Tag Archives: Justin Jackson

DraftNasty breaks down the ACC’s Top 10 2019 NBA Draft prospects

 DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson takes a look at the ACC’s top prospects.  The conference projects to feature anywhere from three-to-six Top 10 selections. Here’s how we rank and analyze them from top-to-bottom:

1. Zion Williamson  (6’7, 285 lbs) F-Duke

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Has the ability to affect every possession with his athleticism. Williamson is an efficient (68 percent from the field) scorer, who can dish the ball well for his size and position. “The freshman’s motor coupled with his athleticism stands out.  So far this season, Williamson has been able to separate himself with his work on the glass and his finishing ability in transition,” said Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson during his Duke vs. Gonzaga in-game report in November 2018. On the defensive side, Williamson plays with a bulldog aggressiveness and has the necessary athleticism to defend next level wings.  

Weaknesses: Injury concerns. Williamson missed five games with a mild knee sprain. He played last year at 285 pounds, can he excel at that weight for an 82-game season?  As the projected first pick overall, Williamson will be asked to shoulder a heavier offensive load. Williamson’s ability to create his own shot one-on-one and score with more finesse will be key factors in his long term success. Zion was able to bulldoze smaller opponents in both high school and college, but his counter moves will be tested against stronger NBA competition.

Other Notes: Attended Spartanburg Day School (S.C.) and was ranked as a five-star recruit by Rivals.com • Earned South Carolina’s Mr. Basketball and was the runner-up for USA’s Mr. Basketball behind future Duke teammate R.J. Barrett • Mother ran track at Livingston College and father played basketball at Clemson • 2018: 22.6 ppg, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 68 percent shooting en route to first team All-ACC honors • Scored in double figures in every college contest • Scored at least 25 points in 15 games

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Williamson’s size and athleticism resembles former Hornets and Knicks standout Larry Johnson, but even still Williamson is about 30 pounds heavier and more nimble on his feet.  It’s hard to nail down a consensus comparison for the Naismith College Player of the Year.  The former Blue Devil should contribute immediately as a double-double machine due to his motor and freakish athleticism.  His long-term success will be predicated on his ability to add more to his offensive repertoire while controlling his weight.

2. R.J. Barrett  (6’7, 203 lbs) SF-Duke

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Barrett impresses with his smooth offensive game that resembles a much older player. Barrett has the size scouts covet out of the wing and can do everything offensively.  Barrett showed the ability to handle the responsibilities of a top scorer after Zion Williamson went down with a midseason foot injury.  In the seven contests, Williamson missed Barrett averaged 25 points, three more than his season average. Barrett has the most polished NBA-ready offensive game of anyone in the draft and DraftNasty expects him to be an immediate contributor. 

Weaknesses: Takes plays off.  Can be inactive and view the action too often on the offensive end. Settles for a number of outside jumpers.  Becomes a score-first threat and fails to find open men (Gonzaga ’18).  Tendency to try and do too much on the offensive end leads to unnecessary turnovers (3.2 per game). 10 games with five or more turnovers. Shot 30 percent from the three-point line. 

Other Notes: Attended Montverde Academy (Fl.) •Was named first team All-ACC •Earned the Gatorade National Player of the Year and was the winner of Mr. Basketball USA  • Father, Rowan, attended St. John’s and played overseas for 10 years • 2018: 22.6 ppg, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists on 45 percent shooting • Scored in double figures in every college contest • Godfather is former NBA all-star Steve Nash and has been known to work with Barrett on his game. 

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):  Barrett will have to build his lower body as he gets older and scouts would like to see his free throw percentage increase (66%), but beyond that the former Blue Devil wing has the traits to excel in the NBA.  Barrett’s one-on-one smooth step-back game and ability to lull defenders to sleep is reminiscent of James Harden’s.  The offensive repertoire and bloodlines are there for Barrett to enjoy similar scoring success in the NBA.

