Draft Risers and Fallers/Big Board 2.0


Mekhi Becton

A lot has been said and written about Becton over the past few months for a good reason. He originally was seen as a fringe first-round prospect who intrigued people with his massive size but wondered about his conditioning and his technical abilities. On tape, you’re able to see him move defenders out of the way with ease and great traits in pass blocking that will surely allow him to be elite in that regard. Then, he dropped the hammer and had one of the best combine performances this year. He’s going to be a top-ten pick and has a chance to be the first tackle taken. 

Chase Claypool

As a Notre Dame fan, I always was a fan of Claypool and his potential, but unsure of how he will do as a pro. Does a great job of boxing out fighting for the contested catches. With an impressive combine performance, he solidified his status as a day two pick when coming in he was a sure Day 3 selection. Despite his impressive speed, he doesn’t offer too many after the catch, but what he does provide is a mismatch nightmare. You can line him up at a variety of different spots and a creative offensive mind will turn him into a star. I’d love to see him in an Andy Reid-style offense where he will move all across the formation.

Cesar Ruiz

In a class where it’s top-heavy on offensive tackles, it’s also a decently strong interior offensive line group with the best of the bunch being Ruiz. He was on my radar as a third-round pick in December but has steadily become more impressive the more I watch him. A versatile player, he played center for Michigan and can play guard in a pinch. Really good athleticism that’ll make him a really attractive option for a zone-blocking scheme offense and is ready to step in and start right away. I think we can see him go as high as 19 to the Jaguars and at this point surely won’t drop out of the first round. 

Noah Igbinoghene

To be honest, I hadn’t watched much of Igbioghene until about two weeks ago as I hadn’t heard too much hype around him in terms of being a first-round talent. But as I dig deeper into this class, I was pleasantly surprised to see the upside he provides. Others are taking notice too as he is now slated to be a late first/early second round pick. He started his time at Auburn as a receiver and moved to cornerback as a sophomore where he took off this season as a junior. A really good athlete, Igbinoghene will need a year before being thrust into a starting role, but based on his athleticism and how well he played in limited experience in a major conference, I think he will be a long-term starter in the league. 

Justin Jefferson

While he did play with Joe Burrow this past season which helped his cause, Jefferson continues to climb up boards as you can tell how great individually he played. While a star-studded offense does help open things up for any player, Jefferson showed strong hands and the ability to get separation from defensive backs. It’s a very crowded receiver class, but Jefferson has done the most in my eyes as of late to propel him up draft boards and solidify him as a first-round pick. He’s a perfect option at this point for the Eagles at 21. 


Laviska Shenault

Once in the conversation of being a top 20 selection, Shenault had a poor combine and core surgery which are the main reasons why his stock is plummeting. He was the heart and soul of Colorado’s offense two years ago but struggled this past season to stay healthy and be the focal point of a young offense. He offers great versatility and can be a playmaker, but may not have the ceiling we once thought he did. Still a first-round possibility but it’s starting to look like he’s going to be picked in the middle of the second. Once my third overall receiver, he is at seven now. The perfect scenario for him is that he goes to a creative play-caller, like Matt Nagy with the Bears. 

Grant Delpit 

Let the record show, I’m still a huge Delpit fan but it seems everyone else is cooling off of him. Coming into the season, he looked like a lock to be a top ten pick but some inconsistent moments and injuries have him looking at a late first/early-round selection this year. I think people are looking for a reason to bash him by nitpicking small details. He’s still a versatile player who can play either safety spot and displays good coverage abilities mixed in with aggressiveness in the box. He will more than likely be an immediate starter and while might not be the Pro Bowler we hoped for in his first year, he will be an impactful player. If I were to bet, I would feel confident betting him getting picked between 20-29.

AJ Epenesa

Epenesa was another top ten projected pick just a few months ago who is now holding on for dear life hoping to get picked in the first round. One of the best defensive players the past two seasons, Epenesa has been a sack machine for the Hawkeyes. He is a throwback and relies on technique and IQ rather than athleticism. In a league full of explosive athletes off the edge, he relies on pass rush moves and hand placement. However, he ran a 5.1 40 at the combine which is very slow for an edge player. He’s also a little too small to play inside as tackle all three downs which makes teams nervous. If I’m a team drafting at the end of the first round, specifically the Vikings and Seahawks who need edge players, I’m going all-in on this guy. 

Jake Fromm

Fromm’s fall from being a top prospect is much different than the others on this list. Two years ago at this time, he was the odds on favorite to go first overall as he had lead Georgia to the title game as a freshman. He had a strong sophomore season but regressed this past season. In reality, he should have stayed in school and work on his arm strength and accuracy, but decided to head to the NFL. Now, he’s at best an early second-round selection with being an early third the probable outcome. I think he has a high floor but a low ceiling and has a lot of Alex Smith to his game. If that can happen, he will be more than worth a Day 2 pick. 

Terrell Lewis

While he has the desired athleticism and length to be a high-level pass rusher, injury concerns and lack of production are pushing Lewis’ stock down and out of the first. I like his potential as a 3-4 edge and believe that he can be a solid player for many years to come. However, I’ve noticed how many of his sacks come off of stunts and not off of technique. Being able to stunt is a valuable skill to have, but I’d like to see more pressure coming off the edge. He has the speed and athleticism to do that but has to show that at the next level. I’d pick him at the top of the second, but one team will have to believe that they can coach him up.


