All posts by Troy Jefferson

2021 NFL Draft Preview: Chazz Surratt 6’2 225 LB- UNC


What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths):
Excellent closing speed. Grades well against read option (App St ’19) and as a QB spy (Syracuse ‘20). Trusts his eyes and gets to the ball in a hurry. Fluid hips. Has the ability to pick up running backs on option routes and/or cover slot receivers in short space (Clemson ’19). Hustles to the football and plays through the whistle. Doesn’t cross his legs on front side run schemes but instead chops his feet so he can play the back side cutback if needed. Special teams contributor. Plays on the kickoff team as well as the field goal block unit. 

Weaknesses: Can be picked up by backs when blitzing (Clemson ’19). Surratt is a converted QB and has limited reps as a linebacker although he did play safety in high school. At times he gets caught in the wrong gap or overpurses. Needs to get more violent with hands in order to get off blocks of bigger players. Played in one game in 2018. One of 13 Tar Heels suspended for selling team issued shoes in 2018 and missed four games (https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article216175450.html). Missed seven games later that year with a right wrist injury. 

Other Notes: Attended East Lincoln High School (NC.) • Named state Gatorade Player of the Year and broke the state record for career total yards (16,593) • First-Team All-ACC (2019) and runner up for ACC Defensive Player of the Year  • Passed for eight touchdowns, six interceptions and 1352 yards as a QB in two seasons (10 games) • Brother, Sage, plays wide receiver for Wake Forest  • 2017 (9 games): 1342 passing yards, 210 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns,  8 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 58.5 completion percentage • 2019 (13 games): 66 total tackles, 49 assisted tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 pass deflections. 


Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): If you go back and watch the 2019 Clemson tape, Surratt jumps off the screen. Clemson’s offense stresses the eye discipline of opposing linebackers with its formation variety (bunch sets, etc..), which can lead to defenders overthinking and playing a step slow. Surratt didn’t have that problem and arguably played one of his better games. The Tar Heels converted QB will be judged by his ability to learn the intricacies of the position, but in a short time he has shown the raw talent is there.

2021 NFL Draft Preview: Sage Surratt 6’3 215 WR- Wake Forest

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Big and physical target. Surratt has the ability to get on top of smaller corners and “stacks” them in order to gain leverage in the deep passing game (FSU ‘19). Makes a number of possession routes as a No. 2 slot WR crossing the face of DBs with pure strength (Rice ’19). Uses subtle hesitation (nods) to set up his post corner patterns (Virginia Tech ’19). High-points the ball and has strong hands. A legitimate red zone threat (15 touchdowns in two seasons). Willing blocker in the read option game (Louisville ‘19). Punt return capability (91 return yards on 12 returns). 

Weaknesses: Struggles at times to get separation in shorter routes. How quick can he get in and out of breaks? Plays his best in a straight line. Scouts will watch his shuttle times at his Pro Day and Combine. Works his way to top speed, not naturally explosive off the ball. Suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in November 2019 against Virginia Tech. 

Surratt, pictured, scored 11 touchdowns in 2019 despite not playing in the season’s final four games.

Other Notes: Attended Lincolnton High School (NC.) and was the school’s valedictorian • Played basketball in high school and finished second in North Carolina high school basketball history with 2,951 points scored. Named the state’s Player of the Year in basketball and football • Set state records for receptions (366), yards (5,926) and touchdown receptions (80) • Brother, Chazz, plays linebacker for UNC • 2018 (10 games): 41 receptions, 581 yards (14.2 YPR) and 4 TDs  • 2019 (9 games): 66 receptions, 1,001 yards (15.2 YPR) and 11 TDs  • Career:  107 receptions, 1,582 yards and 15 touchdowns.  

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Surratt has prototypical NFL size for an outside receiver. He could immediately translate into a red zone threat. Like most young receivers, his success will be measured by his ability to master the entire route tree. Look for Surratt to be a Day 2 prospect, but it would have been intriguing to see him produce for a full season in school after missing the last four games of the 2019 season.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Jalen Smith 6’10 225 F- Maryland

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Three-point shooter. Has NBA size. Consistent presence. Doesn’t force bad shots. Scores most of his points via open threes and layups. Smith was first in the Big Ten and third in the nation with 21 double-doubles in his sophomore year (recorded five in 2019). Strong rebounder. Smith recorded eight offensive rebounds in Maryland’s 2019 NCAA Tournament victory over Belmont. 

Weaknesses: He can be overpowered in the post due to his thin base. Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman used his weight against him and spinned off of him for an easy bucket (MSU ‘20). Not strong enough to guard NBA centers but can he guard power forwards? Lateral movement is a question mark. Needs to expand his offensive skills beyond shooting and dunking. Smith didn’t get much of a chance to show his ability to put the ball on the floor and it ranks as a question mark.

