2016 NFL Draft Grades: Full Day 3 Report Card
Day 3 of the NFL draft was a day of big names. Connor Cook. Scooby Wright III. Jordan Howard. Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
It was a day of big surprises. A German wide receiver. A Canadian defensive lineman. Punters. J.J. Watt's brother. Alex Karras' nephew.
These are the pick-by-pick grades for Rounds 4 through 7 of the 2016 NFL draft. Some of the names are a little obscure. Some of the scouting reports get a tiny bit vague. Some of the grades get a little broad. But there's plenty of insights, analysis, stats, criticisms and jokes for some of last year's greatest collegiate stars and, in all likelihood, a few of next year's NFL champions.
Round 4 Pick-by-Pick Grades
99. Cleveland Browns: Joe Schobert, Linebacker, Wisconsin. Schobert was a running back, safety and return man in high school. Despite some mammoth numbers (he rushed for over 1,400 yards and 23 touchdowns as a high school senior), top recruiters were unimpressed, and Schobert planned to walk on at University of North Dakota. He went berserk at a Wisconsin prep all-star game, however, gaining 145 all-purpose yards, intercepting a pass and breaking up two others, and returning kicks. University of Wisconsin was like, “Oh, that Joe Schobert,” and offered him a scholarship.
Instead of becoming a defensive version of Carson Wentz, Schobert had a productive career at Wisconsin, with 13.5 career sacks and 35.5 tackles for a loss. He’s not an NFL-caliber sack specialist off the edge, but Schobert uses his hands well when disengaging from blocks, knows what he is doing in short zone coverage and is a solid-if-not-explosive athlete.
You can see the nucleus of a rebuilt Browns defense coming together in Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib and Schobert. It's an intriguing blend of athleticism and competitiveness. Grade: B+
100. Oakland Raiders: Connor Cook, Quarterback, Michigan State. Bleacher Report proudly presents Mike Tanier’s Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparisons for Connor Cook:
- More talented Matt Leinart or Jimmy Clausen.
- Less talented Jay Cutler.
Jargon-Free Scouting Nutshell: Cook is moderately talented, technically sound and can look brilliant during hot streaks, and he has had tremendous success at a high-level program. But Cook is also inconsistent and carries the dreaded whiff of a kid who doesn’t get it. Some of that whiff may be draft-rumor cattiness (skipping the Senior Bowl does not make you a war criminal, and the whole “rotating team captains” program at Michigan State starts to sound like the work of a guidance counselor on a power trip when you dig deep into Cook’s background), but Cook may not have the temperament to storm into a camp and seize a starting job.
Of course, Cook won't be seizing any starting jobs in Oakland any time soon. This is a pick from the "always be developing a quarterback" school. I'm not sure the Raiders are so stacked across their roster that they can get crafty with early fourth-round picks, but then again, Matt McGloin is Derek Carr's current backup, so why not stave off any catastrophes? Grade: C
101. Dallas Cowboys: Charles Tapper, Defensive End, Oklahoma. Tapper looked like a future first-round pick when he recorded 5.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2013. His production dipped in 2014, but while he rebounded for seven sacks and 10 tackles for a loss last year, Tapper looks more like a wave defender and gap-plugger than a potential star. Tapper is thick and strong but only has a straight-line pass-rush move. He also pops out of his stance too high too often. Tapper’s competitiveness and experience are pluses, and he can fit as a run defender on the edge. A need pick as the Cowboys try to get bigger and deeper on the defensive line. Grade: C+
102: San Diego Chargers: Joshua Perry, Linebacker, Ohio State. Finally, a linebacker who looks like a linebacker: 250 pounds, thick thighs and glutes, a thudding play style. Perry isn’t the defender you want chasing Rob Gronkowski in man coverage, but someone’s gotta do the dirty work of defending running plays between the tackles.
Perry was also one of the combine’s most talkative over-sharers. Here’s what he had to say about his newly shaved head, for example:
So, I got a little haircut. Got it for two reasons: first reason—I was just getting kind of tired of having hair, and so one day, I went to the store and got some clippers and shaver and I just cut it off. And the other reason, I have a thing—I'm not too trusting of barbers. I don't want to have a really awful haircut, so I didn't want to have to wait like eight weeks to get back to Columbus to get a fresh cut, so I just went ahead and shaved it all off.
So Perry doesn’t like hair or bad haircuts and also saw Sweeney Todd once too often. And also, he may not be aware of the fact there are barbers outside of Ohio. At any rate, speaking as a man in his 40s, no one should ever be “kind of tired of having hair.”
Anyway, Perry makes up for lack of pure speed and quickness by diagnosing plays quickly and tackling as well as any defender in this draft class. A good fit for a 3-4 team. Grade: B
103. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sheldon Day, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame. Hey, we still have some top-rated defensive tackles on the board! That means Bleacher Report proudly presents Big Uglies: A 2016 Field Guide. Don’t try to tell one monstrous interior lineman from another without it! Here are Day's basics:
- Size: 6'1", 293 pounds. Day is one of the smaller defensive tackles in this year’s top tier.
- Athleticism: 4.50-second short shuttle at the combine: excellent for a man his size. Excellent first-step quickness.
- Honors: All-America.
- Numbers: 33 hurries and nine quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Focus.
- Defining Special Trait: Quickness, a “rip” move and a leader-ish personality.
- Potential Flaws: Small for an NFL defensive tackle.
- Also Worth Mentioning: Three-year college starter. Very good Senior Bowl week.
Day is a grab-‘n’-go starter as a 3-tech defensive tackle. There are a lot of them in this draft class. Get ‘em while they’re available! Grade: A
104. Baltimore Ravens: Tavon Young, Cornerback, Temple: The Temple-Notre Dame game provided a convenient snapshot of Young’s strengths and weaknesses. Young matched up against Irish speedster Will Fuller all afternoon. Fuller caught five passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came after Young (in zone coverage) passed Fuller off to a safety, and most of the other yards came on a screen pass. Young batted a pass to a teammate near the goal line for an interception and defensed another deep pass by outjumping Fuller. Overall, this was a very good game for Young.
On the downside, Young got flagged for pass interference once and holding another time. As a small cornerback with a tendency to clutch and grab, his ability to (mostly) neutralize Fuller does not translate into an ability to contain, say, Antonio Brown.
While he may never be able to match up with top NFL receivers, Young’s awareness and quick reactions make him an excellent zone defender, and he has the quickness and recovery speed to chase deep threats down the field. Young isn’t a mighty mite but is physical enough to deliver a jam and wrap up a ball-carrier at the knees. He gets high marks for mental discipline and the ability to shrug off getting burned. A possible starter on a team that always needs help in the secondary. Grade: B
105. Kansas City Chiefs: Parker Ehinger, Guard-Tackle, Cincinnati. When you see a lumpy, semi-athletic but smart and versatile offensive lineman who even has red hair for heaven's sake, you just shrug and say, "Typical Andy Reid interior lineman." Guess the Chiefs are taking another year off from worrying about their lack of wide receivers. Grade: C-
106. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Murray, Cornerback, Minnesota. A nickel corner and special teams terror. The Chiefs have roles for players like Murray in their secondary, which uses the dime package more than most teams. Good player. Guess the Chiefs are really taking another year off from worrying about their lack of wide receivers. Grade: C+
107. Baltimore Ravens: Chris Moore, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati. Moore is a big, thick receiver who wasn't very productive: His career high in receptions was 45 in 2013. He averaged 19.3 yards per reception in his career, but I am not sure the big-play capability will ramp up with him. A Ravens-type receiver, though the Ravens have not been all that great at developing receivers. He looks a tiny bit like Torrey Smith if you squint. Grade: C-
108. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Smith, Cornerback, North Carolina Central. Smith ran a 4.47 40 at the combine and did well enough in drills to push his way into the draft picture. He was a shutdown corner, playmaker and electrifying return man in the MEAC, a weaker conference even by FCS standards. A good athlete/good mindset project. With Vernon Hargreaves as the star of the draft class in the Bucs secondary, they can afford to gamble and be a little developmental now. Grade: B+
109. New York Giants: B.J. Goodson, Outside Linebacker, Clemson. Goodson is a poor man’s Reggie Ragland. He’s stout between the tackles, can command the defense and can make plays when the ball gets into his zone of control. But Goodson is slow in pursuit. Unlike Ragland, he isn’t efficient at diagnosing a play and using anticipation to get a jump on the ball and overcome his limitations in foot speed.
Goodson will be of limited use on 3rd-and-long, but coaches will love his strength and effort and will give him every chance to contribute. The Giants are trying to economize at linebacker again (though they appeared to be targeting Leonard Floyd in the first round); Goodson isn't a complete player, but he's not some castoff from other teams' practice squads, either. Grade: B-
110. Los Angeles Rams: Tyler Higbee, Tight End, Western Kentucky. Oh look, the Rams made another pick! And on NFL Network, all of Jared Goff's future receivers helped make the pick! Oh wait, those were the Minions from Despicable Me. Easy mistake.
Well, here's a need pick. Higbee was Brandon Doughty’s motion tight end on a Hilltoppers team that threw for about 6 trillion yards last year. Higbee caught 38 passes. He’s tall, well-built, quick-footed and catches the ball well. It’s hard to tell where level of competition ends and NFL potential starts when a small program gets its hands on some Doughty-Higbee-level talent and starts playing pitch-and-catch. But this is a weak tight end era, so why not draft a big, fast kid who can catch and see what happens? Grade: C+
111. Detroit Lions: Miles Killebrew, Safety, Southern Utah. Killebrew is one of about 80 players in this draft class who draws comparisons to Deone Bucannon. Every big safety/small-quick linebacker is Bucannon the way every tall cornerback is Richard Sherman and every short, white wide receiver is Wes Welker.
Except that most aren’t. Killebrew draws rave reviews for his textbook tackling, but when I watched him against Sam Houston State, Corey Avery blasted right through Killebrew several times. Avery is a great back for the Big Sky Conference, but he isn’t Todd Gurley. Killebrew is athletic and aggressive, but he maxes out as a special teamer and bench defender, not a guy who changes the way coordinators line up the defense. Grade: C-
112. New England Patriots: Malcolm Mitchell, Wide Receiver, Georgia. Mitchell wrote a children’s book titled The Magician’s Hat. He self-published the book with his own money. His website to promote the book (and other initiatives) contains no mention of the fact Mitchell is a moderately famous college football star. There isn’t even a bulldog or a Georgia "G." That’s because the NCAA forbids college players from using their football fame for self-promotion. Why, if the NCAA let Mitchell point out his status as an athlete to make his book more appealing to boys who could benefit from reading a tale about the power of the imagination, the next thing you know, college athletes everywhere would be scrawling out children’s tales to get filthy rich. The whole precious concept of “amateurism” the NCAA has successfully safeguarded for generations would be crushed!
