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Fran Duffy Takes A Look At The Draft

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  • Fran Duffy Takes A Look At The Draft

    starting with the O Line

    Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Offensive Line

    Fran Duffy


    While many people have focused on the strength of the defensive line class in the upcoming NFL Draft, this offensive line group is pretty impressive as well. Whether you’re looking for quick-footed tackles, road-grading guards, athletic centers, or anything in between, there are options on the table. Let’s take a look at who I am most excited to see in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine.
    Top Pick
    This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
    Jawaan Taylor, Florida
    This may come as a shock to some, but after studying Taylor from this year’s film I was really impressed with what he brings to the table. A big-bodied kid with an impressive frame, Taylor has light, easy feet; is a natural athlete; displays impressive power to displace defenders one-on-one in the run game; and is strong as an ox when holding his ground in pass protection. Will he light up the track? Probably not, but his film was very intriguing. There are things to work on from a technical side with both his feet and with his hands, but my guess is that most coaches will view that as correctable. Taylor is the real deal.
    Workout Warrior
    This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
    Andre Dillard, Washington State
    Dillard was my favorite pure tackle in the senior class heading into the Senior Bowl, and nothing has changed for me in that regard. The three-year starter at left tackle for the Cougars has solid size and pretty good length for the position, but his feet and natural ease of movement are what impress me most on film. On a recent episode of Daniel Jeremiah’s Move the Sticks podcast, there was a discussion about how Dillard could run very well in Indianapolis, and I can definitely see that coming to fruition.
    Dillard can get a bit better with his hands, but athletically the tools are there for him to be a good starting tackle for his future NFL team. Another player who I expect to test well across the board is Tytus Howard from Alabama State. Howard is a natural athlete as well as a former high school quarterback who made the switch to tackle from tight end as a college sophomore. Chuma Edoga from USC impressed me with his athleticism in person at the Senior Bowl as well, and I expect him to look good in drills for the same reason.
    Trust The Tape
    This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
    Cody Ford, Oklahoma
    Considering his size (6-4, 338 pounds), Ford is a pretty graceful athlete. However, I don’t believe he’ll look like one of the top testers at this event. Instead of focusing on that, however, focus on this. Ford started every game this season at right tackle for the best offensive line in college football after starting a handful of games last year inside at left guard. He’s a trained killer in the trenches with raw power and vice-grip hands on contact. Ford is hard to move in pass protection. He’s not going to win a lot of foot races, but this kid can play, and I think he will line up at guard in the NFL. People may remember an Oklahoma lineman by the name of Orlando Brown posted a legendary poor workout in Indianapolis last year. I don’t think Ford will be on that level, but I’m not expecting an outstanding day for the big man in the athletic testing portion of the event.
    Stopwatch Shocker
    This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
    Dru Samia, Oklahoma
    Samia came into the season flying under the radar, as scouts graded him as a mid-to-late-round selection and didn’t expect much from him athletically. Turning on the film, I saw one of the best athletes in the country among offensive linemen. This is directly from my notes on the senior four-year starter: “Easy out of his stance. Has light feet and is always under control. Rarely on the ground. Looks very smooth laterally. Releases as a puller quickly and has the range to reach defenders in space with the change of direction and ease of movement to react on the fly. Gets the second level in a hurry and should transition well to a zone scheme in the NFL.” I expect Samia to be one of the better testers along the offensive line at the Combine.

    Will Kill The Drills
    This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.
    Jonah Williams, Alabama
    The key for Williams at this event will be his arm length. It will honestly be one of the most pivotal measurements of any prospect at any position all week and could shape the scope of the first round of the draft. Regardless, Williams is a stud on film. He’s got good feet, uses his hands very well, looks comfortable with everything he’s asked to do, and should excel in this kind of environment. Whether he’s a tackle or a guard in the NFL (I think he could play either at a high level), Williams should be a first-round pick.
    Most To Prove
    This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
    Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
    The senior left tackle was getting first-round buzz in media circles back in the fall, and while that shine has worn off a bit, he’s still a talented player. The big thing he’ll have to prove to teams in Indianapolis is his long-term durability. Cajuste pulled out of the Senior Bowl due to an ankle injury and has a history of knee injuries on his résumé as well. If he can prove that those ailments are a thing of the past and not a harbinger of the future, that should solidify his Day 2 status in the upcoming NFL Draft as a potential starter at left tackle down the road. Another player I’d throw into the mix here is San Diego State left tackle Tyler Roemer, who declared for the draft as a redshirt sophomore after being suspended by the Aztecs. He was eventually dismissed from the team at the end of the 2018 campaign.
    Most Productive College Player
    This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
    Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
    The senior captain started a school-record 54 games along the offensive line for the Badgers over his four-year career, and his versatility is what makes it most impressive. Deiter racked up 24 starts at left guard (including 13 as a senior), 16 at center, and 14 at left tackle. I happen to like Deiter best inside at guard, but the ability to play any position up front will do wonders for his stock moving forward. A tough, versatile technician with deceptive athleticism, I think he’ll be a second-day pick and a Day 1 starter on the inside for his future NFL team.
    Best Pro Comparison
    Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
    Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
    McCoy is a junior who declared for the draft but was eligible for the Senior Bowl since he graduated early and performed well in Mobile, Alabama. That’s also how it played out on film, where McCoy showed an impressive blend of size, movement, and technique as he consistently put himself in position to execute his assignment every week against quality competition in the SEC. He reminds me of Ryan Kelly out of Alabama, who was a first-round pick for the Indianapolis Colts just three years ago. I don’t think McCoy is that level of prospect, but the way he’s built and the way he moves really reminded me of the Pro Bowl pivot, who has turned into a real nice player in Indy.

    Best Story
    Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
    Tytus Howard, Alabama State
    Howard was a high school quarterback out of Monroeville, Alabama, who was destined to play tight end in college. He arrived on campus as a 230-pound prospect and redshirted his first year there as he adjusted to his new position. Turnover in the coaching staff resulted in a change in thinking, however, and the new coaches asked Howard how he felt about moving to the offensive line. As a redshirt freshman, Howard played up front at just 255 pounds. The following year, he got up close to 270 pounds. Howard was over 290 pounds by his redshirt junior year and looked like a legitimate NFL prospect. He came in around 315 in Training Camp, and then at the Senior Bowl last month he weighed in at 322 pounds.
    Guess what? That athleticism that had coaches thinking he’d be a college tight end still shows up on film, as Howard carries that weight well, looks very natural on the move, and should be one of the most impressive physical specimens at the Combine as a player who has completely transformed his body over the course of his career.
    Small-School Standout
    This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
    Josh Miles, Morgan State
    In January at the East-West Shrine Game, Miles was one of a handful of small-school linemen whop stole the show. A college tackle who many anticipate will make the transition inside to guard, Miles is an athletic kid with impressive feet and tools to work with. Can he shine in the athletic testing portion of the week? If he can, while continuing to build off what he did in St. Petersburg after starting three years at Morgan, he could be in the mid-round discussion.
    Philly Connection
    This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
    Ethan Greenidge, Villanova
    I watched Greenidge back in October, and honestly, I was pretty impressed with him on film. He’s every bit of 6-5, 325 pounds, and looks the part in person after seeing him at the Shrine Game, but moves very naturally at that size. The New York native has a basketball background, which shows up on the football field with how he moves laterally as well as in reverse. Greenidge’s versatility, having played both tackle spots throughout his career with the Wildcats, will help him moving forward as well, as he figures to be a Day 3 selection.
    We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

  • #2
    Next up, WR

    Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Wide Receiver

    Fran Duffy


    What had been a somewhat lackluster class at the wide receiver position was given a huge shot in the arm with the influx of underclassmen talent. Now there’s plenty of talent on the board and, depending on what teams are looking for, there are players who fit every mold at the position.
    Top Pick
    This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
    D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
    What’s the upside for D.K. Metcalf? Julio Jones. Josh Gordon. Mike Evans.

