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Bob's big board and draft grades 2019

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by BobDigital, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Irv Smith Jr. TE – Alabama

    Smith is generally considered in the top 3 by most people so I was hopeful before really studying his tape. He's a good blocker. Not elite but good. At times he finishes with some nastiness which I like. His top end speed is pretty fast for his size. Sadly the combine besides his 40 time left a lot to be desired. His vertical jump was average. His broad jump was below average. His 3 cone time was near the bottom. His 20 yard shuffle was only slightly above average and his 60 yard shuffle was the worst. So not a good showing. After seeing the tape I need to agree with those numbers. He lacks suddenness and explosion off the snap. His quickness isn't good. He's good attacking the seam and getting vertical but besides that he doesn't offer much in the passing game IMO.

    In Alabama he was the 4th option in the passing game and that really shows up on tape. He made a few nice catches and a couple nice plays going over the top. Besides that he mostly feasted on easy catches when he sat in a wide open zone or had the play opened up for him by the other, better, play makers. When he gets the ball in his hands he uses his power to gain extra yards, but I saw him be careless with the football way too often.

    The bottom line to me is he is serviceable as a safety valve option and if you can get him 1 on 1 vs a LB he can make the other team pay. But I don't see the upside here for him developing as an all around player. I think as an athlete he lacks too much in certain areas. He's a guy who I think will succeed doing a few things if put in the right spots at the next level. He's a good blocker who is a niche pass catcher in certain situations and match ups. That isn't the worst thing in the world . To me he's a good back up to your starting TE who can do the dirty work and still be a threat to make a play if the other team doesn't respect him. Grade 5.1
     
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  2. mrscruff

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    Love these write-ups. Keep them coming in.
     
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  3. patfanken

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    I watched all eight minutes of this and I'm wondering why you consider him a 7+. It certainly wasn't based on what he showed vs ISU.

    His blocking showed some potential. He certainly was willing but, as you pointed out, not dogged. I saw nothing in the 5 yd hooks and outs he ran that made me think of him as a first round pick. If he were available at 32 why would I think he'd be a suitable Gronk replacement. Based on those 8 minutes he looks like just about every other long, good sized TE prospect we've seen over the years. What makes him special?

    BTW- thanks for taking the time and awesome effort to educated the likes of me
     
  4. reamer

    reamer Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I think the grade should actually be higher. Gotta watch more than one game, Ken. ;)

    There are numerous examples of Hockenson driving people 10+ yards downfield. He also gives you some pretty incredible YAC at times. Here's a solid introduction if you want to see more:

     
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  5. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Well I don't know to what extent I'm fit to educate anyone. I'm hardly the best draftnik here but I try my best. As for why I graded him the way I did there were a lot of reasons.

    First off when you look at his production he did very well considering. He was the #1 option in his offense which wasn't all that good. There were no good WRs to open up things for him and his QB was highly inconsistent. He made some great passes and some bad ones. Getting 700 yards in that situation was pretty good. If he was in the Ohio State or Oklahoma offense he would have gotten 1,000 yards for sure and he would be hyped up even more than he is now.

    The reason i consider him a first round caliber pick has to do more with things that are not easily noticeable. His hands are great and he doesn't ever seem to drop anything. His balance and body control are really good for a guy his size. While he doesn't have the type of top speed that will allow him to make plays like Kelce, Kittle or prime Gronk he has enough speed to make you regret ever putting a LB on him.

    As far as quickness he does have the twitchiness and short area burst you love to see in a guy his size and it shows up often on tape. Add that to his body control and hands and it really gives him a nice catch radius and makes him very hard to completely cover if a ball is well thrown.

    I think he can get a lot of damage done in the NFL up the seam as well as with curls. As for his blocking; it's something you don't really see often in a TE that can actually catch a bit. As I've said, his blocking isn't amazing or anything but he's a guy that i don't think you can afford to put a DB on the field for like some other TEs in name only.

    600 yards a year give or take while also being a good blocker and solid red zone threat. That would make him a top 10 TE in the NFL and i think he can do it. To me that is worth a lower first round pick. Somewhere in the 25-32 range. Not every first round pick is a star.
     