Other Notes: Attended Mt. Saint Joseph (Md.).Won the Gatorade Player of the Year in Maryland twice and played in the 2018 McDonald’s All-American GameFirst team All-Big Ten (2020), Big Ten All-Defensive Team (2020), Big Ten All-Freshman Team (2019)  • 2018-2019 (33 games, 33 sts): 11.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.9 APG, 49% FG, 66% FT, 27% 3-PT, 0.4 SPG, 1.2 BPG  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 31 sts): 15.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 0.8 APG, 54% FG, 75% FT, 37% 3-PT, 0.7 SPG, 2.4 BPG • Career:  13.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 0.8 APG, 52% FG, 71% FT, 32% 3-PT, 0.6 SPG, 1.8 BPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Jalen Smith’s offensive game fits well for the NBA’s new trend of drive and kick basketball. The former Terrapin has excellent length and can finish at the rim. Look for him to compete for a bench spot on a playoff team as he seems like a fit in the bottom of the first round.  His ability to improve his on-ball defense and round out his offensive repertoire will determine his NBA future.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Obi Toppin 6’9 220 F- Dayton


What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths):
Athletic. Willing passer from the post (Kansas ‘19). Toppin is very engaged in offensive sets and moves well without the ball. His three years at Dayton made him a seasoned player. Gets easy buckets at the rim before expanding his range (Miss. State ‘18). Runs the floor and manufactures points in transition when his shot isn’t falling. Excellent body control. Makes passes with his off hand while in the air avoiding defenders.  Productive weak side shot blocker.

Weaknesses: What is his positional fit defensively? Lateral quickness was a problem for him. Looks stiff when in his defensive stance.  He was posted up and struggled against Kansas center Udoka Azubuike. The Jayhawks actually attacked him late in the game and targeted him through isolation off pick and rolls or post-ups. FT shooting percentage is troublesome as opposed to other shooting splits. 

Other Notes: Attended four high schools: Heritage (Fl.), Melbourne Central Catholic (Fl.), Ossining (NY), Mt. Zion Prep (Md.).Redshirted his freshman season at Dayton after being deemed academically ineligible.  • 2x First Team All Atlantic 10 (2019, 2020), Atlantic 10 Player of the Year (2020), National Player of the Year (2020)Brother, Jacob, plays college basketball for Kentucky. • 2018-2019 (33 games, 15 sts): 14.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.8 AST, 66% FG, 71% FT, 52% 3-PT, 0.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 31 sts): 20 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 63% FG, 70% FT, 39% 3-PT, 1.0 SPG, 1.2 BPG • Career:  17.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 65% FG, 70% FT, 42% 3-PT, 0.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Like many prospects, Toppin will have to be selected into the right situation to flourish. In an ideal scenario offensively, Toppin would be paired with shooters that can spread the floor. This would allow him to use his athleticism unabated around the rim. Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce is defensive- minded and has a roster full of young shooters like Kevin Huerter and Trae Young. On the other end a marriage between him and a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves -who lack shooting and defense- would concern me when trying to project Toppin’s NBA prospects.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Devin Vassell 6’6 180 SG/SF- Florida State

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Long arms. Stride covers ground. Has the frame to add more muscle. Plays stronger than he looks at first glance. Solid offensive rebounder. Effective slasher going to the rim (Florida ‘19). Most effective in the corners, where he can back cut to the basket or be the recipient of a drive and kick for jumpers. Defensively, he’s long enough that he doesn’t have to jump on a ball fake to contest a shot (Louisville ‘20). Uses his length to disrupt passing angles. Can also front the big in the post. 

Weaknesses:  What more can he add to his offensive arsenal? Vassell wasn’t a high volume scorer at FSU, nor was he asked to be, but as a projected high pick, he might be asked to cover more of the offensive burden in the NBA. He averaged just four points in his freshman season and 12.7 in his sophomore campaign. Release on his jumper is slow and a bit elongated. Could improve his free throw shooting. 

