Category Archives: AFC East

2021 NFL Draft Recap: AFC East

The AFC East 2021 NFL Draft recap features a Patriots team that kept up with the Joneses and a Jets squad who picked its franchise quarterback. The Bills got longer on defense while the Dolphins increased its team speed.

Buffalo Bills      
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPosition-SchoolDN Big Board Rank/GradeNotes
1st Round, 30th overallBuffalo BillsGregory Rousseau6’6 5/8” 266/DE-Miami (Fla.)8/1st RoundThe Bills take a pass rusher with 11-inch hands and an 83” wingspan. Rousseau had 15.5 QB sacks in 2019 and was tough to latch while working from a number of spots.
2nd Round, 61st overallBuffalo BillsCarlos “Boogie” Basham6’3 1/2” 274 DE-Wake Forest36/2nd RoundFrom a technical perspective, Basham is pretty advanced with his pass rush moves working off the edge. Some teams won’t like his hand size and arm length, but he is slippery and strong in the lower body. Few players in the ACC matched Basham’s production.
3rd Round, 93rd overallBuffalo BillsSpencer Brown6’8 314/OT-Northern Iowa100/3rd RoundThe former eight-man Iowa high school football standout transitioned impressively to 11-man football. He’s gained nearly 100 pounds (94) since his high school days. His chest exposure is simply due to leverage, but his ability to sit down can be seen in the pre-snap, when his body is lower than the rest of his offensive line.
5th Round, 161st overallBuffalo Bills (from Las Vegas Raiders)Tommy Doyle6'8 320/OT-Miami (OH.)184/3rd RoundAs a taller tackle, he will always be challenged by his posture versus leverage-based defensive ends. He compensates with a heavy punch to widen them in either the run or pass game.
6th Round, 203rd overallBuffalo Bills (from Washington Football Team via Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins)Marquez Stevenson5'10 182/All-Purpose-Houston256/4th RoundStevenson has been a game breaker for the Cougars working in the slot or as a return specialist. He endured a number of major injuries in school and there are questions on how he responds to the physicality of the NFL.
6th Round, 212th overallBuffalo Bills (from Houston Texans via New Orleans Saints)Damar Hamlin6’0 201/S-Pittsburgh176/3rd RoundGood length. Smart. Communicates with fellow safeties using hand signals. He has decent feet and enough movement skills. He’s almost like an extra nickel back in their schemes.
6th Round, 213th overallBuffalo BillsRachad Wildgoose5'11 197/CB-Wisconsin238/4th RoundWe project him as a nickel defender on the next level because of his experience in a pro-style scheme under creative Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. He has some physical similarities to Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Rashad Fenton.
7th Round, 236th overallBuffalo Bills (from Carolina Panthers)Jack Anderson6’4 309/OG-OC-Texas Tech165/3rd RoundYou can turn on the video from 2018 to see that he was going to be an NFL prospect. His awareness, footwork and balance all rank among the best in this year’s class of interior linemen.
Miami Dolphins
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPosition-SchoolDN Big Board Rank/GradeNotes
6th overallMiami DolphinsJaylen WaddleWR-Alabama28/2nd RoundWaddle is the next receiver to go off the board to be re-united with his former college QB. His foot speed expands the Dolphins’ vertical passing game.
18th overallMiami DolphinsJaelen Phillips6’5 260 DE-Miami (Fla.), UCLA43/2nd RoundPhillips has all of the tools to become an instant contributor opposite Emmanuel Ogbah. Can he stay healthy?
36th overallMiami DolphinsJevon Holland6’1 207/S-Oregon15/2nd RoundThe All-Pac-12 defender, and our top-ranked S/NB, is a former high school wide receiver with the instincts to anticipate ball location. It is a big reason why he made a number of plays versus fade patterns when defending slot receivers.
42nd overallMiami Dolphins (from New York Giants)Liam Eichenberg6’6 303 OT-Notre Dame32/2nd RoundWhenever a collegian has outstanding technique NFL teams begin to wonder about upside. Maybe it should be the other way around.
Continued flexibility gains should be in order for the Saint Ignatius High School product, who earned All-American honors because he reduced the pre-snap mistakes.
81st overallMiami DolphinsHunter Long6'5 253/TE-Boston College116/3rd RoundBased on the Eagles’ run-heavy schemes, he often got behind defenses because he was used as a hand in the dirt tight end. A solid in-line blocker with good, but not great strength, Long exudes a smoothness on the field that translates to Sundays. We were not necessarily impressed with the suddenness in which he got of his breaks, but at his size he doesn’t have to really be open. His 83-inch wingspan affords him to only have to get a step on the defender on tightly contested throws.
6th Round, 231st overallMiami Dolphins (from Houston Texans)Larnel Coleman6’6 308/OT-UMass319/4th Round84 3/8” wingspan.
Primarily a tackle-only prospect, he does have experience at both tackle spots. The Massachusetts native is not a consistent bender, but plays with hot feet. He has the ability to mirror yet doesn’t truly sit in the chair.
The former basketball standout has technical flaws but competed well in the film viewed.
7th Round, 244th overallMiami Dolphins (via Washington Football Team from Las Vegas Raiders)Gerrid Doaks6'0 230/RB-Cincinnati182/3rd RoundFor a running back weighing in the 230-pound range, Doaks is athletic, fast enough and tough. We were perhaps most impressed with his hands out of the backfield as a receiver and his pass blocking skill in blitz pickup.
New England Patriots
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPosition-SchoolDN Big Board Rank/GradeNotes
