Josh Allen - via CBS Sports

2018 NFL Draft: What quarterback should the Browns take?

Even people who do not like football know, the Cleveland Browns are bad. Nearly, all of these same people know that they need a quarterback. They have drafted an absurd amount of quarterbacks who have not panned out and chose these quarterbacks over others who have been considered NFL MVP candidates and offensive rookies of the year. Though I would like to see them offer Kirk Cousins an absurd amount of money and use the two picks for other positions, lets assume that they do not real in one of the veteran quarterbacks on the free agent market. Who should they take in the draft?

Potential Candidates

There are four quarterbacks who are being considered as potential top-ten picks. These include Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Baker Mayfield. I have done film study four all four of these quarterbacks and they are all very different. In the following I will compare these candidates and come to a conclusion based on my evaluations in which I will briefly describe.

Sam Darnold

Darnold has a high ceiling and the ideal body size. His arm strength and athleticism are evident. He makes throws throughout a course of the game that will have you thinking he can compete for a MVP in three seasons. At other times, you will be wondering why he was drafted at all. Some will point to the awful offensive line that he was behind this season and say that’s why he turned over the ball too much and had accuracy issues. This is true to some extent, but his post snap reads have a bigger affect on it.

 

 

Sam Darnold

Via: LA Times

 

Several times this season Darnold tried to make throws this season that left you scratching your head. This is because he tends to look down his first receiver, rather than going through all of his reads. An example of this was a throw that he attempted to make against Western Michigan. With the Trojans running the two minute drill, they were facing a 2nd and 15 with only 22 seconds left in the half. Darnold took the ball out of the shotgun and saw his tight end running a small hitch route over the middle against the cover-2 zone that the defense was running. Rather than moving to his next read, Sam tries to force the ball over the middle where there are three linebackers hovering within the area. The ball is tipped by one linebacker and is intercepted by another.

Plays like this are avoidable and post-snap reads can be taught, but many scouts will tell you that accuracy is much harder to learn. Darnold has a lot of potential and if he can improve in these two areas he can be a starter for several years in the NFL.

Josh Rosen

I will not elaborate too much on Rosen for this particular article due to the fact that he ultimately doesn’t want to play for the Browns (Pretty Simple). According to ESPN’s Adam Shefter, Rosen doesn’t want to be drafted by Cleveland because of the inconsistency in management and the quarterback position. I have two opinions about this that are nearly the exact opposite. First: He’s got a point, I don’t know if I would want to either. Second: Cleveland is looking for someone to fill this void and bring consistency to their franchise, why not you?

Now to the brief evaluation. Rosen shows off the his arm strength and accuracy on a consistent basis, but only when the pocket is clean. For example, Josh carved up Hawaii in one half with and 88% completion percentage, 5 touchdowns, and over 300 yards and he was rarely pressured in this game. Compare this to his stat-line against Washington (yes, I know he was injured 5 minutes into the third quarter) where he had 93 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, and a 57% completion percentage.

Josh Rosen

CBS Sports

In both of these games he played at most part of the third quarter and was pressured often in the Washington game. Though the offensive line didn’t fair well against Washington, it was not only their fault. Rosen has shown time and time again that he struggles to get the ball out in a quick manner and often holds on to the ball too long.

Despite this, he is the ideal quarterback on the field. The accuracy is there, arm strength is present, size, and IQ are evident. But the last concerning thing that one must take into consideration is how much he cares about the sport of football. Rosen has perked up the ears of scouts with his off-the-field conversations about the reason he wants to play football in the future. Many do not thing that he is the ideal leader or role model for a franchise, so I would not recommend a team taking him if they have a lack of leadership in the locker room.

 

Josh Allen

 The quarterback with the best potential is Josh Allen. The quarterback with the lowest floor and highest bust potential . . . yep, still Josh Allen. He has the best arm strength that I have seen out of a draftable quarterback within the last five years (at least) and his athleticism is evident. There are several reasons to compare him to Sam Darnold, but he tends to be less accurate then him, has a stronger arm, and needs to improve his footwork more. Josh is not a quarterback who I would want to draft and start in week one of the 2018 season. He is a developmental project who needs to improve his footwork and consistency of pre-snap and post-snap reads. If he can do this, along with improving his accuracy, he can be an elite NFL quarterback. There was one throw in Wyoming’s bowl game that literally (I’m using this term in it’s legitimate definition) made my jaw drop.

Josh Allen

Via: CBS Sports

 

The offense starts in a 1-2-2 set in the I-formation, on Central Michigan’s 24 yard line. Allen play-actions left and steps back to throw and begins to look left towards his receiver his is running a deep post route. Josh launches the ball (he probably required a permit to throw it) over the linebackers covering the middle of field and split two defenders. The ball was placed into the receiver’s hands without forcing him to break stride and was put in a position where the defenders had no chance to touch it. This throw is one that I would assume that only a handful of quarterbacks could actually make. The issue is that he can not consistently make plays like this.

 

Baker Mayfield

 Mayfield is perhaps the most controversial off the field when compared to these other three quarterbacks and he is often compared to Johnny Manziel. His comparison to Manziel is because of his size, mobility, and the number of issues you hear about Baker off the field. However, these two are much different players and people in life, and this comparison is ridiculous.

Baker Mayfield’s ability as a quarterback is just as good as some of the other quarterbacks I have mentioned. He is the most accurate of the quarterback group and he consistently wins games. There is a reason he won the Heisman Trophy in 2017, and the  statistical evidence backs it up. He racked up nearly 5000 total yards and 48 total touchdowns with only 6 interceptions. Mayfield has had two consecutive seasons with over a 70% completion percentage. He is not perfect of course, as his inconsistent footwork and arm strength are an issue. It has led to turnovers and he several instances where an errant pass was dropped by a defender. The Oklahoma quarterback has his issues, but the good heavily outweigh the bad.

Baker Mayfield

Via: USA Today

Not only does Baker show his off his accuracy in the pocket but he shows it off on the run too. One example of this came in the big matchup against Ohio State on the road in the second game of the season. The Sooners are 4-0-1 set with the running back to the right of Mayfield. He takes the snap and play-actions to the left and begins to roll right. The wide receiver who started the play wide to the left runs a deep crossing to the right and sneaks behind a deep safety. Mayfield finds him and releases the ball quickly and floats the ball over a defender. The ball is placed in the receiver’s hands without forcing him to break stride and it allows the receiver to gain nearly 20 yards after the catch.

Mayfield has a lot of pro level skills but these tend to be overshadowed by the other athletic and mobile quarterbacks that have failed in the past. However, he has NFL starter accuracy and his leadership on the field is something every locker room wants. His off the field antics are something to keep an eye out for, but the on the field antics are seen as competitive in many circles rather than arrogant. I am one of those people.

