Category Archives: AFC East

2020 NFL Draft recap: AFC East

Buffalo Bills  Notable pick: Bills HC Sean McDermott has had success with bigger defensive ends and Epenesa could add to the trend. The team needs him to produce. They lost both Jordan Phillips (Cardinals) and Shaq Lawson (Dolphins) in the offseason. The pair accounted for 16 of the team’s 44 sacks in 2019.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (54)A.J. Epenesa6’5 275 DE-Iowa29/2nd Round Epenesa’s technical prowess overcomes just okay burst off the edge. The former U.S. Army All-American brings outstanding size to the table.
3 (86) Zack Moss5’10 226 RB-Utah62/2nd Round Moss is the prototype strong runner for inclement weather in December and January. His health has always been his biggest knock.
4 (128)Gabriel Davis6’2 216
WR-UCF
115/3rd Round Davis’ deceptive gait and unorthodox style accompanies a 6-foot-2, 216-pound frame. He proved adept on double moves and boxing out the opposition in school.
5 (167) Jake Fromm 6’2 219
QB-Georgia
111/3rd Round Fromm finished his career with an impressive 78:18 TD/INT ratio. If he can handle the windy conditions of Buffalo, he may be able to compete to backup incumbent starter Josh Allen. Davis Webb and Matt Barkley are also in the mix, so there are no guarantees for Fromm.
6 (188)Tyler Bass 6’0 200
PK-Georgia Southern
380/5th RoundGame-winning kicks have been a part of Bass’ portfolio in school. He was also pretty good in rainy weather. The weather he is about to face is going to be an entirely new challenge, but his strong leg may be up to the task.
6 (207)
Isaiah Hodgins
6’4 210
WR-Oregon State
80/2nd Round
Like Davis, Hodgins isn’t necessarily flashy but efficient. The 6-foot-4 wideout is smooth getting in-and-out of patterns and can make the contested catch. To make the team, he needs to play stronger versus physical coverage.

7 (239)
Dane Jackson6’0 187
CB-Pittsburgh
207/4th Round
Jackson is smart, tough and generally fluid. Despite weighting in the 185-pound range, he could get looks at a nickel spot if he cannot keep up with speed on the edge. The team’s coverage style gives him a chance to make the team.
Moss rushed for over 4,000 yards (4,067) and scored 41 touchdowns in school.
Miami DolphinsNotable pick: Hunt did not get to show off his impressive physical tools in the postseason. He is a mammoth tackle with positive movement and the right temperament to surprise early in an NFL training camp.


