NFL Draft 2019: Round 2-3 Grades for Every Pick

Mike Tanier@@miketanierNFL National Lead WriterApril 26, 2019

NFL Draft 2019: Round 2-3 Grades for Every Pick

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Day 2 of the 2019 NFL draft is underway, and the second and third rounds promise to be brimming with:

    • Enough brilliant-but-flawed superpowered wide receivers to populate the next wave of Marvel movies;

    • Galaxy-brain moves by the Patriots;

    • Lots of wheeling and dealing by teams like the Colts and Seahawks;

    • Plenty of high-impact defenders;

    • A quarterback surprise or two;

    And much more!

    Bleacher Report has you covered all night with draft grades, scouting reports, player profiles, team analysis and much more.

    Stay right here for all the action!



33. Arizona Cardinals

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

    Strengths: Awareness, zone-coverage ability

    Weaknesses: Elite traits

    Murphy has the best hips and eyes among cornerbacks in this year’s class. He flips to turn and run with receivers and changes directions exceptionally well. And he is quick to diagnose route combinations and close on plays happening in front of him. Those traits make him a great prospect in both a Cover-3 heavy defense like the Huskies’ or the kind of match-concept defense smarter NFL teams are switching to (in an effort to cope with teams like the Chiefs).

    Murphy is just 5’11”, not exceptionally well-built, ran a 4.55-second 40 at the combine (his tape speed looks faster) and doesn’t always play up to his highlights. He’s prone to occasional mistakes in coverage, sometimes allows a little too much to happen in front of him and lets receivers latch on in the running game.

    These are quibbles and correctable flaws, rather than huge problems. Murphy isn’t suited for 50 snaps of press coverage against Julio Jones. Then again, who is?

    The Cardinals’ 2018 passing defensive stats looked OK, mostly because teams didn’t have to throw the ball much to beat them. But their cornerback corps entering the draft consisted of Patrick Peterson (excellent, aging, reportedly disgruntled), David Amerson (just another journeyman), Robert Alford (formerly of the Falcons, so ‘nuff said) and Brandon Williams (perma-project).

    So this selection fills a need. And hey, so what if Kyler Murray struggles as a rookie because the Cardinals aren’t really addressing his supporting cast. It’s not like the organization is impatient, right? Right?

    Grade: B+



34. Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Rock Ya-Sin, Cornerback, Temple

    Strengths: Athleticism, physicality

    Weaknesses: Technique, experience

    An internet search for Rock Ya-Sin leads rather quickly to the 1957 film Rock You Sinners, which sounds like a brimstone religious movie, but is really about the British rock ‘n’ roll scene. Here’s a clip so you can see for yourself what was considered rockingly sinful in 1957, including coffee bars, capri pants for women and dancing like a dweeb.

    Anyway, Ya-Sin is a converted wrestler who didn’t start playing football until the 11th grade and spent three years at Presbyterian College before playing just one season for the Owls. He plays cornerback like a wrestler: often winning on the press or bodying up his receiver to contest passes, but clutching and grabbing down the field when he’s beaten.

    Ya-Sin has talent and competitiveness to spare, gets top marks for his intangibles and performed well at the Senior Bowl. He also has an easy-to-remember, fun-to-say name, which may have slightly overrated him by the draft media. He’s an inexperienced mid-major guy who will get flagged twice per game if thrown into the starting lineup too soon. He’ll be a special teamer and 3rd-and-30 cornerback to start his career. But he has starter’s upside.

    As you can tell, I’m not as high on Ya-Sin as other analysts. But he fills a need, and the Colts did the right thing to slide out of the first round and acquire extra picks and still come away with a player they are high on.

    Grade: B

35. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Doug Benc/Associated Press

    Jawaan Taylor, Tackle, Florida

    Strengths: Size, finish, run blocking

    Weaknesses: Lateral quickness, injury concerns

    Taylor played right tackle, which is normally the football equivalent of being a rhythm guitarist. But SEC coaches like to line up their top edge-rushers against right tackles on third downs, so Taylor often faced the likes of Brian Burns and Josh Allen. (You’ll find many of the top power-conference left tackles projected as guards this weekend.)

    Burns and Allen said “Goodnight, Gracie” to Taylor a few times last year, (trust me, your grandparents would laugh at that one). Taylor was also lured into too many false starts trying to get the jump on top edge-rushers. But when he latched on to a defender, it was all over. The Florida tackle is huge, has a nasty initial punch, finishes every block and can piledrive downfield.

    Concerns about a knee injury caused Taylor to slide out of the first round. Assuming he’s healthy, the Jaguars just got a player who projects as a quality NFL right tackle.

    The Jaguars allowed 53 sacks last season, so this is a logical need pick of a player with upside.

    Grade: B+

36. San Francisco 49ers

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    Sean Rayford/Associated Press

    Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver, South Carolina

    They’re mighty! They’re fascinating! They’re flawed! Get ready, true believers: Here’s the skinny on a member of the 2019 Draft Class Legion of Wide Receiver Superheroes!

    Superpowers: Limited super speed and strength, meta-feistiness

    One Weakness: Fireplug-shaped

    Superhero Comparison: Wolverine

    Squat, wide-framed James Howlett (Logan, if you are old school) looks ridiculous standing next to the rest of the superheroes. But he’s stronger and faster than he looks and scrappier than you are ready to deal with, making him the best at what he does. Even if what he does ain’t pretty.

    NFL Comparison: Randall Cobb

    Secret Superhero File

    Samuel is the next evolution of the tough little South Carolina slot receiver: stronger, faster and more versatile than his predecessors (including Bruce Ellington and Pharoh Cooper), but still more of a slot specialist than a prototypical every-down wide receiver.

    Samuel had a phenomenal Senior Bowl and a strong combine. While he’s a size-speed square peg who doesn’t stand out among D.K. Metcalf and Hakeem Butler types, his game also lacks a potentially fatal flaw. Samuel will catch passes in traffic, fight for extra yardage and take some short passes to the house.

    Tight end George Kittle led the 49ers with 88 receptions last year, but no other player caught more than 42 passes. Samuel will play an immediate role as a possession receiver and offense diversifier.

    Grade: A

37. Carolina Panthers

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Greg Little, Tackle, Ole Miss

    Strengths: Size, experience

    Weaknesses: Athleticism, balance, finish

    Little fits the NFL’s left tackle prototype (6’5”, 310 lbs, 35¼” arms), was a top prep recruit and started for years at a top SEC program. He therefore perched near the top of 2019 draft boards years ago and stayed there, despite some very unimpressive tape.

    Little is slow-footed, has a hard time pulling, misses targets on the second level and can get feigned out of position by top pass-rushers. He lunges and loses balance at times. He can be a mauler on some reps but lacks the heavy initial punch and consistent finishes of a top prospect. It’s the tape of a pretty good guard, not an elite left tackle.

    The Panthers need all the offensive line talent they can get. But this is a reach, and the Panthers have too many needs at too many positions to trade up for questionable talent.

    Grade: D+

38. Buffalo Bills

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    Cody Ford, Tackle, Oklahoma

    Strengths: Size, athleticism, just about everything else

    Weaknesses: Stance

    Here’s the guy the Panthers should have drafted instead of Greg Little.

    The Bills averaged 4.2 yards per rush last season. Not bad, right? But if Josh Allen’s 631 rushing yards (most of it on scrambles) are removed from the equation, the Bills’ per-carry average slips to 3.6 yards per carry. Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon arrived in the offseason to give LeSean McCoy some help in the backfield, but both the backs and Allen could use more help up front.

    At 6’4”, 329 pounds, Ford is vast yet quick-footed, fundamentally sound and MEAN. He backpedals well, pulls well in the run game, looked for work when Kyler Murray was scrambling and finishes his blocks with authority.

    Looking for flaws? Ford always lined up in a two-point stance at Oklahoma. Yes, many tackles line up in a two-point stance these days, but the Sooners’ stances were particularly high. Their tackles were almost standing at the line like tight ends planning to run pass routes. Ford acknowledged at the combine that he will need a little time to adjust to a three-point stance.

    He also had significant weight issues after an injury, plumping up to about 360 at one point. Again, he has acknowledged that he needs to steer clear of the fast food drive-thrus.

    As for Ford’s overall game: "My style of play is to get the job done no matter what it takes,” he said at the combine. “My mentality going into every game, every play, is to finish everybody in front of me."

    Heck yeah.

    The Bills can plug Ford in at right tackle and look forward to many Lane Johnson-esque seasons.

    And after drafting Ed Oliver in the first round and Ford in the second, the Bills draft class has taken on a distinct identity. And it’s the good kind of nasty.

    Grade: A

39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Sean Bunting, Cornerback, Central Michigan

    Strengths: Height-speed combination

    Weaknesses: Quickness, skinniness

    The Buccaneers allowed a league-high 110.9 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks last season. There were several reasons: a schedule full of tough opponents; Brent Grimes’ desire for some sort of pay-for-play contract; Vernon Hargreaves’ descent into oft-injured vaporware; the inexplicable continued employment of Chris Conte; etc. The team has moved on from Grimes and Conte go but has added little in free agency, so the secondary is a glaring need.

    Bunting is a long, lean defender who ran a 4.42-second 40 at the combine. He’s willing to throw his body around on tunnel screens and other plays in front of him, and he can run with anyone on deep routes.

    Bunting has a flat-footed style in off coverage that he can get away with at the mid-major level; he needs quicker feet and reactions at the snap, or else NFL receivers will gobble up his cushion and feast on both shorter and longer throws. Bunting’s your basic toolsy defender with a chance to stick as a fourth cornerback and work his way up the depth chart.

