Category Archives: NFC North

2020 NFL Draft Recap: NFC North

Green Bay Packers Notable picks: Deguara showed patience setting up his routes, good hand-eye coordination and improved blocking skills in 2019. While not a burner, he plays fast and brings toughness to the table. He was a solid kickoff cover guy early in his Bearcats career.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (26) Jordan Love6’3 224
QB-Utah State
35/2nd Round Love’s playing style (VIDEO) has some similarities to starting QB Aaron Rodgers. Using his eyes with more effectiveness to maneuver defenders should be on the top of his to-do list.
2 (62) A.J. Dillon6’1 247
RB-Boston College
64/2nd RoundDillon’s physical prowess is defined by upper and lower body power. He is patient when following his pullers on power schemes (either inside or outside). Can he be a factor in pass protection? Will he even need to be with Aaron Jones in the mix?
3 (94) Josiah Deguara6’2 245
TE/H-back-Cincinnati
136/3rd RoundAt the prep level, Deguara caught 24 TDs as a senior. This past season, he led the Bearcats with 7 receiving TDs as a flex/H-back option. He improved every year as an on the move blocker.
5 (175)Kamal Martin6’3 240
LB-Minnesota
423/5th RoundThe former all-state QB makes up for a relatively high playing disposition with good feet. Eliminating some of the wasted motion gives him a better chance to earn a spot as a special team contributor/backup.
6 (208)Jake Hanson6’4 303
OC-Oregon
454/6th RoundHanson -a former DL with aggression- started 48 games in school. He was an effective communicator in the pre-snap when it came to line games and potential twists. Can snap-and-pull in confined areas.
6 (209)Simon Stepaniak6’4 321
OG-Indiana
434/6th RoundStepaniak-who carries 10 3/8″ hands- was a 31-game starter in school and grappler at the OG spot.
7 (236)Vernon Scott6’2 205
DB-TCU
N/AScott made a statement about his film study when he recognized a bunch formation against Oklahoma on his lone career interception returned for a score. His tackling has been hit-or-miss (see Texas ’19).
Dillon (No. 2 pictured) powered his way behind a stout offensive line for three years. Boston College finished eighth nationally in rushing yards per game in 2019.
7 (242)

Jonathan Garvin

6’4 263
DE-OLB-Miami (Fla.)
219/
4th
Round
The smooth DE gained nearly 45 pounds in school and it didn’t really rob him of much short-area burst. He slips offensive tackles and defeats blockers in the run game, but he has to generate a go-to move to win in the NFL.
Chicago Bears Notable Pick: The selection of Kmet means the Bears can now use a number of two tight end formations with both he and free agent signee Jimmy Graham. It is a clear sign that the team is intent on attacking the middle of the field in 2020.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (43)Cole Kmet6’6 262
TE-Notre Dame
53/2nd Round The former left-handed closer on the baseball team handled multiple roles for the Fighting Irish. He can be effective on the move as an H-back or in-line as a tight end.
2 (50) Jaylon Johnson6’0 195
CB-Utah
73/2nd Round Johnson finished his career with seven interceptions (165 yards, 2 TDs) and 21 pass breakups.
5 (155)Trevis Gipson6’3 259
DE-Tulsa
128/3rd
Round
Gipson’s ability to play the run from the four-technique position often took away pass rush opportunities. In that facet (pass rushing), he has to become a better bender overall.
5 (163) Kindle Vildor5’10 191
CB-Georgia Southern
54/2nd RoundVildor was a team leader and excellent tackler while at Georgia Southern. He impressed in the postseason with 4.44 speed and an 11’1″ broad jump.
5 (173) Darnell Mooney5’10 176
WR-Tulane
295/4th RoundMooney has the skill-set to run routes outside the numbers or in the slot. He has very good run after the catch skill.
7 (226)Arlington Hambright6’4 307
OL-Colorado, Oklahoma State
161/3rd RoundHambright impressed protecting the blindside for quarterback Steven Montez as a senior in 2019 but largely was unavailable for Oklahoma State in 2018 due to a high ankle sprain.
7 (227)Lachavious Simmons6’5 290
OT-Tennessee State
N/ASimmons’ aggressiveness getting off the ball as a left guard overcame the occasional balance issue. the first-team All-OVC selection has seen time at LG, RG and LT.
Minnesota Vikings Notable pick: The number of picks could be considered what is notable. One pick of particular interest, however, is Metullus. During the pre-draft process, he seemed to go largely undervalued and the Vikings have traditionally struck gold with late round or free agent pickups after draft.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (22)
Justin Jefferson
6’1 202
WR-LSU
32/2nd Round Jefferson was already a good player in 2018, but his confidence soared in 2019. He enters the NFL believing no one can guard him in one-on-one situations.
1 (31)Jeff Gladney

