NFL Draft 2018: Day 3 Grades for Every Pick
It's easy to imagine building a Team of the Future out of Day 3 talent from the 2018 NFL draft.
Quarterbacks of the Future: Perhaps Richmond's Kyle Lauletta or Western Kentucky's Mike White is destined to be the next Jimmy Garoppolo.
Playmakers of the Future: Arizona State's Kalen Ballage could be an overlooked Kareem Hunt, Penn State's DaeSean Hamilton a tough-and-reliable Jermaine Kearse, Florida's Antonio Callaway a Josh Gordon, North Carolina State's Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels all-new all-purpose weapons for the next generation of offenses.
Defenders of the Future: Michigan's Maurice Hurst, Central Florida's Shaquem Griffin, Tulane's Parry Nickerson and many others could become superstars for teams willing to think a little outside the box.
These are players who can reshape rosters and change the course of franchises. And Bleacher Report has you covered with pick-by-pick grades and analysis of every player selected in Rounds 4 through 7.
Round 4 Pick-by-Pick Grades
101. Carolina Panthers: Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
Strengths: Size, hands. Weaknesses: Experience as a receiver.
Ian Thomas’ parents died from illnesses when he was young. He was raised by older siblings in Baltimore, worked his way up the JUCO ranks and emerged as a starter for the Hoosiers last season, catching 25 passes for 376 yards and five touchdowns. Thomas is a well-built athlete who blocks well, but his best NFL attributes are his soft hands and ability to both snatch balls from the air in traffic and make difficult over-the-shoulder catches. Thomas looks a little like Keith Jackson, the 1980s-’90s tight end who caught few passes at Oklahoma but became a star for the Eagles, Dolphins and Packers. That’s a really optimistic high-upside projection for a raw prospect, but Thomas has an intriguing skillset. A strong pick as insurance and an eventual replacement for soon-to-be broadcaster Greg Olsen, and a useful role player in the meantime. Grade: A.
102. Minnesota Vikings: Jalyn Holmes, Edge-Rusher, Ohio State
Strengths: Athleticism. Weaknesses: Production.
Jalyn Holmes recorded just five career sacks for the Buckeyes. It’s hard to sack the quarterback when Nick Bosa, Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, Joey Bosa and Darron Lee (early in Holmes’ career) already have dibs. Then again, a player with Holmes’ size, arms and athletic potential should have bellied himself up to the trough a little more often in the last two years. Always be suspicious of these “grab the backup from the big program” picks, because two sacks a year in the Big Ten never translated to 10 per year in the NFL. Grade: C.
103. Houston Texans: Keke Coutee, Wide Receiver, Texas Tech
Strengths: Speed, production. Weaknesses: One of those Big 12 speed guys.
Coutee’s first name is Key’vantanie, which we cut and pasted from his college bio and will never, ever type. His last name is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable, like you are saying “QT” as an acronym for “quality time.” (We used to talk like that in the ’90s.) Television announcers often say “Cutie,” which sounds adorable, or sometimes “Cootie,” like what we used to say girls had on the playground (and now deeply regret).
Anyway, Big 12 speed merchants will break your heart, because it’s a glorified playground conference and Coutee never met a press defender in his life. He’s a productive slot-and-motion, swings-and-screens guy, has run some Wildcat stuff and can run away from the defense when it forgets to cover anyone, which is often. The speed, YAC ability and toughness suggest slot stardom at the NFL level, but many of Coutee’s predecessors wilted when they couldn’t just frolic in the Texas/Oklahoma pastures. Not a bad pick for a team seeking depth and big-play capability underneath; not a go-to receiver. Grade: B.
104. Indianapolis Colts: Nyheim Hines, Running Back, North Carolina State
This is the best running back class in years! To help keep things straight and minimize the jargon, Bleacher Report proudly presents another installment of our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs!
Athleticism: Excellent. Nyheim Hines was the fastest running back at the combine, with a 4.38-second 40.
Every-down rushing: Fair. Hines is decisive between the tackles and won’t shy away from contact. But he’s not really designed to be a workhorse.
Open-field rushing: Exceptional. Hines is a threat to score with every touch. He obviously has the speed to run away from defenses, but he’s also got a wicked spin move and a jump cut.
Receiving value: Excellent. Hines started his college career as a slot receiver and often operated out of the slot in 2017. He can run the full route tree.
Pass protection: Fair. It’s not something you want him to do much, but he’ll get in his defender’s way.
Contrary opinion from a “source” having an anxiety attack: Hines is a track guy. And you know what us Real Football Guys think of track guys, right? (Source then begins twirling like a ballerina, gets sent to mandatory sensitivity training.)
Bottom Line: Hines, profiled by Bleacher Report earlier in the week, is definitely not a track guy. He’s more of a bootleg version Christian McCaffrey who can provide 50 catches, a few hundred rushing yards and a few long touchdowns at the price of a fourth-round pick. Grade: A.
105. Cleveland Browns: Antonio Callaway, Wide Receiver, Florida
Strengths: Quickness, route skills, return skills. Weaknesses: Reefer madness, other character issues.
The NFL is not as backward or parochial about marijuana use as we sometimes pretend it is for punchline purposes. Most NFL decision-makers know that some players smoke weed for pain control, some to make Saturday night Black Mirror binges a little more mind-blowing, and a few have turned it into a wake-and-bake lifestyle that is almost certain to impair their conditioning and preparation. It’s that third category that coaches and execs worry about, and there is ample evidence Antonio Callaway falls there, especially after he tested positive at the combine. Callaway possesses first-round talent on the field, but if his habits don’t change, he will be the guy who gets out-hustled by undrafted rookies in training camp.
Pairing Callaway with Josh Gordon has obvious implications. Let’s take the high road and assume one will be a positive influence upon the other. But let’s acknowledge the risk factor in the grade. Grade: C.
106. Denver Broncos: Josey Jewell, Linebacker, Iowa
Strengths: Experience, awareness. Weaknesses: Size, block-shedding.
Josey Jewell was a three-year starter for the Hawkeyes and is one of the most decorated defenders in this year’s class. In 2017 alone, he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, earned the Ronnie Lott Impact Trophy and was a consensus All-American. He’s one of the most famous college defenders in the nation, but a name that sounds like a riverboat gambler from a Western movie helps.
Jewell’s college accomplishments don’t translate well to the NFL because he’s a “Will”/“Mike” linebacker tweener. He plays well in space, though he doesn’t have the high-end lateral quickness to cover Alvin Kamara types or top tight ends out of the backfield. He can succeed as an undersized middle linebacker if the linemen in front of him keep blockers away, but Jewell can get engulfed if a guard gets his pads into him.
Jewell doesn’t project as a Pro Bowler, but he’s a great value here as a rotation linebacker and priority special teamer. He’ll find a way to be productive when he gets on the field as long as the Broncos don’t expect him to be Luke Kuechly. Inside linebacker depth is an issue for the Broncos. They still have bigger needs on offense, but Jewell does fit their defensive personality. Grade: C-plus.
107. New York Jets: Chris Herndon, Tight End, Miami
Strengths: Athleticism, blocking effort. Weaknesses: Production.
Chris Herndon was stuck behind David Njoku until last season, then he suffered an MCL injury late in the year that erased his opportunities at the Senior Bowl and the combine. Herndon was at full speed for Miami’s pro day, and he has a great skill set for a No. 2 tight end. Herndon is a feisty blocker who can be used as a pass protector or backside blocker from the H-back position. He’s a fine athlete who can make some moves after the catch, though his route-running is nothing special. Herndon has some upside, but in the short term, he should stick as a dirty-work blocker behind Jordan Leggett and Clive Walford off the bench. A safe pick at a need position. Grade: B.
108. New York Giants: Kyle Lauletta, Quarterback, Richmond
Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Jimmy G (Don’t do it! It will set expectations too high!)...Brandon Doughty (Too low! Too low!)...um, Case Keenum? (Sigh, fine.)
I profiled Kyle Lauletta in early April. He’s an exceptionally bright individual who actually majored in “Leadership” in college—don’t snicker, you communications majors; it sounds like a really cool, challenging program—and earned Senior Bowl MVP status after an impressive week. He’s a great decision-maker and short passer, but deep outs and long throws tend to die on him.
The Jimmy Garoppolo comparison is almost too good to pass up for an FCS technician and Senior Bowl star who also has Belichick Bait attributes (Bill Belichick’s dad coached Lauletta’s uncle at Navy), but Garoppolo had a quicker release and sharper arm, while Lauletta is more physically and mentally NFL-ready than the 49ers savior was leaving college. Lauletta’s upside may be limited by his arm strength, but he’s the kind of player who causes quarterback controversies if pressed into service as a rookie. He’s a heck of a compromise solution as a quarterback-of-the-future prospect in the fourth round: If Lauletta is starting in five years, Dave Gettleman may be hailed as a genius. And Lauletta could well be starting in five years. Grade: A-plus.
109. Washington Redskins: Troy Apke, Safety, Penn State
Strengths: Speed, fundamentals. Weaknesses: Lateral quickness and agility, upside.
Troy Apke is the white guy who ran a 4.35-second 40 and left Deion Sanders flabbergasted. And “Prime Time” was the only person on Earth surprised by Apke’s blazing sprint. The rest of us are highly evolved citizens of a post-racial utopia who show no surprise or amusement whatsoever at such things. So let us all cluck our tongues at Sanders one last time and congratulate ourselves for transcending old preconceptions and stereotypes. Tsk-tsk. With that, we conclude this capsule by saying Apke is a straight-line athlete. Wait...is that a cultural stereotype too? Stop, don’t label this draft capsule as “problematic,” please. Noooooooooo! Grade: C-plus.
110. Oakland Raiders: Nick Nelson, Cornerback, Wisconsin
Strengths: Size, some quickness, return skills. Weaknesses: Ball skills, penalty issues.
Nick Nelson started his college career at Hawaii but transferred to Wisconsin. If I had a scholarship at Hawaii, no force on earth could get me to leave. Well, except maybe a volcano. Anyway, Nelson commits too many penalties and, despite return experience, rarely intercepts a pass. A case of the grabbies can be cured, but it’s hard to project Nelson as much more than a nickel or dime player. Another high-risk selection for Retro Riverboat Gruden, though at least this one is at a position of need. Grade: C-plus.
111. Los Angeles Rams: Brian Allen, Center, Michigan State
Strengths: Awareness, experience. Weaknesses: Size.
Brian Allen is a short, stout center with three years of starting experience for the Spartans. He has adequate quickness and can out-leverage his defenders. Top defensive tackles will put Allen between two slices of bread and munch on him if he tries to block them one-on-one. Positioning-and-technique centers like Allen often stick in the NFL for years because coaches trust them as spot starters, but Allen has limited upside. The Rams are adding depth along an aging offensive line, which is fine. Nothing will matter if the Suicide Squad they assembled on defense makes the team erupt in a giant Michael Bay-movie mushroom cloud. Grade: C.
112. Cincinnati Bengals: Mark Walton, Running Back, Miami
This is the best running back class in years! To help keep things straight and minimize the jargon, Bleacher Report proudly presents another installment of our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs!
Athleticism: Fair. Mark Walton ran a 4.6-second combine 40 at 188 pounds—not a great size-speed combination. He looks faster in pads.
Every-down rushing: Fair. Walton does too much dancing between the tackles and lacks the size for a heavy workload.
Open-field rushing: Excellent. Walton runs like a gazelle and knows when to use the highlight stick.
Receiving potential: Excellent. Walton is an experienced receiver.
Pass protection: Very good. Walton picks up assignments quickly, but he sometimes gets rocked backward into his quarterback.
Contrary opinion from a “source” having an anxiety attack: A 188-pounder coming off an ankle injury who doesn’t run well between the tackles: Maybe we should just design plays for him to scamper out of bounds for a two-yard loss.
