Tag Archives: New Orleans Saints

2020 NFL Draft recap: NFC South

Carolina Panthers  Notable pick: Gross-Matos has a chance to benefit from one-on-one opportunities as the Panthers continue to diversify its defensive front. He and 2019 first-round pick Brian Burns could become bookends on the outside edges.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (7) Derrick Brown6’4 326 DT-Auburn10/1st Round Brown won’t necessarily provide an immediate pass rush upgrade over the since-departed Gerald McCoy. He will, however, provide immediate returns as a defender who will require double teams at nearly 330 pounds. His range belies that of a player in his weight class.
2 (38) Yetur Gross-MatosDE-Penn State14/2nd RoundGross-Matos is young and probably hasn’t come close to tapping his unlimited potential. For him to do, he has to improve affecting the three-step passing game once his pass rush has been stymied.
2 (64) Jeremy Chinn6’3 221
DB-Southern Illinois
39/2nd RoundChinn moved around in school but his value can come as a multi-purpose safety. He has the skills to cover tight ends. His most impressive characteristic is the ability to close from the inside-out on out-breaking patterns. At 221 pounds, he has to get better at not settling his feet in one-on-one coverage.
4 (113)Troy Pride, Jr.6’2 202
CB-Notre Dame
201/4th RoundPride closes routes from the outside-in, runs extremely well and is frequently in good position. The next step involves finishing in those moments.
5 (152)Kenny Robinson6’2 202
S-West Virginia
N/ARobinson is another safety with special teams value and above average range. His biggest knock at West Virginia was the occasional missed one-on-one tackle, something he largely improved as a St. Louis Battlehawk in the XFL.

6 (184)
Brayvion Roy
6’1 333
DT-Baylor
241/4th Round
Roy was often lauded by the Baylor coaching staff (now in Carolina) for his pure power. The former Bear is tough to move but his lack of length caused him to fall to Day 3 of the draft process.
7 (221)
Stantley Thomas-Oliver III
6’0 192
CB-FIU
167/3rd Round
We think Thomas-Oliver III has an outside shot of making the team because of his upside in man coverage. The former WR caught 35 passes for 486 yards in 2016 for FIU.
Atlanta Falcons  Notable picks: For the Falcons to spend a seventh-round pick on Hofrichter underscores the importance of the kicking game. Hofrichter’s strong leg can travel outside, but he tallied 72 punts of 50-plus yards in school. Can he handle kickoff duties?
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (16) A.J. Terrell 6’1 195
CB-Clemson
34/2nd Round Terrell made his mark at Clemson by playing a large majority of man coverage. Although he gave up some plays, his short memory makes him a fit at the position.
2 (47) Marlon Davidson6’3 303
DT-Auburn
40/2nd Round Davidson can basically play any of the four defensive line spots but may project as a legitimate three-technique on third downs. His work off the edge has been very good in the run game and pedestrian as a pass rusher.
3 (78) Matt Hennessy6’4 302
OC-Temple
52/2nd Round Hennessy has outstanding lateral agility, average pop and good range. This is a pick for the near future with Alex Mack still in the fold at center. It may give time for Hennessy to get stronger and provide depth at the three interior line spots.
4 (119) Mykal Walker6’3 230
OLB-Fresno State
3rd Round Walker’s work in school was often as a Rush OLB, but he will get the opportunity to develop as an exchange LB with the hope that he can provide immediate special teams coverage value. His work in the postseason at the exchange LB spot improved his draft stock.
4 (134)Jaylinn Hawkins6’2 208
S-Cal
4th Round Hawkins -a former WR- continued to improve filling as a tackler (see vs. Kelley, UCLA ’19). The ball skills show up in some downfield moments, but his angles have been inconsistent.
Atlanta Falcons first-round pick A.J. Terrell (No. 8 pictured) was frequently given man-to-man assignments in Clemson’s defense.
7 (228)
Sterling Hofrichter
5’10 196
P-Syracuse
462/6th Round
After the Falcons released longtime punter Matt Bosher during the offseason, there was an opening for a punter/kickoff specialist. Hofrichter did both well during his stay at Syracuse.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers  Notable pick: Vaughn’s impact at Vanderbilt goes beyond the numbers. His contact balance, receiving skills and underrated long speed could be the jolt the Buccaneers need in the running game.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (13) Tristan Wirfs6’5 320
OT-Iowa
8/1st RoundWirfs has All-Pro potential as an OG or OT, but most likely projects on the edges. He was more dominant a run blocker than pass protector.
2 (45) Antoine Winfield, Jr.5’9 203
S-Minnesota
19/2nd Round Winfield, Jr. was a solid nickel back earlier in his career, but injuries stopped his charge. He put it all together as a safety in 2019 and -if healthy- the best may be yet to come. He is entering a young, crowded defensive backfield that will benefit from his competitive nature.
3 (76) Ke’Shawn
Vaughn
5’10 214
RB-Vanderbilt
65/2nd Round Vaughn’s productivity (back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons), quickness, field speed and balance were undone by nagging injury problems. He played his best against the best competition in school.
5 (161)Tyler Johnson6’1 206
WR-Minnesota
156/4th Round Johnson finished his storied career with 33 receiving TDs. There are questions about his short-striding nature and ball security, but none concerning strength.
6 (194)  Khalil Davis6’1 308
DT-Nebraska
144/3rd RoundDavis played some at DE and DT in school, but his natural NFL position will be inside. The all-conference track & field thrower’s 4.79 speed didn’t consistently show up down-to-down, but he impressed the last two seasons.
7 (241)Chappelle Russell6’2 236
LB-Temple 
296/4th Round Russell’s movement and play speed in 2019 made it seem as if his knee injuries were a thing of the past.
7 (245)Raymond CalaisAll-purpose/Louisiana-Lafayette370/5th Round In 49 career games, Calais averaged nearly eight yards per carry. In addition, he was one of the draft ‘s
Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round pick Tristan Wirfs posted the second-best all-time mark in the state of Iowa in the shot put (66-3 1/4).
New Orleans Saints  Notable Pick: Trautman has a chance to develop into a very good NFL tight end. He runs routes like a wide receiver and offers flex potential. He may have an opportunity to steal repetitions from incumbent No. 2 tight end Josh Hill.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (24) Cesar Ruiz 6’3 307
OC-Michigan
31/2nd Round Ruiz has all of the requisite tools to get to and complete most of his assignments. He has to finish blocks with more tenacity in order to become the player the team envisions.
3 (74)Zack Baun6’3 238
LB-Wisconsin
16/2nd Round Baun was often lauded as one of the Big Ten’s best pass rushers over the last two seasons, but the former Badger also found time to pick off two passes (TD) and showed upside in pass coverage.
3 (105)Adam Trautman 6’5 255
TE-Dayton
128/3rd Round Trautman’s 6.78 3-cone time at the 2020 NFL Combine ranked as one of the more impressive testing numbers during the postseason.
4 (120) Tommy Stevens 6’4 237
QB/All-purpose-Mississippi State
430/5th Round If Saints fans want to envision a possible role for Stevens, look no further than how former Penn State OC and Mississippi State HC Joe Moorhead used him as a Nittany Lion. It could be his path to making the roster. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry with 8 TDs in a slash-type role in Happy Valley.
New Orleans Saints third-round pick Adam Trautman, pictured, averaged a touchdown catch every 5.74 receptions in school.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q&A with former Utah State PK Dominik Eberle: “It’s always about the next kick”

