Tag Archives: Noah Fant

The Draft: Round 2, Review

With a record number of underclassmen (135) declaring for the draft, the pool was very, very, rich. With such a deep class, it was bound to happen that some first round talent would fall into the second round.

When day two started, Bryon Murphy, Jawaan Taylor, Greg Little, Cody Ford, Dalton Risner, D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Greedy Williams were all still on the board.

There were hardly any real surprises in this round – a few, but no jaw droppers. The names called were either guys projected for the first round, but landed in the second, or names projected for the third that ended up going just a little earlier than anticipated. Overall, a solid round.

By-the-way, Arizona finally unloaded QB Josh Rosen in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. So, the Dolphins pick up Rosen, and the Cardinals got the 62nd overall pick. Arizona also gave Miami a 5th round pick in 2020. So good job, Miami, for being patient and getting your guy at a bargain basement price.

Let’s take a quick look at the second round.

Round 2

1/33. Arizona Cardinals: Bryon Murphy, CB, Washington

“Murphy’s got great skills, really natural anticipation and movement,” general manager Steve Keim said in a pre-draft press conference last Tuesday. “He’s really sudden in transition as a corner. He also has return ability … really passionate about the game and I think he’s going to be a heck of a player in the NFL.” A great way to start the second round with Murphy going off the board.

2/34. Indianapolis Colts (via NYJ): Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

Abdurrahman Ibn Ya-Sin is his real name, but just call him “Rock” Ya-Sin.
Photo: Temple University Athletics

Indianapolis had trade offers for 34th overall pick, but decided to stay pat and select Rock Ya-Sin, the cornerback from Temple. “We had action,” Colts GM Chris Ballard told reporters. “I kept telling our guys, look, if we move down and we pass this guy that we love, and we don’t get him, we’re going to be regretting it.”

3/35. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Oak): Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Most all pundits, including me, had Taylor going to the Jaguars in the first round. Apparently, we are told, there were some concerns about Taylor’s medical (knees) that dropped him out of the first round. As long as he’s healthy, seems like a perfect fit in Jacksonville. They need him.

4/36. San Francisco 49ers: Deebo Samuel, WR, So. Carolina

From everything we heard, the 49ers were going to take a wide receiver in the second or third round, so no surprise here. Deebo Samuel was a player the 49ers got familiar with at the Senior Bowl. He’s a competitor that displays a nice combination of speed, power, and versatility.

5/37. Carolina Panthers (via NYG, Sea): Greg Little, OT, Mississippi

He’s big, he’s athletic, he’s got long arms. Little played in the SEC, against some of the top competition in the country. The Panthers expect him to come in and compete for the starting left tackle job.

6/38. Buffalo Bills (via Jax, Oak): Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

“A lot [of mocks] had me in the first,” Ford said via conference call. “But I tweeted out earlier, always trust God. You never know what’s going to happen. This situation could be better than any situation in the first round, so I’m very grateful for it.” Pre-draft, Ford felt like there was a strong connection between him and the Bills new offensive line coach Bobby Johnson – which Ford believes will translate well on the field.

7/39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan

Bunting is a lesser-known prospect from Central Michigan.

Bunting had 9 INT’s and 4 forced fumbles in three years with the Chippewas.
Photo: Mike Carter|USA TODAY Sports

He stands 6’0” tall, 195 lbs, and had a very solid combine showing wtih a 4.42 forty, a 41.5” on the vertical jump, and 126” on the broad jump. He’s one of the highest rated press-cover guys in this years’ draft. Over half the teams had Bunting in for a team visit or a private workout. Getting a press-cover corner was a high priority for the Bucs in this draft – and they land the player GM Jason Licht says they were targeting.

8/40. Oakland Raiders (via Buf): Treyvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

GM Mike Mayock said that Oakland had rated Mullen around No. 24 on their draft board, so when they were able to get him at No. 40, they were very excited. Mayock was quick to mention that Mullen had a great National Championship game. So, he can handle the big stage. He’s a long, rangy, press cover corner that Mayock believes will fit perfectly in DC Paul Gunther’s defensive scheme.

9/41. Denver Broncos: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

From everything I heard, I thought the Broncos would target Risner. While getting him at ten seemed too high, it seemed reasonable they would trade back to get him.

Kansas State’s Dalton Risner is headed to Denver.
Photo: K-State Athletics

When Denver did trade back in round one, and didn’t pick Risner, I was a bit dumbfounded to be honest. But, as things played out, the Broncos still took Risner, but with the 9th pick of the second round. Risner can play four of the five offensive line spots. This is a good value pick for a guy that Denver really liked.

10/42. Denver Broncos (via Cin): Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Denver then traded up for back-to-back picks, and select Drew Lock, quarterback from Missouri. Lock easily has the strongest arm in this year’s draft class. Giving him some time to learn behind the newly acquired Joe Flacco is an excellent way to groom this guy for the future.

11/43. Detroit Lions: Jahlani Tavai, MLB, Hawai’i

Jahlani who? Unfortunately, Tavai’s games were televised when most of the continental US was asleep. When that happens, you tend to get overlooked by the mainstream press. That, however, doesn’t mean you’re not a good player.

Tavai finished his career with 390 total tackles and 41 tackles-for-loss.
Photo: Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Detroit’s GM Bob Quinn had this to say about Tavai, “I thought we had a really, really good second day of the Draft. (We) acquired Jahlani Tavai from Hawaii – really versatile player, four-year starter, two-time captain, very versatile linebacker, can play the run, can rush, can blitz, can cover. (He’s a) very unique player. When we started scouting him during the season – actually going back to last spring – very unique with his body type, his playing strength, his ability to rush, cover, play the run, throw special teams in there as well. So there’s that. Just because he plays in Hawaii – he’s probably off the radar a tiny bit, but not for our scouts.”

12/44. Green Bay Packers: Elgton Jenkins, OG, Mississippi State

Elgton Jenkins is the exact type of offensive lineman that General Manager’s are looking for these days: versatile. Jenkins displayed his versatility by playing center, guard, as well as tackle and is a very athletic player. He is one of the best interior offensive linemen in this year’s draft.

13/45. New England Patriots (via Atl, LAR): Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt

With the Draft taking place in Nashville, it was awesome to see a hometown guy go in the second round. Williams, who grew up in Nashville housing projects, was an all-state performer at Father Ryan and an All-SEC selection at Vanderbilt. He was among the top defensive backs in the SEC, ranking second in the conference with four interceptions and 18 passes defended in the 2018 season. At 6’4″, Williams was the tallest corner in the draft.

14/46. Cleveland Browns (via Was, Ind): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Certainly, Williams poor showing at the NFL Scouting Combine had a lot to do with his slide into the second round. He’s only a redshirt sophomore, so I believe he will mature and get better and better as goes along. He’s long and fast – running a 4.37 forty – and is the best pure cover corner in the draft. I’m rootin’ for him.

15/47. Seattle Seahawks (via Car): Marquise Blair, S, Utah

GM John Schneider said, “He’s just physical,” Schneider said. “Great athlete. Ran fast. True competitor.” True, Blair is a physical safety, he loves to hit. On the downside of that, he’s not that big. In the NFL, that typically translates into time on the I.R. Certainly, hope that’s not the case here.

16/48. New Orleans Saints (via Mia): Erik McCoy, OC, Texas A&M

The Saints signed free agent Nick Eason and drafted Erik McCoy in an attempt find the heir apparent for retiring center Max Unger. McCoy fires off the ball and is best moving forward. He’ll compete for a starting job.