    Think of big, physical, explosive threats on the outside who have potential to win at all three levels of the field and be a dynamic playmaker for an offense as a wideout who can consistently run past, through, or around corners.
    What’s the downside for Metcalf? Laquon Treadwell. Kevin White. Breshad Perriman.
    Think of big, physical, explosive threats on the outside who were questioned because of their route-running abilities coming out of college and their ability to transition to the NFL. Metcalf is extremely gifted. There’s no question about it. He was tearing up the competition in the SEC before his season-ending neck injury in October. He’s a physical marvel, reportedly listed at 6-4, 230 pounds, should test like an absolute freak show, and had some of the best highlights of the year by any wide receiver.
    He also ran a very limited route tree with the Rebels, and his success rate in contested situations wasn’t as high as you’d think considering his frame. There are better players in this receiver class, guys who are ready to step onto an NFL field right now, line up, and play winning football. But there is no better "prospect" at the position than Metcalf with all of his physical gifts.


    Workout Warrior
    This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
    Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
    Brown has the ability to be special, and a big part of that is due to his speed and quickness. A fluid route runner who flies in and out of breaks with ease, Brown was one of the best deep threats in college football the last two seasons and is a proven threat to stretch defenses both vertically and horizontally.
    Similar to former Eagles star DeSean Jackson, Brown has instant speed, and he should light up the track in Indianapolis. I expect him to test well across the board. Brown isn’t the only guy who I expect to light up the track, however. Parris Campbell from Ohio State is a speedster who should test well across the board. Nyqwan Murray from Florida State has impressive speed and quickness on film, enough so that I was shocked he wasn’t at any of the major all-star games. Darius Slayton from Auburn, Mecole Hardman from Georgia and Emanuel Hall from Missouri form a trio of explosive options from the SEC and are all guys I’d expect to get close to the 4.3 range in the 40.

    Diontae Johnson from Toledo is generating a lot of buzz for his speed and was a big-time return man in the MAC, while Alex Wesley from Northern Colorado is a track guy who I expect to really boost his stock.
    Want a real sleeper, though? Ashton Dulin from D-II school Malone. Dulin was a three-year starter there and actually led the entire country (meaning all levels of competition) in all-purpose yards per game at the wide receiver position. Dulin, who ran hurdles at Malone, could put himself on the radar at the event.
    Trust The Tape
    This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
    KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State

    He wasn’t invited to the Senior Bowl and, I’m not going to lie, I had a bit of fear in the pit of my stomach that he was going to be left off the Combine list. Johnson is one of my favorite receivers in the class. He’s not going to wow you with his size (6-1, 204 pounds) or his speed (which has been reported in the mid-4.5s in the 40-yard dash), but Johnson is a quality route runner, one of the best in this class, and is very consistent at the catch point.
    One of the best players during the week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game, Johnson should transition well as a starter in the NFL. I think Johnson plays faster than many believe he will time, but even if he has a mediocre day of testing, I’m still going to be high on him. I’m going to throw Deebo Samuel in here as well. I don’t think Samuel will test quite as fast as some may think, but I’m not going to get hung up on it. The guy plays fast and is built to play at the next level.
    Stopwatch Shocker
    This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
    Andy Isabella, UMass

    An extremely undersized (5-8, 186 pounds), but very productive wideout for the Minutemen in three years as a starter in a pro-style offense, Isabella caught a lot of steam on the back half of his senior season. A finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver, Isabella has the build of a typical slot and has the look of it on film with the quickness and savvy as a route runner to create separation. Isabella’s game isn’t just based off short-area quickness, however, and I think he’ll surprise people with how well he runs. On film, the Mayfield, Ohio native boasted the ability to get to top speed pretty quickly, and he had multiple gears to work with on vertical routes. I think he’ll run better than most expect, although questions will remain about his body type.
    Will Kill The Drills
    This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.
    Riley Ridley, Georgia
    The younger brother of 2018 first-round pick Calvin Ridley, Riley also is an impressive technician as a route runner, showing good savvy and snap at the top of breaks to create room for himself to work. He rarely fights the football, something that did plague the elder Ridley at times, so when the receivers take the field, I expect this kid to shine. Is he going to run in the low 4.4s? That’s unlikely based off film study, but he’s got pretty good size (listed at 6-2, 200 pounds), and with his technical refinement and reliable hands I think he’ll show up well in drills like the vaunted Gauntlet.


    Most To Prove
    This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
    A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
    Honestly, I’m cheating a bit here, but this will apply to all of the big boys at this position. I’m singling out Brown here, but this goes for N’Keal Harry from Arizona State, Kelvin Harmon from N.C. State, Tyre Brady from Marshall, JJ Arcega-Whiteside from Stanford, Hakeem Butler from Iowa State, and all of the other guys who will measure in at least 6-2 and 220 pounds. Can they separate themselves athletically? A handful of bigger wideouts were selected much later in the draft, primarily due to a lack of athleticism and the ability to separate. That will be what they need to show on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium.

    Most Productive College Player
    This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
    Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
    Samuel’s résumé has a boatload of accolades on it. He led the team in every major receiving category as a senior in 2018 on his way to first-team All-SEC as both an all-purpose player and as a return man. He finished his junior season tied for the team lead with six total touchdowns ... despite playing just three games before breaking his leg. He led the team in catches and yards as a sophomore as a co-Team MVP in 2016. He was the Practice Player of the Week at the wide receiver position at the Senior Bowl. One hundred forty-eight catches in his career may not seem like a ton, but when you factor in the injury-shortened junior year it’s a pretty good number and, let’s be honest, he’s one of the best receivers in this class. I’m a big fan of Deebo Samuel, who consistently finds his way into the end zone.
    Best Pro Comparison

    Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
    Antoine Wesley, Texas Tech
    Wesley is a really intriguing player because he’s listed at 6-5, 200 pounds, but he is a movement receiver. Wesley has a freaky wingspan, supreme ball skills, and better quickness in and out of cuts than you’d expect for a guy his size. Can he effectively get off press coverage in the NFL? Can he improve as a route runner? Can he get bigger and stronger? He’s exceptionally intriguing outside the numbers, and so many of his positives and negatives remind me of Josh Reynolds, a former Texas A&M receiver who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and turned into a solid contributor for them this year. I think Wesley’s ceiling is a bit higher, but I see their skill sets as being extremely similar.
    Best Story
    Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.

    David Sills, West Virginia
    David Sills has one of the most interesting backstories of any prospect since I’ve started following the draft. There’s definitely not enough space for me to get to it in this piece, so read the feature I wrote before the Senior Bowl instead.

    Small-School Standout
    This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.

    Keelan Doss, UC Davis
    No receiver at the Combine has more career receptions than Keelan Doss, who reeled in a whopping 321 passes as a three-year starter for the Aggies. Standing at 6-2, 207 pounds with really long 33-inch arms, Doss impresses on the hoof with his frame and really looks the part going up and playing the ball in the air. The FCS All-American turned heads at the Senior Bowl, and I expect him to do the same in Indy, where he’ll be competing with a lot of other big-bodied wideouts looking to set themselves apart from the competition. Don’t plan on Doss backing down from the challenge.
    Philly Connection
    This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
    Kelvin Harmon, N.C. State

    Viewed by most as one of the top receivers in the class, Harmon was born in Liberia but moved to America when he was 4 years old, and he grew up in Palmyra, New Jersey, literally just over the bridge from Northeast Philadelphia. At 6-3, 214 pounds, Harmon needs to prove at the Combine how fast he is, but he’s big, strong, and great at the catch point. He’s one of the best jump-ball guys in this draft, but is he athletic enough to be a starting receiver in the league? That’s the question he’ll look to answer in Indianapolis.
    We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

    Comment


    • #3
      Running back





      Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Running Back

      Fran Duffy


      A record 135 underclassmen declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, and over 20 of them were running backs, helping to fill a group that will look to prove itself at the NFL Scouting Combine in a couple of weeks. Here’s who you need to keep a close eye on at the running back position in Indianapolis.
      Top Pick
      This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
      Josh Jacobs, Alabama
      I could have gone another way here, but his upside is very high. It could be argued that Jacobs isn’t even the best back on his own team as we stand here today – I believe that honor goes to Damien Harris, who started ahead of Jacobs for the Tide. Jacobs can impact the game as a runner, as a receiver, and as a special teams maven. He displays natural power and short-area burst with the ball in his hands. The one concern I do have about him is that he can be a bit indecisive at times approaching the line of scrimmage, but with his ceiling, it’s hard not to have him as the top dog at running back in this class. I expect him to go off the board anywhere in the first two rounds.

