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MAC Players to Watch, 10-16-18: It’s Miller Time

Scotty Miller 5'10 163 WR-Senior Bowling Green

Since Miller has arrived on campus, he's been a terror despite his lack of size.  His body control, route-running expertise and fearlessness all get high marks.  While capable of playing outside, he's most adept at working in-between the hash marks on inside dig routes, post corners and option routes.  He is the best receiver in the MAC when it comes to disguising his intentions on jerk and return-pivot patterns.  Linebackers, safeties and nickel backs have to maintain patience against his first moves.  Quite capable of tracking the ball versus tight man coverage, he can get his body to become limp along the sidelines. Perhaps most impressive is his ability to finish through double teams down the field.  Once he gets the ball in his hands, he uses his long speed to challenge defenses.

The former Barrington HS (Ill.) product has been a speed demon since his days at the prep level.  The former track and field standout holds personal-bests of 10.53 seconds in the 100 meters, 21.26 seconds in the 200 meters  and 6.36 seconds in the 55 meters.  Through six games, Miller has 42 receptions for 640 yards (15.6 YPR) and six touchdowns. This includes a 13-catch, 166-yard, two-touchdown performance against Oregon in Week 1 of the 2018 campaign.   For his career, the Falcons standout has 186 receptions and 20 receiving touchdowns.  Keep an eye on the Falcons speedster the rest of the year.  The MAC's leading receiver is on pace for career-highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.

Henderson providing early returns for Tigers

Perhaps no running back has made a more indelible mark on college football's first month than Memphis' Darrell Henderson.  The former South Panola High School (Miss.) star has been a factor since his arrival on campus, but this could become a season to remember.

Through three games, he is averaging nearly 14.5 yards per carry while leading the nation in rushing yards (521).  He is also tied for second in the country with six rushing scores.  The added strength he put on this offseason could explain some of his early season success (https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/sports/college/memphis-tigers/football/2018/08/04/memphis-tigers-football-darrell-henderson-mike-norvell-aac/858753002/).   Over the course of the last three seasons, DraftNasty has gotten the opportunity to see Henderson play live on three different occasions.  Here are some of the attributes which make him such a difficult player to get on the ground.

CONTACT BALANCE

Some of Henderson's best moves come in-between the hash marks setting up second and third-level defenders.  To get there with ease, he runs with a center of gravity low to the ground that allows him to bounce off would-be tacklers.  This becomes evident on the team's outside zone (stretch) run game principles versus force defenders.

Henderson (No. 8 pictured) ended 2017 with five consecutive 100-yard rushing performances.

The patience that he shows in allowing his offensive linemen to reach block defenders creates cutback lanes for him back into the middle of the field.  In the clip pictured to the left, he forces UCF free safety Tre Neal to overrun a tackling angle that results in a 30-yard touchdown scamper in the 2017 AAC Championship Game.  Neal weighs 215 pounds and Henderson -standing 5-foot-8- checks in around the 205-pound mark.

SPEED-to-POWER/YARDS AFTER CONTACT

Henderson gets to full speed in a hurry once he hits the accelerator button.  A combination of lower and upper body power allows him to run through tacklers.  Versus Georgia State last Friday, he buckled freshman safety Chris Bacon once he burst through the line of scrimmage.   Later in the first quarter, Bacon overran Henderson on a top-down angle as Henderson displayed his ability to stop-and-start with relative ease on an outside stretch play.  It resulted in a 54-yard touchdown that showcased his game-breaking speed.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Since arriving on campus, Henderson has showcased capability on special teams.  Although he has just four tackles in the course of his career, three came during his freshman campaign in 2016.  On his 18 career kickoff returns, he has averaged 22.5 yards per return with one score.  Overall, this is not an area (special teams) to expect to see him in much during the year, but he will show up as a kickoff returner and punt cover guy in big games (see 2017 AAC Championship Game).  As seen in the picture , he runs with passion as a kickoff returner.

HAND-EYE COORDINATION/VISION

Vision is one of the top characteristics many college recruiters identify at the running back position.  Aside from the outside zones, the Tigers used a combination of weakside one-back powers in 2017.  The team would pull its backside guard and tackle while blocking down with the center, guard, tackle and tight end on the front side of the formation.  When they did, it was Henderson's job (from an offset shotgun alignment) to find a crease and get vertical quickly.  They also employ him at the Wildcat quarterback in the shotgun to add an insert blocker on outside runs.  His cutback ability shines on these types of schemes.

As a freshman in 2016, the team used him on wheel routes from the offset running back position.  In these instances, he's shown the ability to snag passes away from his frame (3rd and 6, Cincinnati '16, vs. 3-cloud defensive look).   They also occasionally use him in the screen game to the weakside of their formations away from speed motion (by the Z-WR) to the strong side.  Versus Georgia State last Friday night, he lined up at  the No. 2 slot position to run a quick out in the team's Empty Gun Spread Trips Left formation.  Henderson averages 11.5 yards per reception for his career (53 receptions, 6 TDs).

BALL SECURITY

Despite 319 touches in three seasons, the eighth-leading rusher in Mississippi high school history has fumbled just twice during his time in school.  He holds the ball high and tight to his frame and rarely allows it to swing loose from his frame.

AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT

Despite the ball security, Henderson does have a tendency to run as a left-hand dominant runner.  Even when he is running to his right he is most comfortable with the ball in his left hand.  Take a look on the picture to the right.  Henderson is running a right kickoff return towards the right sidelines versus UCF in the 2017 AAC Championship Game with the ball high and tight in his left elbow.  While he is also able to jump cut and make defenders miss with sudden stops in momentum, he carries some tightness in the lower body.  As a tightly-wound athlete, he has to pay increased attention to flexibility moving forward.  He was unable to play in the 2017 Liberty Bowl versus Iowa State due to an undisclosed lower body injury.

Regardless, the former 2014 Mississippi Gatorade Football Player of the Year has increased his production at a time where the Tigers are transitioning from All-AAC quarterback Riley Ferguson to former Arizona State quarterback Brady White.  In three games, White has thrown 10 touchdowns to just one interception.  In his own estimation, Henderson is a big reason the transition has been so smooth.

"I love it," White said, when asked about having Henderson lined up behind him. "It makes my job easy. You just hand the ball off and watch him run to the end zone. It's been a huge help to have that guy in your backfield." (--https://gotigersgo.com/news/2018/9/14/football-henderson-white-lead-tigers-past-georgia-state-59-22.aspx)

---By: Corey Chavous, DraftNasty Staff Reports

Alabama’s Miller making his mark

Alabama outside linebacker Christian Miller is blessed with NFL bloodlines.  His father, former NFL linebacker Corey Miller, enjoyed an eight-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants that included 72 starts, 14 sacks, seven interceptions and a host of tackles.

Miller hasn't been able to get his career on the same upward trek up to this point, but he has shown flashes in the past.  Before going down to a biceps injury versus Florida State in 2017, he had already run through the Seminoles offensive tackles on a couple of occasions when defending the run out of a two-point stance.  Well- balanced at 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, he has enough length to occasionally battle with offensive tackles on the edge (see picture vs. USC's Chad Wheeler in 2016).  He possesses the necessary bulk to create separation while deciphering the action.

So how has he grown mentally over the last year?

First of all, he didn't allow the biceps injury to end his 2017 campaign.  He rehabbed religiously to make a comeback in time for Alabama's national championship run.  His arduous journey draws high marks if for nothing more than its pure tenacity.  Miller put it best when he described the passage prior to the team's Sugar Bowl contest against Clemson in early January.

“I feel good. This is what we wanted,” Miller said. “This is the opportunity that we wanted. Obviously had a rough start to the season with getting injured in the first game. But I rehabbed and worked back, and now I’m back." (https://www.seccountry.com/alabama/christian-miller-describes-grueling-rehab-shit-not-easy).

And he didn't just come back, he contributed.  In the 2018 National Championship Game, he was seen lining up on the punt team at the left tackle spot.  In the same game, he used a right-handed post versus a tight end and just wouldn't quit on a down that resulted in a quarterback sack after he re-mapped his course.

Coming into this season, the true test would be to see if his pass rush variety would improve coming off the edge.  Last week vs. Ole Miss in Oxford, he put together arguably his best career performance to date (5 tackles, 2.5 QB sacks, 2.5 TFLs).   His first quarterback sack came on a play from the left defensive end spot.  He took a shoulder away and then surfed around the corner to wheel the edge and get the quarterback on the ground. On this play, he displayed an increased skill running the loop.   He later ran over a running back (in a one-on-one blitz pick-up) with a speed-to-power rush that resulted in his second quarterback sack.

These types of plays create a baseline to judge Miller on for the rest of the season.  As a competent complementary pass rusher alongside Dylan Moses, Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon Davis, the former five-star recruit may give the Crimson Tide's defense even more room to blossom.

New Cleveland Browns placekicker Joseph looks to solve team’s woes

After a Sunday afternoon 21-18 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints (1-1), the Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) released former seventh-round draft pick Zane Gonzalez.  Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt blocked a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal by Gonzalez in an overtime season-opening tie versus the Browns.  He then missed a go-ahead extra point and potential game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's three-point loss to the Saints.  Gonzalez missed two extra points and two field goals in the Superdome.

The kicker that the Browns signed to replace the NCAA's all-time leader in field goals didn't leave college with the same resume', but his work in college was still impressive.  Former FAU kicker Greg Joseph had a knack for forcing teams to drive the length of the field versus the Owls 34th-ranked scoring defense in 2017.   Here's a quick snapshot of Joseph, our sixth-ranked kicker in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Greg Joseph PK 6’1 214

School: FAU

DraftNasty's 2018 Grade: 4.05 (7th Round)

What makes this player Nasty....(Strengths): He’s a two-by-three-yard kicker who aligns right outside of the LT (left tackle).  2 ¼-step placekicker with ample leg strength.  Kicked a 54-yard FG with at least six yards to spare vs. Navy in 2017 (3-step). Rarely punches at the ball. Keeps his shoulders parallel during his motion.  Kicked the ball well in windy conditions vs. Western Kentucky in 2017.  Hit two 40-yard field goals from both hash marks (2nd FG-RT hash, 48-yd FG inside left uprights; 3rd FG-left hash, 42-yd FG).  Posted a 76-percent touchback rate on KOs in 2017.  Capable of kicking balls in the 75-to-77-yard range with 4-second plus hang times (77 yards, 4.06, Tulsa ’15;  77 yards, 4.03, Tulsa ’15).  Posted five touchbacks vs. North Texas in 2017 and three in the 74-to-77-yard range.   He’s capable of kicking directionally to his right on kickoffs.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent in 2015. When he drags his first step (plant foot), he’ll push kicks to his right from the collegiate left hash (missed 40-yd FG, Tulsa ’15).  Some of his kickoffs were held up in the wind vs. Western Kentucky in 2017 (4th KO-directional right, 60 yards, 4.03 hang).  He also had his fifth kickoff get held up in the wind (vs. WKU ’17).