17/49. Indianapolis Colts (via Cle): Ben Bagonu, LB, TCU

Banogu (15) had 8 sacks and 18 tackles-for-loss last year.
photo: TCU Athletics

The Indy Star said this morning, “Banogu is a guy who posted eye-popping test results at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, measuring a smallish, for a defensive end, 6-3, 250 pounds – though that’s similar to Justin Houston (6-3, 258), a decorated pass-rusher from Kansas City whom the Colts acquired in free agency – but running the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds and posting an absurd 40-inch vertical leap.”

18/50. Minnesota Vikings: Irv Smith, Jr., TE, Alabama

Jamaal Stephenson, Vikings Director of College Scouting, spoke to the media after the team selected Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. in round two of the 2019 NFL Draft. Stephenson said, “We believe Irv is a perfect fit for our new (offensive) scheme.” Smith is a player that Vikings will be able to move around and cause mis-match problems for defenses.

19/51. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi

Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said Brown has big hands, and is a great route runner. “He can catch the ball, and he can break tackles,” Robinson said. “He has a good athletic skill-set, and has versatility to play a couple of spots. He’s a good athlete. We are excited to have him on the team.”

20/52. Cincinnati Bengals (via Pit, Den): Drew Sample, TE, Washington

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan explained pick of tight end Drew Sample in the second round, “We just felt like he was the best offensive player for us, for what we needed.” He went on to say, the Bengals want to have a good run offense – and Sample’s blocking skills will fit nicely in Callahan’s scheme.

21/53. Philadephia Eagles (via Bal): Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State

“Miles was a staff favorite,” GM Roseman said. “A coaching staff favorite. A personnel staff favorite. A front-office favorite. He reminded us of some other players we’ve had around here.”

Sanders fell into Duce Staley’s lap, and the Eagles couldn’t be happier.
Photo: Abbey Drey|centredaily

“This is a guy, we got together two weeks ago as a staff and put together some hypotheticals. We joked about Miles falling to us like he did today. I went to (running backs) coach (Duce) Staley’s office and I said, ‘Let’s get some good karma. Maybe Miles will fall.'”

22/54. Houston Texans (via Sea): Lonnie Johnson, Jr., CB, Kentucky

Johnson raised his stock at the Senior bowl. For his final collegiate season, Johnson totaled 23 tackles (17 solo) with one forced fumble and one interception, along with four passes defensed. His has the traits to become a solid corner at the next level.

Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (6) defends the pass.
Photo: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

“Lonnie is going to be a great pro,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said before the draft Thursday. “He’s got so much upside. You can’t help but look at him and watch him play and like him and want him on your team. It’s just a matter of how high and what pick, but he’s going to be a great pro and has got a lot of upside.”

23/55. Houston Texans: Max Scharping, OT, No. Illinois

No question about it. Houston had to find more than just one offensive lineman in this draft. With the first pick, they got a right tackle in Tytus Howard. In round two, they snap up Max Scharping from Northern Illinois. Scharping is another player that has all the traits teams look for. With good coaching his floor should be high – and he should be able to play left tackle at the next level. He may spend a year seasoning at guard though.

24/56. Kansas City Chiefs (via Chi, NE, LAR): Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia

Speed, speed, speed. Kansas City gets a dynamic return specialist who can come in and get some reps at wide receiver while he learns the nuances of the game. Looks for him on end arounds and bubble screens and deep shots down the field. I bet Mahomes is excited about this pick. HC Andy Reid said, “The place you really see his grit is in the return game. He’s strong, breaks tackles, and then you get … his speed also.”

25/57. Philadelphia Eagles: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

Arcega-Whiteside is a 50-50 jump ball extraordinaire. He plays the redzone like a basketball player posting up in the paint. The Inquirer aptly pointed out, “Arcega-Whiteside fits as an understudy for (Ashlon) Jeffery who gives the Eagles another big-bodied presence.”

26/58. Dallas Cowboys: Trysten Hill, DT, UCF

The Cowboys finally get on the clock and they surprise us a bit by taking a big, explosive, defensive tackle that ends up on the ground way too often. DC Rod Marinelli loves Hill’s motor and high energy. I’m guessing they’ll use him at DT on third and long, creating disruption in the backfield. I think he’ll be a pass rush specialist to begin with.

27/59. Indianapolis Colts: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

Parris Campbell and his blazing 4.31 speed is going to Indianapolis. Campbell will give Luck a good target on crossing routes (that’s what Campbell does best) and on deep balls. The Colts like his versatility.

Ohio State’s Parris Campbell is still learning the nuances of playing wide receiver.
Photo: Joseph Maiorana|USA TODAY Sports


“I played multiple positions at Ohio State,” Campbell said. “I found my home at our H-back slot, wide receiver, outside, inside, even took handoffs in the backfield.”

28/60. Los Angeles Chargers: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

The L.A. Times proclaims, “Chargers pick ‘perfect fit’ safety Nasir Adderley in second round of NFL draft.” GM Tom Telesco said that Adderley was a player they had targeted and felt relieved when they found him still on the board at No. 60. The Chargers will plug Adderley in at safety.

29/61. Los Angeles Rams (via KC): Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

Here’s what RamWire had to say about Rapp stepping into a crowded defensive backfield. “Despite signing Eric Weddle and having John Johnson III back as a starter, the Rams weren’t satisfied with the current status of their secondary. Weddle is 34 and under contract for just two years, and the Rams love to run three-safety packages on defense.”

30/62. Arizona Cardinals (via NO, Mia): Andy Isabella, WR, UMass

University of Massachusetts All-American wide receiver Andy Isabella has serious 4.3 speed, so he’s not your typical slot receiver. “He had a lot of production inside and outside and that’s what’s exciting to us, is his ability to play on the outside and create space,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Isabella. “He’s dangerous on the inside as well. But he’s a guy that showed he could do both at a high level.”

31/63. Kansas City Chiefs (via LAR): Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

The Chiefs signed Tyrann Mathieu in the off-season. Adding Thornhill to the mix gives them some flexibility in how they design their defensive schemes. Both players are considered to be safeties, but both have the tools to play some spot cornerback. Once again, versatility is the key work in today’s NFL. I like the idea of Mathieu mentoring Thornhill until he becomes an every down player.

32/64. Seattle Seahawks (via NE): D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

Seahawks GM Schneider said the team was surprised Metcalf was still on the board as the second round came to a close. They decided to make a trade with the Patriots to to move up to and get him

Photo: Matt Bush|USA TODAY Sports

According to the Seattle Times, Seahawks scout Aaron Hineline said of Metcalf: “D.K. fits the mold of smart, tough and reliable. He obviously has a great pedigree and is a freak of an athlete. He’ll be a great fit with all that we ask of our guys at that position. He blocks well and can contribute on special teams.”

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Draft Review: Round 1


Draft talk  . . . draft picks, rounds, team needs, and prospects to watch.

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE | MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Draft: Round 1, Review

There were several surprises on day one of the draft. The Arizona Cardinals now have two top ten quarterbacks on their roster. They were unable to trade last years’ first round pick Josh Rosen and drafted Kyler Murray with the number one pick in this years’ draft. Honestly, we are kind of curious to see how all of this plays out. Will they unload Rosen on day two?

