Naismith wrote:No idea if all of these guys are going to be in this draft, but here's my first stab at it. I'm sure once April 27th comes around, this will look ridiculous.
1. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
2. Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
3. Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
4. Zach Banner, OG, USC
5. Quin Blanding, S, Virginia James Conner, RB, Pitt
6. Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
7. Janarion Grant, WR, Rutgers
Man, a month later and I'd definitely take this draft, but it looks like I had four guys that will be gone in the first two rounds. Updated mock (profiles by Lance Zierlein at NFL.com):1. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan (6'6", 272 lbs.)
STRENGTHS Rare combination of size, length and athletic traits as a rusher. Long-levered frame with athletic, knotted calves. Brings freaky athletic traits to table and is still growing into his body. Flashes instant reaction time off snap and up the field thanks to his twitch. Has enough upfield juice to push offensive tackles into hasty retreat. Generates pop through speed-to-power element. Very good flexibility throughout. Able to sink and swerve around corner if he gets early lead in race to the edge. Possesses hip swivel combined with shoulder turn to slip and flip around the corner of an offensive tackle he's engaged with as a pass rusher. Rushes with forward lean that keeps his momentum downhill. Uses rip-and-stab move and an ominous spin move that could turn into a dominant rush trait in the NFL. Elongated lateral slides can open into sprint very quickly to chase run play bouncing outside. Length gives him a shot at dramatically increasing his play-making ability against the run. Hand usage is improving.
WEAKNESSES Despite talent and traits, production and overall play has been uneven at Michigan. Earned full-time starting nod in just his final season. Needs more weight-room work. Consistency of anchor at point of attack in question. Can be rooted out of his gap by power. Can do better job of using his length to keep blockers off of him. Doesn't make enough plays on other side of the line against run. Needs to show a nastier play demeanor at all times. Scouts question whether he has enough toughness for trench battles if bumped inside or to 5-technique. Held back by his inconsistent play speed. Excessive leaning and narrowing of his base during the play causes balance and footwork inconsistencies. Needs better readiness to take on move blockers.
SOURCES TELL US "Really, really talented player. You won't always see it on every play so that is going to be a coach's job to get that out of him. Rushers with his size and athleticism are hard to find and they usually go very early in the draft." -- AFC executive
NFL COMPARISON Chandler Jones
BOTTOM LINE "Inconsistent" has been the buzzword that has followed Charlton since coming to Michigan, but he began the process of shaking it during his senior season. Charlton is an ascending prospect with the size, length, athleticism and pass-rushing potential that NFL general managers dream of. What you see today might not be what you get. While his production coming out of college will be modest, he could become a substantially better player as a pro if he's committed to the weight room and willing to absorb coaching. High-impact defensive end with all-pro potential is his ceiling. His floor is solid starter.2. Garett Bolles, OT, Utah (6'5", 300 lbs.)
STRENGTHS Elite athletic ability with the sweetest feet at the tackle position in this draft. Movement skills are smooth and unencumbered. There isn't an angle block he can't get to. Smooth climbs to linebackers as a work-up blocker, and has rare ability to accelerate from that block up to a third target. Has lateral quickness in run game to cross-face from backside and seal on the play-side. Can take quick settle steps, sinks and scoops defensive ends on base blocks. Quick feet allow for more patience to scan for stunts. Can meet edge speed with quick sets in pass pro. Plays with a mean streak and loves to finish. Outstanding change of direction to mirror without a hitch in his transition. Keeps weight on inside foot in his slides. Moves feet into position against inside counters. Balanced in his pass sets and keeps blocks centered. Should get bigger and stronger with more weight work after unorthodox path to the draft.
WEAKNESSES Frame is a little narrow and legs appear to be shorter than normal. Devoid of drive power in his lowers. Pad level rises and he struggles to generate much movement against stout outside linebackers at point of attack. Needs better knee bend into second-level contact. Inconsistent in sustaining his blocks. Power can toss him off balance. May be limited by scheme fit. Needs to keep hands inside to bolster strength in his base. Lacks trust in his core power against speed-to-power. Leans into blocks with feet behind him to brace up. Will need sharper punch and more sink in his sets. Gives initial ground against power and doesn't always anchor quickly. Will be 25 years old by opening of fall camp.
SOURCES TELL US "Most athletic offensive lineman I've done since I took over this area of the country. He's also mean on the field, which you love. I'm projecting him to get stronger once he locks into an NFL strength-and-conditioning program. He's underdeveloped right now. What you see isn't what you are going to ultimately get, in my opinion." -- West area scout for NFC team
NFL COMPARISON Cedric Ogbuehi
BOTTOM LINE Because he's only played one year of FBS football and hasn't been able to fully fill out his frame over the last five years, Bolles will require a projection and conjecture than most of the tackles in this year's draft. He clearly has elite athletic ability and foot quickness, but his lack of core strength and ability to sustain blocks against power across from him is a concern at this time. While he has Pro Bowl potential for a zone-scheme team, his floor will be a little lower than you might like in an early round pick.3. Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA (6'2", 320 lbs.)
STRENGTHS His lone 2015 contest (vs. Virginia) showed off his enormous talent. His body type belies his surprising athleticism. Solid functional lateral movement and change of direction. Able to spin out of blocks with quick feet. Gives good chase along backside. Booming power in his hands to tilt rep in his favor after initial punch. Explodes hips into contact to dislodge blockers Has strength and ability to play nose tackle or three-technique. Can two-gap. Gets inside arm under and rag dolls move blocks to challenge cutback lanes. Grows roots against double teams and fights to split them rather than trying to survive. Brings toughness and edge to the workplace. Better rush potential than numbers indicate. Has strength to walk interior linemen back in the pocket.
WEAKNESSES Missed almost entire 2015 season with torn ACL and he didn't seem to bounce all the way back in 2016. Carries weight poorly in his upper body and especially midsection. Came into season with additional weight. Needs to eliminate 15-20 pounds to play at an optimal level. A little slow in reaction time off snap. Gets behind against move blocks and will often play from backside rather than play-side. Pad level rises after initial stages of rep. Needs to improve conditioning. Has to keep weight down and get full mobility back. Despite his ability, sack production has lagged behind.
SOURCES TELL US "He was a big-time recruit and he really looked the part in 2014 and in the one game he played in 2015. He flashed this year but he just wasn't the same guy. I want to project him as a healthy player but if he keeps playing this heavy we may never see the same player from before even if he is fully healthy." - AFC west coast scout
NFL COMPARISON Ahtyba Rubin
BOTTOM LINE Any evaluation of Vanderdoes is incomplete until studying 2014 and the Virginia game of 2015, but balancing that tape against his 2016 body of work will be the challenge. He's athletic and powerful, but his weight and health of his knee could be a concern. He has the talent to become a disruptive, productive starter if his body bounces back to his earlier form. If not, he's still a solid rotational defensive tackle.4. Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma (6'1", 226 lbs.)
STRENGTHS Outstanding burst to go from first level to third level. Goes from glide to burst quickly and can hit chunk plays between tackles and around corners. Can go from elusive to banger when he needs to. Will drop the pads and drive through tacklers in short yardage spots. Flashy feet for his size. Can jump-cut around defenders in tight quarters. Smooth hips help him swivel around the second and third levels. Able to show and go leaving linebackers diving as he escapes out of the side door. Strong stiff-arm helps would-be tacklers catch grass stains. Can turn the corner and create a straightaway to the end zone. Was Big 12 leader in percentage of explosive carries (15-plus yards) at 11.9 percent. True three-down back. Devastating pass catching option. Excellent route runner creating immediate separation. Soft hands to make the easy catch and the one-hander. Will step in and square up his blocking responsibilities in pass game.
WEAKNESSES Some in scouting community concerned with character beyond his domestic violence incident. Inconsistent as inside runner. Can be too patient at times. Looks for wide-open points of entry before he hits the gas. Can be nonchalant approaching line of scrimmage. Dances downhill allowing running lanes to become creases. Feet lag behind when headed into congestion and will get loose with his rush track inviting tacklers a chance to get a hand on him. Lacks creativity in initial stages of his run at times. Vision is just average. Fails to see backside cuts developing on stretch plays. Hops into his downhill cuts rather than a crisp plant-and-go.
SOURCES TELL US "I'm not going to talk about any character issue because every team has to go through and make their own decisions. As a player, he can play all three downs but he's not going to create for himself like Fournette or Cook. But he can also have an impact on the passing game that they can't have. I see him as a top-40 player. Obviously, he won't go there." -- NFC North area scout
NFL COMPARISON Le'Veon Bell
BOTTOM LINE I've decided to give Joe Mixon a draft grade based on his talent and expected output if given a chance as an NFL running back. His draft slot will likely be impacted by his domestic violence issue. Mixon has the talent to be an every-down, all-day running back with the potential to take over a game on the ground or through the air. Life against weaker Big 12 defenses has created a more relaxed rushing approach for Mixon who will have to play at a faster pace as an NFL back. Mixon's vision is just average and he could struggle to create for himself in front of a subpar offensive line; however, he can play in any rushing scheme and can be moved all over the field as a matchup option.5. Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State (6'2", 218 lbs.)
NOTE: Scouting report on Noah Brown not completed yet at NFL.com.
Brown's 2016 season was widely anticipated in league circles because of his potential as a big-play receiver. In Ohio State's September win in Oklahoma, he showed great promise as a red-zone threat, with four of his five catches (72 total yards) going for touchdowns. Though he wasn't utilized nearly as much through the rest of the year, Brown was a 12-game starter and honorable mention All-Big Ten pick this year for league coaches and media (32-402, seven TDs). The reason many people were expecting great things in 2016 was because word leaked up about his excelling in 2015 preseason camp before suffering a broken leg during practice. The New Jersey all-state pick played in 13 games (just one catch for nine yards) as a true freshman in the Buckeyes' national championship season of 2014, lining up at receiver, H-back, and on special teams.6. Deyshawn Bond, C, Cincinnati (6'2", 287 lbs.)
STRENGTHS Powerful upper body. Initial contact contains pop. Creates strong leverage points as base blocker. Explodes into down blocks and snaps hips under his hands to seal the deal. Capable in zone and in combo blocks, taking solid angles to second-level targets. Good snap to set quickness in pass protection. Able to handle a strong bull rush. Athletic with good foot quickness in his pass slide from gap edge to the other. Reactive quickness enables his recoveries. Good torque in his punch. Uses plus body control to mirror and engage pass rushers. Uses quick hands to catch and control twisters. Solid games against Houston's Ed Oliver and Purdue's Jake Replogle.
WEAKNESSES Undersized with short arms. Doesn't generate much drive off the snap. Leg drive gears down after contact. Can do better job of working feet into position after initial contact on both first and second levels. Slightly below average sustaining blocks. Can be beaten to the punch by length. Needs improved arm extension in his pass protection to keep rushers out of his frame. Will short his first block if he thinks a blitz is coming behind it. Needs to do better job of diagnosing blitz packages coming off the edge.
NFL COMPARISON Patrick Lewis
BOTTOM LINE Four-year starter with a combination of core strength and foot quickness that lends itself to success on the interior. Smaller than desired with below average length and that could hurt his draft stock, but he's a plus in pass protection and decent in run blocking and could become an eventual starter with time.7. Tyrone Swoopes, TE, Texas (6'4", 245 lbs.)
NOTE: Scouting report on Tyrone Swoopes not completed yet at NFL.com.
From Matt Miller's notebook:
Alex Dunlap of Orangebloods reported Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes will enter the NFL draft as a tight end. Swoopes, who is listed at 6'4" and 250 pounds, was more of a bulldozer in short-yardage situations than passing quarterback this past season. This is the smartest move for his future because NFL scouts are likely to see him as a raw athletic canvas they can mold into a box-out tight end. Swoopes should expect to hear his name called late in the draft or even as an undrafted free agent.