      Workout Warrior
      This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
      Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
      The junior, who has scored more touchdowns than anyone in college football over the last two years, has been a dynamic player for Lane Kiffin. A large reason for that is his athleticism. Singletary has LeSean McCoy-esque lateral agility, speed to burn in the open field, and the ability to make defenders look silly one-on-one in space. His physical tools should put him in position to test extremely well on the turf in Lucas Oil Stadium, and he should be a Day 2 selection in April.
      Trust The Tape

      This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
      David Montgomery, Iowa State
      My guess is that Montgomery won’t burn up the track at the Combine, but that’s OK. I’m not expecting him to thrive in Indy. The junior runner’s strength isn’t his straight-line burst, but rather his contact balance and lateral agility. Montgomery excelled at making the first man miss at the college level and, in ways similar to Kareem Hunt coming out of Toledo (who also did not work out well), I think he’ll be able to do that well entering the league. Montgomery is one of my favorite backs in this draft. I’d throw Mike Weber from Ohio State into this category as well as a player who may not light up the stopwatch but is just a good, solid football player.
      Stopwatch Shocker
      This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.

      Miles Sanders, Penn State
      It’s not easy stepping in for one of the best to ever do it, but Sanders had to do that this year for the Nittany Lions as he tried to replace Saquon Barkley.
      The junior held his own in that regard, rushing for over 1,000 yards on his way to being named second-team All-Big Ten. No one will mistake Sanders for Saquon from an athletic standpoint. In fact, that’s one area where I have a bit of a question for Sanders transitioning to the NFL – is he athletic enough to set himself apart and consistently make that first man miss? If you’ve been following the Combine in recent years, however, one thing has consistently been true – Penn State players always test like freak shows. Whether it’s been Barkley, Mike Gesicki, or Troy Apke last year, or Chris Godwin the year before that, PSU has shown out in this event. This is a stab in the dark, but I bet Sanders, who ran relays at Woodland Hills high school in Pittsburgh (another omen for success), tests better than most expect.
      Will Kill The Drills
      This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.

      Damien Harris, Alabama
      Harris grades out as the best player in this class at the running back position in my eyes, but he doesn’t have true explosive speed in the open field and isn’t the kind of dynamic athlete in space like Jacobs or Singletary. My guess is that he’ll have a solid athletic workout, with nothing eye-opening, but that won’t change my mind about him. One area where he does stand out, however, is with his feet. He’s got outstanding feet to navigate through traffic, and that will show up in the bag drills. Harris also boasts great vision, is a strong pass protector, has very few negative runs on film, and has plenty of tread on the tires despite starting 40 games for the Crimson Tide over his career. I’ll take this kid on my team any day, and I think he’ll end up being a second-round choice in a couple of months.
      Most To Prove
      This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
      Dexter Williams, Notre Dame

      Williams has plenty of talent, and I expect him to run well at this event, as he was one of the best big-play backs in football when he was on the field this year. Therein lies the rub, however, as the senior only started eight games this season – the only eight of his career, as he was suspended for four games to start the campaign. Williams will have tough questions to answer for his time in South Bend. He was also nicked up throughout his career as well, something else that will get tested during the medical check. If he aces those tests away from the field, it wouldn’t shock me at all if he snuck into the latter part of the third round of April’s Draft.

      Most Productive College Player
      This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
      Myles Gaskin, Washington

      Only one player in the storied history of the Pac-12 Conference has racked up over 1,000 yards rushing in four separate years, and that’s Myles Gaskin. The diminutive senior (5-9, 190 pounds) was consistently productive for the Huskies and head coach Chris Peterson, impacting games as both a runner and as a receiver. The question with him, however, is if he is big enough to last in the NFL. Or, more importantly, is he athletic enough to overcome his lack of size? That second question is something he’ll look to answer on the field in these tests, but throughout his career, Gaskin was a playmaker for one of the best teams in the nation.
      Best Pro Comparison
      Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
      Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M
      Williams started 38 games in his career for the Aggies, and he was a tough guy to bring down ever since he stepped on campus. Standing at just 5-9 but weighing in at 200 pounds, Williams is short but stout, and his patience as a runner really stood out to me on film. The Houston native is a classic "small back who runs big," as he’s not afraid to hit plays downhill between the tackles and be a factor on contact despite his frame.

      Watching him play reminded me of a former NFL runner who played for a handful of teams, but Eagles fans may remember him most for his days with the New York Giants, and that’s Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw stood at 5-9, 198 pounds coming out of Marshall in 2007 and made his hay in the league as a competitive downhill runner who fought for every inch he got with the ball in his hands, and that’s how I see Williams.
      Best Story
      Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
      Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma
      One of the true wild cards of this draft class, Anderson has Top 45 ability but the medical record of an undrafted free agent.

      Anderson was a second-team All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore in 2017, which was his lone healthy year on campus when he ran for nearly 1,200 yards despite only starting in the second half of the year. He has big-time potential, but it was nearly taken away right when he got to Norman, Oklahoma. On his first collegiate carry, Anderson broke his fibula and tore a ligament in his ankle in his left leg, a serious injury that forced him to miss all of 2015. The following Training Camp, in August 2016, he suffered a neck injury, reportedly a fracture of his C5 vertebrae, and he had to wear a neck brace for three months. 2017 came and went, as he helped lead the Sooners to the College Football Playoff along with Baker Mayfield, and things were looking up for Anderson entering his junior season. Then, a knee injury derailed his final year on campus back in September.
      If healthy, Anderson is one of the best backs in this class, but three season-ending injuries in four years are tough to move past, but credit the player for forging through the adversity as he tries to reach his dream of playing in the NFL.
      Small-School Standout
      This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
      Jalin Moore, Appalachian State

      There were a couple of small-school running backs left off the Combine list (Wesley Hills from Slippery Rock and Bruce Anderson from North Dakota State come to mind first), and while Moore comes from FBS level competition he’s still flying under the radar. Not only is Moore expected to test very well, and his short-area burst and flashes of power are impressive on film. I think he’ll fit best for "gap" schemes (such as Power, Counter, and Trap) at the next level, where that long speed and physicality will serve him well downhill. There are questions about whether or not Moore can be a viable third-down option at the next level, but he shouldn’t have any problems sticking in the league.
      Philly Connection
      This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
      Ryquell Armstead, Temple
      Both Alabama running backs were coached by former Eagles personnel exec Joe Pannunzio. Dexter Williams backed up Eagles running back Josh Adams in South Bend. Hills grew up just southeast of Philly in Wildwood, New Jersey, but how about we go with the kid who played his home games at Lincoln Financial Field in Armstead from Temple, who was at the Senior Bowl last month. This is a rock-solid player who has been making an impact on North Broad Street since his sophomore season and who has even moonlighted as a defensive player in some subpackages for the Owls. A physical, competitive downhill runner, Armstead has a well-rounded skill set that translates well to the next level.
      We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

      Comment


      • #4
        Quarterback

        Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Quarterback

        Fran Duffy


        Free Agency may be just around the corner, but all eyes will be on the 2019 NFL Draft class over the next couple of weeks as hundreds of prospects descend upon Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine beginning February 26. Leading up to the event, I will do a position-by-position preview of the top names you need to know. Who will shine? Who won’t? Which players have special rooting interests for Eagles fans in general? Let’s cover it all, starting with the quarterbacks.
        Top Pick
        This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
        Daniel Jones, Duke
        This quarterback class won’t set the world on fire, but I think there’s still plenty of talent for needy teams to cultivate. I like Jones the most of the bunch based off the work I’ve done so far. The junior isn’t a legendary arm talent, and he’s not a phenomenal athlete who will consistently make plays outside of structure by breaking the pocket, but he’s got complete control of that offense, is very accurate, poised, and smart with the football. He brings a lot to the table from a leadership standpoint as well, something that will sit well with NFL teams. I like this kid a lot, and even though he’s not flashy, I think he'll be a first-round pick in April.

