Top 10 Rookies NFL 2021 thru 11 weeks To call this list “definitive” would be disingenuous. My Top 10 Rookies …
Top 10 Rookies NFL 2021 thru 11 weeks To call this list “definitive” would be disingenuous. My Top 10 Rookies …
2022 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Nov. Edition) Three quarterbacks and four defenseive backs in the Top 10! 2022 NFL Mock …
DeVonta Smith NFL Draft 2021 (Alabama) Prospect Overview: @CPGM Juice – DeVonta Smith’s competitive spirit is off the charts. Despite …
Top 10 Rookies NFL 2021 thru 11 weeks To call this list “definitive” would be disingenuous. My Top 10 Rookies …
2022 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Nov. Edition) Three quarterbacks and four defenseive backs in the Top 10! 2022 NFL Mock …
2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence – Clemson – QB The Jags have some work …
Jaylen Waddle NFL Draft 2021 (Alabama) Prospect Overview: @CPGM Juice – Jaylen Waddle arrived in Tuscaloosa a year after Henry Ruggs, …Read More
Ja’Marr Chase NFL Draft 2021 (LSU) Prospect Overview: @CPGM Juice – Ja’Marr Chase’s sophomore campaign was a season for the ages. …Read More
DeVonta Smith NFL Draft 2021 (Alabama) Prospect Overview: @CPGM Juice – DeVonta Smith’s competitive spirit is off the charts. Despite …Read More
Top 10 Interior Defensive Lineman Draft Prospects – 2020 1. Derrick Brown – Auburn I don’t believe there is much …Read More
Top 10 Cornerback Draft Prospects – 2020 (CPGM Drew) 1. Jeff Okudah – Ohio State The complete package! Man, zone, …Read More
To call this list “definitive” would be disingenuous. My Top 10 Rookies NFL 2021 to date is a fluid, ever-evolving group of talented youngsters that have impressed this season. Limiting this list to just 10 players was difficult. There are deserving rookies who won’t make the cut but could very well cement their spot by year’s end.
10. Cleveland Browns LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Injuries and head-scratching usage at times aside, JOK flashes weekly. Throw the boxscore out. Owusu-Koramoah’s combination of quickness and instincts make him invaluable in a pass first league. However, his willigness to take on offensive linemen and affect the the run game is under-appreciated. To date, JOK has played more than 52% of the snaps in only two games. The Cleveland Browns had better increase his playing time if they hope to meet their lofty expectations entering the season.
9. New England Patriots DT Christian Barmore
The only interior defensive lineman that I gave a first round grade to in the 2021 NFL Draft. Barmore has seen his playing time spike over the last month and for good reason. His disruptiveness has been one of the driving forces in the Patriots resurrgent defense as of late. Most importantly Barmore is providing the elusive interior pass rush so few teams possess. He currently ranks 3rd among all rookies in QB pressures (31) according to PFF.
8. Kwity Paye EDGE Indianapolis Colts
My top rated EDGE prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft Class. Paye is as advertised against the run. He consistently sets a physical edge and run stops come in droves. I’ve been encouraged by his steady development as a pass rusher as well. According to PFF, in Weeks 1-8 Paye only had 8 pressures, he tripled that number in Weeks 9-10 per. Furthermore, Paye ranks 2nd only to Micah Parsons in adjsuted pass-rush win rate among 2021 first round selections.
7. Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith
Despite the Philadelphia Eagles offensive struggles DeVonta Smith is the highest graded rookie wide receiver to date (PFF). For those of you leery of Pro Football Focus grades, trust that the film doesn’t lie. He draws the opposition’s top corner each week; yet the amount of separation he creates, he’s open on virtually every snap by any standard. Coaching and inconsistent quarterback play have tempered expectations of casual fans but the Eagles’ passing game is coming into focus and the DeVonta Smith explosion is in the crosshairs.
6. Las Vegas Raiders CB Nate Hobbs
The fifth round selection out of Illinois has been outstanding. Whether it be in coverage or in run support, Hobbs has been the best rookie cornerback in an exceptionally talented class. One cannot overestimate his coverage out of the slot nor his ability as an open field tackler. According to PFF, Hobbs has allowed a paltry 243 yards on 354 coverage snaps.
