Mostly we’re seeing slight differences. There are only two teams that saw changes that I found interesting. New England saw its Pythag markedly improve. Perhaps they made a significant roster move between May and July.

The Eagles took a hit. I’m not sure what that’s about.

Team 5/24 Pyth 7/15 Pyth
Kansas City 0.7024 0.7111
Baltimore 0.6755 0.6794
New Orleans 0.6537 0.6480
San Francisco 0.6425 0.6312
Dallas 0.5944 0.5941
Philadelphia 0.5904 0.5706
Tampa Bay 0.5885 0.5849
Seattle 0.5722 0.5588
Buffalo 0.5541 0.5572
Pittsburgh 0.5405 0.5410
New England 0.5401 0.5794
Minnesota 0.5273 0.5328
Green Bay 0.5265 0.5190
LA Rams 0.5249 0.5160
Atlanta 0.5159 0.5114
Denver 0.5059 0.5134
Indianapolis 0.5012 0.4952
Cleveland 0.5002 0.4974
Tennessee 0.4985 0.4991
LV Raiders 0.4908 0.4869
LA Chargers 0.4616 0.4688
Houston 0.453 0.4656
Arizona 0.4496 0.4452
Chicago 0.4419 0.4393
NYJ 0.4417 0.4478
NYG 0.4135 0.4075
Detroit 0.3821 0.3895
Miami 0.3757 0.3725
Carolina 0.366 0.3756
Cincinnati 0.3646 0.3622
Washington 0.3334 0.3322
Jacksonville 0.2709 0.2667

It’s no surprise to see Kansas City on top, followed by Baltimore, New Orleans, and San Francisco. After the top tier we see a cluster of four NFC teams. Tampa Bay is now considered a legitimate threat to New Orleans in the NFC South. Buffalo is expected to be a fairly solid team, and are the AFC East favorites for the first time in 25+ years. Interestingly, New England is still above-average despite having arguably the worst quarterback situation in the NFL. I wonder if the market is pricing in a future signing or trade.

The NFC North lacks any elite teams. Green Bay were frauds at 13-3. The dropoff to their expected mediocrity is rather steep. Minnesota has seen their expected fortunes decline. I wonder how much of that is due to the loss of Stefon Diggs. We also see a sizable decline for Houston, who have had a truly awful offseason.

The Jets and Giants are still expected to be lousy. Sigh. Jacksonville is currently in pole position for Trevor Lawrence, but there’s a long path to the 2021 NFL Draft.

Kansas City 0.7024
Baltimore 0.6755
New Orleans 0.6537
San Francisco 0.6425
Dallas 0.5944
Philadelphia 0.5904
Tampa Bay 0.5885
Seattle 0.5722
Buffalo 0.5541
Pittsburgh 0.5405
New England 0.5401
Minnesota 0.5273
Green Bay 0.5265
LA Rams 0.5249
Atlanta 0.5159
Denver 0.5059
Indianapolis 0.5012
Cleveland 0.5002
Tennessee 0.4985
LV Raiders 0.4908
LA Chargers 0.4616
Houston 0.4530
Arizona 0.4496
Chicago 0.4419
NYJ 0.4417
NYG 0.4135
Detroit 0.3821
Miami 0.3757
Carolina 0.3660
Cincinnati 0.3646
Washington 0.3334
Jacksonville 0.2709

This year’s grades come with an asterisk because I am missing some data I would normally have. To be fair, NFL GM’s are also going to be missing a lot of data they normally have.

Some notes:

  1. Joe Burrow is far and away the best quarterback in this class. The gap between him and Tua is larger than it appears here due to Tua’s major injury red flags.
  2. I can’t state this enough: Tua, even if cleared by the team doctors, has a history of lower body injuries. Also, there’s the issue that it’s tough to evaluate players medically right now. This puts both Tua and NFL GM’s in a tough spot.
  3. Star cornerbacks are generally more prized than star defensive tackles. That bumps Okudah above Brown in the value column (not listed).
  4. Isaiah Simmons does a ton of things really well. Even so, I think I’d get the willies drafting him in the top five.
  5. Most of my projections for Chase Young have him him as a somewhat stronger prospect Nick Bosa. However, I want to note that one of my projections for him is as the best player I’ve ever scouted. His ceiling is Lawrence Taylor/Reggie White.
  6. For those of you concerned that the Clemson game exposed Young: Clemson’s offensive protection scheme was entirely geared around shutting down Young, which created opportunities for the rest of the front-seven.
  7. I’m on team Jeudy, but I can see others preferring Lamb or Ruggs as the top WR in the class.
  8. I’m certain I’ve never had a smaller delta between my top OT and my fourth OT.
  9. I should probably institute a positional penalty for running backs like I do for kickers and punters. I wouldn’t take any running back in the first round.
  10. I should probably institute a positional penalty for defenders that don’t influence opposing passing games after instituting a positional penalty for running backs.
  11. If Tua has injury red flags, Herbert has film red flags. Whoa boy. This is a tricky draft to find quarterbacks, after Burrow of course.

Links to write ups:

Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Centers and Guards

Defensive Ends (Includes a section on pass rush vs. coverage)

