Scouting Report: Jalen “Teez” Tabor

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By: Shae Dougall

Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida

6’0”, 199lbs


Tape Viewed:

Florida vs Alabama (2016)

Florida vs LSU (2016)

Florida vs Florida State (2016)


Teez Tabor can do a little bit of everything. He’s a very experienced, successful cornerback from Florida whose claim to fame is a rock-solid, consistent, high-quality presence in a very good group of DBs. Despite having fairly slow straight-line speed, he has that undefinable “quickness” quality that scouts love to talk about. Tabor was made to play more off-coverage, as he’s more of a finesse guy who would probably get beaten consistently downfield if he was forced to press big, fast receivers all the time.


Tabor is going to be a bit of a risk-taker in the NFL if his college tape is any indication. This will result in some picks, but will also result in some big plays going the other way. A team with a good group of safeties that play over the top would likely be the ideal fit for Tabor, because some of the craftier QBs will be able to take advantage of his gambling. Tabor is also not the biggest guy in the world, and much like Tre’Davious White, I’m concerned that his lack of size will result in him not only getting boxed out of quick routes, but also getting beat over the top. His vertical jump from the combine was only 31 inches, and he did struggle with deep speed at times in college.




Play Recognition: 10 out of 10

The reason Tabor was so successful in college was due in large part to his ability to read the quarterback’s eyes and adjust to the receiver quickly. Since Tabor is not a once-in-a-lifetime type of athlete (not even close, really), he has clearly honed his play recognition skills to make up for these deficiencies. His read and react capability is off the charts, making a few plays where he actually left his assignment to follow a play that he knew was developing elsewhere on the field. This can also be viewed as a negative I suppose, but he seems to be instinctive and smart enough to understand when to take risks.


Speed: 3 out of 5

Tabor disappointed at the combine with a slow 4.6 40 time. Per, there are also “whispers” that Tabor “fears deep speed”, which is evidenced by the amount of off coverage he played at Florida. I’m not that plugged in, unfortunately, but I did see several situations on tape where Tabor was pressing the receiver and backed off more than 8 yards before the play started. He has quick recovery time when the ball is in the air, but his penchant for getting beat over the top is concerning.


Mirroring: 10 out of 10

Even when pressing, Tabor’s mirroring ability is excellent. He sticks to receivers coming out of cuts like glue, consistently providing tight man-to-man coverage.


Pursuit: 4 out of 5

While Tabor isn’t going to catch up to any plays that are over his head, he has a very solid ability to chase down plays that develop on the other side of the field. More than once on tape (especially against LSU), I saw opposing quarterbacks scramble out of a collapsing pocket only to be chased down by Tabor once the line of scrimmage had been crossed.


Man: 12 out of 15

Tabor will be a good man coverage corner, as he is consistently able to read the play and mirror his receiver on shorter and intermediate routes. His deep coverage ability is a concern, though, especially with the precision deep passing of NFL quarterbacks. I’d also like to see Tabor get more physical at the line of scrimmage, but I don’t believe that his lack of physicality is unfixable or even necessarily undesirable. His desire to be physical at the line is probably affected by his knowledge of his own limitations on deep routes.


Zone: 14 out of 15

Tabor may be the best zone corner in this draft with his uncanny instincts and penchant for reading the quarterback’s eyes. Would be an ideal fit for a team that runs a lot of zone coverage. I expect some infrequent gambling-related breakdowns in zone coverage on trick plays and misdirection passing plays. Luckily, Tabor mostly knows when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em.


Press: 3 out of 5

I don’t foresee an NFL future in which Tabor is playing much bump-and-run coverage. Tabor can press effectively on occasion, but Florida didn’t ask him to do much of it because it’s clearly not a strength of his.


Tackle: 3.5 out of 5

He’s not the best tackling cornerback out there, but he’s not the worst. Once the receiver is well-covered, he’s certainly not getting any yards after the catch. Open field tackles are more of a weakness though; Tabor was occasionally out of position to tackle on deep routes where the receiver wasn’t his responsibility but he was in the area.


Ball Skills: 5 out of 5

Tabor has great hands and the ability to affect the ball in the air. He’s also great at punching the ball out of the receiver’s outstretched hands, which I saw on more than one occasion. He finished his Florida career with 9 interceptions, an impressive number.




Tackle: 3 out of 5

This is a difficult category to speak to because I rarely saw Tabor stick his nose into a pile of guys and bring the runner down. I’m pretty sure he can do it because he can bring down receivers pretty consistently, but without seeing him take on the toughest college backs (even when Florida played LSU, I don’t recall seeing Tabor vs. Fournette on any occasion), I think it’s hard to be 100% certain.


Play Recognition: 4 out of 5

I caught Tabor out of position on a trick run play against LSU, but that was a special circumstance. I can assume that he usually realizes when the run is developing, similarly to how he always seems to know where the pass is going to go.


Willingness: 2 out of 5

He is not an eager participant in run support, but he will get involved if it looks like the play is getting serious or if he is the last line of defense. Usually he gets swallowed up by a block and lets somebody else do the dirty work.




Injury: 8 out of 10

This template is a bit flawed in the sense that I’m allowed to talk about a prospect’s injury history but not his suspension history. Tabor was suspended in college a couple of times, and it’s always difficult to say how that will translate to the NFL. It’s definitely a concern. Even though injury isn’t an issue with Tabor, I would say that it’s reasonable to see him miss some time for other, less wholesome reasons.


Total Prospect Rating: 81.5 out of 100

Pro Comparison: Asante Samuel

Tabor 1


Okay, this is too easy. I don’t even have to write a lot. What other NFL player in the past 15 years gambled more and tackled less than Asante Samuel? He was also a good guesser, resulting in a lot of interceptions. I maintain that Samuel could have extended his career into his mid-40s if he had just switched to a situational free safety that had a contract requirement that he wasn’t allowed to tackle anybody.

Scouting Report: Tre’Davious White

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By: Shae Dougall

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

5’11”, 192 lbs


Tape Viewed:

LSU vs Florida (2016)

LSU vs Wisconsin (2016)

LSU vs Texas A&M (2016)


White is the kind of player who will likely fall in the draft due to poor size, measurables (a 4.47 40yd dash, only 32 inch vertical), and unremarkable if not unimpressive film. Tre’Davious White is a good outside cover corner, but when LSU used him in the slot, his lack of size and tendency to shy away from physicality displayed on tape could be a red flag (if I was a GM of a team that required tough cornerbacks, that is). I’ve seen White slotted as high as the early 2nd round, and I don’t know if that’s really realistic in a draft class of other strong cornerback prospects that do what White does just as well as him. Maybe the SEC bias will kick in?


Play Recognition: 9 out of 10

I have no issue with White’s play recognition. It doesn’t take him very long at all to get into the proper position for covering longer routes.


Speed: 4 out of 5

He’s got pretty average speed for a corner, especially when it comes to making up time when beat on a quick slant or dig out of the slot. (Can you already tell I wouldn’t want White playing in the slot?) White does have the requisite (and undefinable) “quickness” that is required to be an NFL corner, however.


Mirroring: 8 out of 10

Of the tape I watched, his mirroring of outside routes was excellent because of his quick footwork, but he occasionally struggled with opening his hips during sharp receiver cuts while playing in the slot. His technique can also get a little sloppy when forced to get physical, whether in the slot or outside, although his instincts and impeccable footwork may make up for this a little bit.


Pursuit: 4 out of 5

Doesn’t seem to possess elite catch-up speed on hard cuts. Does seem to have the ability to make up lost ground on deeper routes, although I’m unsure about whether that will translate to the next level where the quarterbacks are much more accurate.


Man: 13.5 out of 15

White can play man very effectively against a large percentage of college receivers, guys who either don’t have the speed, footwork, agility, hands, or route running ability to make it in the NFL. The problems, as I believe I’ve mentioned in just about every blurb now, bubble to the surface when he’s asked to play in the slot, or cover quick routes. He’s too finesse for that position right now. Maybe he could cover Victor Cruz, but if Antonio Brown moves into the slot, look out. That ‘Killer B’ is going to have one heck of a fantasy day.

That’s just one negative in an otherwise solid 3 years of starting experience playing mostly man coverage, though. White’s specific strengths on the outside (and the slot, for what it’s worth) include covering post routes and crosses, and other types of intermediate routes that don’t allow the receiver to effectively box White out of the play. In fact, I would feel very comfortable allowing White to play slot if the other team made some type of promise that they were only going to call flag routes.