Anyway, Mitchell now gets to be part of the free market. Hooray! He’s a tall, high-effort receiver who had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. Mitchell has great pass-catching skills and will snatch the ball away from a defender in a tight area. He’s fast and agile enough to develop into a possession receiver and has the work habits to stick on special teams.
I like Mitchell but get the impression that the Patriots just draft receivers in mid-rounds so they can get beaten out for jobs by their selections in late rounds. Grade: B+
113. Chicago Bears: Nick Kwiatkoski, Linebacker, West Virginia. Kwiatkoski is a grinder at inside linebacker who will probably concentrate on a between-the-tackles role, while free-agent arrival Danny Trevathan plays a more rangy coverage role. We're arriving at the point of the draft where high-effort role players start to become really appealing. Grade: B-
114. Cleveland Browns: Ricardo Louis, Wide Receiver, Auburn. Combine rock star with potential big-play capability. There is a lot of big-play tape to love if you look past lots of fundamental errors. This is a good "gamble" pick for a team that already has Corey Coleman in its back pocket. Grade: B+
115. Atlanta Falcons: De'Vondre Campbell, Linebacker, Minnesota. A pure pass-rusher type with great athleticism. Dan Quinn may see Campbell in a situational role. You can really see the Falcons reshaping their defense into something smaller, quicker, less traditional and more explosive. Grade: B
116. Indianapolis Colts: Hassan Ridgeway, Defensive Tackle, Texas. Finally, a Colts pick I really like.
Ridgeway plays mostly at nose tackle, though he slid out to defensive end in some 3-4 fronts. He’s a space hog and double-team-muncher with just enough quickness and block-shedding ability to get from one side of the broom closet to the other. Ridgeway has battled nagging injuries for much of his career; he looked inconsistent and weary at times in 2015, but a shoulder injury limited him.
Ridgeway’s former linemate Malcom Brown was a late first-round pick for the Patriots last year. Ridgeway might have joined him if not for the injuries and the amazing depth and quality of this tackle class. Grade: A
117. Los Angeles Rams: Pharoh Cooper, Wide Receiver, South Carolina. If there are two things I have a weakness for, it’s a) ancient Egyptian stuff and b) Gamecocks slot receivers. I love pyramids, hieroglyphics, cartouches, obelisks, chariots drowning in the Red Sea and such, and I was a huge fan of Ace Sanders (personal problems marred his NFL career) and Bruce Ellington (on the 49ers last year, poor guy) when they were the tough little South Carolina slot specialists.
So I am predisposed to love Pharoh Cooper, flaky spelling and all. Except Cooper is not as quick as Ellington or as tenacious as Sanders. He ran lots of screens, reverses, flair passes and quick hitches at South Carolina and demonstrated an ability to sit in zones to catch short passes and juke some defenders with the ball in his hands. But he offered very little when he was more than 10 yards downfield. He’s like Tavon Austin, but a step-and-a-half too slow.
Cooper is well-built and has a tough-guy personality (he played defensive back early in his career), so he could stick as an all-purpose special teamer who can accomplish a little something as a return man or fifth receiver. But if you look at his receiving/rushing production and think you are getting a Randall Cobb type, you are in denial.
Get it? The Nile? Hahahaha! I love a good Egyptian joke. And I am here all weekend, folks! Grade: C-
118. New York Jets: Juston Burris, Cornerback, North Carolina State. Burris is tall, strong, smart and reliable, but he's not a fluid speed demon. He may be more of a nickel safety than a pure cornerback. A safe choice at a position that lost Antonio Cromartie and is always one King Midas dream away from more Darrelle Revis issues. Grade: B-
119. Houston Texans: Tyler Ervin, Running Back, San Jose State. Ervin was fun to watch during Senior Bowl practices. He’s so small that he looked like a little kid who chased his dog onto the field. But once the drills started, Ervin caught everything in sight, hit holes with authority and took on defenders in pass-protection drills with everything he had and only got splattered across their windshields occasionally.
Ervin returned kickoffs at San Jose State and will need that versatility at the NFL level: He’s just too small to stick as anything but a returner and situational runner. That's all the Texans need, though. With all their new playmakers on offense, the Texans are going to either win 12 games or get everyone fired. I am leaning toward the former. Grade: B+
120. New Orleans Saints: David Onyemata, Defensive Tackle, University of Manitoba. Random depressing Saints defensive stat No. 2,043B: The Saints allowed 129.8 rushing yards per game last season (31st) in the NFL and 4.9 yards per rushing attempt. If any team had to go searching for talent in Canada, it was the Saints.
Onyemata was born in Nigeria and moved to Winnipeg as a teenager. He played football for the first time at any level four years ago when he walked on at University of Manitoba. He’s now one of the best Canadian college prospects in decades.
Onyemata is a natural 300-pounder with excellent foot speed and lateral quickness. He excels in pursuit and when disrupting zone-stretch type runs. He’s a competitor who plays to the whistle. On the downside, Onyemata’s pass-rush skills are raw, and he played at a level roughly akin to Division II at the best, but with different rules and strategies.
Onyemata has obvious upside but may need a year as the seventh lineman or on the practice squad. Grade: C+
121. Minnesota Vikings: Willie Beavers, Offensive Tackle, Western Michigan. Beavers is one of many solid developmental tackle prospects from smaller programs in this year’s draft. He got through Michigan State and Ohio State last year (lots of Shilique Calhoun and Joey Bosa) with only one sack allowed. He’s athletic, competitive and a good block finisher. Beavers can get beaten with technique, however, and will both allow too many pass pressures and hold when the going gets rough. He’s a worthwhile developmental pick. Grade: B
122. Cincinnati Bengals: Andrew Billings, Defensive Tackle, Baylor. With so many excellent defensive tackle prospects in this year’s draft class, Bleacher Report proudly presents (probably for the last time) Big Uglies: A 2016 Field Guide. Don’t try to tell one monstrous interior lineman from another without it! Here is Billings' breakdown:
- Size: 6'1", 311 pounds.
- Athleticism: Ordinary workout numbers but looks exceptionally quick on tape.
- Honors: Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the Big 12.
- Numbers: 5.5 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss in 2015.
- Defining Special Trait: Awesome weight-room numbers, including Texas state records in power lifting in high school. Very good leverage and hand technique for a college lineman.
- Potential Flaws: Inconsistent technique/intensity.
- Also Worth Mentioning: Billings just turned 21 years old on March 6 and appears to still be layering on muscle and man meat. He could be Doomsday by 2018.
Billings was my top-rated player in this year’s defensive tackle class. So yeah, I love this pick. Grade: A+
123. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jerald Hawkins, Offensive Tackle, LSU. Hawkins had an ugly game against Alabama in 2015: two sacks allowed, two additional quarterback hits. Mistakes can snowball on Hawkins; he played well for most of the Alabama game, but after giving up a sack on a stunt, he wasn’t the same player. (Hawkins also caught an illegal pass once the Alabama game got out of hand and LSU players were basically running for their lives. In fairness, it was a fine catch.)
Hawkins’ technique is all over the place. Sometimes he’s a waist-bender and lunger who can get rocked by better defenders. Other times, he sets properly and gets the most from his strength and quickness. His blitz pickup and stunt recognition is also inconsistent.
Hawkins is a high-upside pick because of his athleticism and flashes of potential. If that Alabama game is any indication, he could also be a weapon on tackle-eligible trick plays at the goal line. Grade: C+
124. Chicago Bears: Deon Bush, Safety, Miami. Bush is a big hitter with a good-character reputation who can contribute on special teams right away. He’s best when attacking the line of scrimmage or stepping up to make tackles underneath. In coverage, Bush is a little bit of a run-around guy with rudimentary footwork and recognition skills; even slower receivers will get open on him in man coverage because he does not anticipate pass patterns. Grade: C
125. Indianapolis Colts: Antonio Morrison, Linebacker, Florida. Morrison was arrested in 2013 for barking at a police dog. Watching the video of the arrest will either confirm or shatter all of your perceptions about how American society operates.
Morrison got arrested for punching a bouncer a month earlier, so he doesn’t exactly spend all his free time photocopying hymnals. He also has a long and problematic injury history. But he’s one of the most aggressive defenders in the nation, a big hitter with good athleticism and instincts.
Without the arrests and injuries, Morrison would be a second- or third-round pick. Even with the issues, he could still surprise. There’s more to Morrison’s game than just bark. (Sorry). Grade: B
126. Kansas City Chiefs: Demarcus Robinson, Wide Receiver, Florida. Marcus Robinson’s nephew. Uncle Marcus had a huge year for the Bears in 1999 (84 catches for 1,400 yards), then stuck around for years as a big, reliable possession receiver. Demarcus shows flashes of outstanding potential but has been suspended four times by two coaching staffs for failed drug tests and such. Extreme high-risk player who needs to crank the maturity up at least one full level. The Chiefs staff has a good reputation with high-risk guys, and heaven knows the Chiefs need a wide receiver. Robinson could be a steal if Andy Reid, Jeremy Maclin and others figure him out. Grade: B
127. Chicago Bears: Deiondre' Hall, Cornerback, Northern Iowa. Hall is 6'2", and his arms are so long that he can clean the porch gutters with both feet flat on the ground. His game is about length: Hall can catch passes away from his body (four career pick-sixes) or bat away a pass that appears to be three yards beyond a human’s reach.
Hall’s foot speed is ordinary, and his turn-and-run skills are nothing special. He’s competitive, but he takes poor angles when pursuing plays and ends up diving at a lot of ankles. Hall performed well enough at the Senior Bowl to intrigue NFL types. If nothing else, he would be the ideal defender against Dez Bryant on red-zone fade routes. The last few Bears selections have felt a little underwhelming, but I like Hall's upside, and I like the concept of saturation drafting the defense this year and reshaping the roster. Grade: B
128. Arizona Cardinals: Evan Boehm, Center, Missouri. Most centers are the least impressive-looking guys on the offensive line. Boehm is a 310-pound tank with biceps that look like they were created by CGI. He’s also durable and experienced, with 52 starts in four years, and he’s good at both punching his defender off the line and latching on without drawing a holding penalty. On the downside, Boehm runs like a wind-up toy, and quicker defensive tackles are going to blow past him at times. Boehm may fit best as a backup center-guard, though pure strength and tenacity could make him a decent interior starter. I don't see A.Q. Shipley as having a stranglehold on the center position or Evan Mathis playing at a high level beyond this year. Grade: B+
129. Cleveland Browns: Derrick Kindred, Safety, TCU. Tough little guided missile and special teams intimidator. Kindred missed a bunch of tackles in the open field and may be one of those Big 12 defenders better suited to playing wide-open street ball than starting in the NFL.
