Category Archives: AFC West

Bryce Callahan CB-Denver Broncos: DraftNasty Throwback

Current Denver Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan started his career as a relative unknown in Chicago. Despite going undrafted, Callahan has started 10 or more games in three of the last four seasons. As we learned when we sat down with Callahan years ago, his speed comes from his family lineage. In each of the last three seasons, the former Owl has posted two or more interceptions. After four solid seasons in Chicago, the Bears were forced to make moves in 2019 after he left the Windy City to go Mile High in free agency. We dive back into Callahan’s scouting report from our 2015 NFL Draft Manual.

Bryce Callahan 2015 NFL Scouting report
We look back at our 2015 NFL Draft scouting report on current Denver Broncos defensive back Bryce Callahan.

Darren Waller TE-Las Vegas Raiders: DraftNasty Throwback

When former Georgia Tech wide receiver Darren Waller came out of school in an option-based offense back in 2014, he was largely an afterthought for many NFL teams. This despite standing 6-foot-6, weighing 238 pounds and running in the 4.4-range. After all, he started just 12 games over his last two seasons for the Yellow Jackets. His first few seasons in the NFL as a Baltimore Raven were largely unproductive, but Waller has become one of the NFL’s most versatile tight ends. We revisit our report on Waller from DraftNasty’s 2015 NFL Draft Manual.

Darren Waller 2015 NFL Draft Scouting report
Former Georgia Tech wide receiver Darren Waller, a 2020 Pro Bowl selection for the Las Vegas Raiders, has transformed himself into one of the NFL’s best tight ends.

2021 NFL Draft Recap: AFC West

In the AFC West, the Raiders got defensive in hopes of trying to solidify its defense and the Chiefs added a Bolton to its defensive front seven. The Chargers added a slayer to its offensive line and the Broncos are Surtain their choice could help the D. Overall, the AFC West had one of the most interesting draft weekends in the conference.

