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EZEKIEL ELLIOTT RB | Ohio State (JR)

ORIGINAL PHOTO COURTESY OF

Ohio State Communications


REGGIE RAGLAND ILB | Alabama (SR)

ORIGINAL PHOTO COURTESY OF

Alabama Communications


TABLE OF

CONTENTS LAQUON TREADWELL OLE MISS (JR)

Letter From the Editor............................................................. 4 From Our Co-Founder............................................................... 5 FEATURED ARTICLE:

A New Beginning, or the Beginning of the End?............... 6 FEATURED ARTICLE:

Packers' 2016 Draft................................................................... 9 FEATURED ARTICLE:

Identifying the Top Elephants in the Room......................... 11 He Reminds Me Of.....................................................................14 Top 100 Prospects.....................................................................18 Mock Draft 2016.........................................................................19 Team Needs............................................................................... 22 POSITION GROUP ANALYSIS

JALEN RAMSEY FLORIDA STATE (JR)

Quarterbacks............................................................................. 27 Running Backs........................................................................... 32 Fullbacks / H-backs.................................................................. 37 Wide Receivers...........................................................................41 Tight Ends.................................................................................. 46 Offensive Tackles.......................................................................51 Interior Linemen....................................................................... 56 3-4 Defensive Linemen............................................................61 Edge Defenders......................................................................... 66 Inside Linebackers....................................................................71 Cornerbacks.............................................................................. 76 Safeties........................................................................................81 Kickers......................................................................................... 86 Punters........................................................................................ 89 Return Specialists.................................................................... 92 Packers Mock Draft.................................................................. 96 Packers Position Analysis....................................................... 97 Meet the Draft Guide Team............................................................. 102 All Stats are from 2015 unless indicated otherwise. All player measurements are from the NFL Combine unless the player did not participate, then they were taken from his University’s web site.

*Click to return to the Table of Contents

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All player videos courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com. Player photos courtesy of USA Today and the communications departments at Alabama, Ohio State and Arkansas Universities.

3


EDITOR LETTER FROM THE

AUTHOR:

"JERSEY AL" BRACCO

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Cheesehead TV Pro Football Draft Guide! As always, we have brought you the work of some of the finest writers in the Packers blogosphere. While Ted Thompson and the Packers may not look at the draft purely in the realm of “needs,” fans of the team — which presumably you are — certainly do.

In this, my first year as editor, the plan was to avoid making too many changes to a formula that has proven successful, but there have been a few tweaks here and there you will surely notice. There are more in-depth feature articles, which attempt to delve into the psyches of Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson, hopefully providing insight into why they make some of their decisions.

While the Packers have made it to the playoffs in seven straight seasons, not since 2010 have they made it to the Super Bowl. Even worse, their last three playoff losses have come on the final play of the game. To be so close to advancing and then have it just end is maddening.

We have brought in some new evaluators who specialize in NFL Draft content, but of course also happen to be Packer fans. As a special treat, we have an article from a professional scout, Dave-Te’ Thomas, who has supplied prospect reports to the majority of NFL teams for more than forty years.

This has created an entire cadre of fans who feel it’s Ted Thompson’s fault for not going out and signing free agents to help put the team over the top. Of course, they ignore the fact that Thompson’s draft-and-develop approach put together a roster that has made the playoffs seven straight years. Plus, the fiscal responsibility shown by the Packers prevents them from having to release their own star players — at least the ones they want to keep — in order to fit under the salary cap, as other free-spending teams end up doing.

Producing this guide is no small feat and without a doubt, is more of a labor of love than anything else. If you knew how much time the writers devoted to this endeavor, you would be floored. We have a new designer this year, James Zachman, who has done a marvelous job with the graphics and the layout of this year’s guide. The Assistant Editor on this project is Zach Rapport, without whose help this project could not have been completed on time. Finally, none of this would be possible without two close friends who decided to create a Packers blog about 10 years ago — Corey Behnke and Aaron Nagler.

Whether or not you are on board with Thompson’s approach, this is the time of year when he makes HIS money. The Packers have received two compensatory fourth round picks in this draft— one each for the loss of Davon House and Tramon Williams — giving Thompson nine official chances to improve the roster, plus undrafted free agents, as well. And that brings us back to needs, which — correct or not — is what the NFL Draft is all about for fans. That, in turn, is what this draft guide is all about. — bringing you the information you need to prepare for the draft beforehand, and then evaluate the picks afterwards.

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The primary thanks go to you , the reader, for supporting all involved by purchasing this guide and frequenting CheeseheadTV.com. Without you, Cheesehead TV would not exist and be thriving. So here it is — the 2016 Cheesehead TV Pro Football Draft Guide.

GO PACK GO.

4


CO-FOUNDER FROM OUR

AUTHOR:

AARON NAGLER

After ten years in Green Bay, and having guided the Packers to a franchise record seven straight playoff appearances, you would think Mike McCarthy was sitting pretty as the thirdlongest tenured head coach in the National Football League. The truth, however, is a bit more complicated.

That Rodgers/McCarthy story simply would not go away all year and seemed to take on a life of its own. The Packers tried to quiet it down by having both Rodgers and McCarthy sit down with the Green Bay Press Gazette to talk about their relationship — both men citing healthy competitive natures as the only tension between them.

No, McCarthy was never close to losing his job after last season ended in yet another heartbreaking playoff disappointment, and despite a growing chorus of fans and national media members calling for his head — a seemingly annual occurrence.

In reading between the lines, though, and in talking to people within the organization, it’s apparent that things were indeed frayed between McCarthy and his quarterback last year, and that some of his players have grown frustrated with his stubborn ways.

However, McCarthy has unquestionably reached a crossroads in his Green Bay tenure. The Pittsburgh native may have a street named after him in the NFL’s smallest city, but for the first time in his decade at the helm of the Packers, McCarthy’s players started to show some signs of frustration. While not all of the grumbling was overt, and certainly most of it was behind closed doors, there were a few public instances of Packers players voicing frustrations and dissatisfaction in a way they never had before.

McCarthy himself was the subject of reports claiming that he’s grown frustrated with Ted Thompson’s inactivity in free agency, another storyline that prompted Packers PR to jump into action. They produced a video of McCarthy singing Thompson’s praises, and regaled the viewer about the partnership between the coach and general manager.

Obviously, this could be nothing more than the reaction of a group of players experiencing — for the first time in Green Bay — true, elongated frustration on the offensive side of the ball. Given those struggles, offensive players were repeatedly asked about it. While most answered with little more than clichés, a few players stripped away the veneer, allowing some true emotion to show through. Most notably, All-Pro guard Josh Sitton lamented the Packers’ predictability on offense in several radio interviews. He also didn’t push back very hard when asked about the reportedly strained relationship between McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

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With all of these elements swirling around the head coach, it’s fair to look at the 2016 campaign as a make-or-break year in McCarthy’s tenure. Either he will find a way to reinvigorate the offense and return it to the upper echelon of the league, or teams will continue to stymie his best efforts and his players will continue down the path of frustration, eventually tuning him out completely — if they haven’t started to already. Far fetched? Bill Walsh once said head coaches have a shelf life of about ten years. McCarthy has reached that milestone and finds his team in need of a jump start. This is probably the most important offseason Mike McCarthy has ever faced during his time in Green Bay.

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OF THE END? A NEW BEGINNING, OR THE BEGINNING

AUTHOR:

C.D. ANGELI

THE SEASON OF DISCONTENT

A 10-6 regular season record, a playoff win, and a close overtime loss in a divisional playoff game would be considered a positive season for the majority of NFL fans in the world today. But in Green Bay, just having a winning record is nothing less than a prerequisite for a franchise and fan base that has grown accustomed to doing nothing but winning over the last 24 years. But perhaps more disconcerting to Packer fans isn’t just the final results in the ledger, but the behind-the-scenes friction that seemed to manifest itself more and more both on and off the field. This friction seemed to center around the central triumvirate of the Green Bay Packers: MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, head coach Mike McCarthy, and general manager Ted Thompson. The eye of the hurricane might well be McCarthy, who found himself at times at odds with his quarterback for the first time since 2007; and also rumored to be frustrated with his boss, according to the Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn. McCarthy has manned the sidelines for ten seasons as the Packers’ head coach--an exception to the average tenure of an NFL head coach, which is only 38 months. As Rodgers passed his way to a 92.7 passing efficiency rating, the lowest of his career as a starter, it became more and more evident that he had an axe to grind, whether it be with his coach, the talent around him, or with himself. He was uncharacteristically demonstrative on the field, and had a brief, yet notable, clash with McCarthy following a series in a game against San Francisco. The experiment of McCarthy giving up the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Tom Clements, a close friend of Rodgers, came after the quarterback publicly questioned his head coach’s conservative playcalling following the previous season’s devastating playoff loss to the Seahawks. The idea of of a highly successful coach and quarterback (think of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady) growing and evolving in their relationship in the face of consistent success isn’t

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all that surprising. However, the perception is that McCarthy is also growing impatient with Thompson’s single-pronged approach to building a team, utilizing the draft almost exclusively. McGinn observed that both McCarthy and the Packers’ personnel department have been harboring frustration over a lack of big moves for a team that has seemed on the cusp of winning it all since 2011. This opened a visible crack in the armor of a GM/head coach relationship that Packer fans have long seen as unassailable. LOOKING BACK

The Thompson/McCarthy/Rodgers relationship began in 2006, following a cap-clearing season in Thompson’s first season with the team left the Packers with just a handful of players that looked to be a part of a Thompson’s master plan. After drafting Rodgers as Brett Favre’s perennial backup in 2005, McCarthy replaced Mike Sherman and immediately adhered to Thompson’s style. Thompson’s drafts and lack of free agent moves drew a considerable amount of criticism from the Packers’ media and fan base, but there never seemed to be any discontent between the head coach and his general manager. In fact, the two stood resolute in solidarity as Favre reportedly lobbied hard for the Packers to sign wide receiver Randy Moss in the next offseason. This team was to be built through the draft with “Packer People”, and Rodgers might have been the poster child for that term. In 2006, Thompson used the NFL Draft to set the tone for his approach,repeatedly trading back and coming away with 12 players in a seven-round draft. Perhaps most notable in that draft was the three offensive linemen taken, Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, and Tony Moll. None of the players were prototypical linemen, but McCarthy had made the decision to move the line to the Zone Blocking Scheme, and Thompson complied, bringing in guys who were smaller, more agile, and more cut out for the ZBS than traditional blockers. In the end, the ZBS was a failed experiment, a once-dynamic scheme that surprised defenses with its speed and simplicity.

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A NEW BEGINNING, OR THE BEGINNING OF THE END? CONTINUED...

The Packers had invested heavily in a scheme that defensive coordinators had learned to counter, and were stuck with offensive linemen that had difficulty transitioning to a more conventional blocking style. But no one questioned that the head coach and general manager were on the same page in this endeavor. While most fans would like to forget the summer of 2008, it is impossible to ignore the impact the Favre Divorce had on not only the team, but on the relationship between Thompson, McCarthy, and Rodgers. In April, after again rebuffing Favre’s insistence on acquiring a veteran wide receiver through trade or free agency, Thompson traded out of the first round to select Jordy Nelson at the top of the second. While many of us blessed with 20/20 hindsight can claim today what a steal that pick was, it was criticized as being a luxury pick, a project player who would sit on the bench behind Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and James Jones. But the Nelson pick was a shining example of Thompson’s approach to the draft. He wasn’t intended to be a contributor in 2008, but a “next man up” in the master plan. Thompson didn’t just draft players to help today, but looked ahead to restock players he thought wouldn’t be re-signed after their contracts ran out. As it turned out, Nelson ended up being a key player in the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl, and stepped up as a key contributor, then starter, then superstar after Driver’s decline in 2011, Jennings departure after 2012, and Jones’ flight after 2013.

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But that wasn’t enough for Favre, who felt he was one player away from winning another Super Bowl, and many in the media and fanbase agreed with him. As Packer Nation divided wholly that summer in the face of the Favre

Spotlight bringing every blemish to the surface, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, and de facto starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers stood resolute in the face of the storm. The triumvirate committed to the draft, not making another major dip in free agency until 2014, when Julius Peppers joined the team. They committed to the coaching style, with McCarthy calling the shots on offense. And finally, they committed to their former first-round pick with the pinpoint accuracy and penchant for taking sacks over interceptions. After a miserable 2008 campaign mired by the Favre hangover, Thompson did the unthinkable in the 2009 NFL Draft: after taking BJ Raji with the 9th overall pick, the Packers traded a secondrounder and two third-rounders (including the conditional draft pick from the Jets for Brett Favre) to move up to the 26th pick and take linebacker Clay Matthews III. While the bottom half of that draft will never be remembered

for much, the Packers came away with three star players that would be key contributors very quickly. The Packers won the Super Bowl in what might be the greatest underdog story in NFL history. The last few criticizers of Thompson, McCarthy, and Rodgers were sent to their room without any su p p e r, and few questioned the caliber of the three leaders of the team that brought glory back to Titletown. Ted Thompson became widely regarded as a draft mastermind, and GMs across the NFL began copying his draftfirst approach, rather than the Dan Snyder annual free-agent fiascos. Mike McCarthy assembled teams that piled up 46 wins over the next four seasons, becoming as perennial in the playoffs as the Patriots. And Aaron Rodgers went on to win two NFL MVP honors, putting him not only in the top echelons of quarterbacks in the NFL, but even starting discussions placing him among the best of all time. The Packers finished 2014 with a loss in the NFC Championship game, but widely expected to be a contender for the Super Bowl in 2015 by the time the season started. What could go wrong? Other than everything? SHOOTING OURSELVES IN THE FOOT

“Aaron Rodgers, coming off an MVP season, looks to add another ring to his collections and seal his legacy.” “This might be the best offensive line we’ve ever had.”

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A NEW BEGINNING, OR THE BEGINNING OF THE END? CONTINUED...

“Eddie Lacy is more comfortable, more natural as he approaches what should be another 1,000 yard season.”

whether or not this team was capable of playoff-caliber football, it’s not hard to read between the lines.

they seem to be every offseason: with no players added to provide an immediate impact.

“The Packers’ receiving corps provides a healthy balance of experienced veterans and young talent with potential to make this offense the most threatening in the league.”

As for the relationship between McCarthy and his general manager, the McGinn story set both Thompson and McCarthy into damage control mode this offseason. McCarthy told Packers. com, "I think the program that Ted and I built, it speaks for itself. I think the consistency is probably our biggest strength because of our approach and belief and how we go about it. So our relationship is as good as it’s ever been."

As we learned in 2008, not every player Thompson drafts, even in the early rounds, are expected to provide an quick fix. But then, this is an offseason following a season of discontent, with all eyes and renewed criticism of Thompson’s approach beginning to fester. With needs at inside linebacker, tight end, and along the offensive line, having the 27th-overall pick isn’t a good position to start addressing all of those areas from.

But, it didn’t help matters when McCarthy stated in February that fans should expect some play in the free agency market this offseason. “We’ll see how it shakes out. We might shock you this year.”

In the end, the draft isn’t what is ailing the Packers. They are suffering from sketchy play-calling, inconsistency, and poor communication, and this is just on the offensive side of the ball. The Packers have a level of talent on their roster that 75% of NFL teams would kill for, or at least, so we believe. If players like Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and Bryan Bulaga continue to struggle, it is an indictment of Ted Thompson’s ability to bring in the right talent.

In 2015, we saw Mike McCarthy, the eye of the hurricane, watch as his team seemingly crumble around him. He snagged back the play-calling duties he had delegated to offensive coordinator Tom Clements. He watched Eddie Lacy struggle to make weight, finally benching him in favor of James Starks for a part of the season. But, most of all, he watched Aaron Rodgers struggle to connect with his receivers once his most trusted one, Jordy Nelson, was lost for the season back in August due to injury. A once-dominant offense struggled to score against mediocre teams, and it started with his quarterback. The relationship was hampered, with both McCarthy and Rodgers reportedly trying to usurp control from Clements both trying to influence the playcalling without being the playcaller. McCarthy finally settled the argument by taking the playcalling duties back, leaving his coordinator chastened and dealing with his quarterback directly in the power struggle at the line of scrimmage. Rodgers chimed in on the new arrangement after a win against the Raiders: “We just don’t really have a clear-cut direction. We got into some stuff with John (Kuhn) in there and four receivers, but we were too inconsistent.” He later tried to clarify that he meant the execution, not the playcalling, but given McCarthy had just bristled at a reporter questioning

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But, Ted Thompson’s decision to not sign any big-name (or medium-sized names) in free agency this offseason shocked no one. Thompson received perhaps the loudest fan backlash for not dipping into the free agent pool since the 2010 offseason, but he remained resolute. “Just because we don’t sign somebody doesn’t mean we don’t consider people. We did a lot of considering, and we do all the time [and] wherever we felt like we could make our team better in the grand scheme things, we’ve tried to do that. So far, it’s been kind of quiet from a fan’s standpoint, and I’m sorry to say that.” The Packers have re-signed several of their own key free agents, including defensive lineman Mike Daniels, kicker Mason Crosby, running back James Starks, and linebacker Nick Perry. This coupled with the unexpected retirement of BJ Raji and the likely departure of James Jones, leaves the Packers where

If the playcalling and team cohesiveness continues to be a detriment to the team in spite of its talent, it is an indictment of a head coach who might have allowed too much success to go to his head. And if Rodgers continues to throw inaccurate passes and pick-and-choose the receivers he trusts to determine where he throws them, it might be an indictment of our MVP quarterback has jumped the shark to where his ego overshadows his ability. In the end, if this team is going to go back to the promised land, these three leaders of the Green Bay Packers need to become a triumvirate once again.

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PACKERS' 2016 DRAFT MORE ABOUT 2017 AND BEYOND AUTHOR:

JASON B. HIRSCHHORN In a tradition as familiar and exhausting as Groundhog Day, legions of Green Bay Packers fans have come to treat every offseason with some level of derision. Despite the franchise's nearly unmatched track record of success over the past decade -- eight postseason berths, five division titles, three NFC Championship game appearances and a Lombardi Trophy -- many gripe about general manager Ted Thompson's approach to team building. Thompson largely eschews splashy additions through free agency in favor of drafting the vast majority of his roster and re-signing the best of those selections. While that strategy has allowed Green Bay to maintain one of the healthiest salary-cap situations in the league, some fans complain that it leaves the team wanting come playoff time. Furthermore, when it comes to the draft, Thompson doesn't always utilize his top picks to address the most-glaring holes on the roster. Since a torn hamstring derailed Desmond Bishop's career in the 2012 preseason, the Packers have struggled at the inside linebacker spots. Yet, in the time since, the front office has not spent more than a fourth-round pick at the position, forcing defensive coordinator Dom Capers to shift All-Pro edge rusher Clay Matthews inside for the better part of two seasons. Certainly, Thompson shouldn't totally evade fault for Green Bay's shortcomings since their victory in Super Bowl XLV. He bungled the backup quarterback situation badly in 2013, leaving the team exposed when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone midway through the season. The GM's drafts in 2011 and '12 yielded few field tilters, and only two players acquired in those classes remain under contract with the team. Still, unlike many of his contemporaries, Thompson does a fantastic job addressing needs before they become urgent. Before Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL during training camp in 2013, the team had rookie David Bakhtiari ready to step in

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and protect Rodgers' blindside. When JC Tretter fractured his knee two weeks before the 2014 season opener, the team had Corey Linsley ready to step into the fray. Last year, three of the rookie cornerbacks Thompson acquired during the offseason -- Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter -- allowed the defense to continue thriving while Sam Shields recovered from a concussion and Casey Hayward dealt with bouts of ineffectiveness. And, of course, perhaps no move across the league has created a greater impact than the Packers' selection of Rodgers three years before Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre finally departed Green Bay. Like the best GMs, Thompson takes the long view rather than a myopic one. When consistently successful NFL organizations approach the annual draft, they do not consider merely the immediate roster needs. While fielding a competitive roster ranks highly on any given priority list, general managers and their personnel departments always look into future years. Position groups that present few worries at one time can quickly degrade and become an area of weakness without proper management and foresight. A GM worth his salt projects his teams needs out multiple seasons, making his draft decisions through that lens. Accordingly, it seems silly to expect the Packers to use this year's draft only as a tool to fix their biggest current problems. While they have yet to adequately replace Jermichael Finley with a field-stretching tight end and inside linebacker could certainly benefit from an influx of talent, Thompson has other needs to address, most of which concern the 2017 roster. Though the Packers' 2016 free-agent class includes plenty of quality players, it contains few core pieces. The team already re-signed place kicker Mason Crosby to a four-year deal and secured defensive lineman Letroy Guion to a team-friendly multi-year contract to cover for B.J. Raji's sudden retirement.

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PACKERS' 2016 DRAFT MORE ABOUT 2017 AND BEYOND CONTINUED...

Otherwise, the team entered the offseason with no soon-to-be free agent it couldn't afford to lose. Linebackers Nick Perry and Mike Neal have contributed as rotational edge rushers, but Green Bay may return only one with Matthews reclaiming his place outside and Julius Peppers announcing his plans to play another season. Former first-round pick Datone Jones also transitioned to linebacker during the latter part of the 2015 season and could pick up some of the slack. Quarterback Scott Tolzien had shown promise during his preseason performances, but the team has promising second-year man Brett Hundley ready to step into his role. In the secondary, the front office allowed Hayward to walk in order to give more opportunities to the cavalcade of young cornerback talent that arrived last year. The Packers could stand pat and still field a competitive roster. Thompson made his feelings on the matter clear during February's NFL Scouting Combine, saying, "I don't think we have a lot of weaknesses." Yet that could change a year from now. Green Bay could lose as many as three of its starting offensive linemen -- Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang and David Bakhtiari -- as well as top reserve JC Tretter. Running back Eddie Lacy's rookie contract expires, and he could command a heist if his efforts to slim down produce a bounce-back 2016 campaign. If Peppers doesn't retire next offseason, he becomes a free agent. Versatile defensive back and punt returner Micah Hyde also hits the market, along with sometimes starters Sam Barrington, Mike Pennel and Datone Jones. And the Packers have potential issues outside of free agency. Even if Jordy Nelson returns successfully from the torn ACL he suffered during the 2015 preseason opener, the team has to wonder how much longer he can

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continue serving as its No. 1 receiver. The veteran wideout turns 31 in May and has also undergone other surgeries on his knee and hip in recent years. As Green Bay learned last year, it has few reliable vertical threats besides Nelson, the absence of whom resulted in the worst passing season statistically in decades. So while many fans hunger for the Packers to spend their top draft picks on a tight end like Arkansas' Hunter Henry and an off-the-ball linebacker like Alabama's Reggie Ragland or Ohio State's Darron Lee, Thompson may choose to go another direction. As Peppers enters the final year of his contract and, likely, his final season in the NFL, the Packers need to find a replacement pass rusher to play opposite of Matthews. The team could also benefit from another quality defensive lineman to take pressure off of Mike Daniels inside. Fortunately for Green Bay, the upcoming draft doesn't lack for options. Even as late as Thompson drafts this year (27th overall), an edge rusher like Georgia's Leonard Floyd, Eastern Kentucky's Noah Spence or Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah should remain on the board. On the defensive interior, the Packers could hone in on a disruptor like Alabama's Jarran Reed, UCLA's Kenny Clark or Louisiana Tech's Vernon Butler. The team wouldn't need these players to start Week 1 of the upcoming season, but they could move into those roles down the line. With Nelson's importance to the offense never clearer, Thompson may seek to find his heir. The 2016 draft class doesn't have the top-to-bottom depth of the previous two years, but it does contain players that could intrigue the Packers. TCU's Josh Doctson burned secondaries throughout his senior season, using his craftiness, incredible leaping ability and unmatched ball-tracking skills to make

big plays for the Horned Frogs offense. Like Nelson, Doctson has good rather than great timed speed (4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash). However, he possesses excellent quickness and change of direction skills and rarely finds himself caught from behind. Drafting Doctson wouldn't address one of the Packers' current holes, but he could help ensure that the offense doesn't slip back into mediocrity if Nelson falls off. Even if the Packers have the funds to extend all of the starting offensive linemen set to depart after 2016, Thompson may decide to retain only some and draft replacements. Sitton celebrates his 30th birthday this offseason and has a chronic back issue. Meanwhile, Lang also nears the threedecade mark and has revealed that both of his shoulders require surgery before next season. It seems unlikely that Green Bay has both on the roster come the 2017 season opener. It follows that Thompson, who has selected at least one offensive lineman every draft save for 2015, uses a mid-round pick this year to find a replacement. That could come at the expense of a player capable of making an immediate impact. Even in the event Thompson does spend his top choice on a tight end or inside linebacker, expect the majority of this draft class to focus on future needs rather than current ones. Green Bay faces a potentially colossal falloff down the line if it doesn't replenish the defensive front, receiving corps and offensive line. If the Packers hope to remain a title contender for the foreseeable future, they can't stray from the long-view approach that has kept made them one of the NFL's most consistently successful franchises. Luckily for the team's fans, that doesn't appear likely as long as Thompson remains at the controls.

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IDENTIFYING THE TOP

ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM AUTHOR:

DAVE-TE' THOMAS NFL DRAFT REPORT

The National Football League offers fans a wide variety of offensive and defensive philosophies that either work on game day, or send the coaching staff back into the film room to rectify their struggles. With offensive schemes becoming increasingly more complicated, defensive coaches are calling upon versatile athletes to perform a variety of roles. Formerly referred to as “tweeners,” — too small or slow to line up exclusively at their traditional positions — these hybrid players are becoming a necessary part of many defensive rosters. The rising trend of multiple receiver formations led to the development of the Cover-2 defense, which features a small, quick linebacker playing more of a safety-type role. Monte Kiffin is regarded as the “godfather” of the Cover-2. Much of Kiffin’s success is due to the services of Derrick Brooks, an elite performer who could handle both linebacker and safety assignments. When Brooks was set to retire, the Buccaneers were fortunate enough to find a player of similar stature, field intelligence and tackling skills – Lavonte David. The popularity of the hybrid safety/linebacker has really caught on in the NFL. Teams spend the draft-evaluation process looking for linebackers with safety-like size that can hit and play pass coverage. They are free to make plays all over the field, be that blitzing the quarterback or slipping into the backfield to take down a ball carrier. They are usually assigned to cover tight ends and slot receivers in the short area. While some teams prefer to use a linebacker type in this role — much like Brooks and David in Tampa, or Thomas Davis in Carolina — others see better success in utilizing hard-hitting safety types. Safeties Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu made it en-vogue to play in the center of the action, and Arizona’s Tyrann Matthieu is now carrying on that tradition. Still, utilizing the hybrid is really nothing new. During Bill Walsh’s days with San Francisco (late 1980’s/early 1990’s), the use of linebacker Charles Haley in a variety of roles along the first and second levels became a staple of the team. Don Shula also

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used this strategy in Miami back in the 1970’s, where A.J. Duhe needed to be accounted for on every play. Now known as the “3-4 defense” — because it features three down linemen and four linebackers — It was originally named the “53” defense, after the jersey number of linebacker Bob Matheson. A standout linebacker at Duke, Matheson was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 1967 NFL Draft — the final year in which the NFL and the AFL held separate drafts. He was then acquired by the Dolphins prior to the 1971 season, after Miami defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger requested Shula to do so. Matheson was often used as a fourth linebacker in passing situations, and was a member of the Dolphins’ 1972 undefeated team. Today, the defensive end/linebacker hybrid is often referred to as the “Elephant” package. Some teams call it “Leo” or “Stud.” While Green Bay made the Elephant popular, the 2015 National Championship runners-up, Clemson University, also used a version of the formation called “Bandit” or “Buck,” which featured Vic Beasley. The Elephant is used more often in a defensive alignment that features four defensive linemen and three linebackers. The Bandit plays closer to the line of scrimmage and has more pass rush responsibilities. He can attack from either end position and also has in-line run containment responsibilities. The Elephant appears to be bigger than the Bandit, but can handle some linebacker responsibilities. Some of the more current players operating at this spot are Green Bay’s Julius Peppers and Denver’s Demarcus Ware. Peppers’ ability comes from using his size (6’7”) and reach, along with lateral agility to reroute receivers before they can get into their routes. The Bandit seems to have more linebacker responsibilities. He is still required to play both end positions, but he will

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IDENTIFYING THE TOP ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM

CONTINUED...

often cover tight ends and slot receivers underneath. This player needs to be quick, as he will be required to drop back and cover in isolated situations. They are used more in a 3-4 defensive alignment that features three massive down linemen. While they are not used as much to penetrate the backfield, they are used more to play from sideline-to-sideline, preventing any leakage in the first level.

schedule, racking up a school record 40 QB pressures, 18.5 stops-for-loss and nine sacks from the Bandit position. The 235-pounder shifted to left defensive end in 2015, where his struggles vs. blockers as much as 100 pounds heavier saw his productivity diminish — 8 QB hurries, 7 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks. Even still, he took down 14 runners for no gains and 20 of his 45 tackles came on third-down snaps.

Currently, ten teams in the league have incorporated some Joining those two with a strong performance in Mobile, form of the hybrid defensive end/linebacker into their scheme. Alabama was Utah State’s Kyler Fackrell, who reminds scouts Green Bay uses it more than most, of a young Mike Vrabel (ex-Pats). but Jacksonville, Tampa and He’s the tallest of the players NOAH SPENCE EASTERN KENTUCKY (rJR) Seattle have come to rely upon mentioned here at 6’05”, and has that athlete to serve as their shown he is fully recovered from defense’s play-maker. 2014 knee woes that required surgery to repair. Like Nicolas, With that in mind, our staff Fackrell was a drive-killer, recently sat down with several recording 23 third-down stops — NFL scouting coordinators, scouts seven more on fourth-downs —and and talent evaluators. From those taking 12 runners down for no interviews, we identified eight gain. The high-flying tackler also projected early round draft missed quite a few opportunities, eligible players that might end up allowing sixteen first downs versus playing that position at the next the ground game. level. While they all possess impressive athletic ability, there Georgia boasted a pair of hardare some weaknesses in each of hitting linebackers who handled the eight selected for this report. “Sam” and “Leo” duties for the Bulldogs – Leonard Floyd and Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence Jordan Jenkins. Floyd is more is widely considered the best at highly regarded and a strong this position, putting on stellar showing at the 2016 NFL Scouting performances throughout the Combine could thrust him into the week leading up to the 2016 late first round picture. He recorded Senior Bowl. Several scouts feel 12 third-down hits while stopping 15 that the talent level is there. But opponents for losses. He also has despite his great pass rushing experience in a 3-4 scheme, where ability, he needs to refine his he will usually handle strong-side hand usage to prevent getting inside responsibilities. stalled by bigger blockers. He may, however, still be evaluated Jenkins was limited by a groin more for his off-field exploits, as several failed drug tests injury during midseason action and was sorely missed. kept him out of action and led to his departure from Ohio Without him, the Bulldogs struggled with three losses and State prior to the 2014 schedule. just one win, barely pulling off a 9-6 victory over Missouri. Jenkins still recorded 11 stops-for-loss and 14 third-down Another impressive showing at the 2016 Senior Bowl came tackles last season, but was often pulled from the game in from fellow South squad hybrid, Dadi Nicolas of Virginia Tech. obvious passing situations. Nicolas was one of the “big stories” in college during the 2014

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IDENTIFYING THE TOP ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM

CONTINUED...

Ohio State’s Josh Perry might be a man still searching for his niche. At 254 pounds, it was obvious that he could not cover receivers from the weak-side position last season, as teams completed 69.7% of their passes in his area. He did pile up 105 tackles, albeit more in a chase-mode — allowing 2.67-yards per running play, included 15 first downs and two scores. He did take nine of those runners down for losses and 11 more for no gains, though. The hybrid position also includes two late-bloomers to the draft study. Boise State’s Kamalei Correa declared for the draft after he posted seven sacks and 11 stops-for-loss from the “Stud” position in 2015. That was down from his 2014 totals, however, where he had totals of 12 sacks and 19 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Correa did limit ball carriers to a 0.12-yard average in 2015. However, among his sacks, stops-for-loss and tackles (39), he had 14 hits, four sacks and seven stops-for-loss in a threegame stretch. In four other games, he managed just one tackle in each. In two others, he posted just two tackles in each effort. The East-West Shrine Game brought out the best from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision ranks – Stony Brook’s Victor Ochi. Like Perry, Ochi is a liability in pass coverage. And while his overall numbers are impressive – 47 tackles, 13 sacks (second in the FCS) and 16.5 stops-for-loss — he only generated one QB pressure. Ochi is streaky, and disappears from the field for long stretches of time. Of his totals already mentioned, 23 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 10 stops-for-loss came in just three games. He’s also not the most instinctive player, as he is prone to jumping offside and piled up six flagrant penalties in just ten games last season.

THE NFL DRAFT REPORT EXAMINES THE TOP EIGHT “ELEPHANT” PROSPECTS IN THE 2016 DRAFT CLASS Based on their 2015 season performances, this report features a statistical breakdown of the top eight draft-eligible defenders who are regarded as hybrid defensive end/ linebacker candidates. That position is often referred to as Elephant; Leo, Stud or Bandit, but no matter what it is called by respective teams, all are looking for that playmaker to emerge and take control at that position. Based on recent discussions within the scouting industry, The NFL Draft Report has identified eight such defenders in the 2016 draft class that could develop at this position in the National Football League. This research features each athlete’s performance in detailed categories, based on game averages or percentage of plays; HYBRID/ELEPHANT TAKE OF THE TAPE PLAYER

SCHOOL

CLASS HEIGHT WEIGHT 40-YD

CORREA, Kamalei FACKRELL, Kyler FLOYD, Leonard JENKINS, Jordan NICOLAS, Dadi OCHI, Victor PERRY, Joshua SPENCE, Noah

Boise State

JR

06:03.1

247

4.78

Utah State

rSR

06:05.0

250

4.74

Georgia

rJR

06:03.2

232

4.73

Georgia

SR

06:02.3

253

4.64

Virginia Tech

rSR

06:02.5

236

4.48

Stony Brook, NY

SR

06:01.6

241

4.70

Ohio State

SR

06:03.5

254

4.67

Eastern Kentucky

rJR

06:02.6

255

4.68

FINAL REPORT CARD PLAYER

GP

AR RK

AP RK

NP RK PP

RK PTS RK

CORREA, Kamalei FACKRELL, Kyler FLOYD, Leonard JENKINS, Jordan NICOLAS, Dadi OCHI, Victor PERRY, Joshua SPENCE, Noah AVERAGE

13

038

07

037 05

008 03

003

08

13

051

02

045 02

004 07

009 02

109

13

037

08

037 05

005 06

006 05

085 07

12

045 04

041

03

009 02

005 06

100

04

13

049 03

041

03

010

01

007

107

03

10

042 06

033 07

007

04

004 07

086 05

13

045 04

029 08

003

08

008 03

085 07

11

060 01

051

006 05

010

12.3

45.9

40.5

06.5

06.5

01

04

01

086 05

127

02

01

98.1

NOTABLE: This chart lists statistics compiled by each defensive lineman during their respective seasons... AR indicates points scored in the above Against the Run Comparison category... AP indicates points scored Against the Pass Performance Chart category... NP indicates points scored in the above Negative Plays Charged category... PP indicates points scored in the above Positive Plays Charged category... PTS indicates total points scored from all these categories... RK indicates final ranking, based on total points scored.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

While we are stopping here, Dave-Te’ goes into tremendous statistical detail on each of these individual categories (against the run, against the pass, etc.). If you want to dig much deeper on these players, check out the rest of this article at THE NFL DRAFT REPORT.

