Category Archives: Football

C-USA tandem continuing to leave mark

For years, the safety tandem of Jovante Moffatt (6’0, 210, Sr.) and Reed Blankenship (6’1, 196, Jr.) has reigned terror on Conference USA football. Last Saturday’s contest against Marshall only served to further the pair’s growing reputation nationally. Blankenship registered six tackles in a solid performance while Moffatt tallied 14 tackles, a pass break-up and two timely athletic interceptions. We go inside the strengths of each player.

C-USA Defensive Players of the Week (9-9-19, 10-7-19)

Alabama’s Locksmith

Perhaps the receiver with the most expectations this season on the Alabama football roster is junior All-American Jerry Jeudy. However, the one player who continues to prove capable of ascending his game through the season’s first three weeks is fellow junior DeVonta Smith.

When he first came out of Amite High School (La.), Smith weighed in the 157-pound range. While he has put on some pounds to add to his slender frame, he still hovers around the 175-pound mark. Surprisingly, it is his penchant for going across the middle of the field that draws high marks. But when asked about whether or not his heart starts to beat a little bit faster when going across the middle with linebackers and safeties coming across at him prior to the team’s 2018 contest versus Ole Miss by AL.com, Smith had the perfect response.

“No. Not at all,” Smith responded matter of factly.

The greatest thrill of his career up until this point may be his game-winning touchdown catch in the 2018 College Football Playoff national championship game against Georgia. In an offense that often utilizes four or five wide receivers/tight ends, the opportunities are limited. It is a fact not lost upon Smith.

“No matter who it is, which one of us gets it we can all make the same play,” Smith told AL.com back in 2018. “When a play is called, you never know whether you’re going to get it or not. You just wait for the quarterback to throw it.”

Smith vs. South Carolina, 9-13-19: In-game report

Most locksmiths specialize in rekeying, repairing, opening and modifying. Some numbers have meaning in the process, while others do not. It fits perfectly with what Smith communicated to AL.com when asked about whether he had accumulated the most receptions on the squad through Week 2 of the 2018 campaign.

Smith’s response?

“I don’t keep up with stats.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akD2oUl51rg

DraftNasty lenses: Oluwole Betiku, Jr. 6’3 250 DE-Illinois

Betiku’s activity last Saturday versus UConn was noteworthy, but should have been expected after his Week 1 performance against Akron. The graduate transfer from USC dealt with offseason hip surgery in 2018 but has responded favorably since coming to Champaign. While his snap count reactions vary, he displays very good play strength. From either a right-handed or left-handed stance (RDE or LDE), he works to press his inside shoulder versus the offensive tackle’s high shoulder to press the pocket over the top. Many of his sacks thus far in 2019 have come from him finishing through the down. In a defense that has been effective running line games, his activity winning on spikes (stunts that attack the inside shoulder of offensive linemen) has been noteworthy through two weeks. He currently leads the nation in quarterback sacks (6) and tackles for losses (7.5).

DraftNasty lenses: Aaron Fuller 5’11 188 WR-Washington

Today, we go inside our lenses with  Washington senior wide receiver Aaron Fuller.  Fuller -who caught five passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday versus Eastern Washington- continues to impress with his high-flying antics.

Photography by: Corey Chavous, DraftNasty Magazine

 

 

NCAA FB Week 1 report (8-31-19): DBs stand out

There were a number of defensive backs who stood out in Week 1 of the 2019 college football campaign.  We take a look at seven who made their respective marks.

Saeed Holt 6’0 195 DB-Sophomore Toledo

Notable stats vs. Kentucky, 8-31-19: 10 tackles, TFL

The Rockets used Holt in a number of ways around the line of scrimmage and in coverage.  He closed off the edge late in the first quarter to record a tackle for loss one play after coming up to deliver a shot versus Kentucky 6-foot-6, 247-pound freshman tight end Keaton Upshaw in the flats.  For a team that lost two of its better players from its 2018 secondary –CB Ka’dar Hollman (6th round, 185th overall, 2019 NFL Draft, Green Bay Packers) and S Josh Teachey– Holt’s 10 tackles and one tackle for loss provided relief for defensive coordinator Brian George.

Nevada Secondary

Notable stats vs. Purdue, 8-30-19:

  • 6 Tyson Williams 5’9 195 DB-Sophomore: 12 tackles
  • 25 Daniel Brown 5’11 185 DB-Senior: 5 tackles, TFL, 2 INTs and PBU
  • 1 Berdale Robins 5’9 185 DB-Junior: One tackle, 3 PBUs
  • 4 EJ Muhammed 5’11 190 DB-Senior: 10 tackles, FF
  • 5 Emany Johnson 6’2 210 DB-Freshman: 7 tackles

Nevada defensive backs Daniel Brown (No. 25 pictured) and EJ Muhammed (No. 4 pictured) both had big contributions in Nevada’s 34-31 victory over Purdue last Friday night.

