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.
Moss' upper body strength frequently allows him to challenge defenders on the perimeter. Standing 5-foot-10 and nearly 220 pounds, Moss relishes the physical part of the game.
Moss' lower body balance upon contact has been noteworthy in school.
Versus this field blitz from West Virginia's Xavier Preston (No. 5 pictured) and Marvin Gross (No. 18 pictured) in the 2017 Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl, Moss fails to stay square as Preston beats him over the top. His sturdy frame should enable him to be a tone-setter in this facet of his game (pass protection).
With back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, the little cousin of 14-year NFL veteran Santana Moss (Jets, Redskins) has a chance to become the Utes' all-time leading rusher in 2019.
The New York Giants had the sixth overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft and selected former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. Their selection set off a series of events in what shapes up to be a very competitive division in 2019. We take a look at every pick in the division made this past weekend.
Notable picks: Hill may be the pick that the team looks back on eventually with a smile. His immense athleticism could provide matchup problems from the inside in Year 1. Pollard’s play speed varies, but his downhill running style gives the team options in the return game.
DN Big Board
We talked to one anonymous offensive coordinator who stated that “Hill was the best defensive lineman they had seen.” This same coordinator had also faced other top-notch Power 5 defenses. It lays credence to the amount of talent that the 300-plus pound Hill possesses.
The Cowboys had a revolving door at the left guard spot in 2018 and McGovern- a former U.S. Army All-American-got on the field early for the Nittany Lions, starting nine games as a freshman. He is a bully on the football field who works better at guard than center.
The NCAA’s all-time leading kickoff returner in terms of TD returns was also an effective dot running back and slot receiver. He could be a steal in the fourth round. Career Stats: 4,860 all-purpose yards-139 carries for 941 yards (6.8 YPC) and 9 TDs; 104 receptions for 1,292 yards (12.4 YPR) and 9 TDs; 87 KOR, 2,616 yards (30.1 yds/KR) and an NCAA-record 7 KR TDs
Jackson had a solid two-year run for the Hurricanes subsidized by an above average showing during 2019 East-West Shrine practices. He is a very good challenger versus wide receivers, particularly bigger receiving targets. He is a cornerback that does better versus outside releases than inside releases in press-man.
Jackson can be a bit unorthodox in his style, making it tough for offensive tackles to gauge his techniques. Despite some stiffness, he posted 138 tackles, 24 QB sacks, 37.5 TFLs, 5 FFs, 2 FRs, INT and 5 PBUs in 39 games.
Wilson came to Texas A&M with a reputation for turning the ball over and didn’t disappoint in school. A long defender, his versatility extended to the nickel, cornerback and safety spots in school.
Acquired from Oakland
The former U.S. Army All-American got off to a hot start in Columbus, but that has since cooled down after a rash of nagging lower extremity injuries lingered over a two-year period.
Jelks, a former high school interior DL, can move around the defensive front with ease. He is more athletic than his testing numbers suggest.
Acquired from the Cleveland Browns in the Odell Beckham, Jr. and Olivier Vernon trade
After taking its heir apparent to Eli Manning early, the Giants decide to bet on the third Clemson DL to go off on the board. Can Lawrence return to his 2016 ACC Rookie of the Year form? It may not matter. He will line up over the center in the team’s three-man fronts and occasionally line up over offensive guards in their four-man looks.
Baker’s toughness will be a good fit for the Giants. He has a chance to vie for a starting role in Year 1. The big key for him will be finding a balance in transition during the move area for wide receivers (12-to-16 yards).
Connelly’s toughness shined through the entire 2018 season. Despite playing through injury, he produced at nearly the exact level as he had in 2017. He is not a thumper but is capable of getting low to tackle. Connelly ends up getting the draft call over partner and All-Big Ten linebacker T.J. Edwards.
Speed is a big part of the equation whenever a receiver averages 20 yards per catch over a three-year period. Slayton has no problems running by defensive backs. He caught three passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns in the 2018 Music City Bowl. His body language gives away intermediate route concepts because he doesn’t come off the ball with consistent forward lean.
