Matt Miller's Week 14 NFL Scouting Notebook: Updated 2-Round Mock Draft

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Matt Miller's Week 14 NFL Scouting Notebook: Updated 2-Round Mock Draft
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — I'm typing this to you while I can still feel my fingers before the Kansas City Chiefs host the Oakland Raiders in what is expected to be a frigid night at Arrowhead Stadium. Temperatures in the teens. Windchill in the single digits. Perfect December football.

Before watching two of the best teams in the NFL attempt to stay warm while fighting for the AFC West—and maybe AFC—crown, it's time to check in on the state of the NFL draft.

What's happening this week?

  • Top running backs declare for the draft
  • Updated two-round mock draft
  • Ranking Heisman candidates as draft prospects
  • NFC scout interview
  • ...and where the hell is Tiffin University?

                                       

The Scout's Report

—"You're going to draft a safety with a lucky interception in the top 10? We get fired for mistakes like that." That's what a director of college scouting texted me this week about Michigan's Jabrill Peppers. As much as the media likes Peppers, the sense I get from NFL folks is the Heisman candidate is more hype than substance.

—This week, I reported Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is getting a closer look from NFL teams after those investigating his background have found the assault charges from 2014 were instigated by a racial slur. The same day our video published, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that video of Mixon punching a female in the face (and breaking her jaw) must be made public.

—Another B/R first report this week: Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey is entering the 2017 draft. The star back confirmed the report the next day in a Twitter post. In polling NFL scouts, I've found teams are torn on his stock, with two saying he's in their top 32 and three others saying top 50 is closer to it.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

—As star running backs go, none is bigger than Leonard Fournette. The top back in the class announced his intention to declare for the 2017 draft on Twitter this week. Fournette is ranked No. 2 overall on my board and is the top offensive player.

—Will Myles Garrett enter the draft? ESPN's Edward Aschoff noted Garrett said he will decide after the Texas A&M bowl game but wants "to go top three." Garrett projects as my top overall player and is as close to a lock as possible to slot into the top three picks.

—Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield announced he will return to the Sooners for his senior season and not enter the 2017 draft. Smart decision. I had Mayfield ranked as a late-round prospect.

—I was told that while scouting, always look at what a player can do first. We're not doing that with Deshaun Watson. My view: The Clemson quarterback has some rough edges, but he's a dynamic player with dual-threat traits. I'd still bet on Watson's being a first-rounder in April.

            

5 Names to Know

5. QB Antonio Pipkin, Tiffin

Wednesday night, word started buzzing on Twitter about a Division II quarterback from Tiffin University who was invited to the Senior Bowl. A quick check with Senior Bowl officials confirmed it. Antonio "Pig" Pipkin will be in Mobile, Alabama.

I had never heard the name Antonio Pipkin before last night. I'm guessing most of you haven't either. A quick look at his highlights—I'll have game film on Monday—shows a dual-threat quarterback with a big arm but an approach that needs to be revised so he can better work from the pocket and make decisions when he has to process defenses from a standstill. 

Pipkin has the tools to impress scouts in Mobile and should be one of the most intriguing players in attendance.

              

4. LB Haason Reddick, Temple

A standout defensive end for the Temple Owls, Haason Reddick's size will be a major question mark when NFL scouts view his profile. Listed at 6'1" and 230 pounds, Reddick is better suited to playing weak-side linebacker in a 4-3 defense than working with his hand in the dirt on the end of a defensive line. 

Reddick has accepted a Senior Bowl invite and will get a chance to show off his athleticism against top-tier offensive linemen. He'll also need to show if he has the hips and agility to play in space as an outside linebacker.

                

3. CB Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech

Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

A big cornerback (6'2", 197 lbs), Brandon Facyson is a redshirt junior who could enter this year's class. If so, his stock is moving up as the draft gets closer. With his size and instincts, Facyson has pro-level tools. His five interceptions as a true freshman in 2013 also point to ball skills.

Facyson has struggled at times this season, and the Virginia Tech staff has had a short rope on him (he was pulled after committing pass interference against Clemson), but the NFL can see his size and potential and find a lot of reasons to like him as a Round 3 or 4 player.

                   

2. DL Jaleel Johnson, Iowa

Another super-productive Iowa defensive lineman, Jaleel Johnson has already accepted a Senior Bowl invite. He'll look to use his 6'4", 310-pound frame to tear up interior offensive linemen in Mobile.