        Workout Warrior
        This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
        Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
        At the moment of this writing, I don’t have the faintest idea of what Murray will do in Indianapolis. Tony Pauline recently went on the Journey to the Draft podcast and reported that some insiders think he won’t even make himself available for official weigh-ins, which would be unheard of. Regardless, Murray is a phenomenal athlete and one of the biggest freak shows at the entire event, no matter the position. He has instant speed and, based off what he looks like on film, could break 4.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash -- again, if he decides to run. If he does go through the full gamut of athletic testing, Murray should post a legendary workout at the quarterback position.


        Trust The Tape
        This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
        Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
        Haskins was used often in the zone read run game with the Buckeyes, but I’m not sure that will be a strength of his game in the NFL. Haskins has below-average size but is not overly explosive or twitchy. I expect him to have a solid workout, but I don’t think he’ll look special in any one area on the stopwatch. Don’t let that affect your thoughts on the sophomore signal-caller, however. He thrives in the quick passing game and is a timing and rhythm passer who showed great flashes in his first year as a starter. Haskins has a lot of work to do, and he’s a projection because of a small sample size of starts, but there’s starting-level NFL talent there.
        Stopwatch Shocker

        This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
        Drew Lock, Missouri
        Lock arguably has the strongest arm in this class and can make every throw in the book. He was a productive starter for the Tigers in the SEC and helped that Missouri squad wade through some serious adversity in his time on campus. What people may forget about Lock, however, is that he was an all-state hoops player in high school. The senior had offers from Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wichita State coming out of high school to play basketball, and his athleticism will surprise you considering his size (6-4, 225 pounds). Lock could shock some people at this event with how well he tests.
        Will Kill The Drills
        This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.

        Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
        Jackson isn’t a perfect prospect, far from it, but this is a really big kid (a legit 6-7) with a huge arm, and he will impress people when he throws in front of them for the first time. The ball comes out easy, though you don’t always know exactly where it will end up. The way he moves at his size will catch a lot of people’s eyes. A three-year starter who declared for the draft, Jackson participated at the Senior Bowl in order to improve his stock, but on film he is a developmental starter with potential down the road. Every team will grade that differently, but it wouldn’t shock me if he went on the second day of the draft considering his tools.

        Most To Prove
        This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.

        Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
        When he arrived on campus as a transfer from Baylor and former five-star recruit, Stidham was seen as a potential lightning rod who could push the Tigers over the hump for another run at a national title. That, unfortunately for the Auburn faithful, did not come to pass, as he struggled to put up the kind of numbers and operate the offense as consistently as his predecessors did before him for numerous reasons. There’s no denying his talent. He can throw it with the best of them. He’s coming from an offense that is about as dissimilar as what he’ll see in the NFL, so how will he do at the board in meetings with teams at night? Will he show an understanding of defenses schematically? If he can prove that he’s not a project from the mental side of things, then a coaching staff could think that he has what it takes to make the jump into the NFL as a starter sooner rather than later. Stidham is young and talented, but there’s a lot of projection there. Just how much is what teams will find out in Indianapolis.
        Most Productive College Player
        This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
        Will Grier, West Virginia

        Grier finished his career as the active leader in passing yards per game (305.6), averaging an exorbitant 9.1 yards per pass attempt (only nine quarterbacks drafted in the last decade have bested that mark and five of them were first-round picks). The senior threw 37 touchdowns in his final year on campus, leading Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers offense as one of the top attacks in college football. What will Grier’s transition be like to the NFL? Well, he’ll have to become acclimated to a more pro-style system and learn to work from under center, but with his touch and above-average arm strength, he’ll get the chance to stick around and be developed early in his career.
        Best Pro Comparison
        Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
        Brett Rypien, Boise State
        I enjoyed studying Rypien late in the fall in preparation for the East-West Shrine Game. An undersized passer who excels from the pocket thanks to his poise, timing, and touch, the senior doesn’t have a huge arm, but I like the way he plays the position. There are physical limitations here, but I think he will stick in the league for a while as a backup quarterback who will eventually earn a shot at a starting job. Going through my notes on him, I found that I wrote a lot of the same positives (and negatives) about Cody Kessler when he came out of USC in 2016, and the two are built very similarly as well.

        Best Story
        Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
        Gardner Minshew, Washington State
        A year ago, no one outside of the biggest college football fans knew who Minshew was. He had started seven games in two seasons for an ECU team that had struggled for most of his time on campus. After nearly walking on to be a backup at Alabama, Minshew decided at the last minute to take an offer from Mike Leach at Washington State to compete to become the starter, and the rest is history. The senior, known famously for his legendary facial hair, went on to be the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top passer. Minshew is very unassuming in person, but he’s a smart, efficient quarterback who will be a coach when his playing days are done.


        Small-School Standout
        This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
        Easton Stick, North Dakota State
        Carson Wentz’s backup with the Bison, Easton Stick stepped in and continued NDSU’s storied run once the Eagles took his predecessor No. 2 overall back in 2016. Now the all-time winningest quarterback in FCS history (49-3) as a four-year starter, Stick may not have the tools that Wentz did coming out of that program, but he sure has the pedigree to match. Watching Stick, he has full control of a pro-style offense, which will serve him well in nightly meetings with teams in Indy, and his poise and toughness in the pocket really shined. I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the entire class. I’d throw Brett Rypien from Boise State into this group as well, along with Jackson from Buffalo, as they are the only non-Power 5 passers at the event.
        Philly Connection

        This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
        Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
        Shurmur graduated from La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, just outside of Philadelphia. A four-year starter for the Commodores, he has a bit of an elongated throwing motion, which may be a result of his decorated high school swimming career, but this is a smart, accurate passer who makes good decisions, displays solid poise in the pocket, and comes from a football family. If you haven’t pieced it together, Shurmur’s father Pat is currently the head coach of the New York Giants and spent two tenures as an assistant coach with the Eagles.
        We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks, good read to throw in with all the other reports you see and gives a couple of names worth looking up
          "Don't look between the lines for stuff that isn't there" Schwartz
          RIP

          Comment


          • #6
            I respect Duffy's opinion.
            We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

            Comment


            • #7

              This QB Tytus Howard, Alabama State
              Howard was a high school quarterback out of Monroeville, Alabama, who was destined to play tight end in college. He arrived on campus as a 230-pound prospect and redshirted his first year there as he adjusted to his new position. Turnover in the coaching staff resulted in a change in thinking, however, and the new coaches asked Howard how he felt about moving to the offensive line. As a redshirt freshman, Howard played up front at just 255 pounds. The following year, he got up close to 270 pounds. Howard was over 290 pounds by his redshirt junior year and looked like a legitimate NFL prospect. He came in around 315 in Training Camp, and then at the Senior Bowl last month he weighed in at 322 pounds.
              Guess what? That athleticism that had coaches thinking he’d be a college tight end still shows up on film, as Howard carries that weight well, looks very natural on the move, and should be one of the most impressive physical specimens at the Combine as a player who has completely transformed his body over the course of his career sounds a lot like Lane Johnson doesn't he?

              ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


              The kid sounds like a Johnson clone doesn't he? Maybe a Jason Peters also with the TE skills too. He also sounds like he's long gone by the time we pick LOL.

              I'm most interested in how Pryor progresses between year 1 and 2. I think that he's going to be a real stud for us this year and could end up starting. Our O line should be very strong again this year. There's some talk about letting Wiz go or trading him again. I don't know about that one because I still think that he's underrated. I'd like to see a center drafted at some point, especially since Kecle is talking retirement. Then again he might just want some more money. I watch a ton of college football but didn't see any RBs that jumped off the board at me but there are a lot of good ones. I just hope Douglas finds one for us because I think that's our number 1 need this year. The real surprise this past year was Love from Stanford. His junior year the kid was a beast. He played on a battered leg that he could barely walk on and kept coming back week after week and carried the team on his back. It sure must have taken it's toll on him because last season he did nothing and just looked like a average back at best. He was a preseason Heisman candidate that might not even get drafted unless one of the California teams gives him a late pick. Very strange.
              Last edited by Eagle60; 02-16-2019, 10:53 PM.
              "Hey Giants, who's your Daddy?"