Outside Linebackers

Defensive Tackles

Inside Linebackers

Cornerbacks

Safeties

Rank Name Position School Grade
1 Chase Young DE Ohio State 96.60
2 Derrick Brown DT Auburn 92.48
3 Jeff Okudah CB Ohio State 92.39
4 Joe Burrow QB LSU 91.77
5 Isaiah Simmons OLB Clemson 91.75
6 Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama 89.23
7 Tua Tagovailoa QB Alabama 87.86
8 CeeDee Lamb WR Oklahoma 87.02
9 Jedrick Wills Jr. OT Alabama 86.90
10 Javon Kinlaw DT South Carolina 86.27
11 Andrew Thomas OT Georgia 86.21
12 Tristan Wirfs OT Iowa 85.89
13 D’Andre Swift RB Georgia 85.68
14 Mekhi Becton OT Louisville 85.42
15 Henry Ruggs III WR Alabama 85.18
16 C.J. Henderson CB Florida 84.09
17 Grant Delpit S LSU 82.92
18 K’Lavon Chaisson DE LSU 82.39
19 Jonathan Taylor RB Wisconsin 81.79
20 Kenneth Murray ILB Oklahoma 81.78
21 J.K. Dobbins RB Ohio State 81.58
22 A.J. Epenesa DE Iowa 81.43
23 Yetur Gross-Matos DE Penn State 81.31
24 Justin Jefferson WR LSU 81.07
25 Xavier McKinney S Alabama 80.70
26 Trevon Diggs CB Alabama 80.06
27 Austin Jackson OT USC 80.01
28 Justin Herbert QB Oregon 79.98
29 Tee Higgins WR Clemson 79.81
30 Patrick Queen ILB LSU 79.20
31 Antoine Winfield Jr. S Minnesota 78.63
32 Terrell Lewis OLB Alabama 77.66
33 Laviska Shenault Jr. WR Colorado 77.57
34 Ross Blacklock DT TCU 77.09
35 Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB LSU 76.88
36 Zack Baun OLB Wisconsin 76.67
37 Raekwon Davis DT Alabama 76.46
38 Kristian Fulton CB LSU 76.33
39 Jordan Love QB Utah State 76.09
40 A.J. Terrell CB Clemson 75.57
41 Jaylon Johnson CB Utah 75.19
42 Cole Kmet TE Notre Dame 75.05
43 Jalen Reagor WR TCU 75.00
44 Jeff Gladney CB TCU 74.70
45 Cesar Ruiz C Michigan 74.46
46 Damon Arnette CB Ohio State 73.91
47 Josh Jones OT Houston 73.83
48 Jacob Eason QB Washington 73.79
49 Julian Okwara DE Notre Dame 73.79
50 Kyle Dugger S Lenoir-Rhyne 73.63
51 Tyler Biadasz C Wisconsin 73.42
52 K.J. Hamler WR Penn State 73.36
53 Prince Tega Wanogho OT Auburn 72.82
54 Neville Gallimore DT Oklahoma 72.76
55 Cam Akers RB Florida State 72.57
56 Brandon Aiyuk WR Arizona State 72.29
57 Michael Pittman Jr. WR USC 72.28
58 Ashtyn Davis S California 71.60
59 Bradlee Anae DE Utah 70.77
60 Josh Uche OLB Michigan 70.65
61 Ezra Cleveland OT Boise State 70.50
62 Justin Madubuike DT Texas A&M 70.05
63 Albert Okwuegbunam TE Missouri 69.88
64 Curtis Weaver DE Boise State 69.51
65 Noah Igbinoghene CB Auburn 69.33
66 Jeremy Chinn S Southern Illinois 68.84
67 Adam Trautman TE Dayton 68.79
68 Jake Fromm QB Georgia 68.72
69 Zack Moss RB Utah 68.67
70 Jabari Zuniga DE Florida 68.63
71 Isaiah Wilson OT Georgia 68.62
72 Cameron Dantzler CB Mississippi State 68.37
73 Jason Strowbridge DT North Carolina 68.24
74 Harrison Bryant TE Florida Atlantic 67.73
75 Lucas Niang OT TCU 67.68
76 Matt Hennessy C Temple 67.53
77 Bryce Hall CB Virginia 66.81
78 Marlon Davidson DE Auburn 66.78
79 A.J. Dillon RB Boston College 66.40
80 Akeem Davis-Gaither OLB Appalachian State 66.40
81 Denzel Mims WR Baylor 66.16
82 Hunter Bryant TE Washington 66.06
83 Collin Johnson WR Texas 65.80
84 John Simpson OG Clemson 65.50
85 Jordan Elliott DT Missouri 65.06
86 A.J. Green CB Oklahoma State 65.01
87 Amik Robertson CB Louisiana Tech 64.86
88 Ben Bredeson OG Michigan 64.77
89 Jonathan Greenard DE Florida 64.05
90 Darrell Taylor DE Tennessee 64.02
91 Jordyn Brooks ILB Texas Tech 63.84
92 Leki Fotu DT Utah 63.50
93 Saahdiq Charles OT LSU 62.87
94 Colby Parkinson TE Stanford 62.85
95 Logan Wilson ILB Wyoming 62.73
96 James Lynch DT Baylor 62.42
97 Logan Stenberg OG Kentucky 62.34
98 Brandon Jones S Texas 62.24
99 Bryan Edwards WR South Carolina 62.21
100 Lloyd Cushenberry III C LSU 62.03
101 Trey Adams OT Washington 61.57
102 Jalen Hurts QB Oklahoma 61.30
103 Anthony McFarland Jr. RB Maryland 61.29
104 Netane Muti OG Fresno State 61.28
105 Troy Pride Jr. CB Notre Dame 61.22
106 Jared Pinkney TE Vanderbilt 60.97
107 Anfernee Jennings OLB Alabama 60.54
108 Malik Harrison ILB Ohio State 60.44
109 Devin Duvernay WR Texas 60.32
110 K.J. Hill WR Ohio State 60.06
111 Devin Asiasi TE UCLA 59.98
112 Nick Harris C Washington 59.75
113 Eno Benjamin RB Arizona State 59.52
114 Antonio Gandy-Golden WR Liberty 59.26
115 Troy Dye OLB Oregon 59.08
116 Markus Bailey ILB Purdue 59.03
117 Van Jefferson WR Florida 58.98
118 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR Michigan 58.93
119 Keith Ismael C San Diego State 58.66
120 Rashard Lawrence DT LSU 58.65
121 Thaddeus Moss TE LSU 58.58
122 Gabriel Davis WR UCF 58.11
123 Khalid Kareem DE Notre Dame 58.09
124 Matt Peart OT UConn 57.70
125 Davon Hamilton DT Ohio State 57.13
126 Kenny Willekes DE Michigan State 56.87
127 Davion Taylor OLB Colorado 56.75
128 Nick Coe DE Auburn 56.73
129 Chase Claypool WR Notre Dame 56.61
130 Brycen Hopkins TE Purdue 56.30
131 Darnay Holmes CB UCLA 56.08
132 Shane Lemieux OG Oregon 55.89
133 Jonah Jackson OG Ohio State 55.42
134 Lavert Hill CB Michigan 55.37
135 Alton Robinson DE Syracuse 55.07
136 Ke’Shawn Vaughn RB Vanderbilt 55.01
137 Josiah Scott CB Michigan State 54.41
138 Robert Hunt OG Louisiana 54.33
139 Evan Weaver ILB California 53.46
140 Dane Jackson CB Pittsburgh 53.43
141 La’Mical Perine RB Florida 53.30
142 D.J. Wonnum DE South Carolina 53.08
143 Jordan Fuller S Ohio State 53.03
144 Josh Metellus S Michigan 52.79
145 Quintez Cephus WR Wisconsin 52.79
146 K’Von Wallace S Clemson 52.61
147 Terence Steele OT Texas Tech 52.55
148 Ben Bartch OG St. John’s (MN) 52.33
149 James Proche WR SMU 52.19
150 Jack Driscoll OT Auburn 52.04
151 Antoine Brooks Jr. S Maryland 51.96
152 Tremayne Anchrum OG Clemson 51.91
153 Hakeem Adeniji OT Kansas 51.65
154 Damien Lewis OG LSU 51.61
155 Kalija Lipscomb WR Vanderbilt 51.53
