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Monthly Archives: April 2018

 

Brutal Celtics-76ers series were a staple of my childhood. Bird vs. Dr. J ended up being immortalized as a great fight, video game, and image of racial harmony. This year the Celtics are wounded while the 76ers look ascendant. Not that BPI notices (or cares)

Supposedly BPI doesn’t take injuries into account, which is… insane? In any event, they believe what they believe. Let’s see how this goes:

ESPN Risked To Win Result
Spurs 450 2988 -450
Raptors 900 150 150
Heat 375 1500 -375
Pass 0 0 0
Celtics 3808 2410 2410
Pacers 3527 15944 -3527
Thunder 2715 2011 -2715
Rockets 7182 264 264
Pass 0 0 0
Jazz R2 1200 12000 0
Celtics R2 3905 16010 0
Current Tab -4243

538 is somewhat more cautious with the Elo-based system:

538 Risked To Win Result
Spurs 3557 23616 -3557
Raptors 3700 617 617
Sixers 2800 560 560
Pelicans 978 1760 1760
Celtics 3034 1920 1920
Pacers 1207 5456 -1207
Jazz 467 560 560
Timberwolves 187 2800 -187
Pelicans R2 3071 19840 0
Jazz R2 1640 16400 0
Celtics R2 1168 4790 0
Current Tab 467

Finally, Nylon Calculus splits the difference. Frankly, right now the second round looks rough for all three systems.

Nylon Calculus Risked To Win Result
Spurs 450 2988 -450
Pass 0 0 0
Heat 125 500 -125
Pelicans 1444 2600 2600
Bucks 57 80 -57
Pacers 841 3800 -841
Pass 0 0 0
Timberwolves 293 4400 -293
Pelicans R2 1599 10329 0
Jazz R2 1266 12660 0
Celtics R2 1952 8003 0
Current Tab 834

 

 

 

 

 

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Anyone else remember Jazzercise?

The 80’s truly were a magical time. ESPN will be rooting pretty heavily for the Jazz this round:

ESPN Risked To Win Result
Spurs 450 2988 -450
Raptors 900 150 150
Heat 375 1500 -375
Pass 0 0 0
Celtics 3808 2410 2410
Pacers 3527 15944 -3527
Thunder 2715 2011 -2715
Rockets 7182 264 264
Pass 0 0 0
Jazz R2 1200 12000 0
Current Tab -4243

As will 538:

538 Risked To Win Result
Spurs 3557 23616 -3557
Raptors 3700 617 617
Sixers 2800 560 560
Pelicans 978 1760 1760
Celtics 3034 1920 1920
Pacers 1207 5456 -1207
Jazz 467 560 560
Timberwolves 187 2800 -187
Pelicans R2 3071 19840 0
Jazz 1640 16400 0
Current Tab 467

Nylon Calculus is in the same boat:

Nylon Calculus Risked To Win Result
Spurs 450 2988 -450
Pass 0 0 0
Heat 125 500 -125
Pelicans 1444 2600 2600
Bucks 57 80 -57
Pacers 841 3800 -841
Pass 0 0 0
Timberwolves 293 4400 -293
Pelicans R2 1599 10329 0
Jazz 1266 12660 0
Current Tab 834

 

 

 

The NBA will be rolling these out day-by-day, so I’ll update as we go.

ESPN Risked To Win Result
Spurs 450 2988 -450
Raptors 900 150 150
Heat 375 1500 -375
Pass 0 0 0
Celtics 3808 2410 0
Pacers 3527 15944 0
Thunder 2715 2011 -2715
Rockets 7182 264 264
Pass 0 0
Current Tab -3126

ESPN will be sitting the Pelicans-Warriors out. They’re alone in that decision.

538 Risked To Win Result
Spurs 3557 23616 -3557
Raptors 3700 617 617
Sixers 2800 560 560
Pelicans 978 1760 1760
Celtics 3034 1920 0
Pacers 1207 5456 0
Jazz 467 560 560
Timberwolves 187 2800 -187
Pelicans R2 3071 19840 0
Current Tab -247

538 is looking like they’ll enter second round with a positive ledger. Like the first round, they are fading the Warriors pretty hard.

Nylon Calculus Risked To Win Result
Spurs 450 2988 -450
Pass 0 0 0
Heat 125 500 -125
Pelicans 1444 2600 2600
Bucks 57 80 0
Pacers 841 3800 0
Pass 0 0 0
Timberwolves 293 4400 -293
Pelicans R2 1599 10329
Current Tab 1732

A bit more conservative than ESPN, but solid results so far.

 

The Quarterbacks.

The Running Backs.

The Receivers.

The Offensive Linemen.

The Defensive Tackles.

The Defensive Ends.

The Linebackers.

The Defensive Backs.

And finally, you can find my top 300 below. Enjoy the draft everyone!