              Comment


              • #8
                In the back of my mind I still wonder if they don't see Seamalu as the center if Kelce ever goes.
                "Don't look between the lines for stuff that isn't there" Schwartz
                RIP

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tight Ends





                  Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Tight End

                  Fran Duffy


                  While the Eagles may have the best one-two punch in the NFL at the tight end position with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, there’s still an opportunity to add more depth through the draft, especially when you consider that this class is full of interesting prospects. There will be intriguing options for teams looking for tight ends every day in this draft, and my guess is more than a couple of draftable prospects will not be selected at all. Here are my thoughts on some of the names you need to know.
                  Top Pick
                  This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
                  T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
                  Hockenson first popped up on my radar over the summer. I was studying his teammate Noah Fant, who was previously billed as a potential first-round pick despite not being an every-down player for the Hawkeyes. Instead, it was Hockenson, a 6-5, 250-pound bulldog, who lined up everywhere for Kirk Ferentz and did nothing but compete and outwork the man across from him. Fast forward a few months later, and Hockenson was once again the lead dog on the depth chart for Iowa, and he went on to win the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. An extremely well-rounded player with no real holes in his game, Hockenson should transition very quickly as an early starter for his future NFL team. He may not have Travis Kelce/Rob Gronkowski upside athletically, but he will be a good player for a long time.

                  Workout Warrior
                  This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
                  Noah Fant, Iowa
                  Coming into the year, Fant was viewed by many as the top player in the country at the position. This kid is an absolute freak show of an athlete, and he should be one of the best testers in the history of the Combine at the tight end spot. Fant flies out of his stance, is extremely fluid in and out of breaks, and has excellent flashes on film. It should be noted that Fant was never an every-down player or every-week starter for Iowa. There are questions about Fant as a blocker, but there’s no question he can impact all three levels of the field as a pass catcher at the next level. This class isn’t just about Fant though because there are several really impressive athletes. Hockenson will test very well, as will Irv Smith Jr. from Alabama (who I absolutely love on film), Jace Sternberger from Texas A&M, Dawson Knox from Ole Miss, and Alizé Mack from Notre Dame.
                  Trust The Tape

                  This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
                  Kaden Smith, Stanford
                  A one-year starter for David Shaw and the Cardinal, Smith has exemplary size at 6-5 and nearly 260 pounds, has strong hands, and is a very reliable blocker at the point of attack. He plays the ball pretty well in the air and has proven to be consistent at the catch point. He even averaged 15 yards per reception over his college career, an outstanding number. Smith isn’t, however, a game-breaking athlete. He’s not going to line up out wide and be viewed as a mismatch player in the NFL. He’s not going to be a real threat with the ball in his hands. I’m perfectly fine with all of that. I think he will be a rock-solid pro.
                  Stopwatch Shocker
                  This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.

                  Josh Oliver, San Jose State
                  Oliver has pretty good size and length for the position and had a productive career for the Spartans as a three-year starter. I was impressed with his ball skills and hands at the catch point on film. He’s not currently viewed as a plus athlete, but I think he’ll test better than many people think. The senior needs further refinement in other areas of his game – route running and releases off the line, specifically, but this is a big kid with good movement skills who is strong at the catch point. You can win with that.

                  Will Kill The Drills
                  This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.

                  Isaac Nauta, Georgia
                  Off the hoof, the junior Bulldog won’t impress you. He’s 6-4 and under 250 pounds. He’s not a blazer down the seam, and isn’t super twitchy, but this kid is a football player. Nauta is a solid all-around blocker, is competitive in everything he does, and when I say he catches everything I mean he catches EVERYTHING. By my charts, the junior allowed just one catchable pass to hit the ground this season, and while he was maybe the fifth weapon in a loaded offense, that’s still impressive. Nauta needs to improve as a route runner, and I’m anxious to see how he looks at the Combine after training for the last few weeks, but he should look good in position drills.
                  Most To Prove
                  This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
                  Dawson Knox, Ole Miss

                  Knox may be the least-productive skill-position player that I’ve ever really, really liked on film. A two-year starter for the Rebels, Knox caught just 39 passes in three years and never reached the end zone, which is silly to think about considering the fact that Ole Miss was a heavy passing team. At 6-4, 260 pounds, the junior has pretty good size, is an impressive athlete, and has intriguing upside because he lined up all over the field and was used in every way imaginable as a blocker and pass catcher. The traits are there, but the production was not, so teams will be looking to get to the bottom of why.
                  Most Productive College Player
                  This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
                  Caleb Wilson, UCLA
                  No college tight end at the Combine has more career catches than Wilson, an undersized junior who declared for the draft quickly after the season ended. With 141 career receptions at an impressive 14.7 yards per catch, the former high school quarterback appears to be on the upswing. He did miss a large chunk of the 2017 season due to injury, but that makes his production even more impressive. The transfer from USC will need a strong workout to put himself in the Day 2 discussion.

                  Best Pro Comparison
                  Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
                  Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
                  A one-year starter for Jimbo Fisher this year at A&M, Sternberger stands at 6-4, 250 pounds and is an impressive athlete for the position. An easy mover who gets in and out of breaks with ease, I especially enjoyed studying him on vertical routes. The junior, who transferred from Kansas with a stop at a junior college in between, reminded me a lot of Zach Ertz while running some of his double moves, including a corner-post route that Ertz has nearly perfected during his time in the NFL. Is Sternberger to the level of Ertz right now? Of course not. But stylistically they’re similar. Sternberger will have questions about his blocking, like Ertz did, coming out of college. Physically, they’re almost identical, and I think his upside matches.
                  Best Story

                  Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
                  Jalen Hurd, Baylor
                  Most people have Hurd listed as a wide receiver, including the folks at National Football Scouting who put together the Combine. Some analysts have him listed as a running back. I think he may be best suited at tight end. Listed at the Senior Bowl at just under 6-5 and 227 pounds, Hurd was garnering comparisons to Adrian Peterson early in his career as a freshman at Tennessee. When he left the Volunteers in 2016, he was the second-leading ball carrier in the history of their storied program. Hurd transferred to Baylor, sat out a year, and moved to slot receiver this year for head coach Matt Rhule. Hurd has shown that he can play running back north of 240 pounds and can put on more weight. I wonder if Hurd could transition to a Trey Burton-esque role in the NFL. Regardless of what position he plays, his winding journey is certainly an interesting plot to follow.
                  Small-School Standout
                  This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.

                  Keenen Brown, Texas State
                  Brown could have gone back for a sixth year of eligibility, but he decided to come out instead. A transfer from Oklahoma State, he’ll look to push himself into the mid-to-late rounds with a good athletic performance. At 6-3, 250 pounds, Brown’s upside has been questioned and he hasn’t been super productive throughout his college career (just 57 catches for under 12 yards per reception), but he’s a fine player in his own right.
                  We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NoDakIggle View Post
                    In the back of my mind I still wonder if they don't see Seamalu as the center if Kelce ever goes.
                    I'm sure that's the plan but man what a drop in talent there!!!
                    "Hey Giants, who's your Daddy?"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      you know 60 we haven't really seen him over a period of time. He has some quickness and is supposedly really smart. If you asked me today I would say he scares me also but I haven't seen him in practice so I don't know what Doug & Co think. It is just my gut from some stuff I have read over time.
                      Now that I said that they will probably draft C in round one
                      "Don't look between the lines for stuff that isn't there" Schwartz
                      RIP

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by NoDakIggle View Post
                        you know 60 we haven't really seen him over a period of time. He has some quickness and is supposedly really smart. If you asked me today I would say he scares me also but I haven't seen him in practice so I don't know what Doug & Co think. It is just my gut from some stuff I have read over time.
                        Now that I said that they will probably draft C in round one
                        That wouldn't surprise me ND. Whoever does end up there has to replace the best center in football though. I remember the college film that I watched of him when he was drafted he looked decent at center. I thought that was strange because he was really drafted to play guard and that was the only film that I could find on him.