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HE REMINDS ME OF... 2016 NFL DRAFT

AUTHOR:

"PIGSKIN PAUL" GUILLEMETTE We’re heading down the home stretch for NFL Draftniks. The Combine is in the books and Pro Days are underway around the nation. While no two players are identical, let’s take a look at some prospects who remind me quite a bit of present and former NFL players. Perhaps some of these comparisons will help you picture how a player might fit in at the next level.

GERONIMO ALLISON WR, ILLINOIS (6'3"/196) HE REMINDS ME OF...

DEFOREST BUCKNER DE, OREGON (6'7"/291) HE REMINDS ME OF...

ALLEN HURNS WR, JACKSONVILLE (6'3"/195)

CALAIS CAMPBELL DE, ARIZONA (6'8"/300)

Two years ago, the Jaguars signed undrafted WR Allen Hurns — a Florida collegian — to supplement their training camp roster. Arguably the team’s leading pre-season receiver, a couple of injuries soon opened up a roster spot for Hurns. Since then, he’s been a solid No.3 target, good for three or four touches per game. Although I believe Allison will be drafted in April, it may not be until Saturday (rounds 4-7). Both players are long, lanky receivers with good hands and wide receiving radiuses for their QB to throw to. Despite a lack of great speed, they’re both quite capable of gaining separation from defenders. Allison should make a nice option, much like Hurns, for an NFL passing attack.

As Bill Parcells used to say, “size cannot be taught.” Calais Campbell has been an impact defender in the NFL, relying on his length and strength to disrupt offenses. DeForest Bucker is the highest ranking draft prospect I have seen with those same attributes in the past decade. Like Campbell, he is so long that he can affect blocking assignments in place-kicking situations. As a point of fact, Buckner set a combine record this year with the largest hand spread ever measured, at 11¾”. Expect him to be drafted in the top ten, and to excel in any defensive scheme.

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KENNETH DIXON RB, LA TECH (5'10"/215) HE REMINDS ME OF...

DERRICK HENRY RB, ALABAMA (6'2"/247) HE REMINDS ME OF...

FRANK GORE RB, INDIANAPOLIS (5'9"/217)

BRANDON JACOBS RB, NY GIANTS (6'4"/264)

Quickness, vision and balance make these players ideally suited for the NFL. Throw in their ability to catch the ball and block in pass-protection, and you have the equation for a three-down RB in the pro game. Frank Gore, now with the Colts, has been somewhat underrated by fans for much of his career. He has toted the rock for over 12,000 yards in his 11 years in the NFL. Dixon may not last as long, with nearly 900 collegiate touches already, but even giving an NFL team five or six years of Gore-like production is well worth a Top 100 Draft Pick.

Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, has many talent evaluators confused by his tall, pounding running style, which is out of step with today’s NFL. In fact, he is more reminiscent of NFL runners from 50 years ago, when fullbacks like Jim Brown and Jim Taylor carried the ball more than the halfbacks. After a bit of head scratching, I think Brandon Jacobs is a good comparison. Jacobs had a nine-year career in the NFL and did most of his damage between 2007-2010, gaining 3,700 yards with almost 5 yards-per-carry. Henry is a lower target than Jacobs, but can really get rolling once past the line-of-scrimmage. Like Jacobs, not many DB’s or LB’s will want to try to take him down. He needs to prove he can catch the ball effectively and improve his blocking, but the blue print is there for a guy like Henry to gain yards, even in today’s NFL.

JALEN RAMSEY DB, FLORIDA STATE (6'1"/209)

KENNAN REYNOLDS ATH, NAVY (5'9"/191)

HE REMINDS ME OF...

HE REMINDS ME OF...

RONNIE LOTT DB, SAN FRANSISCO (6'1"/203)

JULIAN EDELMAN WR, NEW ENGLAND (5'10"/200)

It’s always dangerous to compare a rookie prospect to an NFL Hall of Famer, but I think Jalen Ramsey is as athletic and talented as Ronnie Lott. Like Lott, he has the combination of size and speed to play either cornerback or safety, though he’s likely to create more turnovers as a safety. It’s hard to conceive that he will be as vicious a hitter as was Lott, but he’s aggressive to the ball and likes to punish receivers. Ramsey is also aggressive in run support, whether lined up on the corner or in the box. I’m not projecting Ramsey to Canton just yet, but he is clearly a special prospect.

Keenan Reynolds is certainly much more known coming out of college than was Julian Edelman, but I find both their game and skills to be startlingly alike. Many are currently projecting Reynolds to the RB position, but I can see him in the “Edelman role” of receiver and return specialist. Like Edelman, his quickness and elusiveness after the catch could make him quite exciting as a pro, and his determination on the football field cannot be questioned. In fact, assuming that Bill Belichick has a few extra picks late in the draft, I could see Reynolds wearing a Patriots uniform at next summer’s training camp. While some worry that his military commitment will keep him from playing in the NFL, the Armed Services understand the publicity positives of an NFL player being used in recruitment programs. There is a chance that Reynolds’ name is stuck at the bottom end of a roster for a year or so while coaches identify the best fit for his talents as a pro. But like Edelman, he may explode as a weapon in time.

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STERLING SHEPARD WR/RS, OKLAHOMA (5'10"/194) HE REMINDS ME OF...

MICHAEL THOMAS WR, OHIO STATE (6'3"/212) HE REMINDS ME OF...

RANDALL COBB WR, GREEN BAY (5'10"/192)

CHRIS CARTER WR, MINNESOTA (6'3"/208)

During NFL Network’s coverage of the combine, Mike Mayock talked about Sterling Shepard as being the next Randall Cobb. I knew I couldn’t be only guy who saw similarities in their overall size, versatility, quickness and elusiveness — they are mirror images of each other. Shepard will be a jackknife weapon for an NFL team with a creative offensive coordinator. Like Cobb, he should be valuable as a return specialist, out in the slot, in motion from the backfield and of course running reverses and trick plays. It’s his quickness, not straightline speed, that will make him such a valuable, dangerous offensive weapon.

While Chris Carter ended up a Hall of Famer, his first few years in the league were rocky. He had good size and dependable hands but was not very fast. High pointing the ball seemed to be his one talent. A couple of years and a new coaching staff later, and he began producing. His speed never increased but precise route running, toe tapping on the sidelines, downfield blocking and the feeling that every jump ball was his combined to make him a star. That is exactly the formula that Michael Thomas will need to use to succeed as a pro. His 4.57 40 time at the combine confirmed his speed limitations, but 10½” hands and being almost 6’3” will help him replicate what Carter did if he works hard enough.

LAQUON TREADWELL WR, OLE MISS (6'2"/221)

LAREMY TUNSIL OT, OLE MISS (6'5"/310)

HE REMINDS ME OF...

HE REMINDS ME OF...

LARRY FITZGERALD WR, ARIZONA (6'3"/218)

D'BRICKASHAW FERGUSON OT, NY JETS (6'6"/310)

I clearly recall that the lean Fitzgerald was always listed a few inches taller than he really was in college at Pitt. But despite being 6’3” instead of 6’5”, his long arms and jumping ability still allow him to be elite as a pro. Treadwell is similar in build and equally productive. He chose not to run at the combine, but no one expects him to post a blazing 40 time. Like Fitzgerald, his game is length — the ability to locate the ball in the air and run to it, catching with very soft hands. He can also juke and jive defenders after he makes the catch. He’s likely the top all-around WO in the 2016 draft, and I project career success similar to Fitzgerald over time. I should also point out that Treadwell has earned high praise from his coaches as a great locker room guy and teammate. That also sounds a lot like Larry.

Tunsil is the rock-star at OL in the 2016 draft, just like D'Brickashaw Ferguson was coming out of Virginia a decade ago. While linemen tend to disappear in the pro game, only gaining pub if they falter, Ferguson has been a rock at left tackle for the Jets — a solid all-around player in both the running game and pass pro for 10 seasons. Tunsil might be a bit more athletic than Ferguson, but their style of play is very similar. They rely on technique and athleticism as opposed to brute force. In today’s NFL, that style of play is preferred. Tunsil also has the arm length (34¼”) and hand size (10”) that allows him to keep blockers away from his body and steer them away from the QB in pass-pro. You will seldom see either of these two players on the ground. No matter which team drafts him, expect Tunsil to be a plug and play guy from day one.

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NICK VANNETT TE, OHIO STATE (6'5"/256) HE REMINDS ME OF...

JIHAD WARD DE, ILLINOIS (6'5"/297) HE REMINDS ME OF...

KYLE RUDOLPH TE, MINNESOTA (6'6"/265)

MALIK JACKSON DE, DENVER (6'5"/297)

Vannett was a hidden gem on an Ohio State team that has been deep at the TE slot for quite some time. He produced when called upon, but was never in a position to showcase as a Buckeye. But he enhanced his pro prospects during Senior Bowl week, confirming his blocking ability and displaying good hands as a receiver. He showed an ability to get open down the middle and run over a few folks, which is exactly what Kyle Rudolph has done with the Vikings. Rudolph was featured more than Vannett as a receiver in college, but their frames and skill sets appear very similar to me.

A year ago, Malik Jackson was just another guy in the Broncos DL rotation. But after the recent Super Bowl run, I think most NFL fans are aware of how significant the 3-4 DE has become as a compliment to Von Miller and Demarcus Ware. A big part of Jackson’s success is due to a relentless motor as well as very long arms and active hands. Ward is also a very long player with arms that measured 33 7/8”, on top of his 6’051” height. He has shown position versatility during his college and JC careers, but like Jackson his best chance to excel as a pro will be with a team that uses a 3-4 scheme.

"HE REMINDS ME OF" RECAP 1) GERONIMO ALLISON WR, ILLINOIS (6'3"/196)................................ALLEN HURNS WR, JACKSONVILLE (6'3"/195) 2) DEFOREST BUCKNER DE, OREGON (6'7"/291)...............................CALAIS CAMPBELL DE, ARIZONA (6'8"/300) 3) KENNETH DIXON RB, LA TECH (5'10"/215)...........................................FRANK GORE RB, INDIANAPOLIS (5'9"/217) 4) DERRICK HENRY RB, ALABAMA (6'2"/247)........................................BRANDON JACOBS RB, NY GIANTS (6'4"/264) 5) JALEN RAMSEY DB, FLORIDA STATE (6'1"/209).................................RONNIE LOTT DB, SAN FRANSISCO (6'1"/203) 6) KENNAN REYNOLDS ATH, NAVY (5'9"/191).....................................JULIAN EDELMAN WR, NEW ENGLAND (5'10"/200) 7) STERLING SHEPARD WR/RS, OKLAHOMA (5'10"/194).................RANDALL COBB WR, GREEN BAY (5'10"/192) 8) MICHAEL THOMAS WR, OHIO STATE (6'3"/212)................................CHRIS CARTER WR, MINNESOTA (6'3"/208) 9) LAQUON TREADWELL WR, OLE MISS (6'2"/221)...........................LARRY FITZGERALD WR, ARIZONA (6'3"/218) 10) LAREMY TUNSIL OT, OLE MISS (6'5"/310)...........................................D'BRICKASHAW FERGUSON OT, NY JETS (6'6"/310) 11) NICK VANNETT TE, OHIO STATE (6'5"/256)..........................................KYLE RUDOLPH TE, MINNESOTA (6'6"/265) 12) JIHAD WARD DE, ILLINOIS (6'5"/297).......................................................MALIK JACKSON DE, DENVER (6'5"/297) CHEESEHEADTV.COM 2016 PRO FOOTBALL DRAFT GUIDE

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AUTHOR:

POST COMBINE TOP 100 PROSPECTS

"PIGSKIN PAUL" GUILLEMETTE

1) Laremy Tunsil (OT, Ole Miss) 2) Jalen Ramsey (DB, Florida St.) 3) Joey Bosa (DE/ER, Ohio State) 4) Ezekiel Elliott (RB, Ohio State) 5) Myles Jack (LB, UCLA) 6) Deforest Buckner (DE, Oregon) 7) Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota St.) 8) Jared Goff (QB, Cal) 9) A'shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama) 10) Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)

51) Chris Hackenberg (QB, Penn State) 52) Michael Thomas (WR, Ohio State) 53) Kamalei Correa (OLB, Boise State) 54) Sterling Shepard (WR, Oklahoma) 55) Jonathan Bullard (DL, Florida) 56) Chris Jones (DT, Miss State) 57) Ryan Kelly (OC, Alabama) 58) Vonn Bell (S, Ohio State) 59) Germain Ifedi (OT, Texas A&M) 60) Deion Jones (LB, LSU)

11) Ronnie Stanley (OT, Notre Dame) 12) Vernon Hargreaves (CB, Florida) 13) Robert Nkemdiche (DT, Ole Miss) 14) Darron Lee (LB, Ohio State) 15) Jack Conklin (OT, Michigan State) 16) Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama) 17) Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis) 18) Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Oklahoma State) 19) Derrick Henry (RB, Alabama) 20) Will Fuller (WR, Notre Dame)

61) Kenneth Dixon (RB, LA Tech) 62) Austin Hooper (TE, Stanford) 63) Shon Coleman (OT, Auburn) 64) Darian Thompson (S, Boise State) 65) Joshua Perry (LB, Ohio State) 66) Pharoh Cooper (WR, South Carolina) 67) Bronson Kaufusi (DE, BYU) 68) Jonathan Jones (CB, Auburn) 69) Miles Killebrew (S, Southern Utah) 70) Will Redmond (CB, Miss State)

21) Reggie Ragland (ILB, Alabama) 22) Josh Doctson (WR, TCU) 23) Kevin Dodd (DE, Clemson) 24) Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State) 25) Andrew Billings (DT, Baylor) 26) Taylor Decker (OT, Ohio State) 27) Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor) 28) William Jackson (CB, Houston) 29) Vernon Butler (DT, Louisiana Tech) 30) Hunter Henry (TE, Arkansas)

71) Jeremy Cash (S, Duke) 72) Jordan Jenkins (ER/OLB, Georgia) 73) Carl Nassib (DE, Penn State) 74) Artie Burns (CB, Miami) 75) Nick Vannett (TE, Ohio State) 76) Shawn Oakman (DE, Baylor) 77) T.J. Green (S, Clemson) 78) Deandre Houston-Carson (S, William & Mary) 79) Javon Hargrave (DT, SC State) 80) Leonte Caroo (WR, Rutgers)

31) Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson) 32) Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville) 33) Kenny Clark (DT, UCLA) 34) Jason Spriggs (OT, Indiana) 35) Shaq Lawson (ER/DE, Clemson) 36) Braxton Miller (WR, Ohio State) 37) Su'a Cravens (LB, USC) 38) Karl Jospeh (S, West Virginia) 39) Connor Cook (QB, Michigan State) 40) Keyarris Garrett (WR, Tulsa)

81) Dak Prescott (QB, Miss State) 82) Maliek Collins (DT, Nebraska) 83) Nick Martin (OC, Notre Dame) 84) Kenyon Drake (RB, Alabama) 85) Dominique Alexander (LB, Oklahoma) 86) Jihad Ward (DE, Illinois) 87) Sheldon Day (DT, Notre Dame) 88) Jamal Golden (S, Georgia Tech) 89) Cardale Jones (QB, Ohio State) 90) Shilique Calhoun (ER/LB, Michigan State)

41) Austin Johnson (DT, Penn State) 42) Leonard Floyd (OLB, Georgia) 43) Noah Spence (ER/DE, East Kentucky) 44) Tyler Boyd (WR, Pitt) 45) Adolphus Washington (DT, Ohio State) 46) Kendall Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech) 47) Cody Whitehair (OG, Kansas State) 48) Alex Collins (RB, Arkansas) 49) Joshua Garnett (OG, Stanford) 50) *Jaylon Smith (LB, Notre Dame)

91) Cyrus Jones (CB/RS, Alabama) 92) Chris Westerman (OG, Arizona State) 93) C.J. Prosise (RB, Notre Dame) 94) Malcolm Mitchell (WR, Georgia) 95) Nick Vigil (LB, Utah State) 96) Marquez North (WR, Tennessee) 97) Antonio Morrison (LB, Florida) 98) Keith Marshall (RB, Georgia) 99) Jerell Adams (TE, South Carolina) 100) Paul Perkins (RB, UCLA)

Please note that *JAYLON SMITH/LB has been slotted at No. 50 because there is serious doubt about his ability to return to form after a devastating knee injury suffered in Notre Dame's Bowl Game. He was a Top 10 talent, but now his career is clouded ala WILLIS McGAHEE/RB & MARCUS LATTIMORE/RB before him, who had polar opposite recoveries. Whoever might draft him probably faces at least a full "red shirt" season even if he miraculously is able to rehab and play again.

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2016 MOCK DRAFT AUTHOR:

ANDREW GARDA Due to penalties resulting from “Deflategate,” the New England Patriots have no first round pick. Denver and Carolina’s picks have moved up.

1. Tennessee Titans LAREMY TUNSIL, OT, OLE MISS With Marcus Mariota settling their quarterback position, the Titans need to settle the offensive line blocking for him. Taylor Lewan is fine, but you need bookend tackles in today’s NFL. Tunsil’s athleticism and ability allow him to play left or right tackle. 2. Cleveland Browns JARED GOFF, QB, CAL This could change with the recent addition of Robert Griffin III via free agency, but even that is likely no more than a placeholder. It’s between Goff and Carson Wentz, and Cleveland will likely go with the more pro-ready guy in Goff, so he can step right in with minimal headaches. 3. San Diego Chargers JALEN RAMSEY, DB, FLORIDA Exit Eric Weddle, enter Jalen Ramsey —an athletic safety with tremendous size and coverage ability. The Chargers could also go with a pass rusher, but with Ramsey’s size and build, he could even move into a linebacker position in a pinch. 4. Dallas Cowboys JOEY BOSA, DE, OHIO STATE It’s popular to go quarterback here, but that likely won’t happen. Dallas has serious issues in their front seven, with Greg Hardy gone and Randy Gregory suspended. Bosa can step right in and have an impact. And unlike Hardy and Gregory, Joey Bosa comes with a clean record. 5. Jacksonville Jaguars DEFOREST BUCKNER, DL, OREGON The Jaguars have the foundation of a good team but they need to keep building, especially on defense. Buckner can play both inside and out, and his size and strength can anchor against the run. His pass rush moves are still raw, but the sky is the limit for him. 6. Baltimore Ravens RONNIE STANLEY, OT, NOTRE DAME Stanley is still refining his technique, but his size and overall athleticism more than make up for it. Eugene Monroe wasn’t

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very effective last season and the team has to do a much better job of protecting quarterback Joe Flacco. Stanley would be a great addition to the group. 7. San Francisco 49ers CARSON WENTZ, QB, NORTH DAKOTA STATE Even if Colin Kaepernick stays in San Francisco, Chip Kelly will likely want to bring in his own guy. While raw, Wentz has shown the athleticism and throwing ability to be a nice fit for Kelly’s offensive scheme. His mobility will be a big help as well. If there is one knock here, it’s that he can struggle in big games, and gets antsy behind the line. Hopefully, that’s something that can be fixed, because his upside is huge. 8. Philadelphia Eagles TAYLOR DECKER, OT, OHIO STATE Given recent history — like Todd Gurley’s selection at 10th overall — a new head coach and the departure of Demarco Murray, Philadelphia may be tempted by a running back here. But I just don’t see the Eagles doing it. The biggest link on the offensive line, Jason Peters, is aging rapidly and in need of replacement. Decker can easily be that guy. 9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers VERNON HARGREAVES III, CB, FLORIDA Tampa Bay needs defensive back help, especially at corner. Hargreaves can not only defend the run, but aid in coverage and cover receivers himself. Having a safety that can help contain Cam Newton one week and lock down Julio Jones the next is critical to the continued growth of Tampa Bay. 10. New York Giants MYLES JACK, OLB, UCLA The Giants have spent lavishly in free agency with Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Jason Pierre-Paul. Even still, their linebackers are a mess. Myles Jack is an impact player who is great in pursuit and shows excellent awareness in coverage. He is too good to pass on here. 11. Chicago Bears SHELDON RANKINS, DT, LOUISVILLE The Bears added a pair of linebackers in free agency in Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan, and traded for defensive end Aiken Hicks. But the defense still needs work

19


2016 MOCK DRAFT

CONTINUED...

along the front line. Rankins is an excellent run defender, and has improved as a pass rusher each year at Louisville. He’s potential multi-technique player, but may fit best at the three technique. 12. New Orleans Saints A’SHAWN ROBINSON, DT, ALABAMA The Saints are still digging out from the apocalypse that was Rob Ryan’s tenure —have fun, Buffalo! —and there are holes all over the place. Football Outsiders DVOA rating has them ranked as 27 against the run and Robinson is a beast in run defense, even if he has work to do against the pass. 13. Miami Dolphins DARRON LEE, OLB, OHIO STATE After letting their best defensive player, Olivier Vernon, leave, the Dolphins will need someone to replace him in the pass rush. Darron Lee has only played two full seasons at linebacker and has huge upside, showing tremendous natural instincts and an explosive tackling ability. 14. Oakland Raiders ELI APPLE, CB, OHIO STATE The Raiders made tremendous strides in many areas over the past few seasons, but the secondary remains a big mess. Adding Sean Smith helped, but Eli Apple would make the cornerback position much stronger. A physical corner who isn’t shy about jamming at the line or lending a hand against the run, Apple will get more consistent with age. 15. Los Angeles Rams PAXTON LYNCH, QB, MEMPHIS A potential landing spot for a free agent quarterback, in which case I could see going with a receiver or linebacker. Otherwise, quarterback seems a natural selection here. Even if Lynch is a distant third to Wentz and Goff, he’s got all the raw skills and traits to be a starter. His speed and build make him a mobile threat while his durability will be a nice change of pace for a team that suffered through so many Sam Bradford injuries. 16. Detroit Lions SHAQ LAWSON, DE, CLEMSON The lazy pick here is a wide receiver, but that seems unlikely even despite the retirement of Calvin Johnson. The Lions have DE Ziggy Ansah, but they still need to make up for the departures of three key defenders —Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril and Nick Fairley —to keep pace in the division. Lawson is very productive and will develop into a dominant player against both run and pass.

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17. Atlanta Falcons REGGIE RAGLAND, ILB, ALABAMA The Falcons need more talent on defense. Ragland could fill the void in the middle of the field, helping slow the bleeding on the ground as well as occasionally getting into the backfield on pass plays. He has a sharp first step and does a good job shedding blocks, but can get fooled on play-action by looking into the backfield for too long. 18. Indianapolis Colts ROBERT NKEMDICHE, DT/DE, OLE MISS The Colts still need offensive line help, but there’s value here to address another big need—defensive front seven. Nkemdiche can play defensive end or tackle, but it’s the edge where the Colts need help. He has the strength and athleticism to get around the edge but is also a good run stopper. 19. Buffalo Bills LEONARD FLOYD, DE, GEORGIA Buffalo’s defense was an unmitigated disaster in 2015. Rex Ryan and his new defensive coordinator —brother Rob —have their work cut out for them. With the departure of DE Mario Williams, they could turn to Leonard Floyd. The Georgia Bulldog brings speed off the edge, the agility to get around blockers and the motor to run down a quarterback, running back or receiver. 20. New York Jets NOAH SPENCE, DE/OLB, EASTERN KENTUCKY Spence has top-ten talent as a pass rusher, but his off-field issues —kicked out of Ohio State and the Big Ten for drug violations —could drop his draft stock. He’s been upfront about his issues though, which could be enough for Jets head coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan. If his head is on straight, he’s an absolute steal for a team desperate for pass rushing ability. 21. Washington Redskins MACKENSIE ALEXANDER, CB, CLEMSON Washington’s secondary has been a disaster for years and must be addressed. While he’s undersized, Mackensie Alexander has great technique and man-cover skills. He lives in the film room, as well —adjusting his game and constantly improving. 22. Houston Texans LAQUON TREADWELL, WR, OLE MISS While their new toy, Brock Osweiler, will spend most of his time throwing to DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans still need more weapons for him. Arguably the top receiver in the draft,

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Treadwell’s size and ball-grabbing ability would be a great counterbalance to Hopkins’ speed and agility. With Hopkins going long, Treadwell would feast on shorter routes and across the middle. 23. Minnesota Vikings COREY COLEMAN, WR, BAYLOR The Vikings need a deep threat, especially with Mike Wallace gone. The question is, will they address that need here? Norv Turner will run Adrian Peterson into the ground.That, along with the offensive line issues, has limited Teddy Bridgewater’s opportunities to stretch the field. That said, the team signed Andre Smith to solidify the line and Turner is supposed to call more vertical plays, in which case Coleman’s speed would be a huge asset. 24. Cincinnati Bengals ANDREW BILLINGS, DT, BAYLOR Cincinnati needs a lineman who can get up field, and Billings is a brawler who is an absolute beast in the middle of the field. He can toss blockers aside to disrupt plays in the backfield, and has the versatility to line up as a one-technique or a nose tackle. 25. Pittsburgh Steelers VONN BELL, S, OHIO STATE With Will Allen a free agent, and only an adequate replacement in Robert Golden, the Steelers may take one of the top safeties on the board. While not quite the desired height (just 5’11”), Von Bell plays bigger and has done well in mancoverage. He needs to improve his tackling technique, but he’s excellent against the run. 26. Seattle Seahawks JACK CONKLIN, OT, MICHIGAN STATE With Russell Okung in Denver, JR Sweezy in Tampa Bay and Alvin Bailey in Cleveland, a shaky Seahawks offensive line has gotten even shakier. The team has functioned with offensive line play as an afterthought, but they can’t ignore it anymore. Jack Conklin is an aggressive, tough tackle with great technique and nice athleticism for a guy his size. Seattle needs a bully on the offensive line and Conklin fits the bill. 27. Green Bay Packers JARRAN REED, DT, ALABAMA Even with Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion still in the house, the Packers need help in the interior. Jarran Reed is a great fit to improve a mediocre run defense (Football Outsiders

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ranks the run defense at 19). Inside linebacker is a bigger need, but with Reggie Ragland off the board, reaching for the next guy may not be worth it. 28. Kansas City Chiefs WILLIAM JACKSON III, CB, HOUSTON The Chiefs need another cornerback. Phil Gaines is coming off knee surgery, and while Jamell Fleming and Steven Nelson are adequate, they’re not good enough to check the position off as secure. The Chiefs are aware they can’t survive in this league with a mediocre secondary, and while Jackson isn’t considered a first rounder by some, his height, length and speed will make him attractive, and the Chiefs may bite. 29. Arizona Cardinals RYAN KELLY, C, ALABAMA Arizona looks like it did a much better job protecting Carson Palmer (just 27 sacks) until you dig deeper and count quarterback hits. Their 103 QB hits allowed was terrible, and Palmer is too old to take that pounding. A fair amount of that pressure came up the middle. Ryan Kelly is an outstanding center, and while this is a very deep class, the Cardinals shouldn’t mess around. Kelly went his last two years without allowing a sack and is great both on run and pass plays. 30. Carolina Panthers EMMANUEL OGBAH, DE, OKLAHOMA With Charles Johnson returning, this is somewhat of a luxury pick. Emmanuel Ogbah could be the future of the DE position and provide help once Johnson’s one-year contract is done. While still working on technique and lacking the high-end explosiveness teams usually look for, Ogbah makes up for that with a high motor and true speed, power and upside. He he has barely scratched the surface of his potential. 31. Denver Broncos VERNON BUTLER, DT, LOUISIANA TECH The word around the Broncos is that if Paxton Lynch falls, that’s the pick. But in the case that he isn’t available, and with Malik Jackson leaving for Jacksonville, defensive tackle should be a big target. Vernon Butler is versatile, having line up all over the defensive front in college, shifting from threetechnique to five-technique and occasionally lining up at the nose. Defensive/nose tackle is a productive position in a Wade Phillips defense, and Butler has the ability to step in and take advantage of that immediately.

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TEAM NEEDS AUTHOR:

ZACH KRUSE

GREEN BAY PACKERS (10–6) 2015 SEASON RECAP:

One of the most frustrating seasons in the Mike McCarthyAaron Rodgers era ended in familiar fashion, as the Packers dropped out of the postseason on the game’s final play for the third straight season—and the fifth time in McCarthy’s tenure. The road to the overtime loss in Arizona included a 6-0 start, a 4-1 stretch in November and back-to-back defeats to end the regular season. The Packers finished 10-6 and lost the NFC North for the first time since 2010. Green Bay’s annually productive offense couldn’t shake the loss of Jordy Nelson, the inconsistency of Eddie Lacy or the injury issues of the offensive line. The season ended short of the ultimate goal, but 2015 will always be remembered for not one, but two Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary’s—one to beat the Detroit Lions in week 13, and another to send a wild NFC Divisional Round game into overtime in Arizona.

linebacker would do just fine. While GM Ted Thompson doesn’t seem to see the position as hugely important, he has little choice but to upgrade it in this draft. The Packers should also be expected to take advantage of a draft class brimming with defensive line talent, especially with B.J. Raji unexpectedly retiring. A nose guard and 5-technique are both viable options early. On offense, the Packers have to get better at attacking the middle of the field. Insurance on Jared Cook as a seambusting tight end makes sense, as does a running back with the ability to create mismatches in the passing game. Given last year’s nightmare of injuries, and with LT David Bahktairi entering a contract year, offensive tackle depth is another need. The roster doesn’t feature any glaring holes, but Thompson still has imperfections to smooth over in the draft. 2016 OUTLOOK:

KEY PLAYERS

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw 31 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, but he still finished the 2015 season with new career lows in passer rating, yards per attempt and completion percentage. Receiver Randall Cobb struggled as a No. 1 target without Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy battled weight issues and all five starters on the offensive line were injured in some way. Though the offense struggled, the defense progressed. Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Mike Daniels highlighted an improved front seven, while youngsters HaHa Clinton-Dix, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins flashed sky-high potential in the secondary. Green Bay still has a roster many in the NFL should envy. HELP WANTED AD:

The Packers have talent at quarterback, offensive line, passrusher and in the secondary, giving Mike McCarthy’s team all the ingredients necessary to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender in 2016. Next season could be a very important one for McCarthy, who too often struggled to push the right buttons in 2015. It was staggering to watch the offense sputter so regularly, even once the head coach reclaimed play-calling duties. He’ll lack excuses to start next season. A team with Aaron Rodgers and a defense trending in the right direction should be expected to make the postseason and enjoy a deep run into January. Next February will be six years since the Packers won Super Bowl XLV, and Rodgers, who turns 33 in December, isn’t getting any younger. Green Bay’s championship window is still wide open, but the postseason shortcomings are starting to add up.

Coach Mike McCarthy’s desire to move Clay Matthews back to the outside linebacker position vaults inside linebacker to the top of the of Green Bay’s wanted ad. The defense could really use a three-down linebacker capable of playing both the run and pass, though a less versatile enforcer-type

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TEAM NEEDS: NFC NORTH CONTINUED...

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-5) RECAP:

KEY PLAYERS:

The Vikings won the NFC North, ending the Packers’ four-year run atop the division. Mike Zimmer’s club improved from 7-9 in 2014 to 11-5 last season, with a win at Lambeau Field in Week 17 clinching the division crown. Minnesota’s promising season eventually went up in flames when, with 22 seconds remaining in the NFC Wild Card Round, Blair Walsh’s 27-yard go-ahead field goal attempt hooked wide left.

RB Adrian Peterson, LB Anthony Barr, DE Everson Griffen

HELP WANTED:

Minnesota went to work on the offensive line—the team’s biggest weakness—during free agency, signing guard Alex Boone and tackle Andre Smith, while also restructuring the contract of tackle Phil Loadholt. Even still, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Vikings further addressed the offensive line in the draft. The Vikings could also use another receiver after dumping Mike Wallace. Zimmer’s defense has very few holes, but he may still look for more pieces, especially up front and at safety.

2016 OUTLOOK:

With a dominant defense and a young quarterback, the Vikings appear built for the long haul. The next step is ascending from a first-time playoff team to a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Minnesota’s defense is already championship quality, but the offense—and most notably the passing game—still has catching up to do. Its on Teddy Bridgewater to make the Vikings’ more dynamic in 2016. If Minnesota can pair a more consistent passing game with running back Adrian Peterson and Zimmer’s defense, the sky is limit for the Vikings’ first season in US Bank Stadium.

DETROIT LIONS (7-9) RECAP:

KEY PLAYERS:

A year after winning 11 games and making the postseason, the Lions regressed by finishing just 7-9. Detroit lost its first five games and seven of its first eight, all before salvaging the wreck with a 6-2 stretch over the second half of the season. The Lions haven’t made the playoffs in back-to-back years since 1994-95.

QB Matthew Stafford, DE Ziggy Ansah, CB Darius Slay

HELP WANTED:

The unexpected retirement of Calvin Johnson created a gaping hole at receiver. Signing Marvin Jones away from Cincinnati should help, but he alone can’t replace Megatron’s once-in-a-generation impact. The Lions may also target an offensive tackle to pair with Riley Reiff, who can play on either side. On defense, Detroit should be in the market for help at cornerback, linebacker and defensive end. Getting better in the trenches—on both sides of the football—will be a priority.

2016 OUTLOOK:

Detroit’s 6-2 finish—which included Green Bay’s Hail Mary win at Ford Field—should provide an aura of confidence heading into the 2016 season. The offense clicked under coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, while the defense gave up 21 or fewer points six times over the final eight games. Losing Calvin Johnson from the equation hurts, but there’s enough talent on both sides of the ball for the Lions to remain competitive next season. Just how good Detroit is will likely depend on the mercurial quarterbacking of Matthew Stafford.

CHICAGO BEARS (6-10) RECAP:

KEY PLAYERS:

Chicago’s first season under new coach John Fox was one of transition. Significant roster turnover helped rebuild the failed culture left over from former GM Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman. Despite winning just six games, the Bears were far more competitive in 2015. A victory at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night spoiled Brett Favre’s number unveiling ceremony.

