HUDDLE REPORT MOCK DRAFT CONTEST ENTRY (FINAL)

FINAL 2016 MOCK DRAFT

Traded picks are in bold.

1. Los Angeles Rams – QB Jared Goff, California*
2. Philadelphia Eagles – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota St.
3. San Diego Chargers – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
4. Dallas Cowboys – DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida St.*
5. Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia*
6. Baltimore Ravens – OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi*
7. San Francisco 49ers – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
8. Baltimore Ravens – DE Joey Bosa, Ohio St.*
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida*
10. New York Giants – WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi*
11. Chicago Bears – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson*
12. New Orleans Saints – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville*
13. Miami Dolphins – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio St.*
14. Oakland Raiders – LB Myles Jack, UCLA*
15. Tennessee Titans – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan St.*
16. Detroit Lions – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio St.
17. Atlanta Falcons – LB Darron Lee, Ohio St.**
18. Indianapolis Colts – OC Ryan Kelly, Alabama
19. Buffalo Bills – DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
20. New York Jets – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis*
21. Washington Redskins – DB Karl Joseph, West Virginia
22. Houston Texans – WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame*
23. Minnesota Vikings – WR Josh Doctson, Texas Christian
24. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Corey Coleman, Baylor*
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB William Jackson III, Houston
26. Seattle Seahawks – OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
27. Green Bay Packers – DT Andrew Billings, Baylor*
28. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Eli Apple, Ohio St.**
29. Washington Redskins – LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
30. Carolina Panthers – DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson*
31. Denver Broncos – DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi*

Final Top 100 Projection

Here’s my final guess at which players may be the top one hundred selected in this year’s class:

1. QB Connor Cook, Michigan St.
2. QB Jared Goff, California*
3. QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn St.*
4. QB Cardale Jones, Ohio St.*
5. QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis*
6. QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi St.
7. QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota St.
8. RB Devontae Booker, Utah
9. RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
10. RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio St.*
11. RB Derrick Henry, Alabama*
12. RB Jordan Howard, Indiana*
13. RB C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame*
14. WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh*
15. WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
16. WR Corey Coleman, Baylor*
17. WR Josh Doctson, Texas Christian
18. WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame*
19. WR Braxton Miller, Ohio St.
20. WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
21. WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
22. WR Michael Thomas, Ohio St.*
23. WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi*
24. TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas*
25. TE Austin Hooper, Stanford**
26. TE Nick Vannett, Ohio St.
27. OT Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
28. OT Shon Coleman, Auburn*
29. OT Jack Conklin, Michigan St.*
30. OT Taylor Decker, Ohio St.
31. OT Jerald Hawkins, Louisiana St.*
32. OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M*?
33. OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
34. OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
35. OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi*
36. OG Vadal Alexander, Louisiana St.
37. OG Joshua Garnett, Stanford
38. OG Christian Westerman, Arizona St.
39. OG Cody Whitehair, Kansas St.
40. OC Ryan Kelly, Alabama
41. OC Nick Martin, Notre Dame
42. DT Andrew Billings, Baylor*
43. DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech*
44. DT Kenny Clark, UCLA*
45. DT Maliek Collins, Nebraska*
46. DT Sheldon Day, Notre Dame
47. DT Javon Hargrave, South Carolina St.
48. DT Willie Henry, Michigan*
49. DT Austin Johnson, Penn St.*
50. DT Chris Jones, Mississippi St.*
51. DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi*
52. DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville*
53. DT Jarran Reed, Alabama
54. DT Hassan Ridgeway, Texas
55. DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama*
56. DE Joey Bosa, Ohio St.*
57. DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
58. DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida
59. DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan St.
60. DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson*
61. DE Bronson Kaufusi, Brigham Young
62. DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson*
63. DE Carl Nassib, Penn St.
64. DE Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland*
65. DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma St.
66. DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky*
67. DE Jihad Ward, Illinois
68. LB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
69. LB Kamalei Correa, Boise St.*
70. LB Su’a Cravens, Southern California
71. LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah St.
72. LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia*
73. LB Myles Jack, UCLA*
74. LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
75. LB Deion Jones, Louisiana St.
76. LB Darron Lee, Ohio St.**
77. LB Joshua Perry, Ohio St.
78. LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
79. LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame*
80. LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona*
81. CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson**
82. CB Eli Apple, Ohio St.**
83. CB Artie Burns, Miami (FL)*
84. CB Sean Davis, Maryland
85. CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech*
86. CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida*
87. CB Xavien Howarrd, Baylor*
88. CB William Jackson III, Houston
89. CB Cyrus Jones, Alabama
90. CB Eric Murray, Minnesota
91. CB Will Redmond, Mississippi St.
92. CB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma*
93. DB Vonn Bell, Ohio St.*
94. DB Jeremy Cash, Duke
95. DB T.J. Green, Clemson*?
96. DB Jalen Mills, Louisiana St.
97. DB Keanu Neal, Florida*
98. DB Karl Joseph, West Virginia
99. DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida St.*
100. PK Robert Aguayo, Florida St.

April 24th Mock Draft

For scouting reports of 225 of the draft’s top prospects, including all of the players featured in this mock draft, buy a copy of my 2016 NFL Draft Preview, available for just $4 here:


April 24th Mock Draft

1. Los Angeles Rams – QB Jared Goff, California*

2. Philadelphia Eagles – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota St.

3. San Diego Chargers – DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida St.*

4. Dallas Cowboys – DE Joey Bosa, Ohio St.*

5. Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Myles Jack, UCLA*

6. Baltimore Ravens – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon

7. San Francisco 49ers – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame*

8. Cleveland Browns – OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi*

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida*

10. New York Giants – LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia*

11. Chicago Bears – DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama*

12. New Orleans Saints – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville*

13. Miami Dolphins – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio St.*

14. Oakland Raiders – CB William Jackson III, Houston

15. Tennessee Titans – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan St.*

16. Detroit Lions – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio St.

17. Atlanta Falcons – LB Darron Lee, Ohio St.**

18. Indianapolis Colts – DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky*

19. Buffalo Bills – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson*

20. New York Jets – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis*

21. Washington Redskins – DT Jarran Reed, Alabama

22. Houston Texans – WR Corey Coleman, Baylor*

23. Minnesota Vikings – WR Josh Doctson, Texas Christian

24. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi*

25. Pittsburgh Steelers – DT Andrew Billings, Baylor*

26. Seattle Seahawks – OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana

27. Green Bay Packers – LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

28. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Eli Apple, Ohio St.**

29. Arizona Cardinals – CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson**

30. Carolina Panthers – DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson*

31. Denver Broncos – DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi*

Also considered: OT Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M; OC Ryan Kelly, Alabama; DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech; DT Chris Jones, Mississippi St.*; DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma St.

5T Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech

6’4” – 287 lbs. – 4.87

Relatively new to the game; played Australian rules football before moving to the United States to attend college. However, did manage thirty-six starts at the college level before sustaining a season-ending knee injury as a senior. Generally lines up as a one-technique right defensive tackle, but will play different techniques and shift over to the left side of the line on occasion. Tall defensive lineman with very good length. Carries his weight very well, with even distribution and a muscular build. Well-conditioned player who takes a lot of snaps per game. More fast than explosive in terms of his overall movement skills, with a tough on-field demeanor. Has some functional strength in his lower body, which he uses as a two-gapper in the run game. Doesn’t reset the line of scrimmage in the backfield very often, but anchors better than expected, holding his ground and flashing the ability to make stops in the run game. Can keep his shoulders square as a run defender. Also does some work as more of a one-gap player and will knife into the backfield on occasion and create disruption. However, could stand to play with more consistent leverage; tends to get upright out of his stance, allowing opponents to stop him at the line. Gives good effort in pursuit and will scrape down the line and work to the ball. Probably more talented than he is instinctive at this point, tending to be a little bit slow to diagnose plays. Stayed on the field in many third-and-long situations. Flashes the ability to find open lanes to the quarterback as a pass-rusher, with enough speed to pick up the occasional hit; however, doesn’t do a great job of using his hands to shed blockers consistently and consequently finds himself hovering around the line of scrimmage more often than he should. Is a pretty straightforward rusher at this point who would probably benefit from developing more moves and being more creative in his approach. Squanders some opportunities to come away with sacks and tackles for loss by coming in too fast and letting opposing ballcarriers through his grasp. Makes the occasional zone drop into coverage, which could appeal to some teams which integrate that type of role into their defense. Blocked three kicks on special-teams units. Knee injury will require some further evaluation, but otherwise looks like a mid-round value who offers the height, length, tough demeanor, and anchor strength to potentially work into a defensive line rotation, most likely as a two-gap defensive end in a 3-4 defense.