The Wolf Pack defensive backs entered last Friday night’s contest against Purdue knowing that they would have a tough test.  Aside from having to slow down Boilermakers All-American sophomore receiver Rondale Moore, the team also had to slow down All-Big Ten tight end Brycen Hopkins and two four-star recruits in freshmen David Bell and Milton Wright.   Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel’s 3-3-5 stack defensive requires multiple roles for a number of defensive backs.  Each of the five aforementioned names had big impacts.

Brown displayed good feet and eye discipline in zone coverage early in the game on a key red zone pass break-up off of a wheel concept to Purdue slot receiver Jackson Anthrop.   He matched his career interception total with a slick grab off of an ill-advised third down and 10 throw by Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar.   The senior cornerback then grabbed his second interception of the game with at the 0:38 mark of the fourth quarter to set up Nevada’s game-winning field goal.  Nevada used a three-deep zone where Johnson broke from the deep one-third to knock away a Sindelar pass intended for freshman receiver Bell.  The tip resulted in Brown’s second theft. 

Muhammed -who started two games in 2018 before going down to injury- tackled with intensity most of the night.  He forced and recovered his own strip off of Wright in the second quarter to stop a Purdue offensive drive.  The tackling of he, Robins and Williams helped stymie much of Purdue’s offensive attack in the second half.  Moore was limited to just three receptions for 10 yards in the second stanza of the game.  In addition, Sindelar completed just 3-of-9 passes for 10 yards and one interception in the fourth quarter.

Myles Wolfolk 5’11 205 DB-Junior North Carolina

Notable: 6 tackles, 2 INTs (33 yards)

New North Carolina defensive coordinator Jay Bateman knew he would need a big game from his secondary to slow down the South Carolina offensive attack led by quarterback Jake Bentley.  Wolfolk delivered in a big way.  After initially starting his career as a nickel corner/linebacker for the Tar Heels, he has since moved full-time to the safety position.  Coming off an injury-plagued 2018 campaign,  the junior safety twice earned the team’s new turnover championship belt with interceptions off Bentley.   On the game-winning pick, the former high school wideout displayed the ability to bait the Gamecock quarterback.   On a third down and 10 from the North Carolina 26-yard line, Bateman ran a version of a zone blitz (brought four rushers and dropped his strong defensive end into the middle hook area) which tasks Wolfolk with curl-flat responsibility towards the short side of the field.  After he took his initial drop, Bentley thought he had an open crossing route to his No. 4 receiver (coming from the strong side) because Wolfolk stayed outside the numbers to the weak side No. 1 X-receiver while reading the quarterback’s eyes.  As soon as Bentley let go of the ball, the former high school wideout took a B-line path to the crossing route and picked it off with ease.  The pick sealed the win for the Tar Heels and got the ACC a much-needed victory over an SEC opponent in head coach Mack Brown’s return to Chapel Hill. 

“We’re all aiming to get this (belt) every week,” Wolfolk explained while wearing the turnover belt in the locker room after the game. “This week was mine and I’m blessed to say it.” https://www.thestate.com/sports/college/acc/article234615997.html

 

 

 

 

DraftNasty lenses: Zack Moss 5’10 222 RB-Utah

Utah running back Zack Moss returns in 2019 with the hope of finishing what he started just three seasons ago.  The Hallandale, Florida native suffered a knee injury prior to the Oregon game and was lost for the remainder of his junior campaign.  Despite the injury, Moss managed to rush for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in just nine games.   The school’s fourth all-time leading rusher’s health will go a long way in determining the Utes’ fate in the Pac-12 South. 

 

 

 

Week 1 Preview, 8-31-19: Auburn defense vs. Oregon offense

Oregon’s offense heads into the 2019 campaign with a huge contest looming versus an Auburn defense that ranked 30th in the nation in opponent third down conversions a season ago.  They are led by a defensive line that features three disruptive edge rushers in Marlon Davidson, Big Kat Bryant and Nick Coe.  Coe led the Tigers with seven quarterbacks sacks in 2018. 

Oregon QB Justin Herbert’s ability to throw under pressure will be key in the team’s Week 1 matchup versus Auburn.