1st Round, 15th overallNew England PatriotsMac Jones6’2 217 QB-Alabama39/2nd RoundJones goes to the Patriots to develop in a system that could spotlight all of his respective strengths.
2nd Round, 38th overallNew England Patriots (from Cincinnati Bengals)Christian Barmore6'5 310/DT-Alabama14/2nd RoundThe Philadelphia native is more of a heavyweight boxer than anything else. For him to truly evolve into a consistent disruptor at the next level, he has to master the intricacies of footwork versus different run blocking schemes.
3rd Round, 96th overallNew England PatriotsRonnie Perkins6’2 1/2” 253/DE-OLB-Oklahoma65/2nd RoundStanding 6-foot-2, he is able to play with a forward lean while keeping good balance. Rarely is he extended too far over his toes.
Academic warrior. Plays in a three-point, two-point or four-point stances on the edge.
4th Round, 120th overallNew England PatriotsRhamondre Stevenson6’0 230/RB-Oklahoma289/4th RoundThe good thing for Stevenson is that there are not a lot of miles on his tires. This bodes well for his 2021 outlook and beyond when it comes to the NFL. He may get more carries in his first NFL season than he did in all of college.
6th Round, 177th overallNew England Patriots (compensatory selection)Cameron McGrone6’3 236/LB-Michigan179/3rd RoundHis field speed is unquestionable and we saw him contribute on special teams. Special teams will be his lifeline as he adjusts to the fast-paced nature of the NFL game. Or, if healthy, will the NFL have to adjust to his fast-paced nature?
6th Round, 188th overallNew England Patriots (from Houston Texans)Joshuah Bledsoe5’11 201/S-Missouri321/4th RoundThere were some missed tackles in the film viewed as a result of the aforementioned stiffness. The former multi-position prep level standout has a good feel for the game and is a competitive player. He played his best in critical moments (see Arkansas, LSU in 2020).
6th Round, 197th overallNew England PatriotsWilliam Sherman6'3 304/OL-Colorado264/4th RoundHe successfully made the switch from left tackle to right tackle and then back to left tackle as a senior. At just one-half inch over 6-foot-3, New England may envision Sherman moving inside to guard. He even worked out at the center position on his Pro Day.
7th Round, 242nd overallNew England PatriotsTre Nixon6’1 187/WR-UCF, Ole Miss188/4th RoundIn just four games in 2020, Nixon averaged 65 yards per contest and this was in an offense that spread the ball around quite a bit. His size, speed and route-running remind us of former Pittsburg State wideout John Brown (Cardinals, Bills) coming out of college.
New York Jets
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPositionSchoolNotes
1st Round, 2nd overallNew York JetsZach Wilson6'2 214/QB-BYU25/2nd RoundWilson could be a BYU mix of former Cougar standouts Jim McMahon and Steve Young.
1st Round, 14th overallNew York Jets (from Minnesota Vikings)Alijah Vera-Tucker6’4 302/OT-USC6/1st RoundVera-Tucker could pair with Becton on the left side to potentially power an offensive line that could develop into one of the AFC’s best.
2nd Round, 34th overallNew York JetsElijah Moore5’9 184/WR-Ole Miss44/2nd RoundFrom the opening week breakout performance against Florida (10 receptions, 227 yards) through the rest of the season, he found ways to extricate Ole Miss out of trouble.
4th Round, 107th overallNew York JetsMichael Carter5’8 201/RB-UNC60/2nd RoundCarter, who won UNC’s Strength and Conditioning Award for Outstanding Lifter, makes it happen in a powerful fashion. How often do you hear that statement made about a 5-foot-7, 202-pound running back? He is built low to the ground and contains outstanding contact balance.
5th Round, 146th overallNew York JetsJamien Sherwood6’2 204/S-Auburn369/5th RoundHe played a number of roles for the Tigers, but the nickel LB spot was where he showed a lot of skills. Sherwood finished his career with 10 tackles for loss and posted 75 tackles in 2020.
154th overallNew York Jets (from New York Giants)Michael Carter II5’10 184/Nickel-Duke360/5th RoundDue to his plus play speed and instincts, Carter II earned third-team All-ACC honors in 2020. He struggled with torn knee ligaments in 2018 and struggled the rest of the year.
5th Round, 175th overallNew York Jets (via Kansas City Chiefs)Jason Pinnock6’0 1/2” 204/CB-Pittsburgh233/4th RoundPinnock, a former high school wide receiver, played with confidence when on the field. He was able to perform at either nickel or cornerback with equal parts bravado. He tackled adequately and -despite getting spun around in press-man too easily at times- held his line in the sand more often than not.
6th Round, 186th overallNew York JetsHamsah NasirHamsah Nasirildeenildeen6’3 213/S-FSU59/2nd RoundLong. 34 1/2-inch arms. Fluid enough. Positive knee bend for a taller DB. Has played DB and LB while in school.
As a 6-foot-3, 213- pounder, is he going to be used as a sub-package matchup player? If so, he could find a home at the linebacker spot.
6th Round, 200th overallNew York Jets (via Las Vegas Raiders)Brandin Echols5'10 179/CB-Kentucky138/3rd RoundHis size remains a question mark. The movement skills, instincts and body control are not question marks. Neither is his effort. The former state champion long jumper has the potential to be a starting nickel back in the NFL.
6th Round, 207th overallNew York Jets (from Kansas City Chiefs via Pittsburgh Steelers through Miami Dolphins)Jonathan Marshall6’3 309/DT-Arkansas223/4th RoundMarshall is a former prep level basketball player with positive movement skills on the field. He impressed with his power and strength in the film viewed at the zero-technique nose guard spot.