The Best QB for the Browns is …

The Browns are not in the position to develop a quarterback for a year and then to start him the following year (Look at Kizer). They need a quarterback that can come in and play competent enough to not bring the team down but someone who is coachable and is willing to be the leader of the team. This rules out Allen and Rosen. As interesting as it would be to see Mayfield in a Browns jersey, management and fans would be to scared to draft Mayfield at this point and the amount of potential for Mayfield is lower than the other top quarterbacks. This leaves them with one option, Sam Darnold.

I believe Darnold has enough potential to be a consistent starter for the Browns for several years and has the talent to compete right now. Though it hasn’t been evident yet, Hue Jackson is known for being a quarterbacks’ coach and he should be able to groom Sam to pro-bowl level.

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2018 NFL mock draft February 13

With the season being totally over, teams are looking forward to improving their teams. Free agency starts on March 14 with the 2018 NFL Draft coming a month and a half later on April 26. Here is the latest 2018 NFL mock draft.

1. Cleveland Browns- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

A running back number one? If Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns it might happen. Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to ever come out of college and might be the best player in the entire class. The Browns tried to improve the defense in last year’s class, but now need to focus on the offense. With a good offensive line and now Barkley, the offense should improve.

2. New York Giants- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Yes, Rosen has voiced his displeasure over playing for the Browns, so he may fall to pick number two. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season. The Giants may be without Eli Manning next year and even if he does stay, will need a quarterback of the future.

3. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State

Josh McDaniels has decided to return to New England and the Colts countered with the hire of Eagles’ offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Reich will be looking forward to work with Andrew Luck. When he is back, the offense will figure itself out. They can improve the defense to make the team more complete when Luck comes back. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons.

2018 NFL mock draft February 13

Sam Darnold (Photo by usatoday.com)

4. Cleveland Browns- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

There are rumors surrounding the Browns and Baker Mayfield, but for now Darnold is the pick. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making needs to improve. The Browns have a new GM, who has no allegiances to anyone on the roster, which means DeShone Kizer is likely done as quarterback.

5. Denver Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. John Elway went to Idaho to watch him in his bowl game personally. The Broncos have a solid roster, but just need a quarterback to lead the team.

6. New York Jets- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Baker has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class. The Jets did well this season for the talent they had on the roster, but need a franchise quarterback.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama

He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. Fitzpatrick will have to help improve a bad Bucs’ pass defense, which ranked last in the league in passing yards allowed.

8. Chicago Bears- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Ward is the best cover corner in the draft. He had to really make his way this season, as he had to sit and wait his turn to get playing time for the Buckeyes. The Bears could use some help in their secondary and taking a weapon for Mitchell Trubisky would be a reach here.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. The 49ers got their defensive lineman and linebacker in the first round last year and can now get a good secondary player to go along with them. The arrests of linebacker Reuben Foster are concerning, so keep an eye on that going forward, as it could change what they do with this pick.

10. Oakland Raiders- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith is the best linebacker in college football and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. With Jon Gruden taking over, he is going to need a Derrick Brooks-like linebacker.

2018 NFL mock draft February 12

Quenton Nelson (Photo by fansided.com)

11. Miami Dolphins- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Adam Gase has said that Ryan Tannehill is the starting quarterback. There are other holes on the team, but they need to have better offensive line play if they are going to be successful. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon.

12. Cincinnati Bengals- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Bengals were able to go 7-9 with a terrible offensive line. They need help at just about every position and can start with tackles. They have taken tackles before in the first round, but they haven’t panned out. McGlinchey would’ve been a first round pick last year and the Bengals can get good value and fill a need with this pick. If he doesn’t work out at left tackle, he has experience playing right tackle at Notre Dame.

13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama

Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL.

14. Green Bay Packers- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Edmunds does just about everything on the football field well, as a good cover linebacker, rusher and run stopper. The Packers need to make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again and he has alluded to it as much this offseason.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Cardinals have to find a new quarterback now that Carson Palmer is retired. Some people are questioning whether Jackson can play quarterback, but he showed improved accuracy this season and is a dynamic playmaker. He should be given a shot to play the position in the NFL.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

A player that went to Alabama that fills a need? Slot him to the Ravens. The Ravens won’t be getting rid of Joe Flacco, so they need to get him some better targets to throw to. Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and produced in college even without the best quarterback play.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Derwin James, S, FSU

Derwin James has fallen down mocks after being thought of as a top ten prospect. He is athletic, but doesn’t necessarily have a set position. The Chargers can use the help at safety and James would be a great addition to help make a good defense better.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

Reports have come out that it will be tough for Cliff Avril to play football again and Michael Bennett has said that he doesn’t think he’ll be back in Seattle. Key only played eight games this season and had four sacks, but has proven in the past to be a good speed rusher.

2018 NFL Mock draft february 12

Vita Vea (Photo by seattletimes.com)

19. Dallas Cowboys- Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds. The Cowboys are seemingly always weak up the middle of their defense. Shutting down their opponents’ running game would allow them to control the clock like they love to do.

20. Detroit Lions- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State

Detroit hasn’t had a solid running game in Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. Some more balance on offense would make it even better. They may be able to achieve this if they improve the offensive line. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.

21. Buffalo Bills- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The Bills are thin at linebacker and this selection is an immediate upgrade. Evans is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away. While he went to the same college as other linebackers that haven’t worked out for the Bills, Reggie Ragland, Evans is a completely different player.

22. Buffalo Bills (via KC)- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Davis is a lengthy corner for Auburn, who has withstood a lot of good SEC competition. The Bills took Tre’Davious White last year and will likely want to get another corner to pair with him.

23. Los Angeles Rams- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

Los Angeles has good inside pressure in Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, but need better outside pass rushers. Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do.

24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.

25. Tennessee Titans- Justin Reid, S, Stanford

Johnathan Cyprien has been bad for the Titans this year, in one of their lone weak spots on the roster. Reid took a huge leap this season in terms of production and has put himself on the map for a first round selection.

2018 NFL mock draft February 12

Donte Jackson (Photo by theadvocate.com)

26. Atlanta Falcons- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

Jackson has the potential to develop into a great cover corner. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.

27. New Orleans Saints- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Saints need to plan for the end of Drew Brees’ career sooner rather than later. Their defense was much improved so they can afford to look to the future. Not everyone likes Rudolph, but he has a lot of experience and quite possibly the best deep ball in the class. Sean Payton reportedly loves backup Taysom Hill, but he was more of a running quarterback in college than a thrower.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Harrison is a good strong safety prospect, who plays physically. Despite being known for all of their great safeties throughout their history, the Steelers are very bad at the position right now.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Kirk is dynamic when he has the ball in his hands and can play in the slot or on the outside. Jacksonville really doesn’t have too many needs and have said they are sticking with Blake Bortles at quarterback. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers, but they rarely stay healthy.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they can afford to make a good unit better. Brown has great size for an offensive tackle and his father played in the NFL.