156 Solomon Kindley OG Georgia 51.53
157 Colton McKivitz OT West Virginia 51.35
158 Tanner Muse S Clemson 51.18
159 Joseph Charlton P South Carolina 51.14
160 DeeJay Dallas RB Miami 51.04
161 Benito Jones DT Ole Miss 51.04
162 J.R. Reed S Georgia 50.75
163 Raequan Williams DT Michigan State 50.53
164 Jacob Phillips ILB LSU 50.36
165 Kindle Vildor CB Georgia Southern 50.31
166 Tyler Johnson WR Minnesota 50.09
167 Lamar Jackson CB Nebraska 50.08
168 Robert Windsor DT Penn State 50.07
169 Cam Brown OLB Penn State 50.07
170 Larrell Murchison DT NC State 49.82
171 Lynn Bowden Jr. WR Kentucky 49.63
172 Carter Coughlin OLB Minnesota 49.08
173 Stephen Sullivan TE LSU 48.91
174 Khaleke Hudson OLB Michigan 48.86
175 Alohi Gilman S Notre Dame 48.72
176 Harrison Hand CB Temple 48.60
177 Anthony Gordon QB Washington State 48.40
178 Isaiah Hodgins WR Oregon State 48.25
179 Nate Stanley QB Iowa 47.83
180 Michael Warren II RB Cincinnati 47.71
181 Stanford Samuels III CB Florida State 47.70
182 Darrion Daniels DT Nebraska 47.65
183 Quartney Davis WR Texas A&M 47.49
184 Brian Cole II S Mississippi State 46.98
185 Rodrigo Blankenship K Georgia 46.92
186 Trystan Colon-Castillo C Missouri 46.40
187 Steven Montez QB Colorado 46.28
188 Geno Stone S Iowa 46.27
189 Javaris Davis CB Auburn 45.94
190 Julian Blackmon S Utah 45.69
191 Antonio Gibson RB Memphis 45.60
192 Calvin Throckmorton OT Oregon 45.25
193 Kamal Martin OLB Minnesota 45.24
194 Josiah Coatney DT Ole Miss 45.08
195 Michael Ojemudia CB Iowa 44.66
196 Essang Bassey CB Wake Forest 44.64
197 Terrell Burgess S Utah 44.41
198 Jeff Thomas WR Miami 44.27
199 Jon Runyan OT Michigan 44.23
200 Charlie Taumoepeau TE Portland State 44.15
201 Jalen Elliott S Notre Dame 44.09
202 Levante Bellamy RB Western Michigan 44.06
203 Mitchell Wilcox TE South Florida 44.05
204 Justin Strnad OLB Wake Forest 43.87
205 Tyler Bass K Georgia Southern 43.86
206 Myles Bryant CB Washington 43.58
207 James Robinson RB Illinois State 43.07
208 Mykal Walker OLB Fresno State 42.97
209 Shaquille Quarterman ILB Miami 42.58
210 Yasir Durant OT Missouri 42.37
211 Joe Reed WR Virginia 42.36
212 Trevon Hill DE Miami 42.32
213 Alex Taylor OT South Carolina State 42.24
214 Zach Shackelford C Texas 42.18
215 Darrynton Evans RB Appalachian State 42.18
216 John Hightower WR Boise State 41.91
217 David Woodward ILB Utah State 41.90
218 Dalton Keene TE Virginia Tech 41.78
219 Willie Gay Jr. OLB Mississippi State 41.53
220 Shyheim Carter S Alabama 41.25
221 Jonathan Garvin DE Miami 41.14
222 Quez Watkins WR Southern Mississippi 41.12
223 Broderick Washington Jr. DT Texas Tech 41.01
224 Juwan Johnson WR Oregon 41.00
225 Austin Mack WR Ohio State 40.81
226 Casey Toohill OLB Stanford 40.75
227 Cole McDonald QB Hawai’i 40.64
228 Michael Pinckney ILB Miami 40.61
229 McTelvin Agim DT Arkansas 40.55
230 Salvon Ahmed RB Washington 40.30
231 Tipa Galeai DE Utah State 40.19
232 Joshua Kelley RB UCLA 40.18
233 Cohl Cabral C Arizona State 40.06
234 Javon Leake RB Maryland 39.87
235 Sean McKeon TE Michigan 39.82
236 Cheyenne O’Grady TE Arkansas 39.74
237 Carlos Davis DT Nebraska 39.65
238 Trevis Gipson DE Tulsa 39.54
239 Joe Bachie ILB Michigan State 39.45
240 Jeremiah Dinson S Auburn 39.19
241 Dominic Eberle K Utah State 39.15
242 Darryl Williams C Mississippi State 39.11
243 Marquez Callaway WR Tennessee 38.79
244 Trishton Jackson WR Syracuse 38.72
245 Jacob Breeland TE Oregon 38.27
246 Brian Lewerke QB Michigan State 38.24
247 Dezmon Patmon WR Washington State 37.88
248 Josiah Deguara TE Cincinnati 37.84
249 Clay Johnson ILB Baylor 37.65
250 Binjimen Victor WR Ohio State 37.50
251 Jauan Jennings WR Tennessee 37.49
252 J.J. Taylor RB Arizona 37.47
253 Brian Herrien RB Georgia 37.45
254 Rico Dowdle RB South Carolina 37.44
255 JaMycal Hasty RB Baylor 37.36
256 Oluwole Betiku DE Illinois 37.29
257 Trajan Bandy CB Miami 37.27
258 James Morgan QB Florida International 37.17
259 Simon Stepaniak OT Indiana 37.06
260 Jaylinn Hawkins S California 36.92
261 Qaadir Sheppard DE Ole Miss 36.87
262 Michael Divinity Jr. OLB LSU 36.77
263 Rodney Clemons S SMU 36.76
264 Alex Highsmith DE Charlotte 36.51
265 John Penisini DT Utah 36.45
266 Christian Rector DT USC 36.29
267 Dante Olson ILB Montana 36.25
268 Darius Anderson RB TCU 36.22
269 Tyre Phillips OT Mississippi State 36.19
270 Kyle Murphy OG Rhode Island 36.04
271 Reggie Robinson II CB Tulsa 35.87
272 Jake Hanson C Ohio State 35.84
273 Kendrick Rogers WR Texas A&M 35.80
274 Cale Garrett ILB Missouri 35.64
275 DeMarkus Acy CB Missouri 35.58
276 Daniel Thomas S Auburn 35.48
277 Scottie Phillips RB Ole Miss 35.47
278 James Smith-Williams DE NC State 35.46
279 Braden Mann P Texas A&M 35.43
280 Francis Bernard ILB Utah 35.30
281 Justin Herron OG Wake Forest 35.29
282 LaDarius Hamilton DE North Texas 35.20
283 Jared Mayden S Alabama 35.20
284 Cameron Clark OT Charlotte 35.14
285 Chapelle Russell OLB Temple 35.12
286 Javelin Guidry CB Utah 35.07
287 Tony Jones Jr. RB Notre Dame 34.94
288 David Dowell S Michigan State 34.91
289 Lawrence Cager WR Georgia 34.74
290 Shea Patterson QB Michigan 34.73
291 Chauncey Rivers DT Mississippi State 34.66
292 Kelly Bryant QB Missouri 34.58
293 Aaron Fuller WR Washington 34.34
294 Grayland Arnold CB Baylor 34.03
295 Nigel Warrior S Tennessee 33.86
296 James Pierre CB Florida Atlantic 33.83
297 L’Jarius Sneed CB Louisiana Tech 33.68
298 Dominick Wood-Anderson TE Tennessee 33.65
299 Daishawn Dixon OG San Diego State 33.63
300 Mike Danna DE Michigan 33.57
Name Position School Grade
Grant Delpit S LSU 82.92
Xavier McKinney S Alabama 80.7
Antoine Winfield Jr. S Minnesota 78.63
Kyle Dugger S Lenoir-Rhyne 73.63
Ashtyn Davis S California 71.6
Jeremy Chinn S Southern Illinois 68.84
Brandon Jones S Texas 62.24

