Tag Archives: New England Patriots

2020 NFL Draft recap: AFC East

Buffalo Bills  Notable pick: Bills HC Sean McDermott has had success with bigger defensive ends and Epenesa could add to the trend. The team needs him to produce. They lost both Jordan Phillips (Cardinals) and Shaq Lawson (Dolphins) in the offseason. The pair accounted for 16 of the team’s 44 sacks in 2019.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (54)A.J. Epenesa6’5 275 DE-Iowa29/2nd Round Epenesa’s technical prowess overcomes just okay burst off the edge. The former U.S. Army All-American brings outstanding size to the table.
3 (86) Zack Moss5’10 226 RB-Utah62/2nd Round Moss is the prototype strong runner for inclement weather in December and January. His health has always been his biggest knock.
4 (128)Gabriel Davis6’2 216
WR-UCF
115/3rd Round Davis’ deceptive gait and unorthodox style accompanies a 6-foot-2, 216-pound frame. He proved adept on double moves and boxing out the opposition in school.
5 (167) Jake Fromm 6’2 219
QB-Georgia
111/3rd Round Fromm finished his career with an impressive 78:18 TD/INT ratio. If he can handle the windy conditions of Buffalo, he may be able to compete to backup incumbent starter Josh Allen. Davis Webb and Matt Barkley are also in the mix, so there are no guarantees for Fromm.
6 (188)Tyler Bass 6’0 200
PK-Georgia Southern
380/5th RoundGame-winning kicks have been a part of Bass’ portfolio in school. He was also pretty good in rainy weather. The weather he is about to face is going to be an entirely new challenge, but his strong leg may be up to the task.
6 (207)
Isaiah Hodgins
6’4 210
WR-Oregon State
80/2nd Round
Like Davis, Hodgins isn’t necessarily flashy but efficient. The 6-foot-4 wideout is smooth getting in-and-out of patterns and can make the contested catch. To make the team, he needs to play stronger versus physical coverage.

7 (239)
Dane Jackson6’0 187
CB-Pittsburgh
207/4th Round
Jackson is smart, tough and generally fluid. Despite weighting in the 185-pound range, he could get looks at a nickel spot if he cannot keep up with speed on the edge. The team’s coverage style gives him a chance to make the team.
Moss rushed for over 4,000 yards (4,067) and scored 41 touchdowns in school.
Miami DolphinsNotable pick: Hunt did not get to show off his impressive physical tools in the postseason. He is a mammoth tackle with positive movement and the right temperament to surprise early in an NFL training camp.