Denver Broncos      
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPosition-SchoolDN Big Board Rank/GradeNotes
1st Round, 9th overallDenver BroncosPatrick Surtain II6’2 208 CB-Alabama7/1st RoundThe Broncos take the second consecutive CB off of the board and his technique is arguably the best.
2nd Round, 35th overallDenver Broncos (from Atlanta Falcons)Javonte Williams5'10 212 RB-UNC33/2nd RoundHis physicality, ball skills, short yardage capability and lack of mileage make him a very attractive option as a potential fourth quarter closer.
3rd Round, 98th overallDenver BroncosQuinn Meinerz6’3 320/OL-Wisconsin-Whitewater225/4th RoundThere is no doubt that his explosion, play strength and even hand usage can impress down-to-down. However, the top-heavy nature finds him on the ground when the detonations are launched at the wrong entry points to connect on opponents. Finding a balance will be key for Meinerz whether he stays at offensive guard or moves to center, where he performed admirably in the postseason.
105th overallDenver BroncosBaron Browning6’3 240/LB-Ohio State26/2nd RoundBrowning is a prospect who can rush versus offensive tackles off the edge, play the exchange linebacker and line up over tight ends. As a pass rusher out of his two-point stance on the edge, his speed can be too much to handle for offensive tackles.
5th Round, 152nd overallDenver BroncosCaden Sterns6’0 202/S-Texas38/2nd RoundSterns benefits from the reputation he garnered after producing an All-American freshman campaign. Since that season, he has been like an appetizer leaving you wanting more. In the games viewed, he was a willing, if inconsistent, tackler who produced very good laps to get over the top of his cornerbacks as a deep middle safety.
5th Round, 164th overallDenver Broncos (via Chicago Bears)Jamar Johnson6’1 197/S-Indiana105/3rd RoundThe athleticism and movement are evident when watching Johnson play in the deep zones or blitzing from depth. The tackling techniques have been inconsis-tent and left something to be desired when he doesn’t keep his head up to tackle.
6th Round, 219th overallDenver Broncos (from Atlanta Falcons via compensatory selection)Seth Williams6’2 211 WR-Auburn91/3rd RoundOn more than one occasion, he has leapt over defenders in one-on-one situations to post highlight-film wor-thy grabs. The level of consistency in all phases of his game is missing at times.
7th Round, 237th overallDenver BroncosKary Vincent, Jr.5’10 185/Nickel-LSU202/4th RoundVincent, Jr. actually manned the tough nickel back position for the Tigers during their 2019 national championship season and did so admirably. While he did jam wide receivers on occasion, he was much more frequently seen playing off-man coverage in the slot.
7th Round, 239th overallDenver Broncos (from New York Giants)Jonathon Cooper6’2 254/DE-OLB-Ohio State279/4th RoundCooper is a natural knee bender who competes at a high level no matter where he lines up. His ordinary width gets him tied up on the perimeter by longer offensive tackles. Don't be surprised if he earns reps as a sub-package three-technique defensive tackle.
7th Round, 253rd overallDenver Broncos (from Cleveland Browns)Marquiss Spencer6’4 301/DT-Mississippi State414/5th RoundSpencer has shown in flashes capability as a four-technique defensive end, left defensive end and occasional three-technique defensive tackle in the film viewed. His durability concerns will get vetted by NFL teams.
Kansas City Chiefs
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPosition-SchoolDN Big Board Rank/GradeNotes
2nd Round, 58th overallKansas City ChiefsNick Bolton5’11 237/LB-Missouri77/3rd RoundThe positives include down-to-down intensity, pass coverage instincts and blitz capability. His treks on outside runs, varied depending on whether he took the backdoor on his angle to the ball. He is a quick-twitched, fast athlete with pop on contact.
2nd Round, 63rd overallKansas City ChiefsCreed Humphrey6’4 312/OC-Oklahoma51/2nd RoundThe 2020 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year is a left-handed snapper with some flaws, but his technique, guile and football intelligence ensure him a good chance of becoming an NFL starter.
4th Round, 144th overallKansas City Chiefs (compensatory selection)Joshua Kaindoh6’6 260/DE-OLB Florida State212/4th RoundHe has operated from a two-point alignment and with his hand in the dirt. Is his best football ahead of him? Time will tell. It was unfortunate he got injured in the first game of the season (Georgia Tech '20) and never seemed to fully recover.
5th Round, 162nd overallKansas City Chiefs (via Las Vegas Raiders from Miami Dolphins)Noah Gray6'3 240/H-back-Duke358/5th RoundTeam captain. Classroom warrior. Plays the down TE, U-off TE, flexed-out slot and FB spots for the Blue Devils. It is evident that he has a wide receiver-like feel for separating in tight quarters with his quickness.
5th Round, 181st overallKansas City Chiefs (compensatory selection)Cornell Powell6’0 205/WR-Clemson217/4th RoundStrong hands. Snatches the football on routes outside of his frame.
He simply needs to prove that he can contribute on special teams, as he did not record a career tackle.
6th Round, 226th overallKC Chiefs (from New York Jets via Carolina Panthers; compensatory selection)Trey Smith6’5 338/OG-Tennessee54/2nd RoundSmith had medical concerns and some issues concerning his overall balance. If he can keep his weight at a manageable level, then he may be able to provide versatility for the Chiefs, as he’s started both inside and outside in school.
Las Vegas Raiders
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPosition-SchoolDN Big Board Rank/GradeNotes
1st Round, 17th overallLas Vegas RaidersAlex Leatherwood6’5 312 OL-Alabama104/3rd RoundThe 2020 Outland Trophy winner may make a move to the inside, where he was a second-team All-SEC player at RG in 2018. If he can eliminate the penalties and concentration lapses, the Raiders could look back on this pick with a smile on their faces.
2nd Round, 43rd overallLas Vegas Raiders (from San Francisco 49ers)Trevon Moehrig6’1 202 S-TCU30/2nd RoundMoehrig’s smooth nature on the field hides any minor deficien-cies that may illuminate from some questionable tackling angles in space. His communicative nature is much-needed for a secondary that lacked it in 2020.
3rd Round, 79th overallLas Vegas RaidersMalcolm Koonce6’2 249/DE-OLB-Buffalo102/3rd RoundKoonce, a former rugby star, was unable to perform for NFL teams this postseason after hurting his foot. After a couple of seasons where he was painstakingly difficult for offensive tackles to block, teams did not get to evaluate him further versus NFL-caliber competition. There are instances where teams can extrapolate his play against tougher offensive tackles (i.e. Penn State ‘19, Charlotte ‘19).
3rd Round, 80th overallLas Vegas RaidersDivine Deablo6'3 226/S-LB-Virginia Tech78/3rd RoundPlayers like Deablo can become valuable pieces in today’s NFL. He may not quite have the fluidity to man a position off of the hash marks, but at 6-foot-3, 226 pounds, he may very well be positioned to play in sub-packages as a linebacker when teams use dime (six defensive backs) personnel. His experience will pay dividends, but he has to become more consistent as a tackler.
5th Round, 143rd overallLas Vegas Raiders from New York Jets (via Minnesota Vikings-compensatory selection)Tyree Gillespie5’11 207/S-Missouri232/4th RoundGillepsie developed from a solid special teams player in 2017 into a productive safety for the Tigers the last two seasons The former high school tailback is active, fast and instinctive in run support. Special tams work may be able to keep him on the game day roster, but his skills give him a chance to compete at safety.
5th Round, 167th overallLas Vegas Raiders (from Seattle Seahawks)Nate Hobbs5’11 189/CB-Illinois224/4th RoundHobbs has a chance to make it in the NFL playing cornerback due to his movement in coverage. The 5-foot-11 former high jumper has good feet and can squeeze routes from the outside-in or plant to close back downhill at 45-degree angles out of his zone turns. The Raiders are hoping he challenges more routes in coverage.
7th Round, 230th overallLas Vegas Raiders (from San Francisco 49ers via New York Jets)Jimmy Morrissey6’3 303/C-Pittsburgh154/3rd RoundThe academic warrior passed up a number of Ivy League offers to walk-on at Pittsburgh and that says all anyone needs to know about how much he loves the game. After all, how many players walk on at an ACC school and become a four-year starter? Morrissey could surprise in training camp to grab a seventh or eighth OL spot on game day.
Los Angeles Chargers
SelectionTeamPlayer selectionPosition-SchoolDN Big Board Rank/GradeNotes
1st Round, 13th overallLos Angeles ChargersRashawn Slater6’4 304 OT-Northwestern16/2nd RoundSlater’s technique gives the Chargers added flexibility on its offensive lineman, as the former OL has started at both RT and LT.
2nd Round, 47th overallLos Angeles ChargersAsante Samuel, Jr.5’10 184/CB-FSU90/3rd RoundSamuel, Jr’s journey to the NFL follows in his father’s footsteps and the comparisons are valid. Samuel, Jr. may not be quite as sudden, but he does have similar instincts in zone coverage.
Samuel, Jr.’s ability to read through the quarterback while using a skate-bail technique is eerily similar to his father’s while with the Patriots and Eagles.
3rd Round, 77th overallLos Angeles ChargersJosh Palmer6’1 210/WR-Tennessee118/3rd RoundPalmer displayed all of the necessary tools during his final two seasons to suggest he can become a better pro than collegian. His stride closed the cushion on de-fensive backs. Palmer exhibited the length/dexterity to snag passes away from his frame and won against players who are going to be NFL draft picks.
3rd Round, 97th overallLos Angeles ChargersTre’ McKitty6'4 246/TE-H-back-Georgia, FSU193/4th RoundMcKitty is a muscular H-back/TE-type who has moved around in a variance of roles for two different programs. We have seen him understand angles in the blocking game, show run after the catch skill and attack the seams of defenses. Despite never being the lead receiver at either Georgia or FSU, McKitty has frequently been a legitimate third down target.
4th Round, 118th overallLos Angeles ChargersChris Rumph II6’2 244/DE-OLB-Duke102/3rd RoundIs he stout enough to be used as a stand-up outside linebacker or even a Sam linebacker? In spots, he has shown enough strength to handle the action versus “some” tight ends. On third downs, he has the ability to drop into coverage or rush from multiple positions. We think he can add positive weight and become a consistent rotation rusher for new DC Renaldo Hill’s defense.
5th Round, 159th overallLos Angeles ChargersBrenden Jaimes6'5 300/DT-Nebraska214/4th Round40 consecutive starts in school. Not many true freshman start along the offensive line in the Big Ten, much less at offensive tackle. Jaimes did so at the right tackle spot in 2017 before sliding over to the left tackle position he’s manned for the last three seasons.
6th Round, 185th overallLos Angeles Chargers (from Jacksonville Jaguars through Tennessee Titans)Nick Niemann6'3 234/LB-Iowa174/3rd RoundNiemann is a former high school wide receiver from a family full of Hawkeyes. In fact, his brother Ben, finished the 2020 season with 44 tackles for the Kansas City Chiefs. It seemed like Nick was following in big brother Ben’s footsteps well after a 10-tackle performance against Wisconsin in 2018, but a leg injury curbed his development during that season.
6th Round, 198th overallLos Angeles ChargersLarry Rountree III5’10 216/RB-Missouri239/4th RoundRountree III tallied nearly 4,000 yards rushing and fumbled just five times on over 800 career touches. This despite being somewhat right-hand dominant as a runner at times. He has active feet that can step in-and-out of tackles.
7th Round, 241st overallLos Angeles ChargersMark Webb6’1 210/S-Georgia274/4th RoundWebb is a former wide receiver who seemed to have a pretty good feel for route combinations working at the team’s Star position the last two seasons. While he frequently was asked to cover tight ends and wide receivers, he also showed some ability to play off the hash marks on occasion.