You have probably heard this elsewhere, but trading down in the NFL draft is an analytics principle. The concept is that the draft is so random that you are better off just getting more pulls on the slot machine than standing pat and taking your seven appointed pulls. I don’t think it’s an axiom that’s 100 percent, universally true (anyone who believes in 100 percent universally true axioms doesn’t really understand the concept behind analytics), but you can see how it impacted Patriots draft strategies in past years, and how a team like the Ravens uses a similar concept when accumulating compensatory picks.
Everything the Browns do wrong from now on will be blamed on analytics. (What they do right will be credited to Hue Jackson.) Whatever your feelings about whether actual research, logic and thought can help multimillion-dollar organizations succeed, you must admit that a) the Browns needed so many bodies that the more picks, the merrier and b) even an Atlantic City granny at the penny slots has had more luck than the Browns in recent drafts. Grade: C
130. Baltimore Ravens: Alex Lewis, Offensive Tackle, Nebraska. Lewis is big, relatively athletic and earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2014, so he is no dummy. He also has baggage: a fight amid his transfer out of Colorado, an online rant against Nebraska fans, sarcastic kiss-blowing to the crowd after the rant and another loss. Lewis may be a little immature (ranting on the Internet is pretty much our national pastime, after all), may enjoy playing the WWE heel or may be Richie Incognito without the top-tier strength. With Ronnie Stanley as the first tackle in the developmental pipeline, Lewis will have to prove himself. But the upside is there. Grade: C
131. Green Bay Packers: Blake Martinez, Linebacker, Stanford. Martinez is smart, rangy and productive, having registered 240 tackles and four interceptions in two seasons as a starter for the Cardinal. He’s a Cover 2 type best suited to play behind two thick slabs of defensive tackle, diagnose the play and flow to the ball. The Packers don't play a Cover 2, of course, but they are looking for inside linebackers who excel in coverage. Martinez and third-round pick Kyler Fackrell are two different types of inside linebackers, which may be precisely the point. Grade: B
132. Baltimore Ravens: Willie Henry, Defensive Tackle, Michigan. Merry Ozzie Newsome Christmas, everyone! The compensatory picks are in the stockings by the fire!
Henry’s five best plays per game stack up with anything on Sheldon Rankins’ or Robert Nkemdiche’s sizzle reel. Henry sometimes bursts from his stance, slides gracefully away from his blocker on an inside move or stunt, hustles with surprising quickness to the ball-carrier or quarterback, and delivers a thud.
It’s Henry’s other 30-50 plays per game that are so frustrating. He often leaves the line of scrimmage with his waist bent and his head down; this is not what coaches describe as “good football position.” Cut blocks were a constant source of surprise and frustration. If Henry jumped offsides one more time (or leapt onto the top of a pile like Jimmy Superfly Snuka off the top rope again, like he did against Michigan State), Jim Harbaugh might have ended up in an asylum.
If you focus on what Henry does well and figure you can get those five good snaps as a rotation player early in his career, Henry is a heck of a developmental project.
This is such an Ozzie Newsome pick that Ozzie must have been giggling when he made it: a major-upside player at a tough-to-fill position for the cost of not paying a veteran. Grade: A-
133. San Francisco 49ers: Rashard Robinson, Cornerback, LSU. Robinson is a talented athlete with lots of academic problems and a legal one. He sat out the 2015 season due to a violation of team rules. Something tells me that Robinson is not the kind of kid who is going to become besties with Chip Kelly. Grade: D
134. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Dixon, Running Back, Louisiana Tech. Dixon is my favorite prospect in this class. His quickness and receiving skills leap off the screen when you watch his tape. He was one of the stars of Senior Bowl week. He comes across in interviews as a guy you would hire as an intern. Dixon is somewhere between Gio Bernard and Warrick Dunn on the all-purpose-back scale.
Dixon’s biggest shortcoming may be that he is too dedicated. He fumbled 13 times in three seasons, often battling for additional yards instead of going to the ground. Dixon also has a lean frame and will get banged up if he tries to lower his shoulder at the end of every run at the NFL level the way he did at college.
Those are quibbles or easily correctable flaws. Dixon is going to be a heck of a committee back for the Ravens. Don’t be surprised if he grows quickly into a 15-20 touch role. As usual, Ozzie Newsome is crushing the compensatory process. Grade: A
135. Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott, Quarterback, Mississippi State. Bleacher Report proudly presents Mike Tanier’s Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparisons for Dak Prescott:
- Matt Schaub with wheels.
- EJ Manuel without the boardwalk fortune teller accuracy.
Jargon-Free Scouting Nutshell: Prescott is the best quarterback in this draft at reading defenses, making line calls, checking down to secondary receivers and other mental aspects of the job. He runs fairly well and makes throws on the run, but the more time he spends in the pocket trying to push accurate passes downfield, the more trouble Prescott gets into. Think of Prescott like a 30-year-old journeyman who arrived in the draft instead of free agency. His upside is limited, but he could get the Cowboys through a four-game emergency as a rookie and has the potential to be a capable starter on a team that surrounds him with goodies.
Prescott and the Cowboys are a good fit. The Cowboys get a backup who can hold down the fort if Tony Romo's shoulder disintegrates, and they are building an offense that can be run at a high level by a heady caretaker type if Prescott cannot develop into something more. Grade: A-
136. Denver Broncos: Devontae Booker, Running Back, Utah. Booker is a no-nonsense runner. He is quick to the hole, has some cutback ability and generally takes every inch the defense gives him. There is not a lot of lateral-motion nonsense in his game. Booker catches the ball smoothly and had a dynamic role in the Utes passing game. He can get driven backward as a pass protector, but he stays between the defender and the quarterback.
All that is missing from Booker’s game is size, blazing speed and sizzle. He will sometimes jump-cut, spin or break tackles in the open field, but he lacks top-tier power and explosion. Booker is also a 23-year-old JUCO transfer, so what you see is what you get athletically.
Booker is similar to Charles Sims of the Buccaneers, who is putting together a fine career as a change-up and third-down back behind Doug Martin. This is your basic rock-solid committee-back selection during the compensatory lightning round. Grade: B+
137. Green Bay Packers: Dean Lowry, Defensive End, Northwestern. A high-energy-system fit in the Packers' 3-4 defense. May be a little reach-y here. Pick: C-
138. Cleveland Browns: Seth Devalve, Tight End, Princeton. A beefed-up Ivy League receiver projected as a tight end. This is a weak tight end class, but there are better prospects at tight end in the Ivy League, let alone across the nation. Grade: D
139. Buffalo Bills: Cardale Jones, Quarterback, Ohio State. Bleacher Report proudly presents Mike Tanier’s Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparisons for Cardale Jones:
- Bigger, faster Drew Henson.
- Terrelle Pryor trying not to look too much like Terrelle Pryor.
Jargon-Free Scouting Nutshell: Jones is a big, strong-armed, relatively mobile quarterback with just a handful of career starts and a rudimentary understanding of the quarterback position. After taking the NCAA by storm late in the 2014 season, Jones spent 2015 getting yanked into and out of the starting lineup while leading one of the most talented teams in college football history. Make Jones your opening day starter, and you’ll get two or three breathtaking scramble plays, four or five turnovers and lots of scared-rabbit impersonations in the pocket.
This is a good pick if Jones will be given a full year to develop and will be surrounded by coaches who will preach precision and fundamentals instead of throwing him onto the field and expecting him to be a playmaker. Oh wait, this is a Rex Ryan team. Grade: C-
Round 5 Pick-by-Pick Grades
140. Tennessee Titans: Tajae Sharpe, Wide Receiver, UMass. Sharpe is tall and runs crisper routes than many collegiate receivers. It’s tempting to pencil him in as a mid-major steal as a possession receiver, but Sharpe has small hands and poor overall pass-catching skills. He had a chance to make scouts fall in love with him at the Senior Bowl but dropped some passes and didn’t look smooth or elusive as a receiver. He maxes out as a roster body. The Titans' big draft is really feeling like a letdown. Grade: D+
141. Carolina Panthers: Zach Sanchez, Cornerback, Oklahoma. The Josh Norman situation has gotten the Panthers a little like the guy who decides he does not need sunblock at the beach, gets burned, then starts applying sunblock every 15 minutes, even when he is in a shady park or a movie theater. Selecting a bunch of so-so cornerbacks may eventually solve the problem, guys, but they won't replace the great one you need right now, so maybe you should look to some other needs. Grade: C
142. San Francisco 49ers: Ronald Blair, Defensive End, Appalachian State. Here’s a cutup of Blair’s game against Clemson to give you a sense of his upside. Blair has long arms and a strong rip move. He’s quick off the snap, can shed blocks and will pursue plays down the line or after the pocket collapses. Appalachian State coaches lined him up all over the place, and Blair was effective as an inside pass-rusher. He could be a Pernell McPhee type of wild-card rusher in the NFL.
If you watch the cutup, remember that it’s a highlight reel, not scouting film: Lots of ordinary snaps are edited out. Also, Blair did most of his damage when Clemson led 31-0, so some of his most exciting plays come with a grain of salt. Blair had an alcohol issue in his college career, is too small to line up inside at the NFL level unless it is 3rd-and-15 and doesn’t win off the edge against the low-major competition he faced as often as a top prospect should. Still, the upside is there. Grade: A-
143. Oakland Raiders: DeAndre Washington, Running Back, Texas Tech. Short but tough, well-built and versatile, Washington is as much of a sleeper as a running back can be after rushing for over 2,500 yards in two years at a major program. Washington has great hands as a receiver and is an aggressive, effective pass protector. There’s nothing fancy about his running ability, but he has the burst and finish to run between the tackles, plus some cutback ability. Washington could develop into a James Starks type who keeps finding ways to get involved in the offense despite lacking an ideal size-speed profile. Grade: B
144. Denver Broncos: Connor McGovern, Guard, Missouri. McGovern sounds like the guy at the gym who always leaves a huge amount of weight on the bar as a kind of silent humble-brag; you always get the last laugh, however, as just removing all the weights constitutes your entire workout. McGovern benched 225 pounds 33 times at the combine. He holds the Mizzou squat record at 690 pounds, and legend has it that he once squatted 785 pounds. He once tore a pec trying to bench 515 pounds. Heck, I could tear a pec on the bench too. But McGovern played through the injury.