    In summary: need pick, but a real reach.

    Also, whatever happened to Greedy Williams?

    Grade: C

40. Oakland Raiders

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    Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

    Strengths: Physicality, run support

    Weaknesses: Lateral quickness, technique

    Mullen is more physical and better in run support than most of the other top-rated cornerbacks. He lacks top-level agility, but he’s tall, tested well at the combine, disrupts his receiver at the line of scrimmage and appears to have good instincts in underneath zones. Mullen projects as a tough, reliable second cornerback.

    He also happens to be Lamar Jackson’s cousin. They grew up close to each other and have been squaring off since they were five years old. But there is no truth to the rumor that the Ravens dusted off an old kindergarten playbook for their playoff loss to the Chargers.   

    The Raiders continue to prioritize high-character players in this draft. Perhaps it’s penance for the 1970s. Or fear that everyone will go Hunter S. Thompson when the team lands in Las Vegas. Either way, this is turning into a love-it-or-hate-it draft for the organization. And despite some reaches and odd fits, I am starting to really like it.

    Grade: B+

41. Denver Broncos

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Dalton Risner, Offensive Line, Kansas State

    Strengths: Power, tenacity, intangibles

    Weaknesses: Quickness

    Risner patterns his game after former Patriots left tackle Nate Solder, who is now retired and owns a chain of car washes or something. (Oops! Solder plays for the Giants. It’s easy to forget that they are still a team.)

    If Risner possessed Solder’s size and quickness when backpedaling, he would have been a top-10 pick. But, at 6’5” and 312 pounds, the Kansas State tackle is just a little bit shorter and more lumbering than Solder (6’8”, 320 lbs), who grew up in a tiny Colorado town near Risner’s hometown and mentored him during the draft process.

    What he does have going for him is a rugged, tenacious blocking style, a nasty finish and leadership characteristics that made him a team captain in just his sophomore year.

    The Broncos are likely to move Risner to right guard, where his quickness will be less of an issue. This is a safe, solid pick.

    Darn it, John Elway hasn’t doing anything imperious, loopy and fun so far.

    Grade: B

42. Denver Broncos

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    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    Drew Lock, Quarterback, Missouri

    Deadly accurate quarterback comparison: Kirk Cousins’ mind in Jay Cutler’s body

    That comparison sounds pretty darn good, doesn’t it? Take Cutler’s talent but replace his preternaturally punchable personality with Cousins’ work ethic and goofy Sunday school teacher likeability, and the Broncos could be getting a quarterback who combines extreme ability with solid intangibles. That’s a Pro Bowler right there.

    Conversely, the Cutler-Cousins Frankenstein could become a guy who never quite hammers down the fundamentals, keeps making terrible decisions at critical times, then hits his coaches with the “Aw shucks, I’m doin’ my best” charm that mind-tricks the team into paying him $84 million.

    Lock is capable of video-game-caliber highlight throws. He runs pretty well. He seems like a swell dude. If you believe in the power of NFL quarterback coaching, then you believe the Broncos can correct the funky fundamentals and turn him into Patrick Mahomes in a year.

    I’m not a big believer in the Broncos’ ability to develop a flawed quarterback (see: Lynch, Paxton). But you know what? John Elway traded back, got several players he wanted and then selected a first-round value in the second round. And he got a quarterback of the future for Joe Flacco, whose future should really be measured in yesterdays.

    Let’s see if my finger will actually type an “A” for a Broncos draft grade. Yep, there it is, between the Q and the Z. Come on, index finger. You can do it.

    Grade: A

43. Detroit Lions

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    Jahlani Tavai, Linebacker, Hawaii

    Strengths: Size, versatility, athleticism

    Weaknesses: Technique, injury concerns

    The Warriors lined Tavai up all over the defense, from stand-up edge-rusher to zone defender in the middle of the field, and he acquitted himself in most of the roles. He’s quick and aggressive, with some niftiness while rushing the passer, but he also misses tackles and doesn’t appear to be all that fast.

    Tavai missed the final five games last season with a shoulder injury and was limited in offseason work, but he reportedly looked great at Hawaii’s pro day. Hawaii’s pro day is held at UCLA, by the way, so scouts can’t pull the old, “I just have to check some boxes on that Tavai kid, and also I need to take my surfboard, golf clubs and the whole family.”

    He was also arrested on charges of third-degree assault in a nightclub in 2018, but reports indicate he was coming to a woman’s defense, so character does not appear to be a concern.

    Tavai would be an interesting raw-tools-and-demeanor selection in the fourth or fifth round. He’s a reach here for a team with lots of needs on both sides of the ball.

    Grade: C-

44. Green Bay Packers

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    Elgton Jenkins, Center, Mississippi State

    Strengths: Size, technique

    Weaknesses: Lateral quickness

    Jenkins was an industrial technology major. According to the Mississippi State website, that means he studied the “production, automation, maintenance and logistics areas of industry.” During combine interviews, Jenkins verified that he studied robotics. That makes him the most likely prospect in this draft to someday command an army of his own robots.

    As such, we’ll be charitable with this brief scouting report.

    Jenkins is huge and well-proportioned, has good footwork and a textbook base, and he uses his hands well to latch defenders out. He has experience all over the offensive line and top off-field intangibles.

    His only flawand it could be a big one at the NFL levelis that he is slow off the snap and when moving laterally. Better pass-rushers can just shuffle past him if they beat him off the ball.

    Corey Linsley has been solid-if-unspectacular at center for years. Jenkins could overtake him, move to guard or provide multi-position depth. This is another peculiar, non-need pick.

    Grade: C+

45. New England Patriots

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    Joejuan Williams, Cornerback, Vanderbilt

    Strengths: Height and length

    Weaknesses: Deep whoopsies

    Time for an installment of This Is How The Patriots Get Ya, a Day 2 celebration of extra Patriots picks (the Patriots entered Friday evening with five picks in the second and third rounds) and the devious things Bill Belichick and company do with them to keep the rest of the NFL at their feet.

    Always be skeptical of 6’4” collegiate cornerbacks: most cannot move well laterally, and they usually lack the physicality to bulk up and move to another position or hands to play wide receiver.

    Williams is better than the typical elongated scarecrow cornerback: He has good eyes in zone coverage, some closing burst and can turn in transition without signaling into traffic first. But Williams ran a 4.64-second combine 40, and the lack of a third gear is evident on tape, both on the big plays he allowed and the plays where receivers streak past him on overthrows. Williams will always need safety help, but he could be useful as a matchup defender who works underneath zones and swats away fades at the goal line.

    This is How They Get Ya: Belichick mixes and matches defenders like Williams better than any coach in history. But there is more to this selection than that.

    The Patriots fielded the oldest snap-adjusted roster in the NFL last season, per Football Outsiders. And no, it wasn’t all Tom Brady: Even with Brady removed from the equation, only the Panthers fielded an older roster last year. One of the Patriots’ primary goals this year is to get younger without sacrificing quality. Otherwise, the whole darn organization could crumble to dust the moment Brady floats up to heaven. (And we would all be ever-so disappointed if that were to happen!)

    So Williams adds both youth and matchup potential to an aging secondary. And the Patriots still have four more players to add tonight.

    Grade: B

46. Cleveland Browns

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    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    Andraez “Greedy” Williams, CB, LSU

    Strengths: Length, speed, overall coverage ability

    Weaknesses: Tackling

    Congratulations to the Browns for becoming the coolest band on the side stage! What they did in the second half of last season and this offseason is truly exciting. But it’s a lot easier to get from laughingstock to .500 than to get from .500 to Super Bowl contention. The Browns have a lot more work to do, and it starts with getting the most from a draft in which they don’t have a zillion extra picks to toss around.

    The Browns just got the best cornerback in this class in the middle of the second round. How’s that for getting the most from things?  

    As Williams told USA Today in 2015 (and as cited on his Wikipedia page), “Greedy” is a great nickname for a defensive back. “It helps to be greedy as a defensive back.”

    Indeed. A wide receiver nicknamed Greedy would be a cross between Antonio Brown and the Cookie Monster. A running back nicknamed Greedy would sulk if he didn’t get 30 carries per game. A quarterback nicknamed Greedy? There’s only one Sam Bradford, folks. But every team wants a cornerback eager to snatch every football he can from the air.

    Williams was nicknamed “Greedy-Deedee” by his aunt. His mother dropped the “Deedee,” because good personal branding begins in the nursery. Fast forward a few decades, and the 6’2” Williams was avariciously allowing just a 33.3 percent completion rate (per Sports Info Solutions) to the receivers he covered, who also happened to be some of the best receivers in the SEC.

    Williams is tall, fast, alert and quick in coverage, capable of sticking with D.K. Metcalf-types in man coverage and diagnosing plays in front of him in zone. Tackling is his biggest weakness: He’s a dive-stick tackler who throws himself at the ball-carrier’s legs and sometimes misses.

    Williams’ slide in this draft class was peculiar. He has Pro Bowl potential at cornerback.

    Grade: A+

47. Seattle Seahawks

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Marquise Blair, Safety, Utah

    Strengths: Aggressiveness

    Weaknesses: Aggressiveness

    Do you like fast, hard-hitting safeties? Who doesn’t? Do you like safeties who aim high and lead with the helmet? Err, maybe you do, but the referees and the folks who hand out fines and suspensions don’t.

    Blair was called for targeting three times in 2017 and 2018, and while NCAA “targeting” is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, his reckless tackling style will no doubt lead to some penalties and possible injuries to himself and others. Blair also gets carried away with the chase-and-launch tactics and will overrun some ball-carriers.