QB Jay Cutler, LB Pernell McPhee, WR Alshon Jeffery

HELP WANTED:

The Bears fixed their biggest need by adding inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman in free agency. General manager Ryan Pace also signed defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and offensive tackle Bobby Massie, leaving pass rusher as the team’s weakest area. The Bears could easily add more talent along both offensive and defensive lines, while losing Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett leaves them suddenly short on playmakers, as well. Could a developmental quarterback be in play?

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2016 OUTLOOK:

Contending for the playoffs should be the requirement for any second-year head coach. That said, the Bears’ rebuild under Fox is still far from complete. In fact, Chicago looks like it is missing too many pieces to truly challenge the Packers and Vikings at the top of the division. Taking away Forte and Bennett won’t do Jay Cutler any favors, and the Bears defense probably isn’t ready to carry the team. Any record at or near .500 would be a good 2016 in Chicago.

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TEAM NEEDS: NFC CONTINUED...

WASHINGTON

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

NEW YORK GIANTS

ARIZONA CARDINALS

General manager Scot McCloughan sniffed around the defensive line in free agency but failed to land an impact player. Washington will eventually need to provide reinforcements in the secondary, where safety and cornerback are both problem areas. Running back and center could also be primary target positions.

Moving away from Chip Kelly has created some holes in Philadelphia, particularly at linebacker, cornerback and running back. The Eagles’ biggest need is still probably at guard, despite the signing of Brandon Brooks. Receiver is another potential draft target.

The Giants were among the most active teams in free agency, spending over $200 million on four of the market’s most prized free agents. The defense still isn’t fixed, especially at linebacker and safety. On offense, New York needs depth up front and help for Odell Beckham at receiver.

DALLAS COWBOYS

Already thin in the secondary, the Dallas defense might lose more depth if cornerback Brandon Carr is released. The Cowboys also need more talent in the front four after moving on from self-destructive defensive end Greg Hardy. Quarterback and running back are the wild cards.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

The NFC champions need to continue surrounding MVP Cam Newton with help, as his offensive tackles and receivers mostly let him down in the Super Bowl. Carolina could also get younger at safety and running back as well, with Jonathan Stewart turning 29 this season.

ATLANTA FALCONS

A promising start to the 2015 season didn’t last, mostly because the Falcons weren’t talented enough at any level of their defense. Adding another pass-rusher should be a priority. Head coach Dan Quinn also requires help at linebacker and safety.

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No team has given up more points over the last two seasons than the Saints—there are needs all over this defense. New Orleans could realistically target any position on defense in the draft, but they also need to find a few new playmakers for aging quarterback Drew Brees.

As has been case in every recent offseason, Tampa Bay remains in the market for a dominant edge pass-rusher. The ever-important asset continues to elude the Bucs. Other than defensive end, Tampa Bay needs help at cornerback, safety and offensive tackle.

The Cardinals fixed a major weakness by trading for edge rusher Chandler Jones. Head coach Bruce Arians now has a roster lacking many obvious holes. Arizona could look to continue getting younger and better on both lines, while Arians will probably find a promising skill position player at some point in the draft.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

The Seahawks have to invest in the offensive line after losing Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy in free agency. Tackle is an obvious position of need. On defense, Seattle could look to find a run-stuffer to replace Brandon Mebane or a versatile linebacker to take the spot of Bruce Irvin.

LOS ANGELES RAMS

With Case Keenum currently scheduled to start, quarterback should be the Rams’ top priority. Los Angeles also needs more difference-makers in the passing game, while the defense must now replace cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Rodney McLeod.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Is the 49ers’ franchise quarterback on the roster? Probably not. It’s hard to envision Chip Kelly putting his second NFL job in the hands of Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick. The offensive line needs help all over, while Kelly will also be in the market for a receiver to fit his scheme.

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TEAM NEEDS: AFC CONTINUED...

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

HOUSTON TEXANS

NEW YORK JETS

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

BUFFALO BILLS

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

MIAMI DOLPHINS

TENNESSEE TITANS

CINCINNATI BENGALS

DENVER BRONCOS

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

BALTIMORE RAVENS

OAKLAND RAIDERS

CLEVELAND BROWNS

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Bill Belichick has been wheeling and dealing during the new league year, but the Patriots still need help along the offensive line. New England might also target the secondary on defense, while receiver remains a shaky position beyond Julian Edelman.

Quarterback could become a huge issue if Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t re-signed. If he returns, the Jets can focus their sights on finding a game-changing edge rusher to complement the defense’s dominant line.

Rex Ryan needs to find linebackers—both on the inside and outside—who fit his scheme. A pass-rusher makes sense after losing Mario Williams. Tyrod Taylor could also use another weapon in the passing game.

The team’s unsuccessful hunt for a running back after losing Lamar Miller could mean using a high pick on the position. The cornerback position isn’t deep despite acquiring Byron Maxwell.

Losing Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency leaves the Bengals in need of a receiver behind A.J. Green. A deep draft at defensive tackle should tempt Cincinnati into acquiring more depth up front.

The secondary has to be Pittsburgh’s main focus in the draft, especially after giving up the third most passing yards in the NFL last season. Another explosive pass-catcher could be in the cards, with Martavis Bryant facing a year-long suspension.

Terrell Suggs is 33 and coming off a major injury, making pass-rusher an obvious area for Baltimore to attack early. The Ravens also have needs along both lines, and cornerback remains unsettled on defense.

No roster has less talent than the Browns, who are starting over under new management and head coach Hue Jackson. Quarterback should be the top priority. Cleveland has to hit on one eventually, right?

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Adding Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller provided solutions at quarterback and running back, respectively. The Texans can now focus on the offensive line, while also looking for reinforcements in the passing game.

On offense, the Colts need to find players who can protect the quarterback. On defense, Indy must find players who can disrupt the quarterback—Pretty simple for GM Ryan Grigson.

A nice roster is starting to form in Jacksonville around quarterback Blake Bortles. The Jaguars should now use the draft to get better on the interior of the offensive line. On defense, they need help at cornerback and linebacker.

An offensive tackle to help protect Marcus Mariota looks like a good bet, with Laremy Tunsil a very real option at No. 1 overall. The Titans defense could really use upgrades in the secondary.

The Super Bowl champions were ripped apart by free agency. GM John Elway must now find long-term options at quarterback, linebacker and along both the offensive and defensive lines.

Re-signing many of the team’s free agents leaves the Chiefs in a good spot heading into the draft. However, losing Sean Smith opens up a need at cornerback. Kansas City might also look for another weapon in the passing game.

An ascending team, the Raiders must now get better in the secondary and at middle linebacker. Oakland could be a few good picks away from becoming a real contender in the AFC.

After watching their offensive line crumble in 2015, the Chargers have to add more depth in front of Philip Rivers. Losing Eric Weddle created a need at safety, while the defensive line needs another difference-maker alongside Corey Luiget.

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26


QUARTERBACKS AUTHOR:

ANDREW GARDA

JARED GOFF

University of California, Berkley (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6'4" Weight: 215 Hands: 9” 40-Yard Dash: 4.82

IN A NUTSHELL:

Jared Goff has the prototypical size and look of an NFL quarterback and out of the current crop of incoming signal callers, he’s the most “pro-ready.” This isn’t to say he’s Andrew Luck or even Teddy Bridgewater—merely the best of the group we have in 2016. Goff has a great arm, handles pressure well in the pocket and can adjust the play and his sequence to counter it. That said, his accuracy wavers from time to time, and that’s often most noticeable early in games before he’s settled. At the pro level, that’s going to cause some problems and you don’t want balls sailing at any point in the game anyway. It’s especially true as he likes to try and get the ball to his receivers in tight coverage, where a mistake can turn into an interception in the NFL. Goff has the tools though, and should overcome his issues at the next level.

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QB1 COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

The edge Goff has over a guy like Carson Wentz is experience. As a starting quarterback in the Pac12 for three years, Goff has seen some of the best collegiate football teams in the country, in one of the top conferences. He excelled against that tough competition and beyond that, has improved against it as well. As that is the case, even his flaws shouldn’t give you a great deal of pause—we know he has the ability to overcome them, even though the competition will be stronger. Goff has shown he doesn’t need tremendous tools around him. During the 2013 season, Goff set school records for passing yards (3,508), passes completed (320), and passes attempted (531) while the team went 1-11. The fact he improved from there (and broke some of the records he set in 2013 while he was at it) proves that given solid weapons, the sky is the limit.

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CARSON WENTZ

PAXTON LYNCH

North Dakota State (rSR)

Memphis (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6'5" Weight: 237 Hands: 10” 40-Yard Dash: 4.77

Height: 6'7" Weight: 244 Hands: 10¼” 40-Yard Dash: 4.86

QB2

QB3

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Wentz has the prototypical look, the build, the arm strength, the ability to read the field and adjust, and a great deal of skill working his progressions. His problem is lack of experience against top shelf defenses. Having played at the FCS level for the entirety of his career, it’s a fair concern whether he will be able to play against competition far beyond what he has seen before. While the small-school stigma has been reduced over the last few years, it’s still there and nowhere is it more pronounced than at quarterback. Wentz occasionally struggles with pressure—locking onto his first read, hurrying too much and messing up his mechanics—and that’s a real concern for teams given he didn’t even face the best college football has to offer. He has more upside than any other QB in the draft, but is less of a readysure thing than a QB like Cal’s Jared Goff.

Paxton Lynch looks like a very nice alternative to Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, bringing good skills to the table and likely available later than the early first round where those two will go. A mobile, athletic quarterback, Lynch doesn’t just bail out of the pocket, he extends the play. He can run for a first down, but his instinct is to continue to look for options downfield and move through his progressions. During his time at Memphis, Lynch was adept at reading defenses and making smart choices based on what he saw, though he could learn to look off defenders better and will have to be a little more careful sending the ball into tight coverage. While he is mobile, his accuracy takes a hit when he’s on the run, so if that part of his game is to be a big factor for a team, he’s going to need to improve it. BEST GAME:

SENIOR BOWL & COMBINE:

Wentz has done as much as can be asked to counter the “top competition” question at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. He looked the part next to both the other seniors in Mobile and the top underclassmen in Indianapolis. His throws were crisp, his accuracy precise, and his mobility definitely was on display. That said, we’ve only briefly seen him against NFL-caliber talent (one quarter in the Senior Bowl) where he didn’t look bad, but didn’t shine either. He looks very good in shorts and a t-shirt, and will continue to garner positive reviews at his Pro Day and in one-on-one meetings with teams but he will not be able to shake the questions about what his performance against elite talent would look like. There’s just no room for it in the process and either a team will believe in his tape or it won’t.

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Lynch had a lot of success throughout his college career, but his seven touchdown game against SMU in a 63-0 drubbing of the Mustangs might have been his strongest, despite throwing just 14 passes. In fact, Lynch tied a FBS record for touchdowns in one half during this game, and he hit a different receiver for every touchdown he threw. While he merely tied the FBS record, his seven touchdowns set an American Conference record for touchdowns in a single game, and his 28 passing touchdowns were the most in school history. Lynch was efficient with his passes, completing nine of his 14 attempts and compiling a QBR of 99.5 per ESPN. While he played well, the Mustangs were awful on defense, and Lynch’s receivers were often wide open, with a lot of room to run.

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CHRISTIAN HACKENBERG

CONNOR COOK Michigan State (rSR)

Penn State (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6'4" Weight: 217 Hands: 9¾” 40-Yard Dash: 4.79

Height: 6'4" Weight: 223 Hands: 9” 40-Yard Dash: 4.78

QB4

QB5

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Hackenberg’s junior year was a disappointment, and was marked by a lot of inaccuracy which was then reinforced by more of the same at the NFL Combine. Hackenberg was often hammered behind a bad offensive line at Penn State and former Colts GM Bill Polian has remarked he feels like Hackenberg’s accuracy woes stem from that.

On the one hand, you have Connor Cook’s senior season where he capped off one of the best careers in Michigan State history with a 3,131 yard, 24 touchdown season while throwing just seven interceptions. One the other hand, you have a player who skipped the Senior Bowl and looked awful at the Combine. Which guy is he? POSTSEASON GAME:

BEST GAME:

In what was Hackenberg’s finest showing of the season, his 315 yard, 3 touchdown effort helped the Nittany Lions to a 31-30 win over Big Ten rival Maryland. He did so while going just 13 for 29 and became the Penn State career leader in completions and passing yards.

Though he had a strong season overall, he looked overmatched by Alabama in the FCS semi-final game. He threw a pair of picks, including one on a pass which could have been a critical touchdown for Michigan State and overall he seemed spooked by Alabama’s pass rush.

DAK PRESCOTT

JAKE COKER

Mississippi State (rSR)

Alabama (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6'4" Weight: 226 Hands: 10⅞” 40-Yard Dash: 4.79

Height: 6'6" Weight: 236 Hands: 9½” 40-Yard Dash: N/A

QB6

QB7

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Prescott is a big, durable quarterback who isn’t afraid of taking a hit to deliver the ball. Unfortunately, he’s taken a lot of hits and was beat up a lot this past season. That’s given him rabbit ears in the pocket and made him skittish as well as played havoc with his accuracy at times.

Coker played for two top schools (Florida State and Alabama) and lost the starting job at both of them. He has the prototypical quarterback look, a decent arm and makes good decisions. His odd throwing motion might be an issue and the elite talent around him could have teams worried that was the reason for his eventual success.

BOWL GAME:

Prescott’s 380 yard, four touchdown game in the rain at the Belk Bowl helped him become the fourth quarterback in FBS history to throw for 9,000 yards and run for 2,500 yards in his collegiate career. Prescott looked settled in the pocket, was careful with his throws and able to gain yards with his feet as well.

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NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

Talking to teammates at the Senior Bowl, all of them talked about how Coker helped the team hold it together in their close 45-40 win over Clemson. His 335 yards and pair of touchdowns didn’t hurt of course, but teammates felt that his presence in the huddle was a huge factor late.

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CARDALE JONES

JACOBY BRISSETT

Ohio St. (rJR)

NC State (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6'5" Weight: 253 Hands: 9¾” 40-Yard Dash: 4.81

Height: 6'4" Weight: 231 Hands: 9¾” 40-Yard Dash: 4.94

QB8

QB9

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Jones was a benchwarmer who rose to starter on a national championship team and then lost his job because of inaccuracy his Senior year. He has little experience, a big arm and a long way to go to be a starter, but his upside is rather large.

Brissett has the size and build of an NFL quarterback, but he has odd mechanics and struggles with pressure, often feeling ghost pressure and then rushing a throw. He has the raw tools and ability, but Brissett has a long way to go in terms of reaching his potential.

BEST GAME:

BOWL GAME:

Jones was at his best in a 49-28 drubbing of Maryland where he completed 21-of 28 passes for 291 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions. On the downside, coach Urban Meyer rotated his quarterbacks in, using Jones to start drives and JT Barrett to mostly finish them.

Brissett had a rough game against Mississippi State in the Belk Bowl, throwing two interceptions early (one where he was hit during release) but rebounding to throw a touchdown and run for another later in the game. This was the third game in a row where he threw an interception.

KEVIN HOGAN

CODY KESSLER USC (rSR)

Stanford (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6'3" Weight: 218 Hands: 10¼” 40-Yard Dash: 4.78

Height 6'1" Weight: 220 Hands: N/A 40-Yard Dash: 4.89

QB10

QB11

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Kessler was very accurate as a passer at USC but gets skittish in the pocket when he shouldn’t. Overall he manages the offense very well and has proven more than once that the game doesn’t get too big for him. Kessler has limited upside, but is someone who could have a long career as a backup.

Kevin Hogan has a combination of size, mobility and attitude that teams will like, but his mechanics are awful, his footwork is a tragedy and his arm-strength is average at best. He struggles with reading defenses and pocket awareness and takes sacks he really shouldn’t. A huge project.

SENIOR BOWL:

VS. TOP OPPONENT:

While he wasn’t all that exciting in practices, Kessler played well in the game. First he directed a 15–play, 80-yard touchdown drive he capped off with a QB sneak. He then drove down the field again, just missing Braxton Miller for another score in the end zone, but getting a pass interference penalty. Time ran out before he could score again.

Hogan excelled against the Irish on Senior Day, throwing for 269 yards and four touchdowns against a team he used to root for as a kid. He showed excellent poise against Notre Dame, especially on the final drive to set up the game winning field goal.

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QB12 | BRANDON DOUGHTY Western Kentucky (rSR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 213 | Hands: 9⅛” | 40-Yard Dash: 5.22 2015 STATS:

129 carries, 708 yards (5.49 ypc), 3 TD; 37 receptions, 280 yards, 1 TD IN A NUTSHELL:

Brandon Doughty was the Conference USA MVP in back to back years and plays very well when provided with good protection in the pocket. He doesn’t have an NFL arm though, nor enough velocity to get past corners. When he doesn’t have protection he can fall apart, such as during the 48-20 loss to LSU. VS. TOP OPPONENT:

Under constant pressure against LSU, Doughty was a mess despite his stats and as the game progressed his mechanics degenerated and he seemed to rush his reads and throws. The later the game went, the slower the drives got and the less rhythm Doughty seemed to be able to get into. QB13 | NATE SUDFELD Indiana (SR)

QB14 | BRANDON ALLEN Arkansas (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Sudfeld has the size and arm-strength scouts like but has consistency issues delivering the ball and his accuracy can waver. He’s got the raw basics to become a starter but a team will need to be patient while sanding off the rough edges.

Brandon Allen progressed nicely during all three of his years as a starter, improving accuracy, touch, and release. He has a solid arm and can make most NFL throws with velocity. He’s small though, with a light frame, doesn’t take many shots downfield and didn’t have to make progressions at Arkansas.

QB15 | JEFF DRISKEL Louisiana Tech (rSR)

QB16 | JOEL STAVE Wisconsin (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Driskel has the size and arm-strength but didn’t really improve over the course of his collegiate career, which will concern NFL coaches. He has to learn to lead his receivers as well, and too often will short arms his passes.

Stave looks good in shorts and a t-shirt and throws a nice pass, but his accuracy is poor and over the last two seasons he has thrown just 19 touchdowns compared to 22 interceptions. He has to figure out a way to improve his decision making, but so far has struggled with that.

QB17 | MARQUISE WILLIAMS North Carolina (rSR)

QB18 | VAD LED James Madison (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

A dual-threat quarterback, Williams suffers from inconsistency and a tendency to turn the ball over. He is an overall decent passer and can run well, but he’s either very good or terrible with almost no middle ground.

Lee missed most of the 2015 season after surgery for a foot injury. During his career at James Madison (which he transferred to from Georgia Tech), Lee set multiplee school records and was highly productive. A raw athlete, Lee struggled at times throwing the ball at Georgia Tech and while he cut down on turnovers in 2014, he was again having issues before his injury in 2015.

QB19 | JAKE RUDOCK Michigan (rSR)

QB20 | VERNON ADAMS, JR Oregon (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Rudock transferred from Iowa to Michigan, and brought with him some experience playing in a pro-style offense. He handled the pressure well but often was asked to do no more than manage the game during his college career. Way too light to survive in the NFL as is, he will need to bulk up to have a chance.

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Size, or rather a lack thereof, will be what kills Adams’ chances. On top of that, he played just one season at Oregon and while productive, there likely wasn’t enough there to overcome size concerns.

31


RUNNING BACKS AUTHOR:

JAYME SNOWDEN

EZEKIEL ELLIOTT Ohio State (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 225 lbs. Hands: 10¼” Bench: DNP 40-Yard Dash: 4.47

2015 STATS:

289 carries, 1,821 yards (6.30 ypc), 23 TD; 27 receptions, 206 yards IN A NUTSHELL:

Ezekiel Elliott has been a standout since his high school days, when he was named High School Offensive player of the Year by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He also won four state titles in track and field. The trend continued in college, as he was named to the All Big 10 Team in 2014, and was the Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year in 2015. Elliottt maintained a consistently high level of play —racking up 100+ yards in 22 games — while playing under the bright lights in big games, and in front of some of the most rabid fans in all of college sports. His size allows him to create his own blocks and serve as lead blocker when needed. His loose hips and good vision allow him to make the kind of quick cuts more typical of a smaller, nimbler back. Over his three years at OSU, he averaged 6.69 yards per carry.

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RB1 BEST GAME:

Elliott came into his own at the end of Ohio State’s 2014 season, rushing for nearly 700 yards in the final three games. When the Buckeyes needed a win over the Wisconsin Badgers to secure a berth in the College Football playoff, Elliott had a career day. His 220 yards on 20 carries (11 ypc) helped OSU wallop Wisconsin, 59 – 0. But Elliott was saving his best for the playoffs. After rushing for 230 yards against Alabama, Elliott put on what ESPN described as a “relentless” attack versus Oregon in the National Championship game, where he ran for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns on 36 carries. Still a sophomore, he was named the offensive MVP of the game. When his team needed him most — after OSU suffered an early season loss to Virginia Tech and lost two quarterbacks to injuries — Elliottt performed. His body of work and comfort level in widely televised games should help him transition smoothly to the NFL.

32


DERRICK HENRY

DEVONTAE BOOKER

Alabama (JR)

Utah (rSR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 247 lbs. Hands: 8¾” Bench: 22 40-Yard Dash: 4.54

RB2 2015 STATS:

395 carries, 2,219 yards (5.62 ypc), 28 TD; 11 receptions, 91 yards IN A NUTSHELL:

2015 didn’t seem to start off as Derrick Henry’s year, but what a finish. By year’s end, he was a Heisman trophy winner, recipient of both the Maxwell and Doak Walker awards and was named the Walter Camp Player of the Year. He led the nation with 2,219 rushing yards and was a unanimous first team All-American. Despite having a lot of wear on his tires — 12,000 yards in five years of varsity high school ball, and 3,500+ yards in college —Henry has yet to show signs of fatigue. His strength is wearing down defenses, with large chunks of his yardage coming in the fourth quarter. His smaller hands (8¾”) hurt his ability in the passing game, where improvement would help his NFL stock.

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’11” Weight: 219 lbs. Hands: 8⅝” Bench: 22 40-Yard Dash: DNP

RB3 2015 STATS:

268 carries, 1,261 yards (4.71 ypc), 11 TD; 37 receptions, 318 yards IN A NUTSHELL:

Devontae Booker will enter the league as a 24-year old rookie at a position where careers aren’t long. Teams believe there are only so many runs and hits in a back, so his age could see him drop down on some boards. Additionally, he’s coming off knee surgery for a torn meniscus suffered in November of 2015 and did not run at the NFL Combine. He is ranked third here because his strengths fall in line with the Packers needs. Booker doesn’t get caught dancing and maintains speed while making cuts. In addition to his 1,261 rushing yards on 268 carries in 2015, he also caught 37 receptions for 318 yards, an 8.6 average. A versatile back with the ability to play a role in the passing game, Booker could add a much needed dimension to the Packers offense.

VS. TOP OPPONENT:

Alabama’s November 2015 game against undefeated LSU drew headlines, as Heisman hopefuls Derrick Henry and Tiger’s RB Leonard Fournette matched up. Alabama shut down Fournette while Henry shined in the spotlight. He carried the ball 38 times, gaining 210 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns. Henry was all class in his postgame comments, saying, “Too much talk about Fournette and me… I’m just trying to win with the Crimson Tide.” Henry’s running style should be familiar to Packers fan. He’s a large, occasionally overweight, bulldozing back from Alabama, who is willing to take on defenders, is patient at the line and utilizes spin moves and stiff arms — or simply just runs people over. It’s doubtful the Packers need an Eddie Lacy 2.0, but Henry is too good a talent to be ranked any lower.

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COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Devontae Booker was a highly recruited running back out of high school and was one of the top backs in the Pac-12 in his final year with the Utes. But the time in between is a bit tumultuous. Despite commitments to Washington State and Fresno State after rushing for 2,884 yards and 45 touchdowns in his senior year of high school, Booker’s low SAT scores saw offers rescinded, and forced him to enroll at American River College. Booker originally planned to transfer to Utah, but again his academics held him back. He stayed at ARC without playing football in 2013. Not one to give up, he finally transferred to Utah in 2015 and began splitting carries with Bubba Poole, before taking over the lone starting spot. “Going the JC route made me more mature,” Booker believes. So while a team might not be getting a Spring chicken in Booker, they will get someone who is both persistent and determined.

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RB4

KENNETH DIXON

C.J. PROSISE

Louisiana Tech (SR)

Notre Dame (rJR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’10” Weight: 215 lbs. Hands: 9½” Bench: 18 40-Yard Dash: 4.58

Height: 6’0” Weight: 220 lbs. Hands: 8½” Bench: DNP 40-Yard Dash: 4.48

2015 STATS:

197 carries, 1,070 yards (5.43 ypc), 19 TD; 34 receptions, 467 yards, 7 TD

RB5

2015 STATS:

157 carries, 1,029 yards (6.55 ypc), 11 TD; 26 receptions, 308 yards, 1 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Kenneth Dixon was named first team All-Conference USA in 2015 despite missing two games with an ankle injury. He put on a show at the NFL Combine, where he was a top performer in the Vertical jump (37.5”), the 3 cone drill (6.97 seconds) and the 60-yard shuttle (11.50 seconds). Dixon is described as a hungry runner — his compact build and strong legs help him accelerate through traffic. He does need to improve his ball security, though.

2015 was Prosise’s only season as a dedicated running back. He was originally recruited as a safety, before trying wide receiver and then running back. His prior experience in the slot — and in multiple other roles on the team — could present the versatility and offensive spark that the Packers need.

POSTSEASON GAME:

In his final collegiate game, Dixon carried the Bulldogs to victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the New Orleans Bowl. He ran the ball for 102 yards, and had 113 yards receiving and four touchdowns, finishing his career with 4,480 rushing yards.

RB6

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Prosise’s college football career is an example of excelling wherever the team needs you. In 2014, Prosise led all Irish receivers with 17.8 yards per catch. He also had a 50-yard touchdown run in the Music City Bowl, and was named Special Teams Player of the Year — racking up 11 tackles. In 2015, his sole year at running back, he gained over 1,000 yards on 157 carries for an average of 6.55 yards per carry.

KENYAN DRAKE

ALEX COLLINS

Alabama (SR)

Arkansas (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 221 lbs. Hands: 9¾” Bench: 10 40-Yard Dash: 4.45

Height: 5’10” Weight: 217 lbs. Hands: 9¼” Bench: 18 40-Yard Dash: 4.59

2015 STATS:

77 carries, 408 yards (5.30 ypc), 1 TD; 29 receptions, 276 yards, 1 TD

RB7

2015 STATS:

271 carries, 1,577 yards (5.82 ypc), 20 TD; 13 receptions, 95 yards

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Kenyan Drake has experience on special teams and lining up in the slot, and has the ability to elude defenders while keeping his legs churning—all things the Packers are looking for. Unfortunately, due to injuries, he hasn’t shown any of these skills consistently. He missed the 2014 season following a broken leg, and missed part of the 2015 season with a fractured arm.

Alex Collins immediately made a name for himself after showing up on the Arkansas campus, becoming the first true freshmen since Adrian Peterson to start his career with three 100-yard games. He weaves without breaking speed and has good vision, but broke just 5 tackles in 475 total carries, and has had his share of fumbling issues.

COMBINE PERFORMANCE:

Kenyan Drake’s college career did not end on a supremely high note, and he needed a strong performance at the combine to show scouts that his body has healed. While he only recorded 10 reps on the bench press, Drake was a top performer in the 40-yard dash, the broad jump and the 20-yard shuttle. The broad jump and shuttle drills are keys for backs, as they demonstrate the player’s lower body strength and cutting agility.

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BEST GAME:

In his last collegiate game, the Motor City Bowl, teammate said of Collins, “This kid is unbelievable. He runs angry. He runs mad. The legs never stop.” In that game, Collins averaged 8.0 yards per carry on 23 carries for 185 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff 68 yards on his way to earning the game’s MVP honors.

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RB8

JORDAN HOWARD Indiana (JR)

PAUL PERKINS UCLA (rJR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 230 lbs. Hands: 9” Bench: 16 40-Yard Dash: DNP

Height: 5’10” Weight: 208 lbs. Hands: 9” Bench: 19 40-Yard Dash: 4.54

2015 STATS:

196 carries, 1,213 yards (6.19 ypc), 9 TD; 11 receptions, 106 yards, 1 TD

RB9

237 carries, 1,343 yards (5.67 ypc), 14 TD; 30 receptions, 242 yards, 1 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Jordan Howard transferred to Indiana after Alabama Birmingham shut down its football program. In his sole season with Indiana, he rushed for 1,213 yards on 196 carries and scored 9 touchdowns, securing first team All-Conference honors. Howard possesses good vision and is decisive in choosing his lanes, but he needs to contribute more in the passing game.

Paul Perkins has football in his blood. His father played fullback for two years in the NFL, his uncle played for the Dallas Cowboys and his younger brother is currently playing at Arizona State. He has reliable hands, is willing in pass protection, and can grow with the right coaching — making him possible fit for the Packers. He’s a slash runner with great vision, but arm tackles can slow him down. COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

BEST GAME:

With no previous experience in a major program, Jordan Howard used his one season to show that he’s not afraid of high-pressure, big-atmosphere games. In a double overtime loss versus #14 Michigan, Howard was not intimidated by their top five defense. He carried the ball 35 times that day for 238 yards, including a tying score on fourth down in the first overtime period.

Paul Perkins showed up at UCLA ready to make a name for himself. In 2013 he was named most improved on offense, following that up by leading the Pac-12 in rushing in 2015. He was named 2015 second-team All-Pac-12 and finished his college career with 3,491 rushing yards on 622 carries (5.6 ypc) and 29 touchdowns.

KELVIN TAYLOR

JONATHAN WILLIAMS

Florida (JR)

Arkansas (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’10” Weight: 207 lbs. Hands: 8¼” Bench: 15 40-Yard Dash: 4.6

RB10

2015 STATS:

2015 STATS:

259 carries, 1,035 yards (4.00 ypc), 13 TD; 17 receptions, 150 yards

Height: 5’11” Weight: 220 lbs. Hands: 10” Bench: 16 40-Yard Dash: DNP

RB11

2014 STATS (SAT OUT 2015):

211 carries, 1,190 yards (5.64 ypc), 12 TD; 11 receptions, 65 yards, 2 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

The son of former NFL running back, Fred Taylor, Kelvin Taylor has football in his blood. Making varsity as an 8th grader, he played five years of high school football, running for over 12,000 yards. In 486 career carries at Florida, he never once fumbled. The coaching staff described Taylor simply as, “what you would want in a player.”

Jonathan Williams missed the 2015 season after suffering a foot injury that required surgery. In 2014 he demonstrated loose hips and quick feet. He possesses good instincts, forcing 44 missed tackles that year. He did lose five fumbles, though. And after not playing for a year, it is unclear if his ball security issues will continue.

RIVALRY GAME:

BEST GAME:

Kelvin Taylor’s final game came in a 27-2 losing effort versus Florida State, but it wasn’t for lack of effort from Taylor. He ran for 136 yards with a 5.7 yard per carry average, also catching three passes for 18 yards.

Jonathan Williams’ best game came in 2014 versus Alabama Birmingham, when he rushed for 153 yards on 18 carries and caught 2 passes for 13 yards. It was his highest single-game rushing total, surpassing his 151yard game in 2013.

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35


RB12 | JOSH FERGUSON Illinois (rSR) MEASURABLES

Height: 5’9” | Weight: 198 lbs. | Hands: 9” | Bench: 21 | 40-Yard Dash: 4.48 2015 STATS:

129 carries, 708 yards (5.49 ypc), 3 TD; 37 receptions, 280 yards, 1 TD IN A NUTSHELL:

Josh Ferguson has never gained over 1,000 yards on the ground in a single season. But in 2013, ‘14 and ’15, he ran for 700+ yards while also notching 535, 427, and 280 receiving yards respectively. He’d much rather bounce out than take on a tackler and has previous fumble issues, but he is an explosive dual threat. ALL STAR GAME:

After dealing with a shoulder injury throughout the 2015 season, Josh Ferguson looked to impress in the East-West Shrine Game. During the week of practices, GM’s noted Ferguson’s speed and ability to break long runs in the open field. He shined during the game as the East’s leading rusher, also adding four receptions and a 25-yard kick-off return. RB13 | TYLER ERVIN San Jose St. (rSR)

RB14 | DANIEL LASCO California (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Tyler Ervin can play receiver, running back and returner — all roles that can help the Packers. He has over 2,000 yards in kickoff returns, 642 yards receiving and 2,803 rushing yards. Ervin is tall and lanky, and can high step with the best of them, but needs to work on his balance.

Daniel Lasco has suffered some serious injuries throughout his career — including hip and ankle injuries — but he performed well at the combine. His 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jumps and 60-yard shuttle helped put concerns about his recovery to rest. He also had 52 yards rushing in the East-West Shrine Game. If he can bulk up a little and become more decisive, he could make an impact in the NFL.

RB15 | DEANDRE WASHINGTON Texas Tech (rSR)

RB16 | AARON GREEN TCU (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Washington is a short, muscular running back who performed well at the combine in the 3 cone drills, and in the 20 and 60-yard shuttle. He averaged about 20 carries a game as a senior and has experience catching the ball.

Green transferred from Nebraska and sat out the 2012 season — so there’s not a lot of wear on his tires. He’s an undersized, shifty back who racked up 1,272 yards in just 10 games in 2015.

RB17 | PEYTON BARBER Auburn (rSO)

RB18 | KEITH MARSHALL Georgia (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Barber might have left school a year early, but he possess a thick lower body and could benefit from a strong coaching system to help him capitalize on his downhill running. He needs to improve his decisiveness.

There’s not a lot of wear on Marshall’s tires, as a torn ACL suffered his sophomore season didn’t heal correctly. However, he remains very fast, and was a top performer in the 40-yard dash at the combine. 12% of his runs in 2015 went for over 15 yards. Questions remain about his cutting ability after his injury.

RB19 | TRE MADDEN USC (rSR)

RB20 | WENDELL SMALLWOOD West Virginia (JR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Madden has been hampered by lingering injury issues. In his limited use at USC, he ran for 1,155 yards on 223 carries. The bench press was the only work out he did at the combine, where he was a top performer with 24 reps. He also has some previous experience playing linebacker.

A top performer at the combine in the 3-cone drill and 60-yard shuttle, Smallwood demonstrated the vision and tempo that helped him run for 2,462 at West Virginia. He is an intelligent player with a knack for reading defenses, but he also has character questions. He was arrested on a warrant for witness tampering, though the charges were later dropped.