McGovern is Larry Allen in the weight room and looks like Allen on his sizzle reel, mauling defenders with a great initial punch and all-wheel drive once he latches on. In the tradition of all linemen whose scouting report begins with weightlifting stories, McGovern is stiff and gets into trouble when dealing with quicker defenders or anything that happens outside his two-step zone of influence. McGovern is strong, experienced and just athletic enough to deserve a long look and could force his way into a starting job. He's a weird fit for the Broncos, but there is a ton to like. Grade: B+
145. San Francisco 49ers: John Theus, Offensive Tackle, Georgia. Theus is a low-risk, low-ceiling selection. He was a four-year starter at Georgia and a team captain. He doesn’t make glaring mistakes and finishes his blocks well. But Theus can be beaten to the edge on both run and pass plays, and he lacks a great punch or a power game. He projects as a steady, reliable three-position sub, though the 'Niners may need him to start somewhere. Grade: C+
146. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Judon, Defensive End, Grand Valley State. Judon led the nation in sacks (all levels) with 20.5 last year. He then blew up the combine with a 4.73-second 40 and a 35-inch vertical leap at 275 pounds. It would be nice to have seen him play, but I only have sizzle reels from Grand Valley State (no cutups, let alone coaches’ tape), and Judon missed the postseason all-star games with an undisclosed minor injury.
Judon reportedly has rudimentary pass-rush moves and no real hand technique, which is typical for a Division II pass-rusher. Keep in mind that not all “low levels” are created equal. Carson Wentz’s North Dakota State would be competitive in a mid-major conference like the Mountain West. Grand Valley State faces opponents like Ohio Dominican each year. Judon faces an uphill NFL battle, but the workout numbers and sack totals make him worth a long look. And the Ravens can experiment a little with their 8,000 late-round picks. Grade: C
147. Seattle Seahawks: Quinton Jefferson, Defensive Tackle, Maryland. Small, quick, technically sound inside defender with some past injury issues. Phew, it's a good thing the offensive line is 100 percent settled so the Seahawks can focus on depth picks on defense, right? Grade: D+
148. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Caleb Benenoch, Offensive Tackle, UCLA. Benenoch’s mother, a minister from Nigeria, thought she was signing Benenoch up for soccer when he was nine years old. Because, you know, most of the world calls soccer “football.” But Benenoch’s family was in Texas, where they call soccer “You must be one of them East Coast intellectual types. Put this helmet on and don’t ask questions.”
Benenoch grew to be 6'5" and 305 pounds (at the combine, anyway. He probably played at about 280 pounds), so football was the right sport for him. UCLA’s offense was the right system for him, too. Benenoch is quick and athletic, but he is spindly for an offensive lineman. He comes to the NFL with the usual uptempo spread-option caveats: two-point stances, quick sets, etc.
Benenoch showed enough ability to sustain blocks and redirect pass-rushers on second moves in college to be a solid NFL starter. Donovan Smith and Gosder Cherilus are far from great shakes, but they can hold down the fort until Benenoch develops. Grade: A-
149. New York Giants: Paul Perkins, Running Back, UCLA. Perkins rushed for 2,918 yards in his final two seasons at UCLA. He’s one of those super-productive college rushers who has lots of B or B-plus traits, but no A-pluses to hang his hat on. Perkins has good vision and enough start-stop and quick-cut moves to make some defenders miss. He’s a decent finisher with some open-field speed. He can catch outlet passes and throws his body around as a blocker. But Perkins is not huge, powerful, blazingly fast or incredibly creative or elusive in the open field. The more you watch him, the more you see short receptions on 3rd-and-long and plays where Perkins fails to outrun linebackers to the edge.
Perkins could become an effective no-frills running back in the NFL, but the bottoms of depth charts and tops of practice squads are full of backs who just don’t offer enough to merit more than the occasional touch. Perkins looks more like these backs than like a future 1,000-yard rusher, and he enters a crowded Giants backfield situation. Grade: C
150. Chicago Bears: Jordan Howard, Running Back, Indiana. Howard joined the Indiana team as a refugee from the UAB program, which briefly folded in 2014, and proved a worthy replacement for Tevin Coleman, rushing for 1,213 yards. He showed that the jump from a very good mid-major program to a bad major one isn’t all that great. Sorry, Indiana football fans!
There is nothing fancy about Howard’s rushing style. He’s a big back who squares his shoulders, gets up to speed quickly and barrels to the hole. He can generate yards after contact. Howard’s receiving experience is limited to some screens and flare passes, but he can catch and is a load when running to the open field with a head of steam.
Howard missed four games with knee and ankle injuries last year. When a 230-pound bruiser with little lateral quickness starts absorbing lower-body injuries, you have to worry about his viability as anything more than a rotation back in the NFL. But as a thumper between the tackles, Howard may be more effective than Derrick Henry of Alabama, who is bigger and more prolific but less likely to deliver a blow in the hole and finish a run with power.
Look for a Howard-Jeremy Langford platoon in the Bears backfield. For a team that was making runs at C.J. Anderson and clearly wanted a running back upgrade after Matt Forte's departure, this is an excellent value pick. Grade: A
151. Detroit Lions: Joe Dahl, Guard, Washington State. Dahl played left tackle in the Mike Leach Air Raid but won’t cut it there in the NFL: He’s short and light for an NFL left tackle, and he’s a little clunky athletically. Dahl can be an excellent pass protector at guard, however, because he sets well, maintains leverage and finds a way to get the job done if he loses the first-step battle. Dahl would have been an A-plus selection if the Seahawks took him. Grade: B+
152. Washington Redskins: Matthew Ioannidis, Defensive Tackle, Temple. Ioannidis is a big, powerful ornery defender. He has some pass-rush technique, including a heavy rip with his hands, but his claim to fame is plugging gaps and wearing down blockers. There’s no flash here, but the Redskins line coaches will love Ioannidis and rotate him between the tackle spots as a brawler and agitator. Grade: A-
153. Philadelphia Eagles: Wendell Smallwood, Running Back, West Virginia. Smallwood is a fun-to-watch all-purpose back who lined up all over the field and used every button on the game controller. He’s a slasher with great quickness in space and a variety of jump-cut and start-stop moves. Smallwood has a lanky build and runs upright at times. He can be stymied if there is no obvious hole to burst through. Smallwood also had a scary allegation in his past. He was accused of intimidating a murder witness. That was dropped when the suspect (a Smallwood acquaintance) pleaded guilty. So there is a lot to love and a lot to hate here. He'll get a chance to stick as a committee back and playmaker. Grade: C
154. Cleveland Browns: Jordan Payton, Wide Receiver, UCLA. Payton caught 145 passes for 2,059 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Bruins over the last two seasons. But he may be little more than roster fodder in the NFL. Payton’s measurables aren’t spectacular, and the tape shows a guy catching a lot of underneath passes in a high-octane offense from some pretty good quarterbacks. Payton lacks the explosion to be a big-play prospect off the bench and lacks the size and versatility to attract the special teams coaches. It’s a bind that could keep him off most rosters; even the Browns are starting to stack up on receivers in this draft to the point that Payton cannot expect a scholarship year. Grade: C
155. Indianapolis Colts: Joe Haeg, Offensive Tackle, North Dakota State. Haeg was Carson Wentz’s blindside protector in 2014 and 2015. He’s tall, quick and motivated, and he proved at the Senior Bowl that he could handle top competition (though he suffered a minor injury late in the week.) The ramp up from North Dakota State to the NFL is steep but not precipitous; Haeg faced competition in a tough FCS conference and playoff tournaments over the years no different from what a Mountain West, AAC or MAC lineman faces on the typical Saturday. Haeg is lean and a little unrefined, but he has the potential to become a starting NFL left tackle. Don't be surprised if he gets on the field earlier and proves more capable than early pick Le'Raven Clark. Grade: A
156. Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Williams, Running Back, Arkansas. Boy, the running back run is on! This is like the first 30 minutes of a fantasy draft (after the two hours of arguing about draft order and rules, of course).
Williams missed his senior season at Arkansas with a foot injury, was limited to light duties during Senior Bowl week and could not run for scouts until his March pro day, when he produced solid but unspectacular results. Flashy 40 times aren’t what Williams is about, anyway. He’s a between-the-tackles runner with an excellent mixture of burst, short-area quickness and vision. He makes quick, economical cuts, finishes his runs with authority and can catch and block well enough to stay on the field in any situation.
Williams has DeMarco Murray upside and some DeMarco Murray traits. He fumbled three times in 2014 (teammate Alex Collins also had a fumbling problem; Arkansas games could be frustrating to watch) and can get a little too choosy about his running lanes. Assuming he tightens his ball security and is fully recovered from the foot injury, Williams is a solid committee back at the very least.
Williams is a decent prospect, but you may have noticed that Rex Ryan makes me a little nervous whenever he thinks outside the box, mainly because that's the only place he ever thinks. Grade: B
157. Tennessee Titans: LeShaun Sims, Cornerback, Southern Utah. Sims is a size-speed-competitiveness prospect who impressed observers at the Shrine Game. This is just a reminder to all future NFL prospects, especially small-school guys, to check your mailboxes for those postseason all-star invitations and to do everything possible to attend them. You can do more in three days of one-on-one drills to boost your stock than you did in four years of live competition. You never know what some team with a slew of draft picks and no idea what to do with them might toss into their shopping cart. It could be you. Grade: C
158. New York Jets: Brandon Shell, Offensive Tackle, South Carolina. This is typical Jets offensive line improvement strategy. The Jets haven't drafted a lineman in the first two rounds since 2010 but like to take a flyer on an Oday Aboushi or Jarvis Harrison (or Shell) in the fifth round. That's why when a veteran such as D'Brickashaw Ferguson retires, they have to rush out and sign Ryan Clady. Shell is Art Shell's nephew, which counts for...not much. Grade: C-
159. Houston Texans: K.J. Dillon, Safety, West Virginia. Dillon is a tall, rangy, aggressive defender who played a lot of nickel and slot cornerback for the Mountaineers; “safety” is sometimes an honorary title in the spread-happy Big 12. Dillon is talented but inconsistent; scouting reports on him vary based on whether experts focused on his best games (he was all over the field against Kansas State) or his worst (he looked like he wanted to make SportsCenter on every play and kept missing tackles against Liberty). Dillon appears tentative at the snap but closes quickly once he diagnoses. He’s a developmental defender with enough coverage ability and physicality to be productive. Grade: B
160. Minnesota Vikings: Kentrell Brothers, Outside Linebacker, Missouri. Brothers is an odd-looking athlete. He’s a little wobblier than your average non-lineman. He runs with a slightly odd gait, like he is wearing corduroy pants. These may not be scientific scouting observations, but Brothers just doesn’t look and move like the other top linebacker prospects.
Then the ball is snapped. Brothers zooms all over the field. He’s faster than would seem possible for a guy with choppy strides and can be sudden when making a quick move to disengage or elude a blocker. Brothers’ instincts are top notch and he pursues well, reacting quickly and taking smart angles. He’s great on screens because he reads both the play and the blocking and can make the first blocker miss. Despite short arms, Brothers has blocked three career kicks. He’s that kind of ballplayer.
