The first round of the NFL Draft is being held in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Follow the first round picks with reporter Terez A. Paylor’s evaluations.
1. Cleveland Browns
MYLES GARRETT, defensive end, Texas A&M
Measurables: 6-4, 272, 21, 4.64
Bio: Three-year starter who had 33 tackles (15 for loss), 8 1/2 sacks and 10 hurries in 11 games in 2016. Also had zero interceptions and one pass breakup. Declared after true junior season in which he missed a game with a high ankle sprain.
Strengths: Is young for a prospect. Ideal body type for an NFL edge rusher, with excellent bulk and ridiculous length (35 1/4 -inch arms). Killed it at the Combine, posting top marks at his position in the 40, bench press (33 reps), vertical jump (41 inches) and broad jump (128 inches). Battled injuries almost all season in 2016 and played through it. Outstanding burst off the snap allows him to convert speed-to-power and punish offensive tackles. Shows flashes of an effective swim move. Quick and powerful rushing inside on stunts. Has the power to hold up on doubles. Shows impressive bend to turn the corner when pass rushing. Scheme-versatile; could be destructive in a 3-4 or 4-3. Athletic enough to hold up in space. Has to be accounted for at all times due to his rare physical traits. Rarely looks bad when he’s healthy and his motor is running hot. “When healthy, he’s easy to do on tape,” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said. “He’s 6-5, 262 pounds. He’s got outside edge ability, he’s got ability to come up and underneath, he can set a physical edge in the run game. But most importantly, he can affect quarterbacks. That’s what this league is about.”
Weaknesses: Relies on his immense natural gifts too much to get sacks. Not a natural technician; needs to continue to develop his hand usage, pass-rush repertoire and feel for when to use those moves. Not a tempo setter; doesn’t chase hard in pursuit and doesn’t play hard all the time, though some of that might have been affected by his heavy workload. Needs to play with more of an edge. Run defense is a question. “I thought he got better vs. the run this year,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “You can find a handful of plays where defensive linemen, especially playing 100 snaps a game against spread offenses, where you’re not chasing from one side of the field to the other. People are starting to lump him in with Jadeveon Clowney in terms of the effort; I didn’t see that. I thought he gave a lot more consistent effort. I thought he played stronger vs. the run.”
2. Chicago Bears (trade with San Francisco)
MITCHELL TRUBISKY, quarterback, North Carolina
Measurables: 6-2, 222, 22, 4.67
Bio: First-year starter who completed 304 of 446 passes for (68.2 percent) for 3,748 yards, 30 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2016, setting multiple single-season school passing marks. Rushed 93 times for 308 yards and five touchdowns. Was sacked 20 times. Lost three fumbles. Declared after redshirt junior season in which he led North Carolina to an 8-5 record and a loss to Stanford in the Sun Bowl. Had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the NFL Combine.
Strengths: Among top testers at his position in the 40 (4.67), three-cone drill (6.87) and 20-yard shuttle (4.25). Ball jumps out of his hand; throws a tight spiral with plenty of heat out of a quick, three-quarter delivery. Footwork was better than expected at the Combine when taking drops. Good athlete who can escape pressure and extend the play with improvisation and also pick up some yards in the open field. Is quick on play-action boots and gains yards with his feet. When his mechanics are on point, he flashes the ability to throw accurately short and intermediate, both on the run and in rhythm. Flashes deep-ball accuracy, especially down the seams, but needs to be more consistent outside the hashes. Generally makes good decisions and does not turn the ball over but can occasionally be fooled by coverage. Diligently follows through on play-action fakes. Showed some gumption by bouncing back in a road win against Miami after an ugly road loss to Virginia Tech. Showed significant improvement as the season went on. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said he put a second-round grade on him that was similar to what he had on New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo a few years ago. “He’s got quick release, a big arm, good feet,” Mayock said of Trubisky. “He moves around the pocket fairly well. So I was really impressed. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot when I put the first tape in.”
Weaknesses: Played in a spread, shotgun-heavy offense with lots of flares, screens and wide-open windows. Rarely took snaps under center. Doesn’t always sense pressure quick enough; will sometimes throw off his back foot and drop his eyes in the face of the rush (but made some real strides in this area by the end of the season). Footwork is inconsistent; did not always follow through on short touch throws. Scouts are concerned he couldn’t beat out Marquise Williams, who went undrafted in 2016, two years ago. Probably has the best combination of physical tools — arm strength, athleticism and polish — of any of the top-tier quarterbacks but will probably need some time to develop due to lack of overall lack of collegiate experience. “He made two or three throws in that bowl game against Stanford that were big-time NFL throws under pressure; I loved them,” Mayock said. “However, in the same half, in the second half of that game, he threw a pick-six that was an awful read and an awful throw. I just don’t think he’s ready yet.”
3. San Francisco 49ers
SOLOMON THOMAS, defensive end, Stanford
Measurables: 6-3, 273, 21, 4.69
Bio: Two-year starter who had 62 tackles (15 for loss), eight sacks and seven hurries in 13 games in 2016. Also had zero interceptions and zero pass breakups. Declared after redshirt sophomore season.
Strengths: Is young for a prospect. Crushed it at the combine, posting top marks at his position in the bench press (30 reps), broad jump (126 inches), three-cone drill (6.95 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.28 seconds). Has long arms (33 inches). Gets off the ball with supreme quickness; consistently wins after the snap and pops offensive linemen with his power and strong hands. Does a nice job locking out and quickly locating the ball vs the run. Quick knifing inside on stunts. Played some three-tech. Has spin, swim and rip moves. Ideal fit is as a 4-3 or 3-4 end who can occasionally reduce down to a pass-rushing three-tech. Is at his best when shooting gaps. “Kid can play outside on run down, inside on pass downs,” Mayock said. “I think what jumps off tape is his interior twitch. By that I mean when you look at a guy like Aaron Donald and what he does inside in sub-pass rush situations, that’s a best-case scenario. I’m not saying he’s Aaron Donald. He’s 12 pounds lighter than Donald. I think he’s a base defensive end on first down that kicks inside in your sub-packages. But it’s that interior twitch and ability to push the pocket from the inside out that makes him special. And I think he’s a top-10 pick all day long because of that.”
Weaknesses: Can get moved and turned on the double. Gets to improve his stoutness on down blocks. Needs to keep working on his hands and power moves; his rush can stall out when offensive linemen can withstand the initial surge and he ends up on the ground. “I think he’ll continue to get better with his hands,” McShay said. “Talked to some people who think he needs to improve his take-on skills. I thought he was OK, I thought he was solid-to-good, not great. But what he can do in terms of disruption inside and outside, those are some of the reasons Solomon Thomas has emerged as a top-five pick. That North Carolina bowl game was something else. I don’t know if I saw an individual dominate a game on the defensive side as much as he did this year.” Needs to do a better job getting his hands up for pass deflections.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
LEONARD FOURNETTE, running back, Louisiana State
Measurables: 6-0, 240, 22, 4.51
Bio: Three-year starter who rushed 129 times for 843 yards (6.5 ypc) and eight touchdowns in an injury-shortened 2016 season. Also caught 15 passes for 146 yards and zero touchdowns. Three fumbles (lost three). Missed five games with a nagging ankle injury and sat out the bowl game to prepare for the draft. Declared for the draft after his true junior season.