Davidson has occasionally shown the ability to peel (come off of his pass rush to cover RBs) versus quick running back flares to the flats (see UGA ’18-third quarter).  As we spotlighted in the Tigers dominating 63-14 win in the 2018 Music City Bowl versus Purdue, even backup front seven personnel (i.e. Bryant) are capable of reacting to tipped passes.

Auburn OLB/DE Big Kat Bryant (No. 1 pictured) returned a tipped ball (by No. 94 Tyrone Truesdell, pictured) for a 20-yard TD interception return in the second quarter of the 2018 Music City Bowl.

It makes this a tough defensive line to puncture even if they aren’t recording sacks. The team’s front seven accounted for 15 of Auburn’s 54 pass break-ups (T-30th in the nation) in 2018.  Bryant, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 253 pounds, accounted for three of those pass break-ups despite starting just three games.

Derrick Brown vs. Oregon interior OL

Throckmorton, pictured, has started at four different positions on Oregon’s offensive line heading into 2019.

Auburn defensive lineman and 2020 NFL first-round draft prospect Derrick Brown can win on twists/stunts, displays range and is capable of using his vision versus double teams.  It will be important for 2018 second-team All-Pac-12 LG Shane Lemieux -a  38-game starter entering 2019- to win on his angle/cut-off blocks versus Brown’s quickness.  The Ducks have to take away snaps from the Tigers defensive front with some semblance of a running attack.  Brown  may match up slightly better with the Ducks’ most versatile lineman, right guard Calvin Throckmorton (has actually played more at the tackle spot).   In 2018, Oregon ran much more than they passed on first down.  Passing on that down early in this contest could halt Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele from hiding the defense’s intentions in obvious passing situations. 

Herbert vs. Auburn third down disguise

For Herbert to enjoy sustained success in this contest, he and his offensive line have to be cognizant of Auburn’s multiple disguises and line games on third downs.  Dating back to his freshman campaign, he has protected the football relatively well.  However, Auburn tied for 24th in the nation a season ago with 14 interceptions.  Eight of the players responsible for 11 of those picks return, led by senior cornerback Javaris Davis.  Davis -the team’s longtime nickel back- enters 2019 with six career interceptions and one touchdown, and his pre-snap identification on this all-important down could help Herbert decipher the team’s final coverage.

There are times when Steele will show a five or six-man pressure look in the pre-snap and then rush just four defenders with a two-or-three-deep zone behind it (see Purdue, Music City Bowl ’18, 3rd and 10, 2nd QTR/14:14).  In these instances, Herbert’s patience will be tested.

Oregon’s answer may be a dummy snap count that will attempt to force Auburn to show its hand.  Herbert often looks to the sideline for the pre-snap adjustment before running the play (3rd and 8, 1st QTR, SJSU ’18-defensive pass interference).   In Week 3 of the 2018 campaign, San Jose State DC Derrick Odum would sometimes keep his linebackers and defensive linemen in stationary positions prior to bringing six-man pressures (3rd and 15, 1st QTR, incomplete pass, QB hit).  In these instances, Herbert displayed pocket toughness to deliver the ball while getting hit by the unblocked blitz threat. 

On the next five Oregon third down attempts (San Jose State ’18), the Ducks posted a false start (3rd and 9, 2nd QTR), an incompletion to a tight end in the end zone while backed up (3rd and 13, 2nd QTR), a one-yard completion (3rd and 13, 2nd QTR), an 11-yard completion (3rd and 8, 2nd QTR) and an incompletion (3rd and 8, 2nd QTR).  Many of the coverage concepts included two-or-three-deep zones mixed with split safety looks.

So what was the common theme prior to these third downs?

San Jose State’s front seven (led by former NT Boogie Roberts) wreaked havoc on first and second down.  The team’s linebackers reacted to what they saw and forced the action.  An inability to create forward movement in the running game (2.7 yards per carry) caused Oregon to stay in third and long much of the afternoon.  For the game, the Ducks converted 39-percent (7-of-18) of its third down attempts.  To even reach that mark against the Tigers front seven, Oregon OC Marcus Arroyo has to create manageable third downs for Herbert and his offensive line. 

There will be many games for Auburn to study when attempting to corral one of the 2020 NFL Draft’s top quarterback prospects in Herbert.  One could argue that the Michigan State defensive performance in the 2018 Redbox Bowl ranks at or near the top of the list.  Surprisingly, however, the job done by San Jose State DC Derrick Odum in slowing down Oregon’s offense has some intriguing hints for Auburn DC Kevin Steele.

 

 

2019 2nd Annual Silver Bluff HS Gridiron Golf Tournament, 6-28-19

Silver Bluff High School hosted its second annual Gridiron Golf tournament at the Midland Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina on June 28, 2019. Here is a look at some of the images from the weekend.