Other Notes: Attended Peachtree Ridge High School (Ga.) • Father, Andrew, played college basketball at Stony Brook • 2018-2019 (33 games, 0 sts): 4.5 PPG, 44% FG,  42% 3-PT, 68 % FT,  1.5 RPG,  0.6 APG,  0.5 STL, 0.3 BPG • 2019-2020 (30 games, 30 sts, 2nd Team All-ACC): 12.7 PPG, 49% FG, 42% 3-PT, 73% FT, 5.1 RPG,  1.6 APG,  1.4 STL, 1.0 BPG • Career stats: 8.4 PPG, 48% FG, 42% 3-PT, 72% FT,  3.2 RPG,  1.1 APG, 1.0 STL, 0.6 BPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Vassell’s frame and unorthodox jump shot is reminiscent of former Wizards first round draft pick, Otto Porter. Like Porter, Vassell’s best fit will be in offense that pre-defines his role. Spurs head coach and team president Gregg Popovich has had success taking players with length who can operate in the corners of an offensive set. Vassell would fit the mold and provides some positional versatility for a team with aging wings such as Rudy Gay and Marco Belinelli.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Patrick Williams 6’8 225 F- Florida State

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Carries an NBA frame. Moves his feet well on the perimeter when playing defense and can also serve as a rim protector (Florida ‘19).  Has a lethal second jump that make up for his lack of ideal height. Provides some lineup flexibility. Can defend both of the forward positions. Shot 32-percent from the three- point line in limited attempts. Excellent free throw shooter.  Drives to the hoop with both hands.

Weaknesses: Williams didn’t start a game for FSU this past season and averaged just 22 minutes a game. The Seminoles were talent-laden and didn’t ask for Williams to ever be a focal point in the offense. What will be his offensive niche at the next level? This is a player who scouts will have to make a projection on in the future rather than rely on game film. 

Other Notes:

  • Attended West Charlotte High School (NC) and played in the Jordan Brand Classic Game in 2019
  • Named the 2019-20 ACC Sixth Man of the Year and earned ACC All-Freshman honors
  • The third one-and-done in the school’s history: Malik Beasley and Jonathan Isaac were the others
  • Both parents, Janie and Eddie, played basketball at Johnson C. Smith University
  • 2019-2020 (29 games, 0 sts): 9.2 PPG, 46% FG, 84% FT, 4.0 RPG,  1.0 APG, 1.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):

Williams plays with a nastiness and a competitive spirit that allows him to overcome his match ups with taller players. In an ideal world, the freshman forward would have played more minutes than he did as a Seminole. Williams’ willingness to crash the glass and his above average shooting mechanics should serve him well early in his career as he carves out a role in an NBA rotation. 

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Xavier Tillman 6’8 245 PF/C-Michigan State

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Shed more than 20 pounds from his freshman season. Played both the PF and center positions in school. Excellent passer out of the short roll and in 4-on-3 offensive situations. Defensively, he can guard wings and big men in the post (vs. Luka Garza, Iowa ‘20). Improved year after year in minutes played, blocks per game, rebounds and points per game.  

Weaknesses: Will miss layups and dunks on occasion (Wisconsin ‘20). Scouts will question how well he can finish at the rim at the next level.  Undersized for the power forward and center position at the next level. Can he overcome his physical limitations? Shot just 27.3% from three- point range during his three-year career in East Lansing. Saw his free throw percentage dip from 73% in his sophomore season to 66% as a junior. 

Other Notes:

  • Attended Forest Hills Central High School for his freshman year and for his last three years attended Grand Rapids Christian High School
  • Mother, Tanya, was a four-year letterwinner in women’s basketball at the University of Michigan and finished her career as the school’s all-time leading rebounder
  • Named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2019
  • Michigan State’s all-time leader in blocked shots
  • 2017-2018 (35 games, 0 sts): 2.8 PPG, 65% FG, 66% FT, 2.6 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.7 BPG
  • 2018-2019 (39 games, 14 sts):  10 PPG, 60% FG, 73% FT, 7.3 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.7 BPG
  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 31 sts): 13.7 PPG, 55% FG, 67% FT, 10.3 RPG, 3 APG, 2.1 BPG
  • Career:  8.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 AST, 58% FG, 69% FT, 1.5 BPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): College basketball fans could see why former Spartan and current Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green allowed Xavier Tillman to wear his now retired number 23 Michigan State jersey.  Both players contain high basketball IQs and compete with intensity on both ends of the floor.

The maturity served the Grand Rapids native well, as he was usually tasked with quarterbacking the defense and handling the opposition’s toughest frontcourt player. Look for Tillman to be a contributor for a playoff team in the mid-to-late first round. His toughness and conditioning will remind hoops enthusiasts of Udonis Haslem and Tillman’s makeup would pair well in Miami under the leadership of Pat Riley. 

2021 NFL Draft Preview: Thomas Graham, Jr. CB-Oregon

It didn’t take long for Graham, Jr. to make an impact on Oregon’s campus. The preseason 2020 All-Pac-12 corner has now made 39 consecutive starts due to a combination of agility, football smarts and toughness. We go inside the game of one of college football’s best perimeter defenders in our video spotlight. Heading into 2020, Graham is the active FBS leader in passes defensed (40) and has eight career interceptions.