Other Notes:

  • Born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Attended American Heritage-Delray HS (Fla.) and was a standout soccer and football star
  • Earned All-State honors as a senior
  • 2014: 14-of-20 FGs (Long-43), 5-of-7 (30-39 yards), 4-of-7 (40-49 yards), 34-of-35 XPs; 60 KOs, 23 TBs, 1 onside
  • 2015: 18-of-27 FGs (Long-48), 2-of-4 (30-39 yds),  5-of-10 (40-49 yds), 0-of-1 (50-99 yds); 28-of-28 XPs; 62 KOs, 33 TBs, OOB (out of bounds)
  • 2016 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 10-of-14 FGs, 3-of-5 (30-39 yds), 3-of-3 (40-49 yds), 1-of-2 (50-99 yds); 39-of-39 XPs; 54 KOs, 41 TBs
  • 2017 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 15-of-21 FGs (Long-54), 3-of-4 (30-39 yds), 4-of-7 (40-49 yds), 1-of-3 (50-99 yds), 64-of-68 XPs; 101 KOs, 77 TBs, OOB, 2 onside kicks
  • Career Stats: 57-of-82 FGs (Long-54), 165-of-170 XPs

Time to get Nasty...(Our Summary): Joseph’s ability to drive kickoffs through the end zone could help him vie for a roster spot alone.  He has been better in each of the last two seasons with accuracy but there are a number of pressure performances missing on his resume’.   A four-year starter with upside, the Johannesburg native will need to monitor the location of his plant foot moving forward.

DraftNasty's projection:  If there's a significant concern for the Browns, it is that Joseph -who hit on all three of his field goals for the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 preseason- simply didn't have an extreme amount of pressure-packed field goals at any time during his collegiate career.  In addition, he missed seven kicks in the all-important 30-to-39-yard range during his time in school.  This has relevance due to the NFL's 33-yard extra point attempts.  After playing in the relatively weather-friendly environments of Boca Raton, Florida in college and then Miami, Florida this preseason, will he adapt to the ever-changing conditions off the lake in Cleveland, Ohio?  This was somewhat of a concern for Gonzalez up until he handled it admirably as a rookie in 2017.  We were able to see Joseph kick twice in person during his time in school and he impressed on both occasions.  He handled a torrential downpour seamlessly versus Marshall in 2017 and even kicked a 31-yard field goal after three consecutive timeouts by Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday right before the end of the first half.  Joseph posted six touchbacks on 14 kickoffs in the preseason and matched his collegiate career-long with a 54-yard field goal versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. 

 

 

Bredeson a key factor for Wolverines

It doesn't take long when watching Michigan junior left guard Ben Bredeson to see why he was named a team captain for 2018.  Along with junior star linebacker Devin Bush, Bredeson is just the second non-senior with eligibility remaining to be named a captain in the Jim Harbaugh-era (https://247sports.com/college/michigan/Article/Offensive-lines-work-ethic-makes-life-easy-for-Ben-Bredeson-121097213/).

Bush, for one, thinks Bredeson has created somewhat of a change for an offense that played second-fiddle to the Wolverines elite defensive unit in 2017 (3rd nationally).

"I want to say Ben Bredeson was a huge asset to that,” Bush said. “Shea coming in, being the person he is, he also created that bond. I think the offense is just a lot closer and a lot more on the same page than it was last year.” (https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/2018/08/27/michigan-football-ben-bredeson-simpler-offense/1113569002/).

Bredeson (No. 74 pictured at left guard) earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2017.

Bredeson slides his feet well versus interior movement; particularly when handling stunts coming from left-to-right.  His hand placement is normally attached in-between the defender's numbers in pass protection, which alleviates an occasional tendency to lean over his toes.  On gap-schemed runs where he is asked to pull on inside powers, linebackers can stack-and-shed him when his helmet location dips at the point of attack.  For a player who doesn't have elite length, he tends to rely on his quick-set to win early in downs.  This is why he has to stay active if he can achieve extension quickly versus defensive linemen.  Perhaps most evident is his ability to slide his feet while his arms are locked-out.   Once he's been challenged vertically, the Wolverines left guard sinks his low back into the chair to re-anchor effectively.  Additionally, his ability to wheel interior three-technique defensive tackles can open up passing lanes for a quarterback in Shea Patterson -who stands 6-foot-1- to look down the field (vs. Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery (No. 99), 52-yard completion, 3rd QTR, ND '18).

As a run blocker, his hands tend to slide upward into the neck and chest area on some of his reach blocks.  At this stage, he probably uses his frame to engulf more than win with his first couple of steps off the snap going laterally.  His lateral quickness is efficient but not exceptional.  This becomes evident when handling inside line spikes from opponents (from his left to his right).  Although he's a tad higher with his hand in the dirt (pre-snap stance) on passing plays, Bredeson does not give away many pre-snap indicators by being too light on his fingertips.  His 'nasty' play demeanor shows up down-to-down.  If he doesn't have work, he will look to clean-up defensive ends to help his tackles.  When doing so, he rocks the opposition (3rd QTR, smacks No. 91 Ogundeji, Notre Dame '18).