3. Coby White  (6’5, 185 lbs) PG-North Carolina

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths):  Explosive. Can get to the basket with either hand. White has the ideal height for the modern NBA point guard, standing at 6’5 despite having a shorter wingspan.  Willing passer.  Creates and scores for himself in one-on-one situations.  Changes speeds and gets to the bucket with regularity.   Doesn’t need much space to get his shot off and can play the off-guard position and score off screens.

Weaknesses: Can White command the offense as the primary ball handler? That will be the question (his assist to turnover ratio was 3:2).  White could also stand to add to his thin frame. The former Tar Heel  has excellent lateral quickness, which is evident from his offensive prowess but, more often than not,  those traits didn’t translate on defense.

Other Notes: Attended Greenfield School (NC)  • Was named second team All-ACC •Participated in the Jordan Brand Classic, McDonald’s All American game  • Named North Carolina Mr. Basketball • 2018: 16.1 ppg, 3.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists on 42 percent shooting • Shot 80 percent from the free throw line and finished second on the team in points per game • Earned all- tournament honors in the 2018 FIBA Under 18 America Championship  

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): White will be a problem at the next level when he can initiate the offense from the high pick and roll to get downhill.  His seasoning as a traditional point guard will take time and his defensive capabilities are yet to be seen. The former North Carolina Mr. Basketball possesses the finishing moves at the rim, long range shooting ability and height to excel.

4. De’Andre Hunter  (6’7, 225 lbs) SF-Virginia

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Hunter is a Swiss army knife of sorts, who can do a little bit of everything. The former Cavalier will project best at the next level as a glue man off the bench.  Hunter averaged 11 points, four rebounds and 1.5 assists on 50 percent shooting during his two seasons in Charlottesville. As his playing time increased this season so did Hunter’s production. Hunter was also the best player on a championship team, which says a lot about his ability to contribute to winning. 

Weaknesses: Hunter could be considered a man of many trades but a master of none. He doesn’t project to be a prolific scorer at the next level or a top-level offensive creator.  Doesn’t project as an NBA-level primary ball handler.  Hunter will have to make his name as a defensive stopper early on. 

Other Notes: Attended Friends’ Central School (PA)  • Was named first team All-ACC, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and ACC six man of the year (2017)  • 2018: 15.2 ppg, 5.1 rebounds and two assists on 52 percent shooting • Scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the National Championship victory vs. Texas Tech •Named to ACC All Freshman team in 2017-2018

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Look for Hunter to enjoy a long NBA career as a do a little bit of everything type of wing.  Hunter’s frame and glue guy skill-set is reminiscent of Andre Iguodala.  Like Iguodala, expect Hunter to contribute in a number of ways for any team that drafts him.

5. Cam Reddish (6’8, 218 lbs) SF-Duke

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Smooth offensive game. Can handle the ball well for his size. When Reddish is engaged offensively, he has the ability to take over games for long stretches with his ability to score in bunches. He played two of his best games this season against the Tar Heels during the regular season, posting 27 and 23 points respectively. However, when Zion Williamson returned against the Tar Heels in the ACC quarterfinals, Reddish posted six points. The season series against North Carolina was a microcosm of Reddish’s Duke career. 

Weaknesses: Can be passive at times, as he deferred to both Willamson and Barrett.  Reddish has some of his best moments when Willamson was out with his injury but too many times when Willamson was in the lineup, Reddish would camp out at the three- point line and make himself easy to defend.  Reddish stands at 6’8″ with a 7’1″ wingspan and could conceivably contribute at three-to-four different positions but he must stay aggressive and engaged. His fans will point to his outstanding high school career as a barometer of how good he can be, but his detractors will point to his inconsistent play in college. 

Other Notes: Attended Westtown School (PA)  • On Jan. 19 against Florida State, he scored 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including a game-winning three pointer.  • 2018: 13.5 ppg, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 35 percent shooting • Played in the Jordan Brand Classic and the  McDonald’s All American Game •Rated as the number three overall prospect on ESPN and Rivals.com 

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Reddish is a versatile offensive weapon that can play multiple positions. However, the former Blue Devil will have to stay aggressive at the next level and compete more on the defensive end.  Reddish has NBA length but has a thin frame and in college didn’t offer much resistance to wings that wanted to get to the rim.  Out of the draft’s top prospects, Reddish has the most boom or bust potential. 