Johnson, who has 7.5 sacks this season, is an ideal build and athlete for a 4-3 defense. The senior tackle is a natural 3-technique (see the Michigan game for evidence of this) and can use his quickness to shoot gaps and make plays.

Tackles like Johnson—who can penetrate and make splash plays in the backfield—always perform well at the Senior Bowl. He has a chance to make some money after a week of practice.

                    

1. WR Damore'ea Stringfellow, Ole Miss

An early entry into the 2017 class, Damore'ea Stringfellow is a big man at wide receiver. The 6'3", 230-pounder has a long, powerful stride when attacking deep balls and uses that size well to get leverage on inside routes. 

Stringfellow is maddeningly inconsistent, though. I charged him with two drops in Week 1 against Florida State (on just three catches) and noticed that trend throughout the season. He has potential, and his size makes coverage a problem, but he's as likely to drop the ball or give up positioning for a touchdown as he is to make a spectacular play.

     

3 Questions with an NFC Scout

Each week, I'll pose three questions to an NFL draft prospect, current player, agent or current scout. This week, I spoke with an NFC scout who asked to remain anonymous for competitive purposes.

           

Bleacher Report: This offensive line class looks pretty bad. Have you seen a first-round-caliber tackle who's eligible for this year?

Scout: I haven't personally seen one in my area. Co-workers have talked up Orlando Brown (Oklahoma left tackle), and there's some like out there for the [Ryan] Ramczyk kid at Wisconsin, but this is a very bad offensive tackle class. Even going down the line at guard and center, there are more guys being hyped up than actual good players.

                  

B/R: If your job depended on being right about a quarterback in the 2017 class, who are you picking?

Scout: My job does depend on this!

I haven't studied every quarterback yet—we'll get there in the next month probably—but I really like Mitch [Trubisky] if we're putting our nuts out there. He has the arm. He's completing 70 percent of his passes. He has some mobility. I know you're going to say, "He's only started one season," but I don't care about that. It doesn't take three seasons to see if a guy can hit passes or not. And he can hit them. 

             

B/R: It's almost that time of year where your fellow scouts get promoted to director and even general manager jobs. Of the personnel people you've worked with or encountered, which one would you pick as the best GM candidate? 

Scout: Some candidates are best for certain jobs, while others aren't a good fit in that situation. But if I had to pick just one guy to be a great GM, I'm taking Chris Ballard (current Kansas City Chiefs director of football operations). He should have gotten the Chicago job when they hired [Ryan] Pace.

Ballard is a scout's scout, and he knows how to value talent. That's something a lot of scouts don't do well. Like Chip Kelly wanting to draft Jordan Matthews in the first round (laughs). Seeing talent is only part of the job—knowing where to value the player and how to build a team takes experience. Ballard has that.

                           

The Big Board

It's mock draft time! Who will your team draft in Round 1? How about Round 2?

Updated 2-Round Mock Draft
Pick Team Player
1 Cleveland DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
2 San Francisco LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
3 Jacksonville DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
4 Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
5 New York Jets RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
6 Tennessee (f/LA) WR Mike Williams, Clemson
7 Carolina S Jamal Adams, LSU
8 Cincinnati EDGE Tim Williams, Alabama
9 Cleveland (f/PHI) QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
10 New Orleans EDGE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
11 San Diego S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
12 Arizona EDGE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
13 Tennessee CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
14 Indianapolis LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
15 Buffalo WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
16 Green Bay RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
17 Philadelphia (f/MIN) WR John Ross, Washington
18 Washington RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
19 Miami TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
20 Pittsburgh EDGE Ryan Anderson, Alabama
21 Tampa Bay DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
22 Denver TE Jake Butt, Michigan
23 New York Giants DL Montravius Adams, Auburn
24 Kansas City CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
25 Houston DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State
26 Atlanta TE Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech
27 Baltimore CB Jalen Tabor, Florida
28 Detroit DL Caleb Brantley, Florida
29 Seattle CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
30 New England EDGE Charles Harris, Missouri
31 Oakland RB D'Onta Foreman, Texas
32 Dallas DE Dawuane Smoot, Illinois
33 Cleveland CB Sidney Jones, Washington
34 San Francisco QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
35 Jacksonville T Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
36 Chicago S Justin Evans, Texas A&M
37 New York Jets DE DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
38 Los Angeles G Dan Feeney, Indiana
39 Carolina T Cam Robinson, Alabama
40 Cincinnati LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
41 Philadelphia CB Desmond King, Iowa
42 New Orleans CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
43 San Diego EDGE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
44 Arizona LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
45 Cleveland (f/TEN) EDGE Carl Lawson, Auburn
46 Indianapolis CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
47 Buffalo S Marcus Allen, Penn State
48 Green Bay WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
49 Minnesota S Budda Baker, Washington
50 Washington G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
51 Miami CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
52 Pittsburgh S Marcus Williams, Utah
53 Tampa Bay DL Vita Vea, Washington
54 Denver C Pat Elflein, Ohio State
55 New York Giants RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
56 Kansas City DL Elijah Qualls, Washington
57 Houston EDGE DeVonte Fields, Louisville
58 Atlanta S Marcus Maye, Florida
59 Baltimore RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
60 Detroit CB Corn Elder, Miami (Fla.)
61 Seattle DL Chris Wormley, Michigan
62 New England WR Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
63 Oakland LB Anthony Walker, Northwestern
64 Dallas WR Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech

Matt Miller

                

Parting Shots

7. The 2016 Heisman Trophy candidates were released this week, and four of them are draft-eligible— Peppers, Dede Westbrook and Watson are likely to be in the 2017 draft, while Mayfield and Lamar Jackson (the only non-eligible player) will be back in college next season.

How do the five finalists rank as draft prospects?

5. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Mayfield has eye-popping numbers (3,669 yards passing, 38 TDs), but his small stature (6'1", 210 lbs) and average arm strength make him more of a Day 3 pick and NFL backup. Coming from the Oklahoma and Texas Tech offenses will also mean a big transition to the NFL.

4. Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

Just as Mayfield is a concern because of size and scheme, so is Westbrook. Scouts I've talked with say he's under 175 pounds and won't break 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Some may see Tyler Lockett or John Brown here—and in the right NFL offense (Pittsburgh, Arizona) Westbrook could make plays as a downfield threat—but he's a small guy whose numbers are inflated by the scheme.

3. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

A fascinating dual-threat quarterback who has accounted for 51 touchdowns in 2016, Jackson took over college football in the first two months of the campaign. He's cooled down since, throwing three interceptions in the season finale against Kentucky and five total picks in his last five games. Jackson isn't NFL-eligible yet, but he'll have to cut down on turnovers and add some bulk to his lean 6'3", 205-pound frame.

2. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Like Jackson, Watson's turnovers became an issue at points this season. He finished the year with less impressive statistics in 2016 than his breakout sophomore campaign but still accounted for 43 touchdowns against 15 interceptions. Watson has the arm and mobility to be a threat in the NFL, but he has to cut down on poor decisions that lead to turnovers. 

1. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan

Peppers gets the top ranking here but may be overrated. Peppers plays safety and linebacker while returning kicks and taking Wildcat snaps for Michigan, but he won't be able to do that in the pros. As a safety, Peppers has yet to show the skills in coverage to lock down tight ends and slot receivers, which makes him more of a question mark than fans may realize.

                       

6. Another round of players accepted invitations from the Senior Bowl this week. Here's a look at the updated rosters—which are, of course, subject to change:

Senior Bowl Rosters
QB C.J. Beathard, Iowa QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss QB Antonio Pipkin, Tiffin
QB Seth Russell, Baylor QB Davis Webb, California RB Matt Dayes, NC State
RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo RB Jamaal Williams, BYU FB Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech
FB Freddie Stevenson, FSU WR Travin Dural, LSU WR Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse
WR Isaiah Jones, Virginia Tech WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Wash. WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
WR Fred Ross, Miss. State WR Jamari Staples, Louisville WR Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
WR Trent Taylor, La. Tech WR Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky WR Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss TE Gerald Everett, South Alabama TE Cole Hikutini, Louisville
TE Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas T Adam Bisnowaty, Pitt T Julien Davenport, Bucknell
T Dion Dawkins, Temple T Conor McDermott, UCLA G Jessamen Dunker, Tennessee State
G Dan Feeney, Indiana G Danny Isidora, Miami (Fla.) G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
G Jordan Morgan, Kutztown G Taylor Moton, Western Michigan G Nico Siragusa, SDSU
C Isaac Asiata, Utah C Kyle Fuller, Baylor C Jon Toth, Kentucky
DE Tarell Basham, Ohio DE Keionta Davis, UT-Chattanooga DE Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M
DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, Villanova DT Montravius Adams, Auburn DT Jaleel Johnson, Iowa
DT Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte DT Tanzel Smart, Tulane OLB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
OLB Takkarist McKinley, UCLA OLB Haason Reddick, Temple ILB Duke Riley, LSU
CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado CB Corn Elder, Miami (Fla.) CB Desmond King, Iowa
CB Brendan Langley, Lamar CB Ezra Robinson, Tennessee St. S Justin Evans, Texas A&M
S Johnathan Ford, Auburn S Nate Gerry, Nebraska S Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville
S Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami (Fla.) S John Johnson, Boston College S Marcus Maye, Florida
S Obi Melifonwu, UConn K Jake Elliott, Memphis K Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State
P Toby Baker, Arkansas

www.seniorbowl.com

          

