Julius Peppers. Aaron Donald. Michael Bennett. Solomon Thomas has been compared to all three of those great players. So why won’t he go as high as people think? Firstly, the NFL lacks a large number of franchises that run a true 4-3 scheme on defense. At 273 lbs, Solomon Thomas is significantly larger than prototypical 3-4 edge rushers, and much smaller than 3-4 ends. Many project Thomas to be taken second overall by the San Francisco 49ers, which is a possibility because they are changing to a 4-3 scheme. However, in the mold of Wade Phillips and the multiple Seattle Seahawks defense, the weakside end is actually called a “Leo” backer. This “Leo” essentially plays a linebacker position, as he will be asked to cover tight ends and running backs or sneak out into a zone. Thomas is probably too slow to handle those duties. With the 49ers spending 2 of their last 3 picks on Arik Armstead and Deforest Buckner, the strong defensive end spot is probably accounted for in San Francisco. Since Thomas doesn’t fit the traditional LEO mold, and most teams in the top 10 employ a 3-4 defense, Thomas could slide all the way to 8 or 9(Panthers and Bengals, respectively)
Don’t get me wrong, I think Lattimore has the ability to be a great player in this league. In fact, if I was John Lynch, the 49ers GM, I would be happy to select Lattimore at pick #2. However, a cornerback has never been selected with the #1 or the #2 overall pick in the history of the NFL. With the consensus 49ers picks being Thomas and Lattimore, I think there’s a big chance that the 49ers surprise everyone when they get to the podium.
Again, I don’t want to be accused of calling these players bad. I think that Adams will be a very good player in this league. In fact, I think he could be a top 5 SS during his rookie year in the NFL. But that speaks to the quality of SS’s in the league right now. Teams win without good Strong Safeties. Strong Safeties don’t impact the game the way lineman or skill positions do. I think Adams could take the biggest tumble of prospects listed here, as Adams is expected to be a top 5 pick. Look for him to slide to the second half of the 1st round.
Now you can accuse me of being a hater. Njoku is a fine player on paper, but I hardly seem him worth an early first round pick. Njoku runs fast and tested out well athletically, but has struggled with drops and inconsistency. Rookie tight ends rarely make an impact in the league, and this could cause Njoku to fall to the beginning of the second round. I don’t see him going on Thursday, but I can’t see him slipping past the 49ers or Jaguars at the start of round 2.
Speed Kills. At least, that’s what they want you to think. Ross put himself on the map when he broke the long standing 40-yard dash record at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. With that kind of speed, you can only imagine the nightmare he will give to opposing defensive backfields and the drooling he will cause for offensive coordinators. Unfortunately, Ross has been quite injury prone over his career. Ross is built in the mold of Phillip Dorsett: a speed demon who is undersized and will struggle to stay on the field. Ross is my WR5, falling behind Chris Godwin and Zay Jones.
I think Allen is a top player in this class. His draft day drop will be the result of two things: scheme fit and injury. Similar to Solomon Thomas, Allen projects as a 4-3 Tackle or 4-3 End. He lacks the size to play NT or DE in a 3-4, and thus his suitors will be limited to 4-3 schemes. During the pre-draft process, his arthritic shoulders have also entered the spotlight. Teams have doubts if Allen will be able to stay healthy over the long term, and question if his shoulders can handle the pressure of playing in the NFL.
There is nothing that I can say about Peppers that hasn’t been said already. He is a LB-S tweener that will struggle to find a true position in the League. Peppers lacks a history of turnovers. There are questions about his character. Look for Peppers to go in the range of Su’a Cravens from last year. For what it is worth, I would love to have a player like Peppers on my team in this new NFL. A perfect solution for the big receiving TE’s and slot wide receivers.
Nothing nice to say here. A 4.7 40-yard dash time will likely push ‘Teez’ to the late 3rd or early 4th round.
Everybody wanted Cunningham to be good during this draft process, but the fact is that Zach Cunningham will be a project. He was a star at Vanderbilt, but lacks strong technique and there are questions about his passion for football. The biggest concern with Cunningham is his tackling ability. Cunningham often relied on arm tackles and that didn’t always work for him even at the college level. He will have to work on his technique if he wants to be a 3 down linebacker. Without the ability to play on first or second downs early in his career, Cunningham could be relegated from the first 2 rounds into the early 3rd round.
Every year, a tall, white QB is pushed up into the first or early second round by “Big Draft”. A couple years ago it was Tom Savage. This year, it is Davis Webb. Webb stands at a towering 6’5, but lacks the throwing mechanics to be an effective player in this league. Similar to Brock Osweiler, he will excite fans with potential only to let them down with his lack of talent.
|Sam Michels||im a huge Solomon Thomas believer and same with John Allen their both thurobreds in this years draft which might have potential to be the most athletic class in the last 10 years at least defensively depth wise. I'd be shocked if either lands outside the top 8 off the board since I think their both top 5 selections. Not a huge fan of tabor and got him bout were you see him 3rd round. Webb though is skyrocketing up draft boards and could even go possibly 1sr round.|
|Austin Vershel||@Sam Michels, I've seen as many as 7 QB's going in the first 2 rounds. I feel sorry for the team that selects Webb or Peterman.|