Round, Selection,PlayerSchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNasty’ Take:
1 (5)Tua Tagovailoa6’0 217 QB-Alabama37/2nd RoundThis pick is as much about long-term upside as it is 2020. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back, (as well as Josh Rosen), the team does not have to rush Tagovailoa into the mix. Fans yearning to see the former Heisman finalist could speed up the process.
1 (18)Austin Jackson6’5 322 OT-USC61/2nd RoundJackson legitimately was one of the most athletic offensive or defensive lineman in this year’s draft class. Getting his technique under control will be key. If he makes a big step in training camp, it would not be a shock to see him as an opening day starter.
1 (30)Noah Igbinoghene5’10 198 CB/All-purpose-Auburn157/3rd RoundOne of Igbinoghene’s best characteristics -kickoff return capability- may not be needed unless KR Jakeem Grant goes down to injury (as he did late last season). Where he will be needed is in nickel defenses, where he will battle current third corner Cordrea Tankersley (also returning from injury) for playing time.
2 (39)Robert Hunt6’5 323 OT-Louisiana-Lafayette103/3rd RoundHunt has made starts at LG, LT and RT. His near 11-inch hands deliver decisive punches to the opposition. He is also capable of surprising second-level LBs with his quickness on combination blocks. He has starting capability early in his career, but his durability came into question in 2019.
2 (56)Raekwon Davis6’7 311 DT-Alabama76/2nd RoundThe former Crimson Tide defensive stalwart was never a slippery defender, but he did find a way to notch 8.5 QB sacks back in 2017.  He is more of a stack-and-shed two-gap defender with enough strength to be an effective part of the team’s rotation in 2020.
3 (70)Brandon Jones5’11 198 S-Texas123/3rd RoundJones was a team leader, active tackler and decent punt returner in school. He does not carry a big frame but throws his body around. The big question concerning Jones will be his ability to stay upright with his style of play.
4 (111)Solomon Kindley6’3 337 OG-Georgia284/4th RoundKindley reinforces the belief that the Dolphins will continue to commit big athletic bodies to its offensive line. The former three-star recruit is a grappler with the right mentality to send messages in the run game. He was a big factor in the ‘Dawgs physical running attack.
5 (154)Jason Strowbridge6’5 275 DE-North Carolina165/3rd RoundStrowbridge’s upper body movements are well-synchronized when he times snap counts. He is more fluid than one would expect at 275 pounds, and he projects favorably in the multiple fronts the Dolphins will employ week-to-week.
5 (164)Curtis Weaver6’2 265 DE-Boise State75/2nd RoundWeaver’s underwhelming physical traits may have caused a precipitous slide in the draft, but his skill at flipping his hips resulted in ascending sack production each year in school. He has to improve defending the run.
6 (185)Blake Ferguson6’3 229 LS-LSU573/7th RoundFerguson- the nation’s No. 1 long snapper coming out of high school- more than lived up to his recruiting hype. The two-time team captain is capable of speeding up his long snaps versus pressure looks.
7 (246)Malcolm Perry5’9 186 All-Purpose-Navy277/4th RoundPerry rushed for over 2,000 yards as an option quarterback in 2019, but he earned plenty of repetitions for the Midshipmen as a slot back and WR during his career. Aside from averaging 21.4 yards per catch on 22 receptions, he also averaged 24.6 yards per kickoff return.
Miami Dolphins fifth-round pick Curtis Weaver finished his career as the all-time leader in sacks (34) in Mountain West Conference history.
New England Patriots  Notable pick:  Jennings didn’t dominate rushing the passer in school, but he did dominate in other ways. His 18 pass breakups are an eye-opening total for an outside linebacker.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (37) Kyle Dugger 6’1 217
S-Lenoir-Rhyne
36/2nd Round Dugger has all of the tools to develop into a multi-purpose weapon for the Patriots defense. If needed, he can play linebacker, a big nickel, off the hash safety and even return kicks. As the team continues to redefine its size in the secondary, the former Division II All-American seems like the perfect fit.
2 (60)Josh Uche6’1 245
LB-Michigan
70/2nd Round For a player as talented as Uche, he didn’t play as much as one would have expected at Michigan. When he did finally hit the field full-time in 2019, the physical skills stood out.
3 (87)Anfernee Jennings6’2 256
OLB-Alabama
107/3rd Round Jennings brings more versatility to the table than some anticipate and his hand-eye coordination is elite. While not a finished product as a pass rusher, he has an innate feel for rushing from multiple spots.
3 (91) Devin Asiasi6’3 257
TE-UCLA
197/4th RoundAsiasi averaged 104 receiving yard per game in the last three games of ihs career at UCLA. He is capable of working the seams of the field.
3 (101) Dalton Keene6’4 253
TE-Virginia Tech
137/3rd Round As Keene improved as a blocker, his receiving skills did not diminish. He has handled a number of his blocking assignments on the move. His straight-line speed and upside after the catch ranks as a positive for the Patriots.
5 (159)
Justin Rohrwasser
6’3 230
PK-Marshall
N/A
Rohrwasser’s leg strength is adequate but his accuracy (just nine missed field goals in two years) was perhaps more impressive. Most of his misses during school came in the latter portion of seasons. He is capable of placing the ball directionally on kickoffs.
6 (182)
Michael Onwenu
6’3 344
Michigan
203/4th Round
A true road-grading offensive guard with power, Onwenu’s 11-inch hands are hard to get away from once he gains grasp of the opponent. The former DL has the mindset to dominate opponents, but he has to keep his weight under control.
6 (195)
Justin Herron
6’4 308
OG-Wake Forest
151/3rd Round
Herron- a collegiate left tackle- impressed during the 2020 Senior Bowl with his work at offensive guard. He provides the team with positional flex capability due to outstanding feet.
6 (204)
Caash Maluia
6’0 248
LB-Wyoming
N/A
Maluia is thick enough to handle being uncovered, and he was a four-year contributor in a number of facets for the Cowboys.
7 (230)
Dustin Woodard
6’2 291
OC-Memphis
478/6th Round
The team has had success with smaller offensive guards and centers in the past. The reason? Mobility. Woodard was effective on the move as a puller way back in 2016, when he played guard.
New England Patriots sixth-round pick Cassh Maluia posted seven tackles for loss and intercepted two passes for the Cowboys in 2019.
New York Jets  Notable picks:  Davis brings capability to the Jets in multi-dimensional nickel packages. If he can play off the hash, then the Jets will be able to move around multi-dimensional safety Jamal Adams even more down-to-down.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (11) Mekhi Becton6’7 364
OT-Louisville
1/1st Round Becton will be tasked with the huge responsibility of keeping starting QB Sam Darnold comfortable in the pocket. If he can execute the task, then he could soon be a Pro Bowler.
2 (59) Denzel Mims6’3 207
WR-Baylor
42/2nd RoundMims may not have gone as high as he would have liked to go in the draft, but he now has a legitimate chance to turn into a team’s top receiving threat early in his career. He is a good alternative in the current lineup of Jets receivers.
3 (68) Ashtyn Davis6’1 202
S-Cal
99/3rd RoundDavis’ foot speed shined as a kickoff returner and when running down plays in pursuit. One of the best things he did at Cal was disguise coverage in a scheme that has some similarities to the Jets.
3 (79)Jabari Zuniga6’3 253
DE-Florida
182/4th Round While Zuniga did move around effectively in school on a number of downs, he is going to get every opportunity to do some work from a stand-up or three-point position in Gregg Williams’ multitude of defensive looks. Staying healthy, which he didn’t do in 2019, is a big key.
4 (120)Lamical Perine5’11 216
RB-Florida
146/3rd RoundPerine’s tools include the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield effortlessly. Combined with his hard-charging style, he could become a nice change-up for Le’Veon Bell.

4 (125)
James Morgan
6’4 228
QB-FIU

127/3rd Round
Morgan’s mental aptitude is perhaps on par with his physical tools. His arm strength gives him a legitimate opportunity to battle David Fales for the team’s backup spot.

4 (129)
Cameron Clark
6’4 308
OT-Charlotte
126/3rd Round
The two-time team captain and 35-game starter is an impressive run blocker who is still growing as a pass protector. The 6-foot-4-inch tackle has 11-inch hands and an 83-inch wingspan. We think he can backup at least four spots on the offensive line while competing for a starting spot at guard.
5 (158)
Bryce Hall
6’1 202
CB-Virginia
105/3rd Round
Hall’s instincts as a corner are first-rate but he wasn’t able to answer the questions about recovery speed in the postseason due to still recovering from midseason surgery on a broken fibula. The effectiveness of his playing style will depend on his eye control.
6 (191)
Braden Mann
5’11 198
P-Texas A&M
335/5th Round
His spiral punts get into the 70-yard distances when he gets hold of punts and his hang times have gotten into the 4.8-second range in the film viewed. A good athlete, Mann saved a TD on a kickoff return by Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III in 2019 and posted seven tackles this past season. Mann has to get better as a directional punter.
New York Jets second-round pick Denzel Mims posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in two of his final three seasons at Baylor.

