strength and bulk.  If his knee is sound once camps open, I see no reason why he can’t come in and start as a rookie at either center or guard. While he has the talent to be drafted as high as the second round, his draft status will be determined by far along he is in the rehab process with his knee.

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The Ever Changing First Round

NFL draft

The one thing that is certain about the NFL Draft is that nothing is certain until the draft begins a week form Thursday. We can look at all the pre-draft predictions we want and they all are meaningless. All 32 NFL clubs keep getting relevant information until shortly before the start of the draft. As

The one thing that is certain about the NFL Draft is that nothing is certain until the draft begins a week form Thursday. We can look at all the pre-draft predictions we want and they all are meaningless. All 32 NFL clubs keep getting relevant information until shortly before the start of the draft. As information comes in, raft boards can change and remember, no two draft boards are alike.

Last week we had the big trade between The Rams and the Titans. That trade changed how the top five and more than likely the top ten will come off the board. The other event that could have a drastic effect on how the players come off the board was the medical re-checks in Indianapolis last Thursday and Friday.

Let’s look at the trade first. With the Rams now holding the first overall selection, we know one thing and that is a quarterback will be selected first. What we don’t know is who that quarterback will be. It could be Carson Wentz or it could be Jared Goff. The other thing that is certain is that the second pick will most likely be the quarterback that the Rams don’t select. AT this time, I’m hearing that Cleveland want Goff, so id Goff goes first, Cleveland will try and trade out of the second pick.

Teams around the league are wondering what it will be like dealing with the Browns when it comes to draft day trades. The Browns front office is very inexperienced when it comes to draft day deals and no club has a clue right now how a deal will come about. That said, it would not surprise me if the Browns trade out of number two before the draft begins.

If the draft falls the way I think it will, with Goff and Wentz being the first two selections, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the to five falls. Does San Diego select Leremy Tunsil who a week ago looked like a safe bet to go number one? Or do they stay with a defensive player as they originally planned? That pick could be the key to how far Tunsil falls because it’s safe to say that Dallas won’t be selecting an offensive lineman at number four.

Getting back to the quarterbacks, if in fact Goff and Wentz are the first two picks, when does Paxton Lynch get selected? Will a club with a quarterback need trade up into the top 10 or 12 to take Lynch? Before the trade went down, I thought it was a safe bet that Lynch would go at 15 to the Rams. I felt that was the floor for Lynch. Now I am thinking it could very well be somewhere between 6 and 12.

After the medical re-checks, it was revealed that some teams are not good with UCLA linebacker Myles Jack knee. The question is not if Jack can play this year, but rather how sound is his knee and will his injury prevent him from having a healthy career. Arthritic conditions can have a huge effect on a player’s longevity. Having sat in on numerous pre-draft medical meetings, I know and understand how each team can look at an injury differently. There will be some clubs who downgrade Jack because of his condition, others will say he is good to go. We won’t know how they really feel until the night of April 28th when he actually gets selected. If Jack does not go in the top five, then clubs are truly worried about his knee.

We still have 10 days to go before the draft and the top half of the first round already looks much different than it did a week ago. I can guarantee one thing, between now and April 28th it will change even more>

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The Top 4 Tight Ends in the 2016 NFL Draft

Hunter henry

Looking at this tight end class, it may be one of the weakest in years. There are some prospects who can potentially turn into fairly good move type tight ends but there are very few prospects who can make a living playing the “Y” tight end. This isn’t a fault of the players, it is

Looking at this tight end class, it may be one of the weakest in years. There are some prospects who can potentially turn into fairly good move type tight ends but there are very few prospects who can make a living playing the “Y” tight end. This isn’t a fault of the players, it is what the college game is producing at the position right now at the position. There is little or no premium put on in-line blocking.

Hunter Henry – Arkansas –

Henry has only been a fulltime starter for one season (2015), before that he was a part time starter and played in a rotation. This year he lined up in the slot, flexed out and in tight. He is athletic and run well. He didn’t run at the Combine but came back to time 4.67 at the Arkansas pro day.

Henry is a good route runner who does a good job working to get open. He shows he can get in and out of cuts quickly and can gain separation. After the catch he shows good run skills. Where he needs work is in the blocking game. He plays with no power, seldom gets movement and lacks snap in his hips. AT Indy he only did 13 reps of 225 which is poor for the position. He came back 3 weeks later to do 21 reps at his pro day. In all honesty, in over 30 years of doing this work I have never seen a player improve by eight reps in three weeks. Three or four reps maybe but not eight. Something is wrong with this equation.

Austin Hooper – Stanford

Probably the most “complete” tight end in this class is Stanford’s Austin Hooper. By the nature of the Stanford offense, Hooper has to line up as a “Y” at times and block at times He just may be the best blocker in the position group this year. That said, he still needs to play with more strength and aggressiveness as a blocker.

