2018 NFL Draft Pre-Thanksgiving Rankings

QB
1 Baker Mayfield 1st
2 Sam Darnold 1st
3 Lamar Jackson 3rd
4 Mason Rudolph 3rd
5 Jake Browning 3rd/4th
6 Josh Rosen 3rd/4th
7 Trace McSorley 4th/5th
8 Jarrett Stidham 4th/5th
9 Ryan Finley 4th/5th
10 Logan Woodside 5th-7th
11 Mike White 5th-7th
12 Will Grier 5th-7th
13 Riley Ferguson 5th-7th
14 Luke Falk 5th-7th
15 Drew Lock 5th-7th
RB 
1 Derrius Guice 1st
2 Saquon Barkley 1st
3 John Kelly 2nd/3rd
4 Rashaad Penny 2nd/3rd
5 Kerryon Johnson 2nd/3rd
6 Bryce Love 2nd/3rd
7 Nick Chubb 2nd/3rd
8 Josh Adams 3rd
9 Ronald Jones II 3rd/4th
10 Myles Gaskin 3rd/4th
11 Royce Freeman 3rd/4th
12 Damien Harris 3rd/4th
13 Mark Walton 4th/5th
14 Sony Michel 5th-7th
15 Ito Smith 5th-7th
16 Phillip Lindsay 5th-7th
17 Akrum Wadley 5th-7th
18 Larry Rose III 5th-7th
19 Ralph Webb 5th-7th
WR
1 Courtland Sutton 1st
2 Michael Gallup 2nd/3rd
3 DJ Moore 2nd/3rd
4 Anthony Miller 2nd/3rd
5 James Washington 2nd/3rd
6 Christian Kirk 2nd/3rd
7 Deebo Samuel 3rd
8 Calvin Ridley 3rd
9 Richie James 3rd
10 Dante Pettis 3rd/4th
11 Cedric Wilson 3rd/4th
12 Steve Ishmael 3rd/4th
13 DJ Clark 3rd/4th
14 Terry Godwin 3rd/4th
15 Simmie Cobbs Jr 3rd/4th
16 Trey Quinn 4th
17 Deon Cain 4th
18 Deontay Burnett 4th
19 Auden Tate 4th
20 Darren Carrington 4th/5th
21 Allen Lazard 4th/5th
22 Cam Phillips 4th/5th
23 Quadree Henderson 5th-7th
TE 
1 Mark Andrews 2nd/3rd
2 Adam Breneman 3rd
3 Troy Fumagalli 3rd
4 Hayden Hurst 3rd/4th
5 Christopher Herndon 3rd/4th
6 Mike Gesicki 3rd/4th
7 Ian Thomas 4th/5th
8 Durham Smythe 5th-7th
DE
1 Bradley Chubb 1st
2 Clelin Ferrell 1st
3 Josh Sweat 1st
4 Arden Key 1st/2nd
5 Austin Bryant 2nd/3rd
6 Justin Lawler 3rd/4th
7 Chase Winovich 3rd/4th
8 Dorance Armstrong 3rd/4th
9 Rasheem Greene 4th/5th
10 Joe Ostman 4th/5th
11 Jaylon Ferguson 4th/5th
12 Ben Banogu 4th/5th
13 Duke Ejiofor 4th/5th
14 Sam Hubbard 5th-7th
15 Alec James 5th-7th
16 DaShawn Hand 5th-7th
17 Aikeem Coleman 5th-7th
18 Andrew Brown 5th-7th
19 Marcus Davenport 5th-7th
20 Tyquan Lewis 5th-7th
21 Jalyn Holmes 5th-7th
22 KJ Smith 5th-7th
23 Chad Thomas 5th-7th
DT 
1 Maurice Hurst 1st
2 Harrison Phillips 1st/2nd
3 Trenton Thompson 2nd/3rd
4 Christian Wilkins 2nd/3rd
5 Derrick Nnadi 2nd/3rd
6 DaRon Payne 3rd/4th
7 Vita Vea 3rd/4th
8 Terry Beckner Jr 4th/5th
9 Daniel Wise 4th/5th
10 Folorunso Fatukasi 4th/5th
11 Breeland Speaks 5th-7th
12 Kendrick Norton 5th-7th
13 Greg Gaines 5th-7th
14 James Looney 5th-7th
15 Lowell Lotulelei 5th-7th
OLB
1 Harold Landry 1st
2 Malik Jefferson 1st
3 Jeff Holland 1st/2nd
4 Josh Allen 1st/2nd
5 Uchenna Nwosu 1st/2nd
6 Ogbonnia Okoronkwo 1st/2nd
7 Brian Womac II 2nd/3rd
8 Rashaan Evans 2nd/3rd
9  Hercules Mataafa 3rd/4th
10 Porter Gustin 3rd/4th
11 Chris Peace 3rd/4th
12 Tremaine Edmunds 3rd/4th
13 Joe Dineen Jr 3rd/4th
14 Jordan Jones 4th/5th
15 Ja’Von Rolland-Jones 4th/5th
16 DJ Calhoun 5th-7th
17 Dorian ODaniel 5th-7th
18 Travon Howard 5th-7th
19 Mike McCray 5th-7th
20 Anthony Winbush 5th-7th
21 Lorenzo Carter 5th-7th
22 Marquis Haynes 5th-7th
23 Ulysees Gilbert 5th-7th
24 Charles Wright 5th-7th
25 Trevon Coney 5th-7th
26 Jerome Baker 5th-7th
ILB
1 Roquan Smith 1st/2nd
2 Micah Kiser 3rd/4th
3 Josey Jewell 3rd/4th
4 Khalil Hodge 4th/5th
5 Jack Cichy 5th-7th
6 TJ Edwards 5th-7th
7 Cameron Smith 5th-7th
8 Tegray Scales 5th-7th
9 Connor Strachan 5th-7th
CB 
1 Josh Jackson 1st
2 Minkah Fitzpatrick 1st
3 Carlton Davis 1st/2nd
4 Juan Thornhill 2nd/3rd
5 Holton Hill 2nd/3rd
6 Kameron Kelly 2nd/3rd
7 DJ Reed 2nd/3rd
8 Darius Philips 2nd/3rd
9 Denzel Ward 3rd
10 Jaire Alexander 3rd
11 Duke Dawson 3rd/4th
12 MJ Stewart 3rd/4th
13 Rashard Fant 3rd/4th
14 Deatrick Nichols 3rd/4th
15 Jordan Thomas 3rd/4th
16 TaVarus McFadden 3rd/4th
17 Derrick Baity 3rd/4th
18 Iman Marshall 3rd/4th
19 Quentin Meeks 3rd/4th
20 Anthony Averett 3rd/4th
21 Parry Nickerson 4th/5th
22 Tony Brown 4th/5th
23 Heath Harding 4th/5th
24 Arrion Springs 4th/5th
25 Ranthony Texada 5th-7th
1 Armani Watts 1st/2nd
2 Mike Edwards 1st/2nd
3 Jordan Whitehead 1st/2nd
4 Justin Reid 2nd/3rd
5 DeShon Elliott 2nd/3rd
6 Derwin James 2nd/3rd
7 Ronnie Harrison 3rd/4th
8 Quin Blanding 3rd/4th
9 Marcus Allen 3rd/4th
10 Kyzir White 3rd/4th
11 Jamar Summers 3rd/4th
12 Godwin Igwebuike 4th/5th
13 Sean Chandler 5th-7th
14 Andrew Wingard 5th-7th
15 Dominick Sanders 5th-7th
16 Tre Flowers 5th-7th
OL coming soon . . .
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2017 DIB through Week 8