    If Blair becomes more disciplined, he has the speed, quickness, alertness and (of course) physicality to develop into a starter. Until then, he’s exciting to watch but a 15-yard penalty—or worse—waiting to happen.

    Blair is definitely a Seahawks type of player. I think he’s a reach, but after years of assigning draft grades I have also come to the conclusion that I can never figure out what the Seahawks are up to, but it usually works out just fine for them.

    Grade: C

48. New Orleans Saints

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    Erik McCoy, Center, Texas A&M

    Strengths: Quickness, tenacity

    Weaknesses: Upper-body strength

    Wait...wasn’t this supposed to be the pick the Dolphins were going to trade for Josh Rosen? What are the Saints doing here?

    They are replacing retired center Max Unger—that’s what they are doing.

    McCoy was a three-year starter for the Aggies who took over at center as a redshirt freshman in 2016.

    McCoy is quick off the snap, gets good position on his defender, stays low, finishes hard and looks for work when he’s uncovered or working downfield. He lacks upper-body powerdefenders wrench him backward if he doesn’t get ideal leverageand he’s not as athletic as North Carolina State center prospect Garrett Bradbury.

    McCoy’s a find-a-way scrapper who Sean Payton and the Saints coaches will love. He has the traits to be a starter and tone-setter in the middle of the line.

    Stay tuned for further developments in the Josh Rosen soap opera. Heck, maybe the Saints will wind up with him, too. In exchange for a 2020 sixth-round pick or something.

    Grade: B+

49. Indianapolis Colts

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    Ben Banogu, Edge-Rusher, TCU

    Strengths: Quickness

    Weaknesses: Run defense, tackling

    Banogu is a tough, toolsy edge-rusher who used excellent burst and a smidge of power and technique to produce 17 sacks in the last two seasons.

    He’s also a one-speed pass-rusher without a wide battery of moves, often gets engulfed in the running game and misses tackles because of either lunging or reacting too late to approaching ball-carriers.

    Banogu feels like a significant reach here. But Chris Ballard has a pretty good track record for unusual defensive selections in the second round. (You da man, Darius Leonard!) So I’m gonna hedge my bets with this grade.

    Grade: C+

50. Minnesota Vikings

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    Irv Smith Jr., Tight End, Alabama

    Strengths: Versatility, athleticism

    Weaknesses: Lacks Gronk/Kelce traits

    Irv Smith Sr. was a first-round pick by the Saints in 1993 despite producing just 28 career receptions at Notre Dame. “Blocking tight end” didn’t mean “guy who only plays on 4th-and-inches” back then. Smith had a handful of solid years for the Saints and other teams but was never a guy you wanted to start in your fantasy league.

    Irv Smith Jr. is a modern all-purpose tight end: shifty enough to get open and work underneath, fast enough to stretch the seam and rugged enough to line up at H-back and block effectively between the tackles and in pass protection. The Tide lined him up everywhere from wide receiver to the backfield, and the Vikings can get similar all-purpose use out of him.

    The best comp for Smith is neither his father nor O.J. Howard, the bigger tight end who preceded Smith at Alabama, but Greg Olsen.

    The Vikings got 64 receptions from Kyle Rudolph last year but just 10 from their other tight ends combined. So this is a nice, safe pick for the NFL’s nicest, safest wild-card team.

    Grade: B-

51. Tennessee Titans

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    A.J. Brown, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

    They’re mighty! They’re fascinating! They’re flawed! Get ready, true believers: Here’s the skinny on a member of the 2019 Draft Class Legion of Wide Receiver Superheroes!

    Superpowers: Athletic ability, intangible skills honed to the verge of human perfection

    One Weakness: Cursed to be overshadowed by a flashier partner

    Superhero Comparison: Nightwing

    Comic book readers know that Dick Grayson, the original Robin, grew up to be a much better crimefighter than Batman, possessing all the combat and detective skills without feeling the need to marginalize the local police force or pick random fights with Superman. Brown has always been more productive than teammate D.K. Metcalf. But guess who got to be Batman throughout predraft season? That’s right: the dude with all the muscle.

    NFL Comparison: Golden Tate

    Secret Superhero File

    Brown often operated from the slot for the Rebels, where he combined athleticism, crafty route running and an ability to make things happen after the catch to rack up 160 receptions for 2,572 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons among a crowded receiving corps.

    Brown lacks one flashy skill but does everything an NFL receiver must do to be successful. He shouldn’t be limited to a slot role in the pros.

    It’s telling that Brown is off the board before his bigger, faster partner-in-body-sculpting Metcalf. Brown gives Marcus Mariota a much-needed weapon. It seems like the Titans add much-needed Mariota weapons every year. If Brown doesn’t improve the Titans’ passing game, the team may have to look at the guy throwing the ball.

    Grade: B+

52. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Drew Sample, Tight End, Washington

    Strengths: Blocking, upside as a receiver

    Weaknesses: Production, route running

    If you are looking for Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz (or, say, a replacement for oft-injured Tyler Eifert), Sample is not your guy. If you are looking for the perfect No. 2 tight end to do the dirty work so Kelce or Ertz can catch 100 passes, Sample is your guy.

    Sample is a quick-footed, active blocker who can be a deadly weapon on screens, wall off defenders in the running game and hold his own one-on-one against edge-rushers if called upon. He caught just 25 passes in 2018 and lost much of the previous season to injury, but he works well in underneath zones and has just enough speed to take a linebacker up the seam.

    So Sample is more of a replacement for second tight end Tyler Kroft (now with the Bills) than a successor to Eifert. This is a bad second-round pick: There are better tight ends on the board, the Bengals have other needs, and the team cannot afford to think in terms of limited upside.

    Grade: D



53. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Miles Sanders, Running Back, Penn State

    Strengths: Jump-cuts, athletic potential

    Weaknesses: Decision-making, ball security

    Sanders was Saquon Barkley’s rarely used backup for two seasons before coming into his own with 1,274 rushing yards last season. He has quick feet, swively hips and excellent cutback ability, which led to some video-game-caliber highlights. He also lost a critical fumble against Ohio State and three others during the season, and there are some significant holes in his game: He’ll often make one move too many or bounce outside when he doesn’t have to, and his receiving experience is almost exclusively limited to screens and flare passes.

    Sanders tested extremely well at the combine, and there’s a chance his ball security will improve and he will become a more versatile receiver. If the Eagles are getting the guy on the highlight reel, this is a steal. If not, Sanders should at least produce a few big plays in a rotation with Jordan Howard and running into six-man defensive fronts on RPOs.

    Grade: B

54. Houston Texans

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    Lonnie Johnson, Cornerback, Kentucky

    Strengths: Height, press-man defense

    Weaknesses: Zone defense, run support

    Whenever the Texans pick over the first three rounds, we’ll check in to see if they are finally addressing their critical needs or just ignoring them the way they usually do.

    Texans finally addressing critical needs update: The Texans ranked 31st in the NFL at stopping opponents’ No. 1 receivers last year, per Football Outsiders. Technically, they addressed this need by adding Bradley Roby at cornerback to replace Kareem Jackson. The trouble is that Jackson was pretty good, Roby had some rough games last year, and the Texans’ issues with top receivers were more about depth and scheme than one guy.

    Johnson is 6’2”, with long arms and a 4.52-second 40-yard dash. Those numbers alone explain why Johnson is worth a second-round pick.

    Johnson moves well enough laterally to be sticky in man coverage, but things get weird when he is in off or zone coverage: he gets flat-footed and takes some weird drops (like, facing the sideline instead of the field) in zone coverage. He delivers some big hits in the open field but didn’t look like he wanted anything to do with run defense against Georgia’s big backs.

    Johnson is an enigma. But enigmas with his measurables get extra chances to succeed. And yes, he fills a need.

    Grade: C+

55. Houston Texans

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    Max Scharping, Offensive Tackle, Northern Illinois

    Strengths: Size, athleticism

    Weaknesses: Technique

    Whenever the Texans pick over the first three rounds, we’ll check in to see if they are finally addressing their critical needs or just ignoring them the way they usually do.

    Texans finally addressing critical needs update: First-round selection Tytus Howard wasn’t enough. The Texans need to draft offensive linemen in bundles. Not only did they allow a league-high 62 sacks last year, but they allowed pressure on a league-worst 38.5 percent of passing plays, per Sports Info Solutions. A quarterback less mobile than Deshaun Watson might have been sacked 70 times behind their line.

    Scharping is your basic mid-major left tackle: a gigantic dude (6'6”, 327 pounds) who moves well enough laterally to station himself in front of a pass-rusher and dare him to get past. Scharping's feet are quick but not fluid. He leans and lunges to countermoves and doesn't appear to have the best balance.

    So the Texans now have two small-program project tackles instead of one surefire starter. If they were a five-win rebuilding team, I would like their offensive line picks. But they are supposed to be in a playoff window, and they are taking some really unnecessary risks with their quarterback’s health and development.

    Grade: C

56. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver, Georgia

    Strengths: Speed, quickness, athleticism

    Weaknesses: Production, fit and finish

    Hardman was a combine superstar. He ran a 4.33-second 40 and stood out in receiving and quarterback drills, demonstrating smooth athleticism and natural receiving skills.

    Unfortunately, much of Hardman’s tape consists of him almost making big plays. Hardman operated mostly out of the slot for the Bulldogs but isn’t the kind of nifty-shifty receiver who becomes a big-play threat on screens or reverses in the NFL. He lacks the route-running craft to create consistent separation and doesn’t snatch tight-window throws away from his defenders.

    Hardman may have untapped potential, or he may have maxed out as a No. 2 receiver in the SEC.