2021 NFL Free Agency, Live Updates: AFC West

The Broncos lost Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay, the Chiefs picked up a second-team All-Pro and the Chargers added an All-Pro offensive lineman. The Raiders traded away starting offensive linemen for draft picks and the Chiefs cut a couple of their own starting linemen to create more cap flexibility. The AFC West has been busy so far this offseason.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

Offensive free agents

LT Eric Fisher

RT Mitchell Schwartz

WR Sammy Watkins

WR Demarcus Robinson

C Austin Reiter

RB Anthony Sherman

LG Kelechi Osemele

RT Mike Remmers (Re-signed)

LG Stefen Wisniewski

C Daniel Kilgore

RB Le’Veon Bell

TE Ricky Seals-Jones

LG Andrew Wylie (Re-signed)

TE Deon Yelder

WR Gehrig Dieter (Re-signed)

RB Darrel Williams

WR Byron Pringle (Re-signed)

TE Nick Keizer

Defensive free agents

S Daniel Sorensen

CB Bashaud Breeland

DE Alex Okafor

LB Damien Wilson

DE Tanoh Kpassagnon

DT Mike Pennel

CB Antonio Hamilton

DE Taco Charlton (Re-signed)

LB Ben Niemann

CB Charvarius Ward (Re-signed)

CB Alex Brown

LB Emmanuel Smith (Re-signed)

Joe Thuney OG Kansas City Chiefs
Former NC State OL Joe Thuney, pictured, recently agreed to a five-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Thuney started in three consecutive Super Bowls to start his career.

