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

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 03:  Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers gets ready turnover pass against Virginia Tech during the ACC Championship game on December 3, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterDecember 9, 2016

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.

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 12:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 38-10.  (Photo by
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

BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies Justin Fuente and cornerback Brandon Facyson #31 react following the victory against the Virginia Cavaliers at Lane Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech de
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
PickTeamPlayer
1ClevelandDE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
2San FranciscoLB Reuben Foster, Alabama
3JacksonvilleDL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
4ChicagoQB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
5New York JetsRB Leonard Fournette, LSU
6Tennessee (f/LA)WR Mike Williams, Clemson
7CarolinaS Jamal Adams, LSU
8CincinnatiEDGE Tim Williams, Alabama
9Cleveland (f/PHI)QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
10New OrleansEDGE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
11San DiegoS Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
12ArizonaEDGE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
13TennesseeCB Quincy Wilson, Florida
14IndianapolisLB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
15BuffaloWR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
16Green BayRB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
17Philadelphia (f/MIN)WR John Ross, Washington
18WashingtonRB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
19MiamiTE O.J. Howard, Alabama
20PittsburghEDGE Ryan Anderson, Alabama
21Tampa BayDE Taco Charlton, Michigan
22DenverTE Jake Butt, Michigan
23New York GiantsDL Montravius Adams, Auburn
24Kansas CityCB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
25HoustonDL Malik McDowell, Michigan State
26AtlantaTE Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech
27BaltimoreCB Jalen Tabor, Florida
28DetroitDL Caleb Brantley, Florida
29SeattleCB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
30New EnglandEDGE Charles Harris, Missouri
31OaklandRB D'Onta Foreman, Texas
32DallasDE Dawuane Smoot, Illinois
33ClevelandCB Sidney Jones, Washington
34San FranciscoQB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
35JacksonvilleT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
36ChicagoS Justin Evans, Texas A&M
37New York JetsDE DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
38Los AngelesG Dan Feeney, Indiana
39CarolinaT Cam Robinson, Alabama
40CincinnatiLB Jarrad Davis, Florida
41PhiladelphiaCB Desmond King, Iowa
42New OrleansCB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
43San DiegoEDGE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
44ArizonaLB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
45Cleveland (f/TEN)EDGE Carl Lawson, Auburn
46IndianapolisCB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
47BuffaloS Marcus Allen, Penn State
48Green BayWR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
49MinnesotaS Budda Baker, Washington
50WashingtonG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
51MiamiCB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
52PittsburghS Marcus Williams, Utah
53Tampa BayDL Vita Vea, Washington
54DenverC Pat Elflein, Ohio State
55New York GiantsRB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
56Kansas CityDL Elijah Qualls, Washington
57HoustonEDGE DeVonte Fields, Louisville
58AtlantaS Marcus Maye, Florida
59BaltimoreRB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
60DetroitCB Corn Elder, Miami (Fla.)
61SeattleDL Chris Wormley, Michigan
62New EnglandWR Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
63OaklandLB Anthony Walker, Northwestern
64DallasWR 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, IowaQB Chad Kelly, Ole MissQB Antonio Pipkin, Tiffin
QB Seth Russell, BaylorQB Davis Webb, CaliforniaRB Matt Dayes, NC State
RB Kareem Hunt, ToledoRB Jamaal Williams, BYUFB Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech
FB Freddie Stevenson, FSUWR Travin Dural, LSUWR Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse
WR Isaiah Jones, Virginia TechWR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Wash.WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
WR Fred Ross, Miss. StateWR Jamari Staples, LouisvilleWR Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
WR Trent Taylor, La. TechWR Taywan Taylor, Western KentuckyWR Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
TE Evan Engram, Ole MissTE Gerald Everett, South AlabamaTE Cole Hikutini, Louisville
TE Jeremy Sprinkle, ArkansasT Adam Bisnowaty, PittT Julien Davenport, Bucknell
T Dion Dawkins, TempleT Conor McDermott, UCLAG Jessamen Dunker, Tennessee State
G Dan Feeney, IndianaG Danny Isidora, Miami (Fla.)G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
G Jordan Morgan, KutztownG Taylor Moton, Western MichiganG Nico Siragusa, SDSU
C Isaac Asiata, UtahC Kyle Fuller, BaylorC Jon Toth, Kentucky
DE Tarell Basham, OhioDE Keionta Davis, UT-ChattanoogaDE Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M
DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, VillanovaDT Montravius Adams, AuburnDT Jaleel Johnson, Iowa
DT Larry Ogunjobi, CharlotteDT Tanzel Smart, TulaneOLB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
OLB Takkarist McKinley, UCLAOLB Haason Reddick, TempleILB Duke Riley, LSU
CB Chidobe Awuzie, ColoradoCB Corn Elder, Miami (Fla.)CB Desmond King, Iowa
CB Brendan Langley, LamarCB Ezra Robinson, Tennessee St.S Justin Evans, Texas A&M
S Johnathan Ford, AuburnS Nate Gerry, NebraskaS Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville
S Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami (Fla.)S John Johnson, Boston CollegeS Marcus Maye, Florida
S Obi Melifonwu, UConnK Jake Elliott, MemphisK 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, CincinnatiQB Wes Lunt, IllinoisQB Nate Peterman, Pitt
QB Cooper Rush, Central MichiganQB Zach Terrell, Western MichiganRB Elijah McGuire, La-Lafayette
RB Joe Williams UtahWR Rodney Adams, South FloridaWR Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois
WR Jalen Robinette, Air ForceWR Tony Stevens, AuburnWR Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska
WR DeAngelo Yancey, PurdueTE Blake Jarwin, Oklahoma St.TE Eric Saubert, Drake
T Antonio Garcia, TroyT Avery Gennesy, Texas A&MT Jonathan McLaughlin, Virginia Tech
T Victor Salako, Oklahoma StateT Dan Skipper, ArkansasG Geoff Gray, Manitoba
G Danny Isidora, Miami (Fla.)G Zach Johnson, NDSUG Kyle Kalis, Michigan
C Lucas Crowley, North CarolinaC Chase Roullier, WyomingDE Trey Hendrickson, FAU
DE Jeremiah Ledbetter, ArkansasDE Deatrich Wise, ArkansasDL DeAngelo Brown, Louisville
DL Treyvon Hester, ToledoDL Josh Tupou, ColoradoLB Jayon Brown, UCLA
LB Brooks Ellis, ArkansasLB Andrew King, ArmyLB Kenneth Olugbode, Colorado
LB Carroll Phillips, IllinoisCB Treston Decoud, Oregon StateCB Tyquwan Glass, Fresno State
CB Ashton Lampkin, Oklahoma StateCB Fabian Moreau, UCLACB Jalen Myrick, Minnesota
CB Jack Tocho, NC StateS Randall Goforth, UCLAS 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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