Bottom Line: Walton has the tools to be a solid third-down option. He does a lot of the things Giovani Bernard does, which makes this pick interesting, because Bernard has not been nearly as productive over the last two years as he was at the start of his career. Grade: B.
113. Denver Broncos: DaeSean Hamilton, Wide Receiver, Penn State
Strengths: Routes, character, upside. Weaknesses: Hands, quickness.
DaeSean Hamilton caught 82 passes as a true freshman and then regressed when Christian Hackenberg left, Saquon Barkley became the focal point of the Nittany Lions offense and Hamilton himself began pressing and dropping passes. He rebounded with a strong 2017 and a great predraft season, with good performances at Shrine Game week and an excellent pro day. Hamilton is a precise route-runner with some YAC capability, a team captain from a military family who will be an A-plus in the locker room and an experienced slot receiver who knows how to work the middle. Older fans may remember Penn State’s Bobby Engram’s development into a productive possession receiver who played in the NFL forever. Hamilton, Penn State’s all-time leading receiver, has similar traits. I like the Courtland Sutton-Hamilton one-two punch at receiver in this draft class: a gamble-on-greatness player and a steadier option. They could be the Broncos’ starters in 2019. Grade: A.
114. Detroit Lions: Da’Shawn Hand, Defensive Lineman, Alabama
Strengths: Size, wingspan. Weaknesses: Versatility, some character issues.
Da’Shawn Hand was arrested for DUI in July 2017 when police reportedly found him asleep at the wheel of a parked (but running) car. While the arrest may have hurt his draft stock a little, Hand’s bigger on-field issues are that he’s strictly a two-gap defender and has limited experience and production. The “experience” problem is typical for Alabama defenders, who always get stuck behind other NFL-caliber defenders early in their college careers, but the huge, gifted Hand should have worked his way into the rotation more assertively before his final season.
Hand lacks penetrating quickness and (ironically) refined hand technique, limiting his effectiveness as an edge-rusher. He’s a useful player, but the Lions need edge-rushing talent desperately, and that is not Hand’s strong suit. Grade: C.
115. Chicago Bears: Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Linebacker, Western Kentucky
Strengths: Coverage potential, quickness. Weaknesses: Size, run defense.
Iyiegbuniwe (Pronounced: JOEL-from-WEST-ern-ken-TUCK-ee) recorded 116 tackles for the Hilltoppers last season and performed well at the combine. He runs well and can play in space, making him an athletic-upside pick who can be useful in pass coverage. The Bears already drafted a perennial Pro Bowler at linebacker in Roquan Smith. Taking a late-rising project behind him is just gilding the lily. Grade: C.
116. Dallas Cowboys: Dorance Armstrong, Edge-Rusher, Kansas
Strengths: Quickness, run support value. Weaknesses: Variety of moves, consistency.
Dorance Armstrong recorded 10 sacks in 2016 despite playing through a knee injury. His production dropped to just two sacks last year. Opponents adjusted, but Armstrong didn’t. He has decent initial quickness and an adequate burst, plus a spin move, but he relies too much on his bull rush. Armstrong is active in run defense and has demonstrated some awareness as a defender in space, so he can stay on the field for three downs as an outside linebacker. He has potential as a package player and developmental prospect. The Cowboys remain in extreme “Everything is Fine” mode at tight end, even though everything is not fine. Grade: C.
117. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jordan Whitehead, Safety, Pitt
Strengths: Athleticism. Weaknesses: Awareness, technique, character questions.
Jordan Whitehead is an explosive, big-hitting, fly-around defender with a checkered career. He missed the end of the 2016 season with a broken arm and was suspended for three games at the start of the 2017 season for a violation of team policy. He’s more of a hitter than a tackler who plays recklessly and will overrun the ball. Whitehead is a gamble-on-athleticism type, but he is undersized and may not be special enough as an athlete to be worth much of a gamble. This is an odd pick for a team that upgraded it’s secondary earlier in the draft. Grade: C-minus.
118. Baltimore Ravens: Anthony Averett, Cornerback, Alabama
Strengths: Athleticism. Weaknesses: Size, instincts.
Anthony Averett is the nephew of former Vikings/Ravens left tackle and fellow South Jersey native Bryant McKinnie. Averett was a high school track star as a sprinter and long jumper, and the athleticism is evident on tape. Not much else is evident on tape, however, because the rest of the Tide defense made life easy for the cornerbacks: Averett only had to stick with his receiver for a few strides to win on most snaps, and he could count on some of the best safety support in the nation. This draft is teeming with speedy, undersized cornerbacks. I have a friend whose shtick is to approach every bartender like it’s his first time in a bar and say, “I’d like to try a beer.” Ozzie Newsome still reaches draft weekend and says, “I’d like to sample one of your Alabama defenders, please.” Grade: B-minus.
119. Los Angeles Chargers: Kyzir White, Safety/Linebacker, West Virginia
Strengths: Instincts, awareness. Weaknesses: Hands, scheme fit.
Kyzir White is a high-effort, high-character defender who played the Spur position for the Mountaineers. The Spur is basically a nickel linebacker or box safety, so you know what that means: White is a tweener, a hybrid, a specialized matchup defender, someone who doesn’t fit our outdated 3-4/4-3 positional nomenclature, even though he fits just fine on the modern football field where defenses are in nickel or dime personnel groups about 70 percent of the time. White throws his body around in run defense and can use his long arms and quickness to stick with tight ends in pass coverage. He reads plays well, making it hard for opponents to get him in a run-pass bind. White’s upside is limited, but he can develop into a useful nickel package defender. The Chargers cannot go wrong as long as they keep taking middle-of-the-field defenders who can actually tackle. Grade: B-plus.
120. Seattle Seahawks: Will Dissly, Tight End, Washington
Strengths: Size, effort, potential as a blocker. Weaknesses: Refinement as a receiver and blocker.
There are three kinds of tight end prospects in the world: converted wide receivers, converted basketball forwards and converted defensive linemen. Will Dissly is a converted defensive lineman, and it shows: He’s a thudding blocker who can catch a shallow cross if the ball hits him squarely in the hands or numbers. Dissly projects as a special teams tough guy and the tight end who leeches two one-yard touchdown catches per year from your fantasy running back. You probably already thought of the “move to left tackle” gag, because that’s what the Seahawks do, so I will not belabor it. I will just hope it remains a gag. Grade: D-plus.
121. Buffalo Bills: Taron Johnson, Weber State
Strengths: Quickness, coverage skills. Weaknesses: Level of competition.
Johnson was a quick, productive defender in the Big Sky Conference. He’s big and fast enough for a slot role. Johnson breaks to the ball quickly, reads routes well and throws his body around: all traits that will help him ramp up from FCS competition. Johnson is a better bet to play an immediate role than many of the big-program slot-corner types who have already been drafted. Love the player; question the level of extreme denial the Bills are in about the overall state of their offense. Grade: C-plus.
122. Baltimore Ravens: Kenny Young, Linebacker, UCLA
Strengths: Quickness, experience. Weaknesses: Size.
Young was a four-year regular contributor on the Bruins defense. He’s a standard-issue in-space linebacker with good instincts and adequate quickness. A bit of a reach with so much talent on the board at other positions, but the Ravens do have a track record of success with this kind of defender. Grade: C-plus.
123. Miami Dolphins: Durham Smythe, Tight End, Notre Dame
Strengths: Blocking. Weaknesses: Receiving.
Durham Smythe’s your basic blocking tight end, the kind scouts and coaches make a big deal about then use on about 20 snaps per game (plus special teams) because all the old-school talk in the world can’t change the fact that teams throw the ball 50 times per game. Smith and Mike Gesicki turn a weak Dolphins tight end corps into a potential strength, proving it is possible and not difficult to do so—no matter what the Cowboys think. Grade: B-minus.
124. Kansas City Chiefs: Armani Watts, Safety, Texas A&M
Strengths: Big-play capability, experience. Weaknesses: Size, tackling.
Armani Watts, a four-year starter for the Aggies, lives and dies by the big play. He has 10 career interceptions, gambles to break up pass plays and will arrive at the end of a long run to strip the ball (like he did to Alvin Kamara in 2016). He’ll also guess wrong too often in coverage, and he hits the dive stick far too often when tackling. Ball-carriers also bounce off Watts far too often. Poor tackling and size issues may keep Watts off the field. But if he finds a way to bring down ball-carriers more consistently, he has the instincts, effort and ball skills to be a quality free safety. The Chiefs have emphasized upgrading their talent at all three defensive levels in this draft. They are taking some risks, but Watts’ upside makes him a strong selection. Grade: B-plus.
125. Philadelphia Eagles: Avonte Maddox, Cornerback, Pitt
Strengths: Quickness, character/effort. Weaknesses: Size, technique.
Another big-hearted little slot cornerback. Avonte Maddox is a big hitter for his size and has a rep as a locker room leader. He breaks up a lot of passes but can be beat by quickness more easily than a 5’9” cornerback should be. Players like Maddox are everywhere in this draft; heart and hustle will help him a lot when he reaches camp. Grade: C-plus.
126. Atlanta Falcons: Ito Smith, Running Back, Southern Miss
Strengths: Vision, receiving skills. Weaknesses: Size-speed package.
Ito Smith is a productive, no-nonsense runner who can find cutback lanes, squirt through holes and get low to finish his runs. He lacks ideal measurables, but Smith has good hands and a determined running style, two attributes that often lead to a role as the No. 3 running back. There are many, many better backs on the board. Grade: D-plus.
127. New Orleans Saints: Rick Leonard, Offensive Tackle, Florida State
Strengths: Traits. Weaknesses: Tape.
Leonard is a converted defensive end who started at right tackle for the Seminoles in part of 2016 and all of 2017. He passes the eyeball test when leaving the locker room but is technically raw and doesn’t play with great leverage. The Saints really Seahawks’d this one. Grade: D.
128. San Francisco 49ers: Kentavius Street, Defensive End, North Carolina State
Strengths: Size, hustle/effort, initial quickness. Weaknesses: ACL injury in April.
Kentavius Street tore his ACL while working out for the Giants. He projected as a middle-rounds pick before the injury. He’s a complementary pass-rusher (Bradley Chubb got most of the attention for the Wolfpack, and the interior line was excellent) with the size and quickness to play a similar role in the NFL. We’ll have to wait until 2019 to see him in action. It’s great to see Street drafted, but this is a fourth-round reach, and the 49ers have a history of getting themselves into trouble by investing too heavily in injured prospects. Grade: C-minus.
129. Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Richardson, Offensive Tackle, North Carolina State
This year’s tackle class is...unspectacular. To help you get a sense of what you are in for, Bleacher Report proudly presents a Good, Bad and Terrifying breakdown of Will Richardson.
Good: Richardson meets or exceeds minimum requirements for size, athleticism and technique. He’s aware and active on the second level and when recognizing blitzes and stunts.
Bad: Richardson’s scouting report is full of B’s and C-pluses but no A’s.
Terrifying: Richardson has some marijuana-related arrests and suspensions in his background. He says that is all in his past, but I saw this video in health class one time about how the reefer turns regular kids into psychotic hippie beatniks. NFL coaches still watch that video every offseason.
Bottom Line: Richardson is a solid value at this point in the draft who could grow into an adequate left tackle or a fairly effective right tackle. Grade: A-minus.
130. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Sweat, Edge-Rusher, Florida State
Strengths: Athleticism, potential. Weaknesses: College production.
Josh Sweat tested like a superhero at the combine but produced just 14.5 sacks in his college career. The sack total isn’t that much of a concern on its own, but tape shows a defender who gets wired to blocks too often and lacks a Plan B to disengage. Sweat isn’t a liability in run defense but doesn’t protect himself from cut blocks well and gets stuck in traffic in pursuit.
Even the analytics are all over the place. SackSEER at Football Outsiders projects Sweat as a sleeper because of his workouts and some hidden indicators, like his passes defensed rates. Optimum Scouting’s breakdowns found Sweat lost far too often against one-on-one blocks.
