Ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, which will take place in Las Vegas from April 28-30, NFL Network draft guru and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah ranks his top 50 draft-eligible prospects.
Hutchinson is an ultra-productive edge rusher with ideal size, quickness and polish. He stood up this past season in defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald's system at Michigan. As a pass rusher, he has a quick first step and a wide array of hand moves to generate pressures/sacks. He’s collected wins with dip/rip moves, quick hand swipes, long inside-arm bull rushes and swim moves. He can feel when OTs overset and he is quick to counter inside. He also has the ability to grab and control the wrist of his opponent. He doesn’t have elite bend at the top of his rush, but once free, he has an impressive closing burst. In the run game, he holds the point of attack and his effort is nonstop on the backside. Hutchinson isn’t in the same class as the Bosa brothers, but he’s not far behind.
Ekwonu is a thick, powerful tackle prospect with a nasty play style. In pass protection, he carries his hands low but he delivers a quick, powerful punch to stun edge rushers. He is quick to kick out and handle speed on the edge, but he's had issues oversetting, resulting in pressures. He can sink his weight and absorb bull rushers. He is at his best in the run game. He rolls his hips on contact and uproots defenders with force. Ekwonu is quick out of his stance on pulls and delivers knockout shots at the second and third levels. He constantly blocks to and through the whistle. He's not a finished product in pass protection, but the tools are all there. Worst-case scenario, he slides inside and becomes a Pro Bowl-caliber guard.
Neal is a massive left tackle (6-foot-7, 350 pounds, per school measurements) with strong hands, quick feet and awareness. In the passing game, he has the foot quickness to handle speed rushers. He uses his length to keep his chest clean and has a firm anchor versus power rushers. He can bend his knees and sink his weight, but there are times when he gets too aggressive, lunges and winds up on the ground. In the run game, Neal has strong hands and lower power to generate movement at the point of attack. He has the athleticism to adjust at the second level and in space on screens. Overall, I'd like to see Neal improve his patience and balance, but he has all of the tools to emerge as a frontline starting tackle early in his career.
Hamilton has rare height (6-4), length and fluidity for the safety position. Against the pass, his versatility is a major asset. He has exceptional instincts from the deep half and his range is off the charts (see: INT vs. Florida State). He eats up ground quickly with his long stride and has the athleticism and speed to mirror tight ends and slot wideouts all over the field. Hamilton is an explosive blitzer from depth. He can find and play the ball with ease. Against the run, his burst and angles to the ball are highly impressive, but he will go low and miss a few tackles. I love his competitiveness and production covering punts. Hamilton has all of the tools to emerge as a Pro Bowler early in his career.
Gardner is a tall, long cornerback with elite movement skills and toughness. In press coverage, he uses his length to successfully re-route wideouts. He has abnormal fluidity for such a huge cornerback (6-3, 200). He can completely open his hips to mirror and match underneath. He’s rarely out of position, but if it happens, he has an incredible burst to recover. From off coverage, he is fluid and explodes out of his plant and drive. He has natural ball skills; he can find it and play it. His overall awareness is excellent. He is very willing as a run defender and blitzer. Although he'll miss an occasional tackle, the aggressiveness and want-to are easy to identify. Overall, Gardner has a unique skill set for his size, and I see similarities to four-time Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie coming out of Florida State.
Thibodeaux has ideal size (6-5, 258), length and explosiveness. He moved up and down the line of scrimmage in the Ducks' scheme, but primarily stood up on the edge. He shows a tremendous burst off the snap and excels using his inside arm to stab, create space, close and finish. He also has an effective shake/bull move to rock and displace offensive tackles. Thibodeaux does have some ankle tightness at the top of his rush; he isn't an elite bender. Against the run, he easily stacks blocks vs. tackles and tight ends while locating the football. He has speed to close from the back side but his effort is spotty. Overall, Thibodeaux doesn't have ideal flexibility, but his blend of speed and power should translate successfully at next level.
Dean is an undersized linebacker with exceptional instincts and playmaking ability. Against the run, he is quick to read, flow and fill for tackles. He is two steps ahead of everyone on the field because of his combination of knowledge, vision and instincts. He has excellent speed and range. He is a firm, chest-up tackler with a high batting average in space. Against the pass, he has the athleticism to match up with RBs and TEs underneath. He has good feel and burst to close as a zone dropper. He is an outstanding blitzer, utilizing timing and the ability to slip blockers for sacks/pressures. The Georgia staff raves about his leadership. Dean reminds me a lot of Jonathan Vilma coming out of Miami.