The closest comparison I could think of to Brothers was Levon Kirkland, who didn’t look like a superhero in a T-shirt but became an outstanding playmaker for the Steelers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He's a great pick in this spot. Grade: A
161. Cincinnati Bengals: Christian Westerman, Guard, Arizona State. Westerman bench-pressed 225 pounds 34 times at the combine; he’s a well-known weight room champion. He’s also quick and tough on the interior line, able to recognize blitzes, slide laterally and stymie his opponent. Westerman is a little short, short-armed and lean for an NFL guard. Despite his quickness, he’s not that effective on screens or second-level blocks. Your basic depth lineman for a franchise with few needs. Grade: B
162. Kansas City Chiefs: Kevin Hogan, Quarterback, Stanford.
Bleacher Report proudly presents Mike Tanier’s Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparisons for Kevin Hogan:
- Brian Hoyer on Hogan’s best day.
- Mike Kafka without the upside on Hogan’s worst day.
Jargon-Free Scouting Nutshell: Hogan is a big guy with some mobility and a great understanding of the game. But his accuracy wavers on even routine throws, he has poor arm strength and his delivery is long and loopy. Hogan can probably transform himself into a Hoyer or Matt Flynn with hard work and excellent coaching, but that’s the absolute ceiling. The floor, despite Hogan’s intelligence, character and college success, is a guy who looks like he doesn’t belong in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.
Andy Reid likes these guys, having selected Kafka and A.J. Feeley and reached for Kevin Kolb in the second round years ago. The fifth round is just too early to get a poor man's Chase Daniel. Grade: D-
163. Green Bay Packers: Trevor Davis, Wide Receiver, California. Fast, skinny return man and deep threat, Davis returned two kicks for touchdowns in 2014. With a lot of work, he could be a productive boundary receiver. Grade: C
164. Philadelphia Eagles: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Offensive Tackle, TCU. The long-term Eagles line plan: move Lane Johnson to left tackle when Jason Peters retires, insert this huge right tackle prospect in Johnson's place. As long as he is on the bench, I don't have to worry about typing his name again. Grade: C
165. Kansas City Chiefs: Tyreek Hill, Running Back-Receiver, West Alabama. Small-school track star and return man. Pleaded guilty in 2015 to punching and choking his girlfriend. There are still major-program speedsters for this role all over the board with no domestic assault records. Shouldn't have been drafted. Grade: F
166. Houston Texans: D.J. Reader, Defensive Tackle, Clemson. The only player behind Vince Wilfork on the Texans nose tackle depth chart right now is a former sixth-round pick named Christian Covington. I think. Let's face it: It's really impossible to see anything that's behind Vince Wilfork. Grade: B
167. Arizona Cardinals: Marqui Christian, Safety, Midwestern State: Small-school tough guy with great workout results and (by all accounts) a special teams temperament. We crossed a threshold in the last few picks into "deep draftnik dive" territory, so look out. Grade: C
168. Cleveland Browns: Spencer Drango, Guard, Baylor. Thick, lumpy All-American lineman. The Browns have John Greco and Alvin Bailey at right guard right now. Show me a Rams and a Seahawks castoff on the offensive line, and I'll show you a starting job a fifth-rounder could win. Grade: B+
169. Detroit Lions: Antwione Williams, Linebacker, Georgia Southern. Williams was a productive playmaker at the low mid-major level. He has NFL size, good range and enough instincts and range to do a little of everything at linebacker. A three-position sub, at least. Grade: B
170. Arizona Cardinals: Cole Toner, Tackle, Harvard. Toner joins Joe Haeg of North Dakota State and Willie Beavers of Western Michigan as this year’s small-program, high-upside developmental tackles. Toner faces the steepest NFL jump of the bunch. He looked feisty and fairly athletic at the Senior Bowl. Grade: B
171. Seattle Seahawks: Alex Collins, Running Back, Arkansas. Collins is basically another Knile Davis: a well-built downhill runner with some special qualities and the ball-security skills of a third-grader learning to juggle. Collins fumbled 17 times in college, despite sharing the workload with Jonathan Williams for much of his career. On the flip side, Collins rushed for over 1,000 yards three straight seasons despite sharing the load with Williams for two of them.
Collins is like a truck on a steep mountain grade when running between the tackles from the I-formation. When running outside, he squares his shoulders near the sideline and takes what he can get. Like Davis, he can play a role in a committee if not asked to do much in the passing game, and he could emerge as a dangerous kick returner despite limited experience. He could also get glued to the bench after one too many fumbles.
The Seahawks have drafted as many running backs as offensive linemen. I am done dwelling on it. Grade: D
172. Cleveland Browns: Rashard Higgins, Wide Receiver, Colorado State. Higgins got the nickname “Hollywood” in youth football. He drilled a receiver coming across the middle and his coach started calling him Hollywood.
Um, Coach: What does a bone-crunching hit have to do with Hollywood? Shouldn’t that name be used for someone who scores a 99-yard touchdown and dances across the end zone? What about Hacksaw Higgins or Hitman Higgins?
Then again, maybe that youth football coach 15 years ago did the right thing in not applying an ultra-violent nickname to a third-grader.
Despite the nickname, Higgins is a quiet guy who gets high marks for intangibles. He’s great at gobbling up bad balls (he handled the change from Garrett Grayson to Nick Stevens and Coleman Key well) and does a great job finding soft spots in coverage. Higgins was part of the Combine Disappointing 40 Relay Team, running a 4.64-second sprint, and he is much better at gliding away from zone coverage than making tight cuts to elude man-to-man defenders.
Higgins reminds me of Brian Quick of the Rams: soft-spoken, hard-working, very athletic but raw as pink hamburger by the standards of an NFL receiver. Like Quick, he could end up as a role player, but there’s a chance for a little Hollywood as well.
This is why the Browns traded down for a zillion picks. Higgins may emerge as better than Jordan Payton, but the competition will help them both. Grade: A-
173. Cleveland Browns: Trey Caldwell, Cornerback, Louisiana-Monroe. The Browns also traded down for a zillion picks so they could draft tiny defensive backs who stump the experts. Grade: C-
174. San Francisco 49ers: Fahn Cooper, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss. The 49ers appear to be opting for safe, low-downside players to fill out their offensive line. Can you blame them?
Cooper started his college career at Bowling Green but wanted to play for a major program. He transferred to College of DuPage to go the JUCO route, attracting Ole Miss in the process. He considered entering last year’s draft but thought he was playing too heavy to impress the NFL. So Cooper slimmed down and wound up at left tackle for the Rebels during Laremy Tunsil’s suspension. Cooper is a determined, high-effort-and-character player who lacks starting-caliber power or agility. It’s the typical profile for a backup guard-tackle at the NFL level (see Avery Young and John Theus).
If you are wondering, College of DuPage is located in Illinois, and its sports teams are the Chaparrals, which sounds like a 1960s girl group but is actually some kind of bird. These Day 3 lineman scouting reports can get a little monotonous, folks. Grade: B-
175. San Diego Chargers: Jatavis Brown, Linebacker, Akron. Brown is tiny even by the standards of this year’s tiny linebackers: 5'11" and 227 pounds. He scorched a regional combine with a 4.47 40 and stands out on tape, shooting gaps as a pass-rusher and flying to the ball in the open field. Brown may be the best defender to come out of the Zips program since Jason Taylor, but not every pint-sized linebacker is destined to be another Cardinals supertool, especially on a defense not known for its creativity. Brown fits best as a special teams terror. Grade: C
Round 6 Pick-by-Pick Grades
176. Denver Broncos: Andy Janovich, Fullback, Nebraska. Peyton Manning is gone, so Gary Kubiak gets to have fullbacks again. Janovich is a great choice: He can run a little and play special teams like a mad man, making him useful even when he is not lead-blocking. Grade: B+
177. Los Angeles Rams: Temarrick Hemingway, Tight End, South Carolina State. Hemingway was a spread-option slot tight end at a small program. He’s long and lean with soft hands. He possesses pretty good body control and got open in college with quick, open-field shake moves. That said, he was getting open against FCS competition; those little adjustments probably won’t impress NFL defenders. Hemingway’s combine results were impressive. His reputation as a blocker is much less impressive.
I love how the Rams are like: "Oh, you think we can't surround Goff with weapons? Look at all these weird Day 3 square pegs we got for him!" Hey, yeah, awesome. You guys looked at your secondary lately? Grade: C
178. Kansas City Chiefs: D.J. White, Cornerback, Georgia Tech. Quick, experienced defender with high character. The Chiefs are loading up on this kind of player in this draft. Grade: C
179. San Diego Chargers: Drew Kaser, Punter, Texas A&M. Kaser broke several of Shane Lechler’s punting records for the Aggies. He has a big leg and several clubs in his bag, though his flop shot inside the 20 is inconsistent. Mike Scifres is 35 years old, and in the sixth round, it's OK to take a long look at a punter who bears a resemblance to Lechler. Grade: B
180. Minnesota Vikings: Moritz Boehringer, Wide Receiver, Germany. Boehringer is this year’s white elephant of the draft, a 6'4", 227-pound specimen from the German Football League who held his own pro day and posted workout numbers that would get a power-conference receiver drafted in the first round.
Highlight reels from Germany show a man who appears to be the size of Rob Gronkowski running around on a Pop Warner field with middle schoolers diving at his feet. So perhaps we need to get a sense of the German Football League competition level.
Boehringer did not lead his Schwabisch Hall Unicorns in receiving last season. Boehringer caught 59 passes for 1,234 yards and 13 touchdowns while teammate Patrick Donahue caught 75 for 1,353 yards and 17 TDs.
Donahue is 5'11", 185 pounds and played NCAA football at Southern Oregon, an NAIA program. Donahue was a great player at the NAIA level—he caught 103 passes in 2012 and was on the NFL scouting radar—but the fact an NAIA player put up Randy Moss numbers should give you a sense of the German Football League competition level.
Boehringer was a No. 2 receiver at that level. His journey will be fun to watch, but you may not want to purchase a jersey just yet. Grade: C
181. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyrone Holmes, Linebacker, Montana. Developmental pass-rusher. The Jaguars are 5-of-5 on drafting defensive players. One look at Jaguars game tape will tell you why. Grade: C
182. Baltimore Ravens: Keenan Reynolds, Running Back, Navy. You have probably heard of Reynolds: Navy’s option quarterback, finished fifth in the Heisman voting, broke all the Division I quarterback rushing records with 4,559 yards and 88 touchdowns.
Reynolds has the hips and lateral quickness to be an effective running back, and he’s built powerfully enough to jam his nose into the pile for an extra yard. It’s hard to project an under-center option quarterback who converted running back (the blocks, keys and reads are totally different, as are the initial steps after the snap), but Reynolds got good reviews at the Shrine Game.
Reynolds fumbled 32 times at Navy, but remember that a triple-option quarterback is going to fumble a lot because of all of the pitches and exchanges he executes.