Round, Selection,PlayerSchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNasty’ Take:
1 (5)Tua Tagovailoa6’0 217 QB-Alabama37/2nd RoundThis pick is as much about long-term upside as it is 2020. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back, (as well as Josh Rosen), the team does not have to rush Tagovailoa into the mix. Fans yearning to see the former Heisman finalist could speed up the process.
1 (18)Austin Jackson6’5 322 OT-USC61/2nd RoundJackson legitimately was one of the most athletic offensive or defensive lineman in this year’s draft class. Getting his technique under control will be key. If he makes a big step in training camp, it would not be a shock to see him as an opening day starter.
1 (30)Noah Igbinoghene5’10 198 CB/All-purpose-Auburn157/3rd RoundOne of Igbinoghene’s best characteristics -kickoff return capability- may not be needed unless KR Jakeem Grant goes down to injury (as he did late last season). Where he will be needed is in nickel defenses, where he will battle current third corner Cordrea Tankersley (also returning from injury) for playing time.
2 (39)Robert Hunt6’5 323 OT-Louisiana-Lafayette103/3rd RoundHunt has made starts at LG, LT and RT. His near 11-inch hands deliver decisive punches to the opposition. He is also capable of surprising second-level LBs with his quickness on combination blocks. He has starting capability early in his career, but his durability came into question in 2019.
2 (56)Raekwon Davis6’7 311 DT-Alabama76/2nd RoundThe former Crimson Tide defensive stalwart was never a slippery defender, but he did find a way to notch 8.5 QB sacks back in 2017.  He is more of a stack-and-shed two-gap defender with enough strength to be an effective part of the team’s rotation in 2020.
3 (70)Brandon Jones5’11 198 S-Texas123/3rd RoundJones was a team leader, active tackler and decent punt returner in school. He does not carry a big frame but throws his body around. The big question concerning Jones will be his ability to stay upright with his style of play.
4 (111)Solomon Kindley6’3 337 OG-Georgia284/4th RoundKindley reinforces the belief that the Dolphins will continue to commit big athletic bodies to its offensive line. The former three-star recruit is a grappler with the right mentality to send messages in the run game. He was a big factor in the ‘Dawgs physical running attack.
5 (154)Jason Strowbridge6’5 275 DE-North Carolina165/3rd RoundStrowbridge’s upper body movements are well-synchronized when he times snap counts. He is more fluid than one would expect at 275 pounds, and he projects favorably in the multiple fronts the Dolphins will employ week-to-week.
5 (164)Curtis Weaver6’2 265 DE-Boise State75/2nd RoundWeaver’s underwhelming physical traits may have caused a precipitous slide in the draft, but his skill at flipping his hips resulted in ascending sack production each year in school. He has to improve defending the run.
6 (185)Blake Ferguson6’3 229 LS-LSU573/7th RoundFerguson- the nation’s No. 1 long snapper coming out of high school- more than lived up to his recruiting hype. The two-time team captain is capable of speeding up his long snaps versus pressure looks.
7 (246)Malcolm Perry5’9 186 All-Purpose-Navy277/4th RoundPerry rushed for over 2,000 yards as an option quarterback in 2019, but he earned plenty of repetitions for the Midshipmen as a slot back and WR during his career. Aside from averaging 21.4 yards per catch on 22 receptions, he also averaged 24.6 yards per kickoff return.
Miami Dolphins fifth-round pick Curtis Weaver finished his career as the all-time leader in sacks (34) in Mountain West Conference history.
New England Patriots  Notable pick:  Jennings didn’t dominate rushing the passer in school, but he did dominate in other ways. His 18 pass breakups are an eye-opening total for an outside linebacker.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (37) Kyle Dugger 6’1 217
S-Lenoir-Rhyne
36/2nd Round Dugger has all of the tools to develop into a multi-purpose weapon for the Patriots defense. If needed, he can play linebacker, a big nickel, off the hash safety and even return kicks. As the team continues to redefine its size in the secondary, the former Division II All-American seems like the perfect fit.
2 (60)Josh Uche6’1 245
LB-Michigan
70/2nd Round For a player as talented as Uche, he didn’t play as much as one would have expected at Michigan. When he did finally hit the field full-time in 2019, the physical skills stood out.
3 (87)Anfernee Jennings6’2 256
OLB-Alabama
107/3rd Round Jennings brings more versatility to the table than some anticipate and his hand-eye coordination is elite. While not a finished product as a pass rusher, he has an innate feel for rushing from multiple spots.
3 (91) Devin Asiasi6’3 257
TE-UCLA
197/4th RoundAsiasi averaged 104 receiving yard per game in the last three games of ihs career at UCLA. He is capable of working the seams of the field.
3 (101) Dalton Keene6’4 253
TE-Virginia Tech
137/3rd Round As Keene improved as a blocker, his receiving skills did not diminish. He has handled a number of his blocking assignments on the move. His straight-line speed and upside after the catch ranks as a positive for the Patriots.
5 (159)
Justin Rohrwasser
6’3 230
PK-Marshall
N/A
Rohrwasser’s leg strength is adequate but his accuracy (just nine missed field goals in two years) was perhaps more impressive. Most of his misses during school came in the latter portion of seasons. He is capable of placing the ball directionally on kickoffs.
6 (182)
Michael Onwenu
6’3 344
Michigan
203/4th Round
A true road-grading offensive guard with power, Onwenu’s 11-inch hands are hard to get away from once he gains grasp of the opponent. The former DL has the mindset to dominate opponents, but he has to keep his weight under control.
6 (195)
Justin Herron
6’4 308
OG-Wake Forest
151/3rd Round
Herron- a collegiate left tackle- impressed during the 2020 Senior Bowl with his work at offensive guard. He provides the team with positional flex capability due to outstanding feet.
6 (204)
Caash Maluia
6’0 248
LB-Wyoming
N/A
Maluia is thick enough to handle being uncovered, and he was a four-year contributor in a number of facets for the Cowboys.
7 (230)
Dustin Woodard
6’2 291
OC-Memphis
478/6th Round
The team has had success with smaller offensive guards and centers in the past. The reason? Mobility. Woodard was effective on the move as a puller way back in 2016, when he played guard.
New England Patriots sixth-round pick Cassh Maluia posted seven tackles for loss and intercepted two passes for the Cowboys in 2019.
New York Jets  Notable picks:  Davis brings capability to the Jets in multi-dimensional nickel packages. If he can play off the hash, then the Jets will be able to move around multi-dimensional safety Jamal Adams even more down-to-down.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (11) Mekhi Becton6’7 364
OT-Louisville
1/1st Round Becton will be tasked with the huge responsibility of keeping starting QB Sam Darnold comfortable in the pocket. If he can execute the task, then he could soon be a Pro Bowler.
2 (59) Denzel Mims6’3 207
WR-Baylor
42/2nd RoundMims may not have gone as high as he would have liked to go in the draft, but he now has a legitimate chance to turn into a team’s top receiving threat early in his career. He is a good alternative in the current lineup of Jets receivers.
3 (68) Ashtyn Davis6’1 202
S-Cal
99/3rd RoundDavis’ foot speed shined as a kickoff returner and when running down plays in pursuit. One of the best things he did at Cal was disguise coverage in a scheme that has some similarities to the Jets.
3 (79)Jabari Zuniga6’3 253
DE-Florida
182/4th Round While Zuniga did move around effectively in school on a number of downs, he is going to get every opportunity to do some work from a stand-up or three-point position in Gregg Williams’ multitude of defensive looks. Staying healthy, which he didn’t do in 2019, is a big key.
4 (120)Lamical Perine5’11 216
RB-Florida
146/3rd RoundPerine’s tools include the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield effortlessly. Combined with his hard-charging style, he could become a nice change-up for Le’Veon Bell.

4 (125)
James Morgan
6’4 228
QB-FIU

127/3rd Round
Morgan’s mental aptitude is perhaps on par with his physical tools. His arm strength gives him a legitimate opportunity to battle David Fales for the team’s backup spot.