2019 NFL Draft recap, pick-by-pick: AFC West

Lock, the team’s second-round pick, finished his career with 12,193 yards passing (second in SEC history).

Denver Broncos Notable picks:  The team traded its 10th overall pick, yet still got the draft’s 21st player overall at Pick 20.  In addition, the team nabbed our 32nd-ranked player in Risner early in the second round. Although Lock was deeper on our board (54th overall), we don’t think the Broncos could have waited any longer to pull the trigger on the third-best QB in the draft.  Of the team’s undrafted free agents, Nevada’s Malik Reed has the most suddenness and could have easily been a draft pick.  For the second consecutive year, John Elway added solid players to an underrated nucleus.  Ultimately, however,  this draft’s eventual grade will come down to the development of Lock.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (20) Traded its first round pick (10th overall) to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the team’s Noah Fant TE/Iowa 21/1st Round Although his teammate T.J. Hockenson won the 2018 John Mackey Award, it was Fant who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as voted on by the coaches. Fant’s 4.5 speed will be a welcome addition down the seams for new quarterback John Flacco.   
2 (41) Dalton

Risner

OL/Kansas State 32/2nd Round It doesn’t take long to understand the value of Risner, who despite having natural lateral quickness, needs to close off the bottom of the pocket more consistently as an outside tackle.  If he moves back into the center position (where he started in 2015), then we think he’ll challenge for a starting spot.
2 (42)

Acquired from Cincinnati

Drew Lock QB/Missouri 54/2nd Round Lock can challenge all parts of the field with range that is comparable to Joe Flacco, the man he is asked to backup initially in Denver.  We felt that the former Tiger needed a bridge quarterback and Flacco fits the bill.
3 (71) Dre’Mont Jones DT/Ohio State 33/2nd Round Jones’ outstanding footwork frequently allowed him to work over guards after gaining an edge.  For him to become a legitimate starter, he will have to play heavier at the point of attack.
5 (156)

Acquired from Minnesota

Justin Hollins DE-OLB/Oregon 202/4th Round Hollins proved during 2019 East-West Shrine practicesthat he was at least adequate as an exchange LB.  It is a big reason he took home East-West Shrine Game Defensive MVP honors.  The former Duck forced eight fumbles in school. 
6 (187)

Acquired from Carolina

Juwann

Winfree

WR/

Colorado, Maryland

425/5th Round Winfree has unique route-running skill and underrated field speed.  The former Terrapin rarely has to idle himself into patterns.  The Broncos struck gold by staying in-state a year ago with UDFA Pro Bowler Phillip Lindsay and hope to do so again with its sixth-round pick.

Hardman averaged nearly 21 yards per punt return in 2018 and accounted for eight touchdowns (7 REC, 1 PR).

 

Kansas City Chiefs Notable picks: The Chiefs went into the draft looking to add pieces as opposed to having to fill them.  One position of note that the team didn’t address until Day 3 is cornerback.  Heading into the 2019 campaign, they have a rather unproven group of outside cornerbacks.  They will likely have to depend on Kendall Fuller to give them some reps on the flanks after the loss of underrated CB Steven Nelson. In addition, the team is probably depending on Emmanuel Ogbah, who has quietly posted 17 pass break-ups in his career, to be a serviceable left defensive end opposite the recently acquired Frank Clark.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

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‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (56)

Acquired from Los Angeles via New England via Chicago

Mecole Hardman All-Purpose/Georgia 72/2nd Round It doesn’t take long to determine where Hardman is inclined to work.  He can become a serious contender for playing time in the slot if he can show increased ball skills and awareness. His biggest strength is the ability to accelerate through the reception, but he left some passes on the field.  We think he is one of the top return threats in the draft. `
2 (63)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Juan

Thornhill

DB/Virginia 179/3rd Round Thornhill, a former corner at Virginia, doesn’t mind mixing it up in coverage.  His biggest weakness came when routes broke away from him (either at safety or corner).  The former high school basketball star uses outstanding leaping ability to supplement first-rate instincts.  He was used in somewhat of a hybrid role in 2018.
3 (84)

Acquired from Seattle

Khalen Saunders DT/Western Illinois 179/3rd Round Saunders has some traits that are similar to former Texas DL and current New Orleans Saints DL Malcom Brown.  An above average athlete, he was a tough block for guards or tackles.  Stamina is a bit of a question mark.
6 (201) Rashad Fenton CB/South Carolina 269/4th Round Have you ever seen a player who may not look as fast as he really is?  This is the case for Fenton, who shined as a kickoff returner at various points of his career.  His quick-footed nature and overall toughness means he could get looks at the nickel back spot.
6 (214) Darwin Thompson RB/Utah State 306/4th Round An explosive Pro Day forced evaluators to go back to the tape for Thompson.  What they found was a patient runner with enough speed to bounce runs outside.  A season that featured a 15.3 yards per reception average proved he can catch too.
7 (216)

Acquired from San Francisco

Nick

Allegretti

OG/Illinois 220/4th Round The former Illini two-time team captain started 36 straight games to end his career. We feel the right guard position gives him the best chance to earn a roster spot. Why?  He shifts his weight on opponents as well as any guard in this year’s draft.