  1. Chase Young, Ohio State, EDGE
  2. Joe Burrow, LSU, QB
  3. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama, QB
  4. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama, WR
  5. Isaiah Simmons, Clemson, LB
  6. Jeff Okudah, Ohio State, CB
  7. Tristian Wirfs, Iowa, OT
  8. Mekhi Becton, Louisville, OT
  9. Derrick Brown, Auburn, DL
  10. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma, WR
  11. Jedrick Willis, Alabama, OT
  12. Andrew Thomas, Georgia, OT
  13. K’Lauvon Chaisson, LSU, EDGE
  14. Xavier McKinney, Alabama, S
  15. Yetur Gross- Matos, Penn State, EDGE
  16. Henry Ruggs, Alabama, WR
  17. Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina, DL
  18. Grant Delpit, LSU, S
  19. JK Dobbins, Ohio State, RB
  20. Justin Herbert, Oregon, QB
  21. CJ Henderson, Florida, CB
  22. AJ Epenesa, Iowa, DL
  23. Antoine Winfield, Jr., Minnesota, S
  24. Justin Jefferson, LSU, WR
  25. Tee Higgins, Clemson, WR
  26. Cesar Riz, Michigan, OL
  27. Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn, CB
  28. Jordan Love, Utah State, QB
  29. KJ Hamler, Penn State, WR
  30. D’Andre Swift, Georgia, RB
  31. Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma, LB
  32. Patrick Queen, LSU, LB
  33. Laviska Shenault, Colorado, WR
  34. Bryce Hall, Virginia, CB
  35. Ross Blacklock, TCU, DL
  36. Kristian Fulton, LSU, CB
  37. Trevon Diggs, Alabama, CB
  38. Cole Kmet, Notre Dame, TE
  39. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin, RB
  40. Chase Claypool, Notre Dame, WR
  41. Jeff Gladney, TCU, CB
  42. Curtis Weaver, Boise State, EDGE
  43. Denzel Mims, Baylor, WR
  44. Malik Harrison, Ohio State, LB
  45. AJ Terrell, Clemson, CB
  46. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State, WR
  47. Brycen Hopkins, Purdue, TE
  48. Jalen Raegor, TCU, WR
  49. Terrell Lewis, Alabama, EDGE
  50. Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois, S

NFL Film Breakdown: Tom to Tampa: Does the Film Match the Hype?

To the relief of all the teams in the AFC East, Tom Brady is no longer a Patriot. While his stats aren’t the flashiest with a 60.8% completion rate (3rd lowest of career), 6.6 yards per attempt (2nd lowest of his career), 4,057 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions on the year, Brady has been the model of consistency in New England. At 42 years old, though, let’s strip away the accolades, accomplishments, and stats and look at what the film says that Tom Brady is at this point in his career.


While the stats indicate that Brady has begun to struggle with the deep ball, film shows he has all the strength. The issue is more an increasing desire to get the ball out of his hands fast and avoid hits, perhaps an area that Tampa should be worried about given the penchant for Arians’ offense to push the ball down the field. Jameis Winston’s average depth of throw last year was at 10.9 yards. Brady’s? Just 8.0 yards per throw. In addition, he only threw deep 10.1% of the time compared to Jameis’ 15.7% (Murray, 2020). While quarterback play isn’t in a vacuum – New England had one of the worst skill position groups in the league last year – Brady is going to be asked to attempt and complete deep balls at a rate he hasn’t ever done before in his career.


As stated before, though, film shows that he’s still got the arm strength. He’s more than capable of continuing to make all the throws an NFL quarterback needs to make and the deep ball is going to be critical in Bruce Arians’ aggressive offense. If there’s a shot to take, he’s going to tell Brady to take it and all signs point to Brady being capable.

Whether it’s under duress, off platform, or on the move, Brady absolutely still has enough zip on the ball to deliver into tight windows and make defenses pay.

Of now surprise to anyone that’s watched him before, Brady also loves the intermediate throws like deep crossers and digs. He goes through his reads incredibly quickly and efficiently and can routinely hit explosive plays with the intermediate passing game.

Perhaps of concern, though, is that he repeatedly turned down shots at deep balls and would sometimes throw a beat late when he did take those shots, allowing defenders to close or making the throw more difficult. While the strength is certainly there, the accuracy and willingness to stand in the pocket and wait for things to develop has started to become an issue.

Below you can see the Patriots run a two-man route off of play-action and it’s set up perfectly for a deep ball and huge completion on the post. The strong safety flies up on the run fake and doesn’t get enough depth under the post to influence the throw. Brady looks right at it and decides not to throw it while ultimately dumping the ball into the dirt.

Again below, the Titans are showing cover 2 and if you’re going to throw the fade down the sideline, you’ve got to put it on a line and fit it between the corner and the free safety looming over the top. Instead, Brady holds onto the ball and throws it late which almost results in an interception and could have resulted instead in his receiver getting absolutely demolished. The ball needed to be out at the top of his drop when the receiver was even with the cornerback and instead Brady hitches twice before letting it go.

As mentioned before, you can also see some deep ball accuracy issues pop up more than you might have in the past. I don’t think it should be a huge concern but he’s throwing them less and it’s consistently now a play or two a game where he misfires on deeper routes along the sideline. In the first play below he gets uncharacteristically hoppy in the pocket and is bouncing on his toes which causes him to airmail the ball on what should be a relatively easy completion on a deep hook.

Concerns about his dwindling accuracy may be there but he still has all the strength needed and still has incredible pocket presence. Tampa Bay’s offensive line is a downgrade from what the Patriots had and while Brady can make guys miss to buy extra time, he would also rather just check the ball down to avoid the hit. That being said, his mechanics are typically incredibly consistent. He keeps a solid base and is able to deliver accurate balls on the move.

All things considered, Brady is still Brady and has (almost) all the physical tools he’s always had. His arm strength, pocket movement, and decision making are all still there. The most important changes are number one, being asked to push the ball downfield at a rate he previously has never attempted in Bruce Arians’ offense and number two, growing accuracy issues on what used to be routine plays for him. Historically, quarterbacks throw a lot of interceptions in the first year of Arians’ system (Palmer had 22 and Winston had 30) but if Brady can learn quickly and execute like he still has the ability to, the sky is the limit for a Bucs offense that is loaded with talent at the skill positions.

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Murray, M. (2020, March 23). Fan Sided. Retrieved from NFL Mocks: https://nflmocks.com/2020/03/23/tampa-bay-buccaneers-right-choice-tom-brady/

2020 NFL Draft All-Sleeper Team

You win championships by drafting well on day two and three. While many superstars hear their names called early on, it’s the rotational players and depth pieces that set apart good teams from great teams. Here are a few players who have the chance to outperform their draft slot.

