Another year, another list. I must have watched tape on at least 1000 prospects this year, and found some hidden gems. Who else has James Smith-Williams, Ryan Agnew and Kyle Horn as their top prospects? I’ve only listed players I believe to be worth at least $6 million per year. It’s been a big year for scouting for me so I haven’t gone into detail on some players, so you’ll have to forgive me.
These are positional rankings. Some players are worth the same, but some may have a slight edge over the other by a few hundred thousand dollars a year, but for these rankings it doesn’t matter too much. * denotes a player who is more valuable at a different position but still holds value at the position they are categorised under. A player listed in brackets denotes a player who is returning to school. The number next to their names indicates their value in millions of dollars per year.
Some players I’ve rated based on 2018 footage as I couldn’t be bothered finding recent footage on them. Them making the list indicates they’re worthy of being drafted anyway. Some players I’ve only watched limited recent tape on and have written “watch more” next to their name.
Sorry special teamers, but I would never draft you. Your value compared to your peers can never exceed a player who is above their peers in the starting 22, from what I’ve seen. I’m willing to be surprised, however. Hopefully I find the holy grail of long snappers one day.. Some players I have written using their first or last name only, as any draft pundit will know their name. Yes, I just wrote a sentence telling you this when I could’ve written their name out in full. That’s how lazy I am, at times.
- Ryan Agnew 26 – throws to only where his receiver can get the ball. Will always keep his team in the game as he can execute long passes or audible at line to change a play according to the defensive front. Understands where safety helps is weakest and is an expert at lofting the ball so that his receiver can make the downfield catch, or come back to ball. Great throwing action, has a high release point and great rotation through torso. Has enough zip on passes to hit his receivers all over field. Holds ball with two hands and has great footwork, keeps eyes up-field but has a great internal clock, can scramble some and is solid enough to take hits. Great spatial awareness to know where pressure is coming from, as well as where lurking defenders are. I’d use him primarily as a pocket passer but he is nimble enough to be used on bootlegs on occasion. Can throw while running but not his greatest strength. Is really good at selling play action, has Aaron Rodgers level of confidence in hiding the ball and then being able to find open spaces with arms and legs as play develops. Is smart enough to know every route his receivers will run to release ball before his receiver is even open.
- Khalil Tate 10 – has a huge arm, can fit the ball through tight windows and can hit receivers from almost anywhere. Is also a huge threat with his legs, and is big enough to take hits as a runner, so he can be a legit read-option quarterback. He had a lot of run pass option plays at Arizona which can translate to the NFL.
- Hurts 10 – has great composure in the pocket and holds the ball firmly with two hands, so he isn’t a huge fumble risk (inside the pocket, he usually scrambles with one hand on ball, big no no!). He has a good enough arm to make throws outside the numbers, and keeps his eyes up to scan the field for possible weaknesses in coverage. He is a huge threat with his legs, and is able to take hits due to his sturdy frame and power.
- James Morgan 10 – one of the best arms to enter the draft in years. Accuracy is sometimes affected with how hard he throws it but he usually throws it to where only his receiver can grab it. Activity as far as footwork in the pocket could improve and sometimes he throws just with his upper body, but his arm talent means he can make off-platform throws a la Patrick Mahomes. Can sense pressure and know where the safety help is weakest, so he’s a downfield throw threat, although he could improve his lower body mechanics to get more power behind the ball on those deep throws.
- Ross Bowers 8 – he had a negative touchdown to interception ratio last season, but put up a quality yards per reception rate of 7.4. I like him as he has Drew Brees’ level of footwork in his drops, and holds the ball firmly with two hands. His pocket presence isn’t great, but he can step up in the pocket and deliver passes all over the field. He can find where safety help is weakest and deliver deep balls. You shouldn’t draw up running plays for him but he has sufficient burst to scramble for a few yards now and then.
- Herbert 7 – he is a big play threat both with his legs and his arm. Hard to bring down. Can throw on run extremely well so getting him in space with bootlegs and drifts like the Chiefs like to do with Mahomes would be a good game plan for Herbert.