Zone: 11 out of 15

Similar to his man coverage ability, White can cover these receivers fairly well, and I think that his zone skills will continue to develop nicely if the drafting team’s coaching staff affords a deeper off-coverage zone scheme. White will likely excel if used in those types of situations, but he’s definitely in a little bit of a box if the physical nature of his game never develops.


Press: 2 out of 5

Of all the tape I watched on Tre’Davious White, I don’t recall ever seeing him put his hands on the receivers he was covering, even when he was in press coverage. This is something that will certainly delegate him to “project” status with a lot of NFL teams, and perhaps even “undraftable” status for others. He does have a quick first step however, and even if he refuses to touch the receivers, he can at least keep up with their explosiveness…unless he takes a stiff arm in the chin.


Tackle: 3.5 out of 5

Despite the lack of physicality that I’ve lamented a billion times on this writeup, White can tackle a little bit. He’s not anything more than average in this category, but tackling is a lower priority for cornerbacks than just about any other defensive position, so it would be unfair for me to punish him too much for this.


Ball Skills: 3 out of 5

I don’t see White as having an incredible career where he averages 5 interceptions a year, because his hands simply aren’t very good. He can play the ball decently to collect some “passes defensed” stats, but I can also see the NFL’s current crop of behemoth receivers going over the top of him to snatch touchdowns on hitch and fade routes.




Tackle: 3 out of 5

White can probably tackle running backs if he wants to, but he’s not often asked to run blitz or get too involved. And why should he be? How is a 190 pound, sub-six-foot corner going to bring down Fat Eddie or Shady McCoy on his own? Is the message getting across yet? I AM NOT COMFORTABLE WITH TRE’DAVIOUS WHITE’S LEVEL OF PHYSICALITY.


Play Recognition: 4 out of 5

I noticed a couple of plays watching film where White didn’t appear to be all too concerned with the running play, although he was usually able to get around a block or two and eventually end up near the ball by the end of the play.


Willingness: 2.5 out of 5

The question I have to answer to write this blurb is simple: Does the defensive back seem to be willing to get involved in tackling the runner? My answer is even simpler: Not particularly.




Injury: 9 out of 10

Rarely missed time due to injury in college, but one would speculate that his rather slight frame could possibly result in some unforeseen time off. It’s unfair to dock White too much based on expectation, though, so I won’t.


Total Prospect Rating: 76.5/100


Pro Comparison: Ellis Hobbs, CB, Philadelphia Eagles/New England Patriots

White 1


This makes me sad as a former Eagles fan (read: current Eagles fan). Ellis Hobbs was a too-small corner who was often forced into the slot. He could cover some receivers more than competently, but he was often steamrolled by huge receivers, including a 2010 performance against the Titans where he was abused by none other than Kenny Britt (also known as my least favorite player of all time). A couple weeks later, he got a horrible back injury and was never heard from again, but I hope that doesn’t happen to White, who seems like a nice guy off the field and apparently has great leadership qualities. That being said, both White and Hobbs are very small. It was a problem in 2010, and it’s a problem in 2017.

Free Agency Tracker 2016

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For the latest in Free Agent rumors check out the Rumors page by clicking the link. The Rumors page can also be found under the NFL Free Agency tab on the home page.





Chris Long, DE: 1 year, $2 million

Grade: A

This is a pretty incredible deal for the former pro-bowler. Long has regressed a bit as a player and pass-rusher since his glory days with the Rams.

He’s still a very smart, physical player and a great short-term solution at the defensive end spot vacated yesterday by Chandler Jones. I love the numbers on this deal, as I was certain somebody was going to overpay Long on past performance.

This deal is, in fact, under market value and he should immediately step in and improve the defensive rotation for the Patriots while minimizing the loss of Jones




Tom Compton, G: no contract details

Grade: TBD



LaRoy Reynolds, ILB: no contract details

Grade: TBD




Jim Dray, TE: no contract details

Grade: TBD




Antonio Allen, S: no contract details

Grade: TBD




Brynden Trawick, S: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD




Aaron Brewer, LS: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD




Chris Givens, WR: 1 year, $840,000

Grade: A-

Givens never became the receiver the Rams hoped he would when they drafted the speedster in the fourth round of the 2012 draft.

He’s got inconsistent hands and gets bullied by the press, he’s also not a great catcher in traffic which has led to his low career touchdown totals. He’s a fairly dynamic athlete, having starred in track and field in college but never polished his game enough as a receiver.

He’s still a project, and at this point in his career, there’s not much hope he can be much more than what he’s shown. He’s likely just a camp body and there’s no financial risk by the Eagles here, so I like it pretty well, bringing experience into a very young wide receiver room.




James Laurinaitis, LB: no contract details

Grade: TBD



Nate Stupar, LB: 3 years, unknown amoung

Grade: TBD




Evan Mathis, G: 1 year, $6 million

Grade: A+

Mathis is still one of the best guards in the NFL. He was that in the stretch run for the Broncos, and he’ll continue to be that for the Cardinals I expect.

Protecting Carson Palmer is paramount to the Cardinals continued Super Bowl aspirations. Mathis will help in that regard and should also provide some juice to the screen and run games.

At just 6 mil, he’s being paid far under market value, and it’s only for one  year, so there’s no risk even if he somehow drastically regresses. This one’s pretty easy for me.




Steve McLendon, NT: 3 years, $12 million

Grade: C-

He’s getting older, and he wasn’t very good last season. I mention often how I feel that 3-4 nose tackle is one of the toughest positions to find good players at. This is the proof.

I can’t imagine why the Jets couldn’t figure a way to hold onto Harrison, but this is a major downgrade. McLendon is already 30 and exiting his prime. Soon his strength will begin to wane and he’ll likely get pushed around in the pocket.

His market value at this moment may be something like 3 mil a year, but by the end of this contract, I don’t see it being much more than the vet. minimum. This looks pretty bad to me. I won’t judge too harshly since I don’t know the Jets draft plans.




Sean Spence, ILB: 1 year, $2.5 million

Grade: B-

Spence is a young player, and has never really proven that he can be much more than fairly quality depth. He’s getting paid a little over half of what some starters are getting paid, which may be a little much.

Spence has some pass-rush ability from the middle but struggles in run-support, especially with tackling. This may be due to his smaller size. He gets washed out of plays fairly easily. He’s honestly fairly similar to a LB they just let go in free agency, Zach Brown.

I’m not totally sure what the Titans see in this guy, but it’s not the worst contract in the world.




DeMario Davis, ILB: 2 years, $8 million

Grade: B-

Davis’ play regressed last year after peaking in 2014, but I have to assume there were other factors at play since he’s only 27. Either way, Davis is a rangy linebacker with good instincts and should fill in well for the departed Karlos Dansby.

I think the money being paid could end up being a bargain, but there’s also the possibility that Davis needs talent around him to thrive, and he’s not going to an upswing in talent with Cleveland, that’s for sure. I’m cautiously optimistic with this one.



Rahim Moore, S: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD




Quinton Coples, DE: 2 years, $9.75 million

Grade: B

I’ve always liked Coples. He’s just the sort of physical specimen that I feel should be playing on the outside of a defensive line. He was cut last year by the Dolphins, but didn’t play poorly by any means.

Of course we all know that being cut by the Dolphins doesn’t mean much since their personnel decisions are clearly run by a 12-year-old Madden player. Anyway, Coples has never become the elite pass rusher many had hoped for, but he’s an excellent rotational player on the first two downs, and may provide some juice from a pass-rushing standpoint yet.

He’s 28 so he likely won’t regress through the life of this deal, so paying him almost 5 mil a year isn’t as bad as it might sound. This is a solid signing in my eyes. Coples could be part of a very strong rotation in Los Angeles.





MARCH 15, 2016


Patriots receive: G Jonathan Cooper, 2nd Round Pick

Grade: B+

Cardinals receive: DE Chandler Jones

Grade: B+

Cooper                           Jones

This trade is interesting because it really depends on who you ask when trying to determine the value of these two players.

The book on Cooper is he’s immensely talented (makes sense as he was a pure guard taken in the top 10) but that he doesn’t have the work ethic to thrive. The Patriots will find out quickly either way, the Patriot way has no time for slackers.