QB- Anthony Gordon, Washington State

Gordon followed in his predecessor, Gardner Minshew, footsteps by not becoming a starter until his senior season. Also like Minshew, Gordon put up incredible numbers in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense that makes him a surefire draft pick. When you watch Gordon, the talent is obviously there but you can tell he needs a LOT of work. He displays a strong arm and does a great job of keeping the play alive when it breaks down. At times, it looks like he’s playing backyard football. I’d wouldn’t be surprised to see him as an early day three pick. If you give him a chance to sit for a season or two, I envision him as a low end starter or high end backup who can win you games. 

RB- Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State and Joshua Kelley, UCLA

Evans attended one of the best non-power five programs in Appalachian State and had two very productive seasons. He’s one of the best big play runners in this class and when he hits the hole, he has the chance to take it to the house due to his blazing speed. Might be scheme specific and will thrive best in a zone blocking scheme. Reminds me a lot of Matt Breida and can definitely step in and produce day one.

A throwback, Kelley brings the thunder everytime he touches the ball. While UCLA’s football program has been nothing short of a disaster, Kelley was the bright spot on a stagnant offense. Teams knew that he was going to run up the gut yet they still had trouble stropping him. He may not have the speed most running backs do, but he can play a complementary role as a power back in most offenses. He might not get drafted until the 6th or 7th round, but has a chance to play right away. 

WR- Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State and Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty

If it wasn’t for it being such a strong receiver class, I think Hodgins would possibly be considered a fringe round one prospect. In a deep class, he’s going round 3 or 4 which will be an absolute steal for any team. While not a burner, has great size for the position and uses his body well to fight off receivers. He makes very impressive catches in traffic and is an immediate red zone threat for any team. 

Gandy-Golden just might the best player in college football you’ve never heard of. Back to back thousands yard receiving seasons (only played two seasons total), he is another massive prospect who will be able to help out right away. He’ll be a good possession receiver for many years and does a good job of catching with his hands rather than catching with his body. He’s not a great athlete, but a smooth route runner who can get open in a multitude of ways. A round 4-5 pick that will see snaps for a team next year.

TE- Devin Asiasi, UCLA

After not seeing much time at both Michigan and his first season at UCLA, Asiasi broke out as a quarterbacks best friend this past year. A former five-star recruit, Asiasi might not ever be a huge receiving threat but will do damage as a run blocker. He comes in at around 280 pounds, which is big for a tight end. Despite this, he moves well for a tight end and is best when attacking the seams. Also does a good job of making himself open over the middle, fighting off linebackers. A round 4-5 prospect who will produce as a number two tight end. 

OL- Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas and Ben Bartch, St John’s

Adeniji was a four year starter at left tackle for the Jayhawks and has the athleticism to play a number of positions on the line. He might not be a consistent starter, but due to his ability to excel in a zone blocking scheme, he will make himself commodity. Adeniji will need a year or two before seeing the field, but he’s worth a 3rd round pick.

Playing at St. John’s College, there’s not a whole lot of tape on Bartch that I’ve seen, but from what I have I think there’s a chance he becomes a high-level starter at guard. Played tackle all through college, but i’m not sure him facing NFL edge players is the spot for him to succeed. Will need to adjust to the speed coming from a Division III school, but eventually he’ll get there. He’s a fringe round one prospect that might not get drafted until late day 2. 

DL- Nick Coe, Auburn and Carter Coughlin, Minnesota

The Robin to Derrick Brown’s Batman, Coe had substantial hype coming into this season but failed to put up the numbers he was looking for. Despite this, he provides the position versatility that so many teams look for. He could play as a 4-3 end, 4-3 tackle, or a 3-4 end and play all at a high level. He does need to be coached up and sometimes he shows no pass rush moves which is concerning. However, if I’m a team that’s willing to be patient in the third round, I’m running to the podium to make the pick. 

Coughlin might be seen as a one trick pony, but in a league where pass rushers are always needed, he has the chance to make an impact. He’s really small for an end and needs to gain some more mass, but his athleticism is what makes him unique. His get off is elite and many of his sacks come because of that. Needs to work on pass rush moves and counter moves, but for a 5th-6th round pick, he’s worth a flier. 

LB- Evan Weaver, Cal

Weaver reminds me a lot of Blake Martinez, not a great athlete but is just a playmaker. The PAC 12 Defensive Player of the Year has his limitations, especially athletically, but is a tackling machine. You can hide him in zone coverage on passing downs and will be your leading tackler if you keep him on the field. He’s a second round talent that might fall until the third or fourth. Will need some development but get him on the field and you’ll see results. 

DB- Stanford Samuels III, Florida State, Julian Blackmon, Utah and Kenny Robinson, XFL

Samuels III has the look and swagger that many teams covet in a corner. However, the talent and skill hasn’t matched up to the production quite yet. He’s far from ready to play a lot of snaps at this point, but a team that trusts their coaching will love him. He’s a 5th-6th round prospect that will be a core special teamer early and has the chance to become a starter down the road. 

I’ve watched a lot of Utah games the past two years and everytime I watch their defense that’s filled with big-time players, I can’t help but notice Blackmon. He’s always around the ball and plays aggressively on run and pass plays which teams will appreciate. I envision playing strong safety, but he’s a former corner and it shows when matched up against a tight end or running back. He’s a developmental safety prospect, but at worst will become a special team ace. I’d hop all over him in the 5th round

Now here’s the draft’s most interesting prospect. After being kicked off the team at West Virginia, Robinson elected to play in the XFL instead of transferring to another school. His mother was diagnosed with cancer, so he looked for ways to provide for her and that meant ending his college career. The XFL may have only had a handful of games, but Robinson was one of the best players in the entire league despite being the youngest. There are questions about his time at West Virginia and the uncertainty of competition in the XFL. Unfortunately for him, teams aren’t allowed to bring in prospects due to the COVID-19 outbreak so teams will have to gamble in order to pick him. To me, he seems like a kid who’s turned his life around and is hungry to take advantage of his second chance. Might not get drafted at all, but I’m taking a chance in the 6th round. 

2020 NFL Draft Superlatives

Best all-around- Chase Young, DE Ohio State

As stated in our big board, Chase Young is by far the best prospect in this draft. Burrow and Tua might be the biggest and most talked-about names, but no doubt in my mind that Young is the number one overall talent. Immediate Pro Bowl level player and with the Bengals more than likely picking Burrow first overall, the Redskins can’t afford to pass on this demon pass rusher. 