Graham had four tackles, one interception and one pass break-up versus Auburn in the 2019 season opener.
Graham’s ability to maneuver his frame allows him to get in-and-out of his breaks quickly when playing either press-man or off-man coverage.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Tre Jones 6’3 185 PG-Duke

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): The ACC Player of the Year put together a solid sophomore campaign that was spearheaded by his defense. Big game player. Jones took it to fellow 2020 NBA Draft point guard prospects: Devon Dotson (Kansas), Cassius Winston (MSU), Cole Anthony (UNC) as he led his team to a 4-0 record vs. the trio. Against the three, Jones averaged 21 points and had a near 3:1 assist-to- turnover ratio. Jones offensively does his best work out of the Blue Devils “horns” set, where he operates with two players up top and two in the corner. He is capable of making the right read in the pick and roll as well as pulling up in the midrange (UCF ‘19, 1st Half ). Defensively, his length bothers opposing guards (averaged just under two steals per game for his career). Jones’ feet and arms are always in motion, which leads to deflections.

Weaknesses: Jones saw his three-point shooting percentage improve from 26% to 36%, was his sophomore numbers indicative of his outside shooting long term or a fluke? Jones is best when setting others up, look at his work a season ago with three lottery picks. If he joins a team with subpar talent does he have the ability to make other players around him better? Jones has good length for the position but it remains to be seen how he handles the more physical NBA point guards with his lean frame.

Other Notes:

  • Attended Apple Valley High School (Mn.) and was a consensus five-star recruit. He was also named Minnesota’ Mr. Basketball
  • He has two older brothers that played college basketball: Tyus and Jadee. Tyus also attended Duke, and now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.  Jadee played at Furman University.
  • 2020 ACC Player of the Year recipient as well as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2018-2019 (36 games, 36 sts): 9.4 PPG, 41% FG, 26% 3-PT, 76% FT, 3.8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.9 SPG
  • 2019-2020 (29 games, 29 sts): 16.2 PPG, 42% FG, 36% 3-PT, 77% FT, 4.2 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.8 SPG
  • Career stats: 12.4 PPG, 42% FG, 31% 3-PT, 77% FT, 1.8 SPG, 4 RPG, 5.8 APG,

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Jones played a lot of basketball during his two years at Duke. Despite being just a sophomore, he is one of the more experienced players in the draft. DraftNasty projects Jones being most successful with a team where he can create for others that has talented wings and big men. Look for an organization like the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat or Los Angeles Lakers to target the former Duke point guard at the bottom of the first round. 

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Vernon Carey Jr. 6’10 270 C- Duke

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Carey has wide shoulders and should be able to finish through contact at the next level. On tape, there weren’t other centers that pushed Carey around on the block or looked as strong as he did in the paint. He showed himself well, employing a drop step against Georgetown’s 7-foot center Omer Yurtseven in an early season matchup at Madison Square Garden.  Rebound machine. Averaged almost nine boards in 24 minutes of action. Shows promise with his ability to pass from the elbow (Miami, ‘20). 

Weaknesses: 

Carey is strong but can he play effectively in the NBA at 270 pounds? The Duke center averaged 24 minutes a game and he looked on tape like he could’ve played more if he wasn’t fatigued. It’s no coincidence that Carey scored 26 points and 13 rebounds against Pittsburgh when he played 35 minutes. The more he plays, the more effective a player he is. Left-hand dominant. The Florida native is best as a back to the basket big man, has the modern NBA game passed him by? 

Other Notes:

  • Attended the University School of Nova Southeastern University (Fla.) and  was named Florida’s Mr. Basketball in 2017 and 2018. 
  • Father, Vernon, played offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins
  • Named to the 2019-2020 All ACC Freshman team and was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year
  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 30 sts, Consensus 2nd Team All-American): 17.8 PPG, 58% FG, 38% 3-PT, 67% FT, 8.8 RPG, 1 APG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):

Staying in shape and out-hustling the NBA competition will be how Carey survives in the NBA. If the former Duke freshman can perfect running rim-to-rim and sealing the opposing team’s center underneath the basket, he has a chance at a long career. Carey showed he can maneuver from the elbow so there is a possibility he could play some power forward. His game is reminiscent of former Michigan State Spartan Zach Randolph. Randolph enjoyed his best success defensively when paired with a shot blocking center: Theo Ratliff (Portland) and Marc Gasol (Memphis). Carey would benefit equally with rim protection. Right now, it’s hard to find a first round fit for the center.