This is a weak class for edge-rushers, and Sweat held his own against top competitions and can run. The Eagles have a pipeline of pass rushers and can groom Sweat and use him situationally. This is the kind of high-upside selection a Super Bowl team can make with minimal risk. Grade: A-minus.
131. Miami Dolphins: Kalen Ballage, Running Back, Arizona State
This is the best running back class in years! To help keep things straight and minimize the jargon, Bleacher Report proudly presents another installment of our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs!
Athleticism: Exceptional. Kalen Ballage ran a 4.46-second 40 at 227 pounds at the combine, with great shuttles and drills.
Every-down rushing: Poor. Ballage was a 10-15-carry back for the Sun Devils. His vision on interior runs is suspect, and he tap-dances far too much for a big back.
Open-field rushing: Very good. Ballage can make the first defender miss and has breakaway speed.
Receiving potential: Excellent. Ballage has played in the slot and has soft hands. He caught 44 passes in 2016.
Pass protection: Fair. Pickup quickness is a concern.
Contrary opinion from a “source” having an anxiety attack: Ooh, a combine workout warrior who wasn’t even his college team’s leading rusher. No way that blows up in our face.
Bottom Line: Ballage impressed at the Senior Bowl before tearing up the combine. There’s a little Kareem Hunt in him and a little Alvin Kamara in him. There’s also bust potential, but Ballage’s receiving chops and return capability make him a better bet to contribute right away than some of the highly touted 1,000-yarders in this class. Not a bad complement to Frank Gore, and a good low-risk selection at this point in the draft. Grade: A-minus.
132. Baltimore Ravens: Jaleel Scott, Wide Receiver, New Mexico State
Strengths: Height. Weaknesses: Quickness.
Typical tall receiver with some 50-50 ball highlights on his sizzle reel but little quickness or separation ability. Jump-ball ability can get you drafted. Jaleel Scott is pretty ordinary at everything else. The Ravens have never had the best taste in rookie wide receivers. Grade: C-minus.
133. Green Bay Packers: J’Mon Moore, Wide Receiver, Missouri
Strengths: Size. Weaknesses: Hands, routes.
J’Mon Moore is one of those tall, well-constructed receivers who posts big games against the likes of Idaho, Delaware State and Missouri State by just winning the matchup battles. Better cornerbacks can stymie him, though Moore will still win some jump balls and can muscle through an arm tackle. Moore’s whole game consists of 50-50 balls and quick hitches/comebacks when given a soft cushion. His other routes are rudimentary, and his release and separation are nothing special. Moore also had a rough Senior Bowl week. You have to really love Moore’s frame to see more than a depth receiver and talented tease. But he has higher upside than Jaleel Scott, a similar player selected by the Ravens with the previous pick, and he’s an adequate-value player at this point. Grade: C-plus.
134. Arizona Cardinals: Chase Edmonds, Running Back, Fordham
Strengths: Quickness, production. Weaknesses: Level-of-competition and injury concerns.
Chase Edmonds had a chance to break the FCS rushing record after a trio of 1,600-plus-yard seasons before he missed much of 2017 with leg injuries. He has a powerfully built lower body for a smaller back, runs hard and has some open-field niftiness. Between the overuse fears, level-of-competition concerns and workout results that didn’t dazzle, there are a lot of yellow flags surrounding Edmonds. Depth behind David Johnson is thin, so Edmonds deserves a look. But again: There are other running backs available who offer more and bring fewer little worries. Grade: C.
135. Los Angeles Rams: John Franklin-Myers, Defensive End, Stephen F. Austin
Strengths: Upside. Weaknesses: Weight and level-of-competition issues.
John Franklin-Myers performed well at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, then worked out well at 283 pounds at the combine. He played heavier in college, as he could easily outmuscle lower-level blockers, but he lacked the quickness needed to be effective in the NFL. If he gets significant playing time on the Rams line this year, something really, really weird happened. Grade: C.
136. Carolina Panthers: Marquis Haynes, Edge-Rusher, Ole Miss
Strengths: Quickness off the edge. Weaknesses: Run support.
Marquis Haynes is a one-dimensional edge-rusher who tries to win on the first step and torque to the quarterback. He’s effective and productive at what he does. He’ll never be a thumping run defender, but he can be an excellent role player if he develops some countermoves. Not a bad value at this point in a weak edge-rush class, and a need pick who can rotate with and learn from Old Man Logan (i.e., Julius Peppers). Grade: B-plus.
137. Dallas Cowboys: Dalton Schultz, Tight End, Stanford
Strengths: Blocking, underneath receiving. Weaknesses: Speed, production.
Back in my teaching days, there was a beloved, respected old science teacher who secretly loathed the administration after decades of mismanagement. One year, after turning down early-retirement packages and appearing to eagerly prep for his next course load, he suddenly retired—on Labor Day weekend, when finding replacement science teachers is basically impossible. It was an obvious middle finger to his bosses, who couldn’t say or do a thing about it except scramble, because he was a pillar of the community.
That story popped into my head Friday when Jason Witten reportedly retired suddenly for an announcing job after accepting a restructured contract during free agency and watching the Cowboys draft a linebacker (instead of, say, his replacement) in the first round. The Cowboys then went into “We Know What We Are Doing” mode until this pick, even though it was quite obvious they had no contingency plan whatsoever for replacing a player they should have known needed to be replaced.
Anyway, cue Handel’s Messiah. Dalton Schultz is a solid run-blocker and pass protector with enough receiving chops to be a factor in the underneath game. He’s a Garrett Celek type who fits best as the No. 2 tight end. He’ll be pressed into service as a starter right away, but hey, at least the Cowboys finally drafted one. Grade: B.
Round 5 Pick-by-Pick Grades
138. Green Bay Packers: Cole Madison, Guard, Washington State
Strengths: Quickness, hands. Weaknesses: Leverage, spread-offense concerns.
Madison is an experienced starter at right tackle with the tools to succeed at guard. The usual fears about playing in an up-tempo offense (block sustaining, balance in a three-point stance) apply. A developmental pick, and a reach with safer interior line prospects on the board. Grade: C.
139. New York Giants: R.J. McIntosh, Defensive Tackle, Miami
Strengths: Agility, pass-blocking. Weaknesses: Suitability to any one position.
This draft class is just flooded with defensive tackles who aren’t pure nose guards, 3-techs, two-gappers or gamma gaffers (I made that last bit of jargon up) but who can flat-out play despite the lack of prototypical traits. R.J. McIntosh, a former high school basketball player, batted down seven passes in 2017; believe it or not, pass deflection is a skill that correlates well with pro success. He also has quick feet, some pass-rush moves, tenaciousness and an ability to locate the ball. He’s just a little small for a 3-tech, but he also lacks the quick get-off of an every-down end. McIntosh could emerge as a super sleeper if the Giants spot him carefully and use him in creative ways. Their new defense is designed to let them do just that. Grade: A.
140. Oakland Raiders: Maurice Hurst, Defensive Tackle, Michigan
Strengths: Initial quickness, effort. Weaknesses: Health concerns.
Hurst was diagnosed with a heart condition at the combine. He was cleared to participate in his pro day, and others have played in the NFL with similar conditions, but Hurst’s diagnosis clearly worries many teams. It’s not unusual for a first-round talent with significant medical questions to slide into Day 2. Hurst’s slide was far more precipitous and troubling.
On the field, Hurst possesses elite initial quickness off the line. There are sequences of game tape on which he looks like a future perennial All-Pro. There are plenty of quibbles with his game, including a tendency to get steered by blockers if he doesn’t win in the first 0.05 seconds after the snap. He probably needs to bulk up to succeed in the NFL, which only exacerbates the health concerns.
If Hurst is healthy enough to take the field, the Raiders got a steal here. Let’s hope for the best. Grade: Incomplete.
141. Seattle Seahawks: Shaquem Griffin, Linebacker, Central Florida
Strengths: Athleticism, instincts, character. Weaknesses: Size, block-shedding, ball skills.
You know all about Shaquem Griffin. You know about his missing left hand, his illustrious college career, the combine heroics. You’ve been inspired by him, surprised by him, delighted by him and frustrated by him if you root for an opponent. Griffin is the ultimate underdog player from the ultimate underdog program.
For draft grading purposes, Griffin’s unique condition (some of the awkwardly worded questions Griffin fielded with grace at the Senior Bowl and combine were cringeworthy) will make it hard for him to disengage from blockers and cleanly field interceptions. That’s why Griffin is a fifth-round pick, not a late first-rounder. There are lots of linebackers with two healthy hands who have the same limitations. Griffin has great awareness, he’s a missile in the open field, and his tackling technique is sound.
Griffin’s selection is a feel-good story in a draft season that was unusually awash in negativity. He is used to the human-interest angle and will handle the early media crush (including the whole Griffin Brothers angle) like a pro. He will then become a heckuva player for the Seahawks, a team that knows what to do with high-effort defenders. Grade: A.
142. San Francisco 49ers: D.J. Reed, Cornerback, Kansas State
Strengths: Quickness, ball skills. Weaknesses: Size.
One of the many undersized mighty-mite slot corners in this draft class, D.J. Reed brings value as a return man and a high-character reputation to the table. Reed is well-built and tackles well for his size, which should give him a leg up on some of the Donte Jackson types competing for a finite number of sixth and seventh defensive back slots. Boy, that fourth round was pretty meh, wasn’t it? But there have been some great selections at the start of the fifth. Grade: B-plus.
143. New England Patriots: Ja’Whaun Bentley, Linebacker, Purdue
Strengths: Size. Weaknesses: Speed.
Bentley looks the way linebackers used to look in the good ol’ days. He’s thick, with calves like thighs, and he thumps between the tackles. Put him in a 3-4 scheme and let him shoot gaps, and he will look like Levon Kirkland. Just don’t ask him to cover a running back. Any running back. Ever. Bentley is the kind of defender with whom Bill Belichick used to outsmart the universe but could be seen running five yards behind every Eagles ball-carrier in the Super Bowl. Grade: C-minus.
144. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Justin Watson, Wide Receiver, Penn
Strengths: Size-athleticism package, production. Weaknesses: Level of competition.
Justin Watson went bananas at his pro day: a 40 in the 4.4 range, a 40-inch vertical and other exceptional results for a 6’3”, 225-pounder. He climbed the Shrine Game/Senior Bowl ladder in January and flashed some moments in Mobile. Watson isn’t particularly quick and didn’t have to be a route technician to beat Ivy League coverage, but why quibble with this size-speed package in this round? The Bucs are deep at wide receiver and can afford to spin the wheel a little. Grade: B.
145. Chicago Bears: Bilal Nichols, Defensive Tackle, Delaware
Strengths: Size, effort. Weaknesses: Upside.
Nichols was the top defender in Delaware’s Colonial Athletic Conference, a fairly high level of FCS competition. As such, he drew constant double-teams, so Nichols’ game tape is full of his getting whomped by half the opposition’s offensive line. Nichols still found a way to be around the ball, and his combination of determination and ball-location skills should impress coaches. He projects as an interior backup. The Bears defense stuffed just 14 percent of opponents’ ball-carriers for no gain or a loss last season, according to Football Outsiders—the worst rate in the NFL. So they need interior line help. Grade: B-plus.
146. Seattle Seahawks: Tre Flowers, Safety, Oklahoma State
Strengths: Size-speed package, production. Weaknesses: Instincts, physicality.
Flowers was a four-year regular for the Cowboys, recording 209 solo tackles in his college career. He’s the nephew of former NFL defender Erik Flowers, and he ran a 4.45 40 at the combine at 6’3”. So what’s not to like? Well, Flowers takes terrible angles in the open field, appears to be at least a step slow in play recognition and zone coverage and doesn’t really throw his body around. It’s hard to argue against an experienced athlete with Flowers’ measurables on Day 3, but the Seahawks may have just selected a clean-up tackler. We didn’t nail the Seahawks for basically blocking out memories of their offensive line situation a few picks ago because we did not want to ruin the vibe. Now it’s time to nail them. Grade: D.
