May 16, 2016 by Ell and Mike Sports
Ell’s NFL Draft Grades #5
Chris Jones will be a nice rotational D-lineman to go along with a nice core group; he is also insurance in case Poe can’t be locked into a long term deal or gets injured at NT. After losing veteran CB Sean Smith, the Chiefs added a few CB’s to the roster giving them good young depth at the position. Ehinger gives them a polished, swing lineman who can eventually take over a starting job. Robinson and Hill are speedsters who fit the Andy Reid mold with playmaking ability after the catch. Hogan and Nicolas are both project players who will hopefully reach their potential with coaching.
After trading down from the end of the 1st round, the Chiefs select DT Chris Jones, out of Mississippi State, in the 2nd round, a strong prospect with good size who could provide solid depth inside and outside (DE) for the Chiefs 3-4 defense. Jones is a solid run stopper with the ability to push the pocket in the pass rush, but he could use some help with his technique. In the 3rd round, Chiefs select CB KeiVarae Russell, out of ND, a physical CB who can play inside and outside with good speed and tackling ability, but he must continue to work on his technique and finding the ball. In the 4th round, G Paul Ehinger, out of Cincinnati, a 4yr starter who played multiple positions on the O-line, as a solid pass blocker and good run blocker, but he must get stronger and polish his footwork; he should provide depth at RG and RT until he earns a starting spot. CB Eric Murray, out of Minnesota, is a physical CB with good cover skills and decent speed, who does a good job pressing at the line, but he needs to get stronger; he is more a nickel CB, but could help on special teams as he has blocked two punts. WR Demarcus Robinson, out of Florida, is a talented, speed WR, who can make plays downfield, but he needs to get stronger and show better decision making and maturity; he has potential, but needs to put it together. In the 5th round, QB Kevin Hogan, out of Stanford, is an accurate QB and proven winner who can pick teams apart and even making plays with his feet when necessary, but he has a strange throwing motion that will need work and doesn’t have good deep ball accuracy limiting his potential to more of backup. WR Tyreek Hill, out of West Alabama, is a very fast track star who knows how to make game changing plays speed, but he has a small frame and avoids contact so he needs to get stronger; he will be a playmaker in the return game (mostly punts), until his receivers skills improve. In the 6th round, CB D.J. White, out of Georgia Tech, is a physical, press CB with good cover skills and leaping ability, but he needs to a better job locating the ball, get stronger, and work on his technique; he has the skills to play inside and outside. DE Dadi Nicolas, out of VT, is a pass rusher who played DE in college, but will be asked to play LB at the next level because of his size, but he is very raw so he needs to learn the position and get stronger; however, the pass rush skills are there.
The Rams gave up a lot to move up, but I feel like Goff was the right prospect for a new franchise going forward; he has the poise to handle the pressure on the field and in front of the media. Higbee and Cooper gives them some playmakers to immediately add to the offense, while Hemingway and Thomas are more work in progress. Forrest is an intriguing prospect on a team with a LB turnover he could find a spot at OLB.
In the 1st round, the Rams trade up for the #1 pick giving up a lot to pick QB Jared Goff, out of Cal. Goff is a solid pick as a very mature, accurate prospect who can pick teams apart, while showing a professional demeanor off the field. There are questions about his arm strength, but he has a thin frame and I think some added bulk would help; the Rams needed a new face of the franchise and possible franchise QB. In the 4th round, the Rams pickup two playmakers in TE Tyler Higbee, out of Western Kentucky, and WR Pharoah Cooper, out of South Carolina. Higbee is a big, former WR with sure hands who can make plays after the catch and has the strength to break tackles, but he needs to get bigger, avoid injury, and work on his blocking. Cooper is a do it all WR who knows how to get open and make plays in space, basically a bigger version of their current WR Tavon Austin; Cooper and Austin will allow Goff to move the ball quickly. In the 6th round, TE Temarrick Hemingway, out of South Carolina State, a quick playmaking TE who can separate easily from LB’s, but he must get bigger, stronger, and work on his blocking. ILB Josh Forrest, out of Kentucky, is a former WR/playmaker who converted into a quick sideline to sideline tackler with the ability to blitz up the middle, but he must get stronger, continue to learn the position, and work on his coverage. WR Mike Thomas, out of Southern Miss, is a prospect with good size and leaping ability known as a hard-worker and competitor, but he must show he is over his drops and show better separation versus press CBs.