Strengths: Team captain in 2016. Big, stout back with an ready-made NFL frame who can carry the mail. Reminds NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of Jamal Lewis. Runs with outstanding power; can lower his shoulder and bull through defenders. Has good field-speed and burst. Short-stepper who is light on his feet for a big man; shifts his weight, jump cuts and plants and burns like some smaller backs. Sees the hole and hits it most of the time. Does a nice job bending to the corner but is at his best between the tackles, where he can use his balance and power to churn ahead. Scheme-versatile runner who can slip defenders one-on-one on the edge or be effective running inside zone or a man/gap power scheme. Almost always falls forward after contact and is tough to wrangle in the open field with one man due to his unique combination of size, explosion and power. Runs with good patience on the edge; allows his blockers to engage before exploding past them. Has receiving skills; shows some burst out of his cuts and possesses functional hands and run-after-the-catch ability. Diligently sells play-action fakes. Doesn’t relish the dirty work as a pass protector but has the size and strength to do it and generally gets the job done. Has some kick-return ability, which he did as a freshman.
Weaknesses: Showed up to the Combine at a heavy 240 pounds (though he dropped 12 pounds for his Pro Day). Only vertical-jumped 28 1/2 inches, a potential indicator of lower-body explosiveness. Also hasn’t been timed in important agility drills like the three-cone and 20-yard shuttle. Not a burner; has field speed and can take it the distance against some teams but won’t sprint away from every defender at this level. Isn’t an elite creator and needs a few steps with the rock to build up to top speed, so he can be corralled in the backfield if the blocking is poor. Needs to show he can be an effective downhill runner out of different backfield alignments. Was more productive as a sophomore, when he rushed 300 times for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns.
5. Tennessee Titans
COREY DAVIS, wide receiver, Western Michigan
Measurables: 6-3, 209, 22, N/A
Bio: Four-year starter who caught 97 passes for 1,500 yards (15.5 ypc) and 19 touchdowns in 14 games in 2016. Did not work out at the combine or his pro day due to ankle surgery.
Strengths: Outstanding career production but took a jump, physically, from 2015 to 2016, when he looked more explosive. Has NFL size with good burst off the line and out of his cuts. Shows good body control when keeping his feet inbounds and can win contested jump balls downfield. Tremendous focus and hands; can make the tough, one-handed catch. Runs very hard after the catch — flashes a nasty stiff arm — or can juke and make guys whiff. “I have Corey Davis as the No. 1 receiver, because I think he’s a better athlete with good size,” Mayock said. “Better run after the catch than Mike Williams.” Competitive and loves football. Gives good effort when blocking and shows good patience and a killer instinct. “We talked to P.J. Fleck, the former head coach, before the year and he raved about his work ethic,” Kiper said. “Said he’s the first one on the practice field, last one to leave. Loves the game. Works hard, practices hard. You’ve got to like that part of it.”
Weaknesses: Did not regularly face top competition and might need some time to get accustomed to the NFL. Grade is nicked a bit (would be a 7.0) due to his lack of workout numbers (ankle injury). “Corey Davis is a little bit of a wild card because he hasn’t been able to do anything with his injury,” Jeremiah said. “Had an ankle, some ligaments that required surgery. We haven’t seen him run. He can play inside, outside, he’s got the size. Can he win on third down. He’s great after the catch. He’s been productive throughout his career. There’s a long track record there. Pretty durable until he had this injury when he was training for the Combine.”
6. New York Jets
JAMAL ADAMS, safety, Louisiana State
Measurables: 6-0, 214, 21, 4.56
Bio: Two-year starter who recorded 76 tackles (7 1/2 for loss), one sack, five passes defensed, four pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble in 12 games in 2016. Declared after his true junior season.
Strengths: Team captain. Posted a 4.13-second 20-yard shuttle, which was among the best times at his position at the combine. Has outstanding length (33 3/8 -inch arms). Has some burst going forward. Covers plenty of ground and has some ball skills. Also a reliable tackler. Has good instincts and is comfortable playing in space and in the box. Has the look of a guy who can match up with tight ends. A complete safety in the eyes of many. “Jamal Adams, it’s kind of all of it together,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “Talk about a guy that can set the tone with his temperament on the field, his energy is fantastic.” Alpha type who draws comparisons to Chiefs safety Eric Berry because of his leadership ability. Emotional, demonstrative and super competitive. “You hear great stories about him from a leadership standpoint,” Jeremiah said. “Talked to folks at LSU, they say he’s the best leader they’ve had there in 20 years. All those boxes get checked.”
Weaknesses: Isn’t an elite athlete. Aggressiveness bites him sometimes. Doesn’t have a ton of ball production. Some don’t think he’s the best safety in the class. “He doesn’t have the ball skills, explosiveness and range in coverage that (Malik) Hooker does,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., said. “But Adams running that unofficial 4.38 40 helps. The bothersome part is the 31 1/2 vertical jump.”
7. Los Angeles Chargers
MIKE WILLIAMS, wide receiver, Clemson
Measurables: 6-4, 218, 22, 4.56
Bio: Two-year starter who caught 98 passes for 1,361 yards (13.9 ypc) and 11 touchdowns in 15 games in 2016. Redshirted in 2015 with a fracture in his neck.
Strengths: Big-bodied possession receiver who bounced back by emerged as Deshaun Watson’s security blanket after missing nearly all of 2015 with an injury. Good bad ball catcher; is adept at scooping low throws. Jump-ball and slant specialist; consistent 50-50 winner who can work the middle and win on the fade ball and the Michael Irvin Honorary skinny post. Has a big catch radius and is an eraser for quarterbacks. Can track and high point the deep ball. Not susceptible to jams at the line. Is crafty with his hands at creating separation. Isn’t nifty after the catch but runs hard and with power and isn’t easy to bring down. Willing blocker who can overwhelm defensive backs. Good focus, body control and hands; snatches the ball away from his frame. Competitive and will talk to you if he gets you on one. “Mike Williams will use that big body, wall people off,” Jeremiah said. “I think you’d have some success. In the red zone, Mike Williams could have a big-time impact. Throw it up, let him go get it. He would be a nice complementary piece.”
Weaknesses: Not a blazer. Long juice is a question; one-speed receiver who never seems to create much separation despite good footwork, an issue that will only be exacerbated in the pros. Balance and burst out of his burst out of his breaks needs to improve if he wants to get open in this league. Has the occasional focus drop. “He’s great at just about everything, but what’s his true top-end speed,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said. Positional blocker you’d like to see more nastiness from.
8. Carolina Panthers
CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY, running back, Stanford
Measurables: 5-11, 202, 20, 4.48
Bio: Two-year starter who rushed 253 times for 1,603 yards (6.3 ypc) and 13 touchdowns in 11 games in 2016. Also caught 37 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns. One fumble in 2016, two in 2015. Declared after true junior season in which he missed a game with an unspecified injury. Skipped the Sun Bowl to start preparing for the Draft. Father is three-time Super Bowl champion Ed McCaffrey, who starred at receiver for the Giants, 49ers and Broncos.