Lloyd is a tall, rangy linebacker with excellent versatility and production. He split time between lining up on the edge and at inside linebacker. Against the pass, he can run and mirror TEs all over the field. He is very instinctive as a zone dropper, able to anticipate, drive and make plays on the ball. His ball skills are special for a linebacker (SEE: pick-six against Stanford). Lloyd is an effective blitzer off the edge, displaying a burst to close and wreak havoc in the backfield. Against the run, he plays downhill and uses his length to play off of blocks and collect tackles. He has excellent lateral range. He does have some stiffness in space, but is a reliable tackler. I love Lloyd's play speed, passion and aggression. He has Pro Bowl potential.
Wilson is a highly competitive wideout with route polish and excellent run-after-catch ability. He doesn't have elite speed, but gets to his top speed very quickly in the route. He is very crisp at the the top of routes, creating a lot of separation. The Ohio State product makes several plays above the rim and really plays much bigger than his size (6 foot, 188 pounds). He does have a few concentration drops, but I believe that is correctable. Wilson is at his best after the catch, as he can make defenders miss, power through tackles or utilize a stiff arm. I love his competitive nature. Overall, Wilson has a complete skill set and reminds me of Stefon Diggs.
London is a jumbo-sized wideout with a rare catch radius and outstanding toughness. He has lined up outside and in the slot. He doesn't have ideal speed, but he's very quick off the line and at the top of his route. He is a nuanced route runner, and it's impressive to see how quickly he can get in and out of breaks at his size (6-5, 210). He dominates on 50/50 balls, making spectacular grabs (SEE: Colorado game). London understands how to use his big body to shield off defenders before attacking the ball. After the catch, he seeks out contact and fights for extra yards. He plays with an edge as a blocker, as well. Overall, some will have concern with his lack of top speed, but he reminds me of Mike Williams coming out of Clemson.
Burks is a big (6-3, 225), physical wideout with outstanding run-after-catch ability. He was used in a variety of alignments in the Razorbacks' offense -- outside, in the slot, at running back and as a Wildcat QB. He caught a lot of bubbles, slants and flat routes. Arkansas liked to get the ball in his hands as soon as possible to let him display his speed and physicality after the catch. He wasn't asked to run a full complement of routes, but he's a fluid athlete and should be able to do more at the next level. He likes to cradle-catch balls on his frame, which leads to some drops, but he flashes the ability to high point and finish. Burks will need some time to develop, but he has A.J. Brown-type upside.
Stingley has ideal size (6-1, 195), speed and fluidity for the position. He had a monster freshman season, but his play was inconsistent in 2020 and 2021. He is at his best in press coverage, as he effectively re-routes wideouts with a one- or two-hand jam. He has easy speed to carry vertical routes and can flip his hips smoothly to redirect on underneath routes. Stingley is always in position downfield, but he's given up some plays on 50/50 balls. From off coverage, he has a smooth pedal and explodes out of his plant/drive. His instincts are excellent, but I do have concerns with his effort and execution as a tackler. Overall, Stingley has all of the tools to be an elite cover man, but he needs to play with more urgency and aggression.
McDuffie is a slightly undersized cornerback with tremendous quickness, awareness and toughness. He's been successful relying on a variety of techniques. In press, I've seen him use a quick two-hand jam, bail or patiently sit and mirror. He is a very fluid mover and carries vertical routes with ease. In off coverage, he primarily plays from a side shuffle, where he can see through the wideout to the quarterback. He can anticipate and drive on the ball very quickly. McDuffie is rarely out of position and that's probably why he doesn't get much action to his side of the field. He is an aggressive run defender and a sure tackler in space. He's also an explosive blitzer and he's been productive on punt and kickoff teams. Overall, McDuffie is one of the safest players in the draft.
Karlaftis has outstanding size, power and instincts off the edge, but he doesn't have ideal length. As a pass rusher, his best weapon is converting speed to power. He explodes upfield before jolting tackles with his hands and powering through them. He also will flash a nifty arm-over or spin move on occasion. He has a GPS system to feel and locate the QB once the passer tries to escape the pocket. Even if Karlaftis gets stuck early in the play, he refuses to stay blocked and creates late pressure. He isn't a bendy/loose athlete at the top of his rush, though. Against the run, he sets the edge easily against single blocks and he shoots gaps to split double teams. Overall, Karlaftis reminds me a lot of another former Boilermaker, Ryan Kerrigan.