31. New England Patriots- Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Byan is a more agile and athletic defensive tackle than most and would help improve a below average defensive line. The Patriots need to improve their defense, as the offense wasn’t the reason they lost the Super Bowl.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Connor Williams, OT, Texas

They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and have a very solid roster. This pick could depend a lot on the health status of left tackle Jason Peters. If he isn’t healthy they’ll need a tackle. Williams’ draft stock has been all over the place, going from early first round to third round back into the first round.

 

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2018 NFL mock draft February 7

The Philadelphia Eagles have won their first Super Bowl and now all teams are in the offseason. While free agency is a big part of the offseason, a lot of attention will be paid to the 2018 NFL Draft. Here is the 2018 NFL mock draft February 7:

1. Cleveland Browns- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

A running back number one? If Rosen doesn’t want to play for the Browns it might happen. Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to ever come out of college and might be the best player in the entire class. The Browns tried to improve the defense in last year’s class, but now need to focus on the offense. With a good offensive line and now Barkley, the offense should improve.

2. New York Giants- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Yes, Rosen has voiced his displeasure over playing for the Browns, so he may fall to pick number two. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season. The Giants may be without Eli Manning next year and even if he does stay, will need a quarterback of the future.

2018 NFL mock draft february 7

Bradley Chubb (Photo by wncn.com)

3. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State

Josh McDaniels is the next coach of the Colts and will be hoping to get quarterback Andrew Luck back healthy. When he is back, the offense will figure itself out. They can improve the defense to make the team more complete when Luck comes back. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons.

4. Cleveland Browns- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

There are rumors surrounding the Browns and Baker Mayfield, but for now Darnold is the pick. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making needs to improve. The Browns have a new GM, who has no allegiances to anyone on the roster, which means DeShone Kizer is likely done as quarterback.

5. Denver Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. John Elway went to Idaho to watch him in his bowl game personally. The Broncos have a solid roster, but just need a quarterback to lead the team.

6. New York Jets- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Baker has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class. The Jets did well this season for the talent they had on the roster, but need a franchise quarterback.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama

He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. Fitzpatrick will have to help improve a bad Bucs’ pass defense, which ranked last in the league in passing yards allowed.

8. Chicago Bears- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The Bears have some nice young pieces in Trubisky and Howard, but now need to get a weapon at wide receiver. Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and produces even without the best quarterback play. The wide receivers in this class aren’t very good, so the Bears may want to grab one early.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Ward is the best cover corner in the draft. He had to really make his way this season, as he had to sit and wait his turn to get playing time for the Buckeyes. The 49ers got their defensive lineman and linebacker in the first round last year and can now get a good secondary player to go along with them.

2018 NFL mock draft february 7

Roquan Smith (photo by gridironnow.com)

10. Oakland Raiders- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith is the best linebacker in college football and does a little bit of everything well. He is especially fast, which is crucial for his coverage and tracking down of ball carriers. With Jon Gruden taking over, he is going to need a Derrick Brooks-like linebacker.

11. Miami Dolphins- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Adam Gase has said that Ryan Tannehill is the starting quarterback. There are other holes on the team, but they need to have better offensive line play if they are going to be successful. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon.

12. Cincinnati Bengals- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Bengals were able to go 7-9 with a terrible offensive line. They need help at just about every position and can start with tackles. They have taken tackles before in the first round, but they haven’t panned out. McGlinchey would’ve been a first round pick last year and the Bengals can get good value and fill a need with this pick.

13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama

Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL.

14. Green Bay Packers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. The Packers need to improve the secondary and make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again and he has alluded to it as much this offseason.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Cardinals have to find a new quarterback now that Carson Palmer is retired. Some people are questioning whether Jackson can play quarterback, but he showed improved accuracy this season and is a dynamic playmaker. He should be given a shot to play the position in the NFL.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Sutton is a bigger receiver who has put up big numbers in the AAC. The Ravens won’t be getting rid of Joe Flacco, so they need to get him some better targets to throw to.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Derwin James, S, FSU

Derwin James has fallen down mocks after being thought of as a top ten prospect. He is athletic, but doesn’t necessarily have a set position. The Chargers can use the help at safety and James would be a great addition to help make a good defense better.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

Reports have come out that it will be tough for Cliff Avril to play football again and Michael Bennett has said that he doesn’t think he’ll be back in Seattle. Key only played eight games this season and had four sacks, but has proven in the past to be a good speed rusher.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds. The Cowboys are seemingly always weak up the middle of their defense. Shutting down their opponents’ running game would allow them to control the clock like they love to do.

20. Detroit Lions- Billy Price, OG/C, Ohio State

Detroit hasn’t had a solid running game in Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. Some more balance on offense would make it even better. They may be able to achieve this if they improve the offensive line. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.

2018 NFL mock draft february 7

Tremaine Edmunds (Photo by twitter.com)

21. Buffalo Bills- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

The Bills are thin at linebacker and Edmunds can help them do a lot of different things. He is big, covers, rushes the passer and stops the run.

22. Buffalo Bills (via KC)- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Davis is a lengthy corner for Auburn, who has withstood a lot of good SEC competition. The Bills took Tre’Davious White last year and will likely want to get another corner to pair with him.

23. Los Angeles Rams- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

Los Angeles has good inside pressure in Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, but need better outside pass rushers. Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do.

24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.

25. Tennessee Titans- Justin Reid, S, Stanford

Johnathan Cyprien has been bad for the Titans this year, in one of their lone weak spots on the roster. Reid took a huge leap this season in terms of production and has put himself on the map for a first round selection.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

Jackson has the potential to develop into a great cover corner. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.

2018 NFL mock draft february 7

Mason Rudolph (Photo by sportingnews.com)

27. New Orleans Saints- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Saints need to plan for the end of Drew Brees’ career sooner rather than later. Their defense was much improved so they can afford to look to the future. Not everyone likes Rudolph, but he has a lot of experience and quite possibly the best deep ball in the class.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Harrison is a good strong safety prospect, who plays physically. Despite being known for all of their great safeties throughout their history, the Steelers are very bad at the position right now.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Kirk is dynamic when he has the ball in his hands and can play in the slot or on the outside. Jacksonville really doesn’t have too many needs and have said they are sticking with Blake Bortles at quarterback. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers, but they rarely stay healthy.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they can afford to make a good unit better. Brown has great size for an offensive tackle and his father played in the NFL.