- Burrow 7 – he did have an amazing support cast around him in winning the Heisman, with fellow potential draftees in Justin Jefferson and Thaddeus Moss as receivers as well as stud offensive tackle Saadiq Charles protecting his blindside, but Burrow can play. He reminds me of Daniel Jones with his size and scrambling ability, and has a quality throwing motion to make throws all over the field. I question his pocket presence at times, but he should be a solid quarterback for atleast nine or so years.
- Anthony Gordon 6 – has a beautiful throwing motion and a quick release, and can move outside the pocket and throw on the run.
- Justin McMillan 6 – has received basically no hype, but is graduating from Tulane with a top 50 yards per reception rate at FBS level last season, as well as 745 yards on the ground in 13 games. Has the arm strength to hit receivers over the middle, needs to have a more compact form to throw outside numbers. Is skinny but can outrun most front seven players.
- Anthony McFarland 16 – has the big play ability of Tyreek Hill, with the vision of the best running backs in the game today. Unprecedented agility and base to evade tacklers, great hands.
- Michael Warren II 16 – not as explosive as McFarland but just as shifty and stouter in pass protection.
- Darius Anderson 13 – extremely hard running, can deliver blows both with the ball and in pass protection. Good burst and footwork to find holes in blocking scheme. Can run basic routes after assessing need for pass protection. Solid breakaway speed. You can basically rely on him gaining atleast three yards on the ground with his power and desire to keep upright.
- Jonathon Taylor 10 – nimble, fast, tough, strong, savvy.
- Deandre Swift 7 – one of the best dead leg jukes I’ve seen, doesn’t lose much momentum doing so. More of a make-you-miss back than a power back, has some nice footwork on routes but can lack urgency to get open. Has big play speed.
- Benjamin 7 – a power back who can find the tiniest of holes in the defense and make solid gains from them. Can make catches, effort to get open not great. Can pass protect some.
- Zack Moss 6 – is stout in pass protection and at 220 plus pounds can pick up NFL blitzers. Isn’t overly explosive but is quite shifty.
- Kennedy McCoy 6 – is good at finding space as a pass catcher and has high awareness for where defenders are around him to make them miss tackles.
- (Isaiah Spiller 6)
- Kyle Horn 24 – Horn might be eligible for a sixth year of college ball as he missed all of 2016 due to an ACL tear and redshirted his 2015 season. If he does leave for the NFL, you could be getting the next Gronk. Horn played for a bad UMass team (1-11 record last season), but Horn was a true bright spot. He only played in six games (missing one due to a missed curfew, alongside five other players) but averaged 13 yards per reception and had three touchdowns in those games. As a receiver he shows urgency in getting open against man and has solid enough hands to make catches in traffic, tucking the ball when he knows a defender is near and shielding his torso from big hits, which will improve his longevity and ability to shrug off tackles. He has wheels too, top speed isn’t awesome but has great short area quickness for a 6’5”, 245 pounder (as listed on ESPN.com). I think he stands to be able to gain more weight too, as he has a skinny torso. This doesn’t stop him from being a dominant and nasty run blocker, where he gets low and drives defenders back, whether they be defensive ends or defensive backs. He understands blocking angles well, knowing when to advance from one block to another, and can drive you into the dirt. On top of all of this, he has a good understanding of route concepts in getting behind linebackers and sitting in zones, as well as being shifty to make defenders bite on his head fakes in man coverage. He wants the ball, from what I saw, waving his arms when open in zones.
- *Rashod Berry 12
- *Tee Higgins 11
- Albert O 9 – great downfield threat with his elite speed and can make catches in the end zone. Solid blocker, needs to improve balance to hold blocks but initial contact is usually good. Solid footwork to get open on short routes but could add some urgency to separate from defenders.
- Stephen Sullivan 9
- Brycen Hopkins 8 – great burst off line of scrimmage, not many LBs will be able to keep up with him. Solid run blocker, really good pass blocker.
- Jake Breeland 8 – really good blocker, keeps defenders engaged. Can find gaps in coverage as a receiver, solid upfield speed.
- Dominick Wood-Anderson 7 – had a lot of reps blocking, in which he usually did a great job, driving the defender off the ball and legitimately creating big plays on the edge for his running backs. Not overly explosive in his routes but his top speed is pretty good.