Former Utah State kicker Dominick Eberle set a new Mountain West Conference all-time mark for field goals when he hit four goals versus Wyoming in 2019. He also aced a game-winning field goal against Fresno State in 2019. Despite being a Lou Groza Award finalist in 2017, he dealt with a career-defining low point in the 2017 Arizona Bowl. DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous caught up with Eberle during the week of the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl to talk about redemption, technique and confidence.

Corey: I want to take you to a game a couple years back. The Arizona Bowl (2017). That game. What did you feel like it did for you….the learning experience? Talk about that moment and how you built from that.
Eberle: That moment is something where I truly felt like I let my teammates down. I felt like I didn’t perform to the best of my abilities and it wasn’t gonna be something that I was gonna be remembered for. That was gonna be something where it has happened, but the learning experience from that, really challenging myself to whatever accolades came before that didn’t matter, because that was the last game I had played in. So I really wanted to make sure that that bitter taste out of my mouth kinda came out of that. Because just through hard work, really focusing on what I can do better and what I can control, that was something that I learned a lot from it and wanted to just consistently improve on every single day. And those are the lessons that you need as a kicker. You need to be mentally tough, you need to be able to just focus on the next kick because what happened doesn’t matter anymore. It shapes who you are but it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s always about the next kick. And that’s kind of the mentality that I took this year as well. It doesn’t matter if I made three field goals already, the fourth one, the next one is really the one I focused on. Just taking it one kick at a time.

Utah State’s Dominik Eberle made 79-percent of his field goals in school and never missed an extra point.

Corey: I think you were like 18-of-22 (16-of-18) going into that game (2017 Arizona Bowl) or something like that. It was kind of crazy just how efficient you had been. Big reason the team was even in the bowl game, right? But did you find yourself punching at the ball in that game? What was it technically that you learned from it?
Eberle: From that game, I was wrapping around the ball a lot. If you look at the seam, I was hitting so far on the right seam where even though I had distance on it, it was just kind of shoot off your foot with a weird left rotation and spin out to the left of the upright. And that’s what I did on three of the field goals that game. And the very last one, I really just punched at it, it went right, hit the upright. That’s something where I looked at it where it was sometimes just trusting your technique isn’t enough. Sometimes you’ve gotta be really able to not revamp it, but add certain things that can help you. So what I did going into the next season (2018) was really following through straight and using my momentum, similar to Justin Tucker’s, to carry myself through the ball straight and have my hips pointing right at my target. That’s something that I worked with cone drills, just kicking the ball into the net. And that’s something where every single day I’m kinda working at that getting that consistency right through my target.