The versatile Terrapin

If it looks like Antoine Brooks, Jr. is anticipating the play before it happens, as if he is a quarterback, it is because he was one.

Brooks, Jr. excelled at Duval High School in Bowie, Maryland, where he was a quarterback and a defensive back. As a quarterback, he took home the Prince George’s Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 despite playing in just six games after suffering a broken wrist and leg.

Almost five years later, Brooks, Jr. sees how his experiences in high school have shaped him into a versatile defensive prospect.

“Honestly (playing quarterback) helped me a lot with the transition of being on defense,” Brooks, Jr. said during media day at the Senior Bowl. “Even with being a leader. It just shows I can communicate and get the right play down.”

The three-year starter was asked to digest a bevy of tasks within the team’s system. This allowed him to play a variety of roles from week-to-week.

At the University of Maryland, Brooks, Jr. played nickel back, safety and outside linebacker.

While he is known in College Park for his diving interceptions or hard sideline hits, the cerebral part of the game is not lost on Brooks, Jr.

Unprompted, Brooks, Jr. recalled a moment from this past year’s AFC Championship game when his favorite player to watch, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, correctly diagnosed a read-option pass to Titans receiver Corey Davis over the middle of the field.

Mathieu knocked Davis two yards behind the line of scrimmage for a loss but this was after he saw the Patriots run the same play for N’Keal Harry, who broke Mathieu’s tackle and got a first down in the red zone in Week 14 of the regular season.

Mathieu then took to Twitter after the game and said film preparation helped him identify the play and correct his previous error.

“It just shows watching film is so important,” Brooks Jr. said. “Those are the little things that help me succeed.”

His film study made a huge difference for the Terps defense, who used him as a Swiss Army knife.

Brooks, Jr. broke out during his sophomore season when he transitioned from linebacker to defensive back in the offseason.

Brooks earned All-Big Ten honors three times in his career (2017 Honorable mention All-Big Ten, 2018 2nd Team All-Big Ten and 2019 3rd Team All-Big Ten).

In 2017, he had 9.5 tackles for loss, which were the most by a Big Ten defensive back in the regular season. He also led the Terps with 53 solo tackles, while also contributing a quarterback sack and two interceptions.

The success he had as a nickel back hasn’t pigeonholed Brooks, Jr. During interviews with NFL personnel at the 2020 Senior Bowl, he admitted that his preferred position is strong safety.

Like a terrapin, Brooks, Jr. is undersized but can adjust to different surroundings.

“You just have to ask me (where to play),” Brooks, Jr. said of the prospects of being asked to play multiple positions. “I’m going 100 percent and I win most of my battles.”

The numbers at the University of Maryland speak volumes. In his career, Brooks, Jr. had nine pass deflections, four interceptions, 27.5 tackles for loss and three-and-a half quarterback sacks.

Brooks Jr. knows his speed will be a question mark if he is asked to play in the secondary, but he trusts his 40-yard dash time will calm any doubts.

“I’m hoping to run in the low 4.4s,” said Brooks Jr., who ran a 4.5 going into college. Worth noting, he ran a 4.64 at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Confidence wasn’t something that was lacking for Brooks, Jr. during Senior Bowl week. The former Terp could be seen on the practice field communicating demonstrably during the on-field drills and asking questions from the Cincinnati Bengals coaches, who led the South roster.

However, the three-time All-Big Ten performer is ready to put the questions and talking aside and get to what really matters.

“I’m just ready to play football,” Brooks, Jr. said.

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

Williams led the SEC in passes defended in 2018 after posting career-highs in interceptions (4) and pass break-ups (14).

New England Patriots Notable picks: Williams could be a chess piece when the team has to defend the Travis Kelce-types at tight end and the A.J. Green-types at wide receiver.  Cajuste has more talent than his draft position indicates, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him push for playing time.  Bailey will challenge incumbent Ryan Allen in one of the training camp battles to watch.   Harry’s size is similar to Josh Gordon.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (32) N’Keal Harry WR/Arizona State 65/2nd Round Harry won’t be asked to take the top off of defenses, but he will be tasked with adjusting to a variety of passes outside the numbers.  We think some of his best work came in the slot, where his superior run after the catch skill comes into full focus.  His overall style fits the offense and adds a bit of pizzazz.
2 (45) Joejuan Williams CB/

Vanderbilt

31/2nd Round Williams will be able to match up with bigger WRs  one week and then can cover the TE the next week, if needed.  While his 40-yard dash times didn’t impress in the postseason, he did demonstrate strength and explosion.  He was arguably the SEC’s most competitive corner in 2018. 
3 (77) Chase Winovich DE-OLB/

Michigan

93/3rd Round Winovich provides a versatile nature capable of rushing from a number of spots.  He plays longer than his length would suggest and is adept at causing havoc with his hand in the dirt. 
3 (87) Damien

Harris

RB/Alabama 56/2nd Round Harris will have a role in this offense but it may be according to game plan.  The Patriots continue to evolve into a team capable of running the ball to take pressure off of Brady.  He will compete for snaps with Rex Burkhead behind 2018 rookie sensation Sony Michel.
3 (101)