4 (129)
Cameron Clark
6’4 308
OT-Charlotte
126/3rd Round
The two-time team captain and 35-game starter is an impressive run blocker who is still growing as a pass protector. The 6-foot-4-inch tackle has 11-inch hands and an 83-inch wingspan. We think he can backup at least four spots on the offensive line while competing for a starting spot at guard.
5 (158)
Bryce Hall
6’1 202
CB-Virginia
105/3rd Round
Hall’s instincts as a corner are first-rate but he wasn’t able to answer the questions about recovery speed in the postseason due to still recovering from midseason surgery on a broken fibula. The effectiveness of his playing style will depend on his eye control.
6 (191)
Braden Mann
5’11 198
P-Texas A&M
335/5th Round
His spiral punts get into the 70-yard distances when he gets hold of punts and his hang times have gotten into the 4.8-second range in the film viewed. A good athlete, Mann saved a TD on a kickoff return by Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III in 2019 and posted seven tackles this past season. Mann has to get better as a directional punter.
New York Jets second-round pick Denzel Mims posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in two of his final three seasons at Baylor.

DraftNasty Rewind: “Running with the Bills”- Josh Allen

Josh Allen was one of five quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Like fellow first round pick, Baltimore Ravens quarterback, Lamar Jackson, Allen can get a lot done with his legs. Under the direction of Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Allen plays with a uniqueness to the position.

In order to better understand this now NFL starter, let’s look back at our evaluation of the former Wyoming signal caller:

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Prototype size. 10 1/8” hands. Good instincts. Competitive. Tough” (Corey Chavous 2018 NFL Draft Guide).

Fast forward a year and a half and these same attributes are at the top of the list when describing Allen. Take a look at this scramble for a touchdown against Miami. Immediately, what jumps out is the large hands as well as the instincts previously described, Allen is able to scramble right, palm the ball and unlike some other quarterbacks, he doesn’t look to move the chains and dive. Allen goes into the teeth of the defense and even dips his shoulder against a linebacker as he runs into the end zone.

For his career, Allen has thrown 27 touchdowns and 20 interceptions with a 56.7 completion percentage. He’s also run for 1,070 yards and averages 5.8 yards per carry, while losing three fumbles.

“He’s like a running back,” New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said during a press conference before playing the Bills this season. “He breaks tackles. He’s got good speed, good power, and he’s shifty. He avoids and breaks a lot of tackles. It’s another dimension, sixth receiver in the passing game if you will. Gives them another blocker in the running game when they have designed run plays for him.”

For his career, Allen has 17 rushing touchdowns compared to Jackson’s 12 and when the two met earlier this month, their combined 1,407 rushing yards was the most ever between two opposing starting quarterbacks. When looking more into Allen’s rushing touchdowns, you also see that he will run in it on each and every down, he has at least one rushing touchdown on each down with two rushing touchdowns coming on 4th and 5 or more.

Like a running back, Allen leaves himself susceptible to some big hits (see his scramble against the New England Patriots on third down in the fourth quarter, where he took a hit to the helmet). One of the weaknesses, we highlighted was “Allen’s reckless playing style has led to durability concerns.” Last year, Allen missed time with an elbow injury.

Digging deeper into the numbers, Allen has proven to be an effective runner on first and second down, where he averages 8.5 yards per attempt. This highlights what has been an effective recipe for the Bills offense when they’re successful: A big run on early downs, which allows for Frank Gore to get carries in short yardage situations and allows Allen to utilize the play action on second and third and short.

At the :23 second mark of the video below, we can see the athletic ability that Belichick is referring too. DraftNasty had Allen rated as the No. 4 quarterback in the draft and one reason why is that we felt his skills would have to be maximized by an offensive coordinator. Last year, during the opening week of the season versus the Ravens, DraftNasty highlighted in our in-game report some of Allen’s abilities. However, Allen had to sit behind Nathan Peterman and wasn’t given the reigns fully until the season began. A year later, Allen is the unquestioned starter and his coordinator has opened up more of the playbook. Daboll has mixed in run-pass options with deep shots to Bills speedster John Brown and uses Cole Beasley in the slot. Look at the similar play calling Daboll used when he was at the University of Alabama with then quarterback Jalen Hurts at the 2:20 mark.

The successful marriage between offensive coordinator and quarterback has led to a 9-4 season for the Bills and has them in the running for an AFC East division title, which they haven’t won since 1995. Another strength DraftNasty highlighted of Allen was his ability to run a pro-style offense with multiple shifts and two-tight end sets in Wyoming. Daboll has utilized his quarterback’s ability to handle multiple formations and has adopted the philosophy of his former mentor, Bill Belichick, who has been known to alter his schemes from week-to-week. According to the Democrat and Chronicle, through the first 10 games of this season, the Bills used 246 different offensive personnel combinations which is the fourth-most in the league behind the Dolphins, Lions and 49ers. Worth noting, the Lions and Dolphins both have head coaches who have ties to Belichick.

These multiple formations not only serve as window dressing for the defense but allow Allen to simplify his reads.