Rank NAME POS SCHOOL Rating
1 Saquon Barkley* RB Penn State 97.44
2 Quenton Nelson G Notre Dame 95.96
3 Bradley Chubb DE NC State 93.93
4 Tremaine Edmunds* OLB Virginia Tech 90.36
5 Minkah Fitzpatrick* CB Alabama 89.37
6 Roquan Smith* OLB Georgia 88.06
7 Derwin James* S Florida State 87.58
8 Denzel Ward* CB Ohio State 86.28
9 Sam Darnold* QB USC 85.93
10 Josh Rosen* QB UCLA 85.53
11 Vita Vea* DT Washington 84.73
12 Da’Ron Payne* DT Alabama 84.30
13 Lamar Jackson* QB Louisville 84.06
14 Connor Williams* OT Texas 84.00
15 Calvin Ridley* WR Alabama 83.95
16 Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma 83.32
17 Isaiah Wynn G Georgia 82.86
18 Derrius Guice* RB LSU 81.82
19 Taven Bryan* DT Florida 81.77
20 Maurice Hurst DT Michigan 81.22
21 Harold Landry OLB Boston College 81.06
22 Mike McGlinchey OT Notre Dame 80.75
23 Ronald Jones II* RB USC 80.35
24 Rashaan Evans LB Alabama 80.26
25 Jaire Alexander* CB Louisville 80.15
26 Josh Jackson* CB Iowa 80.14
27 William Hernandez G UTEP 80.01
28 Billy Price C Ohio State 80.00
29 Marcus Davenport DE UT San Antonio 79.50
30 Leighton Vander Esch* ILB Boise State 79.32
31 Courtland Sutton* WR SMU 79.19
32 James Daniels* C Iowa 78.43
33 Sony Michel RB Georgia 78.11
34 Ronnie Harrison* S Alabama 77.42
35 Nick Chubb RB Georgia 77.12
36 Christian Kirk* WR Texas A&M 77.00
37 Justin Reid* S Stanford 76.32
38 D.J. Moore* WR Maryland 76.24
39 Mike Hughes* CB UCF 76.16
40 James Washington WR Oklahoma State 75.22
41 Carlton Davis* CB Auburn 75.08
42 Isaiah Oliver* CB Colorado 74.49
43 Dallas Goedert TE South Dakota State 74.40
44 Josh Allen* QB Wyoming 73.72
45 Austin Corbett G Nevada 73.43
46 Chukwuma Okorafor OT Western Michigan 73.39
47 Lorenzo Carter OLB Georgia 73.31
48 Sam Hubbard* DE Ohio State 73.21
49 Jessie Bates III* S Wake Forest 72.70
50 Arden Key* DE LSU 72.59
51 Tyrell Crosby OT Oregon 72.44
52 Orlando Brown* OT Oklahoma 72.23
53 Anthony Miller WR Memphis 72.00
54 Obo Okoronkwo OLB Oklahoma 71.53
55 Frank Ragnow C Arkansas 71.31
56 Mike Gesicki TE Penn State 70.98
57 Josh Sweat* DE Florida State 70.78
58 Hayden Hurst* TE South Carolina 70.72
59 D.J. Chark WR LSU 70.30
60 Kerryon Johnson* RB Auburn 70.23
61 Donte Jackson* CB LSU 69.97
62 Rashaad Penny RB San Diego State 69.91
63 Martinas Rankin OT Mississippi State 69.76
64 Duke Ejiofor DE Wake Forest 69.71
65 Dante Pettis WR Washington 69.55
66 Nathan Shepherd DT Fort Hays State 69.54
67 Kolton Miller* OT UCLA 69.32
68 Jerome Baker* OLB Ohio State 69.04
69 Mark Andrews* TE Oklahoma 69.01
70 Braden Smith G Auburn 69.01
71 Malik Jefferson* OLB Texas 68.98
72 Jamarco Jones OT Ohio State 68.47
73 Harrison Phillips DT Stanford 68.18
74 Derrick Nnadi DT Florida State 67.69
75 Kyzir White S West Virginia 67.17
76 Mason Rudolph QB Oklahoma State 66.93
77 Rasheem Green* DE USC 66.67
78 Darius Leonard OLB South Carolina State 66.30
79 Tim Settle* DT Virginia Tech 66.07
80 Brian O’Neill* OT Pittsburgh 65.40
81 M.J. Stewart CB North Carolina 65.06
82 B.J. Hill DT NC State 64.99
83 Kemoko Turay DE Rutgers 64.64
84 DeShon Elliott* S Texas 64.53
85 Duke Dawson CB Florida 64.48
86 Armani Watts S Texas A&M 64.38
87 Mason Cole C Michigan 64.32
88 Nyheim Hines* RB NC State 64.16
89 Deon Cain* WR Clemson 64.05
90 Da’Shawn Hand DE Alabama 63.78
91 Royce Freeman RB Oregon 63.71
92 Equanimeous St. Brown* WR Notre Dame 63.55
93 Fred Warner LB BYU 63.47
94 Uchenna Nwosu OLB USC 63.37
95 Josey Jewell LB Iowa 63.30
96 Will Richardson* OT NC State 63.01
97 Tyquan Lewis DE Ohio State 62.96
98 Quenton Meeks* CB Stanford 62.74
99 Andrew Brown DE Virginia 62.74
100 Hercules Mata’afa* DE Washington State 62.73
101 Marcus Allen S Penn State 62.32
102 Anthony Averett CB Alabama 62.26