5. New England Patriots QB Mac Jones
Leading off the top half of the Top 10 Rookies NFL 2021 is Mac Jones. The former Bama star has faired the best among the rookie signal-callers and it hasn’t been close. Let’s face it. We were enthralled with the physical gifts of the other four first round quarterbacks. But Jones’ is peerless in terms of pocket presence, processing and ball placement. Even with an uninspiring cast of receivers Mac Jones has done an excellent job of keeping the offense on schedule, protecting the football and giving his team a chance to win each week.
4. Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase
Chase quickly put his preseason struggles with drops behind him and got off to a blistering start. Stacking defensive backs at record pace. His chemistry with Joe Burrow on full display. He’s cooled off as of late but his eight touchdowns are twice as many as the next rookie wideout. Chase’s redzone prowess and run-after-catch ability are as advertised. The rate at which he’s creating separation has been a pleasant surprise. The only thing keeping him from the top is his lack of success in contested catch situations; an area I did not expect him to struggle in.
3. Kansas City Chiefs C Creed Humphrey
I realize that Najee Harris was long rumored, ear-marked to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th overall pick. I had hoped they would select Creed Humphrey to replace Maurkice Pouncy. Well, the Kansas City Chiefs got an absolute steal on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft. According to PFF, Humphrey is not only the highest graded offensive rookie thru 11 weeks; he’s the highest graded center overall to date. Only four rookies have finished as the highest graded player at their respective position during the PFF era. There names are Patrick Willis, Adrian Peterson, Aldon Smith and Alvin Kamara.
2. Los Angeles Chargers OT Rashawn Slater
It’s a tall order protecting the franchise quarterback’s blindside. Piece of cake for Slater. He’s been dominant during his rookie campaign. His technique superb. He has all the answers to the test. It’s almost as if he’s been here before. I expect him to make All-Pro this season and the next five or so after that.
1. Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons
I knew he was a talented. It was clear he was a gifted athlete. I was convinced he was everything Cowboys fans THOUGHT Jaylon Smith would be. And I still under-sold him. I did NOT recognize how special a football player Micah Parsons is. Number 11 in blue is a STAR. The way he gets after it lining up all over the formation is must see television. At times you see a delay in processing when he’s aligned off-ball but he’s improving.
What jumps off the page is his pass rushing ability. According to PFF, Parsons rivals Myles Garrett and Maxx Crosby in terms of pass rush grade. That’s impressive company for the rookie defender. Parsons appears to be a shoe-in for Defensive Rookie of the Year; and if he keeps up his impressive play, he may be the first rookie to win Defensive Player of the Year since Lawrence Taylor did in 1981.
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The Jags have some work to do on defense but offensively aren’t too far off. This season we saw a quarterback carousel of Gardner Minshew, Jake Luton and Mike Glennon. Let’s be real, they are quality backups at best. Trevor Lawrence can be the franchise QB/face of the organization in Duval. With wide receivers DJ Chark who I loved coming out; the swiss army knife in Laviska Shenault Jr. and the diamond in the rough James Robinson at running back drafting Lawrence here is a no brainer. He’ll have the opportunity to grow with this up and coming group of young high potential players. This selection has the potential to shake up the AFC South for years to come.
Assuming the Jets find a suitor for Sam Darnold, they’ll use the second overall pick in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft to replace the incumbent Darnold. I believe when it is all said and done Zach Wilson will be the second QB off the board and will bring the “it” factor that has long evaded this team. I don’t believe there isn’t anything Wilson can’t do. Unlike the Jags the Jets are a team who has some work to do in surrounding the new franchise quarterback with some talent.
It’s the best feeling when you can match the board with need and this is what has taken place here. If there is a glaring need on the Dolphins it is at the wide receiver position. Not to say the Dolphins don’t have guys that can offer what you want in a receiver from a speed, quicks, big play ability or possession type with consistency. Smith brings all this in one package.