5’10 191
CB-TCU
55/2nd Round Gladney’s competitiveness made him a fiery contributor for a Gary Patterson defense that requires a lot of man coverage from its cornerbacks. The Horned Frogs led the Big 12 in pass defense in each of the last three seasons. Gladney was a big reason why.
2 (58)Ezra Cleveland
6’6 300
OT-Boise State
88/2nd Round Cleveland is smooth, experienced and efficient with his footwork in pass protection. Can he maintain a consistent lockout? The former high school wrestler enjoys tying up defenders, but needs to improve his initial pop as a run blocker.
3 (89)Cameron Dantzler
6’2 188
CB-Mississippi State
90/3rd Round Dantzler’s workouts didn’t reflect his instincts, timing and willingness to tackle. In Minnesota, the team will challenge him to trust his technique and he should be able to earn a role in nickel and dime packages as a rookie.
4 (117)D.J. Wonnum
6’5 258
DE-South Carolina
252/4th Round After a breakout sophomore campaign, Wonnum’s sack production diminished in 2018 due to injury (ankle). He began to regain his form in 2019.
4 (130)James Lynch
6’4 289
DL-Baylor
57/2nd Round
The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year played up-and-down the Bears defensive front in school. Lynch finished his career with 33.5 TFLs, 7 PBUs and three blocked kicks.
4 (132)Troy Dye
6’3 231
LB-Baylor
129/3rd Round
Dye’s teammates voted him the team’s defensive MVP as a rookie and it was a sign of things to come. Although angular by nature, Dye has unique eye speed, flexibility and field speed.
5 (169)
Harrison Hand
5’11 197
CB-Temple, Baylor
218/4th Round
Hand has good size, toughness and footwork. Technically, he is a work in progress (see UCF ’19). With that said, he brings capability in either man or zone coverage.

5 (176)
K.J. Osborn

6’0 205
WR-Miami (Fla.), Buffalo
246/4th Round
Osborn was arguably the Bulls best receiver in 2018 despite the presence of All-MAC receiver Anthony Johnson. The narrative largely remained the same at Miami (Fla.) as a grad transfer after the disappearing act of Jeff Thomas.
6 (203)
Blake Brandel
6’6 302
OT-Oregon State
529/6th Round
Brandel -a 48-game starter in school at both tackle spots- made most of his starts on the left side of the line (39). He has 10 3/8″ hands, 33 1/4″ arms and an 80 1/8″ wingspan.
6 (205)
Josh Metullus
5’11 210
S-Michigan
153/3rd Round
Metullus -a 38-game starter in school- is smart, communicates well and can get off of the hash marks. Michigan challenges all of its defensive backs in man coverage. He has shown aggressiveness as a tackler.
Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes, pictured, finished his career with 26.5 quarterback sacks and 51 tackles for loss.
7 (225)
Kenny Willekes
6’4 264
DE-Michigan State
104/3rd RoundWillekes -the 2019 Burlsworth Trophy Award winner- was the rare dominant former walk-on. He plays low enough, handles tight ends in the run game and times his snap count reactions. Will his leverage allow him to overcome his length deficiencies?
7 (244)
Nate Stanley
6’4 231
QB-Iowa
132/3rd Round
Stanley has all of the physical tools, but his work in the pre-snap phase of the game identifying fronts often allowed him to make checks at the line of scrimmage in the run game. He may have helped himself by playing in a postseason all-star game.
7 (249)
Brian Cole II
6’2 213
S-Mississippi State, Michigan
181/4th Round
Cole II -a one-year starter- timed his blitzes (off the slot or from the edge), covered the slot and played a LB-type position for DC Bob Shoop and the Bulldogs. The former WR also returned kicks in school.
7 (253)
Kyle Hinton
6’2 296
OG-Washburn
616/7th Round
Hinton’s Pro Day performance (4.9 40-yd, 34 1/2″ VJ) subsidized a decent showing during the 2020 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. During school, he showed the ability to get out and hit the occasional moving target.
Detroit Lions  Notable pick: The Lions have been searching for a Top 10 running back it seems like for the entire Matthew Stafford-era in Detroit. Can Swift be more than just a change of pace for Kerryon Johnson? If so, their running game could become a team strength as opposed to question mark.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (3) Jeff Okudah6’1 205
CB-Ohio State
11/1st RoundOkudah will be challenged in man-to-man coverage and that should fit his skill-set. The former high school safety brings an assertive nature similar to the last Lions cornerback taken in the Top 5 in the first round, Bryant Westbrook (1997 NFL Draft).
2 (35) D’Andre Swift5’8 212
RB-Georgia
7/1st RoundSwift has been afforded the luxury of being in a rotation during his career and this should remain the case in Detroit. An underrated receiver with outstanding peripheral vision as a runner, Swift’s only big knock was the occasional nick during school.
3 (67) Julian Okwara6’4 252
DE-OLB
Notre Dame
186/4th RoundOkwara stood up, played both DE spots in school and even dropped into coverage effectively out of a two-point stance (see Michigan ’18). He has contributed effectively on the field goal block team.
3 (75)Jonah Jackson6’3 306
OG-Ohio State, Rutgers
225/4th RoundJackson has started at right guard, center and left guard. Before arriving at Ohio State, he was a team captain at Rutgers. The criminal justice major plays with heavy hands and takes good angles in the run game, particularly on combination blocks.
4 (121)Logan Stenberg 6’6 317
OG-Kentucky
110/4th RoundStenberg -despite his height- latches LBs on the second level. He runs his feet on angle blocks and uses a solid skip-pull technique in confined areas. He has starting potential.
5 (166) Quintez Cephus6’1 202
WR-Wisconsin
130/3rd RoundCephus overcomes small hands with confidence catching the ball, solid weight distribution and suddenness. We feel he has room to grow in either the slot or on the outside.
5 (172) Jason Huntley5’8 182
All-purpose-New Mexico State
385/5th Round Electricity is the name of the game for Huntley in both the return game and as an all-purpose specialist. He can become even more effective with less touches, as he was in 2017 while playing with Larry Rose III.
6 (197) John Penisini6’2 318
DT-Utah
425/5th Round Strong DL capable of slanting and spiking. The former Ute is satisfactory holding the point vs. double teams.
7 (235)Jason Cornell6’3 284 (E)
DL-Ohio State
N/ACornell enjoyed a breakout season in 2019 with 4 QB sacks and 6.5 TFLs. He has played both DE and DT in school, and stood out in the 2019 CFP national semifinal.
Detroit Lions second-round pick D’Andre Swift averaged 6.6 yards per carry during his career at Georgia.