147. Los Angeles Rams: Micah Kiser, Linebacker, Virginia
Strengths: Instincts, technique, toughness. Weaknesses: Speed and burst.
Micah Kiser recorded more than 100 tackles per year for three straight seasons for the Cavaliers. He’s an excellent run defender between the tackles who sifts through traffic well and works hard to disengage from blockers. He has some pass-rush value because he times the snap well and will give a second effort to get to the quarterback.
Kiser has great eyes and can handle simple assignments in pass coverage. But he lacks the pure speed for man coverage and sideline-to-sideline pursuit as well as the sudden burst that turns hurries into sacks. He can contribute right away on special teams and as an adequate spot starter, but his upside is limited. Grade: C-plus.
148. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Allen, Safety, Penn State
Strengths: Character, run support, fundamentals. Weaknesses: Limited upside.
Marcus Allen is not related to Raiders legend Marcus Allen, though Curtis Martin is his godfather, which has to count for something. (Narrator: It does not count for anything.) Allen is a fundamentally sound, high-effort Cover 2 safety who projects as a capable NFL starter. He’s also a three-year team captain who keeps plays in front of him and will step up in run support. So he’s good. Just don’t hear the name and let your mind trick you into thinking he’s a future Hall of Famer. This should be a popular pick among Steelers fans. Grade: B-plus.
149. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Dickson, Punter, Texas
Strengths: Leg, athleticism, full club bag. Weaknesses: Consistency.
The 2017 Ray Guy Award winner, Michael Dickson starred in the Texas Bowl by pinning Mizzou inside the 10-yard line seven different times. Dickson is a former Australian rules football player with a huge leg and other tricks up his sleeve. He can kick away from return men or hit a flop shot like a tour golfer aiming for the front of the green. Dickson is a Darren Bennett type with the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowl punter, making him worthier of a draft pick than the typical specialist. But we have to stage an intervention now for the sake of Russell Wilson. Attention Seahawks: All grades will be F’s from now until you draft a freakin’ offensive lineman! Grade: F.
150. Cleveland Browns: Genard Avery, Linebacker, Memphis
Strengths: Size, run defense, blitz capability. Weaknesses: Lateral quickness.
Genard Avery is big and nasty, and he can pitch a tent in the opponent’s backfield. He disengages well from blocks, sifts and strafes effectively and does all the dirty work you can ask for from a run defender. He’s alert in zone coverage, but his first instinct when covering a Dion Lewis type is to try to eat him. It would be great to travel back in time with Avery and some of the other rugged linebackers in this class to 1976, when NFL teams ran 45 times a game, and turn them into another Steel Curtain. As it is, Avery will be a two-down linebacker who tries to stay on the field on third downs as a pass-rusher. Grade: B.
151. Cincinnati Bengals: Davontae Harris, Cornerback, Illinois State
Strengths: Size-speed package. Weaknesses: Lateral quickness.
Davontae Harris looks like Ronnie Lott 2.0 at times against lower-level competition. He’s a rangy run defender, can run with any receiver at his level and has the awareness to peel away from his receiver to make a play. Lateral stiffness is a problem for Harris, however, and quicker receivers could run circles around him. Harris tested well at the combine and brings enough of an athleticism-instincts combination to merit a long look. Grade: B-plus.
152. Tennessee Titans: Dane Cruikshank, Defensive Back, Arizona
Strengths: Speed, physicality. Weaknesses: Footwork/technique as a cornerback.
Cruikshank was a cornerback for Arizona but projects as a safety in the NFL. He’s fast and a willing hitter, but he has a rep for being too grabby in coverage and gets flagged often for pass interference. So maybe he will find redemption at his new position. Get it? Cruikshank Redemption? Like Shawshank Redemption? The movie about the prison? Bet I’m the only one who ever thought of that! Grade: C.
153. Detroit Lions: Tyrell Crosby, Tackle-Guard, Oregon
Crosby was expected to go earlier in the draft. So early, in fact, that we wrote one of those good-bad-ugly reports in case he was taken in the first three rounds.
Good: Tyrell Crosby is a thick, strong run-blocker with a spirited finish. He has enough quickness to be an adequate pass protector.
Bad: Crosby is built like a guard and lacks the traits and technique of an elite pass protector.
Terrifying: There’s nothing worse than drafting the left tackle who you know will probably have to move to guard then moving him to guard and realizing you would have just been better off drafting a true guard. It’s basically the Seahawks Paradox.
Bottom Line: Crosby should grow into a capable blocker at some position on the offensive line. That position is almost certainly not left tackle. But he is an excellent value in this spot. Grade: A.
154. Buffalo Bills: Siran Neal, Defensive Back, Jacksonville State
Strengths: Versatility. Weaknesses: Tweener characteristics.
Neal is a toolsy defensive back: long-armed and physical, with plus athleticism. He played both safety and cornerback, and he can cover mid-major slot receivers man-to-man or slip through gaps in run support. Those skills often translate in the NFL into a too-slow cornerback or too-small safety. Neal has a rep as a fiery competitor and throws his body around on tape. You know what that means, class: special teams. And it’s not like the Bills are trying to develop a rookie quarterback or have needs at receiver or on the offensive line or anything. Grade: D.
155. Los Angeles Chargers: Scott Quessenberry, Guard, UCLA
Strengths: Quickness, experience. Weaknesses: Power.
Scott Quessenberry’s brother David is the Texans lineman who returned to the field last year after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014. His brother Paul is a Naval Academy graduate who has had a few NFL tryouts. Scott himself was a three-year starter for the Bruins with fine quickness and balance who protected Josh Rosen on the field and defended him from anonymous predraft gossip mongering at the combine. “He's a great dude; I love hanging around him and being with him,” Quessenberry said of the embattled quarterback, and it didn’t have a creepy Manchurian Candidate vibe at all when he said it. Quessenberry seems like a great dude, too, and he has the versatility to play multiple positions and the character to stick on a roster. Grade: B-plus.
156. Denver Broncos: Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin
Strengths: Route-running, hands, competitiveness. Weaknesses: Blocking.
Troy Fumagalli gets knocked by many draft analysts for his athleticism, but he looked quick and smooth when running routes during Senior Bowl week. His footwork is good, and he can set up defenders well on routes. Fumagalli has a long, lean frame that will keep him from ever being a piledriving blocker, but he gives a good effort. He is also missing the index finger on his left hand because of a birth defect, but it doesn’t appear to limit his catching ability in any way. A good, safe little need pick. Grade: B.
157. Minnesota Vikings: Tyler Conklin, Tight End, Central Michigan
Strengths: Athletic upside, blocking effort. Weaknesses: Technique, injury concerns.
Tyler Conklin missed five games last season with a foot injury and appeared to be limited for most of the season, but he tested well in shuttles and jump drills (though with a mediocre 40 time) at the combine. Conklin is a high-effort blocker, particularly in the open field, and he’s a smart route-runner in the middle of the field with some post-up and big-play ability. He’s a developmental pick with enough value as a blocker to stick on the roster while he refines other elements of his game. An excellent pick at this stage in the draft. Conklin is a bit of a draft crush, and the Vikings will be graded thusly. Grade: A.
158. Cincinnati Bengals: Andrew Brown, Defensive Line, Virginia
Strengths: Hands, experience, effort/intangibles. Weaknesses: Size, athleticism.
Andrew Brown was a two-time All-ACC selection for the Cavaliers. He projects as an old-school 3-4 style end: limited athletically but tough and sturdy, with the hand-fighting skills to disengage from blockers and the character to stick on the roster and stay in a D-line rotation. There are no 10-sack seasons in Brown’s future, but he’ll find a role. Grade: B.
159. Indianapolis Colts: Daurice Fountain, Wide Receiver, Northern Iowa
Strengths: Athleticism, jump-ball skills. Weaknesses: Technique, consistency.
Daurice Fountain began rocketing up draft boards after his stellar performance at the Shrine Game. His pro day results were also impressive, and he’s a high-character individual who plays with a competitive streak. Northern Iowa changed offensive coordinators four times during Fountain’s career, and he had six different receiver coaches, so his performance rose and fell with the circumstances. Fountain would have been a sleeper 10 years ago; now, everyone who follows the draft already knows about him. The Colts are finding some valuable offensive role players and playmakers on Day 3. Grade: A.
160. Los Angeles Rams: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge-Rusher, Oklahoma
Strengths: Arsenal of pass-rush moves, pursuit. Weaknesses: Size-speed package.
Tape Measure Scouting Report of Okoronkwo: Yuck. He’s only 6’1”, lacks the length of a great edge-rusher, his speed numbers aren’t great, and he doesn’t have that quick first step we obsess over.
Tape Guy Scouting Report of Okoronkwo: Yum! He has an inside move to the quarterback, sets up blockers by varying speeds, counterattacks when he’s blocked, can disengage and will hustle and make plays in pursuit. He can even drop into coverage without getting lost.
While it’s an oversimplification, scouts often get carried away with the tape measure before a player reaches the practice field; coaches get juiced about the tape attributes during hot June minicamp afternoons when they realize they don’t have to do as much teaching. Okoronkwo can be a Trent Cole type who compensates for measurables with technique and hustle. Love this pick and cannot wait to see what Wade Phillips builds out of all the material he has been given. Grade: A.
161. Carolina Panthers: Jermaine Carter, Linebacker, Maryland
Strengths: Production, effort. Weaknesses: Size, quickness.
Carter is an undersized tackle machine: he recorded 320 of them in four seasons with the Terps. He projects as an insurance policy and possible replacement for Thomas Davis, but Carter lacks the quickness that made Davis a special player in his prime. Grade: C.
162. Baltimore Ravens: Jordan Lasley, Wide Receiver, UCLA
Strengths: Size-speed-quickness combination. Weaknesses: Hands, some character concerns.
Jordan Lasley dropped 22 passes in 2016-17, according to Sports Info Solutions. Couple the drops with some early-career arrests (alcohol-related stuff) and team suspensions, and there are a lot of yellow flags flying around.
Lasley was one of Josh Rosen’s favorite targets despite the drops. He’s capable of getting open deep and tracking over-the-shoulder catches, will generate yards after the catch and has the potential to be an exceptional route-runner. Lasley is a little like Shelton Gibson, the West Virginia big-play machine who got buried on the Eagles bench last year because he dropped everything but his car keys in training camp. With a year of JUGS machine work, Lasley could become a go-to receiver, but he must prove the concentration and reliability are there. This is how the Ravens operate at wide receiver. You just gotta go with it. And by this round, the upside is worth the risks. Grade: B-minus.
163. Washington: Tim Settle, Defensive Tackle, Virginia Tech
Strengths: Rare size-athleticism combo. Weaknesses: Conditioning, consistency.
Tim Settle is a natural 320-pounder with shocking short-area quickness. Most men his size are blocking sleds for double-teams, but Settle has a variety of pass-rush moves and can be as effective in the 3-tech as he is head-up on a center.
As you might guess by his size and draft position, Settle wears down and becomes much easier to manhandle if he plays too many snaps. He’s also inconsistent with his leverage and the effectiveness of his moves, which is often the case for bigger athletes who lack the conditioning for 70-snap roles on September afternoons.
Settle looks like a cross between Hollis Thomas, Nick Fairley (without the unnecessary roughness penalties) and Dominique Easley (bigger, without the injury history). He can become a real troublemaker in the middle of the line if he keeps his weight low and Washington keeps his snap count reasonable.
I love this pick for a team that needs a 30-snap space-eater over the center and all the depth it can muster to avoid the next injury plague. Grade: A.
164. New Orleans Saints: Natrell Jamerson, Safety, Wisconsin
Strengths: Speed, quickness, special teams capability. Weaknesses: Physicality, man coverage technique.