                        From what I remember of him playing center in preseason and the limited time that he played for Kelce last season he was decent but did get pushed back on pass protection. I also remember Gowton complaining that about half of his snaps in TC were errant too. He's a good kid and I hope he makes it but he really must step up this season.
                        "Hey Giants, who's your Daddy?"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Edge Rushers






                          Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Edge Rusher

                          Fran Duffy


                          This class has been billed as the Year of the Defensive Linemen because of the quality of talent at the top and the overall depth, both inside at defensive tackle and off the edge. In each round of the draft, talented players will be coming off the board who could potentially terrorize quarterbacks for years to come in the NFL. Here’s a look at some of the names who stand out most to me based on my film study.
                          Top Pick
                          This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
                          Nick Bosa, Ohio State
                          While he’s not quite the prospect that his brother Joey was coming from the Buckeyes in 2016, Nick Bosa is the best player in this draft class. A big, athletic, technically refined pass rusher who is very advanced in the art of using his hands and attacking offensive linemen, Bosa will almost certainly go in the top three picks and has a good shot to go No. 1 overall to the Arizona Cardinals. He’s in his own tier when it comes to edge players in this class based off what I’ve seen so far.
                          Workout Warrior
                          This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
                          Rashan Gary, Michigan
                          There’s some debate about whether Gary will ultimately be viewed as an edge player or as an interior defensive lineman. I think he’ll see a little bit of both in the NFL regardless and he’ll want to be factored in on the outside when it’s all said and done. A rare blend of size and explosive power, Gary is listed at 6-5, 287 pounds, but will test like an alien in Indianapolis if we are to believe the reported numbers. Expect the 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, and jumps to be incredibly impressive for Gary, particularly when you account for his weight. His shuttles should be very impressive as well. The undersized pass rushers such as Brian Burns from Florida State, Jachai Polite from Florida, and Josh Allen from Kentucky should stand out in multiple areas in terms of raw numbers as well with their athleticism.
                          Trust The Tape
                          This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
                          Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
                          Some analysts have Ferrell in the Top 10 picks of the draft, and some even in the Top 5. A three-year starter for the Tigers, the junior pass rusher has been productive against both the run and the pass, can drop into coverage, and has gotten incrementally smarter and more technically refined each year on the field since his freshman year. I don’t, however, expect him to set the stopwatch on fire in Indy. That’s OK. Rushing the passer in the NFL is based on, mostly, effort and technique and Ferrell has plenty of both.
                          Stopwatch Shocker
                          This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
                          Jalen Jelks, Oregon
                          I’ve been higher on Jelks than most throughout the process so far, and I don’t expect that to change. He’s long and athletic on film with an impressive burst to close and a motor that doesn’t quit. The senior, who thought he would be a basketball player growing up, earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors this year for the Ducks. He has been knocked his production of just 15.5 sacks in four years on campus, something about the way he plays gives me a Danielle Hunter vibe. Hunter had a lot of similar traits coming out of LSU and also lacked top-end production. You know what else Hunter did? He shocked a lot of people with an impressive workout at the Combine. That’s something I expect from Jelks as well.
                          Will Kill The Drills
                          This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.
                          Jachai Polite, Florida
                          Polite is a freakish athlete, and he should perform extremely well in Indianapolis in all of the athletic tests. He has an explosive first step to pair with great flexibility turning the corner, and that’s how he wins as a pass rusher more often than not. That athleticism will transfer to the bag drills, but let’s not look over one other part of his skill set. While he’s more of a "high-side" rusher, relying on speed to win upfield, I thought Polite had pretty violent hands when attacking blockers. I think that will show up in those drills as well.

                          Most To Prove
                          This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
                          Brian Burns, Florida State
                          Burns is a really, really impressive pass rusher who should light up the athletic testing portion of this event. A loose-hipped, explosive pass rusher with great flexibility and twitch, Burns has been productive for the Seminoles since his true freshman year of 2016. He weighed around 220 pounds back then. He was listed at 235 pounds on the team’s website this past season. What did he actually play at? What will he measure in at in Indianapolis? Will his lack of bulk scare teams away in April? The first two questions will get answered soon, but I can say this: His film is outstanding. It’s rare to see a speed rusher come out of college with an understanding of how to set tackles up for failure like Burns does. Instead of relying purely on his quickness and speed turning the corner, Burns instead relies more on long-arm bull rushes to win low-side against tackles, as he transitions from speed to power much like Dwight Freeney did for years in the NFL. The weight will hold some people up, and there is a certain benchmark he’ll have to hit for most teams, but he’s a great player.
                          Most Productive College Player
                          This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
                          Josh Allen, Kentucky
                          Allen was getting first-round buzz over the summer after an up-and-down junior season, but he brought the heat in his final year on campus and has now climbed up to the level where he is nearly a lock for the Top 5 picks in the draft. No edge rusher at the Combine from the FBS level has more sacks than Allen, who racked up an astounding 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in his final season in Lexington. A Montclair, New Jersey native, Allen was a high school wide receiver who moved permanently to outside linebacker once he arrived on campus and never looked back.
                          Best Pro Comparison
                          Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
                          Charles Omenihu, Texas
                          I studied Omenihu over the summer coming off his junior season and I was pretty impressed with his film. Omenihu is a long, strong edge player who consistently did a good job in the run game and knew how to use his hands as a pass rusher. I wondered what his overall upside would be getting after the quarterback, but I thought he’d have the opportunity to slide inside and do some damage against guards in the NFL in different subpackages. These are some of the same things I thought about Trey Flowers coming out of Arkansas a few years ago, and since then he’s become one of the best players on Bill Belichick’s defense in New England as a versatile, inside-outside defensive lineman who can defend the run and disrupt the passing game as well. They’re built very similarly and present similar skill sets as well.
                          Best Story
                          Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
                          Porter Gustin, USC
                          Gustin is, in the best way possible, a cross between a football player and a comic book character. Standing at 6-5, 265 pounds, Gustin will look really impressive upon first glance. That should be expected, considering the senior Trojan lives for improving his body. Without going too deep into the details, Gustin’s diet, remarkable training regimen, and "mountain man" upbringing make him a true marvel to behold in the weight room. Injuries have been a big issue for the senior, however, as he’s had each of the last two years cut short by different ailments. Whether or not he goes on to NFL stardom remains to be seen, but Gustin is definitely one of the more intriguing and fun players to read about in this draft class.
                          Small-School Standout
                          This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
                          Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
                          A very productive player in Conference USA for Old Dominion, Oshane Ximines is one of the more popular sleepers along the defensive line in this class. The multi-year captain finished with 32.5 sacks and 51 tackles for loss in four years as a starter, and what stands out most to me about him is the way he uses his hands to win at the top of the rush. At the Senior Bowl, I thought he had a bit of a slow start to the week but turned it on in the back half once he got adjusted, and I expect that he’ll test fairly well in Indianapolis. In a way, Ximines is maybe a lesser version of Clelin Ferrell. With a strong week at the Combine, Ximines could hear his name called on the second day of the NFL Draft.
                          Philly Connection
                          This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
                          Shareef Miller, Penn State
                          I asked Michigan offensive lineman Juwann Bushell-Beatty at the East-West Shrine Game who was the best player he faced in 2018, and he told me it was Shareef Miller. The Philadelphia native started for two seasons for the Nittany Lions, racking up 14.5 sacks in his career. A bull rusher who loves to get inside opponents’ pads and drive them backward, Miller will certainly be a name to keep a close eye on at this event. Can he follow in the footsteps of other Penn State stars who have torn up the Combine in recent years? If so, that will really help his draft stock.
                          We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

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                          • #14
                            DTs, the group I am most interested in