The addition of new offensive line coach Ed Warinner has helped the former four-star recruit and entire offensive line when it comes to technique.   A year after giving up 36 quarterback sacks to rank 13th in the Big Ten, the team is on pace to drop the total (if projected throughout the entire season).  If the unit is going to continue to improve, Bredeson's leadership and playing style will be a big key factor.

2018 NBA Draft Recap (w/Trades, Notes)

2018 NBA Draft Trades/Transactions/Notes:

  • Atlanta sends the draft rights of the third overall pick, Luka Doncic, to the Dallas Mavericks for draft rights of the fifth overall pick (Trae Young) and a future draft pick (1st Round pick in 2019)
  • Charlotte agrees to trade the rights of the 11th overall pick, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, to the Los Angeles Clippers for the rights of the 12th overall pick, Miles Bridges, and two future second-round picks
  • Philadelphia trades the rights of 10th overall pick, Mikal Bridges to the Phoenix Suns for the for the rights of the 16th overall pick, Zhaire Smith, and for the Suns 2021 first-round pick (via the Miami Heat)
  • Six of the top 16 draft picks were traded
  • Sacramento traded the 37th pick of the second round, Gary Trent, Jr., to Portland for two future second-round picks
  • Atlanta Hawks traded the draft rights of the 34th overall pick, Devonte Graham to the Charlotte Hornets for two future second-round picks
  • The Orlando Magic traded the rights of the 41st overall pick, Jarred Vanderbilt to the Denver Nuggets for the draft rights of the 43rd overall pick, Justin Jackson, and a future second-round pick
  • Philadelphia 76ers traded the draft rights of the 38th overall pick, Khyri Thomas, to the Detroit Pistons for two future second-round picks
Team

Round,

Selection

 

Player Position, School ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (1) Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton 7’1 250

C-Arizona

The Pac-12 Player of the Year made subtle improvements to his frame over the last year and a half while increasing his level of quickness and rise off the floor. A solid free throw shooter with an adequate face-up jumper, Ayton’s back to the basket game is an added bonus.
1 (2)

Sacramento Kings

Marvin Bagley III 6’11 234 PF-Duke If he can continue to expand his range, his offensive game may expand to new heights. He’s already a scrappy rebounder with quick hops. Bagley III will get to the free throw line but he has to improve when he gets there (62%). He set an ACC freshman record with 22 double-doubles.
1 (3)

Atlanta Hawks (Traded to Dallas Mavericks)

Luka Doncic 6’8 230

G-Real Madrid

Although he’s just 19 years old, Doncic averaged 16 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 4.3 APG for Real Madrid on his way to EuroLeague MVP honors in 2017-18. He will look to become just the second lottery international selection to make an All-Star team.
1 (4)

Memphis Grizzlies

Jaren Jackson, Jr. 6’11 236

PF-Michigan State

The Big Ten Freshman of the Year’s NBA bloodlines mesh with major shot blocking ability.   The conference’s Defensive Player of the Year shot over 40-percent from three-point range and led the Big Ten with three blocked shots per game. His ability to defend makes him an attractive option for a team that won just 22 games in 2017-18.
1 (5)

Dallas Mavericks (traded to Atlanta Hawks)

Trae Young 6’1 178

PG-Oklahoma

The Big 12 Freshman of the Year has range that extends from Oklahoma all the way to the Dirty South. Though he was not ranked as a consensus Top 20 player in the Class of 2017, he ended up leading the nation in scoring (27.4 PPG) and assists (8.7 APG). Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson predicted Doncic as an option.
1 (6)

Orlando Magic

Mohamed Bamba 7’0 225

C-Texas

The former Westtown HS (N.Y.) has gotten plenty of attention for his length, but he is an underrated rebounder with an expanding offensive skill-set. The second-team All-Big 12 selection has wiry strength and a high basketball IQ. He finished second in the nation with 3.7 blocks shots per game.
1 (7) Chicago Bulls Wendell Carter, Jr. 6’10 251

PF-Duke

The Bulls hit home with All-Rookie selection Lauri Markkanen a year ago and this year went after a player who scored in double figures in 30 contests in 2017-18.   The second-team All-ACC performer has an array of moves around the basket and an instinctive rebounder (9.1).
1 (8)

Cleveland Cavaliers

Collin

Sexton

6’1 ½ 183

PG-Alabama

The Cavaliers immediately increased its team speed with the selection of Sexton. He maintained a 4.0 GPA in school during his lone season on campus and had a knack for the big moment.
1 (9)

New York Knicks

Kevin Knox 6’9 212

SF-Kentucky

Knox’s toughness and natural scoring ability will provide a solid complement to Kristpas Porzingas. The first pick of the David Fizdale-era is solid in all facets of his game.
1 (10)

Philadelphia 76ers (traded the rights of this pick to the Phoenix Suns for the 16th overall pick, Zhaire Smith and the Suns 2021 first-round pick)

Mikal Bridges 6’7 210

SF-Villanova

The first of the four Wildcats expected to be drafted, Brigdes actually redshirted initially at Villanova. The 76ers needed another shooter with the possible departures of either J.J. Redick or Marco Belinelli, but instead acquired the rights to the Phoenix Suns 16th overall pick, Zhaire Smith. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson predicted Smith could end up with the 76ers.
1 (11)