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36


FULLBACKS/H-BACKS AUTHOR:

ERIK FRETLAND

DAKOTA GORDON San Diego State (SR) MEASURABLES

Height: 5’10” Weight: 235 lbs. 40 Time: DNP Bench Press: DNP

2015 STATS:

37carries, 187 yards (5.10 ypc), 3 TD; 12 receptions, 167 yards, (13.9 ypc), 1TD IN A NUTSHELL:

Dakota Gordon is a true run-blocking fullback who also has the versatility to contribute as a receiver. His lack of size is his only major downside, as he will be relatively ineffective on fullback dives and inside runs against NFL defenders. However, this lack of size did not prevent him from paving the way for a strong SDSU run game, and he possesses traits that will carry over to the next level, especially against the trend of smaller, coverage linebackers such as Deone Bucannon and Mark Barron. Gordon delivers a strong hit on first contact, stonewalling linebackers and driving them backwards. He drives his feet through contact and plays with good leverage. Against larger linebackers, he will occasionally lose momentum and get driven backwards after being

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FB1

engaged with the defender for a few seconds, but he rarely whiffs on his blocks. Gordon can cut-block both linebackers and on kick-out blocks against defensive ends. He has shown the ability to make catches with defenders nearby and to hang onto the ball after taking a hit. He caught 12 passes for 167 yards and 1 TD in 2015. BEST GAME:

Based on individual statistics, Gordon’s best game was against Cincinnati in SDSU’s final game of the 2015 season. Not only did he rush 5 times for 32 yards (6.4-yard average), he also caught his only touchdown of the season, ending with 4 receptions for 58 yards while clearing the way for SDSU’s running backs to the tune of 207 yards. Earlier in the season, Gordon was a key blocker in SDSU’s steamrolling of San Jose State, where the Aztecs piled up 233 rushing yards on 48 attempts for an average of 4.9-yards per carry.

37


DEREK WATT

GLENN GRONKOWSKI

Wisconsin (rSR)

Kansas State (rJR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” Weight: 234 lbs. 40 Time: DNP Bench Press: DNP

FB2 2015 STATS:

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” Weight: 239 lbs. 40 Time: 4.71 Bench Press: 17 reps

FB3 2015 STATS:

9 carries, 45 yards (5.0 ypc), 0 TD; 15 receptions, 139 yards, (9.30 ypc), 0 TD

11 carries, 45 yards (4.1 ypc), 1 TD; 5 receptions, 76 yards, (15.2 ypc), 1 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

In Derek Watt’s four year career at Wisconsin, he helped clear the path to stardom for RBs such as Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon. Watt is a prototypical blocking fullback, as his role consisted mainly of downhill lead blocking. He is capable as a checkdown receiver, but does not have much experience either catching the ball or running it. However, he makes up for this lack of versatility by being very good at his primary blocking role. He shows good effort to block defenders on the edge on outside runs or tosses, and when blocking downhill, is strong enough to stop a defender in their tracks. He does not often overwhelm linebackers or drive them back, but he is more-than-capable of pancaking defensive backs. He will occasionally lose leverage on his block when the running back takes an unexpected path, causing him to overextend and lose the block. Watt is effective when chipping a defensive end and then transitioning to a receiving option. He had 13 rushing attempts and 30 receptions in his four seasons, and comes with a slight injury question mark, missing five games in 2014 with a broken foot.

BEST GAME:

BEST GAME:

Derek Watt’s best game as a blocker came late in the season against rival Minnesota. The running game was especially crucial in this game due to poor play from the Wisconsin QB position, and Watt helped make sure the Badgers tailbacks delivered. Watt played 53 out of 81 snaps in the game, and helped lead the Badgers to 257 rushing yards on 62 carries (4.1-yard average) while carrying the ball three times for 10 yards. His highest yardage total of the season came in the bowl game against USC, where he had 32 rushing yards on five carries as well as two catches for 12 yards.

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In his three-year career, Glenn Gronkowski was a versatile tool for Kansas State. In 2015, he was asked to lead block, catch and occasionally run the ball in K-State’s run-heavy offense. The design of the offense allowed him to showcase his strengths as a blocker, specifically his mobility and footwork, along with his on-field football IQ. He tracks defenders well in space, and typically recognizes who the primary threat to the runner is on any given play. This task is more complicated than it sounds, as Kansas State ran an offense that frequently gave the QB the option to decide whether to throw the ball or keep it himself. Gronkowski is very good at using defenders’ momentum against them and demonstrates good upper body strength, though he’s not quite strong enough to bulldoze larger linebackers out of the way. He is an effective pass blocker, even when tasked with blocking an edge defender and can be useful as a runner or secondary receiver (16 career rushes, 1 TD, 15 career catches, 269 yards, 5 TDs). Gronkowski’s strongest game as a blocker came against K-State’s first opponent of the season, the South Dakota Coyotes. KSU only threw the ball 18 times, as the focus of the offense was on physically dominating the Coyotes on the ground. Gronkowski helped K-State average 4.6-yards per carry for 189 total yards on 41 rushing plays, while adding 2 carries of his own for 16 yards. His highest total yardage game was against Kansas, where he had 2 carries for 10 yards and a TD and 1 reception for 31 yards.

38


FB4

ANDY JANOVICH

ALEX DE LA TORRE

Nebraska (SR)

Texas (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 238 lbs. 40 Time: 4.81 Bench Press: 30 reps

Height: 6’1” Weight: 243 lbs. 40 Time: DNP Bench Press: DNP

2015 STATS:

42 carries, 265 yards (6.30 ypc), 3 TD; 2 receptions, 58 yards, (29.0 ypc), 0 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

Andy Janovich is capable of doing everything a fullback needs to, while his particular strength is gaining yards after contact on fullback dives. He is an equally qualified run blocker, with the ability to drive his target nearly out of bounds. He also shows the ability to track his target in space as well as any fullback. He runs his feet after contact both as a blocker and as a runner, which combined with his superior strength, allows him to win one-on-one blocks against defenders larger than him. BEST GAME:

After not touching the ball for the first three games of the season, Janovich’s breakout game came in Week 4, where he carried the ball 5 times for 68 yards in addition to 1 catch for 53 yards. In that game, Janovich also helped the Huskers run for 242 yards on 39 carries for a dominant average of 6.2-yards per carry.

FB6

FB5

2015 STATS:

0 carries, 0 yards; 3 receptions, 24 yards, (8.0 ypc), 0 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

Alex De La Torre carried a heavy responsibility, leading the way for Texas’ run-first, run-often offense, which piled up the 18th most rushing yards in the nation. De La Torre was extremely effective lead blocking for Tyrone Swoopes in Texas’ QB power sets, while also possessing the agility to block back across the formation and kick out the backside contain player on cutback runs. BEST GAME:

De La Torre’s best game was towards the end of the season, a 45-48 slugfest versus Texas Tech. The Longhorns could not be stopped on the ground, rushing for 403 yards on 48 attempts for an 8.4-yard average and 6 touchdowns.

SIONE HOUMA

JEREMY SEATON

Michigan (SR)

Oklahoma State (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 243 lbs. 40 Time: DNP Bench Press: DNP

Height: 6’2” Weight: 250 lbs. 40 Time: DNP Bench Press: DNP

2015 STATS:

43 carries, 184 yards (4.3 ypc), 5 TD; 8 receptions, 77 yards, (9.60 ypc), 0 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

Sione Houma possesses the prototypical frame for an NFL fullback, with the potential to gain even more muscle after a full offseason with an NFL team. He helped lead the way for Michigan’s run game in 2015, specializing in short-yardage lead blocking. He was also a contributor as a runner, averaging 4.3-yards per carry on 43 carries in 2015, along with 5 touchdowns. He is not a polished receiver, however, with just 10 career catches.

FB7

2015 STATS:

0 carries, 0 yards; 7 receptions, 88 yards, (12.60 ypc), 2 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

Unlike most other fullbacks, Seaton never got the chance to run the ball in OSU’s offense, meaning he was limited to strictly blocking and receiving duties. He showed good strength in his ability to seal defensive ends on cutback runs, as well as the strength to drive linebackers several yards back from the original point of contact. He consistently made an effort to find work, hustling downfield to find someone else to block after his original block was made. BEST GAME:

BEST GAME:

Houma had a two-touchdown game in Michigan’s lastsecond loss to rival Michigan State, totaling 30 yards on 3 carries. His highest yardage total was against Rutgers, where he added 32 receiving yards to 19 rushing yards.

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Seaton’s role in the passing game was limited, especially against conference opponents. His highest yardage game was against Texas San Antonio with 45 yards, and he also scored a 1 yard touchdown against Texas later on in the season. Seaton played a major role in OSU’s shootout victory against Texas Tech, helping lead the way to 184 yards on the ground and a 5.1-yards per carry average.

39


FB8 | QUAYVON HICKS Georgia (SR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” | Weight: 259 lbs. | 40 Time: DNP | Bench Press: DNP 2015 STATS:

4 carries, 9 yards (2.30 ypc), 0 TD; 3 receptions, 34 yards, (11.30 ypc), 0 TD IN A NUTSHELL:

Quayvon Hicks was somewhat underutilized by the Bulldogs in 2015, only seeing the field on 18% of snaps in games in which he played. This was both a product of the offensive game plan, and the fact that Georgia had multiple capable fullbacks. Hicks possesses good size for the position, and has a knack for sifting through traffic to find an unblocked man. He maintains good leverage and stays with his blocks through the whistle. BEST GAME:

Hicks had very few chances to touch the ball in 2015, but his best game as a blocker came in week 2 against Vanderbilt. His career high in yards from scrimmage came in Georgia’s first game of the 2013 season, where he had 38 rushing yards and a TD as well as 38 receiving yards against Clemson. FB9 | PATRICK SKOV Georgia Tech (rSR)

FB10 | JAHLEEL PINNER Southern California (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Patrick Skov spent the first three years of his career at Stanford, where his dwindling snap count eventually drove him to transfer to Georgia Tech for his final year of eligibility. He brought a versatile skillset with him, which he developed even more in Tech’s run-heavy, triple option offense. Despite his lack of size, he was able to be an effective blocker as well as a runner and receiver, and ended the season with 93 carries for 377 yards and 6 TDs, as well as 44 receiving yards and 2 more touchdowns.

Jahleel Pinner and Soma Vainuku battled for the starting fullback position at USC for the past two years. Pinner finally came out on top, playing nearly 3 times as many snaps as Vainuku in 2015. While not being very involved on offense with the ball in his hands, Pinner showed promise as a lead blocker, especially on outside runs where he was required to track and flowing linebackers and win the leverage battle. Pinner occasionally struggled on downhill runs with the defenders coming straight at him, but for the most part was a reliable option for Tre Madden and the Trojan offense.

BEST GAME:

Skov played in an offense that split up carries for its’ backs, but he was able to make the most of his limited number of carries. His best game was his first at Georgia Tech, where he carried the ball 12 times for 72 yards (6.0-yard average) and 3 touchdowns.

BEST GAME:

FB11 | TREVON PENDLETON Michigan State (rSR)

FB12 | STEVEN WALKER Colorado State (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Pendleton played almost 30% of offensive snaps for MSU — a pro style offense —opening up holes for freshman tailback LJ Scott and occasionally serving as a receiver for QB Connor Cook. His size allows him to take on defenders at all levels, stonewalling linebackers at the point of attack and effectively kicking out the contain player on power runs to open holes on the edge. Pendleton also has 13 career receptions for 223 yards.

Steven Walker’s role at Colorado State in 2015 was closer to that of a tight end than of a fullback, but his lack of height will likely prevent him from playing the same position at the next level. He will most likely fit into an NFL offense as an H-back type player, as he possesses the skills required to be an effective receiver and an effective blocker in some situations.

Pinner’s best game as a blocker came early on in the season in USC’s 59-9 annihilation of Idaho. USC running backs combined for 287 yards on 37 carries (7.7-yard average), while Pinner also added two catches for 17 yards.

BEST GAME: BEST GAME:

Although Pendleton did not have a strong game blocking against Michigan, he did have a huge play as a receiver to set up a Michigan State touchdown. On a play action rollout, Pendleton leaked out behind the outside linebacker and took off down the sideline, where Connor Cook hit him for a 74-yard gain down to the 1-yard line. MSU scored on the next play.

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Walker had a down year in receptions in 2015, only catching 14 passes for 235 yards (16.8-yard average). However, in his career, he has 3 games with at least 5 catches and 3 games with at least 50 receiving yards. His highest yardage total in 2015 was against UNLV, where he had 1 long catch for 69 yards.

40


WIDE RECEIVERS AUTHOR:

ANDREW GARDA

LAQUON TREADWELL Ole Miss (JR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” Weight: 210 lbs. Arm Length: 33⅜” Hand Size: 9½” 40-Yard Dash: DNP Bench Press: 12

2015 STATS:

82 receptions, 1153 yards (14.1 ypr), 11 TD

WR1

IN A NUTSHELL:

BEST GAME:

Treadwell didn’t run at the Combine, waiting for his Pro Day instead. But speed is not the essence of his game, nor should it dictate his worth. Treadwell has excellent ball skills and his size is going to be an issue for defenders at the pro level, as he is adept at using his body to shield the ball from players. The one thing his possible lack of top line speed does bring up is that he’ll have to work harder off the line. He isn’t going to get many corners to back off him and they will crowd his short and underneath routes. Still, that’s where his size, body control and hands come into play and as long as he doesn’t regress in that area, he will be a real issue especially out of the slot. If he can become a better downfield blocker (he’s willing but not great) he could be a huge asset to any team.

Laquon Treadwell lit up Memphis in a 37-24 loss, catching a school-record 14 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. He also added a 68-yard touchdown pass on a trick play where quarterback Chad Kelly threw a screen to Treadwell, who found Quincy Odeboyejo open downfield for a quick score on a catch and run. Treadwell showed off tremendous hands throughout the game, and the Memphis defenders had no answer for his size and route running, coming up short more than once when battling with him for the ball. On Treadwell’s touchdown, he took advantage of the defense playing at the goal line and set his body right there, making it impossible for the defenders to keep him out of the end zone.

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41


COREY COLEMAN

JOSH DOCTSON

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’9” Weight: 182 lbs. Arm Length: 31¼” Hand Size: 9¼” 40-Yard Dash:4.72 Bench Press: 17

Height: 6’2” Weight: 202 lbs. Arm Length: 31⅞” Hand Size: 9⅞” 40-Yard Dash: 4.50 Bench Press: 14

Baylor (rJR)

WR2

TCU (rSR)

WR3

2015 STATS:

2015 STATS:

74 receptions, 1363 yards (18.4 ypr), 20 TD

78 receptions, 1326 yards (17 ypr), 14 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Coleman is still learning the position, leaving some scouts and media pundits to question his decision to come out early. But despite his raw skills, he’s a great playmaker who can energize an offense. He can line up as a vertical threat as well as gain yards after the catch on shallower routes, has an explosive first step, great acceleration and has shown some sharp footwork. Unfortunately he was not asked to run a full route tree at Baylor (which isn’t a pro-style scheme) and he is a bit undersized, as well. While he has some nice moves after the catch, he’s not quite as smooth as you’d like and Coleman has to learn to deal with more physical corners at the NFL level. Coleman can still put on some extra muscle to help with that and is a solid punt returner.

Doctson was a very productive receiver at TCU, earning Heisman consideration. A hard-working, aggressive player, Doctson has tremendous hands that, combined with a great ability to high-point the ball on any given pass, makes him a force to be reckoned with. A little thinner than you would like to see (and with little room to add mass), Doctson still manages to use his body well in shielding defenders from the ball while he makes a catch. He still needs to improve his route-running, and when asked to go across the middle he seems less aggressive than he does at other times. This leads to a tendency for focus drops, especially across the middle, as he seems to hear footsteps and get distracted. He also struggles when pressed at the line. Overall, Doctson is a very exciting prospect who needs to play a little tougher to succeed at the NFL level.

BEST GAME:

In a surprisingly close 31-24 win over the Kansas State Wildcats, Coleman finished the game with 11 catches for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns. One was an 81-yard catch and run for a touchdown from quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the second quarter to put the Bears up by two touchdowns. Coleman would score again in the third quarter to bring Baylor to an 18 point lead with a 3-yard touchdown catch. Coleman showed all the hallmarks of his game—great elusiveness after the catch, a good awareness of the open field around him and an ability for game changing plays.

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BEST GAME:

In a high-scoring shootout with Texas Tech, Doctson logged 18 catches for 267 yards and three touchdowns, though he didn’t make the game winning catch. On that play, quarterback Trevone Boykin’s pass was too high, and while Doctson got a hand on it, all he really did was deflect it up. Luckily it fell into the waiting hands of senior running back Aaron Green. All three of Doctson’s game totals were career highs for the senior receiver though, and his 18 catches were the first time a TCU receiver caught at least ten since Doctson had caught that many against West Virginia in 2013. The Red Raiders corners had no answer for Doctson’s speed and maneuverability, despite knowing that passes were going his way on most downs.

42


WILL FULLER

MICHAEL THOMAS

WR4

Ohio State (JR)

Notre Dame (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 212 lbs. Arm Length: 32⅛” Hand Size: 10½” 40-Yard Dash: 4.57 Bench Press: 18

Height: 6’0” Weight: 186 lbs. Arm Length: 30¾” Hand Size: 8¼” 40-Yard Dash: 4.32 Bench Press: 10

2015 STATS:

56 receptions, 781 yards (13.9 ypr), 9 TD

WR5

2015 STATS:

62 receptions, 1258 yards (20.3 ypr), 14 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Thomas has the combination of size, speed and height that teams want in a wide receiver, as well as the bloodlines (he is Keyshawn Johnson’s nephew), but is really raw. He struggles with his footwork when pressed, has issues playing against physical corners and is not a receiver who can adjust well to off-target or difficult throws.

Named the team MVP for the Irish in 2015, Fuller makes big plays and can put points on the board. He is undersized, though, with a thin frame that may not hold up to the pounding at the NFL level. He’s going to have to make a living outside as a vertical threat. BEST GAME:

POSTSEASON GAME:

Thomas’ 72 yards and a touchdown were integral to Ohio State’s Fiesta Bowl win against Notre Dame. The touchdown came via a great second effort, as quarterback JT Barrett hit Thomas on a short post just shy of the 6 yard line. Thomas made a few quick jukes to get to the goal line and then dove for the score.

WR6

The Trojans had no way of slowing down Fuller and the Fighting Irish in the most recent edition of this storied rivalry. Fuller had three hugely damaging catches against USC, for an average of 43.7 yards, including a 75 yard score early in the first quarter.

BRAXTON MILLER

TYLER BOYD

Ohio State (rJR)

PITT (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 201 lbs. Arm Length: 31¾” Hand Size: 9⅛” 40-Yard Dash: 4.50 Bench Press: 17

Height: 6’1” Weight: 197 lbs. Arm Length: 32” Hand Size: 9¾” 40-Yard Dash: 4.58 Bench Press: 11

2015 STATS:

25 receptions, 340 yards (13.6 ypr), 3 TD

WR7

2015 STATS:

91 receptions, 926 yards (10.2 ypr), 6 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Looking at a crowded OSU quarterback group, Miller wisely chose to switch positions a year ago, so he is ahead of most players making that transition. While very raw, Miller has shown great improvement in just one season, and his speed and athleticism will get a team to bite early.

Boyd is coming off a season where he played both running back and receiver. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for with great hands and very good body control. He has no fear going across the middle and makes tough catches look easy. BEST GAME:

SENIOR BOWL:

Miller was one of the best receivers in practice but he saw just two targets in the game, dropping what should have been an easy completion. The skills you saw all week in practice just didn’t translate to game day—you know he has the ability, but you also know there is much work to be done.

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Boyd’s 8-yard touchdown catch against Iowa to tie the game with 52 seconds left was the highlight of his 10-catch 131 yard day. In a pitched offensive battle which Pitt won, Boyd’s consistent catches and 13.1 yards per catch average kept the chains moving and the Panthers in the game.

43


WR8

PHAROH COOPER

LEONTE CARROO

South Carolina (JR)

Rutgers (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’11” Weight: 203 lbs. Arm Length: 32¼” Hand Size: 9⅛” 40-Yard Dash: DNP Bench Press: 15

Height: 6’0” Weight: 211 lbs. Arm Length: 31⅜” Hand Size: 9⅝” 40-Yard Dash: 4.50 Bench Press: 14

2015 STATS:

66 receptions, 973 yards (14.7 ypr), 8 TD

WR9

2015 STATS:

39 receptions, 809 yards (20.7 ypr), 10 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Cooper is short but well-built and very tough. He was very consistent on a team which had some chaos this season and was a reliable player who could do just about anything they needed. On the downside, Cooper wasn’t asked to run a complete route tree and his height certainly limits his catch radius.

Carroo has the desired size and was very productive with the Scarlet Knights, but he needs to improve his route running to gain better separation. If he does this, his quickness and acceleration could allow him to replicate the production he had in college. CHARACTER CONCERNS:

BEST GAMES:

While all hell was breaking loose for the program, Cooper ripped off three straight 100 yard games against Missouri, LSU and Vanderbilt. During the course of that run he caught 23 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 16.4 yards a catch.

WR10

Carroo was arrested and charged with assault and domestic violence in September (though the charges were dropped) and was suspended for two games by Rutgers. There are serious questions about his character and rumors he has other personality issues as well.

RASHARD HIGGINS

STERLING SHEPARD

Colorado State (JR)

Oklahoma (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 196 lbs. Arm Length: 32¼” Hand Size: 9¾” 40-Yard Dash: 4.46 Bench Press: 13

Height: 5’10” Weight: 194 lbs. Arm Length: 30⅜” Hand Size: 9¾” 40-Yard Dash: 4.48 Bench Press: 20

2015 STATS:

74 receptions, 1061 yards (14.3 ypr), 8 TD

WR11

2015 STATS:

86 receptions, 1288 yards (15 ypr), 11 TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Often overlooked, this Mountain West Conference receiver was incredible productive for Colorado State. He is immensely confident, and showed improvement every year of his collegiate career. However, his lack of quickness, speed and strength could lead to struggles against NFL cornerbacks, especially in press coverage.

His lack of height and overall strength will be a problem against pressing NFL corners, but he has outstanding route running abilities, acceleration and a vast toolbox of moves to gain separation from corners. He’ll sometimes spend too much time dancing though, and his lack of size contributes to him getting knocked off his routes.

RIVALRY GAME:

BEST GAME:

While the team lost to in-state rival Colorado, it wasn’t for lack of effort by Higgins. Returning from a sprained ankle that held him out of the previous game, Higgins caught eight passes for 125 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Shepard went off in Oklahoma’s upset of No. 2 ranked Baylor, raking in 14 catches for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns. On his first touchdown, a 39 yard score, Shepard got decent separation on a corner route and dove for the pylon while going down. His second score saw him on a short slant and going low to catch the pass in the end zone.

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44


WR12 | ROGER LEWIS Bowling Green (rSO) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” | Weight: 201 lbs. | Arm Length: 32” | Hand Size: 9¾” | 40-Yard Dash: 4.57 | Bench Press: 8 2015 STATS:

85 receptions, 1544 yards (18.2 ypr), 16 TD IN A NUTSHELL:

While he put together some huge games (including three 200+ yard efforts), he lacks the speed and skill to replicate that in the NFL. Also, those numbers came against some poor defenses while against better teams, he struggled. He has a good catch radius but his ball skills, quickness and overall strength are all below average. COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Lewis had seven games of over 100 yards. But of the remaining seven games, he failed to top 50 three times, and topped 60 just twice more. He feasted on the likes of Maryland, Memphis, UMASS and Akron but struggled against Tennessee and Georgia Southern in the GoDaddy Bowl. His season was sheer peaks and deep chasms. WR13 | KENNY LAWLER Cal (rJR)

WR14 | BRALON ADDISON Oregon (rJR)

N A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

All Lawler did was score touchdowns, racking up one every five receptions. He’s deadly on shorter passes and can make hard catches, but his build is very slight and his route running needs work.

A guy with an exciting ability after the catch, his size and a lack of route-running experience will scare some teams off. He will likely have to make his bones on special teams as a punt or kick returner until a team figures out how to best use his talents.

WR15 | KEYARRIS GARRETT Tulsa (rSR)

WR16 | TAJAE SHARPE UMASS (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Garrett has the length teams like plus some great production from his time in Tulsa but he’s way too inconsistent, especially when he has to fight for the ball. He had 13 drops the last few years and he is prone to wait for the ball rather than attack it.

Sharpe has great scissor steps which makes his footwork very sharp on routes, but if he can’t get a clean release he’s going to get held up or redirected. Needs to add more muscle and core strength and at 21 could still add both without sacrificing anything else.

WR17 | JORDAN PAYTON UCLA (SR)

WR18 | PAUL MCROBERTS Southeast Missouri State (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

A thick, strong receiver who is a very good blocker as well, Payton lacks the speed and athleticism to be overly productive at the NFL level. That said, he runs solid routes and sees the field well. While he won’t gain much after the catch, he has reliable hands.

McRoberts’ long frame helps him high-point the ball over defenders, but he lacks speed and his routes are below average. He has upside but is a long-term project for a team looking to add depth later in the draft.

WR19 | AARON BURBRIDGE Michigan State (SR)

WR20 | KOLBY LISTENBEE TCU (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Burbridge doesn’t really fit the profile for an outside receiver, so he’ll likely be looked at merely as a slot receiver. The problem is, his hands aren’t all that great and he’ll lose more contested catches than he wins.

Listenbee needs to add weight and mass to his frame, but has good hands and fair ball skills. He might be able to burn defenses deep on occasion but appears to be a one-trick pony right now, and isn’t a sure bet to run past corners at the next level.

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45


TIGHT ENDS AUTHOR:

CODY BAUER

HUNTER HENRY Arkansas (JR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’5” Weight: 250 lbs. Arms: 32¾” Hands: 9¼” Bench: 13 40-yard dash: DNP

2015 STATS: 51 receptions, 739 yds, (14.5ypr), 3TD IN A NUTSHELL:

The John Mackey Award winner and first team All-American is the consensus top tight end in this year’s class. Henry combines great size with solid route running and soft hands. Henry is a threat at just about every level of the field and can line up in several different spots. Henry is fearless going over the middle to make contested catches and didn’t record a single drop on the year. While Henry’s hands are good, he isn’t overly athletic and isn’t going to scare defenders as a guy who can create much after the catch. Despite his lack of elite athleticism, Henry does a decent job creating separation and uses his body to shield off defenders. He can threaten the seam a little bit, but again he isn’t going to run away from many defenders.

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TE1

As a blocker, the 21 year old leaves a bit to be desired. He does a nice job down blocking and can seal the edge, but he can get a bit grabby, as he was called for 3 holding calls last year. He certainly has the size and flashes good technique, but he needs quite a bit of refinement. BOWL GAME:

Hunter Henry helped the Arkansas Razorbacks put the rout on the Kansas State Wildcats in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl 45-23. Henry had five receptions for 92 yards, including a big 43-yard play on a 3rd and long. The 92 yards was the 3rd highest output for Henry on the season. The Arkansas offense didn’t need much output in the passing game, as Alex Collins was the star of the afternoon running for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns. That isn’t to say Henry didn’t play his part in helping block for Collins. It was a good game for evaluators of Henry as they were able to see his versatility as a receiver as well as a blocker.

46


TYLER HIGBEE

AUSTIN HOOPER

Western Kentucky (rSR)

Stanford (rSO)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’6” Weight: 249 lbs. Arms: 33¼” Hands: 10½” Bench: DNP 40-yard dash: DNP

TE2 2015 STATS:

38 receptions, 563 yds, (14.8ypr), 8TD IN A NUTSHELL:

Tyler Higbee is arguably the best pass-catching tight end in the 2016 draft. At 6’6", 249 lbs. he is built extremely well and still has room on his frame to add more muscle. Western Kentucky had Higbee line up inline, as an H-back, and in the slot to take advantage of the mismatches Higbee created as a receiver. Higbee can stretch the seam and is a great red zone threat due to his size, flexibility and athleticism. Higbee is an animal after the catch; he can run away from defenders, juke them out, or run through tackles to fight for extra yards. As a blocker, Higbee has some things to improve on but is certainly willing. He has no hesitation about sticking his face in a guy but he could stand to add some strength to better sustain blocks. Higbee is recovering from a knee injury that essentially kept him out of six games and the Senior Bowl. BEST GAME:

Higbee had one of his better games of the season coming back from his knee injury when the Hilltoppers went against Marshall. He finished the game with 6 catches for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both his touchdowns came in the first half as Western Kentucky was all over Marshall early. Throughout the first half Higbee showed his ability to get open, both in the red zone and in the middle of the field. On one play late in the first half Higbee caught a 5 yard crossing route and displayed his open field running ability by stiff arming one defender and running away from another for a 27-yard gain. In the 2nd half, Higbee did a nice job blocking for the run game to put the victory away. Overall, it was a good game to show NFL teams what a fluid athlete Higbee is as a pass catcher.

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Height: 6’4” Weight: 254 lbs. Arms: 33¾” Hands: 10⅝” Bench: 19 40-yard dash: 4.72

TE3 2015 STATS:

34 receptions, 438 yds, (12.9ypr), 6TD IN A NUTSHELL:

Having grown up in a football family with his dad and uncle both playing in Division 1, Hooper’s natural ability is evident. As a four-star recruit coming out of De La Salle High School, Hooper had offers from just about every Pac-12 college, but ultimately chose Stanford. Hooper recorded 34 catches for 438 yards and 6 touchdowns in his second year at Stanford, good enough to finish as AP 3rd Team All-American. Hooper is a very solid receiving threat as well as a very good inline blocker. Hooper doesn’t consistently get open against man coverage, and needs to work on his route running. He makes up for his inability to separate, however, by making very tough catches in traffic. Hooper has good technique and has shown the ability to move or re-direct his man when blocking inline. He does, however, have a tough time blocking a moving target in space. Overall, Hooper has enough athleticism and technique as a blocker that he could develop into a starting tight end in the NFL. NFL COMBINE:

Austin Hooper was one of the top performers at the NFL combine among tight ends. There were quite a few players who didn’t participate and Hooper took full advantage by showing teams his athleticism. It started at the weigh-ins when he checked in at 6’4", 248 lbs. with 10⅝ inch hands. He also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.72 seconds, which ranked 3rd among tight ends. That time would have also placed him in the top 5 in last year’s class. Hooper ran a 7.00 3-cone drill, which was 5th best. His vertical jump of 33 inches and broad jump of 9 feet 9 inches are both respectable, and his 19 reps on the bench press of 225 lbs. is adequate. During the field drills he also stood out. He caught the ball effortlessly and looked smooth in and out of his breaks. Overall, it was a good showing for one of the top tight ends in the class.

47


TE4

NICK VANNETT

JERRELL ADAMS

Ohio St. (rSR)

South Carolina (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’6” Weight: 257 lbs. Arms: 34¼” Hands: 10” Bench: 17 40-yard dash: DNP

Height: 6’5” Weight: 247 lbs. Arms: 34⅜” Hands: 9¾” Bench: DNP 40-yard dash: 4.64

2015 STATS:

19 receptions, 162 yds, (8.5ypr), 0TD

TE5

2015 STATS:

28 receptions, 421 yds, (15.0ypr), 3TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Nick Vannett has ideal size for the tight end position. He was severely underutilized as a receiving option for Ohio St., catching only 19 balls his senior year. Vannett has shown the ability to make tough catches in traffic and is very efficient in finding openings in zones. As a blocker, he does a nice job pulling around and sealing the edge.

Jerrell Adams is a long strider who looks the part of a prototypical tight end. He’s one of the more athletic tight ends in the draft, who can stretch the seam and works hard for yards after the catch. He isn’t a natural pass-catcher and tends to run his routes really high. Adams is a very functional blocker both inline and when split out. He is very good at latching onto smaller defenders and riding them out of the play.

SENIOR BOWL:

Vannett was arguably the best tight end down in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. While his play didn’t answer questions about his ability to separate from man coverage, he showed NFL teams he’s comfortable making tough catches and can be a viable red zone threat. At one practice, Vannett caught four touchdowns on consecutive plays.

SENIOR BOWL:

Adams turned some heads at the Senior Bowl. After limited production at South Carolina, he showed teams he was able to snatch the ball outside of his frame and that he has the ability to win against one-on-one coverage. He also displayed some blocking power by recording several pancake blocks.

HENRY KRIEGER COBLE

BEN BRAUNECKER Harvard (SR)

Iowa (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

TE6

Height: 6’3” Weight: 248 lbs. Arms: 31¾” Hands: 9⅛” Bench: DNP 40-yard dash: DNP 2015 STATS:

35 receptions, 405 yds, (11.6ypr), 1TD

Height: 6’3” Weight: 250 lbs. Arms: 32¾” Hands: 9½” Bench: 20 40-yard dash: 4.73

TE7

2015 STATS:

48 receptions, 850 yds, (17.7ypr), 8TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Krieger Coble has surprising quickness in and out of breaks, and does a nice job setting defenders up when running routes. With short arms, he doesn’t have the catch radius you’d like from a tight end. Krieger Coble is a solid inline blocker who understands leverage and technique. He will occasionally duck his head which causes him to fall off of blocks early.

Braunecker dominated the Ivy League during his senior season. He’s a little shorter than you’d like your inline tight end to be, but he was physically imposing and much stronger than his competition. Braunecker showed good flexibility and acceleration in and out of his routes. He will need time to adjust to the NFL and will need to work on catching the ball with his hands as opposed to letting it into his body.

SENIOR BOWL:

Henry Krieger Coble was his usual self during the week of the Senior Bowl. He performed admirably – not only showing off his blocking ability but also making one of the better catches all week. He put a beautiful double move on a defensive back and snagged the ball one-handed down the seam. Highlight catches aren’t the norm for Kreiger Coble, but that one raised some eyebrows.

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NFL COMBINE:

Ben Braunecker dominated the Combine. He was one of the top performers in every event, including the 40-yard dash where he was the 5th fastest. It was good to see him finish 2nd in both the 3-cone and the 20-yard shuttle, as it shows that he has top-notch change of direction quickness. He capped off his combine performance by finishing 2nd in both the vertical and broad jump.

48


TEMARRICK HEMINGWAY

BEAU SANDLAND Montana St. (rSR)

South Carolina St. (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight: 253 lbs. Arms: 34¼” Hands: 10⅛” Bench: 23 40-yard dash: 4.74

TE8

2015 STATS:

37 receptions, 632 yds, (17.1ypr), 9TD

2015 STATS:

38 receptions, 418 yds, (11.0ypr), 1TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

After going to JUCO, Sandland got the attention of Miami U. After a disappointing year there he decided to attend FCS Montana St. Sandland did what good players are supposed to do: stood out against the competition. Sandland is a very athletic, long-armed target who can separate out of his breaks as a route runner. While he was an adequate run blocker at Montana, it is still something he can improve on. NFL COMBINE:

Sandland had some name recognition after playing a year at Miami, and teams were interested to see how he’d perform at the Combine. Needless to say they were impressed. He was a top performer in both the vertical jump and broad jump and also put up 23 reps of 225lbs on the bench press. He displayed fluidity in the field drills as well.