6. Nassir Little (6’7, 220 lbs) SF-North Carolina

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Little gets to the rim with aggression and is a strong finisher, who projects well at the next level as a slashing wing. On the defensive end, Little plays with a high motor and is active on and off the ball.  What’s impressive about Little is his ability to power off either leg and get around defenders. 

Weaknesses: Little isn’t a natural shooter and won’t wow scouts with his ball handling. The former Tar Heel will have to make his mark offensively through hustling and bulldozing his way to the rim. His offensive splits left a lot to be desired in his lone season in Chapel Hill, averaging nine points, four rebounds and 0.7 assists on 48 percent shooting and 26 percent from the three point line. Scouts will question Little’s inconsistency in a two-week time frame to end the season, the former Tar Heel scored 20 points on 72- percent shooting vs. Washington in a NCAA tournament win but a week before he shot 33-percent and scored nine points in a loss to Duke in the ACC tournament. 

Other Notes: Attended Orlando Christian Prep. (Fl.)  • Member of the National Honor Society in high school  • Both parents served in the military • Most Valuable Player in the McDonald’s All-American Game after scoring 28 points and was co-MVP in the Jordan Brand Classic •Plays the piano 

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):  High intensity players can have a lengthy NBA career and Little fits the mold. Little will need more offensive seasoning but should be a Top 15 pick based on his athletic gifts.  Defensively, Little will have to carve out playing time by using his athleticism to stick to NBA wings.  Offensively, rebounding and getting opposing wings in foul trouble will be how he makes his most immediate impact. 

7. Cameron Johnson (6’9, 210 lbs) F-UNC

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Efficient shooter. Johnson brings five years worth of college experience to the table and has a silky smooth jumpshot (shot at least 34-percent from the three-point line in each season).  His tall and lean frame will remind scouts of former Tar Heel Justin Jackson. Johnson’s best hope is to make it at the next level as a “3 and D” prospect, who could hold his own vs. wings and stretch fours.  He has improved statistically each season. 

Weaknesses: Johnson’s draft stock could be hurt by his age (23). Historically, the first round has been reserved for younger prospects with more time to mold.  It will also be interesting to see how the University of Pittsburgh transfer will hold up physically vs. more mature NBA players.  Scouts will also question if Johnson has any other skills besides shooting that will translate to the next level.  Is Johnson a one-trick pony?

Other Notes: Attended Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Pa.)  •   Graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with honors• Father, Gilbert played basketball at Pittsburgh while his mom, Amy played at Kent State. His brother played at Clarion University  • 2018: 16.9 points per game, 5.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds on 50-percent shooting •Two time All-Academic ACC

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Johnson has gotten better in every collegiate season and has a defined skill that translates to the NBA, his sharpshooting. The modern NBA game is played in space with shooters that can spread the floor and defend on the perimeter.  Johnson is good enough at both to warrant a late first round look. 

8. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (6’5, 205) G-Virginia Tech

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Alexander-Walker is a slashing guard who is best when out in transition. The former Hokie will be an asset at the next level with his drive and kick ability. Alexander-Walker doesn’t wow with his athleticism but his smooth in control game reminds me of Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.  Like Beal, Alexander-Walker will be better served primarily working as an off the ball guard. His left-to-right crossover is his main go to scoring move.  It lulls defenders to sleep and gives him the ability to get around defenders. 

Weaknesses: Alexander-Walker doesn’t have blow by speed and will have to score in the lane with body positioning rather than jumping over NBA big men. The former Virginia Tech guard will have to be paired with a more traditional point guard and improve his ability to score without plays being run for him.  At the next level, Alexander-Walker will also have to add strength to his build in order to absorb contact. 