Compensatory pick acquired from Los Angeles via New England

Yodny

Cajuste

OT/West Virginia 67/2nd Round If not for his injury issues, Cajuste likely would have challenged for a spot in the second round.  Many of the DL we talked to said Cajuste was the best tackle they faced in the Big 12.  He provides insurance at the outside tackle spots, particularly if Isaiah Wynn is not fully recovered from his knee injury.
4 (118)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Hjalte

Froholdt

OG/

Arkansas

302/4th Round Froholdt’s mobility ranks as one of his strengths, as does his upper body strength and ability to latch.  The former DL’s lack of length is the one reason he lasted this long, but he has experience at both guard and center. 
4 (133)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Jarrett

Stidham

QB/Auburn 114/3rd Round Stidham’s 2017 performance against Alabama landed the Tigers in the SEC Championship game.  We spotlighted his upside in our feature on him in the 2018 Music City Bowl. 
5 (159)

Acquired from Minnesota via Seattle

Byron

Cowart

DL/

Maryland, Auburn

251/4th Round Cowart’s dramatic improvement after transferring to Maryland came after the former five-star recruit didn’t have a lot of success with the Auburn Tigers.  His size affords him the team the flexibility to line him up at the zero, one, two, three or four-technique DL spots.  He is an ideal scheme fit for the team.
5 (163) Jake Bailey P/Stanford 401/5th Round Bailey -our top-ranked punter- pinned opponents in school, never had a punt blocked and flipped the field with directional punts that still produced hang time averages in the 4.8-to-5.0-second range.  In addition, he may be able to handle kickoff duties if needed. 
7 (252) Ken Webster CB-Ole Miss 294/4th Round The knee injury from 2016 lingered into other ailments but Webster seemed to recover slowly in 2018.  At his best, he is an explosive athlete capable of challenging WRs in press-man.  Could he be a late-round find for the team?

 

Wilkins (No. 42 pictured) moved around quite a bit in Clemson’s schemes and is likely to do much of the same for the Dolphins.

 

 

Miami

Dolphins

Notable picks: The Dolphins draft is required to add Josh Rosen, who they traded their 62nd overall pick in the second round for while giving up a 2020 fifth-round pick.  Add Wilkins and Deiter, two potential starters, and you have a pretty good start to the proceedings.  The two final picks, Cox and Gaskin, both have questions to answer about their potential contributions on special teams.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (13) Christian Wilkins Clemson 12/1st Round Wilkins’ positional versatility could very well shine in Brian Flores’ multiple schemes.  His flexibility is outstanding, as is his ability to win going sideways.
3 (78) Michael

Deiter

OG/

Wisconsin

129/3rd Round It can be argued that Deiter can provide backup options at three-to-four spots on an offensive line.  He frequently wins wrestling matches once he latches the opponent. 
5 (151) Andrew Van Ginkel LB/

Wisconsin

513/6th Round Van Ginkel is an above average blitzer with solid flexibility.  There are still questions regarding his efficiency as an exchange linebacker.  We think he can be a core special teams player in Year 1.  It may be his road to earning a roster spot. 
6 (202)

Acquired from New Orleans

Isaiah Prince OT/Ohio State 219/4th Round Prince’s length (35 1/2-inch arms) allowed him to cover up for a number of technique errors on the perimeter in school.  Consistency is the word that comes to mind when evaluating whether or not he can earn a roster spot. His best work comes as a run blocker.
7 (233)

Acquired from Tennessee

Chandler Cox FB/Auburn 332/4th Round Cox demonstrated a unique feel for hitting opponents on the move from a number of spots when blocking for a multitude of runners.  The former U.S. All-American started 41 games for the Tigers, but contributed just one career tackle.
7 (234)

Acquired from Cleveland via Pittsburgh

Myles Gaskin RB/

Washington

130/3rd Round Aside from question marks surrounding his size, Gaskin’s high volume (945 career carries) in school likely caused him to slide into the seventh round.  Despite weight in the 205-pound range, Gaskin has contact balance. He did 24 repetitions at 225 pounds.   

Singletary rushed for 66 touchdowns over a three-year period. He possesses outstanding short-area creativity.

 

Buffalo Bills Notable picks: The first two picks, Oliver and Ford, chart a direction for the team.  Both players have a physical presence at their respective positions.  If Singletary gives the team the juice expected as a backup, then the rest of the draft could simply be evaluated for the purposes of depth.  With that said, Knox could become a starter in due time.  Of their Day 3 picks, it could be argued that Johnson has a chance to become the best of the group.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (9) Ed Oliver DT/Houston 4/1st Round Oliver’s pad level and leverage could be a perfect fit as an under tackle in the team’s 4-3 schemes under Sean McDermott.
2 (38)

Acquired from Oakland via Jacksonville

Cody Ford OG/

Oklahoma

23/2nd Round Ford’s finish drew high marks from several evaluators, but the injury history is rather extensive. The Bills may end up slotting him opposite left tackle Dion Dawkins or they could decide to move him to the guard spot.  He’s started at either spot in school.  Playing lower will only help his development. 
3 (74) Devin

Singletary

RB/FAU 105/3rd Round Singletary’s low center of gravity and short area change of direction draws comparisons to the Pro Bowl running back in front of him, LeSean McCoy.  Learning the nuances of the game as a smaller back from an All-Pro will likely aid the former Owl’s development.
3 (96)

Compensatory pick acquired via Washington

Dawson Knox TE/Ole Miss 134/3rd Round A quick glance at Knox’s statistics don’t take into account that he had three receivers with significantly more targets.  He runs in the low 4.6-range and plays at a fast clip.  At 254 pounds, he can line up with his hand in the dirt or flex-out (as he did quite a bit at Ole Miss) for the Bills. 
5 (147) Vosean Joseph LB/Florida 379/5th Round Joseph’s overall lack of size showed up on occasion but he did impress as his career went along when it came to matching routes. He is also a positive blitz threat (four sacks in 2018).
6 (181) Jaquan Johnson S/

Miami (Fla.)