He has excellent feet, hip flexibility, toughness and return skills. Working on staying lower in his backpedal will put yet another tool in his toolbox, but he already can close distances from a variety of angles.
Acquired from Minnesota
Plus size. Praised for his versatility within the program. Heavy puncher. Although he started primarily at the right tackle spot, he can backup several positions. His impressive Pro Day performance likely earned him a draft slot.
It could be argued that the 700-pound squatter has as much lower body strength as the team’s 17th overall pick in Lawrence. He is not an accomplished pass rusher but he finished his career with 32.5 tackles for losses. Despite the Orange winning 10 games in 2018, Slayton was the team’s only draft pick.
Notable picks: Haskins may carry a bit of a chip on his shoulder due to his slight fall simply because the Giants play in the same division. It will be fun to track future Jones versus Haskins matchups. He will pair up with his Buckeye teammate McLaurin in the third round, and we felt that he carried second-round value. Harmon could become grand larceny in the sixth round, as could either Moreland or Brailford in the seventh. Bruce Allen and Doug Williams put together a well-constructed draft designed to grab another pass rusher, a future quarterback and more competition at receiver. Linebacker is still a question mark for the team entering 2019, especially after the release of Zach Brown. There will be a lot of pressure on Reuben Foster to finally come into his own.
Haskins passed for 50 touchdowns in his only year as a starter at the collegiate level. He provides insurance in case Alex Smith is unable to return from a catastrophic leg injury in 2018. The All-Big Ten signal-caller will compete with former Broncos QB Case Keenum.
Acquired from Indianapolis
The Redskins needed to upgrade their pass rush and Sweat was likely the best player left on its board. Aside from dynamic testing numbers, the former Michigan State Spartan stood out over the last two years on the field for the Bulldogs with underrated effort.
McLaurin caught 11 TD passes from Dwayne Haskins in 2018. After a strong Senior Bowl week of practices which clearly defined him as the week’s best route runner, it leaves one to wonder what his production would have been like as its No. 1 featured receiver. Aside from the ability to win off the line of scrimmage, he is one of the better gunners in this year’s draft. He finished his career with 17 tackles.
Love went nearly exactly at his position on our Big Board, but he may have gone much higher if he had not suffered an ACL injury late in the year. Ankle issues were also a concern during his career. The fact that he carried the ball 97 less times as a senior may have saved him wear-and-tear in the minds of some entering this year’s draft.
The Hoosiers team captain may have surprised some by going ahead of teammate Brandon Knight. His ability to create forward movement in the run game may be underrated. Martin did 38 reps at 225 pounds on his Pro Day.
It is not often that a high profile offensive lineman from the state of Iowa gets out of the state. Pierschbacher more than justified his national ranking as a prep level lineman. He has solid initial quickness, positive on-field movement and decent overall awareness. He will need some help if left on an island versus elite interior pass rushers.
Despite being a good overall athlete, the second-team All-ACC linebacker did not have one scholarship offer coming out of high school. The former soccer player has good feet on the field. He is a bit of a pumped up 230-plus pounds. A workout warrior, he caught the attention of NFL scouts with his 4.46 speed, 6.77 3-cone and 4.15 20-yard short shuttle times in pre-draft workouts. He also went 11-feet in the broad jump.
Harmon says he likes Michael Thomas (Saints) because their frames are similar. We think he plays the game at the right clip. His play strength and 218-pound frame make it tough for defensive backs to work through and around. He is a grinder who could stick.
There is really not much more Moreland could have done while at James Madison. He covered instinctively, was willing in run support and finished plays on the ball as well as any cornerback in the 2019 NFL Draft class. He finished his career with 18 interceptions (363 yards, 6 TDs), but he was knocked for his 73 1/4-inch wingspan.