Projection: Round 5

April 12th Mock Draft

My latest attempt at projecting the NFL Draft. Picks which have been changed since last time feature a new explanation.

For scouting reports of 225 of the draft’s top prospects, including all of the players featured in this mock draft, buy a copy of my 2016 NFL Draft Preview, available for just $4 here:


 

April 12th Mock Draft:

  1. Tennessee Titans – OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi*
  2. Cleveland Browns – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota St.
  3. San Diego Chargers – DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida St.*
  4. Dallas Cowboys – DE Joey Bosa, Ohio St.*
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Myles Jack, UCLA*
  6. Baltimore Ravens – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
  7. San Francisco 49ers – QB Jared Goff, California*
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio St.*
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida*
  10. New York Giants – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame*
  11. Chicago Bears – DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama*

It’s possible the Bears may want to complete their defensive front overhaul by finding a high-end five-technique option, especially since Jack Conklin is projected by some as more of a right tackle than a blindside protector.

  1. New Orleans Saints – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson*
  2. Miami Dolphins – CB William Jackson III, Houston

Although Mackensie Alexander is my top cornerback available, the Dolphins may prefer the size and length Jackson offers, especially in light of a pro day which exceeded expectations and may have placed him in the first round.

  1. Oakland Raiders – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
  2. Los Angeles Rams – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis*
  3. Detroit Lions – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan St.*

Bryan Bulaga, the right tackle for divisional rival Green Bay, may be an apt comparison for Conklin, who is the best run-blocking tackle in the class and would offer an immediate upgrade over incumbent starter Michael Ola.

  1. Atlanta Falcons – LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia*

Having invested in Adrian Clayborn and Derrick Shelby to rotate at left end, the Falcons could pass on an end but may still want to upgrade their pass rush by adding a local product, the freakishly long, athletic, and versatile Leonard Floyd.

  1. Indianapolis Colts – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio St.

There are some possible pass-rushing options available here, but with Decker available it may make more sense to hope the likes of Trent Cole, Robert Mathis, and Erik Walden can get pressure and focus on protecting Andrew Luck.

  1. Buffalo Bills – DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma St.*
  2. New York Jets – DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky*
  3. Washington Redskins – LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

A’Shawn Robinson having been moved up to the eleventh pick causes Washington to reconsidered their choice here, but they could still opt to replace the likes of Perry Riley and Will Compton with a true tone-setter defensively.

  1. Houston Texans – WR Corey Coleman, Baylor*
  2. Minnesota Vikings – WR Josh Doctson, Texas Christian
  3. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi*
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers – DT Andrew Billings, Baylor*
  5. Seattle Seahawks – DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
  6. Green Bay Packers – DT Jarran Reed, Alabama

Like the Redskins six picks earlier, the Packers have been frustrated in their ambitions to add one Alabama defender, but they remain projected to select someone from the Crimson Tide’s front seven regardless, this time Jarran Reed.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson**

This seems low for Alexander, but unfortunately for him, most other teams have more pressing needs than drafting cornerbacks; at this stage in the draft, the Chiefs should be thrilled to replace Sean Smith with a fluid, athletic rookie.

  1. Arizona Cardinals – LB Darron Lee, Ohio St.**

Off-the-field issues have sidelined Daryl Washington, so it might be time for the Cardinals to think about adding another hyper-athletic inside linebacker to their defense; Darron Lee is a great value at this point in the draft.

  1. Carolina Panthers – LB Su’a Cravens, Southern California

Despite drafting Shaq Thompson last season, the Panthers may be looking at adding Cravens here in the late first; hypothetically, he could be groomed as Thomas Davis’ replacement, or contend for the starting strong safety role.

  1. Denver Broncos – DT Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi*

Previously, Ryan Kelly was going here, but with Matt Paradis positioned to be the team’s long-term starting center, it might make more sense for the team to gamble on Robert Nkemdiche, whose talent may allow him to replace Malik Jackson.

Also considered: Will Fuller, Jason Spriggs, Ryan Kelly Kevin Dodd, Eli Apple

NFL Defensive Scheme Notes

Just finished around four hours of research into NFL defensive schemes and thought I’d share my findings here. I’ve included some links that were helpful, many of which went into more detail than I have here.

1.    Tennessee Titans – Mike Mularkey/Dick LeBeau
Relies on element of confusion – some defenders unexpectedly drop into zone coverage, some unexpectedly rush. Thus, some defensive linemen may be asked to make zone drops into a quarter of the field, while some inside linebackers may also be expected to blitz the “A” gap. Uses cover one (man to man), cover two (zone), and cover three (zone); most frequently in zone coverages. Often rushes five with three deep defenders and three underneath defenders (“fire zone.”) Defensive linemen can have either one or two-gap responsibilities; traditionally, LeBeau and his disciples have emphasized two-gap linemen, but recently they’ve indicated a willingness to tailor things to their players’ strengths more.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_blitz

2.    Cleveland Browns – Hue Jackson/Ray Horton
Relies on element of confusion – some defenders unexpectedly drop into zone coverage, some unexpectedly rush. Thus, some defensive linemen may be asked to make zone drops into a quarter of the field, while some inside linebackers may also be expected to blitz the “A” gap. Uses cover one (man to man), cover two (zone), and cover three (zone); most frequently in zone coverages. Often rushes five with three deep defenders and three underneath defenders (“fire zone.”) Defensive linemen can have either one or two-gap responsibilities; traditionally, LeBeau and his disciples have emphasized two-gap linemen, but recently they’ve indicated a willingness to tailor things to their players’ strengths more.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_blitz

3.    San Diego Chargers – Mike McCoy/John Pagano
Uses a one-gap base defense with 3-4 personnel but more of a 4-3 in practice which is considered predictable and lacking in creativity despite giving some aggressive looks; the team most often operates out of their nickel package. Use inside linebackers for some double-A gap blitzes and stunts up the middle, but generally rush four defenders and play off coverage in the secondary. Uses a lot of three-deep coverage shells such as cover-three with a single high safety in the middle third and cornerbacks defending the outer thirds.
http://www.boltsfromtheblue.com/2014/7/7/5875303/review-san-diego-chargers-2013-pass-defense-pagano
http://www.boltsfromtheblue.com/2013/5/17/4337110/the-san-diego-chargers-should-switch-defensive-schemes

4.    Dallas Cowboys – Jason Garrett/Rod Marinelli
One of the league’s foremost proponents of the Tampa-2 defense popularized by legendary coordinator Monte Kiffen. Features a four-man defensive front with one-gap principles, often stunting and twisting to create pressure. Front-seven players are expected to be able to get penetration and flow to the ball. Uses two safeties in deep zone coverage, with a middle linebacker who also does some zone work over the middle of the field. Cornerbacks usually work in zone as well and are expected to be quality tacklers, as well as able to disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage. A conservative defense in the back, but one which has recently used some linebacker and slot corner blitzes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampa_2
https://www.reddit.com/r/nfl/comments/36vv3l/what_offensive_and_defensive_scheme_system_does/

5.    Jacksonville Jaguars – Gus Bradley/Todd Wash
Typically rushes just four players (the defensive line), with a cover-three shell behind it (cornerbacks covering the deep thirds on either side of the free safety’s deep third), allowing the strong safety (in a robber role) and four linebackers to defend the first level of the field. The teams listed here usually press and bail at the line of scrimmage. The teams in this category have been using a combination of one and two-gap responsibilities, with a five-technique end and a one-technique nose tackle occupying two gaps, while a three-technique under tackle and a “Leo” (hybrid end/rush linebacker, wide 9 alignment) play one gap. A strongside linebacker lines up on the outside shoulder of the opponent’s tight end (same side as the five-technique strongside end) and plays one-gap in an “under” front, whereas in an “over” front, the five-technique is more of a six-technique on the outside shoulder of the tight end and the Sam linebacker lines up essentially across from the opposing tackle.
http://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/5/31/4382318/the-seahawks-and-the-4-3-under-front-winds-of-change