Q&A with Chicago Bears DE Trevis Gipson: “Put in the work”

Tulsa defensive end Trevis Gipson totaled 13 quarterback sacks in college and in 2019 doubled his sack production from four to eight. DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous caught up with Gipson (6’3, 259) during the 2020 Senior Bowl media day to discuss his favorite pass rush moves and the chances of improving his draft stock.

Chavous: You worked so much at the four-technique (DL) and oftentimes you play bigger than your size, what do you feel like this week offers in terms of showing you can be as an edge rusher?
Gipson: I feel like that will show my versatility to scouts and general managers that will be observing our practice. Like you said, I came in sometimes four-I (inside shade of tackle), four (head-up versus offensive tackle) or sometimes even five (outside shoulder of offensive tackle), but just being on that edge showing I can bull rush or speed rush, speed-to-power, just showing a lot of versatility in my pass rush. I feel like that will help my overall draft stock at the end of the day.

Gipson finished his Golden Hurricane career with 25.5 tackles for losses and eight forced fumbles.

Chavous: Some of our notes on you include the right-hand post from the left defensive end spot and then using that same arm to dip and make the 90-degree turn against Cincinnati this year. When you go against bigger tackles, like the guys you’ll face this week, do you feel like your long arms will allow you to get some extension away from these big tackles?
Gipson: I feel like it will. I have certain moves for certain tackles. Taller tackles I like to dip the corner or use my speed because they are longer than me. It all depends on what type of tackle I’m going against and just being able to turn that corner…wearing that down. That will open my opportunities to do the bull rush or power pass rushes overall.

Chavous: Do you think if you show here what you showed against other Power 5 teams that you could move up into the first round discussion?
Gipson: Most definitely, my confidence in myself is out of this roof. I feel like once I show them my pass rush is unstoppable in my opinion then it will help my draft stock. Overall, run-stopping, also, I feel like that will help me. Just dominating in all aspects man, that’s a part of my game plan. Of course everyone wants their draft stock to rise, but you’ve got put in the work to do it. That’s my first milestone and I’ll cross that coming this afternoon (here at the Senior Bowl).

Chavous: You kind of touched upon it, you’re a good run defender. That separates you from potentially some of the other players. Why is it such a commitment to you in terms of holding the point or being able to two-gap?
Gipson: In order to get to third down, you have to stop first and second.

Chavous: Yeah.
Gipson: I feel like I have more fun rushing the passer but I can’t do that unless I stop the run first. Of course delivering big hits….just enjoying the physicality of the game, that’s part of the reason I do it man. I love the game. You can’t take physicality or you can’t take running away from the game. Everybody is gonna run the ball. Some teams more than others…like Navy.

Chavous: Right, right.
Gipson: I didn’t get many pass rushes versus them (Navy).

Chavous: Protect your legs….(laughs).
Gipson: Ah man, I had blood coming down my shins and everything. It was crazy man. But stopping the run is a big part of getting to that third down and that’s what comes first. So I take that more serious.

Chavous: You kind of remind me of those guys who are multi-dimensional, like Za’Darius Smith or Preston Smith, the guys that play up in Green Bay. Guys who can play the run and rush the passer. Who do you pattern your game after at the next level? Maybe a guy where you say that kind of reminds me of myself a little bit. I can work on developing some of what he already has in his arsenal.
Gipson: I like to compare myself to Marcus Davenport (New Orleans Saints), he’s 6-foot-7 (6’6″). But just his story, coming out of UTSA, a small school, he was underlooked.