With some historical context, we can look at how the 2017 QB’s are doing. Of course, Aaron Rodgers’ 15.5 is set in stone, with his season-ending injury, and it’s below his career mark of 16.7 (which is the best career score of any QB within our timeline). Apart from Rodgers, though, expect to see fluctuation. Going into Week 8, Prescott, Carr, and Wilson were all tied at 14.7. Carr and Prescott saw their DIB fall to 13.7 and 13.3, but, after a spectacular performance against Houston, Wilson’s DIB jumped to 16.3, putting him in a 5th-place tie with Carson Wentz.

Jay Gruden comes out looking great, with Cousins ranked 2nd and Goff ranked 4th, coached by Sean McVay (Washington OC 2014-2016). When thinking of big-play QB’s, neither Cousins or Goff would jump to the forefront of my mind, but, despite some physical limitations, each possesses the accuracy and understanding to make the system sing.

Drew Brees checks in at #3, and he leads one of the NFL’s sneakiest teams in New Orleans. The young, defensive talent is playing well. Mark Ingram is balling (when he’s not fumbling), and Brees is capitalizing with big plays in the passing game.

It’s not a surprise to see Carson Wentz ranked in the top 5. His size, athleticism, arm strength, and toughness allow him to buy time in the pocket and make throws as he absorbs hits. His improved efficiency in other areas, though, allow this aspect of his game to shine. In 2016, defenses dictated to Wentz, and he looked lost too often. He was a rookie; it happens. He flipped the script in 2017, and he has defenses on their heels.

Tom Brady and Alex Smith are having excellent seasons. Both of their DIB scores are especially impressive, because this is not typically the standout area for either QB. Relative to the success Brady and Smith have enjoyed over the course of their careers, their Y/A and DIB have been relative unremarkable. When they stretch the D with deeper passes, it opens up the underneath stuff, and precision passing is not a concern for either.

Deshaun Watson put up a DIB of 23.0. I recorded the DIB scores of every QB who led an offense that led the league in scoring from 1991-2016, and Watson would rank 2nd on that list to Peyton Manning’s 23.5 DIB in 2004. Only seven out of those twenty-seven QB’s scored 20.0 or better (look for that list in the future). Even when his YPA was in the 7’s, he was near 20 – 19.5 heading into Week 8. His combination of poise, instincts, and aggressiveness put unreal pressure on opposing D’s. He’s almost at a rate of a TD or 20+ pass for every 4 attempts. That’s insane, and it’s a big reason he led the NFL’s #1 scoring offense. It’s heartbreaking to see his record-breaking campaign end on this note.