31. New England Patriots- Taven Byan, DT, Florida

Byan is a more agile and athletic defensive tackle than most and would help improve a below average defensive line. The Patriots need to improve their defense, as the offense wasn’t the reason they lost the Super Bowl.

32. Philadelphia Eagles- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

They just won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback and have a very solid roster. Philadelphia can afford to take the best player available and that could be Evans. He is a quick, run stopping linebacker that can help out right away if needed.

 

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2018 NFL Mock Draft January 31

It’s Super Bowl week, so all teams know what’s in store for them this offseason. They know their needs, their strengths and their weaknesses. The 2018 NFL Draft will be a big way to help them fill those needs. Here is the 2018 NFL Mock draft for January 31st.

1. Cleveland Browns- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Yes, Rosen has voiced his displeasure over playing for the Browns. But, the Browns need a good quarterback and he is the best available. Rosen had to carry UCLA and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good year to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury he suffered during his sophomore season. The Browns have a new GM, who has no allegiances to anyone on the roster, which means DeShone Kizer is likely done as quarterback. If Rosen really doesn’t want to play for them, expect a team to trade up.

2. New York Giants- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Maybe Eli Manning can mentor Sam Darnold for a year, if he chooses to stay in New York. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Some have Darnold as their top quarterback, but his decision-making needs to improve.

3. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

Josh McDaniels is the next coach of the Colts and will be hoping to get quarterback Andrew Luck back healthy. When he is back, the offense will figure itself out. They can improve the defense to make the team more complete when Luck comes back. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons.

4. Cleveland Browns (via Hou)- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to ever come out of college and might be the best player in the entire class. The Browns tried to improve the defense in last year’s class, but now need to focus on the offense. With Rosen, a good offensive line and now Barkley, the offense should improve.

2018 NFL Mock Draft January 31

Josh Allen (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

5. Denver Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. John Elway went to Idaho to watch him in his bowl game personally. The Broncos have a solid roster, but just need a quarterback to lead the team.

6. New York Jets- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Baker has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic to avoid pass rushers. His main calling card is his accuracy, which is the best in this draft class. The Jets did well this season for the talent they had on the roster, but need a franchise quarterback.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Whichever he needs to play, he will excel at. Fitzpatrick will have to help improve a bad Bucs’ pass defense, which ranked last in the league in passing yards allowed.

8. Chicago Bears- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The Bears have some nice young pieces in Trubisky and Howard, but now need to get a weapon at wide receiver. Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and produces even without the best quarterback play.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Ward is the best cover corner in the draft. He had to really make his way this season, as he had to sit and wait his turn to get playing time. The 49ers got their defensive lineman and linebacker in the first round last year and can now get a good secondary player to go along with them.

10. Oakland Raiders- Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Oakland really needs to improve the interior of their defensive line and their defense in general. Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds. Jon Gruden thrived on having good defensive line play when he was a head coach before.

11. Miami Dolphins- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

Adam Gase has said that Ryan Tannehill is the starting quarterback. There are other holes on the team, but they need to have better offensive line play if they are going to be successful. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon.

12. Cincinnati Bengals- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Bengals were able to go 7-9 with a terrible offensive line. They need help at just about every position and can start with tackles. They have taken tackles before in the first round, but they haven’t panned out. McGlinchey would’ve been a first round pick last year and the Bengals can get good value and fill a need with this pick.

13. Washington Redskins- Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed. Washington’s interior of the defensive line can be improved, as they allowed the most rushing yards per game in the NFL.

14. Green Bay Packers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. The Packers need to improve the secondary and make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again.

2018 NFL Mock Draft January 31

Lamar Jackson (Photo by bleacherreport.com)

15. Arizona Cardinals- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Cardinals have to find a new quarterback now that Carson Palmer is retired. Some people are questioning whether Jackson can play quarterback, but he showed improved accuracy this season and is a dynamic playmaker. He should be given a shot to play the position in the NFL.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Sutton is a bigger receiver who has put up big numbers in the AAC. The Ravens won’t be getting rid of Joe Flacco, so they need to get him some better targets to throw to.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Derwin James, S, Florida State

He is athletic, but doesn’t necessarily have a set position. The Chargers can use the help at safety and James would be a great addition to help make a good defense better.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

Reports have come out that it will be tough for Cliff Avril to play football again and Michael Bennett has said that he doesn’t think he’ll be back in Seattle. Key only played eight games this season and had four sacks, but has proven in the past to be a good speed rusher.

19. Dallas Cowboys- Taven Byan, DT, Florida

The Cowboys are seemingly always weak up the middle of their defense. Shutting down their opponents’ running game would allow them to control the clock like they love to do. Byan is a more agile and athletic defensive tackle than most and would fill a need for Dallas.

20. Detroit Lions- Billy Price, OG/C

Detroit hasn’t had a solid running game in Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. Some more balance on offense would make it even better. They may be able to achieve this if they improve the offensive line. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.

21. Buffalo Bills- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith is the best linebacker in college football and does a little bit of everything well. His game is fueled by his speed. The Bills are thin at linebacker and Smith is a day one starter.

22. Buffalo Bills (via KC)- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Davis is a lengthy corner for Auburn, who has withstood a lot of good SEC competition. The Bills took Tre’Davious White last year and will likely want to get another corner to pair with him.

2018 NFL Mock Draft January 31

Marcus Davenport (Photo by mysanantonio.com)

23. Los Angeles Rams- Marcus Davenport, DE/OLB, UTSA

Los Angeles has good inside pressure in Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, but need better outside pass rushers. Davenport has the build of a great pass rusher, but reports are the media like him more than NFL teams do.

24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.

25. Tennessee Titans- Justin Reid, S, Stanford

Johnathan Cyprien has been bad for the Titans this year, in one of their lone weak spots on the roster. Reid took a huge leap this season in terms of production and has put himself on the map for a first round selection.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

Jackson has the potential to develop into a great cover corner. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.

27. New Orleans Saints- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Saints need to plan for the end of Drew Brees’ career sooner rather than later. Not everyone likes Rudolph, but he has a lot of experience and quite possibly the best deep ball in the class.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Harrison is a good strong safety prospect, who plays physically. Despite being known for all of their great safeties throughout their history, the Steelers are very bad at the position right now.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Kirk is dynamic when he has the ball in his hands and can play in the slot or on the outside. The Jaguars have a decent crop of young receivers, but they rarely stay healthy.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they don’t have too many needs. Brown has great size for an offensive tackle and his father played in the NFL.