- Giovanni Ricci 7 – has really good burst to separate, shows solid leverage when blocking. Sound route runner.
- Pinkney 6 (2018 tape) – built low to the ground so he’s a YAC threat as he’s hard to bring down.
- Tua 6 – in my opinion, Tua’s greatest strength is his legs and ability to shrug off tacklers. He was aided immensely by a solid offensive line, and has had some of the best receiving groups ever, which has boosted his time-to-throw and big play ability. I am unsure about his pocket presence, ability to scan the field, and decision making. Since he is a great athlete, and he has a strong frame, I can see him being a pass catching tight end who can come inline and crack a few unsuspecting linebackers, but can mostly be used as a short yardage tight end with potential for yards after catch.
- Rashod Berry 18 (need to watch more tape) – missed most of last season due to “undisclosed injuries” (according to rotoworld.com), but from what I’ve seen, Berry can become one of the best fullbacks ever. Has been listed as a tight end but is so good at blocking I think he’s best as a fullback, very long arms, balance and drive make him very difficult to beat. Can get upfield to make more than one block, and understands blocking angles extremely well. A perfect example of Berry’s ability is here (he’s number 13), where he pushes the defender five yards off the ball into another defender, and he seamlessly changes the blocking assignment for the Fields touchdown. Shows some savvy, change-of-direction ability, and explosiveness in getting open, can make catches (high level basketball ability, as shown from his YouTube mixtapes, suggest his ball skills and athleticism). Strong legs, wicked stiff arm and quickness make him extremely difficult to bring down.
- *James Smith-Williams 10
- AJ Dillon 7 – despite having the most rushing yards in Boston College’s history, I see Dillon as a fullback in the NFL. He has tremendous short area burst but I think he lacks the shiftiness or vision to be a primary ball carrier. He could put his 240 pound frame to use as a lead blocker, and he’s shown a solid base when blocking in space in the limited reps I’ve seen. He can leak out and make some catches too.
- *Dominick Wood-Anderson 6
- Xavier McKinney 6 – McKinney is highly touted as a safety but I haven’t seen enough play recognition for him to be reliable there. He is a great athlete and has great form on tackles, so I think those skills could translate to playing fullback. He’d have to add weight (he’s played at 200 pounds at 6’1”) but I think he has the physicality to make it work, and he has the agility to get out of the backfield and make a few catches.
- Tee Higgins 17 – you cannot deny that a reason for Trevor Lawrence’s college football success has been that he can just wait for Higgins to get open, and even if he doesn’t, just throw it up and let the 6’4”, 220 pound former basketball standout (he received numerous offers from big time colleges to play basketball out of high school) go up and get it. Higgins combines elite measurables with impeccable savvy as far as getting open with his routes, including in the end zone, as well as making a catch and rotating to be able to survey the defense ahead of him to gain yards after the catch.
- Collin Johnson 12 – 6’6” with great body control to make tough catches, can take hits too. Solid speed for a big man, isn’t awesome off line of scrimmage but can still scoot away from corners at times. Safe hands.
- *Anthony McFarland 12
- Kendrick Rodgers 11 – big target, sound route runner, strong after the catch to break tackles, strong as a run blocker.
- Henry Ruggs 11 – despite short stature can get off line fo scrimmage well due to footwork and hand usage. Sub 4.3 speed means he’s a downfield threat but can also evade tacklers with good spatial awareness, and can be a quality gadget player with jet sweeps etc. Can find creases in defense on routes, including in end zone. Reliable hands.
- Kai Locksley 10 – he played quarterback at UTEP, but had a similar amount of rushes to pass attempts last season, and gained a total of 535 yards on those runs in 11 games (all of which were UTEP losses!). At 6’4” and 210 pounds (according to ESPN), I wouldn’t be surprised if Locksley runs a sub 4.4 forty yard dash time, he is that quick. He shows nimble footwork and toughness to run between defenders, making me believe he could catch passes across the middle of the defense. Can juke very well for a man his size.
- Tylan Wallace 9 – great contested catch receiver, has enough burst to separate from defenders vertically. Pretty refined first step off line of scrimmage.