TE10

TE9

Height: 6’ 5” Weight: 244 lbs. Arms: 34” Hands: 10” Bench: 18 40-yard dash: 4.71

Hemingway is basically a wide receiver in a tight end’s body. He was used exclusively in the slot or split out for South Carolina St., so there is a lot to work on as an inline blocker. Hemingway has the frame to add more muscle, but he needs to improve technique as well as play strength. As a pass catcher he can threaten the seam, and doesn’t shy away from contact after the catch. Hemingway is more of a developmental prospect at this point, but he has nice physical tools. NFL COMBINE:

Temarrick Hemingway was a bit of an unknown heading into the Combine, but he gave a very good all-around performance. His 6.88 3-cone was the fastest of any tight end in the group and his 4.71 40-yard dash was the second fastest. Hemingway’s quickness and straight line speed were on display.

DAVID MORGAN

DARION GRISWOLD

Texas-San Antonio (rSR)

Arkansas St. (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight: 262 lbs. Arms: 33⅝” Hands: 10½” Bench: 29 40-yard dash: 5.02

Height: 6’3” Weight: 253 lbs. Arms: 33¾” Hands: 9½” Bench: DNP 40-yard dash: DNP

2015 STATS:

45 receptions, 566 yds, (12.6ypr), 5TD

TE11

2015 STATS:

13 receptions, 187 yds, (14.4ypr), 2TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

David Morgan was named 2nd team All-American after one of the most productive 2015 seasons among tight ends. Ironically, Morgan will likely make his money in the NFL with his blocking. He’s arguably the best blocking tight end in the draft, displaying proper technique and keeping his feet under him. In spite of not having good speed, he’s a competent receiver who can find open spots on the field.

Griswold didn’t have much production throughout his collegiate career, but he has a lot of the physical tools desirable in a tight end. Having come from a basketball background, he understands positioning and can outleap defenders for the football. He does need to improve upon his route running and, even though he gives good effort, his run blocking needs development.

BEST GAME:

In their first game of the 2015 season, Texas-San Antonio went against the Arizona Wildcats. David Morgan was arguably the best player on the field that day. He caught 9 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Although they lost the game, he also helped pave the way for the Roadrunners to finish with 193 yards rushing.

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SHRINE GAME:

Griswold was one of the standouts during the week in St. Petersburg. He displayed soft hands and some quickness in and over his head at that level of competition.

49


TE12 | THOMAS DUARTE UCLA (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” | Weight: 231 lbs. | Arms: 33” | Bench: 12 | 40-yard dash: 4.72 IN A NUTSHELL:

Thomas Duarte is built and plays like a big wide receiver. At 6’2” and 231 lbs he doesn’t have the size or strength to play inline or be a functional blocker in the NFL. Duarte does have decent hands and has shown the ability to make tough catches over the middle of the field. He is a crisp route runner who uses his athleticism to get open vs man coverage. NFL COMBINE:

Thomas Duarte’s athletic ability was on display during the combine. While he ran a modest 4.72 forty yard dash it was his agility testing that was impressive. He ran a 6.97 3 cone and a 4.24 short shuttle. Those were both the 4th fastest amongst the tight ends. At his size it was important for him to test well to show teams he can be valuable split out tight end. TE13 | BRYCE WILLIAMS East Carolina (rSR)

TE14 | JAKE MCGEE Florida (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Williams doesn’t offer much in the way of blocking and has a tendency to fall off blocks. As a pass catcher he doesn’t always gain a lot of separation but does make contested catches.

During this last season with the Gators, McGee recorded 41 catches for 381 yards and four touchdowns. He has great hands, and is a natural pass catcher. McGee does need to work on his route running and becoming more consistent as a blocker.

TE15 | DAN VITALE Northwestern (SR)

TE16 | BRAXTON DEAVER Duke (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Dan Vitale did everything for the Wildcats including playing fullback, tight end, and h-back. He has some size limitations being only 6’1”, but he’s extremely athletic and strong. Vitale is the type of do-everything guy who finds his way onto a football team for 10+ years.

Braxton Deaver has had his share of injuries, including a torn ACL which caused him to miss the 2014 season. When healthy, Deaver is a viable option in the passing game and can both pass and run block effectively.

TE17 | RYAN MALLECK Virginia Tech (rSR)

TE18 | JAY ROME Georgia (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Ryan Malleck played second fiddle to highly touted tight end Bucky Hodges this past year but was still productive for the Hokies. He caught 55 passes the last two years, showing really good hands and an understanding of how to get open.

Jay Rome is a bit of an enigma since entering college. A highly touted 4-star recruit, he has ideal size for the position but never produced for the Bulldogs. Rome is very athletic, and in a more spread-out offense he may reach his potential in the NFL.

TE19 | KYLE CARTER Penn St. (rSR)

TE20 | DAVID GRINNAGE North Carolina St. (rJR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

While highly athletic, Carter failed to produce very much his last 3 years at Penn St. Carter is built more like an H-back and could be effective outside using his speed versus linebackers.

David Grinnage is limited athletically but does have good size at 6’5” and 248lbs. He was up and down at North Carolina St but has shown the ability to make some tough catches.

TE21 | STEVEN SCHEU Vanderbilt (rSR)

TE22 | SEAN PRICE South Florida (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Steven Scheu boasts great size for the position at 6’5” and 250lbs. He was a very good pass catcher for Vanderbilt, catching 65 passes the last two years. Scheu did well competing at the East-West Shrine game.

While he lacks ideal size for the position, Price makes up for it with very good hands and athletic ability. Price snagged 5 touchdowns this past year to go along with his very sound run blocking ability.

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50


OFFENSIVE TACKLES AUTHOR:

"JERSEY AL" BRACCO

LAREMY TUNSIL Mississippi (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’5” Weight: 310 lbs. Arms: 34¼” Bench: DNP 40-yard dash: DNP

IN A NUTSHELL:

Over the last six years of ranking offensive tackle prospects for this draft guide, Tunsil is second only to Tyron Smith — the guide’s top pick in 2011. Tunsil has great feet for a man his size and moves so fluidly he could play tight end. Watching his film, it would be hard to find another tackle that gets downfield as easily as he does. In pass protection, Tunsil can do it all. He mirrors well and shows excellent technique with both his hands and feet. He keeps rushers from getting into his body, effectively using his long reach while not over-extending, and delivers a strong punch when needed. Tunsil plays with excellent pad level, helping him establish a strong base, even when on the move or kick-sliding. As a run blocker, Tunsil’s outstanding mobility makes a zone blocking system his best scheme fit. He is not a power blocking lineman and his lower body — by his own admission — needs some strength work. A year or two in an NFL weight room will develop Tunsil into the type bona-fide franchise left tackle not seen since — well — Tyron Smith.

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OT1 COLLEGE CAREER:

Tunsil came to Mississippi as the #1 rated tackle prospect in the country, turning down offers from every other BCS program. Unlike many top recruits, Tunsil did not disappoint, earning a starting spot right out of the gate as a true freshman. As a sophomore, he was named All-SEC and garnered some All-American attention. 2015 was a difficult year for Tunsil, playing only five games due to off-field issues. He was suspended for seven games for “having accepted improper benefits from agents.” The charges resulted from the investigation of an altercation with his Stepfather over the summer. Even discounting the suspension, Tunsil has never played a full season in college. But having suffered a variety of injuries may be the only item of concern for teams looking to draft him.

51


TAYLOR DECKER

RONNIE STANLEY

MEASURABLES

LSU (SR)

Ohio State (SR)

Notre Dame (SR)

Height: 6’7” Weight: 310 lbs. Arms: 33¾” Bench: 20 40-yard dash: 5.23

OT2 IN A NUTSHELL:

Decker is the type of lineman who isn’t happy just blocking his man — he needs to bury him. Against Decker, if you’re watching the ball and not paying attention, you’re getting pancaked. One has to admire his old school “take no prisoners” attitude. Decker shows excellent core strength and leg drive, especially on the goal line. He gets to the second level quickly and looks faster on tape than his combine time. He slides off blocked defenders and gets to the next one easily. Decker can pull or get outside on screens well enough and rarely misses a block in space. For his height, he shows better knee bend than expected. He’s aggressive in pass protection, preferring to engage the rusher sooner rather than later. That’s likely due to shorterthan-ideal arms, but he packs a good punch and uses his hands very well. Pure speed rushers will give him the most problems, but it’s not a major concern. Decker shows a high football IQ, picks up blitzes and stunts flawlessly and — as a team captain — has shown himself to be a team leader. POSTSEASON GAME:

As Decker prepared with the rest of the Buckeyes to face Notre Dame in the 2015 Fiesta Bowl, he must have been thinking about “what might have been.” Born and bred in Ohio, the four-star recruit dreamed of playing for Ohio State. When no offer came, he verbally committed to the Fighting Irish and was prepping for months for a career in South Bend. But a call came sometime in December from Urban Meyer, and the rest is history. Going into the Fiesta Bowl, Decker was looking to be part of his 50th win at Ohio State. It was mission accomplished as the Buckeyes rolled over the Irish 44-28. Decker dominated, allowing minimal pressure on quarterback JT Barrett, and opening holes for running back Ezekial Elliott on his way to a four-touchdown performance. Ironically, Decker gave Notre Dame fans another reason to hate him when he pancaked Jaylon Smith downfield and then went after him again as he tried to bounce back up. Smith suffered a serious knee injury that knocked him out of the game and probably next season.

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MEASURABLES

OT3

Height: 6’6” Weight: 312 lbs. Arms: 35⅝” Bench: DNP 40-yard dash: 5.20

IN A NUTSHELL:

Many scouts expected Stanley to declare for the 2015 draft. Though — frankly — that would have been a risky move. While there is no denying Stanley’s future is bright, thanks to his athletic ability, quick feet and pass protection skills, he still has plenty of areas that need improvement. As a run blocker, he does not seem to be able to match up with power defensive players. On tape, he is most often seen getting stalemated at the line of scrimmage or even giving up ground. He also has a tendency to fall off blocks too easily and is not a drive blocker or finisher. He does get to the second level comfortably and is an active downfield blocker. For those reasons, a team employing a zone blocking system would make the most sense for him. Pass protection is his strength, as he sets up so quickly, has excellent kick slide technique and uses his long arms to keep edge rushers away. It’s very difficult to get around Stanley with outside speed, but power rushers with inside moves will give him some problems. He definitely needs work in the weight room to get stronger and help him match power with power. Stanley is a first year starter, but not without growing pains. COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stanley came to the Fighting Irish as the 15th ranked tackle prospect in the country. He was a backup as a true freshman, seeing action in just two games. As a sophomore, he earned the starting right tackle job and started all 13 games on a unit that gave up only eight sacks. As a junior in 2014, Stanley took over the left tackle position for the departed Zack Martin and allowed only a single sack over 13 games. He was named Notre Dame’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and strongly considered entering the draft. In the end, a chance to compete for a National Championship brought him back to Notre Dame for his senior season. There would be no National Championship for the Irish, but Stanley gained valuable experience in 2015, going up against some of the top pass rushers in the nation. The talented Clemson duo of Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd gave him fits, likely opening his eyes to see what it will take to excel at the next level.

52


JACK CONKLIN

SHON COLEMAN

Michigan State (rJR)

Auburn (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’6” Weight: 308 lbs. Arms: 35” Bench: 25 40-yard dash: 5.00

Height: 6’5” Weight: 307 lbs. Arms: 35⅛” Bench: 22 40-yard dash: DNP

OT4

OT5

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Conklin is an average athlete that doesn’t wow you in any area, but doesn’t have major flaws either. He can let defenders into his body too much, but has the power to succeed regardless. In pass protection, he exhibits a strong punch and mirrors well. Conklin doesn’t kick slide so much as shuffle his feet side to side — it’s unorthodox, but it works for him. He’s an immediate starter as a right tackle.

Coleman is a long, athletic tackle whose best work is ironically done in the trenches where he gets off the ball very quickly. While he moves well and can get downfield easily, he’s often seen lunging at defenders in space and missing. Coleman’s pass blocking is a mixed bag, as he has a so-so kick slide and can be fooled by stunts. He compares physically to Ronnie Stanley, slightly besting Stanley as a power run blocker, though not nearly as skilled in pass protection. BACKGROUND:

VS. TOP OPPONENT:

Conklin had an early season test against Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, who will likely get drafted high in the first round. Conklin showed he could handle the task, bottling up Buckner most of the game and putting him on the ground several times.

You’ll have a hard time finding a more inspirational story in this draft class. Coleman was diagnosed with acute leukemia and spent three years fighting, eventually beating it. He made it back to start every game for the Tigers his last two seasons. He’s a project that could pay off big, but will be a 25-year old rookie.

JASON SPRIGGS

LE’RAVEN CLARK

Indiana (SR)

Texas Tech (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’6” Weight: 301 lbs. Arms: 34⅛” Bench: 31 40-yard dash: 4.94

Height: 6’5 Weight: 316 lbs. Arms: 36⅛” Bench: 18 40-yard dash: 5.16

OT6

OT7

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

A former tight end, Spriggs is a fluid, athletic big man fit strictly for a zone blocking scheme. As a run blocker, he doesn’t show much power or ability to finish blocks. In pass protection, he has an efficient kick slide but can get knocked off balance and is very susceptible to inside moves. As you would expect, he pulls or gets to the second level easily, but he’s spotted whiffing on blocks way too often.

With Texas Tech’s offense, the majority of Clark’s tape is in pass protection. It’s obvious he has some technique issues that make him susceptible to speed rushers, especially those with inside spin moves. In the run game, he was on the move a lot, but seems to lean and lunge too much in space. His best position might be right tackle or perhaps a move inside to guard.

NFL COMBINE:

If there were a “Best in Shorts” award at the combine, Spriggs would take the OL competition in a landslide. He was first in the 40-yard dash, first in the broad jump, second in the 20-yard shuttle and fourth in the bench press. While there’s no denying his athletic prowess, his tape shows a myriad of inadequacies he will have to work on.

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POSTSEASON GAME:

Clark likely never had to work harder than he did in the Aggies’ Advocare Bowl loss to LSU. He was given fits by a handful of different LSU speed rushers showing a variety of moves — spins, stunts, you name it. Clark didn’t give up a sack, but he can thank the mobility of Aggie quarterback Patrick Mahomes for that, as he managed to escape a wave of non-stop pressure. Clark survived, but just barely.

53


KYLE MURPHY

WILLIE BEAVERS

Stanford (SR)

Western Michigan (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’6” Weight: 305 lbs. Arms: 33½ Bench: 23 40-yard dash: DNP

Height: 6’4 Weight: 324 lbs. Arms: 33½” Bench: 20 40-yard dash: 5.28

OT8

OT9

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

There is little doubt Beavers has the quick feet to play left tackle in the NFL. His size is average, however, which is why he ended up at Western Michigan. Beavers, a three year starter, delivers a jolt in the run game and mirrors rushers well. He needs to get stronger, as he can get knocked off balance by power rushers.

Murphy is an interesting prospect that needs to improve his footwork. If that gets straightened out, he could turn out to be a hidden gem. As a run blocker, he plays with excellent pad level and fires out from the line, especially in short yardage situations. His footwork gets him in trouble as a pass blocker, as he doesn’t anchor properly and can get knocked off balance by power rushes. He has all the physical traits to play tackle in the NFL, but will need some good coaching.

VS. TOP OPPONENT:

Beavers was tested right out of the gate in 2015, going up against Michigan State’s Shalique Calhoun, a likely first round pick. Calhoun has a variety of good pass rush moves and Beavers handled them all, with the exception of one spin move that resulted in a sack — Calhoun’s only tackle of the day

SENIOR BOWL:

Murphy played both the left and right tackle spots at Stanford and the Senior Bowl coaches gave him opportunities at both. He struggled to keep up against the best edge rushers in the nation — again, his footwork — but he also won his share of battles. His performance served to highlight the technique improvements he needs to make.

JOE HAEG

GERMAIN IFEDI

North Dakota State (rSR)

Texas A&M (RJR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’6 Weight: 303 lbs. Arms: 33⅜” Bench: 22 40-yard dash: 5.16

Height: 6’6” Weight: 324 lbs. Arms: 36” Bench: 24 40-yard dash: 5.27

OT10

OT11

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

The blind side protector for Carson Wentz the last two seasons, Haeg is an athletic tackle that has experience on both sides of the line. He displays good lateral quickness and is very comfortable pulling or getting out on screen plays and blocking on the run. He also displays high football IQ as a pass protector, rarely getting fooled. Haeg would be a perfect swing tackle or guard/tackle backup for a zone blocking team (cough… like the Packers… cough) with eventual starting potential as strength is added in the weight room.

Ifedi is big, strong and plays hard, but has serious technique issues. His pad level is too high and his footwork is not smooth when out on an island in pass protection, resulting in some real struggles with speed rushers. Ifedi is not about finesse as a run blocker, preferring to meet power with power, and is mostly successful. It’s likely a move back inside to guard will be in Ifedi’s future, something the Packers like to do with college tackles.

NFL COMBINE

Neither Haeg’s five championship rings with the Bison or his awesome man-bun managed to weigh him down very much at the NFL Combine. Haeg was a top-five performer among offensive linemen in three categories: broad jump, 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.

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COLLEGE CAREER:

Ifedi came to the Aggies as a four star recruit at guard. After a redshirt season, Ifedi started one year at right guard, helping protect “Johnny Football.” He moved over to right tackle as a sophomore and stayed there for his junior season, earning second-team All-SEC honors.

54


OT12 | COLE TONER Harvard (SR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’5” | Weight: 306 lbs. | Arms: 33⅛” | Bench: 22 | 40-yard dash: 5.32 IN A NUTSHELL:

The two-time first team All-Ivy League tackle has an NFL body and above average athleticism. Toner will need some time in the weight room and some NFL-level coaching to improve his technique, but he shows an aggressive side that will serve him well. He could be an eventual starter on the right side, but has quick enough feet to be a solid left tackle backup, as well. ALL STAR GAME:

Scouts had their eyes fixed on Toner during the Senior Bowl, looking for indications that he could handle the jump in competition. Toner passed the test in many scouts’ eyes, holding his own both at practices and in the game.

OT13 | JERALD HAWKINS LSU (JR)

OT14 | CALEB BENENOCH UCLA (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Despite weighing in at 305 lbs, Hawkins is rather lean for an offensive tackle. The girth he’s lacking limits his ability to handle powerful defenders. He is NFL-caliber, but likely needs a year or two in the weight room before he has a shot at a starting role.

Benenoch is a lean, mobile tackle prospect that needs a good amount of added strength, but — at a minimum — has potential to develop into solid backup at both tackle spots for a team utilizing a zone blocking scheme.

OT15 | STEPHONE NEMBOT Colorado (rSR)

OT16 | HALAPOULIVAATI VAITAI TCU (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Nembot is a former defensive end turned offensive lineman, and didn’t play football until his junior year in High School. He is a project, but with his size (6’6”, 322 lbs) and relative mobility, he’s worth exploring for a team that can afford to be patient.

“Big V” is well-rounded as a prospect, but doesn’t excel in any one area. He did well against Oregon power rusher DeForest Buckner, but has issues with pure speed rushers. As a run blocker, he fits best for a zone blocking team and has starter potential.

OT17 | JOHN THEUS Georgia (SR)

OT18 | ALEX LEWIS Nebraska (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Not fast enough to handle edge rushers, nor strong enough to handle power rushers, Theus’ best chance to stick in the NFL is to get stronger and eventually win a right tackle spot somewhere.

Lewis is a right tackle prospect only, as he is not exactly swift of foot. Overall strength is also an issue, but not as much as some off-field concerns that will make some teams question his ability to handle life as an NFL player.

OT19 | TYLER JOHNSTONE Oregon (rSR)

OT20 | PEARCE SLATER San Diego State (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Johnstone showed a lot of promise and athletic ability before injuring his ACL twice in a six-month period. He missed all of 2014 and, after a slow start this year, began to show flashes of his old self as the season progressed. Medical evaluations will determine if he gets drafted or has to go the UDFA route.

Slater was a junior college transfer who started 27 games at right tackle the last two seasons for the Aztecs. At 6’7, 333 lbs, he’s a giant whose size makes up for a lot of sloppy technique. If he can learn to play less upright he could be a developmental hidden gem.

ADDITIONAL PLAYERS OT21 | NICK RICHTER Richmond (rSR) OT22 | AVERY YOUNG Auburn (rJR) OT23 | BRANDON SHELL S. Carolina (rSR) OT24 | ADAM REDMOND Harvard (SR) OT25 | FAHN COOPER Ole Miss (rSR)

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OT26 | TYLER MARZ Wisconsin (rSR) OT27 | JOE GORE Clemson (rSR) OT28 | DOMINIQUE ROBERTSON West Georgia (rSR) OT29 | KEITH LUMPKIN Rutgers (rSR) OT30 | CLAY DEBORD Eastern Washington (SR)

55


INTERIOR LINEMEN AUTHOR:

JACOB WESTENDORF

RYAN KELLY Alabama (rSR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight:311 lbs. Arms: 33⅝” Bench: 26 40-Yard Dash: 5.03

IN A NUTSHELL:

Kelly highlights this group of interior offensive linemen. He had a difficult job in replacing Barrett Jones, the 2011 unanimous All-American Center now with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly has a strong, physical presence in the running game and moves very well. He’s a smart player capable of pointing out blitzes and finding the right protection scheme to adjust to the defense. As a pass blocker, he responds well to defensive scheme changes and twists — helping his teammates adjust and communicating as the leader of the group. Overall, he played a key role on an offense that was built on running the ball behind its big offensive line. However, he may need to add some muscle to his frame, as players of similar strength can beat him.

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IL1 POSTSEASON GAME:

After a disappointing loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2014 College Football Playoff, Alabama returned to the tournament in 2015 by winning the SEC Championship Game. Much like the previous year, they were slated to face off against another Big Ten Opponent. This time, it was the Michigan State Spartans — a much more favorable matchup than the Buckeyes. Michigan State’s front seven, known for its ability to pressure the passer, did not sniff Alabama quarterback Jake Coker most of the night. Kelly kept Coker clean throughout the course of the game, allowing no sacks or hurries, and helping to create wide running lanes for Derrick Henry (75 yards, 2 TD) in the Tide’s 31-0 win.

56


CODY WHITEHAIR

VADAL ALEXANDER

Kansas State (rSR)

LSU (SR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight: 301 lbs. Arms: 32” Bench: 16 40-Yard Dash: 5.08

IL2

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’5” Weight:326 lbs. Arms: 35” Bench: 25 40-Yard Dash: 5.57

IL3

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Whitehair played all over the offensive line in college, but is widely considered the cream of the crop at guard for this year’s class. A four-year starter at Kansas State, Whitehair is a powerful run blocker with large hands, which allow him to get into the defensive linemen’s body and move him whichever way he pleases. He moves well, but could play faster. His lack of length can cause him to be beaten by longer defenders, and makes him susceptible to lunging at his man in pass protection. Interestingly, because of his experience at tackle and in an offense based on the zone read, he played his entire college career in a two-point stance. As an interior player, he will have to make the transition to a threepoint stance. Fortunately, he’s earned a reputation as a tireless worker, with a blue-collar mentality that coaches love.

Alexander is an absolute mountain of a man, with a huge frame that allows him to lean on defenders and wear them down. He started for three seasons on a talented offensive line at LSU and is described by his teammates as a football junkie. He’s a powerful run blocker who played next to current Dallas Cowboy La’El Collins for two years, before kicking back out to right tackle. He likely projects in the NFL as a road grading offensive guard, and may be best-in-class in that regard. A throwback version of an NFL guard, he somehow managed to keep his big frame despite shedding 30 pounds since arriving at LSU. Alexander is the lumbering sort, who does not move well and struggles to get to the second level or around the edge if asked to pull.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Whitehair was a 50-game starter in his four-year career with the Wildcats. He is a very versatile player that moved all over the offensive line, excelling at whatever position he was asked to play. He spent his first two seasons at Kansas State playing guard, and the final two at tackle. His varied experience was very helpful along an offensive line that was in flux throughout his college career. His selflessness was eventually rewarded, earning All Big-12 honors in his final season. His experience at Kansas State helped grow into a leadership role on the team, earned by his strong work habits. Those qualities are sure to serve him well as he transitions from college to the NFL.

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BEST GAME:

Much like every season in recent memory, the SEC provided stiff competition for its conference members. Florida was one of the top defenses in the country throughout the season, while LSU had an offense predicated on getting the ball to superstar running back Leonard Fournette. Surprisingly, a game that appeared destined to be a defensive struggle became a shootout. LSU dominated the line of scrimmage, allowing Fournette to rumble for 180 yards on the day. Alexander was the best offensive lineman in the entire conference that week. He finished the game with 13 knockdowns, helping LSU earn a big victory early in SEC conference play. His performance against a tough Florida front seven earned him Lineman Of The Week honors in the SEC.

57


NICK MARTIN

SEBASTIAN TRETOLA

Notre Dame (rSR)

Arkansas (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight: 299 lbs. Arms: 32½” Bench: 28 40-Yard Dash: 5.22

Height: 6’4” Weight: 314 lbs. Arms: 31” Bench: 22 40-Yard Dash: 5.45

IL4

IL5

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Nick Martin is the brother of Dallas Cowboys’ All-Pro guard Zack Martin, so you know the NFL-quality bloodlines are there. Martin is a physical player that took on a leadership role during his time at Notre Dame. He played both guard and center, so he could offer versatility to a team at the pro level.

Tretola has a very powerful upper body at the point of attack and is good at finishing blocks. While he has the kind of mean streak that offensive line coaches dream of, he’s not the most athletic player and moves slowly when getting to the second level. That can cause linebackers to beat him to a spot and make a play.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Martin actually finished his senior campaign in 2014, but was allowed a medical redshirt year in 2015 because of a knee injury he suffered early in his junior year. Martin started three of those five years. He spent most of his time at center, but started 10 games at guard during the 2014 season.

Arkansas is actually Tretola’s third stop in college. He began his career at Nevada, but only played four games in two seasons before transferring. He moved to a small community college in Iowa before finding a home at Arkansas, where he quickly became one of the anchors of Bret Bielema’s power running scheme.

LANDON TURNER

JOSH GARNETT

North Carolina (rSR)

Stanford (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight:330 lbs. Arms: 32⅞” Bench: 30 40-Yard Dash: 5.58

Height: 6’4” Weight:312 lbs. Arms: 33⅞” Bench: 30 40-Yard Dash: 5.32

IL6

IL7

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Turner is the nephew of former NFL Fullback, Jim Braxton, and has a similar playing style. Turner is a throwback NFL guard. He’s a punishing blocker in the run game, with powerful hands and a strong lower body, allowing him to move bodies and create open holes. He showed improvement as a pass blocker in his senior season.

Garnett is a late bloomer at Stanford who was overshadowed by Andrus Peat throughout his career. But his senior season saw him emerge from the shadows and claim the Outland Trophy, an award for the nation’s top interior lineman. Garnett is a strong player, with high intelligence and a mean streak.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Turner played in 52 games including 42 starts in his career at North Carolina. As a campaign for the Outland Trophy in 2014, Turner took a photo that showed him as a chef with 46 pancakes, the number of pancake blocks he collected in the 4 games depicted. He earned three ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week awards in those four games.

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BACKGROUND:

In addition to being gifted on the football field, Garnett is also Stanford smart. Raised by his family to pursue academics first and football second, he already has a plan laid out after he is done playing football. He was a human biology major at Stanford and hopes to be a trauma surgeon once he is done playing.

58


JACK ALLEN

CHRISTIAN WESTERMAN

Michigan State (rSR)

Arizona State (rSR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 294 lbs. Arms: DNP Bench: DNP 40-Yard Dash: 5.29

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 298 lbs. Arms: 33½” Bench: 34 40-Yard Dash: 5.17

IL8

IL9

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Westerman is one of the more athletic guards in this class. A solid technician, he moves well and is able to get to the second level with relative ease. But what he has in athleticism he lacks in play strength, sometimes struggling against stronger players.

Allen has the body of an old-school center. He has a compact frame that allows him to drop his pads and get under opposing defensive linemen. Allen has very strong hands that allow him to snatch defenders and drive them down the field. He makes up for limited athleticism and flexibility with a high motor.

BACKGROUND:

Westerman was once one of the top recruits in the nation at his position. He began his career at Auburn before losing most of his redshirt freshman season to an injury. After the injury he returned home to Arizona State, where he lived up to his billing, earning second-team All Pac-12 honors in his senior season.

BACKGROUND:

Allen’s best sport in high school may not have been football. He excelled as a wrestler, even bringing home an Illinois state championship. His wrestling background may help him make up for his overall lack of size.

SPENCER DRANGO

GRAHAM GLASGOW

Baylor (rSR)

Michigan (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’6” Weight: 315 lbs. Arms: 33¾” Bench: 30 40-Yard Dash: 5.27

Height: 6’6” Weight:307 lbs. Arms: 33⅝” Bench: 23 40-Yard Dash: 5.13

IL10

IL11

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Drango was a consensus All-American in his final two seasons at Baylor. He may look unorthodox at times, but there is no denying that he blocks his opponents more often than not. A four-year starter, Drango is an athletic player in the run game. He struggles with pass blocking at times and can occasionally play too high.

Glasgow started at all three interior positions at Michigan. He’s a versatile player that could play center or guard at the next level. Glasgow has a strong lower body that allows him to excel in drive blocking. He’s an average athlete that can struggle moving laterally. He also had some issues with alcohol abuse during his college career.

BEST GAME:

Baylor met North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Drango anchored the offensive line, helping the Bears’ running game pile up a bowl-record 645 yards (756 total yards).

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BEST GAME:

Glasgow’s career saw the Michigan football program hit rock bottom. When they hired Jim Harbaugh, optimism reigned supreme. Glasgow’s final game came against Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Michigan piled up more than 500 yards of offense, including 225 on the ground. It was an exclamation point on Glasgow’s tumultuous career.

59


IL12 | DENVER KIRKLAND Arkansas (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” | Weight: 335 lbs. | Arms: 34⅝” | Bench: 19 | 40-Yard Dash: 5.55 IN A NUTSHELL:

Kirkland is a teammate of fellow draft prospect Sebastian Tretola. Kirkland and Tretola formed a dynamic tandem that helped Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams gain their publicity. A very big player, he still moves well enough to block linebackers. Sometimes he struggles dropping his head in both the run and pass game. COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Kirkland’s best season may have come in his second year at Arkansas (2014), as he helped the the Razorbacks become the only team in college football that year with two 1,000 yard rushers — Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. According to his school’s website Kirkland graded out with an average of 79 percent during the season.

IL13 | CONNOR MCGOVERN Missouri (rSR)

IL14 | EVAN BOEHM Missouri (SR)

N A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

McGovern is a strong player that excels in run blocking. He owns the Missouri weight room record with a 690 lb. squat. He is still a little raw in pass blocking. Excels the most in zone blocking.

Boehm is a tough, smart player who relies on power to win his snaps. He moves much better in a straight line than he does laterally. Boehm started 52 straight games for Missouri, a school record.

IL15 | JOE DAHL Washington State (rSR)

IL16 | ISAAC SEUMALO Oregon State (rJR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Dahl is a versatile player who moves well laterally. That could allow him to play tackle in a pinch, but he’s best suited as a guard. He projects best in a zone scheme.

Seumalo has good lateral movement and very quick feet, allowing him to get to the second level. He comes from an athletic family, as both his brother and father were coaches at Oregon.

IL17 | PARKER EHRINGER Cincinnati (rSR)

IL18 | AUSTIN BLYTHE Iowa (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Ehringer plays with good balance. He’s a sound pass protector and is a smart player that helped Gunner Kiel and his receivers gain accolades throughout the season. He struggles with drive blocking, though, and tends to play too high.

Blythe was a four-year starter along a tough Iowa offensive line. He’s a good run blocker that keeps his feet moving once he is engaged. Blythe set an Iowa HS state record with 143 pins as a wrestler.

IL19 | MAX TUREK USC (SR)

IL20 | JOE THUNEY NC State (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Turek is incredibly athletic as a lineman, usually leading the charge on screen passes. He plays at a light weight and has a slender frame, which could worry some scouts at the NFL level.

Thuney does a good job sustaining blocks once he gets engaged with a defender. He’s an assignment-sound player that is good at making adjustments pre-snap. In four years at NC State, Thuney played every position on the offensive line.

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60


3-4 DEFENSIVE LINEMEN AUTHOR:

ROSS UGLEM

DEFOREST BUCKNER Oredgon (SR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’7” Weight: 291 lbs. Arms: 34⅜” Bench: DNP 40 time: 5.05

2015 STATS: 83 tackles, 17 TFL, 10.5 sacks

DL1

IN A NUTSHELL:

NFL COMBINE:

If you had your choice of one player from this draft to be added to the Packers’ roster, it might just be DeForest Buckner. Buckner immediately passes the eye test. His frame makes him an ideal fit for the 3-4 defense, a la Calais Campbell of the Cardinals. Buckner is consistently active, especially when rushing the passer, tallying 67 pressure and 12 sacks in 2015. He’s no slouch in the run game either, using his brute strength to compile 36 run stops as a senior. Buckner’s detractors point to Ohio State’s success running the ball in the 2014 NCAA Championship Game, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up being the star of the 2016 draft class.

Buckner certainly had an up-and-down combine, and his 5.05 40 time was slower than desired. He’s expected to try to improve that time at Oregon’s pro day. He did, however, wow coaches and scouts with his 11¾” hands. As a point of reference, that’s the same size as a standard sheet of paper. Buckner chose not to bench press at the combine, but nothing about his performance changed his stock whatsoever. His 32” vertical and 9’8” broad jump place him solidly inside the top five in this draft class.

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61


A’SHAWN ROBINSON

SHELDON RANKINS

Alabama (JR)

Louisville (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight: 307 lbs. Arms: 34½” Bench: 22 reps 40 time: 5.20

DL2

Height: 6’1” Weight: 299 lbs. Arms: 33⅜” Bench: 28 reps 40 time: 5.03

DL3

2015 STATS: 46 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks

2015 STATS: 58 tackles, 13 TFL, 6 sacks

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Robinson is a dominant, versatile player. His tremendous play strength make him a viable candidate for either defensive tackle position in a 4-3 defense, but his length and experience in Alabama’s defense make him a great option in a 3-4 defense as well. Robinson is a young prospect, having played for Nick Saban as a true freshman and leaving school after his junior season. Even at 307 pounds, Robinson is in no way “fat”. His frame and physique are exceptional, and he maintains the necessary athleticism to be effective against both the run and pass. Robinson will be able to help a team’s run defense right away and, with the right position coach, he should be able to develop into an effective pass rusher thanks to his tremendous physical gifts.