31. Philadelphia Eagles- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Another team that doesn’t have too many needs is the Eagles. They could use another linebacker for depth and a future starter. Edmunds is a linebacker who can do it all. He rushes the passer, covers and helps to stop the run.

32. New England Patriots- Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

The Patriots’ defense needs to be revamped. Jefferson was a highly-touted recruit that hasn’t reached his potential yet, which means the Patriots will get the most out of him.

 

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Sergio Phillips NFL Draft profile

2018 NFL Draft profile: Sergio Phillips

Sergio Phillips’ football career hasn’t always consisted of clogging holes on the defensive line. In fact, Phillips came into college on the offensive side of the ball.

Phillips was a three-star recruit by Scout.com, ESPN and 247Sports.com that played on the offensive line at DeSoto High School. As a senior, he had 94 pancake blocks and allowed zero sacks. That led him to an all-state first team selection. The guy could play.

Phillips decided to play college ball at San Diego State over other schools like Nevada, Memphis, New Mexico and New Mexico State. It was at SDSU that Phillips made the transition to defense. Phillips said he definitely enjoys playing on the defensive side more than offense.

“I’d rather go hit somebody than just sit there and let a linebacker come smack me,” Phillips said.

Phillips played in just seven games his freshman season, but made a lot of progress as he moved up from No. 4 on the depth chart to No. 2 at defensive tackle.

Sergio Phillips NFL Draft profile

Phillips is looking to improve his pass rushing skills for the NFL. (Photo from Sergio Phillips’ Instagram @sergiophillips)

Things changed up a bit in his sophomore season. He was moved back to offensive line for his first six games, but finished his final two games on the defensive line due to an injury on the defense. Phillips remained on the defensive line for the rest of his career.

In his junior season, he logged 42 tackles and three sacks. He finished out his senior season with 40 more.

Now Phillips is looking to take his talents to the NFL. In preparation, Phillips participated in the College Gridiron Showcase in Addison, Texas. The showcase gives NFL Draft prospects like Phillips the opportunity to be scouted and evaluated by NFL personnel. Phillips said it was a great opportunity to show NFL coaches he can play at the next level.

“It was a great atmosphere. I learned a lot from the defensive line coaches there,” Phillips said. “It was just a great experience for me.”

One of the biggest things Phillips learned at the showcase was rushing the passer. Phillips said San Diego State was more focussed on stopping the run, but the NFL is all about speed.

“The No. 1 thing I took home with me was the pass rush,” Phillips said. “At my school, we were more run stoppers. We didn’t really get into our pass rush. So I learned the speed rush is the most important thing NFL teams want to see.”

Phillips was able to talk to the Rams, Raiders, Jets and Packers at the showcase. They gave him some positive feedback and told him he might be moving to the outside in the NFL.

“They told me I might play defensive end because I lost 20 pounds,” Phillips said. “They told me just work on my pass rush and keep eating right so I’ll be healthy and have a good pro day.”

Phillips said he believes he is one of the most aggressive players on the field. If he can combine that with a perfected speed rush, look out.

Sergio Phillips Scouting Report

Phillips is a little bit undersized for an interior defensive lineman at 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, but being undersized doesn’t always mean as much as people think. One of the best players in the league is Aaron Donald, who stands 6-foot, 284 pounds. At the next level, Phillips will need to add more strength to be able to match up with NFL offensive linemen.

He is quick off the snap of the ball, which is a huge plus. After that, he uses his speed and quickness to squeeze in between blockers in an attempt to get to the ball carrier or quarterback. Phillips doesn’t get to the quarterback often, but some of that is by design, as he played in the middle of a three man front. His effort and ability to keep blockers on him enables the rest of the team to go get the ball carrier.

When he wasn’t in the game, the Aztecs’ defense saw a noticeable decline against the run. He is versatile, as he played nose tackle, can play defensive tackle in a 4-3 and even saw some time as an offensive lineman at San Diego State. His toughness also won’t come into question, as he played with his right hand in a cast against Wyoming in 2016.

At the end of the day, Phillips has a couple of competitive advantages that should help him draw the eye of NFL teams. He is quick off the snap, athletic with quickness, tough and versatile.

Full interview for Sergio Phillips:

*Josh Burris interviewed Phillips, while Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.

Featured image from Sergio Phillips’ Instagram @sergiophillips

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2018 NFL Mock Draft January 19

All but four teams  now know where they are drafting. Teams are looking to rebuild and get to the playoffs for the seasons to come. Here is the latest 2018 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Cleveland Browns-Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Rosen has had to carry UCLA this season and ended up having a successful season. He needed to have a good season to clear up any doubts about his shoulder injury his sophomore year. The Browns have a new GM, who has no allegiances to anyone on the roster, which means DeShone Kizer is likely done as quarterback.

2. New York Giants- Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Giants still need a head coach, so it’s hard to figure out what they will do. Maybe Eli Manning can mentor Sam Darnold for a year. Darnold struggled this season with his decision-making which led to a lot of turnovers. He also has a flawed throwing motion. Some have Darnold much higher in mock drafts, but his decision-making won’t get too much better in the NFL.

3. Indianapolis Colts- Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Bradley Chubb (Photo by fanragsports.com)

Indianapolis also doesn’t have a coach yet, but most importantly don’t have Andrew Luck healthy. When he is back, the offense will figure itself out. They can improve the defense to make the team more complete when Luck comes back. Chubb is a great pass rusher who has 10 sacks in each of the past two seasons.

4. Cleveland Browns (via Hou)- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Barkley is one of the most complete running backs to ever come out of college and might be the best player in the entire class. The Browns tried to improve the defense in last year’s class, but now need to focus on the offense. With Rosen, a good offensive line and now Barkley, the offense should improve.

5. Denver Broncos- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

While Allen certainly has flaws in his decision-making and accuracy, he does have a strong arm and is athletic. John Elway went to Idaho to watch him in his bowl game personally. The Broncos have a solid roster, but just need a quarterback to lead the team.

6. New York Jets- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Jets had a better season than anyone expected and now just need a quarterback to take them to the next level. Some people are questioning whether Jackson can play quarterback, but he showed improved accuracy this season and is a dynamic playmaker. He should be given a shot to play the position in the NFL and the Jets could use his talents.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU

Tampa Bay’s defensive line isn’t as good as it once was and they need some pass rushing help. Key only played eight games this season and had four sacks, but has proven in the past to be a good speed rusher.

8. Chicago Bears- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The Bears have some nice young pieces in Trubisky and Howard, but now need to get a weapon at wide receiver. Ridley is the best route-runner in the class and produces even without the best quarterback play.