Chandler Jones, on the other hand, has proven to be an above-average pass rusher in this league and may just be entering his prime at 26. If it were just a player-for-player swap, the Cardinals clearly win, but the second round pick makes this trade feel very fair.

The defensive line talent goes about three rounds deep in this draft but there should still be some really solid options late in the second where the Patriots will be picking. The extra second rounder also gives them fire power to move up in case there’s a prospect they have serious convictions about.

Overall, this feels like a solid swap for both sides with the caveat that Cooper could turn into the player that he’s billed to be, or he could bust out quickly. I see it as a worthy risk for a an offensive line starved of talent.




Coty Sensabaugh, CB: 3 years, $19 million

Grade: C


At first glance, this signing isn’t awful. Going into the season, Sensabaugh was pretty highly thought of, at least in Tennessee. He’s a nickel corner, but a good one at that.

The Rams have a hole after letting Janoris Jenkins walk in free agency so it makes sense. And this pick will probably make more sense when the Rams select a corner in either of the first two rounds of the draft.

Ultimately though, Sensabaugh majorly regressed amidst nagging injuries last season and his market value was pretty low as a result, so I can’t really imagine why the Rams felt the need to pay him as much as they did.

The going rate for good nickel corners is probably around 2-4 mil per year, this is quite a bit above that, but I imagine he’ll be playing outside, so it’s a little tougher to grade. I’m going to settle on an optimistic C.




David Bruton, S: 3 years, $9 million

Grade: A


Bruton has quietly developed into one of the most reliable reserve safeties in the NFL after Starring at Notre Dame.

Bruton combines good instincts with reliable tackling to be a very solid tackling presence in the box.He’s no slouch in coverage though, and if forced against tight ends, he can win those one-on-ones against most.

He’ll step in immediately as the best Redskins safety, a position they’ve been devoid of talent at for years. At just 3 million a year, the Redskins are getting a solid starter. This seems like pretty incredible value to me.




J’Marcus Webb, OT: 2 years, $6 million, $2.5 million guaranteed

Grade: D


Webb graded out as one of the worst tackles available in free agency on 1089 graded snaps. He’s always been massive and physically imposing but has never been able to use that size to dominate at the point of attack.

Webb is a slightly better pass-blocker than run-blocker but is average to below average at both. There’s the slightest possibility he puts it all together with the Seahawks, but it isn’t likely and he certainly hasn’t earned a contract over the veteran minimum with his play.

Not to mention, this seems to be their contingency plan if Russel Okung indeed signs somewhere else and all indications say he will. To say Webb is a step down is a large understatement.




DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB: no contract details

Grade: TBD

Van Dyke



Aldrick Robinson, WR: no contract details

Grade: TBD





Robert Turbin, RB: no contract details

Grade: TBD





Ryan Harris, OT: 2 years, $3.9 miillion

Grade: B+


Harris was seen as a 1b option for Denver in 2015 before Ryan Clady went down with a season-ending injury. In his place, Harris was somewhat of a liability on the blind side.

For the Steelers, it’s likely Harris will man the right tackle slot, and in that role, he should be better, since he’ll naturally see worse pass rushers typically, and will also often have extra blocking help.

Harris is a smart guy with a lot of starter experience, so adding him for just under 2 mil per year seems like a really solid move to me. He easily could have been overpaid.




Mike Wallace, WR: 2 years, $11.5 million

Grade: C+


I’m surprised Wallace’s market value hasn’t gotten lower by now, considering he’s proven to be a malcontent almost everywhere he’s been in the league.

Certainly, this could all be circumstancial, but patterned behavior like this usually isn’t, so he comes with strong character concerns. It’s clear that Flacco represents the best quarterback matchup for Wallace since Roethlisberger and should be able to toss some deep balls to him.

At just under 6 mil per season, the Ravens are investing a lot in the hope that Wallace suddenly becomes a team player and hasn’t at all regressed or lost a step as he gets older. Typically for these speed guys, speed is the first thing to go. I’m weary of this trade.





MARCH 14, 2016


Ray Drew, DE: no contract details

Grade: TBD





Daren Bates, LB: no contract details

Grade: TBD





Paul Soliai, DT: 2 years, $7 million

Grade: B+


Clearly a regressing player, Soliai is not worth starter money, but he’s ideal as depth, where the Panthers can play him behind a dominant duo of Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short.

I often like the idea of a team with few needs investing in strong depth and continuing to bolster the defense makes sense. However, I have concerns with the Panthers offensive capabilities.

They just let G Amini Silatolu walk, he may yet be re-signed but that leaves a hole at guard, and the receiver position is also lacking in depth. Still, Soliai didn’t break the bank and should continue playing at or near his current level  through the life of this contract.




Matt Cassel, QB: 1 year, $2 million

Grade: B


Cassel showed that he can still play at a somewhat competent level in the NFL. He wasn’t winning games, but he was competing.

I believe he’s a veteran option to potentially push Zack Mettenberger, who played very poorly in relief of Marcus Mariota last year.

I worry about the Titans if Mariota goes down, since they don’t really have a special offense or defense. They don’t have quite the supporting cast Cassel had with Dallas.

I understand the deal, but giving him over the veteran minimum may be overpaying a bit.




Eric Weddle, S: 4 years, $26 million

Grade: B


Weddle is getting on in age and isn’t quite the league’s best safety like he was a couple years ago. Still, he hasn’t majorly regressed either and was a bright spot in San Diego’s secondary last year.

The Ravens are buying high here to fill a need. I think that right now, Weddle is a bargain at a little over 6 million a year, but he won’t be for much longer. By the end of this contract he should be in full regression at age 35.

He’s a very smart, instinctive player so any loss in athleticism should be masked for awhile. Overall, this was a huge area of need for the Ravens and I see them getting at or near full value for this contract. It’s solid.




Prince Amukamara, CB: 1 year, $6 million, $3.5 million guaranteed

Grade: A-


Amukamara just had his best season as a pro corner, so it makes sense that he gets paid.

I was actually expecting a longer term contract, but it’s clear the Jags are all-in for this season, they know they have to show major improvements. I’m concerned with the idea of building a defense in free agency: it takes time if it works at all.

The 2012 Eagles are the cautionary tale, while Elway’s Broncos show a successful implementation of that strategy. Regardless of whether it works, this is a steal of a deal for a top-flight free agent corner and the Jaguars have endless money to spend this year anyway.




Scott Tolzien, QB: 2 years, $3.5 million

Grade: B-


Tolzien is another guy that sat behind Aaron Rodgers. Presumably, these guys have a golden opportunity to learn and develop, but there’s not a great history of success for these understudies in the NFL.

In preseason, Tolzien has shown solid decision-making, but an underwhelming NFL arm in terms of both accuracy and power. There’s not much more to glean from this.

I understand what the Colts envision with Tolzien, but I don’t see him being much of an upgrade over Ryan Lindley and Josh Freeman as a backup to Luck now that Hasselbeck has retired.




Akiem Hicks, DE: 2 years, $10 million

Grade: B


A deal like this is surprising for a guy that’s always been “on the cusp” but never really lived up to expectations in New Orleans.

Traded to New England mid-season for TE Michael Hoomanawanui, Hicks found his footing in the stretch run and started to play like the inside dominator he was always billed to be, so perhaps the Bears could be getting a steal.

The pickup makes sense when you consider that current Bears GM Ryan Pace was formerly Director of player personnel with the Saints. He’s familiar with Hicks’ abilities. I question Hicks’ effort and motor more than anything. There’s no doubting he can be dominant when he wants to be.

Because of this, I neither love, nor hate the deal, but the upside boosts the  value a bit. He doesn’t have any real injury history or character concerns either. It’s a worthy risk.





MARCH 13, 2016


Casey Hayward, CB: 3 years, $15.3 million

Grade: B+


Hayward has really come on in recent years as a coverage specialist. He’s somewhat of a liability in run-support but likely won’t be asked to do that much in San Diego.

This is a solid job by the Chargers to be proactive in cycling their talent since Brandon Flowers is getting older and slowing down.

At a little over 5 mil per year, the Chargers aren’t paying Hayward a crazy contract or anything. This is pretty reasonable, especially considering what his running mate Davon House made last year.





MARCH 12, 2016


Jerrell Freeman, ILB: 3 years, $12 million, $6 million guaranteed

Grade: A+


The Bears clearly have made it a point to improve this dismal area of their defense. Now instead of toting out Christian Jones and Jon Bostic, they boast an incredibly talent rich and versatile duo in Freeman and Trevathan.