6.    Baltimore Ravens – John Harbaugh/Dean Pees
Often uses two-gap principles in run defense, with heavy blitzing, although that may have been more frequent because of personnel issues, manufacturing pressure. Base defense is a 3-4, but mixed in some 4-3 under/over type looks as well, with the left end shading over the opposing guard instead of tackle. Does a good job of disguising pre-snap intentions. Coverage shells are mixed up frequently and opponent-dependent; will go heavy on man coverage in one game, zone in the next, and mix up both often. Used more man toward the end of the year, more zone at the beginning.
http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/dean-pees-ravens-d-pt-2/
2016 Michigan Football Clinic Notes: Dean Pees

7.    San Francisco 49ers – Chip Kelly/Jim O’Neil
Coming from the Ryan coaching tree and having served under Mike Pettine, O’Neil employs a base 3-4 which also uses some additional linemen at times, playing one-gap technique on one side and two gap on the other. Coverage shells are usually a man/zone hybrid “pattern matching” scheme which asks defenders to read the play and use the appropriate coverage. Blitzes at times, and uses the Ryan tree’s signature “simulated rushes” (four unorthodox rushers.)

What Fans Can Expect From Jim O’Neil’s Defense Part 2: The Pass Defense

8.    Philadelphia Eagles – Doug Pederson/Jim Schwartz
Has been labeled as a “wide nine” defensive coordinator, traditionally using four down linemen, his ends lining up well outside the tackles in order to get upfield more quickly. Considers his defense more an “attack” defense. However, often asks one defensive end to stand up and rush from a two-point stance. The 4-3 wide nine itself was influenced by the 3-4 defense, forcing inside runs by aligning its ends on the outside. Relies on the front four to generate pressure, with linebackers dropping. Coverage-wise, it’s important to have rangy linebackers to handle zone responsibilities, with the secondary playing zone as well (lots of cover-two.)
Jim Schwartz Attack 4-3 Defense: COOL Clinic Notes
http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/article-1/Eagle-Eye-Jim-Schwartzs-Attack-Defense/72122296-c9e4-47e6-8eb5-cf5b0f65c1eb

9.    Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dirk Koetter/Mike Smith
Coached under Jack Del Rio for years in Jacksonville, but philosophy is more similar to Brian Billick’s, who he spent time under; doesn’t use man coverage or blitz nearly as much as Del Rio did. Uses a conservative four-man base defensive front; his schemes have often relied on two bigger defensive tackles in the middle, which were designed to allow faster linebackers to flow to the ball. Doesn’t blitz very often or generate a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Typically uses more zone coverage (often cover two) in the back end of the defense in order to limit big plays.
https://www.reddit.com/r/falcons/comments/415zwr/bucs_fan_here_what_kind_of_scheme_does_mike_smith/

10.    New York Giants – Bob McAdoo/Steve Spagnuolo
Adopted Jim Johnson’s aggressive approach with blitzes from different packages; commonly uses three or four defensive ends on the line in obvious passing situations. All players, including defensive backs, may be asked to blitz. Most of the team’s defensive linemen are supposed to be able to move around the line and generate pressure. Favors linebackers who are smaller and more athletic, and thus can defend sideline-to-sideline against the run and in coverage. Uses a lot of zone-blitzes, without as much emphasis on man coverage relative to some other teams.
Steve Spagnuolo's Scheme, Familiarity Is What Transitioning Giants Defense Needs

11.    Chicago Bears – John Fox/Vic Fangio
Hybrid defensive front, uses both 4-3 under and 3-4 defenses in roughly that order of frequency; may be best classified as a four-man front with three-man personnel. In order to disguise the team’s intentions, defenders are often moved back and forth between different positions (ex. three-technique and five technique, defensive end and outside linebacker, outside and inside linebacker, free and strong safety.) Inside linebackers need to be very athletic because they will often have coverage responsibilities. Coverage responsibilities are cover-two and press coverage/ bump-and-run.

Vic Fangio’s Defensive Scheme

12.    New Orleans Saints – Sean Payton/Dennis Allen
Disciple of Gregg Williams (see Los Angeles) and also shows a similarly blitz-heavy style with versatile defensive looks both pre-and-post-snap. Uses an aggressive 4-3 defensive front which is designed to create pressure. Often overloads one side of the offensive line with rushers or disguises rushes pre-snap and uses a delayed overload. Often rushes his outside linebackers. Disguises also carry over into his coverage shells, which typically include a lot of cover-two and cover-three looks; will also use some man at times, cornerbacks close to the line of scrimmage with inside linebackers.
http://www.itsalloverfatman.com/broncos/entry/the-playbook-abides-the-dennis-allen-files

13.    Miami Dolphins – Adam Gase/Vance Joseph
Expected to run a scheme similar to Cincinnati’s, which uses four-man defensive lines, taking a third linebacker off the field in sub packages. Disguises his defense’s intentions well pre-snap. Gives lots of aggressive blitz looks (such as double-A gap); doesn’t blitz as frequently as he presents those, but rushes different players from similar looks in order to create confusion. Mixes in twists and stunts. Coverage is predominantly press-man, but will use zone on occasion.
http://www.dailynorseman.com/2015/6/8/8750195/so-what-exactly-is-a-mike-zimmer-defense

14.    Oakland Raiders – Jack Del Rio/Ken Norton Jr.
Ken Norton comes from Seattle, but the team’s defensive scheme attempts to synthesize the 4-3 Under that team plays with head coach Jack Del Rio’s personal philosophy. For more information on the 4-3 Under, see the write-ups for teams like Seattle, Atlanta, and Jacksonville. As for Del Rio, although he also considers defense in terms of over/under alignments, he typically likes to play man coverage with safety help, while his linebackers blitz. Essentially, these characteristics are the opposite of what the 4-3 Under calls for. Norton’s philosophy may become the dominant one now that the team has signed Bruce Irvin to a major deal in free agency.
http://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/5/31/4382318/the-seahawks-and-the-4-3-under-front-winds-of-change

15.    Los Angeles Rams – Jeff Fisher/Gregg Williams
Highly aggressive coordinator who has a deep playbook which uses different fronts, coverages, and personnel groupings. A base 4-3 under/over defense, with Williams calling for pressure in all different situations, including rushes with up to seven players. When the teams goes to sub packages, will vary playcalling between three and four-man defensive lines, with anywhere from two to four linebackers. His frequent blitzing (sometimes disguised) is usually played with more zone-coverage shells in the back, frequently cover-two and cover-four. Often uses a safety in the box, whether to serve as a run defender, blitzer, or robber in short zones.
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000355517/article/st-louis-rams-defense-will-fully-blossom-under-gregg-williams
http://www.bigcatcountry.com/2008/6/26/559060/on-gregg-williams-tenure-a
The Insider's Guide to a Gregg Williams Defense

16.    Detroit Lions – Jim Caldwell/Teryl Austin
Austin’s defensive fronts are mixed up frequently; the team uses a base four-man line, but will use hybrid 3-4 looks and also some 5-2 looks. Often employing one-gap duties in the run game, his defensive linemen create pressure through stunts and deception. Linebackers often blitz, but also play “wall” coverage (similar to a cover-two look at the first level of the field), while the boundary corners are in man coverage and the remaining three defensive backs in sub packages read opposing receiver combinations. It’s a version of a quarters defense which asks the secondary to pattern match. Cornerbacks often play off-man and stay on one side of the field.
http://jameslightfootball.com/tag/teryl-austin/page/2/

17.    Atlanta Falcons – Dan Quinn/Richard Smith
Typically rushes just four players (the defensive line), with a cover-three shell behind it (cornerbacks covering the deep thirds on either side of the free safety’s deep third), allowing the strong safety (in a robber role) and four linebackers to defend the first level of the field. The teams listed here usually press and bail at the line of scrimmage. The teams in this category have been using a combination of one and two-gap responsibilities, with a five-technique end and a one-technique nose tackle occupying two gaps, while a three-technique under tackle and a “Leo” (hybrid end/rush linebacker, wide 9 alignment) play one gap. A strongside linebacker lines up on the outside shoulder of the opponent’s tight end (same side as the five-technique strongside end) and plays one-gap in an “under” front, whereas in an “over” front, the five-technique is more of a six-technique on the outside shoulder of the tight end and the Sam linebacker lines up essentially across from the opposing tackle.
http://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/5/31/4382318/the-seahawks-and-the-4-3-under-front-winds-of-change