Look at how Daboll uses a motion man in the opening drive vs. the Redskins to manipulate the linebackers and allow Allen to decipher if it’s man or zone defense while tilting the formation for running plays. It’s important that the Bills play well early in situations because Allen has thrown nine interceptions to just five touchdowns with a 51 percent completion percentage when trailing. As opposed to four touchdowns and three interceptions with a 53 percent completion percentage when ahead.

As the Bills jockey for playoff positioning, we see how much Allen means to Buffalo’s offense. And almost two full NFL seasons later and we think this analysis of Allen still rings true.

“While he could use a year or two of development behind a bridge quarterback, he may be able to transition to the NFL game at a faster pace than expected. He’s an emotional, fiery player who will need to hone his footwork, timing and trajectory as a passer. We feel he’s an early-round talent capable of competing for a starting job early in his career,” according to our 2018 assessment of Allen.

DraftNasty feels like the Bills have found an adequate coordinator in Daboll, who can maximize Allen’s abilities. If the signal caller is to continue to ascend look for an improvement in his mechanics and to be more judicial when running.

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

Williams led the SEC in passes defended in 2018 after posting career-highs in interceptions (4) and pass break-ups (14).

New England Patriots Notable picks: Williams could be a chess piece when the team has to defend the Travis Kelce-types at tight end and the A.J. Green-types at wide receiver.  Cajuste has more talent than his draft position indicates, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him push for playing time.  Bailey will challenge incumbent Ryan Allen in one of the training camp battles to watch.   Harry’s size is similar to Josh Gordon.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (32) N’Keal Harry WR/Arizona State 65/2nd Round Harry won’t be asked to take the top off of defenses, but he will be tasked with adjusting to a variety of passes outside the numbers.  We think some of his best work came in the slot, where his superior run after the catch skill comes into full focus.  His overall style fits the offense and adds a bit of pizzazz.
2 (45) Joejuan Williams CB/

Vanderbilt

31/2nd Round Williams will be able to match up with bigger WRs  one week and then can cover the TE the next week, if needed.  While his 40-yard dash times didn’t impress in the postseason, he did demonstrate strength and explosion.  He was arguably the SEC’s most competitive corner in 2018. 
3 (77) Chase Winovich DE-OLB/

Michigan

93/3rd Round Winovich provides a versatile nature capable of rushing from a number of spots.  He plays longer than his length would suggest and is adept at causing havoc with his hand in the dirt. 
3 (87) Damien

Harris

RB/Alabama 56/2nd Round Harris will have a role in this offense but it may be according to game plan.  The Patriots continue to evolve into a team capable of running the ball to take pressure off of Brady.  He will compete for snaps with Rex Burkhead behind 2018 rookie sensation Sony Michel.
3 (101)

Compensatory pick acquired from Los Angeles via New England

Yodny

Cajuste

OT/West Virginia 67/2nd Round If not for his injury issues, Cajuste likely would have challenged for a spot in the second round.  Many of the DL we talked to said Cajuste was the best tackle they faced in the Big 12.  He provides insurance at the outside tackle spots, particularly if Isaiah Wynn is not fully recovered from his knee injury.
4 (118)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Hjalte

Froholdt

OG/

Arkansas

302/4th Round Froholdt’s mobility ranks as one of his strengths, as does his upper body strength and ability to latch.  The former DL’s lack of length is the one reason he lasted this long, but he has experience at both guard and center. 
4 (133)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Jarrett

Stidham

QB/Auburn 114/3rd Round Stidham’s 2017 performance against Alabama landed the Tigers in the SEC Championship game.  We spotlighted his upside in our feature on him in the 2018 Music City Bowl. 
5 (159)

Acquired from Minnesota via Seattle

Byron

Cowart

DL/

Maryland, Auburn

251/4th Round Cowart’s dramatic improvement after transferring to Maryland came after the former five-star recruit didn’t have a lot of success with the Auburn Tigers.  His size affords him the team the flexibility to line him up at the zero, one, two, three or four-technique DL spots.  He is an ideal scheme fit for the team.
5 (163) Jake Bailey P/Stanford 401/5th Round Bailey -our top-ranked punter- pinned opponents in school, never had a punt blocked and flipped the field with directional punts that still produced hang time averages in the 4.8-to-5.0-second range.  In addition, he may be able to handle kickoff duties if needed. 
7 (252) Ken Webster CB-Ole Miss 294/4th Round The knee injury from 2016 lingered into other ailments but Webster seemed to recover slowly in 2018.  At his best, he is an explosive athlete capable of challenging WRs in press-man.  Could he be a late-round find for the team?

 

Wilkins (No. 42 pictured) moved around quite a bit in Clemson’s schemes and is likely to do much of the same for the Dolphins.