- Jaelen Raegor 9 – is very similar to 2019 draftee Deebo Samuel as a short but powerful runner with the ball with incredible burst and speed, meaning he can be a downfield threat as well as a great gadget player. Is pretty proficient with routes as well, can get off line of scrimmage and freeze defenders. Hands a little bit inconsistent at times. A big play target.
- KJ Hill 9 – great hands. Very twitchy, will be tough to guard one on one, has enough downfield speed to make tough deep catches, but best at separating and coming back to ball. Sometimes has trouble identifying weaknesses in zone, and lacks urgency to turn and get to ball in air on short curls (as seen when K’Von Wallace nearly picked off Justin Fields when Fields was targeting Hill in the college playoffs).
- Jeudy 8 – quality run blocker, great burst off line of scrimmage. Is sometimes one step too slow in his breaks which can interrupt timing of throws and allow defenders to recover. Physical and strong after the catch, has some breakaway speed and has a nice dead leg juke. Solid hands.
- Laviska Shenault 7 – solid route runner who knows how to sit in zones, solid breakaway speed.
- Keith Mixon 7 – great YAC target, serious breakaway speed and shiftiness. Solid enough hands and can catch through contact.
- Denzel Mims 7 – great physical traits and solid hands. Needs to improve urgency in routes, especially when he’s not the number one target. Very strong in run blocking, overpowers smaller defenders.
- (Damontie Coxie 6)
- Isaiah Wilson 12 – impossible to bull rush and nimble enough to keep up with most speed rushers. First step is scarily explosive, holds blocks well and plays nasty.
- Saadiq Charles 11 – very nimble and disciplined. Strong enough to hold up against most defenders. Can block in space. Skills translate to guard as well.
- Prince Tega Wanogho 11 – massive edge protector who can move multiple people in run game.
- Wirfs 10 – great first step and a real people mover. Will pancake a defender but then miss a block due to imbalance. Strong in pass pro one on one but could be more aware of multiple blitzers. Nimble enough to be a force on blocks upfield.
- *Cordel Iwuagwu 10
- Liam Eichenberg 9 – adequate agility to deal with speed rushers, good hand placement and strength to deal with power rushers and inside moves. Not overly forceful in run game but can hold position. Good awareness to pick up blitzers.
- Andrew Thomas 9 – prototypical size for an offensive tackle, can keep up with speed rushers a la Klaivon Chaisson. Long arms keep rushers away from him, can’t be bull rushes easily. Needs to show more awareness in picking up blitzers as he locks in to his target block too much, needs to keep eyes up and one arm ready to punch away multiple blitzers. Can be very unbalanced in run game.
- Joshua Alabi 8 – played sparingly at Ohio State, initially recruited as a defensive line prospect. Played well enough to earn offensive player of the game for Ohio State against Nebraska in 2019, after he was pegged to possibly be a backup to Brandon Bowen. Alabi has good size for the tackle spot and can move his feet well.
- McKivitz 7 – picks up twists and stunts well, adequate agility with long arms, initial contact is good on run blocks but could engage for longer.
- Tarik Adams 7 (2018 footage) – out of Marshall University, Adams plays with solid balance and agility. Hand placement is good and has long arms to keep rushers away.
- Mekhi Becton 7 – can only really be beaten in pass protection by multiple blitzers entering his blocking zone, as he can lock in on one block a bit too much at times. In run game, he could show more balance, but he can still move people with ease. I’d be comfortable running the ball off of him atleast eight times a game, to put his ability in perspective. The elite left tackles might garner 15 or so runs to their side, however.
- *Jonah Jackson 7
- Blake Brandle 6 – graduating redshirt senior out of Oregon State. Good drive on run plays, needs to improve leverage. Keeps hips square to rushers in pass pro well.
- Cordel Iwuagwu 17 – is so quick that sometimes it’s hard to find him on run plays. Can get to second level with ease and shows good understanding of how to make initial contact and move forward, creating lanes while changing blocking assignments. In pass pro, can get pushed backwards by a bull rush, but has long arms and good enough base not not allow rushers to get straight to quarterback. Is very nimble in pass pro and keeps arms up to ensure he can meet blitzers and stunts well. Plays hard, usually knows when to stop plugging a gap in pass pro and look for work, leading to delicious pancakes.