Corey: And talk a little bit about that. For placekickers, the target line is a big deal. That target line is really where you’re trying to get the ball to and in that sense, that’s really what you’re talking about from an explanation standpoint, right?
Eberle: Exactly. For us, when we’re facing our building side right between the S and T or the K and the S for Maverik Stadium (Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, Utah State’s home field), small little gap. That’s something we’re always aiming at. It’s high up and everybody can see it and that’s my target line. So whenever I hit in that Allstate Hands (kicking net) or something, right down my target line. That’s something I always focus on in practice, whether it’s here (Tropicana Field, East-West Shrine Bowl), when I’m looking above you can kinda see the Tropicana Field. That’s something where I’m aiming at and really know if my ball is truly where I was gonna hit it.

Corey: One of the best kickers in Mountain West history. If there is one thing you feel good about translating the next level what would it be? In terms of moving forward to the next level. You’ve kicked off, are you going to be a touchback kicker in the NFL?
Eberle: I can certainly improve on kickoffs. The scheme was different this year (2019) than it was last year (2018: 64-percent touchback percentage). We tried to play the ball around a little bit more, steal a possession here or there, so my touchback percentages might of not have been near as similar…

Utah State PK Dominik Eberle, pictured, became the sixth player in NCAA history to kick three 50-yard field goals when he connected on three 51-yarders versus New Mexico State in 2018.

Corey: Sky kicks.
Eberle: Exactly. Sky kicks, little pooch kicks.

Corey: Hang times to sometimes get a fair catch?
Eberle: Exactly. So that was kinda what we were working with this year rather than just telling me to boot the ball out of the end zone. I know I can do that but I’m more of a team player. Realizing against LSU we had a little pooch kick over to about the 30-yard line where we knew the guy wasn’t experienced catching the ball and maybe steal a fumble. So we pooched the ball over and he fumbled it but he recovered it rather than us. That is where I realized that can just as much of a weapon as just kicking the ball out of the end zone.

Corey: You talked about Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) earlier, who were some of the other kickers that you study at the NFL level with some of those technique we were talking about?
Eberle: Shayne Graham (15-year NFL veteran with 14 teams) would be one as well. He was really consistent. He was someone that when I first was learning to become a kicker was still playing in the league. He was with the Bengals at the time, bounced around with the Saints and everything. I was watching him and how smooth he sometimes appeared where it looked effortless. Will Lutz (New Orleans Saints) as well, he has incredible ball-striking ability. That’s something I want to learn from him. And just Adam Vinatieri (Patriots, Colts). The more you read about him or hear stories about him, he had that killer instinct in the fourth quarter. He was so in the zone that you knew he wasn’t going to miss.

Corey: Thanks a lot for your time and best of luck in the draft.
Eberle: Thanks a lot.

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

Panthers first-round pick Brian Burns (No. 99 pictured) finished his career with 24 quarterback sacks, 39 tackles for losses, seven forced fumbles, seven pass break-ups and three blocked kicks.

Carolina Panthers Notable picks: While Burns will be expected to provide the team’s best pass rush threat in years, it is Little who could be tasked with protecting the franchise in QB Cam Newton.  Grier will compete with Taylor Heineke and Kyle Allen for the backup job.  Scarlett has a chance to earn repetitions as the team continues to look for a viable backup to workhorse Christian McCaffrey.  Daley has starting tools if he can improve his hand placement.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (16) Brian Burns DE-OLB/

Florida State

28/2nd Round Burns’ energy and ability to turn the corner is exactly what the Panthers needed coming out of this draft.  Burns is the first defensive end the team has taken in the first round since Julius Peppers back in 2002.
2 (37) Greg Little OT/Ole Miss 59/2nd Round It would be assumed that Little can step right in to start over incumbent Taylor Moton, who was more than serviceable as a right tackle in 2018.  If Little can get it done on the left side, then Moton can move back to right tackle and expect Darryl Williams to slide inside to guard. 
3 (100) Will Grier QB/West Virginia 229/4th Round Grier, a Charlotte native, gets an opportunity to compete for a backup role and provides insurance if Cam Newton’s shoulder doesn’t return to form.  Several teams were higher on Grier than even his draft position indicates, but we think he landed in a spot where he can improve his pocket presence.
4 (115) Christian