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  6. patfanken

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    That was obviously much more impressive, but, as you said, just one game against a not very good team. But I'm not going to fight you. Too many good things are being said about this kid for me to be stubborn based on just the ISU game.

    But that being said, I'm no passing by any of those DE/DT's that people are talking about for him, even though, based on all the mock's, it'll be a moot point. ;)
     
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  7. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    I think I'm gonna start posting highlights in a lot of these breakdowns. That doesn't go against forum policy right? Also I don't plan to do any breakdowns on RBs or OL. I don't think I have a great eye for those positions.

    Andraez 'Greedy' Williams - CB LSU

    Greedy Williams is a long lanky CB. 6'2-6'3 and around 185 lbs. At the combine he showed off his speed with a 4.37 4o time. At his pro day he underwhelmed. His 36 inch vertical and 124 inch broad jump and particularly his bench press were bad. He didn't even run a 3 cone time or shuffle (at least I couldn't find one) and that illustrates he felt those test would've been even worse.

    A bad broad jump and vertical are usually an indication of a lack of burst, but that doesn't really show up on film. He gets a good jump on the ball usually. His first step acceleration (along with his lighter frame with long wingspan) allow him to close fast. IMO this is a case of football acceleration vs test acceleration not always matching up.

    He really looks good when playing press man, which might be surprising seeing he only managed to bench press 225lbs 9 times. That would've been among the worst at the combine. So why isn't it an issue? He doesn't win with power. It's more like a quick jab, pull or subtle push while in the middle of the route. Not really jarring but just enough to slow his WR down a hair out of their breaks. That's really all he needs.



    This IMO is the most important tape of Greedy. You see him going against 2 WRs who are likely to go in the top 40. There's very little not to like, particularly when he plays up at the LOS. The only times he gets beat are when he gives too big a cushion (likely a scheme choice though he needs to get a feel for how much space to give) and one time he was going horizontally with Brown. He got there in time but just didn't make the play.

    He has a very physical style but usually is smart about it. He will hold one arm down a fair amount (which is almost never called), he'll bumps a WR a bit down field but not enough to get flagged. He still needs to learn certain aspects of how to be an outside CB but he looks to be very fluid and has good instincts which should allow him to make a lot of big plays. I don't know if he has the makings of a top tier CB in the NFL, but he looks ready to go day 1 and has room to grow into an even better player very easily. Grade 7.0
     
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  8. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I agree 100 percent. I do not have a first round grade on this guy. Out routes, come backs and button hooks are ordinary routes that ordinary tight ends can run. I will concede that his blocking in better than most college tight ends, and the ability to be a factor in the passing game and in blocking is important to nfl teams.

    But a tight end becomes a difference maker by being a playmaker in the seam, especially the deep seam.

    In the last super bowl, gronkowski’s catch that set up the only touchdown of the game, came down the deep seam. Playmakers own the deep seam against the games best safeties in the game when it comes to the tight end position. Dime a dozen guys run out routes and hope they can beat a linebacker!
     
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  9. reamer

    reamer Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Good stuff, Bob! I'm enjoying this series.

    You're a strict grader for jumping, though. 36 vert is 53rd percentile. 124 broad is 68th percentile. Taken together that puts him above average -- and even an average NFL corner is still extremely explosive. Gilmore jumped 36 and 123 for reference.
     
  10. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Maybe I came off a bit strict there. Yes it is fair to say they aren't bad scores for a CB in general, but for a CB who goes in the first round you would expect better scores. However those things (I think) matter more for a nickle CB than an outside one. I don't have any evidence to back it up, but I would suppose it's true. He has pure speed which is the most important thing and I don't really hold anything he did in the combine against him except to say it indicates he should stick to the outside.

    As a side note, honestly I'm not sure how to feel about this CB class. Personally I feel the WRs and QBs in college right now are a bit underwhelming. I would have loved to see how they would do vs higher end prospects. PFF has a lot of them ranked highly, but I think some of that is just the passing game in college being down as a whole this year.
     