Strengths: Is young for a prospect. Has excellent football bloodlines. Was among the Combine’s top testers at his position in the 40, vertical (37 1/2 inches), three-cone (6.57 seconds), 20-yard shuttle (4.22) and 60-yard shuttle (11.03). Tough, decisive runner who must be wrapped up. Runs through second-level arm tackles and shows very good burst out of his cuts. Has quick feet; is shifty and elusive through creases and can slip defenders one-on-one in space with his go-to jump cut. Very patient and did a nice job setting up blockers on Stanford’s power-run plays. Generally secures the football; has a good fumble-to-touch ratio. Tremendous versatility will be attractive to all teams. Has returned a punt and a kick for a score in his career and has logged 82 catches the last two years. Aware and willing pass blocker who generally carries out his assignment and flashes physicality when necessary. Natural receiver who runs good routes, both out of the backfield and as a slot receiver, and can generate separation with his burst and technique. Matchup nightmare in the running back route tree and will, at the very least, be a tremendous third-down back and part-time slot receiver and return man. “McCaffrey’s a match-up guy — he’s a chess piece,” Mayock said. “He’s an outstanding pass catcher. He’s bigger and tougher than people think he is. And he’s also a return guy.” Some draft analysts think McCaffrey’s production, versatility and athletic testing scores make him a surefire mid-first round pick — at the very least. “He’s not going to be there in the late first — it’s just not going to happen,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., said. “His character’s off the charts,” McShay said. Occasional wildcat quarterback.
Weaknesses: Average overall bulk. Only did nine bench-press reps at the Combine. Isn’t a sledgehammer inside runner and might not run through a ton of tackles in the NFL unless he gets in space. Has very good, but not elite, long speed. Has home-run ability and can take it the distance but can be tracked from behind by some. Handled a monster workload the last two years, logging 314 touches in 2016 and a staggering 434 in 2015. Despite that durability, some scouts wonder whether he can keep it up in the NFL. “Athletic, versatile and flexible — can catch and has great vision,” a scout said. “I think he has to prove he can be an every-down back, though.”
9. Cincinnati Bengals
JOHN ROSS III, wide receiver, Washington
Measurables: 5-11, 188, 22, 4.22
Bio: Two-year starter who caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards (14.2 ypc) and 17 touchdowns in 14 games in 2016. Rushed eight times for 102 yards and a touchdown. Returned 17 kicks for 411 yards (24.1 ypr) and one touchdown. Three fumbles. Missed 2015 because of a torn left ACL. Declared after redshirt junior season.
Strengths: Blazing, elite speed. Field-stretcher who set the Combine record in the 40. Can take the top off a defense and run past anyone. Also boasts a 133-inch broad jump, among the best at his position. Outstanding acceleration and burst out of his breaks; consistently creates separation easily. Can go zero-to-100 real quick and has some DeSean Jackson in him. Started some games at cornerback and has terrific feet; made Adoree’ Jackson look foolish on one occasion in press coverage with his route running. Can locate and track the red-zone fade and deep balls. Gobbles up ground quickly against off coverage. Flashes the ability to adjust to low balls. Very elusive and surprisingly strong after the catch; has shades of Peter Warrick in that respect. Will block when he has to and even flashes nastiness. Competitive, emotional player who is into it. “He can take the top off the defense,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “He’s a big-time playmaker. He’s a guy that reminds me a little bit of T.Y. Hilton, a guy that starts out his career as a number two, but eventually grows into the role as a number one receiver. John Ross is dynamic, really explosive.”
Weaknesses: Smallish frame and hands (8 3/4 inches). Not sure how he’ll fare against the long, physical press corners in the NFL; few college corners had the patience and technique to press him adequately due to his short-area explosiveness. Not a consistent downfield jump-ball winner. Has the occasional focus drop. Needs to do a better job securing the football. Has had injury concerns — including surgeries to both knees and recent labrum surgery — and will need to check out medically. “He’s not that big,” Kiper said. “He’s super fast, he’s got the versatility. But the knee, the shoulder, those issues are whey he could drop a bit.”
10. Kansas City Chiefs (trade with Buffalo)
PATRICK MAHOMES II, quarterback, Texas Tech
Measurables: 6-2, 225, 21, 4.8
Bio: Two-year starter who completed 388 of 591 passes (65.7 percent) for 5,052 yards, 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2016. Rushed 131 times for 285 yards and 12 touchdowns. Was sacked 27 times. Committed six fumbles. Declared after true junior season in which he led the Red Raiders to a 5-7 record. Son of ex-MLB pitcher Pat Mahomes, who played in the big leagues for 11 years. Had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the NFL Combine.
Strengths: Young for a prospect. Team captain in 2016. Top tester at his position in the three-cone (6.88) and 20-yard shuttle (4.08). Possesses a thick, strong frame but is an above-average athlete who can slip oncoming defenders both in and out of the pocket; has a bit of the Tarkenton/Manziel gene. Occasionally reverts to a sidearm delivery but generally pairs a quick motion with a loose, live arm; has easy gas and can really drive it on difficult intermediate and deep throws. Gunslinger who throws tight spirals and consistently chucks it downfield and into tight spots. “You think about the arm talent, it’s rare to see a kid who can spin it,” Kiper said. “And the explosiveness in those throws … it’s a 98 mph fastball that gets there in a blink.” Field-stretcher who hates letting plays die; tries to make every play, even to his detriment. Flashes the ability to throw with touch, even on the run, and on downfield and sideline throws, as well. Would rather throw than run; wants to be a distributor and get teammates involved. “His eyes — he sees things, he sees the field,” Kiper said. Showed improvement in pocket poise and accuracy by the end of the season. Enthusiastic on-field demeanor. Has a likable personality and might display leadership potential. Has a nice combination of athleticism, character and arm talent, though he will need some time to acclimate to the pro game.
Weaknesses: Flashes the ability to stand in the pocket and deliver in the face of the rush but will also throw off his back foot, significantly affecting his command of the strike zone. Makes too many wild decisions under pressure (i.e. throwing across his body, late or into coverage). Needs to cut down on his questionable throws over the middle in general, and learn when to let a play die. “He’s got to have a better idea of when he can take chances and when he can’t,” Mayock said. “I saw him make some throws in the fourth quarter down a touchdown in the red zone that made no sense at all to me.” Needs to keep working on his inconsistent mechanics and accuracy, the latter of which must improve significantly at all levels if he’s ever going to reach his potential. “What happens is the consistency of his mechanics break down as he tries to throw home runs every snap, and he’ll throw off his back foot one snap, and it’s 50 yards down the field and you go: ‘Wow, what a great play.’ The next snap will do the same thing and throw an interception,” Mayock said. Comes from a pass-heavy, Air Raid spread passing attack that has failed to produce a big-time NFL passer. Never had to spit out the lengthy, double-digit play calls present in Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s playbook.
11. New Orleans Saints
MARSHON LATTIMORE, cornerback, Ohio State
Measurables: 6-0, 193, 20, 4.36
Bio: First-year starter who had 41 tackles (one for loss), four interceptions, 13 passes defensed and nine pass breakups in 13 games in 2016. Also had zero forced fumbles, zero fumble recoveries, zero sacks and zero quarterback hurries. Declared after redshirt sophomore season.