The Raiders really did surprise everyone by taking Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick. Ferrell was projected to go somewhere between 10-20 in most mock drafts.

And then the NYGiants, shocked us by taking Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. Some pundits had Jones buried towards the end of round three; and some had him going to the Giants at pick seventeen. However, nobody expected Jones to go at six, or before Haskins.

Let’s take a quick look at the first round.

Round 1

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma 

With the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select Kyler Murray, quarterback, Oklahoma.

Why Arizona waited to until draft day to make their selection known, who knows? Why did they not move Rosen a month ago, who knows? All we know is Murray is now the starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinal and a perfect fit for new HC Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense. It will be fun to watch.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The 49ers will line Bosa up opposite newly acquired DE Dee Ford to create havoc off the edges. Bosa has exceptional short area quickness and excellent lower body strength. The 49ers were said to be shopping Solomon Thomas a couple of days before the draft, but so far no trade.

3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Williams to the NYJets is another great fit, great pick. Williams is coming off a college season where he absolutely dominated opponents with his quickness, agility, and hand techniques. By lining him up next to Leonard Williams, the Jets are going to create a lot of pressure up front.

4. Oakland Raiders: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell won the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award.
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas|USA TODAY Sports

The first major surprise of the draft. How big of a surprise? Even Raiders new DE Clelin Ferrell remarked on being picked No. 4 overall: “I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t surprised.” Ferrell is about as complete an end as there is in this draft. Quick enough to get the corner and stout enough to hold up against the run.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, ILB, LSU

Not shocked here, but a little surprised they took a linebacker (White) over an edge rusher (Josh Allen) with both still on the board. However, the Bucs lost their MLB, Kwon Alexander, to the 49ers in the off-season -so, it makes sense. Plus with Tampa switching to a 3-4 they needed another inside linebacker to suit up next to Lavonte David. Another great pick, great fit.

6. New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

His relationship with quarterback guru David Cutcliffe and the Manning family probably had a lot to do with Jones landing in the Meadowlands. That part wasn’t too surprising. What was a complete shock is that Jones went off the board at No. 6 overall. Jones will learn the ropes from Eli, while Eli can feel secure that the number one quarterback in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is still named Manning.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

Jacksonville is in need of help along the offensive line, no secret there. The Jags gave up 50+ sacks last year. Most everyone expected the Jags to take an offensive lineman here. However, no one expected Ferrell to go off the board at No. 4 four, or Allen to slide to No. 7. Allen creates issues for tackles with his burst off the line, and bend around the corner. Jags took the best player available and will look for O-line help in round two.

8. Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

The Lions need weapons on offense and they got a really good player here in Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson can inline block, adding value to the running game. He runs clean routes, gains separation, and has easy hands – adding value to the passing game. Just a smart pick.

9. Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

With the retirement of DT Kyle Williams, I thought they might address that need early in the draft. However, I thought they’d go after a big run-stuffer like Dexter Lawrence. The Bills, though, went after the smaller 3-technique Ed Oliver. Oliver is a tough competitor that plays from snap to whistle and should fit in well with that dominant defense.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (via Den): Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan

This morning’s Detroit Free Press read, “Michigan’s Devin Bush Jr. was exactly what Pittsburgh Steelers wanted.”

Michigan’s Devin Bush is able to rush the quarterback or drop in coverage.
Photo: Detroit News

The Steelers trade up to grab the second best linebacker in the draft — and they take him ahead of arch-rival Cincinnati, who may have been contemplating at the same player. Good move to go up and get the player you want and keep him out of the hands of the competition.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

New HC Zac Taylor wants to fill the locker room with high effort, high character players. Williams isn’t a “splash” pick, but he’ll be lunch-bucket reliable and a very good foundation piece for the new regime in Cincinnati. The four-year starter fills one of the Bengals’ most pressing needs. Good pick, good value.

12. Green Bay Packers: Rashan Gary, OLB, Michigan

How will the Packers use Michigan DT/DE hybrid Rashan Gary? “He’ll start in the outside linebacker room. He’s a guy, because of his size and speed and versatility, you’d hope you can move him around the front,” Packers scout Joe Hueber told reporters Thursday night.

13. Miami Dolphins: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

I’m comfortable with Wilkins going at thirteen, but are the Dolphins throwing the 2019 season out the window? I can’t believe Fitz-Magic is really their answer? We’ll see if they go after a QB in day two? Miami Dolphins GM Chris Grier gushed about Wilkins position versatility and leadership – and he’s right about those things, I just thought they had a bigger need at QB.

14. Atlanta Falcons: Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

I had Lindstrom going toward the bottom of round one, so there was a little surprise when he came off the board at fourteen. He’s definitely the best OG prospect in this year’s draft. In Atlanta, Lindstrom will be joining another former BC player in quarterback Matt Ryan. It will be Lindstom’s job to keep Ryan’s jersey clean. Solid pick.

15. Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Haskins will be playing thirty minutes from home.
Photo: Joe Maiorana|USA TODAY Sports

Happy for Washington to get the quarterback they really wanted without having to trade up to get him. I had Haskins as my number one rated quarterback since December. He’s accurate, patient, has excellent pocket presence and light feet. Next question, does Washington start him on day one?

And what did Haskins think of “falling” to pick fifteen?

“To be honest, I’m more motivated than ever before. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” Haskins told ESPN. “The league done messed up.” Got to like a guy who finds ways to self-motivate.

16. Carolina Panthers: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

The Panthers have concerns on both sides of the line. They went defense first. “This guy has a huge ceiling,” GM Marty Hurney said. “He’s got some elite skill-set traits that are hard to find. He needs to develop as he grows and his body matures – he needs to get stronger – but you can’t coach some of the traits he has. The speed. The length. The change of direction.”

17. New York Giants (via Cle): Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman loves those big-bodied lineman that improve your team and defense by winning in the trenches. With QB Jones and DT Lawrence, Gettleman has improved his roster already.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Bradbury, OC, NC State

Bradbury seems like he’d be a best fit for a zone-blocking team – a team like Minnesota. The Vikings need to protect QB Kirk Cousins, so I thought they would go with an offensive tackler at eighteen, getting interior help a little later in the draft. HC Mike Zimmer said of Bradbury, “This dude is tough, physical and a ‘can’t miss’ guy.”

19. Tennessee Titans: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State (NLF)

The Titans coming out of round one with a DT wasn’t a surprise. Taking Simmons, who is coming off an ACL injury, was a minor surprise. Simmons has top ten talent, but he won’t be ready to play right away. The Titans are willing to wait, and should be largely rewarded for their patience.

Simmons said on a conference call Thursday night his ACL rehab is going great.
Photo: Clarion Ledger

“He’s a guy we did extensive research on, and he is going to come in here and get to work and help this football team,” Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said of Simmons. “I’m just really excited about the ability that he has. He has really good quickness, can really run for a big man. He is explosive, changes direction well. He finishes plays, and he is an aggressive player.

20. Denver Broncos (via Pit): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

GM John Elway had this to say about trading down from ten to twenty, and about getting Fant with the twentieth pick.

Fant ran a 4.5 forty with a 6.81 3-cone at the Scouting Combine.
Photo: The Daily News

“We had a couple other options too. We had a lot going on in that 10 minutes. We ended up taking the deal with Pittsburgh, and we just felt like getting that extra pick in the second and getting a third next year that the value was there. Then to be able to pick up Noah at 20—he can really run and stretch the field, very athletic, and a very effective receiving tight end. We’re excited about where he ended up.”