- Marquell Harrell 14 – dominant at line of scrimmage, can push most defenders back, incredible anchor to stop any penetration. Can move in space too. Could improve motor and hold blocks as long as possible as plays break down.
- *Saadiq Charles 9
- *Isaiah Wilson 8
- *Tyler Biadasz 8
- Jonah Jackson 8 – reminds me a bit of Rodger Saffold with how immovable he is, but can move a bit to make blocks in space.
- Patrick Osterhage 8 (2018 footage) – made first-team all-decade at Wake Forest at right guard, so that’s how much they like him.
- Hakeem Adeniji 7 – has played a lot of tackle but I think he’s best used inside, as he is very explosive off the ball and has the mass to be a force in the run game.
- John Molchon 7 (2018 footage)
- Clay Cordasco 7 – redshirt senior out of Oregon State, can be a dominant run blocker and one-on-one pass blocker, but REALLLYY needs to improve ability to disengage from a block if a blitz is coming. He locks into blocks and does not keep head up or one hand out to disrupt multiple rushers.
- *Simon Stepianak 7
- Drew Richmond 6
- Lemuix 6 – a big body who can’t really be bull rushed who shows enough anchor to move defenders off the ball a yard or so. Should not be asked to move too much in pass pro due to lack of elite quickness.
- *Becton 6
- *Hanson 6
- Tyler Biadasz 12 – supremely athletic, can move to second level with ease. Can also pancake guys in the trenches with great core strength. Sometimes a little unbalanced and ends up on the ground. Understands blocking angles to give space to his running back. Pass protection is good, keeps hands and eyes up to pick up rushers, can sometimes overcommit a little bit unnecessarily. Plays to whistle, not afraid to bury someone in the ground. Can become a top center in the league from day one.
- *Saadiq Charles 10
- (Josh Myers 8 – Ohio State, 2019 junior).
- Trystan Colon-Castillo 7
- Jake Hanson 7
- Simon Stepeniak 7
- Matt Hennessy 6
- Sean Pollard 6
- *Hakeem Adeniji 6
- James O’Hagan 5 (2018 footage) – Buffalo Bulls center.
- Terrell Burgess 15 – does not allow runners to get outside of him, but can disengage and make the stop once the defender does run inside. Does miss some tackles due to less than ideal technique. Outstanding range, doesn’t overcommit, slows down to make sure he makes sufficient contact on the ball carrier. Can be a good corner as well due to loose hips and speed. Can be a ballhawk if he makes sure he gets his head around in time.
- *David Dowell 12
- Kamren Curl 10 – his positioning is usually immaculate, and he doesn’t over commit on run plays that could leave the field open for deep passes. He knows where to go most of the time, but he sometimes lacks the urgency to make the tackle – he can see it, but he can be a bit lazy. He is a refined tackler so I’m not sure he’ll miss many tackles.
- *Vildor 8
- *Samuels 7
- Delpit 7 – very explosive, has true single high safety speed and can be a big hitter against ball carriers. Is a boom or bust tackler however – he often over commits to a certain angle, and puts his head in incorrect positions. He also overcommits to tracking receivers running to the flat when runs might be going between the tackles, limiting his impact on those plays.
- Harrison Hand 6 – played a lot of corner, but might lack the twitchiness needed to change direction like corners require. He is disciplined in his stance, has long arms, and can sniff out run plays quite well however, so I think he’s best as a safety.
- Mykelti Williams 6 – not very highly touted but showed up in the tackle count for college football in 2019, as he was top five for safeties in the country. Plays hard and hits hard, sometimes with poor technique which could contribute to injuries, but is worth having as a threatening presence against the run and lurking for tipped balls.
- *Simmons 6
- *Arnette 6
- David Dowell 14 – awesome at diagnosing plays, very quick in short areas to find the ball against run and pass. Very good tackler, could add a little strength but usually wraps up and brings down runners well. Can shed blocks due to his twitch. Can keep up with most receivers in space and make plays on the ball.