 

 

Miami

Dolphins

Notable picks: The Dolphins draft is required to add Josh Rosen, who they traded their 62nd overall pick in the second round for while giving up a 2020 fifth-round pick.  Add Wilkins and Deiter, two potential starters, and you have a pretty good start to the proceedings.  The two final picks, Cox and Gaskin, both have questions to answer about their potential contributions on special teams.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (13) Christian Wilkins Clemson 12/1st Round Wilkins’ positional versatility could very well shine in Brian Flores’ multiple schemes.  His flexibility is outstanding, as is his ability to win going sideways.
3 (78) Michael

Deiter

OG/

Wisconsin

129/3rd Round It can be argued that Deiter can provide backup options at three-to-four spots on an offensive line.  He frequently wins wrestling matches once he latches the opponent. 
5 (151) Andrew Van Ginkel LB/

Wisconsin

513/6th Round Van Ginkel is an above average blitzer with solid flexibility.  There are still questions regarding his efficiency as an exchange linebacker.  We think he can be a core special teams player in Year 1.  It may be his road to earning a roster spot. 
6 (202)

Acquired from New Orleans

Isaiah Prince OT/Ohio State 219/4th Round Prince’s length (35 1/2-inch arms) allowed him to cover up for a number of technique errors on the perimeter in school.  Consistency is the word that comes to mind when evaluating whether or not he can earn a roster spot. His best work comes as a run blocker.
7 (233)

Acquired from Tennessee

Chandler Cox FB/Auburn 332/4th Round Cox demonstrated a unique feel for hitting opponents on the move from a number of spots when blocking for a multitude of runners.  The former U.S. All-American started 41 games for the Tigers, but contributed just one career tackle.
7 (234)

Acquired from Cleveland via Pittsburgh

Myles Gaskin RB/

Washington

130/3rd Round Aside from question marks surrounding his size, Gaskin’s high volume (945 career carries) in school likely caused him to slide into the seventh round.  Despite weight in the 205-pound range, Gaskin has contact balance. He did 24 repetitions at 225 pounds.   

Singletary rushed for 66 touchdowns over a three-year period. He possesses outstanding short-area creativity.

 

Buffalo Bills Notable picks: The first two picks, Oliver and Ford, chart a direction for the team.  Both players have a physical presence at their respective positions.  If Singletary gives the team the juice expected as a backup, then the rest of the draft could simply be evaluated for the purposes of depth.  With that said, Knox could become a starter in due time.  Of their Day 3 picks, it could be argued that Johnson has a chance to become the best of the group.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (9) Ed Oliver DT/Houston 4/1st Round Oliver’s pad level and leverage could be a perfect fit as an under tackle in the team’s 4-3 schemes under Sean McDermott.
2 (38)

Acquired from Oakland via Jacksonville

Cody Ford OG/

Oklahoma

23/2nd Round Ford’s finish drew high marks from several evaluators, but the injury history is rather extensive. The Bills may end up slotting him opposite left tackle Dion Dawkins or they could decide to move him to the guard spot.  He’s started at either spot in school.  Playing lower will only help his development. 
3 (74) Devin

Singletary

RB/FAU 105/3rd Round Singletary’s low center of gravity and short area change of direction draws comparisons to the Pro Bowl running back in front of him, LeSean McCoy.  Learning the nuances of the game as a smaller back from an All-Pro will likely aid the former Owl’s development.
3 (96)

Compensatory pick acquired via Washington

Dawson Knox TE/Ole Miss 134/3rd Round A quick glance at Knox’s statistics don’t take into account that he had three receivers with significantly more targets.  He runs in the low 4.6-range and plays at a fast clip.  At 254 pounds, he can line up with his hand in the dirt or flex-out (as he did quite a bit at Ole Miss) for the Bills. 
5 (147) Vosean Joseph LB/Florida 379/5th Round Joseph’s overall lack of size showed up on occasion but he did impress as his career went along when it came to matching routes. He is also a positive blitz threat (four sacks in 2018).
6 (181) Jaquan Johnson S/

Miami (Fla.)

176/3rd Round Johnson was dinged for his lack of timed speed, but he generally played faster than his teammates on Saturday afternoons.  Something to ponder is whether the hamstring injury that forced him to miss time in 2018 lingered over into the postseason.  His instincts and special teams contributions in school only add to his overall value.
7 (225) Darryl

Johnson

DE/North Carolina A&T 481/6th Round Johnson didn’t stand out against ECU tackle and 2020 NFL prospect D’Ante Smith, but even in that game he displayed his long nature.  The MEAC Defensive Player of the Year finished with 10.5 QB sacks and 19 TFLs in 2018.
7 (228) Tommy Sweeney TE/Boston College 262/4th Round Sweeney’s portfolio dates back to the 2016 campaign, when he was used as a Swiss army knife.  He can align as a FB, Y-tight end or H-back depending on formation.  He will likely end up getting snaps on the punt unit, where he will have to prove capable of running down effectively in coverage.

 

Polite (No. 99 pictured) forced six fumbles for the Gators in 2018 and finished third in the SEC in tackles for losses (17.5).

New York Jets Notable picks: The Jets needed to come out of this draft with a legitimate pass rusher after Jordan Jenkins and Henry Anderson tied for the team lead in sacks a year ago.  There has been talk of Gregg Williams sticking with the 30-front scheme that has fit the Jets for the better part of over a decade.  Expect to see elements of his 4-3 background, but most of the remaining parts and additions suggest elements of the 3-4 defense will be in play.  At offensive tackle, Edoga will have the opportunity to challenge for playing time. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (3) Quinnen Williams DT/Alabama 1/1st Round Williams is able to attack gaps two-to-three gaps over with outstanding lateral agility.  Despite being a one-year wonder, he did post 6.5 tackles for loss in a secondary role back in 2017.
3 (68) Jachai Polite DE-OLB/Florida 103/3rd Round Polite uses a combination of inside posts with clubs, dips his weight and can take his surface area away from tackles.  Nevertheless, his power component is largely unearthed at this stage of his development.  In 2018, he posted 17.5 tackles for loss while forcing six fumbles because he is tough to grasp.
3 (92)