Best Couple (QB/WR)- Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama and Tee Higgins, WR Clemson (Dolphins)

Some clarity here: this best couple is for prospects who will be possibly and realistically be teammates at the professional level. As the Dolphins have three first-round picks and figure to be aggressive to get Tua early, I can’t think of a better fit for the young quarterback than Clemson WR Tee Higgins at 18 or 26. The Dolphins have been aggressive in free agency on the defensive side of the ball, but still needs to retool that offense. You go get your franchise quarterback and then assist him with a big-bodied receiver. While Clemson and Alabama are rivals, powering these two together would be so beneficial for their respective futures. 

Most Athletic- Henry Ruggs, WR Alabama

If this video doesn’t do it for you, maybe the 4.2 40 yard dash will. The craziest part about that is that he felt like he should have done better. Ruggs is such a special athlete and probably one that could excel in several sports. Needs more polish as a player to avoid being a one-trick pony as a deep threat, but at worst he’s a DeSean Jackson-type playmaker that just about any team would love to have. In a crowded class of wide receivers, none may have the upside that Ruggs possesses. I envision him being drafted between 12-25, with the Broncos, Eagles and Vikings being ideal landing spots.

Most likely to succeed- Jeff Okudah, CB Ohio State

I find it really tough for Okudah to be a bust, barring injury. He can play in any scheme and as a cornerback, doesn’t necessarily need others around him to play at a high level (but it would help). Just about every other prospect, besides Young, needs some sort of refinement or improvement in their game but Okudah is ready to go right now. Could see him being a top cornerback for the next decade or so and is one of the safest prospects to come through in a long time. A probable top-five pick and I don’t see a scenario where he drops past the Cardinals at eight, with the Lions at three being the ceiling. 

Most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse- Mehki Becton, OT Louisville

Becton reminds me of a player you create yourself in Madden. As a mountain of a man and an athletic specimen, there’s no other person (besides Chuck Norris) I’d rather fight beside me in a zombie apocalypse. You could just send him out in the wild and he would destroy the enemy and bring peace and prosperity to the world. As a prospect, he’s a surefire top ten pick with teams like the Jaguars, Cardinals, and Panthers looking for line help.

Most divisive prospect- Justin Herbert, QB Oregon

Is Herbert going to be one of the cool jocks or the dropout? Honestly to me, it’s 50/50. He’s still more than likely going to be a top ten pick with the Chargers at six seeming probable, many are unsure if he is cut out to be the face of a franchise. He had a strong yet underwhelming career at Oregon and never seemed to live up to his potential. With the right offensive mind, he could flourish, but if he’s asked to carry a team early, the results won’t be pretty. 

Most popular- Joe Burrow, QB LSU

Burrow is a cult hero in Baton Rouge now. The transfer quarterback whose underdog story is something straight from a movie. He’s almost a lock to go number one overall and just about every franchise would welcome a player, and more importantly a man like Burrow. Congrats Cincy, you found your franchise quarterback. Now, don’t screw it up.

Most likely to end up on Sportscenter’s top 10- Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama

I compared Jeudy to Odell Beckham Jr. which should say everything about what I think of him. Might not be the biggest or fastest guy, but makes all the jaw-dropping plays that will make him one of the best receivers in the league. Great with the ball in his hands and has the strong hands required to make the flashy catch. He’ll get drafted between seven and fifteen and would be a perfect fit for the Raiders or 49ers. 

NFL Film Breakdown: A Look at Rookie QB Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones, selected by the Giants with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft only had to wait two weeks before getting the starting job against Tampa Bay in week three of the 2019 NFL season. While at times struggling with interceptions and fumbles (18 in 13 games), Jones put up a respectable 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Known for his deep ball accuracy coming out of college, his mechanics were very inconsistent in his first season in the NFL. While he’s certainly not afraid to give his receivers a chance downfield, he completed only 30.4% of his deep ball attempts which ranked him 28th out of all QBs (Player Profiler, 2020)

When throwing on rhythm with clear reads, running play-action, or moving out of the pocket, he’s shown exceptional arm talent, quickness in his release, and decisiveness. His QB rating when running play-action jumps up to 112.0 from his normal drop back rating of 82.9. Perhaps most illustrative of his effectiveness when throwing quickly and decisively is his completion percentage and interception rate when throwing within 2.5 seconds. When under 2.5 seconds he has a 67.07% completion rate and 13 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. When holding the ball longer than 2.5 seconds, his completion rate dropped to just 55.71% and he threw 11 touchdowns to 8 interceptions.

When his first read doesn’t develop, he can tend to pat the ball and his mechanics can get shaky. While only throwing 12 interceptions, he had 29 total interceptable passes on the season in addition to his 18 lost fumbles (Player Profiler, 2020). That being said, he suffered from a number of drops from his receivers and the Giants’ premier players being in and out of the lineup due to injury.

Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As the season progressed, Jones was able to move through progressions more quickly but would still tend to hold the ball longer than necessary to confirm that receivers were open. His footwork was clean and he consistently threw from a good base and had a lot of other encouraging flashes when he threw decisively and on time. Granted he will be in a different system next year under new Head Coach Joe Judge, but let’s take a look at what Daniel Jones does well and what he may need to clean up going into his first full year as a starter for the New York Giants.

We’ll start with some of Daniel Jones’ rhythm throws, his footwork in the pocket, and his decisiveness on the underneath throws and while moving out of the pocket. Daniel Jones absolutely loves hook flat concepts. He’s incredibly decisive and efficient in his footwork and release when reading these concepts. These plays put the defender covering the flat in conflict and Daniel Jones reads off of their movement. If the defender covers the flat, he throws the hook and when the defender stays with the hook, he throws the flat. You can see how quickly the ball comes out with limited wasted movement and allows for an easy pickup of 9 yards.

This general concept came up again and again in the Giants’ offense. If the flat defender hesitates or takes a step to the flat, Jones immediately hits the hook behind him for a completion. It’s a super simple and effective read and gets the ball out of Jones’ hands very quickly.

            Whenever Jones can isolate one defender and read off of their decision he is much more decisive and as a result, much more accurate. Here’s an example of Jones reading all verticals and keying off of the outside linebacker. As soon as the linebacker (highlighted) drops off the seam to pass it off to the safety, Jones drives the ball into the open window.