- *Terrell Burgess 12
- *James Smith-Williams 10
- *Kamren Curl 9
- Javin White 8 (need to watch more) – had 54 solo tackles, 3 picks and two forced fumbles in 12 games last season. Best as a safety to utilize his ability to get to the ball and make catches downfield. Shows some man coverage skills, can flip hips somewhat, so at 6’3” and 200 pounds can be used to mark up on tight ends (he shows ability to beat blocks with power) or receivers. The versatile chess piece that Isaiah Simmons is billed to be.
- K’Von Wallace 7 – good in man coverage, not so good in zone as he doesn’t stay in low stance, isn’t overly quick in play recognition. Plays to the whistle and keeps his eyes up, meaning he could be an interception threat at the next level. Can run sideline to sideline.
- Javonte Moffat 7
- Joey Banks 7 – not ideal tackling technique as he sometimes puts his head in prone positions, but a very strong hitter and sufficient burst to close on the ball.
- Allijah Halliburton 6 – led FBS safeties in tackles.
- *Samuels 6
- *Bradley 6
- Kindle Vildor 14 – extremely agile so that he can keep up with most receivers in any direction. Great ball skills. Sound in protecting edge on run plays and can tackle well.
- *Terrell Burgess 11
- *Dowell 10
- Thakkarius Keyes 10 – a bigger corner who has good arm length and strength to push receivers off their routes and can keep up with receivers downfield as well. Could improve smoothness in footwork and flipping hips but has sufficient burst to close on ball. Great ball skills and is unafraid to attempt picks in traffic.
- Grayland Arnold 10 – very athletic, can change direction and keep glued to receivers well. Can contain edge on run plays. Usually keeps feet when tackling so could end up being forcing some fumbles from ripping ball out, needs to develop strength to really drive ball carriers back and blow up blockers though.
- Stanford Samuels 9 – great, fast feet all over the field. Overshoots tackles some and doesn’t wrap up. Smart against run, usually doesn’t allow play to bounce outside. Long arms to interrupt receivers at line of scrimmage.
- Essang Bassey 8 – plays with good awareness, effective in run support. Can stay with most receivers, could use hands more to direct receivers off their routes. Good athleticism means he can compete on jump balls with taller receivers. Tackles the ball so could be a forced fumble threat. Can recognise routes and jump the pattern at times, and has sufficient burst to get to where he wants to go.
- Jeff Okudah 7 – generally does not wrap up tackles properly. Can be thrown off the receiver at the line of scrimmage due to overcommitment to receiver’s set up. Can be lackadaisical in not keeping tight on receivers the longer the plays develop. Other than that he’s a long, explosive athlete who can stay glued to receivers most of the time, so is worthy of a day one or two pick.
- *Kamren Curl 7
- *James Smith-Williams 7
- Kristian Fulton 7
- Chandler Kryst 7 – showed up on my radar due to high pick count in his senior year at Coastal Carolina. Good burst to ball, solid downfield speed and ball skills.
- Brandon Ezell 7 – out of San Jose State, good ball skills, a returner so good footwork and athleticism. Solid tackler.
- AJ Terrell 7
- Ceedee Lamb 7 – he is considered by many as the top receiver in the draft, but I don’t see it – he has solid yards after the catch ability, but I think he lacks the route running savvy and explosiveness to get open consistently. He does have long arms? And is physical, however, so I think he can make an impact at corner.
- Damon Arnette 6
- Keith Washington 6
- Javelein Guidry 6 – can stay with almost any receiver with 4.3 speed, is bulky enough to shed blocks and sift through traffic to make tackles. Footwork and hand position is less than ideal.
- Isaiah Simmons 6 – is clearly a special athlete, but lacks play recognition, motor and size to take on blocks. I’d utilise his speed and wingspan at corner.
- *James Smith-Williams 18
- Shaun Bradley 12 – just like Kamren Curl, he has great play recognition but sometimes doesn’t have the motor to get to the ball. It’s almost as if he can’t be bothered. They might play up to competition at the next level, but you can’t rely on that. What Bradley can do is fly all over the field, yet have the strength and power to crush blockers and make run stops. He can legitimately play as a mike linebacker in a Tampa 2 defense and cover the deep middle of the field he’s that rangy. He could use a bit more leg drive in tackles as he misses some as he doesn’t wrap properly. Can be a savage pass rusher.