Tunsil could definitely be the steal of the draft with his immense talent, but he must show that he’s focused. Carroo should give Tannehill a nice go to target, if Jarvis Landry is doubled and Grant could add some needed speed. Howard is a big CB who could learn from Maxwell and give them two big CB’s on the outside, while Lucas provides depth. Drake is a solid complementary RB, who could add some speed with the loss of Lamar Miller. The 7th round picks are projects who may or may not stick.
In the 1st round, the Dolphins were bold enough to pick T Laremy Tunsil, out of Ole Miss, considered to be the #1 prospect in the draft, but off field problems unfolded before everyone’s eyes. Tunsil is a plug a play left tackle who can start instantly on a team that could use some changes up front, but he must show better focus and maturity off the field. In the 2nd round, the Dolphins traded up to get CB Xavier Howard, out of Baylor, a big fast CB with all the skills, who must show better consistency, but all the tools are there, he just need help with his technique and polishing his craft. In the 3rd round, the Dolphins select RB Kenyan Drake, out of Alabama, is a RB with good size and speed with the ability to cut it outside, catch out the backfield, and an explosive returner; making him the perfect backup RB; however, he must avoid injuries and show better patience as a runner. WR Leonte Carroo, out of Rutgers, a solid sure handed WR who has been the go to guy for 3 years, but he only has decent speed which worries teams about his ability to get separation; he could be a solid #2 possession WR. In the 6th round, Dolphins select WR Jakeem Grant, out of Texas Tech, and SS Jordan Lucas, out of Penn State. Grant is a very small WR/KR who is coming off a very productive senior year, but teams worry about his ability to take on NFL hits; he will get a chance to show his skills. Lucas is a former CB who plays with a physical nature, as a smart player with solid man coverage skills, but he needs to make more plays and may have to play as a nickel CB; he will have to make his mark on special teams. In the 7th round, Dolphins select QB Brandon Doughty, out of Western Kentucky, and TE Thomas Duarte, out of UCLA. Doughty is a productive college QB with good size, accuracy, and ball placement, but he doesn’t have top arm strength; he is a project at this point, but he has skills. Duarte is a small TE with WR type build who was very productive in the pass game and plays with good toughness, but he must show he can stick as a TE because of his size 6’2 231lbs.
The Cowboys finally found their long term RB to run behind their huge O-lineman in Elliott who should take the pressure off the passing game and the defense. Smith was a smart pickup and should be a solid addition once he is fully healed. Collins and Tapper are much needed D-line additions who should contribute immediately. Prescott gives them a solid option as a backup to Romo who could learn the job until his number is called. Brown and Fraser should make an impact on special teams and provide depth. Jackson and Gaithers are projects who may or may not make the team.
In the 1st round, the Cowboys may the surprise of skipping over star DB Jalen Ramsey, to pick RB Ezekiel Elliott, out of Ohio State. Elliott was the consensus #1 RB and rose up many teams draft boards as a complete back who could carry the load with good power. In the 2nd round, the Cowboys picked LB Jaylon Smith, out of ND, a playmaking LB who was considered to be one of top picks in the draft, but a severe knee injury caused him to fall a round; he is expected to miss the season. In the 3rd round, DT Maliek Collins, out of Nebraska, is an active high motor player with pass rush ability and the ability to generate double teams, but he must play with better play strength and improve his technique. In the 4th round, Cowboys take DE Charles Tapper, out of Oklahoma, and QB Dak Prescott, out of Mississippi State. Tapper is a D-lineman with good size, strength, and tackling ability, but he is a raw pass rusher and needs work with his technique. Prescott is an athletic QB who can throw, run, and throw on the run, but he needs to work on his pocket presence, accuracy, and inconsistencies. In the 6th round, the Cowboys select CB Anthony Brown, out of Purdue, SS Kavon Fraser, out of Central Michigan, RB Darius Jackson, out of Eastern Michigan, and TE Rico Gathers, out of Baylor. Brown is a fast playmaking CB and willing tackler, who needs to improve his coverage, but he can make a name on special teams. Fraser is a hard hitting safety with good size and strength who is better in the box, but can play deep and he’s a big hitter on special teams; Frazer needs to improve his overall coverage to become a starter in the league. Jackson is a back with good size, speed, and catching ability, but he needs to play to his potential and do a better job of running inside. Gathers is a college basketball star who hasn’t played football since high school, so he needs to learn the position and polish his game, but his size and athleticism makes him intriguing.