            Here is yet another seam ball, this time off of a slightly different concept. As soon as the safety at the top of the screen (highlighted) goes with the deep dig from the #3 (inner most receiver), that opens up the window for the #2 receiver on the seam since nobody is now protecting the inside. All Jones has to do is read the safety and throw off of his movement.

Below he does a great job of diagnosing the blitz and throwing to the now vacated zone. With the corner blitz, the outside linebacker has to fly to the zone that the corner is leaving which opens up yet another zone down the seam where that linebacker would have normally been. The Eagles here are actually trying to bait Jones into throwing an interception on those hook routes that he loves to throw by dropping both of their defensive tackles into that area. The Giants instead call up a play with all verticals and Jones sees this and hits the seam in rhythm for a big gain.

            Jones also excels while throwing on the move and outside the pocket – especially if he can key off of one defender like we just talked about. Here, with pressure in his face, the Giants run a flood concept with three routes at three different depths on the field. The Packers are playing man so as soon as Jones comes out of his play-action fake, he looks to locate the defender who would cause danger to throwing the over route from the right side of the field. When he sees nobody underneath it, he knows he can confidently throw it with the receiver having beat #38 Tramon Williams across the field.

            Here he escapes from the pocket and throws an absolutely perfect ball against a defender whose back is turned to him. In this scenario, the defender is only covering the width of his shoulder pads so Jones gives his receiver a great ball right over the head of the trailing defender.

Here’s yet another throw while moving in the pocket and under duress where he throws a perfect ball to a tightly covered receiver.

            Despite Jones’ ability to make all the throws when he’s decisive and given simple reads, he also has a penchant for poor mechanics and holding the ball when he doesn’t initially see something he expects or has to go to his second read. His bad mechanics especially show up on his deep balls. Despite being known for them in college, they are shockingly inconsistent at the NFL level. He routinely falls away from throws, over-strides, and dips his shoulders, causing a ton of vertical inaccuracy on his deep ball throws.

            You can see below how he is falling away from his throw, is off balance, and dips his shoulders at the end. This causes the ball to sail on him, reduces the amount of power and control he can generate, and causes the ball to go incomplete.

            Here again he is leaning backwards when throwing deep and significantly underthrows a wide open receiver for a touchdown. If you watch a couple times you can see that he also pats the ball before throwing. On his first pat, he sees that the receiver is open. The ball needs to be out of his hands right then. The longer he holds it, the more time the safety has to close, the greater opportunity for a sack, and the more difficult and further the throw becomes.

            Here is another bad underthrow where he doesn’t get his hips all the way through and is off-balance during his throw.

            This last one is equal parts Daniel Jones and the receiver taking an inside track, but you can see the same issue of falling away from his throw and being off-balance.

            As mentioned before, he also tends to pat the ball when receivers are clearly open. Instead of throwing on time and with anticipation, he double clutches which reduces the speed at which he can release the ball and indicates indecisiveness on the read. Here you can see him clearly stare down the curl to the outside and pat the ball – allowing for the window to throw to close — before checking it down to a receiver in the flats for no gain.

Even on completions he has this issue of double clutching and patting the ball. It’s not the end of the world, it just causes him to be late on throws and has gotten him into trouble with interceptable balls.

            While Daniel Jones has definitely shown signs of being an above average quarterback with his ability to make impressive throws and make basic reads, he has also showed signs of being a rookie as well. His reads were simple and when the first option wasn’t there he could often hold the ball too long, make bad decisions, or have shaky mechanics. However, on the flip side, when plays broke down and he had to move around in the pocket or escape, he seemed poised, at ease, and made some really impressive throws. He’s got the tools to be good, but he especially needs to work on becoming more consistent with his deep-ball mechanics – which could have been influenced at the end of the year by his ankle injury. As he becomes more comfortable with NFL systems and plays and starts to be more decisive with his reads, he should blossom into a solid quarterback for the Giants. I’m not convinced that he will ever be considered an elite or upper tier quarterback in the league but with pieces around him he can succeed. If Joe Judge can get him into a scheme that matches his skills of moving around, throwing on play-action, and giving him clear reads, he can lead the Giants just as Eli did and take them on deep playoff runs.

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NFL Film Breakdown: The Boom and Bust of DK Metcalf’s Rookie Season

D.K. Metcalf, taken with the 64th overall pick out of Ole Miss, had all the straight-line measurables you could dream of. 228 pounds, 6’3”, and a 4.33 40 yard dash will get anyone’s attention. Out of the 2019 receiving class, he ranked in the 95th percentile for his 40 yard dash, 93rd percentile in his vertical jump, 98th percentile in his arm length, and 97th percentile in his broad jump. All incredibly impressive physical tools… as long as he isn’t changing direction. In the 20 yard shuttle and 3-cone drill he ranked in just the 3rd percentile of receivers – putting him at the bottom of the barrel.

The question was, will his straight line speed be enough to overcome his lack of ability to change direction in the NFL. His 58 receptions for 900 yards and seven touchdowns say yes, but even with the stats, the predicted issues cropped up. He struggled to create separation on change of direction routes and had a limited route tree. While he progressively got better at running slants, comebacks, and curls, there is still a huge hole in his game that limits the number of targets and receptions he will get in the future. Can he make a living and be great in the NFL off of slants, fades, and posts? Absolutely. Calvin Johnson was almost unstoppable during his career running those exact same routes.

Through his rookie year, Metcalf struggled to use his large frame to create space for himself on a consistent basis, was surprisingly weak off the line of scrimmage, and struggled with change of direction. However, he attacked the ball in the air once he was into his route, could turn the hips of defenders with his speed, and began to fine-tune his route tree. Let’s take a look at some of his strengths and weaknesses from his rookie campaign and project out to his future utility and potential in the Seahawks offense.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 29: Wide receiver D.K. Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a touchdown that was scored in the second half of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Seattle Seahawks won 27-10. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Metcalf generally runs two types of slants. Either he goes for a no-frills one where he tries to plant and explode on his last step or he runs them with foot-fire at the top. He’s significantly better at the foot-fire slant because it keeps his large frame underneath him, allows him to stay balanced, and emphasizes his explosive straight line speed from a relatively static position. When he tries to stick his foot in the ground running full speed off the vertical stem on his other slant – or any other route, he tends to roll into the route or begin to cut off his inside foot because he simply doesn’t have the lateral explosiveness or hip mobility to change direction at speed at this point in his career.