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  11. betterthanthealternative

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    I'm a complete amateur here, but boy does bench press seem like a ridiculous way to gauge a DB's strength. That's triceps, shoulders, and pecs. They are useful, but CB is more like karate than it is pushing a rock off your chest. Do they have a measurement for glutes, back, and hip muscles? :)
     
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  12. jrfitz06

    jrfitz06 On the Roster

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    What's your thoughts on Hakeem Butler from Iowa State I caught a few Cyclones games and I was impressed about how he would out physical the dbs granted it was against lesser competition most of the time but still for a late 2nd early 3rd round pick and brady throwing it to him I wouldn't mind seeing him in a Pat's jersey
     
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  13. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    If anyone has a requested player they want me to look at sooner just say so btw. I know I probably won't get to all the top prospects at the rate i'm going. That being said @jrfitz06 this one's for you!

    Hakeem Butler - WR Iowa State

    What a joy this one was. A very fun player to watch. First lets talk meassurables. 6'5 227lbs, he ran a 4.48 40, benched 18 times, had a 36 inch vertical and 128 inch broad jump. For a guy who will probably be asked at the NFL level to catch jump balls you would hope for a better than 36 inch vertical. It isn't bad, but it just isn't good. He didn't run a 3 cone or shuffle as I think he knew those weren't his events. He is a prototypical outside WR.

    First off let's talk about the negatives. He drops more passes then you'd like in an NFL starter, though this knock on him is overrated IMO. I only saw maybe 2 bad drops in the tape I watched, the others were at least partly or largely on the QB ball placement. If the rest of his tape is the same from the games I saw it is something you can live with. His catch zone isn't as big as you'd like for a guy his size. He isn't good at catching anything below his belly button or when he has his momentum going in the other direction and has to come back to ball. His route tree is going to be limited at the next level. That lack of quickness does show up on tape for certain routes. When he starts at the outside and goes up about 5-10 and tries to take a 90 degree turn to run across the middle it just doesn't work. He is too slow coming out of his break and not having that one in his bag of tricks hurts his stock slightly.

    Okay, now lets mention the good stuff. Though there was a little inconsistency in this area overall the man is usually an absolute monster as a run blocker. He's 6'5 and nearly 230lbs but actually plays bigger than that. Time after time I saw him absolutely abuse smaller CBs on run plays. Sometimes even blocking 2 players. The one that stuck out to me the most is when a QB made a first down on a 3rd and 25 yard run. He blocked 2 DBs on that play to spring him for the last 10 yards by himself. A number of times I saw him run his DB right off the screen. It wasn't always that good but more often than not it just looked unfair.

    As a pass catcher he has a decent get off the line and a pretty good amount of shake and bake for a guy his size. He's good at redirecting his vertical speed diagonally, as long as his momentum keeps going up the field. He has some good get off the line moves, though at times that too is a minor issue. He was clearly the go to target on his team and often faced double teams because of it. When he catches the ball he's always looking to gain YAC. He has a good mix of balance and power and a number of times threw defenders off of him after the catch to go the distance.

    His ability to win jump balls was on display, but I think that unfortunately over shadowed more subtle areas of his game. During one play the defender is right on his hip on a deep vertical route. He uses his body to block out one of Butler's arms while his arm is on Butler's chest and ever so slightly grabbing the neckline of his uniform. The CB is not only in perfect position, but using his savvy to bend the rules just the right way. There is no chance for Butler to break away like this or get his other arm into the play. Pretty much a dead play unless the WR can make a 1 handed catch with the CB in his pocket. Just as the ball is starting to come down Butler gives the CB a slight push on his hip with his blocked off hand. It's so sneaky you don't even see him do it, you just need to figure it out by watching the tape. It was just enough to make the CB lose the grip on his uniform and stumble a step back. The arm's now able to get free and a slight space is created. He quickly secures the catch before being pushed out of bounds. Being able to do things like this are the difference between making it and not making it in the NFL most of the time.

    He routinely demonstrates this kind of polish. He didn't get 1300 yards against what was surprisingly good competition by sheer talent. He did it with his head too, not to say he isn't talented. He routinely burned 1 on 1 coverage against both good and bad competition. He played 5 of the top 25 teams and his stats were just as good in those games. He did this with inconsistent QB play and the next best target on the team having 900 yards less than him. He doesn't always play up to his 4.48 speed which is unfortunate, but at times he looks to also be even faster. Playing press man on him can be effective at times, but I've also seen him use his strength to win instantly out of his break at times. So it's a bit risky. One play I really enjoyed was when he was given a big cushion on first down, and he simply caught a 5 yard pass and powered forward for 3 more. You can't live off big plays alone and I would have liked to see the coaches call more of these.

