Each year I, Vershelstradomous, have certain prospects that I like significantly more than Big Draft. While national media coverage and certain draft analysts minimize their deviation from the common perceptions, I luckily have the freedom to delve into and project players as higher than most of my peers. The All-Vershel team contains players that are not necessarily the best of their positions, but each player on this team is a guy I would pound the table for as a GM. Look for these players to be drafted higher than where they are currently slotted.
Starters: Malik McDowell, Chris Wormley
Backups: Dalvin Tomlinson, Larry Ogunjobi
The anchor on a top collegiate defense, Malik McDowell entered the draft process as a lock to go in the top 20 picks. McDowell showcased the strength, smarts, and awareness to dominate on the defensive line at the next level. McDowell has all the physical traits that you can ask for. However, his draft stock is plummeting due to his poor interviews with teams at the Combine in Indianapolis. Teams question McDowell’s effort and passion for the game. McDowell will now likely slip to the middle second round, but could still creep into the second half of the first round. My analysis: nobody questions Leonard Fournette’s passion for the game even though he took an entire season off; McDowell plays a thankless position and still dominated when he wanted to. The financial relief and coaching of the NFL should make McDowell reach his potential and he should dominate the league for years to come. Chris Wormley is an underrated prospect expected to go in the second half of the 2nd round. Wormley consumed blocks at the 5T position at Michigan. He often cleared space by taking on double teams which resulted in fellow linemate Taco Charlton to be left one on one vs the offensive line. Charlton is a great prospect in his own right, so it speaks volumes that teams often chose to double team Wormley instead of Charlton. Lined up next to Jonathan Allen, Tomlinson was lucky enough to face mostly single teams during his time in Tuscaloosa. Tomlinson often defeated these single teams and made many plays on his own accord. Tomlinson will find NFL success as a complimentary defensive tackle. Ogunjobi dominated his FCS opponents, but will likely struggle immediately when facing NFL competition. However, Ogunjobi is regarded as one of the highest upside projects at the defensive line position in this draft class. Ogunjobi should be selected in the late 3rd round or early 4th round.
Starters: Derek Barnett, Jordan Willis
Backups: Taco Charlton, Derek Rivers, Daeshon Hall
Barnett and Willis play the same position but are two nearly opposite players. Barnett dominated his SEC opponents while at Tennessee. He has great size and an accomplished resume at the defensive end position. However, Barnett tanked the combine and likely will fall slightly in the draft. Barnett is still expected to go in the first round, but is no longer a lock for the top 10 as he was when the draft process started. Barnett will be a dominant player at the NFL level, even if he doesn’t have the measurables to match. Conversely, Jordan Willis had one of the best combines an edge rusher has ever had. Willis tested out at the most athletic linebacker since 1999 (Kent Lee Plattes RAS), and had an elite RAS at the defensive end position. Willis is slightly undersized, but will find the most success as a weakside end in a 4-3 schemed defense. Willis should be drafted at the end of the first round or the beginning of the second round. He will be a tremendous steal if he is available after the 32nd pick. Taco Charlton has prototypical size at the defensive end position. At 6’7, he is mainly a fit as a 4-3 defensive end. Charlton did not have the college production to match his incredible size, and was tossed around by Florida State’s Rick Leonard during the final bowl game of his collegiate career. Derek Rivers dominated his FCS competition, but questions remain about if his dominance at Youngstown State will translate to the NFL. He has the measurables and athletic numbers to be given the benefit of the doubt. Rivers should be snatched up by the end of the second round, and should provide depth for his first few years before becoming the player that he has the potential to become. Daeshon Hall was the “other” defensive end at Texas A&M. Hall was attacked on almost every play because of teams aversion to running plays towards presumptive #1 overall pick Myles Garrett. Hall held his own more often than not, and should become a great role player or a solid strong side edge defender. Hall is currently being mocked in the late 3rd round, but I imagine he will sneak up into late 2nd round or early 3rd round.