18.    Indianapolis Colts – Chuck Pagano/Ted Monachino
A more aggressive 3-4 defense than what Pagano’s brother employs with the Chargers, blitzing more than most other teams in the league. Capable of accommodating different types of bodies along the defensive line, but might be more of a two-gap scheme in an ideal personnel situation; seems to value physicality more than athleticism up front. Uses a lot of man-to-man coverage in the back of their defense, including with their safeties and inside linebackers, the latter of which have often been a bit smaller than is usual for that type of defense.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/11/10/colts-blitz-concern-for-patriots-offensive-coordinator/GM9d7XWxeIHxqVZIhcjDBJ/story.html
http://www.stampedeblue.com/2015/2/13/8034469/the-colts-blitzed-the-third-most-of-any-team-in-the-nfl-in-2014

19.    Buffalo Bills – Rex Ryan/Dennis Thurman
Runs the 46 defense developed by Buddy Ryan, Rex’s father. Ideally, uses four linemen, three to the weak side of the line. The weakside defensive end/primary rusher lines up just outside the weakside tackle, with a strong safety in the box behind him to help in run support; this player will often cover a third receiver. Both outside linebackers are aligned outside the on the strongside, with the middle linebacker also shaded over to that side. Linebackers and defensive backs are expected to blitz frequently, although “simulated rushes” in which just four rush are also common; the style of coverage is typically man coverage (either man free or bump and run), with a single-high safety.’
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/46_defense

20.    New York Jets – Todd Bowles/Kacy Rodgers
A very aggressive multiple defensive front which uses both three and four-man lines based on the matchup, with a very high blitz rate which helps compensate for defenses which have often lacked elite rushers; disguises rushes well. Uses extra safeties often when the team goes into sub packages. On the boundaries, the team uses lots of man coverage, with the other defensive backs often asked to defend zones. Didn’t make much of a shift away from what Rex Ryan was doing with the Jets in the past, which may have made Bowles a choice suited to the team’s personnel.
http://www.ganggreennation.com/2015/1/13/7537863/everything-you-need-to-know-about-todd-bowles-defense

21.    Washington Redskins – Jay Gruden/Joe Barry
Spent his formative years in Tampa Bay under Monte Kiffen, then served as defensive coordinator for Rod Marinelli in Detroit. However, seems to have been more influenced by John Pagano, who he coached under before getting the job (see San Diego for more on that.) Transitioned to a one-gap 3-4 defense last year; was expected to emulate Wade Phillips’ work, but instead used a conservative defensive scheme which featured straightforward rushes of four or even three defenders, with few blitzes and generally a lot of off-zone coverage, usually cover-three. Also occasionally mixed in cover-one (single high safety); might be asked to get more creative and vary his defenses this season after some success over a limited sample size.
Joe Barry's Dismal Defense Will Cost the Washington Redskins This Season
Joe Barry and Washington Redskins Need a Change of Philosophy on Defense

22.    Houston Texans – Bill O’Brien/Romeo Crennel
Primarily uses a three-man base defensive front with classic two-gap read-and-react principles, asking the team’s defensive linemen to control blockers rather than penetrating into the backfield. Favors bigger linebackers who play sides: an “elephant” on one side and more of a rush option on the other side. Employs a lot of disguise/deception pre-snap, including some “psycho” looks; however, isn’t really a heavy blitzer. Pretty conservative in the defensive backfield; cornerbacks often start near the line of scrimmage and attempt to disrupt routes, but often the coverage shell itself is a zone one.
Houston Texans: Insights into the Defense of Romeo Crennel
https://cover7.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/analysing-how-romeo-crennels-blitz-schemes-stifled-robert-griffin-iii/

23.    Minnesota Vikings – Mike Zimmer/George Edwards
Uses four-man defensive lines, taking a third linebacker off the field in sub packages. Disguises his defense’s intentions well pre-snap. Gives lots of aggressive blitz looks (such as double-A gap); doesn’t blitz as frequently as he presents those, but rushes different players from similar looks in order to create confusion. Mixes in twists and stunts. Coverage is predominantly press-man, but will use zone on occasion.
http://www.dailynorseman.com/2015/6/8/8750195/so-what-exactly-is-a-mike-zimmer-defense

24.    Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Lewis/Paul Guenther
Uses four-man defensive lines, taking a third linebacker off the field in sub packages. Disguises his defense’s intentions well pre-snap. Gives lots of aggressive blitz looks (such as double-A gap); doesn’t blitz as frequently as he presents those, but rushes different players from similar looks in order to create confusion. Mixes in twists and stunts. Coverage is predominantly press-man, but will use zone on occasion.
http://www.dailynorseman.com/2015/6/8/8750195/so-what-exactly-is-a-mike-zimmer-defense

25.    Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Tomlin/Keith Butler
Relies on element of confusion – some defenders unexpectedly drop into zone coverage, some unexpectedly rush. Thus, some defensive linemen may be asked to make zone drops into a quarter of the field, while some inside linebackers may also be expected to blitz the “A” gap. Uses cover one (man to man), cover two (zone), and cover three (zone); most frequently in zone coverages. Often rushes five with three deep defenders and three underneath defenders (“fire zone.”) Defensive linemen can have either one or two-gap responsibilities; traditionally, LeBeau and his disciples have emphasized two-gap linemen, but recently they’ve indicated a willingness to tailor things to their players’ strengths more.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_blitz

26.    Seattle Seahawks – Pete Carroll/Kris Richard
Typically rushes just four players (the defensive line), with a cover-three shell behind it (cornerbacks covering the deep thirds on either side of the free safety’s deep third), allowing the strong safety (in a robber role) and four linebackers to defend the first level of the field. The teams listed here usually press and bail at the line of scrimmage. The teams in this category have been using a combination of one and two-gap responsibilities, with a five-technique end and a one-technique nose tackle occupying two gaps, while a three-technique under tackle and a “Leo” (hybrid end/rush linebacker, wide 9 alignment) play one gap. A strongside linebacker lines up on the outside shoulder of the opponent’s tight end (same side as the five-technique strongside end) and plays one-gap in an “under” front, whereas in an “over” front, the five-technique is more of a six-technique on the outside shoulder of the tight end and the Sam linebacker lines up essentially across from the opposing tackle.
http://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/5/31/4382318/the-seahawks-and-the-4-3-under-front-winds-of-change

27.    Green Bay Packers – Mike McCarthy/Dom Capers
Considered to use a 3-4 base defense, but operates out of sub packages over seventy-five percent of the time, much more often than the league average. Actually seems like more of a 2-5 defense which will often ask two linebackers to rush from a three-point stance; has drawn some comparisons to former Packers coordinator Fritz Shurmur’s work with the 2-5. Will line up with three down linemen, then ask the strongside linebacker to work from a three-point stance, essentially creating a 4-3 under look. Also known for giving some “psycho” pre-snap looks, with lots of players standing around. Frequent zone-blitzing, willing to rush defensive backs as well.
http://www.packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2015/06/04/capers-adapts-changing-nfl-offenses/28480951/
Fritz Shurmur’s Eagle Defense: The Birthplace of the Zone Blitz
https://www.reddit.com/r/GreenBayPackers/comments/2gku2o/can_someone_explain_the_dom_capers_defensive/

28.    Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid/Bob Sutton
Has experience in lots of different defensive schemes, but uses a three-man base defensive front. Despite having worked under the likes of Eric Mangini, is willing to use one-gap alignments, get a little bit more creative, and give unbalanced looks or like up their nose tackle as more of a one-technique. Will blitz at times, but also rushes just three and will drop their linebackers into zone coverage with some regularity; many of the team’s sacks came with four rushers or fewer. Tends to favor big-bodied front-seven defenders, albeit with versatility in the roles they’re expected to handle. Will often have a safety playing in the box and ask his cornerbacks to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Kansas City Chiefs: Visual Breakdown & Analysis of Bob Sutton's 3-4 Defense
http://grantland.com/the-triangle/how-the-chiefs-built-the-best-defense-in-football/

29.    Arizona Cardinals – Bruce Arians/James Bettcher
Retained the team’s three-man defensive fronts, with lots of aggressive stunts and blitzes coming from the team’s linebackers (lots of pressure up the “A” gaps); some of those may be attempts to manufacture pressure without an elite edge rusher at outside linebacker. They use Deone Bucannon as a money linebacker rather than a traditional linebacker, Tyrann Mathieu as the nickel defender. At times, as many as seven defensive backs will be on the field at once. Coverages are mixed between man and zone duties, including some pattern-matching zones; may like to do more man if they can find an upgrade at the number two corner position.