    As you may know, the Chiefs have a developing need for some insurance at wide receiver. Hardman is a reach with this pick under any circumstances. There are better receivers on the board for whatever role the Chiefs are hoping to fill.

    Grade: C-

57. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver, Stanford

    Strengths: Frame, release, post-up abilities

    Weaknesses: Speed, quickness

    Arcega-Whiteside’s father, Joaquin Arcega, played professional basketball in Spain and Portugal for many years. His mother, Valerie Whiteside, was a three-time All-American basketball player who still holds a variety of school records at Appalachian State. The Spanish-born Arcega-Whiteside was a basketball standout in high school and specializes in bodying up his defender in the end-zone low post for entry passes; he hauled in 23 touchdown receptions in the last two seasons for the Cardinal, many of them “go up and get it” plays against less physical defenders.

    Arcega-Whiteside lacks deep speed and suddenness, though he is just quick-footed enough to beat defenders to his position off the release, making him a useful possession receiver. He catches the ball away from his body well. He looks like he should be effective as a blocker but isn’t super physical or alert when working downfield on runs or screens.

    Arcega-Whiteside looks more like an H-back or small tight end than a receiver, but he ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, so he should have the speed to get separation against NFL cornerbacks.

    This pick, combined with the Miles Sanders selection earlier in the round, significantly reshape the Eagles offense. Arcega-Whiteside is going to be a matchup headache near the end zone, and it will be fun to see what else Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz can do with his unique battery of skills.

    Grade: A-

58. Dallas Cowboys

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Trysten Hill, Defensive Tackle, Central Florida

    Strengths: Size, quickness, hand technique

    Weaknesses: Opinionated

    Hill's NFL.com scouting profile quotes an NFC area scout who said Hill is "opinionated" and "wasn't always fun to coach." Remember, folks: College coaching isn't just a lucrative career that gives men the type of kingly power usually associated with Old Testament villains. It's also supposed to be fun! And if it's not, blame the player!

    Hill has tape to match the top defensive tackles in this class: an electrifying first step, a powerful punch and a relentless (though not always disciplined) style. But something clearly happened when Josh Heupel replaced Scott Frost as the Knights' coach, since Hill lost his starting job and barely played in the Fiesta Bowl.

    This is a strong pick. The Cowboys need a replacement for suspended/retired David Irving on the interior line. And Hill has the potential to be a special player if coaches don't feel threatened by his "opinions," something which is rarely a problem in Dallas.

    Grade: A-

59. Indianapolis Colts

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Parris Campbell, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

    They’re mighty! They’re fascinating! They’re flawed! Get ready, true believers: Here’s the skinny on a member of the 2019 Draft Class Legion of Wide Receiver Superheroes!

    Superpowers: Super speed, lateral agility

    One Weakness: Powers only work from the slot

    Superhero Comparison: Spider-Man

    Despite his worldwide popularity, Spider-Man is often overlooked or taken for granted by other superheroes because of his unusual skill set (think for a moment about just how weird “shoots spider webs” would sound as a superpower if you didn’t grow up accepting it) and relative inexperience.

    NFL Comparison: Doug Baldwin

    Secret Superhero File

    Campbell tore up the combine with a 4.31-second 40 and some amazing jump and agility results. He mostly played from the slot for the Buckeyes, taking on Percy Harvin’s old role in Urban Meyer’s scheme and running screens, reverses, shallow crosses and sneaky seamers. It’s a rather limited menu of plays, and Campbell isn’t quite as nifty-shifty as Harvin or Tyreek Hill. But the combine results suggest untapped potential, and Campbell has shown a little route-running craft and double-move capability.

    This is a strong system pick. Campbell will have plenty of room to run underneath in Frank Reich’s offense with T.Y. Hilton stretching defenses deep. The Colts needed a burst of speed and YAC ability from the slot in their offense, and they just got it.

    Grade: A

60. Los Angeles Chargers

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    Nasir Adderley, Safety/Cornerback, Delaware

    Strengths: Quickness, range, instincts

    Weaknesses: Level of competition, experience at any one position

    Adderley is the first cousin, twice removed, of Hall of Fame cornerback Herb Adderley, who played for the Vince Lombardi Packers and Tom Landry Cowboys back in the day when Cover 2 defense meant “two defenders beating the receiver over the head with spiked clubs all the way down the field.”

    “Twice removed” means “two generations away.” So your parent’s first cousin, who you probably call “aunt” or “uncle” if you don’t just mute them on Facebook, is actually your first cousin, once removed. Herb Adderley was the first cousin of Nasir’s grandfather, Nelson, who played running back at Ohio State and spent time in the CFL. Hence: first cousin, twice removed.

    Bet you always thought “removed” cousins meant they were kicked off the Thanksgiving list or something. Now you know the truth.

    Nasir Adderley moved from safety to cornerback his senior season for the Blue Hens; his game tape shows great athleticism and hustle but, sometimes, poor technique and confusion about his assignment. On Day 1 of Senior Bowl practices he struggled against FBS receivers in man coverage. But by all accounts he got better by the rep throughout the week.

    Adderley has the upside to be a Malcolm Jenkins-caliber cornerback-safety hybrid. But he’s probably a year away. In the meantime, he’ll contribute in packages and on special teams while getting some family advice from one of the few people on earth with six NFL championship rings.

    The Chargers are now loaded with hybrid defensive backs Adderley, Derwin James, Desmond King and so on. They may line up with a base formation of nose tackle Jerry Tillery, edge-rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and eight defensive backs.

    And you know what? I’m down with that. At least until they face the Patriots in the playoffs.

    It may seem odd that the Chargers keep drafting hybrid defensive backs every year. But since they like to deploy six/seven defensive back base schemes, it makes sense for them to add players to fit their system—and even to add depth at positions that other teams think of as situational roles.

    Grade: B

61. Los Angeles Rams

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Taylor Rapp, Safety, Washington

    Strengths: Range, Instincts

    Weaknesses: Run support

    Andy Fenelon of NFL.com wrote a remarkable feature on Rapp’s background: Rapp attended a high school where cross-country was the most popular sport and the football team was undermanned and underfunded; he endured racial slurs on the field (he’s Chinese American) and only switched from baseball to football in high school after his older brother lost an opportunity to play linebacker at Washington to a shoulder injury. Check out the full story here.

    Rapp is an exceptional athlete and was rarely tested deep or in man coverage for the Huskies. In fact, he was a tricky player to evaluate on tape: Rapp was often the guy who ran from the far left corner of the screen to the middle of the screen to finish a play on someone else’s receiver. It takes a lot of grinding to see just why the ball so rarely came his way.

    Rapp was also effective off the edge as a surprise blitzer, but he projects as a true free safety who takes on some occasional man-coverage assignments. He may not be as versatile as the prototypical late-2010s safeties. But every team can use someone to shut down Odell Beckham Jr. and Tyreek Hill on deep routes. And no: Rapp’s slow 40 time at his pro day is not a true reflection of his play speed. At all.

    Eric Weddle and John Johnson are the Rams’ starting safeties, but Weddle (newly acquired from the Ravens) won’t be around forever, and Rapp will provide a dose of speed and versatility in nickel/dime packages until he is ready to take over a starting role.

    Grade: B

62. Arizona Cardinals

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    Andy Isabella, Wide Receiver, Massachusetts

    Strengths: Speed, acceleration

    Weaknesses: Size, pass-catching consistency

    Isabella was part of a small group of players made available to the media during a Senior Bowl week rainout day. Reporters circled all the big young dudes to ask questions, as we do. But after a few minutes, I saw Isabella leaning against the wall scrolling through his phone, unnoticed by my colleagues. Isabella is so small and unassuming that everyone must have mistaken him for one of the interns who leads players to and from interviews.

    Isabella looks like the typical slot receiver, but he’s not. He played mostly on the outside for the Minutemen and has an outside receiver’s skill set, including deep speed and double-move capability on longer routes. He’s more of a Desean Jackson type than a Wes Welker type, though he has some limitations as an outside receiver, including a tendency to body-catch or double-clutch receptions instead of cleanly snatching the ball.

    The Cardinals sure are loading up on fun-sized players, aren’t they? Maybe size really doesn’t matter, and the Cardinals are the organization that will finally teach the NFL this lesson. Forgive me for being a little skeptical. Isabella is a reach, and Kyler Murray needs a security blanket, not a project.

    Grade: C

63. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Juan Thornhill, Safety/Cornerback, Virginia

    Strengths: Ball skills, versatility

    Weaknesses: Foot quickness and burst

    Thornhill was a high school quarterback and basketball star who started his Cavaliers career at corner before moving to safety last season. He appears to lack the quick hips and short-area burst to be an effective every-down cornerback in the NFL. But there’s a lot to love about Thornhill as a safety: He diagnoses pass patterns effectively, is dangerous with the ball in his hands, sifts through open-field blocks as a run defender and can cause disruption when attacking off the edge.

    Teams looking for another Derwin James won’t find one in this draft. But teams looking for versatile matchup safeties who may not be immediate Pro Bowlers but can have an impact as run and pass defenders will be able to bargain shop over the next two days. Thornhill is among the best of the bunch.

    Grade: B+

64. Seattle Seahawks

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    Thomas Graning/Associated Press

    D.K. Metcalf, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

    They’re mighty! They’re fascinating! They’re flawed! Get ready, true believers: Here’s the skinny on a member of the 2019 Draft Class Legion of Wide Receiver Superheroes!