            You can see him in the gif below where he starts to break off his inside foot. This takes away his power and makes it really difficult to create separation. In addition, this allows the defensive back to key into his hips and body lean and begin to jump the route before Metcalf has even come out of his break.

Compare this now to his foot-fire or stutter slant. You can see the explosion off his outside foot and the immediate separation he gains off it. He does a great job of stepping on Patrick Peterson’s (#21) toes, ripping through the jam attempt, and getting inside.

            What this also allows Metcalf to do now, is to turn this foot-fire slant look into a fade. It helps him eat the cushion of the defensive back, makes them stop their feet, and keeps his hips pointed downfield where he is most explosive. This is consistently his most effective route running technique and he always seems to create separation off of it. Here he is showing the same foot-fire to Patrick Peterson before converting it to a fade and immediately gaining a step on the defensive back.

            Here are some other examples of the foot-fire fade from his game against the Eagles and a similar slow play fade against the 49ers.

Now that Metcalf has established his slants and fades, he also does a pretty solid job of snapping off those fades into curls and comebacks. Because of his straight-line speed, a lot of defenders give him cushion and are quick to bail whenever he starts to sell deep. He does a good job of running hard and attacking the blind-spot of defenders before snapping his routes off for curls or comebacks. The blind-spot of a defender is exactly as it sounds. It’s the spot where the defender cannot see the receiver because of their positioning. If a defender is turned inside towards the quarterback, there is a spot about 1-1.5 yard away from them in which a receiver can enter and be outside the peripheral vision of the defender. This allows the receiver to break at a time when they can’t be seen and delays the reaction of the defender.

            Especially in man, Metcalf has started to do a better job of getting the defender running full speed and positioning his body to box out defenders when he turns on his comebacks towards the sideline.

            Now we can check out how Metcalf can combine all his routes into one here. He’ll foot fire like he’s running the slant, turn it into a fade, and then snap it off on a comeback.

While Metcalf has had some concentration issues and seven drops on the year, he generally does a really good job at high pointing and attacking the ball and has progressively gotten better at using his frame to help him win contested catches.

While he has started to carve out his signature routes, he has struggled to put together a full route tree and as a result, has been matchup and coverage reliant in his production. While in some cases this is good, I think they’re also leaving a lot of meat on the bone as far as his usage – especially in the play-action game which the Seahawks only run 22% of the time. By using play-action more frequently, it can allow Metcalf to be schemed open and really put safeties in conflict with his speed. Anything to stop the feet of defenders benefits Metcalf. You can also run shallow drags with Metcalf off play-action which uses his vertical speed horizontally across the field to create separation. Here are a couple instances of play-action where Metcalf is able to create significant separation and forces defenders to turn their hips the wrong way.

While the Seahawks could definitely use him in some more creative ways and scheme open more shots to him, he also struggles with some technique issues off the line. He especially has a tough time with physical corners and jams. You’d think with his size, he would win off of pure strength but defenders consistently get their hands in on him and disrupt his routes even when the defenders are consistently smaller.

            All-in-all, for a rookie receiver that was touted for his straight-line explosiveness and speed, Metcalf lived up to the bill. He can certainly beat you deep if you don’t give him cushion or safety help over the top and has just enough of a route tree to be able to hold you accountable on the shorter stuff with curls, comebacks, and slants. He is certainly not a polished product though and I don’t see him growing out of the mold he’s currently in. A more dynamic play-action offense might benefit him but he just doesn’t have the short area quickness to beat people with a variety of routes. I’d expect him to be very boom or bust from game-to-game with about 4-7 targets and 3-5 catches a game. It just depends what he ends up doing with those catches. That being said, in 7 of the 19 games he played in, he had over 90% of the offensive snaps so he’s certainly going to be on the field more as he goes into his sophomore season which can lead to more targets, designed plays, and opportunities for him to take over the game. If Metcalf can clean up his drops, live off of slants, curls, posts, and fades, and build off his 2019 10.8 yards before catch number (number of yards the ball travelled through the air before being caught), he can be an excellent piece of the Seattle offense. With Wilson’s penchant for the deep-ball he can become one of the premiere big-play receivers in the league.

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NFL Film Breakdown: Kyler Murray’s Rookie Season and What his Future Holds

A year after taking Josh Rosen in 2018 with the 10th overall pick, the Cardinals went and grabbed Kyler Murray with the 1st pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at the film and see how Murray did during his rookie season while leading the Cardinals to a 5-10-1 record under first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

            A few other things jump out when looking at his stats that also end up being backed up by the film. When the Cardinals went no huddle, he completed 70.26% of his passes (61.1% while huddling), had a 96.0 QB rating (82.6 while huddling), had 8.0 yards per pass attempt (6.2 while huddling), and while running the no huddle 35.9% of the time, it accounted for 41.7% of his yards. A similar trend can be found when he is in shotgun versus under center. His completion percentage is 66.6% versus 41.67%, rating is 89.5 versus 66.4, and yards per attempt is 7.0 versus 5.9. When running RPO concepts he also had consistently better numbers than he did on pure drop backs.

 No HuddleHuddle
Completion %70.26%61.1%
QB Rating96.082.6
Yards / Attempt8.06.2
Kyler Murray’s stats when running no huddle vs. huddle
 ShotgunUnder Center
Completion %66.6%41.67%
QB Rating89.566.4
Yards / Attempt7.05.9
Kyler Murray’s stats when in shotgun versus under center
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

None of this is super surprising given the offense he ran at Oklahoma that had him in shotgun, running RPOs, and pushing the tempo. Of concern though, is his ability to be decisive, process NFL reads, and limit the sack numbers when he isn’t running a no huddle offense. A consequence of going no huddle is that the plays become simpler – which can be great for a rookie quarterback used to making basic defender key reads, but can also be easier for defenses to guard against since the play selection, formations, and tendencies are much more specific and easy to identify.