Natrell Jamerson is a good value pick at this point in the draft. He’s fast and reliable and has experience as both a return man and kick gunner. Jamerson is athletic enough to develop into a starter at free safety if his technique and tackling improve. Grade: B-plus.
165. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jaylen Samuels, Running Back, North Carolina State
Athleticism: Very good. Jaylen Samuels tested well as a running back at the combine, even though he tested with the tight ends.
Every-down rushing: Fair to good. Samuels didn’t run between the tackles much for the Wolfpack, but he looked like a quick, decisive downhill runner with power at the Senior Bowl.
Open-field rushing: Fair. Samuels is not that elusive but can accelerate into fourth gear.
Receiving value: Very good to excellent. Samuels is kinda-sorta a slot receiver.
Pass protection: Very good to excellent. Samuels is kinda-sorta also an H-back or tight end. It’s complicated.
Contrary opinion from a “source” having an anxiety attack: Versatility? Who needs versatility? My scouting handbook says to look for prototype runners like Franco Harris and Archie Griffin! Come to think of it, this thing hasn’t been updated in quite some time...
Bottom Line: Samuels is unique. The best comp for him may be Keith Byars, the 1980s Ohio State standout who was miscast as a workhorse back for the Eagles but became a 60-80-catch weapon as a fullback/H-back/sometime rusher. He’s less a potential replacement for Le’Veon Bell than a complement to Bell. The Steelers just acquired one more potential matchup headache. The rest of the AFC should be worried. Especially the Patriots. Grade: A.
166. Buffalo Bills: Wyatt Teller, Guard, Virginia Tech
Strengths: Upside. Weaknesses: Consistency.
The 2016 version of Wyatt Teller was quick off the line, exceptional at fold blocks and second-level blocks, alert in pass protection and a nasty finisher. The 2017 version of Teller was tentative when pulling and folding and did not play with much punch and strength. The Hokies changed coaches the year before Teller’s drop-off, so that doesn’t appear to be the issue. Teller, a high school superstar as a defensive lineman, tore up the combine, so he didn’t fall off a table athletically. The Bills either got a quiet steal or are taking a low-risk gamble on an enigmatic athlete. But the guy who just retired at guard for the Bills was pretty enigmatic in a different way. Grade: A-minus.
167. Minnesota Vikings: Daniel Carlson, Kicker, Auburn
Strengths: Short accuracy, big-game experience. Weaknesses: Too many blocked kicks.
Daniel Carlson is an experienced SEC kicker who is reliable inside 40 yards and will drill some kickoffs deep in the end zone. The biggest knock on his game is a low trajectory off his foot. He had three 50-plus-yard attempts blocked last year, and his low line drives into the end zone can be too easy to return. This is not the kicker solution you were seeking, Vikings, and you selected him too soon. Grade: D.
168. Seattle Seahawks: Jamarco Jones, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
A Good, Bad and Terrifying breakdown of Jamarco Jones.
Good: Jamarco Jones is an experienced starter at a power program and is effective in a lot of areas: second-level blocking, latching on to a defender and steering him wide and so forth.
Bad: Jones is not huge (6’4”, 299 lbs), particularly athletic or a master craftsman at the position.
Terrifying: Jones’ combine results would be remembered among the ugliest ever if Orlando Brown hadn’t tried to run the 40 with a meatball sub in his hands and fallen asleep during the bench press.
Bottom Line: Jones hustles, finds a way and got results at a top program. That could make him an adequate starter in the NFL, or he could be a guy who gets obliterated by a good edge-rusher when pressed into service and is never seen again.
The Seahawks just needed to be threatened with non-stop F’s to finally draft an offensive lineman. This is about as good as they were going to get after all that procrastination. Grade: B-minus.
169. Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Wilkins, Running Back, Ole Miss
Strengths: Quickness, moves. Weaknesses: Consistency, upright style.
Jordan Wilkins is fun to watch in the open field, where he strings together jump cuts, spins and hurdles to generate extra yards. Getting to the open field can sometimes be a chore for him, however. Wilkins is lean, runs upright and bounces too many plays to the outside. His upside is the DeMarco Murray who led the NFL in rushing behind a great Cowboys line; his downside is the DeMarco Murray we saw in Philly and in Tennessee last year. That upside and big-play potential make him worth a look. The competition for carries and roles among Wilkins, Nyheim Hines (who can play the slot) and Marlon Mack is going to be fun. Grade: B-plus.
170: Cincinnati Bengals: Darius Phillips, Cornerback, Western Michigan
Strengths: Man coverage, return skills. Weaknesses: Run support.
Darius Phillips is a lean, long-armed defender with a competitive ball-hawk mentality. He’s technically raw but turns quickly in man coverage. He plays the ball well in the air and breaks up more than his share of passes. Phillips gets pushed around too often by blockers but can play his part in run defense (see: his strip against Michigan State). Phillips’ athleticism and “I want to take the ball from you” personality are a tasty combination that could help him grow into a starter. Grade: B-plus.
171. Dallas Cowboys: Mike White, Quarterback, Western Kentucky
Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Cooper Rush with a better arm.
Mike White threw for 4,363 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2016, when Taywan Taylor was his go-to receiver, Anthony Wales his running back and Forrest Lamp his top protector. With those players gone in 2017, White’s production dipped (4,177 yards and 26 touchdowns in nearly 150 more pass attempts), and he endured 46 sacks. The sacks and reliance on his supporting cast are red flags, but he checks most of the other boxes: tall, sturdy, live-armed, handled himself well at the Senior Bowl, etc. White’s a standard-issue, mid-major, mid-level prospect. He could get hot and launch a starting career if given a clean pocket and good supporting cast. But then again, who couldn’t? White is a suitable backup for Dak Prescott: no real threat to his starter status (unless everything goes kablooie) but good enough to get the job done in spot starts and inexpensive. Grade: B.
172. Green Bay Packers: JK Scott, Punter, Alabama
Strengths: Experience, reliability, holding/kickoff experience. Weaknesses: A punter.
JK Scott may be best known for his 73-yard punt against Ohio State in the 2015 Sugar Bowl a few years ago. He's a 6’6” athlete with a great leg and experience holding for field goals and kicking off. He has a good shot to remain in the NFL for a long time. He’s still a punter, though. Grade: C.
173. Oakland Raiders: Johnny Townsend, Punter, Florida
Strengths: Experience, approach. Weaknesses: Hang time.
STOP. DRAFTING. PUNTERS.
Johnny Townsend punted for the Gators for four years (with a redshirt year in 2014), has a clean delivery and can reliably get the job done. There’s also a rap video about him; at one point, the rapper (who is, hopefully, freestyling) gives up and just chants “Gators! Gators! Gators!” for a whole line. These are the sorts of things you uncover when you research punters, folks. We’d really hammer Jon Gruden for this pick if two punters weren’t already off the board (it’s admittedly a good punter class) and if one of them wasn’t taken by a team that needs an entire offensive line. Grade: D-plus.
174. Green Bay Packers: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Wide Receiver, South Florida
Strengths: Size-speed package. Weaknesses: Hands.
Scantling is 6’4” and ran a 4.37-second 40. As you might expect of a guy with those numbers still hanging around at the end of the fifth round, there are a host of nagging issues, from quickness off the line to routes to hands. The Packers are collecting talent at wide receiver, and this isn’t a bad investment at this stage in the draft. Grade: B.
Round 6 Pick-by-Pick Grades
175. Cleveland Browns: Damion Ratley, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
Strengths: Athletic potential. Weaknesses: production.
Ratley caught just 30 passes last season and just 47 in his Aggies career. He’s got great athletic measurables, of course, but nothing says “Welcome to the Sixth Round” like that kind of stat line. Grade: Poor.
176. Los Angeles Rams: John Kelly, Running Back, Tennessee
Here’s yet another installment in our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs!
Athleticism: Fair. John Kelly meets NFL minimums for size, speed and quickness.
Every-down rushing: Fair. Kelly lacks initial quickness off the line, and there is nothing fancy about his interior running style. But he’ll find the holes that are available.
Open-field rushing: Very good. Kelly can be tracked down from behind, but he weaves through traffic well, stiff-arms defenders and will blast through arm tackles when he has a head of steam.
Receiving value: Very good. Kelly ceded passing-down touches to Alvin Kamara early in his career but came on strong with 37 receptions last year.
Pass protection: Very good. The best blitzers can steamroll Kelly, but he picks up assignments quickly and will whomp some defenders.
Contrary opinion from a “source” having an anxiety attack: Can we just build a time machine and go back to draft Kamara instead?
Bottom Line: Kelly draws Corey Clement comparisons. Like the Eagles’ secret weapon, he doesn’t fit the third-down back mold, but his pass-blocking chops and willingness to lower his shoulder for four yards on a 3rd-and-3 swing pass can make Kelly a valuable utility back. He’s a great change-up for Todd Gurley II and an excellent value in this spot. Grade: Excellent.
177. Houston Texans: Duke Ejiofor, Defensive End, Wake Forest
Strengths: Arms, rip moves. Weaknesses: Injuries, size/power.
Duke Ejiofor is a long, lean defender who knows how to use his arms to fend off blockers. He’s not a great leverage player, and he’s coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum. The Texans will have to either bulk Ejiofor up wisely or use him carefully so he doesn’t become one of those too-tall defenders who gets washed out by offensive tackles. Defenders with good hand and arm technique like Ejiofor’s are not common, however, which makes him an interesting sleeper prospect for a team whose pass rush was destroyed by multiple injuries last season. Grade: Excellent.
178. New England Patriots: Christian Sam, Linebacker, Arizona State
Strengths: Range, zone coverage. Weaknesses: Elite traits.
Christian Sam was a tackle machine for the Sun Devils. He makes a lot of plays in pursuit and handles his assignments well in underneath coverage. Sam is marketed as a speed linebacker, but he ran a 4.75 40 at the combine. He’s a “Just Another Guy” type at linebacker who won’t lose any games for the Patriots, but he won’t win any either. In Belichick We Trust, amiright? (Patriots fans nod nervously.) Grade: Fair.
179. New York Jets: Parry Nickerson, Cornerback, Tulane
Strengths: Speed, ball skills, experience. Weaknesses: Size.
Parry Nickerson intercepted 16 passes in four-plus seasons (he became a medical redshirt early in his freshman year) for the Green Wave. He burned a 4.32-second 40 at the combine, and that speed shows up on tape: Nickerson can turn and run with any receiver and can recover when beaten. He’s an aggressive, willing little tackler, though he has a frame that will make it hard for him to stay on the right side of 180 pounds. There is a lot to love about Nickerson, who has the potential to be a pick-six machine as a nickel matchup defender, but his size limits his upside. Grade: Excellent.
180. New York Jets: Foley Fatukasi, Defensive Tackle, UConn
Strengths: Athletic potential. Weaknesses: Fundamentals.
The UConn program is becoming a steady source of athletic wonders and workout marvels with inconclusive game tape. Fatukasi rocked the combine (318 pounds, 33 bench reps, good shuttle times, arms and hands like construction equipment) and flashes ability on film. He just lacks a pass-rush arsenal, consistent leverage and play-recognition skills, and he may need conditioning work. You know the deal here: Draft the talent and see what develops, because 318-pound men who can move are in limited supply. The Jets will have some strong camp competitions for this year’s defensive tackle rotation. Grade: Fair.
181. Chicago Bears: Kylie Fitts, Defensive End, Utah
Strengths: Effort and intensity. Weaknesses: Injuries.
Kylie Fitts has a history of foot injuries, which limited him throughout his college career. When healthy, he’s a high-motor type with enough athleticism to be part of a line rotation. The “history of foot injuries” part is what you need to worry about. The Bears have had a quality draft, but there are still solid, low-risk, moderate-upside players on the board here. Grade: Poor.
182. Arizona Cardinals: Chris Campbell, Cornerback, Penn State
Strengths: Length. Weaknesses: Grabbiness.
