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2018 TE Rankings

Drake at SDSU Football

  1. Dallas Goedert South Dakota State 6’4 ⅝ 256 Sr. He did 23 reps but didn’t work out at the Combine due to a hamstring injury that occured during Senior Bowl week. Goedert is an interesting player as he has some Jimmy Graham to his game with a good frame and amazing hands. He has a penchant for the one handed catch and made some ridiculous circus catches with guys all over him. He comes from a small school and didn’t face great competition but he dominated that lower level (FCS All-American in 2016 and 2017 with consecutive 1,000 yard seasons) and he has a lot of elite traits which translate to the next level. The negative I have of him is that he almost never separated on film, and that’s despite playing mediocre competition. I compare him to Graham, and he is a good comp stylistically, but Goedert is shorter (6’4 ⅝ to 6’6 ¼), slower (Goedert didn’t run but looks like a 4.7-4.75 with Graham being 4.56), and likely with a weaker vertical (Graham’s ‘38 ½ vertical is hard to beat). Another thing I worry about is that he looked faster and more fluid in 2016 than 2017 and looks to have added some bad weight. I think it can be worked off but he seemed more agile 2 years ago and I never like seeing guys look fat in college as it raises red flags about work ethic. I also worry a bit that he looks better than he is because his team used him so diversely and frequently. No TE in this draft had a usage rate even close to Goedert as he was split out wide, used on shovel passes, inside screens, end arounds, etc. At one point in the 2017 North Dakota State game they ran three straight TE screens. Who the F runs three straight TE screens? Some teams don’t run 3 in a season. That being said he was very productive and teams knew he was their star target and still couldn’t stop him. Some of his lack of separation in fact stems from teams putting CBs on him regularly which resulted in him beating them with strength and length over speed. He and Mark Andrews are the most fluid tight ends in this draft as they both move incredibly well for +250 lbs. Andrews is far more polished as a route runner but Goedert offers far more upside as a red zone target so I could see teams debate who is the superior prospect. Goedert isn’t a great blocker but has the frame, strength, and willingness to be an in line blocker and could become good if coached up and he added a little weight. I don’t worry about it too much for him though as he’ll flex out much of the time and will only need to be a good enough blocker to offer versatility to a team so that he can be on the field at all times and in varying spots. Andrews is so polished and already plays like a veteran while Goedert has the superior tools but is still somewhat raw. Despite that I have to put Goedert as my #1 TE as his upside is immense and he really could become a Top 5 TE in the NFL, something I don’t see in Andrews future. His frame, speed, and hands will make him an elite red zone target on Day 1 so he could “only” develop into a Tyler Eifert type player, a Pro Bowler himself once upon a time. If he can eat better and lose some of that 2017 fat and gain more lean muscle as well as develop as a route runner then he could become an elite TE like Jimmy Graham. His rare upside has me willing to roll the dice on him over the much more safe player in Mark Andrews. Mid 1st as my #1 TE 3/11/18.
  2. Mark Andrews OU 6’5 ⅛ 256 Jr. Redshirted in 2014, 2nd Team Big 12 in 2015, 1st Team Big 12 in 2016, 1st Team Big 12 and Mackey Award Winner in 2017. He had a surprisingly average Combine with a 4.67 40, ‘31 vertical, 4.38 shuttle, 7.34 3 cone. 1st Team All-American by PFF in 2017 due to his elite production (62 958 yds 8 TD). In 2015 (19 318 yds 7 TD) and 2016 (31 489 yds 7 TD) he was a less used option outside of the red zone where he’s been a consistent threat. Third in the nation by TEs with 8 missed tackles, showing his elusiveness and agility after the catch. Andrews is a good athlete but maybe looks more athletic than he really is due to his elite body control which allows him to make rare catches for a TE but also dodge defenders after the catch. He doesn’t have break away speed and won’t be the ideal candidate to threaten the seam of a defense but he has great hands, good routes and elite body control so he’ll be a productive player in the NFL. I see a little Jason Witten and a little Zach Ertz to his game. I worry a bit about the OU offense so regularly flexing him out but that has become more common in the NFL so it might not be an issue, depending on the team. I also worry that his elite production came in Mayfield’s Heisman campaign but his highlight reel is full of tough catches where he laid out for a ball or caught something low or behind him so he helped make Mayfield’s season great as well. His Combine is a reminder that he isn’t an elite athlete but Ertz ran a 4.76 at 6’5 249 so Andrews 4.67 at 6’5 ⅛ 256 is actually superior. Why I make the comparison is both are great route runners with hands, body control, and an understanding of defenses and holes in a zone which is rare. He is a very intelligent player who should develop into a highly polished player. I have doubts he’ll ever be one of the elite TEs but I thought the same thing about Ertz and he was a Top 3 TE last year so who knows. Andrews will never physically be in the class of Gronk, Graham or Kelce but he’ll be a very productive pro and his intelligence, hands and body control make him one of the safer prospects in this draft. Late 1st round as my #2 TE 3/5/18.
  3. Mike Gesicki Penn State 6’5 ½ 247 Sr. He had by far the best Combine of any TE and one of the best Combines of any player period with a 4.54 40-best among 17 TEs, 22 reps-2nd best, ‘41 ½ vertical-best, 10’9 broad-best, 4.10 shuttle-best, and 6.76 3 cone-best. His vertical and 3 cone are among the best I’ve ever seen by a TE at those drills and show that he’s an elite athlete. He’s a former slam dunk contest winner and 4 year starter at volleyball in HS. Gesicki has been on my radar for a few years now as his size/speed combination is incredibly evident on film. He barely played in 2014 & 2015 (24 239 1 TD COMBINED) but had two good seasons in 2016 (48 679 5 TD) and 2017 (57 563 9 TD). He reminds me a little of OJ Howard as his size/speed ratio is elite but he isn’t the most agile or elusive of players. Gesicki will threaten the seam on day 1 for a team, a huge plus for offenses, and he has rare leaping ability and good hands but I worry that he’ll struggle as a rookie like Howard did due to his unpolished game. He’s downright skinny at 247 lbs and needs to add weight to his frame as 265 is probably where he’ll end up at. I can see how some will view Gesicki as the #1 TE in this class as he’s tall and is an elite athlete but Andrews just is so much more polished than Gesicki that I’d take him first. Gesicki has a higher upside and can do more things but could struggle early in his career due to his tight body and lack of polish as a receiver. Much of his production came off misdirection plays with defenses keying on Barkley and McSorley. That being said, Gesicki could easily be a 6’5 270 lb TE with 4.5 speed and the best vertical of any TE in the league in 2-3 years so he’s worth a roll of the dice and might become a Pro Bowler down the road. It will just take a little patience from a team as he’s not ready yet and likely will struggle early in his career. Mid 2nd round as my #3 TE 3/10/18.
  4. Ian Thomas Indiana 6’3 ⅝ 259 Sr. He ran a 4.74 40, ‘27 vertical-worst among 17 TEs, 9’3 broad jump-3rd worst, 4.75 shuttle-worst, and 7.50 3 cone-worst so needless to say the Combine didn’t work out well for him. JUCO kid who barely played in 2016 (3 28 yds 0 TD) and then had a decent 2017 (25 376 yds 5 TDs). He’s had a tough upbringing with both parents dying before he turned 10 but coaches say he’s humble, dedicated, and focused on football. He caught my eye last year in the season opener vs. Ohio State and was off to a great start with 16 254 3 TDs and then his season fell apart with 2 missed games and 4 other games with 1 or 0 catches with a 4 93 1 TD game sandwiched in there. Thomas is raw, he only had one season of any kind of productivity at the major college level, and his Combine sucked but there’s talent here. He has an NFL frame with decent height and a chiseled frame. He also shows good hands as he regularly made one handed catches away from his body. His game is about athleticism but he has the frame, strength and willingness to be an in line blocker with that flexibility being huge for his draft stock. Finally he looks like a 4.6 guy and I’m shocked he only had a ‘27 vertical as the kid is ripped and looks like a great athlete on film. He’s the ultimate roll of the dice as he has some obvious starter traits to him but the kid basically has 5 good games for his whole career. I think he’ll be a late bloomer but will eventually become a starter with time as he has some very enticing physical traits which are rare. Early 3rd round as my #4 TE 3/5/18.
  5. Tyler Conklin Central Michigan 6’3 254 Sr. He ran a 4.80 40-poor, ‘38 vertical-elite, 4.23 shuttle-very good, and 7.13 3 cone-average so he was a mixed bag but showed some athleticism. Former basketball player (the elite vertical now makes sense) who switched to football. In 2014 he was on the scout team while he adjusted his body from basketball to football and then played in 2015 as a backup (6 95 0 TD), started in 2016 (42 560 6 TD) and 2017 (35 504 5 TD). He is a shorter player with a thick body that makes me think H-back not TE. He really excels in the red zone with his great body control, vertical jump, and hands which make a lot of tough catches. He shows his basketball background with good “box outs” and really excels at the tough catch, one handed or diving. His catch radius is absurd and he will quickly become a favorite target for his QB as they threw him a lot of contested balls low and away for him to “just go get.” He has just enough strength and tenacity to make me think he can play TE not just H-back but his best role will be as a #2 TE who works the middle of the field as he’s tough, can take a hit, and makes tough catches routinely. His 4.80 40 seems right as I didn’t see a lot of speed for him but he makes up for it with his elite hands and good body control. The kid won’t wow you but he could be an impact player, especially in the red zone, as he has a rare catch radius and just enough speed to threaten a defense a bit and just enough strength and tenacity to be a blocker. That versatility to do a little of everything will make him valued on draft day as a Vance McDonald level talent. Nothing special but he’ll be a 10 year borderline starter/elite reserve type and will help a team in a variety of ways. Some teams will undervalue him due to his mediocre speed and reduced production in 2017 due to an injury. 3rd round as my #5 TE 3/10/18.
  6. Christopher Herndon Miami 6’3 ¾ 253 Sr. He was a contributor in 2015 (18 237 1 TD), 2016 (28 334 2 TD), and 2017 (40 477 4 TD) yet never had that dominant season. He’s a shorter, tightly built athlete with a chiseled body who reminds me of a poor man’s Virgil Green. He’s a tough evaluation as he’s right on the precipice of #1 or #2 TE. I’d lean toward him being a career #2 TE due to his shorter frame and H-back style game but you never know as some guys develop from that niche role and become top level TEs like Delanie Walker. He has just enough wiggle to have legit NFL after the catch ability and just enough speed to get open in routes. Miami used him on mainly dump off routes and change of direction stuff so it was hard to evaluate but he seemed to get separation when he ran traditional routes. The biggest issue with him is that he lacks the size, great hands, or leaping ability to be a factor in the red zone so most teams will likely view him as a top notch #2 TE. In that role he could be surprisingly good as the more you watch him the more impressive he is in the open field as a runner. In a scheme where the H-back is moved around a lot like Harbaugh’s old San Francisco scheme, Herndon could be very productive. 3rd round as my #6 TE 3/10/18.
  7. Hayden Hurst South Carolina 6’4 ½ 250 Jr. Despite leaving early he’s a much older player who will be a 25 year old rookie next season due to beginning his career as a pitcher in the minor leagues for the Pirates. He had a great Combine with a 4.67 40, 10’0 broad, and 7.19 3 cone. He barely played in 2015 (8 106 0 TD) but then had two very good seasons in 2016 (48 616 1 TD) and 2017 (44 559 2 TD) with him being named 1st Team SEC in 2017. Hurst is interesting as he looks like a nobody with a top heavy body over some itsy bitsy chicken legs but he’s a fast kid who gets open and then surprises defenders with how tough he is to get to the ground. He reminds me a little of Luke Willson and should have a similar role as Hurst doesn’t seem to have the talent to be a game changer in the NFL or the frame to be an in line blocker but he could very well be a #2 TE that exploits mismatches for an offense occasionally like the Seahawks do with Luke. I’m also intrigued by the fact that he had 9 carries last year….as a tight end? They ran a number of end arounds for him and they were successful due to his speed, agility, and toughness to bring down. If successful the kid could become a fan favorite as he’s tough, physical, and makes a lot of big plays. I think the bust rate for him is very high though because he was 24 years old last year playing against a bunch of kids 3-6 years younger than him. At some point you stop looking at a player’s negatives and ask what someone can do for your team. At that point in the draft I’d recommend Hurst as he’s fast, plays the game with abandon, and will immediately give an offensive coordinator another weapon to attack a defense with. Early 4th round as my #7 TE 4/5/18.  
  8. David Wells San Diego State 6’5 ⅝ 256 Sr. He was a special teamer only in 2014, barely played in 2015 (4 22 0 TDs), and then had minor roles in 2016 (25 294 4 TD) and 2017 (9 133 2 TD). At the Combine he ran a 4.75 40-average, ‘33 vertical-above average, 4.59 shuttle-2nd worst among 17 TEs, and 7.50 3 cone-worst. He isn’t a great athlete and has poor stats but looking at him on film he’s a prospect as he has a great frame and has good in line blocking skills. He has good strength, great tenacity, and a frame that makes you think he could add weight and become 270 real quickly. As a receiver he shows some untapped potential as he moves well but was rarely sent out in routes in their run oriented offense. He has good hands and is big so he looks like a fit for a team seeking a #2 TE that blocks most of the time but can slip out for short dump offs to keep a defense honest. Those guys aren’t going to excite a fan base but Wells looks like a good fit in that role and he likely will have a long career as a #2 or #3 TE. His complete package actually ends up ranking him higher than superior pass catchers like Fumagalli and Breneman as Wells fits the role of a #2 TE better than they do but has less chance of being a prolific pass catcher. 5th round as my #8 TE 3/10/18.
  9. Troy Fumagalli Wisconsin 6’4 ¾ 247 Sr. Redshirted in 2013, backup in 2014 (14 187 0 TD), part time starter in 2015 (28 313 1 TD) and then had big seasons in 2016 (47 580 2 TD) and 2017 (46 547 4 TD). 5 years out of HS so he’s an older prospect. He’s a tall, skinny TE with limited blocking ability. What he can do though is catch the football as he’s tall, has great hands (despite missing the index finger due to a birth defect), and is great at making the tough catch in a crowd. There is a one handed catch vs. Central Michigan last year that is one of the best catches I’ve ever seen, TE or not. He has incredibly long arms at ‘34 ⅛ which would be long for an OT, let alone a TE, and were the longest of the 17 TEs at the Combine. He uses that to his advantage and is at his best making the leaping grab in traffic with a defender right next to him. He doesn’t have good speed (he didn’t run at the Combine but he’s probably 4.75-4.80ish) so I worry about him getting open at the next level but he’ll catch everything thrown in his area and despite only 7 career TDs he could be a red zone threat. I love his highlight catches and think he has elite hands but he is skinny, weak, and not very fast. He’s a #2 TE with some value as a pass catching TE off the bench but there are a lot of weak spots to his game so I wouldn’t be surprised if he got with a good QB that knew how to “throw him open” with his great hands but it wouldn’t surprise me either if he was a bust. He will need to go to the right system/QB to be successful but the hands are elite so maybe it works out. 5th round as my #9 TE 3/10/18.
  10. Adam Breneman UMASS 6’4 250 Sr. He had a knee injury as a senior in HS missing the full season. He played as a true freshman at Penn State (15 186 3 TD) but then had another knee injury in 2014 missing the full season and then giving up football for a few years before returning, this time to UMASS, for two seasons. In 2016 (70 808 8 TD) he was at his most productive but he was good in 2017 (64 764 4 TD) as well. He is 5 years out of HS so he’s an older prospect and his two major knee injuries will worry teams but he’s likely going to be in a team’s control on a cheap, rookie contract through his entire prime so there are some positives to it. Adam is a tall, skinny kid that won’t excel as a blocker but he has great hands, solid speed and was very productive his two seasons at UMASS. He is very good at catching the high ball over his head and his QB often threw it high for him to avoid defenders, though it did put him at risk of big hits. He looks like a quality #2 TE with red zone ability who maybe can develop into a full time starter down the road. The issue I have with him is that he’s older and he had some major injuries early in his career. I don’t see Breneman getting a long 2nd contract, if one at all, so a team will need to accept that he probably has a limited playing career. He very easily could retire 2 years from now as his knee issues at Penn State probably haven’t gone away. Also he lacks the speed to be a great H-back type and lacks the size/strength to be an in line blocker. His best attributes are his height and hands which make him a good red zone threat or #2 TE across the middle for tough catches. I like him as a mid to late round type as he should contribute for a NFL team but carries some medical risks and is more of a role player than full time starter. Late 5th round as my #10 TE 3/10/18.
  11. Dalton Schultz Stanford 6’5 ⅜ 244 Sr. He ran a 4.75 40-average, 15 reps-bad, ‘32 vertical-average, 4.40 shuttle-average, and 7.00 3 cone-very good. He didn’t play as a freshman, had a small role in 2015 (10 121 1 TD), and was only slightly more productive in 2016 (23 222 1 TD) and 2017 (22 212 3 TD). Coach David Shaw raves about Schultz as a complete TE aka great blocker. He’s very skinny and often looks like a WR. For his lack of weight he is a good blocker and he has the frame to become a great blocker but he isn’t there yet and I question where Shaw’s praise comes from as he wasn’t very productive as a pass catcher and at 244 lbs he’s still too weak to be a great blocker. One thing that does pop out on film for Schultz is his fluidity as a route runner. He moves incredibly well for 244 lbs and if a team is patient they might have a very rare athlete in 3 years when he’s 6’6 260. That being said Schultz is a project plain and simple. He has great technique as a blocker but currently lacks the strength to be an in line blocker at the next level. He has great fluidity as a route runner but limited experience as a productive pass catcher and tested as an average athlete at the Combine. I’d take a chance on him as a later round guy to develop into a good #2 TE but don’t understand the early round love some have for him. I think this is due to Stanford now being known as TE University and consider Schultz to be highly overrated. 6th round as my #11 TE 3/10/18.
  12. Will Dissly Washington 6’3 ¾ 262 He ran a 4.87 40-2nd worst among 17 TEs, 15 reps-2nd worst, ‘28 vertical-2nd worst, 9’3 broad-3rd worst, and then was average in the quickness drills. He played DL his first two seasons at Washington and then moved to TE in 2016 (4 47 1 TD). In 2017 (21 289 2 TD) he was at his best but still just a marginal contributor. Mayock calls him the best blocking TE in the draft which puts him in the Michael Williams category. Never heard of him? Yep, because he has bounced around the league as a #3 or #4 TE with almost no production. Dissly will have a similar role. There are roster spots for him but he’s late round material at best from what little I can scout of him. All the games I watched he wasn’t on the field a lot and did a lot of blocking and short dump off routes. The Montana game (5 79 2 TDs) was ¼ of his receptions, ⅓ his yards and all of his TDs for the season. To me that speaks volumes. 7th round as my #12 TE 3/5/18.