 

Jacobs (No. 8 pictured) scored 14 touchdowns on just 154 touches in 2018.

 

Oakland Raiders Notable pick: Newly-hired GM Mike Mayock selected potential core players who add substance to the roster.  Ferrell and Jacobs both played large parts in each of their respective team’s national championship runs. Although Abram represented a personality pick, how different is he from former West Virginia safety Karl Joseph?  The selection of Crosby means the team now has a number of edge rushers to throw at teams, even if none of them would be described as a dominant game changer. Mullen, Johnson and college free agent Keisean Nixon join a cornerback group suddenly filled with young talent and depth.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (4) Clelin Ferrell DE/Clemson 15/1st Round Ferrell averaged 17 tackles for loss per year over the course of the last three seasons.  His ability to finish on the quarterback is undeniable.  The big knock on him was a relative lack of natural bend off the edge.  He is long enough to compensate.
1 (24) Josh Jacobs RB/Alabama 61/2nd Round Jacobs’ running style and receiving skill largely mirrors that of the runner who started for the Raiders the last two seasons, Marshawn Lynch when he came out of school.  He is just not as fast as Lynch was coming out of school. 
1 (27) Johnathan Abram S/

Mississippi State,

Georgia

52/2nd Round Somewhat of a Donte Whitner-type (Bills, 49ers), Abram could become a complement to fellow safety Karl Joseph.  The former Georgia Bulldog has covered the slot effectively, but we don’t think that’s a role he will be asked to man consistently in the NFL.  He will, however, be asked to lock down tight ends.
2 (40) Trayvon Mullen CB/Clemson 95/3rd Round The former high school WR has positive hand-eye coordination and timing. During his two years as a starter, he displayed a keen sense of handling man or zone assignments.  At 6-foot-1, 199 pounds, he is an adequate tackler. 
4 (106) Maxx

Crosby

DE-OLB/Eastern

Michigan

273/4th Round Crosby’s gangly, unorthodox style conjures up images of former Buffalo Bills star Bryce Paup.  For him to make it, he has to play with more sand in the pants.
4 (129)

Acquired from Indianapolis

Isaiah Johnson CB/Houston 139/3rd Round Johnson’s ability to win in zone coverage comes from his receiving background.  In addition, he is one of the top gunners in the 2019 NFL Draft.  Standing 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, the former wideout will find playing time in some capacity in Year 1.
4 (137)

Compensatory pick acquired from Atlanta

Foster Moreau TE/LSU 181/3rd Round Although he wasn’t featured as a receiving tight end at LSU, Moreau contains underrated athleticism and will be a fine on the move or hand in the dirt Y-tight end.  It would not be a surprise to see his receiving skills expand at the NFL level.  He can create separation at the top of his routes.
5 (149)

Acquired from Dallas via Cincinnati

Hunter

Renfrow

WR/

Clemson

126/3rd Round The operative thinking is that Renfrow turns into a multi-year contributor at the slot wide receiver position and you’re done with it…right?  What about special teams production for a receiver weighing in the 180-pound range?  Despite showing up at the gunner spot (ex: Russell Athletic Bowl ’15), he posted just four career tackles.  He did, however, serve as the team’s emergency punter.
7 (230)

Acquired from Atlanta

Quinton Bell Prairie View A&M N/A Bell averaged 13.6 yards per catch before transitioning to defense in 2018.  He responded with 7.5 quarterback sacks and 10 tackles for losses.  He’s bulked up in weight while still maintaining his explosiveness (41 1/2-inch VJ). 

 

Tranquill (No. 23 pictured), a former safety, finished with 292 career tackles for the Fighting Irish.