Chavous: He kind of rose up during this week (Senior Bowl) too, right?
Gibson: Yeah, he did and that’s my plan. Seeing him become the 14th overall pick, it just gave me nothing but hope and pride. I’m going to try and kill this week and show scouts what I can do. Overall, perform at a high level.

Chavous: Thanks a lot man, we enjoyed watching you play. Best of luck.
Gibson: Thanks a lot.

Detroit Lions RB D’Andre Swift: 2020 NFL Draft, 2nd Round, 35th overall

Former Georgia RB D’Andre Swift proved to be quite the all-purpose threat in Athens. The back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher averaged over nine yards per reception on 56 catches the last two seasons. For his career, the Pennsylvania native averaged 6.6 yards per carry with 25 total touchdowns. He should add a different element to the Detroit Lions offensive attack.

Green Bay Packers TE/H-back Josiah Deguara: 2020 NFL Draft, 3rd Round, 94th overall

After catching 114 passes for 24 touchdowns as a prep level star at Folsom High School (Calif.). He slowly settled into a role at Cincinnati over a three-year period, concluding his stay with a career-high seven touchdown receptions in 2019. His versatility bodes well in a possible NFL transition to a full-time H-back position for the Packers.

Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love: 2020 NFL Draft, 1st Round, 26th overall

Although Love didn’t have a textbook final season, he still ended his career with three bowl game appearances, 69 total touchdowns (60 PASS, 9 RUSH) and a 63-percent winning percentage. The talented former Aggie attacks all levels of the football field.

2019 NFL Draft recap, pick-by-pick: NFC North

Summers (No. 42 pictured) finished his TCU career with 319 tackles, 10.5 quarterback sacks, 23.5 tackles for losses, two interceptions and nine pass break-ups.

Green Bay Packers Notable picks: DC Mike Pettine’s 30-front background makes sense considering we feel Gary is better versus the run or pass the closer he moves down inside.  Savage won’t be handed anything, but we think he could challenge for a starting role relatively early in his career.  Summers fits the profile of the linebackers currently on the roster.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (12) Rashan Gary Michigan 26/2nd Round Gary’s effort was commensurate with what you would expect from a top pick, but he still needs work rushing from the outside.  As he proved in 2017, he may be a better fit rushing the passer from an interior DL spot on third downs. He will be an effective four-technique DE.
1 (21) Acquired from Seattle Darnell Savage DB/Maryland 25/2nd Round Savage could allow the Packers to use his multi-dimensional skills on first and second down in man coverage if he wins the starting spot opposite free agent signee Adrian Amos. Incumbent starter Josh Jones has started 12 games in two seasons.
2 (44) Elgton Jenkins OL/Mississippi State 18/2nd Round Jenkins projects to center (and enjoys the position), but he has also started at tackle and guard.  It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get some looks at a couple of spots in training camp as the team seeks to play its best five linemen. 
3 (75) Jace

Sternberger

TE/Texas A&M 112/3rd Round Sternberger can run through the catch and is solid after the grab.  The team has enough depth at tight end to employ some Ace personnel (2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB) now that he has joined the mix.  He has some similarities to New York Jets TE Chris Herndon. 
5 (150) Kingsley Keke DL/Texas A&M 128/3rd Round Keke has all of the tools to develop into a multi-purpose DL.  As he has done in school, we think he is capable of lining up over the center in sub-packages in reduced fronts.  He has a chance to compete for a four-technique position in their base fronts.
6 (185) Ka’dar Hollman CB/Toledo 299/4th Round Hollman went from former walk-on to steady hand within the Rockets program.  His feel for the game gives him a chance and his special teams ability could help him compete for a fifth or sixth DB role.
6 (194)

Acquired from Seattle

Dexter Williams RB/Notre Dame 260/4th Round Williams has the ability stick his foot in the ground to get north-south.  Despite running in the high 4.5-range, he proved capable of finishing long runs in school.  He could provide a change of pace option to Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones.  How he performs on special teams could determine his fate.
7 (226) Ty Summers LB/TCU 118/3rd Round Summers’ 4.51 speed is a big reason he produced 121 tackles back in 2016.  The team used him in more of a pass rush role this past season and his numbers don’t reflect his ability to play the exchange LB.  He could surprise in training camp.  Summers finished with the second-most tackles in the Gary Patterson-era at TCU.

Ridley (No. 8 pictured) led the Bulldogs with nine touchdown receptions in 2018. His physical playing style earns high marks.