- Justin Strnad 10 – extremely quick, so he’s good in coverage, but can also stack blocks and make tackles in traffic. True sideline to sideline speed but needs to wrap up tackles more, can’t just lead with shoulder all the time, particularly for his own longevity.
- Shaq Quarterman 8 – this play is emblematic of Quarterman’s style – in the 2018 season he hit 2019 draftee Foster Moreau so hard that his mouthguard fell out. He can shed blocks well and is built low to the ground so he usually has good leverage. Can move about the field but might need to improve motor a bit, against aFlorida he stood and watched as a receiver broke multiple tackles and scored on a huge play when Quarterman could’ve gotten there to mop up. Solid change of direction ability in coverage and can sink hips to move around.
- Willie Gay Jr 7
- *Jordan Mack 7
- Cole Kmet 7 – played as a tight end at Notre Dame and is considered by many to be the best tight end in the draft. He has great size, but it’s apparent to me that he hasn’t played that much football, based on his understanding of coverages and blocking ability – he also played baseball until his junior college season, which would’ve limited the amount of time he could dedicate to football. I would use him as an inside linebacker who can chase down receivers and blow up some blockers.
- Khaleke Hudson 6
- Javahn Ferguson 6 (2018 tape)
- *Josh Uche 6
- *James Smith-Williams 24
- *Cedric Wilcots 14
- Jordan Mack 11 – has played mostly off the ball but boy can he rush the passer. He is quick to the ball but doesn’t over-commit and run past the ball carrier, so he can close on many hurries for a potentially high sack count. He sniffs out runs very well, and can cover a bit, although my placing of him on the edge indicates he’s best closer to the line of scrimmage and only covering occasionally.
- Chase Young 11 – I prefer him as an outside linebacker as he is so twitchy that he can cover in the short areas of the field. Is also potent as a rusher, gets off the ball almost as fast as Von Miller. Isn’t overly bendy, but has good power to drive blockers back and has a solid motor.
- *Shaun Bradley 9
- *Rashod Berry 9 – yes, fullback Rashod Berry is so athletic that I think he can be a Pro-Bowl level edge defender. He had a few snaps there at Ohio State due to injuries, indicating he has the ability, and was recruits a potential edge defender there. Has long arms and bulk to swipe away and drive through blockers to get to the ball, has great play sense.
- AJ Epenesa 7 – a very unique prospect as he has the size to play as a defensive tackle and the athleticism to play in coverage. I haven’t listed him as a quality option at 4-3 DE, as he can’t be relied upon to contain an edge, as he commits too early to incorrect running lanes. As a result he’s best used to shrug off blockers and make tackles in one gap, cover in the short areas of the field, or just straight power rush. Any higher-level decision making is not in his tool bag, in my opinion.
- *Darrell Taylor 7
- Josh Uche 7 – great motor, has some spin and swipe moves and dip to get to QB, can beat you with speed also. Won’t push a lineman over but can hold up in run game. Sometimes overcommits, leaving holes for QB or RB to run through. Has agility to cover in space when asked.
- Ledarius Mack 7 – I’m surprised no-one has talked about him as Khalil Mack’s younger brother at Buffalo. Has his brother’s quickness, can dip inside on the pass rush, very active hands. Has strength to stand blockers up. Tackling form needs work, needs to wrap up more as sometimes ball carriers slip out of his tackles. Solid motor.