                            Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Defensive Tackle

                            Fran Duffy


                            After analyzing the edge rushers and the talent at that position, here's a look at the interior defensive linemen and what makes this such a special group. There are certainly blue-chip talents at the top, but there’s also a ton of depth, with close to double-digit players with real starting potential in the NFL. This position is one of the strengths of the 2019 NFL Draft.
                            Top Pick
                            This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
                            Quinnen Williams, Alabama
                            Bursting onto the scene as a redshirt sophomore this fall, Williams is just a one-year starter but his best football may be ahead of him. Now, I can already hear some of you ask the question, “Really, another Alabama defensive lineman?” What’s interesting about Williams is that he’s not your typical big ugly from the Tide in that his game is predicated more on flying upfield and wreaking havoc as opposed to taking on blocks and allowing others to get the numbers. Williams was one of the best disruptors in college football this season. He can impact the run and the pass game, and wins with quickness off the snap. I’d like to see him get a bit stronger against the run, but the ceiling with Williams is sky-high.
                            Workout Warrior
                            This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
                            Ed Oliver, Houston
                            Billed by many as the potential No. 1 pick in the draft at this time a year ago, Oliver has seen a little bit of shine come off his star. But don’t get it twisted, this kid can play. Like Williams, Oliver is also a phenomenal disruptor on the interior, winning with great technique and snap anticipation to go along with ELITE athleticism for an interior defensive lineman. Last summer, when this video came out, I was amazed by Oliver's sheer movement skills, and that shows up on film as well. Now, everyone wants to know what he will weigh in at next week? And what did he play at with the Cougars? Both are valid questions, but in terms of just raw numbers, Oliver will drop jaws with his test scores in Indianapolis. In fact, this group, in general, should rock the house. Obviously, Oliver and Williams will steal the headlines, but others who I expect to really impress athletically are Christian Wilkins, Dre’Mont Jones, Gerald Willis, John Cominsky, and Renell Wren.
                            Trust The Tape
                            This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
                            Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
                            Lawrence has been billed as a first-round pick since the end of his freshman year with the Tigers. He’s a ridiculously strong and powerful defensive lineman, standing at 6-4 and nearly 350 pounds. Lawrence is a mountain on the inside. However, he’s not going to set the stopwatch on fire with his times. We shouldn’t expect him to because that’s not what his game is about. Lawrence uses his sheer mass and ability to overwhelm blockers at the point of attack to win, and that is what he will hang his hat on in the NFL as well.
                            Stopwatch Shocker
                            This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
                            Christian Wilkins, Clemson
                            I haven’t been bashful about my love for Christian Wilkins. He’s been incredibly consistent and productive as a three-year starter for the Tigers, starting 45 games at two different positions. He’s got an awesome motor, is a leader, a model citizen, and does everything he’s been asked to do during his time on campus. But I think people forget something. Christian Wilkins is a great athlete. You don’t make Bruce Feldman’s vaunted Freak List two times in two years if you’re not. Some may expect Wilkins to test like a freak ... but with so much attention being paid toward Williams, Oliver, and others in this class, Wilkins is flying a bit under the radar. We’ll see if that changes in Indianapolis.
                            As far as a player who I think will test much better than I would say the majority of people believe he will, I’ll throw in Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery, a violent run defender with high upside as a pass rusher who began to realize his potential with a seven-sack senior season. Keep an eye out on Penn State’s Kevin Givens as well, as the Nittany Lions have tested better than expected across the board in recent years at this event.
                            Will Kill The Drills
                            This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.
                            Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State
                            Jones is another player who I expect to test ridiculously well from this defensive line class. At 6-3, 295 pounds, he reminds me of a former first-round pick in Sheldon Richardson because of his frame and movement skills. I’ve been watching the Cleveland native since his freshman year, and he’s always wowed me with his motor as well, making plays from sideline to sideline both against the run and the pass. He’s going to look great running through these bags on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. Jones was also coached hard by Larry Johnson, one of the best defensive line coaches in the country. All of these drills he’ll be asked to do? He’s seen them before, and he’ll be ready for them. I expect people to remember the kind of prospect Jones is next week.
                            Most To Prove
                            This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
                            Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
                            Up until a few days ago, Simmons was not scheduled to be at the Combine due to an off-the-field issue he had before his days in college. However, the league reportedly told teams this past weekend that he, and others, would be allowed to go to Indianapolis for medical checks and, as others have reported, interviews with teams. This will be crucial for Simmons, who recently tore his ACL during pre-draft workouts. How does the injury look? Teams will get concrete answers there. What is Simmons like away from the field? If he’s able to talk with some teams during his stay, then he can help to restore his image there as well. Predicted by some as a Top 20 pick before the injury, Simmons’ stock is currently in flux with the unknowns surrounding the injury.

                            Most Productive College Player
                            This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
                            Daniel Wise, Kansas
                            In this great defensive line class, could you guess which defensive tackle enters the Combine with the most career sacks? It’s not the projected first-rounders Quinnen Williams or Ed Oliver or Christian Wilkins or Dre’Mont Jones. It’s not the dominant four-year small-school stars like John Cominsky or Khalen Saunders. It’s Daniel Wise from Kansas, one of my personal favorite players in this draft. A high-motor defensive tackle who comes from a football family, Wise has lined up at multiple positions along that front over the last couple of years. He is athletic, good with his hands, and has a play personality that is impossible not to love. His production speaks for itself. In 41 starts, Wise racked up 152 tackles, 43 tackles for loss, and 17 sacks. Only 13 defensive tackles drafted in the last decade had more tackles for loss, by my count.
                            Best Pro Comparison
                            Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
                            Renell Wren, Arizona State
                            Player comparisons can be very challenging, often because it’s not a process where everything matches up equally with two players throughout different years. Sometimes, however, ones just hit you like a bolt of lightning, and after studying Renell Wren early in the fall, his comparison hit me quickly. Wren boasts an outstanding first step, has ideal size and length, and won quickly off the ball, disrupting the action in a hurry. From a negative standpoint, his motor ran a bit hot and cold, his pad level suffered at times, and overall I wanted to see him do a better job in the run game.
                            When I went back and looked at my report on former Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick Chris Jones, there were some word-for-word similarities. They have very similar size, they both had that first step with really impressive athleticism, but their motors were a bit up and down and production was a big question mark – Wren had just one sack last year while Jones had just two in his final year at Mississippi State. Jones ripped up the Combine and earned his way into the top 32 picks and is now a Pro Bowl talent for the Chiefs. Will Wren do the same?
                            Best Story
                            Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
                            Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois
                            Media Day at the Senior Bowl can be a bit crazy, but it’s also pretty fun as well, as the entire roster for both teams spends about a couple of hours with the media in a flurry of interviews. As you’re going through the event, you see friends in the media and ask, quickly, "Who did you talk to? Who has impressed you so far?" This year, to a man, the answer almost always was, "you have to talk to Khalen Saunders." A bright personality with an infectious smile and the loquaciousness of a talk show host, Saunders went to Mobile and missed the birth of his daughter to prove his wares to NFL teams. By all accounts, Saunders had an impressive week in Mobile, and the senior from the small school will look to do the same again in Indianapolis, where he’s sure to be a media darling at the podium once again.
                            Small-School Standout
                            This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
                            John Cominsky, Charleston
                            Saunders certainly fits into this category as well, but it’s not often that Division-II linemen with extremely high upside come into a draft flying under the radar, but Cominsky is doing just that. A former high school quarterback who arrived on campus at small-school Charleston in West Virginia as an option quarterback weighing in below 220 pounds. Now, he’s a 6-5, 286-pound chiseled mountain man with a square jaw who wowed people in attendance at the weigh-ins at the Senior Bowl. Production is a question for Cominsky as he totaled just three sacks a year ago, albeit as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, but the upside is very high for the senior, who I expect to light up test scores.
                            Philly Connection
                            This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
                            Zach Allen, Boston College
                            There are a handful of players in this defensive line class who have played or will play a majority of their snaps on the edge at defensive end but may see their most impactful snaps in the NFL come inside as a defensive tackle, similar to the role Michael Bennett played for the Eagles this past season. Allen is one of those guys. The Connecticut native is a smart, stout lineman with the versatility to wear many hats up front. I like him a lot against the run and he’s been extremely productive in the ACC. He's right in the Daniel Wise territory of production with 199 tackles, 40.5 tackles for loss, and 16.5 sacks for his career. What’s his connection to Philly? Well ... he played for the Eagles at Boston College. I know, this is a reach, but I’m working with what I’ve got here.
                            We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