2018 OG Rankings

Connor Williams1. Connor Williams Texas 6’5 ⅛ 296 Jr. Freshman All-American in 2015 as he started 12 games at LT. 1st Team All-American in 2016 was his best season as he was injured for much of his junior year, starting only 5 games. He had only ‘33 arms but ran a very impressive 5.05 40 and his ‘34 vertical was best among the 48 OL. He also had decent shuttle (4.63) and 3 cone (7.83) times. I love Connor’s tape but don’t like him as a LT and think his best fit actually isn’t at RT but is at OG. With ‘33 arms and only decent lateral agility he just doesn’t have the traits I want in an OT. Move him inside to OG though and he’s special as he is feisty, strong, aggressive and technically proficient. He really attacks people and has a lean body mass that allow him to be quick and fast at the POA. I think he’d fit in any scheme as an OG and could still work out as a RT but as an OG in a zone scheme he could be special. The kid is still only 20 years old and has had 3 seasons of good tape. He lacks the length or lateral agility to play at LT, could be an average to above average RT, or he could be a Pro Bowl caliber OG. I choose the last option and hope he goes to a team that will try him at OG as his strength, technique, tenacity, and quickness make him an ideal guard prospect. Add in his age and I consider him a late first rounder as my #1 OG in this class. I suspect I’m alone in my sentiments on Connor who most have as a 2nd-3rd round OT 3/5/18.

2. Isaiah Wynn Georgia 6’2 ¾ 313 Sr. Measured ‘8 ½ hands, smallest of the 48 OL at the Combine which is a big red flag to me. He played LT and LG throughout his career, starting 11 games in 2014 as a true freshman. Despite playing LT in the SEC (1st Team SEC in 2017, 2nd Team All-American too so not too shabby) he’s clearly an OG at 6’2. He has good foot speed and really locks onto defenders. He lacks the height and arm length (‘33 ⅜) to stay at LT but has the foot speed and I love college LTs that move inside in the pros because you know you have a blue chip athlete there. He dominated in the 2017 National Championship Game vs. Alabama and was even more impressive against Oklahoma in the semi-finals, though it looked more impressive because Oklahoma’s defenders were usually much smaller than Alabama’s. In both games you saw his raw strength and coupled with his impressive feet and consistent technique he becomes the clear cut best OG in this draft class. He’s right on the first round bubble but I pushed him in at the end due to his incredible final two performances. I hope I don’t regret it as his 2016 tape was less impressive. Late 1st as my #2 OG 2/23/18,

3. Will Hernandez UTEP 6’2 ⅜ 327 Sr. He had a good Combine with a 5.15 40-very good, 37 reps-elite, 4.70 shuttle-below average, and a 7.59 3 cone-above average. Almost quit football in HS to work construction. He went to UTEP instead of USC or Arizona due to grades. Will is an old school, mauler typer OG and lets you know it right off the bat with his over the top neck rest and his elite strength which pops off the film immediately. He played in C-USA so his level of competition was weak the past two years but he played UT in 2016 (good film, began the game with a pancake block and had an overall good game despite the blowout loss) and he played OU in 2017 (more workman like than dominant but no pressures, good push and showed tenacity getting a DT to commit a personal foul on him because he blocked him well past the whistle which I liked to see). He had an inconsistently dominant week of Senior Bowl practices destroying the competition sometimes and giving up pressures at other times. He’s an easy player to scout as he is a massive run blocker in the Richie Incognito mold, with the mean streak to warrant the comparison, who has mediocre feet and quickness which can be exploited at times. If put in the right scheme, or placed next to a Pro Bowl caliber center to help him in tough matchups, he could be a Pro Bowler but his style of play isn’t for everyone and some teams prefer above average consistency over boom/bust swings in play from a pancake block one play to a sack on the next. I prefer consistency over sporadic dominance from my OL but still like Hernandez as his feet, while clearly being his worst attribute, aren’t that bad. He should be fine in pass pro against all but the best DTs and will definitely give a running game a boost with his sheer strength. He projects as an immediate starter who will probably not be a Pro Bowler but who settles in as an above average starter despite his mediocre lateral quickness. Mid to late 2nd round as my #3 OG 1/28/18.

4. Quenton Nelson Notre Dame 6’5 325 Sr. He had 35 reps-elite, ‘26 ½ vertical-average, 4.62 shuttle-average, and a 7.65 3 cone-average while not running the 40 at the Combine. Unanimous 1st Team All-American in 2017. A physical and aggressive “phone booth” type guard who excels in the trenches. Despite his press clippings as a blue chip, can’t miss guard he has some major shortcomings. He seems to have very short arms and lacks the reach you prefer in guards, especially ones taken early like where he is projected to go. He also isn’t very fast or agile and struggles in space, more so on pull blocks than when going straight ahead for a linebacker. I put on the tape expecting Brandon Scherff or David DeCastro level film and instead got a tough battler type who to me has no business in the first round discussion. Watching the 2017 Miami film he was beaten repeatedly with quickness, didn’t get much movement in the run game and whiffed on many blocks in space. He had a few pancake blocks and showed good strength and great tenacity but he didn’t seem impactful in their blowout loss. His 2017 LSU, Georgia and Boston College film was better but the traits still aren’t there for 1st round consideration. He has a great base which is nearly impossible to bull rush and he has solid strength but he doesn’t create big holes in the running game, he lacks length, he lacks agility and he is downright slow. Quenton to me looks like only an above starting OG in the NFL and I have no idea where this Top 10 chatter is coming from as he just doesn’t seem to have dominant film. I watched five games of his and re-scouted him a second time just to be sure and I still don’t see the dominance people are projecting on him. Late 2nd round as my #4 OG and as one of the most overrated prospects in this draft 1/28/18.

5. Billy Price Ohio State 6’3 ¾ 305 Sr. 1st Team All-American in 2017 (at center). Remington Award Winner (best center in the nation). Experienced both at OG and C with teams split on where he fits best. He has some quickness but is inferior to Ragnow and far inferior to Daniels as his lateral agility isn’t great. As such I see him being a better OG than C but think he could play C if a team needed it. He gave up a sack vs. USC in the bowl game (a poor game by him overall) due to this deficiency of his and it could be exploited by top talent. He is a difficult grade as he has good strength, a great frame and decent quickness/technique but he didn’t hold his blocks for very long, isn’t an elite athlete and had his defender make too many plays in the games I watched (2017 USC, 2017 Michigan). I like his pop in the run game and overall his game lacks any extreme deficiencies so he projects as a future starter at OG. He is a bit overrated due to his accolades which likely came from playing at Ohio State and I worry about his inability to stay on blocks for very long but he projects as an above average starter at the next level. Early 3rd round as my #5 OG 2/23/18.