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Re-signed DE Taco Charlton, WR Gehrig Dieter, LB Emmanuel Smith, LG Andrew Wylie, RT Mike Remmers, WR Byron Pringle, CB Charvarius Ward
  • Agreed to terms with OG Joe Thuney (Patriots) on a five-year deal, TE Blake Bell (Cowboys), OG Kyle Long
  • Released OT Eric Fisher, OT Mitchell Schwartz

Los Angeles Chargers

Offensive free agents

RG Trai Turner

TE Hunter Henry (Agreed to terms with Patriots)

C Mike Pouncey (Retired)

QB Tyrod Taylor (Agreed to terms with Texans)

TE Virgil Green

LG Forrest Lamp

G Dan Feeney (Agreed to terms with Jets)

LG Ryan Groy

G Cole Toner (Agreed to terms with Texans)

RB Kalen Ballage

TE Stephen Anderson

LT Sam Tevi

RG Tyree St. Louis (Re-signed)

WR Jeff Cotton

Defensive free agents

DE Melvin Ingram

CB Casey Hayward

LB Denzel Perryman (Agreed to terms with Panthers)

CB Michael Davis (Re-signed)

LB Nick Vigil (Agreed to terms with the Vikings)

DT Damion Square

S Jaylen Watkins

S Jahleel Addae

DE Isaac Rochell (Agreed to terms with Colts)

LB B.J. Bello

S Rayshawn Jenkins (Agreed to terms with the Jaguars)

LB Malik Jefferson

CB Tevaughn Campbell (Re-signed)

CB Brandon Facyson

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Re-signed P Ty Long, OG Tyree St. Louis, CB Michael Davis, CB Tevaughn Campbell
  • Agreed to terms with OL Matt Feiler (Steelers) on a three-year deal, OC Corey Linsley (Packers) to a five-year deal, TE Jared Cook (Saints)
  • Released CB Casey Hayward, OG Trai Turner
  • Lost S Rayshawn Jenkins (Jaguars), C Mike Pouncey (Retired), QB Tyrod Taylor (Texans), TE Hunter Henry (Patriots), LB Nick Vigil (Vikings), LB Denzel Perryman (Panthers), G Dan Feeney (Jets), G Cole Toner (Texans), DE Isaac Rochell (Colts)

Denver Broncos

Offensive free agents

RT Elijah Wilkinson

RT Demar Dotson

QB Blake Bortles

WR Tim Patrick (Re-signed)

TE Jake Butt

TE Troy Fumagalli

WR Diontae Spencer (Re-signed)

RB Phillip Lindsay

LG Austin Schlottmann (Re-signed)

LT Calvin Anderson (Re-signed)

C Patrick Morris (Re-signed)

Defensive free agents

DT Jurrell Casey

CB A.J. Bouye

S Justin Simmons (Re-signed)

CB Kareem Jackson

DT Shelby Harris (Re-signed)

S Will Parks

DE Jeremiah Attaochu

DT DeMarcus Walker

DT Sylvester Williams

DE Anthony Chickillo

CB De’Vante Bausby

LB Joseph Jones

S Trey Marshall (Re-signed)

CB Kevin Toliver II

LB Austin Calitro

CB Alijah Holder

DT Kyle Peko

LB Natrez Patrick (R-signed)

LB Alexander Johnson (Re-signed)

DT Jonathan Harris (Re-signed)

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Agreed to terms with CB Ronald Darby (WFT) on a three-year deal, RB Mike Boone (Vikings)
  • Placed the franchise tag on S Justin Simmons and eventually agreed to terms with Simmons on a four-year deal
  • Re-signed DL Shelby Harris, S Trey Marshall, WR Tim Patrick, LB Natrez Patrick, WR Diontae Spencer, LB Alexander Johnson, RB Phillip Lindsay, DT Jonathan Harris, OT Calvin Anderson, OG Austin Schlottmann, C Patrick Morris
  • Picked up OLB Von Miller’s option
  • Placed an original round tender on RB Phillip Lindsay, rescinded it, and then he signed with the Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Offensive free agents

WR Tyrell Williams (Agreed to terms with the Lions)

RG Gabe Jackson (Traded to the Seahawks)

LG Richie Incognito (Re-signed)

TE Jason Witten (Retired with Cowboys)

LG Denzelle Good (Re-signed)

TE Derek Carrier (Re-signed)

WR Zay Jones

RT Sam Young

WR Nelson Agholor (Agreed to terms with Patriots)

RB Devontae Booker (Agreed to terms with Giants)

TE Nick O’Leary

QB Nathan Peterman (re-signed)

RB Theo Riddick (Re-signed)

Defensive free agents

S Lamarcus Joyner (Agreed to terms with Jets)

DT Maliek Collins (Agreed to terms with the Texans)

DT Johnathan Hankins (Re-signed)

LB Nicholas Morrow

DE Takkarist McKinley (Agreed to terms with the Browns)

S Erik Harris (Agreed to terms with the Falcons)

CB Nevin Lawson

LB Raekwon McMillan (Agreed to terms with Patriots)

LB Kyle Wilber

DE Chris Smith

LB Vic Beasley

CB Daryl Worley

DE Jeremiah Valoaga

LB Ukeme Eligwe

S Dallin Leavitt (Re-signed)

CB D.J. Killings

DT Kendal Vickers (Re-signed)

Special Teams

K Daniel Carlson (Re-signed)

LS Trent Sieg (Re-signed)