103 DaeSean Hamilton WR Penn State 62.23
104 Michael Gallup WR Colorado State 62.07
105 Tarvarus McFadden* CB Florida State 62.03
106 Jeff Holland* OLB Auburn 61.88
107 Mark Walton* RB Miami 61.80
108 RJ McIntosh* DT Miami 61.32
109 Jordan Whitehead* S Pittsburgh 61.25
110 John Kelly* RB Tennessee 60.78
111 Jalyn Holmes DE Ohio State 60.67
112 Kyle Lauletta QB Richmond 60.45
113 Geron Christian* OT Louisville 60.21
114 Alex Cappa OT Humboldt State 60.06
115 Brandon Parker OT North Carolina A&T 60.03
116 Ian Thomas TE Indiana 59.85
117 Wyatt Teller G Virginia Tech 59.75
118 Quin Blanding S Virginia 59.56
119 Deadrin Senat DT South Florida 59.38
120 Kalen Ballage RB Arizona State 59.33
121 Isaac Yiadom CB Boston College 59.28
122 Jaylen Samuels TE NC State 59.08
123 Terrell Edmunds* S Virginia Tech 58.54
124 Rashaan Gaulden* CB Tennessee 58.46
125 Mike White QB Western Kentucky 58.17
126 Bo Scarbrough* RB Alabama 57.68
127 Josh Adams* RB Notre Dame 57.45
128 Allen Lazard WR Iowa State 57.40
129 Holton Hill* CB Texas 57.39
130 Shaquem Griffin OLB UCF 57.00
131 Micah Kiser LB Virginia 56.86
132 Christian Campbell CB Penn State 56.81
133 Desmond Harrison OT West Georgia 56.80
134 Kevin Toliver* CB LSU 56.57
135 Nick Nelson* CB Wisconsin 56.55
136 Genard Avery ILB Memphis 56.39
137 Will Clapp* C LSU 56.33
138 Tre’Quan Smith* WR UCF 56.26
139 Trenton Thompson* DT Georgia 56.24
140 Scott Quessenberry C UCLA 55.93
141 Auden Tate* WR Florida State 55.77
142 Marcell Ateman WR Oklahoma State 55.70
143 Folorunso Fatukasi DT UConn 55.47
144 Skai Moore OLB South Carolina 55.41
145 Troy Fumagalli TE Wisconsin 55.33
146 Chris Herndon TE Miami 55.18
147 Breeland Speaks* DE Ole Miss 55.14
148 Trayvon Henderson S Hawai’i 55.10
149 Keke Coutee* WR Texas Tech 54.71
150 J’Mon Moore WR Missouri 54.69
151 Tyler Conklin TE Central Michigan 54.46
152 Dalton Schultz TE Stanford 54.39
153 Dorance Armstrong Jr.* DE Kansas 54.21
154 Justin Jones DT NC State 53.96
155 Cedrick Wilson WR Boise State 53.83
156 Simmie Cobbs* WR Indiana 53.57
157 Jordan Lasley* WR UCLA 53.55
158 Dane Cruikshank S Arizona 53.00
159 Kendrick Norton* DT Miami 52.94
160 Chad Thomas DE Miami 52.73
161 Danny Johnson CB Southern 52.67
162 Parry Nickerson CB Tulane 52.66
163 Shaun Dion Hamilton LB Alabama 52.41
164 Deontay Burnett* WR USC 51.99
165 Taron Johnson CB Weber State 51.94
166 Siran Neal CB Jacksonville State 51.88
167 Jack Cichy ILB Wisconsin 51.58
168 Kentavius Street DE NC State 51.53
169 Nick DeLuca LB North Dakota State 50.94
170 Marquis Haynes DE Ole Miss 50.77
171 Dorian O’Daniel OLB Clemson 50.74
172 Durham Smythe TE Notre Dame 50.60
173 Trey Quinn* WR SMU 50.54
174 J.C. Jackson* CB Maryland 50.52
175 Antonio Callaway* WR Florida 50.50
176 Darius Phillips CB Western Michigan 50.48
177 Toby Weathersby* OT LSU 50.26
178 Ade Aruna DE Tulane 49.97
179 Joe Noteboom OT TCU 49.89
180 Poona Ford DT Texas 49.87
181 Javon Wims WR Georgia 49.72
182 Christian Sam* ILB Arizona State 49.71
183 Luke Falk QB Washington State 49.70
184 Tegray Scales ILB Indiana 49.69
185 D.J. Reed CB Kansas State 49.56
186 Kameron Kelly S San Diego State 49.51
187 Skyler Phillips G Idaho State 49.50
188 Colby Gossett G Appalachian State 49.45
189 Akrum Wadley RB Iowa 49.41
190 Jeremy Reaves S South Alabama 49.11
191 Brian Allen C Michigan State 49.05
192 Kurt Benkert QB Virginia 48.94
193 Godwin Igwebuike S Northwestern 48.90
194 Kylie Fitts DE Utah 48.84
195 Cole Madison OT Washington State 48.69
196 Sean Welsh G Iowa 48.48
197 Damon Webb S Formerly Ohio State 48.04
198 Korey Robertson WR Southern Miss 48.00
199 Tray Matthews S Auburn 47.96
200 Byron Pringle* WR Kansas State 47.49
201 James Looney DE California 47.44