176/3rd Round Johnson was dinged for his lack of timed speed, but he generally played faster than his teammates on Saturday afternoons.  Something to ponder is whether the hamstring injury that forced him to miss time in 2018 lingered over into the postseason.  His instincts and special teams contributions in school only add to his overall value.
7 (225) Darryl

Johnson

DE/North Carolina A&T 481/6th Round Johnson didn’t stand out against ECU tackle and 2020 NFL prospect D’Ante Smith, but even in that game he displayed his long nature.  The MEAC Defensive Player of the Year finished with 10.5 QB sacks and 19 TFLs in 2018.
7 (228) Tommy Sweeney TE/Boston College 262/4th Round Sweeney’s portfolio dates back to the 2016 campaign, when he was used as a Swiss army knife.  He can align as a FB, Y-tight end or H-back depending on formation.  He will likely end up getting snaps on the punt unit, where he will have to prove capable of running down effectively in coverage.

 

Polite (No. 99 pictured) forced six fumbles for the Gators in 2018 and finished third in the SEC in tackles for losses (17.5).

New York Jets Notable picks: The Jets needed to come out of this draft with a legitimate pass rusher after Jordan Jenkins and Henry Anderson tied for the team lead in sacks a year ago.  There has been talk of Gregg Williams sticking with the 30-front scheme that has fit the Jets for the better part of over a decade.  Expect to see elements of his 4-3 background, but most of the remaining parts and additions suggest elements of the 3-4 defense will be in play.  At offensive tackle, Edoga will have the opportunity to challenge for playing time. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (3) Quinnen Williams DT/Alabama 1/1st Round Williams is able to attack gaps two-to-three gaps over with outstanding lateral agility.  Despite being a one-year wonder, he did post 6.5 tackles for loss in a secondary role back in 2017.
3 (68) Jachai Polite DE-OLB/Florida 103/3rd Round Polite uses a combination of inside posts with clubs, dips his weight and can take his surface area away from tackles.  Nevertheless, his power component is largely unearthed at this stage of his development.  In 2018, he posted 17.5 tackles for loss while forcing six fumbles because he is tough to grasp.
3 (92)

Acquired from the Minnesota Vikings

Chuma Edoga OT/USC 121/3rd Round Edoga’s disposition on the field is probably a bit more erect than what you’d expect from a 6-foot-3-inch tackle, but his light-footed nature draws high marks.  His profile matches the team’s current starting left tackle Kelvin Beacham. 
4 (121) Trevon Wesco TE/West Virginia 392/5th Round The former high school QB has all of the intangibles to continue to improve as a receiving threat.  His 267-pound frame was often used as an insert blocker in the Mountaineers rushing attack.
5 (157) Blake Cashman LB/

Minnesota

187/3rd Round Cashman’s breakout year came at just the right time, as he forged his way into the NFL Draft.  We think he is one of the top kickoff cover men in the 2019 NFL Draft.  His instincts either off the ball or when rushing downhill are solid.
6 (196)

Acquired from Oakland via Chicago Bears

Blessaun Austin CB/Rutgers 151/3rd Round The Jets didn’t travel far to grab the former New York high school product.  Despite two consecutive years of knee injuries, he still finished his career with four interceptions and 19 career pass break-ups.   Few cornerbacks get their hands on wide receivers with the efficiency of Austin.  If he can return to full health, he’ll have a chance to earn playing time. 

 

 

Wise beyond his years

DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous sat down with former Kansas Jayhawks star defensive lineman Daniel Wise for a Q&A during the week of the 2019 East-West Shrine game to talk about the Wise last name, family lineage and what it meant to be a Jayhawk.

Q&A with Kansas DL Daniel Wise

Corey: What about this week (2019 East-West Shrine Game) and what it represents for you and the Kansas program?

Wise: It’s huge for me to be able to just represent the University of Kansas. Throughout everything I’m doing at the Shrine hospital, on the field, having that Jayhawk on my helmet means a lot to me.

Corey: I know the team success wasn’t what you may have hoped for during your career but individually you’ve been very productive the last three seasons. When you think about how you’ve been able to work the edges of guards and tackles by being slippery. Talk about your technique and what has allowed you to become that type of player.

Wise: My work ethic, my routine in the summer, my workouts, guys I train with, my teammates. Picking up things from them (teammates) and picking up things from my coaches. My dad (former NFL player Deatrich Wise, Sr.), my No. 1 coach, and my older brother (New England Patriots DL Deatrich, Jr.). Always being around football and always watching football.

Daniel’s older brother, Deatrich, Jr. (No. 99 pictured), was a participant in the 2017 East-West Shrine Game and has since gone on to post 9.5 quarterback sacks in two seasons with the New England Patriots.

Corey: We actually spent time with your brother here at the East-West Shrine game a couple of years ago. What has his success meant for you in continuing on that family lineage?

Wise: It’s huge for me to be able to follow his footsteps at the East-West Shrine game and hopefully one day maybe with him or wherever I go. But to be able to enter the league with him, it’s been a journey.

Corey: What type of scheme do you think you fit best in? You’ve been a four-technique, five-technique and three-technique. You can line up in the reduced front over the center. What do you think is your best position to start at?

Wise: Just the experience that I got playing at the University of Kansas in a 4-3 and 3-4, playing all up and down the line. It has given me a lot of experience on the line. Can play just about anywhere on the line confidently. But I think I earn my best money at the three-technique.