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Agreed to terms with DE Yannick Ngakoue (Ravens) on a two-year deal, WR John Brown (Bills), DE Quinton Jefferson (Bills), DE Solomon Thomas (49ers), RB Kenyan Drake (Cardinals), DT Quinton Jefferson (Bills), C Nick Martin (Texans)
  • Traded OG Gabe Jackson to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2021 fifth-round pick
  • Traded OC Rodney Hudson and a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick
  • Re-signed OG Richie Igcognito, LG Denzelle Good, K Daniel Carlson, TE Trent Sieg, QB Nathan Peterman, DT Kendal Vickers, S Dallin Leavitt, DT Johnathan Hankins, RB Theo Riddick, TE Derek Carrier
  • Released WR Tyrell Williams (Lions)
  • Lost TE Jason Witten (retired-Cowboys), DT Maleik Collins (Texans), DE Takk McKinley (Browns), RB Devontae Booker (Giants), WR Nelson Agholar (Patriots), S Erik Harris (Falcons), S Lamarcus Joyner (Jets), LB Raekwon McMillan (Patriots)

Photography: ©DraftNasty

DraftNasty Throwback (circa 2014): Oklahoma State’s Tyreek Hill vs. FSU’s Jalen Ramsey

On August 30, 2014, the Florida State Seminoles squared off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Advocare Classic. The result? A hard-fought 37-31 victory for the top-ranked Seminoles. The game within the game featured two future NFL All-Pros matching up at different positions then they would eventually star at in the NFL. At the time, current Kansas City WR Tyreek Hill was a running back/return specialist and Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey was starring in a safety/nickel back role. In what proved to be a precursor for the future, Hill tallied an incredible total of 278 all-purpose yards. Ramsey contributed 12 tackles and 1/2 tackle for loss, while displaying outstanding agility and body control. We go inside one of college football’s best matchups of the past decade.

Hill (No. 24 pictured) was used in a myriad of ways during the matchup with the Seminoles, but Ramsey’s responsibilities (No. 8 covering Hill out of the backfield) varied quite a bit during the day as well.