    Superpowers: Asgardian body sculpting, straight-line running

    One Weakness: A mysterious inability to go sideways

    Superhero Comparison: Cannonball

    X-Men C-lister Sam Guthrie is nigh-invulnerable when blasting straight ahead, making him a valuable ally to his fellow mutants, but he never quite got the hang of maneuverability when flying. (Also, his movie is trapped in a development nightmare.)

    Wide Receiver Comparison: Plaxico Burress

    Secret Superhero File

    Metcalf had a strange offseason. His yoked-up Twitter workout photos made him a predraft celebrity, and his 4.33-second 40 at 228 pounds looked like a CGI special effect. But he ran his agility drills as if trapped in quicksand. The tape shows a boundary receiver who can outrun and outjump any cornerback and is too mighty to jam, but his game doesn’t feature much lateral quickness or versatility.

    The biggest concern for Metcalf may not be his agility, but the foot injury that sidelined him for much of the 2018 season. He might be better off putting less strain on his lower body by slimming down instead of going for the action-figure look.

    Metcalf is an immediate matchup nightmare for the Seahawks. Whether he becomes more than a one-dimensional deep threat depends on both his health and his ability to cut more quickly than a school bus making a left in traffic.

    But you can already picture him running through defenders after hauling in Russell Wilson passes, can’t you? The Seahawks got a bargain on a player with Pro Bowl upside.

    Grade: A

65. Arizona Cardinals

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Zach Allen, Defensive End, Boston College

    Strengths: Size, bull rush

    Weaknesses: Pass-rush moves

    First of all, kudos to the Cardinals for eventually getting a Josh Rosen trade done. It was convoluted, they probably could have gotten more if they started shopping Rosen aggressively the moment they decided on Kyler Murray, and they used the pick on a small receiver from a small program, but they get a C for not doing something loopy like trying to keep both quarterbacks and turning the meeting room into a reality TV set.

    As for this pick, Allen is a prototypical run-stopping defensive end with some potential as a pass-rusher. He possesses some initial quickness, burst and agility to go with 6’4”, 281-pound size and exceptional leverage. He’s not a nifty pass-rusher with a battery of moves, but he was able to walk back second-tier college linemen into the quarterback.

    There are better defensive players on the board. This is turning into a very strange night for the Cardinals.

    Grade: C-

66. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    Diontae Johnson, Wide Receiver, Toledo

    Strengths: Return skills, YAC ability

    Weaknesses: Size, route running

    Johnson returned two punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns in his college career. He’s fast and nifty with the ball in his hands, but he’s not the kind of route technician a 183-pound receiver needs to be to operate out of the slot. Look for him to start his career as a return specialist.

    The Steelers appear to think they are not very needy: trading up in the first round, skipping the second, getting cute with a specialist/project in the third. What are the chances that the organization has lost touch and is deluding itself? (Checks recent history, performs calculations.) Oh, about 75 percent. Carry on, then.

    Grade: D

67. San Francisco 49ers

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    Jalen Hurd, Wide Receiver, Baylor

    Strengths: Length, hands, ball skills, mismatch potential

    Weaknesses: Quickness, experience at receiver, square-peg characteristics

    The 6’5” Hurd started his college career as a workhorse running back for Tennessee because Tennessee football is weird. After he suffered a concussion in 2016, Hurd asked to move to wide receiver, but the request was denied because Tennessee football is weird. (I can hear Butch Jones now: “What am I supposed to do? Give carries to your backup, that Alvin Kamara guy?”)

    Anyway, Hurd transferred to Baylor, where head coach Matt Rhule slid him around from I-formation tailback to slot receiver in search of mismatches. It was fun to watch, and Hurd’s mix of size, long speed and natural receiving ability led to lots of big plays in the Big 12, where coverage and tackling are optional.

    As interesting and diverse as his college experience was, Hurd is exactly the kind of tall slot receiver who tears up the Big 12 but becomes a little-used role player at the NFL level. He lacks lateral quickness and route-running experience, and he’s a long strider off the line of scrimmage. Cordarrelle Patterson (another Tennessee square peg) is the obvious comparison, though Patterson was quicker and shiftier than Hurd.

    So I am not a huge Hurd fan, but I like the combination of Hurd and second-round pick Deebo Samuel in Kyle Shanahan’s offense (with George Kittle and others): They are going to line up all over the place and do a lot of different things, and it will be fun to see how defenses adjust to the potential mismatches.

    Grade: B-

68. New York Jets

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    Jachai Polite, Edge-Rusher, Florida

    Bleacher Report proudly presents your Field Guide to the Elite Edge-Rushers of the 2019 Draft

    Athleticism: A on film. C- in workouts.

    First-Step Quickness: A on film.

    Power: C.

    Pass-Rushing Moves: B+. Polite is a speed-rusher with an explosive first step and some Tasmanian Devil traits when operating in space.  

    Run Support: B. Polite could get pushed around at the point of attack but was fine on the backside and in pursuit.

    Coverage: C+.Polite didn’t do it much, but he could chase down receivers on swing passes and sniffed out some screens.

    Worries: There are many.

    Few prospects in recent memory have had as disastrous of a predraft season as Polite. There were questions about his maturity and work habits at Gainesville, and they manifested themselves when Polite appeared flabby and unprepared for the combine. He was even less prepared for his pro day, and both of those workouts ended with minor hamstring injuries.

    Polite had the tape of a top-15 pick. But edge-rushers with dubious professionalism often deal with weight fluctuations and soft-tissue injuries in addition to all of the other issues that crop up when young men make poor decisions. Polite will probably start his career as a 10- or 15-snap 3rd-and-long specialist  To be anything more, he must prove that he’s the guy we saw on film, not the one we saw in March.

    Whoever is running the Jets right now (it may be Fantasy Autodraft) just made a high-risk, high-reward selection. But it’s the third round, the organization has done a fine job addressing other needs in free agency, and Polite could join Quinnen Williams on a very scary defensive line if he figures things out.

    Grade: B

69. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Josh Oliver, Tight End, San Jose State

    Strengths: Athleticism, effort

    Weaknesses: Route running, drops

    Nick Foles was at his best when tossing short RPO passes to Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton and Dallas Goedert for the Eagles. But the Jaguars tight end corps before this pick consisted of Geoff Swaim (the guy Jason Witten left the broadcast booth to replace), Ben Koyack (24 catches in three seasons), James O’Shaughnessy (sounds suspiciously like a Tom Coughlin son-in-law) and Pharoah McKever (successor to Pharaoh Brown and Pharoh Cooper in the 11th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom; and yes, it took 15 minutes to get all of those alternate spellings straight for this silly gag).

    Oliver was a later riser in a deep tight end class. He caught 56 passes in his final season with the Spartans, then performed well at the Senior Bowl and impressed at the combine. He dropped some catchable passes in 2018 (eight drops, per Sports Info Solutions) but also has a knack for making tough catches away from the body and in traffic. He was a good enough blocker and an excellent YAC producer at the mid-major level.

    Oliver projects as an H-back at the NFL level. Like many of the tight ends in this class, he has the upside to grow into a Delanie Walker type if his blocking and route running improve. He wasn’t the top tight end left on my board, but he fills a need.

    Grade: B

70. Los Angeles Rams

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Darrell Henderson, Running Back, Memphis

    Strengths: Speed, burst, power

    Weaknesses: Size, upright style

    Henderson enjoyed a phenomenal game against Central Florida in the American Conference championship game: 210 yards and three touchdowns, with much of the production coming as a Wildcat quarterback, a fourth touchdown negated by a penalty, and a four-yard touchdown pass from the Wildcat at the goal line. Remember: those numbers came when playing against his conference’s lone superpower.

    Henderson has a thick upper body, an upright running style, and tremendous burst and breakaway speed. On the downside, his rushing style makes him easier-than-expected to bring down before he gets a head of steam going, and he’s not that patient or nimble when looking for a whole.

    Henderson’s productivity (2,204 scrimmage yards last year), speed, rushing style and Wildcat adventures call to mind Darren McFadden, the former two-time Heisman runner-up selected fourth overall by the Raiders in 2008. McFadden had a long, productive career but never quite lived up to his expectations. Henderson could be similar: a big-play guy who needs everything blocked up for him to generate yardage on a play-by-play basis.

    Henderson is a bit of a reach—there is a lot of running back talent on the board—but he’s a strong fit for the Rams. He’ll be a scary changeup for Todd Gurley, and he can start in a pinch if Gurley suffers one of his mysterious playoff non-injury injuries.

    Grade: C+

71. Denver Broncos

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    Dre'Mont Jones, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State

    Strengths: Initial burst, hand technique

    Weaknesses: Anchor vs. the run

    Jones may be the best pure interior pass-rusher in this draft class. He has an explosive (though inconsistent) initial burst, a nasty rip move, an adequate spin move and great all-around athleticism when chasing scramblers or leaping to swat down passes.

    On the down side, Jones is a little high-cut and can be turned sideways and wrenched out of the action on running downs. But hey, no one runs the ball in the NFL anymore, so who cares?

    Seriously, Jones' disruptive capability will get him into the lineup quickly. And he’s going to be scary rushing the passer surrounded by Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Derek Wolfe.

    This is turning into a really solid draft for John Elway and the Broncos.

    Never thought I would type a sentence like that.

    Grade: A

72. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Germaine Pratt, Linebacker, North Carolina State

    Strengths: Burst, instincts in space

    Weaknesses: Experience, run fits

    Pratt is a converted safety, and he plays like one. He has good eyes in space, crashes down quickly to make tackles and will diagnose plays quickly and run ball-carriers down in lateral pursuit. He was trusted with tough coverage assignments frequently and knows how to handle them, though he gave up easy catches to niftier running backs. Pratt is easy to root out of running lanes and gets pushed around against the run. But a 6’2”, 240-pound linebacker with safety skills will be useful in nickel packages. Look for Pratt to get a chance to step in and start right away, filling a hole at Will linebacker.