6. Skyler Phillips Idaho State 6’2 ⅜ 318 Sr. He had a surprisingly great 40 (5.10) and an above average vertical (‘29) but had an average shuttle (4.69) and a bad 3 cone (7.95). Overall he showed up as an NFL athlete which is all he needed with his elite strength. 5 years out of High School so he’s an older player. He played all over the OL for the team, starting all 13 games in 2013 as a true freshman, but missed most of 2016 due to injury. In the NFL his best fit is at OG in a power scheme as he is +330 lbs and he has a massive frame. He doesn’t have good technique as he lets defenders into his body regularly and doesn’t jar players with a devastating punch which you would expect to be in his repertoire. He bends extremely well and has good feet for his size. He comes from a lower level of competition so he likely will need some time to develop but the talent is there and I see some Brandon Brooks to his game/frame. I like him as a project if your team is run oriented or has a smaller center that needs some beef next to him. He has some flaws to scheme around but you don’t find massive men like him with his feet too often so he’s worth developing. Early 3rd round as my #6 OG 2/23/18.

7. Wyatt Teller Virginia Tech 6’4 ½ 314 Sr. Redshirted in 2013 when they switched him from DE to OL so he’s an older player. He started midway through his 2014 season and held down the job ever since earning 1st Team ACC in 2017 (honorable mention in 2016). A former standout at DE in High School, he still has a defender’s body with very little body fat. Many teams will consider him light and bulk him up but he shows good playing strength so some might keep him steady. I like his film as he’s tenacious and has a noticeable punch that jars people back. Much of the media isn’t into Teller for some reason so I did additional research on him as his tape is very good. I’m unsure why the lack of love as PFF rated him as one of the best OGs in the nation as he had 0 sacks and 0 QB hits all of 2017. Add in his #1 ranking in the ACC at OG in 2016 and you have a player with great tape, consistency and elite weight room numbers (400 power clean, 460 bench press, 600 squat) which translate to the field. I’m not the biggest fan of his technique and saw too many unbalanced shoulder leans and pushes for my taste but he was a DL not too long ago and should improve his technique over time. Overall I see him becoming an above average starter and consider him a steal. Early 3rd round as my #7 OG 2/23/18.

8. Braden Smith Auburn 6’6 ¼ 315 Sr. 1st Team All-American in 2017 by some publications (split awards with Cody O’Connell). Started 41 consecutive games. Auburn moved him all over formation wise as he sometimes was a TE in certain formations, other times an OT. He doesn’t hold his blocks long enough, is a bit stiff, isn’t a great athlete and isn’t very strong. That being said he isn’t extremely deficient in any of those areas and overall has decent strength and athleticism. He’s a bit skinny frame wise which might concern some NFL teams and makes me wonder if he could be a OG/OT combo guy as he has arguably more of an OT build than OG. He’s one of the best interior OL in this class at helping his teammates on blocks and immediately attacks DL when unoccupied which I love. An OL alone and not looking to hit someone bugs the hell out of me. He seems to fit better in a zone scheme due to his average strength but probably would work in any scheme. In any scheme though he looks like an average starter who might be valued more by coaches internally than GMs and scouts externally due to his penchant for helping his fellow OL and being good in coordination with them. The ultimate “glue guy” on an OL, especially if he can develop into an OG/OT combo guy. 3rd round as my #8 OG 2/23/18.

9. Ross Pierschbacher Alabama Jr. Freshman All-American in 2015, 2nd Team SEC in 2016, 1st Team SEC in 2017. 3 year starter at OG (42 starts-incredibly high number for just 3 years due to their long postseason runs each year) with practice experience at C. He plays with great technique and battles people which makes him a good fit profile wise for NFL OL coaches. He doesn’t have great athleticism or strength but isn’t terrible in either category and he has good tape overall. I like his frame as he’s tall, long armed and moves relatively well. He looks like a highly polished, low upside type of player but the fact that he started from day 1 at Alabama and was consistent and durable for an elite run team shouldn’t be overlooked as there might be some sneaky upside with him due to his precociousness. Most likely he’s an early starter in his career but plateaus as an average starting guard. 3rd round as my #9 OG 2/23/18.

10. Taylor Hearn Clemson 6’4 ½ 330 Jr. The rare interior lineman to declare early for the draft Hearn was often overlooked on Clemson’s OL due to being next to All-American LT Mitch Hyatt but he more than held his own. He’s stiffly built and doesn’t bend that well but he has long arms, good strength and okay balance. In the 2017 CFP Semifinal vs. Alabama he went against NFL caliber DL, including Da’Ron Payne, and did a good job. Taylor has no obvious weakness as he doesn’t get bull rushed, has solid lateral quickness, long arms and is a really good communicator with his LT and C. His film on stunts and blitzes is impressive and should make him a favorite of an NFL OL coach. He’s been helped tremendously by having Hyatt next to him but Hearn seems underrated (only made 3rd team ACC in 2017) and looks like a mid round steal to me. He played in 43 games (started 29) and regularly faced NFL competition in the ACC, non-conference play and in the CFP the past three seasons. He’s battle tested and projects as an average starting OG down the road, making him a probable steal since I’m seeing no press on him at this point. Late 3rd round as my #10 OG 1/28/18.

11. Alex Cappa Humboldt State 6’5 ¾ 305 Sr. Redshirted in 2013. 5 years out of HS so he’s an older prospect. He only played OL one year in HS. 1st Team All-Conference all four years and OL of the year in 2017, keep in mind he played in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference but still at least he dominated his lower level of competition. 2nd Team Division II in 2016, 1st Team Division II in 2017. Cappa is a tough grade if only because there is no film of him against NFL caliber DL outside of his week at the Senior Bowl. It was huge for him to play well there and makes him a likely draftable prospect now, a big deal for Humboldt State since none have been drafted since 1991. The joke in the scouting community is that his tape is rated R due to the violence as the kid is nasty. I remember Vladimir Ducasse having some what the F moments too though and he was an absolute bust so I needed to see more and feel like I did at the Senior Bowl practices. Honestly this kid is above my pay grade as it is a reach for anyone to for sure say he will work in the NFL but I see him being a long term project that could pan out. With sub ‘33 arms (‘32 ⅜) and very poor shuttle (4.84-7th worst among 48 OL) and 3 cone (8.04-4th worst) drills I see him as an OG not an OT but some might try him at RT before sending him inside. He’s nasty, has good agility and has the strength (24 reps) and 1×1 tape from the Senior Bowl to warrant a roll of the dice as a potential high upside OG. Early 4th round as my #11 OG 3/4/18.

12. Austin Corbett Nevada 6’4 ⅜ 306 Sr. 5 years out of High School so he’s an older player. Took over for Joel Bitonio in 2014 as the LT and has been a 4 year starter. His body type projects inside to OG or even C with OT not being a great fit for him at the next level, a la Bitonio. He has a solid frame for an OG with good height and length. His athleticism isn’t elite like I expected from a LT and he has very poor balance which often results in him lunging, falling backwards or ending on the ground. He struggles to maintain his blocks and doesn’t seem to have great technique though I think it could also be related to his poor balance. He’s a tough grade as the frame is there but his play overall was not impressive and he seems like a tweener as he isn’t long enough for OT, strong enough for power OG or quick enough/technically sound enough for zone OG. I’d still take him in the middle rounds as a project OG with maybe some C in his future but he possibly ends up as a bust despite some obvious NFL traits to him. LT turned OG has a high success rate and his frame is clearly NFL caliber so it’ll get him drafted by some team. Late 4th round as my #12 OG 2/23/18.

13. Cole Madison Washington State 6’5 ¼ 308 Sr. Starter at RT all four seasons (benched for final 4 games his freshman year but retook spot as a Soph). 2017 2nd Team Pac-12. With ‘32 ¼ arms, running a 5.33 40, and 4.88 shuttle (all below average to bad) he clearly isn’t an OT but as an OG he has some appeal. He has great experience as a 4 year starter and really excels at staying on his blocks which I like. His film shows off his mediocre athleticism but inside it won’t be as noticeable as it was on an island like Mike Leach’s offense put him on. He seems to have a good understanding of blocking angles and often shaded his RG very well to help him out. I like his film and think his strength is above average and his athleticism is decent enough to expect him to become an average starter. As you can tell, I’m not raving about the kid but he could easily be a 5-7 year mediocre starter for someone and as a mid to late round draft pick he’d be cheap. 5th round as my #13 OG 3/5/18.

14. Joseph Noteboom TCU 6’5 309 Sr. Redshirted in 2013. 5 years out of HS so he’s an older prospect. He was a backup in 2014 at RT, starter at RT in 2015, starter at LT in 2016 and 2017 (honorable mention Big 12). He had a great Combine with ‘34 ⅜ arms, 4.96 40 (4th best among 48 OL), 4.44 shuttle (2nd best) and 7.65 3 cone (9th best). His lack of awards as a 5 year college player is alarming to me. He has a nice thickness to his frame which makes me think OG is a distinct option for him if OT doesn’t work out. He’s a smart player as a 3x Academic All Conference. His tape isn’t very good as he struggles to stay on blocks, isn’t a very strong guy, and doesn’t have good technique. He seems very raw to me which makes sense considering he didn’t see the field consistently until his 3rd year after High School. I like his frame and overall package of length and quickness but it doesn’t fully translate to the field. I would take a shot on him as a late round or free agent type and probably would move him inside to OG where he doesn’t have to think as much as his angles are pretty poor at LT. Those poor angles also make sense as to why he was better 1×1 than in team drills at the Senior Bowl. Noteboom has the talent, he just needs time to figure the game out and moving him to OG could speed along that process. 5th round as my #14 OG 3/4/18.

15. Sean Welsh Iowa 6’2 ¾ 306 Sr. Won the OG starting job in 2014 and quit during spring practice due to depression so he will be extra scrutinized medically and mentally by NFL teams. Started 4 years earning 3rd Team Big 12 in 2016 and 2nd Team Big 12 in 2017. Played next to C James Daniels the past few seasons which really helped him. He has a decent frame but is a little fat and isn’t a good athlete with a noticeable lack of quickness. He flat out can’t make move blocks and will not work in a zone scheme. He has good strength but is by no means a mauler which you would prefer due to his issues agility wise and quickness wise. I don’t see him being a starter in the NFL and consider him a fringe prospect at best. Free Agent as my #15 OG 2/23/18.





Dak, Playoffs, Brady and more…


Prescott’s Decline: Going into the 2017 season Dak Prescott was talked about in rarified air. He was the reigning offensive rookie of the year (surprisingly awarded to him over his more deserving teammate Ezekiel Elliott), coming off a 13-3 season (best in franchise history), and people were raving about his leadership skills and work ethic with many Russell Wilson and even Tom Brady comparisons thrown around. Fast forward 16 games and Dak is considered a very different player. To me he’s the same guy, as his rookie season had him playing the perfect complement to a dominant run game and creative passing game that simply wasn’t sustainable long term. Every throw of his was a high percentage, low distance check down to a wide open Jason Witten or Cole Beasley. His defense was Top 5, his rushing attack was #1 in the league and his re-designed offense had no prior tape on it so it kind of took the league by storm last year. Yet looking at his numbers you can see that he was clearly not the offensive rookie of the year but was second fiddle to Zeke. In only 2 of 16 games did Dak throw for 300 yards. He was at his efficient best on 2nd and short and excelled in those situations yet in 2017 when 2nd and short turned into 3rd and long his best traits, being conservative and careful with the ball, became his worst traits as “Dump off Dak” became my mantra for him. Watch the losses in both 2016 and 2017 and the obvious pattern of Dak throwing short of the sticks and unwilling (Packers playoff loss last year with 4th and 10 throwing to Zeke on a 4 yard dump off to end the game?) or unable (Broncos game in 2017, playing from behind and throwing 2 INTS that easily could have been 4 INTs in a brutal blowout) to threaten a defense on longer throws. I’ve compared Dak previously to Alex Smith and Donovan McNabb and continue to see the same positives and negatives in the QBs. All three have elite attempts to INT ratios, something Dak should have long term despite his poor 13 INT total this year, but struggled against elite defenses or in 3rd and long situations. I think the rest of the league has game planned Dak into oblivion. It is up to the Cowboys coaches to respond in a creative schematic way that allows Dak to be more productive ala what the Chiefs did for Alex Smith this past year or it is time for the Cowboys management to find another QB. The Cowboys have one of the 10 best rosters in the NFL and seem to be improving on it each year with their drafting record the past 5 years arguably the best in the NFL. I don’t see the current version of Dak taking them anywhere near a Super Bowl and would be very disappointed if the Cowboys allowed a QB with obvious flaws and/or an uncreative coaching staff to ruin the next few years of this promising core of young players (Zeke, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith, Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis).