Was never high on Isaiah Oliver and here is his replacement. Jaycee Horn is what the Falcons thought Oliver should have been. A long, physical corner who plays bigger than his size to play the man in front of him. You can go pass rusher here and I wouldn’t be mad at it but Jaycee Horn on one side and A.J. Terrell on the other solidifies the corner position in Atlanta.
Most expect Penei Sewell from Oregon here in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft; and I would say there are more offensive linemen in this draft that are closer in talent level then DL; specifically edge players. Not sure what the Bengals were doing with their defensive lineman this year not playing the best players then trading away Carlos Dunlap. But I do know that Paye would bring first step quickness and closing speed that opposing tackles would have to be concerned about.
With possible cap casualties on the offensive line and Jason Peters most likely out again; the Eagles need to add a guy who can come in and make an impact immediately. Also, there is potential that Sewell can play guard as well. I know linebacker is a black whole on the Eagles defense but I don’t know that there is a linebacker prospect worthy of being drafted this high and with the emergence of Jalen Hurts why not protect the franchise.
Matthew Stafford out and Jared Goff in why not go and get the best tight end (and wide receiver in my opinion) in the draft. There isn’t anything that Kyle Pitts can’t do from either position. He’s a matchup nightmare and can be the moving piece within the offense assuming of course Kenny Golladay is back.
Since we know that the Panthers were willing to trade the #8 pick for Matthew Stafford we know they are in the market for a quarterback. Justin Fields has plenty of athleticism and can be deadly accurate can compete with Teddy for the staring gig.
Perhpas the biggest curveball in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Elway out and new GM George Paton in and I think he gets his guy. Jones is not super athletic, a physical phenom, or posseses the strongest arm but he’s incredibly consistent. Consistency at the quarterback position can go a long, long way especially if you have weapons around him. Jones can and will get them the ball so they can go to work. Ask Jaylen Waddle, Najee Harris or Devonta Smith.
With the inconsistency on the back end whether it be due to miscommunication, lack of effort, or just poor play the Cowboys need help all over the secondary; safety or cornerback take ya pick. Surtain is big, strong and looks comfortable both in man and zone. He is a guy who uses his size and length well to stymie and/or body receivers. So whatever the Cwoboys decide to do Surtain will play and match it and do it at a high level.
Every offense needs that guy the quarterback can count on to make a play when the time comes and Chase most surely can be that player. I don’t know if there is anything that he can’t do and you pair him with Saquon Barkely, a no quit Daniel Jones, extremely talented Evan Engram, and deep threat Darius Slayton; this offensive can be potent and one defenses fear.
Might be the best cornerback coming out and a guy I believe can play on the outside as well as in the slot. Feisty, physical guy who comes with bad intentions and a guy that can play man and zone and would fall right in line with how the 49ers play ball.
This is a plug and play player who has the potential to be the best tackle coming out in a pretty good class. His biggest flaw I witnessed was he would drop too far back and at times came up high. Both fixable with some coaching. Strong and an easier mover who can be the cornerstone protector for the franchise in Justin Herbert.
With all the young talent in the secondary they need help to aid in their development with a proper and more consistent pass rush. Used in a variety of ways at Georgia Azeez Ojulari can rush the passer with heavy violent hands who will defend the edge in the run game with violence and technique as well as will drop back and play in space or covering the running back who leaks out the backfield.
Another big play receiver who can be a difference-maker within the offense that has evaded the New England Patriots since Randy Moss. The difference here is there is no Brady to circumvent the lack of talent at the receiver position. Most offenses need a receiver that defenses have to gameplan for or just outright take away leaving others to eat. I believe Waddle has that ability.
Super active hands with a nice quick burst off the line. Uses his dip and burst timely and in unison. Might be the best in the draft at understanding the pace and timing of how to play games (stunts/twists) upfront and win consistently. One of the biggest things missing within the Cardinals defense was their lack of pass rush. Ossai can be that guy who can be Bonnie to Chandler Jones Cylde.