Chicago Bears Notable Pick: The team came into the 2019 NFL Draft with a couple of goals.  One of them was finding a complement to Tarik Cohen and the selection of Montgomery was a step in the right direction.  The team drafted a receiver from Georgia for the second straight year.  Whyte often played second-fiddle to Devin Singletary at FAU, but he may been the Owls best home run threat in 2018. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
3 (73) 

Acquired from New England

David

Montgomery

RB/Iowa State 62/2nd Round Montgomery is the rare running back with the peripheral vision and foot quickness to make five-yard highlight film runs.  He will complement Tarik Cohen well and make up for the loss of Jordan Howard.
4 (126) Riley Ridley WR/Georgia 86/3rd Round Ridley’s 199-pound frame supplements sufficient play strength.  He is an efficient route runner who works the sidelines well.  We think he is physical enough to play a hold-up position on punt return, possibly run down from a wing or tackle on the punt team and he should be able to contribute in kick coverage. With all of that said, he had just one career tackle in school.
6 (205)

Compensatory pick acquired from New England

Duke Shelley CB/Kansas State 439/6th Round This is a pick that continues to account for the loss of stud nickel Bryce Callahan (Broncos) in free agency.  Shelley is tough, quick and plays bigger than his size.  He finished his career with 8 interceptions and 31 pass break-ups.
7 (222)

Acquired from

Philadelphia via Denver

Kerrith Whyte All-Purpose/FAU 380/5th Round Whyte, a junior-entry, ran 4.36 (40-yd) and posted a 42-inch vertical on FAU’s Pro Day.  He accounted for 8 rushing TDs and averaged 28.7 yds/KR in 2018.
7 (238) Stephen

Denmark

CB/Valdosta State 102/3rd Round It was encouraging that Denmark was such an aggressive tackler as a former college wide receiver, but not much of a surprise considering his 6’3, 215-pound frame.  He posted a 43 1/2-inch vertical jump and ran in the 4.4s on his Pro Day.  He has excellent late vision ball skills.

Smith (No. 82 pictured) was often a favorite target of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He averaged over 16 yards per reception in 2018 and notched seven touchdowns.

Minnesota Vikings Notable pick: The team understood value in this year’s draft and didn’t reach for any of its picks.  Smith, Jr. may serve as insurance as Kyle Rudolph enters the last year of his contract. Mattison is an explosive insurance commodity and relief pitcher for Dalvin Cook, who has struggled to stay upright.  Keep an eye on Watts. He was one of the nation’s best interior pass rush artists in 2018 after being invisible for most of his career. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (18) Garrett

Bradbury

OC/NC State 10/1st Round One of the safest players in the 2019 NFL Draft, the former tight end has unique athletic traits for the center position.  He is a perfect fit for the Vikings zone-based run scheme.
2 (50) Irv Smith, Jr. TE/Alabama 80/2nd Round If there is a knock on Smith, it could revolve around his relative lack of length.  He is an effective on the move blocker who excels creating room at the top of his routes.  He is reminiscent of New York Giants tight end Evan Engram, but enters the league as a slightly better blocker. 
3 (102) Alexander Mattison RB/Boise State 156/3rd Round The former high school wrestler is more elusive than he is given credit for running in-between the tackles. One aspect of his game that was slightly underrated was pass protection.  He contains legitimate lift-and-rise in that aspect.  Mattison also posted 60 career receptions. 
4 (114) Dru Samia OG/

Oklahoma

142/3rd Round Samia’s experience at multiple spots boosts his value.  He has the right element of ‘nasty’ in his game but quicker defenders have caused him to lose his poise at times.  He will have an opportunity to grab a fifth or sixth OL spot.
5 (162) Cameron Smith LB/USC 304/4th Round Smith surprised many in the postseason when he put together explosive pre-draft testing numbers.  He hasn’t always been consistent in man coverage, but his eye speed and football intelligence give him a chance to fight for a backup role in camp.
6 (190) Armon Watts DT/

Arkansas

307/4th Round Watts came on strong in 2018 and could have gone much higher if not for one year of production.  He could vie for a pass rushing role if he can play more consistently with his hands.
6 (191) Marcus Epps S/Wyoming 382/5th Round The Burlsworth Trophy Award finalist often drew secondary marks to safety-mate Andrew Wingard, but his ability to trigger when he sees the action stood out.  He was the safety often in coverage when Wingard roamed the field. 325 career tackles, 9 INTs and 22 PBUs.
6 (193) Oli Udoh OL-Elon 104/3rd Round It is not often that a player with an 85 1/2-inch wingspan lasts this long in the draft.  Some teams projected him to guard, but we think he has enough quickness to stay outside if he can improve his hand placement.
7 (217)

Pick acquired from New York Jets

Kris Boyd CB-Texas 99/3rd Round For the second consecutive year, the Vikings traveled to Texas to pick up a cornerback.  Boyd has one of the shorter memories in this year’s draft at cornerback, but he has to control his hands better in man coverage.
7 (239)

Acquired from New England via Philadelphia

Dillon Mitchell WR-Oregon 132/3rd Round The quick-twitched former high school basketball standout could have been played the spot at the collegiate level.  He uses that level of shiftiness to win in the slot and on the perimeter. He didn’t stand out as a punt returner, but that could be his key to grabbing a roster spot.
7 (247) Olabisi

Johnson

WR-Colorado State 317/4th Round He never caught up to his breakout performance in the 2016 Idaho Potato Bowl, but he still finished his career with 125 receptions (16.2 YPR) and 11 TDs.  He posted six tackles in 2018 and adds potential as a punt return option.
7 (250) Austin

Cutting

LS-Air Force 708/7th Round Cutting has posted long snap times as low as 0.65 seconds and generally averages in the low 0.7-second range.  He has excellent size at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds.