This is a strong and athletic safety class. We’ll see how much teams value polish vs. raw athleticism.

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Grant Delpit: Can play centerfield or in the slot. Solid man and zone coverage skills. Elite range and athleticism. Plays a physical brand of football. Perhaps too physical. He played through numerous ailments and it clearly hampered his performance. There’s also the issue of his tackling technique. He goes for the knockout hit, with inconsistent results. His ceiling makes him my favorite safety in the class. However, it’s McKinney who is the consensus first safety off the board. Delpit will need to learn how to play without taking so much punishment. I expect he’ll be a tremendous value to whomever drafts him, especially if he falls to the second round as expected.

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Xavier McKinney: Excellent coverage skills either deep or near the line-of-scrimmage. His reaction speed and football intelligence are elite. Solid ballhawk traits, although his hands are a concern. He could have had an absurd number of interceptions over the past two years. On the plus side he’s learned how to punch the ball out when tackling. I can see why the NFL is so infatuated with him. One concern: He doesn’t have NFL prototype size, so he may have to model his game off of Marcus Williams. That’s a pretty good outcome if he equals Williams’ performance.

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Antione Winfield Jr.: A pure free safety. Winfield excels in zone coverage. Winfield is short and thick in a way few safeties are. His athleticism is mediocre at best by NFL standards. What will earn him a place in the league is his ballhawk skills. He had seven interceptions last season and that wasn’t a fluke. Winfield isn’t afraid to gamble. He doesn’t go for deflections when he thinks he has a chance to make the catch. There’s some risk to that play style. If he doesn’t make the play, he’s out of position and could be toast. I love his recognition skills, but his athleticism might not allow him to play the way he wants to play at the next level. He’ll go off the board around the middle of day two. I’d be wary of taking him that high.

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Kyle Dugger: It’s easy to find game film for FBS programs. It’s tougher to find FCS film, outside of the top programs such as North Dakota State. Finding division II film isn’t a challenge I regularly face. I took what I could get. All I was looking for was to ensure he was on a different level than his competition or teammates. He was. My projections for Dugger are pretty much entirely based on his combine as I have no real measurement for DII stats. He’s 6’1, 217 pounds, and ran a 4.49 40. He might be used as a strong safety or perhaps as a nickel linebacker. The jump from DII to the NFL is enormous, so he may have a longer than normal adjustment period. The NFL needs gifted athletes though. I expect Dugger to come off the board in the second round.

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Ashtyn Davis: Man, his range is phenomenal. Quick reaction to the quarterback and then boom, he’s gone. His man coverage skills are only so-so. I figure given his athleticism, he’ll be able to improve quite a bit in this area with experience. Another area of improvement will be his ball recognition skills. He makes a ton of plays on the ball as is, but he also leaves a ton on the field due to spotty awareness. Davis is still a work in progress so I expect he’ll be available round three.

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Jeremy Chinn: 6’3, 221 pounds, 4.45 40-time. That alone punches his ticket to the second round of the NFL draft. Chinn is an aggressive ballhawk. Like Winfield, he’s a gambler. Chinn feasted on the weaker competition Southern Illinois faced. His coverage skills will need refinement, particularly in terms of his footwork. His play recognition skills will need to be upgraded as well. That’ll come with practice and experience. Chinn’s a manimal and I expect great things from him in the pros.

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Brandon Jones: Played both corner and safety. At his best when playing off of the line of scrimmage. He didn’t quite have the agility to excel in man coverage. He has the speed to play well in zone, but needs to improve his recognition skills and reaction times. He’s also a bit undersized. I figure he’ll be around day three for a team looking for defensive backfield depth.

Name Position School Grade
Jeff Okudah CB Ohio State 92.39
C.J. Henderson CB Florida 84.09
Trevon Diggs CB Alabama 80.06
Kristian Fulton CB LSU 76.33
A.J. Terrell CB Clemson 75.57
Jaylon Johnson CB Utah 75.19
Jeff Gladney CB TCU 74.7
Damon Arnette CB Ohio State 73.91
Noah Igbinoghene CB Auburn 69.33
Cameron Dantzler CB Mississippi State 68.37
Bryce Hall CB Virginia 66.81
A.J. Green CB Oklahoma State 65.01
Amik Robertson CB Louisiana Tech 64.86
Troy Pride Jr. CB Notre Dame 61.22

This is a deep cornerback class, with a solid high end. They’ll come off the board early and often.

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Jeff Okudah: The best college cornerback I’ve ever scouted. Can play man or zone. He matches up well against larger receivers with the speed and agility to handle smaller speedsters. Cornerbacks have a tough transition to the NFL and it usually takes a year for them to get up to speed. I expect Okudah to be an elite #1CB by the time his rookie contract is finished. Would be my second non-quarterback off the board, trailing only his teammate Chris Young. Please note, I covered the tension involved in selecting between the two here.

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C.J. Henderson: Excellent athlete. Moves beautifully well on film. Familiar with both man and zone responsibilities. I have some concerns though. He doesn’t like getting physical. I don’t expect my cornerbacks to play a big role against the run, but Henderson takes it to the extreme. There’s also the issue that opponents had decent success targeting Henderson in 2019. The fact that he dropped a pair of interceptions didn’t help. Henderson will come off the board early, but I’m not nearly as confident in him as I am Okudah.

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Trevon Diggs: I think Diggs gets a bit of a bad rap. He was somewhat undisciplined for most of his college career. He was dominant last season. His technique needs significant refinement. He’s gotten away with some flaws due to his strength, athleticism, and great reaction speed. He can play man or zone, potentially at an elite level. His ceiling is higher than Henderson’s and I’d be happy taking Diggs in the first round.

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Kristian Fulton: Fulton’s film was surprisingly irritating. The dude should have had more interceptions. It’s not just an issue of drops. He focuses on breaking passes when he has a decent shout of picking them off. And then there’s his tackling. Ugh. I love his pure cover skills and if he fixes some of the flaws in his game he could be an All-Pro. Having said that, there are two other issues here. The first is he’s already suffered multiple season-ending injuries in college. The second is he got caught attempting to cheat a drug test and was suspended for it. His coverage skills say he’s a top 40 prospect. I wouldn’t take him that high though.

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A.J. Terrell: I love his zone-skills. Excellent vision and reaction time. His ball skills aren’t great though. Has the size and speed NFL teams are looking for. His man coverage skills need refinement. He had real difficulty turning and staying with his man. Overall his coverage numbers were solid, but it’s clear he’s much stronger in zone than man. He’ll need to go to an NFL team that can maximize his strengths. I expect him to come off the board in the first round.

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Jaylon Johnson: Targeted a ton at Utah, but more than held his own. Played both inside and outside. Excellent at tracking the ball and getting his hands on it. Not afraid to play physical and deliver a hit in run support. Medical red flag due to repeated shoulder injuries. He has first-round talent but might fallif teams aren’t sure about his long term health prognosis.