Strengths: Is young for a prospect. Outstanding tester who checks most of the athletic boxes, including height-weight-speed. Ran a blazing 4.36 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and also posted a 38 1/2 -inch vertical and 132-inch broad jump, which were all among the top marks at his position. Arm length (31 1/4 inches) is adequate. Plays with physicality in press-man coverage and has some jolt in his hands. Has balance out of his backpedal, quick feet to turn and run and the hips to mirror and match receivers. Long speed is good and he can run with just about anyone on the deep ball. Has ball skills; tracks it in the air and is adept on making plays. Very willing hitter who plays with an edge and seems to enjoy contact. Several draft analysts believe he’s an elite prospect. “He stood out as having the best pure movement skills and cover skills of the corners in this class,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said. “When you can get a guy who can take away opponents’ No. 1 receiver in man-to-man coverage, I think there’s a lot of value there.” ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. also called him a lockdown corner. “He looked like he could be Darrelle Revis, a corner you could take in the top-10 and be one of the best corners in the NFL,” Kiper said. “He can actually cover. He doesn’t give you that (handsy) concern, he’s a tremendous cover man. He’s as good as anybody in this draft after Myles Garrett.”
Weaknesses: Has small hands (8 7/8 inches). For all the raving about him, there are some major concerns among some about his hamstrings, which have caused him to miss multiple games in college and gave him problems dating back to his days in high school. “He is probably the most athletic, the most polished in terms of being the natural shutdown corner that you look for,” NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks said. “Hamstring issues and durability issues kind of prevent me from jumping on him as a guy that could be a star at the position.” Fellow NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah was a tad less critical, but agreed with the gist of that concern. “I had Lattimore as high as number two on my list (in the entire draft) … I ended up dropping him down a little bit,” Jeremiah said. “That was based off of purely the soft tissue issues when you look at the hamstrings, not being able to complete the combine workout scared me a little bit, as I’m sure it raised a red flag with some teams. He has a history there.”
12. Houston Texans (trade with Cleveland)
DeSHAUN WATSON, quarterback, Clemson
Measurables: 6-2, 221, 21, 4.66
Bio: Two-year starter who completed 388 of 579 passes for (67 percent) for 4,593 yards, 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2016. Rushed 165 times for 629 yards and nine touchdowns. Was sacked 17 times. Declared after a true junior season in which he led Clemson to a 14-1 record and an upset victory over Alabama in the national championship game. Two-time Heisman finalist. Has an injury history (broken hand, torn ACL in 2014).
Strengths: Young for a prospect. Team captain in 2016. Best athlete of the bunch, as he tested well in the 40, vertical (32 ½), broad (119 inches) and three-cone (6.95). Hands are big enough to spin it (9 ¾). Arm talent is good enough to make all of the throws. Generally delivers a tight spiral and throws a catchable ball. Is very comfortable throwing on the run. Has a quick delivery and flashes the potential to be sound in a rhythm, quick-strike passing attack. Footwork was smooth at the combine. Adept at the back-shoulder throw. Courageous in the pocket; keeps his eyes downfield and has absorbed some big shots in his career. Willingly throws deep and intermediate. Tough kid who isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder when running. Plus athlete who consistently senses the rush, escapes pressure and can turn the corner on defenders. Is elusive in space and could run zone-read concepts with ease — there’s some Donovan McNabb in him. Scouts love the poise he showed against a stud-laden Alabama defense the last two years, and he has a history of playing his best in big games (similar to 2015 No. 1 pick Jameis Winston). Makeup is apparently off-the-charts. “Unbelievable kid,” one scout said. “Tough, humble, spiritual. Everybody says he’s a winner.”
Weaknesses: Has some work to do as a passer. Played in a spread, shotgun-heavy offense with some wide-open windows. Is not quite as big or thickly built as you’d like so he’ll need to protect himself when running. Needs to be more accurate on intermediate and downfield throws, in general. Velocity at the combine was a subpar 49 mph; needs to tighten up his mechanics to generate more drive in his throws. Had too many interceptions due to accuracy issues or poor decision-making in which he did not spot the underneath defender. Could use a redshirt year in the pros to develop. “I love and I’m fascinated by him, but my concern, like all spread quarterbacks … is they all have a major adjustment when they get to the NFL,” Mayock said. “And Deshaun Watson, like those other guys, has to show he can win in the pocket. When he sits there and that first read is available, he’s really good. He can make throws at all three levels with great accuracy. When that first look isn’t there, it starts to break down a little bit.”
13. Arizona Cardinals
HAASON REDDICK, linebacker, Temple
Measurables: 6-1, 237, 22, 4.52
Bio: Two-year starter who had 65 tackles (22 1/2 for loss) and 10 1/2 sacks in 14 games in 2016. Also had one interception and four pass deflections. Was arrested in March 2015 and charged in connection to a bar fight, but avoiding trial by agreeing to a diversionary program. Had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the Combine.
Strengths: Outstanding tester who was among his position’s top testers in the 40, vertical (36 1/2 inches) and broad jump (133 inches). Took a physical jump from 2015 to 2016; was more powerful/explosive as a senior, as his burst off the ball and pop in his hands were significantly improved. Edge rusher in college who showed comfort off the ball in a nice Senior Bowl performance. Explodes off the ball when trying to get upfield and can win when twisting inside or with a speed rush. Generally has good eyes on the edge. Physically tough and plays hard; chases in pursuit and always gives you an honest down. Light on his feet and covers some ground when dropping, even shows some ability to play the ball. Many analysts put him on the same level as Reuben Foster as a prospect. “I think the interesting thing is that Haason Reddick has made up so much ground in this process that the two of them are considered pretty closely together at this point,” Mayock said. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., agrees. “He’s red-hot right now,” Kiper said. “He’s one of the top-10 players in this draft.”
Weaknesses: Is best suited to be a 4-3 weakside ‘backer or a 3-4 inside ‘backer due to his size but will need time to train his eyes at the latter position, as he rarely did it in college. Can also get engulfed by longer tackles when rushing the quarterback, and needs to work on his hand fighting and develop an assortment of moves to complement his speed rush. Can also be engulfed by size when setting the edge. Needs to do a better job wrapping up in the backfield.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
DEREK BARNETT, defensive end, Tennessee
Measurables: 6-3, 259, 20, 4.88
Bio: Three-year starter who had 56 tackles (19 for loss), 13 sacks and 16 hurries in 13 games in 2016. Also had one interception and five pass breakups. Finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, which is awarded to the nation’s best defensive end. Declared after true junior season.
Strengths: Is young for a prospect. Was among his position’s top testers in the three-cone drill (6.96 seconds). Very productive; broke Reggie White’s all-time career sack record. Shows the ability to get off the ball and consistently bend around the corner. Has an innate feel for rushing the passer; has a speed rush, a rip, a spin and even a little s. Strong hand fighter who knows what he’s doing. Has some experience dropping into coverage. “He’s not as twitchy, not as sudden of an athlete as Charles Harris from Missouri, and he’s not quite as straight-line explosive or powerful as a Takk McKinley from UCLA,” McShay said. “But he’s really smooth and athletic, and just from watching him on the handful of drops and watching him change directions, I think he’s capable of playing 3-4 outside linebacker as much as he is playing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.”
Weaknesses: Needs to do a better job consistently setting the edge with physicality. Not explosive or twitchy and labors in space. “He does not have elite get off, does not have elite burst, that explosiveness that you’d like to have in an edge rusher,” Jeremiah said. “Some teams are more beholden to those numbers. Some teams aren’t as high on him. Where I have him personally, I think I have him as my 13th overall player. I love him.”