A guy who can both play the linebacker position as we see it today, sideline to sideline but can rush the passer when getting a chance at it. As we know Raiders need help at both positions and this is a player that can alleviate both if schemed up properly.
The Phins are up again in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Whether it be Tua Tagovailoa, Ryan Fitzpatrick or a new comer via trade or draft the Dolphins need to sure up the offensive line. And what better way to do that now with the aid of one of the best coming out in Slater; who may be the best pure pass protector coming out. Easy mover with great feet and hands that match.
What I saw from Taylor Heinicke in the one playoff game, Alex Smith and the potential for Cam Newton to come aboard I wouldn’t draft a quarterback but someone to pair with Terry McLaurin. The Washington Football Team is on the cusp of being a real threat but need more weapons on the offense to be consistent and apply pressure much like their defense does. Insert Batemen and you get someone similar to a McLaurin who just knows how to create separation and keeps the chains moving.
I like the fit here simply because Lance adds elements to the offense that include both Nick Foles (willing to let the ball go down the field) and Mitchell Trubisky (has the ability to extend the play). But what both lack, Lance doesn’t. He is a bigger frame and body type who can run a true RPO and if you let him run he will RUN and punish incoming defenders. He will help to realize the true potential of what the Bears offense could and should be.
Jones has an exceptional burst off the edge and has the strength and length to defend the edge at the POA. Pairing him with the likes of Justin Houston and with DeForest Buckner on the inside this would make the back-end so much stronger for a team that loves to play tons of zone coverage.
The Titans pass offense is built on play action given the fear Derrick “the king” Henry instills running the ball. This in my opinion is the Corey Davis replacement with big play potential. Although I feel Marshall is a bit raw I think playing in an offense where he doesn’t have to be polished and draw lots of man coverage will allow him to blossom quickly. Nevermind the fact that Marshall’s presence will open things up for A.J. Brown even more.
I have the Jets going back to the “offensive well” in this 2021 NFL Mock Draft. This team lacks weapons this is one that you just can’t pass up here. Just get the ball in his hand and let him do the rest. The Jets haven’t had a guy that teams have had to gameplan for in years. Toney can be that guy. Quick twitch, short area quickness, burst and can convert that speed to power to take on incoming defenders breaking tackles or out right making people miss. He is what I like to call a moving piece.
As good as this team is defensively there are problems on the offense side of the ball from wide receivers that can’t catch to inconsistent quarterback play to not being able to run the ball like in years past. These issues only get worse once the off-season has begun with damn near the entire offensive line will be free agents. Enter Cosmi who I like a ton and once he drops his anchor is virtually impossible to get past him in any way. Remember Pittsburgh is one of the few teams who develop offensive linemen in the league.
The future is in the building, so let’s protect him on both sides. Cam Robinson on one and Alijah Vera-Tucker. Vera-Tucker has excellent feet, headsy, and played both tackle and guard. The Jaguars are not too far off offensively from being able to compete and put points up successfully week to week. Providing your franchise quarterback weapons and protection are of the utmost important especially when you are only a few pieces short.
Raw and untamed who is a see ball go get ball type who can play in the slot and blitz from anywhere. The Browns don’t have a difference maker at the second level and Owusu-Koramoah would change this allowing the Browns to be more multiple and not so basic in their approach as a defense.
As dynamic as the Baltimore Ravens are on offense they still lack a guy that Lamar Jackson can count on outside of Mark Andrews and the 200 hundred tight ends on the roster. A guy that can actually consistently catch the ball, wins his one-on-ones to get open and makes plays in the open field. Rondale Moore is like a running back once he has the ball in his hands.
This would be the Ryan Ramczyk replacement. The Saints are the worst positioned team when looking at the salary cap with the assumption it most likely will go down. As a result Ramczyk may be a possible cap casualty. Jaylen Mayfield brings a good combination of power and attitude to the run game, has quick hands and drops his anchor effectively in the pass game.