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                            • #15
                              Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Linebacker

                              Fran Duffy

                              Considered one of the shallower positions in the 2019 NFL Draft talent pool, this linebacker class may not have the depth of other groups, but there’s still a lot of talent. It starts at the top, where I see a couple of potential Top 25 selections. There are some very interesting under-the-radar prospects after that who have starting potential in the NFL. Here are my scouting reports on some of the top players who will be at next week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
                              Top Pick
                              This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
                              Devin White, LSU
                              Similar in a lot of ways to 2018 first-round pick Roquan Smith, Devin White is built for today’s NFL. A fireball of explosive power at the second level of the LSU defense, White played from sideline to sideline with ease, flying around the field with – sometimes to a fault – reckless abandon. A high-motor player with outstanding physical tools, White should test very well and should be the first linebacker off the board in April's draft. He should be one of the league’s best at the position in relatively short order if he can develop into a more reliable tackler.
                              Workout Warrior
                              This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
                              Vosean Joseph, Florida
                              I watched Joseph for the first time this week and I have to say, he’s one of the most gifted athletes in this draft at the linebacker position. The junior has silly speed closing from behind, changes direction at top gear with no issue, and is one of the most explosive players in a short area that I’ve studied over the last few years. Joseph is only listed at 226 pounds on the Gators' website, so his size could be an issue for him in the NFL. Despite his severe lack of size, I think Joseph has both the eye discipline and the competitiveness to make it as a starter in the NFL much like Telvin Smith out of Florida State a few years ago. I’m excited to see him in person.
                              Trust The Tape
                              This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
                              T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin
                              Entering the year, Edwards was one of my favorite senior linebackers in the country, and he finished his career much like the first three campaigns had gone. A four-year starter in a pro-style 3-4 scheme, Edwards is tough, instinctive, has great ball skills, and was a tackling machine for the Badgers. He wasn’t at the Senior Bowl. He wasn’t even at the Shrine Game. But I’m going to stick to my guns on this kid making it as a future starter at linebacker. I think he’s just athletic enough to be that level of player in the league, and I think he’ll test that way.
                              Stopwatch Shocker
                              This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
                              Devin Bush, Michigan
                              The rap on Devin Bush is that he's a productive, tough, instinctive middle linebacker with questionable athleticism and movement skills. I don’t think that’s entirely true after watching his tape. It’s true that the junior and two-year starter has good instincts and plays angry, but he’s also an explosive athlete who impressed me with his straight-line movement skills. Now, we will see what the shuttle times look like, which will help paint a picture of his lateral agility and change-of-direction skills. Even in those areas, I don’t think he’s a liability in space. To me, Bush looks like an NFL three-down middle linebacker.

                              Will Kill The Drills
                              This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.
                              Mack Wilson, Alabama
                              The players who stand out most in position drills at the linebacker spot are the ones who are both fluid and violent. Mack Wilson is both. Not only will he test well in the athletic portion of the workout, but I expect Wilson to be very impressive in bag and coverage drills next Sunday. On the field, the question with Wilson will be his play-recognition skills, as he has been prone to false-stepping in the past. However, he’s got the movement skills to make up for it, like many of today’s stars at the position, and he’s also a fantastic coverage player.
                              Most To Prove
                              This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
                              Dakota Allen, Texas Tech
                              If I’m not mistaken, this will be the first time that we’ve had a player who starred in the Netflix docuseries Last Chance U make it to the Combine, and that player is Dakota Allen. The senior appeared in Season 2 of the show during his time at East Mississippi Community College, a result of being kicked out of Texas Tech in 2015 after a burglary charge. Allen was one of the most likable players the show has ever featured, in my opinion. He did everything he needed to get back in the good graces of the university, and returned to Texas Tech after his year away as a team captain and led the Red Raiders in tackles in 2017 and was second on the team this past season. Allen is a bit undersized, but he’s got a great motor and I think he reads the run very well. He has NFL talent and, in my opinion, is a draftable prospect based on film study. Still, has he fully put his past behind him? He’ll look to answer the hard questions at night in team interviews.
                              Most Productive College Player
                              This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
                              Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State
                              Only Azeez Al-Shaair (397) from Florida Atlantic has more career tackles than Terrill Hanks (391). No one has more tackles for loss (44) or ball disruptions (interceptions and pass breakups combined, 22) than the New Mexico State star. A four-year starter, Hanks is a converted high school safety who stepped on campus right away and made an impact. An athletic kid who loves to hit, Hanks has outstanding length for the position and uses that to his advantage while navigating through traffic and dealing with contact. He needs to be a more consistent tackler and be a bit more decisive with his reads, but he absolutely has starting potential. His stock was helped by a strong week at the Senior Bowl, and I think that momentum will carry through to his trip to Indianapolis.
                              Best Pro Comparison
                              Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
                              Germaine Pratt, N.C. State
                              A former safety for the Wolfpack, Pratt made the move to linebacker and, despite backing up a trio of seniors two seasons ago, actually was fourth on the team in tackles as a junior. For that reason, entering his senior year, he was billed as a prospect on the rise. A physical, downhill player, Pratt is an aggressive, fast-flow linebacker with the toughness and instincts needed to be a starter in the NFL. To me, there are a lot of similarities between Pratt and 2018 mid-round pick Oren Burks, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers out of Vanderbilt. Despite being a former safety, Burks, like Pratt, was known more for his abilities in the box as opposed to playing out in space.
                              Best Story
                              Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
                              Sione Takitaki, BYU
                              I studied Takitaki before heading down to the East-West Shrine Game, and on film, he was one of my favorite prospects at that event. That carried itself out at the week of practice as well, where he consistently was around the football in team drills. The youngest of seven children, Takitaki was forced to deal with the passing of his father when he was just in eighth grade. That adversity led him down the wrong path. He was a star athlete in high school and earned a scholarship to BYU, but he got himself into trouble once he arrived at BYU. As detailed in this piece from Rick Egan, Takitaki was suspended three times in his first couple of seasons on campus despite having success right away as an edge player on that defense.
                              He may have been getting into trouble, but he also met the love of his life, as his future wife was also a student-athlete for the Cougars. After his third suspension, Takitaki knew he had to get his life in order. He got married, got his academics back on the right path, worked his way back onto the team, and was actually the BYU MVP (ahead of fellow linebacker Fred Warner, a second-round pick in 2018 who I loved on film) in his first year back. Takitaki was voted as a team captain in 2018, and again was a productive player on the BYU defense.

                              Small-School Standout
                              This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
                              Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii
                              A productive four-year starter for the Rainbow Warriors, Jahlani Tavai comes from a football family as he’s one of a handful of brothers who is playing or has played Division I football. Tavai has been a consistent producer during his time on campus. Tavai adjusted to a new scheme this year and lined up in several spots, including off the edge, stacked as a middle linebacker, and out in space over the slot. An athletic kid with an extremely high motor and a mean streak to match, Tavai is truly one of the sleepers of the draft at this point. He is a player who will likely be viewed as a "late riser" throughout the process. I have to credit NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic, who has been pounding the table for this kid since the summer.
                              Philly Connection
                              This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
                              Bobby Okereke, Stanford
                              A three-year starter for former Eagles assistant coach David Shaw and the Cardinal, Okereke has excellent length. His arms are longer than any linebacker drafted in the last decade. He is also a really instinctive player with outstanding eyes against the run, and is a tough, downhill 'backer. He’s not a great athlete, but he has a very good idea of how to play the position and comes from a pro-style scheme. I would view Okereke as a player with a high floor entering the league. What’s his connection to Philadelphia outside of Shaw? He already has a Philadelphia athlete in his family tree! His cousin, Amobi Okugo, played for the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer from 2010-14.
                              We're looking for people that are fundamentally different,” vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said Saturday night. “The love and passion for football, it's non-negotiable. They're caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They're selfless individuals.

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