15. Indianapolis Colts
MALIK HOOKER, Ohio State
Measurables: 6-1, 206, 21, N/A
Bio: First-year starter who recorded 74 tackles (5 1/2 for loss), 11 pass deflections, 13 interceptions and zero forced fumbles in 13 games in 2016. Declared after his redshirt sophomore season.
Strengths: Is young for a prospect. Has good size, length (32 1/4 -inch arms) and large hands (10 3/4 -inch hands). Covers a ton of ground; can track the ball, run the alley and make plays from depth. “Has the best ball skills in the class,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said. “A big-time playmaker.” Plays the game with his eyes; that, plus his ability to play the ball, draw legitimate comparisons to the great Ed Reed. “Malik Hooker, his ability, like Ed, to get you the football … to me, he’s pretty special with his instincts, range and ball skills,” Jeremiah said. Willing tackler who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty; throws his body around. Likes shooting gaps and playing in the backfield when allowed to. Emotional player who gets after it.
Weaknesses: Did not work out prior to the hip surgeries. Bigger backs can get the best of him. Very aggressive and sometimes takes the cheese on double moves. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock likes him but has some concerns, including his injury history and tackling. “I love Malik Hooker,” Mayock said. “I think he’s the best center field free safety I’ve seen in a while on tape. But I have two concerns. Number one is the durability. He’s a one-year starter at Ohio State. He’s coming off two surgeries after the season, and you’ve got to worry about his durability. Number two, he’s an inconsistent tackler. And if you’re going to play him at single high safety, one of his main jobs is going to be tackling. He’s the last line of defense, and he’s highly inconsistent, which worries me.”
16. Baltimore Ravens
MARLON HUMPHREY, Alabama
Measurables: 6-0, 197, 20, 4.41
Bio: Three-year starter who had 36 tackles (three for loss), two interceptions, and five pass breakups in 14 games in 2017. Also had one forced fumble, zero fumble recoveries, zero sacks and zero quarterback hurries. Declared after his redshirt sophomore season in which he missed a game due to a hamstring injury. Son of Bobby Humphrey, a Pro Bowl running back for the Denver Broncos in 1990.
Strengths: Is young for a prospect. Good bloodlines. Was among his position’s top testers in the three-cone (6.75). Has nice frame and long arms (32 1/4 inches) to redirect in press coverage. Also had good feet and plus athleticism. Has some ball production in two years as a contributor (five interceptions). Shows good instincts when playing underneath coverage. Has some special-teams chops. Very willing tackler who throws his body around and projects to be a plus run defender from the corner position. Likes putting his hands on receivers; has some jolt in his punch and really enjoys the physicality of it. Actively tries to rip the ball out. Plays hard and is into the game. Scouts like him because it’s not hard to envision him growing into a complete corner once he matures. “Really good young corner with size, speed, athleticism, ball skills,” one scout said. “Willing to get better, too.”
Weaknesses: Has small hands (8 3/4 inches) for his size. Could stand to break up or deflect away more passes. Needs to clean up his cover technique; can be beaten vertically if the receiver has some serious jets, is liable to occasionally take the cheese on double moves and Is a little grabby. Was targeted with pick routes late in Alabama’s loss to Clemson and will need to learn how to play those better. Shows the ability to track the ball and be a capable jump-ball defender but needs to keep working on his awareness. “I love everything about Marlon Humphrey except he struggled to find the football in the air with his back to the quarterback,” Mayock said. “That’s a huge deal.”
JONATHAN ALLEN, Alabama
Measurables: 6-3, 286, 22, 5.0
Bio: Three-year starter who had 69 tackles (16 for loss), 10 1/2 sacks, 15 hurries and two pass deflections in 15 games in 2016. Winner of the Nagurski Trophy (CFB’s most outstanding defensive player), Hendricks Award (CFB’s top defensive end) and Bednarik Award (CFB’s best defensive player). Had surgery on both his shoulders at Alabama.
Strengths: Team captain in 2016. Tremendous sack production for an interior lineman; has the second-most career sacks in Alabama history behind former Chief Derrick Thomas. Lined up as a defensive end and three-technique. Fires off the snap hard and low and explodes into blockers. Has a closing burst on quarterbacks and ball carriers. Has strong, quick hands and knows how to use them; has a great feel for separating from blockers, both vs. the run and the pass. Has an effective swim and nasty club-rip and push-pull moves. Gives good effort and is a good finisher; smells blood when he’s near the quarterback. Plays the game with his eyes and always knows where the ball is. Good at jumping in the air and knocking passes down. Projects as a five-technique in a 3-4 who can reduce down to three-technique on passing downs and make plays. Scouts love his overall skillset. “He’s William Fuller,” one scout told The Star. “He’s passionate and has great eyes.” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock loves him, too. “That Alabama kid is a great defensive player for the next ten years,” Mayock said.
Weaknesses: Average tester who lacks ideal size to be an every-down three technique and probably would be best served as a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 scheme with a “big” end. Can be rooted out of the hole on double teams. Probably isn’t going to turn the corner consistently in the NFL as an end. Was surrounded by a ton of talent on Alabama’s defense. Has shoulder arthritis, but he says the condition won’t affect him for 15 to 20 years.
18. Tennessee Titans
ADOREE’ JACKSON, Southern California
Measurables: 5-10, 186, 21, 4.42
Bio: Three-year starter who had 55 tackles (two for loss), five interceptions, 16 passes defensed and 11 pass breakups in 13 games in 2016. Also had zero forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, zero sacks and zero quarterback hurries. Returned 26 kicks for 767 yards (29.2 average) and two touchdowns, and also returned 20 punts for 315 yards (15.8 average) and two touchdowns. Declared after true junior season in which he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back.
Strengths: Team captain in 2016. Two-way player who also has terrific traits and production as a returner and receiver; he’s caught 39 passes for 628 yards and six touchdowns in his career. Arm length (31 3/8 inches) and hand size (9 1/4 inches) are adequate. Outstanding field speed and quickness; shows the ability to stay with almost anyone. “Athletic and fast,” a scout said. “Playmaker … he has enough special (traits) to overcome his lack of size.” Has played off and press-man. Has natural instincts with the ball in the air; playmaker who plays the ball like it’s his, doesn’t panic and is competitive on 50/50 balls by timing his jumps well. Super competitive and into it at all times. Willing tackler who gets after it and is physical for his size. Has juice as a returner; is elusive in the open field with terrific burst and can be an immediate contributor in this facet. Runs tough, too — doesn’t avoid contact. Mayock sees him as a potential Pro Bowler down the road. “He’s got a long way to go, but I was impressed,” Mayock said. “The press-man stuff he’s going to learn. And I know he’s a smaller physical corner, but whether he’s a nickel or on the outside, I’m all in on the kid. I know he’s going to be a very good player. And what’s beautiful about it is day one he’s your punt returner, he’s your kick returner and you expect he can put the ball in the end zone for you while he learns his craft as a corner.”