The Packers are missing a guy in the middle both at the first and second levels of the defense making them what we call here marshmallowy, aka, soft, weak, flaccid!!! Collins’ speed, smarts, and decisiveness were on display play after play, shooting gaps and bringing down the ball carrier for a loss as well as torpedoing sideline-to-sideline to ruin screens and bubbles to receivers.
As fun and exciting as the Bills were this year the one thing the Bills couldn’t do was run the ball. It was so bad they frequently avoided running the ball altogether at times. So let’s stay the course and add Wyatt Davis, an excellent pass protector and a guy who can move to the second and third level. He excels in space and moving laterally along the line.
A man with a plan every play and he has no quit in his game. I know the sexy thing to do here is go get the another speedy receiver but I decided to have the Chiefs go after a guy they can put opposite Frank Clark. Looking at the Chiefs, the second level is probably the worst of part of their defense followed by Edge Rusher opposite Clark. I say let’s sure that up; which will allow Steve Spagnuolo to be even more multiple with the back 7.
It’s nice that Jason Licht brought in Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy to help aid in the run game alongside Ronald Jones who is only getting better. But too many times this season I watched Jones and Fournette drop passes and McCoy with his east and west running sytlee and poor pass protection. The Bucs need a guy that can not only run but can do what Jones, McCoy and Fournette seemingly can’t do. Harris is a plug and play player with high impact. Patience, vision, wiggle, burst, and the ability to run routes and catch out the backfield will go a long way as Brady loves to target his backs.
2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
@CPGM Juice – Jaylen Waddle arrived in Tuscaloosa a year after Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith. Still, he made an immediate impact as a true freshman. The Texas native was a difference-maker on special teams and outpaced Ruggs in receiving yards. Waddle also finished with more receptions, yards and TDs than Smith as a freshman. However, 2018 proved to be Jaylen Waddle’s most productive season in terms of receiving totals. In 2019, Waddle continued his impressive play on special teams leading the nation in punt return average (24.4); and was a scoring threat everytime he touched the ball. But, he was fourth in the receiving pecking order managing just 33 grabs. However, the Jaylen Waddle NFL Draft Stock got off to a blistering start in 2020.
The Alabama speedster torched opposing defenses to the tune of 6/139/1 per game. Unfortunately, an ankle-injury brought what appeared to be the makings of a stellar season to a screeching halt. Suprisingly, Waddle played during the National Championship. Clearly hobbled and robbed of his trademark explosiveness it was a gutsy, if not ill-advised effort from the junior wideout. Subsequently, Jaylen Waddle declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Waddle’s traits and his potential utility place him among the top wide receiver prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. The NFL continues to skew towards an inside-out passing game; and as a result Waddle should play his customary slot roll the vast majority of the time.
@CPGM Juice – Routniely deployed from the slot, Waddle’s rare acceleration truly makes him a threat to score everytime he touches the ball; paricularly, when he catches the ball in stride. At full throttle Waddle eviscerates defensive back leverage and pursuit angles. Jaylen figures to be an invaluable chess piece in an NFL offense. From the slot, stacked releases and the consistent use of motion will put opposing defenses in a bind as they attempt to keep pace with his speed. Furthermore, the aforementioned will make it more difficult on the technically sound defensive back to mitigate Waddle’s explosiveness. This is signficant because press coverage becomes far less tenable. Additionally, Waddle’s quality route-running is under-appreciated.
It should be noted that Waddle has a tendency to catch the ball with his body which may lead to drops. Assuming he adjusts and keeps the ball away from his frame with more consistency it’s hard to imagine that he won’t have success. That being said, it remains to be seen whether phsyical press coverage is something he can overcome assuming the opposition is willing to challenge him.
Ideally, Jaylen Waddle will be utilized in a similiar fashion to Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs. Verticals, shallow/mesh and deep crossing routes from the slot; bubbles, comebacks outside of the numbers to take advantage of the cushion/respect for his speed and copious amounts of jet motion/jet sweep action allowing Waddle to utilize his gifts in the open field. Furthermore, Waddle brings immediate legitimacy to a team’s return game. At this juncture, Waddle is a more polished wide receiver than Tyreek Hill was upon entering the league. However, he doesn’t possess the instincts and “make you miss” Hill demonstrated from Day 1 in terms of being a ball-carrier.