    Scouts will focus on the things he can't do, which is a pity. If you ask him to do the things he can do I think he'll be a valuable player. IDK if he has a real chance to be a star in the NFL but I just see too much upside here to ignore and his ceiling is temptingly high. I'd call him a priority player once most of the safer options are gone. Getting him for a mid/low 2nd or high 3rd would be great value here. Grade: 6.2

    Edit (upping hi grade from 6.1 to 6.2. The more time that has passed the more I like him).
     
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  14. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Josh Allen – DE/Edge Kentucky

    Josh Allen had an impressive combine overall. His 40 was a very solid 4.63, 28 bench presses (2nd best), 118 broad jump (average) and a 7.13 three cone time. If you're Josh Allen you probably wish you did better but he checks off all the boxes well enough.

    After watching his tape I find myself a little weary of him. The hype just doesn't match the player. His pass defense which was talked up was really lacking compared to what I heard. He was okay and you had that one great play where he stayed step for step with a TE down the field, but overall he didn't seem to be that good. Not to say he's bad. Just not special.

    The next issue I noticed is his run defense. If he isn't getting past his man to make a TFL (which is very rare) he gets blown off the line mostly. For a guy who did 28 bench presses that was surprising. If he's put on the line on 1st and 10 I would strongly consider running straight at him. Even if he gets stronger it won't be enough to make up for the level of competition jump he will face since he was underwhelming as a college prospect.

    The final issue is his pass rush. I have big concerns here. For a player whose considered the best pass rusher in the nation, he very one dimensional. I saw him use a bull rush a single time in all the highlights and game tape I watched. That was vs a RB. Almost all his pressures and sacks comes from 1 of 2 things. Either he just plain beats his guy around the edge and bends (which he does really well), or he fakes that and spins inside once they over commit. His pass rush at the next level will entirely be speed dependent. There's nothing wrong with that per say, but when you're talking about a potential top 5 prospects with only 1 or 2 tools in his box they better be REALLY special.

    When you look up the combine numbers he falls a little short of recent premier speed rushers. Those are just combine numbers, but when I look at him on tape I just can't help but think what happens when that tackle is just a bit better? While he has a bright future ahead of him, to live off such a narrow skill set without a lot of pass rush options makes me hesitate when there are more complete prospects. If top 10 worthy it should be at 9 or 10 IMO. Grade 7.3
     
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  15. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    I take all combine test with a grain of salt. They're there to compliment tape, not replace it. Bench press is nice at telling us some things but it doesn't tell us everything as you said.
     
  16. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Jace Sternberger - TE Texas A&M

    This is a very interesting prospect for a number of reasons. First lets talk about the combine. It wasn't good. He tested overall as a below average athlete for TEs. His 40 yard dash of 4.75 won't get anyone excited. His vertical of 31.5 was near the bottom. His bench of 17 was below average. His broad jump of 113 was near the bottom. His 60 yard shuffle was average. It wasn't all bad though. His 3 cone time was a respectable 7.19 and his 20 yard shuffle was a very solid 4.31. He has some quickness to work with. Clearly the combine hurt his draft stock.

    But don't sleep on him! A number of skill positions guys have come back from bad combines to have good careers. Hunter Henry had a similar combine and is doing just fine. Ertz had an underwhelming combine and he is one of the top TEs. The are a few things about his tape that instantly jump out. First we need some context. Did you know Texas A&M had the #1 strength of schedule in college football? Just a nice little factoid. They faced #1 Clemson, #2 Alabama #8 LSU and #13 Kentucky with very few cup cakes. We got to see this player face the best competition possible at his level. That is a big plus. How did he do in these 4 games? 48 yards, 59 yards, 75 yards and 95 yards. Not too shabby.. He was the #1 pass catching threat on his team by a decent margin (though their RB was the #1 weapon). He finished with 832 yards 10 TDs and 48 catches. His QB was 'meh'.