            While Murray has definitely shown flashes, he has a bit of a climb to ascend into a top tier quarterback. The Cardinals offensive line struggled but Murray also routinely had trouble with blitzes and would frequently hold onto the ball too long waiting to see something open instead of throwing with anticipation. When he would throw on rhythm, however, he looked like an entirely different quarterback. Let’s dive in and see some of the potential that Kyler Murray has before checking out some of his mechanical issues and his problems holding onto the ball and being indecisive.

            The Cardinals ran a lot of empty sets which puts a strain on their offensive line, and forces Kyler to make quick, decisive reads. Here they have a simple slant flat concept where he read the flat defender and throws based off of his movement. The Browns appear to be in cover 4 here with each defensive back taking a quarter of the field deep. That leaves the outside linebackers to cover the flats. Kyler keys the outside linebacker to the top of the screen. As the linebacker goes to the flat route, that opens up a window behind him for the slant and Murray makes a decisive throw for a nice gain.

Here’s another simple read out of an empty formation. To the three receiver side, they have a hook, flat, fade combination going on. It’s the same basic concept as the slant flat where you can key the flat defender and throw off of him. Here, #20 sits and doesn’t come down to the hook and Murray throws on rhythm for an easy completion. Backside, they’re setting up a delayed screen if Murray doesn’t like the look to the bottom of the screen.

Here is Kyler recognizing man coverage to the bottom of the screen, quickly holding the safety with his eyes, and then throwing a great ball without hesitation to #14 who wins his route.

When Kyler only has to read one or two things, he can throw with anticipation and accuracy. He gets in trouble when he has to process a lot of things at once which can lead to his sacks and interception issues. Here he is getting off of his first read and throwing on time, with power, and with anticipation for a nice gain on a comeback to the sideline.

These simple reads translate really well to RPO concepts where Murray can make quick decisions based on one or two key defenders and make decisive throws. It fits his current skillset perfectly, protects the offensive line, opens up lanes in the run game for the zone read, and gets the ball in playmakers’ hands. Here the Cardinals run a simple orbit motion behind the QB into a bubble route. Murray is looking at the inside linebacker and playside safety. As soon as he sees that they don’t bump over, it makes it an easy decision to throw the bubble as the Cardinals have the Steelers outnumbered on that side of the field. The throw is low and minimizes the opportunity to get yards after the catch, but we’ll talk about his mechanics issues shortly.

Here’s another RPO that is the same concept just with two receivers. Larry Fitzgerald runs the bubble and the outside receiver blocks the man lined up over top of him. Murray is keying the outside linebacker highlighted in the gif. As he stays and feeds towards the run, Murray pulls the ball and delivers it to Fitzgerald for an easy nine yard gain.

Now that the good stuff is out of the way, let’s check out some of his mechanical issues, penchant for taking sacks, and his problems processing NFL defenses. He will often over rotate his hips, have a base that is too wide or tight, dip his shoulders, or fall away from his throws. This causes a lot of horizontal inaccuracy with the hip rotation and a lot of vertical inaccuracy with his lack of follow through and his shoulder dip.

            On this play you can see Kyler falling away and over rotating on his throw which causes the ball to sail to the right out of bounds when his receiver had half a step downfield on the DB. Ideally this ball is put out in front or with some arc to allow the receiver to run underneath the throw or win the jump ball. You can see as Murray is finishing his throw that he is already leaning and falling backwards. Yes there is a defender coming up on him, but he has space to make the throw and this is a recurring issue for him.

Here’s another case where Murray finishes his throw off balance which causes the ball to be flat and lose power before it gets to the receiver, eliminating any chance for a catch and run. The ball goes where your body tells it to go and here Murray’s body is telling it to go flat and low as he’s falling away.

Here, the opposite issue comes up as he lacks follow through and full hip rotation. He over-extends on his base (his front foot is too far forwards) and this causes him to be unable to generate power and accuracy because he cannot get his hips around. Ideally your belly button is pointing where you want the ball to end up and here Kyler ends up short of his aiming point and just like the last clip, the ball goes where his body tells it to – behind the receiver and into the arms of the defense. You can try this yourself. Get in a wide stance and try to bring your hips and belly button to point to the other side of your front knee. Now shorten your stance to a little bit wide than your shoulders and try to do the same. You should have a much wider angle of hip rotation available to you which helps steer the ball and generate power.

Another big issue with Murray’s game is bailing from clean pockets with receivers open and time to make the throw. Then, when he escapes the pocket, he also tends to bring his eyes down and focus on check downs right in front or search for a running lane. Here he has Kirk #13 breaking open on a deep out but bails from the pocket instead of standing in and delivering the throw. As he rolls out, he has Kirk still working open and coming back to him towards the sideline but Murray is locked in on receivers underneath and signaling at Kenyon Drake in the flats. If scrambling and getting outside of the pocket on broken plays is going to be Murray’s thing, he has to do a better job of lifting his eyes up and seeing the whole field.

Remember the quick hitch from earlier that Murray threw on time? Here’s the exact same play with the exact same read and Murray misses it this time.  He looks to Fitzgerald first but you can see that he looks directly at the hook and doesn’t throw it afterwards. This is a common issue for him. If his first read isn’t there, his instinct is to get out of the pocket and scramble or hold onto the ball for far too long. This is a huge contributor to his sack numbers.

You can see here Murray’s instinct to run first. As soon as he feels pressure or sees a hole to scramble through, he takes it – often leaving big plays on the field in the passing game as longer developing routes are just opening up as he takes off. You can see highlighted at the bottom of the screen the dig route coming open towards the middle of the field.

Here is one last example of Murray’s shallow eyes leaving a big play on the field. Here he escapes the pocket after his first read and hits a hitch for a short gain, which is fine, but there’s also a receiver wide open within his field of view in the end zone.