Chris Campbell is a long-armed 6’1” defender who can control his receiver off the line, use his length to break up plays and has just enough lateral quickness to not get shaken by the first move. He’s a downfield grabber who must learn to play the ball in the air. Campbell had a stellar pro day, with excellent jumping results, so he’s worth developing as a size-athleticism project. Grade: Fair.
183. Denver Broncos: Sam Jones, Guard, Arizona State
Strengths: Athleticism, versatility. Weaknesses: Power.
Jones played guard and tackle for the Sun Devils but may get a look as a center or multiposition sub. This is the Broncos’ first selection along the offensive line, which seems...pretty late. Grade: Fair.
184. San Francisco 49ers: Marcell Harris, Safety, Florida
Strengths: Tackling. Weaknesses: Experience, injuries.
Harris missed all of last season with an Achilles injury. He was developing into a high-effort fly-around safety before that. Folks, the 49ers always get themselves into trouble when they gamble on players with major injury issues, and this is their second one of the draft. Grade: Poor.
185. Indianapolis Colts: Deon Cain, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Strengths: Size-speed combination, upside. Weaknesses: Reliability, consistency, route running.
Deon Cain looked like the second coming of Sammy Watkins when he arrived at Clemson. But early-career suspensions and Deshaun Watson’s departure last year may have stunted his development. He spent most of last season running straight vertical routes and turning around for jump balls, some of which he caught. Cain dropped eight passes, according to Sports Info Solutions, many of them bouncing off his hands in open space.
Cain has some go-to receiver attributes besides his size and speed, including a varied assortment of release moves and the ability to snag balls away from his body. But he needs to be more dialed in and significantly upgrade his route-running arsenal. The fact that he didn’t do it last season—which was supposed to be his coming out party after Mike Williams left the program—is worth worrying about.
Cain is a low-risk selection at this point in the draft. With all these receivers and all-purpose running backs, the Colts are really waving a carrot in front of Andrew Luck to see if he can throw a football at it. Grade: Fair.
186. Seattle Seahawks: Jake Martin, Edge-Rusher, Temple
Strengths: Quickness, effort. Weaknesses: Size.
Jake Martin is an undersized late bloomer who came on for eight sacks in 2017 after being a situational sub early in his career. He’s a high-effort hustle defender who may have the range and awareness to play outside linebacker or stick as a special teams demon. Whatever, Seahawks, we’re done yelling at you about the offensive line and are more disappointed than mad. Grade: Fair.
187. Buffalo Bills: Ray-Ray McCloud, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Strengths: Return skills. Weaknesses: Size.
McCloud is an experienced returner who was used as a gadget play specialist and slot receiver. He’s not as nifty as a nifty-shifty player should be. The Bills need help at wide receiver, but this is an odd choice. Grade: Poor.
188. Cleveland Browns: Simeon Thomas, Defensive Back, Louisiana-Lafayette
Strengths: Size, upside. Weaknesses: Experience
Thomas is a tall, lean defender who played just 25 games in five NCAA seasons because of ineligibility issues and the like. A real reach here. Grade: Poor.
189. New Orleans Saints: Kamrin Moore, Cornerback, Boston College
Strengths: Size, effort. Weaknesses: Quickness.
Moore is a short, well-build defender. He lacks quickness for the cornerback position but size at safety. A high-effort reputation, good instincts and crisp tackling could keep him on the roster. Grade: Fair.
190. Baltimore Ravens: DeShon Elliott, Safety, Texas
Strengths: Playmaking ability, upside. Weaknesses: Lateral quickness, fundamentals.
With six interceptions last year and prototypical size for an all-purpose safety, Elliott should grade higher. But he’s a stiff mover who often takes bad open-field angles and can be a split-second late to diagnose plays. Elliott draws Kenny Vaccaro comparisons, and like Vaccaro, he could develop into a defender who mixes a handful of highlights with too many plays on which he isn’t as much of a factor as he should be. He’s a fine pick, however, in a sixth round when other teams are drafting injured guys. Grade: Fair.
191. Los Angeles Chargers: Dylan Cantrell, Wide Receiver, Texas Tech.
Strengths: Size. Weaknesses: Quickness, injuries.
Cantrell is one of those big-bodied spread-offense receivers who can’t beat the jam off the line or separate from tight coverage. He also had to redshirt for a year because of back injuries. Receivers of this type are reliable heartbreakers. Grade: Poor.
192. Los Angeles Rams: Jamil Demby, Guard, Maine
Strengths: Power, effort. Weaknesses: Lateral quickness.
Jamil Demby, a former South Jersey high school standout, played left tackle at Maine but projects to guard in the NFL. He had a strong enough showing at the Senior Bowl to demonstrate that he could play inside in the NFL. He’s a strong, low-center-of-gravity type with enough quickness and tenacity to operate inside a broom closet. Demby will never dominate Fletcher Cox one-on-one and will get beat by speed if forced to operate in space, but he can develop into an adequate starter, assuming he survives facing Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh in camp. Grade: Fair.
193. Dallas Cowboys: Chris Covington, Linebacker, Indiana
Strengths: Tools. Weaknesses: Experience.
Covington started his Hoosiers career at quarterback but moved to linebacker after an ACL injury. Yes, that sounds backward, but it’s true. Covington flashes excellence on tape, but he is inconsistent, and his workout numbers are ordinary. Grade: Fair.
194. Atlanta Falcons: Russell Gage, Wide Receiver, LSU
Strengths: Hustle, special teams potential. Weaknesses: Production.
Here’s Russell Gage leaping over Minkah Fitzpatrick on an end-around. Gage didn’t get the ball much for the Bayou Bengals, but he made the most of his touches and took to his role as a special teams leader. Athleticism, effort and special teams experience could land him a Matthew Slater-type role. Grade: Fair.
195. Los Angeles Rams: Sebastian Joseph, Defensive Tackle, Rutgers
Strengths: Athletic potential. Weaknesses: Pass-rushing.
A pro day standout with some double-team munching capabilities. Could end up playing some fourth quarters for Ndamukong Suh, but may get caught in a numbers crunch if the Rams don’t decide to dress 21 defensive tackles every Sunday. Grade: Fair.
196. Kansas City Chiefs: Tremon Smith, Cornerback, Central Arkansas
Strengths: Man coverage, ball skills, upside. Weaknesses: Technique, grabbiness.
Tremon Smith was the FCS mid-major version of Richard Sherman. He’s at his best in bump ‘n’ run, as he mauls his receiver off the line and then races to where he thinks the ball will be, mauling the receiver more if he follows him there. It’s fun to watch, but Smith can get beat by quickness off the line and will be a human pass-interference penalty if he tries to defend in the NFL the way he did against Houston Baptist. Smith ran a 4.32-second 40 at his pro day. With his size, mentality, hands and that kind of speed, he is worth some developmental effort. A great pick here as part of the Chiefs’ defensive overhaul. Grade: Excellent.
197. Washington: Shaun Dion Hamilton, Linebacker, Alabama
Strengths: Quickness, Alabama-ness. Weaknesses: Size.
Even Ozzie Newsome thinks Washington is getting carried away with its Alabama defenders fetish. Grade: Fair.
198. Kansas City Chiefs: Reginald McKenzie, Defensive Tackle, Tennessee
Strengths: Size, initial quickness. Weaknesses: Leverage, technique.
McKenzie is the son of Raiders general manager and former linebacker Reggie McKenzie, making him the nephew of former Redskins O-lineman and current Raiders scout Raleigh McKenzie. So McKenzie passes the 23andMe test, and he’s built like an NFL defensive tackle at 6’3”, 314 pounds, with some quickness and a few disengagement moves. But McKenzie’s stamina, first step and use of leverage are all less than ideal. Grade: Fair.
199. Tennessee Titans: Luke Falk, Quarterback, Washington
Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Mike Glennon, fresh-squeezed, not frozen from concentrate.
Luke Falk is a tall, lean quarterback with a quick release and a live arm who was sacked 125 times in his career because he’s a slow processor with poor pocket presence. His sack rates have increased over his three-plus seasons as a starter, which means they are snowballing on him. Falk arrives in the NFL with a faulty pocket clock, and he doesn’t have the cannon arm and accuracy to compensate. But there’s a breed of NFL evaluator who stops reading reports like this one 13 words in, so Falk will get an extended look and multiple chances. The best thing that can be said about him as Marcus Mariota’s backup is he is inexpensive and no threat to cause a serious controversy. Grade: Fair.
200. Atlanta Falcons: Foye Oluokun, Linebacker/Safety, Yale
Strengths: Athleticism, physicality. Weaknesses: Level of competition, fundamentals.
Foye Oluokun put up amazing numbers at his pro day, including a 4.48-second 40. He played a safety-linebacker hybrid position for the Bulldogs and may fit best in a similar role in the NFL. If you hear “Yale” and expect a cagey diagnostician who doesn’t hit hard, then you are exactly wrong: Oluokun is Ivy League Donte Whitner but is a step-late guy in pass coverage. He possesses a strange combination of skills, but the Falcons get a lot of mileage out of safety-linebacker hybrids. You would draft a big-hitting speedster from Yale just to see what happens, too. Grade: Excellent.
201. New Orleans Saints: Boston Scott, Running Back, Louisiana Tech
Strengths: Quickness. Weaknesses: Size
Scott is a tiny, compact runner with a Darren Sproles body. He ran for 1,047 yards last season after slowly working his way through the Bulldogs program. Scott is quick but not dazzling and an OK return man. Grade: Fair
202. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jack Cichy, Linebacker, Wisconsin
Strengths: Instincts. Weaknesses: Injuries.
Jack Cichy missed all of 2017 with a knee injury and much of 2016 with a torn pectoral muscle. He’s a lean-framed linebacker who’s not built for thumping between the tackles, so injuries may always be an issue. Before the injuries, Cichy was a quick decision-maker with a little bit of burst. Maybe he can play the weak side, but that’s a bit of a projection.The sixth round is the injured-guy round; the Buccaneers must have snatched Cichy away from the 49ers. Grade: Poor.
203. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tanner Lee, Quarterback, Nebraska
Deadly-accurate quarterback comparison: Jeff Driskel
Lee has a live arm but suffered a series of injuries that prompted him to transfer from Tulane to Nebraska. The Huskers program has fallen on hard times, so Lee endured a poor season (16 interceptions) but earned a Senior Bowl bid when Mason Rudolph dropped out because of injury. In Mobile, Lee looked good throwing against air but was a turnover waiting to happen as soon as defenders took part in the drills. Ultimately, what you see is what you get: a quarterback who lacks anticipation and will make bad throws (or eat the ball) once he’s pressured. The Jaguars are still looking to make something of that sweet, sweet arm, because that’s what NFL teams do. Lee is more of a threat to become (pre-Renaissance) Blake Bortles than a threat to Blake Bortles. Grade: Poor.
204. New York Jets: Trenton Cannon, Running Back, Virginia State
Strengths: Speed. Weaknesses: Size
Cannon rushed for 1,638 yards last year at the D-II level then ran well at his pro day. He’s a scant 185. There is still a lot of quality FBS value on the board at running back; no need to reach for undersized projects. Grade: Poor.
205. Los Angeles Rams: Trevon Young, Edge-Rusher, Louisville
Strengths: Quickness, experience. Weaknesses: Injury concerns, power.
Trevon Young missed all of 2016 with a hip injury. He was tentative at times last year, but he played the whole season and tested well athletically at the combine. Young was a defensive end for the Cardinals, but he projects to a “Leo” or outside linebacker at the NFL level. There’s hustle and some polish to his game. The Rams must be switching from a 4-3-4 defense to a 13-8-6 or something. Grade: Fair.
206. Philadelphia Eagles: Matt Pryor, Offensive Tackle, TCU
Strengths: Size. Weaknesses: Size.