Playoff Bracket: This year the playoffs seem rather shallow in terms of true Super Bowl contenders as there are two teams that flat out aren’t playoff caliber (Bills and Titans), two teams that once seemed dangerous but now seem like easy pickins for any talented team that runs into them (Eagles and Chiefs), two teams that recently made it to a Super Bowl but don’t seem to quite have it this year (Falcons and Panthers) and two up and coming teams that are going to be scary down the road but are probably still a year away from truly competing (Rams and Jaguars). That leaves the Patriots, Steelers, Saints and Vikings (ordered in strength from greatest to least chance to win a Super Bowl) as the four true contenders. I’m sure by me dismissing out of hand 8 of the 12 teams you the reader have an argument against me on one of the teams and you may be right. In fact I could conceivably see Cam Newton catch fire and force his way into a 2nd Super Bowl in 3 years. I could also see the Chiefs beat a mediocre Titans team and upset a Steelers team on the road as they seem to play the Steelers extra tough, yet their run would end in Foxboro. It also wouldn’t shock me to see the Falcons put it all together late and beat a team or two before exiting yet their team has been far too inconsistent this year for me to see a Super Bowl run. Finally I could even see the Rams just run through the NFC as Sean McVay is putting together a dominant case for coach of the year and seems to be maximizing the size/speed ratio of Todd Gurley which always had scouts like me drooling. I suspect the Vikings would shut their offense down and the Saints would outscore them BUT I’m not 100% sure by any means. One thing I am certain of is the Eagles are going down and I’m quite surprised how many in the media continue to say that the Eagles overall roster can and will overcome Weintz injury. To me it is a laughably contradictory argument that Weintz could be the MVP favorite after Week 13 AND the Eagles are still Super Bowl contenders without him. The Eagles were picked by most to be last or 2nd to last in the NFC East this year as their roster was deemed weak in a number of areas, areas which are now being noticed without Weintz’s elite 3rd down conversion rate (far and away the best in the league per PFF). Mark my words the Eagles get blown out at home in Round 2. My pick is the Patriots vs. the Saints in the Super Bowl but I honestly see some weakness in the Patriots this year both in their defense and with Tom Brady’s play of late. If the Steelers play a good game in Foxboro I could see them upset the Patriots. This weekend has a few choice games (Rams vs. Falcons being my favorite) but the main course comes next weekend.


Patriots: If interested in a good read, I highly recommend this ESPN article by Seth Wickersham ( I am simply obsessed with the 2007 to present version of the New England Patriots as their “2nd half storyline” of their careers is simply remarkable. Only the Tim Duncan-Greg Popovich San Antonio Spurs comes to mind as a player/coach duo having such success regularly reinventing their roster and style of play while continually having success. Comparing the early 2000s Patriots where they won with defense and in low scoring, brutal affairs and the 2007, 2015 and 2017 Patriots when the defense was clearly second fiddle to a dominant aerial attack led by Brady is to see coaching at its best (yes the 2007 Patriots didn’t win a Super Bowl but I contend it is still one of the 5 greatest teams of all time and quite a few regular season and playoff stats can prove it). They completely changed their system from heavy set run oriented offense to deep threat and slot receiver combos (Moss/Welker) to two tight end (Gronk/Hernandez) base set throwing offenses to slot receiver and spread formations (Edelman, Amendola, Cooks) to the latest incarnation which seems to be an extreme emphasis on the scat back both as a runner and receiver (White, Lewis, Burkhead) while running tempo. It is truly amazing to behold such adaptability, especially compared to the Jason Garrett led Cowboys that can’t comprehend chipping a DE with a RB or TE when your All Pro Left Tackle is out for a game or two. No, let’s just let a replacement level player like Adrian Clayborn (24 sacks in 80 games, 1 sack every 3.3 games) have a 6 sack game ruining the team’s playoff chances. The same lack of adaptability can be seen with the Cowboys inability to scheme around Sean Lee and Ezekiel Elliott’s absence but I digress. What the Patriots are doing is historic yet it will end soon. My question is with the article’s opinion that this is it. To me it clearly isn’t as I was arguing last offseason that this was Brady’s last year since all the tea leaves pointed that way (Jimmy Garropolo not being traded for a 1st round pick, the very unPatriots like signing of high priced free agent Stephon Gilmore, the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator both turning down job interviews last offseason and the Patriots trade of their 1st round pick for Brandin Cooks). All of the moves seemed set on getting 1 more Super Bowl win for Brady and then he goes off into the sunset. In fact I wonder if Brady had agreed to such a plan and then reneged on it midseason. Whether the case or not, the trade of Garoppolo is a game changer and to me signals that Kraft is telling Belichick that Brady gets a few more years and to deal with it. Yes Bill could bolt for another franchise or retire but I just don’t see either being likely. More likely, he sucks it up, drafts a QB in Rounds 1 or 2 (in what is an extremely QB heavy draft by the way) and starts battling with Kraft behind the scenes as early as 2019 to get Brady out for good. I truly believe Belichick is such the egomaniac and asshole that he WANTS to win a Super Bowl without Brady. I also believe he is the greatest head coach of all time and WILL win a Super Bowl without Brady, the question being with whom at QB. Bill, unlike Brady, has shown no signs of slowing down and is still the odds on favorite to be the last man standing of the two. I think the Garoppolo trade just forces him to stick with Brady in 2018 and 2019, against his wishes. I am hopeful it plays out that way as, despite Garoppolo’s amazing late season 49ers run, Brady deserves a longer leash than other veterans under Belichick. He is the greatest QB of all time and is an MVP candidate this year, despite clear slippage in his play in certain situations. Belichick can win with Brady this year and next year. He won’t bolt New England over something so petty, he’ll just take it out even more on the media, Brady in the film room and assistant coaches on the sideline. You know, like he always has.

A few final nuggets:

  • I think Sam Darnold is going to get the highest grade of any QB I’ve given out since Andrew Luck in 2011. My scouting is incomplete and I worry about his turnovers but I see him as a Tom Brady/Carson Weintz blend with his upside being off the charts. You roll the dice on greatness like him and he’ll very likely end as the #1 Overall Prospect.
  • I seriously wonder if the 49ers and Garoppolo had an unwritten handshake agreement on a contract extension before they started him and, if they didn’t, I think they are stupid. His play the past 5 games has made him millions and I still wonder if some team like the New York Jets or Cleveland Browns or, surprise team in the weeds like the Buffalo Bills doesn’t surprise everyone by making a crazy 8 year $200 million type offer that he can’t refuse. If the 49ers get him signed for less than $25 mil per year there was a handshake agreement between him and the team. To me he is the biggest storyline this offseason as he’s either already tethered to the 49ers or they just created a monster and are going to have their hands full keeping him as Cousins charted a path on how to hit unrestricted free agency by playing through the franchise tag back to back years and Garoppolo might well follow through on that game plan if the 49ers don’t back up the Brinks truck for him. On the open market he could very easily get $25 mil a year and it wouldn’t shock me if the Browns just threw stupid money at him like $30 mil a year. He looks like a franchise QB and is only 26 years old. That combination hasn’t hit free agency since Drew Brees in 2006 and even that is an asterisk since he was coming off major shoulder surgery. I know many of you are saying, “Jon they’re just going to sign him or franchise him, either way they won’t lose him.” True for a season, but if I’m his agent I say give me $25 mil a year on a long term deal or we are signing your franchise tender this offseason (~$23.5 mil in 2018) and next year you are going to either pay us $29 mil in 2019 (goes up by 25% for a 2nd consecutive franchise tag) or you are going to let me hit free agency where I might get $29 mil a year on a long term guaranteed deal! It quickly becomes a game of chicken and would the 49ers really do that with +$100 million in cap space and firmly believing Garoppolo is their franchise QB? I doubt it…which means he likely gets signed to a long term deal millions higher than he would have 8 weeks ago or they sign him to a reasonable deal proving they had a handshake agreement pre-trade which is technically illegal but can’t be proven and occurs all the time.
  • The Browns continue to cut off their nose to spite their face as they agreed to a long term rebuilding, chose a Moneyball approach that I thought made a lot of sense, made all of their moves looking solely to 2018 and beyond with no interest in being competitive in 2016 or 2017 and then canned management when it worked to perfection. Yes the GM was mediocre to poor on his mid to late round picks as WR Rashard Higgins and LB Hayes Pollard are the only players in the 4th round or later to make an impact in their 3 drafts yet their early round picks were average at worst, good at best with Myles Garrett, Corey Coleman, Danny Shelton, Jabril Peppers, and David Njakou all showing considerable upside and Duke Johnson, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Shon Coleman all working in as solid starters. That isn’t a draft haul worth firing a GM for so it essentially means that they were fired because of the AJ McCarron fiasco. If so, I couldn’t have less respect for the Browns owner as he essentially sided with a coach with a 1-31 coaching record who wanted to trade a 2nd and 3rd round pick for a QB no one thought of as having elite talent months before you were going to pick 1st Overall in a QB heavy draft? I am sure Browns management purposely sabotaged that trade and I think they should have as to make that trade was to destroy the groundwork that took years of pain and losing to establish. The moneyballers now bequeath the new GM two Top 4 picks in the draft, including the 1st Overall Pick in a draft with two solid choices at QB to choose between, a potential future defensive player of the year in Garrett and $110 mil in cap room. New GM John Dorsey was a good hire and will do a fine job but it will be hard for him to not hit a home run due to the incredible foundation created by the “failures” of the old regime. Just remember that when the Browns are the 2019 version of this year’s Jaguars with a stacked roster seemingly out of nowhere. I feel bad for Sashi Brown and company as they were on the verge of seeing their plan payoff and ownership stole it from them. It’s a classic Browns move to say the least and is the reason why so many players try to avoid the franchise at all costs as they have no concept of what it takes to win. Brown fell on the sword by nixing the McCarron trade and all fans will thank him for years to come when Darnold is a star on offense and Garrett is a star on defense, all of which was caused by Brown following through on his vision of how to create a lasting winner.

2018 QB Market


Two teams will be very happy to upgrade their QB position next offseason with these two young studs (Jimmy Garappolo left, Sam Darnold right).

With the recent Jimmy Garoppolo trade to the 49ers, the 2018 QB Market has lost some of its appeal but is still an extremely intriguing storyline for me as it shows something the NFL hasn’t had in quite a long time, depth within the QB position. For decades commentators have stated that there aren’t 32 quality starting QBs out there and it has largely been correct yet with QBs aging better than they previously have (Brady, Brees, Rivers, Roethlisberger all still looking good) and numerous recent QB classes producing 3 or more quality starting QBs it appears that the NFL is finally on the verge of having more starter quality QBs than available jobs. This offseason will put this to the test as the free agent market will have a historic class that could include the following names (ranked in order, by how I see them at least): Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Alex Smith, Ryan Tannehill, Eli Manning, Tyrod Taylor, Jay Cutler, Josh McCown, Sam Bradford, Blake Bortles, AJ McCarron, Case Keenum, Mike Glennon, and Brock Osweiler. In my eyes that is 12 starters and 3 backups (McCarron is considered a starter in my eyes but he and Bortles are VERY borderline) and they will be fighting for less than 12 starting jobs. Also this sudden depth at the QB position doesn’t take into account the fact that the 2018 NFL Draft looks to be very QB heavy in the first two rounds with Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph, and Clayton Thorson all potentially being available (many are underclassmen). Pro Bowlers like Brees, Cousins and Smith will be fine but a team like the Minnesota Vikings could be in the driver seat next offseason as they play Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, AJ McCarron and Josh McCown off each other in an attempt to get a team friendly contract. Scenarios like this just didn’t exist as there was always a team in need of a quality QB and with few viable options, look no further than Jay Cutler’s 1 year $10 million deal after Ryan Tannehill’s injury. Yet each year the college ranks have provided more quality starters than the game retired (like last year for instance when Romo retired but Goff, Wentz and Prescott joined the ranks of expected long time starters furthering the depth by a +2 which could turn into +3 or +4 if Paxton Lynch or Jacoby Brissett work out) and I think the NFL is finally at the tipping point I mentioned a few years ( ago with QB depth being at unprecedented levels. I maybe called it 2-3 years early but I saw the trend awhile ago and think that the 2018 offseason will be the tipping point which results in unprecedented moves in the QB free agent market.

