NFL Draft: Love ’em or leave ’em

The NFL Draft is approaching quickly, and analysts have been forming their opinions on players for months. With the end of the NFL Combine, those opinions are now mostly finalized. Pro days are still ongoing, but in general, what we think about the prospects aren’t going to be changed. With that in mind, here are some of the guys I have grown to love, and some I’m passing on.

Love ’em

  1. Brian Burns, Edge: Ok. This one’s a gimme. Who doesn’t love Brian Burns? He was already a top ten prospect, but after the Combine, he’s worthy of a top five selection. He weighed in at 249 lbs, after concerns that he would be too light. Then, all he did was blow everybody away during the testing. He ran fast, jumped high, then looked great in the on-field drills. The only possible knock is that he isn’t strong against the run, and might only play on passing downs, but man, he’s going to look good bending around the edge on those passing downs.
  2. Devin squared, LB: Anybody who follows me on Twitter knows about my love for Devin White. He’s the kind of linebacker NFL teams need these days, and could transform a defense. However, Devin Bush came out and made himself some money at the Combine. He plays sideline to sideline, and is a big hitter, but his 40 yard dash blew us away. There are no real questions at this point, and both White and Bush are potential top 15 picks. My most recent mock draft has both of them going in the first 11 selections.
  3. Hakeem Butler, WR: I’ve been a fan of Butler, but generally as a round two guy. He has length, a tremendous catch radius, and knows how to go up and get the ball. His speed was a question mark, though. In Indianapolis, this past weekend, he answered that question. He ran the 40 yard dash in 4.48 seconds, which is great for his size. His performance at the Combine checked off any remaining boxes, and I’m comfortable taking him in the first round at this point. He’ll be a match-up nightmare.
  4. Yodny Cajuste, OT: There was a lot of attention to certain guys on offensive line day at the Combine. The top names were certainly at the forefront, and some sleepers were talked about. Cajuste didn’t get a lot of air-time, since an injury kept him out of the drills, but he is still one of my favorites. He didn’t work out, but did measure in with the length NFL teams like. He also did 32 reps in the benchpress, which was impressive. His power translates to the field as well, and he projects to be a starting left tackle and is one of my top 20 players overall.

Leave ’em

  1. Rashan Gary, DL: As expected, Gary showed out at the Combine. He posted a 4.58 40 time, had a 38 inch vertical, and was solid in the agility drills as well. The problem is the production and tape. The workout numbers didn’t translate to the field. He’s strong at the point of attack, and is good against the run, but struggled as a pass rusher. He has upside, and obvious athleticism, but I can’t talk myself into a first round pick for him. He probably plays inside on passing downs as an interior rusher, but has to figure out how to produce.
  2. Jachai Polite, Edge: Nobody had a worse Combine than Polite. He ran a poor 40, then pulled out of the drills with an injury. Then he complained about teams’ interviews because they were too critical of him. There are questions about his work ethic, and now about his mindset in general. Is he coachable? His tape had some nice moments, but I had notes about a lack of effort at times, and couple with what happened in Indy, he would likely be off my board. He may have cost himself some money.
  3. Daniel Jones, QB: The quarterback class as a whole could really go on this list. It feels like Jones is being projected as a potential first round pick solely because he was coached by David Cutcliffe. He has some desirable tools, but overall, his tape screams mid-round pick. He does well on quick throws where he doesn’t have to come off his first read. However, he is inefficient down the field, and a mess if he has to adjust on the fly. I gave him a third round grade. Any higher than that, and it’s a big reach.
  4. Kelvin Harmon, WR: There is a lot of talk about Harmon as a top 20 pick, and that’s too rich for me. He clearly has some important skills, such as his ability to highpoint the football. He has good strength, and makes catches in traffic, but his athletic numbers are concerning. In every test the Combine offered, he tested below average. Meanwhile, other receivers out-tested their expectations. I have no issue with a team taking Harmon in the middle of the draft, but if I have to spend a first round pick on him, I’m out.
Vance Meek
Cincinnati Bengals and NFL Draft fan. Started this website just so I could call myself CEO.

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