 

Fulgham, the Lions sixth-round pick, caught a touchdown pass in nine straight games for Old Dominion in 2018. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver has 34-inch arms and outstanding body control. He became the second ever Monarch drafted and the second in the 2019 NFL Draft.

 

Detroit

Lions

Notable picks: The selection of Hockenson could open up opportunities in the middle of the field for Stafford with Golladay and Jones on the outside flanks.  Fulgham -a receiver built in the mold of Golladay- had third-round value late in the draft. Tavai fits the type of  inside linebacker the team covets, but he has also been a good pass rusher in school.  Although Bryant went in the fourth round, he could be expected to contribute some edge presence in a room that needs to create more of a pass rush.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (8) T.J.

Hockenson

TE/Iowa 2/1st Round Hockenson, the 2018 Mackey Award Winner, has proven capable of excelling as a run blocker.  In addition, the former Hawkeye improved dramatically as a route runner during his redshirt sophomore campaign.
2 (43) Jahlani Tavai ILB/Hawaii 159/3rd Round The former rugby star has underrated pass rush skills but an even better feel for how to adjust his outside-in charge.  His game against Army in 2018 displayed his ‘want-to’ when it comes to getting to the ball. 
3 (81)

Acquired from Minnesota

Will Harris S/Boston College 141/3rd Round An experienced 41-game starter, Harris brings strong safety potential to the team.  His special teams capability stretches back to time earlier in his career.
4 (117)

Acquired from Atlanta

Austin Bryant DE/

Clemson

238/4th Round Bryant is a power rusher with just average bend.  Despite that, he was just as productive in stretches  as many of the other Clemson DL who went in Round 1.  Durability is a concern.
5 (146) Amani Oruwariye CB/Penn State 102/3rd Round The biggest key for Oruwariye in transitioning to the next level will come down to trusting his eyes.  He left a number of potential interception opportunities on the ground even after producing slick plant-and-drives.  The team will ask him to re-route receivers and play multiple coverages.  He has the skills to do both.
6 (184) Travis

Fulgham

WR/Old Dominion 84/3rd Round Fulgham has 34-inch arms and jumps well to time passes outside the numbers.  Perhaps just as impressive is his ability to stem the defensive back on short-to-intermediate routes.  His body control is a big reason he caught a touchdown in six straight games in 2016 and nine straight games in 2018.
6 (186)

Acquired from Atlanta

Ty Johnson All-

Purpose/

Maryland

111/3rd Round The Lions have an outstanding kickoff returner in Jamal Agnew, but he played in just six games in 2018.  Johnson is one of the draft’s best kickoff returners and he runs in the 4.4-range.  Expect him to battle it out for return opportunities in training camp.
7 (224) Isaac Nauta TE/Georgia 193/4th Round Postseason workouts didn’t do Nauta any favors, but he does everything better on the field than in T-shirts and shorts. In a deep tight end room, he will have to showcase sufficient field speed on special teams to find a roster spot.
7 (229)

Acquired from Detroit

P.J. Johnson DT/

Arizona

N/A Johnson posted tackles for losses in six of his ten appearances in 2018.  He has enough upper body strength to clog the middle but can also win on occasion with surprising quickness. 

 

Center of attention

Former Mississippi State offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins stood out in college for his versatility. There are not many positions he didn’t have a hand in contributing at for the Bulldogs. As he moves on to the next level, we sat down to talk with him about his flexibility, technique and overall mindset heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.

Q&A with Mississippi State OL Elgton Jenkins

DN: With all of the different positions (LG, LT, RT, OC) you’ve played in school, which one would you say is your favorite? Did you have one that you feel like you’re best at?

Jenkins: I think I’m better at center than all of them. I’ve been playing it for two years and in those two years I’ve been playing it I’ve been more wise to the game… having more knowledge. But I think with any position I play at this point right here, with the knowledge I have for the game, I can dominate and play at a high level.

DN: And speaking of playing at a high level, it seemed like one of the things that you do a really good job of is re-anchoring. Even if somebody may get you for a second, you do a good job of hopping back to sink back in the chair. Do you think your tackle experience helps dealing with guys inside trying to use leverage?

During the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl practices Rankin (No. 74 pictured with player grabbing his jersey) demonstrated very good balance and core strength.

Jenkins: I really think it is a mix of athleticism, being strong and being able to bend. That’s what I think it is.