Freeman is excellent in coverage and pretty good against the run. Trevathan is obviously the younger and more well-rounded player, but this contract is structured accordingly.

Being 31 now, Freeman will be 34 at the end of this contract, since he’s probably at the end of his prime, the Bears should expect him to regress, but at least this year, they should get quality starter snaps from him on a consistent basis. It will help having such a talented running mate.

At just $4 million per season, Freeman will be a steal this year, and the value of the contract should even out accordingly if Freeman begins to decline. I love this deal.




Rod Streater, WR: 1 year, $4.8 million

Grade: B-


In a market where guys who haven’t proven a thing are getting paid fringe-starter money, we have this strange deal.

For one, it’s a one-year pact so it seems the Chiefs want to kick the tires on this guy and see if he can put his impressive skill-set together, recapturing the magic of a 60-catch 2013 season. On the other hand though, they’re paying him almost $5 million on what seems to be little more than a hunch.

While I think that’s a little too much, the Chiefs have already done a great job keeping their fearsome defense together, so they should certainly be investing in improving their offense, which held them back in the playoffs.

Streater may or may not be the answer, I believe he could potentially unseat Albert Wilson as a slot guy. If that ends up being the case, this is a steal. If not though, he plays maybe 15 snaps a game for $5 million. So it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.




Rafael Bush, S: 1 year, $2.4 million

Grade: B


I never fully understood why the Falcons came after him so hard in the 2014 off-season or why he’s thought of as much more than a solid backup and special teamer (which can be found for cheaper)

He had his best pro season in 2013 (along with the rest of that Saints defense) and has been battling injuries and inconsistency ever since.

I suppose the Lions just want an injury insurance policy, and in that role, perhaps Bush could thrive. He was asked to play too often for an injured Jairus Byrd in New Orleans.

The price isn’t too bad either considering how much playing experience and solid snaps he has to his name. He just can’t be relied upon to start for any stretch of time.





MARCH 11, 2016


Eagles Receive: Conditional Late Round Pick

Grade: A

Broncos Receive: QB Mark Sanchez

Grade: C


I understand what fueled this trade: necessity. The Broncos simply have no options at QB. Sanchez isn’t a great one, especially going to a new system.

He’ll still be the same inconsistent, inaccurate player he’s always been. It’s not the worst move, but there’s nothing really inspiring about it.

For the Eagles though, this is a coup. Sanchez had no place left on this team, and they actually might get something out of him. Brilliant trades by the Eagles this offseason.




Justin Tuggle, OLB: no contract details

Grade: TBD




Alvin Bailey, OT: no contract details

Grade: TBD





Robert Ayers, DE: 3 years, $21 million

Grade: B+


This is the exact contract I felt Ayers deserved.

He’s not getting paid like a premium pass rusher, because he isn’t one on every down. He consistently grades out as a dominant rotational end, so he was a prize in this free agency period.

The Bucs have had some awful contracts, but I like this one. Ayers had 9.5 sacks in 12 games as a part-time guy with the Giants in 2015. He also doesn’t have much tread for a 31-year-old. He could regress, but it’s not too likely he’ll fall off completely through the life of this contract.



Mackenzy Bernadeau, OG: 2 years, $4 million

Grade: B


Bernadeu is solid depth on the interior of any line. He’s getting paid for just a bit more than that on the open market, which is to be expected.

As long as he’s not counted on to start, I like this move pretty well.



Brad Nortman, P: 4 years, $8.8 million

Grade: C


Nortman is a fine punter, and the Jaguars needed one since Bryan Anger is a free agent.

I don’t much understand paying more than the veteran minimum for Nortman though. He’s nothing special.

And locking him up on a 4 year deal? It’s just kind of strange.




Jermon Bushrod, OT: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD





Kendall Reyes, DE/DT: 1 years, $2.5 million

Grade: C+


Reyes had a pretty bad season in 2015 and has generally never lived up to his potential.

He’s 26 so if he still has time to get better, but he’s entering his prime years, so the jump should come very soon if it ever does.

That in mind, the Redskins are buying low on potential but high on lack of production. Because of this, I don’t love the deal.




Frank Kearse, DE: no contract details

Grade: TBD




Chris Hogan, WR: 3 years, $12 million

Grade: B-


Hogan has been on the cusp of a good season for years and he has the skill-set.

The Patriots are a good landing spot for him to potentially realize his potential since their corps is thin and he’s a smart tough receiver who runs good routes.

He fits the mold of an Edelman or Amendola and is a little bigger and faster to boot. 4 mil a year is fairly steep for a guy that hasn’t produced yet, but I imagine the Patriots will likely get the most out of this. I like it, I don’t love it.




Sean Smith, CB: 4 years, $40 million, $20 million guaranteed

Grade: C+


It’s becoming clear that Raiders brass recognizes their needs, which is encouraging.

They’re also finding some really solid options to fill their holes. The main issue I have is paying a corner $10 million a year. It reminds me of a few years ago when the Cowboys did the same thing with an ascending Brandon Carr.

That move helped get them into a cap mess they’re still working out of and Carr in no way lived up to the contract. I’m not saying that will happen, but it’s tough for a corner to earn $10 million a year, especially one without a penchant for turnovers like Smith.




Jarvis Jenkins, DE: 3 years, $6 million

Grade: C-


Jenkins has been a disappointment since he came into the league. He’s got all of the physical tools to dominate but can’t put it together.

He’s 28 now so he probably won’t get much better, and right now he’s just an ok backup.

I question the Jets for signing a guy like that for 3 years, especially when it’s above the veteran minimum.





MARCH 10, 2016


Bobby Massie, OT: 3 years, $18 million




Massie has been fairly dreadful for most of his time as a pro, he’s been mostly below average, even on the right side of the line, which is where tackles who can’t pass block go.

The problem is Massie doesn’t offer much in the run block either. He certainly doesn’t have starter qualities. Still, he has some utility as a swing tackle.

I have some qualms with paying $6  million per year to a swing tackle. That’s the kind of idiotic move a guy who thinks Torrey Smith can be a WR1 would make… oh yeah. So this is definitely a Baalke (F) grade.



Danny Trevathan, LB: 4 years, $28 million

Grade: A+


For a player with a complete skill set like Trevathan (he can cover, run-stuff and rush the passer on occasion) I would have expected somewhere in the realm of $10 million a year.

This deal is absolutely fantastic for the Bears as Trevathan is just entering his prime and has gotten better every year he’s been in the league.

Reuniting with coach John Fox just sweetens the deal. Top marks to the Bears for this move.




Johnson Bademosi, CB: 2 years, $4.5 million

Grade: C-


This is a tough one since literally everywhere I look, I see Bademosi referred to as a “special teams ace”.

While that is a seriously undervalued talent in the NFL today, I think teams can find contributors on special teams for the veteran minimum.

Bademosi was pretty bad as a corner for the Browns so he likely won’t help the Lions’ secondary too much. I like the idea here, I just don’t think he’s worth the contract.



Stefan Charles, DT: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD




Tavon Wilson, CB/S: 2 years, $2.2 million, $500,000 guaranteed

Grade: B+


While Wilson has just average athleticism, he excels in coverage and is a strong tackler. He offers solid special teams snaps to go with decent defensive snaps.

He’s not a player to be counted on to start, and shouldn’t be expected to for this amount. He’s ideal as a reserve player, especially in light of the recent Rafael Bush signing. The money is actually pretty good here.




Khiry Robinson, RB: 1 year, $1.175 million

Grade: A+


In a market for running backs that’s seen mediocre players like C.J. Anderson getting paid $4 million, it blows my mind to see a contract like this.

I’ve seen quite a bit of Robinson, and he has a punishing running style, reminds me of  a poor man’s Chris Ivory. That fits since he’s helping replace Ivory for the Jets, and for significantly less.

This is a coup for the Jets who have refueled their running back corps very well.




Brent Grimes, CB: 2 years, $16.5 million



Wow. Just wow. Grimes was awful last season and has starkly regressed.

He was playing at a high level as recently as 2014 and granted, this deal is fairly heavily incentivized, but the base is still over 6 mil a year.

He’s old, slowing down, not a viable starter anymore, and it’s kind of unbelievable that he got more than $2 million a year to be honest. Baalke (F) Grade material.