If Reynolds develops as a receiver, he could be a heck of a changeup back, though Kenneth Dixon may block his way to playing time. In any case, he will be a fun-to-watch-and-root-for experiment. Grade: B
183. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devante Bond, Linebacker, Oklahoma. Strong-side linebacker type. Strictly developmental right now. Grade: C
184. New York Giants: Jerell Adams, Tight End, South Carolina. Adams looks like a big-play tight end, and he posted some excellent combine workout numbers. He was stuck in a Gamecocks offense that took the fun out of Fun ‘n’ Gun, where he spent a lot of time reaching for overthrows from a first-year college quarterback. So his receiving production wasn’t great.
Adams blocks pretty well for a lanky guy, so there is a lot to like. But Adams is still a half-step slower than a true seam-stretcher, bends at the waist when run blocking and didn’t demonstrate much as a route-runner or exploiter of zone coverage in college. Grade: B
185. Chicago Bears: DeAndre Houston-Carson, Safety, William & Mary. DHC did everything a small-school prospect can do to rocket up draft boards in the offseason. He performed well at the Senior Bowl. He ran a 4.54 40 at the combine.
DHC played cornerback early in his college career but moved to safety last season. The cornerback tape isn’t NFL ready, and the safety tape shows a talented work in progress against high FCS-level competition. So a week of solid practices in Mobile, Alabama, and good workout results were important. DHC proved he was athletic and competitive enough for the NFL. No one questions his intelligence or work habits.
DHC blocked nine kicks in college and should be an immediate-impact special teamer. He’s probably a year away from starting but should develop into a solid player. He has more versatility and upside than Deon Bush, whom the Bears drafted earlier Saturday. Grade: B+
186. Miami Dolphins: Jakeem Grant, Wide Receiver, Texas Tech. As soon as you see that a 5'6" receiver got drafted, you can write the rest of the scouting report yourself. Yes, Grant is fast and blessedly quick when making open-field cuts. Yes, he’s a dynamic return man. Yes, he is an “in-space” player; the Red Raiders liked to motion him into the backfield for end-arounds and misdirection plays.
And yes, Grant is the same height and weight as my seventh-grade son. The wide-open Big 12 is a long way from the NFL for a tiny jitterbug. I saw so much delightful Grant tape that I want to pencil him in as the next Jermaine Lewis, the return man who had such a huge impact for the Super Bowl Ravens of 2000. But Lewis was an inch taller and about 15 muscle pounds thicker. Grade: B
187. Washington Redskins: Nate Sudfeld, Quarterback, Indiana. Bleacher Report proudly presents Mike Tanier’s Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparisons for Nate Sudfeld:
- Poor man’s Nick Foles
- Destitute man’s Brock Osweiler
- Derek Anderson for the lower-middle class
Jargon-Free Scouting Nutshell: Sudfeld is a big, strong guy with a good arm who ran an uptempo spread offense for Indiana between injuries. He’s worth kicking the tires on because of his measurables and experience at a high-competition level. That’s about it. This is just an example of the "always be developing a quarterback" theory. Grade: C
188. Minnesota Vikings: David Morgan, Tight End, UTSA. Morgan was having an impressive week of practices for the Shrine Game before tweaking his MCL; he returned to participate in the combine. Most small-school tight end prospects are King Kong athletes for their level of competition who win by just being bigger and faster than everyone else, but Morgan is more of a traditional tight end with blocking chops who just happened to end up in a small pond.
He fits as a second tight end, though he has some athletic upside. It feels like I’ve typed that sentence about seven other tight ends already. Also, the Vikings always have a dozen tight ends on their roster, so this feels like overkill. Grade: C-
189. Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Brown, Cornerback, Purdue. Cowboys cornerbacks have intercepted just six passes in the last two seasons. That’s one of the most shocking statistics I have slung at you over the past three days. Brown is their first selection in the secondary. He's a gamble-and-guess guy with great workout numbers. The Cowboys needed more help earlier. Grade: C
190. Los Angeles Rams: Josh Forrest, Linebacker, Kentucky. The Rams just noticed that Bryce Hager is at the top of their depth chart at middle linebacker. Forrest is a low-range, gap-shooting thumper who can succeed in this system behind this defensive line. Grade: B
191. Detroit Lions: Jake Rudock, Quarterback, Michigan. Congratulations, Lions, on selecting a quarterback with such a low scouting grade that I didn't make one of those goofy "Deadly Accurate Prediction" charts for him. Rudock improved under Jim Harbaugh's guidance, but I see a guy with so-so measurables and the upside of a low-level backup. Just because you draft a Michigan quarterback in the sixth round doesn't mean you drafted...no, it's not even worth mentioning. Grade: D
192. Buffalo Bills: Kolby Listenbee, Wide Receiver, TCU. The problem with Listenbee’s game tape is that Josh Doctson keeps upstaging him. Listenbee runs fly and short smash routes while Doctson makes catch after catch. Then, when all of the safeties are congregating on Doctson’s side of the field, Listenbee puts a double move on some poor cornerback and catches a bomb or two.
Listenbee is fast and has great body control for over-the-shoulder catches. But he’s thin, not too tall (6'0", 197 lbs) and his route tree doesn’t branch. He could play the Percy Harvin role as soon as Percy Harvin admits that he's not going to play the Percy Harvin role anymore. Grade: A-
193. Tennessee Titans: Sebastian Tretola, Guard, Arkansas. Tretola played for Nevada at the start of his career. “Played for” is the proper term, not “attended,” as Tretola didn’t bother showing up for class and flunked out of school. He reemerged more dedicated and (slightly) lighter in Arkansas, where he became a pile-driving blocker in one of the most run-heavy offenses left in the modern football world.
Tretola is probably best remembered for throwing a touchdown pass on a fake field goal against Alabama-Birmingham. Here’s a link to not just the play, but an in-depth story about how it came to be. (Tretola actually had options and reads on the fake. He may be more NFL-ready than some quarterbacks who have already been drafted.)
Tretola can stick as a starting guard if he continues to limit the Waffle House road trips. I like this pick. If the Titans are going to try to punish the NFL off-tackle with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, Tretola is a good lead blocker for the attack. Grade: B+
194. Oakland Raiders: Cory James, Linebacker, Colorado State. Small linebacker. Four-year starter. Did it all at Colorado State and could shine as a situational pass-rusher. Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton probably saw a kindred spirit and will figure out what to do with James later. Grade: C
195. Atlanta Falcons: Wes Schweitzer, Guard, San Jose State. There's little depth behind Andy Levitre and Chris Chester. Grade: B.
196. Philadelphia Eagles: Blake Countess, Cornerback, Auburn. No relation to Biff Duchess or Blane Contessa. Countess is a tiny defender with some pretty solid Pro Football Focus charting numbers: just a 53 percent completion rate allowed, though with a lot of missed tackles. Grade: C
197. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dan Vitale, Fullback, Northwestern. Vitale was a “superback” at Northwestern. A superback is an H-back with exceptional self-esteem.
Vitale lined up everywhere from fullback to the slot, but he’ll be an H-back and situational fullback in the NFL. He’s quick in short bursts for a 239-pounder and has great hands and pass-catching skills. Vitale is effective as a cut-blocker as a tight end on zone-stretch runs, but if you put him at fullback and expect him to thump linebackers on iso handoffs you’ll be disappointed.
Vitale’s versatility and some excellent combine workouts got him into the sixth round. Squint and you can see a Delanie Walker-like contributor, but Vitale more likely maxes out as a core special teamer and extra tight end. That won't stop the Mike Alstott comparisons. Nothing will. Grade: B+
198. San Diego Chargers: Derek Watt, Fullback, Wisconsin. J.J. Watt’s brother. A really poor man’s Glenn Gronkowski. A wasted pick. I imagine the Chargers putting Watt's locker next to Joey Bosa's and exclaiming "This is your brother now." Grade: D
199. Cincinnati Bengals: Cody Core, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss. A 6'3" complementary/possession receiver for a team that needs depth at the position. We have reached the part of the draft where player names start to sound like video-game-character names. Grade: C
200. Green Bay Packers: Kyle Murphy, Offensive Tackle, Stanford. Murphy is your standard-issue Stanford lineman. He’s bright, reasonably quick and effective on pull-and-trap blocks. His technique is OK, but top-notch defenders will either overpower or slip past him. Murphy can succeed in a zone-stretch system as a guard or right tackle or in an offense full of pull-and-trap concepts.
But he may max out as a multiposition sub like Cameron Fleming, the former Cardinal lineman the Patriots keep inserting all over the line with marginal success. He's a good value in this slot, and as mentioned earlier, every Packers lineman drafted decreases the likelihood of future Don Barclay misadventures. Grade: B
201. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brandon Allen, Quarterback, Arkansas. Bleacher Report proudly presents Mike Tanier’s Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparisons for Brandon Allen:
- Every recent Arkansas quarterback you can think of (except Ryan Mallett).
Jargon-Free Scouting Nutshell: Allen is kinda-sorta OK at everything and played in a pro-style offense. He can come into camp and compete, though it’s hard to see upside beyond “adequate backup.” Allen also has tiny 8 ½-inch hands. Scoff about hand size if you like, but Allen’s hands are a good indicator of how close he is to the NFL fringe in most categories. Grade: C
202. Detroit Lions: Anthony Zettel, Defensive Tackle, Penn State. Small, high-energy 3-tech tackle. Developmental backup. A'Shawn Robinson is the guy to be excited about. Grade: C
203. Kansas City Chiefs: Dadi Nicolas, Pass-Rusher, Virginia Tech. Nicolas is best known for inadvertently slapping down a referee’s arm while having a hissy fit over getting flagged for a neutral-zone infraction. Judgment lapse aside, the Haitian-born Nicolas is a complex prospect to evaluate. His sack production tailed off in his senior season, and the fact that he was used almost exclusively as a pass-rusher makes him hard to project as an outside linebacker.
But there is a lot to like about Nicolas. He has a quick first step, long arms and the ability to use spin moves, inside moves and hand techniques to beat blockers. He’s inconsistent in his use of techniques, but the skill is there. Nicolas high-jumped 41 inches at the combine and has 34 ¾-inch arms.