Miller

DE-OLB/

Alabama

303/4th Round We felt as if Miller’s game early on in 2019 would lead to him getting looks and the Panthers grabbed him early on Day 3.  The Panthers will continue to use more multiple looks with HC Ron Rivera calling the defense due to his 3-4 background.  This pick is a move in that direction.  Miller improved dramatically as a pass rusher in 2018. The loss of Thomas Davis in free agency may mean that Miller competes for a spot at an exchange linebacker spot.
5 (154) Jordan

Scarlett

RB/Florida 293/4th Round Scarlett landed in a good spot because he is a very physical runner. Despite some stiffness, the team’s gap-schemed runs fit his playing style very well.  He has above average balance and will compete with Cameron Artis-Payne for reps.
6 (212)

Acquired from Denver via San Francisco

Dennis

Daley

OT/South Carolina 192/4th Round For years, the team has lacked depth at tackle.  This pick could be a backup plan if Daryl Williams leaves in free agency in 2020.  Daley was one of the more nimble pass protectors in the 2019 NFL Draft, but his hand placement is inconsistent.  It led to concentration lapses in school.
7 (237)

Acquired from Denver via Houston

Terry

Godwin

WR/Georgia 117/3rd Round Godwin’s dominant week of East-West Shrine practices ensured a draft slot but he could have gone much higher.  The former four-star recruit is adept at running all of the required slot patterns with unique quickness and savvy.  At just 185 pounds, is he big enough to contribute on special teams? 

Lindstrom (No. 75 pictured) often opened holes for one of the ACC’s best running backs in AJ Dillon (No. 2 pictured).

 

Atlanta

Falcons

Notable picks: GM Thomas Dimitroff decided to remake the right side of the team’s offensive line with his first two picks.  After allowing 42 sacks in 2018, can you blame him? Can Sheffield fill the role of a third or fourth corner?  Green was one of the better return specialists in the draft and may challenge for playing time in that role alone. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (14) Chris

Lindstrom

Boston

College

38/2nd Round Lindstrom- our top-ranked guard-supplemented a stellar four-year career with outstanding  work during 2019 Senior Bowl practices.  He provides positional versatility (started at RT in 2017) for an offensive line that struggled to protect the passer in 2018.
1 (31) Kaleb

McGary

Washington 29/2nd Round McGary’s efficiency as a right tackle was supplemented by working with longtime OL coach Howard Mudd this offseason.  He could vie for a starting role in Year 1.  We talked with him about his various techniques this offseason.
4 (111) Kendall Sheffield CB/Ohio State,

Alabama

89/3rd Round Sheffield’s ability to play press-man is unquestioned, but he does have a tendency to locate the ball a tick late.  If he can harness his overall skill-set, the Ohio State 60-meter track indoor record holder could vie for a starting role down the road. 
4 (135) John

Cominsky

DE-DT/Charleston 253/4th Round Standing 6-foot-5, 286 pounds, Cominsky’s ability to use his hands aids him as a solid run defender. If he can develop more counters as a pass rusher, he could become a keeper.  Expect the team to work him more in base packages early as he transitions to an interior pass rush role for third downs.
5 (152) Qadree

Oliison

RB/

Pittsburgh

184/3rd Round The team had too many backs with the same profile and Devonta Freeman has missed time in recent years.  Ollison will be the bruiser that they have lacked on the roster and he has underrated field speed.
5 (172) Jordan Miller CB/

Washington

478/5th Round Miller held his own against some of the Pac-12’s best but injuries were a factor in school.  He is smooth, fast and fluid.  Physicality is a question mark.  The former high school triple jumper posted six interceptions in school.
6 (203)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Marcus Green All-Purpose/Louisiana-Monroe 482/5th Round It was surprising that a player who tallied nearly 5,000 all-purpose yards in school became a combine snub.  Green, who excels with his 10-to-15-yard burst, ran in the 4.4-range and went 39 inches in the vertical jump on ULM’s Pro Day.

Edwards, the Buccaneers second third-round pick, started 44 straight games to end his career. He finished with 318 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 10 interceptions (2 TDs) and 23 pass break-ups.

 

Tampa Bay

Buccaneers

Notable picks: Jason Licht’s selections of Bunting and Dean serve notice to former high picks Carlton Davis and Vernon Hargreaves that competition is on the way.  Bunting is a pick expected to challenge for a starting role early. Give Licht credit for not being apprehensive when it came to drafting another kicker.  Gay was the draft’s best placekicker and has 62-yard range. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (5) Devin White LSU 14/1st Round White’s sideline-to-sideline speed is a replacement for the speed of former Kwon Alexander, who went to San Francisco in free agency.  Connecting the dots on a more consistent basis could allow him to play a step faster.
2 (39) Sean Bunting CB/Central

Michigan

35/2nd Round Bunting’s press-man or bump-and-run technique is as patient as any cornerback in this year’s class.  The former high school hoops point guard can run too. His biggest weakness stems from a habit of ending up on the low shoulder versus wide receivers who use inside speed releases.
3 (94) Jamel Dean CB/Auburn 169/3rd Round Dean’s mental toughness shined during school as he has gone through knee injuries dating back to his junior year in high school.  He doesn’t play to his 4.30 timed speed but we do think he drops his weight better than given credit for.  Auburn’s staff praised his ability to play different positions.
3 (99)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Mike Edwards S-Nickel/