Charlotte Hornets (pick made for the Los Angeles Clippers)

Shai

Gilgeous-

Alexander

6’6 180

PG-Kentucky

The 2017-18 second-team All-SEC selection recorded the third most assists for a freshman in the history of Kentucky basketball. Blessed with the ability to defend three-to-four positions, he will increase the flexibility for Doc Rivers’ defensive unit. He shot 81.7-percent from the free throw line as a freshman.
1 (12)

Los Angeles Clippers (pick made for the Charlotte Hornets)

Miles Bridges 6’6 220

SF-Michigan

State

Despite being 6-foot-6, he still averaged seven rebounds per game in 2017-18. Why? He has a strong, burly frame. The former Big Ten Freshman of the Year is a true high riser.
1 (13)

Los Angeles Clippers

Jerome

Robinson

6’5 188

SG-Boston College

Robinson becomes the first ever Eagles player to become a lottery selection and was a runner-up to Marvin Bagley III for ACC Player of the Year. He shot over 83% from the free throw line
1 (14)

Denver Nuggets

Michael Porter, Jr. 6’10 211

SF-Missouri

Porter, Jr. snuck into the final lottery selection and provides the wing depth that the Nuggets desperately need. Despite playing just three games for Missouri in 2017-18 due to back surgery, the former Gatorade Player of the Year has immense upside.
1 (15)

Washington Wizards

Troy Brown 6’6 ¾ 208

SF-Oregon

The Wizards are still in need of athletic big men, but they also needed someone who could matchup with opposing guards and forwards defensively. To that end, Brown fits the bill. His versatility included guard duties at the prep level.
1 (16) Phoenix Suns (traded this pick for to the Philadelphia 76ers and its 2021 1st round pick for the rights to the 76ers 10th overall pick Mikal Bridges-see below) Zhaire Smith 6’4 198

G-F/Texas Tech

After securing Ayton with the first overall pick, the Suns turned their attention to another guard for depth with the possible departure of free agent Elfrid Payton.   This pick was made for the 76ers in a trade that sent their 10th overall pick to the Suns in exchange for Smith’s rights. Smith’s outstanding leaping ability (41 ½” VJ) and floor speed will add an explosive element to the 76ers backcourt. Bridges expands the Suns’ defensive versatility.
1 (17) Milwaukee Bucks Donte DiVincenzo 6’4 ½ 200

SG-Villanova

The Bucks needed more scorers on the perimeter after finishing 13th in the NBA playoffs in three-pointers. DiVincenzo opened even more eyes at the NBA Combine after earning Most Outstanding Player honors in the 2018 NCAA Final Four. The Big East’s Six Man of the Year shot 40% from three-point range this past season.
1 (18)

San Antonio Spurs

Lonnie Walker IV 6’4 196

SG-Miami (Fla.)

Athletic shooting guards/wings were a possibility for the Spurs with the unenviable Kawhi Leonard situation. The team opted for a player who can play the two-guard or wing in Walker IV. He has to stay healthy and become more productive with the ball in his hands. His play strength is undeniable.
1 (19)

Atlanta Hawks

Kevin Huerter 6’7 194

SG-Maryland

Huerter led the Terrapins with 73 three-pointers in 2017-18. The shooting guard spot was a position the Hawks needed to target to go along with Kent Bazemore.
1 (20)

Minnesota Timberwolves

Josh Okogie 6’4 ½ 210 SG-Georgia Tech The third-team All-ACC selection is a high-riser who averaged over 18 points per game for the Yellow Jackets. With Jerome Robinson off the board, Okogie was one of the better shooting guards still available for the Timberwolves.
1 (21) Utah Jazz Grayson Allen 6’4 ½ 198

SG-Duke

The former Blue Devil fills a need for the team despite being somewhat of a surprise in this slot. He nearly put up 2,000 points in his career (1,996), but there are some questions about his ability to defend consistently. There are, however, few questions surrounding his competitiveness and athleticism.
1 (22) Chicago Bulls Chandler Hutchison 6’7 197

SG-Boise State

We felt the MWC Player of the Year could have been a possibility for the Spurs, but we also felt that the Bulls needed a guard with both Zach LaVine and David Nwaba currently free agents.   Will Hutchison continue to expand his range?
1 (23) Indiana Pacers Aaron Holiday 6’1 187

PG-UCLA

Blessed with NBA bloodlines (Brother, Jrue, plays for the New Orleans Pelicans and another brother, Justin, plays for the Chicago Bulls), this Holiday rarely took any days off for the Bruins. He led the Pac-12 in scoring in 2017-18 (20.3 PPG). The Pacers simply took the best player available at this stage of the draft.
1 (24)

Portland Trail Blazers

Anfernee Simons 6’3 183

SG-United States

With Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton both free agents, guard depth was important for the Trail Blazers. The former IMG Academy standout moves well without the basketball and finishes in transition.
1 (25)

Los Angeles Lakers

(from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017-18 trade that included Isaiah Thomas and Jordan Clarkson)

Moritz Wagner 6’11 241

PF-Michigan

There are few questions regarding Wagner’s ability to stretch the floor as a shooter.   The former Wolverine has good vision, works as a rebounder and possesses above average ability to execute in pick-and-pop situations.
1 (26)