202 Timon Parris OT Stony Brook 47.32
203 Oren Burks OLB Vanderbilt 47.20
204 Mike McCray ILB Michigan 47.10
205 Jordan Akins TE UCF 47.07
206 Bradley Bozeman C Alabama 46.77
207 Chase Litton* QB Marshall 46.76
208 Chandon Sullivan CB Georgia State 46.73
209 Levi Wallace CB Alabama 46.45
210 Lowell Lotulelei DT Utah 46.42
211 Ja’Von Rolland-Jones DE Arkansas State 46.33
212 Kamrin Moore CB Boston College 46.21
213 Leon Jacobs OLB Wisconsin 46.07
214 Tony Brown CB Alabama 45.92
215 Taylor Hearn* G Clemson 45.80
216 Coleman Shelton C Washington 45.59
217 Greg Stroman CB Virginia Tech 45.42
218 Justin Jackson RB Northwestern 45.26
219 Davin Bellamy OLB Georgia 45.25
220 Michael Dickson* P Texas 45.10
221 Tony Adams G null 45.09
222 Jordan Thomas CB Oklahoma 45.06
223 Sam Jones* G Arizona State 44.98
224 Kenny Young ILB UCLA 44.85
225 Matthew Thomas OLB Florida State 44.81
226 Garret Dooley OLB Wisconsin 44.78
227 D’Montre Wade CB Murray State 44.73
228 Ryan Izzo* TE Florida State 44.53
229 Brandon Facyson CB Virginia Tech 44.45
230 Avonte Maddox CB Pittsburgh 44.07
231 Ito Smith RB Southern Miss 43.83
232 Jester Weah WR Pittsburgh 43.62
233 Jamil Demby OT Maine 43.61
234 Chase Edmonds RB Fordham 43.56
235 Maea Teuhema* G LSU/SE Louisiana 43.53
236 Olasunkanmi Adeniyi* DE Toledo 43.40
237 Joe Ostman DE Central Michigan 43.13
238 Darren Carrington II WR Utah 43.01
239 Dimitri Flowers RB Oklahoma 42.88
240 Jason Cabinda LB Penn State 42.82
241 Tre’ Williams LB Auburn 42.78
242 Brett Toth OT Army 42.55
243 Matt Pryor OT TCU 42.31
244 Richie James WR Middle Tennessee State 42.27
245 Nick Gates* OT Nebraska 42.27
246 Troy Apke S Penn State 42.09
247 KC McDermott OT Miami 42.04
248 Keishawn Bierria OLB Washington 41.90
249 Rashard Fant CB Indiana 41.85
250 Tracy Walker S Louisiana 41.84
251 Peter Kalambayi OLB Stanford 41.58
252 P.J. Hall DT Sam Houston State 41.57
253 James Hearns OLB Louisville 41.51
254 Van Smith* S Clemson 41.45
255 Grant Haley CB Penn State 41.45
256 Daurice Fountain WR Northern Iowa 41.40
257 Joshua Kalu S Nebraska 41.25
258 Tre Flowers S Oklahoma State 41.24
259 Zachary Crabtree OT Oklahoma State 41.08
260 Darrel Williams RB LSU 40.92
261 Dejon Allen G Hawai’i 40.56
262 Azeem Victor LB Washington 40.54
263 Riley Ferguson QB Memphis 40.52
264 Chris Worley ILB Ohio State 40.50
265 Ryan Nall* RB Oregon State 40.39
266 Trevon Young DE Louisville 40.39
267 Jaleel Scott WR New Mexico State 40.11
268 Daniel Carlson K Auburn 39.86
269 Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR Null/South Florida 39.85
270 Phillip Lindsay RB Colorado 39.77
271 Joel Iyiegbuniwe LB Western Kentucky 39.73
272 Michael Joseph CB Dubuque 39.63
273 Ethan Wolf TE Tennessee 39.61
274 David Bright OT Stanford 39.49
275 Dylan Cantrell WR Texas Tech 39.31
276 Ja’Whaun Bentley LB Purdue 39.28
277 J.T. Barrett QB Ohio State 39.19
278 Stephen Roberts S Auburn 39.04
279 Ka’Raun White WR West Virginia 38.94
280 Bilal Nichols DT Delaware 38.88
281 Braxton Berrios WR Miami 38.73
282 Marcus Baugh TE Ohio State 38.56
283 Chris Warren RB Texas 38.29
284 Will Dissly TE Washington 38.22
285 Martez Carter RB Grambling State 38.16
286 Jarvion Franklin RB Western Michigan 38.09
287 JK Scott P Alabama 38.06
288 Quadree Henderson* WR Pittsburgh 37.98
289 Ralph Webb RB Vanderbilt 37.97
290 Dee Delaney CB Miami 37.92
291 Dominik Sanders S Georgia 37.92
292 Eddie Pineiro K Florida 37.90
293 Justin Crawford RB West Virginia 37.82
294 JaMarcus King CB South Carolina 37.68
295 Jordan Wilkins RB Ole Miss 37.62
296 John Atkins DT Georgia 37.60
297 Kyle Bosch G West Virginia 37.58
298 Deon Yelder TE Western Kentucky 37.47
299 Quinton Flowers QB South Florida 37.35
300 Natrell Jamerson S Wisconsin 37.34