Rankins is a short, one gap type of player, but has the ability to play in a two-gap system and did so at Louisville. On an NFL team, Rankins projects best in a 4-3 defense. The Packers run a number of schemes that apply to four man fronts in their nickel and dime packages, which they play more than 50% of the time. The one skill that frequently jumps out on film is Rankins’ ability to detach from his man, disposing of blockers quickly and efficiently. That trait helps considerably in both pass rush and run defense. Because of his height, 3-4 teams will want to use him at the nose tackle position, but Rankins might find his NFL bread buttered as an interior pass rusher. He is unquestionably disruptive. ALL STAR GAME:

BEST GAME:

The Crimson Tide trashed Mississippi State in 2015, and the big defensive lineman played a major part. His five total tackles may not be seem impressive, but he dominated the entire game. Robinson and the rest of the Alabama defense held the Bulldogs to just 89 yards rushing. Most importantly, he sacked Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott 2.5 times. Robinson might not have the same polish to his game that teammate Jarran Reed does, but the game against Mississippi State was a sign that he could be more than just a run stuffer.

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Rankins’ trip to the Senior Bowl was cut short, leaving Mobile three days early because of a knee injury. That kept him out of the game, but Rankins had already made his mark. He was often described as “unblockable” in one-on-one pass rushing drills, and his ability to separate from blockers was apparent in 11-on-11 drills. Rankins may have had a shorter stay than most, but he had already secured a boost in his draft stock.

62


DL4

JARRAN REED

ANDREW BILLINGS

Alabama (SR)

Baylor (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 307 lbs. Arms: 33⅜” Bench: DNP 40 time: 5.21

Height: 6’1” Weight: 311 lbs. Arms: 33” Bench: 31 40 time: 5.05

2015 STATS:

57 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sack

DL5

2015 STATS:

39 tackles, 14 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 FF

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL

Reed maybe isn’t the athlete — and certainly not the physical specimen — that his teammate A’Shawn Robinson is, but he is a more polished player. Reed is an elite run defender and projects as such in the NFL. He uses his hands extraordinarily well, which makes up for his arms perhaps not being of ideal length. He did not allow a single broken tackle during the entire 2015 season.

Billings is a favorite of height/weight/speed/strength evaluators. In addition to elite workout strength, Billings shows functional strength on tape. For a man that carries as much weight as he does, 5.05 is a very respectable 40 time. Billings is a capable nose tackle who can provide pass rush, as evidenced by his 5.5 sacks in 2015. COMBINE:

BACKGROUND:

Reed transferred from East Mississippi Community College and gave the Crimson Tide two solid years of production. It should be noted that Reed was arrested for a DUI during the summer of 2014, but has had a clean record since. He is not considered a “character concern” as a prospect.

Billings came into the combine proclaiming he would break the combine record of 51 bench press reps at 225 pounds, but managed “just” 33. That strength, in addition to his measurable athleticism has some evaluators salivating.

ROBERT NKEMDICHE

VERNON BUTLER

Ole Miss (JR)

Louisiana Tech (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 294 lbs. Arms: 33⅞” Bench: 28 reps 40 time: 4.87

DL6

2015 STATS:

29 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks

Height: 6’4” Weight: 323 lbs. Arms: 35⅛” Bench: 26 reps 40 time: 5.33

DL7

2015 STATS:

50 tackles, 10 TFL, 3 sacks

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Nkemdiche was considered by many to be the top overall prospect coming out of high school and arrived at Ole Miss to great fanfare. He has elite physical traits, especially for a man his size, but not elite production. The hope for NFL teams is that he can find the production to match his high potential.

Butler is an exceptional player on film. He has the height and arm length that 3-4 teams covet, but maintains functional strength. However, he may not have been as productive as you might want out of a potential first round pick who played in Conference USA. COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

BACKGROUND:

Not only has Nkemdiche failed to produce in a way commensurate with his talent, but he’s had a few character bumps and bruises along the way, as well. He was suspended from Ole Miss’ 2015 bowl game, because of a marijuana charge after falling out of a hotel room. Nkemdiche has to prove he has the attitude to succeed at the pro level.

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Despite offers from Mississippi State and Ole Miss of the SEC, Butler played all four years of his college career in Conference USA for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. He played primarily as a backup until his junior and senior seasons.

63


ADOLPHUS WASHINGTON

EMMANUEL OGBAH Oklahoma State (JR)

Ohio State (SR)

MEASURABLES MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight: 273 lbs. Arms: 35½” Bench: 20 reps 40 time: 4.63

DL8

2015 STATS:

64 tackles, 17.5 TFL, 13 sacks, 3 FF

DL9

2015 STATS:

49 tackles, 7 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Aaa. Thuh. Leet. Three syllables. That’s how to best describe Ogbah. His best fit is likely as an end in a 4-3 scheme, but he may have the strength to play on the line in a 3-4, especially on passing downs. He could be used by the Packers in a role similar to that of Datone Jones. Ogbah is the reigning Big 12 player of the year. BACKGROUND:

Ogbah and his family moved from Nigeria when he was just 9 years old. He played high school football in Houston and was highly recruited. He’s still learning the nuances of football, so a complicated role with an NFL team might not pan out immediately, but his potential is seemingly infinite.

DL10

Height: 6’3” Weight: 301 lbs. Arms: 34½” Bench: 21 reps 40 time: 5.17

Washington was left single blocked quite a bit during his time at Ohio State. That will happen when you play with Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett and Noah Spence for much of your career. His skill set and frame make him a versatile player, and a fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Washington has shown an ability to consistently beat single blocking and would play DE in a 3-4. Scouts —and you can bet Coach McCarthy — would like to see better pad level from Washington. BACKGROUND:

Washington’s commitment to football and off-the-field decision-making has to be questioned after he missed this year’s Fiesta Bowl. He was busted for solicitation and needs to make better choices. You can bet that NFL teams are going to look deeper into his character after his missteps with the police.

AUSTIN JOHNSON

KENNY CLARK

Penn State (rJR)

UCLA (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” Weight: 314 Arms: 32¼” Bench: 25 reps 40 time: 5.32

Height: 6’3” Weight: 314 lbs. Arms: 32⅛” Bench: 29 reps 40 time: 5.06

2015 STATS:

78 tackles, 15 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 1 FF

DL11

2015 STATS:

75 tackles, 11 TFL, 6 sacks

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Johnson has the height and weight combination that evaluators and NFL teams salivate over. Being 6’4”, Johnson had success in Penn State’s 4-3 defense but translates to the 5-tech position in a 3-4 scheme. He has relatively short arms for a man of his height. On film, Johnson seems to be content to take up space and hold his ground rather than penetrate or shed his block and make a play.

Clark comes from the same UCLA defensive system as current Packer Datone Jones. He’s not as long or as lean as Jones, and might fit better as a 4-3 nose tackle. With that said, he’s a very strong football player and does very well against the run. Clark has high tackle totals for a defensive lineman, but doesn’t do a whole lot in the pass rush department — yet. BACKGROUND:

BIG GAME:

Johnson’s best performance of his career came at the end of his redshirt sophomore season. In the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, Johnson responded with seven tackles, six of them for a loss. He may have used that as a springboard to his junior season, where he accumulated 6.5 sacks.

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Clark had a difficult upbringing. His father went to prison when he was just nine years old. Raised by his mother, he succeeded in high school and started four games as a freshman at UCLA.

64


DL12 | JONATHON BULLARD Florida (SR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” | Weight: 285 lbs. | Arms: 33⅝” | Bench: 23 reps | 40 time: 4.93 IN A NUTSHELL:

Bullard is a tough fit in a 3-4 defense. It seems unlikely that he’d be able to consistently contribute as an outside linebacker. He is versatile though, and would be a weapon for DL coach Mike Trgovac and DC Dom Capers. He exhibits lower body strength on film and holds up at the point of attack in run defense. 6.5 sacks in the SEC would tell you that he has upside in the pass rush. NFL COMBINE:

Bullard certainly didn’t hurt his stock in Indianapolis. He ran a sub-5 40, which is above average for a defensive lineman. 23 reps on the bench are fine and his 32” vertical and 116” broad jump are exceptional. DL13 | CARL NASSIB Penn State (rSR)

DL14 | MALIEK COLLINS Nebraska (JR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Nassib has the frame (6’7” 280) that 3-4 teams dream of and has impressive numbers from his senior year (15.5 sacks). It is worrisome that he didn’t really contribute to the Nittany Lions until his redshirt senior year.

Collins is a versatile lineman that had some success in Nebraska’s 4-3 scheme. He doesn’t have ideal height for a 3-4 defense, but he does have the ability to defend the run in any scheme.

DL15 | CHRIS JONES Mississippi State (JR)

DL16 | HASSAN RIDGEWAY Texas (rJR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Jones certainly looks the part. At 6’6” and 310 pounds, a 3-4 team is going to fall in love with him at the 5-tech position.

Ridgeway was an edge defender when he arrived in Texas, but developed into a 300+ pound interior lineman. He didn’t always show up in great shape and his conditioning was constantly in question at Texas.

DL17 | SHELDON DAY Notre Dame (SR)

DL18 | JIHAD WARD Illinois (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Day played in Notre Dame’s 3-4, but might fit better in a 4-3 in the NFL.

Ward looks the part as a 5-tech in a 3-4 system. He needs to be more productive and match his talent level.

DL19 | BRONSON KAUFUSI BYU (SR)

DL20 | SHAWN OAKMAN Baylor (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Kafusi played for his dad, the DL coach at BYU. His 6’6” frame and his 11 sacks are going to get someone in a front office excited.

Oakman looks like he was created by the Lord to play football, but the tape does not match the physique. He will need a heck of a DL coach and defensive coordinator.

ADDITIONAL PLAYERS DL21 | DJ READER Clemson

DL24 | NILE LAWRENCE-STAMPLE Florida State

DL22 | CHARLES TAPPER Oklahoma

DL25 | ANTWAUN WOODS USC

DL23 | ADAM GOSTIS Georgia Tech

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65


EDGE DEFENDERS AUTHOR:

ROSS UGLEM

JOEY BOSA Ohio State (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’5” Weight: 269 lbs. Arms: 33⅜” Bench: 24 reps 40 time: 4.86

EDGE1

2015 STATS: 51 tackles, 16 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT IN A NUTSHELL:

NFL COMBINE:

Bosa is widely considered to be the best overall player in this draft. At the combine, he made certain that teams view him as scheme versatile, participating in defensive line and linebacker drills. He has a great NFL body, and should instantly improve his team’s run defense. He’s an exceptional player, though not perfect. The bull-rush is his specialty, but he needs to develop more sizzle as a pass rusher. There is some concern that Bosa is very good at a lot of things, but not elite at anything. Despite that, someone in the top five or eight will take him.

Bosa was disappointed in his performance at the combine, and rightfully so. It wasn’t a bad performance by any stretch of the imagination, but a lot of people had proclaimed him the best player in the draft — and he agreed. He certainly wasn’t the best athlete at the combine, and he might have pigeonholed himself into a 4-3 scheme. 4.86 is not a great 40 time for an outside linebacker. His 10’ broad jump, 6.89 second 3-cone drill and 4.21 20 yd. shuttle time show a short-area explosiveness that make him a better fit to play defensive end.

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66


NOAH SPENCE

LEONARD FLOYD

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” Weight: 251 lbs. Arms: 33” Bench: 25 reps 40 time: 4.80

Height: 6’4” Weight: 244 lbs. Arms: 33⅛” Bench: DNP 40 time: 4.60

Eastern Kentucky (rJR)

EDGE2

Georgia (JR)

EDGE3

2015 STATS:

2015 STATS:

63 tackles, 22.5 TFL, 11.5 sacks, 3 FF

74 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Noah Spence is not the typical small-school prospect that the “Eastern Kentucky” next to his name would seem to indicate. An up-and-coming talent at Ohio State University, Spence was permanently banned from Big Ten play because of drug use. From an outside perspective, it seems as though he has made a concerted effort to turn his life around. On the field, Spence projects as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 defense, despite not playing there at either Ohio State or Eastern Kentucky. He’s not really tall enough to play anything else. Despite his issues with substance abuse, Spence is widely regarded as a smart player. He uses his speed and fluidity to effectively rush the passer, and will be able to contribute to a pass defense immediately. His ability to hold the point of attack and defend the run will have to improve if he’s going to become a complete player.

Floyd is a rangy athlete that made an immediate impact on the Georgia football program, garnering all-SEC freshman honors in 2013. Though Floyd is an effective player on the edge, he also has the athleticism and skill to play off the ball. On film, he looks a lot like Patriots linebacker, Jamie Collins. Floyd operates in space more effectively than any edge defender in this class. His speed rush will challenge even the most athletic NFL tackles. Floyd’s thin frame creates questions about his ability to hold the point of attack and defend the run, but his versatility and ability to play off the ball should make up for that. That same slight frame makes it difficult to get a hand on Floyd as an interior blitzer.

SENIOR BOWL:

it is certainly interesting that a player with checkered past like Spence’s would be praised for needing to be separated from teammates during practice, but it happened. Spence participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile and got into it with Georgia offensive lineman John Theus. Instead of being painted as a “bad kid” or a “trouble maker” coaches and scouts alike treated the incident as a representation of Spence’s competitive fire. Spence is a clear top 15 talent if he can stay out of trouble, and away from drugs. He might present a value to the team that takes a chance on him.

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BIG GAME:

Before suffering a knee injury during his junior season, Georgia locked horns with Clemson in the big 2014 seasonopener. Floyd was everywhere, notching seven total tackles and two sacks. Floyd and running back Todd Gurley were the stars of the show, as Georgia ran all over Clemson 45-21. Floyd was named Georgia’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, despite missing the bowl game that season following his aforementioned knee injury.

67


EDGE4

SHAQ LAWSON

KEVIN DODD

Clemson (rJR)

Clemson (rJR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 269 lbs. Arms: 32¾” Bench: DNP 40 time: 4.70

Height: 6’5” Weight: 277 lbs. Arms: 34” Bench: DNP 40 time: 4.86

2015 STATS:

60 tackles, 22.5 TFL, 12.5 sacks, 1 FF

EDGE5

2015 STATS:

62 tackles, 23.5 TFL, 12 sacks, 1 FF

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Lawson is a high-floor prospect, but he might never be a star. He is scheme versatile, with the potential to line up in a 4-3 as a strong side end and as a linebacker in a 3-4. He played some 5-technique for Clemson as well. Lawson exhibits tremendous play strength on film that will immediately improve a team’s run defense on the edge. Lawson is a one-year starter who made the most of his limited opportunities with 25.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. He may not have the length to consistently win as a pass rusher, but he’ll affect the game no matter where you line him up.

Dodd and Lawson were the top bookends in college football a season ago, leading Clemson to the national championship game alongside quarterback Deshaun Watson. He may not be a good fit for a 3-4 defense, though he could be used as nickel or dime pass rusher from either the inside or the outside. His 46 pressures and 12 sacks are both high numbers. With that said, if the plan is to draft Dodd as an every down player, it should probably be as an end in a 4-3 defense.

AGAINST TOP OPPONENT:

Lawson went up against Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley (a legitimate NFL draft prospect) in a nationally televised game in 2015. Lawson destroyed Stanley, finishing the game with seven tackles, with 3.5 of those tackles resulting in a loss of yardage. Lawson is going to be able to win at the NFL level. The question will be how often he wins on passing downs.

EDGE6

POSTSEASON GAME:

It was unclear whether or not Lawson was going to be able to play in the national championship game, so it was up to Kevin Dodd to create pressure on the Alabama offense. To that end, Dodd was a wrecking ball, tallying seven total tackles and three sacks. In fact, he compiled 7.5 sacks in his last five games, further amplifying his pro prospects.

KAMALEI CORREA

SHILIQUE CALHOUN

Boise State (JR)

Michigan State (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 243 lbs. Arms: 31⅝” Bench: 21 reps 40 time: 4.69

Height: 6’4” Weight: 251 lbs. Arms: 34¼” Bench: 23 reps 40 time: 4.82

2015 STATS:

39 tackles, 11 TFL, 7 sacks, 3 FF

EDGE7

2015 STATS:

49 tackles, 15 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Correa is a physical prototype for the 3-4 outside linebacker position. 4-3 teams will likely deem him too small to play end and too stiff to play linebacker off the ball on every snap. The Hawaii native has impressive long speed. 4.69 is no joke from a 243 lb. human being. Correa reeks of potential, but his production was not where it needed to be against lesser Mountain West competition. He was occasionally asked to drop back into coverage at Boise State.

Calhoun is a fifth year senior. He has had a tremendous college career, earning All-American honors three times. Despite playing at a shade over 250 lbs., Calhoun spent plenty of time playing the tight end side at the left defensive end position. Despite consistently giving up size to right tackles and tight ends, Calhoun played the run well. His size is prototypical for the outside linebacker position in a 3-4, but he needs to prove he can play in space.

NFL COMBINE:

Correa was an outstanding performer in Indianapolis. Working out with the defensive linemen, Correa was the top performer in the 40-yard dash. His 33” vertical was also impressive. Correa has to find a way to get his production to match his physical potential.

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NFL COMBINE:

Calhoun is an explosive athlete and passed every combine test. He measured in well, came in at a good weight and his timed drills were very impressive. While his 40 time (4.8) and 23 reps on the bench were “fine,” his 35” vertical leap, sub7.30 cone drill and 4.25 20-yard shuttle were all elite numbers for the defensive line. It remains to be seen if that means he can play on the edge in a 3-4.

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EDGE8

JORDAN JENKINS

JOE SCHOBERT

Georgia (SR)

Wisconsin (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 259 lbs. Arms: 34¼” Bench: 16 reps 40 time: 4.80

Height: 6’1” Weight: 244 lbs. Arms: 31½” Bench: 22 reps 40 time: 4.76

2015 STATS:

59 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 FF

EDGE9

2015 STATS:

79 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 5 FF, 1 INT

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Jenkins might be a one trick pony, and it might be the wrong trick for the NFL. For a player his size, Jenkins has very long arms and big hands, and consistently sets the edge in Georgia’s 3-4 defense. Jenkins had average pass rush production for a starter. He projects as a worthwhile starter, but might need to be subbed out on third downs.

Schobert is a difficult prospect to peg. He doesn’t have the length that NFL teams covet on the edge, but he spent most of his time at Wisconsin playing there in Dave Aranda’s defense. However, his production at Wisconsin was tremendous. Schobert should serve as a reliable backup and has the potential to be an elite special teamer. AGAINST TOP OPPONENT:

BEST GAME:

Against Vanderbilt, Jenkins showed the ability to operate in the opponent’s backfield. His eleven tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks were impressive stats. Unfortunately for Jenkins, there weren’t many more of those performances during his college career.

EDGE10

Schobert’s Badgers were drilled by Alabama in the 2015 season opener, but it wasn’t because of anything he did wrong. Schobert tallied 13 tackles and two sacks. He went on to collect nine sacks in the first five games of the season. Wisconsin consistently sends offensive linemen to the NFL, so Schobert’s performance should give NFL evaluators a reason for optimism.

DADI NICOLAS

YANNICK NGAKOUE

Virginia Tech (rSR)

Maryland (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 235 lbs. Arms: 34¾” Bench: 14 reps 40 time: 4.74

Height: 6’2” Weight: 252 lbs. Arms: 32½” Bench: 26 reps 40 time: 4.75

2015 STATS:

45 tackles, 7 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 FF

EDGE11

2015 STATS:

37 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 13 sacks, 1 FF

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Dadi Nicolas might be the antithesis of the aforementioned Jordan Jenkins. He’s is an explosive athlete, sporting a 41” vertical. Nicolas relies almost exclusively on speed and quickness instead of power, but his 14 reps on the bench are worrisome for a defensive lineman, even one being evaluated as a potential outside linebacker.

Ngakoue is a physical specimen, with the exception of his arms, which are shorter than ideal length. In a perfect world, you’d like him to be a longer athlete, but he was still very productive at Maryland. His 13.5 sacks were good enough to tie for second in the country at the FBS level.

BIG GAME:

NFL COMBINE:

Virginia Tech and Duke locked up in November, and Duke was ranked inside the top 25. Nicolas was everywhere, racking up 2.5 sacks for Bud Foster’s Hokie defense.

Ngakoue wasn’t a top performer in any drill, but most of his results were better than average. 26 reps on the bench stands out, as does a 40 time of 4.75 at 252 lbs.

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EDGE12 | KYLER FACKRELL Utah State (SR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’5” | Weight: 245 | Arms: 33¼” | Bench: 15 reps | 40 time: 4.72 IN A NUTSHELL:

On paper, Fackrell is an ideal edge rusher showcasing outstanding length and athleticism. Fackrell only tallied four sacks as a senior, a result of having spent a lot of time in pass coverage. Already a good run defender, his comfort level in coverage is a very good good sign considering his other measurables indicate pass-rush upside. NFL COMBINE:

Fackrell couldn’t have been happier with the part that he didn’t have to try at: measuring in. His body is the absolute prototype for outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense, but here’s nothing wrong with running a 4.72 40, either. His 15 reps on the bench press is less than ideal, but if you watch him play, specifically against the run, he is plenty strong.

EDGE13 | ALEX MCCALLISTER Florida (rJR)

EDGE14 | MATT JUDON Grand Valley State (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

McCallister was thrown off of the team before their bowl game and decided to enter the draft. He’s a long player who probably isn’t a great fit for a 3-4 defense.

Judon is a small-school prospect with elite production. His 20 sacks led all NCAA divisions.

EDGE15 | ERIC STRIKER Oklahoma (SR)

EDGE16 | JOSH PERRY Ohio State (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Striker is a compact pass rusher. The kind of body type that makes you worry thinking about Carl Bradford while getting you excited about Elvis Dumervil.

Perry played with a lot of very good teammates at Ohio State. With that said, he was the Buckeyes’ leading tackler.

EDGE17 | VICTOR OCHI Stony Brook (SR)

EDGE18 | CURT MAGGITT Tennessee (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Ochi is an FCS prospect that lacks ideal length, but was incredibly productive. His 16.5 tackles for loss in ten games as a senior is notable.

Maggitt is an SEC talent, but his size and experience will undoubtedly draw the dreaded “tweener” label.

EDGE19 | STEPHEN WEATHERLY Vanderbilt (rJR)

EDGE20 | JIMMY BEAN Oklahoma State (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Weatherly played defensive end at Vanderbilt, but projects as an outside linebacker at the next level. His combine performance might have improved his draft stock.

Bean played across from Ogbah, and tore his ACL, but he’s a good player with a nice frame.

ADDITIONAL PLAYERS EDGE21 | DENZEL DEVALL Alabama

EDGE24 | RON THOMPSON Syracuse

EDGE22 | JAMES COWSER Southern Utah

EDGE25 | MARIO OJEMUDIA Michigan

EDGE23 | IAN SEAU Nevada

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INSIDE LINEBACKERS AUTHOR:

ZACH KRUSE

MYLES JACK UCLA (JR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’7” Weight: 291 lbs. Arms: 34⅜” Bench: DNP 40 time: 5.05

2015 STATS: 15 tackles, XX TFL, XX sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU IN A NUTSHELL:

Jack might be the most versatile, dynamic and explosive player in the entire draft class. A heat-seeking missile, he possesses the natural instincts and play speed to handle sideline-to-sideline responsibilities against both the run and pass. His jump-off-thescreen athleticism will allow him to win a starting job and play all three downs right away as a professional. In fact, UCLA had so much confidence in his coverage ability that he occasionally came down and covered receivers in the slot. Jack also played safety, and scored 11 total touchdowns as a running back, including seven his freshman season. There’s very little he can’t do on a football field. His size might not be ideal for a team playing a 3-man front, but the days of needing thick, thumping inside linebackers are mostly a thing of the past. Jack tore his meniscus and missed all but three games during his senior season, but he’s still expected to come off the board within the

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ILB1 top 5-10 picks. From a pure football perspective, few players are safer picks in the 2016 draft. Jack should be a perennial Pro Bowler if he stays healthy. COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Jack packed as much impact into 29 collegiate games as possible for a modern college player. As a true freshman, he started 12 games—11 at linebacker and one at running back—and finished with 76 tackles, one sack, two interceptions, 11 passes defensed and seven rushing scores on just 38 attempts. He was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, which is given annually to the nation’s most versatile player. A year later, Jack started all 13 games at linebacker, finishing second on the team with 88 tackles and eight tackles for losses while scoring three more touchdowns as a running back. His highly anticipated junior season was cut short after just three games, but he still produced 15 tackles, one interception and one rushing touchdown. Jack is a plug, play and produce kind of prospect.

71


DARRON LEE

REGGIE RAGLAND

Ohio State (rSO)

Alabama (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 232 lbs. Arms: 33¼” Bench: 17 40-Yard Dash: 4.47

ILB2

Height: 6’1” Weight: 247 lbs. Arms: 32” Bench: DNP 40-Yard Dash: 4.72

ILB3

2015 STATS:

2015 STATS:

66 tackles, 11 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 FF, 1 INT, 2 PBU

102 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 FF, 7 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Lee’s two years of starting in Columbus revealed an athletic, attacking linebacker perfectly molded to play in today’s NFL. Much like Ryan Shazier, the first-round pick he replaced at Ohio State, Lee isn’t a massive linebacker, but he makes up for his lack of size with smooth and explosive movement skills—especially when attacking downhill against the run and blitzing the quarterback. He finished with 27.5 tackles for losses and 12 sacks over his freshman and sophomore seasons. Lee is an adept defender in coverage, and like Jack, Ohio State occasionally used him to cover slot receivers. Some may consider him a misfit in the 3-4, but his traits are going to fit in any scheme. He’ll likely continue to add bulk as he transitions into the professional, full-time weight program of the NFL. Given a role where he can read, react and run to the football, Lee is going to be a game-changing defensive force at linebacker.

The 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American, Ragland is a tough, fearless linebacker who won’t turn down an opportunity to mix it up and hit somebody. His floor in the NFL is high. With four years in Nick Saban’s system and two years starting for the nation’s premier defense, Ragland will enter the professional game prepped to start on day one. He’s going to be a consistent terror on first and second down, especially when he can play downhill and blow up the run game. His issues may come in coverage, where his somewhat-average movement skills could be exploited by the elite athletes in the NFL. Those negatives could be negated by Ragland’s ability to rush the passer off the edge, especially for a coordinator willing to experiment with various sub-packages. Ragland is going to be a good pro player. But is he a game-changer? BEST GAME:

NFL COMBINE:

Lee was one of the true standouts of the 2016 combine. He tested well across the board, proving his freakish athletic abilities to all the important decision makers in attendance. Lee’s 4.47-second time in the 40-yard dash led his position and ranked sixth among all linebackers at the combine since 2006. He also had the second best broad jump among defensive players at 11’1”, while his vertical jump (35.5”) and 20-yard shuttle (4.2 seconds) ranked in the top three for linebackers. The combine is a good opportunity for teams to confirm—with numbers— what they see on tape. Lee did exactly that, showing off the speed and lower body explosion he displayed every Saturday for Ohio State. The combine ensured Lee will be a first-round pick, and likely guaranteed him a top-20 selection.

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Ragland earned SEC and National Defensive Player of the Week honors for his part in Alabama’s 27-14 win over Arkansas last October. He produced a team-high eight tackles, also notching one sack, a pair of quarterback hurries and a pass breakup. The physical, run-first Razorbacks finished with just 44 rushing yards on 25 attempts, with a long rush of only eight yards. Alex Collins, who finished the 2015 season with almost 1,600 rushing yards, was held to a season-low 26 yards. Overall, Alabama allowed only nine first downs and 220 yards during a dominant defensive effort, with Ragland and his run-stuffing play style leading the way.

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ILB4

JAYLON SMITH

SCOOBY WRIGHT

Notre Dame (JR)

Arizona (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” Weight: 223 lbs. Arms: 33” Bench: DNP 40-Yard Dash: DNP

Height: 6’0” Weight: 239 lbs. Arms: 30½” Bench: 22 40-Yard Dash: 4.90

2015 STATS:

114 tackles, 9 TFL, 1 sacks, 1 FF, 5 PBU

ILB5

2015 STATS:

23 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Smith has football talent oozing out of every pore, but he’s also one of the great medical risks of the 2016 class. A consensus All-American and Dick Butkus Award winner, Smith tore his ACL and MCL and suffered nerve damage in his knee during Notre Dame’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State. There is now serious concern he could miss the entire 2016 season. If he’s capable of returning to the game healthy, Smith has All-Pro-caliber talent with a limitless ceiling. But the possibility exists he may never be the same player again. Teams will need to weigh Smith’s incredible risk and reward. COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

A 39-game starter, Smith amassed almost 300 total tackles at Notre Dame, with 23.5 for losses, 4.5 sacks, 10 passes defensed, one interception, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He was named an All-American in both 2014 and ‘15. Few, if any, defensive players in the college game were better over the last two seasons.

Focus on his size and combine measurables, and Wright looks undraftable. Throw on some Arizona tape and scan his production numbers, and it’s hard not to see a second-coming of Chris Borland. Before an injuryplagued 2015 season, Wright tallied a nation-high 163 total tackles (including 29 for losses), 14.0 sacks and six forced fumbles during a dominant sophomore season in which he won every major defensive award available. POSTSEASON GAME:

Wright finished his collegiate career with a bang. During Arizona’s win in the New Mexico Bowl, the junior linebacker amassed 15 tackles, 3.5 tackles for losses and two sacks. It was the impactful performance he needed after a frustrating year in which knee and foot injuries limited Wright to just three games.

KENTRELL BROTHERS

DEION JONES LSU (SR)

Missouri (SR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 222 lbs. Arms: 32⅜” Bench: DNP 40-Yard Dash: 4.59

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 245 lbs. Arms: 30¾” Bench: 19 40-Yard Dash: 4.89

ILB6

2015 STATS:

152 tackles, 12 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF, 2 INT, 3 PBU, 3 blocked kicks

ILB7

2015 STATS:

100 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 1 FF, 2 INT, 3 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Brothers is nothing short of a football magnet. Over 40 starts in the SEC since 2013, Brothers produced 344 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 16 passes defensed, five interceptions, four forced fumbles and three blocked kicks. He led the nation in tackles per game last season at 12.7. Despite not possessing great size or overwhelming athletic traits, Brothers has the natural ability to get to the ballcarrier and get him to the ground.

Jones started for just one full season at LSU, amassing over 100 total tackles (13 for losses), five sacks and two interceptions in 2015. He currently lacks the necessary bulk to play full-time inside in the 3-4, but his athleticism, coverage ability and special teams experience should give him a real chance to develop into a three-down linebacker in the NFL.

NFL COMBINE:

ALL-STAR GAME:

His 4.89-second 40-yard dash and 28.5” vertical leap — 27th and 30th respectively out of all 31 linebackers — are concerning, but he also finished third among linebackers in the 3-cone drill (6.99 seconds) and second in the 20-yard shuttle (4.11). Let Brothers do what he’s good at—attacking and playing in the box near the line of scrimmage—and he’ll be a fine linebacker at the next level.

Jones showed off his NFL ability at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. During practice, he impressed with sidelineto-sideline speed and confidence covering tight ends and running backs in space. He tallied six tackles during the game.

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DOMINIQUE ALEXANDER

BLAKE MARTINEZ Stanford (SR)

Oklahoma (JR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” Weight: 237 lbs. Arms: 31⅝” Bench: 22 40-Yard Dash: 4.71

ILB8

2015 STATS:

140 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT, 6 PBU

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 232 lbs. Arms: 32¼” Bench: 17 40-Yard Dash: DNP

ILB9

2015 STATS:

103 tackles, 7 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

The Pac-12’s leader in tackles last season (141), Martinez has the size and physicality to handle the early-down responsibilities of playing inside linebacker in the 3-4. While not an explosive athlete, he finds the football and racks up tackles against the run. Pass coverage might be an issue at the next level.

He doesn’t win with size or power, but Alexander has the instincts, speed and man-to-man coverage ability to make it at the next level. His upside his high, especially if a team can get him bigger and stronger without cutting into his fluidity defending the pass. At the very least, Alexander will have value as a sub-package linebacker, even in the 3-4.

BEST GAME:

Playing on a bad ankle during Stanford’s win over USC in the 2015 Pac-12 title game, Martinez made a teamhigh 11 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He also produced a sack of Cody Kessler, which resulted in a fumble returned for a Cardinal touchdown.

ILB10

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Alexander won Defensive Freshman of the Year in the Big 12 in 2013 and was named second-team All-Big 12 as a sophomore. He saved his best for last, tallying 103 tackles (with only six misses) in 2015. The three-year starter finished his career at Oklahoma with 290 tackles, including 16.5 for losses and three sacks.

TERRANCE SMITH

TYLER MATAKEVICH

Florida State (rSR)

Temple (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 235 lbs. Arms: 32¾” Bench: 19 40-Yard Dash: 4.77

Height: 6’0” Weight: 238 lbs. Arms: 31¼” Bench: 22 40-Yard Dash: 4.81

2015 STATS:

65 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sacks, 1 FF

ILB11

2015 STATS:

138 tackles, 15 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 5 INT, 5 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

He likely has too much length and too little bulk to be a starter in a three-man front, but his range and athleticism will be enticing, especially for 3-4 teams that play a higher percentage of snaps in sub-packages. If Telvin Smith can make an impact at linebacker in the NFL, so can his replacement at FSU.

A four-year starter and the most decorated college defender in 2015, Matakevich enters the NFL as one of the most experienced and productive players in the class. He won’t win at the next level with power or speed, but it’s hard to deny a player with his impressive résumé. COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

RIVALRY GAME:

As a junior, Smith played a major role in keeping the Seminoles undefeated. With Florida State trailing Florida 9-0 in the first quarter, Smith intercepted Treon Harris and returned the pick 94 yards for a game-changing touchdown. He finished with three tackles, including one for a loss.

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Matakevich made 493 total tackles over his 49 career starts. He had 100 or more tackles in all four seasons, including his senior year—when he was named a firstteam All-American after 138 takedowns, 15.5 for losses, 4.5 sacks and five interceptions. He won both the Nagurski and Bednarik awards as the top defensive player in the country.

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ILB12 | ANTWIONE WILLIAMS Georgia Southern (SR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” | Weight: 257 lbs | Arms: N/A | Bench: DNP | 40-Yard Dash: DNP 2015 STATS: 107 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 4 FF, 3 PBU IN A NUTSHELL:

Williams could be a diamond in the rough. His NFL-ready size and improvement potential will be enticing for all teams, regardless of scheme, and he excelled as a blitzer and in zone coverage. 2015 SEASON:

As a senior, Williams was an All-Sun Belt pick after leading Georgia Southern with 107 tackles, including 10.5 for losses. He also tallied four sacks, while leading the conference in forced fumbles (four).

ILB13 | NICK VIGIL Utah State (rJR)

ILB14 | ANTONIO MORRISON Florida (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

An early entrant, Vigil is coming off a junior season in which he recorded 16.5 tackles for losses and seven sacks. His brother, Zach, plays for the Miami Dolphins.