 

Los Angeles Chargers Notable picks: Tillery’s unique athleticism (4.33 20-yard short shuttle) and heavy hands (10 5/8”) offsets an inconsistent pad level.   Adderley’s range belies his timed speed.  Pipkins has a skill-set and profile that closely mirrors incumbent right tackle Sam Tevi.  Stick may be used in a surprise role for the team and Broughton can play multiple positions.  Tranquill’s foot speed and safety experience could earn him a role in sub-packages, but we expect him to star on special teams immediately.
Round,

Selection,

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‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (28) Jerry Tillery Notre Dame 19/2nd Round Tillery has all of the tools to be a multi-purpose defensive lineman in the NFL.  His style lends itself to somewhat of an Arik Armstead-type (San Francisco 49ers).  Both players were bunch producers in school.
2 (60) Nasir

Adderley

DB/

Delaware

43/2nd Round Adderley’s timed speed does not accurately represent the speed that really matters….his eye speed. His ability to read the quarterback’s body language really was unparalleled in this year’s draft class.  His major key will be finding a balance when it comes to making open field tackles consistently in space.
3 (91) Trey Pipkins OT/Sioux Falls 119/3rd Round He displays positive bend, impressive mobility and an element of finish necessary to compete on Sundays.  His short lateral kick-slide will have to deepen if he is going to stay outside.  We went into how his outstanding NFL Combine workout would be the final factor in swaying NFL coaches and personnel.
4 (130) Drue

Tranquill

LB/Notre Dame 194/4th Round The former safety uses his 4.5 speed to make plays all over the field.  His stock stayed steady due to his ability to return from a couple of freak ACL injuries during school.  It didn’t stop him from finishing his career with 292 tackles and 25 tackles for losses in 52 career appearances.
5 (166) Easton Stick QB/North Dakota State 301/4th Round His 4.6 40-yard dash time opens eyes, but maybe not even as much as his blistering 6.65 time in the three-cone drill.  It is a big reason he rushed for 41 TDs in school.  He doesn’t have former Bison QB Carson Wentz’s arm, but he does have even more impressive athleticism.  The Chargers will find a way to incorporate it on a deep team.
6 (200) Emeke

Egbule

OLB/

Houston

490/5th Round His defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said of Egbule, “he’s our most versatile player in space.”  It will be imperative for him show these traits for scouts during training camp to earn a roster spot.
7 (242) Cortez Broughton DL/

Cincinnati

247/4th Round In a deep 2019 defensive tackle class, it probably isn’t a surprise that Broughton was one of the overlooked prospects.  Aside from notching 16.5 tackles for losses in 2018, he also put together a pretty good week at the 2019 East-West Shrine Game. Icing on the cake for Broughton came on Cincinnati’s Pro Day, where he notched an impressive 33 1/2-inch vertical jump at 293 pounds.

2019 NFL Draft recap, pick-by-pick: AFC South

Omenihu, the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2018, has nearly 37-inch arms. He could be a fit in DC Romeo Crennel’s schemes.

Houston Texans Notable picks: Howard and Johnson both ranked in our Top 50 and represent potential starting players in Year 1.  Scharping is as technically advanced as any OL in the draft and Warring could be a factor in two tight end sets.  The signing of Matt Kalil ensures the team goes into training camp with competition at the offensive tackle spot. Of the team’s Day 3 draft picks, Omenihu may be asked to adjust right away from a need perspective. Will Fuller’s injury history could leave the team depending on backups again late in the year.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (23) Tytus Howard OT/Alabama State 41/2nd Round The former high school quarterback often talked about the task of gaining weight and has gotten up to the 322-pound range.  His quick-footed nature could become a fit on the right side for the Texans.
2 (54) Lonnie Johnson CB/

Kentucky

47/2nd Round Johnson’s occasional pass interference penalty sometimes comes from not using his length to disrupt the wide receiver’s release.  When he does, it is tough for the wide receiver to get off the line. On the plus side, his tackling technique and hip flexibility make for a unique combination at 6’2, 213 pounds. 
2 (55) Max

Scharping

OT/Northern Illinois 81/2nd Round We talked about how Scharping’s NFL Combine performance alleviated some of the concerns about pure quickness heading into the draft.  The Texans went into this year’s draft hoping to cure some of the ills along its offensive line and this selection continues to work in that direction. 
3 (88) Kahale

Warring

TE/San Diego State 57/2nd Round Warring uses his foot speed to get on top of opponents as a receiver.  He still needs refinement in terms of sustaining blocks, but his best football is ahead of him.
5 (161) Charles Omenihu DE/Texas 122/3rd Round Omenihu’s 36 1/2-inch arms continued to aid him in his development while in school.  The Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year began to display increased pass rush acumen as a senior when it came to counters.  He is a solid run defender and will compete with Carlos Watkins, who has largely been disappointing. 
6 (195) Xavier Crawford CB/Central Michigan, Oregon State 300/4th Round After missing seven games at Oregon State in 2017 due to a back injury, the first-team All-MAC corner defended 13 passes in 2018.  He competes on routes outside the numbers.
7 (220) Cullen Gillaspia FB/Texas A&M N/A Texas A&M’s 12th man was a special teams stalwart and team captain.  The former walk-on posted nine tackles in 2016.