Kentucky

91/3rd Round Edwards ranks as one of the more instinctive safeties in the draft and has outstanding footwork.  He was often seen covering slot receivers and tight ends.  The former Wildcat plays with a sixth sense on the field but needs to improve his attention to detail.
4 (107) Anthony

Nelson

DE/Iowa 75/2nd Round Nelson has some similarities to current Bucs defensive end Carl Nassib.  He is perhaps even more physical defending the run.  It would not be a surprise to see the team use him inside on passing downs because he is adept on line games and stunts.  He was a good value pick in Round 4.
5 (145) Matt Gay PK/Utah 320/4th Round Gay actually had a fourth-round grade in our scoring system, but he did come in at 320 on our Big Board.  Nevertheless, this is not a reach in the fifth round because he would have likely gone off the board before the team picked again.  Gay will challenge PK Cairo Santos in training camp.
6 (208)

Compensatory pick acquired from Tampa Bay via Philadelphia

Scott Miller WR/Bowling Green State 370/5th Round Miller lasted until the fifth round simply because of his 5-foot-9, 174-pound frame.  What he brings to the table for the Bucs is 4.3 speed and hands (9 3/4”) that made him a terror in the MAC.  The former high school track star totaled 215 receptions for 2,867 yards and 23 TDs in school and stood out against Power 5 competition. 
7 (215)

Acquired from Arizona

Terry Beckner, Jr. DT/Missouri 408/5th Round If not for two knee injuries that slowed him during school, we would likely be discussing the former five-star recruit as an early-round pick.  He still produced 10 1/2 QB sack and 22 tackles for loss over his last two seasons in school. 

Gardner-Johnson (No. 23 pictured) tallied 301 return yards on nine interceptions as a Gator (3 TDs). He moved around a lot in school and often covered the slot as a senior.

 

New Orleans Saints Notable Picks: Despite just two picks in the first 105 picks of the draft, we felt the Saints got two of the Top 40 players available in McCoy and Gardner-Johnson.  Time will tell.  One pick to monitor is Elliss in Round 7.  His bend is unique and he has the type of experience in coverage to transition if he can pick up his play speed.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (48) Erik McCoy OC/Texas A&M 22/2nd Round Even though the Saints signed Nick Easton to a four-year deal, McCoy provides positional flexibility along their offensive front.  The team’s rushing attack ranked sixth in the league a year ago, and the McCoy draft pick is an attempt to maintain that mentality along a strong offensive front. 
4 (105) Chauncey Gardner-Johnson S-Nickel/Florida 40/2nd Round Gardner-Johnson could have an immediate impact in sub-packages covering the slot.   Versus certain formations, his flexibility could allow strong safety Vonn Bell to move into a LB-type spot.  Gardner-Johnson ranks as a steal in the fourth round.
6 (177)

Acquired from N.Y. Jets

Saquan Hampton DB/Rutgers 417/5th Round Hampton put it all together to become the Big Ten’s leader in passes defended.  The team captain has enough foot speed to become a special teams contributor in Year 1 for the Saints. 
7 (231)

Acquired from Cleveland

Alize Mack TE/Notre Dame 311/4th Round Mack has been used as a U-off blocker, Y-tight end and fullback in certain sets.  If he can make the team, the Saints will use him in many of its two tight end sets as a stretch the field-type.  The former All-USA Today prep level star was once ranked as the nation’s No. 1 tight end coming out of high school.
7 (244) Kaden Elliss LB/Idaho 263/4th Round Elliss posted a cornerback-like time of 6.63 seconds in the three-cone drill and that bend shows up when rushing the passer.  His father, Luther, was once a first-round pick by the Detroit Lions.  The younger Ellis finished his overlooked Vandals career with 278 tackles, 17 QB sacks, 47 TFLs, 6 FFs, 4 FRs, 5 INTs and 8 PBUs.  His frame matches that of fellow Saints LBs A.J. Klein, Demario Davis and Alex Anzalone. 

 

Q&A with Louisiana Tech OL O’Shea Dugas: Brotherhood

Former Louisiana Tech offensive lineman O’Shea Dugas lined up all over the place for the Bulldogs in what turned out to be a very good career. We sat down with Dugas during the week of 2019 East-West Shrine practices to discuss his game and overall bullying approach to football. He also gives insight into some of his one-on-one battles with the NCAA’s all-time sack leader in teammate Jaylon Ferguson.

DN: The first thing that we wanted to ask you about is when you found out you would be coming down here what was your immediate reaction?
Dugas: Excited. Excited to get to work and show my talents.