Other notes:   Attended three high schools: Vaughan Secondary School (Ontario), St. Louis Christian Academy (Mo.) and Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Tenn.)  • Cousin is former Kentucky guard and current Los Angeles Clipper Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  • 2018: 16.2 points per game, four assists, 4.1 rebounds on 47 percent shooting •Competed with Canada at the 2016 FIBA Under 18 Championship and help lead the team to a silver medal. He led the team averaging 17 points per game.

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Alexander-Walker will be best served as  mid-first round pick that can provide scoring punch for a second unit.  His quick release and under control offensive game should make him an immediate contributor on the offensive end. Alexander-Walker’s ability to combat his lack of explosiveness when driving to the rim (or on defense) will determine his success in the NBA.

9. Jaylen Hoard (6’8, 216lbs) F-Wake Forest

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Hoard is a heady defensive prospect who can come over from the weak side and challenge baskets at the rim.  Offensively, Hoard can play on the perimeter and drive to the basket, but most of his money is made hustling around the rim as well as getting out in transition. The Wake Forest forward would be best served in a Golden State-type offense that is free-flowing and rewards the extra pass as well as interchangeable contributors. 

Weaknesses: Hoard doesn’t have a specific skill that he does well offensively. The France native makes up for his lack of size with great awareness and length (7’1″ wingspan).  Scouts will doubt if an undersized forward that can’t shoot is worth a high pick, but early in the second round could be ideal for Hoard. The former Demon Deacon also could stand to improve his field goal percentage (45 percent). 

Other notes: Attended Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC)  • Born in France and played for France at the 2016 FIBA Under 18 Championship (averaged 22.4 points per game)  • 2018: 13.1 points per game, 1.5 assists, 7.6 rebounds on 45 percent shooting •Father, Antwon played at Murray State before playing professionally overseas and mother, Katia played for the University of Washington • Participated in the Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit 

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): We’ve seen players like Hoard make a niche for themselves in the NBA.  In recent years, players like former Louisville Cardinal and Los Angeles Clipper forward Montrezl Harrell come to mind.  Hoard isn’t as strong as Harrell, but has a frame that could add more mass.  He plays with the same type of effort, energy and defensive intelligence. 

10. Ty Jerome  (6’5, 195lbs) PG-Virginia

What makes this player NASTY? (Strengths): Jerome has excellent height for his position and guided the Cavaliers to a championship from his point guard position. Most impressively, Jerome was able to initiate the different sets that Virginia used in its half court offense. Basketball is predicated on maximizing possessions and Jerome is one of the more efficient players in the class, boasting a 5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.  Jerome also has the ability to push the ball in transition and often gets it deep into the lane to create for others. 

Weaknesses: Jerome has excellent height but doesn’t jump high off the floor.  His ability to finish at the rim against more athletic talent is a question mark.  Foot speed is also a question mark for Jerome.  At the point guard position he will be matched up on a nightly basis against far superior athletic and more agile opposition. The three- year point guard will have to compensate with basketball IQ.  Players may beat him to the spot to deny his penetration. 

Other notes:   Attended Iona Preparatory School (NY)  • Scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and had eight assists in the National Championship win vs. Texas Tech  • 2018: 13.6 points per game, 5.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds on 43 percent shooting •Missed only one game over his three seasons in Charlottesville and played in 105 games total• Named All-ACC second team in 2019 and All-ACC third team in 2018

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Jerome projects best as a backup point guard that can spell starters. He does offer a bit of position versatility, but much of that depends on his ability to adapt defensively to the NBA game.  Look for whoever drafts him to get creative with how they use him off ball screens as a shooter (38% percent career three point shooter in college).  Someone with his efficiency, shooting and strong ball handling skill will find a home somewhere on an NBA roster. 

