Bradley Chubb N.C. State
- This is a short one, but obviously Chubb will look good at the Combine. If he is shaky then he may lose a little traction, but like I say the tape never lies. If anything Chubb should do well enough to cement his status as the top defender in the draft.
Marcus Davenport UTSA
- Many are comparing him to Ziggy Ansah who ended up going as high as the fifth pick to the Lions a few seasons ago. Ansah made a lot of his traction during the Combine where his athleticism and talent was evident. The same could happen for Davenport who already had a solid couple weeks at the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine games. The great Bill Polian was even quoted at the Senior Bowl saying, "Davenport is a more refined Ziggy Ansah coming out right now." I would not be shocked at all if he goes as high as 7 or 8 to either the Bucs or Bears who could use more help on the edge.
Dorance Armstrong Kansas
- People are down on Armstrong after a down year at Kansas. Kansas of all places where Armstrong was such a focal point to opposing offenses to stop that they either ran away from him, or double blocked him since they had no other defenders of note to stop. I think Armstrong who should be a borderline first rounder, but will most likely fall to the top of the second. At the Combine he should look good with his natural athleticism and size being on display. When I watch him he looks like a thicker Leonard Floyd without the true natural speed and bend that Floyd had. If he can put on more strength I can see him being a very good value pick.
Da'Ron Payne Alabama
- I am all about the interior defenders from this draft and may have some bias towards the much over looked position. I think what could have helped his stock a lot would have been a healthy season by his former teammate Jonathan Allen in the pros, but sadly the stigma of broken goods from the Bama d-line continues. However, in Payne's defense he has never been hurt in college and was often on the bench while Allen and others took up starting minutes until this past season. I think Payne will display rare ability to move and run for a big man at the Combine to open up some eyes. I doubt he makes it out of the top 20 with a good performance.
Vita Vea Washington
- Another player who can drop jaws is Vita Vea who much like another former big man from Washington Danny Shelton can very well stand out at the Combine pushing him to be a top 15 pick. Vea to me is more athletic than Shelton was and has some better pass rushing ability to shoot into the back field. He is not as big as Shelton however, but looks just as strong and stout against the run. If he runs an impressive 40 time for a man his size and move just as well in the bag drills I would not be shocked if he ends up going in the top 10 picks. Even as high as 5 to the Broncos if they get Kirk Cousins.
Trenton Thompson Georgia
- Every year there is a defensive tackle who has first round talent, but an underachieving attitude. Last year was Malik McDowell the year before it was Carl Davis and this year it's Trenton Thompson. When engaged he is a game changer as teams going against Georgia in the playoffs were witness to. He flew all over the field and chasing runners who got passed the line as well as cause nightmares to the passers. If he interviews well and looks engaged in the workouts I think he could help his stock a lot. He is one of my dark horse candidates to really shine at the pro level depending on where he lands.
Rashaan Evans Alabama
- I am truly shocked Evans is not getting the fanfare that previous Bama backers like Reggie Ragland, Donta' Hightower, and C.J. Mosely got coming into the draft. In my opinion, I think the versatility and energy of Evans could have him be the best out of that group when it is all said and done. I like him a whole lot more than Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams from last year who got a lot of publicity. Evans has the ability to be a fast linebacker in the middle covering tight ends and slot guys with very good skill. While he can also be used on the edge as a strong pass rusher with his speed and bend around the edge. He could be a good value pick at the end of the first round and with a good Combine performance he should go higher.
Lorenzo Carter Georgia
- I may seem like I have a Georgia and Alabama bias here, but there is a reason why those teams faced off for the Championship. They both had studs on defense. I know Roquan Smith will be the higher drafted linebacker, but I would not be shocked if Carter comes away with the better career. He is a perfect fit on the edge with his long arms and natural talent. It took him awhile to bring up his instincts and motor, but he finally got there this year. He should shine at the Combine and I can see him only ascending as a player at the pro level.
Malik Jefferson Texas
- Jefferson is the linebacker version of Trenton Thompson in this draft. He has always had the physical gifts even way back in high school where he was one of the top recruits coming into college. However, he has never put the talent to work on the field often looking aloof and showing poor instincts. I can see him being terrific of course at the Combine thanks to his athleticism and physical gifts that could cause him to rise higher than he should. Plus, there are always coaches who think they can develop him if they get him in their facilities forgetting his past disappointments in college. To me he is a mid round pick like fourth or later, but with a good Combine like I think he should have he probably will end up being a second rounder.