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Jeff Gladney: Small but tough. Gambles in coverage, especially in zone. Will jump routes in the hope of breaking up or intercepting the pass and risk letting the wide receiver get behind him. They’ll punish that tendency in the pros until he learns to be more judicious. Another concern is that in man coverage he’ll play the man as often as the ball. He’ll have to learn how to do so without drawing flags. He’s talented enough to work his way up to a #1CB role in the NFL. Solid 2nd round value.

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Damon Arnette: Coming off of a very good senior season with the Buckeyes. Before this year he was “just a guy” out there in the defensive backfield. He’s very physical, aggressive in his press coverage. He can also get a bid handsy down the field, which will draw scrutiny from the officials. Arnette can play outside or in the slot. He’s not athletic enough to stick with the true speedsters. I figure he’ll come off the board around the middle of day two. One concern: He’ll turn 24 before the season starts.

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Noah Igbinoghene: Superb athlete. Not afraid of getting physical, either with receivers, or attacking the running game. Elite special teams performer. Igbinoghene would be a first-round lock if his route recognition skills weren’t a work in progress. Receivers were generally able to create some space with their cuts, and it was a question of whether Igbinoghene could make up the ground before the ball arrived. His mediocre coverage stats last season should be a warning to NFL teams that he needs some polish. Between his upside and special teams value, I’d be fine taking him in the second round. Just know that this is a high risk, high reward pick.

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Cameron Dantzler: Good zone coverage skills. Nice vision and reaction time. Plays faster on the field than his combine would suggest. The problem with Dantzler is he doesn’t have much play strength. I don’t ask a lot from my cornerbacks in this area, but with Dantzler it’s a real concern. Wide receivers can bully him, and Dantzler is the one who will pick up flags when he fights back. I expect he’ll come off the board day two, but I wouldn’t take him that high unless I ran zone and I desperately needed CB depth.

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Bryce Hall: Hall has the size and athleticism teams are looking for. Showed improvement every year at Virginia. Broke up an absurd number of passes in 2018. Was playing very well his senior year before a left ankle injury ended his season. It required surgery and I don’t know what his medical prognosis is. If it’s not an issue, he’s a day two value. I have to figure teams will be wary, especially given their inability to bring him in for testing. I expect he’ll be available day three.

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A.J. Green: I feel for Green. He started for the past three years at Oklahoma State, facing some very tough receivers. As for Green’s numbers, they were… um… fine. That’s before taking the penalty yardage he surrendered into account. It’s an ever bigger concern in the NFL where pass interference yardage isn’t capped at 15 yards. His athleticism is pedestrian by NFL standards. Teams won’t start looking seriously at green until the fifth round.

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Amik Robertson: Absolutely dominant last year at Louisiana Tech. 14 interceptions over the past three seasons. His coverage skills were elite, at least by Conference USA standards. There are two concerns though. The first is his level of competition wasn’t close to what he’ll face in the NFL. The second is that he’s only 5’8. It will be tough for him to match up with bigger receivers. That may limit his role to the slot. It’s hard not to love his film but his limitations suggest he shouldn’t come off the board until late day two.

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Troy Pride Jr.: Has the athleticism to be an elite cornerback, but the light hasn’t come on yet. His coverage numbers plateaued the past three seasons. His ball tracking skills are remarkably poor. Even if he can get good position on the receiver, he’ll still struggle to make a play. And then there’s his tackling. It’s clearly not his favorite part of playing football. The fact that we’ve seen so little development from Pride at Notre Dame makes me concerned that he may already be at his peak. I wouldn’t take him until day three.

 

 

Name Position School Grade
Kenneth Murray ILB Oklahoma 81.78
Patrick Queen ILB LSU 79.2
Jordyn Brooks ILB Texas Tech 63.84
Logan Wilson ILB Wyoming 62.73
Malik Harrison ILB Ohio State 60.44

Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen present teams with a very strong interior defensive options. Both have their pluses:

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Kenneth Murray: There’s a tradeoff between making quick decisions and waiting for more information to ensure you’re making the right decision. Murray errs on the side of quick decisions. When he’s right he gets to the spot faster than any other linebacker in the draft. His range is exceptional. His enormous wingspan allows him to wrap up ballcarriers from tough angles. It blows my mind that he made 28 tackles in a single game against Army. His pass coverage skills are a work in progress. The speed and agility are there. He just needs to learn proper angles and technique. I see a player who could eventually be the best MLB in the NFL. Solid first round selection.

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Patrick Queen: Similar to Murray in some ways. Both fly around the field. Queen’s pass coverage skills are more refined. Queen also looks to deliver big hits more often, while Murray prefers to wrap up. The biggest issue for Queen is that he doesn’t have the size and power that teams look for inside. As such, he may be asked to develop into a safety-linebacker hybrid. He has speed and athleticism to play off the ball, and there his size would be less of an issue. We’ll see. I like Queen quite a bit and would be happy taking him in the first round if Murray was already off the board.

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Jordyn Brooks: Flourished after moving inside his senior year at Texas Tech. Moved well, but wasn’t as fast as he thought. Some of the angles he took would only make sense if he was much faster than his target. It didn’t always play out that way. Has plenty of experience in coverage. Good range. Despite his size, showed some issues fighting for position against tight ends. Much better at avoiding blocks than defeating them. There’s a pretty big gap between Brooks and the top two. Round three prospect for me.

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Logan Wilson: Lacks premier athleticism. That’s probably why he ended up at Wyoming. He accumulated 400+ tackles in his four years there. That’s a lot of f***ing tackles. There are a lot of good football players who don’t have the athleticism to hack it in the NFL. Why do I like Wilson? His vision. He intercepted 10% of the passes sent his way. Yeah, that was mostly against Mountain West competition. His zone coverage skills are elite. He was a cornerback in high school and it shows. I’d be happy taking him in the third round.

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Malik Harrison: I trust him attacking the line of scrimmage. Good mix of athleticism and power. I do not trust him in coverage. At all. His change-of-direction skills are terrible. I’m fine with him blitzing, patrolling the middle, or spying the quarterback. Put him up against an NFL tight end and you’re gonna have a bad time. It’s not just a man coverage issue. His vision hurts him in zone coverage. I wouldn’t take Harrison until day three.

Name Position School Grade
Derrick Brown DT Auburn 92.48
Javon Kinlaw DT South Carolina 86.27
Ross Blacklock DT TCU 77.09
Raekwon Davis DT Alabama 76.46
Neville Gallimore DT Oklahoma 72.76
Justin Madubuike DT Texas A&M 70.05
Jason Strowbridge DT North Carolina 68.24
Marlon Davidson DT Auburn 66.78
Jordan Elliott DT Missouri 65.06
Leki Fotu DT Utah 63.5
James Lynch DT Baylor 62.42

Defensive tackles that aren’t disruptive have seen their value decrease as stopping opposing running games has become less important. There was an era where Derrick Brown would have been a more important piece of the defense than Jeff Okudah. Mind you, neither Brown nor Okudah were alive during that era.