2018 Season Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

Season outlook

Pat Fitzgerald’s team has won 27 games over the past three seasons but his Wildcats haven’t been able to make an appearance in the Big Ten Championship game.  Once again, division foes Iowa and Wisconsin will field strong teams and offer Northwestern tough competition.  Senior quarterback Clayton Thorson (6’4, 225) has started every game over the last three seasons and is on the watchlist for the Maxwell Award.  The biggest key for Thorson will be how he recovers from a serious injury suffered in the 2017 Music City Bowl.  With the departure of Justin Jackson,  sophomore running back Jeremy Larkin (5’10, 194) will take over the duties of carrying the rock.  On defense, the Wildcats have playmakers at every level.  Senior cornerback Montre Hartage leads the charge on the back end, junior defensive end Joe Gaziano (6’4, 280) sets the edge and sophomore linebacker Paddy Fisher (6’4, 245) mans the second level of the defense.

Troy’s player to watch

24 Montre Hartage 6’0 190 CB-Senior
 

Hartage has started 26 straight games at cornerback and has worked himself into somewhat of a shutdown corner. The senior has eight career interceptions and will enter 2018 as the best defensive back on the roster.  The Wildcats return three potential All-Conference players in its front seven, which should alleviate some of the responsibilities on the back end for Hartage. Look for the cornerback to have another strong season, if opposing quarterbacks choose to throw his way. 

Game of the season

October 6th at Michigan State
Northwestern has defeated the Spartans in consecutive years.  Last year’s contest was a game to remember,  as the Wildcats bested the Spartans in a triple overtime 39-31 thriller in Evanston.  This year, the Wildcats will have to travel to East Lansing to face a Michigan State team that returns a number of starters.  If the Wildcats want to put the Big Ten on notice as a contender in the West division, a win against the Spartans will go a long way.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

32 Nate Hall 6’2 230 LB-Senior

Hall finished 2017 with 79 tackles, six quarterback sacks, 16.5 tackles for losses, two interceptions and six pass break-ups.

Hall throws his body around and reacts quickly versus blockers.  Perhaps more importantly, he can react instinctively versus the passing game.  The weakness for him revolves around his man-to-man coverage skill.  His pursuit angles can be hit-or-miss in pursuit.  With all of that said, his ability to rush the passer and make plays in zone coverage provides a unique combination for the Wildcats.  If he can drop his pad level with more consistency, look for Hall to take the next step as a prospect.

Prediction:  8-4

Northwestern will start the season 4-0 but will stumble across the finish line, according to Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson. The Wildcats will lose on the road against Michigan State and Iowa and at home against Wisconsin and Notre Dame. 

2018 NBA Draft Team Needs: Southwest Division

Memphis Grizzlies

Team needs:

Combo guard

Tyreke Evans and Mario Chalmers are up for free agency. Evans led the team in points per game and Chalmers averaged 20 minutes per night. The Grizzlies could look to add another guard to complement Mike Conley if one of their free agent guards walks. Evans may command a big contract, which will probably price him out of Memphis. The Grizzlies will probably use the fourth overall pick on a big man but if they decide to use their 32nd pick on a combo guard, Duke’s Trevon Duval is a potential option.  Duval is raw but has good size for his position (6’3”), athleticism and the handle to get where he wants while setting others up.

Forward

This year’s draft is filled with premier big men and Memphis should be in the sweepstakes for a post presence. Marc Gasol has one more year left on his contract and then a player option in 2019.   It wouldn’t be surprising if he decided to leave for a contender a year from now.  Another Blue Devil who could attract the Grizzlies attention is Marvin Bagley Jr.  The Duke power forward is tall, runs the floor well, rebounds and puts the ball in the basket. 

Bagley Jr. has all the tools offensively but the one thing that could shy teams away from is his defense.  Coupled with the right lineups, however, Memphis could hide some of his deficiencies.

Cap space: -10 million, 110 million

Free agents: Tyreke Evans, Mario Chalmers

Houston Rockets

Team needs:

Forward

The Rockets have numerous free agents but since they were so close to an NBA Finals appearance, look for them to return its core and make another championship run next season. Houston could use some more depth along the frontcourt after showing a lack of depth and resorting to seven-man rotations against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.  The Rockets have the 46th pick in the draft, but there’s no guarantee someone picked that low will even make the roster.  Maryland’s Justin Jackson could be intriguing.  Standing 6’7” with a 7’2” wingspan, Jackson has size and positional versatility. More importantly, his  three-point shooting (43 percent his freshman season) is a characteristic that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey covets.