    As far as the tape, I have to say the lack of top end athletic talent does show up, but I'll be damned if he didn't find a way to get it done. As far as a blocker he isn't bad. There are concerns about him at the next level but I didn't see anything there that indicates he can't be kept inline to help on occasion. As a pass catcher he brings a lot to the table. Good routes, great hands and body control. He held on to it through some big hits too and fought for YAC. He has a good sense for the game and his quickness making up field cuts is a big selling point. He's very good at accelerating while making a move when going mostly north to south. He's able to take full advantage of his wingspan and can high point balls, catch them away from his body and behind him. Probably low too but I didn't actually see him do it on film. He just seems like the type of guy who can snatch a ball anywhere. His play speed can be pretty fast sometimes but kinda slow at others depending on what you ask him to do. A better football player than athlete.



    While I question his ability to be a big time impact player at the next level, I think any team sleeping on him because of the combine is being stupid. He has proven he can hang with the best college has to offer. What else do you really need to see? I'll make a 'bold' prediction. Sternberger will have a better career than Noah Fant. Grade 5.9
     
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  17. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Gary Rashan – DE Michigan

    He was among the best at his position in the combine. At 6'4 277 he has the size and power to be an every down DE. His 4.58 was the best 40 among the DL. Bench, BJ, VJ, 3CT, and 20YS were all either at or near the top. He absolutely checks every athletic box you could ask for. So he is a combine monster, how about what he did on the field?

    He has 3 years of very good production making him likely the most proven prospect in this draft. His senior year could have been better but he got hurt early in the year. The important thing is he started strong and when fully healthy finished strong. People will bring up his lack of stats, but that's looking at the player in a very shallow way. He was constantly double teamed and blew up play after play. Not only that, when asked too he was able to hold the edge unlike a pure sack artist.

    I list him as mostly a DE but he can play any spot on the DL. He's like a mix of Trey Flower and Fletcher Cox. He has a number of tools to win with. He can come around the outside or beat you with his bull rush and has a decent number of techniques. He has a good mix of aggression without being over aggressive. When other players would have over committed to the pass rush he sits back a moment and is able to stop a redirection or not bite on the fake. He's very sound on keeping his assignment.

    He may not ever be a guy who gets you double digit sacks often, but he'll do everything else and never need to come off the field. Be it 4th and inches or 3rd and long. He is the kind of player that not only fills up his own stat sheet but the players around him. A true game changer. He may not get as many sacks as Bosa, but he'll never be shut out because of a bad match up. His bag of tricks and ways to attack a defense are just too extensive. Grade 8.1
     
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  18. mrscruff

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    Like you said, Butler is so much fun when he is manhandling the defensive backs both in the pass and the run game. Do you think Butler will get penalized for the "pushoffs" at the top of the route due to his size like Gronkowski was?
     
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  19. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Sometimes he will but it depends. I think Gronk was a special case and the fact that he was a TE hurt his cause. As long as Butler only pushes off when touched or when he initiates contact he doesn't fully extend his arms I think he'll be fine.
     
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  20. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Taylor Rapp – SS Washington.

    Rapp did everything at the combine but his 40 yard time. His broad jump was the one bad event at only 115 inches. Everything else was good. His quickness tested very well with a 3.99 20YS (the best) and a 6.82 3CT. While I would like to wait on his 40 yard dash, at this point I don't think it would be accurate to his play speed as he probably focused on nothing but that for the past month, and I don't feel like waiting till April.

    The tape was interesting to watch. Truly a jack of all trades. He played single high, zone, man, in the box and even rushed the QB a few times. He didn't look out of place doing any of it, but his best trait is his ability to play man. That is his big selling point as a safety at the next level and why he should go higher than a mid round selection. He can cover his man both vertically and in the slot and looks good doing both. You don't see many safeties who can do it at this level. Add that into his ability to do everything else and now you're talking.

    I want to be clear. This safety class and these players do not make me as excited as last year. But this class has a lot going for it. I think Rapp fits better as a strong safety than a FS. I don't think he has the pure speed needed to play deep at the NFL level effectively. It would be a waste of his main area of strength. A smart versatile player who looks ready to contribute and do whatever you want him to do. His draw back is much of his game is (I think) only serviceable at the next level, which makes me less excited about his versatility. If you want to get value out of him he should be in coverage about half the time while mixing and matching the other half to try to confuse the defense. If he does that I think he'll have a good but not great career. Grade 5.9
     
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