Walker is a versatile edge defender with exceptional length and athleticism. He primarily aligned on the edge, but played inside, too. As a pass rusher, he isn't ultra-explosive, but he's smooth and powerful. He loves to widen the offensive tackle with his upfield rush before using his inside arm to jolt and walk him back to the QB. He also flashes a quick swipe move to create pressures. He's very disruptive, but he's left some sacks on the field because of missed tackles. The Bulldogs dropped him into coverage quite a bit, and he's made some incredibly athletic plays, including one particular pass breakup versus Florida. Against the run, he dominates with his length and power at the point of attack. He destroys tight ends. I believe Walker's best football is ahead of him.
Davis is an enormous defensive tackle prospect with surprising quickness and athleticism. As a pass rusher, he's primarily a pocket-collapse player rather than a polished technician. He's able to bend, latch on and walk opposing linemen right back to the quarterback. He flashes quick hands, and I believe he has upside to develop into more of a threat. He is at his best versus the run. He is immovable inside, locks out blocks and eliminates space for runners. He has outstanding block recognition, handles double teams and possesses surprising range. He makes plays down the field, which is incredible to see at his size. Not every team will value his skill set, but I think he can be a dominant force in the right scheme.
Green is a big, powerful prospect with nimble feet and versatility. The 6-4, 325-pounder lined up at four of the five OL positions in 2021, and is at his best at guard. In pass protection, he has quick feet and can bend and drop his weight before shooting his hands. He has a very firm anchor versus power rushers. When he's uncovered, he looks for work and delivers some de-cleating shots. In the run game, Green rolls his hips on contact and has the ability to wash defenders right down the line. He has the quickness to reach and seal on the backside. He is also very quick to the second level, but will get overaggressive at times and hit the deck. Overall, Green's ability to create a firm pocket should be highly coveted around the league.
Pickett has ideal size, athleticism and accuracy for the position. He has a lot of twitch in his lower half, which shows up in his ability to avoid defenders inside the pocket or escape to make plays. He has a quick release and incorporates a variety of arm angles. He doesn't have elite velocity but makes up for it with outstanding anticipation. He has quick eyes to get to his third progression. His accuracy is excellent but there have been a few occasions when his eyes are faster than his feet, which affects his ball placement. He is very poised and comfortable throwing on the move. He doesn't panic and he delivers strikes. He has excellent speed and elusiveness as a runner. There will be talk about his hand size and throwing with a glove -- neither topic concerns me. Overall, Pickett reminds me of a more athletic Matt Hasselbeck.
Linderbaum is an athletic center with excellent awareness and intangibles. In pass protection, he plays with a wide base and keeps his hands in tight. He has quick feet to slide and mirror and he can eventually settle/stall power rushers after giving some ground. He is very patient and effective versus twists and blitzers. There are a few rare occasions when he lunges and puts himself in a bad position. In the run game, he plays with quickness, leverage and physicality. He can torque/turn/dump defenders with his upper-body strength. He is very agile working up to the second level on combo blocks. Scouts rave about his makeup and leadership. Overall, Linderbaum should have a similar impact as Creed Humphrey did as a rookie in 2021.
Johnson transferred from Georgia to Florida State for his final college season and put up monster numbers for the Seminoles. He has ideal size, length and quickness. As a pass rusher, he has a quick get-off, but he needs to lengthen his stride and gain more ground. He uses his length to snatch/pull tackles (SEE: sack/forced fumble/TD return vs. Clemson) to collect sacks. He also has a steady bull rush to walk tackles back to the quarterback. He does have hip tightness when he gets to the high side of his pass rush. Against the run, he uses his length to keep blockers away from his frame and he sets the edge consistently. He runs well and his effort is very good on the back side. Overall, Johnson should be a three-down player early in his career.
Ojabo was a very productive edge rusher for the Wolverines despite sharing play time. He has ideal size, explosiveness and fluidity for the position. He has a dynamic get-off and once he gets to the top of his rush, he can bend and flatten to the quarterback. His hands are still a work in progress. The dip/rip move is his bread and butter, but he needs to add to his arsenal. He does flash the ability to generate power and is an outstanding finisher, often dislodging the ball upon arrival. He is raw against the run. He turns his shoulder instead of using his hands to hold the point of attack. Overall, Ojabo is still learning how to play the game, but he has as much talent as any pass rusher in this draft.