He blocked two kicks at Virginia Tech (granted, there are computer science majors at Virginia Tech with two blocked kicks) and should have the lower-body explosion to be an effective pass-rusher, at least situationally, at the NFL level. Put him in the pipeline with Dee Ford as Justin Houston and Tamba Hali's understudies and eventual replacements. Grade: B+
204. Miami Dolphins: Jordan Lucas, Safety, Penn State. Lucas has good workout numbers and was a respected starter at a major program. Projects as a possible nickel safety-cornerback flex player. Grade: B
205. Arizona Cardinals: Harlan Miller, Cornerback, Southeastern Louisiana. The 6'0", 182-pound Miller is a tall, twiggy, confident FCS cornerback with return skills. He reacts quickly to the ball in the air and can fly downhill when the play is in front of him. Miller’s size and stopwatch results are just NFL adequate, and he’s no technician in coverage. The return-man moves and special teamer’s intensity are big pluses. Grade: B
206. Los Angeles Rams: Mike Thomas, Wide Receiver, Southern Miss. This is the "other" Michael Thomas: not Keyshawn Johnson's nephew from Ohio State, but a mid-major tough guy who caught 71 passes last year. Thomas is productive and will get the job done on special teams to stick as a fourth or fifth receiver. I think it's cute how self-conscious the Rams are about loading up on receivers for Goff, even if it's a quantity-over-quality approach. Grade: C+
207. San Francisco 49ers: Jeff Driskel, Quarterback, Louisiana Tech. I went to the Senior Bowl hoping to see a diamond in the rough in Driskel. I liked his Louisiana Tech tape and can empathize with a quarterback having the rug pulled out of him at a major program and having to start over. Unfortunately, Driskel's accuracy, decision-making and footwork were all over the place. He looked undraftable.
Driskel is similar to Hackenberg in that the 49ers are banking on potential they saw early in his career. The differences: Driskel at least has lots of good recent (smaller program) film, and this is the sixth round instead of the second. Driskel is going to get a lot of attention, and anything is possible if he becomes Chip Kelly's pet, but there is a ton of work to be done to make him an NFL quarterback. Grade: C
208. New England Patriots: Kamu Grugier-Hill, Linebacker, Eastern Illinois. Grading late-round Patriots draft picks is what wastes of time do to waste time. A 215-pound small-school linebacker? Whatever. Bill Belichick has a plan of some kind. Grade: C
209. Baltimore Ravens: Maurice Canady, Cornerback, Virginia. Canady is 6'1" with long arms (31 ⅝") and lateral quickness that makes him effective both when shadowing receivers and returning punts. If only his tape were better.
Canady got burned for several touchdowns in 2014. He overcompensated by turning into an Ike Taylor lowlight reel, giving receivers soft cushions and allowing catch after catch underneath.
By the end of last season, Canady started to grow into the good version of Taylor, still playing deep but closing on the ball in time to break up passes or at least drop the receiver immediately after the catch. He slid into the slot and even into the nickel linebacker position at times; Canady’s tackling is not ideal, but he can blast off the edge against the run and chase plays to the opposite side of the field down from behind.
Canady is a steal if his journey over the last two seasons truly did go from too toasted to too soft to just right. At the very least, he can be a matchup dime defender against tall receivers and tight ends, and he has special teams value. Grade: B+
210. Detroit Lions: Jimmy Landes, Long Snapper, Baylor. The long snapper seal has been broken! Anything is now possible! Grade: C
211. San Francisco 49ers: Kelvin Taylor, Running Back, Florida. Taylor is the son of Fred Taylor, the former Jaguars and Patriots running back who spent the first four seasons of his career battling injuries, then somehow found the secret to good health and rushed for over 11,000 career yards.
Kelvin Taylor has also battled aches and pains early in his career. He’s also a quick one-cut runner with a strong finish, just like his father. But Taylor lacks his father’s receiving chops (just 24 career receptions at Florida) and open-field creativity. Taylor is an odd fit as a small back with so-so receiving ability, but he does enough well to compete for a roster spot. Grade: B
212. Dallas Cowboys: Kavon Frazier, Safety, Central Michigan. Another strong size-speed-effort prospect with questionable instincts; this draft is full of them (Tyvis Powell, T.J. Green, K.J. Dillon, Kevin Byard, etc.). Frazier is more polished than some of the other “specimens” at safety, though he’s a step slower than the best of them. Frazier will overrun some plays and react too late to others but should be a special teams monster early in his career and could grow into a thumping strong safety. A good value pick at a need position for the Cowboys. Grade: B+
213. San Francisco 49ers: Aaron Burbridge, Wide Receiver, Michigan State. Connor Cook’s go-to target: Burbridge caught 85 passes last season. He lacks superior speed and quickness, but Burbridge is a sharp route-runner who excels on sideline and comeback routes and can make difficult catches. Hard-to-classify prospect who could become a sturdy possession receiver in the NFL but may also have maxed out in the B1G.
The Niners focused on defense and offensive line help early in the draft and are now trying to vitalize the skill positions late. It's not a bad strategy (they needed help everywhere), but the cupboard is getting a little bare. Grade: C+
214. New England Patriots: Elandon Roberts, Linebacker, Houston. Roberts led the FBS division with 88 solo tackles, at least according to official FBS totals (which can differ from team-recorded tackles, Pro Football Focus-recorded tackles or the angels-dancing-on-pins totals that circulate among various sources).
He wasn’t invited to the combine but set the practice facility on fire during his pro say. Roberts has a great feel for the game and a get-the-job-done attitude. His only real shortcomings are his hands; Roberts dropped several interceptions this year. Roberts is a sleeper with starting potential. Typical Patriots. They probably left him off the combine list on purpose. #Conspiracy. #JustKidding. Grade: B+
215. Seattle Seahawks: Joey Hunt, Center, Texas Christian. He's a center. The Seahawks need him. 'Nuff said. Grade: A
216. Dallas Cowboys: Darius Jackson, Running Back, Eastern Michigan. Jackson is a tremendous athlete who played quarterback and safety in high school and was also a baseball star. On tape, Jackson looks like your typical versatile mid-major running back: good quickness and receiving chops, adequate vision and power, no show-stopping qualities.
Jackson ran a 4.40 40 at his pro day, however, coupling it with other outstanding workout numbers, so suddenly his draft outlook changed. He'll be an impact player if the Cowboys decide to run the ball 70 times per game, which is possible. Grade: C
217. Dallas Cowboys: Rico Gathers, Tight End, Baylor. Basketball player. Averaged 11.2 points and nine rebounds per game last year, so he can play some forward. Teams still draft basketball players as tight ends? Isn't that a little 2004? You be you, Jerry. Grade: D
218. Buffalo Bills: Kevon Seymour, Cornerback, USC. Small defender with great speed but injury concerns. The Bills love doing things the hard way. Grade: C
219. Denver Broncos: Will Parks, Safety, Arizona. Leadership-hustle-effort guy with pretty good athleticism. Probably projects to special teams, because the Broncos are getting pretty loaded at safety. Grade: B
220. Pittsburgh Steelers: Travis Feeney, Linebacker, Washington. The Steelers almost went this whole draft without grabbing a super-athletic pass-rushing linebacker. Ahhh...there he is. Grade: B+
221. New England Patriots: Ted Karras, Guard, Illinois. Alex Karras' great-nephew. That makes him Webster's...what...first cousin once removed? Karras is a four-year B1G starter but probably maxes as a camp competitor in a crowded Patriots offensive line meeting room. Grade: C-
Round 7 Pick-by-Pick Grades
222. Tennessee Titans: Aaron Wallace, Linebacker. UCLA. Developmental pass-rush prospect. Worth a look in the Titans' 3-4 system. He may be a better athlete than many of the players projected ahead of him at outside linebacker. Grade: B
223. Miami Dolphins: Brandon Doughty, Quarterback, Western Kentucky. Bleacher Report proudly presents Mike Tanier’s Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparisons for Brandon Doughty:
- Bruce Gradkowski after six cups of coffee
- Extra-feisty Chase Daniel
Jargon-Free Scouting Nutshell: Doughty is an accurate short passer and great decision-maker with an ultra-competitive, rah-rah personality. He called himself a “football muffin” during a mile-per-minute interview at the combine, and he plays the way he talks.
Doughty lacks a top arm and mobility, limiting his upside. But he’s the kind of player who wins over coaches and teammates as a backup, finds a way to compete when called upon and ends up in the NFL until he’s 38.
Doughty is no real threat to Ryan Tannehill unless the Dolphins become a hotbed of intrigue with different organizational factions pursuing different agendas. And what's the chance of that happening? Grade: B+
224. San Diego Chargers: Donavon Clark, Guard, Michigan State. The Chargers' guard play was pretty terrible last year, despite former first-round pick D.J. Fluker and pricey free agent Orlando Franklin playing most of the year. Grade: C+
225. New England Patriots: Devin Lucien, Wide Receiver, Arizona State. Transferred from UCLA to Arizona State and caught 66 passes last year. Tall, reasonably fast and pretty ordinary. Grade: C
226. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Woodard, Defensive End, Central Arkansas. The fifth selection along the front seven for a team that signed Malik Jackson for a trillion-billion dollars and is getting Dante Fowler back. We get the point, guys. Grade: C
227: Minnesota Vikings: Stephen Weatherly, Linebacker, Vanderbilt. A big, downhill type. Like a poor man's Anthony Barr. The Vikings have the real Anthony Barr. Grade: C-
228. Denver Broncos: Riley Dixon, Punter, Syracuse. Britton Colquitt costs $4 million against the salary cap and is in the final year of his contract. The Broncos need cap space. No need to draw a road map. Grade: C
229. Pittsburgh Steelers: DeMarcus Ayers, Wide Receiver, Houston. A small receiver with raw skills who ran an awful 4.72-second 40 at the combine. It's that time in the draft, folks. Grade: D
230. Chicago Bears: Daniel Braverman, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan. A Wes Welker type. No, seriously: Braverman looks and plays like Wes Welker. Am I supposed to bury that in a bunch of euphemisms? It’s not like I slathered on all the semiotics: hard-working, lunch-pail, quicker-than-fast, old-school, blue-collar, favorite son fan favorite FOOTBALL PLAYER. He’s a 5'10", 175-pound jitterbug in the slot and, yeah, he’s white. I’m not being defensive. YOU’RE THE ONE BEING DEFENSIVE.
Here, watch a cutup of Braverman against Ohio State. He catches quick slants and wheel routes. He demonstrates excellent concentration on deep passes. He slithers past tacklers in the open field and executes some nifty jump cuts. Braverman can definitely succeed as a slot receiver who exploits mismatches against linebackers and safeties in short zones and gets creative in the open field. Comparing him to whomever you like, but Welker was pretty good at that stuff. Grade: B
231. Miami Dolphins: Thomas Duarte, Tight End, UCLA. Duarte is a tall, ripped-up slot receiver reimagined as a tight end. He’s slow off the line of scrimmage and blocks as well as your typical big wide receiver. Duarte has good hands and caught 52 passes and 10 touchdowns last year, but he is neither big nor quick enough to exploit mismatches at the NFL level the way he could in the Pac-12. Grade: C-
232. Washington Redskins: Steven Daniels, Linebacker, Boston College. Big, smart and reliable, between-the-tackles type. Daniels would be useless in a 4-3, but the 3-4 will give him a chance to shoot gaps, stack blockers and only cover the least threatening eligible receiver on the field. Grade: C
233. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Mills, Defensive Back, LSU. Mills played through a severe leg injury last year, so his tape can be a little misleading. He’s quick and athletic, but the deep speed is not there, so Mills may max out as an aggressive nickel corner-safety. But don’t think Tyrann Mathieu; think Micah Hyde.
