NFL NEWS: NFL Draft
Another draft wrapped in the books and here are the top three winners and losers of the draft.
The Falcons landed a cornerstone for their defense in Clemson linebacker Vic Beasley eighth overall. Beasley amassed 52.5 tackles for loss, 33 sacks, 29 quarterback pressures, 11 pass breakups, seven forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and two touchdowns over 48 games. He will be to the Falcons like Luke Kuechly is the Carolina Panthers and Lavonte David is to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jalen Collins, corner from LSU taken in the second round, possesses a unique raw talent and attributes of was balance between height, weight and speed. Not bad considering he only has 10 starts and was projected as a first round talent.
Tevin Coleman, running back from Indiana taken in the third round, has enough talent and burst as a north-south runner to take the starting job over Devonta Freeman.
Look out for defensive tackle Grady Jarrett from Clemson, who was originally projected as a second round, but was picked in the fifth round by the team. His speed more than makes up his lack of size.
The Jaguars probably landed more potential starters than anyone else in this entire draft starting off with defensive end/linebacker Dante Fowler from Florida as third overall pick. Fowler led the Gators with 15 tackles for loss and 17 quarterback hurries and had 8.5 sacks. He started 25 of his 37 games he’s played in. He’s been compared to Khalil Mack and should be a huge disruptive force in the NFL.
T.J. Yeldon, second rounder running back from Alabama, is a dual threat running and catching from the backfield. He can run in different directions showing great lateral movement, but lacks top-end speed.
A.J. Cann, guard from South Carolina, is great value pick in the third round, particularly for his ability to be suited for a power scheme recognizing stunts and blitzes. He’s got the size, frame and fundamentals to make it in this league.
Michael Bennett, defensive tackle from Ohio St., fell to the Jags in the sixth round. Despite being projected in the second round he might be one of the best steals of the draft given his ability to burst through the line and overcoming double teams despite his stamina issues.
Despite not getting the desired cornerback and first round selection for running back Adrian Peterson, the team landed a solid choice in cornerback Trae Waynes from Michigan State. As the fastest cornerback in the combine (4.31 seconds in 40-yard dash), he excels in bump-and-run and man coverage. He’s started in 27 of 36 games while with the Spartans.
The Vikings landed two linebackers in UCLA’s Eric Kendricks and LSU’s Danielle Hunter. Kendricks has a nose for the ball reads the developing play well often disrupting running plays while attacking the gaps. Hunter has the mix of speed and power often using his arms to deflect passes disrupting passing lanes.
The team also landed one of top offensive tackles in the draft in T.J. Clemmings in the fourth round. Despite a foot injury, Clemmings still has the top-notch size and strength to play the position. He can definitely be the stout pass protector quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needs to possibly take him to the next level.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are banking that Georgia running back Todd Gurley gets all the help they get adding Wisconsin tackle Rob Hevenstein in the second round, Louisville tackle/guard Jamon Brown in the third, Iowa offensive tackle Andrew Donnal in the fourth, and Fresno State guard Cody Wichmann in the sixth round. Great for power running attack, but not necessarily good for quarterback Nick Foles.
Havenstein might have been a reach in the second round with NFL.com projecting him in the third or fourth round. The biggest knock on him despite his frame and power blocking is that he has to sumo wrestle to get defender centered and is almost never under the pads of his opponent.
Panthers needed to prioritize offensive tackle and they took one…in the fourth round in Oklahoma’s Daryl Williams. Williams, who was projected in round five according to NFL.com, is a big physical tackle who brings attitude and work ethic to the position. The biggest knocks on him is his below-average athleticism making him more of a liability outside of the pocket. In other words, don’t expect him to do much into the second level when it comes to running plays or move much outside the pocket.
The Panthers’ first round choice was Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson, who was projected to be a second or third round choice on NFL.com and NFL Draft Scout. The biggest knocks on him is that he’s a bit underweight at 219 lb for the position despite playing both inside and outside linebacker and safety positions. He’s also played on offense playing a few snaps as running back. If he doesn’t fit in the defense, don’t be surprised if he becomes a threat in the backfield.
Their second round choice was Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess, who adds a tall threat for quarterback Cam Newton at 6-foot-4. Unfortunately, they traded their third and sixth round choices to get him, so no pressure there.
The Colts need another wide receiver like the New Orleans Saints needs another wide receiver. Quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Drew Brees distribute the ball to all the receivers in their offense. So there’s far less on a primary target, yet the Colts selected Miami’s Phillip Dorsett in the first round.
There’s no denying his imminent success in the league, but will he produce any more than other receivers than say T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Done Moncrief.
The Colts did find value in Florida Atlantic’s cornerback D’Joun Smith in the second round and Stanford defensive end Henry Anderson in the third round. Smith’s had kick returning experience and has a nose for the ball. He has deep route issues and needs work tackling. Anderson is not a power lineman and will get pushed off the line at times on running plays particularly on the inside. Anderson is smart and plays with passion garnering 12.5 tackles for a loss being third in the Pac-12.