 

Defensive Backs:

This is a high quality collection of defensive backs, both at cornerback and safety. Certainly much better than the weak receiver class we’re looking at.

Cornerbacks:

Denzel Ward: Has premium speed and agility. What he lacks is the size and length to pair with it. He’s a smaller cornerback (5’10) who has the athleticism to play outside, but the build of a nickel cornerback. Great closing speed. It’s hard to turn down such an elite athlete, even if he doesn’t have the size teams desire at the position.

Jaire Alexander: His willingness to play physical has it’s upsides and downsides. He’s very aggressive attacking the ball-carrier on running plays. He tackles better than you’d expect of a player his size (5’10, 196 pounds). However, his red flag is a bunch of yellow flags, for pass interference or holding. He has the skills to cover cleanly, but looks for that extra edge. That flaw is why I wouldn’t take him quite as high as I expect him to go.

Josh Jackson: He’s a converted wide receiver. As such, he’s a natural ballhawk with somewhat raw technique. He has the size, speed, and length you’d look for at cornerback. I love him in zone where he can attack the play in front of him. His inexperience can bite him in man-to-man. He’s also not quite as agile as you might like. In a deep cornerback class, Jackson looks to provide the most upside.

Mike Hughes: My favorite pure press corner in the draft. Has the speed and physicality to dominate a wide receiver from the line all the way through the deep tree. Not necessarily a great fit for a zone defense. He has the speed and ballhawk skills to make it work, but not the proper technique or experience. He’s also been an elite returner on special teams. I like Hughes a lot, even to point of taking him at the tail end of day one, depending on how the draft plays out.

Carlton Davis: Some pluses and minuses with Davis. He’s good at staying with a receiver and has a talent for swatting passes away late. However, he’s remarkably trusting of safety help. He’ll aggressively guard his man short, but pass him off easily at a certain point downfield. That’s something his coaches are going to need to correct. He’s also not great at staying with his man on deep routes as he’s not a true speedster. The one thing that bumps him up on my board is his aggressiveness attacking the run. Some cornerbacks view running plays as a rest break. Not Davis, and that adds up over the course of a season. Early day two value.

Isaiah Oliver: There’s no hiding it: Oliver is a finesse corner. He avoids contact, preferring to trust his speed, agility, and vision to remain in contact with the receiver. I suppose having a reputation for avoiding contact is useful insofar as it pacifies litigious refs. As you might expect, his tackling skills are suspect. He has a good mix of size, length, and speed to cover wide receivers at the NFL level. Coaches might be annoyed at a player who doesn’t bring the fire, but they should trust him to do his coverage job.

Donte Jackson: Blazing speed. He’s 5’10, 175, so his power is questionable, but if you’re looking for someone to match up with deep threats, he’s your man. His major value in cover two attacking routes. Quarterbacks who can’t gun the ball in are rolling the dice. Has hands of clay. Not entirely his fault as his hands are small by NFL standards. You can’t teach speed, so Harrison will should a job somewhere in the second round.

M.J. Stewart: A natural fit as a nickel cornerback. He can move outside as a press cornerback so long as you trust the safety coverage on deeper routs. Good coordination to tip balls away. Has the power and vision to attack the line of scrimmage, giving him value as a blitzer and against the run. He has his limitations, but can do enough to help a team win in a variety of ways. Solid round three value.

Duke Dawson: Another quality nickel slot cornerback. In a world where you expect to play base nickel much of the time, Dawson’s a good fit. Very good attacking wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. Excellent at jumping routes on a blitz and returning an interception for a touchdown. He’s not a natural fit outside and doesn’t quite have the skills you want covering the deep tree. I wonder if that’s a matter of technique as his 40-time suggested he should be able to stay with receivers on post and fly routes. I guess it’s possible he just doesn’t have great acceleration/agility coming out of the cut. Another solid third-round value with potential upside.

Quenton Meeks: A solid fit for a zone coverage scheme. Meeks struggles with his transitions against cuts and will struggle against NFL receivers until he rectifies that. He’s solid at covering his area. Doesn’t quite have the agility or burst to close aggressively. Has a solid cruising speed if he can run in a straight line to his target. Should go late day two to a team where he’ll be a good fit.

Anthony Averett: Spent five years learning his craft at Alabama. The upside of all that is he’s as polished as you could hope for. The downside is he’s not that athletic and it shows on film. Receivers routinely put him in bad spots where he had to either gamble and grab or risk a completion and a big play. I feel for Averett as the mind is clearly willing, but the body just isn’t gifted enough. I’d pass on him.

