I agree on the QB's. I'm unimpressed by the projected top 4 QB's. Hopefully some of these QB needy teams will overdraft them and push better players down the board to us.
I don't see why you're getting flack over the QB's.
If you think a QB will not be an immediate answer to your team as a franchise QB, then why pick him in the first round? If you're looking to develop a QB for a couple years hoping he works out, then that's that's not a first round pick. You want a playmaker in the first round.
It's not as if there isn't going to be a draft NEXT YEAR, or the year after.
I like the list....I think Niklas and XSF are a little high, but I can understand the argument from them being there
Many thanks to Shifty!
Overall a pretty keen list. Sneaking guys like Deone Buchanon, Troy Niklas, Gabe Jackson and Marcus Martin is quality. They're quality players and deserve more attention. Aaron Donald in the top 10 is correct. I'd have him even higher than you have him.
Some things I disagree with on it.
It comes off a bit like staking out intellectual territory to not include any QBs in the top 32. I think the whole QB debate has taken on almost a cartoon-ish quality and maybe everyone needs to take a breath or two, take a step back, and just remember that we don't ALWAYS need to be trying to reinvent the wheel.
Considering he's never played guard in college I find it difficult to slide Zack Martin all the way up to #8 overall based on a complete projection to a position you've never seen him play on tape other than perhaps half a dozen snaps (no more than that) of an All Star game. Remember, you're drafting a guy that high not to just be a warm body at the position but to be a total standout. If he's just a Shelley Smith or even a Richie Incognito, and you took him #8 overall, you lose. Does Zack Martin possess the physical tangibles to back that up, like Greg Robinson does? No he doesn't. Physically he's kind of just a guy. That sounds harsh but it's true. So you're buying him because of technical skill not physical quality. And yet, you've got no tape of him establishing this technical skill at guard. To me that's a big hole in the story.
In a somewhat similar vein I find it hard to rate Greg Robinson the #1 overall based on his tape at left tackle where he struggled when asked to pass protect like a pro player will have to on a regular basis. I think you'd have trouble naming me the last "elite" left tackle that was elite because of run blocking and not pass protection, so make no mistake Robinson will have to evolve into an elite pass protector in order to be an elite left tackle. Will he do that? The physical tangibles are certainly there. His most interesting immediate position though would probably be left guard. He has All Pro caliber physical qualities that should help him translate to that position while hiding some of the less developed areas of his game. You may just find you don't ever want to move him because he ends up an All Pro left guard. The question is how highly do you value this position, as well as this sort of projection? I think when you're valuing him above the likes of Jadaveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews, Aaron Donald and Mike Evans...then you're over-shooting his value. Basically he should be where Zack Martin is on your list and Zack Martin the GUARD should be way down it, if not off it altogether.
Darqueze Dennard should not be the highest rated CB in the draft, IMO. His tape doesn't warrant it, nor do his physical tangibles support it. This is a player that substituted illegal contact in place of actual skill frequently, and got away with it in college. He will not get away with it in the pros. Kyle Fuller is a much better pro prospect.
I don't believe Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should go above Deone Buchanon and Calvin Pryor shouldn't even be in the discussion to be over Buchanon. Clinton-Dix versus Terrence Brooks for second best safety is a valid discussion and will probably come down to system considerations. Calvin Pryor should be the fourth rated safety, at best.
I've not seen anything on the tape (or off the tape) to justify Cody Latimer's placement on the list. I realize he's become sort of the Pabst Blue Ribbon among draftniks, but he's not really a special talent. His RAC isn't special. His pure ball skills aren't special. He's not physically dynamic. I think the actual scouting community are onto him as sort of a "sum of the parts" story. But the whole is not greater than the sum of his parts, or even as great as the sum of his parts. There's something missing.
Louis Nix is....blech. I've seen him play against the same opponents as Beau Allen of Wisconsin, playing virtually the same role, and he looked wholly less interesting. He also tested and measured wholly less interesting than Beau Allen. Allen by the way figures to be a Day 3 guy, so what does that tell you about how overrated Louis Nix might be? I think people that compare him to Raji are way off. Raji was always a tremendously athletic classic "planet theory" story at Boston College. This was known years before he ran a 5.12 with a 32 inch vertical and 8'7" broad jump at 6'2" and 337 lbs. Compare that with Nix running a 5.42 with 25.5 inch vertical and 8'1" broad jump at 6'2" and 331 lbs. And the fact that Nix only did 24 bench reps should give you a little more pause as well. Raji did 33 bench reps. The agility comparisons aren't so hot either as Raji had a 4.69 shuttle and 7.90 cone to Nix's 4.94 and 8.29, respectively.
The criminally underrated Beau Allen did a 31 inch vertical and 8'8" broad jump at his pro day, while also doing 30 bench reps. He did a 4.50 shuttle and 7.27 cone drill. He pulled up with a hamstring during his 40 yard dash but his ten yard split was only 1.68 seconds before he pulled up with the hammy. And remember on tape, versus the same opponents and in the same 3-4 nose tackle role, he looked entirely more interesting than Nix.
I would not rate Odell Beckham this high. I have Allen Robison higher. Beckham's primary issue will be physically demanding coverage. This is where he wilts like lettuce under a heat lamp. It's why his production at LSU was extraordinarily inconsistent to where an amazing 58% of his total production came in only 3 games. And two of those were aganst the likes of Furman and UAB. The third against Misssissippi State featured coverage that belonged on Furman or UAB rather than in the SEC. Watch Odell Beckham struggle to get off the line against a guy like Auburn's Ryan White, who isn't even a starter in the SEC. Watch him struggle to finish plays against a guy like Jonathon Mincy who was absolutely obliterated by Mike Evans. Watch him struggle through the physically demanding coverage shown in the Texas A&M game. These players aren't Jason Verrett or Vernon Hargreaves (both of whom he struggled against as well). What you have is a guy that was generally given a lot of space in college as teams knew all about his deep speed, and so he was able to produce underneath that off coverage running deep outs and dig routes and the like. But when teams not named Furman and UAB had no stars in their eyes and decided they were going to physically challenge him, he played shy-away football. He was not a consistent finisher at all and his RAC skills are surprisingly minimal despite his returns success. Just as his ability to finish catches in tight coverage is surprisingly minimal despite the hand-eye coordination that sees him executing that remarkable one-handed catch on a kick return against Georgia. In these ways, he reminds me of Ted Ginn.
Joel Bitonio is another guy that I believe rates too high given the projection involved in his draft stock. You don't want him manning the left tackle spot which is where he played throughout college if I'm not mistaken. When that happens people underestimate the fact that it means he no longer has a position at all, and you now have to give him a different position. Is there enough evidence to say that he's such a good guard prospect that you'd take him over a boat load of players that play well at the positions they'll be asked to play in the pros? Bitonio's physical tangible help provide evidence of this, but guard is a position that could demand some pure power and that's not something you know he has as you watch him get thrown to the ground by bigger defensive players whenever he gets into physical wrestling matches with them (Florida State comes to mind).
Just some thoughts.
If you are going to overdraft then do it on a QB if you think he can eventually be your franchise. Also with the CBA you can add a 5th year to round one players so if you get a QB in round one and can have a competitive team where your QB isn't chewing up 10-15% of your cap you are a stronger team, just ask Seattle and San Fran.
For example. Nick Foles wound up in the PERFECT SITUATION this year. One of the best offensive master minds at any level of football (if not the best), the best offensive line in football, a top 3-5 running back, and good receivers and tight ends. So yes, if Blake Bortles ended up in a perfect situation like that I could see him having some success as a starter. I have a 3rd round grade on Bortles.
The likelihood of one of the quarterbacks ending up in a situation like that is very slim. The probability that all of them end up in a situation like that is damn near impossible.
The absolute best case scenario is not a very likely one at all, and even if any of the top 4 quarterbacks were to end up in a situation like that, they would still only be one of the best 14-20 Quarterbacks in the league.
Does that sound like a first round pick to you?
For me, a QB has to show the potential to be a top 10 QB in this league in order to be a first round pick. Tannehill does. I don't think he will ever be "elite" but I believe if they protect him, he can be in the 7-10 range later on in his career.
And for the record, I consider 4 QB's Elite. Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees. The next four are pretty damn close though, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson.
Greg Robinson is the best offensive lineman I've ever seen out of college. He's the best football player in this class. No one can sway me otherwise. As a pass protector, very seldom will he overset and give a two-way go, and he has shown he can take a power step and wash down anyone who tries the inside route. Anyone who tries to convert speed-to-power against him will be stoned. You're not going to get any movement on him. That leaves his weakest area of his game, protecting the edge. He has the length and elite foot quickness and athleticism to mirror speed rushers. Where he is flawed is his technique. He is more of a grabber than a puncher which will lead to holding penalties and allow edge rushers to dip their inside shoulder and turn the corner on him. He needs to work on getting inside hands and being more patient in his pass set. Any decent offensive line coach worth his salt will be able to coach this out of him. I agree you would be better off playing him as a left guard or right tackle until that is coached out of him. I think in 2-3 years he is the best offensive lineman in the league, no matter what position you play him at. If I'm Houston I take him #1 overall no doubt and play him at LG or RT until Duane Brown retires. He's that good of a football player.
Darqueze Dennard- 4.51 "official" and a broad jump of a staggering 11 feet 2 inches shows me that he has more than enough physical tangibles. He's great in press, and has plus mirror skills. He's going to have to learn to look back and play the football. I agree wholeheartedly on that. If he doesn't learn that skill (a very coachable one at that) he may end up leading the league in pass interference calls. But I encourage you to watch a Seattle Seahawk game, specifically their corners. They commit pass interference every play. But they are experts on it. They know how to get away with it, and always play the football. Surely they will get called for it, but their train of thought it "**** it, they're not going to call it more than 3-4 times a game, it's worth the trade off of holding the other 25-30".
Kyle Fuller is a stud no doubt about it. What do you want him to play? Off or press-bail? Press? Nickel? Even Safety (see Alabama game)? He can do it all. Justin Gilbert is severely overrated. He has the physical tools but is far too inconsistent (see 2012) to be a top 20 pick.
Kudos for liking Terrance Brooks. He's vastly underrated. I don't have him in the top 32 but with a league so scarce on talent at the free safety position, he can be an above average starter for someone.
I love Ha Ha's range, but I knock every prospect coming out of Alabama. 1. Is Nick usually gets the most out of them (most hit have hit their ceiling already) 2. 90% of them enter the league hurt 3. His DB's all bust or at the least leave you wanting more. What do you not like about Pryor?
I think Latimer has more fluidness than most bigger receivers, like his "above the rim" ability, and deceptive speed as a vertical receiver. Also a hell of a blocker. He is what he is. a #2 possession guy. I like him late 1st.
Nix is kind of meh. Like I mentioned previously, I don't have a 1st round grade on him. With a DL coach that will coach him hard, he can be a pretty damn good nose tackle. Strictly a 2 down guy. Nowhere near recent high picks like Poe or Star. I would take him mid 2nd.
Beckham is not a guy that will win on the outside for you. I like him in the slot plus the added bonus of the return game. Again, I like him at pick #40-50 range. Drops too many easy balls too. Will make the highlight reel catch one play, than drop a smoke screen the next. Common of receivers with good RAC ability. If you use him extensively on the outside you will be left wanting more. If you use him in a Randall Cobb role, I think you have yourself a good slot and return guy.
Bitonio- is someone I view as a good-pretty good guard in a zone scheme. If you run a power man scheme, I don't think you view him as a starter in your scheme.
I've stated this on this forum before, but the transition from LT to guard is a very easy process. Especially if you keep them on the same side. A few examples are Logan Mankins and Andy Levitre. It's much more difficult to switch sides of the line, than it is to move from tackle to guard. Your footwork and hand placement stays the same. The biggest difference is your pass set. As I mentioned with Martin, your pass set is identical to the one you used in the quick game at LT (90 protection) it's just a more aggressive set. Get your hands inside, mirror and anchor. Not a hard transition at all. That's why I find projecting LT's to guard a very very simple process. Xavier Su'a Filo has done both in college and switches between them both effortlessly. He doesn't have the length or foot quickness to stay on an island in pass pro (just like Martin, and Bitonio) that's why he's a guard at the next level.
Here are my players with 1st round grades:
Sammy Watkins (buyer beware)
Jadeveon Clowney (buyer beware)
Khalil Mack (buyer beware)
Taylor Lewan (buyer beware)
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (buyer beware)
Eric Ebron (buyer beware)
Justin Gilbert (buyer beware)
* I personally wouldn't take anyone with a buyer beware label. I gave out 21 first round grades from a talent perspective. Subtract the one's with buyer beware (character concerns) and it's only 14. Mosley and Easley are first round talents, but due to medical I would take them at the top of the 2nd. If you look back at drafts, you will find 12-20 players that shouldn't have been picked in the 1st round.
Again thanks for the response, and good eye on Marcus Martin, Gabe Jackson and Troy Niklas. If you want a tight end that can set the edge and reach 9 techniques, wash defenders on down blocks, and get movement on base blocks, look no further. He won't catch 100 passes a season for you, but could very well end up as the best blocking tight end in the league. Martin is a 20 year old 3 year starter with the tools to be a starter at Center and both guards. I think he can be a top 10 center. I'd draft him in the 2-3 range. I think Jackson is being criminally underrated like Larry Warford was last year. I don't think he is a better prospect, but they share similar traits.