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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.

Q&A with Missouri’s J’Mon Moore: ‘Give him some Moore’

Former Missouri wide receiver J’Mon Moore sat down with DraftNasty to talk about bouncing back, route running and what makes him such a dangerous receiver after the catch.  The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Moore averaged 15.7 yards per reception with 21 touchdowns during his career.  He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in each of his last two seasons on campus. 

Moore, pictured, posted a 38″ vertical jump, 10’0 broad jump, 4.04 20-yard short shuttle and 6.56 three-cone time at the 2018 NFL Combine. Several of the marks were among the best for wide receivers in attendance.

 

DN: Your straight-stem (as a route runner) and not having a lot of wasted movement is very important. What have you worked on to improve that?

Moore: Just one of the things that I always work on when I think about route running is trying to play as low as possible. Because I know I’m a tall, long guy. I think about the best way to get to my depth without giving away anything and then kind of switching it up at the top of the route.

DN: When you catch the football, you run angry after the catch. Who did you kind of grow up and pattern that after?

Moore: Growing up, I played a little bit of running back. I played in the streets of Houston and we used to do sideline-kill. Once you get in that grass, I didn’t like getting tackled. I used to just run mad. Usually when I get the ball, I kind of run with a type of aggression because I don’t like to be tackled. So, I kinda think that aggression just came from me growing up. It started at a young age. 

DN: Back-to-back seasons with 1,000 yards. You played with a quarterback (Drew Lock) who set an SEC record for touchdown passes. You were the No. 1 receiver but Emanuel Hall this year also showcased his speed.  Former triple jump guy.  Who’s the fastest out of you and Emanuel Hall?

Moore: I give it to E-Man (Hall). E-Man’s a track guy. Let him have that one.

DN: But it seems like you’re a 4.4-guy?

Moore: Yes sir, I’ve got some speed to. But Emanuel is elite speed. That’s him. He’s got that straight-line speed. I got the straight-line speed but I got that lateral too, side-to-side. I can get a little shifty. I’ve got some good body control.

DN: Absolutely. Who was the toughest corner you’d say you went against?

Moore: Toughest corner. I want to give a shot out to that Florida corner. He’s young, can’t remember his name (CJ Henderson). He’s going to be good. The best corner that I saw…um, I like Lammons.

DN: South Carolina (Chris Lammons).

Moore: I like him. He was a pretty good cat. He did his thing. That was kind of one of my bad games, but I liked his style.

DN: If you were to say that there was a game that the scouts come up and say, ‘This is a game that I want you to watch’, and maybe if they ask you why, what game would that be?

Moore: Game that I want somebody to watch. Uh, I wanna say…Florida was a good game. But, I’ll tell them to turn on the Arkansas game, even though I had a lot of drops that game. That was the game I had the most drops. Even though I dropped the ball like that, I was still able to be focused. I didn’t let those drops get to me. I just moved forward from them, I stayed in the game.

DN: And you’re referring to that back-shoulder catch at the end of the game.

Moore: Yes sir. I was just able to put those drops to the side and not let them build on me and mess up my whole flow of the game. So, I think I did good with the adversity during the Arkansas game.

DN: What’s your best route? The deep stops on the outside, you do those pretty well.

Moore: I’m like a double-move guy. Really, I like any double move. I like slant, sluggo (slant-and-go), I like post-corners, corner-posts, whatever. I like double moves. I like those kind of routes.

DN: Well, you’re going to get an opportunity this week man (Senior Bowl). Want to wish you the best.

Moore: Yes sir.

–DraftNasty staff reports, 2018 Senior Bowl