Cap space: -19 million, 119 million

Free agents: Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, Tarik Black, Clint Capela, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

New Orleans Pelicans

Team needs:

Guard

Rajon Rondo and Ian Clark logged heavy minutes for the Pelicans during their playoff run. Rondo has jumped from team to team over the past few years and if he does the same this free agency period, New Orleans will be in the market for another guard. New Orleans has the 51st pick overall but if they decide to test the free agency market, Elfrid Payton could be a younger option. Payton came into his own offensively last year in Phoenix and would be a younger and cheaper option than Rondo.

Backup big man

In 48 appearances for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2017-18, DeMarcus Cousins (No. 15 pictured in the 2016 NBA All-Star game) averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game.

New Orleans won a playoff series without DeMarcus Cousins but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better without him. Even with Cousins, New Orleans could use a backup big man. The Pelicans signed journeyman Emeka Okafor after Cousins got hurt, but he will be 36 years old by the start of next season. If New Orleans decides to use their 51st overall pick on a big man, USC’s Chimezi Metu could develop alongside Cheick Diallo to possibly provide a low post duo in the future.

Cap space: -19 million, 119 million

Free agents: DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Ian Clark, Jordan Crawford

San Antonio Spurs

Team needs:

Wing

San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard averaged just over 23 minutes, 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2 steals in nine games for the team in 2017-18.

Above all else, the Spurs will have to figure out if they will have Kawhi Leonard on the roster after he missed most of this season with a quadriceps injury.  Leonard covers so much ground for the Spurs and to lose him would be a major setback for San Antonio. If Leonard stays or leaves, look for San Antonio to still target another athletic wing, who can long minutes at both the shooting guard and small forward position since Kyle Anderson and Bryn Forbes will hit free agency.  Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison is a name to watch for at the Spurs’ 18th pick.  Hutchison doesn’t shoot the three as well as the Spurs wings that have come before him, but each season he has improved his three-point shot.  Hutchison (6’7″) also has good height and can play within the Spurs offense at either the shooting guard or small forward position.

Cap space: -17 million, 117 million

Free agents: Tony Parker, Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans, Bryn Forbes

Dallas Mavericks

Team needs:

Wing

The Dallas Mavericks signed Harrison Barnes to a max deal but don’t have much behind him.  Doug McDermott averaged seven points and two rebounds in 20 minutes per game last season. Dallas could use another wing player that could play off the ball and defend both shooting guards and small forwards. The Mavericks could go with a big man with their fifth overall pick, but if Luka Doncic from Slovenia is available expect Dallas to take a long look at him. Doncic has a polished game for a 19-year old and has the ability to create for himself or play off the ball.

Big man

Doncic could very well be drafted in the top three picks, which means Dallas could fill another one of their needs with pick number 5.  Nerlens Noel is a free agent and Dirk Nowitzki will be 40 years old by the start of next season. The Mavericks could use an athletic big ma  who has the ability to play both the forward and center positions.  Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. is raw but has all the physical tools, can block shots as good as anyone in the draft and showed an ability to put the ball on the floor and shoot threes during his one season in East Lansing.

Cap space: -1 million, 100 million

Free agents: Nerlens Noel, Doug McDermott, Seth Curry, Salah Mejri, Yogi Ferrell

*The 2018-2019 NBA salary cap sits at $101 million and the luxury tax sits at $123 million.

Player stats are courtesy of ESPN.com.

Financial outlook is courtesy of Spotrac.com.

— By: Troy Jefferson, DraftNasty Staff reports, Follow him @troy_jefferson on twitter.

2018 NFL Draft Recap, pick-by-pick: AFC West

AFC WEST

Denver

Broncos

Freeman went over the 100-yard mark 31 times during his four-year run in Eugene.