Former Kansas defensive lineman Daniel Wise (No. 96 pictured) posted 151 tackles, 18.5 quarterback sacks, 44 tackles for loss (2nd in school history) and blocked three kicks during his time as a Jayhawk.

Corey: It’s funny, when your brother was coming out, we asked him the exact same question. Because at Arkansas he was playing up-and-down the defensive front.

Wise: Yes sir, yes sir. That’s right.

Corey: So I guess the family lineage spreads to positional versatility. Toughest opponent in school?

Wise: My toughest opponent in school I’d say would have to go to No. 55 at West Virginia.

Corey: Cajuste (Yodny).

Wise: Yeah…Cajuste. He was a good athlete. His ability to adjust. His hands and his feet. He was a nice athlete, nice guy to go against.

Corey: If an NFL scout wanted your best game of your career what would it be? I know one game I watched two years ago against Texas (2016)…in Kansas.

Wise: Yeah, when we beat ’em. I feel like that’s one of my best games. Yes sir.

Corey: Give me another one.

Wise: Texas again this year. The West Virginia game (2018). The West Virginia game is kind of what sparked the season for me.

Corey: Best of luck. Enjoyed watching you play and good luck in the NFL.

Wise: Thank you.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 12-9-18: In-game report

In a matchup between mentor and mentee, the mentor bested his understudy.  Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs defeated John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens, 27-24, to remain in first place in the AFC.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in- game report:

Travis Kelce

When Kelce is rolling, the Kansas City Chiefs offense is rolling. Teams that have defeated the Chiefs have not been able to completely stop Kelce but have been able to limit his productivity or force him and his team to use more targets to get his catches.  The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Chiefs and even though Kelce had 10 catches for 127 yards, it took him 15 targets to post those numbers.  The Patriots were the Chiefs only other loss this season, they double teamed and chipped Kelce all night and held him to five catches on nine targets for 61 yards.  Against the Ravens, Kelce caught two passes on the first possession of the game and forced a holding call on cornerback Marlon Humphrey that resulted in a touchdown.  For the game, he caught seven passes on nine targets for 77 yards and one touchdown. The Chiefs second-ranked scoring offense and No. 3 ranked passing game are a direct reflection of Kelce’s productivity.  If a team hopes to stop the Chiefs offense, then they must prioritize defending Kelce. 

Ravens defense

Despite giving up catches to Kelce early, Baltimore held the Chiefs to 27 points, tied for their lowest output of the season.  The Ravens forced Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to drive the length of the field and kept everything in front of them by always keeping a safety deep.  Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale also switched up blitz schemes which kept Mahomes off balance and resulted in three sacks.  The Chiefs still managed 92 rushing yards and 347 passing yards but the chunk plays were minimal. The fourth down 48-yard heave across the field from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill was a back breaker for the Ravens. However, besides that play and a screen pass to Spencer Ware, the Ravens didn’t give up a play of more than 25 yards defensively.  Look for the Chiefs division rival, the Los Angeles Chargers, to try and replicate the Ravens defensive game plan when the two teams meet on Thursday.  

Lamar Jackson

The former Louisville quarterback has struggled with turnovers and accuracy issues (58 percent completion percentage, three interceptions and eight fumbles) since he has been under center. However, Jackson has given the Ravens offense a spark because of his running ability and quick passing ability.  Baltimore has went to a more run-pass option attack and one-read passing concepts with Jackson.  Against the Chiefs, the Ravens used their tight end as a motion man to get involved as the lead blocker in power running plays and as a safety option for Jackson in the short passing game. Jackson completed 13-of-24 passes for two touchdowns and ran for 71 yards.  As he gets more comfortable, look for the playbook to expand, but for now Jackson has been productive and has put the Ravens in positions to win.

Detroit Lions vs. Miami Dolphins, 10-21-18: In-game report

The Miami Dolphins (4-3) missed a chance to keep pace with the New England Patriots in the AFC East after falling to the Detroit Lions (3-3) at home.  The Lions used a stifling secondary and an efficient offensive attack to win the game.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Kerryon Johnson

The rookie running back out of Auburn had his second career 100- yard rushing performance on Sunday. The Lions record would indicate that in order to win, they need production from Johnson. In the team’s three wins, Johnson has rushed for 109 yards per game and in their three losses he’s averaged 38 yards per game.  On Sunday, Johnson rushed for 158 yards and kept the Lions in favorable down and distances, which resulted in them only having to punt once all afternoon.  Johnson doesn’t just have an impact on the running game but the threat of his running ability has been enough to give quarterback Matthew Stafford, who finished with just four incompletions, cleaner looks on play action passes.  The Lions used Johnson as a decoy to score their first touchdown after Stafford faked the handoff and threw a touchdown to tight end Michael Roberts.  Johnson also gives the Lions a threat in the passing game (15 receptions on the season) and is a willing blocker in pass protection.  If Detroit wants to continue to win against good teams, look for the Lions to rely on Johnson to bring a balance to the offense.

Lions secondary

Slay, Jr. was named a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and has shown few signs of slowing down.

The Lions secondary didn’t force Brock Osweiler into an interception but did play well enough in coverage to help force four sacks and give their team a commanding 20-7 advantage in the second half. Quandre Diggs came down from his safety position to fill in for Jamal Agnew, the team’s regular slot cornerback who is on IR due to a knee injury. Cornerback Darius Slay has continued his All-Pro performance from last season and played well on the outside.  Slay prevented a would-be touchdown to Kenny Stills by bringing his hands through Stills’ hands and deflecting the ball away. For the game, Osweiler threw for 239 yards and almost a third of those yards came in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.  Detroit’s secondary is the backbone of their defense and should serve them well against a number of top-tier quarterbacks in the NFC.