Weaknesses: Lacks height and overall bulk. Bigger receivers could give him problems in the NFL, either by boxing him out in the passing game or stalking him in the running game. Technique and route recognition needs work; experienced route runners can turn him around (see his matchups against Washington’s John Ross in 2016). “May be the best athlete of the crew, but is a little unrefined in his technique,” Brooks said. “If he fixes that part of his game, he has a chance to be a Pro Bowl player.” Needs to stop carrying the ball like a loaf of bread in the open field; players will actively go after the ball on this level.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
O.J. HOWARD, tight end, Alabama
Measurables: 6-6, 251, 22, 4.51
Bio: Two-year starter who caught 45 passes for 595 yards (13.2 ypc) and three touchdowns in 14 games in 2016. Declared after a junior season in which he was a John Mackey Award finalist. MVP of the 2016 National Championship Game.
Strengths: Was among the combine’s top testers at his position in the 40, bench press (22 reps), three-cone drill (6.85), 20-yard shuttle (4.16 seconds) and 60-yard shuttle (11.46 seconds). Showed up to the Senior Bowl and kicked everyone’s butt. Tape checks out, too; well-coached, complete tight end who is among the safest picks in the draft, despite average quarterback play during his career. Has experience as an inline and “move” tight end and has also lined up in the slot. Has soft hands, good burst out of his cuts and the run-after-the-catch ability to turn short throws into chunk yards. Bursts off the line of scrimmage to get into his routes quickly. “He’s got it all,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “He’s a matchup nightmare.” Can actually block, too, unlike most tight ends these days. Is quick off the snap and plays with outstanding technique, which allows him to consistently wall off defenders. Quick enough to reach and turn defenders when pulling, too. Has good functional strength as a blocker - above average for a tight end - understands angles and climbs to the second level quickly. Is not nasty but gives good effort and fights to the whistle. Stout enough to put a better up a fight against ends in pass protection that most tight ends.
Weaknesses: Wasn’t asked to run many different routes. Could show more sophistication and tempo as a route runner. Didn’t have as many opportunities as a receiver as he should. “He’s never really had a QB to get him the ball,” one scout said. Doesn’t always sustain his blocks as long as you’d like, as he occasionally falls off blocks on the move. Could stand to add a little more strength; strong defensive ends can skate him some. Not much tape of him making difficult 50/50 catches or winning jump balls. But all this is picking nits. “He not only can survive in the run game, he’s pretty darn good at it,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “I think you’re talking about an elite skill set. You’re talking about someone with high character, toughness. He checks every box.”
20. Denver Broncos
GARETT BOLLES, offensive tackle, Utah
Measurables: 6-5, 297, 24, 4.95
Bio: First-year starter at Utah who started 13 of 13 career games, all this season, at left tackle. Juco transfer.
Strengths: Ripped it up at the combine, posting top marks at his position in the 40, broad jump (115 inches), three-cone drill (7.29 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.55 seconds). Good athlete who has terrific clay to mold as a pass protector. Has strong hands and moves his feet when locked on in pass pro; when he’s got you locked in it’s over. Rarely looks off balance. Plays with an edge. Fires off the ball low as a run blocker. Moves his feet really well on zone running plays and covers some ground.
Weaknesses: Is old for a prospect. Has small hands for his size.Juco transfer who didn’t play much D-1 football. Needs to spend more time working on his punch technique; doesn’t always fire them up quickly enough in pass protection. Could stand to spend more time in the weight room. “I mean, this kid Bolles might be there at 20, and he’s a gifted kid, but he still needs to get stronger,” Mayock said. “He had a bunch of off-the-field stuff before he got to Utah.”
21. Detroit Lions
JARRAD DAVIS, Florida
Measurables: 6-1, 238, 21, 4.62
Bio: Two-year starter who had 60 tackles (six for loss) and two sacks in nine games in 2016. Also had zero interceptions, five quarterback hurries and four pass deflections. Did not perform drills at the Combine due to a high-ankle sprain that caused him to miss four games in 2016.
Strengths: Good athlete with bulk, explosion and good sideline-to-sideline speed. Has the athleticism to stick with tight ends and running backs in coverage. Packs a punch when he hits a ball-carrier; violent tackler. Ultra-confident and possesses a nasty, aggressive temperament. Looks great going forward and running to the ball when he’s decisive. Can duck through creases on blitzes and make plays. Relentless motor; gives it all he’s got. Some analysts think he has more natural linebacking ability that Haason Reddick. “Davis has a little more thump to him in terms of his toughness,” Brooks said. “He can roam sideline to sideline, make plays.” Kiper likes him more than Zach Cunningham. “More of an inside guy who can get some heat on the quarterback. I’d give him a slight edge.”
Weaknesses: Can be overwhelmed by size in the phone booth; had some difficulty stacking and shedding big linemen in 2015 but was much better at it (and more aggressive) in 2016. Can be fooled by play-action at times and needs to improve his play recognition so he can improve his angles and gap discipline, but again, his instincts were better in 2016. Needs to do a better job of breaking down and tackling in space.
22. Miami Dolphins
CHARLES HARRIS, defensive end, Missouri
Measurables: 6-3, 253, 22, 4.82
Bio: Two-year starter who had 61 tackles (12 for loss), eight sacks and 10 hurries in 12 games in 2016. Also had zero interceptions and two pass breakups. Declared after redshirt junior season. Lincoln Prep graduate.
Strengths: Looks good on the hoof. Has good get off and some jolt in his hands. Is quick knifing in on stunts. Plays with power and doesn’t get shoved around. Has swim, spin and rip moves and a natural feel for when to break them out. Plays hard; has an edge and gets after it. Scouts think he’s scheme versatile. “Pass rusher, fits either scheme — one of the better ones in the draft,” one scout said. “They didn’t play to his strengths but it didn’t hurt him. He played hard. He was gonna be identified by the offense regardless of scheme.” Mayock expects him to be a first-round pick. “Charles Harris has picked up some steam,” Mayock said. “I would expect him to be gone before (No. 28) … he’s got an awful lot of talent, and he gets in that three-point stance and he goes. He’s a long guy, plays hard. Got a great work ethic. He’s really good off the field, high-character guy.”
Weaknesses: Didn’t test great at the combine. Fits the physical profile of a 3-4 edge rusher but didn’t spend a ton of time in a two-point stance. Did some dropping in coverage and can probably be functional in that area for a 3-4 team but it’s not his thing. Shows much juice rushing out of a three-point stance.
23. New York Giants
EVAN ENGRAM, Mississippi
Measurables: 6-3, 234, 22, 4.42
Bio: Four-year starter who caught 65 passes for 926 yards (14.2 ypc) and eight touchdowns in 11 games in 2016. Missed one game with a hamstring injury.
Strengths: Team captain in 2015 and 2016. Among the top testers at his position in the 40, vertical jump (36 inches), three-cone (6.92 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.23). Lined up as a fullback, slot receiver and “move” tight end. Super-athletic, fluid receiver with terrific burst out of his breaks. Shows some tempo and craftiness as a route-runner; he can repeatedly beat linebackers and safeties. Gets up on linebackers quickly after the snap. Can track it and consistently win 1-on-1 jump ball situations. Reliable stick target who is a problem for defenses after the catch; is shifty and can outrun defensive backs. Shows the ability to win contested jump balls. Super competitive and isn’t afraid to work the middle. “Really good receiving tight end you can do a lot of different things with,” one scout said. Really gives effort as a blocker and works to get position. Also shows some promise as a chop blocker and will willingly stick his helmet in someone’s chest.