Brailford did exactly what he was supposed to do during the 2019 postseason. At every turn he not only met expectations, but often exceeded them. This was even evident when he showed up over 250 pounds at the 2019 NFL Combine. On the field, he put up 28 tackles for losses the last two years with efficient work using roll moves, slithering gaps on line games and an occasional inside club.
Notable pick: For a team that prides itself on pass rushers, the team’s fourth-round pick in Miller has a chance to be more than what many may bargain for. While his statistics don’t represent it, he was always at his best versus the best competition. For the second straight year, the Eagles take a defensive end with upside in the fourth round (2018-Josh Sweat).
DN Big Board
Acquired from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for its 25th overall pick
Dillard has the ability to pass protect at a high level and he will be tasked to become the team’s bookend opposite Lane Johnson. After being a serviceable Pac-12 tackle in a pass-happy offense, will his workout numbers translate to becoming a dominant force on the field?
Acquired from Baltimore
Sanders came to Penn State ranked as the No. 1 running back in the entire country by several recruiting services. He is adequate in blitz pick-up and -although largely unproven as a route runner- possesses soft hands. As he moves on to the NFL, he will become more aware of his ball security.
Arcega-Whiteside, the 2014 South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, and former high school basketball standout, brings a high-flying style to the field. It will be important for the Eagles to move him around some, like they did at Stanford.
Miller -a junior-entry who ranked 138th on our Big Board- could prove to be a better pro than collegian. He is better with his hand in the dirt than out of a two-point stance and often translates speed-to-power on line games and stunts. He bought into DL coach Sean Spencer’s various techniques the last two seasons.
Acquired from New England via Los Angeles via Kansas City
His moxie, arm strength, athleticism and overall pocket presence complement above average size. He won 35 of his 53 career games in school and was 3-1 as a starter in bowl games (didn’t finish the Music City Bowl). He did, however, bring his team back from a 20-3 deficit in the 2018 Holiday Bowl.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 (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.
Washington was not able to overcome another lost at quarterback while Philadelphia relied on their passing game to improve their playoff positioning. Philadelphia topped Washington, 28-13, on Monday Night Football in a pivotal division matchup. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:
Redskins quarterback position
Washington thought Colt McCoy, who has been with the Redskins since 2014, could stabilize the offense after Alex Smith went down two weeks ago. However, McCoy fractured his fibula against the Eagles, which leaves the Redskins with Mark Sanchez at quarterback. Sanchez’s command of the offense was limited because of his inexperience with head coach Jay Gruden’s attack. Sanchez completed 13-of-21 passes for 100 yards and an interception. But as was evident on a wide receiver toss gone wrong, where Sanchez frantically pitched it to wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the Washington Redskins new starting quarterback has a long way to go before he is ready to run the offense.
“We tried to get him comfortable,” Gruden said during the postgame press conference.
It will be a short week for the Redskins, who will play against the Giants on Sunday. Look for them to bring in a backup quarterback who has been with Gruden before, like Josh Johnson.
Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz should be mentioned with some of the best tight ends in the game. The former Stanford product has 93 receptions for 978 yards and six touchdowns on the season. The 93 catches are an Eagles franchise record.
“To set the record at home is obviously very special,” Ertz said after the game against the Redskins. “At the same time, the most important thing for me tonight was getting the win.”
Against Washington, Ertz caught nine passes on 10 targets for 83 yards. As he has done all season, Ertz proved to be too fast for the Redskins inside linebackers, who tried to matchup with him and against smaller cornerbacks and safeties, he was able to use his 6’5 250 frame to box out and out leverage defensive backs.
The Eagles best weapon on offense might play center. Jason Kelce (6’3, 295) is one of the smaller centers in the NFL but he is able to move like a tight end. The Eagles center is a terror on screens because he is able to get downfield in a hurry and pave the way for screens like he did twice against the Redskins. On a second quarter touchdown, Carson Wentz threw a screen to Darren Sproles, Kelce’s 15 yard block downfield against Redskins linebacker Mason Foster led to the score.
Washington had a chance to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2011 but strong play from the Colts defense and key adjustments in the offensive passing game led to an upset. Washington (1-1) fell to Indianapolis (1-1), 21-9. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:
Meet the NFL’s tackle leader: Darius Leonard, the 31st-ranked player on DraftNasty’s 2018 Big Board. And if you watched Leonard at South Carolina State this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Leonard stuffed the stat sheet against the Redskins, posting 18 tackles, one quarterback sack, a forced fumble and a pass deflection. As his numbers would indicate, Leonard was dominant in the run and pass game. What was most impressive in the game against Washington was Leonard’s ability to use his closing speed to diagnose plays and keep potential 10-15 yard gains to minimal pickups. The rookie linebacker wears the helmet transmitter during games and has made himself into the quarterback of the defense. His athleticism allows him to match up against tight ends and running backs in the pass game and is willing to help in the run game. He reminds me of Derrick Brooks with his sideline-to-sideline quickness and his matchup versatility. Look for the Colts, who are in a rebuilding mode, to continue to build the defense around rookie linebacker Darius Leonard.
Frank Reich has made a name in the NFL as a coach because of his ability to adapt and tailor his game plans from week-to-week. The Colts used a heavy diet of pick plays against man-to-man coverage that caught the Redskins off guard. Washington has several corners, including Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar, who excel in press man coverage and the pick routes used by the Colts allowed their quick-twitched receivers to roam free over the middle of the field and took away the Redskins’ strong suit of jamming receivers at the line. T.Y. Hilton, the Colts star receiver, was the beneficiary of the game plan and from the first drive of the game it was clear that the Colts plan of attack centered on getting Norman off of his body. To begin the second quarter, Luck bought Hilton in motion from the right sideline to the numbers and immediately snapped the ball, which gave the Pro Bowl receiver more room to work with on his post route against Norman, who couldn’t jam the receiver at the line. Hilton finished with seven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown against Washington.
If the Colts offense was original, the Redskins offense was vanilla and predictable. The Redskins finished with just 65 rushing yards and 269 passing yards, the bulk of which came in garbage time. Washington thrived in Week 1 with a balanced running attack but as has been the case in Jay Gruden’s tenure, the team has a tendency to abandon the run for no obvious reason. The team’s receivers aren’t at the level to carry their offense and struggled against the Colts cornerbacks to get separation in their routes. Look for Washington to get back to a more balanced attack against Green Bay as Gruden may open the game with a deep ball or two to loosen up the Packers secondary.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brandon Bryant 6’0 215 (E) Mississippi State S-Senior
What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Plays the game the right way. Sticks foot to change directions vs. misdirection. Good feet in his backpedal as a quarters or deep-half safety. He will make some impressive interceptions closing off the hash marks (INT, 4th QTR, BYU ’17). Measures his inside-out angles coming downhill. Does a fine job of getting off of blocks to defend screen passes. Breaks forward with momentum vs. dig routes in quarters coverage (PBU, BYU ’17). He’s disciplined in the deep middle one-third and can snap out of his breaks off the hash.
Weaknesses: At the first sign of a jerk by the WR, he will open his hips and can be beaten across his face (post route, Kirk, Texas A&M ’17, overthrown). Circles his paths far too long to get in position for open field, face-up tackles (MT, Miami, OH. ’16). Overruns the ball on occasion and will miss tackles in this phase as well. He has lost some physical matchups vs. bigger TEs (Smith, St. Petersburg Bowl ’16). He has been smoked settling his pedal vs. speed (allowed TD, Hifo, BYU ’17). Left the Mississippi State program in the spring of 2018 due to academic issues (https://www.clarionledger.com/story/sports/college/mississippi-state/2018/04/08/safety-brandon-bryant-moves-mississippi-state/497329002/).