21. Green Bay Packers (via Sea): Darnell Savage, S, Maryland

Seattle traded down to gain additional draft picks, while Green Bay made the move up to get the best safety in this year’s draft, Darnell Savage. The Packers exchanged their No. 30 pick and two fourth-rounders (No. 114 and 118) to move up to take the Terrapins’ senior safety, who had 181 tackles and eight interceptions (two returned for a touchdown) in 45 career games.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (via Bal): Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

GM Howie Roseman traded up to draft Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard. Roseman said Dillard was not a need selection, rather he was the best player on their board. In fact, Roseman said, the Eagles had Dillard ranked as a top 10 player. They are not expecting him to step into the starting rotation right away.

23. Houston Texans: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

Houston had to find a way to protect QB Deshaun Watson. With Dillard off the board, Houston turned its attention to Tytus Howard of Alabama State. Howard looked very good at the Senior Bowl. He has an excellent kick-step and mirrors well. GM Brian Gaine said that he believed Howard could play four of the five O-line positions.

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chi): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Jacobs is widely considered the top running back prospect in the nation.
Photo: Marvin Gentry|USAT

Oakland got their feature back in Josh Jocobs. With a big offensive line to run behind, a veteran quarterback to lead the way, and wide receivers to stretch the field, Jacobs should have a big rookie season.

25. Baltimore Ravens (via Phi): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

For the second straight year, the Ravens traded in the first round with the Philadelphia Eagles, moving back three spots to No. 25 and picking up fourth- (127) and sixth-round (197) picks in return. With their pick, the Ravens selected WR Marquise Brown – a guy who can take the top off a defense. With QB Lamar Jackson’s cannon of an arm and Brown’s blazing speed, look for a lot of explosive plays from the Raven’s offense this season.

26. Washington Redskins (via Ind): Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Washington traded the 46th overall pick and a 2020 second-round pick to the Colts to draft Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat at No. 26 overall. Sweat was considered a top 20 prospect on most draft boards. By getting their QB and a starting edge rusher the Redskins definitely had a successful first day.

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dal): Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Speed on defense was a priority this offseason for the Raiders, who added safety Lamarcus Joyner in free agency. Adding physicality was another priority, so they drafted Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram. Abram is a hard-hitting tone-setter that flies to the ball and punishes ball-carriers.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

The Chargers need OL help and DT help. So, taking Tillery here was simple, take the best player available that fills a pressing need. GM Tom Telesco loves Tillery’s length, size, flexibility, and strength. Tillery was enjoying the Sun in Maui when he received the call from the Chargers.

29. Seattle Seahawks (via KC): L.J. Collier, DE, TCU

Texas Christian’s L.J. Collier runs through drills at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Photo: Seattle Tims

The Seahawks have been busy wheeling-and-dealing this week. They trade DE Frank Clark to Kansas City, then select Texas Christian defensive end L.J. Collier at the bottom of round one. While, Collier has been a player on the rise, taking him in the first round seems like a bit of a stretch. He not your prototypical rush end; he’s a bigger bodied run-stuffing end that has some up-field ability. Good player, but not sure its good value for the pick? The Chiefs traded out of the first round.

30. New York Giants (via New Orleans, GB, Sea): De’Andre Baker, CB, Georgia

The Gaints make a trade to go up and get Georgia cornerback De’Andre Baker. Baker won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back in college football. He’s not the fastest guy, but he’ll be a solid tackler – and maybe even be the starting nickel. It’s been a good day for the Giants.

31. Atlanta Falcons (via LAR): Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington

Atlanta trades back up into the first round to get some more help on the offensive line. McGary is an aggressive run blocker and likes to play with a nasty streak. With the addition of Lindstrom and McGary, the Falcons have improved one of the NFL’s worst rushing offenses (98.3 ypg 27th overall).

32. New England Patriots: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Harry averaged 16.9 yards on punt returns last year.
Photo: arizonasports.com

The Patriots definitely needed a wide receiver. Taking a wide receiver that suffers from concentration lapses (aka dropping passes when he’s wide open) was a surprise. Harry is physically ripped, big bodied, with great control and the ability to make the circus catch. Basically, a big bodied slot receiver that is good at getting yards after the catch. Why not A.J. Brown, who has better hands? Why not D.K. Metcalf to stretch the field? Never doubt Bill Belichick — we’ll find out why Harry when the season starts.

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Draft Review: Round 2


Draft talk  . . . draft picks, rounds, team needs, and prospects to watch.

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE | MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Final 4-Round Mock Draft: Round 1

With the NFL Draft beginning this Thursday night, Nat L. Faybian’s Senior Writer Douglas Love compiles a final four-round mock draft.

Round 1

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma 

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray appears to be the new Arizona Cardinals quarterback.
Photo: AP Photo/Alonzo Adams

With only days before the draft, Murray hasn’t been signed to a rookie contract and Josh Rosen hasn’t been traded? Arizona has milked this draft for every ounce of news/marketing they could get. Having said that, seeing Heisman winner Kyler Murray run Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense should be very exciting!

2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The 49ers add one of the most polished defensive players in the draft, Nick Bosa. The team added Dee Ford in free agency, and this will be the fourth defensive lineman they’ve drafted in the first round in the last five years: DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead, and Bosa. Bosa has exceptional short area quickness and excellent low body strength.

3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Williams is coming off a season where he dominated. The Jets have an impressive history of taking top notch defensive linemen in the draft – Sheldon Richardson and John Abraham come to mind. Williams would make a great addition to the 2019 NY Jets.

4. Oakland Raiders: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Oliver was one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the county over the last two seasons. Gruden loves guys who can pressure the quarterback, and Oliver and do just that.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

Allen won the 2018 Nagurski Trophy for National Defensive Player of the Year.
Photo: Courier-Journal

For a long time, it looked like the Bucs with go with Devin White, but when a player like Josh Allen falls into your lap – you take him. Allen’s a player that the Bucs will be able to line up in a variety of place, keeping offenses guessing.

6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

The Giants just rewarded Eli Manning with a nice big contract extension, but he’s getting up there in age. Even if they plan to play Manning this year, they’ll need to start grooming a successor.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Jacksonville is in need of help along the offensive line, no secret there, they gave up 50+ sacks last year. The team signed QB Nick Foles, so, doubtful they draft one here. Taylor is the best run blocking tackle in the draft. And I think they’ll look to take the pressure off Foles by running the ball more. So, Jawaan Taylor to the Jaguars.

8. Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

The Lions need weapons. I think they could go in several directions here. D.K. Metcalf and his 4.33 speed is one option. However, a player like Hockenson has more value for this team and their needs. He can inline block, adding value to the running game. He runs clean routes, gains separation, and has easy hands – adding value to the passing game. He’ll just be involved in more plays than a wide receiver.

9. Buffalo Bills: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

The Bill finished with the NFL’s number two defense last year. In 2019, they return ten of the starting eleven, the lone loss being the retirement of DT Kyle Williams. Drafting Lawrence to step in to Williams would be perfect.