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Derrick Brown: Brown is an elite defender who doesn’t get much credit in the stat sheet. He’ll push the pocket and move the quarterback off the spot while rarely getting a sack. It’s very hard to run at him, so opposing running games generally look elsewhere. His power is exceptional. Does a good job of getting his hands up in the passing lane when blocked. Even with the step up in difficulty, he’s going to be tough to block 1-on-1 in the NFL. He’ll come off the board in the top 10 and provide good value to the team that drafts him.

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Javon Kinlaw: Kinlaw provided a solid interior pass rush for South Carolina, nabbing seven sacks. He’s not quite as disruptive as Brown, especially when double-teamed. That was despite a limited pass-rush repertoire. There’s definite room for improvement in that regard. The ceiling here is fairly high. He doesn’t provide the power of an elite run-stuffer. That can be overlooked when you’re looking at a defensive tackle who can bring the quarterback down. I’d be fine taking him outside of the top ten.

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Ross Blacklock: Very athletic on film. Exploded off the line. Moves well in space. You watch him and he looks great, but somehow it doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. I’d see a guy disrupting the offense, and yet he’d finish with three tackles and no sacks. I genuinely have no explanation for this. He fought well against double teams. His pass-rush moves were solid. His power is legit. Some of it might be opposing offenses knowing they had to account for him. Even so, I’d be leery of grabbing him in the first round with this level of production. Day two choice for me.

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Raekwon Davis: Davis had a monster sophomore season with 8.5 sacks, but pretty much in that department the last two years. Were injuries the culprit? Or is this just variance? My guess is the latter. He was fairly disruptive in 2018 and 2019, just with fewer highlights. What bugs me is that the dude is 6’6 and yet he doesn’t disrupt passing lanes. Maybe Davis will become a complete player in the pros. He’s not athletic enough to coast off his talent.

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Neville Gallimore: Surprisingly deep pass-rush skill set. Excellent swim move. Moves very well in the open field. Alas, he ended up on his back a lot. Whoever drafts him is going to have to teach him how to play aggressively with a lower pad level. His mix of size and athleticism with ensure he comes off the board day two.

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Justin Madubuike: Plays balls out football. Yeah, sometimes that backfires and he gets beat with traps or misdirection. No matter, he more than makes up for it with a fierce pass-rush. He’s proven to be an asset on special teams as well. There are plenty of issues with his game. It’s not refined. He doesn’t blow you away with raw athleticism. I’ll accept that. He’s an excellent football player and I’d love him to end up with the Jets in the second round.

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Jason Strowbridge: I don’t know what to make of Strowbridge. He’s undersized to play tackle, but doesn’t have the skills to play end. He plays smart football, making the most of his talent. I’d rate him as a third-round value except that I have no idea what his role in the pros will be. Given that, I expect him to fall to day three. Hopefully he lands with a team that has a good idea how to use him.

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Marlon Davidson: I’m not sure if Davidson will end up at end or tackle, or perhaps split time between them. Regardless, he was massively disruptive at Auburn. He read plays well, blowing them up when possible. More powerful than athletic. He’s developed good hand-fighting skills to win the battles off the edge. I acknowledge that he’s not a traditional defensive end and might not be able to win 1-on-1 battles with NFL tackles. So be it. I can live with him working inside. Solid day two value.

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Jordan Elliott: I’m seeing mocks with Elliot going in the top 50. That blows my mind. His reaction off the snap was glacial. His athleticism allowed him to get pressure despite poor technique. He’s agile enough to put himself in position to make plays. His lack of field awareness meant he couldn’t cash in, registering a measly 2.5 sacks last season. I view Elliot as a raw talent and a project. I wouldn’t touch him in the first two rounds.

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Leki Fotu: An old-school space eater. He soaks up blockers while his teammates make plays. Fotu was more agile in space than I was expecting. That might be due to his experience playing rugby. He received a medical red flag at the Senior Bowl, so his draft stock might have fallen to day three. He’s not a pass-rusher, so the upside here is limited. If you have a gaping hole in your defensive line, and are willing to take a bit of a risk, Fotu’s your man.

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James Lynch: It took me a while to figure Lynch out. I wasn’t impressed with his ability to win 1-on-1 battles with blockers. I wasn’t sure if he was better playing inside on the end. I was going to write him off as a mediocre prospect, but the fact that he had 13.5 sacks and five passes deflected at the line meant there was something I was missing. A lot of defenders get praised for having a good motor. Lynch really does. He never gave up on a play. If he was blocked, he did what he could to make life hard for the quarterback. If the quarterback had to move to his second or third read, Lynch would be in the backfield, making his life miserable. Lynch ended up with elite pass-rush stats, beyond just the sacks. It’s difficult to teach on-field awareness and Lynch has it. Solid day two selection for me.

 

 

Name Position School Grade
Isaiah Simmons OLB Clemson 91.75
Terrell Lewis OLB Alabama 77.66
Zack Baun OLB Wisconsin 76.67
Josh Uche OLB Michigan 70.65
Akeem Davis-Gaither OLB Appalachian State 66.4
Anfernee Jennings OLB Alabama 60.54

It’s a tough draft to find elite pass-rushers. The scouts and coaches will have to earn there money here.

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Isaiah Simmons: Not a true edge. Actually, he’s closer to a safety. Extraordinary range. Showed strong pass-rush skills last season, with excellent results. He’s the best nickel linebacker I’ve ever seen coming out of college. The fact that he can excel in coverage or blitz effectively pushes him into the elite class. Normally I don’t like non-edge linebackers in the top five because they don’t influence opposing passing games enough. I’d make an exception for Simmons. He’ll noticeably improve whatever defense he goes to.

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Terrell Lewis: Tricky call here. He’s had numerous injuries, including a torn ACL and a surgically repaired elbow. When healthy, he’s a quality rusher with a diverse set of moves. He has the size and power teams are looking for. His athleticism is elite, although I have to wonder how long that will remain true if his body keeps breaking down. High risk high reward pick. Look for someone to take the gamble in the second round.

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Zach Baun: Coming off of an absolutely monster season for the Badgers, with 12.5 sacks and a plethora of highlights. Played fast, which had a ton of pluses, but some minuses too. He’d often arrive at the ball carrier off balance, leading to missed tackles. I’m a little concerned that if speed moves fail, he won’t have the power to battle NFL tackles. If he can’t be a pure rusher, then he’ll have to develop better coverage skills. Those are currently a work in progress. Baun’s an intriguing prospect, but without knowing how I’d use him on my roster, I don’t think I’d take him in the top 40.

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Josh Uche: Used sparingly at Michigan. A fairly pure pass-rusher, Uche hasn’t developed a diverse skillset. As such, if you’re taking him, his baseline is that of a nickel rush linebacker. That’s a pretty narrow role for a player expected to come off the board in the first two rounds. He had 15.5 sacks over the past two seasons at Michigan, so we know he can produce. I’m just not sold that it’s worth taking him this early.

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Akeem Davis-Gaither: The film is good. The stats are solid. Davis-Gaither looks like a quality weakside linebacker. The catch is that the film is from Appalachian State, and it’s a big step up. The competition wasn’t good enough to give us an accurate gauge. Additionally, he didn’t run at the combine, to it’s tough to measure his athleticism. I wouldn’t look to take him until the third round.