Outside the top 5, Tyrod Taylor is finding ways to get the ball downfield – despite a lackluster WR unit. He has as many 20+ passes (21) as Philip Rivers – on 90 fewer attempts.

On the flip-side, Eli Manning, Jacoby Brissett, and Joe Flacco (not included below) are really struggling to make plays – each with a DIB below 10.0, or less than one big play for every ten attempts. Marcus Mariota is also well below his career average. You may notice that the vast majority of the players with scores under 13.0 have led either disappointing or downright bad offenses. Without big plays, few QB’s possess the precision and patience to run an efficient offense.

2017 DIB with highlights

DIB = Doing It Big

It’s 2017, and even most casual football fans understand that volume stats aren’t good measures of success for offenses or QB’s. Completion % and Y/A work well to tell you specific things about an offense and QB’s performance, and AY/A is the preferred overview metric. I look at all these, and DIB is not meant to replace any of them. In fact, it was inspired by an aspect of AY/A (20 yards = 1 TD). I wanted a quick, succinct way to measure the frequency of big passing plays. So, to find a QB’s DIB, we add his TD’s and completions of 20+ yards and divide that total by his attempts. Easy, right?

 

Why do we care about the frequency of big passing plays, though? First, it’s important to highlight that this is a specific measure. It does not account for completion % or turnovers. It does not account for negative plays. Y/A factors in incomplete passes (= 0 yards), and AY/A factors in incomplete passes and interceptions (-45 yards). This is to say, we already have metrics that do this. DIB wants to know how often you can expect a big play from a QB. For example, Matt Ryan’s 2016 DIB is 20.0%, meaning that for every five pass attempts, he completed 1 TD or pass of 20+ yards. As you can guess, and will see, this is a phenomenal rate. Contrast that with Matt Ryan’s 2016 DIB, 12.5%, and we can start to see how this plays out. Instead of completing a big pass once every five attempts, Ryan is now down to about one in every ten attempts. His Y/A are down from 9.3 (!!) to 7.8, but 7.8 YPA is still really good, and it doesn’t capture the struggles of the Atlanta offense. Despite all their struggles in 2017, Atlanta still has a top-10 offense. They’re ranked 7th at 372.5 yards per game – down only 43.3 yards per game from their 2nd ranked 2016 offense. But, points, not yards, win games, and Atlanta’s 2017 offense is 16th in the NFL, at 21.3 PPG – down 12.5 PPG from league-leading 33.8 PPG in 2016. Big plays lead to points. It’s hard to score TD’s in the NFL by nickel-and-diming your way down the field. Spoiler alert, the leader in 2017 DIB also leads to top scoring offense in the NFL (since taking over as QB). Unlike Matt Ryan in 2016, he does not lead the league in YPA – though that number is improving.

Hypothetically, a QB could complete zero 20+ yard passes and throw a bunch of TD’s from inside the 10 to get a good DIB score. This is a problem, right? Not really. It’s hard to throw RZ TD’s, and they should be counted as big plays. If a QB is throwing them with enough frequency to prop up his DIB, he and his offense are performing exceptionally in that area, and that deserves weight. In practice, though, a QB needs both a high rate of TD passes and 20+ passes to score well. If a team runs at a higher rate inside the 10, that will have a negative impact on the score, and the inverse is also true. In the future, I may look for ways to factor that into the equation, but, for now, we’re operating under the premise that it generally balances out. This is a good time to stress that DIB is not meant to be a tool to rank QB’s in any absolute sense. Scheme and surrounding talent play a big role – as with Y/A and AY/A.

Nfl.com charts passes of 20+ yards back to 1991, so we don’t have career scores for players like Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and John Elway. For players like Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and Doug Flutie, who played some in the 80s but saw their primes in 1991 and the years after, I felt OK measuring their career scores, but I put asterisks by their scores to indicate that the score is incomplete and – likely – better than it would have been if I was able to include their 80’s stats. I looked at the teams with the top-ranked scoring offenses and charted the DIB scores of their QB’s. Out of the 27 teams/QB’s, only four have a score outside of 2017’s top 10, and eight have a score higher than any QB in 2017. The mean score for QB’s of top-scoring offenses is 17.82, which is higher than the career DIB for any QB since 1991.