Gordon is a smooth athlete with an aggressive/physical play style. In press coverage, he doesn’t like to use his hands, but he is very smooth/fluid to open up and stay in position. He has excellent speed and can gear down efficiently to work back downhill. He is very instinctive in off coverage. He is aware of down/distance and that allows him to take some chances and drive on the ball. He did lose one 50/50 battle in the tape I studied, but he has excellent ball awareness/skills. Against the run, he is often used as a blitzer and he collected a handful of tackles right at or behind the line of scrimmage, including a big-time stop on the goal line against Michigan. Overall, I believe Gordon will rise up through the draft process and should be a Day 1 starter.
Hill is a versatile safety with outstanding instincts and play speed. He spends time aligned in the middle of the field or covering in the slot. From the deep middle, he has very good anticipation and range. He is a fluid, smooth mover and he can close downhill in a hurry. In the slot, he has the hips to open up and mirror. He excels in underneath zone coverage, showing the ability to sort through traffic and make plays on the ball. He is an explosive blitzer and delivers some big hits upon arrival (SEE: Wisconsin game). He is a very dependable tackler in space. Overall, Hill is always around the ball, whether it's a run or pass. He reminds me of Packers safety Darnell Savage when he was coming out of Maryland.
Ebiketie is a long, twitched-up edge rusher with a nonstop motor. He has an explosive get-off and routinely rocks offensive tackles with the power in his hands. He charges upfield before powering through the outside shoulder. He also has a violent swipe move and will occasionally cross the face of the tackle with a nifty inside counter move. He can really corner and finish at the top of his rush. He isn’t as dominant against the run, however. He ducks his head too often and gets washed by OTs and TEs. He lacks ideal block awareness, too. Still, the effort is always there to hustle and chase from the back side. Overall, Ebiketie is a gifted rusher who should rack up pressures/sacks while he learns to play the run with more consistency.
Penning has ideal size and length for the position. In pass protection, he has average quickness and knee bend, but uses his length to keep defenders away from his chest. That length also allows time for his feet to catch up against edge speed. He's not always square, but he's able to run defenders around the pocket. He gives a little ground versus power before settling down. He has excellent awareness vs. twists and stunts. In the run game, Penning has the power to wash defenders down the line of scrimmage. He takes good angles to the second level, but is a little clunky in space. His effort to finish is outstanding in both the run and pass game. Overall, Penning isn't an elite bender, but his combination of length, strength and awareness is very intriguing.
Olave has average height and a lean/wiry frame for the position. He is a very smooth mover and has terrific speed. Against press coverage, he relies on his foot quickness to win, but he does get caught and re-routed on occasion. He needs to add upper-body strength. He is an excellent route runner -- fluid in and out of breaks -- and creates a lot of separation. Olave is at his best in the vertical passing game. He can find another gear when the ball is in the air, tracking it naturally, and he can finish consistently. He displays burst after the catch, while lacking the strength to pull through tackles. Overall, Olave needs to get stronger, but he's a home-run hitter with outstanding route polish.
Dotson is a slightly undersized wideout (5-11, 184) with outstanding quickness, deep speed and hands. He is a very fluid, loose route runner with the ability to accelerate in and out of breaks. He tracks the ball beautifully down the field and has another gear if needed. He attacks the ball and makes some outstanding catches away from his frame. After the catch, Dotson has the speed to pull away and makes defenders miss tackles with his elusiveness. He doesn't have the strength to break tackles consistently. His overall play strength is the only real concern with his transition to the next level, but he has the ability to produce both outside and in the slot. Dotson is ready to make an immediate impact for his drafting team.
Raimann has a fascinating story. He was a foreign exchange student from Austria, and he developed himself into a tight end prospect. In his third season at Central Michigan, he made the transition to left tackle. He is a fun player to study. In the passing game, he has enough foot quickness to handle speed rushers, and his combination of core and hand strength jumps off the screen. When he lands his punch, the play is over. He will occasionally get too wide with his base, which left him susceptible to counter moves. He is a mauler in the run game. He has knock-back power and looks to finish consistently. Overall, Raimann has picked up the position incredibly fast and should be a reliable starter early in his career.