10. Denver Broncos: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State

The Broncos surprise many by selecting K-State’s Dalton Risner in the top ten.
Photo: Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics

The Broncos picked up OT Ja’Wuan James, CB Bryce Callahan, CB Kareem Jackson, and QB Joe Flacco in free agency. Those were their most pressing needs. They could trade down here, but I’m going out on a limb and saying they take Dalton Risner from Kansas State. Risner can play four of the five line spots, and Denver’s been high on him this entire post season.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, ILB, LSU

The Bengals address several of their biggest needs during free agency. However, they are still in need a leader in the middle of that defense. LSU’s Devin White has long been considered the best linebacker in the class. He’s the high character leader HC Zac Taylor wants.

12. Green Bay Packers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

The Packers have two picks in the first round: picks 12 and 30. The Packers are looking for help on the OL and DL, along with a wide receiver, and a tight end. With Hockenson off the board, I doubt they take Fant this high. Keeping QB Aaron Rodgers off the ground should be a priority. Williams play pass block and run block, play inside or out.

13. Miami Dolphins: Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan

With QB Ryan Tannehill shipped off to the Titans is Fitz-Magic is the answer? Do they take a quarterback here? I think they need one, but don’t think they take one here. However, HC Flores is a defensive guy, so I’m going with the second best linebacker in the class.

14. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

Burns had 15.5 TFL’s and 10 sacks last year at Florida State.
Photo: Nick Lisi|Associated Press

The Falcons need help off the edge. Burns has excellent natural bend around the corner. He’s athletic enough, he can drop back into coverage as well.

15. Washington Redskins: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

The Redskins have questions about their quarterback position, and they could go in that direction, but I think they wait until the second round. They could use a lock-down corner and Williams’ man skills would be a great fit in Washington.

16. Carolina Panthers: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

The Panthers have concerns on both sides of the line. Andre Dillard and Clelin Ferrell would both be viable options for Carolina. However, the Panthers attended Sweat’s Pro Day and had him in for a Private Workout. Seems like they like him.

17. New York Giants (via Cle): Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) celebrates against in the 2019 College Football Playoff Championship game. Photo: Mark J. Rebilas|USA TODAY Sports

The Giants are a team that likes to snap up quality pass rushers. Ferrell is about as complete an end as there is in this draft. Quick enough to get the corner and stout enough to hold up against the run.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi

The Vikings are looking for some help on the offensive line. Little can pass block and run block. He has good length and plenty of athleticism. Has all the talent, needs some good coaching to reach potential.

19. Tennessee Titans: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Wilkins won the “Academic Heisman” in 2018 – also known as the William V. Campbell Trophy. He shows a quick first step and is able to beat double teams. Wilkins can play anywhere on the line, adding to his value.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bryon Murphy, CB, Washington

The Steelers have a reputation for playing solid, tough, defense. Murphy would fit right in give Pittsburgh an exciting playmaker on the back-end.

21. Seattle Seahawks: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State (NLF)

The Seahawks only have four picks, so I would expect them to trade down to accumulate some extra selections. Rumor has it they are shopping DE Frank Clark, that’s another option to gain some picks. If they stay where they are are Simmons would be excellent value, even if he has to miss the beginning of the season due to his ACL injury.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

Gary’s stock drops a bit because of a torn labrum. He could possibly miss the first six weeks of the season. However, like Simmons, Gary becomes a good value pick at this spot. The Ravens like stout defensive linemen and they could be creative about a player as athletic as Gary.

23. Houston Texans: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Houston has to find a way to protect QB Deshaun Watson. Dillard may be the best pass-pro tackle in the class. Houston might be taking a couple of linemen in this draft. Dillard can play left tackle.

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chi): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Jacobs is widely considered the top running back prospect in the nation.
Photo: Marvin Gentry|USAT

Would Oakland take Marquise Brown here? Or would they go with a starting running back here? With the chance that the Eagles could go after Jacobs, the Raiders grab their guy with the twenty-fourth overall pick.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: De’Andre Baker, CB, Georgia

The Eagles are looking at D-line and also at running back. They could also use a cornerback. Thorpe Award winner De’Andre Baker is a solid tackler and good communicator, things DC Jim Schwartz values.

26. Indianapolis Colts: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

The Colts added a deep threat in Metcalf. He’s a solid route runner, that doesn’t mind blocking. He ran a 4.33 forty at the Combine, he’s got some serious speed.

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Gruden loves guys who can take the top off a defense. With a player like Brown sitting here at twenty-seven, this should be a no-brainer. Plus Marquise can learn from his cousin Antonio.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

Chargers could go DT here, but they also need interior offensive line help. Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom would be a solid selection here.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaylon Ferguson, DE/OLB, Louisiana Tech

Jaylon Ferguson racked up 45 sacks in his career.
Photo: Tom Morris/LATechSportsPix.com

The Chiefs need a couple of corners and a safety. But with their first pick, they take a guy who can get after the quarterback. Ferguson had 26 tackles-for-loss and 17.5 sacks last year.

30. Green Bay (from New Orleans): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa (DL)

Fant was the pre-season favorite to be the top TE in the draft, that is until his teammate came on like a freight train. But at the combine, Fant made a statement by running 4.5 forty, had a 6.81 3-cone, and an 11-49 90-yard shuttle – all best in his position group. Rodgers will appreciate another big, fast, target.

31. Los Angeles Rams: Garrett Bradbury, OC, NC State

The Rams are a zone blocking team that needs a center. Bradbury’s athleticism would make him the perfect fit.

32. New England Patriots: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

The Patriots would trade down if given the option. If they stay here, they take the best offensive lineman on the boad – Cody Ford, Oklahoma.

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MORE: Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4


Draft talk  . . . draft picks, rounds, team needs, and prospects to watch.

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE | MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

***

The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

Tight Ends: Final Position Rankings

2019 NFL Draft:  Top Ranked TEs

Hockenson is the most complete TE in the draft.
Photo: Nick Rohlman/Daily Iowan

1. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa, 6-5/251

Protoypical size for a tight end. Hockenson can play in-line and smash defenders with old school toughness. He’s athletic enough to line up in the slot or at halfback. His versatility is going to open up playbooks.

2. Noah Fant, Iowa, 6-4/249

Fant was the pre-season favorite to be the top TE in the draft, that is until his teammate came on like a freight train. But at the combine, Fant made a statement by running 4.5 forty, had a 6.81 3-cone, and an 11-49 90-yard shuttle – all best in his position group. That kind of athleticism goes early in the draft.

3. Irv Smith, Jr., Alabama, 6-2/242

Smith surprised a little, by coming in at 6′ 2″, he was a little shorter than anticipated. He ran a good 4.63 forty, but was only average in the rest of the drills. However, Smith comes from a football family and has football smarts. He knows how to create separation and has excellent hands. And he’s a good route runner. He’ll find his way on the field.

4. Kahale Warring, San Diego State, 6-5/252

Warring is a rare combination of size and athleticism. He’s still learning, but growing steadily. He didn’t play football until his senior year in high school. He was an all-league water polo goalie and basketball player at rural Sonora High in Northern California. He also competed on the cross country, swimming, soccer and tennis before trying his hand at football.

5. Dawson Knox, Mississippi, 6-4/254

Under utilized at Mississippi but for good reason, Knox was competing for catches with D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and DeMarkus Lodge. There just weren’t enough balls to go around on that offense. Displays good hands and athleticism. A bit raw, but has lots of upside.

6. Foster Moreau, LSU, 6-4/253

Played in a wide open gun-slinger style of offense that showcased the best of his skills. Even though the Pro game is changing, you still need to play from under center. He bring enthusiasm to the field and is a natural leader. If a team seeks intangibles, this guy has them.