J.R. Sweezy, G: 5 years, $32.5 million

Grade: B


Sweezy is a solid road-grader, so it makes sense that they follow up the Doug Martin signing with some help for the offensive line.

However, Sweezy is not a great pass-protector and will be asked to do that with Jameis Winston behind center.

He’s getting paid a little less than the other guards that have signed today, which makes sense because he’s a little worse than the rest of them.




Tashaun Gipson, S: 5 years, $35.5 million

Grade: B


I really like Gipson but it has to concern the Jags whether or not last year was an anomaly.

He had a brilliant 2014 and he’s still young and likely entering his prime, so there’s upside, but it remains to be seen whether he can be the lynchpin to hold together a poor secondary, which is what the Jags have right now.

At 7 mil per year, the Jags are betting a fair amount that he is.




Sean Weatherspoon, LB: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: TBD




Mohamed Sanu, WR: 5 years, $32.5 million, $14 million



I saw the buzz that the Falcons were going to throw 7 mil a year at Sanu. I honestly still can’t believe it happened.

This is an egregious overpayment for a player that would generously be worth $4 million a year. Don’t get me wrong, Sanu has a solid skill set and some versatility (he can run and throw as well).

But he hasn’t proven that he can consistently be a threat. Especially not to the point of getting paid fringe-starter money. Reminds me of the idiot that fired Jim Harbaugh, a Baalke (F) Grade if ever there was one.



Derrick Shelby, DE: 4 years, $21 million

Grade: A


Shelby graded out as the fifth best edge player in a talent-rich free agent pool in 871 graded snaps last season according to Pro Football Focus.

He’s also 27 and will not be expected to save the defense since the Falcons already invested in Vic Beasley a year ago. This is a brilliant signing with a ton of upside for a solid rate.

Teams tend to pay for the pass rush, but in this case, the Falcons got a steal.



Matt Schaub, QB: 1 year, $1.25 million

Grade: B


Schaub was a solid starter for years with the Texans after backing up Michael Vick to start his career. In fact, he had three consecutive 4,000+ yard seasons.

He’s fallen off quite a bit since then and developed an absurd penchant for pick sixes. He gives them out like they’re going out of style.

Still, he’s a savvy veteran that could potentially recapture his above-average ability in short bursts. It’s not the worst Matt Ryan insurance policy, especially considering Ryan simply doesn’t miss time.




C.J. Anderson, RB: 4 years, $18 million

Grade: D-


This is an offer sheet so the Broncos will have an opportunity to match, they should not.

Anderson is bad at the beginning of the season. He gets decent when everyone else is hurt because he’s sturdy. There are better runners four rounds deep in this draft so I have no idea why the Dolphins would pay for him.

For that matter, Jay Ajayi, who they drafted last year, has a far superior skill-set overall. This deal sucks. But at least they’re not paying him Martin money. I hate Anderson. He sucks.



Sam Young, OT: 1 year, veteran minimum

Grade: B-


Sam Young is barely rosterable, so this is barely better than average. That’s it. Good night.



Isa Abdul-Quddus, S: 3 years, $12.75 million

Grade: C


Quddus is an adequate backup at safety who should not be relied upon to start. He might be a possibility as a nickel safety.

At a little over 4 mil a year, it’s a little steep for a guy that probably won’t offer meaningful starter snaps.

Still, he’s fairly young and likely in the midst of his prime, so I like the length of the contract.




Travis Lewis, LB: 1 year, $810,000

Grade: A-


Lewis is a special teamer primarily, and a good one at that. He also had some solid experience playing as a reserve linebacker in 2015 for the Lions.

He’s still young so there’s potential to grow, but he’s likely already entered his prime so he’s probably pretty close to his peak as a pro.

For the vet. minimum, I like this deal quite a bit.



Emmanuel Lamur, LB: 2 years, $6 million



Lamur was absolutely dreadful in limited snaps in 2015. He’s shown potential before, which is why Zimmer brought him in.

What makes no sense at all is why he paid anything more than bottom dollar for him. Three mil per year is absolutely absurd for a guy who’s never even kind of proven it.  He likely had virtually no market.

This one is pretty bad, worthy of a Baalke (F) grade.



Michael Griffin, S: 1 year, $2.5 million, $750k guaranteed

Grade: B


Griffin is over the hill. No doubt about that. He is, however, still all right.

He’s being paid a little bit over veteran minimum with hardly any guaranteed money at all, so the signing makes sense for depth purposes.

Griffin cannot start any longer.




Gino Gradkowski, C: no contract details

Grade: TBD





Rishard Matthews, WR: 3 years, $15 million

Grade: B-


As expected, Rishard Matthews was going to be the best value of the “top-flight” free agent options.

The Titans did a nice job buying fairly low on a guy who graded out very well last year and showed some play-making ability out of the slot.

It’s still a little too much since Matthews really hasn’t shown the ability to consistently produce yet. Still, I think he’s the best receiver deal so far.




Keenan Robinson, LB: 1 year, $3 million

Grade: C-


Robinson was an ok rotational linebacker for the Redskins but I don’t see much upside here. He probably shouldn’t have earned much more than the vet. minimum.

Still, there’s no risk here. It’s just another case of the Giants overpaying. They’ve been pretty incompetent this off-season.



Olivier Vernon, DE: 5 years, $85 million, $52.5 million guaranteed



Holy Crap. This is one of the most egregious over-payments to a defensive player I’ve ever seen.

The Giants must think they’re a couple of players away from a Super Bowl. They aren’t. This is going to cripple them. Vernon is not the best pass rusher in the league. He may not be in the top ten.

And yet, the Giants are paying him the largest deal in history for a defensive end. He’s getting paid almost as much per year as Osweiller. That is outrageous, and a definite Baalke (F) Grade.



Damon Harrison, DT: 5 years, $46.25 million, $24 million guaranteed

Grade: B


Harrison is one of the last great nose tackles left in the NFL. He’s a brilliant run-stuffer that can get after the passer from time-to-time.

A presence like his is desperately needed on a Giants defense that was devoid of talent in 2015 and he should come in and produce up to expectation. The concern is obviously how much talent he had around him in New York, but I expect his skills to translate.

A little over $9 million per year is overpaying, but not egregiously. This was just a small amount over the expected going rate of a top free agent like Harrison.




Cedric Thornton, DT: 4 years, $18 million

Grade: B


Here’s what I like about this: the Cowboys are addressing their needs so they can take the BPA at 4 overall.

Here’s what concerns me: Thornton hasn’t really ever produced at a high volume and he’s 29. Paying over $4 million a year is a little much, but it makes sense considering he’d easily become the most talented d-tackle on the roster.

It’s not close. It’s also smart to take him away from a division rival.




Dwight Lowery, S: 3 years, $7.2 million

Grade: B


He was in the middle of the pack of available free agents according to Pro Football Focus on 11oo graded snaps.

He’s 30 so he figures to regress by the end of this contract, still if they don’t expect him to start, this deal should be fine for depth purposes.

Ideally, he won’t see the field often, so over $3 million per year might be a bit much.



Brandon Mebane, DT: 3 years, $13.5 million, $5.5 million

Grade: B+


I love this signing. Evaluators say he still has the ability to wreck a game plan and his play on the field backs that up.

He’s good against the run and has pass rush ability, and since he’s already out of his prime, his regression shouldn’t be too stark until he’s done.

Basically, he should play at a fairly above-average level for the life of this contract and the Chargers are paying him average starter money.




Ladarius Green, TE: 5 years, $20 million

Grade: A


Green is an ascending player who never really got a chance to show off his insane skill-set.

He’s a scary height-weight-speed combination that should thrive as a starter for the Steelers who needed it after the retirement of Heath Miller.

My one worry is that he hasn’t had that breakout season yet, but other teams paid more for less potential.




Ron Brooks, CB: 3 years, $8.7 million

Grade: B

R Brooks

This is a tough one to grade since Brooks didn’t get meaningful snaps last year.

He is, however, familiar with Schwartz and I’m a big fan of good coaches bringing in their guys since there’s almost certainly a proper scheme fit.

The Eagles needed to find better depth at corner, which they have. Now they need a true number 1.



Nigel Bradham, LB: 2 years, $7 million

Grade: A


Bradham was among my favorite players available in free agency since I know someone was going to buy low on him and get a massive bargain. I also correctly predicted he would land in Philadelphia with his former coordinator.