Defenses haven’t been throwing anything wildly exotic at him as far as pass coverage goes. He does have trouble with the blitz but the biggest issues right now are his indecision on pure drop backs, full field reads, and his inconsistent mechanics. Not something you’d want from a first overall pick at quarterback. When you combine all of those things, you get a guy who was sacked 48 times, misses open receivers on scoring plays when they’re open, and leaves a lot of yards and points on the board. Kingsbury’s offense certainly didn’t help his cause either. While there were some concepts that made it easy for Murray, a lot of it struck me as uninventive and it really struggled to scheme guys open to give Kyler some easy throws on a consistent basis. A ton of stuff was short and emphasized their receivers winning on isolated routes versus the defender in front of them, and when Kyler didn’t throw on time, it essentially wasted the play. All that being said, the raw talent is there. Murray has the arm to make all the throws, can be dynamic in the run game, and when he has a simplified, fast offense that helps him accelerate his decisions, he can be an exceptional quarterback.

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NFL Combine Winners and Losers

The NFL Combine (or as I call it the Underwear Olympics) is the official start of draft season. While I do think people over-evaluate the combine, it’s still important for prospects to have a good showing. Players can possibly make or lose millions of dollars with their performance, so it’s a vital part of the process. It’s also the first chance that teams get to meet with prospects and get to know them as people, rather than just on tape. Essentially it’s the first step for teams at the bottom to try their attempt to get back to the playoffs, like the 49ers did this past season.

ICYMI: First version of our big board can be found here- https://weeklyspiral.com/2020/02/28/durgins-weekly-spiral-big-board-1-0-41-50


Chase Claypool

Coming into the combine, many didn’t know what position Claypool would play at the next level. At 6-4, 238 pounds, he’s the size of a tight end but exclusively played receiver at the college level. However, after running a 4.42 40, he made a name for himself and his stock is now quickly rising. There have only been two receivers at that size who have run the forty-yard dash at 4.4, Claypool and Calvin Johnson. Talk about elite company. A potential mismatch nightmare, Claypool to me is now solidly a Day 2 pick. Get him in the right offensive system, and he can be a vital weapon. 

Mekhi Becton

We all knew that Becton was a physical force of nature, but I questioned if possibly he was too big and wouldn’t be able to stay in shape. Boy, did he prove me wrong. First, he checked in at 6-7, 364 pounds but more importantly, only had 17% body fat. For reference, the average male body fat percentage is between 8-19%. That’s a huge win for Becton. Then, he tops it all off by running a 5.11 40, which is the fastest recorded time for someone over 350 pounds. This shows that regardless of the offensive system, Becton can play in it. He still has some technical flaws to clean up, but I would say he’s a top-ten pick guaranteed at this point. 


Jonathan Taylor

If you were to have me guess who would be the fastest running back in the draft, I’d list off about ten players before getting to Jonathan Taylor. And yet again, I would have been wrong. Taylor had a blazing 4.39 40 time, which made him the fastest running back in the class despite coming in at 226 pounds. One of my original concerns with Taylor was that he wasn’t a great athlete and would be essentially a power guy like he was at Wisconsin. Now, we see that he has the speed to run outside zone with, thus improving his stock quite a bit. 

Tristan Wirfs

I might have to start calling Tristan Wirfs Captain America because it’s almost like he was built in a laboratory. Everybody knew he was a great athlete, but he might have had the greatest combine for an offensive lineman. He set the record for his position at the broad jump and vertical jump and then set the record for the fastest 40 for a player over 320 pounds (4.85). He is an absolute specimen and had a better vertical (36.5”) than DeAndre Hopkins, Jerry Jeudy, AJ Green, and Amari Cooper. He’s my #1 OT in the class for now. 

Antoine Winfield Jr

In my first big board, I had Winfield Jr. higher than most people. After the combine, I look right for once. He’s short at 5-9, but came in at over 200 pounds and ran in the 4.4’s. To me, this shows that he has the stature to play aggressively in the box, but the speed to play deep in coverage as a single high safety. All of this was evident on tape, but people were unable to look past his injury history. By coming in healthy at the combine, I’m not overly concerned about it and I believed he established himself as a first-round pick. 

Isaiah Simmons

It’s almost tough for me to consider him a winner because we knew he was a freak athlete, but I mean wow. Just wow. At 6-4, 239 pounds he ran a 4.39 40 and an 11’00” broad jump. This man is not from this planet. He’s a one of a kind prospect, there’s no real comparison to him. I would still list him as a linebacker, but he’s going to line up at all three levels on defense. Any team that passes on him after the top 5 will be making a huge mistake. 


Laviska Shenault

I compared Shenault to Deebo Samuel, a player who can make things happen when the ball is in their hands. But after a poor 40 time (4.58) and having to get surgery on a core muscle injury that will sideline him for about two months, I’m starting to second guess him being a first-round player. He had a great 2018 but didn’t replicate the production in 2019. I thought it could be due to defenses double-teaming him, but now I need to go back and look at the tape. I still think he’s going to have a good career, but in a loaded receiver class, he pushed himself down in the rankings a bit. 

Trey Adams

Adams was never going to test well at the combine but had to participate to prove to teams that he is healthy after a long history of various injuries. However, he may have proven to be the worst athlete at the event. He essentially was last or in the bottom five in every drill for offensive linemen and showed major limitations athletically. I can’t see him as a tackle now and think he’s a guard but isn’t athletic enough to play in zone blocking schemes. He’s going to have to stay healthy and be in the right system in order to be a productive player. To me, he’s no longer a top 50 prospect. And then there’s this response. I mean….. like something’s you should just keep to yourself but appreciate the honesty.

AJ Epenesa

Count me as a HUGE AJ Epenesa fan. HUGE I SAY! But he cost himself millions with a poor performance at the combine. He ran a 5.1 40, but the most telling part of his run was a 1.81 ten-yard split. For a defensive lineman, particularly one that’s playing on the edge, that’s a really slow time. Epenesa will never be a great athlete and that’s not how he wins his pass rushes. He relies on technique and power, but he needed to show some sort of quickness to solidify himself as a top pick. While I’m still high on him, he’s going to slide in the draft and be a late first-rounder. 


Chase Young

He’s still the top player on my board so don’t read too much into him being a “loser” here. He didn’t even participate in drills this weekend so he didn’t hurt his stock at all, but he didn’t help it. I honestly believe if he had done the drills and performed well, that he could have put the Bengals in a tough situation. Let’s say he ran a great time and showed himself to be an athletic monster, the Bengals have to consider him right? Also, with the reports that the Redskins, who picked second, are meeting with Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, I have to think that Young going to the Redskins isn’t the slam dunk pick anymore.