DN: Some of the guys you’ve played with and have moved on, what type of advice have they given to you? Can you draw experience from your teammate being in this same situation, Rankin (Martinas, 3rd Round, 80th overall, 2018 NFL Draft, Houston Texans)? What has Martinas kind of talked to you about?

Jenkins: Man, he just says come to work every day with a business-mind approach. Treat this as your job and things like that. So every day come to work and every year somebody else is trying to come and take your job. You’ve got to be a man, step up and keep your job.

DN: In terms of learning a new offense this year under Joe Moorhead (Mississippi State head coach), what was one of the big things you had to pick up in terms of making a quick transition? Certainly a different style than the previous scheme.

Jenkins: Just the scheme and the offense and things like that. I think I pick up offenses really fast man. It is really just the same thing, you’ve just go to be able to use the verbiage from each offense and you’ll pick it up fast.

DN: Do you feel like it was one game that you would want someone to take a look at, what game would that be?

Jenkins: I feel like you can look at the majority of my games, but a game I’d say probably was Auburn. They’ve got one of the bigger D-tackles and he probably had one tackle that game. Not only me, but my offensive line back at Mississippi State. They had a big part in that. We play as five and then we play as one. Us as a whole O-line had a big part in my success.

DN: Is there one guy at the next level you pattern your game after? Or a guy you’ve looked up to?

Jenkins: When I was playing tackle, I always looked at tackles. Me playing center right now, it’ll probably be somebody like Maurkice (Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers) or someone like that.

DN: That’s a pretty good one. Thanks a lot for your time man. Good luck in the draft.

Jenkins: Appreciate it.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions, 12-23-18: In-game report

The Vikings used an old formula to stay in the NFC playoff picture and defeat the Lions on the road.  Minnesota relied on a turnover- free game and a solid defensive effort to beat Detroit, 27-9. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Lions receiving weapons

In 2014, the Lions featured two 1,000-yard receivers in former wideouts Golden Tate III and Calvin Johnson.

The Lions traded away Golden Tate and now lack proven weapons on the outside.  Detroit tried to mask its deficiencies with conservative third down play calling that often featured runs and screens on 3rd and long, but those weren’t effective against a stout Vikings defense.  Kenny Golladay has become a contributor, catching 70 passes for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns on the season.  However, the Vikings began to key in on him and roll coverage his way as he posted just six catches for 58 yards on 15 targets.  Detroit has had its issues with drafting receivers in the past, but the team is in desperate need for playmakers on the outside. 

Vikings offensive gameplan

The formula against the Bears on Sunday will be simple for the Vikings: run the ball and don’t turn it over.  Despite his 29:10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Cousins has struggled against teams with winning records in his career and this year has been no different.  Last week, the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo before his first season as coordinator could even come to an end.  Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski has taken over and he’s been with the team since the mid-2000s, which means he knows traditionally the Vikings bread has been buttered with its run game. Against the Lions, Dalvin Cook carried the ball 16 times for 73 yards and was the go-to man on 3rd and shorts.   Cook and Latavius Murray should both see 10-to-15 carries apiece and Stefanski will probably opt to play a conservative field position game against the stingy Bears defensive front seven.

Minnesota defense 

The Chicago Bears have dominated headlines in the NFC North but the Vikings still have a defense that can be counted upon. Their problem has been at times they have been forced to play perfect football where as in Chicago there’s a little bit more margin for error.  On the season, the Vikings rank in the top ten in passing yards allowed per game, points against and total yards allowed per game.  They also rank 11th in rushing yards allowed per game.  Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson have combined to form their own Purple People Eaters group, totaling 29 sacks.  The front end and back end complement each other well in Minnesota and this defense is still a unit to be reckoned with week-to-week. 

Los Angeles Rams vs. Chicago Bears, 12-9-18: In-game report

Chicago used a physical defense and excellent special teams play to defeat the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football.  The Bears topped the Rams, 15-6, and are on the doorstep of winning the NFC North.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in- game report:

Tarik Cohen

The Sunday night showdown was largely about the defensive efforts of the respective teams but running back Tarik Cohen left his mark on the contest. Head coach Matt Nagy is as creative a playcaller as there is in the NFL, he follows his mentor, Andy Reid’s philosophy of getting your best players the ball in space.  Cohen can make plays in the passing game, the running game and through his return ability. Cohen (5’6 179) is one of the smaller players in the league but he is built well and has very strong legs. The back isn’t afraid to lower his shoulders and run behind his pads and between tackles. Coupled with his acceleration, Cohen is a hard cover. His running back mate, Jordan Howard, runs most of the power running plays between the tackles but Cohen can run the same concepts but at a lower rate. The former North Carolina A&T running back makes his money on the outside and in space.  The Bears running back finished with 111 all-purpose yards, and the team as a whole put up 336. 