Philadelphia 76ers

Landry Shamet 6’5” 188

PG-Wichita State

We talked about Shamet’s ability to extend the defense in our Detroit Pistons team needs. Shamet, a combo-type, is insurance if the team loses either Redick or Belinelli in free agency.
1 (27) Boston Celtics Robert Williams III 6’10” 241

C-Texas A&M

Williams III is one of the better shot blockers in the draft and he led the SEC in rebounding.   The team will look for him to be a rim-runner and lob specialist. It was a bit of a surprise he lasted until the end of the first round.
1 (28) Golden State Warriors Jacob Evans 6’5” 199

SG-Cincinnati

The first-team All-AAC performer is a stout defender and underrated passer. The Warriors continue to add players who can guard multiple positions.
1 (29) Brooklyn Nets Dzanan Musa 6’9” 195

SF-

Bosnia-

Herzegovina

Whether or not the team gets Charlotte C Dwight Howard in its proposed trade is still up for discussion. In the meantime, they needed a player capable of handling defensive responsibilities next to either Howard or Timofey Mozgov. Musa may not be a fit for those duties, but he averaged 12.4 PPG and was named the All-Adriatic League’s top prospect of the year.
1 (30) Atlanta Hawks Omari Spellman 6’9” 253

PF-Villanova

While Spellman averaged just under 11 points per game for the Wildcats, he did shoot 43-percent from three-point range. Aside from his ability to shoot, he has enough bulk to compete as an offensive rebounder.
2nd Round
2 (31) Phoenix Suns Elie Okobo 6’3” 180

PG-France

The Suns didn’t get their backup guard early but they do get a player who has some similarities to the aforementioned Payton (a free agent). He has more shooting ability at this same stage of his development.
2 (32) Memphis Grizzlies Jevon Carter 6’1 ½” 196

PG-West Virginia

Carter’s development as a scorer complements what may be the best defensive skill-set in the draft. He was twice named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and became just the fifth player in Division I history with 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals.
2 (33)

Dallas Mavericks

Jalen Brunson 6’2 ¼” 198

PG-Villanova

Although he shot 41-percent from three-point range in 2017-18, some of Brunson’s best work came on the low block. His foot speed is a question mark.
2 (34)

Atlanta Hawks

Devonte Graham 6’1 ½” 188

PG-Kansas

Graham has the ability to go either right or left off the dribble to get separation for his pull-up jumpers. The Hawks continue to add playmakers to compete in the backcourt.
2 (35)

Orlando Magic

Melvin Frazier 6’6” 198

SF-Tulane

The AAC’s Most Improved Player led the conference in steals (2.2 per gm). He put together an outstanding NBA Combine performance.
2 (36)

New York Knicks

Mitchell Robinson 6’11” 215

PF-United States

One of the nation’s top recruits in 2017, Robinson never played college basketball and elected to train for the draft.
2 (37)

Sacramento Kings

Gary Trent, Jr. 6’5” 204

SG-Duke

During the NBA Combine, Trent, Jr. excelled shooting from the top of the key and posted a 39 ½” max VJ. He was one of the Blue Devils most consistent shooters in 2017-18.
2 (38)

Philadelphia 76ers

Khyri Thomas 6’3 ¾” 198

SG-Creighton

Known for his defense, Thomas’ 6’10 ½” wingspan gives him plenty of flexibility when it comes to guarding multiple positions. He’s capable of winning of finishing in transition or off the catch-and-shoot on the wings.
2 (39)

Philadelphia 76ers

Isaac Bonga 6’9 203

SF-Germany

Although this pick may not provide immediate dividends, Bonga,has good flexibility and impressive court vision.
2 (40)

Brooklyn Nets

Rodions Kurucs 6’10” 215

F-Lativa

Kurucs, a member of the 2017-18 Latvian National Team, averaged just over 10 points and nearly 3 RPG for FC Barcelona in 2017-18. He has a game that translates to the type of stretch-fours seen in the NBA today. He will need to work on getting his shot off quicker.
2 (41) Orlando Magic Jarred

Vanderbilt

6’9” 214

SF-Kentucky

If not for a left foot injury, Vanderbilt –one of the top players in the Class of 2017- may have made a bigger impact for the Wildcats in 2017-18. Where he did flash was as a rebounder. He averaged 7.9 rebounds per game in 14 games for the team.
2 (42) Detroit Pistons Bruce

Brown

6’5 194

SG-Miami (Fla)

Yet another prospect affected by a foot injury in 2017-18, Brown was probably more impactful as a shooter during his freshman season.
2 (43)

Denver Nuggets

Justin Jackson 6’6 ¾” 229

SF-Maryland

Jackson was a possible target for the Houston Rockets in our Southwest Division Team Needs. The 6-foot-7 Jackson shot 43-percent from three-point range and contains a 7-foot-2-inch wingspan. He eventually ended up getting traded to the Orlando Magic for the draft rights to Jarred Vanderbilt.
2 (44) Washington Wizards Issuf Sanon 6’4 185

PG-Ukraine

He’s dealt with minor injuries, but the 2018 Slovenian League Champion logged added minutes for the Petrol Olimpija team of the Premier A SKL league.
2 (45) Brooklyn Nets Hamidou Diallo 6’5 190

SG-Kentucky

Diallo posted the highest max vertical at the 2018 NBA Combine (44 ½”). If he can develop as a shooter, he has some similarities to Houston Rockets G Gerald Green. Diallo shot just 62% from the free throw line this past season and just 43-percent from the field
2 (46)