7. Josh Oliver, San Diego State, 6-5/249

Oliver is capable of stretching the field. Has long arms and big mits which compliment his ability to track down the ball. A pretty good route runner and has shown the capacity to be an aggressive in-line blocker.

8. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M, 6-4/251

Sternberger is getting a lot of attention from teams and steadily rising up draft boards. He is very athletic, a former three sport athlete, that takes his conditioning seriously. Has shown good hands and plenty of upside.

9. Elkanah “Kano” Dillon, Oregon, 6-5/265

Dillon arrived in Oregon as a grad-transfer from South Flordia. He is certainly one of the more physically intriguing tight end prospects in the 2019 draft class. If a team decides to invest in his measurables, he could become a better pro than college player.

10. Isaac Nauta, Georgia, 6-3/244

A former five star recruit that didn’t have the production expected. However, his athleticism has teams taking a second look. A good blocker who isn’t afraid to engage in contact. His ability to play inline or line up in the slot has increased his value.

OTHER PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

  1. Drew Sample, Washington, 6-5/255
  2. Kaden Smith, Stanford, 6-5/255
  3. Tommy Sweeney, Boston College, 6-4/255
  4. Dax Raymond, Utah, 6-5/255
  5. Matt Sokol, Michigan State, 6-6/250
  6. Caleb Wilson, UCLA, 6-4/240
  7. Mavin Saunders, Kansas, 6-4/236
  8. Isaiah Searight, Fordham, 6-3/242
  9. Zach Gentry, Michigan, 6-8/255
  10. Kendall Blanton, Missouri, 6-6/262
  11. Daniel Helm, Duke, 6-4/249
  12. C.J. Conrad, Kentucky, 6-4/249
  13. Alexandre Savard, Laval, 6-5/242
  14. Keenan Brown, Texas State, 6-2/250
  15. Donald Parham, Stetson, 6-8/245
  16. Charles Scarff, Delaware, 6-6/270
  17. Brandon Dillon Marian 6-5/250
  18. James Washington, Rutgers, 6-2/241

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

Nat L. Faybian’s 2019 NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0, Round 1

With the NFL Draft only a couple of weeks away, Senior Writer Nat L. Faybian and Editor Douglas Love alternate picks in this three round mock – Version 4.0. Nat will pick first.

Round 1

Nat: Will Arizona take Murray or not? That storyline has held the draft captive for months now. Logically, they have a top 10 quarterback in Rosen, they don’t need one.

Doug: And Rosen was drafted by GM Steve Keim, who was just given a four-year contract extension in February. Certainly, Keim doesn’t believe he blew that pick.

Nat: Right. On the flip side. Give the new coach the quarterback he feels he needs to win. If that’s Murray, then give Kliff Kingsbury his man — and then there’s absolutely no excuses for not winning.

Doug: So, Nat, who will the Arizona Cardinals take with the number one overall pick in the 2019 NLF Draft?

1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Nat L. Faybian)

Bosa has been a consensus top three pick going back to the fall.

Bosa appears to be the most polished of the elite talent, and we’ve said that numerous times. Yet, there’s all this talk the head coaches’ relationship with Kyler Murray. But, really, when you get down to it, this was GM Steve Keim’s team before it was Kingsbury’s team. Keim has been with the Arizona Cardinals since 1993, and he’s been GM since 2013. I don’t see him throwing Rosen out the window, unless he gets a trade offer he just can’t refuse – something crazy like the Ricky Williams deal. It’s got to be big, or no deal. I think it’s a smoke screen, honestly. Rosen has a year under his belt, and he should be better in his second year; while, Bosa is a day one starter and immediately improves the defense.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky (Douglas Love)

This is a hard one. The 49ers have $22 million wrapped in up defensive linemen that were first round draft picks: DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, and Arik Armstead. Plus they just added defensive end Dee Ford in free agency for another $14 million. That’s a $36 million dollar defensive line. The expectation is they should be able to get the job done. This team shouldn’t need to take a defensive lineman with the second overall pick. GM John Lynch could trade down. And that would make a lot of sense to me. They could move newly acquired ILB Kwan Alexander to weakside and go after a player like ILB Devin White – but that’s a reach at number two overall. Not that long ago, they made Garoppolo the highest paid QB in the NFL – although he’s only started a handful of games in the last two seasons – so, doubtful they go QB. If they stay where they are, it would seem most likely, they take the pass-rushing linebacker from Kentucky, Josh Allen.

3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama (NLF)

Williams is coming off a season where he dominated. The Jets have an impressive history of taking top notch defensive linemen in the draft – Sheldon Richardson and John Abraham come to mind. Williams would make a great addition to the 2019 NY Jets.

4. Oakland Raiders: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State (DL)

Gruden built his reputation on being a quarterback guru. The Raiders have David Carr, but Gruden inherited him. Is there a quarterback Gruden is infatuated with enough to draft at number four overall? I think they take a freak like Montez Sweat. Sweat can get after the quarterback, with enough athleticism to drop in coverage. Every team is looking for pressure off the edge, and Sweat would give the Raiders just that.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, ILB, LSU (NLF)

With the departure of Kwan Alexander, the Bucs need a middle linebacker. Plus with the team moving to more of a 3-4 scheme, they’re actually in need of several linebackers. White is built like a tank, runs a 4.4, and is a high character team captain kind of guy.

6. New York Giants: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri (DL)

Drew Lock is a four-year starter with the strongest arm in the draft.
Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants just rewarded Eli Manning with a nice big contract extension, but he’s getting up there in age. Even if they plan to play Manning this year, they’ll need to start grooming a successor. Swirling rumor is that GM Gettleman likes Lock’s four years of experience over Haskins’ one year. Lock certainly has the stronger arm and would be a good fit in New York.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida (NLF)

Jacksonville is in need of help along the offensive line, no secret there, they gave up 50+ sacks last year. The team signed QB Nick Foles, so, doubtful they draft one here. Taylor is the best run blocking tackle in the draft. And I think they’ll look to take the pressure off Foles by running the ball more. So, Jawaan Taylor to the Jaguars.

8. Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa (DL)

The Lions need weapons. I think they could go in several directions here. D.K. Metcalf and his 4.33 speed is one option. However, a player like Hockenson has more value for this team and their needs. He can inline block, adding value to the running game. He runs clean routes, gains separation, and has easy hands – adding value to the passing game. He’ll just be involved in more plays than a wide receiver.

9. Buffalo Bills: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan (DL)

The Bill finished with the NFL’s number two defense last year. In 2019, they return ten of the starting eleven, the lone loss being the retirement of DT Kyle Williams. Gary would give them a player with day one talent, and the ability to keep that defensive near the top of the rankings. Christian Wilkins would also be a consideration for the Bills. They could also trade down for Dexter Lawrence, who to me looks more like a Bills kind of guy.

10. Denver Broncos: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi (NLF)

The Broncos picked up OT Ja’Wuan James, CB Bryce Callahan, and CB Kareem Jackson in free agency. Those were their most pressing needs. They also signed a new offensive coordinator in Rich Scangarello – a supposed quarterback guru. Then they signed Joe Flacco – who Elway praised highly. So, do they go QB here? I think they role with Flacco. However, they still need a big play wide receiver. At 6′ 3″, 228 lbs, and 4.33 speed – Metcalf can be that big play threat Denver needs to stretch the field.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan (NLF)

Michigan’s Devin Bush is a tone setter in the middle of the defense.
Photo: Detroit News

The Bengals address several of their biggest needs during free agency. However, they are still in need a leader in the middle of that defense. Michigan’s Devin Bush has long been considered the second best linebacker in the class. He’ll give them speed, range, and an explosive and physical hitter.