Dugas (pictured vs. Texas A&M DT Daylon Mack in the 2019 East-West Shrine practices) often re-corrals his frame once off-balance due to his 37 1/4″ arms and 86 1/2″ wingspan. The first-team All-C-USA offensive lineman blocked for three 1,000-yard rushers in school.

DN: It seems like you’re a player that has very heavy hands, been a multi-year starter. Out here (2019 East-West Shrine practices), you’ve kinda proved to a lot of people -at least thus far this week- that your power is something that people have to contend with. What do you think about how you’ve imposed your will?
Dugas: I mean, it’s part of my game. It’s what I do. I’m trying to show it as much as I can.

DN: When you think about some of the things you wanted to work on coming into your final year, what stood out at the top of the list?
Dugas: My footwork was the number one thing on my list to get better at.

DN: Was it your short-set, your quick-set, maybe getting more vertical? From a technical perspective, what do you think you kind of centered on?
Dugas: More lateral movement. My hands were there but I wasn’t always in position with my feet so that I could use my hands how I want to.

DN: Right. Talk about the success you’ve had the last couple of years winning some bowl games.
Dugas: Unfortunately, I didn’t play in the Hawaii Bowl (2018). But the first three years going to a bowl game, it was an amazing experience. It hurt me that I wasn’t able to go to Hawaii with my team. But everything works out for the best.

DN: Your offense has been one of the more productive offenses in C-USA football. You had a guy in J’Mar (Smith) who kind of came on. How was your relationship with him and Teddy Veal, who’s come on to the program and done some good things, you’ve had a running back that got drafted last year (Boston Scott, 6th Round, 201st overall, 2018 NFL Draft, New Orleans Saints). You’ve had several running backs who’ve been productive, aside from just Boston (Kenneth Dixon, 2016 NFL Draft, 4th Round, 134th overall, Baltimore Ravens). Talk about the success of those guys.
Dugas: It’s not a surprise that those guys had an opportunity to go to the league. For us, it’s a brotherhood. That’s my brother. We love to play with each other and we give everything. I’ll lay my life down for those guys at Louisiana Tech.

DN: In terms of positional versatility, you have the ability to move to either guard spot and you’ve played some tackle. What do you feel like is your best position for the next level?
Dugas: I would say guard would be my best position at the next level. But I can go in-or-out, it doesn’t matter to me.

DN: Well, you have moved around some in school. What would you say is the toughest opponent you’ve gone against? Is there one guy at the end of your career, you’d say he was a dawg?
Dugas: I’m going to have to say my dude J-Ferguson (Jaylon Ferguson, DE-Louisiana Tech). By far, he was one of the best players that I went against.

DN: In terms of competitive streak from both of y’all, what was the one thing you kind of learned from him?
Dugas: How D-ends can switch from speed-to-power. I learned from him the different hand swipes that they do and me putting my hands in the right places.

DN: No doubt. If there is an NFL player you look up to, who would it be?
Dugas: Have to be Trent Williams (Washington Redskins).

DN: Want to thank you for your time and best of luck in this year’s draft.
Dugas: Yes sir, thank you.

DN: Thank you.

Corey Chavous, DraftNasty staff reports, 2019 East-West Shrine practices, Day 1

2018 Quick Lane Bowl In-game report: Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech, 12-26-18

Two run heavy offenses squared off in Detroit in the Quick Lane Bowl.  However, Minnesota was able to make more plays in the passing game, en route to a 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

62 Jared Weyler (6’4 300) Minnesota OC/OG- Senior

Weyler has missed time over his career in Minnesota with a torn tricep and a torn ACL but when he is on the field, he provides toughness and leads the heavy run Gophers offense.  The senior can play both guard and center. He is not the most athletic prospect and looks a little stiff when forced to block on screens.  Against Georgia Tech, he did show the ability to call out blocking formations and provide a clean lane for his runners.  Weyler, a captain for the Golden Gophers, projects best at the next level as a center. 

24 Mohamed Ibrahim (5’10 205) Minnesota RB-Freshman

Ibrahim is only a freshman but he impressed all season long with his ability to serve as a workhorse running back. Despite his 31 touches in the Quick Lane Bowl, Ibrahim never looked tired or worn down. He is also a willing blocker in passing formations.  For the season, Ibrahim finished with 1,160 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 202 carries. The running back from Olney, Maryland, didn’t get a chance to show his ability to catch very much this year (four receptions for 26 yards).  In a few years, look for Ibrahim’s name to come up as a potential NFL prospect. 

6 Tyler Johnson (6’2 200) Minnesota WR-Junior

Johnson is the best receiving weapon for the Golden Gophers.  His explosiveness off the line of scrimmage is lethal.  He was able to sell a move to the inside in order to get a clean release on the outside for a touchdown in the first quarter.  Against Georgia Tech, Johnson hauled in two touchdowns on four receptions for 57 yards.  For the season, Johnson had 78 catches for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns. Johnson projects best as an X-receiver, who has the skills off the line to scare cornerbacks in man-to-man coverage.