2021 NFL Free Agency, Live Updates: AFC East

During the first couple of days, the AFC East added and lost some major league talent. Former New England offensive lineman Joe Thuney led the charge, signing with the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots picked up two of free agency’s top tight ends and a Pro Bowl outside linebacker. We take a look at all the transactions. Please come back to visit this document as we will provide live updates.

AFC East

New England Patriots

Offensive free agents

LG Joe Thuney (Agreed to terms with Chiefs)

RT Marcus Cannon

RB James White

C David Andrews

LG Jermaine Eluemunor

RB Rex Burkhead

QB Cam Newton (re-signed)

WR Damiere Byrd

QB Brian Hoyer

WR Donte Moncrief

LG Marcus Martin (re-signed)

LG James Ferentz

WR Quincy Adeboyejo

FB Jakob Johnson

RG Caleb Benenoch

TE Jake Burt

Defensive free agents

CB Jason McCourty

DT Lawrence Guy

DT Adam Butler

DE John Simon

S Terrence Brooks (Agreed to terms with Texans)

S Cody Davis (re-signed)

DE Shilique Calhoun

CB Justin Bethel

DE Brandon Copeland

DE Carl Davis (re-signed)

DE Deatrich Wise (re-signed)

CB J.C. Jackson (re-signed)

LB Michael Pinckney (re-signed)

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Agreed to terms with OLB Matt Judon (Ravens) on a four-year deal, TE Hunter Henry (Chargers) on a three-year deal, TE Jonnu Smith (Titans) on a four-year deal, DB Jalen Mills (Eagles) on a four-year deal, WR Nelson Agholar (Raiders) on a two-year deal, WR Kendrick Bourne (49ers) on a three-year deal, DT Davon Godchaux (Dolphins) on a two-year deal and DE Henry Anderson (Jets) on a three-year deal, OC Ted Karras (Dolphins)
  • Lost LG Joe Thuney (Chiefs), FS Terrence Brooks (Texans)
  • Traded OL Marcus Cannon to the Houston Texans in a deal that involved swaps of draft picks in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds
  • Re-signed QB Cam Newton (one-year deal), OG Marcus Martin, DE Deatrich Wise, LB Michael Pinckney, DE Carl Davis, FB Jakob Johnson, CB J.C. Jackson, FS Cody Davis