Ultimately, the Jaylen Waddle NFL Draft Stock in the eyes of NFL teams will depend on how much an organization (or organizations) values speed and special teams contributions in lieu of prototypical size and classic “X” receiver traits. Waddle’s ability to meet his high ceiling will be contingent upon how creative a given team’s offensive play-caller is. Too often speedsters are pigeon-holed into being seldom used deep threats. Make no mistake, part of Jaylen Waddle’s allure is that he can take the top off of the defense thus opening up the field for other players. However, he is very much a wide receiver that can make plays at every level of the field. The goal should be to get Waddle as many touches in space as possible.
|3 Cone Drill|
@CPGM Juice – Ja’Marr Chase’s sophomore campaign was a season for the ages. The 2019 Biletnikoff Winner set SEC records for receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20) amid a historically great LSU offense. Chase’s big-play ability was on full display from the time conference play began thru a (9/221/2) National Championship winning performance; despite facing quality competition on a weekly basis. During an absolute clinic of a season, Chase routinely played the “X” (split end) receiver and slot positions in which his trademark physicality showed up time and again. As a reult, the Ja’Marr Chase NFL Draft stock soared despite not being draft eligible.
However, Ja’Marr Chase would not return for his junior year. Instead, he opted out of the 2020 NCAAF Season due to concerns associated with COVID-19 and declared for the 2021 NFL Draft this past September. Despite only having one season worth of substantial production, all things considered, Chase’s decision to opt out was the correct choice. It was more likely that Chase’s draft stock would take a hit (however incremental) considering how high he set the bar in 2019. Furthermore, question marks at quarterback with Joe Burrow moving on to the NFL made his decision all the more astute.
I can’t tell you how many times he was along the sideline and I’m thinking, “no way this dude makes this catch and if he happens to get his hands on the ball he is not coming down in bounds with it. Not only come down with the ball but he is making an NFL catch, two feet in with complete control of the ball and even at times tu it up the field turning it up for extra yardage. Week after week this man faced the best cornerback there was in the country not named Jeff Okudah and DOMINATED!!! Press, turn and run, off coverage it didn’t matter.“
@CPGM Juice – The pre-draft process may carry more weight for Ja’Marr Chase compared to his peers who opted into the 2020 season. His aforementioned 2019 campaign was phenomenal, no question. However, NFL Front Offices will put him through the paces having taken a year off from football. The interview and medicals are always significant. But Chase’s athletic testing figures to play an even larger role in terms of 1st Round draft position and guaranteed dollars despite an other-worldly sophomore season.
It should be noted that Ja’Marr Chase, while shrewd in terms of his route-running pace is not a great route-runner. Moreover, he ran a limited route tree while at LSU consisting primarily of verticals from the boundary or slot, slants and crossing patterns. But this is an area of his game I believe will improve. Furthermore, Chase lacks elite top end speed. While sub 4.4 speed isn’t necessary to be a successful NFL wideout it certainly helps when you’re not a paricularly polished route-runner.
Still, Chase’s phsyicality and hand usage are what redzone target usurpers are made of. The former LSU wideout was challenged with copious amounts of press coverage. A rarity at the collegiate level. But he remained undeterred and won routinely. His ability to get to his spot, particularly on inside releases is uncanny. There’s no stopping him from getting inside leverage on slants and dig routes. While I think he would be simply uncoverable playing from the slot predominantly; Chase’s penchant for attacking the football and body control plays outside of the numbers as well. He’s also excellent at generating yardage after the catch. If he proves that he can stack defensive backs on a consistent basis he could thrive as an “X” receiver.
|3 Cone Drill|
@CPGM Juice – DeVonta Smith’s competitive spirit is off the charts. Despite an incredibly talented and crowded Crimson Tide receiver room, Smith has distinguished himself thoughout his career at Alabama. In 2019, Smith proved he was every bit as explosive as former teammates Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs. In 2020, the DeVonta Smith NFL Draft Stock has increased substantially; seemingly taking his game to a new level in the absence of fellow first round prospect Jaylen Waddle (injury).