    Grade: B+

73. Chicago Bears

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    David Montgomery, Running Back, Iowa State

    Strengths: Patience, decisiveness, consistency

    Weaknesses: Speed, dynamic qualities, usage

    Montgomery is an old-fashioned workhorse. He sets up his blocks, runs north-south, has great vision when cutting back and weaving through traffic, doesn’t make many negative plays and is good enough to be a factor as a receiver and pass protector.

    Being an “old-fashioned workhorse” cuts both ways. Montgomery had 515 carries in the last two seasons, and there’s not a lot of razzle-dazzle to his game, which could force him into a rotation/committee role.

    Montgomery reminds me of Carlos Hyde, an effective runner who is about to play for his fourth team in three seasons because the skills that made workhorse runners superstars 25 years ago just aren’t in great demand anymore.

    Montgomery will step right into Jordan Howard’s old role and do Jordan Howard’s old things. Montgomery is a modest upgrade over the 2018 version of Howard, but this is more of a hold-steady pick for the Bears than a difference-making selection.

    Grade: C+

74. Buffalo Bills

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Devin Singletary, Running Back, Florida Atlantic

    Strengths: Elusiveness, tackle breaking, finish

    Weaknesses: Size, speed, hands

    Singletary rushed for 4,287 yards in his college career, and according to Sports Info Solutions, he had the highest rate of broken tackles per 100 touches in the nation last year with 41. He’s a highlight waiting to happen in open space, with great lateral quickness, the balance to rip through tackles and a strong finish.

    The downside? Singletary caught just six passes last year; his role in the passing game evaporated as his college career wore on. He’s a high-effort pass protector with bad technique who can get steamrolled. Singletary’s combine results were ordinary; he may be just fast and quick enough to elude Conference USA defenders but not NFL defenders.

    Singletary joins a crowded backfield featuring LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon. But Gore is 35, Yeldon has never lived up to his potential, and McCoy may get kicked out of Buffalo for tweeting Avengers: Endgame spoilers.

    Singletary could become a Marlon Mack type if he’s quicker than his numbers suggest and his role in the passing game develops.

    Grade: B-

75. Green Bay Packers

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    Sean Rayford/Associated Press

    Jace Sternberger, Tight End, Texas A&M

    Strengths: Hands, blocking effort, upside

    Weaknesses: Size, quickness

    Sternberger started his college career at Kansas, got buried on the depth chart of a team that never throws to tight ends, transferred to JUCO for a year, then became an instant success story for the Aggies. He dominated spring games before leading the team with 48 receptions, 832 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.

    Sternberger is a hustling blocker who often lines up at H-back and seals the edge, thumps linebackers and works inside. He’s a nifty route-runner who works to get open, has the hands to make contested grabs and will generate some yards after the catch.

    If he were bigger and less of a gather-up runner, Sternberger would have Zach Ertz-level potential. But even as he is, he can be a perennial 60-catch threat with big-play capabilities who can also make a positive contribution in the running game. He’s an ideal fit in Matt LaFleur’s McVay/Shanahan-scented offense because of his versatility as an in-line tight end.

    Grade: A-

76. Washington Redskins

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    Paul Vernon/Associated Press

    Terry McLaurin, Wide Receiver, Ohio State

    Strengths: Extraordinary predraft process

    Weaknesses: Ordinary film

    McLaurin was impossible to cover during Senior Bowl practices. A well-respected team leader and special teams standout, McLaurin sounded like a cross between an offensive coordinator and a city councilman in media interviews. Then he burnt a 4.35-second 40 at the combine. Based on January through March, McLaurin was a potential first-round pick. But on tape, he was just a one-dimensional burner in a crowded receiving corps for the Buckeyes.

    McLaurin reminds me of Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was overdrafted as the seventh overall pick by the speed-obsessed Raiders a decade ago but had some productive years before he settled in as the Steelers’ longtime special teams captain.

    I really like McLaurin, but the Washington receiving corps consists of him, Josh Doctson (draftnik binky vaporware), Paul Richardson (frail speedster), Brian Quick (draftnik binky vaporware, 2012 edition), Tre McBride (10 career receptions, about 20 career transactions), Jehu Chesson (possibly a made-up person) and Darvin Kidsy (almost certainly a made-up person).

    If McLaurin didn’t really elevate his game after his college career ended, he could be just another predraft superstar who maxes out as a third-to-fifth receiver.

    Grade: B-

77. New England Patriots

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    Jim Young/Associated Press

    Chase Winovich, Edge-Rusher, Michigan

    Bleacher Report proudly presents your Field Guide to the Elite Edge-Rushers of the 2019 Draft

    Athleticism: A. Winovich doesn’t have Montez Sweat’s eye-popping measurables, but his size-speed-agility profile is excellent.

    First-Step Quickness: B.

    Power: C+. Winovich is rugged but can get pushed around when bigger blockers get their mitts on him.

    Pass-Rushing Moves: A-. Winovich has exceptional bend and gets ideal leverage when turning the corner on his blocker, and he has quick, heavy hands to disengage from blocks.  

    Run Support: B. Good in pursuit, assignment-sound, willing to take on blockers, occasionally gets snow-plowed.

    Coverage: Does not apply.

    Worries: None.

    Despite his Thor-like hair and biceps and his 18.5 sacks in three seasons, Winovich was somehow overshadowed by Rashan Gary and Devin Bush on the Wolverines front seven. He may have been typecast as a “hustle sack” guy, when in fact Winovich has the athleticism and technique to be a dangerous disruptor at the NFL level.

    This Is How The Patriots Get Ya: The Patriots recorded just 30 sacks last season and had a lower sack percentage (4.7%) than any team but the hapless Raiders. They added Michael Bennett but lost Tre Flowers in the offseason, and they’ll probably grab some other team’s former draft bust before camp and get seven sacks out of him, but even Bill Belichick sometimes needs an actual pass-rusher to rush the passer. And he just got a really good one in the middle of the third round.

    Grade: A

78. Miami Dolphins

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Michael Deiter, Guard/Center, Wisconsin

    Strengths: Versatility, run blocking

    Weaknesses: Lack of elite traits

    Dolphins rebuilding plan update: The Dolphins allowed 53 sacks last season and finished 31st in the NFL in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. They obviously need to prioritize the offensive line if they even want to be able to evaluate their other needs.

    Deiter started at center, left tackle and left guard at various times in his Badgers career. He doesn’t have the frame or athleticism to be anything but a stopgap left tackle in the NFL, but he has the tools to succeed on the interior line: a mauling punch and finish and enough quickness to get the job done in pass protection and when pulling/trapping. Deiter probably fits best as a left guard (his 2018 position) and could be an immediate, capable starter for the Dolphins. Barring that, he has value as a four-position sub off the bench.

    Grade: B+

79. Los Angeles Rams

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    David Long, Cornerback, Michigan

    Strengths: Speed, jam

    Weaknesses: Footwork off the snap

    The Rams ranked 28th in the NFL at stopping opponent’s No. 1 receivers, per Football Outsiders. Aqib Talib is 33 years old, Marcus Peters takes frequent journeys to the center of his own mind, Nickell Robey-Coleman’s first name is his destiny, and no team really has enough depth at cornerback.

    Long is a feisty cornerback with a nasty jam off the line and both the speed and quickness to stick to receivers on a variety of routes. His only flaws are that he looks short compared to the Justin Layne-sized cornerbacks in this class (he’s actually 5’11”, so it’s fine) and a tendency to get beaten off the snap and lose position when he’s not pressing (correctable). Otherwise, Long has clean tape and solid measurables. He should grow quickly into a dependable starter.

    Grade: B+

80. Cleveland Browns

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    Steve Conner/Associated Press

    Sione Takitaki, Linebacker, Brigham Young

    Strengths: Effort, productivity

    Weaknesses: Lateral quickness

    Read Jay Drew’s in-depth 2018 Salt Lake Tribune profile of Takitaki for details of his transformation from as a self-described “troublemaker” with off-field issues into a team captain (with a lot of help from his wife, former BYU swimmer Alyssa Penney). Takitaki projects as a career special teamer because of his size, effort and high motor; he could get by as a starter, but he will always be a liability in coverage.

    The Browns have made lots of great moves this offseason and earlier tonight, but Takitaki would have been a great third-day hustle-and-effort flier.

    Grade: C-

81. Detroit Lions

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Will Harris, Safety, Boston College

    Strengths: Speed

    Weaknesses: Instincts

    The Lions allowed a passer rating of 102.7 to opposing quarterbacks, despite the presence of Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs in the secondary.

    One problem was the lack of depth: overmatched defenders like Mike Ford and Teez Tabor played a lot of snaps last year. Newcomers like Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin will give Matt Patricia more options, but when it comes to the secondary, you can never have too much depth or competition.

    Harris is a toolsy prospect who timed well, but he’s a project who would have probably been on the board in the middle of Day 3. He’ll start his career as a rotation safety. The upside is there, but with lots of more polished safety talent on the board (Alabama’s Deionte Thompson is still out there, for heaven’s sake), this is a head-scratching pick.

    Grade: D+

82. Tennessee Titans

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    Nate Davis, Guard/Center, North Carolina-Charlotte

    Strengths: Power, brawler’s mentality

    Weaknesses: Balance

    Davis plays like the angriest dude in the mosh pit. Which means, of course, that he came across as the coolest cucumber in the crisper during Senior Bowl and combine interviews.