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Anfernee Jennings: Jennings doesn’t impress on film. He’s not explosive or powerful. He makes his fair share of plays though. He attacks the line of scrimmage well enough despite not having refined techniques. He’ll be available day three. I expect him to provide value to whomever selects him.

I apologize, but this is about to get a bit complicated. I need to talk about play states.

On every play there are multiple battles being waged. Let’s talk about a basic four man rush where four receivers run patterns and a running back is in the backfield available to block or release. In this example the #1WR and #2WR’s are matched up against their #1CB and #2CB counterparts. The slot WR is up against the nickel cornerback. The tight end is up against the free safety. The defensive ends are matched up against their offensive tackles. The center is helping out the right guard, while the left guard is mono y mono. Let’s presume the quarterback is operating out of the shotgun.

On one Mississippi we have three man-to-man battles on the line. If the left guard whiffs, the quarterback or running back better react quickly. Thankfully, that’s a rare fail state for the left guard. Similarly the tackles will have varying levels of success against the ends. Here’s where I’d like to introduce the concept of Pythag. It’s not as clean as it is when we have sports where you either win or lose. In pass protection it’s not that binary. How long you can hold a block (and how much space you surrender against a bull rush) matters a great deal. For our purposes I’m going to define a win for the pass-rusher if they affect the play such that plan A isn’t available. They move the quarterback off the spot such that he has to take his eyes off of the second level.

Remember how the longer a quarterback has to hold the ball, the better it is for the defensive line? That goes the other way too. The longer an offensive line can protect the quarterback, the more coverage breaks down. Both defensive backs and offensive lineman know that their job is to buy as much time as possible. Elite cornerbacks buy their linemen time to get to the quarterback. Elite edge rushers limit the amount of time

Name Position School Grade
Chase Young DE Ohio State 96.6
K’Lavon Chaisson DE LSU 82.39
A.J. Epenesa DE Iowa 81.43
Yetur Gross-Matos DE Penn State 81.31
Julian Okwara DE Notre Dame 73.79
Bradlee Anae DE Utah 70.77
Curtis Weaver DE Boise State 69.51
Jabari Zuniga DE Florida 68.63
Jonathan Greenard DE Florida 64.05
Darrell Taylor DE Tennessee 64.02

As with the quarterback class, the defensive end class is fairly top-heavy, with the premium prospect effectively unavailable. Note: Defensive positions are fluid. Some defensive ends can play defensive tackle. Others can play outside linebacker.

Note that I cover pass rush vs. coverage vis-à-vis Chase Young vs. Jeff Okudah with the #2 overall pick.

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Chase Young: One of my models has Young as the next Lawrence Taylor. Young projects to be even better than his former teammate and defensive rookie of the year Nick Bosa. I rewatched the Clemson game to see what a bad game from Young looks like. Instead what I found was an offense building their entire gameplan around shutting Young down. That’s respect. His combination of size, athleticism, and reaction time is unique. His teammate cornerback Jeff Okudah is the most likely #3 pick. Given that, now seems like a good time to talk about the coverage vs. pass rush debate.

When game-planning if you feel like a cornerback is truly elite, you can simply not throw at him and play 10-10. That’s a bigger handicap than it sounds like as it reduces the space on the field you can attack.

If you’re facing an elite edge, you’d better have one of the best tackles in the game, or build your gameplan around shutting him down. That includes blocking help from tight ends, running backs (see, they matter!), and possibly guards. Even with that, they’ll still make some plays. This is a containment strategy, and one that the great pass-rushers get used to on a weekly basis.

Given a choice between the two, there aren’t many offensive coordinators that would choose to face the elite edge rusher. So why does some research suggest coverage > pass rush? Because that measures something other than elite cornerback play vs. elite pass rush performance. We’ve all heard the term coverage sacks. In a three step drop you’ll need to break through the line off the snap to get a sack non-coverage sack. In other words, if the initial read is open, it’s very difficult to sack the quarterback. That’s one of the reasons the short passing game has dramatically increased in popularity over the past few decades. In five and seven step drops the defense has a bit more time to get to the quarterback. One of the reasons EPA on downfield passes is greater than EPA on shorter passes is the former requires one thing to have already gone right: The offensive line held their initial blocks.

Last season the Patriots and 49ers defenses started the season on fire. Their pass rush numbers were great, but it wasn’t coming from the defensive line. Quarterbacks were holding the ball unusually long against both defenses, so the linemen had time to clean up. In short, neither defense had any pigeons or holes in the zone. Pass coverage is a holistic thing. If the offense has a good matchup, they can target it. If the defense has a good matchup, the quarterback will look elsewhere. Where things break down for the offense is when there are no weak links. So, would a defense be happy with a bunch of competent, but not-elite defensive backs? I suppose, but there are still darn good reasons to want an elite cornerback.

#1WR’s usually earn that title for a reason (New York Jets excepted). They pressure the defense and generally require a specific plan to handle. Sometimes defenses will shade the safeties towards them. Other times they’ll stick the #1CB on them wherever the #1WR lines up. Having an elite cornerback who can take a #1WR out of the game by themselves takes a lot of stress off the defense and forces the offense to turn to weaker options.

There’s another issue to discuss though. If the offensive line does their job, and the quarterback and wide receiver do theirs, good coverage still loses on the play. That’s part of the reason why “defense doesn’t matter” has seen some discussion. Obviously that’s an oversimplification. The underlying issue is that offensive performance is more determinative of the results than defensive performance. The defense can make the offense’s job harder, but if the throw is in the right place, ¯\_()_/¯.

Let’s bring this back to the topic at hand. Coverage vs. pass-rush. Good coverage won’t necessarily produce good results, especially when facing elite receivers. Pass coverage numbers fluctuate quite a bit for cornerbacks year-to-year. In fact, defensive performance overall is less predictive than offensive performance. The difference in levels of control over the result of the play is a big reason why.

I am very leery of defining coverage based on the results of a play. If a website were to declare that coverage > pass rush, I’d like their cornerback rankings to make a bit more sense before taking too much stock in their conclusions. Good coverage results are descriptive of good defense. If we want to separate the noise from the signal, I’d suggest we look at defenses that present no easy areas to attack.

To wrap this up, you need quality cornerback depth. Everyone on the field must be able to do their job. Sometimes that job means matching up against an elite receiver, so yes, elite cornerbacks matter a great deal. But elite defensive ends put a bigger strain on the offensive game plan and their resources on any given play. That’s one of the reasons why elite pass rushers break the bank in ways elite cornerbacks do not:

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/rankings/average/defense/

I would suggest that to build an elite defense, solid defensive backfield depth is a must, but that’s not an argument for elite cornerbacks over elite pass rushers. Mind you, Young is special, so this isn’t the general case. He’s the best player in this draft and should be the first non-quarterback off the board.