DeVonta Smith has been deployed throughout the formation at the Z (flanker) position, X (split end) or in the Slot during his senior/junior campaigns. The odds on favorite to win the 2020 Biletnikoff Award has excellent hands and superb body control. The Louisiana Native routinely stacks defensive backs and creates separation off the line of scrimmage and/or at the route stem. DeVonta possesses easy speed, is fluid in and out of breaks and accelerates smoothly as a ball-carrier. Detractors will point to Smith’s slight frame but his ability to beat man-to-man coverage isn’t predicated on play strength. Still, DeVonta plays bigger than his weight might suggest. I anticpate Smith will add 8 – 12 pounds as he increases his play strength to deal with more consistent press coverage at the next level.
@CPGM Juice – While DeVonta Smith has the requisite football acumen and ability to play every wide receiver position I think he’d be most effective deployed at the Z and slot positions. An NFL team would do DeVonta and themselves a disservice if they simply lined him up on the back side of the formation (X); allowing the opposition to roll coverage and use the boundary as an extra defender. Give Smith a two-way go and/or put him in motion to neutralize aggressive press coverage and safety help.
I anticipate DeVonta Smith making an immediate impact at the next level given his special teams prowess and previous exposure to a prototypical, West Coast offense. He’s advanced in nearly every facet of the game and catches everything. The ball has a tendency to find him. It appears that his talent is only exceeded by his apparent competitiveness which NFL coaches and front office personnel will love. The full route tree is within Smith’s purview as well. Furthermore, DeVonta’s ability to consistently beat man-to-man coverage, navigate zone coverage, and take the top off the defense leads me to believe he can absolutely serve as the focal point of an NFL team’s passing game.
|3 Cone Drill|
Despite the fact that the 2020 NFL Draft has come to an end I continue to find myself breaking down every teams’ draft class. Every pick and every round and I couldn’t help but formulate my “Favorite Picks” by Round. Feel free to comment and share your favorite picks and compare them to mine.
DALLAS COWBOYS – 17TH OVERALL PICK – CEEDEE LAMB – OKLAHOMA
The Dallas Cowboys found themselves in an excellent position having the 17th pick and watching reportedly their 6th ranked prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft Class fall right to them. Lamb who is my WR1 in the class, could’ve of been selected as high as 9th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars as far as I am concerned. The Jets and the 49ers decided to wait until later in the draft to select a wide receiver, but the Raiders and the Broncos might regret passing up on Lamb and selecting Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy instead. The Cowboys now have one of the most explosive offenses in the league with Lamb in the fold to go along with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Lamb is the type of receiver that makes his quarterback look good as you just need to get the ball in his vicinity and he can come down with contested catches. The best comp for Lamb is DeAndre Hopkins as his body control, strong hands, and route running are all reminiscent of Nuk. The Cowboys got themselves the steal of the first round, as there will be many big game performances for the latest member of the #88 club in Dallas.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 1
BUFFALO BILLS – 54TH OVERALL PICK – A.J. EPENESA – IOWA
The poor combine results of Epenesa depressed his draft value, however the tape at Iowa shows that he is a first round talent. When I saw the Bills take Epenesa in the second round I said to myself, “The Bills sure do know how to find a physical defensive lineman that fits their scheme.” A strength of the Bills for some time now, Epenesa just adds another talented player to Buffalo’s down-line. With one of my draft favorites last season Ed Oliver in the middle of the defense, Epenesa is a nice compliment that can win from the edge or from the interior on passing downs. He’s a grown man that excels in the run game and utilizes his hand technique and power to play through blockers on his way to the quarterback. With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay, the Bills in my opinion are the favorites in the AFC East.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 2
ARIZONA CARDINALS – 72ND OVERALL PICK – JOSH JONES – HOUSTON