Houston Rockets

De’Anthony Melton 6’3 193

SG-USC

During his lone season of action at USC (2016-17), he averaged 1.9 steals per game.   Despite shooting 71% from the stripe, he connected on just 28.4% of his three-point shots.
2 (47)

Los Angeles Lakers

Sviatoslav

Mykhailiuk

6’8 195

SG-Kansas

Mykhailiuk shot 44.4% from three-point range for the Jayhawks in 2017-18 while averaging 14.6 points per game. The former Jayhawk has elite shooting abilities that Draftnasty's Troy Jefferson took notice of.
2 (48)

Minnesota Timberwolves

Keita Bates-Diop 6’8” 223

SF-Ohio State

Bates-Diop earned second-team All-American honors and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year.   Bates-Diop improved his scoring average by nearly 10 points from 2016-17.
2 (49)

San Antonio Spurs

Chimezie Metu 6’11 215

PF-USC

Metu has improved as a free throw shooter since he first arrived on campus. DraftNasty’s Jefferson felt Metu would be a fit for the Pelicans, but he’s going to a team in the division who can use his athleticism and length.
2 (50)

Indiana Pacers

Alize Johnson 6’8 217

PF-Missouri State

Johnson doesn’t have noteworthy length (6’8 ¾” wingspan) for his 217-pound frame, but he averaged a double-double (points, rebounds) in back-to-back seasons for the Bears.
2 (51)

New Orleans Pelicans

Tony Carr 6’4 ½” 198

SG-Penn State

The first-team All-Big Ten selection finished the season with four games of 30-plus points and shot 43.3% from three-point range. Carr’s 8’4” standing reach makes him bigger than his size would indicate.   He led the Nittany Lions to the 2018 NIT title.
2 (52) Utah Jazz Vincent Edwards 6’8 225

SF-Purdue

A solid spot-up shooter, Edwards improved his scoring average in each of his four years on campus. An effiicent free throw shooter (82% career), he is also effective beyond the arc.
2 (53)

Oklahoma City Thunder

Devon Hall 6’5 210

SG-Virginia

Hall is by no means a high-riser, but he was satisfactory in non-stationary shooting drills at the 2018 NBA Combine. He was an 89% free throw shooter in 2017-18.
2 (54) Dallas Mavericks Shake Milton 6’5 ½ 207

SG-SMU

In just over 36 minutes per game in 2017-18, Milton averaged 18 points per game. The 6’5 ½” Milton has nearly a 7-foot-1-inch wingspan and 8’3 ½” standing reach.
2 (55)

Charlotte Hornets

Arnoldas Kulboka SF-Lithuania Despite averaging just over 8 points per game, he shot nearly 37-percent from three-point range. He will likely be a pick for the Hornets down the road
2 (56)

Philadelphia 76ers

Ray Spalding 6’10 ¼ 215

PF-Louisville

DraftNasty’s Jefferson projected that Spalding’s 7’6” wingspan would be a fit for the Portland Trail Blazers. Instead, the 76ers get a prospect that averaged 8.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks for the Cardinals in 2017-18.
2 (57)

Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Hervey 6’7 211

SF/PF-UT-Arlington

Hervey is yet another player that the Thunder project can improve as a shooter. He’s an underrated rebounder who Jefferson projected would be a possible target for another team in the Northwest Division (Denver Nuggets) as a small forward-type projection.
2 (58)

Denver Nuggets

Thomas Welsh 7’0 245

C-UCLA

Welsh, a career 80-percent free throw shooter, shot 40-percent from the three-point line as a senior while averaged 10.8 rebounds per game.
2 (59)

Phoenix Suns

George

King

6’6 220

SF-Colorado

The second-team All-Pac-12 selection nearly hit 200 three-pointers in college (181) and perhaps more impressively 5.4 rebounds per game (career).
2 (60) Philadelphia 76ers Kostas

Antetokounmpo

6’10 190

SF-Dayton

The younger brother of the Greek Freak in Milwaukee didn’t log many minutes for Dayton, but he did aveaged over a block per game.   He’s still not a shooter (51.6% free throws), but he contains a 7’2 ¼” wingspan and 9’2” standing reach.

2018 NFL Supplemental Draft: Mississippi St. DB Brandon Bryant

Brandon Bryant 6'0 215 (E) Mississippi State S-Senior

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Plays the game the right way. Sticks foot to change directions vs. misdirection. Good feet in his backpedal as a quarters or deep-half safety. He will make some impressive interceptions closing off the hash marks (INT, 4th QTR, BYU ’17). Measures his inside-out angles coming downhill. Does a fine job of getting off of blocks to defend screen passes. Breaks forward with momentum vs. dig routes in quarters coverage (PBU, BYU ’17). He’s disciplined in the deep middle one-third and can snap out of his breaks off the hash.

Weaknesses: At the first sign of a jerk by the WR, he will open his hips and can be beaten across his face (post route, Kirk, Texas A&M ’17, overthrown). Circles his paths far too long to get in position for open field, face-up tackles (MT, Miami, OH. ’16). Overruns the ball on occasion and will miss tackles in this phase as well. He has lost some physical matchups vs. bigger TEs (Smith, St. Petersburg Bowl ’16). He has been smoked settling his pedal vs. speed (allowed TD, Hifo, BYU ’17). Left the Mississippi State program in the spring of 2018 due to academic issues (https://www.clarionledger.com/story/sports/college/mississippi-state/2018/04/08/safety-brandon-bryant-moves-mississippi-state/497329002/).