9. San Francisco 49ers- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

Ward is the best cover corner in the draft. He had to really make his way this season, as he had to sit and wait his turn to get playing time. The 49ers got their defensive lineman and linebacker in the first round last year and can now get a good secondary player to go along with them.

10. Oakland Raiders- Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Oakland really needs to improve the interior of their defensive line and their defense in general. Vea can play both defensive tackle and nose tackle, which is valuable. He has great size at 6’5″ and 340 pounds.

11. Miami Dolphins- Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Quenton Nelson (Photo by onefootdown.com)

Adam Gase has said that Ryan Tannehill is the starting quarterback. There are other holes on the team, but they need to have better offensive line play if they are going to be successful. Nelson is one of the best players in the class and will be drafted early despite playing a position that doesn’t usually get talked about this soon.

12. Cincinnati Bengals- Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Bengals were able to go 7-9 with a terrible offensive line. They need help at just about every position and can start with tackles. They have taken tackles before in the first round, but they haven’t panned out. McGlinchey would’ve been a first round pick last year and the Bengals can get good value and fill a need with this pick.

13. Washington Redskins- Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama

Last draft, the Redskins got good value in Jonathan Allen and can do so again with Fitzpatrick. He likely fits in best as a safety in the NFL, but can also play corner. Fitzpatrick can play next to D.J. Swearinger next season.

14. Green Bay Packers- Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jackson turned into an All-American corner at Iowa this season and has shown the ability to make acrobatic interceptions. The Packers need to improve the secondary and make the defense better for when Aaron Rodgers gets the offense going again.

15. Arizona Cardinals- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Cardinals have to find a new quarterback now that Carson Palmer is retired. Baker has defied all the critics who have mentioned his size as a reason not to draft him. He can make all the throws and is athletic to avoid pass rushers.

16. Baltimore Ravens- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

The Ravens’ defense is really good, but the offense needs some work. Mike Wallace, Breshard Perriman and Jeremy Maclin aren’t cutting it for the Ravens. Kirk is dynamic when he has the ball in his hands and can play in the slot or on the outside.

17. Los Angeles Chargers- Derwin James, S, Florida State

James’ stock is falling, but teams will fall back in love with him again throughout the next few months leading to the draft. He is athletic, but doesn’t necessarily have a set position. The Chargers can use the help at safety and James would be a great addition.

18. Seattle Seahawks- Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

Reports have come out that it will be tough for Cliff Avril to play football again and Michael Bennett has said that he doesn’t think he’ll be back in Seattle. Davenport isn’t a household name because he played at UTSA, but he’s a good pass rusherwho fills a need.

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Da’Ron Payne (Photo by bleacherreport)

19. Dallas Cowboys- Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

The Cowboys are seemingly always weak up the middle of their defense. Shutting down their opponents’ running game would allow them to control the clock like they love to do. Payne’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but he often gets double teamed.

20. Detroit Lions- Billy Price, OG/C

Detroit hasn’t had a solid running game in Matthew Stafford’s tenure as quarterback. Some more balance on offense would make it even better. They may be able to achieve this if they improve the offensive line. Price has tons of experience at guard and center for Ohio State and will start right away.

21. Buffalo Bills- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Smith is the best linebacker in college football and does a little bit of everything well. His game is fueled by his speed. The Bills are thin at linebacker and Smith is a day one starter.

22. Buffalo Bills- Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

Davis is a lengthy corner for Auburn, who has withstood a lot of good SEC competition. The Bills took Tre’Davious White last year and will likely want to get another corner to pair with him.

23. Los Angeles Rams- Sam Hubbard, DE/OLB, Ohio State

Los Angeles has good inside pressure in Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, but need better outside pass rushers. Hubbard will not only provide that, but is also one of the best run-stopping defensive ends in the class.

24. Carolina Panthers- Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

The Panthers signed Julius Peppers, but he won’t last much longer and they aren’t very deep at defensive end. Landry had a great 2016 season that put him on the map and followed it up with a solid season this year.

25. Tennessee Titans- Justin Reid, S, Stanford

Johnathan Cyprien has been bad for the Titans this year, in one of their lone weak spots on the roster. Reid took a huge leap this season in terms of production and has put himself on the map for a first round selection.

26. Atlanta Falcons- Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

Jackson has the potential to develop into a great cover corner. Atlanta needs another corner to pair with Desmond Trufant and should try to take one early.

27. New Orleans Saints- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The Saints need to plan for the end of Drew Brees’ career sooner rather than later. Not everyone likes Rudolph, but he has a lot of experience and quite possibly the best deep ball in the class.

2018 NFL Mock Draft January 19

Ronnie Harrison (Photo by al.com)

28. Pittsburgh Steelers- Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Harrison is a good strong safety prospect, who plays physically. Despite being known for all of their great safeties throughout their history, the Steelers are very bad at the position right now.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars- Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Jacksonville has talented young receivers, but due to injury have been spread thin at the position. Sutton is a bigger receiver who has put up big numbers in the AAC. As a team with not too many needs, the Jaguars can afford to spend this pick on a receiver.

30. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

The Vikings’ offensive line is much better than last year, but can still be improved. With a good offense and defense, they don’t have too many needs. Brown has great size for an offensive tackle and his father played in the NFL.

31. Philadelphia Eagles- Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

Another team that doesn’t have too many needs is the Eagles. They could use another linebacker for depth and a future starter. Jefferson was a highly-touted recruit that hasn’t reached his potential yet.

32. New England Patriots- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

The Patriots’ defense needs to be revamped. Edmunds is a linebacker who can do it all. He rushes the passer, covers and helps to stop the run.

 

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Jarrod Cann 2018 NFL Draft profile

2018 NFL Draft Profile: Jarrod Cann

Jarrod Cann was an all-around great high school athlete, but he didn’t start playing football until his senior year. With such a small sample size of games and film to look at, how did he make it to an NCAA Division I FCS school like Central Connecticut State University? It has been quite the ride to say the least.

Coming out of high school, Cann did not have the grades to play at the Division I level just yet. Originally from Delaware, Cann went to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia to get his grades up.

By the time he became eligible, he had missed the recruiting cycle. Cann had a few options. He could play at the Division II or III, but he couldn’t afford it and he did not want to pay with a big student loan.

Instead, he went the JUCO route and attended Nassau Community College in New York. It was at NCC that Cann switched to the safety position. Up to that point, he had played receiver. After playing really well at safety, Central Connecticut State University was willing to take a shot on Cann and offered him a scholarship.

Cann had a successful career at CCSU. In three seasons, Cann has totaled 169 tackles and five interceptions, four coming this past season.

Cann really became a leader at CCSU. It was an something his coach pushed him to do, especially his senior year.