Acquired from the Minnesota Vikings

Chuma Edoga OT/USC 121/3rd Round Edoga’s disposition on the field is probably a bit more erect than what you’d expect from a 6-foot-3-inch tackle, but his light-footed nature draws high marks.  His profile matches the team’s current starting left tackle Kelvin Beacham. 
4 (121) Trevon Wesco TE/West Virginia 392/5th Round The former high school QB has all of the intangibles to continue to improve as a receiving threat.  His 267-pound frame was often used as an insert blocker in the Mountaineers rushing attack.
5 (157) Blake Cashman LB/

Minnesota

187/3rd Round Cashman’s breakout year came at just the right time, as he forged his way into the NFL Draft.  We think he is one of the top kickoff cover men in the 2019 NFL Draft.  His instincts either off the ball or when rushing downhill are solid.
6 (196)

Acquired from Oakland via Chicago Bears

Blessaun Austin CB/Rutgers 151/3rd Round The Jets didn’t travel far to grab the former New York high school product.  Despite two consecutive years of knee injuries, he still finished his career with four interceptions and 19 career pass break-ups.   Few cornerbacks get their hands on wide receivers with the efficiency of Austin.  If he can return to full health, he’ll have a chance to earn playing time. 

 

 

DraftNasty spotlights Buffalo Bills OL Cody Ford: Ford Rough

A very rough and enraged style of play would describe the disposition of former Oklahoma OL Cody Ford. Ford recovered nicely from early career injury issues to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2018. We take a look at his approach in our video spotlight. Some may contend that he was the most dominant player on Oklahoma’s offense in 2018.

Oklahoma All-Big 12 offensive tackle Cody Ford earned second-team Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2017.

DraftNasty spotlights Buffalo Bills DT Ed Oliver: New Level

2017 Outland Trophy Award winner Ed Oliver tallied five quarterback sacks and 22 tackles for loss during his sophomore campaign. While his junior year didn’t quite match up, we did spotlight his disruptive nature early in September of 2018. For his career, he totaled 53 tackles for loss in a largely dominant three-year stretch. DraftNasty Magazine goes inside the game of the 2017 AAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Houston DT Ed Oliver totaled 13.5 quarterback sacks, 53 tackles for losses, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 11 pass break-ups in his three-year career for the Cougars.

2019 NFL Draft: Fourth down

The NFL is always looking for versatile performers capable of transitioning to the next level. Here are three prospects who bring value to teams on fourth down and beyond.

Travis Homer 5’10 201 Miami (Fla.)

Homer took his game to another level the last two seasons at the running back spot. He averaged nearly six yards per carry in 2017 and followed that up with nearly the same yards per carry average in 2018. The former four-star recruit was a team captain for the ‘Canes and one of its best leaders.

As a freshman in 2016, he rushed for just 44 yards. During that same season, however, he notched eight special teams tackles. He used his 4.48 speed for three seasons to continue to perform admirably at the gunner position, which essentially is a displaced wide receiver on the punt team used to run down and cover punts.

Miami (Fla.) running back Travis Homer posted 22 tackles for the ‘Canes in three seasons and ranks as one of the better special teams cover guys in the 2019 NFL Draft. Homer ran a 4.48 at the 2019 NFL Combine, posted a 39 1/2″ vertical jump and 10’10” broad jump.

In 2018, despite starting at running back, Homer posted 10 tackles.

He has also lined up inside on the punt team. You can look at his work on the punt return unit as a hold-up guy and laud his work as well (see Berrios big punt return, Russell Athletic Bowl ’16). When former Miami (Fla.) head coach Mark Richt was asked about why Homer remained on the special teams, he had the perfect response:

“We need good players on there (special teams) and he’s one our best at it. You better have guys who know what they’re doing and can get people on the ground.” (https://www.foxsports.com/florida/video/1102010435956).

Isaiah Johnson 6’2 207 CB-Houston

There aren’t many prospects who have run a hitch route, covered the opposing team’s top receiver and run down at the gunner position. Johnson is one of those prospects. The former 110-meter hurdler at Rudder HS (Tex.) contains one of the more intriguing profiles in the 2019 NFL Draft. Blessed with 33-inch arms, he is still rounding out his game at cornerback. The former collegiate wide receiver does, however, exhibit a feel for recognizing route combinations.

In 2018, Johnson posted 66 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass break-ups. Back in 2016, the former Cougar notched 15 receptions.

In-between repetitions at cornerback and wide receiver, Johnson managed to sneak into the 2019 Senior Bowl despite just 15 career starts at cornerback. He also managed to sneak in time on special teams. In the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl, he consistently defeated one-on-one hold-ups at the gunner spot and he also stood out against SMU in that same year (tackle, SMU ’16). The upside in developing Johnson as an outside corner is that he can instantly be a special teams contributor. He has also shown up as an L2 on the kickoff team and was often the first player down the field. His size and 4.4 speed make him tough to grasp in either facet of his game.