    “Being a calm and relaxed person is something that’s been instilled in me since I was a young kid,” Davis said at the combine. “My mom and dad, they brought me up to be a nice gentleman. When you put on that helmet, it’s a different mindset. When you go out there, you try to kill, basically.”

    Davis isn’t kidding about that mindset. He tries to pulverize everything in sight and sometimes doesn’t let a little thing like the whistle stop him. He lacks the top athleticism and arm length to play tackle (his position at North Carolina-Charlotte), but he performed well at guard during Senior Bowl practices and said at the combine that he is working on his center snaps, as well.

    This is a fine pick. Davis is a little rough around the edges technically, but he has the tools and temperament to be an outstanding interior blocker.

    Grade: A

83. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Justin Layne, Cornerback, Michigan State

    Strengths: Height, zone instincts

    Weaknesses: Quickness

    At 6’2”, Layne belongs to this year’s class of king-sized cornerbacks, along with Kentucky’s Lonnie Johnson, Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye, Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams and others.

    Layne has far better eyes and awareness in off coverage than Johnson (though he gets into some miscommunication situations). And, without safety help, he isn’t a touchdown waiting to happen like Williams—although he plays the ball very well on deeper routes.

    Like most taller cornerbacks, Layne lacks ideal lateral quickness, and he’s not the thumper you want in run support.

    I’ve been hard on the Steelers so far, but Layne is an outstanding value at this point in the third round. He’s a strong fit in their scheme and should step into a starting role quickly.

    Grade: A

84. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Khalen Saunders, Defensive Tackle, Western Illinois

    Strengths: Quickness, athleticism

    Weaknesses: Length, level of competition

    The Chiefs allowed 5.0 yards per rush last season, the second-highest figure in the NFL, and they lost a pair of critical games, in part, because of the Patriots’ ability to downshift into ground-and-pound mode against them.

    Saunders is best known for: a) doing backflips in viral videos; and b) becoming a father during Senior Bowl week. (Follow @KhalenNOTKaylen on Twitter for updates on the baby and Saunders' chicken nugget-based parenting philosophies).

    Saunders is more than just the feel-good story of the draft. He's a solid prospect who generated 12 sacks and lots of disruptive plays against top-tier FCS competition over the last two seasons despite facing constant double-teams.

    Saunders is short for a defensive lineman, but he has the energy and athleticism to be a productive situational player, plus the personality to be an outstanding locker room fit. He fills a need on the Chiefs defense, and he gives the team a fun new personality to root for.

    Grade: B+

85. Baltimore Ravens

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Jaylon Ferguson, Edge-Rusher, Louisiana Tech

    Bleacher Report proudly presents your Field Guide to the Elite Edge-Rushers of the 2019 Draft

    Athleticism: C+. Ferguson lacks the fluidity and lateral quickness of a prototypical elite edge-rusher.

    First-Step Quickness: B+.

    Power: A.This is where he makes up for that lack of fluidity and lateral quickness.

    Pass-Rushing Moves: B. Ferguson wins with his first step, punch and hand placement. He doesn’t have a huge arsenal of moves, but what he has works.

    Run Support: C+.  

    Coverage: Does not apply.

    Worries: Consistency and technique.

    Ferguson recorded 17.5 sacks last season and 45 sacks in his college career, but his traits don’t quite match that eye-popping production. He needs to do a better job getting leverage against the run, and his lack of pass-rushing technique and agility could make him a complementary right end in the NFL as opposed to a star.

    The Ravens lost 16 sacks and almost 200 tackles along the front seven with the departures of Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and C.J. Mosley. Not even the Ravens can replace all of that by promoting from within. Ferguson is the kind of player the Ravens have had success with in the past, and despite some limitations, he’s a good value in this round.

    Grade: A-

86. Houston Texans

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    Kahale Warring, Tight End, San Diego State

    Strengths: Athletic upside

    Weaknesses: Experience

    Texans finally addressing critical needs update: DeAndre Hopkins caught 115 passes last season. No other Texans player caught more than 32 passes. The Texans addressed this issue in the offseason by hoping Will Fuller V gets healthy and stays healthy (there’s a first time for everything) and insisting that Keke Coutee is a gamebreaker (he’s more like a Tavon Austin type who looks electrifying running reverses during non-contact practices). And they haven’t had a real playmaker at tight end in living memory.

    I profiled Warring before the draft. The short version: He never played (and rarely even watched) football until his senior year of high school because he focused on basketball as his primary sport and played water polo in the fall. He was so raw he didn’t know how many players were on each side of the ball when he entered the San Diego State program. (He guessed 13). But he slowly developed into the Aztec’s top receiver, and he’s not nearly as raw as that 13-player story would lead you to believe.

    Warring’s multi-sport athleticism is most evident when he posts up defenders in the end zone and uses elite agility to snap his body around and catch the ball on underneath routes. His blocking needs work, but the physicality is there.

    Warring isn’t as much of a project as your typical Rico Gathers-style “basketball project” tight end. He could be a situational threat immediately and a starter by next season. Think Dallas Goedert with a little bit of Aquaman mixed in.

    The Texans are addressing their needs in some really weird ways. But at least they are addressing them.

    Grade: B+

87. New England Patriots

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    Damien Harris, Running Back, Alabama

    Strengths: Patience and vision, downhill style, outlet-receiving

    Weaknesses: Speed, elusiveness

    Harris held off the more toolsy Josh Jacobs (drafted in the first round by the Raiders) for three years by being a reliable all-purpose back who followed his blocks behind the dominant Alabama line, took what the defense offered and added a little more with his quick-cutting ability and authoritative finish. He’s also an alert, high-effort pass protector (though not always an effective one) and a capable outlet receiver.

    If that sounds like a committee back with no special traits at the NFL level, then bingo! Harris will stick on rosters and earn carries because of his no-nonsense rushing style, versatility and effort, but if given a featured role he will be a Peyton Barber type: not bad, but not a difference-maker.

    This Is How The Patriots Get Ya: A running back? For a team that already has Sony Michel and James White and usually adds some guy cut by the Jets or Browns to score an extra touchdown or two in the playoffs? You do you, Patriots. This pick looks like a stretch, but so do many of the Patriots’ best moves. Hence the header on this little segment.

    Grade: C-

88. Seattle Seahawks

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    Cody Barton, Linebacker, Utah

    Strengths: Hustle, testing numbers

    Weaknesses: Play speed

    Barton is a lean, long-armed prospect who impressed at the Senior Bowl and combine. The tape shows an active defender who lines up all over the field and throws his body around but lacks the ideal range to play in space in the NFL or bulk to thump between the tackles.

    Barton would project as a multiposition sub and special teamer in any other system. The Seahawks are really using up their “we know what we are doing on defense” benefit of the doubt in this draft.

    Grade: C-

89. Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Bobby Okereke, Linebacker, Stanford

    Strengths: Quickness, zone coverage

    Weaknesses: Run fits

    Just as the Seahawks are riding their Legion of Boom reputation and daring me to make fun of their selections, the Colts are reaching for all sorts of unusual defenders, trolling anyone who didn’t learn their lesson with Darius Leonard last year.

    Okereke can stick as a nickel linebacker. He’s quick, reads plays well, shows some burst when blitzing, is a steady enough open-field tackler and gets high marks for IQ and work habits. His run-defense technique too often consists of meeting a lineman in the hole and bouncing backward, but who needs run defense nowadays?

    Grade: C-

90. Dallas Cowboys

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    Connor McGovern, Center/Guard, Penn State

    Strengths: Size, versatility

    Weaknesses: Athleticism

    This draft class is loaded with major-program interior linemen with experience at both center and guard but adequate-at-best athleticism: McGovern, Alabama’s Ross Pierschbacher, Ohio State’s Michael Jordan, etc. The Cowboys have health and depth concerns on the interior of their once-vaunted offensive line, but McGovern, who shares his name with a Broncos guard, is a big high-effort guy with slow feet and questionable balance. He probably maxes out as a multiposition sub.

    Grade: C

91. Los Angeles Chargers

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    Trey Pipkins, Offensive Tackle, Sioux Falls

    Strengths: Potential

    Weaknesses: Readiness

    Pipkins is a big, toolsy guy who generated some buzz at the Shrine Game. I know little about him except what I have seen in some highlight videos, like this one from the Patriots’ website.

    Pipkins' highlights aren't spectacular on that video. A D-II tackle prospect should be picking up one defender by the feet and swinging him to swat a second defender, but Pipkins doesn't do anything like that.

    Maybe the Patriots were doing Patriots stuff by keeping the good highlights to themselves and making the rest of the league think they only saw the OK ones. Or maybe Pipkins just has some magic to do on his way to making an NFL roster.

    This would be an interesting reach pick in the sixth round. There are several good tackle prospects on the board, and the Chargers may need someone to play long before Pipkins is ready.

    Grade: C-

92. New York Jets

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    Chuma Edoga, Offensive Tackle, USC

    Strengths: Size, quickness

    Weaknesses: Consistency

    Edoga was ejected from a game in 2016 for slapping an opponent and then shoving an official. Granted, the official yanked Edoga by the back of the jerseynot the best de-escalation technique, folksbut Edoga acknowledged at the combine that he had some maturity issues early in his college career.

    "When I first got to USC, I was young and dumb," he said. "I took those experiences on the chin, and they helped make me a better man today."

    Edoga is a massive dude with some of the quickest feet in this draft class, but his tape runs hot and cold. One moment, he's adjusting smoothly to pick up a blitzer; the next, he's getting beaten inside or becoming a nonfactor on a screen. The tools of a starting right (or even left) tackle are there. Edoga still may be learning what to do with them.