5. The Senior Bowl is the premier predraft all-star showcase, but the East-West Shrine Game is also important. As those rosters start to take shape, I'll update them here as well:

Shrine Game Accepted Invites
QB Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati QB Wes Lunt, Illinois QB Nate Peterman, Pitt
QB Cooper Rush, Central Michigan QB Zach Terrell, Western Michigan RB Elijah McGuire, La-Lafayette
RB Joe Williams Utah WR Rodney Adams, South Florida WR Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois
WR Jalen Robinette, Air Force WR Tony Stevens, Auburn WR Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska
WR DeAngelo Yancey, Purdue TE Blake Jarwin, Oklahoma St. TE Eric Saubert, Drake
T Antonio Garcia, Troy T Avery Gennesy, Texas A&M T Jonathan McLaughlin, Virginia Tech
T Victor Salako, Oklahoma State T Dan Skipper, Arkansas G Geoff Gray, Manitoba
G Danny Isidora, Miami (Fla.) G Zach Johnson, NDSU G Kyle Kalis, Michigan
C Lucas Crowley, North Carolina C Chase Roullier, Wyoming DE Trey Hendrickson, FAU
DE Jeremiah Ledbetter, Arkansas DE Deatrich Wise, Arkansas DL DeAngelo Brown, Louisville
DL Treyvon Hester, Toledo DL Josh Tupou, Colorado LB Jayon Brown, UCLA
LB Brooks Ellis, Arkansas LB Andrew King, Army LB Kenneth Olugbode, Colorado
LB Carroll Phillips, Illinois CB Treston Decoud, Oregon State CB Tyquwan Glass, Fresno State
CB Ashton Lampkin, Oklahoma State CB Fabian Moreau, UCLA CB Jalen Myrick, Minnesota
CB Jack Tocho, NC State S Randall Goforth, UCLA S Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma St.

www.shrinegame.com

   

4. The January 16 deadline for players to declare for the 2017 NFL draft seems far away, but players are already announcing their intentions. The following players have confirmed they'll enter the draft:

  • QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
  • RB D'Onta Foreman, Texas
  • RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
  • RB Wayne Gallman, Clemson
  • RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
  • WR Jerome Lane, Akron
  • WR Artavis Scott, Clemson
  • WR Damore'ea Stringfellow, Ole Miss
  • WR Mike Williams, Clemson
  • DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State
  • DL Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
  • DL Charles Walker, Oklahoma
  • EDGE Charles Harris, Missouri
  • LB Jermaine Grace, Miami (Fla.)

              

3. David Johnson is having an MVP-caliber year but probably won't get the love from voters since he's on a team likely to miss the playoffs. But the Arizona Cardinals running back is a fascinating story. From being a delivery boy in Clinton, Iowa, to starring at Northern Iowa after everyone else overlooked him, Johnson has overcome amazing odds to become one of the NFL's elite players.

The best read of this week comes from B/R's Lars Anderson as he uncovers Johnson's past and shares what makes him a great NFL running back (and elite fantasy player).

                     

2. There are many problems with the Los Angeles Rams, but the starting point may be what The MMQB's Albert Breer writes is a "toxic" relationship. 

As Breer wrote, Jeff Fisher didn't even know his general manager, Les Snead, had his contract extended recently. That seems like something a head coach should know.

Breer also covers events like "unfortunate things" taking place with high picks Stedman Bailey and Tre Mason—comments from Fisher that could be interpreted as a shot at the man drafting these players.

The Rams are struggling again, and Fisher will have his seventh straight season finishing .500 or worse. That will put pressure on anyone, no matter their contract status. When the story of the Fisher/Snead tenure is eventually told, it will be a tense one.

                 

1. Your Tweet of the Week, courtesy of Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian:

     

Matt Miller covers the NFL and NFL draft for Bleacher Report.

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