Notable pick: Chubb will get a lot of one-on-one matchups working opposite Von Miller. It won’t be good for AFC West opponents. Freeman may be the grinder the Broncos need to control the clock and set up the play action pass game for Case Keenum. This could take pressure off of the team’s offensive tackles.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (5) Bradley

Chubb

DE-6’4 269

NC State 1 (1st Round) Chubb took his game to the next level in 2017 by adding a deft swipe move to complement his ability to post tackles. He will get even more tutelage from the NFL’s best in Von Miller.
2 (40) Courtland

Sutton

WR-6’3 218

SMU 28 (2nd Round) Sutton has all of the skills to develop into a No. 1 WR in the NFL. It won’t happen if he doesn’t eliminate the drops that show up once per game.
3 (71) Royce

Freeman

RB-5’11 229

Oregon 27 (2nd Round) He ran for over 5,600 yards and scored 60 TDs in school. At nearly 230 pounds, he runs with a light-footed nature.
3 (99) Isaac

Yiadom

CB-6’1 190

Boston College 166 (4th Round) Yiadom is one of the better cornerbacks in the draft playing with his back to the ball. Despite just adequate recovery speed, his length (32 ¼” arms) increases his recovery ability.
4 (106) Josey

Jewell

LB-6’1 234

Iowa 104 (3rd Round) Jewell’s instincts are top-notch and he is adept at making in-game adjustments to combat offensive personnel.
4 (113) DaeSean

Hamilton

WR-6’1 202

Penn State 63 (2nd Round) Hamilton brings slot quickness and outside wide receiver size to a unit that will move him around to create mismatches.
5 (156) Troy

Fumagalli

TE-6’5 247

Wisconsin 337 (5th Round Fumagalli is yet another pass receiving option for the Broncos in the middle of the field for Case Keenum. He’s not a burner, but he catches everything in his area code.
6 (217) Keishawn Bierria

LB-6’0 230

Washington 342 (5th Round) Back-to-back second-team All-Pac-12 selection was a factor on the kickoff team in school…too.
7 (226) David Williams

RB-5’11 229

Arkansas, South Carolina 301 (4th Round) The Broncos have struck gold in the past with late round running backs. The former Gamecock averaged 5.6 yards per carry for the Razorbacks in a pro-style scheme in 2017.

 

Kansas

City

Chiefs

Nnadi may not look the part, but he produced 9.5 QB sacks and 20.5 tackles for losses for the Seminoles over the last two seasons (2016-17).

Notable pick: Watts was dinged for average workouts prior to the draft. When teams look back at this draft, he could become one of the value picks in this class.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (46) Breeland

Speaks

DL-6’3 283

Ole Miss 77 (3rd Round) Speaks has the look of current Jacksonville Jaguars DL Malik Jackson. Like Jackson, he may be underrated coming out of school. Speaks is athletic enough to play either the end or OLB spots.
3 (75) Derrick

Nnadi

DT-6’1 317

FSU 109 (3rd Round) For a 6-foot-1 defensive tackle, he established lockout on a consistent basis. Very good instincts.
3 (100) Dorian

O’Daniel

LB-6’0 5/8 223

Clemson 162 (3rd  Round) O’Daniel covers the slot, RBs and is an outstanding special teams prospect.
4 (124) Armani

Watts

S-5’10 202

Texas A&M 64 (3rd Round) Watts may have been the most active run-defending safety in the SEC. He contributed 4 INTs in 2017.
6 (196) Tremon

Smith

CB-5’11 186

Central Arkansas 248 (4th Round) Smith was a terror in 2017 once he got his hands on the ball. He drops his weight to sink vs. intermediate routes and plays through the hands of bigger WRs in the Red Zone.
6 (198) Kahlil

McKenzie

DT-6’4 314

Tennessee 338 (5th Round) Despite being a DT in school, the Chiefs plan on moving him to the guard position. He looked good at this spot in pre-draft workouts.

 

Oakland

Raiders

Townsend will be counted on to replace former Oakland punter Marquette King. He produces hang times that average in the 4.6 range and placed 27 punts inside the 20-yard line for the Gators in 2017.