Safeties:

Minkah Fitzpatrick: A safety/cornerback hybrid. Flies are the field. Excellent coverage skills. Can read the ball in flight and time his jump to beat the receiver to the ball. Can do anything you ask of him, including blitzing the quarterback. No real weaknesses. Positional value is the only thing that will cause him to drop in the draft.

Derwin James: Brings a bit more size and power to the table than Fitzpatrick. Excellent coverage range. Can be a bit of a gambler in the open field. Delivers big hits, with the occasional whiff. He’s a prototype strong safety, and may end up coming off the board before Fitzpatrick due to his plug-and-play reliability. I prefer Fitzpatrick’s versatility, but there’s something to be said for someone perfectly suited to a role at the NFL level.

Ronnie Harrison: Do everything safety. He can cover man or zone, attack the line of scrimmage, work through traffic, and bring his man down. Just fantastic on film. One concern: He didn’t perform at the combine. The film is great, but it’s hard to trust a defensive back with no 40-time. I’d still grab him early in the second round, but a good combine would have moved him into the first round (for me anyway).

Justin Reid: Cornerback/Safety hybrid. 4.40 40-time is fantastic. He dominated at the college level with his athleticism. Excellent positioning and vision. Has the physicality to play free safety. He’s versatile in coverage, but somewhat limited in his ability to attack the line of scrimmage. That’s what separates Harrison from Reid, although I’d be tempted to take Reid first just because of his speed/range.

Jessie Bates III: Impressive work in coverage, both in man and zone. Solid closing speed. Makes good decisions. Doesn’t have the power you’d want. That’s problematic as his tackling skills aren’t what you’d want from a safety. Part of that can be improved with better technique, but I suspect he’s just not physically strong enough to be a good tackler at the NFL level. Mind you, he’s not a finesse safety. He’ll give you all he has and sell out to make the play. It’s just a matter of his physical limitations.

Kyzir White: Safety-LB hybrid. Has the speed and power teams are looking for. A bit of gambler, which is more acceptable if you pick up interceptions when you’re right. He’s not a ballhawk, and will need better coaching to make sure he doesn’t aggressively bite on play fakes. He can work in the box when you want to play nickel and not give up too much against the run. Solid pickup late on day two.

DeShon Elliot: Great vision and soft hands make for an elite ballhawk. Average athleticism, but makes up for it by playing smart disciplined football. Aggressive hitter. Needs to work on his tackling technique, although it’s a tradeoff. Sometimes he’ll force fumblers, other times he’ll whiff or bounce off. Honestly not sure if he’s making the correct decision or not, but at the NFL level it’s a weakness opponents will exploit. I expect proper coaching will lead to improved technique. Elliot is a sleeper for me as I expect him to be a quality professional. I’m happy picking him up early in round three onward.

Armani Watts: I’m not sure what to make of Watts. He has solid ballhawk instincts, but also took some inexplicable gambles that lead to big plays. Is it possible for him to cut down on the errors while maintaining the aggression that defined his play? I have no idea. He’s a bit undersized and doesn’t bring the power you’d like. He’s a quality athlete with good range so perhaps his best fit is as a “centerfield” free safety. I’m OK trading some power for speed, but I don’t think I’d take Watts until day three.

 

There are two absolute monsters at the top of this linebacker crop. After that, trust your scouts, trust your coaching staff.

Tremaine Edmunds: He plays fast. From the jump off the snap, to his straight line speed, to his closing burst. Excellent power as well. Edmunds is a bit raw in coverage, but can make up for it with his athleticism. With some proper coaching, he could be a true master of all trades. With his 6’5 frame and 34.5 inch arms, he’s capable of affecting the passing game even when slowed at the line of scrimmage. I like Edmunds a ton and expect him to be a great value pickup wherever he lands.

Roquan Smith: Just flew off the screen during the BCS. One edge I’ll give to Smith over Edmunds is his field vision and instincts. He’s masterful at weaving through traffic to get to the ballcarrier. Has some difficulty shedding blocks, but balances that out by being tough to grab in the first place. Hits like a truck, which is good for causing fumbles, but potentially bad for your long-term health. Both Smith and Edmunds are excellent football players with huge upside. I’d lean towards Edmunds due to his size and power, but I wouldn’t fault a team for going in the other direction.

Rashaan Evans: Has shown an ability to get into the backfield from the edge or the interior. Excellent read and react skills. Exceptional burst and tackling skills. Has shown the ability to cover backs and ends. Looks to be close to the prototype MLB, with the versatility to play outside. Superb tackling skills. The only real criticism I can see of Evans is he’s more patient than instinctual, so he doesn’t react as quickly as you might like. I feel that he makes good decisions on the field so I’ll take the tradeoff for processing time. Solid pickup in the second half of the first round.

Leighton Vander Esch: A very good athlete who plays very hard. I’m concerned that he lacks good football instincts/technique. When I watched him on film he struggled to fight his way through traffic. Blockers stuck to him like glue. Excellent tackler. Fantastic at flying through open space to beat the ball-carrier to a spot. I have to think he has decent upside with NFL training on how to fight off blockers. Of course, NFL blockers are much harder to fight off. I’d want to wait until the second round to take Vander Esch off the board.