The Second Coming of Marcus Cannon: an oversized prospect on his way down from the 400-pound range who moves well for a small warehouse of a human. It took years of Patriots-level coaching to mold Cannon into a quality starter. Matt Pryor is likely to start his career on the practice squad and at the training table salad bar. Grade: Fair.
207. Green Bay Packers: Equanimeous St. Brown, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Strengths: Size, athleticism. Weaknesses: Route running, polish.
“Equanimous” means calm, reasoned and self-composed. “Equanimeous” must be an accepted alternate spelling, because my word processor was cool with it. Or maybe Microsoft Word is a big Fighting Irish fan. Anyway, St. Brown has the kind of size and athleticism to make scouts lose their equanimity, but the tape shows a so-so route-runner who can’t break the press the way a receiver of his size should. St. Brown looked great in combine pass-catching drills, and a 6’5” guy with 4.48 speed, quickness and snatchy hands is worth a calm, reasonable long look as a potential Demaryius Thomas in training. Look for St. Brown to outperform at least one of the receivers the Packers drafted ahead of him. Grade: Excellent.
208. Dallas Cowboys: Cedric Wilson, Wide Receiver, Boise State
Strengths: Size, versatility. Weaknesses: Route running.
Cedric Wilson is the son of the former 49ers and Steelers receiver-return man of the same name. Wilson was a high school quarterback and completed a few passes on trick plays for Boise State. He’s tall and lean, a long strider who can hit high gear in the open field but needs help winning at the line of scrimmage. Height, speed and a max-effort reputation should help Wilson make up for an unimpressive release and so-so ball skills, but like his father, he will probably max out as a No. 3 receiver. The Cowboys also traded for Tavon Austin. They may still lack a true No. 1 and No. 2 wide receiver or a No. 1 tight end, but they have the market cornered on depth guys. Grade: Fair.
209. Miami Dolphins: Cornell Armstrong, Defensive Back, Southern Miss
Strengths: Experience, quickness. Weaknesses: Size.
A three-year starter for the Golden Eagles. One of the many undersized match-up defenders in this class. Grade: Fair.
210. New England Patriots: Braxton Berrios, Wide Receiver, Miami
Strengths: Quickness, toughness in traffic. Weaknesses: Size.
NFL comps for Braxton Berrios: Julian Edelman/Danny Amendola/Wes Welker/Ryan Switzer/Cole Beasley/Michael Campanaro/Adam Humphries/Griff Whalen—phew! We draftnik types have to do that “all white slot receivers are alike” thing once per year. It’s like a snake sloughing off old skin. Anyway, Berrios is a tough little slot guy who can return punts. He doesn’t possess the elite quickness of the top guys on this list. The Patriots have been acting a little off-model lately. This selection, while a little on-the-nose, is somehow reassuring. Grade: Typical.
211. Houston Texans: Jordan Thomas, TE, Mississippi State
Strengths: Size-speed profile. Weaknesses: Production, polish.
Thomas is a 6’6”, 280-pound JUCO transfer who timed at 4.74 seconds at the combine (pretty darn fast for his weight) but plays faster. The Bulldogs split him out wide at times to take advantage of size mismatches, but Thomas is so raw—even after two years in the SEC—that he offers little as a receiver and often negates his size advantage as a blocker. He’s an outstanding practice squad stash. The Texans have drafted two tight ends named Jordan. It may be time to start wrapping this draft up. Grade: Fair.
212. Baltimore Ravens: Greg Senat, Offensive Tackle, Wagner
Strengths: Upside. Weaknesses: Size, technique.
Lance Zierlein’s capsule on Greg Senat for NFL.com begins: “After two years of playing basketball for the Seahawks, Senat approached the football coaches about joining the team.” Reading the capsule for insights because I don’t watch much Wagner tape, I thought, “Wow, the Seattle Seahawks just gave up and created a G League basketball team so they could develop their own kooky left tackle experiments!” Then I realized Wagner College’s nickname is Seahawks and just hoped Seattle would draft Senat anyway because they love small-program basketball players. Grade: Fair.
213. Minnesota Vikings: Colby Gossett, Guard, Appalachian State
Strengths: Size, initial quickness. Weaknesses: Overall athleticism.
Colby Gossett comes off the ball quickly and has the functional strength to cut it as a zone-stretch blocker and adequate pass protector. He’s neither a mauler nor a top-rung athlete (even by guard standards), and he’ll end up on the ground when reaching too far or blocking on the second level. But there are enough plusses in Gossett’s game for him to compete for a roster spot. A fine pick here as the Vikings try to create competition at need positions up front. Grade: Excellent.
214. Houston Texans: Peter Kalambayi, Edge-Rusher, Stanford
Strengths: Traits, athleticism. Weaknesses: Production.
Peter Kalambayi was a three-year starter for the Cardinal and totaled 18.5 career sacks. He looks like an edge-rusher, tests well and gives a high effort, but he lacks the magic. Kalambayi can be slow out of his stance and is too easily stymied once a blocker latches on. Kalambayi dropped into coverage with some effectiveness, but it’s hard to imagine he has the lateral quickness for a move to linebacker. The Texans may have drafted a maxed-out Pac-12 guy, but he’s not a bad value in this spot or as someone who will start in a situational/developmental role. Grade: Fair.
215. Baltimore Ravens: Bradley Bozeman, Center, Alabama
Strengths: Size, experience, fundamentals. Weaknesses: Quickness, athleticism.
Bradley Bozeman is exactly what you expect from an Alabama center. He’s fundamentally sound, with a fine punch and good hand technique. He can handle adjustments and recognize blitzes. He lacks lateral quickness and the ability to handle top interior defenders, but Bozeman can get the job done. That’s all Nick Saban requires from his interior offensive linemen. And Ozzie Newsome likes what Nick Saban likes. Grade: Fair.
216. Oakland Raiders: Azeem Victor, Linebacker, Washington
Strengths: Size. Weaknesses: Injuries, weight issues.
Victor broke his leg at the end of the 2016 season, was arrested for DUI in November and looked out of shape and sluggish in between. He had some traits pre-injury, but the Raiders probably could have gotten him after the draft. Grade: Poor.
217. Denver Broncos: Keishawn Bierria, Linebacker, Washington
Strengths: Instincts, effort. Weaknesses: Speed.
A smart, reliable high-effort defender. Low-risk, low-upside camp competitor. Grade: Fair.
218. Minnesota Vikings: Ade Aruna, Edge-Rusher, Tulane
Strengths: Athletic potential. Weaknesses: Experience, technique.
Ade Aruna is a classic late bloomer: born and raised in Nigeria, switched from basketball to football late in high school, made the Green Wave as an athletic run-around defender, tore stuff up with his combine workouts. Aruna has a minimal plan as a pass-rusher and can get pushed around by blockers. The success rate on players like Aruna is low, but you know how it is with big guys who can move. The Vikings don’t really have a need here and can pan for practice-squad gold. Grade: A.
Round 7 Pick-by-Pick Grades
219. New England Patriots: Danny Etling, Quarterback, LSU
Deadly-Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Weak-Tea Brooks Bollinger.
Etling spent most of his Tigers career handing off. Bill Belichick may be dazzling us with his brilliance here. Or he may have found the one quarterback who in no way makes Tom Brady feel threatened but could still be theoretically considered a “developmental project.” Grade: Fair.
220. Seattle Seahawks: Alex McGough, Quarterback, Florida International
Deadly-Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Keith Wenning (welcome to the point in the draft when we compare Alex McGough to Keith Wenning!).
McGough was a four-year starter for the Golden Panthers. He’s tall, the arm works, he has some zip on out routes and touch on deep passes, he runs well enough, and he looks like he’s in charge when making adjustments at the line of scrimmage. McGough drifts around the pocket and scatters a lot of throws because of erratic mechanics. He exudes No. 3 QB-ness but could develop into a backup. He’s a better prospect than Danny Etling, anyway. Grade: Fair.
221. Indianapolis Colts: Matthew Adams, LB, Houston
Strengths: Experience, physicality. Weaknesses: Speed, quickness.
Adams had an impressive pro day. He’s an instinctive defender with a rep as a big hitter. Not a bad prospect selection at this point. Grade: Fair.
222. Houston Texans: Jermaine Kelly, Defensive Back, San Jose State
Strengths: Awareness. Weaknesses: Size.
Kelly is a long, lean defender with a reputation for making good decisions and recognizing routes in zone coverage. Not a thumper or a press-man type. Grade: Fair.
223. San Francisco 49ers: Jullian Taylor, Defensive Tackle, Temple
Strengths: Pro day results. Weaknesses: Size.
Taylor was a one-year starter who tore up his pro day. He’s undersized for a defensive tackle but may fit as a two-gap end. Grade: Fair.
224. Chicago Bears: Javon Wims, Wide Receiver, Georgia
Strengths: Size, hands, run blocking. Weaknesses: Quickness.
Another king-sized (6’4”) receiver who lacks quick feet and separation skills. Javon Wims is a quality run-blocker—he got a lot of experience in the Georgia offense—and that trait, plus sure hands and the ball skills to post up defenders, can keep him on the field as a package receiver. Grade: Fair.
225. Minnesota Vikings: Devante Downs, Linebacker, California
Strengths: Size, instincts. Weaknesses: Fundamentals.
Downs is a big, well-build fly-around defender who missed much of last season with an injury. He will overpursue and make other mistakes, but he’s the kind of high-effort defender the Vikings always find a use for. Grade: Fair.
226. Denver Broncos: David Williams, Running Back, Arkansas
Strengths: Size. Weaknesses: Production.
Williams is a well-built 230-pounder who rushed for 656 yards last year after transferring to Arkansas from South Carolina, where he rarely got touches. Williams has minimal receiving potential. Maybe the Broncos see him as a fullback. Grade: Poor.
227. Miami Dolphins: Quentin Poling, Linebacker, Ohio
Strengths: Tools. Weaknesses: Fundamentals.
Quentin Poling was a late riser on draft boards after he blew up his pro day with exceptional results. He generated lots of big plays in 2014 and 2015 (including seven interceptions and two pick-sixes), but his production regressed over the last two seasons. He’s long-armed and well-built but looks like Just Another Guy too often between splash plays, and a MAC defender with Poling’s measurables (6’0”, 235 lbs) should never blend in. But in the seventh round, splash plays and potential count for a lot. Grade: Excellent.
228. Oakland Raiders: Marcell Ateman, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
Strengths: Size, effort/character. Weaknesses: Speed.
Marcell Ateman came back from a 2016 foot injury to be a productive possession complement to James Washington. He’s tall and well-built, with soft hands and impressive body control. But Ateman’s lack of long speed—he ran a 4.62 40 at the combine, and it matches his tape—and lateral quickness will limit his NFL upside. Ateman is a team captain type who can stick on special teams and as a fourth receiver. Grade: Excellent.
229. Miami Dolphins: Jason Sanders, Kicker, New Mexico
A kicker who was 10-of-15 last year? Hard pass. Grade: Poor.
230. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leon Jacobs, Edge-Rusher, Wisconsin
Strengths: Tools. Weaknesses: Technique.
Leon Jacobs played inside linebacker and fullback until T.J. Watt left. He played mostly on the outside last year, though he blitzed up the gut in some packages. Jacobs tore up the combine with a 4.48 40-yard dash and 26 bench press reps. He’s long-armed, and he wins a lot of snaps on pure athleticism. He has no idea how to disengage when blocked, and he lacks the quick get-off and other traits of a top edge-rusher. Jacobs’ skills might not translate at the NFL level. He may be better suited to inside linebacker. But he’s a fine seventh-round value. Grade: Fair.
231. Los Angeles Rams: Travin Howard, Linebacker, TCU
Strengths: Quickness. Weaknesses: Tackling.
Howard is a converted safety with good athleticism. He’s not a sure tackler and takes bad angles. The Rams defense has a role for hybrid safeties if Howard can develop. Grade: Fair.