I mentioned that it’s hard to score points without big plays, and I’m still in the process of teasing out how useful DIB is relative to stats like Y/A and AY/A, but at this point, I think it’s most useful to explain offenses that are exceeding expectations set by Y/A and AY/A. Tom Brady, for example, has a respectable career DIB, but it’s lower than some QB’s who we would not consider Brady’s equal. For QB’s who can consistently execute the short-passing game, DIB is less essential. On the other side of the coin, even during Aaron Rodgers’ relatively poor 2015 Season (60.7% and 6.7 YPA), he posted a good DIB, 15.0% (much better than his YPA would suggest). And, though Green Bay finished that season ranked 28th in YPA and 25th in passing yards per game, they finished 15th in scoring. The frequency of big plays compensated (to some extent) for the generally inefficient offense. We’ll get into specifics and dig deeper into trends as we go. For the 2017 season, one name clearly stands out and adds some context for his success. We’ll get to that, but this post hopes to provide context for DIB. Here are the career rankings for QB’s I viewed worth tallying. As noted, it starts at 1991, and it goes up to the 2015 QB Class. It’s too early to look at career marks of 2016 and 2017 Classes. Before checking the list below, give these links a look. FourVerts does a good job of contextualizing the importance of big passing plays, and Pro Football Reference discusses why a TD equals 20 yards.

http://settingedge.com/fourvertsfuture

 

Aaron Rodgers 16.7
Steve Young 16.6*
Russell Wilson 16.6
Tony Romo 15.8
Kurt Warner 15.5
Ben Roethlisberger 15.5
Marcus Mariota 15.5
Philip Rivers 15.3
Peyton Manning 15.2
Kirk Cousins 15.2
Andrew Luck 14.9
Drew Brees 14.8
Tom Brady 14.7
Colin Kaepernick 14.3
Cam Newton 14.3
Daunte Culpepper 14.2
Trent Green 14.1
Tyrod Taylor 13.9
Mike Vick 13.9
Carson Palmer 13.7
Jake Delhomme 13.7
Andy Dalton 13.7
Brett Favre 13.6
Jay Cutler 13.6
Matt Schaub 13.6
Donovan McNabb 13.4
Jameis Winston 13.4
Marc Bulger 13.4
Doug Flutie 13.3*
Eli Manning 13.3
Matt Ryan 13.2
Matthew Stafford 13.0
Blake Bortles 12.9
Chad Pennington 12.5
Jeff Garcia 12.5
Alex Smith 12.5
Derek Carr 12.5
Ryan Tannehill 12.4
Matt Hasslebeck 12.3
Vince Young 12.2
Trevor Siemian 12.2
Rich Gannon 12.0*
Jake Plummer 12.0
Brian Hoyer 12.0
Joe Flacco 11.9
Josh McCown 11.9
Steve McNair 11.8
Mark Brunell 11.8
Troy Aikman 11.4
Brad Johnson 11.4
Sam Bradford 11.3
Kordell Stewart 10.6
Aaron Brooks 10.3
Randall Cunningham 9.3

2017 Draft Rankings/Summaries 1-64

  1. Myles Garrett

Why he’s #1:

  • Unreal combo of explosive power, length, and strength
  • Good speed
  • Extremely productive
  • Best DE prospect of last decade by comfortable margin/dream prospect
  • Uber freak
  1. Malik Hooker

Why he’s #2:

  • Super-rare combo of range and balls skills
  • Elite break on ball
  • Strong, solidly built
  • Good length and giant hands
  • Outstanding high school basketball player

Why he’s not #1:

  • Not currently healthy, and didn’t compete at Combine or Pro Day
  • Needs to clean up angles
  • Needs to improve tackling consistency
  • One year of production
  • He’s not Myles Garrett
  1. Jordan Willis

Why he’s #3:

  • Compares favorably to Vic Beasley and DeMarcus Ware
  • Agility, burst, explosive power – has it all
  • Productive pass rusher despite often being asked to read OT
  • Outstanding character, work ethic, and awareness
  • Advanced hand technique
  • Clear role as pass rusher in NFL

Why he’s not #2:

  • Skill set comes around once every 2 or 3 years/not a generational talent like Garrett and Hooker
  • Senior
  1. Solomon Thomas

Why he’s #4:

  • Good burst, explosive power, strength, and speed – outstanding agility
  • Versatile – can play Edge or kick inside to rush passer
  • Extremely disruptive, always in backfield
  • Good motor

Why he’s not #3:

  • Not as productive as Willis and falls bellow production thresholds
  • Roles less clear in NFL than Willis
  1. TJ Watt

Why he’s #5:

  • Big OLB with huge hands and A+ agility
  • Strong with good speed and very good explosive power
  • Disruptive and at times dominant despite limited experience at position
  • Relentless effort
  • Can rush passer, stop run, and drop in coverage
  • Pedigree

Why he’s not #4:

  • Below production threshold
  • Needs significant refinement
  1. David Njoku

Why he’s #6:

  • Freak athlete with burst, agility, and speed
  • A+ run after catch
  • Can score from anywhere on the field
  • Elite OT length
  • Sculpted from stone
  • Productive receiver

Why he’s not #5:

  • Offensive player
  • Must improve blocking
  • Had concentration drops
  1. OJ Howard

Why he’s #7:

  • Great blocker, A+ speed and agility
  • Very nice frame
  • Made most of receiving opportunities at Alabama
  • Will help run and pass game – outstanding versatility

Why he’s not #6:

  • Not as experienced or developed as Njoku as a receiver
  • Frame isn’t as magnificent as Njoku’s
  • Just as good as Njoku/depends what you want/need
  1. Deshaun Watson

Why he’s #8:

  • A+ feel for the game and poise
  • Knows how to move ball/does what it takes
  • A+ in big games
  • Alters trajectory, outstanding touch
  • Aggressive taking shot downfield
  • Knows how to throw receiver open
  • A world-class leader with a chip on his shoulder
  • Very good mobility/great feet

Why he’s not #7:

  • Reads half the field
  • Only adequate arm strength
  • INT’s
  1. Marshon Lattimore

Why he’s #9:

  • Generational make-up speed/burst
  • Outstanding ball skills
  • Sticky in coverage
  • Shows some toughness in run game

Why he’s not #8:

  • Injured a lot
  • Not a big or long CB, small hands
  1. Tyus Bowser

Why he’s #10:

  • Elite athlete – Outstanding agility, very good explosive power, good speed
  • As a Senior averaged 1 sack and 1.5 TFL per game
  • Fluid and experienced dropping in coverage
  • Can dip and bend the edge and has cat-quick inside move

Why he’s not #9:

  • Raw as a pass rusher/needs to learn how to use his hands
  • Could improve physicality/a little finesse
  1. Forrest Lamp

Why he’s #11:

  • Wonderful base, moves very well, exceptional play strength
  • Clean game overall
  • Good athlete
  • Handled Alabama’s pass rushers with relative ease despite short arms
  • Strong enough for Power scheme/quick enough for Zone scheme

Why he’s not #10

  • Plays OG
  • Will transition from OT to OG/some projection
  • Good/not great athlete – can get off balance, though rare
  1. Cam Robinson

Why he’s #12:

  • Ideal frame, outstanding pulling and blocking at 2nd level
  • Mauler in run game
  • Uses long arms and 320lbs to anchor as well as anyone you’ll see
  • Also a natural fit at OG –versatile/insurance

Why he’s not #11:

  • Lapses in concentration
  • Not a great athlete
  • Some questions about character/ability to play LT
  1. Gareon Conley

Why he’s #13:

  • Good-to-great in every physical aspect, battle-tested, poised
  • 33” arms
  • Good speed an explosive power
  • High-end agility
  • Mirrors receivers with relative ease

Why he’s not #12:

  • Can be late to turn head
  • Gave up more plays than ideal
  • Make-speed/burst only adequate
  • Could improve tackling and overall physicality
  1. Haason Reddick

Why he’s #14:

  • Tenacious player with elite speed and great burst
  • Can rush off edge or blitz at special level for off-ball LB
  • One the two best (J. Davis) man-cover LB’s in draft
  • Super active and tough/should fight through blocks and traffic better than most

Why he’s not #13:

  • Transitioning from DE to LB – LB instincts?
  • Agility testing a disappointment
  1. Derek Rivers

Why he’s #15:

  • Very good athlete with high-end agility and production
  • Bends edge very well
  • Strong

Why he’s not #14:

  • Small-school production
  • Very good but not elite athlete, no super-elite characteristics
  1. Leonard Fournette

Why he’s #16:

  • Big, powerful RB with breakaway speed
  • Natural athlete
  • Shows top-end mental processing/instinctive runner
  • When healthy, outstanding balance through contact
  • Looks natural catching ball on limited reps

Why he’s not #15:

  • Gives a lot to hit/injury concerns
  • Just one year of top production
  • Poor explosive power – not huge deal/but not Adrian Peterson
  1. Christian McCaffrey

Why he’s #17:

  • Extremely agile (elite), versatile, runs bigger than he is
  • Super shifty
  • Mix of McCoy, Rice, and Sproles
  • Unstoppable weapon in right offense/can excel at slot if asked
  • No athletic weaknesses
  • Dangerous return man

Why he’s not #16

  • Small RB
  • Likely not ideal for 4-minute offense/won’t salt game away
  1. Corey Davis

Why he’s #18:

  • Ultra-productive, long arms, separates with ease
  • Good frame
  • Makes acrobatic/contested catches
  • Mix of Jordy Nelson and DeAndre Hopkins

Why he’s not #17:

  • No physical testing
  • Small school
  • Mediocre production vs Power Five
  1. Evan Engram

Why he’s #19:

  • Big/fast WR or small/super-fast TE
  • Best seam threat in class
  • Very good explosive power, burst, and agility for TE or WR
  • Match-up nightmare
  • Good effort and technique as blocker in run and pass game
  • Big hands, good length
  • Too quick and fast for all but a few S’s and LB’s
  • Too physical for any CB at his size

Why he’s not #18:

  • Not as productive as tools indicate/below thresholds for WR
  • Small for TE
  • Some concentration drops
  1. Zach Cunningham

Why he’s #20:

  • Elite instincts + elite ability to defeat OL
  • Very good production – TFL and tackles
  • Makes game-changing plays on D and ST’s
  • Good athlete with great frame and ideal length

Why he’s not #19:

  • Poor tackling form/must be cleaned up
  • Good/not-great athlete
  • Doesn’t bring the thump you want to the ball carrier
  • No INT’s
  1. Derek Barnett

Why he’s #21:

  • Elite, consistent production
  • Very good agility
  • Uses hands very well
  • Combination of hands/agility allows him to bend edge at elite level
  • Great motor

Why he’s not #20:

  • Poor speed and burst
  • Lack of overall athleticism will limit his overall impact
  1. Jabril Peppers

Why he’s #22:

  • Dynamic, natural athlete, who can impact game in a variety of ways
  • Good instincts in rung game – high TFL as Junior
  • Athletic ability to excel in man coverage
  • Physical, relentless, hich-character

Why he’s not #21:

  • Limited production overall
  • 1 INT
  • Coverage technique requires significant improvement
  • Will have to prove he can focus at one position
  1. Jamal Adams

Why he’s #23:

  • Elite character, team leader, field general
  • Aggressive in run game
  • Solid instincts
  • Can cover some in man
  • Versatile player

Why he’s not #22:

  • Limited athlete
  • Mediocre production/not a ballhawk
  • May be limited to SS
  • Not athletic enough to cover NFL WR’s
  • Instincts aren’t high-level
  1. Jonathan Allen

Why he’s #24:

  • Grown-man strength, outstanding hands, wonderful base
  • Clever pass rusher from perimeter or inside
  • Thick lower half
  • Super instinctive

Why he’s not #23:

  • Limited athlete – lacking explosive power and agility
  • Small for 3-tech
  • Injury concerns – shoulder
  1. Chris Wormley

Why he’s #25:

  • Fast, agile, long, big for 3 or 5-tech
  • Good production despite playing out of position at Michigan
  • Physical player, who moves like he’s 265lbs
  • Dangerous on stunts and high-end motor

Why he’s not #24:

  • While production level is good considering miscast, it’s below thresholds
  • Limited reps inside, where he belongs
  1. Obi Melifonwu

Why he’s #26:

  • ELITE athlete with rare combo of size, speed, and explosive power
  • Both jumps in the 99th percentile
  • HUGE Safety/GIANT CB
  • Ideal for matching up with TE’s and Jumbo WR’s
  • Maybe only player in draft with physical tools to match up with athletic TE’s

Why he’s not #25:

  • Doesn’t come down hill with authority
  • Not physical or a big hitter
  • Not instinctive
  • Can be slow to react – Raw
  1. Marcus Williams

Why he’s #27:

  • Rangy FS with good instincts and elite burst/explosive power
  • Outstanding ball skills/INT production
  • Reliable tackler with good length
  • Elite athlete – good agility in addition to outstanding burst
  • Excelled in all coverage assignments

Why he’s not #26:

  • Smallish
  • Inconsistent tracking deep ball – bad plays vs BYU
  1. Ahkello Witherspoon

Why he’s #28:

  • Elite combination of length, speed, and burst
  • Great frame, good bulk, very big hands
  • Very quick, mirrors WR’s very well
  • Competitive cutting off routes and fighting for ball
  • Compares to a more athletic Richard Sherman

Why he’s not #27:

  • Soft tackler
  • Must improve physicality/willingness to participate in run game
  • Despite high PBU total, can be late to locate ball
  1. Marlon Humphrey

Why he’s #29:

  • Elite combination of speed, agility, and length
  • Physical and well built
  • Only 21 years old
  • Blows up WR screens

Why he’s not #28:

  • Gets beat deep
  • Technique needs refinement
  • Not particularly instinctive/only two years of college experience
  1. Shaquill Griffin

Why he’s #30:

  • One of four players with 32”+ arms to run sub-4.40 40 (Peterson, Slay, and Gilbert) since 2010
  • Physical CB with nasty disposition
  • Elite/near-elite explosive power
  • Above average agility
  • Good ball skills

Why he’s not #29:

  • Will be 23
  • Technique needs work/gets beat deep
  1. Kevin King

Why he’s #31:

  • ELITE agility with very good explosive power and speed
  • Huge CB with good length
  • Best overall athlete at CB in the draft by comfortable margin
  • Sound player/keeps ball in front
  • Makes some plays/flashes instincts

Why he’s not #30:

  • Not instinctive overall
  • Gives up separation despite physical gifts
  • Not a playmaker/slow to react
  1. Quincy Wilson

Why he’s #32:

  • Technically sound with good agility, enough speed, and great size
  • Increased INT total each season
  • Not scheme dependant despite size

Why he’s not #31:

  • Not a great athlete
  • Not sudden or explosive
  • Not as physical as frame suggests
  • Some ugly missed tackles
  1. Daeshon Hall

Why he’s #33:

  • Exceptional combo of length and agility
  • Compares favorably to Aldon Smith and Chandler Jones
  • Good explosive power
  • Productive TFL player

Why he’s not #32:

  • Not a productive pass rusher
  • Not as productive overall as tools would indicate
  • Requires refinement despite being Senior
  1. Jarrad Davis

Why he’s #34:

  • Big hitter, fast, excellent athlete
  • One of two best man-cover LB’s in draft (H. Reddick)
  • Good length
  • Leader, plays with passion

Why he’s not #33:

  • Instincts aren’t very good, multiple big runs because he’s wrong or late
  • Injury concerns – style of play + history
  • Limited production because of instincts and injuries
  1. Montravious Adams

Why he’s #35:

  • Elite speed, adequate size (well built), excellent strength
  • Eats up man blocks and holds ground vs double-teams
  • Catalyst of stingy Run D

Why he’s not #34:

  • Lackluster production – TFL and sacks fall below threshold
  • Not dynamic athlete overall
  1. Mike Williams

Why he’s #36:

  • Great frame, long and muscular
  • Adequate speed
  • High points ball at high level
  • A+ grabbing contested balls
  • Difficult for DB’s to tackle – strong RAC

Why he’s not #35:

  • Doesn’t separate with ease
  • Heavy-footed running routes
  • Concentration drops
  • Lacks burst
  1. Raekwon McMillan

Why he’s #37:

  • Physical LB who sees field well, good instincts and speed
  • Fills gaps with purpose and urgency
  • Young
  • Good size and length
  • Solid in zone coverage

Why he’s not #36:

  • Doesn’t make a ton of plays
  • Only average athlete overall with below average agility
  • Not as many TFL as you prefer
  1. Reuben Foster

Why he’s #38:

  • Heavy hitter, fast, sideline-to-sideline LB
  • Good in coverage
  • Productive senior season

Why he’s not #37:

  • No physical testing, small, attitude/character concerns
  • Instincts are just OK, often a tick late to fill
  • Kept clean by Alabama DL
  • Sub-standard career production
  1. Josh Jones

Why he’s #39:

  • Big, fast, explosive Safety
  • Flies all over field
  • Range to play FS/size and physicality to play SS
  • Versatile and dynamic

Why he’s not #38”

  • Can be too aggressive, causing missed tackles
  • Agility is mediocre
  • Instincts are just good enough
  1. Mitch Trubisky

Why he’s #40:

  • Efficient QB with arm to push ball outside and downfield
  • Adequate size
  • Good speed and agility
  • Adequate accuracy
  • Winning combination of physical traits and skills

Why he’s not #39:

  • One year of production
  • Awkward delivery
  • Not a natural leader – aw-shucks guy
  1. Deshone Kizer

Why he’s #41:

  • Big, beautiful frame and cannon arm
  • Smooth delivery
  • Has experience cycling through progressions
  • Productive sophomore season

Why he’s not #40:

  • Despite smoothness, has long, wind-up delivery
  • Often looks out of sorts
  • Very inconsistent
  • Below average athlete/not as mobile as advertised
  1. Patrick Mahommes

Why he’s #42:

  • Dynamic playmaker with rocket arm
  • Talented feet
  • Best 3rd and long QB in draft
  • Good touch, can vary trajectory

Why he’s not #41:

  • Despite 1,349 attempts, horrendous footwork and fundamentals
  • Was overwhelmed at times
  • Boom or bust – Brett Favre or some bum?
  1. Dorian Johnson

Why he’s #43:

  • OT length, fires out of stance, and uses hands very well
  • Strong base – excellent in pass pro
  • Pulls well
  • High-level explosive power

Why he’s not #42:

  • Very poor agility
  • Just OK speed
  • Very light for OG
  1. Dan Feeney

Why he’s #44:

  • Great base, moves well, excellent 2nd-level blocker
  • Good agility and above average speed
  • Reliable in assignments and technique
  • Should be 10-year starter

Why he’s not #43:

  • Can bend at waist/look top heavy
  • Just a pretty good athlete
  • Light for OG
  1. Dion Dawkins

Why he’s #45:

  • Has length and agility to excel at OT
  • Good build and weight
  • Good speed
  • Solid base and mirrors well

Why he’s not #44:

  • Can play high and bend at waist
  • Not soft, but not particularly physical
  • Needs to improve technique more than OL ranked ahead
  1. Josh Reynolds

Why he’s #46:

  • Tracks ball as well as any WR in class
  • Separates with ease
  • Wins contested catches
  • Has extra gear to pull away
  • 30 TD’s in three seasons

Why he’s not #45:

  • Thin
  • Short arms
  • Just one 1,000-yard season
  1. Taywan Taylor

Why he’s #47:

  • Exceptional understanding of leverage
  • Physical tools and instincts allow him to separate anywhere on field
  • 41 TD’s and 3,964 yards over last three seasons
  • Elite burst, quickness, and agility
  • Legit deep threat
  • Good bulk and length

Why not #46?

  • Small-school/Spread production
  • 5’11
  1. John Ross

Why he’s #48:

  • Fastest player on record with elite burst
  • Productive junior season – 17 TD’s
  • Lightning quick – see Adoree Jackson’s ankles

Why he’s not #47:

  • One year of production
  • Small, light, small hands
  • Drops a concern because of small hands
  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster

Why he’s #49:

  • Big, strong WR with long arms and huge hands
  • Hits production thresholds
  • Young
  • Natural athlete – somewhere between H. Nicks and A. Boldin

Why he’s not #48:

  • Mediocre burst
  • Just adequate speed
  • Somewhat disappointing junior season
  1. Zay Jones

Why he’s #50:

  • Ultra productive, smooth route runner
  • Elite athlete with high-end agility, speed, and burst
  • Outstanding catch percentage/few drops
  • Good frame
  • Makes everything look easy