One of the more surprising developments of the draft was offensive tackle Josh Jones falling all the way to the 3rd round in the 2020 NFL Draft. I had a late 1st early 2nd round grade on Jones and ranked him 5th among all tackles, after the “BIG 4.” Austin Jackson, Isaiah Wilson, and Ezra Cleveland all went before Jones as well due to their potential ceiling; however, Jones’ floor is much higher. This is a passing league and in my estimation, he’s more NFL ready to go up against pass rushers than the three tackles I mentioned earlier. Jones is very clean from a technical standpoint as he plays with a certain smoothness due to his feet, hand placement, and football IQ. Another attribute that makes Jones the steal of the third round was his ascension at the collegiate level, as he got better and better from year-to-year.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 3
MINNESOTA VIKINGS – 130TH OVERALL PICK – JAMES LYNCH – BAYLOR
The Vikings had a terrific draft class that was highlighted by excellent Day 3 picks including James Lynch in the fourth round. I call Lynch the poor man’s A.J. Epenesa due to his ability to win in a similar fashion with strength through contact. The Vikings did a great job of replenishing their losses this offseason first by drafting Justin Jefferson to replace Stefon Diggs. They followed that up by selecting three corners in the 2020 NFL Draft to replace Xavier Rhodes, Mackenzie Alexander, and Trae Waynes. The Vikings also managed to add a pass rusher of Lynch’s caliber to replace Everson Griffen, assuming he doesn’t sign back with the team. The Vikings will be just fine inserting Lynch on the edge on running downs and sliding him inside to rush the quarterback on passing downs. For a guy his size, Lynch is extremely agile and nimble enough to penetrate gaps and cause havoc in the opponent’s backfield. His ability to use his hands and contort his body through blockers will be a welcomed addition to that Vikings defensive front.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 4
NEW YORK JETS – 158TH OVERALL PICK – BRYCE HALL – VIRGINIA
A 2019 ankle injury derailed Bryce Hall’s senior season, but I haven’t forgotten how dominant he was in 2018. A Day 1-2 talent fell all the way to the fifth round for the New York Jets to pounce and possibly insert him in their lineup sooner than many may believe. Hall thrives in a zone scheme due to his length and playmaking ability, but I also believe he can be just as effective in man defense due to his patient feet and technique. He will be put to the test in Gregg Williams’ aggressive defense that will have him on an island occasionally, but Hall’s long arms to disrupt the timing of receiver’s routes and technique to be in phase will go a long way. The Jets needed help at the corner position so getting a steal like Hall in the fifth round could possibly be their best value pick in the class.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 5
NEW YORK GIANTS – 183RD OVERALL PICK – CAMERON BROWN – PENN STATE
If you caught my pre-draft rankings, I raved about Cam Brown as one of the biggest sleepers in the class. I was in awe of the talent and versatility Brown brought to Penn State and was even confused why other draft evaluators didn’t love him as much as I did. I guess you can say this is my guy in the 2020 NFL Draft Class. The Giants selected a very skilled and versatile defender that can play in the box, on the edge, and even match up against athletic tight ends in pass coverage. There were talks of the Giants drafting Isaiah Simmons with the fourth pick in the draft, but the G-Men opted for Andrew Thomas and may have gotten a player in Brown that might be the second most versatile linebacker in the class behind Simmons. He’s a do-it-all hybrid defender that closes quickly to the ball carrier and brings a high motor on every play.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 6
BUFFALO BILLS – 239TH OVERALL PICK – DANE JACKSON – PITTSBURGH
Another member of the Buffalo Bills 2020 NFL Draft Class makes my “best picks of each round” in cornerback Dane Jackson. A position of strength with pro bowler Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace, and the newly acquired Josh Norman just got stronger with Jackson. The size and athleticism of Jackson may make some doubt his staying power in the league, but I am a fan of his ability to mirror and match opposing receivers due to his feet and hips working in unison. Jackson will more than likely battle for the slot corner role on the Bills, which in today’s NFL is a starting position as the league has moved towards three receiver sets as the norm. Jackson is a competitor that can help the Bills take away slot receivers with his ability to jam at the line, turn, and run with players like Julian Edelman and Jamison Crowder in the division.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 7
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