Cross is a left tackle prospect with ideal size, length and balance for the position. In pass protection, he has average foot quickness and knee bend, but he always stays attached to blocks. He absorbs power rushers after hopping back a few steps. Cross is very aware versus twists and stunts, and he has enough athleticism to slide and redirect to cover up counter moves. In the run game, he doesn't roll his hips at the point of attack, but stays on his feet and flashes upper torque to turn and dump defenders. He takes outstanding angles working up to the second level. Overall, Cross doesn't have elite agility or power, but he gets the job done. He should emerge as a quality starter early in his career.
Williams is a tall, lean and explosive wideout. Everything he does on the field is sudden and fast. He explodes off the line in his release; just when you think he's reached top speed, he taps into a gear that very few possess. He turns quick-hitters into long touchdowns and climbs on top of coverage in every game viewed. He is at his best on runaway routes, but flashes the ability to efficiently get in and out of breaks. His hands are inconsistent, though. He lets too many balls get into his body and that results in drops. After the catch, Williams destroys pursuit angles with his speed. His production as a gunner on the punt team speaks to his competitiveness. He suffered a torn ACL in the College Football Playoff National Championship, but once healthy, Williams could emerge as one of the premier deep threats in the NFL.
Walker is an enormous off-ball linebacker (6-4, 240) with a nice blend of speed and physicality. In coverage, he is fluid and plenty fast enough to match up with tight ends and running backs. In zone coverage, he doesn't have great anticipation, but once he diagnoses what's happening, he closes quickly. When he rushes off the edge, he doesn't have much of a plan -- but his speed/effort is outstanding. He is a violent run defender; he attacks blockers, thuds off them and makes plays. He has exceptional burst and range on plays to the perimeter. Overall, Walker is a size/speed, run-and-hit linebacker with his best football still ahead of him.
Booth is an athletic, quick-footed cornerback with very good ball skills. In press coverage, he doesn’t throw his hands to re-route, but does a nice job of staying in the hip pocket of the wideout. He is fluid to open up and has enough speed to stay in phase versus vertical routes. He has been inconsistent in off coverage. Occasionally, he’s caught flat-footed and gives up plays over the top. However, he's very good on balls thrown in front of him. He has some pop out of his plant and he can find and play the ball. He’s a willing tackler, but he had some costly misses in the games I studied. Overall, Booth is still a work in progress, but I believe he’ll develop into a solid number No. 2 cornerback.
Spiller is an explosive runner with excellent vision and wiggle. On inside runs, he is decisive and aggressive attacking the line of scrimmage. He has outstanding stop-start quickness to make defenders miss at the second level. He does run a little high and is more likely to step through tackles than drop his shoulder and punish them. He has excellent speed and burst on perimeter runs. In the passing game, Spiller is very effective on swings and wheel routes. He is very sudden once he transitions with the ball in his hands. He has had some anchor issues in pass protection. All in all, Spiller is a dynamic player with value on all three downs.
Corral is an undersized QB (listed at 6-2, 205) with excellent athleticism and a strong arm. He has quick feet in his setup and creates a lot of force from the ground to generate velocity. He has fast hands in the RPO game and a compact delivery. There are a lot of schemed winners in this system, and he delivers the ball accurately for big plays. He does an excellent job avoiding pressure to create with his legs or simply throw the ball away. His accuracy did suffer when he was forced to move and reset. He protected the ball better in 2021, throwing 10 fewer interceptions than he did in 2020. He is an explosive ball-carrier on scrambles and designed runs. However, he takes too much punishment because of his reckless/aggressive style. Overall, Corral has an intriguing skill set, but the size combined with his play style is a concern.
Willis is a thick, sturdy quarterback with elite arm strength and playmaking ability. He has quick feet in his setup and he throws from a wide, firm base. He usually releases the ball out of a 3/4 arm slot and it jumps out of his hand. He generates incredible RPMs and flashes the ability to fit passes into tight windows. His accuracy is inconsistent. At times, he gets too wide with his feet and the ball sails to the perimeter. He has shown the ability to change ball speed, but he can improve on layer throws. He misses out on some completions because his throws are too flat. He's effective extending and creating against pressure (which he faced a ton of). He's outstanding on QB draws, powers and zone reads. He has a burst and pulls through tackles. Overall, Willis is still a work in progress, but he has the most upside on any QB in this class.