12. Green Bay Packers: A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi (DL)

The Packers have two picks in the first round: picks 12 and 30. The Packers are looking for help on the OL and DL, along with a wide receiver, and a tight end. With Hockenson off the board, I doubt they take Fant this high. Njoku didn’t go until 29th overall, and Fant should be in that 20’s range. But, I could see them taking Mississippi’s A.J. Brown here. Brown is an incredibly effective slot receiver that could have a 100 catch season – that doesn’t seem far fetched to me, in the right system. Speedster Marquise Brown is another option, but this might be too high for him with the medical.

13. Miami Dolphins: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (NLF)

With Tannehill being traded away, Miami must have felt confident in their ability to draft a starting quarterback at thirteen. Lock has the most arm strength the class, but he’s off the board. Murray has been to Miami for a private workout, so we know the interest is there. Unless, Fitz-Magic is the answer, they take a quarterback here.

14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston (DL)

Oliver is the best player on the board at this point. He’s disruptive, quick as lightning, and as strong as an ox. Atlanta loves fast, athletic, guys. The biggest question with Oliver isn’t his ability, it’s where does the team plan to use him? I think Atlanta would probably keep him inside as a 3-technique or under tackle, similar to the way the Rams use Aaron Donald.

15. Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (NLF)

The Redskins have questions about their quarterback position. They’ve had just about every possible QB candidate on their radar. Depending on how the interviews go, and which QB GM Bruce Allen feels most comfortable with as a “fit”, that’s where they’ll go. I think Duke QB Daniel Jones will have a better x/o interview, just because of his time with David Cutcliffe. However, I think Haskins has more upside, more untapped potential.

16. Carolina Panthers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama (DL)

The Panthers have concerns on both sides of the line. I realize Williams isn’t the trending pick, but I think he’s the right pick at sixteen. There was some debate about his 33 5/8″ arms. Let me just say, six-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley only had 33″ arms. And Washington’s Andre Dillard only has 33 1/2″ arms – so I think that issue can come to rest. Anyway, the Panthers like a balanced attack, and Williams is the most well-rounded tackle in the draft. They could also go for Clemson’s Clelin Ferrill here.

17. New York Giants (via Cle): Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson (DL)

Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) celebrates against in the 2019 College Football Playoff Championship game. Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants are a team that likes to snap up quality pass rushers. Ferrell is about as complete an end as there is in this draft. Quick enough to get the corner and stout enough to hold up against the run.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State (NLF)

The Vikings are looking for some help on the offensive line. Dillard is the most pass pro ready tackle in the class. He’s got light feet and plenty of athleticism to handle the edge.

19. Tennessee Titans: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson (NLF)

Wilkins won the “Academic Heisman” in 2018 – also known as the William V. Campbell Trophy. He shows a quick first step and is able to beat double teams. Wilkins can play anywhere on the line, adding to his value.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darnell Savage, S, Maryland (DL)

The Steelers have always loved a tough-as-nails defense. Savage has some amazing game speed. He trusts his eyes, understands angles, and shoots gaps like he’s launched out of a rocket. He’s at his best when he’s asked to be a downhill, attack, player, but he can cover running backs and tight ends too. Johnathan Abram might hit harder, but doesn’t have Savage’s cover skills.

21. Seattle Seahawks: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State (NLF)

The Seahawks only have four picks, so I would expect them to trade down to accumulate some extra selections. Oakland might be the most logical trade partner here. However, since we aren’t doing trades. We know that the Seahawks have shown interest in athletic defensive tackles like Rashan Gary and Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons. Let’s go with Simmons to Seattle with pick twenty-one.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Jaylon Ferguson, DE/OLB, Louisiana Tech (DL)

Ferguson uses his hands well and can quickly disengage from blockers.
Photo: Tom Morris/LATechSportsPix.com

The Ravens are looking for pass-rushing linebacker or a 3-4 rush end, which typically means a thicker bodied player with outstanding initial quickness. Ferguson didn’t workout like scouts would have hoped, but his stats tell the story. Ferguson has the third most career tackles-for-loss in NCAA history. He has an excellent understanding of momentum, balance, and angles.

23. Houston Texans: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU (NLF)

Williams has the traits and physically tools teams look for in today’s cornerback. He has 4.37 speed. He’s 6′ 2″. He plays with swag – that attitude that says, “You can’t beat me.” In a passing league, teams today need at least three starting quality cornerbacks.

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chi): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma (DL)

Too good to be true? Antonio Brown teaming up with his little cousin, Marquise Brown in Oakland? Todd McShay recently remarked that he hadn’t seen a guy with Marquise’s kind of explosiveness since DeSean Jackson came out of Cal. And we all know, Gruden loves speed.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama (NLF)

The Eagles are looking at D-line and also at running back. Josh Jacobs can do everything: lining up at wild-cat, in the slot, taking the pitch, taking the hand-off, catching the swing pass, running the wheel route, and staying at home to block.

26. Indianapolis Colts: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State (DL)

Lean and lanky with long arms and a nice bend around the corner. They’ll bulk him up at bit, and he’ll be a force off the edge. He ran a 4.53 forty at the Combine, he’s got some serious speed.

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple (NFL)

Ya-Sin gained national attention once he transferred from Presbyterian to Temple.
Photo: Temple University Athletics

One of the best names in the draft, Rock Ya-Sin. And he played at Presbyterian before transferring to Temple. A guy Gruden scouted at the Senior bowl. Sticks to receivers like glue. They also might consider Johnathan Abram and Taylor Rapp here, but they might wait on a safety until the 35th pick.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson (DL)

DT Brandon Mebane missed significant time last year. The Chargers could use a player that would make an impact on the interior of the defensive line. Lawrence comes into the NFL looking like the second coming of Vince Wilfolk.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State (NLF)

Risner is the top senior offensive tackle in this class. He is pro ready. Doesn’t give up sacks. Plays with a combination of technique and tenacity. Takes pride in keeping his quarterback clean.

30. Green Bay (from New Orleans): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa (DL)

As I said earlier, Fant reminds me a bit of David Njoku when he came out of Miami – a very athletic tight end. Njoku ran a 4.64 forty and Fant ran a 4.58. Both would be considered big bodied wide receiver types that can play on the line or line up in the slot. Fant’s blocking improved in 2018, and he’ll continue to get better.

31. Los Angeles Rams: De’Andre Baker, CB, Georgia (NLF)

De’Andre Baker won the Thorpe Award for the best cornerback in the nation. I thought he was the best Senior corner in the draft. He’s not flashy or super fast. But he finds a way to get the job done. Might end up at nickel at the next level.

32. New England Patriots: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke (DL)

The New York Giants aren’t the only team with an aging quarterback. The Patriots have a lot of picks in this draft and can afford to use one on a future quarterback. Jones is cerebral, like Brady, and would learn much as an understudy.

***

MORE: Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3


Draft talk  . . . draft picks, rounds, team needs, and prospects to watch.