Steelers Film Room: Arizona Cardinals’ Defensive Scouting Report

http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nfl/cardinals/2015/12/14/peek-inside-cardinals-curious-speed-defense/77243356/

30.    Carolina Panthers – Ron Rivera/Sean McDermott
McDermott is a discipline of Jim Johnson, who uses a similarly aggressive, zone-blitz scheme behind a four-man defensive line with a one-gap alignment in order to create confusion and  get mismatches. Rushes often and from various different angles (often in the “A” gaps), but also knows when to be more conservative and work through more basic zone looks, relying on his front four to generate pressure, freeing up more varied looks in the back seven. Favors rangy linebackers who can cover ground and rush the passer on occasion.
http://www.catscratchreader.com/2012/2/28/2831884/the-panthers-defense-a-treatise-on-the-jim-johnson-4-3-part-i
http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2013/11/8/5080004/panthers-vs-49ers-defense-breakdown

31.    Denver Broncos – Gary Kubiak/Wade Phillips
Uses a one-gap 3-4 defense which focuses on closing down the run early on in order to facilitate obvious passing situations in which the team can play in aggressive man coverage shells while blitzing heavily from different angles. Uses a lot of slants, stunts, and other rushes of that nature. Will often ask the strongside linebacker to put his hand in the ground, creating more of a 4-3 under look. Defensive linemen don’t need to be massive, but has employed some bigger ones during his career. Lots of bump-and-run or press-man coverage, with the strong safety often working in short zones as more of a robber and the free safety handling both man and zone duties.
http://www.battleredblog.com/2011/1/4/1913068/thats-so-crazy-it-just-might-work-examining-wade-phillips-3-4-scheme
Why Wade Phillips Would Be Perfect Choice to Lead Washington Redskins' Defense

32.    New England Patriots – Bill Belichick/Matt Patricia
One of the most versatile defenses in the league, one which uses both three and four-man defensive fronts, often with one and two-gap principles on different sides of the line on the same play; thus, schematic flexibility is prized. Favors bigger players who can set the edge and defend the run. Will often take one linebacker off the field in coverage situations, often bringing in a third safety. Designs some creative blitzes, especially given the athleticism and talent the team currently has at linebacker, but is a bit more conservative in general. Cornerbacks should be able to play both man and zone, with the safeties often being asked to play in man coverage, but most often using a free safety in deep zones
http://grantland.com/features/bill-belichick-vince-wilfork-new-england-patriots-defense/

Another helpful article: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000498479/article/wade-phillips-vic-fangio-among-top-10-defensive-coordinators

April 5th Mock Draft

My latest attempt at projecting the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. I’ve included scouting reports from my 2016 NFL Draft Preview for the top eight prospects selected. For in-depth reports of 225 of the draft’s top prospects, please consider buying a copy of the book here!

1. Tennessee Titans – OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi*

Protecting Marcus Mariota should be the team’s top priority; although they have one quality offensive tackle in Taylor Lewan, it might be hard for them to pass on Tunsil here, even with someone like Jalen Ramsey available.

Scouting Report:

6’5” – 310 lbs. – 5.15e
Started nine games at left tackle as a true freshman, then eleven games in the following year, missing contests against Auburn and Presbyterian with a partially torn bicep. Broke his leg in the Peach Bowl as a sophomore. Underwent offseason ankle surgery prior to 2015. Plays left tackle for the Rebels. Has a thick build with long arms and good weight distribution; looks a little bit bigger in his upper body. In the running game, is mobile enough to lead block on a screen or get to the second level and engage a defender, but isn’t an athletic freak like some recent top tackle prospects. That said, does get up to speed faster than anticipated for a man of his size. Can control opponents when he gets his hands on them; possesses excellent grip strength to sustain blocks. More of a wall-off blocker than a dominant drive blocker; works hard through the whistle, but doesn’t look particularly mean or aggressive. Controlled footwork in his kickslide; does a nice job of getting depth and repeating his technique. Plays with good balance; gets low, keeps his back straight, and avoids lunging. Doesn’t have to abandon his technique against top rushers. Gets good extension with his arms. Has a strong lower body and can anchor easily against power; stonewalls attempted bull-rushes. In situations where his side is overloaded, is big and strong enough to obstruct multiple defenders. Very difficult to get around with speed because of his thickness; doesn’t have exceptional lateral agility, but is long and wide enough that he does a good job of staying in front of opponents. Handles counter-moves well. Has a strong punch to knock defenders off-balance. Capable cut-blocker. Needs to improve his recognition skills; can get caught blocking down and allow unblocked edge rushers to create pressure. Somewhat susceptible to inside moves, lacking the recovery speed to compensate. Is given a little bit more help via double-team blocks than most top tackles. Didn’t have a great showing against Carl Lawson, being flagged multiple times and allowing more pressure than a top prospect should. Very technically-sound left tackle with a strong lower body and enough athleticism to handle speed on an island. Looks like he has the skills to play on the blindside at the pro level, although he’s not as physically or athletically gifted as most top tackle prospects, and doesn’t dominate in the run game. Will also require investigation into previous injuries and arrest/benefits issues as a junior. As likely as anyone to go first overall, especially after an excellent pro day.

2. Cleveland Browns – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota St.

Head coach Hue Jackson has mentioned that hand size will be important for the Browns in choosing a quarterback; that may give Wentz the edge, especially in light of a pro day performance considered to have been excellent.

Scouting Report:

6’5” – 237 lbs. – 4.77
Redshirted in 2011, then spent the next two seasons as a backup. Took over the starting job as a redshirt junior, a role he reprised for his senior season; however, missed a handful of games after breaking his wrist. Led the Bison to championships in each of his final two seasons, their fourth and fifth consecutive titles. Two-time captain. Operates out of a hybrid offense which asks him to take snaps from under center; scheme involves plenty of read-options and package plays in which he’s given the opportunity of handing off or throwing the ball. Fairly athletic quarterback who has the ability to roll out from the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield; also carries the ball sometimes on read options, with more agility than many passers of similar stature. Can complete passes while moving to either the left or right. Footwork in the pocket needs to be cleaned up; looks too deliberate when dropping back and doesn’t step into his throws, generating most of his velocity with his arm as opposed to effective weight transfer. Moves pretty well to avoid rushers in the pocket, although he often runs instead of going through his progressions. Has an elongated delivery, which is exacerbated by a tendency to stare down his first option; could be preyed upon by faster pro defensive backs. Throws a catchable ball with a tight spiral and good touch, but overall ball placement is suffers the further he’s asked to throw; often lets his deep ball sail beyond his receiver. A bit of a gunslinger who’s at his best when he’s throwing bullets at the short-to-intermediate level; capable of fitting the ball into some tight windows with accuracy, albeit against a lower level of competition. Takes a bit more punishment than you’d like to see, with a competitive on-field demeanor that makes him reluctant to slide at the end of his runs; teams may wonder if the injury he sustained as a senior is a hint of what’s to come given his style of play. A tall, athletic quarterback with a good arm (if not an elite one) and a competitive temperament, Wentz should attract plenty of interest early in the draft owing to the position he plays; having taken snaps from under center will certainly help his cause, although he didn’t go through too many progressions at the college level and needs to clean up his footwork, both in terms of dropping back and transferring weight, not to mention the difficulties he may have in playing against a significantly higher level of competition. Could end up as a starter, but will probably need a year or two of grooming first.

3. San Diego Chargers – DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida St.*

An acrimonious divorce from top safety Eric Weddle will likely make an elite athlete like Jalen Ramsey too difficult to pass on here, despite the fact that he’s probably better as a Weddle replacement than as a cornerback.