2020 NFL Draft recap: AFC West

Denver Broncos  Notable pick: Muti was unable to stay healthy in either of his final two seasons, but the former college LT has the footwork to demand a look during training camp.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (15)
Jerry Jeudy
6’1 193
WR-Alabama
22/2nd Round Jeudy’s ability to run through the reception should immediately make him a highly targeted threat in the Broncos ever-evolving offensive scheme. QB Drew Lock is very accurate on skinny posts into the middle of the field, and that is a route (along with the quick slant) that Jeudy excelled on during school.
2 (46) K.J. Hamler
5’9 178
WR-Penn State
63/2nd Round Hamler has a different level of speed of anyone else in the Broncos receiving corps. In an attempt to get him the ball, the Nittany Lions moved him around quite a bit, but there is no doubt that the team could use him on the outside on vertical concepts. He may have gone higher if he had been able to workout for scouts prior to the draft.
3 (77) Michael Ojemudia
6’1 200
CB-Iowa
215/4th Round Ojemudia certainly increased his level of play as a senior. Since his days as a high school safety, he has always been physical. In fact, the Hawkeyes matched him on different personnel in 2018 (inside) to take advantage of his size in coverage.
3 (83) Lloyd Cushenberry
6’3 312
OC-LSU
24/2nd Round Cushenberry should be able for a job at any of the three interior line positions. Although he was our top-ranked center, there are little doubts about his ability to transition to a guard spot.
3 (95) McTelvin Agim
6’3 309
DT-Arkansas
159/3rd Round Agim started his career as a multi-dimensional DE/DT for the Razorbacks but he eventually just grew into the defensive tackle spot. His quickness and ability to gain an edge on opponents should make him a good fit as a four-technique DE for the Broncos.
4 (118)Albert Okwuegbunam
6’5 260
TE-Missouri
174/4th RoundOkwuegbunam never exactly played to his workout numbers in school, but that doesn’t mean he was not a field-stretching presence. His Red Zone productivity was evident (23 career TDs). Although he improved as a blocker, the team frequently used him more in an H-back/FB type of role within their offense. He may take targets away from Noah Fant due to his relationship with QB Drew Lock.
5 (178)Justin Strnad
6’3 238
LB-Wake Forest
190/4th Round Strnad was one of the more active LBs in the ACC the last two seasons and proved his worth in coverage. He may start out on special teams, but he could compete for a backup role in nickel packages at LB.
6 (181)Netane Muti
6’3 315
OG-Fresno State
134/3rd Round Where would Muti have gone had he been able to stay healthy in either of his final two seasons. That point is debatable, but what is not up for debate is the aggression he plays the game with down-to-down. His technical deficiencies surround a tendency to dip his head when latching.
7 (252)
Tyrie Cleveland
6’2 209
WR-Florida
249/4th Round
Cleveland flashed as a downfield threat, gunner and kickoff returner in school. His best chance to make the team will be to upend former CFL star Diontae Spencer for the KR role. It won’t be an easy task.
7 (254)
Derrick Tuszka
6’4 247
DE-OLB-North Dakota State
235/4th Round
Tuszka is effective on the move or getting out of his three-point stance. There were even times when the Bison would use him inside (DT) on third downs. His energy gives him an outside chance of making the team despite entering a crowded OLB room.
Denver Broncos first-round pick Jerry Jeudy -the 2018 Biletnikoff Award Winner- averaged 17.2 yards per reception with 26 receiving TDs in his career.
Kansas City Chiefs  Notable pick: Sneed is the type of developmental prospect that the Chiefs have traditionally loved to take over the years. His 4.37 speed will be used most effectively in man coverage. The team will need him to locate the ball down the field but his profile fits their defensive scheme.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (32) Clyde Edwards-Helaire5’7 207
RB-LSU
68/2nd Round Edwards-Helaire runs option routes, pops off of tacklers in-or-out of the box and competes in every phase of the game. The Chiefs will have a plan for his skill set.
2 (63)Willie Gay, Jr.6’2 243
LB-Mississippi State
21/2nd Round Gay, Jr. was arguably the most explosive LB in this year’s draft class. A litany of suspensions and games missed in 2019 did him no favors. The fact that he remained an integral part of nearly every special teams unit, however, speaks to his football character.
3 (96)Lucas Niang6’6 315
OT-TCU
133/3rd Round Niang is long, relatively light on his feet and aggressive. It can be argued that he was perhaps more impressive as a run blocker.
4 (138) L’Jarius Sneed6’1 192
CB-Louisiana Tech
283/4th Round Sneed didn’t look the part consistently at safety and part of that was due to an uneven feel for the position. What he did do a very good job of was competing in man coverage, which seems to be his favorite thing to do.
5 (177) Michael Danna6’2 261/
DE-Michigan, CMU
345/4th RoundDanna moved in-and-out of a number of line spots for Michigan after standing out as an edge defender at CMU. His power and explosiveness stood out in the postseason.
7 (237)Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes6’1 202/CB-Tulane220/4th RoundKeyes has length, patience and positive foot speed. DC Jack Curtis challenged him over a three-year period in loads of man-to-man coverage and he responded favorably.
Kansas City Chiefs fourth-round pick L’Jarius Sneed ran a 4.37 40-yd dash, had a 41″ VJ and went 10’11” in the broad jump at the 2020 NFL Combine. Sneed returned three of his eight career interceptions for touchdowns while at Louisiana Tech.
Las Vegas Raiders  Notable pick: If Robertson produces anywhere near the level of his collegiate productivity, then the Raiders will get at least a viable nickel back candidate. His toughness is exemplary, but his wrap tackling was inconsistent in school.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (12) Henry Ruggs III 5’11 188
WR-Alabama
43/2nd Round
Ruggs was arguably one of the better kickoff and punt cover guys in the country (17 tackles in career). Aside from starring in those roles, he stood out with his field speed on downfield routes and after the catch.
1 (19) Damon Arnette 6’0 195 
CB-Ohio State
56/2nd Round Arnette’s physical playing style didn’t dissipate while playing with a broken hand in 2019. In fact, it could be argued that he took his game to another level. His style fits that of a classic Raiders DB.
3 (80) Lynn Bowden, Jr. 5’11 203
All-Purpose Kentucky
118/3rd Round Bowden will have to be located if used in a number of ways, which may in fact be the plan in Las Vegas. If there was ever a player worth hitting the jackpot on in Round 3, then the all-purpose SEC standout fits the bill.
3 (81) Bryan Edwards 6’3 212 WR-South Carolina 61/2nd Round
While we talked about the Raiders potentially hitting the lottery in Round 3 earlier, they may have doubled down with the selection of Edwards. South Carolina’s all-time leader in receptions is smooth, fast and contains outstanding spatial awareness on the field.
3 (100) Tanner Muse 6’2 227 S-Clemson 313/5th Round
Muse was Clemson’s Special Teams Player of the Year back in 2016 and took his game to another level each year. His speed was on display when he ran down Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins in the 2019 CFP semifinal to save a TD.
4 (109) John Simpson  6’4 321
OG-Clemson
101/3rd Round
Simpson has the burly build and overall wrestling-type background make him tough to get away from once latched. He was the first Clemson offensive lineman selected since 2014.
4 (139) Amik Robertson 5’8 187
CB-Louisiana Tech
66/2nd Round
Robertson’s production speaks for itself. During his time in Ruston, the former Bulldog notched 14 INTs (265 yds, 3 TDs) and 34 PBUs. In addition, he posted 23.5 tackles for losses.
Las Vegas Raiders first-round pick Damon Arnette was an active four-year contributor for the Buckeyes at the cornerback spot, but he also saw time at nickel back in 2019.
Los Angeles Chargers  Notable pick: The Chargers already have Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in the fold and they typically have used a running back by committee approach. If Kelley is going to penetrate the lineup, then his ability to get the grind it out yardage is the route.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (6) Justin Herbert6’6 238
QB-Oregon
13/1st Round Herbert’s physical skills often outpaced his decision-making but he began to learn how to win the tough games as a senior. Staying in school to get more repetitions proved to be the right decision for the former Duck. Can he eventually compete with the high-octane offenses developing within the division?
1 (23)Kenneth Murray6’1 241
LB-Oklahoma
28/2nd RoundMurray improved dramatically in Alex Grinch’s defensive scheme in 2019. His discipline improved but his activity (155 tackles in 2018) largely remained the same.
4 (112)Joshua Kelley5’10 214
RB-UCLA, UC-Davis
92/3rd Round Kelley used a strong postseason to backup his solid production while at UCLA. His vision may be his strongest asset. Although he wasn’t used much in the passing game, he displays potential as a receiving threat.
5 (151)Joe Reed6’0 223 All-purpose-Virginia149/3rd Round Reed was used in the screen game to almost serve as an extra RB in 2019. This came a year after averaging nearly 19 yards per catch. His real value comes in the return game.
6 (186)Alohi Gilman5’10 202
S-Notre Dame, Navy
183/4th Round Gilman may be quicker than fast but his play speed stands out. While at Navy, he displayed tremendous timing as a blitzer. His eye speed is outstanding for the position but his effort has stood out on both the punt and kickoff cover units.
7 (220)K.J. Hill6’0 196
WR-Ohio State
194/4th Round Hill had the occasional concentration lapse, but his feel for setting up defenders is without a doubt one of his better characteristics as a route runner. He is strong enough to handle the inside duty of being a slot receiver.
After arriving from the Naval Academy, Los Angeles Chargers sixth-round pick Alohi Gilman posted 94 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 FFs, 2 INTs and 5 PBUs for the Fighting Irish in 2018.