Mike Gesicki

DraftNasty highlighted Gesicki’s athleticism in advance of the draft last season and that athletic ability was on display against Detroit. The rookie from Penn State caught passes both as a hand in the ground tight end and when split out wide.  Gesicki did a good job of chipping the defensive end before getting into the right seam and catching a pass in traffic. On another catch, Gesicki caught the ball over the middle on a crossing pattern and flashed his potential for getting yards after the catch.  In total, Gesicki finished with three catches for 44 yards. 

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots, 10-14-18: In-game report

Two of the premier coaches in the NFL faced off in primetime on Sunday Night Football.  New England (4-2) was able to keep pace with the Chiefs (5-1) in the conference after a last second field goal pushed them to victory.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

Patriots power running game

The Patriots use of offset I-formations with fullback James Develin (No. 46 pictured) and Rob Gronkowski (No. 87 pictured) led a running game that carried the offense for the much of the night.

Bill Belichick flipped the script on Sunday night, instead of relying on his future Hall of Fame quarterback, the longtime coach relied on a power run game.  The Patriots used fullback James Develin in the I-formation and the offset I-formation, while also putting Rob Gronkowski at the tight end spot with his hand in the ground in order to establish a strong push in the run game.  Kansas City ranks 28th in the league in rushing yards allowed and the Patriots took advantage of it.  New England ran for 173 yards and actually ran three more times than they passed.  This power run game will probably be an outlier, but credit to Belichick for his willingness to adjust the game plan for specific game-to-game needs.

Patrick Mahomes 

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has a 112.2 quarterback rating through six starts in 2018.

The first-year starter has burst onto the scene and what immediately jumps out about Mahomes is his raw arm talent. Mahomes can make plays off schedule while falling off his back foot reminiscent of the kinds of throws that are usually reserved for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.  In the first quarter, Mahomes darted  a pass from his back foot and across his body to the waiting hands of Chris Conley, placing the ball where only his receiver could make the play.  The Chiefs quarterback finished with 352 passing yards and four touchdowns but he did throw two interceptions, which led to points for the Patriots.  Mahomes first interception came when Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower faked a blitz and dropped into coverage, fooling the young quarterback.  The second came on a pass where Mahomes was rolling right and tried to throw across his body to tight end Travis Kelce, who was double covered.  Mahomes should be able to fix those types of interceptions with experience. For now, Mahomes should remind Andy Reid of another talented gunslinger that he coached in Brett Favre. 

Patriots defense 

Bill Belichick’s defensive mantra has remained constant since he came to New England: make your second or third best players beat us offensively.  The Patriots doubled Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce all night and sacrificed the pass rushing of Dont’a Hightower and Trey Flowers in order to chip Kelce at the line. The game plan worked as the Pats held Kelce to five catches for 61 yards. However, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill were left with more room to roam free as a result. The pair combined for 327 total yards and four touchdowns. It was a tale of two halves for the Patriots, who led 24-9 at halftime. If these two teams meet again in the playoffs, Belichick might have to tinker with his game-plan because despite holding Kelce in check, Hill and Hunt nearly upended New England in Foxboro. 

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

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills

Edmunds will be a major factor in both coverage and as a potential rush threat. He posted 10 career quarterback sacks.

Notable picks: The Bills didn’t waste their first round picks.  Allen will be tough to keep off the field despite the presence of A.J. McCarron.  Will his right shoulder hold up?  The pick who may end up being the game changer though is Edmunds. The two slot wide receiver selections –McCloud and Proehl- will battle for playing time.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (7) Josh

Allen

QB-6’5 237

Wyoming 34 (2nd Round) Steam thrower can work through the snow and winds of Buffalo.  All the talk of his inaccuracy overshadowed durability concerns in college.
1 (16) Tremaine

Edmunds

OLB-6’4 253

Virginia

Tech

8 (1st Round) Edmunds contributed 35 tackles for losses in school. He will provide versatility on either inside or outside.
3 (96) Harrison

Phillips

DT-6’3 303

Stanford 217 (4th Round) Phillips’ activity offset an occasional lack of elite balance. He’s quick off the ball and has an element of
4 (121) Taron

Johnson

CB-5’11 192

Weber State 85 (3rd Round) Johnson has the look of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes.
5 (154) Siran

Neal

S-6’0 206

Jacksonville St. 139 (3rd Round) Neal will bring a physical presence to sub-packages and he is one of the more explosive gunners in the 2018 NFL Draft.
5 (166) Wyatt

Teller

OG-6’4 314

Virginia

Tech

236 (4th Round) He’s an experienced player with above average movement skills. The former DE has balanced a difficult medical condition (off the field) to become a pro prospect.
5 (187) Ray-Ray

McCloud

WR-5’9 191

Clemson 249 (4th Round) McCloud’s ability to catch the ball away from his body was clouded by some concentration lapses in both the return game and at receiver. He may become a better professional.
7 (255) Austin

Proehl

WR-5’10 175

North

Carolina

429 (5th Round) Proehl has a chance to become a fixture in the slot if he can prove capable of adding special teams to his resume. His 4.07 time in the 20-yard short shuttle lays credence to his quick nature.

 

Miami

Dolphins

Fitzpatrick scored on four of his nine career interceptions for the Crimson Tide.