Random Thoughts

  • Jeff Fisher: Don’t underestimate the importance of swapping draft bust Greg Robinson for perennially underrated Andrew Whitworth at LT but isn’t everyone noticing how ridiculously bad of a coach Jeff Fisher was the past half decade with the St. Louis Rams? Whether you compare Sam Bradford’s QB Rating in his 4 seasons under Fisher (80.1) vs. his 1 year with Chip Kelly (86.4) or his 1 year with Norv Turner (99.3) or you compare Jared Goff’s QB Rating in his 1 season under Fisher (63.6) vs. his 1 season under Sean McVay (118.2) or even Case Keenum’s 2016 season under Fisher (76.4-10 games) vs. his 2017 season in Minnesota (101.8-2 games) you start to see a pattern emerge. I’ve always wondered how Fisher got so many coaching opportunities with basically a career .500 coaching record (176-165 .512) but I didn’t even think he was this bad. The lack of creativity, the inability to ever get wideouts open sytematically and his unwillingness to move on from obvious draft busts all doomed his QBs from the start. The guys never had a chance under Fisher so it’s good to see them all in better places now. Who knows, maybe someone should give Nick Foles a chance as a starter. He could be the latest turnaround project to succeed away from Fisher.
  • Buffalo Bills Trades: After the draft I panned the Bills with this analysis, “To me Tre’Davious White is a low upside, career #2 CB who I had a 2nd round grade on and Zay Jones is a low upside, career #2 WR who I had a 3rd round grade on. Those aren’t building blocks which is what you are looking for in Top 40 picks. I actually liked his later picks (Dion Dawkins, Matt Milano and Nathan Peterman) but all of the guys going to the Bills look like high polish, low upside cheap starters. That’s a perfect draft for the Seahawks, Patriots or Cowboys who have plenty of Pro Bowlers on their roster and are top heavy but the Bills lost 3 Pro Bowlers this offseason in Zach Brown, Kyle Williams and Stephon Gilmore and did nothing noticeable to replace them. After this draft and the Dolphins seemingly improving, I think the Bills are in for a rough 2017 season in the AFC East.” Since then the Bills have traded arguably their best offensive and defensive players for lower upside guys and future picks which tells me that they’ve decided on a strategy and are going all in on it. Well they at least have a plan and I have to respect any team that makes a clear plan and tries to execute it. I still question the validity of a plan that is based on getting rid of all your most talented players and replacing them with high character, high motor guys with far inferior upsides. I just don’t see a team that switches out Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, Stephon Gilmore and Zach Brown for Tre’Davious White, Zay Jones, Anquan Boldin, Jordan Matthews and EJ Gaines as being better. Matthews came out of Vanderbilt with the reputation as one of the hardest working players many scouts had ever seen. He’s been productive but in 3 years he has 0 Pro Bowls and has settled in as a career #2 WR in my opinion. White came out of LSU this year as a polished, old school type player. I get how these type of guys are easier to coach and improve a locker room but outside of New England that strategy rarely seems to succeed. Chip Kelly traded or cut LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Evan Mathis and other high maintenance guys for lower ceilinged guys too and it blew up in his face. It could happen again in Buffalo. The one caveat though is that Sean McDermott has time so trading back in 1st round this past draft and adding a 2nd and 3rd rounder this offseason all improves his position long term. I just have my doubts that he’ll be drafting high upside guys with those picks in 2018 so he’ll eventually find himself with a deep roster full of average to above average players, none of whom are Pro Bowlers. That screams 6-10 to 9-7 territory to me and isn’t the type of game plan I’d be trying to execute. (Written before the season started)
  • Lower Class: Last weekend the Jets, Bills, Saints, Jaguars, Bears and Colts all won. For four of those six teams it was their first win of the year. All of those six teams would be in my “lower class” (add in the Browns, Chargers and 49ers for good measure) of the NFL yet every year a team or two moves out of there and surprises people with a playoff berth or at least a late run for a playoff berth. This year the two teams that really intrigue me are the Saints and the Bears. The Saints have had a Top 5 offense almost every year yet finally seem to have addressed their defense with a number of picks last May, including Marshon Lattimore who was one of my favorite players in the draft. He already looks the part of a shutdown corner and having a stud at that position will give the Saints all sorts of options to blitz and disguise coverage on the other side of the field that they haven’t had in years. The Bears intrigue me as well IF, huge if, they make the sensible move and switch Mike Glennon with Mitch Trubisky as the starting QB. I just ranted about Jeff Fisher but John Fox isn’t far behind in the perennially overrated head coach department as everyone but Fox seems to understand that Mitch is better than Glennon yet here we are after four games with Fox continuing to defend Glennon. The Bears have a good OL, arguably the best 1-2 punch at RB in the league and a good defense. Add in Trubisky’s mobility and improvisational skills and the Bears could be a playoff caliber team. With Fox sticking to Glennon to start the season off 1-3, largely due to Glennon’s 5 INTs and 5 fumbles (his 10 turnovers leading the league) it appears like the Bears glimmer of hope has faded but be on the lookout for the Bears in the 2nd half of the season when Mitch gets his chance. All of the other pieces are in place for the Bears to surprise people late in the year.
  • JJ Watt: JJ Watt just doesn’t have it and I am starting to wonder if he will ever regain his former form. I’m not trying to be too accusatorial in this statement BUT his career right now is going perfectly to form for a guy who was on steroids and is now having his body break down because of it. Think about it, he was a no-name 2 star prospect TE at Central Michigan as an 18 year old when all of a sudden he became the most athletic player in the country. He proceeded to dominate the NFL like few ever have (honestly Watt’s first 5 seasons are only comparable to two defensive players, Reggie White and Lawrence Taylor) and missed all of last year due to an injury and looks like a shadow of his former self this year. At the age of 28 he appears to be washed up and the trajectory of his sudden ascent and sudden demise, as well as his historic size/speed ratio, makes me ask the question: Was JJ Watt a product of steroids?

2017 NFL Draft Grades

I’m not going to go through and rank every pick or every team’s overall picks but I wanted to do a quick analysis of some teams that caught my eye on draft weekend.

Top 5 Teams

Browns: I loved what the Browns did in the 1st round. They stayed at #1 and took the best prospect in the draft in Myles Garrett. While that would seem like a no brainer, there are too many instances of teams reaching for a QB instead of the obvious stud(s) at other positions. From JaMarcus Russell over Calvin Johnson/Joe Thomas in 2007 to Sam Bradford over Ndamakong Suh/Gerald McCoy/Eric Berry in 2010 to Jared Goff over Joey Bosa/Ezekiel Elliott/Jalen Ramsey just this past year there are countless examples of teams reaching for a QB and looking foolish in hindsight. Then they smartly traded down from #12 to #25, picking up Houston’s 1st round pick next year, as they agreed with me in their lack of conviction on Deshaun Watson. To me this was a 1 QB draft as I loved Trubisky, had major worries about all the others. Some of those others will work out, some will bust. I think the Browns made the right choice in adding a 1st rounder in 2018 so they can possibly move up the board for a franchise QB they have more conviction on. Finally, they moved up into the 1st round and snagged David Njoku at #29. He’s good value there and I just like how they maneuvered around the board all weekend to get players they wanted. They moved down once and moved up three times so they were all over the board and came away with a lot of talent. I especially liked their Howard Wilson (CB from Houston) pick on Day 3. To come away with 10 players and still be stacked for the 2018 Draft (two 1st rounders, two 2nd rounders) shows that the nerds know how to draft.

Cowboys: It’s nice to see the Cowboys on my list of Top 5 teams as it doesn’t happen too often. This year was basically the opposite of what they normally do as they tend to ace the 1st round and then add little else to the roster in Rounds 2-7. Taco Charlton could end up being a surprise as a pass rusher but most, including me, think he’ll never be more than an average to above average starter. Not what I’d like to see in the 1st round but the Cowboys seemed content with taking a DE in Round 1 and then focusing on the secondary and best player available the rest of the way. We can argue all day about whether that strategy maximizes a draft but it’s not hard to be happy with the results from that strategy due to the depth of the CB and S class. CB Chidobe Awuzie (Top 20 grade on my board) at #60 was a steal (A+), CB Jourdan Lewis at #92 was a good pick and great fit (A-), WR Ryan Switzer at #133 was a solid pick (B), S Xavier Woods (3rd round grade on my board) at #191 was a steal (A+), CB Marquez White at #216 was a solid pick (B-) and then there were two DTs I had never heard of in the 7th with Joey Ivie (C-) and Jordan Carrell (D) mixed in with a raw but talented WR also in the 7th in Noah Brown (B). I can’t remember the last time I classified two picks in one draft for the Cowboys as steals. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Awuzie and Woods are starting in the secondary in the season opener vs. the Giants and if Jourdan Lewis replaces Anthony Brown as the slot corner. Add in Taco Charlton likely starting at DE, if only because of DeMarcus Lawrence’s 4 game suspension, and the Cowboys maybe just added 4 new starters to their defense. That’s a pretty impressive haul.

Denver Broncos: I feel like I give good grades to John Elway’s draft every year and almost every year it also comes with an asterisk as I usually don’t like his first round. I didn’t like Sylvester Williams, Paxton Lynch or Bradley Roby and am fine with but not obsessed with Garrett Bolles or Shane Ray yet his work in Rounds 2-7 always balances that out. Bolles makes a lot of sense with how he worked his offseason (ignoring the LT spot entirely) and he has solid value at #20 but he’s a roll of the dice and at 25 years of age and with character issues I’m on the fence with him. I think Bolles is a solid pick but I became less excited about the pick after thinking about the fact that Jonathan Allen and OJ Howard were taken 3 and 1 pick ahead of Bolles. To me the Broncos have one of the 2-3 best 53 man rosters in the NFL so they could have afforded to give up a 3rd round to move up for those two Alabama players when Elway saw them slipping. Adding Howard to a skill position group that already has DeMaryious Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders would have put the Broncos over the top. Yet, like he always does, he made up for his 1st round by acing the later rounds. DeMarcus Walker (Top 20 grade on my board) at #51 was a steal, Jake Butt (Mid 2nd round grade on my board) at #145 in the 5th round was also a steal and Chad Kelly as the last pick in the draft was another steal. 3 steals to go along with a solid but underwhelming pick, mainly due to how the board was shaking out, in Bolles and a solid WR in Carlos Henderson and an elite return specialist in Isaiah McKenzie gives the Broncos lots of talent to add to their already stacked roster. If Lynch becomes a player, the Broncos will be the best team in the NFL for the next half decade. Thankfully I don’t believe he will so everyone still has a shot at the title….for now.

Chargers: I loved their draft from top to bottom. Yes WR Mike Williams at #7 maybe was a little early but it wasn’t that much of a reach off my board or most boards I saw and the fit with Phillip Rivers is just perfect so it makes a lot of sense. I think Williams could have a 1,000 yard 10 TD season as a rookie due to how good Rivers is at throwing back shoulder throws and jump balls which are exactly what Williams’ strengths are. Yet the draft got better from there as OG Forrest Lamp in the early 2nd is good value, OG/C Dan Feeney in the 3rd round (#71 Overall) is a steal as I had a similar grade on him to Lamp and see them both as day 1 starters. Add in SS Rayshawn Jenkins in the 4th, a steal on my board as I had a 2nd round grade on him, and Desmond King in the 5th, a very good pick as I had a late 3rd on my board, and you have added 5 players that could contribute early on for them. I also really like them finally giving Phillip Rivers some help. His offense hasn’t had a true #1 WR since Vincent Jackson left in 2012. That’s a long time to give Rivers nothing but #2 and #3 wideouts to throw to. Expect Rivers to have a career year with Williams, an underrated Hunter Henry and, hopefully, a healthy Keenan Allen  as targets.

49ers: I think everyone agrees the 49ers were the Day 1 winners as they moved down 1 spot, added two 3rd rounders and a 4th rounder, and then chose the same player they were going to take all along in Solomon Thomas. Add in their move back into the 1st round for Reuben Foster, a guy I liked but others loved and had many a Top 10 grade on boards around the league, and then adding a steal in CB Ahkello Witherspoon (one of my sleepers in this draft) and there is a lot to like with the 49ers. My one criticism is that they chose QB CJ Beathard over Brad Kaaya and Nathan Peterman. I didn’t see many high grades on Beathard but hey when you sign an offensive minded head coach like Kyle Shanahan you should let them decide on what QB to take so maybe it works out. I have my doubts though. Either way the 49ers had a great first draft and John Lynch looks like he knows what he’s doing.