Bradham should enjoy a resurgence, being back in a system that fits his skill-set best. He’s an absolutely solid tackler whose good both in coverage and against the run. He has solid instincts to go with good-enough athleticism.

He should be a high-volume tackler for the Eagles next year. Likely their tackles leader if he stays healthy. At a little over 3 mil per year, it’s an absolute steal.



Brandon Brooks, OG: 5 years, $40 million

Grade: C+

B Brooks

Brooks is a solid guard and only 27 so on the surface, this seems like a solid deal.

This move was, however, clearly dictated by need in a thin market and so the Eagles were forced to grossly overpay for his services.

That much, I do not love. It is good that the Eagles recognize their needs and are continuing to allow themselves more draft flexibility with so many picks.

They are in line to develop a talented roster in the next couple of years.



Chase Daniel, QB: 3 years, $21 million, $12 million

Grade: B-


Daniel is an excellent option at backup for the Doug Pederson-led Eagles.

He represents a major upgrade over Mark Sanchez, who struggles with consistent accuracy and poise. Daniel has all of those in spades and can immediately step in and run the offense effectively.

However, the Eagles overpaid just a bit for his services. 7 mil per year is certainly a premium for a guy that doesn’t have extensive starting experience. Word is he’ll have a chance to compete for the starting job and will likely see time anyway since Bradford is so injury-prone.




Thad Lewis, QB: 1 year, $760,000

Grade: A


Now that’s what I’m talking about. Thad Lewis has played fairly well as a starter in his young career and reminds me of a young Tarvaris Jackson.

He hasn’t yet entered his prime and is an ideal candidate as a reserve quarterback. He’ll get to compete for a backup spot, and at the vet. minimum that’s an ideal scenario.




Tyvon Branch, S: 2 years, $10 million, $5 million

Grade: A


I loved Tyvon Branch’s level of play for the Chiefs when he was on the field last season.

He’s a fringe starter that was stuck behind some really solid safeties in Kansas City. He should add some juice to the Cardinals safety corps.

The Cardinals defense loves its play-makers.




Jeff Allen: 4 years, $28 million

Grade: B+


Allen is a slight upgrade over the departed Brooks and is getting one million a year less.

He’s 27 years old so he could potentially grow as a player, either way he’s just entering his prime and is well-rounded as a pass and run-blocker.

I still think 7 mil per year is a little bit too much for an above-average starting guard. But it’s very close to correct market value.



Tony Bergstrom, C: 2 years, $5.75 million, $1.5 million guaranteed

Grade: B


Bergstrom was an above-average player when called upon for the Raiders in 2015. He excels as a run-blocker, while not being quite as strong in the pass.

This is probably an ideal landing spot for Bergstrom as the Texans want to rely on their strong zone-block running game, with the passing game as more of a supplement.

If Bergstrom is asked to start, he should be up to the task. In a full-season, some of his weaknesses would be revealed so the value is pretty much right, at a little under $3 million per season.





MARCH 9, 2016


Eagles Receive: Titans 4th Round Pick

Grade: B

Titans Receive: Eagles 4th Round Pick, RB DeMarco Murray

Grade: B


For the Eagles, this is another great job of getting rid of an undesirable contract, only swapping fourths is a little disappointing considering Murray was the league’s top rusher just two years ago and one year into a 5 year $40 million contract.

Still, Murray was a malcontent, so it’s good for both parties to move on. The Titans receive a back who is likely motivated to prove his detractors wrong so I could see this working out fairly well for them, and they only dropped 13 spots in the 4th to do it.

There is the possibility that Murray really isn’t the same back, considering his injury issues, heavy wear from the 2014 season and the fact he won’t be running behind  an incredible offensive line like Dallas, but Tennessee will scheme their running game for Murray, so he’ll be in the best possible position to recapture the magic.




Eagles Receive: Round 1 Pick 8

Grade: B+

Dolphins Receive: Kiko Alonso, Byron Maxwell, Round 1 Pick 13

Grade: B-

Alonso                         Maxwell

For me, this is a deal that could pay off greatly for both sides.

I imagine there wasn’t anyone at 8 the Dolphins had strong convictions of, so they’re ok to move back and pick up some pieces. Kiko Alonso, when healthy, is an excellent young inside linebacker, he reminds me of Sean Lee. The Dolphins had nothing close to that at linebacker before.

Byron Maxwell also came on for the Eagles last year late and ended up with a decent season overall. He’ll certainly be an improvement over old, bad Grimes.

The Eagles, meanwhile, dump a fairly insane salary with Maxwell and the regime further cleans their hands of the Chip Kelly era, for better or worse.

Moving up in the draft a bit just sweetens the deal. It’s better compensation than I was expecting, but it definitely opened up some holes on the roster which is why I’m not giving it an A.




Mitchell Schwartz, OT: 5 years, $33 million, $15 million guaranteed

Grade: B


Schwartz was one of the top right tackles in the NFL last year.

This was, however, one year removed from being a complete liability on the Browns offensive line. There’s always the question of a player playing for a contract.

But there is the possibility, especially considering he’s still young, that he’s turned a corner and about to enter his prime. If that’s the case, less than $7 million per year is a very solid price to pay. Still, there’s a bit of risk here so I don’t love it.



Jonathan Massaquoi, DE: no contract details

Grade: TBD




Efe Obada, DE: no contract details

Grade: TBD





Marvin Jones, WR: 5 years, $40 million, 17 million guaranteed

Grade: B-

Ma Jones

Don’t get me wrong, this is too much for Jones. He’s an excellent WR2 getting paid like a borderline WR1 which I am not a fan of.

He cannot, and should not be expected, to headline a wide receiving corps, and will not replace the production Calvin Johnson provided, even in Johnson’s later years.

However, he was easily the best available receiver with the most potential, he’s 26 and just had his best season as a pro, and probably will get a bit better before he peaks.

If the Lions draft a receiver high, they could potentially have one of the best young corps in the league, immediately. They just have to understand Jones is not a number 1 guy.



Matt Forte, RB: 3 years, $12 million, $8 million

Grade: A


What’s kind of tough to grade about this is the running back market is clearly different this season than it was last offseason.

Last offseason, premium running back numbers (Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller) received $4 million a year. Those two guys in this market would probably get 5-6 mil.

My main point here is Forte is still an excellent all-around back who should still be a viable starter through the life of his deal and the Jets are getting him for less than the current going rate.

So it’s a win.



Malik Jackson, DL: 6 years, $85.5 million, $31.5 million guaranteed

Grade: C


Malik Jackson was the best available player on the market at the time. That doesn’t mean he is worth the nearly $13 million per year the Jags are handing him.

He will not live up to this contract, for many reasons. The biggest thing to consider is the talent around him on the defensive line: there is none. Dante Fowler Jr. is an unknown commodity and Jared Odrick is an average starter. There’s not much else to get excited about.

Jackson is a good player, but he will not change that defense without some help.


Chris Ivory, RB: 5 years, $32.5 million, $10-15 million guaranteed

Grade: D


Running backs are not worth almost $7 million per season. They are not.

Consider also that Ivory is expected to be in a timeshare with T.J. Yeldon and you see why this deal feels a bit egregious.

I can at least admit I understand it. When healthy, Ivory was one of the most dominant backs in the NFL last season and Gus Bradley, David Caldwell and company have one year left to show the results of their master plan.

With $90 million to spend in free agency, they have the flexibility to buy the pieces they need and they clearly feel Ivory could be a missing piece on their offense.

I don’t necessarily agree, as I think they should probably be looking more toward their offensive and defensive lines (even after the Malik Jackson signing), but to each his own.




Alex Mack, C: 5 years, $45 million, $28.5 million

Grade: B-


Mack is just reaching the end of his prime, and will not get any better.

In fact, with inferior talent around him on the Falcons line as opposed to a talent-rich Browns line, he might get worse.

The other side of that coin, though: he’ll make everyone else’s job on the line easier. That’s an exciting prospect for the Falcons, as they have not had a premiere lineman since Matt Ryan arrived.

It’s just a bit too much to pay, $9 million a year, for a guy that has clearly left his prime, so I’m not in love with the signing. It’s all right.




Mario Williams: 2 years, $16 million

Grade: C-


I still think Williams has a lot to offer as a player, my concern is pairing him up with a bad influence like Suh, who could bring out the worst in him.