As a receiver he is a good route runner who shows he can uncover versus man and zone. While not a “burner” he has enough speed to get open deep as well as underneath. Hooper has soft hands and does a good job adjusting to the ball. After the catch he shows strong run skills. Being that Hunter was only a third year sophomore with two year of eligibility left, he is very young and has upside. He could very easily get drafted in the second round or third round.

Nick Vannett – Ohio State

When you look at Vannett physically, he looks like the proto-typical NFL tight end. He’s 6’6 – 257 pounds and runs 4.85. You would think that with his frame, he is a top blocker. He isn’t! In the Ohio State offense Vannett was used more as the move tight end than the “Y”.

Vannett shows a willingness to block and he is able to get good position but he is not explosive and does not consistently get movement. He does a much better job when blocking on the move. As a receiver, he lacks top end speed but he can uncover versus zone coverage. He will never challenge a defense deep but he can be a consistent short range theat.

Tyler Higbee – Western Kentucky

Higbee was having a strong 2015 at Western Kentucky until a knee injury cut short his season and he missed the final four games. In nine games, he had 38 receptions for 563 yards and 8 touchdowns.  He is a good route runner, can adjust to the ball, has soft hands and is a good runner after the catch. As a blocker he is adequate. He shows a willing ness but lacks the strength and power to get movement at the NFL level. He has the frame to get bigger and stronger, so the ability to develop as a blocker is there.

What hurts Higbee going into the draft are obviously his knee injury and also he had a recent assault arrest. How clubs feel about his knee was found out at the medical rechecks this weekend in Indianapolis. As for the criminal charge, clubs will have to do their research to see if it is a situation that makes Higbee undraftable.

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The Top 5 Outside Linebackers in the 2016 NFL Draft

Myles Jack

When we say outside linebackers, I am talking about mostly Sam’s and Will’s. I have already covered the top guys that I see as edge pass rushers who would play outside in a 3-4 though there may be a one or two here that could fill that role here.

Myles Jack – UCLA – Jack

When we say outside linebackers, I am talking about mostly Sam’s and Will’s. I have already covered the top guys that I see as edge pass rushers who would play outside in a 3-4 though there may be a one or two here that could fill that role here.

Myles Jack – UCLA – Jack has great versatility in that he can play multiple positions. I see him best suited at Will but he can play strong safety, Sam or even outside in a 3-4. He is so athletic that he will never come off the field and will be an asset in coverage. While he isn’t a real physical point of attack player, he does everything else almost effortlessly. He is a rare athlete with to body control, speed and agility. With today’s game having such an emphasis on passing a linebacker like Jack is what everyone will be looking for.

Darron Lee – Ohio State – Lee is a third year sophomore and a two year starter who entered the draft as an underclassman. Like Jack, he is an excellent athlete and is very good when playing in space. AT Ohio State he was often walked off and played man wide receivers. Also like Jack, he isn’t a real physical point of attack player, but once he gets a little bigger and stronger he will easily be able to adapt to that role. I see his best fit at Will in a 4-3 but he has the athleticism and versatility to play in any scheme. Being as young as he is, he hasn’t begun to scratch the surface of how good he can be.

Leonard Floyd – Georgia – I keep seeing people list Floyd as a pass rusher and in my opinion he isn’t. In his three years at Georgia he had a total of 17 sacks with only 4.5 coming this year. Floyd is tall and long with a bit of a narrow frame. On tape he looks like a 235 pound guy but showed up at the Combine at 246 and moved extremely well. While he is very athletic, he lacks to strength and power. He is the type of player who would rather go around or elude a block than take one on. While he can get away with that in college, he won’t in the NFL. He will have to get stronger and learn to stack and shed. Overall, I think he has to be in the right scheme. Right now he reminds me of Barkevious Mingo and we all know how he has turned out. I see him as a Sam in a 4-3 not a 3-4 edge guy.

Su’a Cravens – USC – Coming out of the Combine, I had Cravens listed number two behind Myles Jack. I dropped him down after his very average Pro Day and then his agent saying he wouldn’t be doing any private workouts. After seeing the Pro Day numbers, not doing a private workout is ludicrous.

On tape, Cravens looks and plays like a poor man’s Myles Jack. He didn’t test that way. While he plays like a guy with about 4.58 speed, he actually ran 4.7 and his vertical was only 30.5”. he will be drafted to play as a hybrid linebacker and will be used in coverage a lot. He has played some safety at USC and has very good coverage skills. He still needs to get stronger and become more physical at the point, but the tolls are there to eventually be very good. Remember, he doesn’t turn 21 until just before training camp opens.

Terrance Smith – Florida State – Another guy whose best fit seems to be at Will in a 4-3. He is a very good athlete with play speed and the frame to get to 240 – 245. Smith has good instincts and reacts quickly. He plays well at the point and is also very good in pursuit. Smith shows he can play in coverage and is able to match up versus tight ends and running backs. On the downside, Smith has missed some time with injuries the last two seasons, so durability is a concern. While his best fit is in a 4-3, if he can get to 245 and add some strength he should also be able to play inside in a 3-4. Another young guy with upside.

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