Lorenzo Carter: Dude makes no sense to me. He had the combine of a top 10 pick. How did he play four years at Georgia with only 14.5 sacks? On film he showed a good pass-rush. Perhaps his technique was poor, but there has to be something more than that going on. Maybe it was just a question of functional strength at the point of attack. He was poor when he had to engage with offensive linemen. He was brutally effective when he could fly to the ball. Gargantuan tackle radius in space. I have to figure there’s a coaching staff out there that thinks they can get the most out of him. He’s a first-round talent that didn’t perform like one at Georgia. I’d be willing to take a flier on him early in the second round.

Obo Okoronkwo: The most polarizing prospect in the draft? His combine and college stats were solid, but unspectacular. However, when you dig deeper he emerges as a potential diamond in the rough. His pass-rush statistics are awesome when you take his opposition into account. He could beat offensive lineman with a multitude of moves. I’m still years away from developing pass-rush “pythag” statistics, but my sense is Okoronkwo will shine there. He’s decent against the run and in space. His future value will come from his ability to get behind the line of scrimmage. I’d be willing to take him from the middle of the second round onward.

Jerome Baker: A tweener. Excellent speed, but lacking in the size and power you’d like from a linebacker, even on the weakside. He doesn’t have the coverage skills of a safety. His value comes from his ability to match up with offensive “freaks” who bring too much size for traditional safeties and too much speed for most linebackers. His excellent field coverage seals the deal for me. I like Baker from the third-round on.

Malik Jefferson: Doesn’t always make good decisions, but damn, he makes them at full speed. When he guesses right he can blow up a play Tecmo Bowl style. Because he doesn’t naturally read and react, he needs to given clear responsibilities. Can cover man-to-man. Looked silly in zone coverage when it was clear he didn’t know how to challenge players on the edge of his zone. He’s an exceptional athlete, but lacking in the football instincts and vision that you’d like from a player in space. Too good an athlete to pass up from the third-round on. I expect him to come off the board before Baker due to his potential upside.

Darius Leonard: At first he impressed me with his cerebral play. He diagnosed plays quickly at got to the right spot before the ball-carrier arrived. However, he struggled in coverage. He was a great blitzer when he saw an opportunity to come through unblocked. Struggled mightily when he had to battle offensive linemen. He lacks the power you’d like. I respect his range, but he doesn’t have the upside to justify a selection ahead of the players I’ve listed above.

Fred Warner: He isn’t good enough in any of the linebacker positions to justify penciling in as a starter. Where Warner excels is versatility. He can handle any of the roles, either in the base defense, or the nickel. The question a team has to ask is how much does it value a player who can do a decent job at any of the roles you’d ask? I figure he comes off the board late day two.

Uchenna Nwosu: Absurdly good vision. Bats passes out of the air better than any other player I can think of other than Ed “Too Tall” Jones. He isn’t great attacking the line of scrimmage. His pass-rush skills are garbage. Struggles to hold his position at the point of attack. Decent in space. Not a great athlete. Frankly, if not for his freakish ability to read and react to the quarterback’s eyes, I’d pass on Nwosu. As is, Maybe a team can find a way to make him a functional linebacker while hiding his weaknesses. I still think I’d stay away though.

Josey Jewell: Tricky call here. He doesn’t have NFL-level athleticism. What he does have are great instincts and technique. Jewell’s play is over if a blocker gets his hands on him. Jewell’s range is limited. But within it? He gets to the right spot and tackles efficiently. Within his range, Jewell’s coverage skills are solid. You can trust Jewell to make good decisions and do his job to the best of his ability. The concern is that he just isn’t athletically gifted to handle RB’s and TE’s in space. I could see Jewell going in the third round, or falling to day three. I’m a fan of his and would be happy to see him come to NY early on day three.

Some of these guys will be 4-3 defensive tackles. Others will be 4-3 OLB’s or 3-4 DE’s. Positions are fluid and scheme dependent. Apart from the top guys, teams will probably be best served by looking for players that are good fits for their scheme. Cade Massey wrote up a good overview of the subject.

Bradley Chubb: Chubb does a lot of things quite well. He pairs his excellent vision with solid athleticism. He can attack the line of scrimmage or hold his position at the point of attack. I don’t have anything bad to say about him, save that he doesn’t quite compare to the true monsters. He gets a great draft grade by being really good at all the things he’ll be asked to do. The thing is, his main job is to rush the passer, and there his numbers weren’t quite elite. His SackSEER rating has him third overall in the class. That makes him a somewhat awkward selection, at least in the top five. Chubb isn’t on the same level that Myles Garrett was last year, and it’s hard to get excited about a top five pick that didn’t dominate the college level. Then again, you don’t get excited by someone doing his job play after play, but that’s what you can trust Chubb to do. It’s also why he’s who I’d take first after the potentially elite quarterbacks are off the board.

