u/drummerguy555 & u/sbe003's COLLAB 2020 Mock Draft 28/3
Over the last 3 days, Aussie fans u/sbe003
and I have used our extra time from #stayinghome to put together a mock draft with trades and write-ups for every team. We each took 16 teams and have spent quite a bit of time putting thought behind every pick. Just to be clear, this is what WE would do, NOT what we think will happen. So without further ado, here is the mock: u/drummerguy555 & u/sbe003 COLLAB Mock Draft 28/3
Below are the write-ups for every team, explaining in-depth why we made every decision we did. Tell us what teams did the best, the worst and any other thoughts you have. I hope you all enjoy and stay safe!
Arizona Cardinals GM: u/drummerguy555 1.08: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn 3.72: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
After winning free agency by taking advantage of “The Teapot” (yes, that is really Bill O’Brien’s nickname), the Cardinals now have a killer
WR1 on their team meaning taking the BPA available at a position of relative need is probably the best strategy. In this world, Brown fell to 8 and he will definitely help this Cardinals d-line.
The Cardinals also leave this draft with a solid corner in Jaylon Johnson who adds a quality body to that poor secondary.
Atlanta Falcons GM: u/drummerguy555 1.16: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, Auburn 2.47: Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington 3.78: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
Kinlaw falls to the Falcons at 16 and will be a great piece for that defensive line. Hunter Bryant is my favorite TE in this class and along with the newly-acquired Hayden Hurst, will try to fill the major hole that Hooper left behind in this offense. Malik Harrison is a solid Day 2 LB that this poor LB core could desperately use.
Baltimore Ravens GM: u/drummerguy555 1.28: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State 2.55: Marlon Davidson, EDGE, Auburn 2.60: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame 3.92: Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple 3.106: Bryce Huff, EDGE, Memphis
Baltimore is in need of a true slot receiver to give Lamar some throwing options, this is where K.J. Hamler comes in as a speedy slot guy with great hands. Marlon Davidson is another Day 2 favorite of mine, he can play both DT and EDGE at a very high level. Okwara was the BPA available for this team with few holes. Hennessey could provide an option at guard following Yanda’s retirement and Huff plays EXTREMELY physical football on tape - exactly what the Ravens look for in players to develop.
Buffalo Bills GM: u/sbe003 2.54: Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State 3.86: Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
Not a lot to say for Buffalo given a lot of their early-round selections were given up to acquire Stefon Diggs. In saying that, with Buffalo’s two picks I selected Willie Gay Jr. and Michael Ojemudia. Gay is an extremely athletic prospect who plays with urgency and has the ceiling to develop into an every-down option. He is someone who can strengthen Buffalo’s already quite strong linebacking core and provide a replacement for recently retired Lorenzo Alexander. With Buffalo’s third-round pick I selected Michael Ojemudia. Buffalo doesn’t really have a notable CB outside of Tre White. While Ojemudia may not make an immediate impact, he has the tools and traits to develop into an adequate year 2/3 starter.
Carolina Panthers GM: u/sbe003 1.07: Isaiah Simmons, Def. Weapon, Clemson 2.38: Austin Jackson, OT, USC 3.69: Raekwon Davis, IDL, Alabama
Carolina is a team with no identity at the moment, with the early retirement of Luke Kuechly and the departure of familiar faces Cam Newton and Greg Olsen, the Panthers are a rebuilding team. With that being said, I picked Isaiah Simmons with Carolina’s first-round pick. Simmons is a physical freak and a player who could probably play any position on defense if he wanted to. Simmons can come in day 1 and make an immediate impact in filling the Kuechly shaped hole left in that defense. With the second and third-round picks I turned more to the trenches. I took Austin Jackson with Carolina’s second pick. A decent lineman out of USC who could develop into a nice piece for Carolina in years to come. With the third pick, I took Raekwon Davis, a DT who can help depth on Carolina’s D-line and fit in as a good rotational piece on the interior.
Chicago Bears GM: u/sbe003 2.43: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State 2.50: Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
With Chicago giving not only a lot of last year’s draft capital but also a lot of this year’s draft capital to acquire the services of Khalil Mack I was only left with 2 second-round picks. I’d like to thank the Lions GM for choosing to draft Lynn Bowden, which meant Brandon Aiyuk fell right into my lap 3 picks later. Aiyuk provides a much-needed WR2 for Mitch Trubisky and serves as someone who can complement Allen Robinson quite well. While there are still some inconsistencies with his route technique and hands, Aiyuk brings an exciting skillset to the table and big-play ability, something which the Bears seemed to lack last year. With the second pick for the Bears, I selected Curtis Weaver. Someone with a high football IQ and provides Chicago with another talented player on that stacked front 7.
Cincinnati Bengals GM: u/drummerguy555 1.01: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU 2.33: Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
After securing Joe Burrow, I took Ruiz with the Bengals as he is definitely the best IOL prospect in this class and is a nice piece to have for protecting Burrow and helping Mixon. Hall is a very underrated prospect that will help this ailing defense.
Cleveland Browns GM: u/drummerguy555 1.10: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia 2.41: Lucas Niang, OT, TCU 3.74: Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida 3.97: Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida
It was the best tackle available for me here and luckily it happened to be my favorite tackle in this class, Andrew Thomas. Thomas has been a victim of over-analyzing and overthinking in my opinion - his technique and polish make him extremely pro-ready. He will fit in well in Cleveland as a Day 1 starter.
Continuing to bolster this o-line in the hopes of enabling this stacked offense to unlock its full potential, I took Lucas Niang who is an extremely athletic tackle with lots of upside.
BPA for the next two picks happened to be a pair of Edges from Florida in Jonathan Greenard (in love with his arms/length) and Jabari Zuniga who will give this d-line some quality depth.
Dallas Cowboys GM: u/sbe003 TRADE: 1.17 for 1.20, 3.73 1.20: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU 2.51: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota 3.73: Nick Harris, IOL, Washington 3.82: Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
With Dallas’ pick, I selected LSU CB Kristian Fulton. The obvious successor to Byron Jones, Fulton has smooth feet, fluid hips, refined technique, tremendous awareness and the physicality needed to become a shutdown corner in the NFL. With the second pick, I took S Antoine Winfield Jr. from Minnesota. His 2017 and 2018 campaigns were marred by injury. However, when we got to see him throughout the 2019 season, simply put he was dominant. Winfield is a highly aggressive, urgent football player and has the upside to become an impact starter in Dallas.
With Dallas’ third and fourth picks I went with IOL Nick Harris and WR Bryan Edwards. While Harris probably can’t replace Travis Fredericks, he provides depth at IOL and could be a starting option with a bit of time. Edwards provides Dak Prescott with another strong option and added depth to a receivers room that lost Randall Cobb to free agency.
Denver Broncos GM: u/sbe003 1.15: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida 2.46: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson 3.77: Jordan Elliott, IDL, Missouri 3.83: Trey Adams, OT, Washington 3.95: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
I was really hoping Henry Ruggs fell to pick 15 but unfortunately the Eagles decided to step in and make pick 15 just a little bit harder. I wasn’t really willing to reach on a receiver at 15 and there weren't any trade back options so with the Broncos’ first-round pick I decided to address CB given the recent departure of Chris Harris Jr. to the division rival Chargers. With pick 15 I selected C.J. Henderson. Henderson has size, length, fluidity, quickness, speed and coverage instincts give him a chance to be a top corner that is tasked with shutting down the opposition's top receiver, someone who can become the No. 1 corner on that Denver depth chart.
With the Broncos’ second pick I decided to address WR and take Tee Higgins. Personally, I don’t buy into Higgins’ late 1stround projections. However, when he was still on the board midway through the 2nd I had to take him. He has excellent ball skills, hands and the ability to position himself favorably to win at the catch point. His concentration and body control are highly impressive.
With the third, fourth and fifth picks, I addressed IDL, OT and LB. Positions that the Broncos could improve and Trey Adams, Jordan Elliot and Akeem Davis-Gaither could all develop into viable starters/rotation players.
Detroit Lions GM: u/drummerguy555 TRADE: 1.03 for 1.05, 1.18, 3,70 1.05: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State 1.18: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa TRADE: 2.35 for 2.40, 3.90 2.40: Lynn Bowden Jr., WR, Kentucky 3.67: Lloyd Cushenberry III, IOL, LSU 3.70: Noah Igbinoghehe, CB, Auburn 3.85: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU 3.90: Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
There’s a lot to break down here:
The Lions trade back and still get their guy. Okudah is the latest product of Ohio State’s secondary which has given birth to some outstanding players like Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward, Eli Apple among others and Okudah just might be the best of them. Epenesa is another underrated prospect in my opinion and getting him at 18 is great value.
Yeah, you read that right. Lynn f*cking Bowden Jr. in the 2nd round. The true swiss-army knife player is one of the most dynamic players to come out in a while and I think come draft day teams will be very interested in him, shooting him up boards. The Lions could use the playmaking ability and versatility as a WRB/QB/CB? for Wildcat formation, end-arounds, sweeps, etc. He will find a home as a Taysom Hill-like gadget player with loads more speed but lacking in the throwing department. Besides, after trading back the Lions can afford to be a little risky here.
As far as the rest of the draft, Cushenberry is a nice piece for that interior o-line, Igbinoghene will help their secondary, Edwards-Helaire provides a versatile and reliable three-down back with great value towards the end of the 3rd round and Dye is certainly a startable player with a great ceiling.
Green Bay Packers GM: u/sbe003 TRADE: 1.23 for 1.30, 4.136, 2021 GB 2nd 1.23: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU 2.62: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington\ 3.94: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
The Packers need to give Aaron Rodgers more weapons. It was abundantly obvious after the last 2 seasons that Rodgers simply doesn’t trust any of his receivers outside of Davante Adams. Hence with the Packer’s first-round pick I selected Jalen Reagor. Reagor is a dynamic football player with blazing speed and rapid acceleration that makes him a big-play threat in the passing game. He’s creative, explosive and an overall speed mismatch, providing Aaron Rodgers with a much needed no2 receiver.
With the Packer’s second pick I selected Jacob Eason. Yes, Jacob Eason the quarterback out of Washington. Looking back on it, not sure if this was the smartest pick now that I realize Rodgers still has at least 4 years left in Green Bay. However, Eason does have a big arm and with some grooming could become a polished starter that could take over from Aaron Rodgers if the opportunity presents itself and that’s a big if. With the packer’s third pick I selected OT Isaiah Wilson, someone who could provide a replacement to Bryan Bulaga.
Houston Texans GM: u/sbe003 TRADE: 2.35 for 2.40, 3.90 2.35: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor 2.57: Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
Houston wasn’t in the best position to really do anything in this draft. Wonder why Bill O’Brien? Either way, with the minimal draft capital I had, I selected WR Denzel Mims and EDGE Bradlee Anae. Mims has the upside to start and be a highly productive weapon for an NFL offense given his natural athleticism, physicality and good catch radius. While he is nowhere near a replacement for Deandre Hopkins he does provide some small amount of compensation. With the second pick, I took Bradlee Anae, who could become a viable starter on that somewhat formidable D-Line.
Indianapolis Colts GM: u/drummerguy555 2.34: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado 2.44: Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State 2.75: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
With their first pick at 34, Laviska Shenault falls to them giving Rivers a shifty playmaker to use. While many have dropped Dantzler down their boards after his combine performance, I still believe he is a very good option for a second-round corner based on his excellent tape from Mississippi State. Finally, Rivers is only here for a year so Fromm can sit and learn behind the hall of famer for a year before getting his shot. He is my QB5 and I think he could work very well in Indy.
Jacksonville Jaguars GM: u/sbe003 TRADE: 1.09 for 1.23, 3.98, 4.25, 2020 NE 1st TRADE: 1.17 for 1.20, 3.73 1.17: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU TRADE: 1.23 for 1.30, 4.136, 2021 GB 2nd 1.30: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama 2.42: Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma 3.98: Ashtyn Davis, S, California
Jacksonville had quite a lot of draft capital in this year’s draft thanks to the Jalen Ramsey that sent him to L.A. Jacksonville saw a lot of trading action in the first round. First trading back with the Patriots, sending pick 9 to New England in exchange for pick 23, a 2021 1st, pick 98 and pick 125. I then traded up with the cowboys to acquire K’Lavon Chaisson who has a toolbox that is overflowing with explosive burst, freaky bend and a motor that never runs idle. His foundation to work from in terms of developing his pass rush skill set is rare and he provides another edge rusher to complement Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue.
With Jacksonville's second 1st round pick, I again traded back, this time with Green Bay. At pick 30 I selected Trevon Diggs who excels in press and zone coverage and profiles as a nice starting boundary corner. While he may not be ‘the guy’ to replace Jalen Ramsey, he certainly provides some much-needed help to a depleted secondary. With Jacksonville’s 3rd pick I selected DT Neville Gallimore, a big man who could provide a replacement for Calais Campbell on that D-Line. Safety Ashytn Davis was the 4th pick for Jacksonville, again someone who could help bolster that depleted secondary.
Kansas City Chiefs GM: u/drummerguy555 1.32: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU 2.63: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State 3.96: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
The reigning super bowl champs solidify their LB core with Patrick Queen, the speedy defender from LSU. Dobbins falls all the way to 63 where the Chiefs pick him up to get a workhorse back for years to come. Finally, this WR adds another speedster in Devin Duvernay (Kyler Murray’s cousin) who will open yet another option for Mahomes.
Las Vegas Raiders GM: u/sbe003 1.12: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma 1.19: Grant Delpit, S, LSU 3.80: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma 3.81: Ben Bartch, OT, Houston 3.91: Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
Still feels a bit weird to say the Las Vegas Raiders but either way, with Las Vegas’ first 1stround pick I selected CeeDee Lamb. Lamb profiles as No. 1 wide receiver at the next level that can be the focal point of the passing attack. He’s a threat at all levels of the field with great body control, ball skills, hands and instincts and provides Derek Carr or whichever QB Gruden decides to use with a No. 1 wide receiver in a receiver room that leaves a bit to be desired.
With the second 1st round pick I selected Grant Delpit out of LSU. Delpit brings a lot to the table and he projects favorably to becoming a high-impact safety in the NFL. He’s versatile, physical, urgent, smart, athletic and his skill set is perfect for matching up against the pace and space present in today’s NFL offenses and provides Las Vegas with someone to start at the Free Safety spot across from last year’s 1st round pick Jonathan Abram.
With Las Vegas’ third pick I selected Jalen Hurts. I’m not entirely convinced John Gruden wants to keep Derek Carr around much longer and I think Hurts might be his guy. Whether Hurts would become the starting QB within a year or two is a complete mystery but his play at Oklahoma this past year was exceptional and he provides a good dual-threat skillset. With Las Vegas’ last two picks in round 3, I chose OT Ben Bartch and WR Donovan Peoples-Jones with both players providing more depth on offense for Gruden and the Raiders.
Los Angeles Chargers GM: u/sbe003 1.06: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon 2.37: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU 3.71: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
With the Chargers officially breaking up with Phillip Rivers over the summer, they have been in search of a new franchise QB and while for now they claim Tyrod Taylor will be the starter going into the 2020 season I’m not really convinced by that. So with the Chargers first pick I chose QB Justin Herbert. Herbert has every physical gift desirable in a quarterback prospect. His peaks are incredibly exciting and his starting point for his NFL career is at a good place given his improvements from 2018 to 2019. Herbert could be L.A’s new franchise QB and maybe this time the Chargers can actually get to a Super Bowl?
With the Charger’s second and third picks I selected CB Jeff Gladney and WR Chase Claypool. Looking back on the Gladney pick, I’m not necessarily annoyed but I realize CB is less of a need currently given the recent signing of Chris Harris Jr. However, Gladney is a versatile cornerback whose skill set in man coverage is really exciting. His rapid footwork, smooth hips, physicality, speed and route mirroring skills make him a dynamic option in man, soft press and off-man coverage, providing the Chargers with a more long term option at CB. Chase Claypool provides a big physical red-zone target for Justin Herbert and should have a good role in that offense alongside Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry.
Los Angeles Rams GM: u/drummerguy555 2.52: Matthew Peart, OT, UConn 3.84: Zack Moss, RB, Utah 3.104: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
The Rams take Matthew Peart with their first selection, a beast of a human who needs time to develop but has massive upside. Luckily, Andrew Whitworth won’t be around forever but he does have time to mentor Peart into an excellent tackle for when he’s gone.
With Gurley released, the Rams backfield has become somewhat of a mystery, by taking Moss here, the Rams get a do-it-all back for a cheap price. Moss has become one of my favorite running backs in this class and will fit well in a Rams scheme that uses RB’s fairly regularly. Finally, with the loss of Cory Littleton in free agency to the Raiders, the Rams take Jordyn Brooks to give them some LB depth.
Miami Dolphins GM: u/drummerguy555 TRADE: 1.03 for 1.05, 1.18, 3.70 1.03: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama 1.26: Josh Jones, OT, Houston 2.39: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia 2.56: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Miami traded up to take my QB1 in this class, Tua Tagovailoa. The rebuilding Miami has put together an excellent coaching staff, lots of young talent and added solid franchise players in free agency. Securing their QB for the future is the next step and Tua is a great fit to sit behind Fitzmagic (the only player over 30 on the Dolphins) and learn for a bit. While Miami did pay a steep price, it is for a top 3 pick and rights to a special talent at QB.
At 26, Miami needs to protect Tua and Josh Jones is a great fit - he’s big but surprisingly nimble with decent technique. In the first of Miami’s 2nd round selections, I took the first running back off the board, D’Andre Swift, who fell all the way to 39. Swift can rush, catch, block - all really, really well. A good 3 down back is a rookie QB’s best friend and that’s the type of support Swift will provide. With the 56th pick, I went BPA with Terrell Lewis. He’s a nice piece in building this defense for the future. Hopefully, these picks serve as a fundamental step in creating the New Miami Patriots, oops I mean Dolphins.
Minnesota Vikings GM: u/drummerguy555 1.22: Ross Blacklock, IDL, TCU 1.25: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson 2.58: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn 3.89: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois 3.105: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
With the 22nd pick, Minnesota took TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock. Blacklock has quickly become one of my favorite prospects in this draft and I’ve written on this sub lately about how much he excites me. Minnesota secures a quality starter for a decade here.
Another sleeper of mine (and quite a few others) is A.J. Terell who the Vikings selected at 25 to bolster their aging secondary. Luckily now, the Vikings have got rid of the literal piece of burnt toast that was Xavier Rhodes (PFF’s 112th ranked corner out of 115 - 2020 Pro Bowler LMFAO). In his place Terrell’s ultra-competitive spirit and mental toughness will fit in well and along with Harrison Smith, will return this secondary back into one of the NFL’s elite.
At 58, the Vikings grab Prince Tega Wanogho who will definitely help the Vikings struggles at o-line. With 89, I continued to support their secondary with Jeremy Chinn who will provide a quality body in that safety room. To finish off, I took Florida’s Van Jefferson for some speed to go along with Thielen.
New England Patriots GM: u/drummerguy555 TRADE: 1.09 for 1.23, 3.98, 4.25, 2020 NE 1st 1.09: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State 3.87: Nick Coe, EDGE, Auburn 3.100: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
Many will not agree with the moves I made with the Patriots which is fine, this is just what I would do. I think the Patriots have a few options but all of them include getting a new QB whether that be Cam, Love, Fromm or Lawrence (these are the ones I think are good fits in NE) - they can’t waste this still excellent roster with Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham at QB. They all have their benefits - Cam could return to an MVP level and revitalize this Patriots offense, Fromm is very similar to Brady in playstyle and therefore will fit seamlessly into this system as a Day 1 starter and Lawrence is my favorite prospect since Luck. However, I think the Patriots window is still very open and I would like to see them make moves to compete this year. That’s why I have them trading up to the 9th pick to select Jordan Love. He has one of the nicest throwing motions I’ve ever seen and true MVP potential. His dual-threat ability will bring some life into this offense and put the Patriots in a great position to retain the AFC East and compete for another Super Bowl.
With the 87th pick, I have the Patriots taking Nick Coe from Auburn. With experience all over the d-line at Auburn, I’m sure Belichick will find a way to utilize his talents. Finally, the Patriots still need a TE after Gronk’s retirement and Kmet’s athleticism makes him a great value pick at pick 100.
New Orleans Saints GM: u/drummerguy555 1.24: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU 3.88: Evan Weaver, LB, California
While Emmanuel Sanders is the best receiver they’ve had line up across from Michael Thomas since Brandin Cooks, in all honesty, I don’t think he’s the answer there - more of a solid WR3 then a WR2. So with the 24th pick, I took the local kid Justin Jefferson who is basically a fresher and quicker Emmanuel Sanders. This gives the Saints an elite WR core that any secondary will have an extremely tough time covering.
With pick 88, I took Evan Weaver, an underrated LB from Cal that will provide an option in the future for this aging LB core. Hopefully, this draft is enough to get the Saints over the hump and send Brees off with another ring.
New York Giants GM: u/sbe003 1.04: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa TRADE: 1.31 for 2.36, 3.99, 5.150 1.31: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
With New York’s first pick I toyed with the idea of taking Isaiah Simmons. However, Daniel Jones, Dave Gettleman’s golden boy needs to be protected. The Giants O-Line is subpar, so with New York’s first selection, I took Tristan Wirfs, someone who was an incredibly high riser after a dominant combine performance. Wirfs is a powerful man with impressive mobility that should make him an asset in the run game and out in space and has the upside to become one of the better offensive linemen in the game. He’ll most likely slot in at right tackle but could also swing over to the interior and play guard.
With New York’s second pick, I chose to trade up with the 49ers to pick 31. With this pick, I selected S Xavier McKinney. McKinney is a versatile defensive back that can fill multiple roles at a high level for an NFL defense. Whether it’s deep zones, man coverage from the slot or lining up close to the line of scrimmage, McKinney can execute. He showcases good processing speed, functional athleticism and the size needed to perform. He can bolster New York’s awful secondary and become a starting safety in New York for years to come.
New York Jets GM: u/drummerguy555 1.11: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama 2.48: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State 3.68: Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota 3.79: Joshua Uche, EDGE, Michigan
For me, the O-line is by far the biggest need for the Jets and while I usually believe in BPA, the Jets really, really need o-line help. That’s why the Jets pass on Jeudy and Lamb at 11 and take the best RT in this class, Jedrick Wills. A little raw but with great athleticism, he will protect Darnold for many years to come.
At 48, I continued to support this O-line with Ezra Cleveland - the athletic freak from Boise State. With the highest relative pSPARQ percentile of any prospect at this year’s combine, I went back to his tape to find a prospect with surprisingly good technique. Hopefully, he will develop into a great tackle to go along with Wills and give the Jets a solid start at rebuilding this o-line.
At 68, I decided to address WR with Tyler Johnson who gives Darnold a nice option outside and with 79 I went BPA with Joshua Uche off the edge.
Philadelphia Eagles GM: u/drummerguy555 TRADE: 1.14 for 1.21, 3.103, 2021 PHI 2nd 1.14: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama 2.53: Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
With corner finally sorted out after missing out on Ramsey, the eagles can focus on building their WR core. In the few games Desean Jackson played, we saw how beneficial it is to Carson Wentz and this offense when there’s a speedy deep threat on the field. That’s why I’m trading up to 14 with the Eagles to select the lightning-quick Henry Ruggs II, sniping the Broncos in the process.
The Eagles decided to let 3-time pro bowler Malcolm Jenkins go leaving a hole in their coverage unit. Selecting Kyle Dugger at 53 solves this problem as the huge but speedy safety from Lenoir Rhyne can fly around the field for the Eagles.
Pittsburgh Steelers GM: u/drummerguy555 2.49: Netane Muti, IOL, Fresno State 3.102: Khalid Kareem, EDGE, Notre Dame
I decided to take Netane Muti with pick 49 whose athleticism and versatility help protect Big Ben and support whoever is running the ball in Pittsburgh. With pick 102, I went BPA with Khalid Kareem off the edge to give the Steelers some options on the d-line.
San Francisco 49ers GM: u/sbe003 1.13: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama TRADE: 1.31 for 2.36, 3.99, 5.150 2.36: Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin 3.99: Leki Fotu, IDL, Utah
With San Fran’s first pick I selected WR Jerry Jeudy. Trading DeForest Buckner to the Colts was a move that I didn’t necessarily like but it was the right move to make and if San Fran can land Jerry Jeudy in the draft it will almost certainly make up for the loss of Buckner. Jeudy projects as a true No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL that a passing game can be funneled through. Alabama lined him up all across the formation and he features the versatility to do the same in the NFL and not restrict the offensive scheme. One can only imagine what kinds of things Kyle Shanahan might get up to with Jerry Jeudy in his offense.
With the Niner’s second pick I traded out of pick 31 and picked up picks 36, 99 and 150 from the Giants. With pick 36 I took IOL Tyler Biadasz. I really thought about taking CB here but I figured with a team that revolved so heavily around the run, the interior offensive line was really lacking. Biadasz is a powerful run blocker and a wall in pass protection. He’s outstanding on the move and his football intelligence shines. He is someone that will anchor the Niners' offensive line for years to come. With the third pick, I selected DT Leki Fotu, who provides even more depth to that still monstrous defensive line even with the loss of DeForest Buckner.
Seattle Seahawks GM: u/sbe003 1.27: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State 2.59: Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin 2.64: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State 3.101: Shane Lemieux, IOL, Oregon
With the Seahawks I went pretty much all defense, helping to rebuild that unit to mirror at least some remnant of its former Legion of Boom moniker. With Seattle’s first pick I selected Yetur Gross-Matos. Gross-Matos has every quality needed to become a dynamic pass rusher and run defender at the next level. His blend of burst, length, size, power and fluidity is impressive and his deployment of his traits leads to disruptive moments. He can provide a more dominant presence on a defensive line that lost a few pieces to free agency.
With the next 2 picks, I went back to defense selecting CB Damon Arnette and EDGE Zach Baun. Both players provide good depth and could develop into nice rotational pieces. I do believe of the two, Baun could develop into a very nice starter and one who could fill in at linebacker for Jadeveon Clowney who may or may not be returning to Seattle nobody really knows at this point. I selected IOL Shane Lemieux with the Seahawks fourth pick. Again, for a team that is very run-heavy they lost a lot of key pieces on the O-Line through free agency, Lemieux can help depth on the O-Line and be a potential starter at guard for the Seahawks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM: u/sbe003 TRADE: 1.14 for 1.21, 3.103, 2021 PHI 2nd 1.21: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville 2.45: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin 3.76: Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M 3.103: Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
Tampa Bay got their guy. Tom Brady is coming to Tampa for the next 2 years and possibly beyond. Whether he stays after those two years who knows? However, with that in mind, Tampa Bay needs to protect Brady and give him a defense which he can somewhat rely on. With Tampa’s first pick I took Mekhi Becton. I traded down with the Eagles as the top 3 tackle prospects I wanted were all gone by 14. However, Becton was still available at pick 21. A massive man, Becton has the playing strength expected for a man of his stature which he combines with a maulers mentality that leads to gaping holes in the run game. In pass protection, Becton has smoother feet than expected and tremendous length that helps him maintain the width of the pocket. Becton is sure to be a solid starter on the O-Line helping Tom Brady and that non-existent run game. Speaking of the run game, with Tampa’s second pick I took RB Jonathan Taylor. Ronald Jones ain’t it chief. Taylor can come in day 1 and be the bell-cow back in Arians’ offense. He averaged over 2,000 years a season at Wisconsin and has a rare blend of size, burst and power. Taylor is someone who is sure to succeed in the Bruce Arians system. With Tampa’s next 2 picks I selected DT Justin Madubuike and EDGE Darrell Taylor. Two prospects that can shore up Tampa’s front seven and become good starters in the near future.
Tennessee Titans GM: u/sbe003 1.29: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma 2.61: Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn 3.93: Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
With the Titans' first pick, I decided to go with the best player available and select LB Kenneth Murray. Murray is a tone-setter on the second level, he’s an urgent, aggressive and physical defender with outstanding range. He plays with an unrelenting motor and flies all over the field in pursuit. With the Titans second pick, I selected OT Jack Driscoll. Driscoll is a decent tackle coming out of Auburn with outstanding technique but lacking in athleticism and could provide as a solid replacement for Jack Conklin. With the Titans third pick I selected CB Darnay Holmes. He provides solid depth to a bit of a lackluster corner group, whether Holmes would really make an impact as a starter is hard to say.
Washington Redskins GM: u/sbe003 1.02: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State 3.66: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
With the 2nd overall selection, there have been grumblings coming out of Washington that they’d be picking a QB, I don’t really buy it and I’d prefer if Haskins didn’t turn into Josh Rosen 2.0. So with Washington’s first pick, I made the obvious selection of DE Chase Young. Do I really need to say a lot about this pick? Young is a beast. He profiles as an instant impact edge defender with the upside to become one of the NFL's most prolific defensive playmakers. He’s polished, powerful, athletic and features every desirable physical trait needed to excel in the NFL.
With Washington’s second pick I selected Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman was pretty good at USC. He has a massive catch radius and features a long, stocky frame with outstanding hands. He’s physical in everything he does and defensive backs will be challenged with his blend of size, strength and ball skills. He could provide Washington with a solid No. 2 receiver for Haskins, who outside of Terry McLaurin doesn’t really have a lot of weapons.
Thanks for reading (however much of the 6100 words you did). We had a great time making this and can't wait for the draft! :)
submitted by drummerguy555
My top 10 wide receivers in the upcoming draft
Now that we've finished up with the lines on either side of the ball, running backs and linebackers let's move out of the box and have a look at the receiver position. This is an absolutely loaded class, with six receivers having a first-round grade for me and all ten earning a spot in my top 50 big board. However, you might get a couple of valuable starter on day three and you can find any type in this group - big-bodied jump-ball specialists, deep threats, quick slot guys, YAC specialist and anything else you are looking for.
1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
This guy has a great cross between being a very smooth and explosive route-runner, with the incredibly loose hips to make any break and the speed to quickly burn defenses. He possesses superb body control and understands how to pace his routes and set up defenders with head-fakes and body language. You see him give some DBs a jab-step and just leave them behind in the dust. Jeudy is so creative with the way he can create separation, often times getting DBs to turn their hips in a way that makes them look completely stupid when you stop the film at certain points. He is very unique with all the different releases he utilizes. That includes slow-playing some of them and then getting off the defender with a sudden burst – especially on slant routes. Jeudy rarely allows defenders to attach to his hip. He is very advanced in his hand-work, route-running to create separation and using subtle push-offs if he does have a defender on his hip. You see him also push guys by on some curl routes, where he can stop on a dime like it’s nothing. He is the closest thing out there to a true ankle-breaker at the receiver position.
Jeudy can be the X single receiver, line up in the slot or even as the number three receiver and motion him into stacks. Alabama put the ball in his hands on slip and bubble screens and used him as deception off that. Jeudy is highly creative open-field runner who displays some ridiculous jukes, including backwards jump-cuts, dead-legs and all that kind of stuff. However, he is also more than capable of burning defenses deep, where he displays excellent ball-tracking skills and comfort in tight spaces to go with the timing he utilizes. He quickly stacks his corner on go-routes and attacks the ball in the air. He wins on a lot of double-moves, where he gets DBs to take the cheese with head-fakes and nods. Jeudy also shows excellent flexibility to pick the ball up from his feet without having to slow down. Alabama quarterbacks had a passer rating of 125.1 when targeting him last season.
Last season Jeudy proved to me in several instances that he is a very tough player to go with all those dynamic qualities. He started 2019 off with ten catches for 138 yards and a TD in the season-opener versus Duke and the coaching staff made it clear that they wanted to feature him, moving him around the formation and getting the ball to him quickly on screen passes. He set the tone right away as the alpha of that talented receiving corp and dropped his shoulder on several defenders. Jeudy also decided to play in last year’s Citrus Bowl against Michigan, even though he could have easily sat out for the draft. Not only did scouts like that, but also the fact he could not be guarded all afternoon, as he caught six passes for 204 yards and a score. As a blocker, he does an excellent job of shielding defenders from the play with body-positioning and hands inside the chest.
With that being said, Jeudy, wasn’t even the leading receiver for the Tide last season (Devonta Smith). He gets hung up with press every once in a while when he is not urgent enough to release. The Alabama receiver doesn’t have a ton of play strength and a little bit of a slender frame, having some defenders push him backwards in the run game. However, the one thing that actually annoyed me a little about Jeudy’s tape is the fact he lets the ball get into his frame too much and you see him let some passes fall to the ground, where he already turns his body downfield to make things happen after the catch, which led to seven drops last season.
This is the best overall route-runner in the draft and he is super slippery after the catch. Jeudy might not quite by as fast as his teammate Henry Ruggs or as physical as Oklahoma’s Ceedee Lamb, but he has all the tools to be a true number one receiver, who can be moved around the field and do pretty much anything you ask of him. While the comparison is a little steep for me, Odell Beckham Jr. is the receiver that comes to mind when you think about the style of Jeudy, even if the Alabama receiver doesn’t quite have those spectacular contested catches to show for it.
2. Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma
Unlike Marquise Brown coming out a year ago, nobody should question Lamb’s size at 6’2”, right around 200 pounds. While he doesn’t have the flat-out speed of “Hollywood”, I would certainly argue that Lamb is a better all-around receiver and his speed is still plenty good, as he can eat up cushions and set up breaks in any direction. What I really like about his game are the different gears he uses on his routes and how physical he can get. Lamb really understands how to adjust his routes on the fly in that Lincoln Riley Air-Raid system. He comes back to the ball aggressively on routes along the sidelines, as well as being highly flexible and making tough catches look easy all the time. Lamb does a nice job swatting away the hands of the defender and using his own for some little push-offs without having the ref reaching for his flag, plus he can kind of lull defenders into thinking they are in good position and then plant the foot while being physical with his hands to create a good angle for the pass. He also tracks the ball and adjusts his body mid-air incredibly well, shielding the ball from the defender’s swipes, almost looking for contact at times to using the opponent as a jumping board to not let that guy disrupt the catch point. You see him extend outside his frame for the most part and make some big catches with multiple defenders right around him.
Nobody makes more happen after the catch than this guy. His ability to change up his steps, set up guys with little body-fakes and just surprise them with some of the moves he makes is impeccable. At the same time he is also a very physical runner, who can run through tackles and gain yards after contact with great balance. If you pause the tape at times and see how defenses have Lamb corralled, it is ridiculous how many of them he turned into touchdowns. The former Sooner excels at reading leverage, understanding angles and seeing the entire field. There are instances where he is the primary option on a pass play and he seemingly already has a plan of how to make the defender miss. Lamb even returned some punts for the Sooners because of his ability to make things happen with the ball in his hands. OU put the ball in Lamb’s hands on some jet sweeps and tunnel screens as well as running a bunch of crossing routes at different levels, plus then Lincoln Riley used the receiver as deception quite a bit, faking those sweeps and running fly motions. Overall he forced 26 missed tackles last season.
That led to recording a passer rating above 145 when targeted in each of the last two seasons. He he already put up 12.7 yards per target in 2018 it improved to a stupid 15.1 last three, all while dropping only three passes and not fumbling once during his entire collegiate career. Last year he had seven different games of 100+ yards and he was out of this world in last year’s Big 12 Championship game versus Baylor, when he brought in eight of his nine targets for 173 yards. When nobody on the Sooners could really do anything and Jalen Hurts struggled mightily versus LSU in the Peach Bowl, Lamb was the only one to put his foot down and actually made some huge plays versus those talented corners for the eventual national champs. As much of a star receiver as he was for the Sooners, Lamb did not shy away from getting involved as a blocker. He does a good job breaking down in space and at least make the defender work. Oklahoma used him on some crackback blocks off near motions. His vision also helps him identify the biggest threat as a blocker, even when he is actually engaged with another defender already.
However, Lamb struggles a bit on pivot and angle-type routes, which kind of led to a game-changing pick-six for TCU in their 2019 game. He simply can not drop his hips and make those dramatic cuts quite like Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. I also think he gets his body in front of defenders in the run game more than actually driving them. While I love the YACability, sometimes I would like him to be a little more efficient with just getting downhill and not always looking for the big play, as his eyes get glued to the second and third level instead of simply reading the block right in front of him first. He can get a little too fancy at moments.
This was really a tight race for my number one receiver spot, because Lamb is more physical receiver who adds so much after the catch. He has a plan off the line and even though he faced a lot of soft Big XII coverages, I don’t think he will have a lot of problems releasing from press at the next level. And if you want to question how good his hands are, just check out one of the most ridiculous one-handed catch
along the sideline I’ve ever seen versus UCLA in 2018 (even if it was ruled out of bounds).
3. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Nothing shows you more what kind of blazing speed Ruggs has than the face of disappointment he had when he realized he “only” ran a 4.27 in the 40 at the combine. And he does not need much time to get to that final gear, as he can get from zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye. Nobody in college football has struck more fear into defenders with his ability to beat them deep than this guy. Opposing teams put a safety over the top of him whenever they could, because he could change a game at any moment. And even with that, you see safeties flip their hips after a second sometimes, as he can run by both of them with ease. Ruggs tracks passes over either shoulder with ease and he adjusts very well to underthrown balls and back-shoulder fades along the sideline.
However, he is much more than just a speedster, who can work the underneath areas as well. Ruggs was borderline uncoverable on deep curl and comeback routes, where he puts DBs on their heels and makes them open up their hips all the way, before hitting the breaks and creating a good five yards of separation a lot of times. He is also a nightmare when the offense runs a vertical concept with him breaking inside 10-15 yards deep and he has all the space to work with over the middle, That’s how he had an almost perfect passer-rating on routes in the teens in terms of depth. Alabama put the ball in Ruggs’ hands on jet sweeps, bubble screens off fly motions and reverses. He gives you the ability to take some easy yardage that way and then come off that with some fakes to make the defense commit, in order to open something else up. He took a quick screen 75 yards against New Mexico last season, where he killed five different angles down the sideline and versus South Carolina, there was a play where Ruggs caught the ball on a slant route and worked across the field to get to the end-zone untouched on an 81-yard touchdown untouched, where a lot of guys would have been cut off after like 15 yards.
Ruggs has this incredible quality of gaining distance on multiple trailing defenders during one play. However, he also has good contact balance and strength to run through some wraps and have defenders slip off him, plus he has this side-step as initial defenders try to dive at his feet. Nothing illustrates Ruggs’ big play ability more than the fact 24 of his 98 career receptions went for touchdowns – a ridiculous rate. He also does a nice job adjusting his routes due to blitzes and coverage rolls and he dropped just one catchable pass last season, which is very uncommon for those speedsters. To go with that, he is an excellent open-field blocker for a guy at 190 pounds, who squares up his target and rises up through him. You see him turn into a blocker quickly once a teammate catches the ball and spring them loose that way.
Be that as it may, Ruggs only made up 11.2 percent of the Alabama offense last season. He did not run a very complex route-tree for the Tide, limited to slant, shallow cross, go and post routes. It is kind of crazy to think he didn’t run more double-moves for the Tide, which makes you question why he didn’t, since the coaches down in Tuscaloosa certainly didn’t just not think about that. He is a bit of a straight-line route runners, instead of using different speeds to set up his breaks, plus he didn’t have the same kind of success versus press than he did when defenses gave him space to work. He is simply not as well-rounded as the two guys in front of him are at this point.
While Jeudy and Lamb are more complete receivers at this point with more production to hang their hats on, some teams may value Ruggs’ speed and that capability of creating yardage as you give him the ball on the move even more. He could easily have the type of impact Deebo Samuel had for San Francisco last season, while being able to finish plays in the end-zone at an even higher rate. I love to watch his tape, seeing him pull away from defenders in a way nobody else can, and neither is he small nor does he play like it.
4. Laviska Shenault, Colorado
At 6’2”, 225 pounds, Shenault is almost built like a linebacker. When I first watched him play, I thought he looked pretty much like a clone of Julio Jones coming out of Alabama. Watching him go off over those first six games of the 2018 season was what really sold me on this guy. Shenault amassed 867 yards and five touchdowns from scrimmage, before banging up his toe and not looking like himself when he returned for the final three weeks of the year. Unfortunately the Buffs could not keep up their hot 5-0 start to the year, losing seven(!) straight games, but whilst they were still winning, their star receiver was an actual Heisman trophy contender. Shenault does everything for the Buffs. He lines up out wide by himself, in the slot, is put in stacks, runs jet sweeps and even bangs into the end-zone as a wildcat QB.
Shenault can run routes like a lot of sub-six feet guys, go over the top over defenders with size and just take the top off the opposition. While he caught a bunch of quick passes for Colorado almost like an extended hand-off, he also tracks the deep ball very well and has the late burst to create some more separation. He loves those inside fades, where tracks the ball exceptionally well over his head. He makes some tough catches with defenders draped over him or putting a hit on him as the ball arrives. There was one play versus UCLA in 2018, where two defenders basically hit him at the same time high and low to almost helicopter him, but he still brought in the catch. Shenault uses his big frame exceptionally well to shield the ball from defenders on stop- and in-breaking routes, plus he works back to the ball aggressively and bails out his QB on the scramble drill at times
What stands out about him after the catch is how quickly Shenault brings the ball into his body, to not allow defenders to rip it out of his hands. You see him drop the shoulder as soon as he turns upfield and he protects the ball with the off-hand wrapped over it. He is as strong a runner at the wide receiver position as you will see in college football, just blasting through a couple of awaiting defenders or dragging them on his back for a couple of extra yards. Shenault is not scared to running into three or four defenders in front of him either. However, he can also set up defenders with little dips of the shoulder and creates angles to get to the sideline that way or give little hesitation moves to put those guys off balance. He reads defenses tremendously well on jet sweeps and consistently found creases as a goal-line runner.
Altogether Shenault forced 29 missed tackles in 2018 and averaged 7.4 yards after the catch on average. Last season he averaged 7.5 yards after the grab with just over 10 yards depth of target on average. While he did fail to reach the 1000-yard mark in 2019 in more games, he improved his yards per touch by 0.8 yards despite being the only real weapon on that Colorado offense. However, if you think he can’t take over games anymore the way did as a sophomore, just watch his a monster game versus USC last season, when he turned his ten touches into 189 yards and two scores. One of them came on a simple square-in, where he immediately cut upfield and turned on the jets to the take it to the house from 71 yards out. Shenault also shows good awareness for situations, knowing where the marker and what the time on the clock is.
Injuries are the biggest concern with investing a high draft pick in Shenault, with toe and labrum surgeries before last season and a medical red flag at the combine. He is not nearly as schooled with his releases or route-running as some other guys on this list and allows some defenders to get back into the picture. He is also not close to being the type of physical blocker he probably could be, even if some of that probably has to do with the volume of touches he receives and how the Buffs just moved him around. Shenault doesn’t come off the ball with the same kind of burst, misjudges some angles and does not land his hands in the proper areas. The passer rating was around 87 when targeting him on passes thrown for ten yards or more and he should be more of a beast boxing out defenders downfield, with only six contested catches last season.
While there are still some refinements Shenault needs to make in his game, he is already a highly versatile and dynamic playmaker. His upside might be greater than anybody in the entire draft class, because physically there is nothing he doesn’t have or can’t do. I think he needs to use his physicality in all areas of his games and the medical still needs to check out fine, but if he starts to fall and is healthy for whoever selects him, that team could see a major pay-off. For a big receiver he has unbelievable burst and explosiveness after the catch.
5. Justin Jefferson, LSU
Jefferson presents a nice frame at 6’1”, just over 200 pounds. He has this unique style of running routes with adding a little shake at the top of his break and giving some hesitation, almost in a Keenan Allen-type of way. You see him hop-step into some routes, slow-play some off-man defenders and just keep them off balance with how he gets into his stem. Jefferson also excels reading leverages and adjusting on the fly, making him a problem on option routes. He does an outstanding job reducing the shoulder to avoid defenders trying to get into his chest and slow him down. While he wasn’t on-line on too many snaps, when the Tigers had him as the front receiver on bunches and stacks, he did not seem to have much trouble getting off press. On the scramble drill, Jefferson helps out his quarterback by coming back towards him or continuing to work across the field. He makes some beautiful snags extending outside his frame with those 33-inch arms and catching the ball with his finger-tips, when the ball is slightly off target.
The dependable LSU receiver is very strong once he has the ball in his hands and can spin out of the tackler’s hands. His ability to start and stop is what makes some defenders slip and look stupid, as they run past him. Jefferson forced 23 missed tackles last season. He caught a bunch of quick slants over the middle – especially as the number two receiver in a trips set – where he knew he would take a big hit, but still held on to the ball pretty much every time – often times for crucial first downs. He was relied upon when third downs quite a bit in general and came through time and time again. Jefferson also faced a lot of tough assignments as a blocker in the slot versus safeties and even some linebackers, which he took very serious. You see him quickly make up the space to his target, get his hands inside the frame of the defender and keep moving his feet. He is technically sound in that area and did not lack any effort. LSU even lined him up as a wing-man almost at times and seal the back-side of run plays.
As much as space as he usually creates underneath, Jefferson’s 92.3 percent contested catch rate is the best among draft-eligible receivers. He caught a huge game-clinching touchdown on third-and-17 in the Texas game – his third of that game – and went bonkers in the Peach Bowl versus Oklahoma with 14 grabs for 227 yards and four(!) touchdowns. His best catch of the season however might not even be found on the stat sheet, as he elevated for the potentially game-deciding onside kick and came down with it in that huge showdown at Alabama, which set off their run for the SEC. Jefferson was basically the most reliable receiver on the most explosive offense in the country with the Heisman trophy winner throwing him the ball. He also might have had the most helpful 40-yard time among all receivers at 4.43 at the combine, after being labelled a slot receiver with modest speed.
Despite that, he only caught two passes when lined up out wide and with an average depth of target of just 9.4 yards. His nine receptions of 20+ air yards may look great on paper, it isn’t something to brag about either for maybe the most explosive passing offense in college football history and 6.4 yards after the catch is okay under those circumstances. While his timed speed is obviously is good, I never felt like defenders were particularly scared of Jefferson beating them over the top, with several inside fade routes towards him finding no success. He has a bit of a kick-back whenever he gets off the ball and he still has to perfect the balance between being deceptive and losing time to get into his route. With as many passes as he caught, he still dropped seven balls in 2019 and his hand usage needs some work against press.
While he simply isn’t the type of dynamic deep-threat or jump-ball target as his former teammate Ja’Marr Chase – who will probably be a top-ten pick next year – Jefferson can be one of the premiere slot receivers as soon as he steps onto an NFL field. He is already highly diverse with his ability to set up defenders and create separation to be one of the quarterback’s best friends. If you are looking for a true outside threat, look elsewhere. But if you need somebody for easy completions to keep the chains moving, Jefferson is your guy.
6. Denzel Mims, Baylor
Few players have helped their draft stock more since the end of the college season. For a Baylor receiver with the reputation of running a small route tree, Mims went down to the Senior Bowl and put highlight tape over three days one-on-ones, while showcasing the ability to run a multitude of routes. He was basically uncoverable on any type of curl or comeback route and was a big talker throughout practices. Then Mims’ combination of size, speed and agility were on full display at the combine, where he ran a 4.38 in the 40 and had the best three-cone drill (6.66) among all combine participants, while also adding a 38.5-inch vert and almost broad-jumping 11 feet.
Mims looks like he was built in a lab, measuring in at 6’3”, 215 pounds with 34-inch arms. He uses several different releases against and off- and press-coverage, where he makes those DBs freeze their feet and uses his hands very well to not allow them to grab any cloth. He gives defenders different speeds, footwork and overall looks. Mims plays extremely physical against press-coverage and uses push-offs on a bunch of routes. He will take what he wants and not let DBs dictate where he is going. He shows tremendous quickness and ability to lean into guys to create separation in that area, plus he has improved his ability to drop the weight and break back towards the quarterback on curl routes. You see him quickly turn his body away from the defender along the sidelines, which makes him a perfect pairing with QBs who like to win with ball-placement. He routinely makes 50-50 catch situations look more like 80-20, with an incredible catch radius to make grabs at the very end of his reach look easy routinely, while judging the ball’s flight beautifully. He made 32 contested catches over the last two years. Mims was heavily targeted on back-shoulder fades and jump-balls into the boundary, where he does a great job overall working the sideline and keeping his feet in-bounds on balls with a trajectory outside the white lines time and time again. However, if corners play that back-shoulder too much and don’t respect his speed, Mims can also run right by him.
His 66 catches on 113 targets last season do not nearly tell the full story. On a bunch of the targets his way it was the underneath defender on a dig or deep-in route that got his hands on the ball, or the ball simply landed out of bounds. He made an absolutely stupid catch on a crucial fourth down versus Texas last season, before ending that drive with a big touchdown on a post route with a defender right on him. Mims is strong like an ox after the catch, running through wraps and driving his legs through contact for extra yardage. He also shows has pretty good quickness and is kind of shifty with the ball in his hands. Mims is very efficient with turning upfield instantly and picking up yardage. To along with that, he really gets after it as a blocker, taking smaller DBs off balance all the time and controlling them by staying chest-to-chest. He stays engaged, redirects and does not stop working. Mims is fantastic at transitioning from route-runner to blocker to give his teammates room to run.
On the flipside, Mims averaged only 2.8 yards after the catch and forced just seven missed tackles last season. He also dropped seven passes as well, including a potential game-winning touchdown versus Texas Tech, even if the Bears came back to finish the job in overtime. He still has to learn when to sit or slow down against some zone looks and he will have some of those aggressive push-offs called against him at the next level. Mims does not really sell sharp double-moves either, gliding too much into the route and not dropping his weight the way he seems capable of. He will not quite be able to throw around NFL corners the way he did with Big 12 DBs.
I already liked Mims from the limited tape I had watched up to that point, but watching him basically put together a highlight reel over three days of practice at the Senior Bowl and then blowing up the combine the way he did put him in a different light for me. Similar to D.K. Metcalf coming out of Ole Miss a year ago (my WR1 back then), people seem to label Mims as a workout warrior and overthink him a little. This guy is a freak athlete with great versatility in his release and special ability to come up with the ball in tight spaces. I love him at the end of the first round.
7. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
This guy has the body of a Greek god. Aiyuk’s 80-inch wingspan at 5’11” is bigger than the one of 6’6” Collin Johnson from Texas. He is much better suited to play on the outside full-time than his former teammate N’Keal Harry with the speed to win on straight go-routes, but also the quickness to make things happen underneath. Aiyuk can slow-play the release and then give a sudden burst to create separation – especially on slant routes, as he really snaps his head when he comes out of breaks. He was targeted quite a bit on stutter-release fades into the boundary, where he has that extra gear to catch up to a ball that seems to be overthrown and made eight receptions of 20+ yards. He is also lethal on whip routes, where he can really drop those hips and redirect, leading the corner to run past him initially. Aiyuk shows great flexibility and twitch in his lower body to sell routes and made several defenders grab him as he got out of some post-corner or flat-to-wheel routes.
He routinely makes catches with the ball out of in front of him, where he has to dive and fully extend for it. There are also some passes that look like he would be overthrown, but Aiyuk uses his condor-like wing-span to haul in the catch. He does not panic when the ball seems to be able in the air forever and puts his body in position to secure the catch, even when it is badly underthrown. At ASU, he mostly lined up out wide to the left, but has experience out of the slot, motioning around the field and as part of stacks. Aiyuk is a creative and dangerous runner after the catch. For a very powerful receiver, his ability to shake or spin away from defenders in the open field is pretty impressive. You see some hesitation steps followed up by turning on the jets to get right by underneath defenders. The Sun Devils used his YACability on several tunnel and slip screens last season, as well as a couple of reverses or bubble screens off a motion. His extreme competiveness with the ball in his hands manifested itself in an average of 10.9 yards after the catch and 14 missed tackles forced last season.
Aiyuk showed off that ability to make things happen with the ball in his hands in the return game routinely. He displays excellent contact balance and pulls himself out of a bunch of tackles. He gad a 96-yard kick return versus USC and even when the Trojans tried to squib-kick it to him the very next time, it still looked like he had a shot to go the distance. Aiyuk clinched the Oregon game with an 81-yard touchdown and caught a deep ball along the sideline at Michigan State to set up the game-winning score, which he would have already delivered if that pass wasn’t horribly underthrown. If he didn’t catch passes from a freshman QB last year, he would have probably been even more productive.
With that being said, he dropped six passes in 2019 and only two of his total came in contested situations. Overall he brought in just three of the 14 targets in those spots over his two years with the Sundevils. When he is in a 50-50 situation with a defender, I want him to high-point the ball more instead of trying to cradle it. Aiyuk is not an overly physical blocker, who looks at the ball-carrier as he is out in front, rather than finding targets in space to clear the way. His hand technique is severly underdeveloped at this point to defeat press off the line and he has to learn how to deal better with hands-on DBs overall to translate to the pros.
This kid is a big play threat, who can run away from defenders and refuses to down with the ball in his hands. While he is far from being a perfect route-runner to win routinely on the outside, you can manufacture touches for him and let him create for you. Aiyuk probably needs a year to take on such a role, but if you use him in creative ways in the slot and let him show off those talents in the return game.
8. Jalen Reagor, TCU
While he may seem slightly undersized at 5’11”, Reagor presents a dense frame at 195 pounds. Body-wise he reminds me a lot of the 49ers’ Deebo Samuel and his game is somewhat similar. He has the speed to run right by guys on the outside, where you see him rapidly eat up the cushion, stack and then separate against corners. He judges the ball in the air beautifully and attacks it at the highest point consistently, playing way taller than his size indicates and coming down with a bunch of 50-50 deep balls. A lot of DBs panic when the TCU receiver breaks back to the post and they have no help behind them. Reagor also made some excellent plays on corner routes, where safeties had to stay on their heels because of the way he fired off the ball. Eight of his 43 catches last year came in contested catches, which is also the amount of balls he brought in that travelled 20+ yards through the air, as he average depth of target for him was at 14.9 yards.
Reagor certainly has the ability to win one-on-one on the outside, but the Horned Frog coaches also manufactured touches for him off motions and different screens. They got him involved on some jet sweeps and reverses to take advantage of his speed and even a few swing screens off fly motions. He has the explosive burst to make defenders who are seemingly leveraged correctly be wrong. Reagor has a sick backwards juke at the sideline and pretty creative with the ball in his hands in general. I’m not afraid at all about sending him on slant routes over the middle and deal with some hits in there because of how thick his frame is either, being built more like a running back. Reagor meant so much for his team in 2018 – his 72 catches accounted for over 30% of TCU’s completions, and his 1,061 receiving yards were more than 600 yards better than the next closest pass-catcher for them. Last season he once again didn’t have much help around him, but opposing defenses knew that they had to commit more to him, which the TCU coaches helped them with by putting Reagor in the slot, while his quarterback was wildly inconsistent.
Unfortunately, Reagor dropped seven passes last season and his six fumbles are pretty alarming for a receiver, which were the most at his position. He also does not really move his feet as a blocker and doesn’t seem overly interested in getting involved that way altogether. Reagor doesn’t run very sharp routes at this point and there is not nearly enough nuance in his double-moves, barely drawing the DB in on the initial break. He put up the third-worst three-cone time at the combine and I expected him to be somewhere in the 4.3s instead of 4.47, even if he was impressive in the leaping events. He just looked like he added excess weight he didn’t have to.
There are some things I don’t love about Reagor, like his poor blocking and unrefined route-running at this point, but he was already very productive for the Horned Frogs and I can see how offensive coordinators could deploy him in a multitude of ways at the next level. I see him playing that Deebo Samuel role on jet sweeps and quick slants over the middle, but he is also a great vertical threat, who plays the ball in the air better than a lot of 6’4” receivers.
9. K.J. Hamler, Penn State
Measuring in at 5’9”, 178 pounds, Hamler was a do-everything guy for the Nittany Lions. He has the ability to become a very unique route-runner with the way he snaps out of his breaks and can set things up. He freezes defenders with head-fakes and certain body-language. He makes some guys look stupid trying to push him towards the sideline by attacking the outside with a jab-step and then continuing to work down the seams. When he pushes upfield against a safety from the slot, Hamler makes those guys look like their feet are stuck in quick-sand as he breaks inside on post and deep in-routes. On corner and deep out-routes he creates a ton of separation by swiveling his head to the inside and then exploding the other way. Hamler can cut off on one step on short out-routes, which Penn State used him on from a tighter split and stack. He was also a problem on inside fade routes as the number two or three receiver, where he just blazed by some safeties and nickels. Altogether he caught 11 passes that were in the air for 20+ yards last season and scored on five of them, tracking the deep ball exceptionally well, almost like a center-fielder.
Hamler was working with a first-year starter in Sean Clifford last season, where there were a lot of opportunities for big plays with him breaking free over the middle and having a couple of steps on his defender. You see him keep working across the field and create throwing windows constantly as the QB moves around. This guy is like lightning in a bottle with the ball in his hands. Sometimes you think he is completely dead to rights, but somehow he finds a way to escape. Hamler is lethal in space and simply brought juice to the Nittany Lions offense whenever he touched the ball. He was also a weapon for them in the return game, averaging 26.2 yards per kick return. To go along with that, he was heavily utilized as deception on fake bubbles or to run guys off for underneath completions and even took a few handoffs from the backfield. Hamler might not be too strong at his slim stature, but he doesn’t mind throwing his body around as a blocker and puts in plenty of effort. However, he is more valuable running guys off and binding them by pushing upfield or faking bubble screens anyway. At below-180 pounds, Hamler put up an impressive 15 reps on the bench press, and while we have no 40-yard dash time on him, he claims to run a 4.27 and I would certainly put him in the low-4.3 category.
As much as you like his ability to separate at the collegiate level and how scrappy he is, there is no way around Hamler’s diminutive size. He gets knocked around quite a bit by underneath defenders, who can move their feet a little and while I barely saw any tape of Hamler facing press, his lack of size could certainly be an issue even with how dynamic he is in his lower body. The biggest concern for him however were his 12 dropped passes and a drop rate of 16.9 last season. His catch radius isn’t overly exciting and defenders will be able to work through his frame as the ball arrives there
While the drops are certainly a problem, you also see Hamler come down with some catches right in the middle of a crowd or with balls low from the ground. There are certainly some limitations due to his size, but he is a dynamic player in space, who eats over the middle and can just run by DBs. The way he erases cushions even when defenders are lined up way off is mind-boggling and he could be a big-play machine.
Number ten and notable mentions are in the comments! (Didn't fit the 40.000 characters)
If you enjoyed the original content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/04/01/top-10-wide-receivers-in-the-2020-nfl-draft/
You can also listen to the breakdown on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEp8AN16vhM
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