Tell III (No. 7 pictured) impressed NFL personnel at the 2019 NFL Combine with a 42″vertical jump, 11’4″ broad jump, 4.01 20-yard short shuttle and a 6.63-second time in the three-cone drill.

Indianapolis Colts Notable picks: General manager Chris Ballard continues to add positive pieces to one of the better young rosters in the NFL.  Ya-Sin and Banogu have a chance to add an element of speed and toughness that the defense continues to expand.  Okereke and Willis will be special teams contributors in Year 1 with the expectation that they can challenge for bigger roles early.  Tell III may be asked to move to cornerback, where his smooth change of direction could perhaps shine.  Campbell has the speed to stretch defenses vertically to take some of the pressure off of stud WR T.Y. Hilton, but his potential contributions in the kick return game should not be underestimated.  Patterson will compete to backup all three interior line spots.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (34) Rock Ya-Sin CB/Temple, Presbyterian 63/2nd Round The first-team All-AAC selection has a background that includes a stint as an All-Big South corner for the Blue Hose.  Watching him play puts you in the mind frame of viewing a 6-foot-2 corner (he is nearly 6’0) because he plays bigger than even his size would indicate. 
2 (49) Ben Banogu DE-OLB/TCU 44/2nd Round Banogu moved around so much in school and with so much effectiveness, he shouldn’t have been pigeon-holed as a Rush outside linebacker.  His loose nature gives him options, but the team is expected to start him with his hand in the dirt. 
2 (59) Parris Campbell All-Purpose/

Ohio State

39/2nd Round Campbell’s speed was used more going sideways in school, but he did work the middle of the field on deep crossing patterns and square-ins.The team has a number of targets already efficient in those roles, so how he is incorporated will be interesting to observe.  He may be a dynamo as a kickoff returner early.
3 (89) Bobby

Okereke

LB/Stanford 162/3rd Round Okereke’s speed would seem to be a match for the type of scheme the Colts run.  His size/speed/weight ratio is in line with 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard and fellow LB Anthony Walker.  He will start off as a special teams contributor.
4 (109)

Acquired from Oakland via Jacksonville

Khari Willis S/Michigan State 87/3rd Round Willis’ high football IQ and overall steady nature earned him praise through the draft process.  His ability to cover tight ends at 213 pounds also adds to his value.  He gives the Colts unique depth at the safety spot.
5 (144)

Acquired from Cleveland via Jacksonville

Marvell Tell III DB/USC 387/5th Round We speculated that a team would look at Tell’s physical profile and project him to cornerback.  He may in fact get an opportunity to show off his cover skills outside in training camp. 
5 (164) EJ Speed LB/Tarleton State N/A Speed overcame some off the field and injury concerns to get into the draft after totaling 106 tackles, 5 QB sacks and 12.5 TFLs in 2018. 
6 (199) Gerri Green OLB/

Mississippi State

210/4th Round Green appeared in 52 games during school and has made starts at both DE and OLB.  He will likely become an exchange linebacker, where he has been pretty good at sliding and shuffling despite weighting in the 250-pound range.  Versatile performer. 
7 (240) Jackson Barton OT/Utah 341/5th Round Barton’s lateral kick-slide won to a spot on many occasions in pass pro.  He is a decent athlete with questionable leverage.  There are possibilities for him to compete with Joe Haeg and Le’Raven Clark for a backup spot outside.
7 (246)

Acquired from Philadelphia via New England

Javon

Patterson

OL/Ole Miss 404/5th Round The former five-star recruit has to overcome small hands that make it difficult to latch.  On the positive side, he is an effective pulling option and cuts off on angles with efficiency as a run blocker.  The fact that he has started at OG and OC could him stick in Indy.

