Tag Archives: New York Jets

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.

DraftNasty lenses: Zack Moss 5’10 222 RB-Utah

Utah running back Zack Moss returns in 2019 with the hope of finishing what he started just three seasons ago.  The Hallandale, Florida native suffered a knee injury prior to the Oregon game and was lost for the remainder of his junior campaign.  Despite the injury, Moss managed to rush for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in just nine games.   The school’s fourth all-time leading rusher’s health will go a long way in determining the Utes’ fate in the Pac-12 South. 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

2019 NFL Draft: Fourth down

The NFL is always looking for versatile performers capable of transitioning to the next level. Here are three prospects who bring value to teams on fourth down and beyond.

Travis Homer 5’10 201 Miami (Fla.)

Homer took his game to another level the last two seasons at the running back spot. He averaged nearly six yards per carry in 2017 and followed that up with nearly the same yards per carry average in 2018. The former four-star recruit was a team captain for the ‘Canes and one of its best leaders.

As a freshman in 2016, he rushed for just 44 yards. During that same season, however, he notched eight special teams tackles. He used his 4.48 speed for three seasons to continue to perform admirably at the gunner position, which essentially is a displaced wide receiver on the punt team used to run down and cover punts.

Miami (Fla.) running back Travis Homer posted 22 tackles for the ‘Canes in three seasons and ranks as one of the better special teams cover guys in the 2019 NFL Draft. Homer ran a 4.48 at the 2019 NFL Combine, posted a 39 1/2″ vertical jump and 10’10” broad jump.

In 2018, despite starting at running back, Homer posted 10 tackles.

He has also lined up inside on the punt team. You can look at his work on the punt return unit as a hold-up guy and laud his work as well (see Berrios big punt return, Russell Athletic Bowl ’16). When former Miami (Fla.) head coach Mark Richt was asked about why Homer remained on the special teams, he had the perfect response:

“We need good players on there (special teams) and he’s one our best at it. You better have guys who know what they’re doing and can get people on the ground.” (https://www.foxsports.com/florida/video/1102010435956).

Isaiah Johnson 6’2 207 CB-Houston

There aren’t many prospects who have run a hitch route, covered the opposing team’s top receiver and run down at the gunner position. Johnson is one of those prospects. The former 110-meter hurdler at Rudder HS (Tex.) contains one of the more intriguing profiles in the 2019 NFL Draft. Blessed with 33-inch arms, he is still rounding out his game at cornerback. The former collegiate wide receiver does, however, exhibit a feel for recognizing route combinations.

In 2018, Johnson posted 66 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass break-ups. Back in 2016, the former Cougar notched 15 receptions.

In-between repetitions at cornerback and wide receiver, Johnson managed to sneak into the 2019 Senior Bowl despite just 15 career starts at cornerback. He also managed to sneak in time on special teams. In the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl, he consistently defeated one-on-one hold-ups at the gunner spot and he also stood out against SMU in that same year (tackle, SMU ’16). The upside in developing Johnson as an outside corner is that he can instantly be a special teams contributor. He has also shown up as an L2 on the kickoff team and was often the first player down the field. His size and 4.4 speed make him tough to grasp in either facet of his game.

Blake Cashman 6’1 237 Minnesota

Cashman impressed NFL personnel at the NFL Combine with his 4.5 speed and lower body agility. It all came after a third-team All-Big Ten campaign that featured 104 tackles, 2.5 quarterback sacks and 15 tackles for losses. He also scored on a fumble return and notched five pass break-ups.

The former Eden Prairie High School star won four straight state titles at the prep level. It took him until the spring of 2017 to even earn a scholarship from the Golden Gophers. When we covered him in the 2016 Holiday Bowl, he earned MVP honors after dominating the game against Washington State on both special teams and defense (12 tackles, QB sack, two tackles for losses).

As an R2 on the kickoff team, he ran by multiple blockers for most of the night and posted three tackles on the kickoff team. He generally plays faster than everyone else in either punt (where he has forced several fair catches, see Northwestern ’16) or kickoff coverage. As a linebacker, he trusts his first read and believes what he’s seeing on the field. We think Cashman is one of the true value picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Houston Texans vs. New York Jets, 12-15-18: In-game report

The Houston Texans have a chance to clinch a first round bye in the AFC playoffs if they can finish the regular season with two wins after defeating the Jets on Saturday. The Texans, as they have done all season, relied on solid quarterback play, an elite receiver and a ferocious pass rush to defeat the Jets, 29-22.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

DeAndre Hopkins

Football is a simple game when wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is on your team.  Deshaun Watson and the Texans don’t have to overthink or scheme Hopkins open, as the former Clemson Tiger can go over, around and run past defensive backs.  Hopkins (6’1, 215) has elite timing and jumping ability, which allows him to make catches while draped by cornerbacks, resembling a gymnast more than a football player.  Hopkins has 94 receptions for 1,321 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.  Even more impressive, 67 of those catches have gone for first downs.  When the league’s best receivers are being discussed, Hopkins name should be at the forefront.  Defensively, anything short of double coverage won’t suffice and at times -as he showed on Saturday- that may not be enough.