Other Notes:

  • Attended Rosa Fort HS (Miss.) and was named a three-star recruit by Rivals.com
  • Earned 2013 Class 4A All-State honors after accounting for over 1,200 yards and 14 total TDs as a QB/RB/WR. He also posted 37 tackles, 2 INTs (TD) and 5 PBUs on defense
  • 2014 (1st Year SEC Academic Honor Roll)
  • 2015 (8 sts): 63 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, 2 TFLs, FF, 3 INTs (73 yds, TD) and 3 PBUs
  • 2016 (10 sts): 62 tackles, TFL, INT and 2 PBUs
  • Has reportedly run in the 4.24 40-yd range, bench presses 365 pounds, 35” VJ, 9’10” BJ. Then ran a 4.29 40-yard dash in 2017
  • 2017: 32 tackles, ½ TFL, INT and 2 PBUs
  • Career Stats: 157 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, 3.5 TFLs, FF,  5 INTs (122 yds, TD) and 7 PBUs

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): It was a bit of a surprise to see Bryant become academically ineligible this spring after earning first-year SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades back in 2014. He is a workout warrior who will ‘wow’ NFL evaluators with his testing numbers prior to this summer’s supplemental draft. We don’t expect him to impress teams quite as much when they turn on the film. He consistently had problems finding the ball down the field during his final two years in school. He had a tendency to get his hips turned around versus average receivers when working in space over a receiver in quarters coverage (see BYU 2017). On the plus side, he’s a physical presence built in the mold of Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger. While not as physical, he has more speed and will throw his body around on the field. Look for Bryant to get some attention in the late rounds of the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft as a potential four-team special teams contributor (gunner on the punt team).

 DraftNasty’s Grade: 5.433 (4th Round)

 

Sam Beal CB Western Michigan

1 Sam Beal 6’1 178 CB-Junior

 What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Long. Plays fast. He’s shown outstanding effort in cross-field pursuit (ran down Holsey, 1st play, FF, Buffalo ’17). Excellent body control. Nearly tipped a fade to himself along the sidelines with a high-wire act vs. USC in 2017.   In his bail techniques, he closes out of his zone turns to break downhill. Uses a positive look-and-lean technique in man coverage down the field (press-man). Turns his head to find the ball with his back to the QB.

Weaknesses: Ruled academically ineligible for the 2018 season due to a shortage of credits.   Missed three games as a junior in high school due to a knee injury. A hamstring injury caused him to miss the state finals in track & field as a high school junior. Missed the second half of the Buffalo game and the Akron game in 2017.  Needs to continue to fill out his frame.  He missed some tackles vs. USC in 2017 due to inadequate play strength.  Stands up when breaking forward out of his breaks.

 Other Notes:

  • Attended Ottawa Hills HS (Mich.) and was a four-time All-American in track & field
  • Ran a 10.63 100-meters in the semifinals of the 2013 MHSAA State track & field championships and finished 3rd in the 100-meter finals (10.86)
  • 2015: 15 tackles, PBU
  • 2016: 55 tackles, 8 PBUs
  • 2017 (2nd Team All-MAC): 26 tackles, 3 TFLs, FF, 2 INTs and 10 PBUs
  • 2018 Western Michigan Pro Day: 4.48 40-yd, 10’6” BJ, 37” VJ, 4.09 20-yd SS, 7.1 3-cone

 Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Beal’s idol is Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. While not as gifted, he does have similar confidence finding the ball down the field in man-to-man coverage. Despite satisfactory effort running to the ball, he’s been ordinary at times getting off of blocks. In addition, he’s been hit-or-miss as a tackler. The former high school track standout has also endured his share of durability hiccups dating back to his prep level playing career. There is not question, however, that he has starting potential as a press-bail corner at the next level. If he can clean up his off-man technique, it will complement his consistent bump-and-run technique. While there are questions surrounding his inability to stay eligible, the Western Michigan coaches gave him high marks when it came to work ethic and consistency. He is a player that will get consideration in the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft as a potential second-round option.

 

 

Oklahoma PG Trae Young: DraftNasty’s 2018 NBA Draft preview

DraftNasty went inside the game of former Oklahoma point guard Trae Young during the 2016 Nike Peach Jam. Along with fellow 2018 NBA Draft prospect Michael Porter, Jr., Young helped lead Mokan Elite to the championship. For his efforts, he earned Co-MVP honors with Porter, Jr.  During this past season at Oklahoma, he earned consensus All-American honors after leading the nation in points per game (27.4) and assists per game (8.7). Along the way, he shot 42.3-percent from the field, 36.1-percent from three-point range and 86.1-percent from the free throw line.

DraftNasty spotlight: Arizona C Deandre Ayton, 2018 NBA Draft preview

Arizona's Deandre Ayton became the Wildcats first consensus All-American in nearly two decades.  The 7'1, 260-pound center averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game.  Blessed with a soft shooting touch, long arms and excellent footwork, he is widely regarded as the potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.  We went inside the 2017 McDonald's All-American's game during the summer of 2016 while competing for California Supreme Elite's AAU squad at the Nike EBYL Peach Jam.