 

Taylor (No. 65 pictured), a former Freshman All-American, made starts at both right tackle and left tackle as a Gator.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Notable picks: It will be interesting to see DC Todd Wash intends to use Allen.  He got up to around the 262-pound mark prior to the draft, but he has played in the 240-pound range in the past.  He has enough flexibility to be at least serviceable in coverage, but they drafted him to rush the passer.  The selection of Taylor would seem to add positive depth to an offensive line always in search of physical players.  Williams and Armstead will increase the team’s speed on special teams. This was a solid, if unspectacular, draft haul that produced a number of players who fit the personality and make-up of the current roster. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (7) Josh Allen Kentucky 6/1st Round Allen will get an opportunity to build on what was a breakout senior year.  He finished his career with 41 tackles for losses and 11 forced fumbles.  His activity in school was his biggest strength.  Look for the team to make him a wild card type of player tough to identify.
2 (35) Jawaan

Taylor

OT/Florida 7/1st Round There may have been some concerns about Taylor’s health, but he is in line with what the Jaguars want to do when it comes to running the ball.  Taylor has quality footwork that shines when he is in optimum condition.
3 (69) Josh Oliver TE/San Jose State 107/3rd Round Oliver’s foot speed, ball skills and ability to flex add an element perhaps missing from the team’s offense prior to the draft.  He and free agent acquisition Geoff Swaim could potentially form a solid one-two punch at the position. 
3 (98) Quincy Williams LB/Murray State 339/5th Round Quinnen Williams’ older brother found a way to sneak into the third round due to his speed and explosiveness.  The former safety was frequently walked-out in an overhang position for the Racers, and there is work to be done when it comes to key-and-diagnose from the exchange LB spot.
5 (140) Ryquell Armstead RB/Temple 153/3rd Round Armstead’s downhill running style closely mirrors many of the running backs he will compete with for a roster spot.  The difference?  His 4.45 speed overcomes a bit of a rigid nature and he played a few snaps on defense in 2018 for the Owls.
6 (178) Gardner Minshew QB/

Washington State,

ECU

372/5th Round Minshew carries similar traits to current Jaguars backup Cody Kessler when it comes to hand size, height and weight.  He was a bit of a gambler at ECU, but he played at a faster pace under Mike Leach while at Washington State.
7 (235)

Acquired from Oakland via Seattle

Dontavius Russell DT/Auburn 183/3rd Round Russell kind of got lost in the shuffle in what proved to be a deep defensive tackle class. We felt he had underrated strength, particularly when aligned in an inside shade of an offensive guard or center.  If he earns a roster spot, it will be to take some of the snaps off of the team’s starters. 

 

Long (seen scooping the ball versus Utah in the 2017 Heart of Dallas Bowl) was named an AP second-team All-American and the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. He finished with 111 tackles, 8 QB sacks, 19 TFLs and 4 PBUs.

Tennessee Titans Notable picks: Simmons may not be available for action until 2020, which requires this draft class to drift into somewhat of a wait-and-see proposition.  Brown, however, will have his slot evaluated early on. The same can be said for both Davis and Hooker.  Hooker brings a lot of desirable traits to a defensive backfield full of capable playmakers.  Walker’s inability to perform until late in the process caused him to slide, but he was at his best against the best competition.  There are not many drafts that allow you to draft a conference’s Defensive Player of the Year in the sixth round, but the Titans picked one up from the Big 12 in Long, Jr.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (19) Jeffery

Simmons

DT/

Mississippi State

5/1stRound With Brian Orakpo’s retirement, the onus falls on Harold Landry -last year’s second-round pick- to take the next step.  Although Simmons may redshirt in 2019, he could become a Pro Bowler if he can return to full health after suffering an ACL tear while training for pre-draft workouts.
2 (51) A.J. Brown WR/Ole Miss 16/1st Round Brown’s strong run after the catch skills make him a tough tackle for any defensive back at 226 pounds.  He displayed the ability to go outside against Vanderbilt, but he primarily worked from the slot on his Pro Day.
3 (82) Nate Davis OG/

Charlotte

92/3rd Round Despite playing right tackle in 2018, he was outstanding with his quick-set technique as a LG.  We were most impressed with his vision, but he needs work on preventing his frame from getting overextended.  He will compete for the right guard position in training camp.
4 (116) Amani Hooker DB/Iowa 34/2nd Round The Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year may have been hurt by the fact that he covered the slot in school.  He will have to prove that he can get off the hash in coverage, which he has done effectively on occasion.  He is at his best reading and passing off underneath routes.
5 (168)

Acquired from N.Y. Jets via New Orleans

D’Andre Walker OLB/Georgia 85/2nd Round Walker received one of final second round grades and the Titans were able to pick him up in the fifth round.  We liked his ability to work from either a two-point or three-point stance effectively.  This team needed more pass rushers and he can play from either side. 
6 (188)

Acquired from Miami

David Long, Jr. LB/

West Virginia

115/3rd Round Long was nicked for his size and lack of length.  He was also unable to complete a full workout until late in the process.  The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year routinely attacks the action and consistently trusts what he sees in front of him.  He will have to shine on special teams to earn a roster spot.