From what I understand, Williams’ main beef was being played out of position by Coach Rex Ryan, and it’s a reasonable frustration when it’s clear where a player best fits. That’s essentially Ryan screwing with Williams’ value by not putting him in the best position to succeed and produce at a high volume.

The Dolphins will likely slide Williams in as a replacement to Olivier Vernon and the production should not see much of a dip.

$8 million per year is a little steep for an older player like Williams, but he likely has a few good years left and it’s a short contract, so it’s not like they’ve shackled themselves for years to a player that could majorly regress.

This could go bad, but I find it a somewhat reasonably calculated risk.




Ramon Humber, LB: 1 year, unknown amount

Grade: B-


I have nearly no doubt this is a veteran minimum deal.

Humber is ok depth at linebacker and a very good special teamer. He just should never be asked to take signifcant snaps.

The Patriots have a solid history of acquiring Saints castoffs like Rob Ninkovich, Donte Stallworth and Akiem Hicks to name a few, so I expect them to maximize Humber’s skill set.




Alex Boone, G: 4 years, $26.8 million, $10 million guaranteed

Grade: A-


This is probably the best offensive lineman signing of the season so far.

Boone is an excellent mauler run-blocker that should bust open plenty of holes for Adrian Peterson through the life of his contract.

To get a top-flight free agent guard at a little over 6 mil per year is an excellent signing. It’s a bit under market value.




Ben Jones, C: four years, $17.5 million, $7.5 million guaranteed

Grade: B-

B Jones

N0t much to see here.

Ben Jones is 27, and he probably won’t get too much better. He’s an average starter getting paid slightly more than he should on the open market.

The Titans did address a need here and it opens up more draft possibilities for them, which is why I’m giving this higher than a C.




Janoris Jenkins, CB:5 years, $62.5 million, $29 million guaranteed

Grade: C+


I love Janoris Jenkins’ potential. I do not love paying him premium starter money just because it’s a thin market.

Inevitably, some team was going to overpay for his services so I can’t knock the Giants too hard. They desperately need help everywhere on the defense, but the departure of Amukamara made corner a big concern.

Jenkins should come in and provide solid starter snaps, but I feel like this might end up very similar to the Maxwell deal last year. Hint: Maxwell is no longer on the team that overpaid for his services.




Travis Benjamin, WR: 4 years, $24 million, $13 million guaranteed

Grade: D


I like the idea of getting Rivers more weapons, and with Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson already in the fold, San Diego is building itself a nice little corps.

Benjamin should be able to step into the slot and provide meaningful snaps fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, the Chargers paid him WR2 money, 6 mil per year is just too much for a guy that should not be seeing the field on every offensive snap. If they expect to make a jump, fine. I just don’t see it.




Bruce Irvin, OLB: 4 years, $37 million, 12.5 million guaranteed

Grade: C+


Irvin is not a game-changing linebacker, and although this was a position of need, the Raiders overpaid here.

There is very little chance Irvin lives up to over $9 million per year. The saving grace on this one is the low guarantee number which would allow the Raiders to essentially opt out after the 2016 season since the guarantee is completely front loaded.

That’s a good plan by Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. Still, as it stands, this is too much for a marginal starter.



Kelechi Osemele, OL: 5 years, $58.5.million, 25.4 million guaranteed

Grade: C-


This is another case of the Raiders overpaying, big-time.

The key here is that the buzz says the Raiders see Osemele’s value at tackle. That is not where his value lies, as he is just an above-average left tackle.

He is a dominant guard, however, and it’s possible Raiders brass will recognize that and play him accordingly.

Unfortunately, paying $11 million a year to a fringe starter at tackle or a dominant guard, regardless, is too much money. Like the player, but the numbers don’t work for me.




Rodney McLeod, S: 5 years, $37 million, $17 million guaranteed

Grade: B+


I actually really like this move. The need at safety was pretty large next to Malcolm Jenkins. McLeod is a legitimate starter, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ third best available safety in 1180 snaps last season.

He’s 26 years old, so he should just be entering his prime. This is actually a lot like the Malcolm Jenkins signing from a couple years ago. The Eagles are getting a player that may ascend, and is very unlikely to regress.

The money is a bit too much for him though, I see his value more in the $6 million per year range, but the Eagles did a nice job not getting pushed around by the market. They got their guy and now they have more draft flexibility.



Leodis McKelvin: 2 years, $6 million

Grade: B


McKelvin may not be an above-average starter anymore, but he can be what Byron Maxwell was for the Eagles in 2015. He’s also coming at a hugely discounted rate.

The main reason for this is that he’s getting up there in age and has some injury concerns, but this is a good move for the Eagles, buying low on a guy who probably has a few good years left.

This should in no way preclude them from drafting a corner, however.




Coby Fleener, TE: 5 years, $36 million

Grade: B


This is reportedly a back-loaded contract, which I’m not a fan of.

However, the Saints are clearly attempting to still make a run with the couple of years Brees has left, so the deal makes sense.

Fleener is a smart guy, and should pick up the complicated Saints offense quickly. The Saints just turned Ben Watson into a highly productive tight end at 35 so I expect Fleener should be able to produce similar numbers and for a longer amount of time.

A little over 7 mil is a lot. But it’s likely the going rate for top tight ends in a starved market. Fleener is almost certain to live up to the contract due to the way Brees and Payton use tight ends.



Josh Scobee, K: 1 year, veteran minimum

Grade: A-


There is no risk in signing Scobee, who had a very solid career with the Jags before stinking it up in Pittsburgh.

Word is he was dealing with a hip issue and that could have contributed to his poor performance.

Obviously Saints are hoping he returns to form, and if he does they’re set at kicker for years. If not? Dump him for no money down.





Lamar Miller, RB: 4 years, 26 million, $14 million guaranteed.

Grade: C


The Texans clearly needed to find an answer as they’re moving on from Arian Foster.

Miller represents a downgrade, however, and at a little over $5 million per season, he’s getting paid more than a very comparable running back in New Orlean’s Mark Ingram.

This is another case of overpaying in a thin market, and these teams are going to regret these deals.



Brock Osweiler, QB: 4 years, $72 million



Osweiler was only a viable starter because he was such a scheme fit for the Broncos.

He will not be better than Brian Hoyer and if the Texans expect him to be their quarterback of the future, they’re delusional.

This deal is warm, like some good Chef Boyardee, because it does my heart good to see dumb teams overpaying mediocre quarterbacks. $18 million a year? Really? He’s a backup. Oh man, this one is funny. The definition of a Baalke (F) grade.




Donald Stephenson, OT: 3 years, $14 million, $10 million guaranteed

Grade: D-


Word was if the Broncos lost Jackson, they’d be in the market for a serious O-lineman.

Stephenson is an upgrade over Michael Schofield, who started at right tackle, and provides a solid backup option if Clady can’t go or if Sambrailo isn’t ready.

The Broncos overpaid by quite a bit on this contract. A little under $5 million for a guy that still has potential, but was dreadful last year is a concerning signing for a team that had hardly any cap flexibility.




Ben Watson: 2 years, $8 million

Grade: C-


The Ravens are paying for Watson’s 2015 production in a Payton scheme with Brees throwing him the football.

Baltimore represents a downgrade in both scheme and quarterback play. Pair that with the natural regression the 35-year-old Watson is sure to have and you can start to see why I’m not crazy about this move.

However, Watson is still a good blocker and should provide some solid depth behind Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams.

He’s also a wonderful presence both on and off the field as a leader and humanitarian. It’s always smart to add a guy like that to a young locker room. They’re just paying too much of a premium for it for my taste.




Forrest Hill, LS: no contract details

Grade: TBD



Mock Draft 1.0

1. Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

6’5 305 lbs.


Titans GM Jon Robinson said specifically that protecting his quarterback would be a priority this off-season. It would certainly help Mariota’s development if he wasn’t spending half his time on a professional field running for his life and the other half tasting turf.

2. Cleveland Browns: Carson Wentz, QB, ND State

6’5 232 lbs.


New head coach Hue Jackson is taking a QB here, and it makes a lot of sense to bet on Wentz who has every trait teams could want in a franchise quarterback. Of course, the Browns better do something about that defense. Wentz is too much of a gamer not to turn into a pick machine if he feels the pressure to carry a game by himself.

3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

6’6 287 lbs.

