Tag Archives: 2018 East-West Shrine practices

2018 NFL Draft Recap, pick-by-pick: NFC South

NFC South

Carolina Panthers
Former Maryland WR D.J. Moore caught 80 passes for the Terrapins in 2017 and was named the Big Ten’s Receiver of the Year.

Notable picks: The addition of Thomas adds versatility to the middle of the field when the Panthers use multiple tight ends. In addition, Moore’s arrival means that the team actually has another big play option to mix with last year’s second-round pick Curtis Samuel. Jackson brings speed to what was a slow secondary a year ago. This draft seemed to be about adding speed to the roster.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (24) DJ

Moore

6’0 210

Maryland 38 (2nd Round) Moore has the task of providing new OC Norv Turner with a legitimate deep threat. Turner has coached elite route runners in his past (Henry Ellard, Los Angeles Rams, 1985-1990).
2 (55) Donte

Jackson

5’10 178

LSU 93 (3rd Round) Despite a lean build, Jackson will tackle. His confidence in his 4.32 speed benefited him in school, but he won’t be able to sit on as many routes at the next level.
3 (85) Rashaan

Gaulden

S-6’1 197

Tennessee 199 (4th Round) Gaulden didn’t make a lot of plays on the ball, but the energetic former Vol can contribute in a number of ways.   Needs to get stronger.
4 (101) Ian

Thomas

6’4 259

Indiana 143 (3rd Round) Thomas’ breakout performance against Ohio State in the 2017 season opener was perhaps a harbinger of things to come. His run after the catch skill will complement Greg Olsen.
5 (161) Jermaine

Carter

LB-6’1 243

Maryland 327 (5th Round) He had over 100 tackles in back-to-back years and was a sack artist as well (9.5 career sacks). Carter forced eight fumbles in school.
7 (234) Andre Smith LB-6’0 237 North Carolina 237 (4th Round) Smith’s ability to close distances from the inside-out covers up some slight stiffness. If not for injury in 2017, he would have gone much higher in the draft.
7 (242) Kendrick

Norton

DT-6’3 314

Miami (Fla.) Norton is an athletic one-technique DT who can stand to use his 10 ¾-inch hands with more force down-to-down. At 314 pounds, he’s slippery and has a five-yard burst to close air.

 

Atlanta

Falcons

Ridley will have the opportunity to win a number of one-on-one match-ups in the Falcons diverse receiving corps.

Notable picks: Oliver has the length to make up for the release of Jalen Collins from a season ago. Ridley’s speed will win a number of one-on-one matchups in the slot or on the outside. It eases the departure of Taylor Gabriel. Four wide receiver sets could include he and fourth-year man Justin Hardy in the slots. If Ridley and Julio Jones are outside, then Mohamed Sanu and Hardy can man the slot positions.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (26) Calvin

Ridley

6’1 188

Alabama 47 (2nd Round) Ridley is more than capable of winning one-on-one matchups.   Don’t be surprised if he is used in the slot in three wide receiver sets.
2 (58) Isaiah

Oliver

6’0 201

Colorado 20 (2nd Round) Oliver’s length mirrors former Falcons’ cornerback Jalen Collins. He will intensify the team’s nickel packages.
3 (90) Deadrin

Senat

DT-6’0 314

USF 100 (3rd Round) Squats nearly 700 pounds. Barreling block destructor. He dominated his final career game (2017 Birmingham Bowl) and then it carried over to a dominant week of work during 2018 East-West Shrine practices.
4 (126) Ito

Smith

RB-5’9 200

Southern Miss 218 (4th Round) Smith’s production in school should not be underestimated. Aside from posting back-to-back 1,400-yard rushing seasons, he also caught 83 passes the last two seasons.
6 (194) Russell

Gage

WR-6’0 182

LSU 522 (6th Round) Gage’s versatility extends beyond the passing game. He ran for over 230 yards for the Tigers in 2017 and contributed 11 tackles on special teams.
6 (200) Foye

Oluokun

LB-6’0 215

Yale N/A Oluokun overcame a 2015 injury to earn 2nd Team All-Ivy League honors in 2017. He finished his career with an eye-opening 18 pass break-ups and three blocked kicks.

 

 

Tampa

Bay

Buccaneers

Vea (No. 50 pictured) may very well require two blockers and open up the pass rush lanes for newly acquired Jason Pierre-Paul and Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy.

Notable pick: Vea adds substance to a defensive interior that allowed nearly 118 yards per game on the ground in 2017. The team also put an emphasis on getting more physical in the secondary with the additions of Davis and Stewart.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (12) Vita Vea

DT-6’4 347

Washington 17 (2nd Round) Vea’s presence in the middle of the defense should create more one-on-one matchups for Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy.
2 (38) Ronald

Jones II

6’0 205

USC 88 (3rd Round) The departure of Doug Martin opens up the possibility that Jones II could get major touches in Year 1.
2 (53) M.J.