Bears defense 

A mark of a good defense is the ability to make the opposing offense uncomfortable and force them to find new ways to score. Chicago forced Rams quarterback Jared Goff to throw four interceptions and held Los Angeles to 214 yards of total offense. The pocket was rarely clean for Goff, who was sacked three times and when it was clean, he rushed throws and made errant reads.  Chicago didn’t do much better than the Rams offensively (294 total yards) but the Bears have the type of defense that can carry its football team. Khalil Mack stirs the drink but the Bears possess playmakers at all three levels of the defense. 

Rams play calling 

The Rams rank in the top five in scoring per game, passing yards per game and rushing yards per game but looked ordinary against the Bears.  Sean McVay is a Coach of the Year candidate and the honor is warranted but his play calling was suspect on Sunday night.   The Rams best player offensively, Todd Gurley, carried the ball just 11 times and he finished with just three receptions despite being targeted seven times in the passing game. The passing numbers aside, Gurley should’ve seen more touches in the running game.  On 2nd and 15 to start the third quarter, McVay opted for a shotgun set when his team was on its own five-yard line.  Bears defensive lineman Eddie Goldman capitalized and sacked Goff for a safety. 

“Really, consistently over and over I continue to put our players in bad spots,” McVay said during the postgame press conference. “Certainly a humbling night, but it’s one you get a chance to look at yourself critically, find a way to get better and move forward accordingly and that’s exactly what we’re going to do and that’s all I know how to do.  And I have to be better for our football team.  This loss is on me.  I didn’t do a nearly good enough job for us today.  I trust we will respond the right way.” 

The Rams coach accepted blame for the loss. Look for Los Angeles to establish the running game early in their next game against the Eagles. 

New Orleans Saints vs Minnesota Vikings, 10-28-18: In-game report

In a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff matchup, Minnesota and New Orleans put on a less entertaining showing on Sunday Night Football.  New Orleans took advantage of two costly Vikings turnovers to win 30-20.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

Saints Quarterbacks 

Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill (pictured at BYU in 2016) has been a jack of all trades for the team.

Sean Payton is one of the most innovative play callers in the NFL and he lived up to the hype on Sunday night against the Vikings, who came into the game ranked No. 10 in  total defense. The former quarterback, turned head coach, used backup quarterback Taysom Hill in Wildcat formations and empty sets and even lined him up at wide receiver while Drew Brees was under center. Hill is 6’2, 220 pounds and can run in-between the tackles and throw the football. His ability forces opposing defenses to have to game plan for something else while still preparing for Brees, the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards.  On one possession in the red zone, Payton even put Hill in shotgun and lined quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Brees out wide.  Hill ran up the middle for no gain but it goes to show Payton isn’t afraid to experiment with some new alignments and he may have used the wacky formation to get something on film for a later use.  Hill finished with one completion for 44 yards and three rushing attempts for -2 yards.  The former BYU quarterback has run for 123 yards and one touchdown so far this season. 

Vikings Receivers 

The Minnesota Vikings have two number one receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.   Against New Orleans, Thielen caught seven passes for 103 yards and set the record for most consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start the season with his eighth straight.  He ranks first in the NFL in receiving yards and receptions. On the other side, Diggs caught 10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.  Most impressive is that the two combined for 17 receptions on 18 targets. Not only are Diggs and Thielen productive, but they make sure to catch anything and everything that comes their way. The Vikings made an effort to attack Saints cornerback P.J. Williams instead of testing Pro Bowler, Marshon Lattimore. Minnesota has two number one level receivers which allows them to pick on cornerbacks, who they deem more of a liability.  Both players made critical mistakes that resulted in big plays for the Saints defense.  With the Vikings up 13-10 and driving in for a score at the Saints’ 18-yard line with 1:11 left in the second quarter, Thielen fumbled after a hit by linebacker Alex Anzalone.  The fumble was recovered by Lattimore and took potential points off the board.  Then, in the third quarter (5:58), Diggs failed to continue to run across the field on a crossing pattern while being covered by Saints cornerback P.J. Williams.  Williams ended up picking off the crossing pattern by Kirk Cousins and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown.  It put the Saints up by 14 and stymied the Vikings attempt to tie the game.  Despite the mishaps, the Vikings will continue to be a force in the passing game behind the production of Diggs and Thielen. 

Saints defense 

Davenport has four sacks for the Saints thus far in his rookie campaign.

Earlier in the week, New Orleans acquired Eli Apple from the Giants for a fourth round draft pick.  Apple led the team in tackles on Sunday night but a lot of those tackles came after he had given up catches.  Apple, who started the game, should form cohesion with the Saints secondary in time as he is accompanied by fellow former Ohio State Buckeyes Marshon Lattimore and Vonn Bell. With the emergence of defensive end Marcus Davenport (two sacks against Minnesota) alongside Pro Bowler Cam Jordan, New Orleans has the makings of a solid defense.  If defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who served as the secondary coach during the Saints championship season, can get the secondary on the same page then New Orleans could match a strong offense with an equally strong defense. 

Update: Davenport was recently reported to have a toe injury that could keep him out for an extended period of time.