Look here at how Johnson uses explosiveness in his routes, high- points the football and makes a play:

3 Tre Swilling (6’0 195) Georgia Tech CB-Freshman

The son of former Saints Pro Bowler Pat Swilling, the younger version stood out in the Quick Lane Bowl because of his clean hips and ability to mirror receivers.   Swilling didn’t see much action to his side against Minnesota and at times it looked as if the Golden Gophers offense was intentionally avoiding him.  For the season, Swilling had one forced fumble, an interception and six pass deflections.  Swilling has the skills and bloodlines to be a next level talent.  As the years go on, his progress will be worth monitoring. 

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

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

Saints Quarterbacks 

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

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

Vikings Receivers 

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

Saints defense 

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

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

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

New Cleveland Browns placekicker Joseph looks to solve team’s woes

After a Sunday afternoon 21-18 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints (1-1), the Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) released former seventh-round draft pick Zane Gonzalez.  Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt blocked a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal by Gonzalez in an overtime season-opening tie versus the Browns.  He then missed a go-ahead extra point and potential game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s three-point loss to the Saints.  Gonzalez missed two extra points and two field goals in the Superdome.

The kicker that the Browns signed to replace the NCAA’s all-time leader in field goals didn’t leave college with the same resume’, but his work in college was still impressive.  Former FAU kicker Greg Joseph had a knack for forcing teams to drive the length of the field versus the Owls 34th-ranked scoring defense in 2017.   Here’s a quick snapshot of Joseph, our sixth-ranked kicker in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

Greg Joseph PK 6’1 214

School: FAU

DraftNasty’s 2018 Grade: 4.05 (7th Round)

What makes this player Nasty….(Strengths): He’s a two-by-three-yard kicker who aligns right outside of the LT (left tackle).  2 ¼-step placekicker with ample leg strength.  Kicked a 54-yard FG with at least six yards to spare vs. Navy in 2017 (3-step). Rarely punches at the ball. Keeps his shoulders parallel during his motion.  Kicked the ball well in windy conditions vs. Western Kentucky in 2017.  Hit two 40-yard field goals from both hash marks (2nd FG-RT hash, 48-yd FG inside left uprights; 3rd FG-left hash, 42-yd FG).  Posted a 76-percent touchback rate on KOs in 2017.  Capable of kicking balls in the 75-to-77-yard range with 4-second plus hang times (77 yards, 4.06, Tulsa ’15;  77 yards, 4.03, Tulsa ’15).  Posted five touchbacks vs. North Texas in 2017 and three in the 74-to-77-yard range.   He’s capable of kicking directionally to his right on kickoffs.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent in 2015. When he drags his first step (plant foot), he’ll push kicks to his right from the collegiate left hash (missed 40-yd FG, Tulsa ’15).  Some of his kickoffs were held up in the wind vs. Western Kentucky in 2017 (4th KO-directional right, 60 yards, 4.03 hang).  He also had his fifth kickoff get held up in the wind (vs. WKU ’17).

Other Notes:

  • Born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Attended American Heritage-Delray HS (Fla.) and was a standout soccer and football star
  • Earned All-State honors as a senior
  • 2014: 14-of-20 FGs (Long-43), 5-of-7 (30-39 yards), 4-of-7 (40-49 yards), 34-of-35 XPs; 60 KOs, 23 TBs, 1 onside
  • 2015: 18-of-27 FGs (Long-48), 2-of-4 (30-39 yds),  5-of-10 (40-49 yds), 0-of-1 (50-99 yds); 28-of-28 XPs; 62 KOs, 33 TBs, OOB (out of bounds)
  • 2016 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 10-of-14 FGs, 3-of-5 (30-39 yds), 3-of-3 (40-49 yds), 1-of-2 (50-99 yds); 39-of-39 XPs; 54 KOs, 41 TBs
  • 2017 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 15-of-21 FGs (Long-54), 3-of-4 (30-39 yds), 4-of-7 (40-49 yds), 1-of-3 (50-99 yds), 64-of-68 XPs; 101 KOs, 77 TBs, OOB, 2 onside kicks
  • Career Stats: 57-of-82 FGs (Long-54), 165-of-170 XPs

Time to get Nasty…(Our Summary): Joseph’s ability to drive kickoffs through the end zone could help him vie for a roster spot alone.  He has been better in each of the last two seasons with accuracy but there are a number of pressure performances missing on his resume’.   A four-year starter with upside, the Johannesburg native will need to monitor the location of his plant foot moving forward.