Stewart

AP-5’11 200

UNC 57 (2nd Round) Stewart’s positional flexibility extended itself to special teams during his senior campaign (11 yds/PR). He will be a candidate for sub-package duty immediately.
2 (63) Carlton

Davis

CB-6’1 206

Auburn 32 (2nd Round) Davis’ length adds a measure of size to the cornerback spot that was lacking when the team had to defend the Michael Thomas and Julio Jones-types in the division.
3 (94) Alex

Cappa

OL-6’6 305

Humboldt State 224 (4th Round) Cappa is yet another pick who can play multiple spots on game day. The college left tackle’s roughhouse approach may give him a chance to earn repetitions as a guard spot in the NFL.
4 (117) Jordan

Whitehead

S-5’10 195

Pittsburgh 149 (3rd Round) Whitehead plays with the passion necessary to earn playing time on special teams. He was always one of the Panthers top tacklers and he plays extremely fast.
5 (144) Justin

Watson

WR-6’2 215

Penn 319 (5th Round) The Ivy League’s all-time leading receiver was used on the outside, in the slot and even in the backfield during school.
6 (202) Jack

Cichy

LB-6’1 230

Wisconsin Cichy looked like an early round pick when healthy in school. He is a downhill player with a measure of explosiveness as a tackler.

 

 

New

Orleans

Saints

Davenport’s positional flexibility (pictured during 2018 Senior Bowl) could very well operate in a number of positions in DC Dennis Allen’s schemes.

Notable Pick: No pick will be more scrutinized than Davenport. But should it be? The team finished 27th in the NFL in sacks in 2017 (30).

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (14) Trade from Green Bay Marcus

Davenport

DE-6’6 258

UTSA 25 (2nd Round) Davenport has all of the tools to excel in the team’s creative schemes. With Cameron Jordan on the field, he will help to create havoc off the edge with Alex Okafor.
3 (91) Tre’Quan

Smith

WR-6’2 202

UCF 44 (2nd Round) 34 ½-inch arms with an ability to snap out of his hips at the break points. He will be a back-shoulder option to complement Thomas.
4 (127) Rick

Leonard

OL-6’5 307

Florida State 487 (6th Round) Leonard is a good enough run blocker that he may get looks at an interior line position.
5 (164) Natrell

Jamerson

S-5’10 200

Wisconsin 146 (3rd Round) Jamerson continued his upward trek through the postseason with a fine week of work during 2018 East-West Shrine practices.   The former WR has positive ball skills and was one of the better gunners (punt team) in the draft.
6 (189) Kamrin

Moore

CB-5’10 203

Boston College 272 (4th Round) Moore’s versatility (corner or nickel) was a big reason the Eagles finished in the Top 35 in passing defense in each of the last two seasons (2016-17). He is a physical player who likes to challenge opponents.
6 (201) Boston

Scott

RB-5’6 203 (E)

Louisiana Tech N/A Scott supplanted 2016 1,000-yard rusher Jarred Craft from the lineup and paved his own path to getting drafted. He may be short, but he is by no means an easy tackle at 203 pounds.
7 (245) Will

Clapp

OC-6’4 311

LSU 321 (5th Round) Clapp is assignment-sound with positive size.   He frequently won with positioning and guile as a blocker at LSU. Shoulder issues may have caused a slide in the draft.

Q&A with Arizona Wildcats DB Dane Cruikshank: ‘Handling business’

Q&A with Dane Cruikshank, Arizona Wildcats:

DN: Talk about the transition from the junior college ranks (Citrus College-Glendora, California).  You became such a consistent player for the ‘Cats.

Cruikshank: It was easy for me to adapt to it and everything. I had a great coaching staff that helped me out. It wasn’t that big of a difference. There’s a lot of good talent in JUCO that I’ve gone up against that doesn’t get out sometimes just cause they don’t handle their business in school. Luckily for me, I handled my business and actually matured and grew up. I ended up at Arizona and did my thing.

DN: Yeah, one of the big things that stood out not only throughout your career but also out here the in the first day of practice (East-West Shrine practices) is your ability to transition. You have your hips opened to the sidelines and still make the 45-and-90-degree breaks. What do you credit that to? Is it a lot of drill work or is it something that’s just always been natural?

Cruikshank: No, it’s a lot of drill work. I put in a lot of work. Coach Yates (Marcel Yates-2017 Arizona defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach), Coach Donte Williams (2016 Arizona cornerbacks coach). They both coached me at the University of Arizona. I did a lot of offseason training with them before the season even started, both seasons…my junior season and my senior season. All the work that I put in is actually working out for me. I’m actually transitioning it to the field, just doing my thing out here and just having fun with it.

DN: You had a pretty competitive defensive backfield, in terms of Arizona.  (Demetrius) Flannigan-Fowles and some of the other guys. How did you feel about the competition? Did y’all have inner competition on who would make the most plays?