Bottom 5 Teams
Buffalo Bills: Interestingly enough I saw some high grades on the Bills draft as they focused on how they’re all tough, lunch pail type guys. That’s all well and good and Sean McDermott is a defensive minded coach so he probably loves hearing that his draft was called tough, but the Bills had two Top 40 picks and came away with no one that seems to have Pro Bowl potential. Everyone does their rankings differently but I view 1st round graded players as guys with Pro Bowl potential, and a high probability at that, and guys with 2nd round grades as either risky prospects with Pro Bowl potential or safe prospects that are just below Pro Bowl level. The Bills have a lot of odd pieces talent wise on their roster and don’t seem to have a plan of what they want their team to look like and don’t seem to have any superstars either. Maybe you can argue LeSean McCoy is that but then I’d question you on why their best player is a soon to be 29 year old RB yet the rest of their roster is young. Are they looking to win now or build for the future? To me Tre’Davious White is a low upside, career #2 CB who I had a 2nd round grade on and Zay Jones is a low upside, career #2 WR who I had a 3rd round grade on. Those aren’t building blocks which is what you are looking for in Top 40 picks. I actually liked his later picks (Dion Dawkins, Matt Milano and Nathan Peterman) but all of the guys going to the Bills look like high polish, low upside cheap starters. That’s a perfect draft for the Seahawks, Patriots or Cowboys who have plenty of Pro Bowlers on their roster and are top heavy but the Bills lost 3 Pro Bowlers this offseason in Zach Brown, Kyle Williams and Stephon Gilmore and did nothing noticeable to replace them. After this draft and the Dolphins seemingly improving, I think the Bills are in for a rough 2017 season in the AFC East.

Lions: Before I start I need to explain that I don’t scout every player in college football. I tend to review how others grade players, take every player I see the consensus give a Top 5 round grade on and then grade them myself. So if most view a player as a 6th rounder or later, I don’t even scout them. I’m sure that causes me to miss some diamonds in the rough but it saves me a tremendous amount of time that is often wasted on studying guys that are unlikely to be drafted anyway. I say all that because the Lions had more guys I’d never heard of before than any other team. I only knew 4 of their 9 picks which means they took 5 picks that most people had grades on as 6th rounders or later. That’s worrisome. Maybe they find their diamonds in the rough but I have my doubts. LB Jarrad Davis in the 1st round is a high polish, low upside guy I had a 2nd round grade on, CB Teez Tabor in the 2nd round is another high polish, low upside guy (I had an early 3rd round grade on) and WR Kenny Golladay was their 3rd rounder that I had a late 5th round grade on. So their first three picks were reaches on my board, then they draft 5 guys I never heard of and then get one of the steals of the draft with QB Brad Kaaya in the 6th round. Outside of Kaaya I disliked or hated every one of their picks.

Saints: I have less an issue with the players they took and more an issue with their strategy. Ryan Ramczyk was widely regarded as one of the three best OTs in this draft class so he made sense to many in the late 1st BUT the Saints have huge needs all over their defense and seemed pretty set at OT (Terron Armstead and Zach Strief) so to spend a 1st on that position was odd. It’s even odder knowing that pick was from the Brandin Cooks trade so they gave up one of their best offensive weapons, used that saved cap space on Adrian Peterson who doesn’t seem like a great fit with Mark Ingram already there, and then blow their 1st round pick on what essentially will be a backup OT in 2017? None of those moves make sense when related to each other and makes me think they didn’t have an overall comprehensive strategy in place but made each move individually without thinking about how they connected with each other. Then they trade their 2018 2nd round pick to move up for Alvin Kamara, a player I love and think is a steal in the 3rd round but again why would you do that? Now the Saints still have a defense with a major lack of talent but have the most crowded RB depth chart in the league with Ingram, Peterson, Kamara and Travaris Cadet? Where is the strategy for these moves? Also the Saints should NOT be trading future picks under any circumstances as they haven’t been a double digit win team in quite a few seasons so that is going to be a low 2nd rounder next year. Finally when the Saints did take defensive players I was underwhelmed by them, except for Marshon Lattimore who is a steal at #12. LB Alex Anzalone has his defenders but I had a late round grade on him, they took him in the 3rd round, as he was almost always hurt at Florida and had some of the worst cumulative stats of any player drafted this weekend. DE Trey Hendrickson I also had a late round grade on, also taken in the 3rd round, as he didn’t seem to play at nearly his Combine measurables. I just wonder who is in charge in New Orleans and question why the team continues to be mediocre despite All-Pro level play at the QB position. Name another team that has a Top 5 QB that never makes the playoffs? Andrew Luck you say? Yep, the GM was fired just last year for that reason AND they made the playoffs more recently than the Saints did AND Brees has had better numbers the past two years than Luck yet somehow the Saints GM sticks around? The Saints are a Drew Brees injury away from being the worst team in the NFL. Something has to change down there as they seem directionless.

Giants: It’s nice to see an NFC East team not named the Cowboys in this portion. The Giants had a weird draft. I like the Evan Engram pick, in fact I’m scared my prediction of him that he could become a star if put in the right system comes true in New York next to Odell Beckham, but otherwise am confused by the moves. Their choice of DT Dalvin Tomlinson in the 2nd round was fine for some people but I had a 7th round grade on him and saw him as the most overrated Alabama player in the draft. Then they basically chose backups for 2017 with QB Davis Webb (a guy I don’t like but some did) and RB Wayne Gallman. It wouldn’t surprise me if Engram is the only starter to come out of this draft in 2017 and, if Engram doesn’t star for them, I see no potential Pro Bowlers from this draft.

Seahawks: Yep Jon is grinding that axe again. I know I criticize the Seahawks every year but it’s true, they just don’t add anything to their team. It’s really a testament to how good their nucleus is that they can get away with so many bad drafts in a row and still contend. That being said they are almost out of rope as Lynch is no longer on the team, Chancellor isn’t the impact player he was earlier in his career, Sherman is trying to get out of Seattle and Earl Thomas is openly discussing retirement. Their nucleus of 8 players is down to 7 and could be further whittled very soon as most of them are 28 or older and nearing the point when players start declining. The Seahawks and I just don’t evaluate players in a similar fashion so our draft grades differ dramatically. Lately I have been right more than wrong as they’ve only drafted 1 player in the past 4 draft that has made the Pro Bowl and that player, Tyler Lockett, was the only pick of theirs in that 2015 draft that I liked, “The Lockett pick is one of the 3 best today. I love it as I had a higher grade on him than I did on Phillip Dorsett and really considered him in the late 1st round. He and Russell Wilson will be a scary duo. I’m serious when I say that this kid could be a Pro Bowler. He’s that under the radar. He was my #5 available.” For the 2017 Draft they took Malik McDowell in the early 2nd round and it was a solid choice. After that though their grades of players and mine differed dramatically as C Ethan Pocic was a reach to me (taken #58, graded by me as #161), CB Shaquill Griffen was a similar reach (taken #90, graded by me as #160), they took 6 guys I’d never heard of, and only DT Nazair Jones (taken #102, graded by me as #102) seemed to be decent value. This looks like another year where the Seahawks add no star talent and only a little depth to their once vaunted roster.


Day 3 (Rounds 4-7) Live Blog

Refresh regularly

Top 25 that are still available going into Round 4

  1. Brad Kaaya QB
  2. Josh Malone WR
  3. Damontae Kazee CB
  4. Conor McDermott OT
  5. Jordan Evans LB
  6. Nathan Peterman QB
  7. Rayshawn Jenkins S
  8. Howard Wilson CB
  9. Jordan Leggett TE
  10. Marquel Lee LB
  11. Jake Butt TE
  12. Jon Toth C
  13. Carroll Phillips PR
  14. Isaiah Ford WR
  15. Stacy Coley WR
  16. Shelton Gibson WR
  17. Jarron Jones DT
  18. Jeremy Cutrer CB
  19. Bucky Hodges TE
  20. Blair Brown LB
  21. Vincent Taylor DT
  22. Carlos Watkins DT
  23. Corn Elder CB
  24. Adam Bisnowaty OT
  25. Carl Lawson PR
  26. Josh Reynolds WR (had to go #26 to get Reynolds on there for Ross)

There is a lot of talent still available and much of it is clustered in the WR, CB and TE spots with two talented QBs still on the board which to me is surprising. Kaaya less so but I heard a lot of 2nd round chatter on Nathan Peterman and wonder if someone will be moving up for him. I doubt he lasts long.

108. Packers: Vince Biegel-Solid pick. He’s a perfect fit for a 3-4 scheme as he has the versatility to play OLB or ILB in that system. I had him ranked #121, he’s a local kid from Wisconsin and is a great fit. This makes sense on a lot of levels. Good start to Day 3.

110. Jaguars: Dede Westbrook- I love this pick. He had a lot of red flags as a person so that’s the real reason he fell. If he checks out in those areas then he’s the best deep threat in this draft, yes better than John Ross taken #9. Dede flat out flies and no player I graded in this draft had more separation catch in and catch out than Dede. Yes he’s 175 lbs or so but put him in the slot or in a bunch formation on the outside and let the kid fly. He could be a very good NFL player so to get him in the 4th round is a steal.

112. Bears: Eddie Jackson-This pick makes a lot of sense. I didn’t agree with those seeing him as a top level safety, though there were some high 2nd round grades on him, but in the 4th round I’m in on Eddie Jackson. He’s a high risk/high reward kid who gives you a good punt returner too. I thought he was very tight and didn’t play as fast as his measurables but he has great hands and looks like he could be a playmaker in the right system.

113. Chargers: Rayshawn Jenkins-This is a great pick. He was a 2nd rounder on my board as I see him being a plug and play SS. I know this draft has great depth all over the secondary but I’m still borderline shocked he stayed available this late. Best pick so far in the 4th round.

114. Redskins: Samaje Perrine-I ranked him #114 and he went there. He’s a guy I like, some love. His yards per carry declined throughout his career and he’s a very feast or famine player. Take away like 4 of his games the past few years and his production isn’t great. He feasted against Tech and Kansas both of which have just joke defenses. That being said he’s a great fit as a #2 RB as he’s physical and loves contact. I like having a big back on my roster as a change of pace and he fits that profile. This is 3 straight good to great picks.

116. Bengals: Carl Lawson-Well I’m not obsessed with Jordan Willis or Carl Lawson but both have their 2nd round grades around the league so to get them in the 3rd and 4th is just outstanding. Lawson had good production but was just hurt. He and Willis really add depth to a DL that has Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins but lost depth over the years around them. They are quickly getting it. I wonder if Margus Hunt is now done in Cincinnati. As a 2nd rounder he hasn’t been anything and they might now need that roster spot.

117. Rams: Josh Reynolds-I love this pick. Reynolds got hidden on my board due to the very good mid round WR depth but Reynolds has great potential as a Martavis Bryant type deep threat. I’m a big fan of getting out the guys with bad film and bad measurables and then going with your gut on certain guys. Reynolds is one of those “gut guys” who I’d have a star on my board next to as he just seems like he’s underrated and could be an early starter for the Rams. It’s a perfect fit as there isn’t anything on that roster that is special at WR and he might have a young QB to grow with if Goff works out. It’ll be fun to evaluate this kid’s progress over the next few years.

126. Browns: Howard Wilson-Great pick. I had him as the #56 Overall on my board, Top 5 available, so he’s an absolute steal in the mid 4th round. The nerds and I got a little out of sync the past few rounds but we’re back on track! Wilson has everything you want in a CB except long speed. He’s tall, has good hands, good instincts, is physical and is quick. He fits perfectly in a press scheme which gives safety help or presses at the line and then goes into sort of a zone coverage. The Browns have a great man cover corner with Joe Haden so they might go man with Haden and zone on the other areas. Wilson gives the team some good options to work with and is an outstanding value and good fit.

128 Bengals: Josh Malone-Great pick. He was #41 Overall on my board and while I knew I had a higher grade on him than others did I am shocked he’s a late 4th rounder. He has 1st round traits in him with great size and speed. He is still a little raw and his numbers weren’t great but he had Josh Dobbs throwing him the ball and they were a gimmicky, zone read, run first scheme so it’s not really his fault. I love this kid and don’t see a huge difference in talent vs. John Ross despite the 119 picks that separate them.