Weaknesses: Won’t be for everybody; lack of heft might limit him to a “move” tight end role in the NFL. Didn’t do much inline blocking. Currently lacks the strength and mass to regularly sustain as a blocker in the pros and needs to keep working on his understanding of angles, as he sometimes struggles to adequately square up blockers in space. “Blocking is not his deal,” a scout said. Has the occasional focus drop.
24. Oakland Raiders
GAREON CONLEY, cornerback, Ohio State
Measurables: 6-0, 195, 21, 4.44
Bio: Two-year starter who had 26 tackles (zero for loss), four interceptions, 12 passes defensed and eight pass breakups in 13 games in 2016. Also had zero forced fumbles, zero fumble recoveries, zero sacks and zero quarterback hurries. Declared after redshirt junior season.
Strengths: Posted a 6.68 three-cone drill at the Combine, among the best marks at his position. Has exceptional arm length for a corner (33 inches), which should help him tremendously in press-man coverage, where his physicality also helps. Feet and overall fluidity are above average. Has plus ball skills; see: his one-handed interception vs. Wisconsin. Willing tackler. “I think Conley falls right up under (Lattimore),” Brooks said. “He is a solid, dependable blue-collar type corner, a guy that can do all of the things that you look for from a skill set, can press, can play off, is a willing tackler, has ball skills. Those guys have a tendency to play for a long time in the league.”
Weaknesses: Can also be outmuscled by big guys on jump balls. Is a little handsy. Has solid quickness and agility but shifty, quick guys could give him a problem in the NFL. Tape doesn’t quite match his athletic test results in the mind of some. “To be totally honest with you, I gave him a late second, early third-round grade based off of tape and I still have him in that range,” McShay said. “I didn’t see quite the explosiveness that that workout showed. He had one of the better workouts of anyone in the draft. It’s hard to find guys with length, speed and agility, the elite combination.”
25. Cleveland Browns (trade with Houston Texans)
JABRILL PEPPERS, safety, Michigan
Measurables: 5-11, 213, 21, 4.46
Bio: Two-year starter who recorded 72 tackles (16 for loss), four sacks, zero pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble in 12 games in 2016. Also rushed 27 times for 181 yards (6.2 ypc) and three touchdowns, returned 21 punts for 310 yards (14.8 ypr) and one touchdown, and 10 kicks for 260 yards (26 ypr). Missed the bowl game with a hamstring injury. Declared after his redshirt sophomore season. Winner of the Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player.
Strengths: Tremndous quickness and athleticism; was among his position’s top tester at the Combine in the 40, vertical jump (35 1/2 inches) and broad jump (128 inches). Covers a lot of ground and is at his best going forward and attacking the line of scrimmage; is aggressive and likes contact. Intriguing potential as a box safety; 16 tackles for loss an indication of his ability to help in run support. Has some juice as a blitzer; can duck under tackles and get home. Tough and competitive; gives terrific effort. Alpha, pied piper-type leader who is beloved in the Michigan program and inspires confidence in his teammates while demanding their best. Is intriguing with the ball in his hands; running back might have been his best position had he stayed there in college but already as the look of a Pro Bowl-caliber returner. “He can be an impact returner right away,” Kiper said. “A super-explosive athlete.” Overall versatility is attractive to draft analysts. “The biggest compliment I can give him is he’s a football player,” Mayock said. “That sounds stupid, but he is. I don’t think you can put a label on Jabrill Peppers. He was asked to do a bunch of different things at Michigan, and he did them at a high level.”
Weaknesses: Tested positive for a diluted urine sample at the Combine. There’s some uncertainty about his NFL position; is too small to play linebacker, his college position, and he has almost no ball production and experience playing safety. Will have to train his eyes to recognize coverages and might require some time to adjust to playing in the back half of the field. “Peppers, he’s one of the tougher evaluations in this draft class because he played out of position this year at linebacker,” Jeremiah said. “You don’t really see him do what he’s going to be asked to do at the next level. The lack of production, it is what it is. He’s got one interception that came in his last game. That’s something you got to try to sort through.”
26. Atlanta Falcons (trade with Seattle Seahawks)
TAKKARIST McKINLEY, outside linebacker, UCLA
Measurables: 6-2, 250, 21, 4.59
Bio: Two-year starter who had 61 tackles (18 for loss), 10 sacks and three hurries in 11 games in 2016. Also had zero interceptions and six pass breakups. Junior college transfer.
Strengths: Was among the top testers at his position in the 40 at the Combine. Outstanding length (34 3/4 -inch arms) to lock out on offensive tackles and shed. Shows nice get off out of a three-point stance. Has some power in his hands and can jolt linemen. Has an effective rip move around the edge. Aware and knows where the ball is. Rarely gets pushed back when defending the run and shows the ability to set the edge. Does a nice job getting his hands in the air to deflect passes away. Generally gives good effort. “I thought he could be like Robert Mathis — that’s who I compare him to,” Kiper said.
Weaknesses: Is straight-linish and a bit stiff when getting upfield out of a two-point stance; isn’t a great bender and might be more effective getting after the quarterback as a traditional 4-3 defensive end. Initial get off is only slightly above average out of a two-point. Has some injury issues; is coming off shoulder surgery and had a couple of concussions in his career. Needs to continue to develop his pass-rush repertoire. Needs to do a better job disengaging and against the run. Could miss training camp as he recovers from shoulder surgery, which affects his grade a tad (would be a 7.0 if it were not for that). “There are some medical issues around him — he doesn’t bend as well as Harris,” Mayock said. “He’s a little stiffer, but he’s really an explosive, straight line player.”
27. Buffalo Bills (trade with Kansas City)
TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE, cornerback, Louisiana State
Measurables: 5-11, 192, 22, 4.47
Bio: Four-year starter who had 35 tackles (four for loss), two interceptions, 16 passes defensed and 14 pass breakups in 12 games in 2016. Also had zero forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, a half-sack and zero quarterback hurries. Returned 24 punts for 186 yards (7.8 average) and a touchdown.
Strengths: Team captain in 2016. Has long arms (32 1/8 inches) for his size. Hand size (9 1/8 inches is adequate). Wore No. 18 at LSU, which is always given to a respected, productive, selfless player. Tremendous production over four years. Has quick feet and loads of natural cover ability; can blanket receivers with his technique, anticipation and ball skills. Has experience in the slot, and is comfortable playing press or off coverage. Can step in and be a No. 1 punt returner; has three touchdowns off those in his career. “Plays the ball really well,” Kiper said. “Has punt-return ability as an added bonus. Stock has dropped just a bit. I like him as a football player.”
Weaknesses: Could have solidified has status as a first-round pick with better workout numbers. Can be beaten on double moves and outrun on the hoof. Can get overanxious in press and get off balance after his strike. Can get boxed out by bigger receivers. Drag-down tackler who doesn’t give you much in run support unless he has to. Gets stuck on blocks. Some see him as a low-floor, high-ceiling guy. “Maybe a little limited on the upside,” Kiper said. “But he’s ready to play right now.”
28. Dallas Cowboys
TACO CHARLTON, defensive end, Michigan
Measurables: 6-6, 277, 22, 4.92
Bio: First-year starter who had 43 tackles (13 for loss), 9 1/2 sacks and 10 hurries in 11 games in 2016. Also had zero interceptions and two pass breakups.