Howell is a thick, compact quarterback with excellent arm strength, toughness and athleticism. I love the urgency in his drop before he settles at the top of the pocket. He has a quick release and he can really power the ball outside the numbers and down the field. He does this despite very little engagement from his lower half. He transfers his weight too early, with his back foot way off the ground. He has the ability to layer the ball accurately in the intermediate area of the field and he throws a beautiful, lofting deep ball. He has the athleticism to extend and create plays. He also has been effective on designed QB runs, bouncing off tackles and showing surprising burst in the open field. Howell does take too many sacks (at least 33 in each of his three seasons, including 48 in 2021) and tried to force too many throws this past season. However, his entire supporting cast left after the 2020 campaign and that had an impact on his production in 2021. Overall, he has NFL-starter ability.
Mathis has a thick and square build for the position. He plays with excellent leverage, power and effort. Against the pass, he has average foot quickness, but shoots his hands immediately and can walk interior linemen right back to the quarterback. He collects some sacks because of his nonstop motor. In the run game, he does a nice job of stacking blocks and locating the ball before shedding and making tackles. He did occasionally get collapsed by angle blocks, but improved in that area later in the season. Mathis has the lateral range to make plays outside of the tackle box. Overall, he should be a quality starter right away, and I believe he's going to continue to improve as a pass rusher.
Wyatt is a thick/square defensive tackle with excellent quickness. He flashes some big-time ability as a pass rusher, getting off the ball with nice burst and leverage. He has collected pressures/sacks with quick arm-overs, nifty spins and power. He is really dynamic when he changes directions, crossing the face of his opponent. His stats don't jump off the page, but that was more the result of all the talent around him on Georgia's defense. Against the run, he keeps a low pad level and controls the point of attack. He has excellent range. Wyatt has tremendous upside and could emerge as the top interior lineman in this class.
Hall is a big, smooth runner with outstanding patience and balance. He has a unique style -- almost walking to the line of scrimmage before finding a crease, getting skinny and exploding through. He has outstanding contact balance, absorbing defenders and driving his feet for extra yards. He is elusive in space. He doesn't possess elite top-end speed, but he still hits some home runs (SEE: first play from scrimmage vs. Kansas State). He is an outstanding weapon in the passing game as a clean route runner with exceptional hands. Check out his one-handed catch vs. Oklahoma. He is firm in pass protection, but has been late to identify blitzers at times. Overall, Hall has an ideal skill set for today's game.
Harris is an explosive linebacker with intriguing upside, who improved every week. Against the pass, he’s been asked to cover RBs, TEs and occasionally slot receivers. He has the speed to match up and can find/play the ball, as evidenced by a deft pass breakup vs LSU. He is quick to identify screens and then explodes to make the play. He is an excellent tackler in space. Harris is also a very dynamic blitzer, rocketing through gaps for sacks and pressures. Against the run, he isn’t an instant key/diagnose player, but once he sees it, he has a burst to the line of scrimmage. He flashes the ability to aggressively take on blockers with his shoulder, but he gets stuck and swallowed too often. I’d like to see him use his hands more. Overall, the arrow is pointing up for Harris. His best football is ahead of him.
Faalele is a massive right tackle (6-9, 380) with surprisingly nimble feet and athleticism. In pass protection, he is quick out of his stance, does a nice job of staying square and has good vision/awareness. He doesn’t bend very well, but he’s still able to absorb power rushers because of his sheer bulk/strength. He does have issues redirecting to inside counter moves. In the run game, he flashes some power to wash defenders down the line, and I was shocked by his ability to reach/cut off on the back side. He also has good timing and feel on combo blocks, working up to the second level. There are some times when he falls off smaller defenders after initial contact. On the whole, Faalele reminds me a little bit of Orlando Brown coming out of Oklahoma.
McBride is a big, physical tight end with outstanding hands. He lines up attached, in the slot, on the wing or split out wide. Colorado State’s entire passing offense was centered around him. He isn’t an explosive athlete, but he’s an efficient route runner who does a nice job walling off defenders and making contested catches. He tracks very naturally down the field and has made some spectacular one-handed grabs. He’s also very flexible to adjust to low balls and back-hip throws. After the catch, he is very physical and competitive to fight for extra yards. He’s an excellent inline blocker in the run game. He latches on, runs his feet and finishes. Overall, McBride doesn’t have elite speed, but he’s extremely reliable in every facet of the position.