Mills also has a 2014 arrest for allegedly assaulting a woman on his record; Mills' attorney claimed that he wasn’t the one who threw the punch, and we can assume (or hope) the Eagles investigated thoroughly. Grade: C
234. Oakland Raiders: Vadal Alexander, Guard, LSU. A mountain of a man and a four-year starter, Alexander offers size, experience, effort, character and little else. He meets the bare minimum of NFL athleticism and isn’t even all that powerful for a man his size (6'5", 326 lbs). He’s a good player to bring to camp as a multiposition sub because he played tackle and guard at a major program and will give max effort in the weight and film rooms. Grade: B
235. New York Jets: Lac Edwards, Punter, Sam Houston State. A small-program punter for a team with cap problems that needs cheap specialists. Another sagacious move for general manager Mike Macgrigson. Oops, I mean Mike Maccagnan. Did I type Macgrigson? Silly me. Grade: C-
236. Detroit Lions: Dwayne Washington, Running Back, Washington. Big, fast fumbler who runs too upright and dances too much. A tease who looks like a star until the film rolls. Grade: C-
237. New Orleans Saints: Daniel Lasco, Running Back, California. Lasco rushed for 1,115 yards in 2014 but suffered hip and ankle injuries last season. A 4.46-second sprint and other exceptional combine numbers reminded everyone of what a playmaker Lasco was before he got hurt.
Lasco has speed, quickness, moves and the size to be an every-down back but also has some bad habits. He’s not a great finisher and will bounce to the edge at the first sign of a clogged running lane. Think of Lasco as a poor man’s LeSean McCoy. The Saints defense is so bad that their offense really shouldn't be allowed to draft nice things, but it's the seventh round and Lasco fits their philosophy, so let's be kind. Grade: B+
238. Atlanta Falcons: Devin Fuller, Wide Receiver, UCLA. The Falcons receiving corps, in its entirety:
- Julio Jones: Hey, no complaints here.
- Mohamed Sanu: Career No. 3 receiver now making No. 2-receiver money.
- Justin Hardy: Second-year mid-tier prospect. What few passes thrown to him last year had a habit of getting dropped or intercepted.
- Eric Weems: Special teams gunner.
- Devin Hester: One of history’s best kick returners. Does not like playing offense and is not good at it.
- Nick Williams: Wes Welker impersonator plucked off Washington's practice squad.
- C.J. Goodwin, Jordan Leslie and Aldrick Robinson: More practice squad refugees.
There appear to be some opportunities for an upgrade here, don’t you think? Grade: B
239. Indianapolis Colts: Trevor Bates, Linebacker, Maine. I'm not going to pretend that I watch a bunch of Maine game film here, folks. Grade: ?
240. Philadelphia Eagles: Alex McCalister, Pass-Rusher, Florida. Tall, lean pass-rusher who was kicked off the team late in the year. The Eagles have grabbed a lot of sketchy personalities on Day 3. They also just grabbed a no-leverage defender who will look great on the field-goal-blocking unit. Grade: D
241. New York Jets: Charone Peake, Wide Receiver, Clemson. Peake is not a prospect in the class of former Clemson stars Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins and Martavis Bryant. He’s be the next best thing, however, if he didn’t have small hands and a case of the dropsies.
Peake is 6'2" with 4.45 speed, gives a high effort, knows a little about route running and can generate yards after short receptions with quick upfield moves and a willingness to plow through arm tackles. Peake had some knee injuries in the past but was healthy last season. If his hands become reliable, he’s a starter. If not, he won’t stick on a roster. For the seventh round, he's worth the selection. Grade: B+
242. Washington Redskins: Keith Marshall, Running Back, Georgia. Marshall was off the radar until he ran a 4.31-second sprint at the combine. A former top recruit, Marshall tore an ACL in 2013 and suffered other injuries in 2014. He was relegated to third-string status last year, looking like just another SEC running back in his limited action.
Marshall got some special teams experience during his time on the third string and handled his duties well. It was probably the best thing for him. Marshall’s speed got him into Redskins rookie camp, but his ability will keep him on the roster and give him a chance to unleash his speed. Grade: B+
243. Seattle Seahawks: Kenny Lawler, Wide Receiver, California. Lawler was a charter member of the Combine Disappointing 40 Relay Team, a group of exciting playmaker receivers in college who ran their 40-yard dashes in the 4.6-second range. Lots of excellent NFL receivers ran 4.6-second 40s at the combine, but it’s always a troubling sign when the stopwatch corroborates tape that shows ordinary separation speed.
Lawler is tall and can catch anything in his vicinity, and his routes are generally sharp. If he had a thicker frame, he’d fit as a possession receiver and red-zone target. But Lawler is built a little like Todd Pinkston, the former Eagles receiver who was too spindly and wiry for possession duty but not fast enough to be a deep threat. Grade: C
244. Minnesota Vikings: Jayron Kearse, Safety, Clemson. Jayron Kearse is the nephew of Jevon Kearse, one of the best players ever nicknamed The Freak and a star pass-rusher for the Titans and Eagles.
Kearse had arms long enough to bear-hug the whole huddle and moved like a cheetah, but perhaps the most memorable thing about Kearse is that he crawled off the turf and limped back to the huddle like he had just sprained both ankles after every third or fourth snap. If there is ever a Hall of Fame for players who appeared seriously injured then recorded a sack three minutes later, Kearse is a first-ballot shoo-in.
Also, writing scouting reports of the nephews and children of players I covered is making me feel old.
Anyway, Jayron Kearse is 6'4" with 34 ¼-inch arms, and he has a rep for being slow to get into position pre-snap, so the family resemblance is there. Kearse has good instincts but a strange body type for a safety and so-so range and coverage skills. He has value as a special teamer (he should be able to block some kicks) and can excel in some specialized defensive roles, like blitzing the edge as a nickel safety or tangling up 6'6" tight ends. Grade: B+
245. Cincinnati Bengals: Clayton Fejedelem, Safety, Illinios. Last name translates from the Swedish as "special teams gunner." Grade: C
246. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyler Matakevich, Linebacker, Temple. Matakevich recorded 493 total tackles as a four-year starter for the Owls. He intercepted five passes and registered 4.5 sacks last year. He had some mammoth games in big-time situations: three sacks and a bunch of hurries against Penn State, a tackle for loss and an interception against Notre Dame.
Matakevich is at his best when attacking the line of scrimmage, thudding into a blocker and either occupying the gap or shedding to make a play. He has a quick downhill burst and can rock blockers backward. His instincts, ball location and range in pursuit are all ordinary at best, and he has trouble adjusting or changing direction. Matakevich is not great in coverage, but he has a lot of experience (Temple needed him to do a little of everything); he can occupy an underneath zone, read a route and catch an errant pass.
Matakevich is a special teams demon and first-linebacker-off-the-bench type at worst. He could develop into an ornery situational defender who grinds out a few sacks each year. Grade: A-
247. Seattle Seahawks: Zac Brooks, Running Back, Clemson. Does this mean we can erase Christine Michael from John Schneider's contact list? Grade: C-
248. Indianapolis Colts: Austin Blythe, Center, Iowa. Blythe is the poster child from zone-blocking centers. He’s undersized (6'2", 291 lbs), but Blythe has quick feet and tremendous vision for an interior lineman. He adjusts to defenders shooting gaps behind him on stretch runs or blitzes, quickly resetting and knocking the defender off course.
Blythe finishes his blocks and has earned the Kirk Ferentz Hawkeye Seal of Approval for line-play fundamentals. The Colts aren't messing around with their interior-line upgrade. Grade: B+
249. San Francisco 49ers: Prince Charles Iworah, Cornerback, Western Kentucky. Iworah is 5'9", ran a 4.32 40 and made a lot of plays at a smaller program. Are you picturing a feisty little fly-around guy who lacks fundamentals? You got it. Grade: C
250. Cleveland Browns: Scooby Wright III, Linebacker, Arizona. If Wright hadn’t torn his meniscus and missed most of 2015, he would be entering this draft as another A.J. Hawk. Like Hawk, Wright cleaned up on the collegiate trophy circuit: Wright won the Bednarik, Nagurski and Lombardi Awards, the Triple Crown for a linebacker (I have been covering the draft for 15 years and cannot remember which is which, so just go with it), while Hawk won the Lombardi, was a two-time All-American and finished sixth in the Heisman voting.
Like Hawk, Wright made gobs of plays and generated lots of attention. Also like Hawk, Wright’s film did not look all that outstanding under scrutiny. Wright leaps, dives and penetrates to make plays, but he also gets rooted out of holes by blockers, outrun to the edge and caught up in the trash in pursuit. Like Hawk, Wright hustles in coverage but isn’t blazingly fast or natural when chasing receivers.
Hawk has had a fine career but has also been a limited defender and an overpriced disappointment for his draft status. Assuming Wright comes back fully from the meniscus tear (his limited 2015 tape is not worth watching), he could be a similar player: a fly-around defender who will cause some disruption and make a lot of tackles but will also make mistakes he’s not athletic enough to compensate for.
Now, take some of the expectations and high cap numbers away from Hawk in his prime, and you had yourself a useful defensive contributor. That’s what Wright projects to at this point in the draft, left-knee willing. Not a bad investment, really. Grade: A
251. Philadelphia Eagles: Joe Walker, Linebacker, Oregon. Weak-tea Kiko Alonso, though at a fraction of the price and expectations. Grade: C+
252. Carolina Panthers: Beau Sandland, Tight End, Montana State. Sandland (a) was a JUCO standout who (b) spent one year at University of Miami but developed slowly, so he (c) transferred to Montana State, where he excelled in the hinterlands before (d) shining at the combine with exceptional jump and bench results.
If that sounds to you like the kind of player who gets draftniks all swoony but ends up bouncing from practice squad to practice squad, then you are not alone. As a bonus, the mere mention of his name gets a Metallica song stuck in your head. Grade: C
253. Tennessee Titans: Kalan Reed, Cornerback, Southern Miss. Mr. Irrelevant has some filthy Pro Football Focus charting numbers at the C-USA level: 14 pass breakups, a 48.3 percent completion rate on throws to his receivers. He fills a depth need in the Titans secondary.
I teased the Titans throughout this draft, but they acquired 10 new players scattered all over the roster: a mix of "safe" picks and developmental guys, potential stars and likely role players. This really could be the draft that turns the franchise around. After all, this all started with the fact that they already have the quarterback. Grade: B