Why he’s not #49:

  • Much of production came via bubble-screens
  • TD production just OK
  • Small-school competition/Spread offense
  • 9” hands
  1. Bucky Hodges

Why he’s #51:

  • Elite speed and explosive power
  • Experienced receiver
  • Big upside if he has heart and mind to run seam routes

Why he’s not #50:

  • Soft
  • Played WR more than TE – questions about his ability/willingness to play TE
  • Straight-line athlete
  1. Trey Hendrickson

Why he’s #52:

  • Very good athlete with great production
  • Good agility, burst, and speed – no weak areas
  • Compares favorably to Shaq Lawson

Why he’s not #51:

  • No elite traits
  • Small-school production
  • Short arms
  • Play strength a question/concern at DE
  1. D’Onta Foreman

Why he’s #53:

  • Big, fast RB, who blows through arm tackles
  • Runs with good balance and pad level
  • Good in pass pro
  • Big hands

Why he’s not #52:

  • One year of production
  • Limited experience as receiver
  • Running style warrants durability concerns
  1. Alvin Kamara

Why he’s #54:

  • Elite combination of burst and balance
  • Adequate speed
  • Adequate size
  • Makes defenders miss and breaks tackles
  • Good receiver out of backfield

Why he’s not #53:

  • Mediocre production
  • Concerns about his ability to shoulder workload
  • Ball security
  1. Tre’Davious White

Why he’s #55:

  • Instinctive CB with length and feet to play press or off
  • Adequate speed
  • Dangerous return man

Why he’s not #54:

  • Poor burst and below-average agility
  • Below average athlete overall
  • Just OK production
  1. Cordrea Tankersley

Why he’s #56:

  • Terrific combination of ball skills, length, and speed
  • 9 INT’s and 20 PBU’s over last two seasons – also 9.5 TFL
  • Savvy CB who knows how to play to his strengths – uses sideline well
  • Ideal for Cover 2, 3, or 4 D’s

Why he’s not #55:

  • Below average agility and poor burst limit his fits (Cover 2, 3, or 4)
  • Not sticky in coverage
  • Strictly speed, size, ball-skills CB
  1. Rasul Douglas

Why he’s #57:

  • BIG CB with elite ball skills and anticipation
  • Good length
  • Very physical – asset in run game and short passing game
  • Outstanding production in 2016
  • Ideal for Cover 2, 3, or 4

Why he’s not #56:

  • Not a good athlete
  • Slow
  • Like Tankersley, limited to Cover 2, 3, or 4
  1. Fabian Moreau

Why he’s #58:

  • Heavy, fast, explosive CB
  • Has some ball skills
  • Former RB built like RB
  • Decent agility

Why he’s not #57:

  • Super raw
  • Poor instincts
  • Late to react
  • Older than ideal
  1. Adoree’ Jackson

Why he’s #59:

  • Good speed and burst, very good agility
  • Natural athlete with excellent ball skills
  • Breaks on ball very well
  • Good KR, very good PR

Why he’s not #58:

  • Small CB – height and weight
  • Inconsistent technique
  • Gives up separation
  • Good athlete, but not the elite athlete he’s been touted
  1. Kai Nacua

Why he’s #60:

  • Elite athlete with elite range, instincts, and ball skills
  • No weak athletic traits – burst, agility, and speed all range from good to great
  • Good size
  • Sound tackler
  • Upside comp = Darren Sharper

Why he’s not #59:

  • Character/maturity concerns
  • How old is he?
  1. Tanoh Kpassagnon

Why he’s #61:

  • Huge man with outstanding length
  • Good speed and burst for size
  • Bright guy, high character

Why he’s not #60:

  • Needs a great deal of refinement
  • Somewhat similar profile to Shawn Oakman
  • 6’7 is taller than ideal
  • 5-tech?
  1. Nate Gerry

Why he’s #62:

  • Remarkable production
  • Instinctive player, big frame, hard hitter, ball hawk
  • Natural leader/QB of defense
  • Plays with relentless passion
  • Enforcer – ejected for targeting twice

Why he’s not #61:

  • Below average athlete
  • Adequate speed is best athletic trait
  • Doesn’t have the range to reliably play single-high
  • Character concerns/doesn’t seem like a bright guy off the field
  1. Chidobe Awuzie

Why he’s #63:

  • Well-built CB with good speed, burst, and agility
  • Dangerous on slot blitzes
  • Extremely active with absurd tackle, TFL, sack, and FF totals for CB
  • Can excel in zone schemes, as Slot, or as a Safety

Why he’s not #62:

  • Short arms
  • Small hands
  • Not sticky
  • Struggles to stay in the hip
  • Doesn’t play the ball particularly well
  1. Xavier Woods

Why he’s #64:

  • High-end production in every phase
  • Ball hawk with a big stick – 14 INT, 6 FF
  • Big hitter, who knows how to separate ball from WR
  • Above average speed and very good agility
  • Alpha personality on field

Why he’s not #63:

  • Small for Safety, short arms
  • Small-school competition
  • Good but not elite athlete