132. Eagles: Donnell Pumphrey-This is a good pick value wise that becomes great because of the perfect fit. He is so talented as a RB but is iddy bitty but guess who he gets to be mentored by? Darren Sproles. Seriously?! I had him as the #123 Overall. He’s a blur at times and actually has a little inside running ability due to his great vision and impressive short area burst.

133. Cowboys: Ryan Switzer-YESSS! This is a great pick. I’m a little confused by the fit as he does everything Cole Beasley does, but maybe worse, yet in the late 4th round it makes a lot of sense. I love Switzer’s tape. He’s quick, has great hands and has underrated speed. He also is a great punt returner and good kick returner which is probably why he was taken here. I had Switzer as the #122 Overall guy so he isn’t a steal here but good value and he’s just a fun player to have on your team. He could become a fan favorite. Below is his bio:

Ryan Switzer North Carolina 5’8 ½ 181 Sr. He ran a 4.51 40, ‘32 vertical and 9’8 broad all of which were below average (especially for his size) yet his 4.00 shuttle (1st among 58 WRs) and 6.77 3 cone (8th best) were both elite showing he is what everyone knows he is, a quicker than fast wideout destined for the slot position. He was a solid player his first three seasons for UNC and then broke out under Trubisky in his lone season (96 1,112 yds 6 TDs). He never averaged more than 12 yards per catch so he’s a possession receiver. He’ll be a special teams addition as well as he has 7 punt return TDs and 2 KR TDs for his career. Let me be the first to say what everyone will say when he is drafted, “he’s a perfect guy for the Patriots,” but it’s true as he fits the Welker/Amendola role perfectly. He has great hands, runs outstanding routes, is tough across the middle, despite his size, and just knows how to get open. I’ll be curious where he goes as guys like him often get overlooked yet end up performing better than their draft status (Welker/Amendola/Beasley all undrafted, Jamison Crowder 3rd rounder, Julian Edelman 7th rounder). I like Ryan a lot and think he is one of the better versions of this type of prospect. Early 4th round as my #16 WR 3/26/17.

134. Packers: Jamaal Williams-I am a big fan of Williams. He doesn’t gave great speed but has a little Arian Foster to him as he’s a smooth runner, is physical and is great at cutting. Some guys you love for their physical traits, some for their film. I loved Williams film and had to downgrade him due to his traits. He’s just a physical guy with good vision who maximizes runs. In the late 4th round this is great and I could see him be a fantasy sleeper since the Packers have a terrible RB depth chart right now.

135. Steelers: Josh Dobbs-Interesting pick. I had Brad Kaaya and Nathan Peterman higher than Dobbs but he’s a unique mix of size, speed and intelligence. That last part is what makes me the most intrigued as he’s arguably the smartest kid in this entire draft, let alone the QB class. I want my QBs to be smart and there are worse things to get than an extremely athletic, extremely smart QB to groom. My question is simply, can he throw the ball consistently? Right now he can’t and I worry about that A LOT but he doesn’t have a ton of experience at QB so maybe he’s a late bloomer, works his ass off, gains better fundamentals and becomes a solid passer. This kid is a Top 5 athlete at the QB position so he’s worth a 4th round pick as a developmental potential future starter type.

141. Jets: Chad Hansen-I like this pick. I think Isaiah Ford is the superior WR prospect but Hansen is interesting. If you want a comp I would consider Eric Decker as Hansen has good size, underrated speed, great hands, is physical and just seems to want it more than other guys so Decker is a good guy to mentor him. Also the Jets just need wideouts. They have needs everywhere but lost Marshall this offseason and Decker turned 30 so it’s important to add some youth. Hansen as #2 WR potential which makes him worth a flier in the late 4th round.

142. Texans: Carlos Watkins-This is a steal. I had him as the #88 Overall on my board as Watkins has some Pro Bowl potential. He has inconsistently great tape. He needs to improve his strength, his run stopping skills and his consistency but he has some inside pass rusher talent and that is rare to see in the late 4th round. A high risk/high reward player who is a steal here.

143. Colts: Marlon Mack-Good value here. He was #125 on my board and has a lot of pure talent. He was a blue chip prospect that surprised everyone by going to South Florida and was their entire offense. He is raw but wow you can see his athleticism and burst. He has more talent than a number of RBs that went earlier so he’s a roll of the dice but could become something very good if he polishes his game a bit.

145. Broncos: Jake Butt-Great pick for the Broncos, even more impressed they traded up to take him. I was hoping Butt would be a Cowboy as he’s a perfect guy to steal in the mid rounds, redshirt one year, and in 2018-2020 he’ll be a steal for whomever takes him. He was overrated a bit by the media as they love to make guys “fall” seems worse than it really is as he wasn’t a borderline 1st rounder but I saw him as a mid to late 2nd. You take those talents in the 5th, injury be damned. Another great pick by John Elway who is continuing to show why he’s one of the best GMs in the league.

148. Jaguars: Blair Brown-Another steal here. I think Brown’s tape was some of the best of any linebacker the past two years. He played at Ohio and is sub 6’0 so he slipped a bit but the kid is the most sure tackler in this entire draft. Put on his Tennessee tape and watch him dominate Alvin Kumara who makes his living breaking tackles. Brown is a very underrated prospect who I think could be a steal.

149. Falcons: Damontae Kazee-Wow, I can’t believe he fell this far. I had him as the #42 Overall on my board and he went +100 picks later. Yeah maybe I underrated how average his 40 time was but he has some of the best ball skills of any DB in this draft and to get that kind of trait in the 5th round is great. He will either be a bust or will be a CB that gets a lot of INTs during his career, there is no way those hands and instincts don’t translate to him becoming a playmaker. I LOVE this pick!!!

150. Jets: Jordan Leggett-Another great pick. I had him as the #59 Overall on my board so this is another steal. Some didn’t like Leggett’s lack of effort, especially as a blocker, but the kid runs great routes, has good size and maybe could become an average blocker down the line. I didn’t get why so many disliked him. To me he was clearly one of the better TEs in this class and is a steal here in the 5th round.

151. Chargers: Desmond King-Wow, this is a run right now. King is a great pick this late. Yes he is tightly built, probably can’t stay at CB and sometimes looks almost like a LB in his movement skills and lack of agility so there are some red flags but watch the film, the kid has arguably the best hands in this draft and is a big hitter. He reminds me of guys like Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde who failed at CB and then excelled as underrated starters at FS. King is just a guy you bring in, give him to your secondary coach and say “figure out a way to get him on the field.” You just want playmakers like him on the field so scheme him in to hide his deficiencies.

152. Panthers: Corn Elder-The run continues. This is another great pick. I had him as the #91 Overall guy and he went here. We all knew that the CB class had great depth so someone was going to be here in the 5th round but surprised it’s Corn as his tape is very very good. He is right up there with Chidobe Awuzie as the best run stopper in this CB class. He will fight you and just has a passion and physicality that fits PERFECTLY with the Panthers scheme. They play a lot of zone, accept CBs without great speed, but want tacklers and want their DBs to be physical. This is great value and a great fit so one of the best picks of Day 3.

155. Titans: Jayon Brown-He was #127 on my board and is good value here. Brown has some upside and could be better than “good value” but just a flat out steal if everything works out as Brown has a high ceiling.

163. Bills: Matt Milano-Good pick here. He was #126 Overall and I really liked his tape. He’s a 4-3 WLB which is something they didn’t have on their roster due to moving from a 3-4 recently and just seems like a guy that won’t wow you but will stick around and be a solid player for someone for 6-10 years.

166. Eagles: Shelton Gibson-A steal here for sure. He was #74 Overall and his coach compared him to Tavon Austin. Gibson can fly and looks like a great complement to slower, bigger receivers like Alshon Jeffrey and Jordan Matthews.  His tape was inconsistently great so I will be looking in on his progress over the next few years as he is a high risk/high reward guy.

168. Raiders: Marquel Lee-He was #60 Overall on my board and goes +100 picks later so he is one of the steals of Day 3 in my eyes. He isn’t an elite athlete but his film is very good and he was a consistent producer who can handle any of the 4-3 spots but also has the size to play ILB in the Raiders 3-4. He’s just a versatile, tough and productive player who shouldn’t have gone this late. I’m shocked. A steal for the Raiders.

171. Bills: Nathan Peterman-Well he fell because of his mediocre arm strength but at #171 he’s undoubtedly a steal. He was #52 Overall on my board and had a lot of 2nd round grades that I heard about so I don’t really get how he fell so far. He is a kid with a lot of tools as he has solid height, solid accuracy, very good athleticism, and just looks like a polished player. At worst he’ll be a good backup and again I’m shocked he fell this far.

180. Vikings: Danny Isidora-He was #130 on my board and had some good tape. His Notre Dame game was very bad and he has a low ceiling but he’s a pure guard that looks like he could develop into an average starter. I like guys like this in the 4th round and beyond as they’ll never wow you but can give you 2-3 years as a cheap starter and then get you a late round compensatory pick when you let them leave in free agency. Picks like this are how good teams do business.

191. Cowboys: Xavier Woods-This completes their secondary makeover and is an absolute steal. Woods was my #107 Overall player so to get him nearly 100 picks later is great value but it’s also exactly what the Cowboys need as he’s a ballhawk. If there is one criticism of their 2nd and 3rd round pick its that Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis aren’t ballhawks. They both are very good players that were great values but we need to slowly add guys with ball skills as it isn’t valued nearly enough for my tastes. Woods has great ball skills and gives the Cowboys another good player for their secondary. Keep in mind he had basically the same grade as Marcus Maye on my board. Maye went in the 2nd round, Woods goes in the 6th. Great pick, great fit and I’m ecstatic as the Cowboys have had a better Day 2 and Day 3 then anytime I can remember (maybe Bill Parcels well known 4th round in 2005 with Chris Canty and Marion Barber in the 4th being the only one I can think of that is comparable). This is great as the Cowboys have been the best 1st round drafting team in the NFL the past decade but always struggled after Round 2. To add talent like Jourdan Lewis, Ryan Switzer and Xavier Woods in Rounds 3-6 is outstanding. The franchise looks to be in good hands. Woods bio below:

  1. Xavier Woods Louisiana Tech 5’11 ⅛ 197 Sr. He ran a 4.54 40, ‘33 ½ vertical, 4.13 shuttle and 6.73 3 cone with all but the 3 cone being below average for his size. In 2013 as a true freshman he played okay (61 tackles, 2 PBUs) but had no big plays. From 2014-2016 he became a big play waiting to happen with 14 INTs, 6 FF, 4 sacks. Despite being sub 200 lbs he’s a big time hitter who is a great combination of ballhawk and enforcer. He is very agile which partially makes up for his mediocre athleticism but you can tell he isn’t the fastest or most explosive guy on film and it could make a defense have to scheme for him at times. In terms of just pure playmaking ability, he’s one of the better ones in this draft as he is instinctive, has good hands and is very comfortable with the ball in his hands when a turnover occurs. The issues with him are that he isn’t always the most consistent tackler and isn’t a great athlete. I like Woods and think he’s a poor man’s Karl Joseph with his mix of ballhawk and enforcer allowing him to play FS or SS for most teams. He’s a bit of a low upside, high polish prospect due to his mediocre athleticism but it shouldn’t keep him from being a long time starter for a team, just will keep him from ever making a Pro Bowl. 3rd round as my #11 S 4/16/17.

193. Bengals: Jordan Evans-Evans was my #3 available and #49 Overall so to get him +140 picks later is probably going to be the steal of the draft (this or Brad Kaaya if he’s drafted). Evans surprised me as to how little buzz he got. He played at OU, had great productivity, had outstanding Combine measurables and has the makings of a ballhawk at LB yet no one liked him? I didn’t understand why and am not that surprised by this drop. Maybe there was an off the field issue I was not aware of but I saw a lot of mid to late round grades on Evans so it is a steal to me but not to many people. He could be something special though so I’ll be checking up on Evans in a few years to see how he shakes out.

194. Dolphins: Vincent Taylor-I had him as the #88 Overall guy so he’s a steal. Looking at the Dolphins board, I have Taylor their 6th round pick as rated higher on my board than their previous 4 selections. He has good speed, very long arms and looked good against the run. He’s more of an athlete than a physical presence which sometimes isn’t liked at DT by teams but he has a high ceiling and I am very surprised he went so late.

Cowboys Update: Top 10 guys on my board with Cowboys a few picks away:

  1. Brad Kaaya QB
  2. Conor McDermott OT
  3. Jon Toth C
  4. Carroll Phillips PR
  5. Isaiah Ford WR
  6. Stacy Coley WR
  7. Jarron Jones DT
  8. Jeremy Cutrer CB
  9. KD Cannon WR
  10. Lucas Crowley OG/C


All right and now I’m off to the bar so the live portion of this blog is over. Check back tomorrow to see the analysis of a few 7th round picks if you’re a diehard.