Scouting Report:

6’1” – 209 lbs. – 4.41
Started three games at cornerback, then shifted to safety as a true freshman, starting the final eleven games of the season there. Started all fourteen games the following year at the “star” position, which calls for work in the slot, then worked on the outside this season. Very tall, long-limbed cornerback who really looks the part. Has some pretty diverse assignments as far as where he lines up on the field, but does a lot of shuffle coverage, often from the short side of the field, allowing him to use the sideline to his advantage. Rarely asked to backpedal, but with turn-and-run responsibilities, is capable of aligning in press-man and using his wingspan to blanket opposing receivers. Fast enough to carry bigger receivers down the field. However, isn’t really a quick-twitch player who stays glued to opponents out of their breaks; looked susceptible to comeback routes during the games reviewed. Has some technique issues; will turn around away from the receiver instead of turning into them, wasting motion. Needs to get his head around more quickly to locate the ball. Wasn’t asked to line up against many smaller, quicker receivers in the games reviewed, but might struggle in that capacity. Also does some pattern-matching work in zone coverages, where he might be more comfortable as a pro. Ball hawk who can disguise his coverages and jump routes, although would-be interceptions often clang off of his hands. Leapt 41.5” at the Combine. Works well against bunch formations. Has done considerable bit of work as a blitzer off the edge; disguised his rushes pretty well. Excellent leaper who uses his length to bat down passes when rushing from the play-side. Willing as a run defender, generating some force on contact. Capable of taking on blocks; gets arm extension and positions himself well to force runners back inside. Works as a gunner on coverage units, a blocker on the punt team, and serves as the Seminoles’ primary kick returner. Not really a shutdown corner like most top picks, but has rare size, length, and leaping ability which could convince teams he’s capable of matching up against size in the pro game. However, is more likely to end up back at safety, where his man-coverage limitations would be masked and he would be allowed to take advantage of his quality instincts and timing as a zone defender. Diverse responsibilities and unique physical skills will keep him within the top ten picks in next year’s draft; may remind some teams of former first-round pick Malcolm Jenkins, who converted to safety as a pro.

4. Dallas Cowboys – DE Joey Bosa, Ohio St.*

With Greg Hardy already out of the picture and Randy Gregory facing a suspension, the Cowboys would be well-served by bringing in a top defensive end who can get pressure opposite left end Demarcus Lawrence.

Scouting Report:

6’5” – 269 lbs. – 4.86
Has started for the Buckeyes in each of the past three seasons. Tall with long limbs, a muscular build, and even weight distribution; looks like he has the frame to carry additional weight. Lines up at defensive end in the Buckeyes’ even defensive front, alternating between the left and right sides of the line. Slides inside to tackle sometimes and looks very dangerous there. Blows up a ton of plays in the backfield. Disciplined player who remembers his responsibilities; sets the edge and is patient in backside contain. Good awareness to track ballcarriers while engaged. Can reestablish the line of scrimmage and create congestion by controlling his man. Gets good extension with his arms and can shed blocks effectively and make tackles while engaged. Bulldozes tight ends and fullbacks. Powerful tackler with some explosiveness. Gives some effort in pursuit but isn’t really fast enough to chase opponents to the sidelines. Despite his lack of production as a junior, is a polished pass-rusher with a pro-ready skillset. High-motor rusher who usually gets off the snap quickly. Very athletic for his size and can bend the edge smoothly when rushing the passer; dips the shoulder and can beat opposing tackles to the corner. However, occasionally gets too aggressive and will slip to the ground. Has active feet and plenty of natural strength to generate push with his bull-rush. Works swim and rip moves into his game successfully; cycles through rushes enough to keep opponents guessing. Despite his ability, however, doesn’t attract the sort of blocking attention that other top defensive line prospects have drawn; frequently just one offensive linemen is assigned to block him. When he’s unable to reach the quarterback, gets his hands up in an attempt to bat down passes. Makes zone drops a few times per game; looks surprisingly technically sound for a player of his size, although he’s only responsible for defending a short area. Hasn’t had the sack production people expected, but shows up consistently on tape. While he lacks the bulk of J.J. Watt, the player he’s most often compared to, he too has the look of someone who teams can build their defensive front around. Whether he ends up playing on the end of an even or odd defensive line seems to be more a matter of preference than anything, although he’d likely be asked to add at least ten to fifteen pounds of bulk to play on a three-man line; may be best in a two-gap scheme. Looks like as good a candidate as any to be a top-five pick.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Myles Jack, UCLA*

A cornerback such as Vernon Hargreaves may be tempting as well, but Jack is probably the more impressive player on paper and would also fill a need for the team at linebacker, making him a very attractive possibility here.

Scouting Report:

6’1” – 245 lbs. – 4.65e
Started at outside linebacker since his freshman season while also contributing as a running back; however, sustained a torn meniscus three games into 2015 and missed the rest of the year. Not particularly tall, but has good bulk and long limbs (arms measured over 33.5” at the Combine.) Has a good motor and on-field temperament; passionate and violent without losing track of his responsibilities. Explosive mover who accelerates quickly downhill and has speed in pursuit, appearing faster as a junior than he did in his sophomore season; that explosiveness extends to his hands, where he flashes the capacity to jolt blockers and disrupt receivers near the line of scrimmage. Not afraid to mix it up in the run game; can withstand contact and avoid ceding ground. Can work his way through trash and avoid getting washed down the line, although he sometimes gets preoccupied with taking on blockers and loses track of the ball. Forceful tackler who can help set the tone defensively. Often works in zone coverage against opposing receivers and tight ends, where his ability to jam helps him remain in position to make a play; has been given some diverse coverage responsibilities at the college level, which should carry over into the pro game as well. Exhibits the ability to change directions smoothly, but needs to be more consistent with his technique, especially when backpedaling. Instincts in zone coverage are above-average, but will lose track of opponents on occasion; may be a bit better in man coverage, where he has shown the ability to carry running-backs and tight ends down the field. Sometimes employed as a rusher and has the type of temperament which allows him to disrupt the interior offensive line. A physical linebacker with some versatility; has the thick build and strength required to play the run, but is also fast enough to line up in the slot against opposing receivers and tight ends in coverage, staying on the field in passing situations. Ability to play a demanding defensive role effectively is his greatest strength as a player. Could potentially play any linebacker role in either front except on the outside of a 3-4, but might be best on the weakside behind a four-man line. Looks like an every-down player who is highly likely to go within the top ten picks.

6. Baltimore Ravens – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon

Some have argued that Buckner lacks the type of elite athleticism to go this high; however, with no legitimate starting option to play the five-technique position opposite Timmy Jernigan, Baltimore may be induced to take him.

Scouting Report:

6’7” – 291 lbs. – 5.05
Started two of thirteen games as a freshman, then eight games the following year before becoming a full-time starter as a junior. Generally lines up on the right end of Oregon’s odd front, but moves inside on rare occasions. Tall with long limbs and an athletic frame; carries his weight very well, with the frame to handle additional weight, although he looks thinner than he’s listed. Responsibilities alternate between one-and-two-gap; has the ability to generate some push with his bull rush, but looks to be at his most disruptive when allowed to penetrate into the backfield. Able to skinny though double-teams. Draws a lot of extra attention from opposing offensive lines. Pretty creative rushing who demonstrates good arm extension and active hand use to shed blocks; best move is his swim. Has active feet and looks like he could become a dangerous power rusher in the future as well. Exhibits impressive speed; motor gives him the range to chase quarterbacks to the sidelines. That said, gets too upright in pursuit and can be pinballed around when he allows his pad level to rise. Ultimately more of a pressure generator than a sack artist. Could be a threat to bat down passes, but doesn’t get his hands up consistently to contest lanes. Has made the rare zone drop. Motor stays hot in the run game; has good awareness and makes the effort to bring down ballcarriers while engaged. Anchors well against opposing offensive linemen, with a stronger lower body than anticipated. Not a particularly forceful, tone-setting tackler. Could be a little bit more disciplined with his run fits; occasionally loses containment by attempting to create pressure on the inside. Gets neutralized by opposing tight ends and fullbacks too often. Also did some work on special-teams coverage units and could factor in on kick-block units thanks to his height and length. Very athletic, versatile five-technique prospect who could become a foundational piece of an odd front for years to come, especially after spending time in a pro strength program. Superior prospect to former teammate and eventual first-round pick Arik Armstead. Definitely a more natural fit in an odd front but could draw some interest as a five-technique end on the end of a four-man line; however, doesn’t fit the physical profile of an interior lineman in either scheme, which could hurt his draft stock a bit. Nonetheless, looks like a true first-round value with both a high floor and a high ceiling.