Attended Rosa Fort HS (Miss.) and was named a three-star recruit by Rivals.com
Earned 2013 Class 4A All-State honors after accounting for over 1,200 yards and 14 total TDs as a QB/RB/WR. He also posted 37 tackles, 2 INTs (TD) and 5 PBUs on defense
Has reportedly run in the 4.24 40-yd range, bench presses 365 pounds, 35” VJ, 9’10” BJ. Then ran a 4.29 40-yard dash in 2017
2017: 32 tackles, ½ TFL, INT and 2 PBUs
Career Stats: 157 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, 3.5 TFLs, FF, 5 INTs (122 yds, TD) and 7 PBUs
Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): It was a bit of a surprise to see Bryant become academically ineligible this spring after earning first-year SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades back in 2014. He is a workout warrior who will ‘wow’ NFL evaluators with his testing numbers prior to this summer’s supplemental draft. We don’t expect him to impress teams quite as much when they turn on the film. He consistently had problems finding the ball down the field during his final two years in school. He had a tendency to get his hips turned around versus average receivers when working in space over a receiver in quarters coverage (see BYU 2017). On the plus side, he’s a physical presence built in the mold of Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger. While not as physical, he has more speed and will throw his body around on the field. Look for Bryant to get some attention in the late rounds of the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft as a potential four-team special teams contributor (gunner on the punt team).
36 Adonis Alexander 6’3 207 Virginia Tech CB-Senior
What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Confident. Easy mover at his size. Flips his hips for a big man. Has seen time at both CB and safety. Covers ground outside the numbers when aligned in the deep middle one-third post of the field. Contains positive hand-eye coordination. Reacts to tips and overthrows. He is satisfactory in run support on the edge (wrap is inconsistent-see Weaknesses). Long enough to throw around stalk-blocking WRs on the perimeter. Capable of cutting off the outside release in press-man (Jones, ECU ’16). Does a fine job of clueing the QB in his press-bail techniques. Gets his head around in the Red Zone or in the open field when defending fade routes. Dislodges balls when he connects as a hitter (PBU, 4th QTR, WVU ’17). Reacts quickly to the action in front of him. Exhibits plus effort in open field pursuit angles. Used as a jammer on the punt return unit. Has played the R1 position on the kickoff team.
2017 (2 sts): 27 tackles, QB sack, 2 TFLs, FF, INT and 4 PBUs
Career Stats: 126 tackles, QB sack, 4.5 TFLs, FF, 7 INTs and 17 PBUs
Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Alexander contains positive ball skills, outstanding size and above average body control. There are some accountability issues that NFL teams will have to digest, but he has generally been a productive spot starter in school. It is important to remember that Virginia Tech frequently rotated cornerbacks during his time in Blacksburg. He was often seen sharing time with Washington Redskins 2018 seventh-round selection (241st overall) Greg Stroman. Along with the accountability issues, the rotation is a big reason the 6-foot-3 cornerback started just 14 games in three years. As a special teams performer, he’s been a significant contributor on the punt return, punt and kickoff units. He’s a more physical version of San Francisco 49ers promising young corner Ahkello Witherspoon. The difference? While clearly a more physical player coming out of school, he lacks Witherspoon’s top-end recovery speed.
Notable picks: Vander Esch may prove to be the difference-maker that the Cowboys envision with his versatility. Armstrong’s uneven pre-draft workouts are not at all an indication of his on-field burst and athleticism. Williams adds some swing backup insurance and could outplay his original draft position.
DN Big Board
36 (2nd Round)
Athletic former basketball player has to become better in his stack-and-shed. Underrated range in coverage.
3 (1st Round)
Williams’ injury in 2017 following an inauspicious start to his junior campaign. When he’s on top of his game, the finish is in place.
145 (3rd Round)
Gallup wins outside the numbers and plays with a physical style that is even stronger than his sturdy 205-pound nature suggests play-to-play.
191 (4th Round)
Walker has enough length that he could even get looks at a cornerback spot. A solid tackler, his best football may be ahead of him.
49 (2nd Round)
Armstrong, Jr. has an 84-inch wingspan and produced 20 tackles for loss in 2016.
296 (4th Round)
Schultz is an underrated route runner despite producing just 11 third down receptions in school.