Jarrod Cann 2018 NFL Draft profile

Cann brings a lot more than football to the table. (Photo by Steve McLaughlin Photography)

“It was a turning point for me,” Cann said. “I really got to talk with the guys, back and fourth. Try to lead more people from the position of where I was. I think that was the greatest thing I’m going to get out of that.”

Cann hopes the journey will continue to the NFL. In preparation for the draft, Cann is still getting up at 6 a.m. to practice with his team. He is also doing individual sessions with a trainer that helped prepare his cousin and Cleveland Browns safety, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, for the NFL.

Cann believes his leadership is one of his biggest attributes and is something an NFL team would appreciate about him.

“I’m definitely a leader,” Cann said. “If I come in, I would definitely lead in all aspects. Personality wise, physically on the field. I do it for my team. I do everything with a family perspective on things. I’m a big family guy.”

To Cann, football is more than just a game. He wants to help his teammates grow and be a positive influence in the locker room.

“I feel like overall, it is more than just a game,” Cann said. “I feel like I really connect with people. I feel like I can help change lives with that.”

As far as play on the field goes, one of the comments Cann has gotten from most of his coaches is that he plays hard and physical.

“I play with my heart out there,” he said. “I’ve worked hard to get that strength and the speed. I have all the physical tools to go out and make big plays out on the field.”

Cann brings a lot to the table. Whichever team picks him will be getting more than just a football player.

Jarrod Cann Scouting Report

Cann isn’t the tallest at 5-foot-11, but is well-built at 205 pounds. He has enough strength that not a lot of receivers will have an edge on him if they try to play physically. While he has good strength, his biggest asset is his speed.

His speed is at a track-level and really helps him on the football field. He has great range and can be seen zipping across the field to make plays after the ball leaves the quarterback’s hands. Even if he is out of position, which isn’t frequent, Cann will be able to make up for it with his blazing speed.

He can cover man to man well and when in zone coverage, does a good job reading the quarterback. Cann offers decent run support and is a sure tackler, who lays the occasional big hit on opponents.

While getting drafted isn’t 100% guaranteed, Cann’s speed should be able to get him in the door with an NFL team. He played well against Syracuse, which should help prove to teams he can play against higher levels of competition.

Full interview for Jarrod Cann:

*Josh Burris interviewed Johnson, while Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.

Featured image by Steve McLaughlin Photography

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Marcus Johnson NFL Draft profile

2018 NFL Draft profile: Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson left his mark on Slippery Rock University’s football program. He leaves The Rock as one of the greatest receivers in program history.

It wasn’t always easy for Johnson though. After a successful high school career at University Prep in Pittsburgh, he went on to play at Thiel College, an NCAA Division III school in Pennsylvania. After a successful freshman season, Johnson transferred to Division II Slippery Rock University. The transition was a tough one for Johnson at first.

“Going into my sophomore year I was kind of going through a rough patch learning the program and everything,” Johnson said. “Once it got going, it really took off going up there.”

Boy did it take off. In his junior year, Johnson caught 54 passes for 898 yards and 13 touchdowns.

This past season was his best by far. As a senior, Johnson caught 72 passes for 1,214 yards and 14 touchdowns, which was first in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

He also set the single-season record for all-purpose yards with 1,993, showing he can also make an impact on special teams. Johnson added three more touchdowns, two kickoff returns and one punt return, to make his season total 17 in just 11 games.

Johnson leaves tied for first in program history in receiving touchdowns with 28. He also ranks fifth in receiving yards with 2,238 and sixth in receptions with 133. Johnson only played three seasons with The Rock and two as the primary target.

He is now hoping to make the same kind of impact on an NFL team.

This past week, Johnson got to show off his skills at the College Gridiron Showcase in Addison, Texas. The showcase features some of the top seniors of college football. The showcase provides exposure and the opportunity to be evaluated by professional scouts and executives.

Johnson believes his ability to go up and get the ball and work ethic are things the NFL scouts are going to like about him.

“I have great ball skills in the air,” he said. “Just the way I compete. Not a lot of guys have my work ethic. I feel like I really can make a difference in the league the way I go get the ball in the air.”

Johnson was one of two Division II All-Americans at a showcase filled with Division I talent. That alone shows shows how hard he works.

Johnson said he believes the biggest transition from switching from college to pros will be the speed of the game.

“Probably speed of the game. It’s a lot more fast. It’s a lot more learning. Learning the technique. Learning the defenses. Really looking forward to learning those things.”

What might we see Johnson doing after football? Johnson majored in Interdisciplinary Studies. He wants to help kids in his community who don’t have a father figure in their lives.

Marcus Johnson Scouting Report

Johnson has decent size for a wide receiver at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. He can add strength to his frame to beat NFL-level corners off the line of scrimmage. Most corners he plays know the type of threat he is and therefore give him a little bit of a cushion, but that won’t happen in the NFL.

Marcus Johnson NFL Draft profile

Johnson’s speed and route-running make him a real deep threat. (Photo by Rebecca Dietrich)

He is a good route-runner, who does an excellent job at changing speeds to make his cuts and get open. Once the ball is in the air, he high points it and usually comes down with the catch. This is an ode to his great ball skills. When he gets the ball in his hands, Johnson is elusive and hard to get to.

Because of his good route-running and change of speeds, Johnson is a deep threat, but can also do some damage underneath. His ability to win 50-50 balls make him a redzone threat. Slippery Rock continually threw to him on fades, slants and out routes to get him open for a touchdown.

Not only is Johnson a great wide receiver, he also makes a lot of plays returning kicks and punts. His elusiveness with the ball in his hands comes into play here as well. He routinely has big gains in the return game and is a threat to score any time he touches the ball.

Johnson is a great candidate to be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft for a variety of reasons. He is a productive receiver with great ball skills. Running routes won’t be a problem for him either. Teams will want to see what he can do with the ball in his hands. To top everything off, he is an ace on special teams, which is a plus heading into the NFL Draft season.

Full interview for Marcus Johnson:

 

*Josh Burris interviewed Johnson, while Joe DiTullio provided the scouting report.

Featured image by Jon Holtz

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NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Sugar Bowl

The two best programs in college football the past two seasons are Alabama and Clemson. They produce great players and play in the biggest games. There are a lot of players from this game that will be stars in the NFL. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Sugar Bowl:

Alabama Crimson Tide

Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB

Fitzpatrick has experience at both corner and safety for Alabama, but will fit in better as a safety in the NFL. He has gotten playing time since his freshman season at Alabama and is now a junior. In his three seasons he has 163 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, nine interceptions, 23 passes defended and one forced fumble.

At 6’1″ and 201 pounds, Fitzpatrick has good enough size for the NFL at either position he has played. He likely won’t have to wait long to hear his name called.