7. San Francisco 49ers – QB Jared Goff, California*

Although it seems that Colin Kaepernick may not be traded to Denver after all, the fact that he’s been shopped so thoroughly suggests that San Francisco doesn’t view him as the team’s long-term starter at quarterback.

Scouting Report:

6’4” – 215 lbs. – 4.82
Became the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Bears, in a season in which he eventually started all twelve games; has worked as the team’s starting quarterback ever since, improving his production each year. Has prototypical height, along with a somewhat thin build which will probably force him to add bulk at the pro level. Works from the shotgun, doing a lot of his work on shorter throws; only comes under the center in goal-line situations. Plays in a programmed scheme which doesn’t ask him to go through many progressions; almost always locked in on and threw the ball to his first read. Offense relied primarily on a combination of timing routes straight down the seams, short slants, and combinations designed to get people open in the flats. Pretty good pre-snap player who can recognize coverages, although at times he’s punished for deciding upon a course of action before the play starts. Footwork on dropbacks is a mystery because of the scheme he played in, but has good pocket movement versus pressure. Will step up into the pocket to evade the rush and has enough speed to run for the first down if he’s given a clear path; pirouettes well to escape rushers and will keep his eyes downfield. Capable of rolling out to either the left or right and completing passes. Has an easy three-quarters delivery and produces a tight spiral with touch. Gets enough zip on his passes to complete throws to the boundaries and fit passes into tight windows. However, doesn’t always transfer weight effectively, negatively impacting his accuracy (even if his arm is strong enough to get the ball downfield regardless.) Even when given a clean pocket, doesn’t always put the ball in the best position to protect his receiver or facilitate yards after the catch; tends to throw just behind his receiver on many of his short routes, forcing them to come back to the ball. Inconsistent on a snap-to-snap basis; can complete beautiful throws at the intermediate level on some plays and struggle to lead a back or receiver on a flat or swing route the next. A little bit of a gambler who trusts his arm too much at times, trying to fit throws into tight coverage. Often pooch-punted the ball in fourth-and-short situations. Hasn’t been asked to work from under center or go through many progressions, so teams may be hesitant to throw him into the starting lineup immediately; however, his tape contains plenty of impressive, pro-style throws, which is expected to make him one of the top ten picks in this year’s class.

8. Philadelphia Eagles – RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio St.*

Replacing Jason Peters with a left tackle of the future has to be high on Philadelphia’s list of priorities, but it may not trump finding offensive weapons which the team can build their offense around, something Elliott offers.

Scouting Report:

6’0” – 225 lbs. – 4.47
Functioned as the team’s backup to Carlos Hyde as a true freshman, then stepped into the starting role as a sophomore and has been carrying the load ever since. Has the type of thick, compact build associated with feature backs at the pro level; good weight distribution throughout the body. Does a lot of his work out of the shotgun in Urban Meyer’s power spread offense, rarely working out of a more pro-style “I” formation. Exhibits very impressive natural feel for the position. Has good vision, recognizing cutback lanes and showcasing the change-of-direction skills to get there, although some coaches may wish he was a little bit quicker to hit the hole. Has plenty of shake and regularly makes the first defender miss; much more elusive than his frame would suggest. Powerful runner who can pick up yardage after contact and finishes most runs by falling forward. Runs through arm tackles with ease. Minimizes the big hits he absorbs by running with a low center of gravity, although he has two years of significant tread on his tires. Protects the football, but often carries it in his right hand. Not elite in terms of top-end speed but can get to the corner and pick up chunks of yardage; has scored some long touchdowns at the college level. The type of back who should be able to handle an every-down role at the pro level. Often used as a receiving option, occasionally lining up out wide but usually via swing passes out of the backfield; sometimes catches passes in the flats from motion. Possesses soft hands and can catch the ball away from his frame. Gives good effort as a blocker, but success comes primarily through his strength, physicality, an awareness, rather than because of his technique; needs to be more consistent about extending his arms into contact. Has done some lead-blocking work on designed quarterback runs as well. Employed as the team’s punt returner at times, but botched one punt during film review and isn’t a very conventional choice for that type of role. Criticism of the Buckeyes’ gameplan, playcalling, and coaching staff following a loss to Michigan St. may raise some character concerns (despite subsequent apology), but on-field competitiveness and temperament are both desirable qualities; has also earned Academic All-Conference honors. Has already shown he can function as a team’s workhorse at the college level, combining a strong frame, good instincts, a powerful, agile running style, and enough third-down skills to be the first running back off the board.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida*

Veteran Brent Grimes was signed to serve as a stopgap option in the team’s secondary, but it’d probably benefit the Buccaneers to take a chance on Vernon Hargreaves’ excellent athletic tools if available at this point in the draft.

10. New York Giants – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame*

Ereck Flowers has struggled to begin his career, so it might make sense for the Giants to take a bit of a risk in hoping that Stanley can effectively man the blindside, allowing Flowers to play the more familiar right tackle spot.

11. Chicago Bears – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan St.*

Finishing with the league’s worst run defense last season had made it appear likely that this pick would be used on a front-seven defender, but signings in the front seven might benefit Conklin, who could put Kyle Long back inside.

12. New Orleans Saints – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson*

Cameron Jordan is a legitimate threat on the end, but Bobby Richardson, the player currently projected to start opposite him, is less-than-ideal; going with Lawson would allow the Saints to improve a one-dimensional pass rush.

13. Miami Dolphins – CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson**

While the team may see adding Byron Maxwell as a step in the right direction, they still have some work to do in the secondary, given Jamar Taylor’s struggles; signing Mario Williams could ultimately push Miami to draft a cornerback.

14. Oakland Raiders – DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

Signing Sean Smith to start opposite David Amerson likely takes someone like Eli Apple out of the equation, so it might be best for the team to focus on bringing in a defensive lineman to challenge Dan Williams and Justin Ellis for snaps.

15. Los Angeles Rams – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis*

Although it’s tempting to consider someone like Laquon Treadwell here, finding a legitimate starting option at quarterback takes priority over anything else, with the team otherwise pretty close to being able to compete for a playoff spot.

16. Detroit Lions – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio St.

Now that the team is being managed by a Belichick discipline in Bob Quinn, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they decided to draft an Urban Meyer product here, the type of durable starting tackle who could help protect Matthew Stafford.

17. Atlanta Falcons – DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson*

Having previously hit on Vic Beasley in the first round of last year’s draft, it makes sense for Atlanta to return to the Clemson well by drafting Kevin Dodd to start for the team on the other side of the line, replacing Tyson Jackson.

18. Indianapolis Colts – LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia*

With the team relying on aging pass-rushers such as Trent Cole and Robert Mathis, it would be a good idea to swing for the fences with a long, athletic, versatile pass-rusher such as Floyd, especially after Bjoern Werner flopped.

19. Buffalo Bills – DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma St.*

Mario Williams was heavily criticized by his former teammates on the Bills last season, which makes it seem doubtful that the organization would go for a major character risk such as Robert Nkemdiche; Ogbah may be a safer bet.

20. New York Jets – DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky*

Had he performed better at the NFL Combine and adequately addressed character concerns, Spence would have been a candidate to go within the top ten to fifteen picks, so it may be worth gambling here on a talented rusher.

21. Washington Redskins – DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama*

The likes of Will Compton, Perry Riley, and Mason Foster probably aren’t what Washington is hoping to rotate through at inside linebacker in 2016, but positional value may push them toward bolstering the defensive line first.

22. Houston Texans – WR Corey Coleman, Baylor*

Head coach Bill O’Brien praised Coleman after attending Baylor’s pro day, and may have to take a chance on the relatively raw receiver in an attempt to provide DeAndre Hopkins with an effective complement on the other side of the field.

23. Minnesota Vikings – WR Josh Doctson, Texas Christian

At this point, Doctson seems to be considered the consensus pick for the Vikings, which would make sense given the team’s lack of a downfield passing game; the team’s inability to throw downfield dashed their playoff hopes.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi*

It’s hard to say how far Treadwell might fall on draft day; he could go in the top fifteen, or be the third receiver selected, but either way it’s hard to imagine the Bengals passing on him after losing two of their starting wide receivers.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers – DT Andrew Billings, Baylor*

Although two potential first-round picks at cornerback are still available, Billings is the better value and seems like a perfect fit for what the Steelers need to do up front; find a legitimate nose tackle to replace the departed Steve McLendon.