Harold Landry: More dominant as a pass-rusher than Chubb. Showed nice agility at the Combine. He’s the SackSEER favorite, mostly due to his success in college and passes defensed. Where he falls behind Chubb is power. He didn’t have the same ability to hold his position at the point of attack. The more I think about the two of them, the more I like Chubb’s versatility. Yes, Landry might be better at purely attacking the quarterback, but he’ll also be targeted by them until he shows he can handle that. He’s a natural speed rusher with a great first step. He has good range to track down the ballcarrier when the play is moving away from him. He also has solid tackling technique once he arrives. Landry should be an effective pickup, possibly even in the top 10.

Marcus Davenport: The other man in the SackSEER elite three. Davenport didn’t learn much in the way of proper technique at UTSA. He did develop in terms of size, strength, and speed, which he showed off at the Senior Bowl and the combine. Frankly, if he continues to develop, he could be on par with Chubb. He has length you can’t teach and an excellent work ethic. I really effing hope Davenport doesn’t end up falling to the Patriots. That’s how much I like him.

Sam Hubbard: Was trending towards a first-round selection until he ran a 4.95 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. He had an excellent combine (where he skipped the 40) that highlighted his agility and athleticism. Despite his size, Hubbard doesn’t quite have the power you would want from the position. He made a lot of plays by never giving up, even when he lost the initial battle. His college production at Ohio State was excellent. I expect him to come off the board early day two and be a solid pro.

Arden Key: Oh dear. Arden Key ran a 4.91 40-yard dash on his Pro Day. Hubbard weighs 270 pounds. Key weighs 238. He was dominant in 2016 (11 sacks, 12.5 tackles) in eleven games. He had an awkward offseason and missed a few games in 2017. When he was on the field he wasn’t as effective (4 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss) in eight games. He still had some great moments on film, but they came less often. His off-field issues raise concerns when they threaten his on-field production. Key is a case where you are going to need to know what you are going to get from him. If you expect a return to his 2016 form, he’s a potential first-round value. If you think he’s damaged goods, avoid.

Josh Sweat: He’s SackSEER’s favorite value prospect, but the film doesn’t bear that out. He got his ass kicked constantly at the point of attack. He had an excellent first step, but a terrible second step. He couldn’t keep his forward momentum through any kind of resistance. I wonder if he ever fully recovered from his ACL tear. I know I’d wince if my team took him in the second round. I’m selling Sweat.

Duke Ejiofor: Weird prospect. Remarkably slow off the snap. Seems to be more interested in defeating offensive lineman in hand-to-hand combat than evading them. Didn’t seem willing or able to hold his position at the point of attack. However, he was very effective when he was asked to chase down the quarterback or ball-carrier. He has to attack the line of scrimmage as he doesn’t have the range to handle coverage responsibilities. I’m a little worried about the ankle injury whose surgery caused him to miss the combine. He also has a history of missing games due to concussions. Fun fact: Duke is descended from Nigerian royalty. I’d prefer to place my draft gambles elsewhere.

Rasheem Green: Everyone struggles vs. double teams, but Green turns getting beat by them into an art form. I’m not sure he’s strong enough to hold up at the NFL level. I saw way too many plays where he couldn’t disentangle from blocking and the play went right by him. He has a solid statistical profile and his nose for the quarterback was impressive. It’s just hard to trust a guy who isn’t explosive enough to evade blocking, or strong enough to shed it. He’ll likely go in the third round, but I hope not to NY.

Kemoko Turay: Much better attacking a point than defending one. Good pass rush skills, but not enough functional strength to hold his ground against the run. Agile enough to drop into coverage against RB’s in the flat. Great acceleration to finish a play. Long arms (33.5) to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. I really like Turay’s potential. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jets or Giants pick him up early in the third round.

Da’Shawn Hand: I probably should have listed him in the DL group, but I like him as a 3-4 DE. Not a great burst off the line, but only needs a little bit of leverage to overpower the offensive lineman and get past. Unusually large tackle radius. Able to hold his position at the point of attack. Not able to blow by offensive lineman, but has a good ability to collapse the pocket if the QB holds the ball too long. I see Hand as a solid third-round value.

Tyquon Lewis: A mediocre athlete by NFL standards. Respectable production at Ohio State. Did most of his work in the backfield when he got through clean. Excellent vision at the line. Weak in space. Best when able to attack the line of scrimmage. Can hold his own at the point of attack. Solid early day three pick.

Andrew Brown: He’s a 3-4 DE, or a 4-3 tackle. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for with strength, technique, and effort. He impressed me with his footwork in traffic, constantly moving to the proper position to make a play. I’ve seen mocks with him falling to the fifth round and that blows my mind. Some great athletes fail in the NFL because they don’t grok football. Brown understands the game and gets the most out of his gifts. I think he’s a fair value at the tail end of day two.

Hercules Mata’afa: No natural position at the NFL level. In college he was highly effective beating interior linemen with speed. In the NFL he won’t have the size or strength to work inside. He doesn’t have the length (31.5 inch arms) that teams are looking for from defensive ends. He’s not athletic enough to be a linebacker. He has a quality speed rush, both inside and outside, so it comes down to your defensive coordinator and whether they feel they can find a way to properly use Mata’afa’s talents while mitigating his shortcomings. Another early day three pick.