Projected draft range: 1st round

Calvin Ridley, WR

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Sugar Bowl

Calvin Ridley (Photo by saturdaydownsouth.com)

Ridley is one of the best receivers in the draft class, if not the best. He has continued to put up numbers, despite not always having the greatest quarterback play. At Alabama, he has 2,710 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. His best season was his freshman year with Blake Sims at quarterback.

He is 6’1″ and 190 pounds and will need to add some play strength to beat his man off the line of scrimmage. If he isn’t the first wide receiver drafted, Ridley will be shortly after.

Projected draft range: 1st round

Da’Ron Payne, DT

Payne doesn’t have the production of a lot of other prospects, but is asked to do something completely different for Alabama. He is a freakish athlete who takes on multiple blockers and helps stop the run well. He has 94 total tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks in his time at Alabama.

At 6’2″ and 308 pounds, Payne has good size for an interior defensive lineman. He plays nose tackle in Alabama’s 3-4, but can also play defensive tackle in the 4-3 system.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Other notable Alabama prospects: RB Damien Harris (2nd round-4th round), RB Bo Scarbrough (4th round-6th round), G/C Ross Pierschbacher (3rd round-5th round), C Lester Cotton (5th round-7th round), C Bradley Bozeman (3rd round-5th round), DE Da’Shawn Hand (6th round-undrafted free agent), LB Rashaan Evans (3rd round-4th round), LB Shaun Dion Hamilton (3rd round-5th round), CB Anthony Averett (3rd round-5th round), CB Tony Brown (4th round-6th round), S Ronnie Harrison (1st round-2nd round)

Clemson Tigers

Clelin Ferrell, DE

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Sugar Bowl

Clelin Ferrell (Photo by independentmail.com)

Ferrell has been the leading sack-man on the Tigers’ defense this season. That is impressive due to how much talent they have on their roster. In his two years of playing time at Clemson, Ferrell has 106 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.

At 6’5″ and 265 pounds which is good size for a defensive end in the NFL. He will have to battle some fellow teammates for positioning in the draft class.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Austin Bryant, DE

Bryant is the other half of a great sack tandem of defensive ends. He has 7.5 sacks on the season to make it tough on opposing quarterbacks. In his career, he has 82 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. He has some inconsistency, as some games he will have multiple sacks and some he will have none, but NFL teams can work with that.

He also has solid size at 6’4″ and 265 pounds. The junior could go back to Clemson and work on his consistency, but he already has enough tape to be drafted early in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Christian Wilkins, DT

Wilkins is a leader for Clemson and one of the best defensive tackles in the country. The junior was a big part of the National Championship team last year. He has 133 total tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in his career. Wilkins has shown the ability to rush the passer from the interior, which is appealing to NFL teams.

He is 6’4″ and 310 pounds, which makes his best fit as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. Wilkins will be one of the first interior defensive linemen selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Other notable Clemson prospects: WR Deon Cain (3rd round-5th round), WR Hunter Renfrow (5th round-7th round), OT Mitch Hyatt (2nd round-4th round), LB Kendall Joseph (3rd round-5th round), CB Mark Fields (2nd round-4th round), S Van Smith (4th round-6th round)

 

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl is a College Football Playoff game, which means the best of the best are playing. Many of these players will go onto the next level eventually and have their impact felt. Here are the top NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Rose Bowl:

Georgia Bulldogs

Roquan Smith, LB

Smith is the most complete linebacker in the 2018 NFL Draft class and is the leader of the Georgia defense. The past two years he has produced a lot, but this year he took his game to a whole new level. He has 113 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

He is 6’1″ and 225 pounds which is good enough size to play inside linebacker. He could play in any system that is thrown out there in the NFL. Smith will be the first inside linebacker to be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Trenton Thompson, DT

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Rose Bowl

Trenton Thompson (redandblack.com)

Thompson doesn’t have many stats, but the good play of a defensive tackle doesn’t always show up in the stat line. He has 33 total tackles and three tackles for loss. The lack of production is a little concerning, but he does a good job with gap integrity and stopping the run.

At 6’4″ and 295 pounds, Thompson is a perfect fit as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. Defensive tackles don’t usually go high in the draft, but should be selected on day two.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-3rd round

Nick Chubb, RB

Chubb is one of the best running backs in SEC history. He has battled injuries, split carries and played against tough competition and has still produced. In his career he has 4,599 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns for the Bulldogs. He isn’t the best running back in the class, but has some of the best production.

He is 5’10” and 225 pounds which is good enough for the NFL. Day two of the NFL Draft is likely when Chubb will hear his name called.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Other Georgia prospects: RB Sony Michel (3rd round-5th round), TE Jeb Blazevich (7th round-undrafted free agent), OL Isaiah Wynn (2nd round-4th round), LB Lorenzo Carter (2nd round-4th round), LB Davin Bellamy (4th round-6th round), LB Reggie Carter (7th round-undrafted free agent), CB DeAndre Baker (4th round-6th round), S Dominick Sanders (4th round-6th round)

Oklahoma Sooners 

Baker Mayfield, QB

NFL Draft prospects in the 2018 Rose Bowl

Baker Mayfield (Photo by newsok.com)

Mayfield is the best player in college football as the Heisman Trophy winner. That doesn’t always translate into a good pro prospect, but he has done about everything to prove that he can make it in the NFL. In his career, he has 14,320 passing yards, 129 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.

Size is a big issue with Mayfield, as he is 6’1″ and 225 pounds. This doesn’t mean he can’t be successful, but NFL executives want prospects to meet their measurables.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Orlando Brown, OT

Brown has a lot of experience blocking for a very explosive offense. It has afforded him the opportunity to get a lot of reps run blocking or pass blocking. He has NFL bloodlines, as his dad played in the NFL. Brown hasn’t shown the greatest mobility, but is still a good prospect.

At 6’8″ and 345 pounds, not many tackles are bigger than Brown. NFL teams will try to take Brown because of his size and try to mold him into a player for their system.

Projected draft range: 1st round-2nd round

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE/OLB

Okoronkwo is a good pass rushing prospect and one of the few players from Oklahoma’s defense that can make it to the next level. In his Oklahoma career, he has 157 total tackles, 33 tackles for loss and 20 sacks. That is impressive given that he has only had two years of solid playing time.

He is a little undersized at 6’1″ and 241 pounds, but has production. He will need to show good speed rushing skills in order to move up draft boards.

Projected draft range: 2nd round-4th round

Other notable Oklahoma prospects: TE Mark Andrews (2nd round-4th round), CB Jordan Thomas (4th round-6th round), S Steven Parker (6th round-undrafted free agent)