Cruikshank: Yeah, we went at it every day. Every day we came out with a goal. Who is going to come out with the most interceptions, who is going to come out with the most pass deflections, things like that. That just keeps our juices going, you know what I’m saying. That just keeps it more competitive every day at practice. So you’re not slouching around and getting used to everything. We’re competitors man, all those guys.

Cruikshank (seen picking off a pass during 2018 East-West Shrine practices) posted 76 tackles this past season. He intercepted both USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen in 2017.

DN: Looking at some of our notes, against Houston earlier this year. Your tackling coming off the edge, and tackling in general. You had 60 tackles in 2016 and quite a few this year.

Cruikshank: 76.

DN: 76 this year. So, run support, talk a little bit about that and what that means to you in terms of your game.

Cruikshank: Well I feel like I can play anywhere on the field in the secondary. I just feel like I can just get the job done no matter where you put me at: strong safety, free safety, corner, nickel. So, I’m a physical player. I like to come up and tackle. I’m not afraid to put my nose in the hole and hit someone. I give that credit to my Dad. He made me a rough player growing up.

DN: That’s what up man. What position do you want to play at the next level? What do you think is your best position?

Cruikshank: Cornerback. I feel like corner is just the best position for me. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I can play anywhere on the field like I said.

DN: If you had to look at one player that you pattern your game after at the next level who would that be?

Cruikshank: Xavier Rhodes (Minnesota Vikings). Guys with longer arms, Marcus Peters (Los Angeles Rams) guys like that. I look at a lot of film on those guys and I just try to take after them.

DN: No doubt man, thanks a lot for your time and good luck the rest of the year and in the NFL Draft.

Cruikshank: Thank you. I appreciate it.

—2018 East-West Shrine practices, West Team, Day 1, DraftNasty staff reports

UPDATE: Cruikshank was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the 5th Round (152nd overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Texas A&M P Shane Tripucka: ‘All in the Family’

Former Texas A&M punter Shane Tripucka is not your ordinary punter.  His father, Chris, played football at Boston College but his family lineage doesn’t stop there.  His grandfather is former NFL quarterback Frank Tripucka (Denver Broncos) and his uncle, Kelly Tripucka, played for the Detroit Pistons and the Utah Jazz.  DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous caught up with the former Aggie during the week of 2018 East-West Shrine practices to discuss his meticulous approach as a specialist.

DN: How have you enjoyed the experience down here (2018 East-West Shrine practices) and what are your goals for the week?

Tripucka: It’s been great so far. It’s kind of cool to get out here, you know, go through a little bit of the NFL systems and learn some stuff. I just want to come out here, do what I do, kick some ball, learn a little bit and hopefully come out here and punt well.

DN: The kicking tradition at Texas A&M is kind of long. Most recently Josh Lambo (Chargers, ), but there a lot of other ones who’ve come out (Shane Lechler). Drew Kaser (Los Angeles Chargers) is another guy. What did you learn from those guys mentally…let’s say for instance if you have a shank?

Tripucka: I learned a lot from those guys. I was at A&M and I sat behind Drew Kaser for a few years. So I got to watch how he goes about his days and goes about practice to learn just the little things. Feedback with each other. If one of us is struggling, to be able to tell the other, ‘Hey, I think you should maybe look at this and do stuff.’ So, it was good to have that feedback between each other.  It really helped me.

DN: In looking at some of the kicks we charted on you (2017), we’re seeing punts with 70 yards distance, 4.69 hang time. We see 4.72 hang times with a 1.12 catch-and-kick time. What was your hang time average for the most part this year?

Tripucka: I was usually in the mid-to-high fours, 4.6. I’m usually in there.  For me, that’s solid.

DN: That’s NFL-like. Matt Bosher-like (Atlanta Falcons).

Tripucka: That’s how my punting game is. I’m more of a hang time, directional kind of punter…instead of you know, a little bit longer-hitting, long punts, big punts. I’m a consistent guy. So, that’s something I strive to do every day.

DN: Would you say you’re 2 ½-step, three-step? What would you say in that regard?

Tripucka: I’m honestly just a regular two-step punter within three yards. I’m very compact in what I do. I think that really helps with get-off times and in my punting too. The shorter I am, the better the punt is going to be.

DN: Finally, if you had to say there was one punter that you kind of look up to in terms of who you’ve patterned your game after, who would that be?

Tripucka: I’m a big Johnny Hecker fan (Los Angeles Rams). I watch a lot of Johnny Hecker film. He punts a lot like I do. Obviously, he’s the best in the game. He’s someone I try to watch the film and kind of model my game after.

DN: That’s one heck of a person to model your game after. Hey man, good luck this year and good luck in the NFL Draft.

Tripucka: Thank you. I appreciate it.

DN: No doubt.

Tripucka: It’s good talking to you.

DN: Good talking to you too.

-Corey Chavous, DraftNasty Staff reports

2018 East-West Shrine practices, Day 2