Experts say: “Good player — solid on all three downs,” one scout said. “Can play as a 3-4 rush end or 4-3 left end. Has the potential to get bigger.” Mayock likes him. "Really gifted," Mayock said. "A long edge guy."
29. Green Bay Packers
DAVID NJOKU, tight end, Miami (Fla.)
Measurables: 6-4, 246, 20, 4.64
Bio: Part-time starter who caught 43 passes for 698 yards (16.2 ypc) and eight touchdowns in 13 games in 2016. Declared after redshirt sophomore season in which he started only five games.
Strengths: Is young for a prospect but already looks like a full-grown man. Height-weight-speed prospect with an outstanding combination of size, length and athleticism. Boasts an absurd 35 ¼-inch wingspan. Was among his position’s top testers at the combine in the vertical jump (37 ½ inches), broad jump (133 inches) and three-cone drill (6.97 seconds). Smooth, fluid athlete with good burst off the line who can consistently threaten the seam. Shows burst out of his breaks and switches tempo nicely as a route-runner. Has legit ball skills; can track the ball downfield or on fades, high-point it and win 50/50 matchups. Lined up as an inline blocker and in the slot. Hard runner with good balance who must be wrapped up at all times; was even the primary target on screens and can win after the catch by separating from, or running through, defenders. “Freaky kid that looks like a wide receiver, and you can’t believe that he’s actually as big as he is,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “Catches the ball well, can get vertical.” You’re projecting with him due to his lack of experience but there’s Pro Bowl potential here; Jeremiah has a higher grade on him than he did Eric Ebron in 2014 (10th overall to Detroit). “I think he can do lot of those things, does them at a higher level,” Jeremiah said. “I think he’s got more potential in the blocking front, little bit more want to in that regard. He’s got All-Pro potential. He could be a dominating player at the position.”
Weaknesses: Inexperienced; only has nine career starts. Must stay focused; has too many focus drops when he’s open. In-line run blocking needs work; has a bit of an awkward crouch with his hand in the dirt, one more reminiscent of a fullback. Needs to be faster off the snap when run blocking; also needs to get stronger and do a better job driving his feet. There’s reasons to be encouraged, however; he has the frame to be a good blocker one day and shows some understanding of angles. Also showed increased effort/nastiness in the bowl game against West Virginia. “What I like is if you watch enough of his tape, he gets after some people in the run game,” Mayock said. “He’s not really a good run-blocker yet. But the key is he gets after it. And as long as you get after it and you have a willingness to do it, you can be taught. So I’m bullish on Njoku.”
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
T.J. WATT, linebacker, Wisconsin
Measurables: 6-4, 252, 22, 4.69
Bio: First-year starter who had 63 tackles (15 1/2 for loss), 11 1/2 sacks and 13 hurries in 14 games in 2016. Also had one interception and four pass breakups. Declared after redshirt junior season. Younger brother of Texans superstar J.J. Watt.
Experts say: Was among his position’s top testers in the vertical (37 inches), broad jump (128 inches), three-cone (6.79 seconds), 20-yard shuttle (4.13) and 60-yard shuttle (11.20). Outstanding length (33 1/8-inch arms) and hand size (11 inches). “He can bulk up to be a defensive end in the right scheme or he’ll play on his feet as a 3-4 outside linebacker,” Kiper said. “Obviously the watt name will help him. He’ll play hard all the time. A second-rounder.” Mayock likes him, too, though he has some reservations. “He was a tight end, he had two knee operation surgeries in college. Didn't get on the field as a starter until last year. He shows twitch, toughness, and quickness. He's got some length. The 4-3 teams think he can play 4-3. The 3-4 teams think they can play outside linebacker. He's obviously got some bloodlines which are legit. He plays really hard. I've got him in the second round, but if you're sitting there in the first round and you've got to have that position, T.J. Watt can play.”
31. San Francisco 49ers (trade with Seattle Seahawks via Atlanta Falcons)
REUBEN FOSTER, Alabama
Measurables: 6-0, 229, 22, N/A
Bio: Two-year starter who had 115 tackles (13 for loss) and five sacks in 15 games in 2016. Also had eight quarterback hurries, zero interceptions and two pass breakups. Won the Butkus Award as the nation’s best inside linebacker.
Strengths: Team captain in 2016. Lost at least 15 pounds for the 2016 season and ripped it up. Ferocious hitter with elite burst and acceleration, quick feet and terrific sideline-to-sideline speed; often looks like the fastest defender on the field. Plays with an edge and displays quick-twitch athleticism. Flies to the ball going forward; is already an effective blitzer. Throws his body around willingly and packs a punch when he hits you. Does a nice job avoiding the trash up front (flashes a swim move over linemen) and is always around the ball. Has some pop in his hands. Has the athleticism and instincts to thrive in both man and zone coverage while potentially matching up with tight ends and running backs. Fiery competitor who plays his tail off and is into it on the field. Perfect fit for a 3-4 teams as a run-and-chase inside ‘backer or for a 4-3 team as a run-and-chase “Will.” “Athletic, fast and tough,” one scout said. “Great feel and instincts. Has size, durability and off-the-field concerns.” Former NFL general manager Phil Savage, who is now the executive director of the Senior Bowl, agrees. “This is an extremely explosive linebacker, a tackling machine,” said. “Can play sideline-to-sideline; there’s no concern about do you have to substitute for him on third down. He’s a four-down player in the NFL because he can also play special teams, especially early on as a rookie. So there’s a lot to like.”
Weaknesses: Undersized for the position and lacks ideal bulk. Has also suffered multiple concussions and stingers during his career so long-term durability is a concern, given his full-bore playing style. Can be overpowered when walled off by big linemen. Was kicked out of the Combine for arguing with a doctor. Tested positive for a diluted urine sample at the combine, which he blamed on over-hydrating due to an illness. Did not workout at his Pro Day or the combine due to a shoulder injury, so there are really no test results on him. Would have a 7.1 grade were it not for those issues. “Yeah, there are some red flags there,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “I think the combine incident has been wiped clean by almost every team. I think that was way overdone, and the kid should not been sent home. That’s my opinion. And most people in the league believe that. As far as the diluted sample at the combine, that’s always really disappointing. It has to be taken into consideration. I think the shoulder is apparently going to be okay from a re-check perspective.”
32. New Orleans Saints
RYAN RAMCZYK, Wisconsin
Measurables: 6-6, 310, 23, N/A
Bio: First-year starter who started 14 of 14 career games at Wisconsin. Started 14 games at left tackle in 2016. Spent 2013 and 2014 at an instate D-III school, Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Declared after redshirt junior season.
Strengths: Has good size and length (33 3/4-inch arms). Big hands (10 7/8 inches). Athletic and aware in pass protection. Has good enough feet to stay on the left side; can stay with speed rushers in an efficient set and isn’t easy to beat around the corner. Does a nice job walling off defenders in the running game.
Weaknesses: Did not work out at the Combine after undergoing hip surgery. Lingering injury concerns affected is grade and could drop him a round. “If Ramczyk was in last year’s draft, he would be the fourth or fifth guy taken,” Mayock said. Does move always move defensive linemen with power in the running game. Can be stressed by power in pass pro on bull rushes when he plays too high. Occasionally has some trouble squaring up targets at the second level.