155 (3rd Round)
White has all of the tools of an NFL starting quarterback minus the mobility.
78 (3rd Round)
Wilson produced like a first-round wideout in the MWC. Will his 4.55 speed translate to the perimeter or will he be relegated to the slot?
308 (5th Round)
It may have been a long wait on draft day, but the bruising runner could be a change-of-pace power back if he can contribute on special teams.
Notable picks: Hernandez is a mammoth blocker who wins on man blocks. If he can win as an angle blocker, it will increase the diversity of the running game. Hill and McIntosh both will add diversity to a defense that finished 27th against the run in 2017.
DN Big Board
2 (1st Round)
Barkley’s lateral agility is top-notch. How much will he contribute as a check down threat? Based on his collegiate film, he should line up at a number of spots.
21 (2nd Round)
A behemoth bar room brawler with mass and underrated quickness, Hernandez has to distribute his weight evenly to reach his immense potential.
68 (3rd Round)
Carter has some similarities to current Carolina Panthers DE Mario Addison. Can he create speed-to-power off the edge?
22 (2nd Round)
Hill’s dependability is aided by an ability to play a bit longer than his 77-inch wingspan would suggest. Makes plays laterally in the run game.
154 (3rd Round)
Lauletta –the 2017 CAA Offensive Player of the Year- maintains good posture in the pocket and excels on the hit-and-throw concepts. Posted a 4.07 time in the 20-yard short shuttle at the NFL Combine.
161 (3rd Round)
McIntosh has the size to play either DE or DT. His 83-inch wingspan complements a light-footed nature. He needs to anticipate snap counts with more consistency.
Notable pick: Maddox is a player who went undervalued due to size and slight durability concerns. His ability to cover the slot could increase some of the packages by DC Jim Schwartz. Schwartz typically likes to rush with four players and Maddox could increase coverage disguises. The Eagles got three of our top 60 players with their first three selections.
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South Dakota St.
56 (2nd Round)
Goedert gives the Eagles two tight ends who can attack vertically in the seams of the field. And he weighs in the 260-pound range.
53 (2nd Round)
Maddox’s 4.39 40-yard dash at the Combine was only outdone by his 6.51 time in the 3-cone drill. He’s even better on the field than in T-shirts and shorts.
58 (2nd Round)
Sweat fell due to lingering question marks about his knee. When he’s feeling good, he can translate speed-to-power with one-hand posts and collapses the edge vs. tackles.
375 (5th Round)
Pryor sits on run defenders with his mammoth size. He often wins in the first phase of block. 11 ½-inch hands.
7 (233) Acquired from New England Patriots
Australia Rugby player
Mailata never played college football, but he ran in the 5.1-range for NFL scouts.
Notable picks: Christian will help alleviate the issues the Redskins had last year when injuries beset the offensive line. Can he swing to the center position to challenge incumbent Chase Roullier? Settle is a player who was once thought of as a potential second-round pick before an uneven postseason.
DN Big Board
30 (2nd Round)
Payne will help to control the action as a fire-plugging two-gap specialist and occasional one-gap penetrator. Expect to see him aligned over the center in DC Greg Manusky’s three-man fronts.
24 (2nd Round)
Guice will have to balance his bullish running style to avoid the injury scrapes that took away time from him as a junior.
79 (3rd Round)
Christian’s versatility in school saw him move around during games. He was seen snapping the ball on his Pro Day and it could be a possible transition to a starting role.
147 (3rd Round)
Apke didn’t make a number of plays off the hash, but he demonstrated range during the week of the 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and versus Pittsburgh in 2017.
200 (4th Round)
Settle’s quickness is aided by power. He will win versus guards or centers and could be a rotational piece on first and second down.
231 (4th Round)
Crimson Tide team captain has battled major lower extremity injuries, but he can locate, identify and close once he’s made his reads.
381 (5th Round)
With Stroman’s level of return ability, it is easy to forget that he also broke up 27 passes and picked off 9 passes in school.