He plays the linebacker position with confidence, toughness and unrelenting effort. He’s smaller than a 3-4 team might desire, but Morrison can play.

ILB15 | JATAVIS BROWN Akron (SR)

ILB16 | B.J. GOODSON Clemson (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Smart, athletic and driven, Brown won MAC Defensive Player of the Year after producing 116 tackles (20 for losses), 12 sacks and four forced fumbles as a senior. He has huge potential to overachieve in the NFL.

Goodson was a plus player against the run, but doesn’t always hold up when asked to defend the pass in space. He might be a two-down player in the NFL.

ILB17 | MARIO OJEMUDIA Michigan (SR)

ILB18 | NICK KWIATKOSKI West Virginia (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

The power accompanying his intimidating size might be his best attribute. Ojemudia started just seven games, but he has upside for a team capable of developing him.

Kwiatkoski is a safety-turned-linebacker who should bring coverage ability to the next level. He intercepted three passes and broke up seven others as a senior.

ILB19 | JARED NORRIS Utah (SR)

ILB20 | LUKE RHODES William and Mary (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Norris tallied over 200 tackles, with 19.5 for loss and five sacks, over his final two seasons. He has the size to play in a three-man front.

Rhodes earned four all-conference selections and racked up 350 career tackles. As a senior, he was the only FCS player to be named to the Butkus Award watch list.

ADDITIONAL PLAYERS ILB21 | JOSH FORREST Kentucky (SR)

ILB24 | RAPHAEL KIRBY Miami (SR)

ILB22 | STEVE LONGA Rutgers (rJR)

ILB25 | BENIQUEZ BROWN Mississippi State (SR)

ILB23 | STEVEN DANIELS Boston College (SR)

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CORNERBACKS AUTHOR:

ZACH KRUSE

JALEN RAMSEY Florida State (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 209 lbs. Arms: 33⅜” Bench: 14 40-Yard Dash: 4.41

2015 STATS: 52 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, 0 INT, 10 PBU

CB1

IN A NUTSHELL:

NFL COMBINE:

Ramsey is one of the best athletes in the draft. He has trackstar measurables, a chiseled frame made for football and the positional versatility to star in a modern NFL defense. Florida State played him all over the field, from the perimeter to the slot, in the backend at safety and as a roving linebacker. The All-American made big plays wherever he was positioned. The first true freshman to start at cornerback for Florida State since Deion Sanders, Ramsey eventually appeared in 41 collegiate games in Tallahassee without missing a start. His rare ability to change games from a variety of positions will be coveted by all teams. A bona fide star in a draft lacking at the top, he likely won’t make it out of the first five picks.

Ramsey proved his track credentials in Indianapolis, where he cemented his status as one of the draft’s top players. In the ever-important 40-yard dash, his 4.41-second time ranked 11th among all participants and seventh among cornerbacks. He also produced the top vertical leap (41.5”) and broad jump (11’3”) at the combine, while only six players had a faster 60-yard shuttle time (11.1 seconds). The explosive numbers were all but expected, given his extensive track background. During his time at Florida State, Ramsey won ACC titles in the long jump and 4x100 relay. He is entering the NFL as arguably the best cornerback athlete since Patrick Peterson.

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WILLIAM JACKSON, III

MACKENSIE ALEXANDER

Houston (SR)

Clemson (rS) O

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 189 lbs. Arms: 31¾” Bench: 10 40-Yard Dash: 4.37

Height: 5’10” Weight: 190 lbs. Arms: 31⅜” Bench: 11 40-Yard Dash: DNP

CB2

CB3

2015 STATS:

2015 STATS:

43 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0 sack, 5 INT, 23 PBU

23 tackles, 2 TFL, 0 sack, 0 INT, 5 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Jackson has it all, in terms of an elite cornerback prospect. Length? Check. Speed? Check. Production? Check. Teams may knock the competition he faced at Houston, but according to Pro Football Focus, Jackson didn’t allow a touchdown in 2015 against teams from the five biggest conferences. Standing 6’0” with 31¾” arms, Jackson led the nation in pass breakups (23) and passes defensed (28, including five interceptions) last season. The JUCO transfer erased any questions about his speed at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds (third fastest among cornerbacks). He hasn’t received huge media attention, but Jackson checks off all the boxes. He should absolutely find his way into the first round, especially in a league in love with size, speed and playmaking ability at cornerback.

Alexander has the confidence and demeanor of a top man-to-man cornerback. He was rarely challenged over two years at Clemson, which likely contributed to his lack of volume stats in coverage (zero interceptions, 11 passes defensed). But more importantly, the AllAmerican allowed zero passing touchdowns and a 33.3 completion percentage as a redshirt sophomore in 2015. Like Carolina’s Josh Norman, Alexander believes he’s the best player on the field and often backs it up between the white lines. His undeniable swagger will be appealing to teams comfortable putting cornerbacks on an island. A lack of size could hurt him come draft day, but his ceiling is sky high.

POSTSEASON GAME:

One game after breaking up a career-high seven passes in Houston’s win over Temple in the AAC Championship Game, Jackson helped spring an upset of No. 9 ranked Florida State in the Peach Bowl. He intercepted a pair of passes, including the game-clinching pick of Sean Maguire late in the fourth quarter. His day started poorly, as receiver Travis Rudolph sprung open and juked Jackson for a 51-yard gain. But like all great cornerbacks, Jackson forgot the mistake and proceeded to make a number of big plays. On his first interception, he blanketed a vertical route and high-pointed the football at the catch point. Jackson finished his final collegiate game with 10 tackles, two picks and two passes defensed. The game’s Defensive MVP put together a huge performance to finish his career.

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VS. TOP OPPONENT:

Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard will likely be a top-100 pick in the 2016 draft, but Alexander smothered him in both of their meetings over the last two years. As a redshirt freshman, Alexander held Shepard to just one catch and 13 yards in Clemson’s 40-6 win in the Russell Athletic Bowl. A year later, the Sooners’ top receiver failed to catch a pass against Alexander’s coverage in the semi finals of the College Football Playoffs. While Shepard isn’t the kind of big receiver who could give Alexander consistent problems, his inability to shake loose still showcases Alexander’s lockdown talent against an NFLcaliber pass-catcher.

77


VERNON HARGREAVES

ELI APPLE

Florida (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 199 lbs. Arms: 31⅜” Bench: 13 40-Yard Dash: 4.40

Ohio State (SO)

Height: 5’10” Weight: 204 lbs. Arms: 30⅝” Bench: 15 40-Yard Dash: 4.50

CB4

2015 STATS:

33 tackles, 1 TFL, 0 sack, 4 INT, 4 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

Hargreaves doesn’t possess the long frame or blistering straight-line speed many teams desire at cornerback, but pop in his collegiate tape and he still jumps off the screen as an instinctive, productive cover player. A three-year starter at Florida, he combines quickness and anticipation to make up for any lack of natural physical gifts. He will be a player many scouts bang the table for during the draft.

CB5

2015 STATS:

3 tackles, 2 TFL, 0 sack, 1 INT, 8 PBU

NUTSHELL:

Apple might be best known for intercepting Marcus Mariota’s final collegiate pass during Ohio State’s win over Oregon in the 2014 National Championship Game. A two-year starter, he has the size and press ability teams want in the cornerback position. But like Trae Waynes last year, Apple must learn to play less with his hands down the field in the pro game.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Hargreaves arrived in Gainesville as a five-star recruit and immediately made an impact as one of the best cornerbacks in the conference. By the end of his decorated collegiate career, he had logged 10 interceptions and 27 passes defensed—earning three first team All-SEC honors and two All-American nods in the most competitive conference in the country.

NFL COMBINE:

Apple ran the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds, making him one of only three defensive backs to post a time of 4.40 or better at 6’0” or taller. He also did 13 reps on the bench press with 31 3/8” arms. The Ohio State product later made the highlight reel when he hauled in a one-handed catch during drill work.

KENDALL FULLER

ARTIE BURNS

Virginia Tech (JR)

Miami, FL (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 193 Arms: 33¼” Bench: DNP 40-Yard Dash: 4.46

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’11” Weight: 187 lbs. Arms: 31½” Bench: 15 40-Yard Dash: DNP

CB6

2015 STATS:

7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 0 INT, 1 PBU

CB7

2015 STATS:

36 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0 sack, 6 INT, 5 PBU

NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Fuller is the brother of 2014 first-round pick Kyle Fuller. While not as clean a prospect as his older sibling, Kendall is still a playmaking cornerback with the physicality and anticipation to become an early starter in the NFL. He missed all but three games in 2015 after tearing his meniscus.

NFL teams will fall in love with his traits. Burns has a long frame, blazing speed and an ability to make plays on the football. While he’s unrefined as a pure cornerback, his potential as a player will ensure he doesn’t last long on the draft board. 2015 SEASON:

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

During his first two healthy seasons at Virginia Tech, Fuller tallied 34 passes defended and eight interceptions. He was named All-ACC both years, including an AllAmerican nod in 2014. Come April, Fuller will become the fourth of his brothers to be drafted to the NFL after a football career at Virginia Tech (Kyle, Corey, Vincent).

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Burns earned second-team All-ACC honors after intercepting six passes and defending five others during his 12-game junior season. His six interceptions were the most by a Miami player since Sean Taylor’s 10 in 2003.

78


XAVIEN HOWARD Baylor (rJR)

HARLAN MILLER

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Southeastern Louisiana (SR) Height: 6’0” Weight: 182 lbs. Arms: 31⅜” Bench: 6 40-Yard Dash: 4.65

Height: 6’0” Weight: 201 lbs. Arms: 31¼” Bench: 11 40-Yard Dash: 4.58

CB8

2015 STATS:

42 tackles, 1 TFL, 0 sack, 5 INT, 10 PBU

CB9

2015 STATS:

49 tackles, 6 TFL, 0 sack, 4 INT

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Howard has the size and speed of a safety, but his man coverage skills will give him a chance to stick at cornerback in the NFL. He earned first team All-Big 12 honors as a junior after intercepting five passes and breaking up 10 others.

A long, thin cornerback with a taste for run support, Miller finished his collegiate career with 11 interceptions, 33 passes defended and nine tackles for losses. Despite not testing well at the combine, his fearlessness as a cover player and special teams value will ensure he’s drafted in the middle rounds.

VS. TOP OPPONENT:

As a sophomore, Howard helped Baylor clinch a share of the Big 12 title by producing a sack and a key interception in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ win over No. 9 Kansas State. The victory secured a New Year’s Day bowl for Baylor.

CB10

ALL-STAR GAME:

Miller put his name on the map with an impressive week at the Senior Bowl. During the game, he broke up two potential touchdown passes and led the South team with seven tackles. Many considered him one of the top risers coming out of Mobile.

DEIONDRE’ HALL

RASHARD ROBINSON

Northern Iowa (SR)

LSU (JR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” Weight: 199 lbs. Arms: 34⅜” 40-Yard Dash: 4.68

Height: 6’1” Weight: 171 lbs. Arms: 32¼” Bench: DNP 40-Yard Dash: 4.49

2015 STATS:

35 tackles, 3 TFL, 0 sack, 6 INT

CB11

2014 STATS (SAT OUT 2015):

17 tackles, 1 TFL, 0 sack, 0 INT, 1 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Few cornerbacks in the class can match his length, especially in the arms (only player at the position with arms over 34”). He used his impressive size to smother receivers and create turnovers. Hall’s straight-line speed will scare some teams off, but cornerbacks with his length are rare commodities.

Robinson has the length and speed combination to warrant a long look, despite him only playing 18 games (12 during his freshman season) at LSU. He’s rail thin and a potential headache off the field, but his ceiling—in the right environment—is undoubtedly high. VS. TOP OPPONENT:

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

A 46-game starter at Northern Iowa, Hall finished his collegiate career with 13 interceptions and a schoolrecord four defensive touchdowns. He won Defensive Player of the Year of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2015 after intercepting six passes and forcing three fumbles.

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Starting his first game as a true freshman in 2013, Robinson went one-on-one with eventual first-round pick Mike Evans and held his own. The current Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver caught just four passes for 51 yards, while Robinson picked off quarterback Johnny Manziel for his first and only collegiate interception. LSU won the game, 34-10.

79


CB12 | ZACK SANCHEZ Oklahoma (rJR) MEASURABLES

Height: 5’11” | Weight: 185 lbs. | Arms: 31⅜” | Bench: 19 | 40-Yard Dash: DNP 2015 STATS:

45 tackles, 7 TFL, 0.5 sack, 7 INT, 7 PBU IN A NUTSHELL:

Sanchez lacks elite size, but his experience playing and producing in the pass-heavy Big 12 will give him value. He started 37 games for Oklahoma over the last three years, intercepting 15 passes and breaking up 28 others. Sanchez also gave up 12 passing touchdowns. He’ll gamble on turnovers and occasionally give up big plays. POSTSEASON GAME:

In his final collegiate game, Sanchez helped Oklahoma hold on to a half-time lead over Clemson in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs. He deflected and then intercepted a pass in the end zone from Deshaun Watson late in the second quarter, preserving the Sooners’ 17-16 lead. CB13 | WILL REDMOND Mississippi State (SR)

CB14 | JUSTON BURRIS North Carolina State (rSR)

N A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

He suffered a torn ACL in late October, putting the start of his 2016 season in danger. His medicals will determine where he’s drafted.

His size (6’0, 209 lbs.) and experience (three years starting) are positives, and he’s made significant strides as a man-toman cover player. Burris is a potential diamond in the rough.

CB15 | LESHAUN SIMS Southern Utah (rSR)

CB16 | CYRUS JONES Alabama (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Sims is a big, experienced cornerback who put his name on the map at the East-West Shrine Game. Potential sleeper pick at the position.

Some teams will take him off the board because of his lack of height (5’9”), but he plays bigger than his size and contributes on special teams. This former receiver learned from the best in Tuscaloosa.

CB17 | MAURICE CANADY Virginia (SR)

CB18 | KEIVARAE RUSSELL Notre Dame (rJR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

He gave up way too many big plays, but his size (6’1”) and speed (4.49 seconds) give him upside as a perimeter cornerback. He needs time and coaching to make use of his natural physical gifts.

Suspension for academic dishonesty stunted an encouraging start to his career in South Bend. Huge potential, but he’s also entering the NFL after breaking his fibula to end final collegiate season.

CB19 | D.J. WHITE Georgia Tech (SR)

CB20 | ERIC MURRAY Minnesota (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

While lacking in the size department (5’11”, 193 lbs.), he’s a good athlete and a three-year starter. Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds and produced one of the top broad jumps for cornerbacks (132.0”).

A Milwaukee native, Murray started 39 games and broke up 27 passes for the Gophers. He could be a strong slot corner and a core special teams player at the next level.

ADDITIONAL PLAYERS CB21 | KEVIN PETERSON Oklahoma State (SR)

CB24 | KEN CRAWLEY Colorado (SR)

CB22 | JONATHAN JONES Auburn (SR)

CB25 | ANTHONY BROWN Purdue (SR)

CB23 | TAVEZE CALHOUN Mississippi State (SR)

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80


SAFETIES AUTHOR:

JASON PERONE

VONN BELL Ohio State (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 5’11” Weight: 199 lbs. Arms: 32⅜” Bench: 16 40-yard dash: DNP

2015 STATS: 65 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT, 9 PBU

S1

IN A NUTSHELL:

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Bell is likely the first safety off the board when draft time comes. After playing a big role in helping the Buckeyes to a national title in 2014, Bell had a solid junior campaign and chose to leave Ohio State a year early to turn pro.

Bell became a starter as a true freshman late in the 2013 season against Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Bell had an athletic interception deep in Ohio State territory to thwart a drive in that game. He was instrumental in helping the Buckeyes to a national championship in 2014, logging a big interception against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, and another in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama. In 2015, Bell had 11 passes defensed and two touchdowns.

Although undersized, Bell has a lot of the tools that you want in a safety at the NFL level. He’s a solid tackler with aboveaverage speed and the ability to change directions without losing a single step. Bell has good instincts —reading and reacting well — and is often around the ball. On several occasions throughout his college career, Bell flashed his athletic ability with spectacular interceptions. He tackles well after the catch but has struggled with ball carriers in space. If Bell can improve in run support, he can turn himself into a very special player at the pro level.

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Bell started 28 games, including all 13 games his sophomore and junior years. He had nine career interceptions at Ohio State and defended 24 passes. Bell was a Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist in 2015 and earned first team All-American and first team Big-Ten honors. He’s entering the draft early, choosing to forgo his final year of college eligibility.

81


SEAN DAVIS

KEANU NEAL

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’1” Weight: 201 lbs. Arms: 31⅜” Bench: 21 40-yard dash: 4.46

Height: 6’0” Weight: 211 lbs. Arms: 32¾” Bench: 17 40-yard dash: 4.62

Maryland (SR)

S2

Florida (JR)

S3

2015 STATS:

2015 STATS:

88 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1 sack, 3 INT, 3 PBU

96 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Davis played a fair amount of cornerback at Maryland along with safety, but he appears to be best suited for safety in the NFL. He has prototypical size for the position and is one of the better-built safeties in this draft class. He put up very good numbers at this year’s Combine — possibly the best overall among safeties. His strong showing surely moved him up the board among NFL teams.

Neal is arguably the most physical defensive back in this draft. Both a corner and safety at Florida, he has a distinct killer mentality and plays angry. His mission is the football — if he’s not snatching it out of the air, he’s looking to separate the ball carrier from it. Neal hits with a purpose and he plays with a lot of fire and emotion. This is something he’ll have to control at the next level, where it might prove costly to his team.

Davis does not shy away from contact and has very good straight-line speed when closing on the ball carrier. He can get up for 50/50 balls as well. He also played on special teams at Maryland and was a standout. That fact could attract more attention from NFL teams who don’t necessarily need a safety. The Packers value players who can contribute on special teams right away, and Davis fits that bill.

Neal has decent speed and moves around well. He has good closing speed but is sometimes burned by his own reckless pursuit. Coverage isn’t a big area of strength but his athleticism still allows him to be around the ball often. Neal was often seen making acrobatic plays and he has above-average instincts. The Packers could use a player like Neal as depth, and as a special teams contributor.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Davis’s college career was a story of resilience. After struggling as a true freshman, Davis came back and led the Terrapins in tackles in his sophomore season, when he started all 13 games. Davis bounced between cornerback and safety during his junior season and was again one of the team’s leading tacklers. He truly came on during his senior season, forcing five fumbles and grabbing three interceptions — two of them in one game against Southern Florida. Davis was a 2015 Honorable Mention All Big-Ten and started every game during his last three seasons at Maryland. His ability to move between safety and cornerback gave Maryland’s defense versatility and allowed Davis to showcase his ball skills. Davis embodies the phrase “nose for the football,” and would be a solid pick for any team.

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COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

Neal keeps in line with the other top safeties in this draft class who got their start on special teams. As a freshman at Florida, Neal was a team leader in special teams stops. He started eight games during his sophomore season, and after missing the first two games of his junior season, started in every game thereafter. Although his college career was abbreviated, Neal still managed 100 tackles and two sacks. He chose to enter the draft to pursue what he described as his childhood dream. Neal seems to have a genuine love for the game and is a bit of a throwback type. Neal earned Honorable Mention CFPA Defensive Back of the Week honors in 2014 after a monster game against Alabama in which he led the Gators with 10 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble return for a touchdown.

82


MILES KILLEBREW

JALEN MILLS

S4

LSU (SR)

Southern Utah (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 191 lbs. Arms: 31⅛” Bench: 16 40-yard dash: 4.61

Height: 6’2” Weight: 217 lbs. Arms: 32⅛” Bench: 22 40-yard dash: 4.65

2015 STATS:

30 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 3 PBU

S5

2015 STATS:

132 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 7 PBU, 2 blocked kicks

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Mills is one of the most instinctual safeties in this class. His athleticism and speed are big assets in his game and, according to some, the best combination of those traits in this entire safety group. He is very emotional player, however, and has had off-field issues that could concern some teams.

Killebrew has ideal size for a safety, and he may find himself playing some linebacker as well. A very physical player, Killebrew excels near the line of scrimmage and tackles well overall when he has the angle. His anticipation and range are average, but his size more than makes up for it.

VS. TOP OPPONENT:

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

During his senior year, Mills had a very good showing against SEC rival Alabama, racking up a career-high nine solo tackles, including a nine-yard sack. Mills also had nine tackles vs the Crimson Tide in 2013. He got his break as a true freshman in 2012, stepping in for a dismissed Tyrann Mathieu.

After a redshirt 2011, Killebrew went on to earn All-Big Sky honors each season at Southern Utah including first team All-Big Sky in 2015. He forced four fumbles and recovered two (1 TD) during his college career. He also had two blocked kicks.

S6

KARL JOSEPH

JEREMY CASH

West Virginia (SR)

Duke (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’10” Weight: 205 lbs. Arms: 32⅛” Bench: DNP 40-yard dash: DNP

Height: 6’0” Weight: 212 lbs. Arms: 32⅜” Bench: DNP 40-yard dash: DNP

2015 STATS:

20 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 5 INT, 1 PBU

S7

2015 STATS:

101 tackles, 18 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 4 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Were it not for a knee injury suffered mid-way through 2015, Joseph may have been the top safety in this draft. He’s very physical and capable of laying the big hit. Joseph plays quick and attacks well, but needs some work on his pursuit angles and in space.

Cash has good size and fits the mold of a strong safety in the NFL. He plays tough near the line and is physical in run support, but he needs to show more awareness in space and in staying off blocks. His late-December wrist injury could lower his draft stock.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

COLLEGE CAREER:

Joseph was an immediate starter as a freshman and team defensive player of the year at West Virginia in 2012. He recovered four fumbles in 2013, and was voted All-Big 12 by ESPN and coaches in 2014.

Originally with Ohio State, Cash transferred to Duke in 2012, but didn’t see game action until 2013. He was named first team All-ACC in 2013, second team All-America in 2014 and — after tallying 18 tackles for loss — was a candidate for several top national awards in 2015.

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83


KAVON FRAZIER

DEANDRE HOUSTON-CARSON

Central Michigan (SR)

William & Mary (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 217 lbs. Arms: 32¼" Bench: 18 40-yard dash: DNP

Height: 6’1” Weight: 201 lbs. Arms: 30⅛” Bench: 13 40-yard dash: 4.54

S8

2015 STATS:

109 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 1 sack, 4 INT, 7 PBU

S9

2015 STATS:

108 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Houston-Carson was a cornerback who moved to safety his senior year. He shows quick reaction time and awareness. He’s solid in run support and hits well, but his tackling is average, especially in the open field. Houston-Carson has the tools to be either a good safety or corner at the NFL level.

In a safety class loaded with big hitters, Frazier is no exception. While not as big, he reminds some of Kam Chancellor, establishing his presence and playing with attitude. That emotional play can sometimes backfire with recklessness resulting in missed tackles. Frazier is good in run support and a definite special teams contributor right away.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE:

A four-year starter, Houston-Carson earned several conference awards and was votes a consensus first team All-American by the Associated Press. He also exceled on special teams with several blocked punts and a blocked field goal.

S10

COLLEGE CAREER:

Frazier played under former Packers special teams coordinator, John Bonamego, at Central Michigan, and was a special teams standout. He was voted second team All-MAC in 2015 after tallying 108 tackles. Frazier suffered a hairline fracture in his foot during the Combine and was only able to participate in the bench press.

TYVIS POWELL

K.J. DILLON

Ohio State (JR)

West Virginia (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’3” Weight: 211 lbs. Arms: 32¾" Bench: 15 40-yard dash: 4.46

Height: 6’0” Weight: 210 lbs. Arms: 31⅝” Bench: 11 40-yard dash: 4.53

2015 STATS:

71 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 3 INT, 3 PBU

S11

2015 STATS:

54 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 2 INT, 8 PBU

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Powell played next to Vonn Bell at Ohio State, forming one of the better safety tandems in the nation. A centerfielder in the defensive backfield, Powell has the speed and range to cover the deep ball across the field. He’s good in coverage, and average in tackling and run support.

Dillon played next to Karl Joseph at West Virginia. He has good, natural athleticism and tackles well. He also played some linebacker in college, but is best suited as a strong safety. Dillon is a very instinctual defensive back who blitzed well and can disrupt the passing lane with his long arms, though he lacks the speed to cover deep.

VS. TOP OPPONENT:

COLLEGE CAREER:

Powell excelled against better competition at Ohio State. He sealed a win against Michigan State as a redshirt freshman in 2013 with an interception on a two-point try. In the 2014 semifinal game against Alabama, Powell intercepted a Hail Mary to preserve the win and was Defensive MVP in the championship win against Oregon.

Dillon was a four-year player at West Virginia, starting his junior and senior seasons. He returned punts and kicks in 2015, an added wrinkle that may intrigue some NFL teams. Dillon was West Virginia’s Defensive MVP in the 2014 Liberty Bowl with an interception return for a touchdown.

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84


S12 | JAYRON KEARSE Clemson (JR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’4” | Weight: 216 lbs. | Arms: 34¼" | Bench: 16 | 40-yard dash: 4.62 2015 STATS:

62 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 1 INT, 6 PBU IN A NUTSHELL:

Jayron Kearse, the cousin of former defensive back Phillip Buchanon and the nephew of former pass rusher Jevon Kearse, clearly has an NFL bloodline. He has very good measurables and matches up well with bigger receivers. He hits hard and has the speed to man the middle of the field. POSTSEASON GAMES:

Kearse played in a major Bowl game all three years at Clemson. He had an interception against Ohio State as a freshman in the Orange Bowl. In three Bowl games, Kearse had 12 tackles and one interception. He has the big game experience that NFL scouts covet. S13 | KEVIN BYARD Middle Tennessee (rSR)

S14 | TRAE ELSTON Ole Miss (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

The jury is out on Byard. He’s shown flashes in coverage, but his size and average-at-best tackling leave questions marks at the NFL level. He has a good football IQ and can quarterback a secondary.

A strong safety with good size and measurables, Elston excels in playing what is in front of him. He’s good in run support and has average coverage skills.

S15 | JUSTIN SIMMONS Boston College (SR)

S16 | T.J. GREEN Clemson (JR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Simmons also played some cornerback at Boston College but is best suited as a safety at the pro level. He tackles well, and with his size and coverage ability, he can hang with bigger receivers.

Like his former Clemson teammate, Jayron Kearse, Green chose to leave for the NFL as a junior. Some felt he should have stayed back, but he has the versatility and athleticism to appeal to NFL teams now.

S17 | SU’A CRAVENS USC (JR)

S18 | DARIAN THOMPSON Boise State (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Cravens is one of the more intriguing names in this draft pool. Listed as a linebacker at USC, he was also used quite bit in coverage. He needs a lot of work to become a safety in the NFL, but he has the size and physicality to do it.

Many have Thompson as a top-rated safety, but his combine workouts weren’t great. He’s a smart player who studies film and anticipates well, allowing him to be very disruptive and create turnovers.

S19 | CLAYTON FEJEDELEM Illinois (SR)

S20 | TEVIN CARTER Utah (SR)

Fejedelem walked his way onto the Fighting Illini after a stint in Division II at St. Xavier in Chicago. He needs to put on some weight and is an underdog story, but he has no shortage of determination or work ethic.

IN A NUTSHELL:

Carter has good size and speed but doesn’t always play to those strengths. He tackles well and hits hard but struggles in coverage.

ADDITIONAL PLAYERS S21 | ELIJAH SHUMATE Notre Dame

S25 | DERRICK KINDRED TCU

S22 | JORDAN LUCAS Penn State

S26 | ANTHONY BROWN Purdue (SR)

S23 | DEON BUSH Miami

S27 | A.J. STAMPS Kentucky

S24 | JORDAN LOMAX Iowa

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85


KICKERS AUTHOR:

ERIK FRETLAND

JADEN OBERKROM

Texas Christian (SR) MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2� Weight: 186 lbs.

IN A NUTSHELL:

While Robert Aguayo is usually the first name mentioned when discussing draft-eligible kickers, Jaden Oberkrom deserves equal, if not more, consideration. Based on his performance in the 2015 season, Oberkrom stands out from the crowd. Playing for a high profile team with an emphasis on scoring, Oberkrom held up his end of the bargain, making 21/25 of his field goal attempts (88%) over the course of the season, as well as 59/60 extra points. Even more impressive than his total numbers is his accuracy from 40+ yards. He was 10/11 from 40+, and a perfect 3/3 from more than 50 yards out. In addition to kicking field goals, his work on kickoffs was very respectable, as only 34% of his kickoffs were returned. His performance this season earned him second team All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America. He was also a Lou Groza award semifinalist. He ends his career at TCU as the all-time record holder for FGs made, as well as most career FGs in Big 12 history.

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K1 BEST GAMES:

Oberkrom had several noteworthy games in 2015, the first of which came in the season opener. In a close game against Minnesota, he made three of four field goals, including a 53-yarder, and was named the Lou Groza Star of the Week. Later in the season, in the same week that he became just the 13th player in TCU history to make four field goals in a single game, he tied the TCU record for longest field goal with a 57 yarder. He ended the season on a high note, making all four field goals to help TCU in its incredible comeback win vs. Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, including one to set up overtime and another to help clinch the win.

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KA’IMI FAIRBAIRN

ROBERTO AGUAYO

UCLA (SR)

Florida State (rJR) MEASURABLES

Height: 5’11” Weight: 183 lbs.

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’0” Weight: 207 lbs.

K2

K3

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

While other kickers may have played as well as Aguayo in 2015, no other draft-eligible kicker has consistently performed at the extremely high level that he has over his entire career. In fact, Aguayo has played so well over the past three years that he declared early for the NFL draft — something no kicker has done in the last 16 years. In his first year at FSU’s, he won the Lou Groza award, given annually to college football’s best kicker. He followed that up with an equally great redshirt sophomore season, ending as a Lou Groza finalist and being named to countless first team All-American lists. This season, he made field goals at a rate of 80.8% without missing an extra point. In addition to FGs, Aguayo also handled kickoff duties, with only 38% of his kickoffs being returned. Over the course of his college career, he was an incredible 49/49 on FGs from inside 40 yards, and 69/78 (88.5%) from all distances. The two reasons why Aguayo is only ranked second on this list are due to Jaden Oberkrom’s superior performance from beyond 40 yards and on kickoffs.

Ka’imi Fairbairn ends his college career as the all-time leading scorer for both UCLA and in Pac-12 history. In addition to being named the 2015 Lou Groza Award winner, Fairbairn was voted a first team All-American by several organizations, as well as first team AllConference by the Associated Press and second team All-Conference by Pac-12 coaches. Fairbairrn was a great all-around kicker in 2015, playing well on kickoffs as well as field goals. His 83.3% field goal mark was solid, as was his 67% on field goals longer than 50 yards. Where Fairbairn really excelled was on kickoffs — only 29.8% of his kickoffs were returned all season. He ends his college career with an active streak of 41 consecutive field goals made from inside 35 yards.

BEST GAMES:

BEST GAMES:

Fairbairn had two games this season where he made four field goals and missed none. The first of these was against California, where, in addition to scoring four extra points, his 60-yarder set a UCLA record for longest field goal made. Later in the season, he also went 4/4 on field goals against Washington State, with one extra point.

Aguayo’s 2015 season was marked more by consistency rather than by any one moment of greatness, but he did have several games worthy of recognition. He saved his best performance for the last week of the season — the rivalry game against the University of Florida — kicking his longest two field goals of 2015 (45 and 51 yards). Going back to last season, Aguayo had a career game against Wake Forest, making five field goals, including one from 50+ yards and four total from 40+ yards.

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K4 | ROSS MARTIN Duke (SR) MEASURABLES: Height: 5’10” | Weight: 185 lbs. IN A NUTSHELL:

As good as Martin was at getting the ball through the uprights in 2015, he was just as bad on kickoffs, with 67.9% of his kickoffs being returned. Luckily for him, some NFL teams are willing to use their punter for kickoff duties. His 84.8% on FGs in 2015 is impressive, but even more so is his stellar 92% from 40+ yards (11/12) and 4/4 from 50+ yards. BEST GAME:

Martin had two games in 2015 where he made three FGs total and one of 50+ yards. These came against Boston College (a 9-7 win) and in another close win against Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl, where he had the go-ahead FG in overtime.

K5 | MARSHALL KOEHN Iowa (rSR)

K6 | JACK CANTELE Kansas State (rSR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Marshall Koehn was proficient both in kickoffs and on field goals, although he excelled at neither. Koehn’s best work was done on kickoffs, as only 40.7% were returned in 2015. However, he also posted a respectable 16/20 on field goals and a very good 8/10 from more than 40 yards out. His biggest area of concern is his missed extra points, as he only made 47/53 in 2015.

The biggest question mark surrounding Jack Cantele as an NFL player is his relatively small sample size of FG attempts — with just 14 chances in 2015. He made the most of it, however, converting 12 of the 14, going three for four from 40+ yards. He has very little experience on kickoffs, and his leg strength is a question mark, with a career long field goal of just 44 yards.

K7 | BRAD CRADDOCK Maryland (SR)

K8 | BRENT WAHLE Ohio Dominion University (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

The 2014 Lou Groza award winner finished his college career on a disappointing note, when a hand injury suffered on a kickoff against Wisconsin prematurely ended his 2015 season. Before the injury, he was making 80% of his FG attempts. However, in 2014, he made 94.7% of his FG’s and was 11/12 from beyond 40 yards, including a season long of 57 yards. Craddock had 58.5% of his kickoffs returned in 2015. He also served as Maryland’s primary punter, adding some versatility that will surely be appealing at the next level.

Wahle is Ohio Dominion’s record holder in every major kicking category. He finished the 2015 season making 17 of 22 his field goals, with a long of 53 yards. He made 47/48 of his extra points and was a Sporting News preseason All-American.

K9 | MARSHALL MORGAN University of Georgia (SR)

K10 | IAN FRYE University of Virginia (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Marshall Morgan had a down year by his standards in 2015, only making 72% of his field goal attempts and only converting four of eight from more than 40 yards out. He also did not perform well on kickoffs, with 65% of his kickoffs being returned. However, he showed up when needed, and did not miss an extra point the entire season (38/38).

Frye finished the 2015 season making 17 of 22 field goal attempts and 34 of 35 extra points. He was voted Special Teams Player of the Week four times in 2015, and was named a Lou Groza Star of the Week twice in 2014. Frye is also capable of handling kickoff duties.

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PUNTERS AUTHOR:

ERIK FRETLAND

TOM HACKETT School: Utah (SR) MEASURABLES

Height: 5’10” Weight: 198 lbs.