Q&A with former Utah State PK Dominik Eberle: “It’s always about the next kick”

Former Utah State kicker Dominick Eberle set a new Mountain West Conference all-time mark for field goals when he hit four goals versus Wyoming in 2019. He also aced a game-winning field goal against Fresno State in 2019. Despite being a Lou Groza Award finalist in 2017, he dealt with a career-defining low point in the 2017 Arizona Bowl. DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous caught up with Eberle during the week of the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl to talk about redemption, technique and confidence.

Corey: I want to take you to a game a couple years back. The Arizona Bowl (2017). That game. What did you feel like it did for you….the learning experience? Talk about that moment and how you built from that.
Eberle: That moment is something where I truly felt like I let my teammates down. I felt like I didn’t perform to the best of my abilities and it wasn’t gonna be something that I was gonna be remembered for. That was gonna be something where it has happened, but the learning experience from that, really challenging myself to whatever accolades came before that didn’t matter, because that was the last game I had played in. So I really wanted to make sure that that bitter taste out of my mouth kinda came out of that. Because just through hard work, really focusing on what I can do better and what I can control, that was something that I learned a lot from it and wanted to just consistently improve on every single day. And those are the lessons that you need as a kicker. You need to be mentally tough, you need to be able to just focus on the next kick because what happened doesn’t matter anymore. It shapes who you are but it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s always about the next kick. And that’s kind of the mentality that I took this year as well. It doesn’t matter if I made three field goals already, the fourth one, the next one is really the one I focused on. Just taking it one kick at a time.

Utah State’s Dominik Eberle made 79-percent of his field goals in school and never missed an extra point.

Corey: I think you were like 18-of-22 (16-of-18) going into that game (2017 Arizona Bowl) or something like that. It was kind of crazy just how efficient you had been. Big reason the team was even in the bowl game, right? But did you find yourself punching at the ball in that game? What was it technically that you learned from it?
Eberle: From that game, I was wrapping around the ball a lot. If you look at the seam, I was hitting so far on the right seam where even though I had distance on it, it was just kind of shoot off your foot with a weird left rotation and spin out to the left of the upright. And that’s what I did on three of the field goals that game. And the very last one, I really just punched at it, it went right, hit the upright. That’s something where I looked at it where it was sometimes just trusting your technique isn’t enough. Sometimes you’ve gotta be really able to not revamp it, but add certain things that can help you. So what I did going into the next season (2018) was really following through straight and using my momentum, similar to Justin Tucker’s, to carry myself through the ball straight and have my hips pointing right at my target. That’s something that I worked with cone drills, just kicking the ball into the net. And that’s something where every single day I’m kinda working at that getting that consistency right through my target.

Corey: And talk a little bit about that. For placekickers, the target line is a big deal. That target line is really where you’re trying to get the ball to and in that sense, that’s really what you’re talking about from an explanation standpoint, right?
Eberle: Exactly. For us, when we’re facing our building side right between the S and T or the K and the S for Maverik Stadium (Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, Utah State’s home field), small little gap. That’s something we’re always aiming at. It’s high up and everybody can see it and that’s my target line. So whenever I hit in that Allstate Hands (kicking net) or something, right down my target line. That’s something I always focus on in practice, whether it’s here (Tropicana Field, East-West Shrine Bowl), when I’m looking above you can kinda see the Tropicana Field. That’s something where I’m aiming at and really know if my ball is truly where I was gonna hit it.

Corey: One of the best kickers in Mountain West history. If there is one thing you feel good about translating the next level what would it be? In terms of moving forward to the next level. You’ve kicked off, are you going to be a touchback kicker in the NFL?
Eberle: I can certainly improve on kickoffs. The scheme was different this year (2019) than it was last year (2018: 64-percent touchback percentage). We tried to play the ball around a little bit more, steal a possession here or there, so my touchback percentages might of not have been near as similar…

Utah State PK Dominik Eberle, pictured, became the sixth player in NCAA history to kick three 50-yard field goals when he connected on three 51-yarders versus New Mexico State in 2018.

Corey: Sky kicks.
Eberle: Exactly. Sky kicks, little pooch kicks.