232. Green Bay Packers: James Looney, Defensive End, California
Strengths: Size-quickness package. Weaknesses: Leverage.
Looney has the traits of a quality pass-rusher and the size of a sturdy run-stuffer. He has never put it all together, but he can be a useful building block in Mike Pettine’s hybrid fronts. Grade: Fair.
233. Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Mailata, Athlete, Australia
Strengths: Huge, athletic rugby player. Weaknesses: Has never played American football, even a little.
Here’s a rugby sizzle reel for Jordan Mailata. He’s a beast when running the ball and a vicious tackler, but of course there is no blocking in rugby. So he has come to America to try out at a position that is all blocking but no ball-carrying or tackling. At some point, someone will figure this out and move Mailata to defensive end, the field-goal block unit and perhaps goal-line mystery man at fullback. Either that or the XFL will use him as a two-way player. You get to do stuff like this and not be made fun after you win a Super Bowl. Grade: Crikey!
234. Carolina Panthers: Andre Smith, Linebacker, North Carolina
Strengths: Between-the-tackles run defense. Weaknesses: Injuries, experience, range.
Andre Smith was a well-regarded thumper in 2016 before missing most of last season with a knee injury. He’s an old-school, tough-guy linebacker, but he lacks pure speed and range. Unless he develops significantly as either a situational pass-rusher or diagnostician, Smith will be limited to a package role as a “Sam” linebacker. Add in the knee injuries, and this is a dice-roll selection. Grade: Fair.
235. Indianapolis Colts: Zaire Franklin, Linebacker, Syracuse
Strengths: Quickness, experience. Weaknesses: Long speed.
Franklin is a three-year starter who had a phenomenal pro day. He has a rep as a smart player but an inconsistent tackler, and he lacks the pure speed to become a coverage linebacker. A high-effort camp competitor. Grade: Fair.
236. Dallas Cowboys: Bo Scarbrough, Running Back, Alabama
Would you believe…another installment of our Field Guide to the 2018 Running Backs?
Athleticism: Excellent. Bo Scarbrough was one of the stars of the combine.
Every-down rushing: Very good. When healthy, Scarbrough is a bruiser who fights for tough inside yardage. “When healthy” is a major caveat.
Open-field rushing: Fair-to-very good. Scarbrough has build-up speed and is a load to tackle in the open field.
Receiving value: Poor. A screen-passes-only guy.
Pass protection: Very good.
Contrary opinion from a “source” having an anxiety attack: An injury-riddled back from a run-heavy program who cannot catch? Please call 1995 and tell them to take their bad draft strategy back!
Bottom Line: Scarbrough looks like an off-brand Derrick Henry when he’s at full speed, and he tested like a designer Henry knockoff at the combine. He’ll make a heck of a Zeke Elliott insurance policy and change-up. Grade: Excellent.
237. Detroit Lions: Nick Bawden, Fullback, San Diego State
Strengths: Run blocking, athleticism. Weaknesses: A fullback.
Nick Bawden moved from quarterback to fullback after his freshman year and ended up lead-blocking for Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny, both of whom led the nation in rushing. Bawden moves well and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s decisive as a lead blocker but not overpowering. With converted quarterback Trey Burton throwing trick-play touchdowns in the Super Bowl, the Lions may give Bawden extra time to develop into a Burton-like H-back. Grade: Fair.
238. Baltimore Ravens: Zach Sieler, Defensive End, Ferris State
Strengths: Athleticism. Weaknesses: Level of competition.
Zach Sieler put on a show at his pro day after beating up Division II blockers for two seasons. He’s basically a height-weight-athleticism selection. Sielser may have the final draft pick of Ozzie Newsome’s career. Maybe he should get an honorary degree from Alabama to commemorate this moment. Grade: Fair.
239. Green Bay Packers: Hunter Bradley, Long Snapper, Mississippi State
Folks, I have four long snapper scouting reports in my database, but Bradley isn’t one of the four. I’m sure he’s swell. Grade: Fair.
240. San Francisco 49ers: Richie James, Wide Receiver, Middle Tennessee State
Strengths: Quickness, production. Weaknesses: Size, injury concerns.
Richie James was a super-productive mighty mite who caught 212 passes and doubled as a Wildcat quarterback for the Blue Raiders in 2015-16. The 178-pounder then suffered collarbone and ankle injuries last year, limiting him to just five games and 31 catches. There’s a good chance James used up most of the touches in his tiny body already, and someone as small as James should run in the 4.3 range to succeed in the NFL, not 4.48. If I were founding a spring league, I would snatch James as soon as he falls through the NFL’s cracks and build a Single Wing offense around him. It’s the seventh round, and James has upside. Grade: Excellent.
241. Washington: Greg Stroman, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
Strengths: Man coverage, return skills. Weaknesses: Size, tackling.
Greg Stroman is a lean, twiggy defender who turns smoothly and runs well in man coverage. He’s reliable, has some ball skills and zone coverage awareness, and can be dangerous with the ball in his hands. Stroman gets blown backward by any blocker who latches on, and he’ll get walled off by bigger receivers on slants and comebacks at the NFL level. Still, Stroman has the speed and pure coverage ability to stick. Grade: Excellent.
242. Carolina Panthers: Kendrick Norton, Defensive Tackle, Miami
Strengths: Athleticism. Weaknesses: Consistency.
Norton is the son of Seahawks defensive coordinator and former Cowboys and 49ers linebacker Ken Norton Jr. and the grandson of former heavyweight boxing champ Ken Norton Sr. But he may best be known for using Florida State quarterback James Blackman’s leg as an air guitar after a sack. The Guitar Hero routine was impressive because Norton appears to have accurately fingered a primary barre chord, but less impressive because Norton only recorded the sack after multiple teammates flushed Blackman from the pocket. Norton flashes the potential to live up to the family name but lacks polish and consistency. Grade: Fair.
243. New England Patriots: Keion Crossen, Cornerback, Western Carolina
Strengths: Quickness. Weaknesses: Size.
Small-program mighty-mite type. Crossen gets high marks for aggressiveness, but he’s not a superlative athlete. Remember when the Patriots drafted sleepers like these and you assumed they knew what they were doing? Doubt is a pernicious thing. Grade: Fair.
244. Los Angeles Rams: Justin Lawler, Defensive End, SMU
Strengths: Technique, motor. Weaknesses: Size, speed.
Justin Lawler is short and squatty for an edge-rusher, with good-enough athleticism but minimal chase speed. He’s a fine technician who stutter-steps and works inside pass protectors and can disengage to make tackles down the line on zone-stretch runs. Lawler could develop into a Nick Perry-type of pass-rusher, though there’s a risk that he’s maxed out as a mid-major superstar who lacks the size-athleticism package to be more than a hustling NFL special teamer.Folks, the Rams defensive line depth chart now officially has a 12th string. Grade: Fair.
245. New Orleans Saints: Will Clapp, Center-Guard, LSU
Strengths: Size, drive blocking, versatility. Weaknesses: Lateral agility, consistency.
Will Clapp is the interior lineman you saw crunching a linebacker on the second level at the beginning of all of those Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice highlights over the last two years. Clapp excels at obliterating everything in his direct path, and he has experience at both center and guard. But Clapp’s leverage is inconsistent, meaning some bull-rushers can get low and blow him backward. He will miss some second-level targets and will also whiff when pulling. Clapp fits better as a multi-position sub as a starter, but he does have upside, and the Saints know what they are doing with developmental linemen. Grade: Excellent.
246. Pittsburgh Steelers: Joshua Frazier, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
Strengths: Space eating. Weaknesses: Run defender only.
That’s right; even Alabama’s situational run-pluggers get drafted. Frazier is a Damion Square-type. The Steelers have more use for pure nose tackles than most teams. Grade: Fair.
247. Jacksonville Jaguars: Logan Cooke, Punter, Mississippi State
Three-year starting punter for the Bulldogs. There’s never a good reason to be the fourth team to select a punter. Grade: Poor.
248. Green Bay Packers: Kendall Donnerson, Edge-Rusher, Southeast Missouri
Strengths: Measurables. Weaknesses: Fundamentals
Another pro day superstar. Flashed moments against mid-major competition. It seems like only yesterday that the Packers built their whole draft board out of guys like this. Grade: Fair.
249. Cincinnati Bengals: Logan Woodside, Quarterback, Toledo
Deadly Accurate Quarterback Comparison: Charlie Frye.
Woodside is an undersized pepperpot, smart but with a peashooter and poor athleticism. He’s the quarterback you select when you want Andy Dalton to look like a Greek God. Grade: Poor.
250. New England Patriots: Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State
Strengths: Blocking. Weaknesses: Receiving potential.
Ryan Izzo is another blocking tight end in a draft class flooded with them. He has pretty good hands and enough quickness to be a factor in the underneath game, but his calling cards are a fullback-like wham when he’s run blocking and the size and toughness to take on edge rushers. Izzo’s likely a career No. 2 tight end, but he could have a pretty long stay in the NFL. This is not, repeat, NOT, Gronk’s eventual replacement. The Patriots have always had a role for guys like this. Grade: Fair.
251. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Jackson, Running Back, Northwestern
Strengths: Quickness, production. Weaknesses: Size, long speed.
Justin Jackson rushed for 5,440 career yards at Northwestern, adding 122 career receptions. He has a slender frame and lacks a fourth gear, but he’s determined and slippery. Jackson could be a sleeper. He could also be just athletic enough to succeed in the B1G but end up the fourth running back for NFL teams that only dress three of them. At this point in the draft, it’s hard to tell the difference. Depth behind Melvin Gordon could use an upgrade. Grade: Fair.
252. Cincinnati Bengals: Rod Taylor, Guard, Ole Miss
Strengths: Size. Weaknesses: Quickness.
Taylor played all over the Rebels line. He is massive and strong, but he lacks the foot quickness to be much more than a mauling guard. Not a bad value here. Grade: Fair.
253. Cincinnati Bengals: Auden Tate, Wide Receiver, Florida State
Strengths: Size. Weaknesses: Speed, quickness.
Auden Tate caught 16 touchdown passes in two seasons with the Seminoles. He’s 6’5” with long arms, making him an obvious red-zone target. But Tate is slow off the line and does little to eat up his defender’s cushion. It’s hard to imagine how Tate will get open in the NFL on anything but goal-line low-post plays. The Bengals may see him as a weak-tea version of Marvin Jones, who shined for them in the jump-ball role for a few years. At least the Bengals are keeping busy down to the wire. Grade: Fair.
254. Arizona Cardinals: Korey Cunningham, Tackle, Cincinnati
Strengths: Size, quickness. Weaknesses: Balance, technique.
Korey Cunningham won a lot of snaps at the mid-major level by being a huge guy who can move, but he lost too often by ducking his head, failing to latch on, failing to adjust to a counter move, and so on. The Cardinals can always use some extra competition on the offensive line. Grade: Fair.
255. Buffalo Bills: Austin Proehl, Wide Receiver, North Carolina
Strengths: Hands, quickness, reliability. Weaknesses: Size.
Proehl is the son of Ricky Proehl, a reliable NFL possession receiver for years. He was part of a stacked Tar Heels receiving corps in 2016; he was injured last year, and Mitchell Trubisky left, so his production declined sharply. Proehl is undersized but quick and can separate from defenders. A strong selection here, though the Bills should have done less deep-diving at wide receiver and invested in some prospects more likely to help right away. Grade: Excellent.
256. Washington: Trey Quinn, Wide Receiver, SMU
Strengths: Production. Weaknesses: Elite traits.
Mr. Irrelevant caught 114 passes last year as Ben Hicks’ safety-valve receiver, with Courtland Sutton handling the big-play duties. Quinn was an LSU transfer who rarely saw the field for the Bayou Bengals. Mid-major possession receivers usually max out as fifth receivers and special teamers. If Quinn proves that he can block, he could find a role in Jay Gruden’s bunch-formation packages. Grade: Fair. And thanks for spending your weekend with us.