IN A NUTSHELL:

A two-time Ray Guy Award winner and 2015 consensus AllAmerican, Tom Hackett led the NCAA in punting average in 2015 with a stellar 48.0 yards per punt on 61 punts. Despite his smaller size relative to other punters (5’10”, 198 lbs.), he has a powerful leg, as demonstrated in his 23 punts of 50+ yards in 2015, as well as 4 career punts of 70+ yards. In addition to power, Hackett has shown the ability to accurately pin the opponent deep in their own territory. 28 of his 61 punts in 2015 were downed inside the opponent’s 20 yard line, 14 were downed inside the 10, and five were downed inside the five. Hackett has the experience and agility to “rugby punt” as well as the more traditional style of punting. He is 4/4 in his career on rushing conversions, and has never

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P1

had a punt blocked. Hackett has a strong personality, evident in his trash talk directed at the BYU team before the UtahBYU game, and claims to enjoy American football more than rugby because he does not have to run as much. Hackett was not invited to the Senior Bowl. BEST GAMES:

Hackett’s best game was in Utah’s 62-20 trouncing of Oregon early in 2015. He punted three times for an average of 60.3 yards, including a 76 yarder. All three punts were downed inside the 10 yard line. He also rushed for 33 yards to pick up a first down on a fake punt conversion. Later in the season against Arizona State, he placed 5 of 8 punts inside the 20 yard line and also made a touchdown-saving tackle.

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DREW KASER

RILEY DIXON

Texas A&M (rSR)

Syracuse (rSR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 6’2” Weight: 212 lbs.

Height: 6’4” Weight: 221 lbs.

P2

P3

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Kaser’s 47.5 yards per punt in 2015 was good enough to rank 3rd in the NCAA. He received All-SEC First team accolades in 2015, was a 2014 Ray Guy Award semifinalist, and a 2013 Ray Guy Award finalist. His season mark of 47.5 yards per punt set a school record, previously held by well-known NFL punter Shane Lechler. Kaser’s biggest strength is his powerful leg, as he crushed nearly half of his 60 punts over 50 yards. However, this can also be a detriment, as he sometimes outkicks the coverage. Additionally, he shows inconsistent touch near the opponent’s end zone, leading to frequent touchbacks, although he also has a high number of punts downed inside the 20. Kaser has zero blocked punts in his career, but only two tackles, leaving questions about his ability to be the last line of defense against a breakaway punt return.

Riley Dixon, a 2015 Ray Guy Award semifinalist, is an athletic punter with prototypical size for the position. He first came to Syracuse as a walk-on quarterback, and won the starting punting job as a redshirt sophomore in 2013. His background as a quarterback has allowed him to be especially effective on fakes, converting 3 first downs in the last two years. Not only is he capable of converting through the air, but he’s also athletic enough to convert on the ground, demonstrated in a 42 yard run vs. Notre Dame in 2014 and a conversion this season where he hurdled an LSU defender. His punting specialty is height and hang-time, which can help nullify dangerous opposing returners. Dixon had 18 punts of 50+ yards and only 14 of his 65 punts were returned in 2015. According to former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer, Dixon is “probably the most productive special teams player, outside of a returner” that Shafer has been around.

BEST GAME:

Kaser had three games in 2015 where he punted the ball at least 4 times and averaged over 50 yards per punt. In his best game, he averaged 47.9 yards per punt on 10 punts vs. Ole Miss, making up for a poor showing by the offense. His performance was the only bright spot for Texas A&M, including his long punt of 64 yards.

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BEST GAME:

Against the then-17th ranked Florida State Seminoles, Dixon put together a great performance punting the football, averaging 44.9 yards per punt on 9 punts for a total of 404 yards. He also placed 5 of 9 inside the 20, which was a season high. 3 of his 9 punts went for more than 50 yards.

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P4 | CASON BEATTY Florida State (SR) MEASURABLES: Height: 6’3” | Weight: 213 lbs. IN A NUTSHELL:

Cason Beatty performed well enough in 2015 to be named the Florida State Special Teams MVP. He earned that honor despite the fact he played on the same team as kicker Robert Aguayo, who is likely to be the first kicker taken in this year’s draft. His punting average of 45.2 yards ranked 13th in the country, and he launched 23 of his 61 punts over 50 yards. Additionally, he dropped 23 punts inside the 20. Beatty has served as the holder on PATs and FGs the past three years, and never had a punt blocked. BEST GAME:

In a 14-0 win vs. Boston College, Beatty averaged 52.3 yards per punt, had 5 punts of 50 yards or more, and placed 4 of his last 5 punts inside the Boston College 15 yard-line. This effort came at the perfect time, putting the Florida State defense in consistently good position, as the offense struggled to stay on the field. P5 | WILL MONDAY Duke (rSR)

P6 | BEN LECOMPTE North Dakota State University (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Will Monday was four-year starter and earned All-ACC honors in the last three. He ranked 30th in the country in punting average in 2015 with 43.5 yards per punt. When he committed to Duke, he was the top ranked punter coming out of high school. He owns the school bowl game record for longest punt (79 yards), and ranks first in punting average in Duke history. He offers versatility on fake punts, as he has completed all 4 of his passes for 41 yards.

Ben Lecompte has been a 4 year starter, all of which have ended in FCS Championships for the NDSU Bison. He also has handled kickoff duties for three years. Lecompte holds the NDSU career punting average record with a 44.55 average, dropped 29 of 62 punts inside the 20 this past season, and had 23 punts go for more than 50 yards. He played cornerback and wide receiver in high school, and is very athletic for the punter position.

P7 | PETER MORTELL Minnesota (rSR)

P8 | LACHLAN EDWARDS Sam Houston State (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

A Green Bay native and dedicated Packers fan, Mortell was named to the All Big-10 Third Team in 2015. Foremost in his on-field accomplishments is a punting average of 43.4 yards, as well as 30 of 74 punts placed inside the 20 and 21 punts of longer than 50 yards. Like Lecompte, Mortell played receiver and cornerback in high school. His accomplishments off the field are just as notable. Mortell organized a fundraiser to buy Christmas gifts for teens in the University of Minnesota hospital, which ended up raising over $25,000.

Edwards, like Hackett, hails from Australia and played rugby before ever playing American football. He possesses seemingly ideal length and size for a punter (6’5”, 215 lbs.). Unfortunately, this size does not seem to have carried over into his punting performance, as he averaged only 41.5 yards per punt in 2015, his longest going for 62 yards.

P9 | ERIC ENDERSON Delaware (rJR)

P10 | JAMIE KEEHN Louisiana State (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Enderson ends his college career as the Delaware punting average record holder, with a career mark of 44.95 yards per punt. He is coming off a slightly subpar redshirt junior season, as he only averaged 41.1 yards per punt in 2015. However, he was still able to place a high number of his punts inside the 20 yard line (24 of 61 punts). Enderson does not have the biggest leg, as only 8 of his 61 punts traveled more than 50 yards.

Keehn is one of the more consistent punters in this draft class. Despite not having a flashy punting average (40.9 yards per punt), he regularly showed up against a high level of competition. Like Hackett and Edwards, Keehn is also from Australia, but unlike the other two, Keehn’s primary sport prior to football was javelin throwing. He won two Australian high school titles in 2005 and 2006, and was the oldest player on the roster this past season at age 26.

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RETURN SPECIALISTS AUTHOR:

ERIK FRETLAND

DEANDRE REAVES Marshall (rSR)

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’10” Weight: 175 lbs. 40 time: DNP

KR/PR1

2015 STATS:

KR: 23, 693 yds (30.1 avg), 2TD / PR: 15, 204yds (13.6 avg), 1TD IN A NUTSHELL:

BEST GAME:

One of the most dynamic players in college football, Deandre Reeves was effective as both a punt and a kick returner in 2015. His size and lateral agility is more suited to returning punts at the next level, but he has the straight-line acceleration needed to find a seam on a kick return as well. In addition to being an effective returner, he also played a key role in the Thundering Herd’s offense, racking up 705 yards and 4 touchdowns on 56 catches from the slot position. In addition to playing wide receiver, he also has experience at tailback, making him a versatile Swiss Army knife that could be valuable to NFL teams in multiple ways.

In a double overtime win at Kent State, Reaves touched the ball 7 times (5 punt returns, 2 kick returns) on special teams and turned those touches into 164 yards and a touchdown (55 yards per kick return, 10.7 yards per punt return). He also added 3 catches for 32 yards. Later on in the season, in a 28-49 loss to Western Kentucky, Reaves did his best to spark the team with 6 kickoff returns for 221 yards and a touchdown, adding 2 catches for 45 yards.

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MORGAN BURNS

CYRUS JONES

Kansas State University (SR)

Alabama (SR)

MEASURABLES

MEASURABLES

Height: 5’11” Weight: 195 lbs. 40 time: DNP

KR/PR2

Height: 5’10” Weight: 197 lbs. 40 time: 4.49

KR/PR3

2015 STATS: KR: 34, 1138 yds (33.5 avg), 4TD

2015 STATS: PR: 42, 530yds (12.6 avg), 4TD

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

With the speed that Morgan Burns is blessed with, any Kansas State kickoff return in 2015 had the chance to go for six points. Although his straight-line speed and acceleration are the traits that stand out the most, he also has the ability to read his blocking and “bounce” a kick to the outside, and is outright dangerous when he gets loose down the sideline. This same physical skillset carries over to his play at the cornerback position, as he has the speed to run with any receiver down the field. His man-coverage technique and agility are areas for improvement, but he will be able to develop as a team’s 4th or 5th corner while contributing immediately on special teams. He recorded 37 tackles, 9 pass deflections, and 1 interception on defense.

Cyrus Jones has struck terror into the hearts of opposing players and fans for the past two years. While his 40 time is not slow, it does not truly capture the explosiveness that Jones displays on the field. He possesses a similar straight-line speed to Morgan Burns, coupled with a great feel for gunners bearing down on him and the ability to effortlessly make the first tackler miss, springing himself into space. On defense, he recorded 37 tackles, 7 pass breakups, and 2 interceptions. As a whole, he is a more polished CB than any other return man in the draft, and more of his value comes from his coverage skills than his return skills.

BEST GAMES:

In the game that clinched Kansas State’s bowl eligibility, Burns broke the spirits of the West Virginia special teams coverage units with three returns for a total of 201 yards, including a 93-yard touchdown. This breakout came at a crucial time, as it helped spark a comeback that led to a 24-23 Wildcat win. In Kansas State’s rivalry game with Kansas, Burns had one interception and one pass deflection, as well as three tackles on defense.

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BEST GAMES:

For his performance late in the season against Charleston Southern, Jones was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week when he became the first player in Alabama history to return two punts for touchdowns in the same game. On that day, he totaled 115 punt return yards on those two returns, as well as set a career high with 3 tackles for loss. The week before, he returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown against Mississippi State, as well as made 4 tackles on defense with 2 pass breakups.

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KR/PR4 | DEREK KEATON Georgia Southern (SR) MEASURABLES: Height: 5’10” | Weight: 180 lbs. | 40 time: DNP 2015 STATS: KR: 36, 924 yds (25.9 avg), 0TD / PR: 18, 276yds (15.3 avg), 0TD IN A NUTSHELL:

Keaton was selected All-Sun Belt First Team Return Specialist in 2015, despite recording nary a touchdown. Unlike the players above Keaton on the list, his contribution to the team came almost exclusively on special teams, with only 11 catches in 2 years at Georgia Southern. BEST GAME:

Keaton had four games with over 100 return yards this past season, and one in which he reached 200 return yards. Against Georgia State, Keaton had 198 yards on 6 kickoff returns, with a long of 48, and one punt return for 6 yards. Against South Alabama, he had 4 punt returns for 118 yards and 2 kickoff returns for 53 yards. KR/PR5 | JAKEEM GRANT Texas Tech (SR)

KR/PR6 | TYLER ERVIN San Jose State (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Despite his lack of size, Jakeem Grant offers one thing that NFL teams simply cannot get enough of — sheer playmaking ability. His lateral agility, acceleration and top speed are unmatched in this draft class, and he leaves a swathe of defenders nursing broken ankles wherever he goes. Not only was he a premier returner, he also had 1,268 receiving yards on 90 catches with 10 touchdowns in Texas Tech’s pass-first offense. He can be a game-breaker at the NFL level.

Ervin was the focus of the San Jose State offense in 2015, but just as important were his contributions on special teams. His smooth acceleration and quick cuts without losing momentum helped him average 24 yards per return on kickoff returns, and 15 on punt returns. He also rushed for 1601 yards and 13 TDs in 2015. His decisive running style should allow him to be an effective change of pace back as well as a kickoff specialist at the next level.

KR/PR7 | KENYAN DRAKE Alabama (SR)

KR/PR8 | V’ANGELO BENTLEY Illinois (SR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Drake was the thunder to Cyrus Jones’ lightning, handling kickoff return duties while Jones handled punt returns. He also brings valuable versatility to the table as a running back, averaging 6.4 yards per carry on 233 career carries with 18 touchdowns.

V’Angelo Bentley may not have the same name recognition that some of the other members of this list do, but he offers the kind of consistency that NFL teams want from their special teams units. He has been Illinois’ primary returner for the past three seasons, as well as a key player on defense.

KR/PR9 | RICHARD LEONARD Florida International (rJR)

KR/PR10 | BRALON ADDISON Oregon (rJR)

IN A NUTSHELL:

IN A NUTSHELL:

Leonard has the ability to be an explosive kick returner, as shown by his 25.0 career yards per kick return average and 15.6 career yards per punt return average. In addition to contributions on special teams, Leonard would have the potential to provide depth at corner. He has 7 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 21 pass breakups in four seasons.

Addison did not get as many opportunities for returns as other players on this list have, but he still had the chance to show his athleticism on the field. He has a subpar average of 18.3 yards per kickoff return for his career, but his 12.2 yards per punt return career average and 3 career punt return touchdowns show he can be effective as a punt returner.

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PACKERS MOCK DRAFT AUTHOR:

"JERSEY AL" BRACCO ROUND 1 | ANDREW BILLINGS DT | Baylor

ROUND 2 | KAMALEI CORREA LB | Boise State

Eight of Ted Thompson’s 11 first round draft picks have been on defense, including the last four. With the plethora of defensive talent available in this draft, this year should be no different. Assuming Sheldon Rankins is gone, the pick here is Billings, who plays with the type of attitude BJ Raji never displayed. A convert from offensive line and only 21 years old, his ceiling is high.

There is likely good value in round two in the 3-4 edge defender department, and Correa fits the bill nicely. Athletic with good straight-line speed (4.69 40yd dash), Correa would be a nice compliment on the other side of Clay Matthews, who the Packers hope to move back to outside linebacker.

ALTERNATE CHOICES: Jarran

ALTERNATE CHOICES:

Reed, Vernon Butler

Kyler Fackrell, Joshua Perry

ROUND 3 | DEION JONES ILB | LSU

ROUND 4 | JOE HAEG OT | N. Dakota State

As they did last year when they picked Jake Ryan, the Packers look for value at inside linebacker in the middle rounds. This time around, instead of a thumper they will be looking for a guy who can play in space and cover tight ends. Despite being undersized, Jones flies to the ball and shows little fear taking on blockers. His best work is done in space and he is sure to be a major contributor on special teams. ALTERNATE CHOICES: Dominique Alexander, Scooby Wright

It’s likely the Packers won’t wait this long to addresses offensive line depth, but my choice was to go with two day three picks as opposed to a single day one or day two pick. Haeg is the choice here because of his mobility and suitability to a zone blocking system. He will need a year or two in the weight room, however, before he can challenge as a starter.

ROUND 4 (COMP) | BRONSON KAUFUSI DE | BYU

ROUND 4 (COMP) | TYLER ERVIN WR/KR | San Jose St.

This is a good spot to take a developmental defensive lineman for depth —perhaps one who possesses the physical tools but doesn’t yet know how to use them. Kaufusi converted to defensive line from WR/S in Junior College, so he is still learning the position and growing into his body. Adding more bulk and getting some NFL coaching could unearth a hidden gem.

Now let’s look for a versatile performer who can help the Packers in a variety of ways. Ervin was used mostly as a running back, but also caught 45 passes and returned kicks and punts. Altogether, he amassed over 2,600 yards in 2015 and scored 16 touchdowns.

ALTERNATE CHOICES: Jihad

ALTERNATE CHOICES:

Ward, Hassan Ridgeway

ALTERNATE CHOICES:

Willie Beavers, Cole Toner

Thomas Duarte, Paul McRoberts

ROUND 5 | THOMAS DUARTE TE/WR | UCLA

ROUND 6 | NICK RICHTER OT | Richmond

Duarte is a bit of an unusual prospect. He’s a top-flight athlete who was in the top five among tight ends in 5 different NFL Combine events. He posted a 16 ypc average on 53 receptions with 10 TDs in 2015, but he’s not quite fast enough for the WR position at the Pro level. His best opportunity in the NFL will be to put on some weight and make his mark as a move tight end. Would also provide great value as an emergency WR and special teams ace. ALTERNATE CHOICES: Temarrick Hemmingway, Brian Braunecker

As you likely know, the Packers almost exclusively draft offensive linemen that played tackle in college. Sometimes they’ll keep them there, sometimes they’ll move them inside and sometimes they’ll make them jack-of-all-trades backups. That’s where Richter fits – he will compete with JC Tretter, possibly replacing him if he leaves as a free agent after the season. ALTERNATE CHOICES:

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Tyler Johnstone

ROUND 7 | RJ WILLIAMSON SS | Michigan State Though still listed on the roster as of this writing, his neck injury is likely to force Sean Richardson to retire. Needing to build some depth at the position, the Packers look to Williamson, whose senior season was derailed by injury. Williamson brings a good combination of in-the-box toughness and coverage ability. ALTERNATE CHOICES: Michael

Caputo, Tevin Carter

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PACKERS POSITION ANALYSIS AUTHOR:

ROSS UGLEM

QUARTERBACKS Each season, and for the last eight featuring MVP QB Aaron Rodgers as QB1, Green Bay has started atop the rest of the league at this position. While this is certainly a blessing, it’s also a big reason why many Packers fans are unsatisfied with just one Super Bowl championship during this span. Rodgers had an off year in 2015, albeit by his own very high standards. On the surface, there are many teams that would be very happy with a 3,821-yard season that included a 31-8 TD/INT ratio. With that said, Rodgers seemed off all season. His 6.7-yards per attempt and 60.7% completion percentage were unacceptable, and offseason knee surgery certainly won’t quell the speculation that he was playing hurt.

Behind Rodgers is a fresh face. With QB Scott Tolzien signing with the Indianapolis Colts, former UCLA Bruin Brett Hundley is the Packers new backup. Hundley was viewed as a value selection for the Packers in the 2015 draft, and showed rapid improvement from the start of camp to the last preseason game. He has a good arm, above average athleticism, and should benefit from the increase in practice reps during the 2016 training camp. As of right now, former Miami QB Ryan Williams is the third stringer in Green Bay. Williams is the very definition of “developmental,” having thrown just 52 passes for Miami after transferring in from Memphis.

Rodgers should benefit from time off and the return of his good buddy, wide receiver Jordy Nelson.

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PACKERS POSITION ANALYSIS

RUNNING BACKS Once a position that seemed rock-solid for the Packers in both the present and future, the running back spot has shifted dramatically since the beginning of the 2015 season. Green Bay started with Eddie Lacy, James Starks and Alonzo Harris, but will head into 2016 without Harris and instead with John Crockett as the third running back. Green Bay reportedly was ready to flirt with former Bears RB Matt Forte, but Forte became a New York Jet on the first day of free agency, a day Ted Thompson does not like to come out and play. Lacy was outstanding in both of his first two NFL seasons. His 1100+ yards rushing and 11 total TDs as a rookie and 1100+ yards rushing and 13 total TDs in 2015 led most to believe that Lacy was a stable NFL talent. Unfortunately, Lacy was not in good shape and unlike the previous two seasons, his offensive line did not stay uncommonly healthy. 758 yards gained and three rushing touchdowns represent a significant regression in Lacy’s play.

James Starks has returned to the Packers on a two-year deal that really plays out more like a one year deal with a team option. This move was not widely accepted by Packers fans, as Starks is an older running back and struggled mightily last season with ball security. He's not a dynamic threat out of the backfield and his return might signify less of a chance of Green Bay acquiring a pass-catching back in the draft and also might signify less of an opportunity for John Crockett. North Dakota State product John Crockett showed promise in 2015, helping to spark the comeback victory over Detroit. Crockett probably should have been drafted, and has #2 RB upside and considerable skills as a pass receiver the Packers fans haven’t seen yet. Aaron Ripkoswki could be in line for a jump in offensive snaps, as Packers mainstay John Kuhn is not (yet) under contract for 2016.

WIDE RECEIVERS The Packers wide receiver group was — without debate — Green Bay’s biggest disappointment a season ago. Game after game, the tape showed an inability to catch the ball, and an even greater struggle to create separation and get open. The WR group lost their leader, Jordy Nelson, to a torn ACL suffered during the preseason. Not only did Nelson’s absence have an obvious, negative effect on the quality of the group, but it scrambled the pecking order, as well. His return in 2016 should improve the entire offense. With Nelson out, Davante Adams was elevated to the number one outside receiver on the team. Despite an above average skill-set and a promising rookie season, Adams was not ready. He struggled to separate, and when he did, he struggled to catch the football. There were a few positive glimpses this past season, but they were just that — glimpses. Davante Adams regressed in 2015.

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Without Nelson’s outside presence to draw the defense away, Randall Cobb struggled to find room to work in the middle of the field. He continued to be used out of the backfield, but even that was subdued by the lack of real threats on the perimeter. The Packers are blessed with good, young, drafted talent in Ty Montgomery, Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis. The team also likes practice squad receiver, Ed Williams. At this point, it seems unlikely veteran wide receiver James Jones will return.

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TIGHT ENDS Green Bay headed into the 2016 offseason with a major need at the tight end position. Packers tight end Richard Rodgers is certainly a useful player. Rodgers has excellent hands, seems to have an understanding of the offense and is a viable red zone threat. His particular skill-set lends itself to a complementary role. Rodgers is an ideal #2 tight end as a player that can make one cut and make a catch, or sit in a hole in a zone defense and make a first down grab. His limited athleticism would tell you that he'll never be a #1 feature tight end. In a rare foray in to players that ever played for another team, Ted Thompson brought in former Ram and Titan Jared Cook. While Cook might not be a bona fide #1 tight end either, he brings a different skill set to the table than Rodgers. Cook

is fast and an explosive athlete. He can stress the middle of the field in a way that Rodgers is not capable of. Cook's biggest weakness may be Rodgers' biggest strength, as he does occasionally struggle catching the football. In his defense, he's had awful quarterback play his entire career. Neither Cook nor Rodgers may be the ideal #1 tight end, but together, they make an imposing combination. GM Ted Thompson thought enough of 2015 rookie Kennard Backman to draft him, and undrafted Justin Perillo showed flashes during regular season play, specifically in the home loss to Detroit. Mitchell Henry is an interesting size/speed combination that they thought enough of to bring back to the Practice Squad after he had been claimed and then released by Denver.

INTERIOR LINE Outside of Aaron Rodgers, the interior of the offensive line is the strength of this offense. Not only are the Packers very good, but deep, as well. For the three interior positions, Green Bay has four starting-caliber players available. When healthy, TJ Lang and Josh Sitton are the NFL’s finest guard tandem. Sitton is the best pass blocking guard in the league, once owning a 37-game streak without allowing a sack. Lang might not be the pass blocker that Sitton is, but he’s still well above average, and a nasty player, to boot.

Center Corey Linsley has been a revelation. According to Pro Football Focus, Linsley graded out inside the top five of all centers as a rookie, and inside the top 10 a season ago. Linsley plays with tremendous strength, and moves better than a player his size ought to. His backup, JC Tretter, acquitted himself well at left tackle and is a future starter elsewhere, if not in Green Bay. Tretter, Lang and Sitton all have contracts expiring after 2016.

Green Bay signed Lane Taylor to a new deal this offseason to be the primary backup at guard.

TACKLES The offensive tackle position is much less stable than guard. The starters are entrenched, though left tackle David Bakhtiari’s rookie contract expires after 2016. Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga were unable to stay healthy in 2015, leaving Josh Walker and Don Barclay to protect Aaron Rodgers — it did not go well. Bakhtiari, when healthy, did everything expected of him. The fourth-year pro was again an excellent pass blocker, but left something to be desired in the run game. While criticism of Bakhtiari’s inability to create running lanes is convenient,

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without him, there was a precipitous drop in the quality of pass protection. Bulaga was rock solid all season long, though the Packers’ refusal to play him at left tackle when they were clearly in dire straits at the position, was questionable. Having signed an extension a season ago, Bulaga is clearly a part of Green Bay’s long-term offensive plan. The team is also still taking a look at project tackle Jeremy Vujnovich.

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PACKERS POSITION ANALYSIS

DEFENSIVE LINE Green Bay’s defensive line played at a much higher level in 2015 than the prior year, improving the overall performance from the defense as a whole. The Packers employed a more versatile approach along the defensive line, utilizing a variety of defenders in both run and pass rush situations. Mike Daniels, once again, led the defensive line. His four sacks may not jump off the page, but he was definitely Green Bay’s most consistent defender. His ability to walk blockers back into the lap of the quarterback unquestionably helped the Packers tie for seventh in the league in sacks. Nose tackle BJ Raji will not return. In a surprising move, Raji recently announced his retirement — or hiatus, as he called it.

His snaps will be split up between the suspended Mike Pennel and the newly re-signed Letroy Guion. Datone Jones made a small jump in production and overall quality of play in his third season. He was able to stay fresh by rotating in on both the defensive line and with the outside linebacker group. If Jones can stay healthy and make another leap in his fourth season, he could be in line for an extension. Green Bay will get back Josh Boyd, who missed the 2015 season with an injury. They also added Ray Drew, an undrafted player from the University of Georgia with a nice heightweight combination.

SPECIALISTS The Packers solidified their kicking situation by signing Mason Crosby to a five year, $16 million extension. Crosby was again outstanding in 2015. His disastrous 2012 season now looks like an anomaly. Crosby is not an elite kicker in terms of field goal percentage, nor as a kickoff specialist. He is, however, reliable. He’s unfazed by kicking the ball outdoors and has a spectacular playoff record. Crosby will more than likely retire a Packer.

Even still, it is more than likely time for the Packers to move on. He has not been consistent, and his sub 44-yard gross punting average in 2015 was just not good enough. The Packers have a decision to make at the long snapper position. The team lost Brett Goode to an injury last season and got a good performance from Rick Lovato. They certainly won’t carry two.

Tim Masthay is a good locker room guy, a friend of the quarterback, and provided an answer to the punting question left in 2007, when Ted Thompson cut Jon Ryan.

OLB / EDGE The Packers will be getting Clay Matthews back at the most important position in their defense. The coaching staff has made it clear that moving him back to his natural, most effective position is a priority. Matthews was an above average player on the inside, and that’s about it. If he can stay healthy, and stay on the edge, he can be an elite player. Perhaps surprisingly, the Packers are bringing back Julius Peppers for the 2016 season— finishing out the contract he signed in 2014. Peppers split time between the edge and defensive tackle in pass-rush situations. The North Carolina product gave the Packers 10.5 sacks at age 36. Now 37, Packers fans are hoping there’s still fuel left in the tank.

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Nick Perry has returned to the Packers on a one-year deal. His 3.5 sacks in limited snaps have given Perry supporters some hope. If the former first round pick can continue to build on that, and stay off the trainer’s table, he may be able to earn himself a long-term contract. Green Bay is still looking to get production from the promising Jayrone Elliot. Elliot has been a preseason star, and is looking to be a player that could help in pass rush situations. As of this writing, whether or not Mike Neal will return is unknown.

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PACKERS POSITION ANALYSIS

LINEBACKERS Off-the-ball linebacker is the biggest question mark on the entire roster, losing Clay Matthews and without a clear replacement. Right now, the starters would be Sam Barrington and Jake Ryan. Barrington is a 2013 late-round pick playing on an expiring contract. He figured to play big role in the defense in 2015 before being lost for the season with a foot injury in week one. Jake Ryan was a fourth round pick in 2015 by Ted Thompson, and projects as a future quality starter. Ryan struggled at

times, especially in pass coverage, but a deeper look at his film shows that he was helpful more often than not. Nate Palmer was given the starting snaps early in the season, before being replaced by Jake Ryan. Palmer, a former FCS defensive end, did not play well. This will be Nate Palmer’s fourth season, and he may or may not be part of Green Bay’s long-term plans. The Packers used Joe Thomas in their dime package, and might still be trying to get something out of 2014 4th round pick, Carl Bradford.

CORNERBACKS Green Bay is about as deep, young and talented at cornerback as any team in the league. That’s true despite the Packers losing one of the top slot cornerbacks in the league, Casey Hayward, to the San Diego Chargers in free agency. After struggling in week one against Chicago, Sam Shields went on to put together a phenomenal season. But despite the excellent work that Shields put on film, both he and fans alike will struggle to forget the dropped interceptions against Arizona. Shields and 2015 first round pick Damarious Randall provide the Packers with an excellent starting tandem. Randall continued his excellent play into the playoffs, coming up with

a big interception of Carson Palmer late in the ballgame, though the Packers eventually lost. As a rookie, Randall picked off Carson Palmer, Cam Newton and Peyton Manning. Quentin Rollins will be first in line to take over Hayward’s duties in the slot. With Dom Capers’ nickel-heavy playcalling, the third corner is a defacto starter. Rollins is a playmaker and a good tackler. Unlike Hayward before him, he appears to have the ability to play outside as well. Ladarius Gunter was a training camp star, and will compete for a spot at outside corner only. Robertson Daniel and Demetri Goodson are special teamers and longer-term prospects. Micah Hyde still helps out in the slot as well.

SAFETIES It is almost unbelievable to think how far the Packers have come at the safety position. Just a few short years ago, the safety position was the team’s weakness after the career ending injury to Nick Collins. That all changed when Ted Thompson drafted HaHa ClintonDix in the first round of the 2014 draft. Clinton-Dix flashed tremendous potential in the 2014 playoffs and carried that over into 2015. If he can become a better tackler, he could be one of the best safeties in the NFL in 2016. He is excellent in coverage, has a nose for the ball, and blitzes effectively.

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Clinton-Dix’s presence has opened up the door for Morgan Burnett to become an excellent complementary safety. Burnett struggled when paired with players like Jerron McMillian and MD Jennings, but alongside Clinton-Dix, he has become the player that Thompson drafted him to be. Burnett is rock solid in pass defense, and an elite run defender. Micah Hyde pitches in as the third safety and does an admirable job. Chris Banjo may or may not return to the team. The same can be said for Sean Richardson, who is still dealing with a very serious neck injury — the second of his career.

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MEET THE

DRAFT GUIDE TEAM JASON B. HIRSCHHORN

ZACHARY RAPPORT

Jason B. Hirschhorn is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.

Zach is a professional wordsmith, part-time musician and full-time Packer fan. A Milwaukee native, he now resides in Queens, New York. His go-to karaoke song is Hey Jealousy by the Gin Blossoms.

AARON NAGLER JASON PERONE Jason is a freelance writer covering the Green Bay Packers at Cheesehead TV.com and co-host of Pulse of the Pack at PackersTalk.com. He recently left Arizona and returned to his Midwest roots and now resides in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with his family. A lifelong Packers fan, Jason enjoys studying and writing about the team.

Aaron Nagler is the Co-Founder of Cheesehead TV. Born in Wisconsin and a Packers fan all his life, he now lives with his wife and three daughters in New York City.

C.D. ANGELI C.D. Angeli is a lifelong Green Bay Packer fan and co-owner of PackersTalk.

Zach Kruse writes about the NFL for Bleacher Report, Cheesehead TV and The Sports Daily. He currently lives in the Minneapolis area. Follow him on Twitter at @zachkruse2.

com. He resides in Northeast Wisconsin, close enough to Lambeau Field to take in a few games a year. When he is not co-hosting the Cheesehead Radio podcast, you can find him enjoying any number of nerdy pursuits (as if podcasting weren't enough of a clue about that). Follow him on Twitter at @TundraVision.

JACOB WESTENDORF

DAVE-TE' THOMAS

Jacob is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a journalism degree. He has contributed to Packer Report and PackersTalk. com where he is also co-host of the "Pulse of the Pack" show.

CODY BAUER

Dave-Te' Thomas is the Founder of NFL Scouting Services and for over 40 years has provided detailed scouting reports to the majority of NFL teams and the league. This year he has started publishing some of his reports to the general public on his own web site, www.NFLDraftReport. SportsBlog.com.

Cody Bauer is presently an NFL Draft writer for Cheesehead TV. He's covered the draft for the last four years and is a life long Packer fan.

ANDREW GARDA

ZACH KRUSE

"PIGSKIN PAUL" GUILLEMETTE "Pigskin Paul" Guillemette has been a Draftnik for 50 years, to use a round number. He has been a football writer, website owner, podcast participant, on-air radio personality for the last 15 years. Paul is currently Associate Editor and Chief Scout for The GBNReport.com

Andrew Garda (Sports On Earth, Footballguys.com, Cheesehead TV) has spent way more time than he should have on the NFL over the last ten years and is unsure if his family just thinks he's a renter who keeps a room. He'll be in Chicago covering his seventh straight NFL Draft, has been credentialed for Giants, Patriots and Eagles games, discovering that the press box spread in Philly is the superior one. He grew up a Jets fan, don't hold it against him.

ROSS UGLEM Ross Uglem covers the Packers for Cheesehead TV and Packers Talk, and is co-host of the From the Benches podcast. Uglem also covers North Dakota State football and men’s basketball for Scout Media. He is a small-town, North Dakota native.

JAYME SNOWDEN Jayme Snowden is a writer and moderator at Cheesehead TV and cohost of CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Network. Born and raised in Milwaukee, she now lives in Cincinnati.

ERIK FRETLAND Erik Fretland is an avid Packers and Sooners fan attending the University of Oklahoma. He works as a player participation analyst for Pro Football Focus and coaches middle school tennis in his spare time. Follow him on Twitter at @erikfretland.

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"JERSEY AL" BRACCO Founder of PackersTalk.com and ALLGBP.com, in 2015 Al and his merry band of Packers writers merged with Cheesehead TV, where he is now Editor-In-Chief. A NJ native his entire life, Jersey Al became a Packers fan after watching the first Super Bowl as a child and has never wavered since (yes, even during those years).

JAMES ZACHMAN James is originally from Southeastern WI, but has been living in the heart of Bears country as a Sr. Art Director in downtown Chicago since 2007. Working on this draft guide has been an incredible opportunity to merge his passion with his profession. You can view his portfolio at behance.net/jzachman.

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HUNTER HENRY TE | Arkansas (JR)

ORIGINAL PHOTO COURTESY OF

Arkansas Communications

Pro Football Draft Guide 2016  

Over 300 college prospects ranked and analyzed by position from the top players to the undrafted free agents. A position-by-position breakdo...

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