26. Seattle Seahawks – DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech

After losing left tackle Russell Okung in free agency, offensive line is a dire need for the Seahawks, but it shouldn’t trump the possibility of bringing in a massive, athletic defensive tackle prospect to rotate with Jordan Hill and Ahtyba Rubin.

27. Green Bay Packers – LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

Inside linebacker seems to be a perennial need for the Packers, but if Ragland is available, they can feel confident in having added a pro-ready player from both a physical and mental standpoint, allowing Clay Matthews to play outside full-time.

28. Kansas City Chiefs – CB William Jackson III, Houston

Finding a bookend to complement second-year player Marcus Peters is one of the team’s biggest needs after successfully retaining Jaye Howard and Derrick Johnson in free agency; bringing in a wide receiver would also make sense.

29. Arizona Cardinals – NT Jarran Reed, Alabama

Trading for Chandler Jones went a long way toward resolving Arizona’s pass-rushing woes, but they also need to find a nose tackle who can eat blocks in the middle of the field, making Reed an attractive consideration late in the round.

30. Carolina Panthers – LB Darron Lee, Ohio St.**

A pure value at this point, Lee looks likely to go higher than his play would indicate because of his elite physical tools; he could develop his game behind Thomas Davis and take over starting duties for the team in another year or two.

31. Denver Broncos – OC Ryan Kelly, Alabama

Having lost both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler this offseason, Denver admittedly doesn’t have much to protect, but it’d be nice for the team’s next quarterback to at least have some protection up the middle of the line.

DT SHELDON DAY, NOTRE DAME

DT #91 Sheldon Day, Notre Dame

6’2” – 285 lbs. – 4.95e

Appeared in a rotational capacity over thirteen games as a true freshman, then started eight games as a sophomore, eleven as a junior, and all thirteen as a senior. Has a thick, somewhat top-heavy build which looks pretty much maxed out; height and arms are a bit below average. Is a five-technique defensive end in Notre Dame’s odd defensive front; most of his snaps come as a right end, but will slide to the left side as well and occasionally takes snaps out of a two-point stance. Team captain with a tenacious on-field temperament; has a high motor and will pursue sideline-to-sideline. Takes a high percentage of his team’s defensive snaps. Has good play recognition skills and is rarely caught out of position. Scrapes down the line well to defend the run. Anchor isn’t great and can be pushed off the line; best chance of creating problems in run defense is by lowering his shoulder and attempting to create congestion with his body. Also struggles to reestablish the line of scrimmage with his bull rush; not really a two-gap player, although he does shed blocks well. Lacks the length to make tackles while engaged and gets preoccupied with blockers at times, missing opportunities to make tackles. Could do a better job of protecting his legs against cut blocks. Very good penetrator who creates consistent pressure throughout the game; will probably be more useful on passing downs than anything else. Draws extra attention on a handful of plays each game. Excellent first step; is often the first player to react to the ball being snapped. Can challenge the edge with his speed, but sometimes rushes too deep, creating a hole for ballcarriers to run through; also has a bit of trouble bending back on a consistent basis and would probably benefit from working inside moves into his game more often. Has active hands and can slap an opposing offensive linemen’s punch away on a regular basis; best move is his overhand swim, but also works a rip move in. Spin is a bit too deliberate to be considered a weapon at this stage. When he has a clear path to the quarterback, has the closing burst to finish plays with sacks; however, a fair amount of his opportunities are the result of finding a clear lane on a stunt. Generates some force on contact, more of a thud than a whip. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes when he’s unable to get into the backfield. Has also made a few zone drops and looks surprisingly capable in that capacity. A likely second-day pick who would be best as a one-gap penetrator in an even front.

Games watched: Clemson (’15), Southern California (’15), Texas (’15)

OT JERALD HAWKINS, LOUISIANA ST.*

OT #65 Jerald Hawkins, Louisiana St.*

6’6” – 305 lbs. – 5.25e

Redshirted in 2012, then took over as the team’s starting right tackle in the following season, with one start at left tackle (Furman.) Reprised his role as a sophomore, then slid over to the left side to replace La’el Collins as a junior. Tall offensive linemen with reasonable bulk, although his weight distribution is slightly off; looks a bit top-heavy with thinner legs. Because lack of lower-body strength carries over into his game, will probably need to spend some time in a pro strength program before he’s ready to contribute. Competitive on-field temperament, although he doesn’t appear to have much of a killer instinct. Has trouble with balance, is a waist-bender who tends to overextend in an attempt to engage opponents. Consequently, ends up on the ground far more often than he should. Also falls off blocks by lowering his head into contact or missing his initial punch; questionable hand placement. When he is positioned well, however, has active feet and enough strength to drive opponents off the line as a run blocker. Rarely asked to get out to the second level or lead the way by pulling for a screen, although he has some short-area quickness when asked to hook an opponent; a lot of his run-blocking work comes on slants as opposed to drive blocking. On passing downs, often works with help on the edge. Has some trouble with awareness in blitz pickup; allowed a few clear paths to the quarterback by blocking down and missing an opponent rushing off the edge. Can get enough depth to protect the edge against speed, although his technique looks somewhat mechanical; somewhat of a lumbering and rigid mover. More likely to attempt to “catch” opponents with his body rather than extending his arms; consequently, as a relatively thin-legged tackle, can often be walked back into the quarterback, or at the very least driven a few yards into the backfield. A pretty raw player despite spending four years in college and three years in the starting lineup of an SEC team; whether that’s due to poor coaching or reflects negatively on Hawkins himself is something to be determined by pro teams. Most of his major weaknesses can be traced back to either poor technique or a lack of lower-body strength, so there’s some potential for improvement if teams are willing to be patient. Experience on both sides of the line will help, although he looked more comfortable on the right side and will probably be limited there as a pro as well. Probably more of a third-day value, especially given the depth at tackle this year.

Games watched: Auburn (’14), Alabama (’15), Mississippi St. (’15)

OB DEION JONES, LOUISIANA ST.

OB #45 Deion Jones, Louisiana St.

6’1” – 227 lbs. – 4.65e

Appeared in thirteen games as a freshman, primarily on kick coverage units, a role which he reprised over thirteen games the following season. Started one of thirteen games the following season, at weakside linebacker (injury replacement for Kwon Alexander.) Became the team’s leading tackler as a senior after replacing Alexander on the weakside. Plays weakside linebacker for the Tigers, with their most common defensive front being a sub package featuring just two linebackers. Undersized with a muscular build, although he compensates somewhat with good leverage; nonetheless, will be restricted to playing on the weakside in even fronts, with little value in odd base defenses. Athletic player who’s at his best when allowed to play downhill; however, effort wanes with distance and isn’t a true sideline-to-sideline player. Recognition skills leave something to be desired; takes plenty of false steps, getting fooled by play-action and misdirection. Consequently, looks best given simplistic responsibilities, such as blitzing off the edge (four sacks as a senior.) Works through trash better than he takes it on; lacks the strength to anchor when engaged, although his ability to shed blocks is better than anticipated when he extends his arms into contact rather than using his body. Overruns too many spots and struggles to break down in the open field. Poor tackler who acts as more of a projectile, especially around the sidelines, and lets too many opposing ballcarriers through his grasp; doesn’t generate much force, unsurprising given his size (however, has a reputation as a special-teams hitter.) Will defer tackling responsibilities to teammates in the area. Runs well enough to cover, but typically has basic short-zone responsibilities, exhibiting questionable awareness; may be better with simple man-coverage duties on halfbacks and H-backs. When targeted, showcased soft hands and good ball skills. Has extensive special-teams experience, the area where he initially made his name, and looks likely to follow a similar trajectory at the pro level. However, may struggle to develop into more than that, as his athletic ability is mitigated by his poor instincts and inability to consistently make tackles when given the opportunity. Has some potential as a man coverage specialist, where his frame and movement skills are adequate for defense on running backs and H-backs, and which would simplify his responsibilities. Probably unlikely to draw much interest before the third day, although he seems like the type of player who’d benefit from the pre-draft process.

Games watched: Alabama (’15), Eastern Michigan (’15), Florida (’15)