Donte Jackson LSU
- Speed kills in all sports, which is why they make players run the 40 every year. One player who is destined to burn up the track is Donte Jackson who is shooting to take down John Ross' record time from last year. If he pulls it off I doubt he makes it out of the first round. He has always been an athletic freak on defense and has shown a good ability to lock down receivers while at LSU. His instincts and technique needs work much like Adoree' Jackson did last year. Even with that issue Jackson still landed in the top 20. With a good workout I think Jackson goes in the same range.
Josh Jackson Iowa
- Again speed kills and no other position is that more true than receiver and corner. Jackson has the best ball skills, length, and technique combination at the position. However, a big bugaboo for Jackson will be his speed as a bigger corner that can have GMs hesitant to make him the first corner off the board. If he looks fluid in the work outs flipping his hips and runs a good 40 time it will help him cement his status as the top corner.
Jaire Alexander Louisville
- Alexander would have been a first rounder had he not been nicked up his last year at Louisville. However, none of them were serious enough injuries to knock him further than the second round. He has the same athletic gifts as Adoree' Jackson from last year with his ability to attack the ball and be a headache to break away from thanks to his electric speed. A lot like Jackson though he just needs to continue to work on his technique and ability to marry his speed with it to make him a well rounded corner. He should look good in the workouts and should help his stock making him a borderline first rounder.
Mike Hughes UCF
- Another track star who can shine in the speed drills is Mike Hughes. To be honest he is one of my sleeper picks who could really be a gem at the next level. He is terrific in coverage with his speed and reminds me a lot of Cortland Finnegan who was just an annoying gnat in coverage who can take receivers off their game. Hughes plays with that same chippy mentality you need to be a great corner who need to have confidence to beat their man. Much like Alexander and Jackson above him he should burn up the track with his electric speed. A lot like Alexander I can see him ending up being a borderline first rounder with a good weekend in Indy due to the need at the position.
Derwin James Florida St
- James' size should be the first spot that helps him jump out at scouts. At 6'3" and 215 lbs of all muscle he could be the first in the line of big and fast safeties who can finally keep the athletic tight ends in the league in check. He had a down year at Florida St, but to me the whole team had a down year in what ended up being a lost season. James at the Combine should prove he is past his knee injury two years ago and look like the athletic freak that he is during the workouts. I doubt he drops past the top 20 picks and going top 10 is not out of the question either.
Kyzir White West Virginia
- Much like his brother Kevin White on offense people are seeing a late bloomer at play here. He finally looked good this past season after a few years at the JUCO level. Then he took his ascension to the Senior Bowl where he was flashing his speed and athleticism all season long. Much like Karl Joseph another former West Virginia safety he could rise all the way to the first round. He has the size, speed, and athletic talent to really shine at Indy. However, I must put this caveat on it that no West Virginia talent has really never flourished in the pros. They are all extremely athletic and physically gifted, but they have never been able to put it all together instinctively. I can see White being the next in the same mold of over drafted and athletic Mountaineers.
Jessie Bates Wake Forest
- Bates is a lesser known prospect right now since he unexpectedly entered the draft sooner than expected as a redshirt Sophomore. However, much like the previous two prospects who are taller safeties Bates could really shine with a good Combine. He has a ton of speed, great instincts, and very good ball skills. I think has people start to notice him more and go back to look at his tape scouts will start buying his stock. Right now he is a mid round prospect, but with a good Combine he could rise into the second round talent wise. Unfortunately, safeties tend to slide more than corners and edge rushers so he could be a gem in the third round if he slides.
|Austin Vershel||Daniel Jeremiah said this morning that theres no way Davenport makes it out of the top 13. Thats crazy to me for a prospect who comes from UTSA.|
|Austin Vershel||Also, the name that everyone seems to be excited for at the combine is Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch.|
|Kyle Kunert||Yeah, supposedly the Raiders love Davenport, but they were also the ones to hit it out of the park with Khalil Mack out of Buffalo so it makes sense. I like Leighton Vander Esch, but I don't think he is a freak of nature or a work out warrior per say. More like a great football player instincts wise and will probably look much better in pads than in just shorts.|