Comment: Fitzpatrick brings a level of flexibility to a Dolphins secondary that finished with just nine interceptions in 2017. Baker’s presence aids an improving young defense. Gesicki will have a chance to earn a starting role early in his career if he can commit to any level of consistency as a blocker.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (11) Minkah

Fitzpatrick

DB-6’0 204

Alabama 5 (1st Round) Fitzpatrick began his career as a cornerback and was a consistent presence at the nickel position in each of his seasons in Tuscaloosa.
2 (42) Mike

Gesicki

TE-6’5 247

Penn State 83 (3rd Round) Sky riser with major confidence. Can he contribute as an in-line tight end? Impressed during the Senior Bowl in one-on-one passing drills.
3 (73) Jerome

Baker

LB-6’1 229

Ohio State 69 (3rd Round) His ability to match TEs will diversify a team’s nickel package on passing downs. Of his 158 career tackles, 17.5 were tackles for losses.
4 (123) Durham

Smythe

TE-6’5 253

Notre Dame 220 (4th Round) Smythe has more to give than given credit for as a receiver. He is already adept as a blocker.
4 (131) Kalen

Ballage

RB-6’1 227

Arizona State 175 (4th Round) Ballage may have gone higher if he had been more instinctive as a runner. His pass-catching skills are advanced for a 227-pounder.
7 (227) Quentin

Poling

LB-6’2 239

Ohio 114 (3rd Round) Poling surprised scouts with his sub-4.6 speed in individual workouts prior to the draft. It shouldn’t been have a surprise. He returned three interceptions for TDs in school.
7 (229) Jason

Sanders

PK-5’11 190 (E)

New

Mexico

N/A Missed just one field goal in 2016. Posted enormous touchback percentages as a kickoff specialist.

 

New

England

Patriots

Dawson -ranked 73rd on DraftNasty’s 2018 Big Board- returned three of his six career interceptions for touchdowns during his time in Gainesville.

Notable picks: Wynn’s tool kit can translate to multiple positions. Dawson adds another cover guy to help combat the departure of Malcolm Butler (Titans). The team made a concerted effort to add depth at the linebacker spot.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (23) Isaiah

Wynn

OL-6’2 308

Georgia 6 (1st Round) Wynn’s footwork should not be discounted if given a chance to earn playing time at a left tackle spot. Either way, he can play four different positions.
1 (31) Sony

Michel

RB-5’11 214

Georgia 33 (2nd Round) Michel found time to rush for over 1,000 yards twice in school despite being the team’s feature runner just once in a four-year period.
2 (56) Duke

Dawson

DB-5’10 197

Florida 73 (3rd Round) Dawson’s ability to cover the slot showed up when covering shifty receivers (see Kirk, Texas A&M ’17).  In addition, he was a threat to score anytime he got his hands on the football.
5 (143) Ja’Whaun

Bentley

LB-6’1 253

Purdue 288 (4th Round) Bentley recovered from a 2015 ACL injury to the same knee he injured in high school. He has enough girth to handle an inside linebacker spot, but he also has a chance as an outside linebacker.
6 (178) Christian

Sam

LB-6’2 250

Arizona

State

266 (4th Round) Sam can make plays in space but he’s also able to fall back in the box. Sudden gear shifts from runners have affected him on occasion.
6 (210) Braxton

Berrios

WR/PR-5’9 186

Miami (Fla.) 230 (4th Round) Berrios is a tough player who played much bigger than his size in 2017 in the Red Zone. His comfort tracking punts gives him a chance to earn playing time in the slot with the departure of Danny Amendola (Dolphins).
7 (219) Danny

Etling

QB-6’2 222

LSU, Purdue 337 (6th Round) Etling got a lot of negative heat based on everything but his improvement in 2017. He posted the second-best TD:INT ratio in SEC history.
7 (243) Keion

Crossen

CB-5’10 180

Western

Carolina

N/A Improved in each season on campus. Notched 21 starts the last two seasons.
7 (250) Ryan Izzo

TE-6’5 256

Florida

State

383 (5th Round) Izzo was a big factor for the Seminoles on third downs when given opportunities. He is not sudden as a route runner but he has a feel for finding opening

 

New

York

Jets

Darnold’s ability to move around in the pocket could make him a fan favorite in New York.

Notable picks: Darnold may get time to develop behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. How long will the team allow him to sit? Shepherd and Fatukasi beef up an interior front that finished 24th in the NFL versus the run in 2017.

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (3) Sam

Darnold

QB-6’3 221

USC 19 (2nd Round) Darnold’s energy rarely wavers during games. He wins with ball placement, foot quickness and command. Will his arm strength translate to December on the East Coast?
3 (72) Nathan

Shepherd

DT-6’3 315

Fort Hays St. 35 (2nd Round) Packs some of the heaviest hands in this year’s draft. He has the juice to run over NFL guards or centers.
4 (107) Chris

Herndon IV

TE-6’4 250

Miami (Fla.) 238 (4th round) Herndon IV is sort of the poor man’s version of David Njoku (Browns). He’s proven as a flex option, but his sense of urgency has to increase as an in-line blocker.
5 (179) Parry

Nickerson

CB 5’10 182

Tulane 150 (3rd Round) Nickerson’s 16 interceptions are just a small measure of his tremendous eye speed. He shocked the masses by running in the low 4.3-range at the NFL Combine (4.32).
5 (180) Foley

Fatukasi

DL-6’4 318

UConn 97 (3rd Round) Fatukasi provides tremendous value because he’s gotten reps at a four-technique DE and zero-technique NG. This experience will benefit him in the Jets defensive schemes.
6 (204) Trenton

Cannon

AP-5’10 182

Virginia

State

523 (6th Round) Cannon has the burst and explosion to contribute immediately in the return game. He’s underrated as a receiver. Runs with a ferocious attitude at just 182 pounds.  He averaged 7.7 yards per carry in 2017.