DraftNasty’s projection:  If there’s a significant concern for the Browns, it is that Joseph -who hit on all three of his field goals for the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 preseason- simply didn’t have an extreme amount of pressure-packed field goals at any time during his collegiate career.  In addition, he missed seven kicks in the all-important 30-to-39-yard range during his time in school.  This has relevance due to the NFL’s 33-yard extra point attempts.  After playing in the relatively weather-friendly environments of Boca Raton, Florida in college and then Miami, Florida this preseason, will he adapt to the ever-changing conditions off the lake in Cleveland, Ohio?  This was somewhat of a concern for Gonzalez up until he handled it admirably as a rookie in 2017.  We were able to see Joseph kick twice in person during his time in school and he impressed on both occasions.  He handled a torrential downpour seamlessly versus Marshall in 2017 and even kicked a 31-yard field goal after three consecutive timeouts by Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday right before the end of the first half.  Joseph posted six touchbacks on 14 kickoffs in the preseason and matched his collegiate career-long with a 54-yard field goal versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. 

 

 

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

NFC South

Carolina Panthers

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

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

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (24) DJ

Moore

6’0 210

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

Jackson

5’10 178

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

Gaulden

S-6’1 197

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

Thomas

6’4 259

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

Carter

LB-6’1 243

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

Norton

DT-6’3 314

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

 

Atlanta

Falcons

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

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

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (26) Calvin

Ridley

6’1 188

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

Oliver

6’0 201

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

Senat

DT-6’0 314

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

Smith

RB-5’9 200

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

Gage

WR-6’0 182

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

Oluokun

LB-6’0 215

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

 

 

Tampa

Bay

Buccaneers

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

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

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (12) Vita Vea

DT-6’4 347

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

Jones II

6’0 205

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

Stewart

AP-5’11 200

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

Davis

CB-6’1 206

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

Cappa

OL-6’6 305

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

Whitehead

S-5’10 195

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

Watson

WR-6’2 215

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

Cichy

LB-6’1 230

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

 

 

New

Orleans

Saints

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

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

Round,

Selection,

 

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

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

Davenport

DE-6’6 258

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

Smith

WR-6’2 202

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

Leonard

OL-6’5 307

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

Jamerson

S-5’10 200

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

Moore

CB-5’10 203

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

Scott

RB-5’6 203 (E)

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

Clapp

OC-6’4 311

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

Bryant’s Beehive: 3-for-3 into NFL Week 17

Is Dez Bryant worthy of carry the title of X-Factor? Is Drew Brees still the best QB in the NFC South? What challenges does Kansas City Chiefs rookie QB Patrick Mahomes face in his first career start? Read more to find out these answers and more in Bryant’s 3-for-3.

Dez Bryant: X-Factor or Not

There’s no question from a physical standpoint Dez Bryant is one of those Terrell Owens specimen-type athletes. However, Bryant’s mediocre productivity this season has only been a reflection of his previous two seasons in Dallas. The Cowboys need more from their big money receiver. Before the double coverage murmurs begin, teams have had to respect the veteran presence of Jason Witten, the consistency of Cole Beasley, and the speed of Terrance Williams. Even when comparing him with Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin in his eighth-year in the NFL, Irvin had 111 catches for over 1,600 yards (1995). Despite a decline in his numbers and less games played the following season, Irvin went on to have back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons (1997-98). At this point, the projection of Bryant reaching his 2012-14 status is not looking so bright. In 2017, Bryant failed to have a 100-yard receiving game and according to Pro Football Focus, he ranks second in the NFL with nine drops. The bottom line is Bryant is underperforming his contract, as well as his lead position for the Cowboys organization. With the future at quarterback and running back, is it time for the Cowboys to seek a No. 1 WR in the 2018 NFL Draft?

‘Brees’-ing Through

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees continues to find the Fountain of Youth. Over the last few seasons, the NFC South has been graced with the athleticism of Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, Atlanta Falcons 2016 MVP QB Matt Ryan, and the emerging Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Jameis Winston. However, the 38-year old veteran has led his team to its first winning record and playoff berth in four seasons. Perhaps these accomplishments are more fulfilling at this stage in his career than passing for 5,000 yards in a season (something he has accomplished four times). With one more game remaining on schedule, Brees has completed a career-high 71.9% of his passes and has managed to stay in the single digit column in interceptions (8). It has been eight years since Drew Brees has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.  Does the ageless wonder have what it takes to bring another championship back to New Orleans?

Mahomes Debut

After locking up the AFC West for the second season in a row and clinching a spot in the playoffs, head coach Andy Reid is turning the keys over to rookie QB Patrick Mahomes for Sunday’s contest against the Denver Broncos. While this game may serve as a meaningless game for some, Mahomes will still be tested by a Broncos defense that ranks second in the league in total defense and fourth in the league against the pass.  Mahomes, the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft, displayed great arm strength, strong hips through his release, and mobility coming out of Texas Tech. With a notable seasoned veteran and the potential contract discussions of Alex Smith at the end of the season, could we be getting a glimpse of the Chiefs new QB next season?