Sam Darnold

DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson highlighted Sam Darnold in the preseason against the Redskins and was impressed with his command of the offense.  15 weeks into his rookie season and the same holds true.  Darnold has a good feel for the game for a rookie quarterback, he isn’t afraid to run when nothing is there and did his best work during the two-minute drill before halftime.  The former USC Trojan will have to work on his feet when surrounded by the rush.   If enough pressure gets around him, he exhibited the tendency to float the ball and not get his lower body involved.  This lack of torque in his throws led to balls with less velocity and forced receivers to work back to the ball from their routes (see his two third down throws on the second possession of the game). These tweaks should be correctable.   Along with Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Darnold has showed promise in his first season under center.  Like his fellow draft mates, Darnold must cut down on the turnovers (14 passing touchdowns-to- 15 interceptions on the season.)

Robby Anderson

Robby Anderson (6’3 190) has a similar lanky build as Hopkins but is more of a vertical threat than he is an acrobatic catcher. 

“They’ve got a receiver that probably runs as fast as anybody we’ve played in Anderson,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said before the matchup. 

As he has gotten comfortable with a rookie quarterback, Anderson has caught 38 passes for 588 yards and five touchdowns. The 25- year old receiver is playing his best football as the season comes to a close, notching 11 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks.  He hasn’t had the luxury of steady quarterback play early on in his career but the skills are in place.  As the former Temple Owl grows with Darnold, look for the duo to establish more of a connection in the seasons to come. 

New York Jets vs. Washington Redskins, 8-16-18: In-game report

A few position battles took shape as the Jets and Redskins traded field goals in Thursday night’s preseason game at FedEx Field. Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson gives you his takeaways from the Redskins 15-13 victory.

Redskins running back search 

Second-round pick Derrius Guice was lost for the season last weekend against the Patriots.  Washington came into the game with Samaje Perine, Robert Kelley and Byron Marshall fighting for the starting role.  However, Perine and Marshall both went down to injuries in the first half after combining for just three carries.  Kelley, while he didn’t get injured, didn’t fare much better.  He finished with 17 yards on seven touches, which isn’t all his fault. The Redskins offensive line didn’t include Pro Bowl OT Trent Williams and struggled all game to create any meaningful gaps for the Washington tailbacks.   Martez Carter enjoyed the best game out of the bunch, totaling 45 yards on seven carries.  Carter showed tremendous vision and quick feet as he used cutbacks to find holes behind the Redskins offensive line.

Bibbs (No. 35 pictured) caught 14 passes for 128 yards (9.1 YPR) and one TD for the Redskins in 2017.

Kapri Bibbs also flashed potential as a receiving option out of the backfield, catching seven passes for 47 yards.  One thing is for certain: Washington still has a lot of evaluating left to do before they find a new starting running back.

Update: The Redskins recently signed seven-time Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson to a one-year deal. 

Jets quarterback race 

Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold (No. 14 pictured under center) has impressed the team’s brass through the first two preseason games.

Rookie first round pick Sam Darnold started the game and like last week showed a command of the offense early on. The Jets gave Darnold a steady diet of short passes and handoffs. However, on his final drive of the night, Darnold threw an interception on 4th and 1 after a ball was batted by a Redskins cornerback and picked off by rookie safety Troy Apke. The rookie from USC finished 8-of-11 for 62 yards and the interception. Teddy Bridgewater played the second half and showed his elusiveness in the pocket.  On his first attempt, Bridgewater fled the pocket and found his receiver for a first down after the play broke down.  On the following plays, Bridgewater completed a pass off a bootleg, sidestepped a free rusher for a first down over the middle and then threw a touchdown in the corner of the end zone.

Teddy Bridgewater, pictured, has completed 73.9-percent of his passes through two preseason games.

However on the next drive, Bridgewater underthrew a pass to the inside shoulder of one his receivers and it was intercepted.  Bridgewater finished 10-of-15 for 127 yards and threw one touchdown and one interception. Both quarterbacks had their bright moments on Thursday night.  As of right now Darnold may have a slight edge but the competition is far from over.

Redskins secondary 

The Redskins released veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick earlier in the week, which was a signal Jay Gruden believed in his young defensive backs.  Against the Jets, the defensive backs looked solid.

Dunbar (No. 23 pictured) has started eight games for the Redskins over the last three seasons.

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar, a converted wide receiver, was rarely tested and showed fluid hips and tight coverage throughout his outing.  Both the first team and second team defenses also held up in coverage for several seconds; allowing Washington to force two coverage sacks.  Cornerback Deshazor Everett tipped Sam Darnold’s pass, which was later intercepted by safety Troy Apke. Cornerback Prince Charles Iworah also came down with an interception on a ball that was underthrown by Bridgewater.  The Redskins should be encouraged by several defensive backs who contributed against the Jets.

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.