Corey: Hang times to sometimes get a fair catch?
Eberle: Exactly. So that was kinda what we were working with this year rather than just telling me to boot the ball out of the end zone. I know I can do that but I’m more of a team player. Realizing against LSU we had a little pooch kick over to about the 30-yard line where we knew the guy wasn’t experienced catching the ball and maybe steal a fumble. So we pooched the ball over and he fumbled it but he recovered it rather than us. That is where I realized that can just as much of a weapon as just kicking the ball out of the end zone.

Corey: You talked about Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) earlier, who were some of the other kickers that you study at the NFL level with some of those technique we were talking about?
Eberle: Shayne Graham (15-year NFL veteran with 14 teams) would be one as well. He was really consistent. He was someone that when I first was learning to become a kicker was still playing in the league. He was with the Bengals at the time, bounced around with the Saints and everything. I was watching him and how smooth he sometimes appeared where it looked effortless. Will Lutz (New Orleans Saints) as well, he has incredible ball-striking ability. That’s something I want to learn from him. And just Adam Vinatieri (Patriots, Colts). The more you read about him or hear stories about him, he had that killer instinct in the fourth quarter. He was so in the zone that you knew he wasn’t going to miss.

Corey: Thanks a lot for your time and best of luck in the draft.
Eberle: Thanks a lot.

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

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

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

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

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

Risner

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

Acquired from Cincinnati

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

Acquired from Minnesota

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

Acquired from Carolina

Juwann

Winfree

WR/

Colorado, Maryland

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

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

 

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

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (56)

Acquired from Los Angeles via New England via Chicago

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

Acquired from Los Angeles

Juan

Thornhill

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

Acquired from Seattle

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

Acquired from San Francisco

Nick

Allegretti

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

 

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

 

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

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

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

Mississippi State,

Georgia

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

Crosby

DE-OLB/Eastern

Michigan

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

Acquired from Indianapolis

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

Compensatory pick acquired from Atlanta

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

Acquired from Dallas via Cincinnati

Hunter

Renfrow

WR/

Clemson

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

Acquired from Atlanta

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

 

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

 

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

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

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

Adderley

DB/

Delaware

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

Tranquill

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

Egbule

OLB/

Houston

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

Cincinnati

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

2019 NFL Draft: Cornering the market

The 2019 NFL Draft has long been lauded for a deep class of interior and exterior defensive linemen. One position -although devoid of Top 10 talent- that has unique depth is the cornerback spot. We take a look at three players from that position group.

Justin Layne 6’2 185 Michigan State

Layne has a smooth style accompanied by defensive end-like arm length (33″). The former college wide receiver posted 30 touchdowns as a prep level star at Benedictine High School (Ohio). For a taller corner, he flips his hips relatively well in man-to-man coverage. We were surprised at his ability to react off of the wide receiver’s block of the safety in crack-and-replace situations to tackle.

The former Spartan needs to monitor allowing his motor-press technique turning into a backpedal at the line of scrimmage. This has allowed easy access on quick slants. On the plus side, however, this same technique keeps him in the hip pocket of receivers. In these instances, he is adept at playing through the hands of wideouts with his back turned to the quarterback in man-to-man coverage (PBU, 4th QTR/5:07, Utah State; PBU, 4th QTR/5:07, Penn State vs. Johnson).

NFL teams hold Layne in relatively high regard and we expect him to possibly come off the board at least by the end of Day 2 next weekend.

Corey Ballentine 5’11 196 Washburn

Ballentine averaged nearly 31 yards per kickoff return as a junior at the Division II level. In 46 career games, he forced four fumbles and displayed a knack for blocking kicks (three in 2018). The first-team All-MIAA performer uses adequate technique in press-man coverage and has shown the ability to close on crossing routes that break away from him. Despite recording just five interceptions in school, he has a natural feel and comfort finding the football due to his footwork, hip flexibility and confident disposition.

Ballenine posted a 10.51 100-meter time for the Washburn track & field squad. The 2018 Cliff Harris Award winner posted an 11’3″ broad jump at the 2019 NFL Combine.

For him to transition from the D2 level to the pros, the 2018 Cliff Harris Award winner will have to concentrate on playing a little bit lower in his stance. This would eliminate him from reacting too dramatically to hard jab steps, which he has a tendency to do on occasion. Teams that have Ballentine in mind will be comforted by the fact that he was a part of the team’s kickoff and punt return units, while also returning the kickoffs referenced earlier. The former Washburn track & field sprinter posted a 21.2-second time in the 200-meters while in school.

Jordan Brown 6’0 201 South Dakota State

We were fortunate to see Brown play in person during the team’s playoff contest against Kennesaw State in December 2018 and we were impressed with his down-to-down awareness. The Jackrabbits team captain is another former wide receiver with the skills to play off-man or bump-and-run.

Brown (pictured pointing) finished his career with 148 tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 FFs, 8 INTs and 27 PBUs. He was a two-time first-team All-MVFC selection and AP third-team All-American in 2018.

The Kennesaw State contest required him to play disciplined football because of the Owls’ diverse triple-option attack. His fourth quarter plant-and-drive on a quick three-step hitch created a tip that was intercepted by a teammate. The turnover sealed the game for the team. He believed his indicators and drove on the football with force. We were not as impressed with his inability to protect his thigh boards in this game, but he has exhibited solid tackling technique on film. Maintaining eye control will be key for Brown in his next level ascension (see Southern Illinois ’18).

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.