    Edoga could compete with Brandon Shell for a starting job at right tackle in camp. But the Jets are probably looking down the road and hoping they just got the eventual replacement for Kelvin Beachum.

    Grade: B+

93. Baltimore Ravens

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    Miles Boykin, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame

    Strengths: Side-speed package, contested-catch skills

    Weaknesses: Route running, overall consistency

    Boykin ran a 4.42-second 40 at 6’4”, 220 pounds. Those are the measurables of a first-round selection, and if Boykin played every game like he did against Stanford or Virginia Tech last year (19 catches for 261 yards and three touchdowns in those two outings), he would likely have been a top-15 pick.

    At his best, Boykin is an ideal possession receiver who commands off coverage because of his size and speed, shields his defender from the ball and easily hauls in difficult intermediate passes. But Boykin isn’t at his best as often as he should be. His route running is rudimentary (and sometimes looks a little indifferent). He has gather-up speed instead of burst, lacks instincts when his quarterback is scrambling and runs hot and cold as a downfield blocker.

    Boykin could be Kelvin Benjamin 2.0: breathtakingly talented and impressive in bursts but likely to become a perennial tease if his overall game doesn’t develop. If Boykin figures things out, however, he and Hollywood Brown could be electrifying in a Lamar Jackson offense.

    Grade: C+

94. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Jamel Dean, Cornerback, Auburn

    Strengths: Size-speed-athleticism package

    Weaknesses: Technique

    As mentioned when they drafted Sean Bunting in the second round, the Buccaneers allowed a league-high 110.9 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks. They entered the draft with Carlton Davis, Vernon Hargreaves, Justin Evans and Kentrell Brice as their starting secondary. Unless you are a Bucs fan, Hargreaves may be the only one you have heard of, and he cannot stay healthy.

    Dean was a Combine 40-time superstar, posting a 4.31 time at 6’1”, with a thick frame and long arms. And here we are late in the third round, which means that his film is cold oatmeal, right? Mostly. Dean doesn’t have great feet or hips, so better receivers tie him in knots with quick moves at the snap and then gain separation. Dean is likely to reach and grab when beaten, and he’s not physical at all in the run game or when tackling downfield.

    The measurables and two years of SEC starting experience make Dean worth the investment, but there’s a lot to be done before he takes the field. Bunting and Dean are a pair of risky selections at a need position for the Bucs.

    Grade: B-

95. New York Giants

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    Oshane Ximines, Edge-Rusher, Old Dominion

    Bleacher Report proudly presents your Field Guide to the Elite Edge-Rushers of the 2019 Draft

    Athleticism: C+. Ximines has long arms (33”) and meets all the thresholds but is not the typical amazing-measurable edge defender who usually bubbles up from the lower FCS programs.

    First-Step Quickness: C+.

    Power: C.

    Pass-Rushing Moves: A. Ximines has an excellent arsenal of rips, swims, spins and inside-out head fakes. He’s a smart pass-rusher who knows how to string moves together and always has a plan.   

    Run Support: C.

    Coverage: Does not apply.

    Worries: Small-school skepticism.

    Ximines explained at the Senior Bowl that he was rebuilding his body with a new nutritional regimen—he was overcoming a two-Taco-Bell-trip-per-day habit—which caused his offseason weight to fluctuate and may have impacted his workout results. The new diet appears to be working.

    The Giants registered just 30 sacks last year, and they traded Olivier Vernon’s seven sacks away as part of their flail-and-fail offseason strategy. Edge-rusher is one glaring need on their list of glaring needs.

    Ximines’ measurables are ordinary, but his happy-warrior personality and student-of-the-game approach are reminiscent of Brandon Graham’s. He’ll face a steep ramp up to NFL blocking, but he’s the kind of player who can generate sacks right away by surprising blockers with his slipperiness and technique.

    Grade: A

96. Buffalo Bills

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    Dawson Knox, Tight End, Ole Miss

    Strengths: Quickness, routes

    Weaknesses: Blocking, experience

    Knox is a converted quarterback who caught just 15 passes for the Rebels last year, but there were only so many footballs to go around after D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Elijah Moore and DaMarkus Lodge got fed. An exceptional pro day made him a darling among draftniks who love athletic prospects with bad stats and can taste more subtleties in really bitter IPAs than you can.

    Knox runs well enough to line up as a receiver, has fine pass-catching skills and really snaps off his routes effectively. But both his run blocking and pass protection are poor.

    Knox has developmental potential. He could become another Charles Clay, but he’s just a bulked-up fourth or fifth wideout if his blocking doesn’t improve. Late in the third round, he’s worth taking a chance on.

    Grade: B

97. Los Angeles Rams

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    Bobby Evans, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma

    Strengths: Experience, fundamentals

    Weaknesses: High-level traits

    Evans played left tackle for the Sooners last season while Cody Ford manned right tackle, but Ford is the better prospect: bigger, quicker, ornerier. Evans, who played right tackle when Baker Mayfield was the starter, is big and reliable in pass protection, with the ability to latch onto defenders and control them. He's also a capable on-the-move blocker for Oklahoma's many pulling/trapping/counter running plays, making him a system fit for the Rams.  

    Nothing really stands out in Evans' game. He can get beaten inside by speed, limiting his potential at left tackle, and he lacks the vicious punch and finish of a top guard prospect. But he gets the job done. The Rams will probably stash him behind Andrew Whitworth for a year and see what happens.

    Grade: C+

98. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Quincy Williams, Linebacker, Murray State

    Here’s a real stump-the-band selection. Williams was an undersized safety-linebacker hybrid for the Racers. He recorded 231 tackles and three interceptions in four seasons as a regular. I don’t have a scouting report, just some news about local-team visits and other whispers.

    Maybe Williams is a best-kept-secret super-sleeper. That’s great. There’s a lot of linebacker and hybrid safety talent still out there. So there was no reason for the Jaguars to get cute.

    Grade: C- (I’m not going lower on an unknown player)

99. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Mike Edwards, Safety, Kentucky

    Strengths: Toughness, tackling

    Weaknesses: Range

    Edwards projects as a physical strong safety. He often covered slot receivers for the Wildcats but lacks the transition quickness for that role in the NFL, and he doesn’t possess the range of a true free safety.

    So, more help (and another mild reach) in the Bucs secondary. The Bucs are very thin beyond Justin Evans, so Edwards will have a chance to play a role right away if he develops quickly.

    Grade: B-

100. Carolina Panthers

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    Will Grier, Quarterback, West Virginia

    Deadly accurate quarterback comparison: Blaine Gabbert cosplaying Drew Lock cosplaying Patrick Mahomes

    If you aim for Patrick Mahomes and miss, you get Drew Lock. If you aim for Drew Lock and miss, you get Will Grier, a strong-armed passer who put up big numbers (37 touchdowns last year) in a wide-open offense in a pass-happy conference with several NFL-caliber weapons as targets (David Sills, Gary Jennings, Trevon Wesco).

    Grier has a quick release and can flick the ball a long way but has wildly inconsistent footwork and delivery. He sometimes demonstrates an ability to read defenses, but the Mountaineers’ scheme was full of easy reads and open receivers. There’s plenty of tape in which Grier just locks onto Sills and lets it rip (often into coverage for an interception, particularly in 2017).

    My biggest concern with Grier is his tendency to hold the ball too long, attempt to escape the pocket to his right and end up taking a long sack (and/or get stripped) as a result. He’s just athletic and mobile enough to sometimes scramble into a big play in the Big 12, which means he’ll end up throwing a lot of balls away or taking 12-yard losses at the NFL level.

    A lot of predraft buzz surrounded Grier, particularly around his pro day. And the Panthers do need a backup (and perhaps an injury insurance policy) for Cam Newton, though they have more pressing needs all over the roster. So while there’s some logic to this selection, I don’t see Grier as anything more than a developmental third quarterback who will get the Panthers in big trouble if he’s forced to start anytime soon.

    Grade: D

101. New England Patriots

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    Yodny Cajuste, Offensive Tackle, West Virginia

    Strengths: Length, quickness

    Weaknesses: Technique, injury concerns

    Cajuste suffered a quad injury in March that will limit him for a few months. When he returns, the Patriots will get a high-upside left tackle prospect.

    Cajuste has ideal size and foot quickness, plus some skills that are hard to teach, like the ability to diagnose and adjust to stunts and blitzes. Most of his flaws, including a tendency to set up too high and outside in pass protection, can be corrected.

    That’s How The Patriots Get Ya: I rated Cajuste as the top pure left tackle prospect in this draft class entering the combine. The Patriots waited through other teams reaching for small-school projects and landed a major-conference starter with athleticism.

    It’s not rocket science. It’s just good planning and clear thinking.

    Grade: A

102. Minnesota Vikings

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    Alexander Mattison, Running Back, Boise State

    Strengths: Power

    Weaknesses: Elusiveness

    Mattison is a compact 221-pounder who thrives between the tackles. He’s a former high school hurdler who sometimes tries to hurdle opponents in the open field, but his signature trait is a rugged finish that nets him a few yards after contact. Mattison also caught 55 passes in the past two seasons, so he has a little value in the passing game.

    Mattison’s long speed and quickness aren’t great, his mileage is high (329 touches last season), and he doesn’t project as a piledriver in the NFL. But he does just enough of everything to stick as a second or third running back.

    Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball early and often, as everyone knows, particularly opposing defenders and coaches. Mattison will get a chance to be a battering ram off the bench in relief of Dalvin Cook. Think of him as Toby Gerhart 2.0. Whether getting another Gerhart type is good for the Vikings is an existential question we’ll leave for another day.

    Grade: B