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE | MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

***

The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

FBS 2018 A.P. All-American teams

FIRST TEAM

2018 Heisman Winner and AP first team All-American Kyler Murray.
Photo: Tulsa World.

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Kyler Murray, junior, Oklahoma
Running backs — Jonathan Taylor, sophomore, Wisconsin; Darrell Henderson, junior, Memphis
Tackles — Jonah Williams, junior, Alabama; Mitch Hyatt, senior, Clemson
Guards — Beau Benzschawel, senior, Wisconsin; Bunchy Stallings, senior, Kentucky
Center — Garrett Bradbury, senior, North Carolina State
Tight end — Jace Sternberger, junior, Texas A&M
Wide receivers — Jerry Jeudy, sophomore, Alabama; Marquise Brown, junior, Oklahoma
All-purpose player — Rondale Moore, freshman, Purdue
Kicker — Andre Szmyt, freshman, Syracuse

DEFENSE

Ends — Clelin Ferrell, junior, Clemson; Sutton Smith, junior, Northern Illinois
Tackles — Quinnen Williams, junior, Alabama; Christian Wilkins, senior, Clemson
Linebackers — Josh Allen, senior, Kentucky; Devin White, junior, LSU; Ben Burr-Kirven, senior, Washington
Cornerbacks — Deandre Baker, senior, Georgia; Julian Love, junior, Notre Dame
Safeties — Grant Delpit, sophomore, LSU; Deionte Thompson, junior, Alabama
Punter — Braden Mann, junior, Texas A&M

SECOND TEAM

Maxwell and Walter Camp POY winner Tua Tagovailoa.
Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Tua Tagovailoa, sophomore, Alabama
Running backs — Travis Etienne, sophomore, Clemson; Trayveon Williams, junior, Texas A&M
Tackles — Dalton Risner, senior, Kansas State; Andrew Thomas, sophomore, Georgia
Guards — Dru Samia, senior, Oklahoma; Michael Dieter, senior, Wisconsin
Center — Ross Piersbacher, senior, Alabama
Tight end — T.J, Hockenson, sophomore, Iowa
Wide receivers — Tylan Wallace, sophomore, Oklahoma State; Andy Isabella, senior, Massachusetts
All-purpose player — Greg Dortch, sophomore, Wake Forest
Kicker — Cole Tracy, senior, LSU

DEFENSE

Ends — Montez Sweat, senior, Mississippi State; Jachai Polite, junior, Florida
Tackles — Jerry Tillery, senior, Notre Dame; Gerald Willis III, senior, Miami
Linebackers — Devin Bush, junior, Michigan; David Long Jr., junior, West Virginia; Joe Dineen, senior, Kansas
Cornerbacks — Greedy Williams, sophomore, LSU; Byron Murphy, sophomore, Washington
Safeties — Taylor Rapp, junior, Washington; Amani Hooker, junior, Iowa
Punter — Mitch Wishnowsky, senior, Utah

THIRD TEAM

Haskins was awarded the 2018 Chicago Tribune Silver FootballThe award is presented to the Big Ten’s best football player each year, and is voted on by the coaches. 
Photo: Cleveland.com

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks — Dwayne Haskins, sophomore, Ohio State
Running backs — Benny Snell, junior, Kentucky; Eno Benjamin, sophomore, Arizona State
Tackles — Andre Dillard, senior, Washington State; Cody Ford, junior, Oklahoma
Guards — Terronne Prescod, senior, North Carolina State; Chris Lindstrom, senior, Boston College
Center — Michael Jordan, junior, Ohio State
Tight end — Noah Fant, junior, Iowa
Wide Receivers — A.J. Brown, junior, Mississippi; David Sills V, senior, West Virginia
All-purpose player — J.J. Taylor, sophomore, Arizona
Kicker — Matt Gay, senior, Utah

DEFENSE

Ends — Chase Winovich, senior, Michigan; Jaylon Ferguson, senior, Louisiana Tech
Tackles — Jeffery Simmons, junior, Mississippi State; Ed Oliver, junior, Houston
Linebackers — Paddy Fisher, sophomore, Northwestern; David Woodward, sophomore, Utah State; Te’Von Coney, senior, Notre Dame
Cornerbacks — Hamp Cheevers, junior, Boston College; Lavert Hill, junior, Michigan
Safeties — Andre Cisco, freshman, Syracuse; Johnathan Abram, senior, Mississippi State
Punter — Jason Smith, sophomore, Cincinnati

***

Outback Bowl – Jan 1

Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4)

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IOWA | BIG 10 CONFERENCE

Coach: Kirk Ferentz

Iowa Players to watch:

**Sophomore TE T.J. Hockenson (6-5/250)

Hockenson received the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation.
Photo: The Gazette

Hockenson leads the Hawkeyes with 46 receptions for 717 yards and six receiving touchdowns. He also has one rushing touchdown. He averages 15.6 yards per catch. His career totals include 70 receptions for 1,037 yards. 

*Junior SS Amani Hooker (6-0/210)

Hooker was named Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year in the Big Ten. He ranks second on the team with 59 tackles (33 solo, 26 assists) and shares the team lead with four interceptions. He currently has seven pass break-ups and 3.5 tackles for loss.

**Sophomore WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1/175)

Smith-Marsette has been named the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year. He is the first Hawkeye to be named Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year. The award bears the name of Iowa’s 1997 consensus All-American Tim Dwight. Smith-Marsette, a native of Newark, New Jersey, ranks second in the nation in kickoff returns with a 29.3 average on 19 returns.

**Sophomore DE A.J. Epenesa (6-5/277)

Epenesa, a native of Glen Carbon, Illinois, has recorded 9.5 sacks, 35 tackles and scored a touchdown on a fumble return. He also blocked a punt against Illinois and recorded a sack. Epenesa was a two-time Defensive Player of the Week Honoree. 

*Junior TE Noah Fant (6-5/241)

Fant has concluded his Iowa career after announcing he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

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MISSISSIPPI STATE | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Joe Moorhead

Mississippi State Players to watch:

Senior S Johnathan Abram (6-0/210)

Abram was selected first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press.
Photo: DraftBlaster

The Columbia, Mississippi, product racked up 93 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, five pass breakups, two interceptions, once forced fumble and one fumble recovery over the year. Abram allowed a passer rating of 41.6 over his 40 targets this season according to PFF, which led all SEC safeties.

Senior OC Elgton Jenkins (6-4/315)

Jenkins, who claimed the Kent Hull Trophy last week as the top offensive lineman in the state of Mississippi, is a versatile veteran who has started 31 games in his career and can play all four positions on the offensive line. Jenkins anchors a unit that paves the way for a Bulldog run game that averages 226.4 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry.

Senior DE Montez Sweat (6-6/241)

Sweat led the SEC with 11.0 total sacks. He boasted 40 total pressures over the 2018 season, according to PFF, which was the second most in the conference among all edge defenders. He added 51 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumbled.

**Sophomore LB Erroll Thompson (6-1/250)

Thompson closed the season ranking second on the Bulldog squad with 84 total tackles to go along with 8.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions over his breakout sophomore campaign. He led all SEC linebackers with a 90.9 coverage grade, according to PFF.

*Junior NG Jeffery Simmons (6-4/300)

One of the most dominant defensive lineman in college football and winner of the 23rd annual C Spire Conerly Trophy, Simmons had declared for the NFL draft.

***

Outback Bowl
Iowa 27, Mississippi State 22
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida