A Scouts Take: 15 Thoughts on the NFL Draft

6. Continuing with the safety discussion, at one time it looked like the safety position was going to end up being one of the worst positions in this year’s draft. However, after spending more time watching some tape of guys and seeing a number of guys in person at the Senior Bowl, I am now under the impression that this draft will actually produce some very good safeties.

Mark Barron is the only one certain to go in round one, but guys such as Harrison Smith and Antonio Allen are both players who have been productive in college who should make an impact in the pros. Trenton Robinson, Brandon Taylor, and George Iloka are all good athletes who have their question marks but should be able to develop into a solid NFL player.

The one safety to keep an eye on is San Jose State’s Duke Ihenacho. Ihenacho is a ball-hawking safety who seemed to make a play every time I watched him on tape. He was always around the ball and made big hits on receivers. If he played for a big time college, such as LSU, he would be projected to go much much higher in my opinion.

Since he’s from a smaller school and the level of competition isn’t as good, Ihenacho will likely begin to come into play for teams that need safeties in round three-four.

7. Pro days are just about over, however, there remains a few individual pro days that I will be watching closely. The most important one in my mind is the pro day of Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles. Broyles is scheduled to work on on April 12th, six months after he tore his ACL.

Prior to tearing his ACL in November, Broyles had enjoyed a prolific collegiate career, breaking many records including the NCAA Division 1 record for most career receptions. When healthy Broyles is one of the best possession receivers in the draft. He is able to run good routes and catches the ball naturally. He was projected to be a high pick (top two rounds) prior to his knee injury. It’s hard to imagine that Broyles is fully healed from ACL surgery only six months out, so I doubt the times he posts this week will be an actual indication of his speed or agility.

It will be important to show NFL teams just how healthy he is and how close he is to being the player we have seen on Saturdays. Broyles might never be a #1 WR, but he has a chance to a good complementary piece if he’s healthy. April 12 will be the first indication of how close Broyles is to being back and will go a long way to determine how high he will go.

8. Tony Pauline of SI.com brought up an interesting point in one of his blog posts this week. Patriot fans are always concerned with the Patriots finding a edge rusher or a big, physical OLB who can set the edge. Pauline explains that the Patriots priority is finding a LB who can run and cover.

It’s an interesting thought because it would be a departure from Bill Belichick’s history. The need for a coverge linebacker is perhaps the most pressing need remaining on the team. The Patriots linebackers were awful in coverage last year. They were routinely picked on in coverage and struggled to cover receivers, ends and backs.

Adding speed and athleticism at the LB might be a lot easier than finding the traditional 6’3″ 265 lbs. Patriot linebacker. A name mentioned by Pauline is Utah State LB Bobby Wagner. Wagner is on the small size, but he can play both inside and outside, is one of the fastest linebackers in the draft and can cover.

Wagner was the defensive MVP of the Senior Bowl and showcased his coverage and special teams skills while there. Adding talented linebackers is never a bad thing and if Pauline is right Wagner would be one of the more interesting picks of the Bill Belichick era.

9. I have mentioned this one twitter a few times and I just want to explain myself a little bit on here. I believe that there are 3 elite QB in this year’s draft, Andrew Luck, RG3 and Ryan Tannehill. Outside of those three, there isn’t another QB I would take in the first round.

There is a HUGE drop off from the top three to Brandon Weeden, who I consider to be a late second round pick. After Weeden there isn’t a QB I would even think about selecting until day three of the draft. I don’t consider guys like Kirk Cousins, Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson or BJ Coleman to be starter caliber quarterbacks in the NFL.

I am not going to waste a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a QB unless I am sure that he can develop into a starter down the road. Out of the guys I have mentioned Osweiler has the best shot to become a starter, based on his athletic ability, size and raw throwing potential, but he is nowhere near ready.

Back-up QBs can be found in the seventh round and as UDFA, and that is what I think the Kirk Cousins of the world will ultimately be in the NFL.

10. Syracuse DE/OLB Chandler Jones is a player that has drawn a wide variety of opinions from people I talk with. Some people think he is one of the best pass rushing prospects in the draft and could develop into a legit edge rusher for 3-4 teams. Other people I talk with think he is under-productive, raw and underwhelming on film.

While there seems to be a consensus on a lot of players in this draft Jones is one where no consensus exsists. His range seems to be somewhere from pick #25 in the first round to the beginning of round three. That’s a span of 50 or so picks, which is a wide range for a player, but just speaks to how hard he has been to evaluate.

I am stuck in the middle on Jones. I don’t think he is a first round pick by any means, but I do think he could be a situational rusher and a developmental 3-4 OLB prospect. How highly does a player like that go? That’s the question.

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13 Responses to “A Scouts Take: 15 Thoughts on the NFL Draft”

  1. Bob Shannon says:

    Trading Both 27 & 31 to get more picks is where my interests lie….Would St Louis make a trade for their 33 & 39 picks,or a 3rd & 5th with the 33rd???? Six picks is not accomplishing what I want out of the draft if I’m BB….

  2. qwerty says:

    >The Patriots linebackers were awful in coverage last year. They were routinely picked on in coverage and struggled to cover receivers, ends and backs.

    Sure they were awful with so many starting LB’s on injury list. Guyton played a major role in the awfulness.

    Once Mayo and Spikes for healthy, patriots coverage defense over middle really tightened up. I saw nothing much to complain about after that.

    >The need for a coverge linebacker is perhaps the most pressing need remaining on the team.

    it is definitely not a pressing need and certainly not anything major

    What the patriots need at LB is replacement for guyton and that is all

    Patriots need to grab a CB and WR since the draft seems to be more loaded at those positions. The draft next year will be loaded with Safety’s so that is time to draft. With added depth at CB, they can move McCourty to safety if push comes to shove.

    • qwerty says:

      Also Fletcher went down also.

    • Mark says:

      Where does Ryan Mallet valuate against this crop of QBs?

      • Ken W says:

        I would say if Mallett was in this draft, ranking them on talent and ability then he would be in the 3rd spot behind Luck and RG3. What caused him to drop last year was off the field issues and people questioned his maturity.

        • qwerty says:

          In this draft, 3rd spot would be an easy lock for mallet and maybe even vie for number 2.

          I suspect that Mallet may go down in history as one of the best QB bargains like Brady did with so many teams bypassing him.

  3. George R says:

    When i see McClellin, I see Vrabel….Size, speed a little taller than Mike. He’s a rare athlete that can do a loy of things. I think he projects better than Mercilus, IMO is an edge rusher. McClellin is a 3 down player. Ergo a 1st rounder. BB could finally replace Vrabel. Ninkovich is playing better, still not as good as Vrabel. I think this kid could rotate in day 1 and by the end of the Season should be a full time starter. The goal of taking a guy in the 1st.
    Barron seems unlikely, unless BB is all in and get’s in front of the Jets @ 16. Can BB find a trade partner in the early to mid-teens?

    • Jim R says:

      I think if they are going to get McClellin he will not last until 48. He could be thier first round pick. I would be very suprised if they selected at 27 and 31.

  4. BILL says:

    I think bengals just cut one of their safeties, so there’s another in the market, at 17 or 21. Barron will surely be gone by 27.

    I completely agree that Pats need a coverage LB, and their appears to be a few very fast guys aavailable 2nd round. Bobby Wagner is one, but Mychal Kendricks, demario Davis, and Nigel Bradham are all fast and pretty fluid guys that are in the 6′-6’2 area. I’d love to see one of these guys at #62. I’d like to get Childs or Quick at 62 also.

    With all the value in that 40-70 area of the draft, It wouldn’t surprise me to see 27 or 31 moving down 10-15 spots to get an extra 3-4th rd pick. Somebody gonna want to get The TE Fleener before the Giants pick him or to grab QB before the 2nd day

    • Jim R says:

      Bill, I agree with your views. Recent history has shown us that BB has a field day moving around in rounds 2-5. This year will be no different. It would not shock me if he picks a fatty (OL) in round 1. If he does I think that means both Light and waters will retire.

  5. Dan says:

    Sorry to day that I agree that Barron will never make it to them; that’s been my opinion the last month, and was only confirmed with his work out.
    The only hope is these other teams with interest (and need) will see a bigger need elsewhere…a more sexy pick for the fans, for their jobs being on the line, to sell tickets, or just to fill a bigger need. Philly was said to have interest and need at safety, but they lost Peters at LT and now that could push them to draft there…for example (even though they signed the dude from Buffalo).
    Let’s hope the Jets take Upshaw and he slips down to 19 or 20, or so, then maybe we’ll move up to grab him.

    • Dan says:

      My hunch is he won’t, or can’t (we’ll never know) move up, and he will reach for Harrison Smith, but only at 31. We need that player at safety and I think Smith has the measurables and the smarts to build on. I’m not in love with his game like some (mayock), but he does look like he could be an upgrade…and a fill for major hole.
      I feel Gregory was just insurance and wishful thinking…he could be a special teamer only, back up, and then cut next year. But, he’ll get a shot and they gave him some money to see…I like the move…the admission of the need.

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