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K’Lavon Chaisson: There’s a pretty big gap between Young and the rest of the edge class. In fact, after Young this class is unusually weak. Chaisson played very fast on film. His athleticism shined. What we haven’t seen from him is power. The ability to detach from blockers is partly based on technique and partly based on raw strength. He needs to work on both. We also don’t know just how much of an athletic freak he is as he skipped the combine workouts and didn’t have a pro day. He didn’t have a long track record in college, so Chaisson is a bit of an unknown. Teams needs pass rushers, he’ll go high. I’d be skeptical here.

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A.J. Epenesa: I don’t know what to make of Espensa. His production at Iowa was excellent, but his film was not. He failed to impress with his athleticism, strength, or technique. Despite that, he snagged double-digit sacks the past two seasons. I will say he clearly understood his role and was rarely fooled or out of place. Unfortunately for Epenesa, his terrible combine backed up what we saw on film. He’s not athletic. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near him in the top 50.

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Yetur Gross-Matos: I finally find a guy who’s film I like, and he has two red flags. I’ll get to those in a second. Gross-Matos was productive at Penn State, excelling with an outside speed rush. He was highly disruptive, able to get into the backfield and move the quarterback off the spot. However, there are issues: He was suspended at Penn State after the State College Police executed a warrant on the Office of Student Conduct. That’s an off-field issue and teams will have to weigh how concerned they are. The on field issue is his complete lack of tipped passes. One of the reasons they are correlated with NFL success is that they are a proxy for on-field awareness. Chris Jones helped the Chiefs win the Super Bowl with a pair of tipped passes late. Even so, I think I’d be comfortable taking Gross-Matos in the first round. The athletic burst is simply too tempting.

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Julian Okwara: His film suggests he might be relegated to being a third-down specialist. Opponents attacked him in the running game. Okwara was overly reliant on a speed-rush. If the offensive lineman got his hands on Okwara, that was usually it. Frankly, I’d pass on Okwara until early day three. His upside is simply too limited. He’s also coming off of tibula surgery.

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Bradlee Anae: Hugely productive at Utah. Very aggressive getting off on the snap. Sometimes too aggressive. He impressed me with his ability to work through traffic and run plays down. He’s not a premiere athlete. Even so, it’s hard to look past how effective he was in college. I’d be happy grabbing him day two.

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Curtis Weaver: Dominant at Boise State. Sometimes you see a guy and feel like he can handle a step up in competition. Other times you feel like this guy is a scrub crusher. I felt the latter about Weaver. His effort was good. He fought hard for his sacks. I’m just not sold he has the athleticism or strength to get it done at the NFL level. I wouldn’t roll the dice on him until the third round.

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Jabari Zuniga: Flashed potentially elite athletic traits at Florida. Strong combine. The biggest issue is that we’re still waiting for someone to teach Zuniga how to play football. It’s amazing how unrefined his technique is. There’s also the lack of field awareness. It’s pretty frustrating, and I’m just a neutral observer. Zuniga’s ceiling is very high. He explodes off the screen. I’m taking him day two so long as my coaches are confident they know how to polish his game.

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Jonathan Greenard: Succeeded at Louisville. Transferred to Florida. Succeed in the SEC. Deep set of pass rush moves. Excellent field awareness. Everything I’ve seen from Greenard suggests he’ll be able to succeed at the next level. I’d be happy to snag him in the second round.

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Darrell Taylor: It’s been a long dry run for Tennessee, but that’s not Taylor’s fault. He did his job. His explosiveness off the snap is impressive. He wins more with his legs than his hands. That’s something NFL coaches and weight trainers will work on with him. He’s a solid day two prospect.

Name Position School Grade
Cesar Ruiz C Michigan 74.46
Tyler Biadasz C Wisconsin 73.42
Matt Hennessy C Temple 67.53
John Simpson OG Clemson 65.5
Ben Bredeson OG Michigan 64.77
Logan Stenberg OG Kentucky 62.34
Lloyd Cushenberry III C LSU 62.03
Netane Muti OG Fresno State 61.28

This isn’t a great class for interior offensive linemen. It’s mediocre for centers, and fairly awful for guards.

Cesar Ruiz: Developed into a solid performer at Michigan. Good quickness reacting after the snap. Moves in space well. Ruiz’s weakness is that he doesn’t have elite power. That can show up in the running game or against bull rushes. He’s also not quite as polished and consistent as you’d expect given his experience. He’s still my #1 center in the class. I just don’t think I’d want to pick him until early day two unless I had a real need at the position.

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Tyler Biadasz: It’s an open question whether he has the power and athleticism to be a premium center in the NFL. I’m enamored with his potential, but I’m not sure the league agrees. Biadasz made 41 starts at center for the Badgers, winning the Rimington Trophy for the best center in the country in 2019. He plays fundamentally sound football. That wasn’t enough against his toughest competition. He’s coming off of shoulder surgery. I’m very curious to see if he comes off the board day two or not.

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Matt Hennessy: Played smart football at Temple. Very good at reacting to defensive moves. The problem with Hennessy is that he lacks power. It’s a serious issue that shows up both in the running game and in pass protection. His brother Thomas Hennessy is able to pull in an NFL paycheck as a long-snapper for the Jets. Matt worked entirely out of the shotgun at Temple. I’d be leery of trusting Matt to be able to make the jump to the NFL. He’ll probably come off the board day two. I’d pass.

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John Simpson: Solid girth for the position. He has to get by on power as his athleticism is lacking. He has good awareness for what he has to do on the play. You have to be careful that you don’t ask him to do things he won’t be able to. Additionally, you’d better make sure he’s a good fit for your scheme before you draft him, because he won’t be able to do much more than what he did at Clemson.

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Ben Bredeson: It looked like his technique broke down against elite competition. Part of that might be due to his short arms, which limited his ability to make first contact. Showed more strength when defending a position then when attacking the defense. He was a four-year starter at left guard at Michigan and showed clear improvement in his game. I’d expect him to be able to perform that job in the pros.

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Logan Stenberg: He’s shown the power NFL teams will look for, but not the athleticism or technique. Stenberg started 39 games at left guard for Kentucky but may have to move over to the right side in the NFL. Like Simpson and Bredeson, make sure he’s going to be a proper fit for your system before you draft him. His limitations are what they are.

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Lloyd Cushenberry III: Has a lot of little flaws that he’s learned to work around. His jump off the snap is a bit slower than you’d like. His power is acceptable. Regardless, he managed to hold down the center job for the best offense in college football. He was rarely penalized and made few mistakes. I might not give him a high ceiling, but I have to give him a high floor. He’ll be able to hold down a job in the NFL and will come off the board day two.

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Netane Muti: Here’s the tough call. Muti has flashed dominant power. His technique is raw and he doesn’t have nearly as much football experience as most prospects. He showed excellent skills vs. power rushes, with the strength to disrupt finesse moves. Unfortunately, he only made 19 starts over four years in college. He redshirted his freshman year due to a right Achilles injury. He played 14 games in 2017. A left Achilles injury limited him to two games in 2018. A Lisfranc injury limited him to three games last year. On raw potential he’s a round two pick. But can you draft him at all? If healthy, he’s the highest upside guard in the class. Whether you take him at all depends on your medical staff’s review.