Notable pick: Hall could end up becoming the team’s best find. His collegiate productivity was unmatched and his versatility will open up the team’s defensive fronts. Despite average length for a DT, he produced 29 pass break-ups in school.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (15) Kolton

Miller

OT-6’9 309

UCLA 65 (3rd Round) Miller has rare athleticism for a man of his size. His 23 career starts were a result of missing most of 2016 due to injury. Developing an anchor will be a key for Miller.
2 (57) P.J.

Hall

DL-6’0 308

Sam Houston St. 23 (2nd Round) Hall posted 86.5 tackles for losses in school and blocked 14 kicks. In addition, he found time to post four interceptions.
3 (65) Brandon

Parker

OT-6’7 305

NC A&T 126 (3rd Round) Parker –much like Miller- needs improvement in terms of core strength. Also –like Miller- he has positive finishing instincts as a blocker.
3 (87) Trade from Los Angeles Rams Arden Key

DE-6’5 238

LSU 84 (3rd Round) If he can return to his 2016-form, the Raiders may have gotten another sub-package pass rush threat.
4 (110) Nick Nelson

CB-5’10 200

Wisconsin, Hawaii 60 (2nd Round) Nelson’s meniscus injury prior to the draft caused a slight slide. He may have gone a round higher. Dating back to his days at Hawaii, his footwork has always been his best friend.
5 (140) Maurice

Hurst

DL-6’1 291

Michigan 76 (3rd Round) Medical concerns made Hurst a Day 3 pick.   The Raiders got a player who is instant off the ball and wins with a slippery nature. He will push Eddie Vanderdoes.
5 (173) Johnny

Townsend

P-6’1 211

Florida 437 (5th Round) This may have been the team’s most important pick for its defense. The release of Marquette King necessitated it earlier than expected.   Townsend struggled out-kicking his coverage units in school.
6 (216) Azeem

Victor

LB-6’2 240

Washington 365 (5th Round) It seems like ages since Victor produced 95 tackles and 9.5 tackles for losses (2015). His final season was filled with suspension and off the field issues.
7 (228) Marcell

Ateman

WR-6’4 216

Oklahoma State 213 (4th Round) While not sudden, Ateman is athletic enough use his 78-inch wingspan to dwarf CBs in the Red Zone. Averaged nearly 20 yards per catch in 2017.

 

Los

Angeles

Chargers

Nwosu (No. 42 pictured) not only posted 9.5 QB sacks for the Trojans in 2017, he also broke up 13 passes.

Notable picks: James should be a Day 1 starter. Nwosu could very well do the same. Either way, the selection of Jones may be the most important pick of the first three selections. The Chargers ranked 31st versus the run in 2017.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (17) Derwin

James

S-6’2 215

FSU 46 (2nd Round) The Chargers are going to look for James to be an intimidating eighth man in the box as well as the team’s enforcer in the middle of the field.
2 (48) Uchenna

Nwosu

OLB-6’3 251

USC 61 (2nd Round) Nwosu will challenge Kyle Emanuel for playing time immediately at an outside linebacker spot. His ability to affect the three-step passing game was rare in school (20 PBUs).
3 (84) Justin

Jones

DT-6’2 311

NC State 144 (3rd Round) Jones posted 8.5 tackles for loss in 2017. While not a pass rusher, he can hold the point of attack and will be a good rotational player in the Chargers defensive front.
4 (119) Kyzir

White

S-6’2 216

West Virginia 197 (4th Round) White is a good blitz threat with plus upper body strength. His ability to control stalk blockers could land him a spot in sub-packages.
5 (155) Scott

Quessenberry

OC-6’4 310

UCLA 110 (3rd Round) Quessenberry can hopefully improve the Chargers ability to move bodies in the run game.
7 (251) Justin Jackson

RB-5’11 199

Northwestern 265 (4th Round) Jackson’s vision is apparent. Despite a WR-like build, he was tough enough to withstand over 1,100 carries in his career.