I’m back from the bar and with a buzz so I’m writing in italics going forward, don’t hold me accountable for anything of this tomorrow.

211. Patriots: Conor McDermott-Interesting that this pick was the Cowboys but was traded to the Patriots. I love this selection. McDermott was a 2nd round grade on my board, #45 Overall #2 Available, as I thought he had good tape. He was obliterated by Myles Garrett in the 2016 season opener but I don’t hold that against him. He’s 6’8 and a little light so he could add weight and should as I deem him a RT not a LT. He’ll always be a bit tight at that height but he has good length, good athleticism and was a 3 year starter. I think he is a steal here and it’s not surprising it’s the Patriots that got him.

215. Lions: Brad Kaaya-Well in a 5 selection span we get two of the three best steals of Day 3. Kaaya was a prospect I rated much higher than others (#37 Overall, #1 Available) as I saw elite qualities with his character, ability to learn a new system (he had 3 different offensive systems in his 3 years at Miami), good arm strength, 6’4 height and an impressive deep ball. While I ranked him higher than most, almost everyone would consider this a ridiculous steal. Mel Kiper had Kaaya as his best available in Round 5 and I saw a lot of late 2nd/early 3rd round grades on him. Mike Mayock does his Top 100 in a very “consensus” way in that he scouts guys then gets feedback from GMs and averages that feedback in to his final rankings. He didn’t have Kaaya in his Top 100 at all which should have told me that a big fall like this was expected. All I’m saying is put on the 2016 tape and tell me that Kizer was better than Kaaya. You are a dumbass if you do. Kaaya led a resurgence at Miami this year, Kizer led Notre Dame to their 2nd worst record in 50 years. Fact, look it up. Kizer is a no talent ass clown who will be a bust. Kaaya is a good kid, hard worker and oh wow can actually throw the ball accurately. Maybe Kaaya will be a bust but I guarantee Kizer will be a bust. I’d take a maybe over a guarantee any day. I’m shocked he went this late. An absolute steal for the Lions but a little disappointing as Stafford is an iron man so I won’t get to see him, except preseason, anytime soon. 

216. Cowboys: Marquez White-Well he wasn’t a steal by any means as I had a 6th round grade on him and he went in the late 6th but I did see him having some traits I liked and thought he fit a zone scheme which the Cowboys seem to play more and more. It’s worth a roll of the dice here in the draft but I’d be shocked if White beat out Awuzie, Lewis or last year’s 6th rounder Anthony Brown for playing time. He’ll be a roster bubble guy that maybe sticks. Bio below:

  1. Marquez White Florida State 5’11 ¾ 194 Sr. He ran a 4.59 40, ‘36 vertical and 10’3 broad. In 2013-2014 he barely played (15 tackles and 1 INT COMBINED) yet in 2015 he played okay (25 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBUs) and continued the mediocre to above average play in 2016 (25 tackles, 2 INT, 4 PBUs). 6 PBUs for a career is pretty atrocious, as is 65 tackles-especially for a kid that stayed in school for four years. He’s an explosive athlete who is stiff and isn’t very agile. He’s very long legged, something I absolutely hate in corners. He could work in a zone scheme where the play is in front of him, or possibly could move to safety, as he works well going forward but really struggles laterally and when he needs to find the football in the air over his shoulder. I don’t like his tape very much and his 40 time was pretty poor but if I was a zone team I’d take a shot on him in the late rounds. 6th round as my #20 CB 4/15/17.

219. Vikings: Stacy Coley-He’s a steal here (#73 Overall, #4 Available) and I don’t get why the scouting community didn’t care about Coley. Yes he never was prolific at Miami but he’s got solid height and weight and an obvious quick twitch to him. He gets easy separation, has good hands and can be a deep threat. I see Coley being a Terrance Williams type in the NFL where he doesn’t get a ton of receptions or yards but threatens a defense deep and regularly gets open so he’s an average #2 or above average #3 WR. To get that in the 7th round is shocking to me. I knew some guys would fall as this WR class had great depth with a lot of 3rd-4th round grades on my part but I didn’t expect Coley in the 7th. Another steal late for a team. 

228. Cowboys: Joey Ivie-I’d literally never heard of him until the Cowboys took him. Below is my bio I wrote after I scouted him a few minutes ago:

  1. Joey Ivie Florida 6’3 1/8 298 Sr. Not invited to the Combine. He ran a 5.14 40, ’29 1/2 vertical and 8’9 broad at his pro day, all of which were average. He barely played in 2013 (3 tackles), was a bit player in 2014 (24 tackles, 1 sack, 3 TFL) and then plateaued as a prospect in 2015-2016 with mediocre seasons (26-27 tackles, 2.5-3.5 sacks, 3.5-4.0 TFL). He’s a quick and agile player with great body control for a DT. He’s a polished pass rusher with good hand fighting and gives a lot of effort. He’s more pass rusher than run stopper and he isn’t the strongest guy on film, especially at the POA where his good quickness and agility are negated. He missed 5 games the past two years due to injury. He flashes at times on tape but his stats are mediocre, he wasn’t even a full time starter until his senior year, he has a little injury history and looks like a weak guy at the POA without giving enough production as a pass rusher to make up for it. Free Agent 4/29/17.

237. Dolphins: Isaiah Ford-Read Coley’s pick analysis above and apply it here. Ford though had a very productive career who had his pro career temporarily derailed by a terrible 40 time. Watch the film and tell me that kid is a 4.6 athlete. He plays faster than his time, has great hands, makes contested catches and was one of the more consistent and productive players in the country. Another steal in the 7th round at WR due to this depth.

239. Cowboys: Noah Brown-Another steal in the 7th round at WR, noticing a trend? I’m excited to see the Cowboys get one of them. Yes it’s frustrating to see Ford go just 2 picks earlier BUT Brown had a late 4th grade on my board so he’s still a steal in the 7th just not quite Ford and Coley level steal. Brown has all the talent in the world, he’s just raw and should have stayed in school. I question him coming out but he has a few very good games on tape (2016 OU being the prime example) and has a physical tone to his game that few WRs have. He was a guy that when you read my bio of him you can tell I begrudgingly admitted he had talent as I hated his decision coming out early. His career numbers are a joke BUT the talent is there and maybe the Cowboys can maximize it. Good pick this late. Below is his bio:

  1. Noah Brown Ohio State 6’2 222 Soph Redshirted one season. He didn’t work out at the Combine except for the bench (19 reps), the vertical (‘29-3rd worst among 58 WR) and 9’10 broad (average). He ran a 4.57 40 at his Pro Day which I would consider a 4.67 as I had 1/10th of a second to pro day 40s. I have no idea why this kid left school early. He had to have known he wasn’t a great athlete as these measurables the Combine does are widely worked on throughout a player’s career, so he’s not a physical freak, and his career numbers are atrocious. He had one great game (2016 vs. Oklahoma with 5 72 yds 4 TDs) and if you remove that game his CAREER numbers are 28 339 yds 3 TDs. He isn’t really a one year wonder, he’s a one game wonder! In 2014 he barely played (1 reception for 9 yards) and in 2015 he missed the entire season with a broken leg. On film he’s a thickly built WR with good strength who is a very aggressive blocker. He has a good burst and plays like a 4.5 40 guy. He can’t separate deep and looks like a future possession WR. I actually like his tape from 2016 but wow he is really trusting NFL personnel to take a leap of faith on him as I can’t remember the last time I graded someone who had less than 500 career receiving yards. He has NFL caliber tools though and could make it as a #3 possession receiver type. Late 4th round as my #20 WR 3/26/17.

246. Cowboys: Jordan Carrell-Another guy I never heard of until now. Below is my bio on him after scouting him a few minutes ago: 

  1. Jordan Carrell Colorado 6’2 1/8 290 Sr. He wasn’t invited to the Combine. At his Pro Day he ran a 4.98 40, ’31 1/2 vertical and 8’11 broad with his 40 being very good for his size. JUCO kid that played for Colorado two years. He played well in 2015 (43 tackles, 1 sack, 7.5 TFL) and improved as a sack artist but overall had a similar impact in 2016 (46 tackles, 5 sacks, 6 TFL). He’s a thickly built kid with a good motor who has some speed and agility to him. I watched his Washington tape and he didn’t impress, often on the ground/struggled at the POA/subbed out a lot, but I’m not going to pretend I went too deep into this kid. He has some good agility for how thick his body type is but I don’t see him being a one gap penetrator and I don’t see him being a two gap run stopper. He’s kind of a tweener who looks like a career backup and maybe can be a valued #3 DT for a team in a rotation. Free Agent 4/29/17.

247. Packers: Malachi Dupre-He was #163 Overall on my board so he’s a good value here. I love that the Packers EVERY SINGLE DRAFT take a WR and/or TE. It sometimes is a 2nd or 3rd but more often is a mid to late round pick yet when you have the best QB in football you should have a focus on getting guys thrown at him and seeing who sticks. The draft is part science and part art. The Packers get that and seem intent on getting bodies around Rodgers to see what he likes. He loves Nelson, likes Cobb, liked Cook, disliked Jermaine Finley, etc. Sometimes it isn’t a talent thing it’s a style or fit thing. Dupre is a unique prospect as sometimes I watched him and saw 3rd round talent and other times I hated his film and saw undrafted free agent. Getting him in the 7th is a good move as Ted Thompson can give Rodgers another potential weapon to play with and if the fit isn’t good there is little value wasted. Bill Polian is a senile old man at ESPN now but he did the same thing with the Colts. Every year he got another guy or two for Manning to work with while addressing the overall team needs. Surprised other teams don’t do that more. 

253. Broncos: Chad Kelly-Isn’t it great when Mr. Irrelevant isn’t actually irrelevant but is someone conspicuous? He was #145 Overall on my board and to me looks like a great project type that has starter potential so this is a steal to me. Off the field you have to sort out a lot of things as he isn’t a choir boy but his on the field resume is impressive. He’s mobile, has good accuracy, reads the field well and has decent arm strength. He played as a dual threat QB and he won’t be able to do that too often as his athleticism is good but not elite yet I thought his tape was underrated. Two things to think on for him before I go off and drink more craft beer…

  1. Other than Top 12 pick Deshaun Watson, no other QB had more success than Chad Kelly the past two years vs. Alabama. Some will say yeah BUT. But what? But he had a great WR in 2015? Laquon Treadwell was terrible in the NFL last year, maybe Kelly made that kid and is the real reason for success. But his OL was great? Yes Laremy Tunsil was a great LT in 2015 but he had great success vs. Alabama in 2016 too. Chad Kelly led Ole Miss to score 43 points vs. Alabama each of the past two seasons. No other team scored 41 or more points vs. Alabama in those two seasons (Deshaun Watson scored 40 two years ago in the BCS Finals). He was an inconsistently GREAT college QB. You want to bring those kids in for more vetting. It’s just good business.
  2. The Ole Miss team had a down year in 2016 due to their defense not him or their offense. They went 4-5 in his 9 games before getting injured but in 8 of those 9 games the team scored 29 or more points. He put up 34 and 43 points vs. good FSU and Alabama defenses early in the season yet came away with losses both times as his defense gave up 93 points in those two games. Not his fault. Kelly was a prolific collegiate QB and has some obvious NFL traits to him so he is a steal as a 7th rounder.

And the draft is done. It was fun. The Cowboys had probably the best Day 3 I’ve ever seen from them. Woods is the star pick here as I could see him being a very good starting safety for them from day 1 of training camp. Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown and the two developmental DTs are lesser prizes but expect Switzer to be the punt returner as a rookie and push Cole Beasley for playing time in the second half of 2017 or be on the field for some 4 WR looks (Bryant/Williams outside, Switzer/Beasley in the slot). This draft was made though by the Awuzie (great pick, steal) and Lewis (good pick) selections. Immediately they added two talented players to their secondary. Mixing them and Woods in with Anthony Brown (who showed promises last year), Byron Jones (who has been the best player in their secondary each of the past two years and should only improve) and solid and cheap veterans in Orlando Scandrick and Nolan Carroll makes me pretty content with the secondary. Next year the Cowboys should go after their star WDE pass rusher and then this defense could really become something special. Baby steps. For now though Cowboys fans should hope Prescott doesn’t regress in 2017, the rookie DBs have their growing pains but show promise and Taco Charlton surprises and gets 4-6 sacks as a rookie. All are realistic goals and all are keys to the Cowboys repeating as NFC East Champs in 2017.