Tolbert is a tall, lean and explosive wideout. He is very sudden in his release and continues to gain speed as he goes. He always looks like the fastest player on the field. The South Alabama product creates tremendous separation on crossers, double moves and take-off routes. He has some polish as a route runner, setting up safeties before crossing their face. He tracks the ball naturally over his shoulder, but has had some concentration drops when he's faced up with the QB. This is one of the most intriguing wideouts in the entire draft. I could see his career following a path similar to the Bills' Gabriel Davis: finding a role as a vertical weapon while growing into a complete player.
Leal is an athletic defensive lineman who posted solid production during his career at Texas A&M. He moved up and down the line of scrimmage in the Aggies' scheme, but he's at his best when he's aligned inside. As a pass rusher, he has a quick first step and uses a swim move to create pressure. He doesn't generate consistent push with his bull rush because he plays too upright. Leal flashes quick change of direction to cross the face of his opponent when he catches him leaning. Against the run, he can penetrate with quickness, but there are times when he's too high and gets flat-backed at the point of attack (SEE: Alabama and Mississippi State games). Generally speaking, Leal has a lot of ability, but he needs to lower his pad level and play with more strength.
McCreary is a physical, instinctive cornerback with excellent ball skills. He operates out of a side turn from press coverage. He understands his speed limitations and does a nice job of staying on top of wideouts down the field. He did a really nice job against Penn State’s speedy WR Jahan Dotson (No. 27 on this list). He has excellent ball awareness down the field. He isn’t a dynamic, quick-twitch athlete underneath, but he’s smooth and rarely out of position. From off coverage, he has a fluid pedal and outstanding eyes to anticipate and drive downhill. If he doesn’t arrive in time to play the ball, he delivers jolting tackles. He plays with an edge and that shows up against the run and on special teams. McCreary doesn’t have elite juice, but I love his physicality and instincts.
Likely is a slightly undersized tight end with exceptional athleticism and hands. He primarily lines up detached from the line. He is an outstanding route runner: He’s very loose/fluid and doesn’t waste steps at the top of his route. He shows a burst to climb the seam and he attacks the football. He’s an outstanding leaper to make plays above the rim. After the catch, he has the wiggle to make defenders miss and the speed to go the distance (SEE: 99-yard TD vs Arkansas State). I was surprised by how effective he was in the run game. He takes good angles, snaps his hips on contact and looks to finish. All in all, Likely might lack ideal size, but he’s a mismatch player with tremendous upside.
Elam is a cornerback with ideal height, weight and speed. In press coverage, he uses his combination of length and strength to re-route opponents. He has some tightness when he opens up, but he has excellent deep speed. He can stay in phase versus runaway routes, but he has some issues when he has to change directions or work back downhill. In those situations, he allows too much separation. He has excellent eyes in zone coverage, where he's able to read, anticipate and put himself in good position. He had excellent ball production earlier in his career, but he didn’t have as many opportunities this fall. He’s a willing tackler, though he has some fly-by misses. Elam isn’t a perfect prospect, but he has starter ability in the right scheme/situation.
Mitchell is a long, lean right tackle prospect with intriguing upside. In the passing game, he has very quick feet to slide and mirror defenders. He has a quick punch and does a nice job reworking his hands if they get knocked away. He does get tugged and pulled too often, but that can be improved with added weight and core strength. In the run game, Mitchell explodes into blocks, but needs to do a better job staying attached. He takes excellent angles to the second level and he's athletic enough to adjust in space. Overall, Mitchell should develop into a solid starter once he adds some weight and play strength.
Hall is a long, rangy defensive tackle with room to add weight. As a pass rusher, he comes off the ball a little too high, but he's incredibly quick and has an assortment of maneuvers to generate pressure. He has a violent club/swim move, a rip move and pure power. He also has an explosive counter move, showcasing his agility. Against the run, he can get skinny to slip blocks and make plays in the backfield. He has big-time burst and lateral range. However, he does struggle versus double teams. He's too high and can be uprooted. He plays with excellent effort, though. I think he might benefit from a move to the perimeter, keeping him away from the noise/chaos inside. He reminds me of Marcus Davenport coming out of college.
Cine is a tough, physical safety who plays much bigger than his size. He spent a lot time aligned in the deep half of the field versus the pass. He has good instincts and range to put himself in position to make plays, but he struggles to catch the ball. He was inconsistent in man coverage against tight ends. He gives up separation out of the break, but he has the ability to recover and locate the ball in the air. Cine is at his best against the run. He takes excellent angles to the ball and explodes to the alley for big hits. He brought a lot of energy to the Georgia defense. Cine is still developing in coverage, but I love his toughness and energy.