Buffalo Bills

Offensive free agents

C Mitch Morse (re-signed)

WR John Brown (Agreed to terms with the Raiders)

RT Ty Nsekhe (Agreed to terms with the Cowboys)

TE Tyler Kroft

RG Jon Feliciano (re-signed)

RG Brian Winters

RT Daryl Williams (re-signed)

QB Matt Barkley

RB Taiwan Jones (Re-signed)

RB T.J. Yeldon

WR Andre Roberts (Agreed to terms with the Texans)

WR Isaiah McKenzie

RG Jordan Devey (re-signed)

LG Ike Boettger (Re-signed)

Defensive free agents

DE Trent Murphy

DT Quinton Jefferson (Agreed to terms with Raiders)

CB Josh Norman

S Dean Marlowe

CB E.J. Gaines

CB Levi Wallace (re-signed)

LB Andre Smith (re-signed)

LB Matt Milano (re-signed)

LB Del’Shawn Phillips

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Agreed to terms with WR Emmanuel Sanders (Saints), WR Jake Kumerow (Saints)
  • Re-signed LB Matt Milano to a three-year deal, RT Darryl Williams to a three-year deal, OG Jon Feliciano, RG Jordan Devey, OC Mitch Morse, LB Andre Smith
  • Lost WR Andre Roberts (Texans), RT Ty Nsekhe (Cowboys), WR John Brown (Raiders), DT Quinton Jefferson (Raiders)

Miami Dolphins

Offensive free agents

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Agreed to terms with WFT)

RB Matt Breida

C Ted Karras (Agreed to terms the Patriots)

RB DeAndre Washington

WR Mack Hollins

WR Isaiah Ford

QB Jake Rudock

LT Julie’n Davenport

LG Adam Pankey

Defensive free agents

LB Kyle Van Noy (Agreed to terms with Patriots)

LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (Agreed to terms with the Texans)

LB Vince Biegel

LB Elandon Roberts

S Kavon Frazier

DT Davon Godchaux (Agreed to terms with the Patriots)

LB Calvin Munson (re-signed)

CB Nik Needham (re-signed)

CB Jomal Wiltz (re-signed)

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Agreed to terms with QB Jacoby Brissett (Colts), RB Malcom Brown (Rams), CB Justin Coleman (Lions), TE Cethan Carter (Bengals), P Michael Palardy (Panthers)
  • Lost QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (WFT), DT Davon Godchaux (Patriots), OC Ted Karras (Patriots), P Matt Haack (Bills), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (Texans)
  • Re-signed K Jason Sanders to an extension, LB Calvin Munson, CB Nik Needham
  • Traded DE Shaq Lawson for LB Benardrick McKinney (Texans)
  • Traded a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Tennessee Titans for OT Isaiah Wilson and a 2022 seventh-round pick
  • Released LB Kyle Van Noy

New York Jets

Offensive free agents

WR Breshad Perriman

QB Joe Flacco

RB Frank Gore

TE Daniel Brown

RG Pat Elflein (Agreed to terms with the Panthers)

C Josh Andrews

TE Ross Travis

RB Josh Adams

WR Vyncint Smith

WR Jeff Smith

Defensive free agents

DT Henry Anderson (Agreed to terms with the Patriots)

CB Brian Poole

S Bradley McDougald

DE Jordan Jenkins

LB Neville Hewitt

LB Patrick Onwuasor

S Marcus Maye (Franchised)

S Matthias Farley

LB Bryce Hager

CB Arthur Maulet

DT Trevon Coley

DE Tarell Basham

LB Frankie Luvu

CB Bennett Jackson

LB Harvey Langi

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Agreed to terms with WR Corey Davis (Titans) on a three-year deal, DE Carl Lawson (Bengals) on a three-year deal, LB Jarrad Davis (Lions), CB Justin Hardee (Saints)
  • Franchised S Marcus Maye
  • Lost OG Pat Elflein (Panthers), DE Henry Anderson (Patriots)
  • Traded QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick, and second and fourth round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft

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.