- Gross Matos 7
- Divinity 7
- Bryce Huff 7
- Trevis Gipson 6
- *Shaq Quarterman 6
- *Galaei 6
- Carter Coughlin 6
- Terrell Lewis 6
- James Smith-Williams 27 – can be a top defender in the league from day dot. Is a low-profile prospect due to a litany of injuries throughout his career, playing in just 29 games over the course of his five year career at NC State. Nonetheless, when healthy, he can be dominant. His healthiest year was in 2018 when he had 36 tackles, 9 TFLs and six sacks in just 11 games. The injury history is something you’d have to look into, but I think he has the work ethic to bounce back – he gained 70 pounds of muscle during his college career, and was studious enough to earn an internship and job guarantee from a high profile technology company……He tested similarly to legendary edge rushers like Whitney Mercilus and Ryan Kerrigan at the combine, as he was above the 90th percentile in the board jump and vertical jump for defensive lineman, as well as posting 28 reps on the bench. This kind of pedigree makes me think the injuries were just ill fortune, or understandable growing pains for carrying more weight. His talent is so overwhelming that I’d still take him with my top pick….He protects the edge with aplomb, doesn’t over-commit to rush, keeps blocker away with long arms and shed blockers to make tackles extremely well. Pass rush move is primarily a bull rush, but he can dip or pull at the right moments and when he knows where the QB is trying to get to with their feet. Will draw plenty of holds because he has good bend as well, which will surprise many linemen as he sets them up with power beforehand. Great get-off, speed to power is incredible. Can sink into coverage on occasion and keep hips low and hands up for potential picks or batted balls.
- Cedric Wilcots 16 – has a filthy spin move, which is a counter off of a filthy speed rush. Can use hands to bat away blockers’ arms too. Can beat run blockers with pure effort and solid base despite a slender frame for a 4 tech. Needs to put shoulders into tackles more but is usually strong enough to wrap up tackles anyway.
- *Ross Blacklock 11
- *Chase Young 9
- Darrell Taylor 8
- (Jaquan Bailey 7)
- *Broderick Washington 7
- Tipa Galaei 7
- Javon Kinlaw 7 – incredible get off for a man at 300 pounds, can really swipe away blockers and move around them. I prefer him on the edge so that he’d just have to get after the quarterback and pull down rushes to the edge, as his wingspan will allow him to take up more space than normal for the position. Play recognition not great.
- *Rashod Berry 7
- Khalid Kareem 6 – play recognition isn’t great, can overshoot to the outside on inside run plays a lot. Awesome traits, great get off and wingspan, shows promise on swipe moves inside and outside but needs to improve bend and motor in driving linemen back.
- *Bryce Huff 6
- Ross Blacklock 17 – can become one of the best defensive tackles in the league from day one. Built like Fletcher Cox, has great get off, instincts as to where the holes are to close up runs or where to penetrate on pass rush, can beat double teams with ease due to drive in legs, brute strength and efficient hand usage. Keeps head up and can utilise spin move to take down QB or runner. Needs to clean up discipline, was kicked out of his final? game for TCU for helmet to helmet contact on quarterback.
- *James Smith-Williams 16
- Broderick Washington 11 – absorbed a lot of double teams at Texas Tech but still managed to shrug blockers off and find the ball. Crazy first step and top speed for a 300 pounder and good motor, needs to improve tackling form as he misses some at times. Main pass rush move is bull rush with an occasional swipe – he could improve leverage on those moves – but will still get a handful or so sacks a year just from motor and keeping eyes up.
- Rashard Lawrence 8 – extremely stout against the run, can anchor against a double team to allow fellow defenders to clean up. Solid get off, needs to develop more pass rush moves but does have solid swipe, but doesn’t have that much burst to get upfield.
- Demerick Gary 7 – was top 5 in tackles for seniors at the defensive tackle position last college season, and you can see why – he is up there with Kinlaw for how explosive he is off the ball, and has sufficient bulk to not let many blockers stop him from making forward progress.
- Raekwon Davis 6 – plays with a great motor. Doesn’t overcommit to attacking a gap at expense of run play in another direction, but also struggles to keep his eyes up when engaging blockers, which limits his play recognition. Doesn’t really have pass rush moves but can drive linemen back a few yards, creating pressure that way. Is nimble enough to line up outside the tackles at times. Strong enough to disengage most blocks and has solid tackling form, with sufficient size to bring down most ball carriers.
- Lorenzo Neal 6 – is stout in holding up blockers in the run game, using one hand to hold them off while keeping his eyes up to see where run plays are headed. He has a good motor, but his lack of burst means he sometimes can’t close on the runner.
- *AJ Epenesa6
- *Kinlaw 6
- Cooper Rothe – it’s hard to find highlight footage of kickers on YouTube, but I like Rothe because he doesn’t stab at the ball – he has a consistent follow through that indicates good leg flexibility. This means he can drive his foot through the ball in any weather condition and suggest he has great range.