Starters: Haason Reddick, Raekwon McMillan, Jarrad Davis
Backups: Alex Anzalone
After playing mostly defensive end at Temple, Reddick proved that he was an NFL linebacker with his display at the Senior Bowl. Reddick was truly dominant at linebacker against professional level talent at the Senior Bowl, and only helped himself further with a stunning display at the NFL combine. With his size and testable athleticism, coupled with his history as a pass rusher, Reddick will be a 3 down player on day 1 for whichever team drafts him. Reddick began the draft process as a late round pick, but now is expected to be selected in the top 15 of the NFL Draft. Raekwon was a mainstay for Ohio State’s dominant defense this year. He is exceptional against the run and was part of the reason for Ohio State’s success in recent years. Due to his average Combine scores, it is apparent that Raekwon is less adept at defending the pass. A couple years working with NFL coaches should improve his game significantly. Raekwon should be a mid 2nd round pick, and won’t fall past the Lions at 54. Jarrad Davis is everything you want in a linebacker. Not only is he a speedy thumper that throws his body around against the run and maintains good position against the pass, Davis is regarded as an extremely vocal and motivational leader. He should be a 3 down starter from day 1 in the NFL. Davis began the draft process as a mid 3rd round pick, but could not be selected as high as the mid 20’s in round 1. With the Lions, Dolphins, Giants, and Raiders all having a serious lack of linebackers, Davis could be this year's surprise riser. Davis’s teammate Alex Anzalone was no slouch either. Anzalone is exceptional against the pass, but lacks the size to be a consistent run stuffer. Anzalone will be able to make an immediate impact on 3rd downs, but may never become a well rounded starter in the league. Anzalone is expected to be selected in the middle of the 3rd round.
Starters: Marlon Humphrey, Adoree’ Jackson, Fabian Moreau
Backups: Jourdan Lewis, Corn Elder
Leader of a top collegiate defense, NFL Bloodlines, dominating combine performance, yet heavily slept on as the top corner in this class. Marlon Humphrey kind of breaks the mold of the All-Vershel team as many expect Humphrey to be a top 15 selection. However, Humphrey isn’t talked about as the top corner in this class which he clearly is. Humphrey has the size and speed to be a true shutdown corner at the next level. Humphrey dominated his competition in the SEC and the talent drop off between him the backups they would put in when Alabama was up by a lot was significant. I expect Humphrey to be selected in the top 10 picks. Adoree’ Jackson has been in the spotlight since starting as a redshirt freshman at USC. For the Trojans, Jackson mirrored opposing #1 receivers and was rarely targeted while in man coverage. Jackson ran a blazing fast 40 yard dash, and should be selected in the second half of the first round. Jackson should be considered a far superior prospect to Tre’Davious White, whom is often mocked to be selected before Jackson. Jackson shouldn’t last through the end of the first round. Moreau was not a dominating college player, but dominated the Combine and finished with a top 10 RAS for the cornerback position. Moreau has great size and even better speed. He should be selected in the second half of the 2nd round. Jourdan Lewis entered this draft process as a top prospect at the corner position, but concerns over Lewis’ height and speed pushed him down draft boards. Following that, Lewis was convicted of domestic abuse and faces jail time. That being said, Lewis was dominant at Michigan and will likely be a good starter in the NFL. Lewis has first round talent, but will likely be selected at the end of the 3rd round or the beginning of the 4th round. Corn Elder dominated at college, but lacks the size to play outside corner. Elder should continue to be a terrific pass defender, but will struggle against the run when he makes it to the league. A true slot defender, Elder is expected to be selected in the 4th round of the NFL draft.
Starters: Obi Melifonwu, Jabrill Peppers
Backup: Desmond King
Similar to fellow Huskie Byron Jones, Melifonwu has shot up draft boards since putting on a tantalizing display at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Melifonwu has tremendous size and speed. Obi Melifonwu is the new age answer to the huge and fast tight ends entering the league such as Evan Engram. Melifonwu failed to dominate much on the field, but should be put in a position to succeed by NFL coaches. Melifonwu should be one of the first players selected at the top of the second round. Jabrill Peppers dominated both on the field and put on a dazzling display at the Combine. Peppers has the speed to play safety and the bulk to play linebacker. Peppers best position will be a strong safety in base formations, while slipping down to the nickel backer on pass downs similar to Su'a Cravens. A collegiate star, Peppers is expected to slip in the NFL draft due to his tweener status. Peppers could be selected as early as 28 to the Steelers, or fall all the way to the third round. Peppers should be a dominating player after he spends a couple seasons learning the game. Desmond King is a converted ballhawking corner now playing free safety. King had a great display at the combine, and has shot up from a 6th round corner to a roaming free safety who could be selected at the top of the 3rd round.
|Austin Vershel||Other guys that missed the cut: Shelton Gibson, Ardarious Stewart, Samaje Perine, ryan Glasgow, Terell Basham, Jordan Legget, Tyler Moton, and Buddha Baker.|