Blake Cashman 6’1 237 Minnesota

Cashman impressed NFL personnel at the NFL Combine with his 4.5 speed and lower body agility. It all came after a third-team All-Big Ten campaign that featured 104 tackles, 2.5 quarterback sacks and 15 tackles for losses. He also scored on a fumble return and notched five pass break-ups.

The former Eden Prairie High School star won four straight state titles at the prep level. It took him until the spring of 2017 to even earn a scholarship from the Golden Gophers. When we covered him in the 2016 Holiday Bowl, he earned MVP honors after dominating the game against Washington State on both special teams and defense (12 tackles, QB sack, two tackles for losses).

As an R2 on the kickoff team, he ran by multiple blockers for most of the night and posted three tackles on the kickoff team. He generally plays faster than everyone else in either punt (where he has forced several fair catches, see Northwestern ’16) or kickoff coverage. As a linebacker, he trusts his first read and believes what he’s seeing on the field. We think Cashman is one of the true value picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Houston Texans vs. New York Jets, 12-15-18: In-game report

The Houston Texans have a chance to clinch a first round bye in the AFC playoffs if they can finish the regular season with two wins after defeating the Jets on Saturday. The Texans, as they have done all season, relied on solid quarterback play, an elite receiver and a ferocious pass rush to defeat the Jets, 29-22.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

DeAndre Hopkins

Football is a simple game when wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is on your team.  Deshaun Watson and the Texans don’t have to overthink or scheme Hopkins open, as the former Clemson Tiger can go over, around and run past defensive backs.  Hopkins (6’1, 215) has elite timing and jumping ability, which allows him to make catches while draped by cornerbacks, resembling a gymnast more than a football player.  Hopkins has 94 receptions for 1,321 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.  Even more impressive, 67 of those catches have gone for first downs.  When the league’s best receivers are being discussed, Hopkins name should be at the forefront.  Defensively, anything short of double coverage won’t suffice and at times -as he showed on Saturday- that may not be enough.

Sam Darnold

DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson highlighted Sam Darnold in the preseason against the Redskins and was impressed with his command of the offense.  15 weeks into his rookie season and the same holds true.  Darnold has a good feel for the game for a rookie quarterback, he isn’t afraid to run when nothing is there and did his best work during the two-minute drill before halftime.  The former USC Trojan will have to work on his feet when surrounded by the rush.   If enough pressure gets around him, he exhibited the tendency to float the ball and not get his lower body involved.  This lack of torque in his throws led to balls with less velocity and forced receivers to work back to the ball from their routes (see his two third down throws on the second possession of the game). These tweaks should be correctable.   Along with Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Darnold has showed promise in his first season under center.  Like his fellow draft mates, Darnold must cut down on the turnovers (14 passing touchdowns-to- 15 interceptions on the season.)

Robby Anderson

Robby Anderson (6’3 190) has a similar lanky build as Hopkins but is more of a vertical threat than he is an acrobatic catcher. 

“They’ve got a receiver that probably runs as fast as anybody we’ve played in Anderson,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said before the matchup. 

As he has gotten comfortable with a rookie quarterback, Anderson has caught 38 passes for 588 yards and five touchdowns. The 25- year old receiver is playing his best football as the season comes to a close, notching 11 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks.  He hasn’t had the luxury of steady quarterback play early on in his career but the skills are in place.  As the former Temple Owl grows with Darnold, look for the duo to establish more of a connection in the seasons to come. 

Miami Dolphins vs Indianapolis Colts, 11-25-18: In-game report

A furious fourth quarter comeback allowed the Colts to extend their winning streak to five games.  The return of Miami starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was not enough as the Colts defeated the Dolphins, 27-24.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Colts passing game

The Colts passing game has powered their five-game winning streak. Despite not having injured starting center Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis kept on humming offensively.  Rookie guards Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith are athletic and nasty.  Smith could be seen paving the way on a bubble screen on third down for T.Y. Hilton 25 yards down the field. The front five cares about their quarterback, multiple linemen sprinted after the play to see if quarterback Andrew Luck was fine after a late hit from Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso.  Luck has benefited from the improved offensive line play, throwing for 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.  He has also been sacked just 11 times, which is tied for a league low. 

Ryan Tannehill

After missing five weeks of action, Tannehill returned on Sunday and gave the Dolphins consistent play at quarterback against the Colts. It had been three games since the Dolphins had thrown a passing touchdown but Tannehill threw a pair of first half touchdowns to keep Miami tied at half.  For the game, Tannehill finished with two touchdowns and zero interceptions while completing 17-of-25 passes.  The former Texas A&M quarterback is an upgrade over Brock Osweiler, who started in his absence, but that may not be enough to keep his starting job going into next season.  As the Dolphinsn enter the final month of the season, look for the quarterback position to be closely evaluated. 

Eric Ebron 

Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle will miss the rest of the year with a kidney injury.

Eric Ebron has been the biggest beneficiary of Andrew Luck’s comeback season.  The tight end has caught 44 passes for 508 yards and 11 touchdowns while splitting time with fellow tight end Jack Doyle.  Doyle will miss the rest of the season with a kidney injury, which means even more will be asked of the former Detroit Lion. Against the Dolphins, Ebron hauled in a pair of red zone touchdowns, in what was his third multi-touchdown game of the year.  Ebron is a red zone threat because of his size and athletic ability.   He is able to work the seams and catch in traffic as well as jump over smaller defensive backs.  However, his overall skill-set will be measured by how well he can fill in as a run blocking tight end for Doyle, who was one of the NFL’s best in that regard. 

Detroit Lions vs. Miami Dolphins, 10-21-18: In-game report

The Miami Dolphins (4-3) missed a chance to keep pace with the New England Patriots in the AFC East after falling to the Detroit Lions (3-3) at home.  The Lions used a stifling secondary and an efficient offensive attack to win the game.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Kerryon Johnson

The rookie running back out of Auburn had his second career 100- yard rushing performance on Sunday. The Lions record would indicate that in order to win, they need production from Johnson. In the team’s three wins, Johnson has rushed for 109 yards per game and in their three losses he’s averaged 38 yards per game.  On Sunday, Johnson rushed for 158 yards and kept the Lions in favorable down and distances, which resulted in them only having to punt once all afternoon.  Johnson doesn’t just have an impact on the running game but the threat of his running ability has been enough to give quarterback Matthew Stafford, who finished with just four incompletions, cleaner looks on play action passes.  The Lions used Johnson as a decoy to score their first touchdown after Stafford faked the handoff and threw a touchdown to tight end Michael Roberts.  Johnson also gives the Lions a threat in the passing game (15 receptions on the season) and is a willing blocker in pass protection.  If Detroit wants to continue to win against good teams, look for the Lions to rely on Johnson to bring a balance to the offense.

Lions secondary

Slay, Jr. was named a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and has shown few signs of slowing down.

The Lions secondary didn’t force Brock Osweiler into an interception but did play well enough in coverage to help force four sacks and give their team a commanding 20-7 advantage in the second half. Quandre Diggs came down from his safety position to fill in for Jamal Agnew, the team’s regular slot cornerback who is on IR due to a knee injury. Cornerback Darius Slay has continued his All-Pro performance from last season and played well on the outside.  Slay prevented a would-be touchdown to Kenny Stills by bringing his hands through Stills’ hands and deflecting the ball away. For the game, Osweiler threw for 239 yards and almost a third of those yards came in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.  Detroit’s secondary is the backbone of their defense and should serve them well against a number of top-tier quarterbacks in the NFC.

Mike Gesicki

DraftNasty highlighted Gesicki’s athleticism in advance of the draft last season and that athletic ability was on display against Detroit. The rookie from Penn State caught passes both as a hand in the ground tight end and when split out wide.  Gesicki did a good job of chipping the defensive end before getting into the right seam and catching a pass in traffic. On another catch, Gesicki caught the ball over the middle on a crossing pattern and flashed his potential for getting yards after the catch.  In total, Gesicki finished with three catches for 44 yards. 

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots, 10-14-18: In-game report

Two of the premier coaches in the NFL faced off in primetime on Sunday Night Football.  New England (4-2) was able to keep pace with the Chiefs (5-1) in the conference after a last second field goal pushed them to victory.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Patriots power running game

The Patriots use of offset I-formations with fullback James Develin (No. 46 pictured) and Rob Gronkowski (No. 87 pictured) led a running game that carried the offense for the much of the night.

Bill Belichick flipped the script on Sunday night, instead of relying on his future Hall of Fame quarterback, the longtime coach relied on a power run game.  The Patriots used fullback James Develin in the I-formation and the offset I-formation, while also putting Rob Gronkowski at the tight end spot with his hand in the ground in order to establish a strong push in the run game.  Kansas City ranks 28th in the league in rushing yards allowed and the Patriots took advantage of it.  New England ran for 173 yards and actually ran three more times than they passed.  This power run game will probably be an outlier, but credit to Belichick for his willingness to adjust the game plan for specific game-to-game needs.

Patrick Mahomes 

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has a 112.2 quarterback rating through six starts in 2018.

The first-year starter has burst onto the scene and what immediately jumps out about Mahomes is his raw arm talent. Mahomes can make plays off schedule while falling off his back foot reminiscent of the kinds of throws that are usually reserved for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.  In the first quarter, Mahomes darted  a pass from his back foot and across his body to the waiting hands of Chris Conley, placing the ball where only his receiver could make the play.  The Chiefs quarterback finished with 352 passing yards and four touchdowns but he did throw two interceptions, which led to points for the Patriots.  Mahomes first interception came when Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower faked a blitz and dropped into coverage, fooling the young quarterback.  The second came on a pass where Mahomes was rolling right and tried to throw across his body to tight end Travis Kelce, who was double covered.  Mahomes should be able to fix those types of interceptions with experience. For now, Mahomes should remind Andy Reid of another talented gunslinger that he coached in Brett Favre. 

Patriots defense 

Bill Belichick’s defensive mantra has remained constant since he came to New England: make your second or third best players beat us offensively.  The Patriots doubled Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce all night and sacrificed the pass rushing of Dont’a Hightower and Trey Flowers in order to chip Kelce at the line. The game plan worked as the Pats held Kelce to five catches for 61 yards. However, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill were left with more room to roam free as a result. The pair combined for 327 total yards and four touchdowns. It was a tale of two halves for the Patriots, who led 24-9 at halftime. If these two teams meet again in the playoffs, Belichick might have to tinker with his game-plan because despite holding Kelce in check, Hill and Hunt nearly upended New England in Foxboro.