Buckner 1

Oregon Ducks defensive lineman DeForest Buckner (44) celebrates after bringing down a back behind the line. The No. 18 Oregon Ducks face the Oregon State Beavers in the Civil War at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 27, 2015. (Cole Elsasser/Emerald)

Despite the Chargers having two superior prospects available in Ramsey and Bosa, they reach a bit for Buckner. GM Tom Telesco has proven unreliable in assembling a talented roster as of yet.

4. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

6’1 202 lbs.


Nov 28, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Jalen Ramsey (8) against the Florida Gators during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Word from Cowboys camp is Ramsey is their number one player overall so finding him at the 4 spot with a competent GM like Stephen Jones calling the shots, this is a no-brainer. They can mix and match Byron Jones and Jalen Ramsey as they please.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

6’6 276 lbs.


Jags GM David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley will be bowling people over to get this pick in. Joey Bosa will be an immediate infusion of talent paired with former first-rounder Dante Fowler Jr. They must address the secondary this off-season as well, but Bosa is too talented.

6. Baltimore Ravens: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

5’11 192 lbs.

New Mexico State v Florida

GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 05: Vernon Hargreaves III #1 of the Florida Gators carries the ball for six yards acting as a receiver during the second quarter of the game against the New Mexico State Aggies at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Jimmy Smith is a slightly undersized corner who’s had success with the Ravens, so Newsome knows to target talent and traits over size. Of course the Ravens offense will continue to scare exactly no one until they get serious about bolstering that side of the ball.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

6’5 304 lbs.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame

Sep 19, 2015; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley (78) prepares to block Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets linebacker Tyler Marcordes (35) at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Far be it from me to indicate GM Trent Baalke could make a good decision. Chip likes his tackles and Ronnie Stanley has all of the tools to thrive in his scheme.

8. Miami Dolphins: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

5’11 195 lbs.


Brent Grimes is done. This is his replacement. The Dolphins are probably convinced that Suh is a long-term answer so they pass up the much more safe (and smart) option of A’Shawn Robinson here.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

6’3 270 lbs.

Shaq Lawson

Lawson is expected to shoot up the boards after an excellent combine workout. Perhaps the hype will be enough to tempt a silly franchise like Tampa Bay into taking him in the top ten.

10. New York Giants: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

6’1 245 lbs.

Myles Jack

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack in action against BYU during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. UCLA won 24-23. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

It’s time. They’ve tried to get by with Jasper Brinkley, Jon Beason and Uani Unga, to absolutely disastrous results. Unless the decision-makers are clinically insane, they address the position here with a prospect that’s drawing comparisons to Thomas Davis.

11. Chicago Bears: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

6’4 312 lbs.


Last year, I had the Bears married to Danny Shelton, and they ignored their need. They still haven’t addressed the void left by Henry Melton. Robinson is a classic space-eater with surprising athleticism. He has all the traits to be dominant. Perhaps with their flashy receivers already in the fold, the Bears will turn to addressing their actual needs this off-season.

12. New Orleans Saints: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

6’4 275 lbs.

Emmanuel Ogbah, Kyle Stouffer

Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (38) attempts to move around Central Arkansas Kyle Stouffer (76) during an NCAA college football game between Central Arkansas and Oklahoma St in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)



The more I break it down, the more this makes sense. Payton and Loomis must know that the entire defense struggles because of their lack of push up front. Ogbah will fit right into the locker room as a hard-worker with relentless motor. Knowing Pay/Loo though, I should be expecting something off-the-wall like safety or tackle here.

13. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

6’7 320 lbs.


Some team will fall in love with the potential of this big-bodied athletic prospect. He’s played on the big stage against some excellent pass rushers and held his own. It remains to be seen whether Coach Pederson is competent enough to put him in position to succeed though.

14. Oakland Raiders: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

6’1 259 lbs.


Reggie McKenzie, against all odds, has nailed his last couple of drafts as Raiders GM. He’ll recognize, eventually, that Curtis Lofton often is looking toward the sideline for instructions while in coverage. Ragland has the athleticism and instincts to grow into another in a long line of talented Alabama linebackers of the Saban era.

15. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, Cal

6’4 215 lbs.

Jared Goff, Dylan Wynn

California quarterback Jared Goff (16) scrambles out of the pocket from Oregon State defensive end Dylan Wynn (45) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The Rams are ecstatic to see Goff here and snag him without a second thought. But perhaps that second thought should have been that they already signed Kirk Cousins in free agency (I jest).

16. Detroit Lions: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

6’6 325 lbs.


The Lions need to invest in whoever is behind center or that offense will never reach its potential. While we’re on the subject. Man, that Lions offense is going to suck.

17. Atlanta Falcons: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia

6’4 231 lbs.


Dan Quinn has proven to be obsessed with his side of the ball as a head coach. Plus, the Falcons still don’t have a pass rush. Leonard Floyd is another swing at bat for GM Dimitroff and company. Pairing him with Beasley could make for a potent combination in a few years.

18. Indiannapolis Colts: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indianna

6’5 301 lbs.


This is a case where the Colts would probably like to trade back, but in my inspired trade-free mock draft, they stay put and grab the next best offensive lineman available. Protecting Andrew Luck must be priority number one for Grigson and company unless they want more comedy routines in week 17 (Ryan Lindley and Josh Freeman split starting duties, it’s like the beginning of a “walks into a bar” joke)

19. Buffalo Bills: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

6’1 304 lbs.

Louisville Football v Memphis

Sheldon Rankins (98), Fumble

Rumblings that Dareus is looking to leave point to Rex Ryan’s continual inability to control a 53-man roster. Instead of booting him like they should, the Bills decision makers allow him to commit nepotism while also replacing a proven talent with a relatively unknown rookie. Poor Bills, they’ll never make the playoffs. On the bright side, Rankins shows a lot of potential. He might even be on the level of the greats (like Dareus) one day.

20. New York Jets: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State

6’3 301 lbs.


In his first season as coach of the Jets, Todd Bowles impressed with a simplistic west-coast passing game to go along with a power running attack and a suffocating defense. I love me some old-school football and Whitehair projects as a road-grading guard for Ivory (or Powell… Stacy… Ridley… umm) that also has the quickness to hold up in pass-protection.

21. Washington Redskins: Robert Nkemdiche, DE/DT, Ole Miss

6’4 296 lbs.


Second-year GM Scot McCloughan established a formula for building from the trenches. Last year, he shored up the O-line with Brandon Scherff. This year, he should follow suit on the defensive side with a blue-chip talent like Nkemdiche. Here’s hoping this basket case doesn’t end up doing the worm during a Monday Night Football game. Looking at you, Haynesworth.

22. Houston Texans: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

6’7 245 lbs.

Lynch 1

The Texans stay put and take a talented prospect here in Lynch. He’s not ready to start right away, but he can’t be much worse than Hoyer was in that playoff game… right DeAndre Hopkins?

23. Minnesota Vikings: Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

6’2 210 lbs.


The Vikings need another receiver with the word being that Mike Wallace wants out. Big surprise. And Cordarelle Patterson still isn’t progressing. Big surprise? That leaves Stefon Diggs and Charles Johnson. I’m not quite inspired with that corps. Of course, Treadwell is not the best receiver in this class, but landing with an accurate passer like Bridgewater should help considering his inability to separate from even college corners.

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

6’2 310 lbs.


The Bengals are constantly refueling their defense, it’s one of the reasons they have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. Billings is 20 years old and figures to blow up the combine. Snagging him here is a steal. On an unrelated note: Does anyone else have an annual pity party for the Bengals during Wild Card Weekend?

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

6’1 200 lbs.


Too long the Steelers have ignored upgrading this position. It’s time and they know it. Their secondary was a big reason they lost a lot of games last season. Apple is a rising prospect with ideal size who has big-game experience. You’ll be hearing that a lot during the rest of this mock draft.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State

6’2 228 lbs.


The Seahawks have built such an impressive roster by snagging impressive athletes that fit in their scheme. Darron Lee is a potential fit as a Jack linebacker to replace Bruce Irvin, who’s leaving in free agency. In addition to impressive measurables, he’s ready for prime-time due to his big-game experience.

27. Green Bay Packers: Noah Spence, LB, Eastern Kentucky

6’2 254 lbs.


The Packers have been trying to generate a pass rush with over-the-hill vet Julius Peppers. It was fun (and funny) while it lasted. But unless they want to continue to waste Rodgers’ prime years, they’d better get serious about building a defense from the ground up.

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

6’3 229 lbs.

Notre Dame v Arizona State

TEMPE, AZ – NOVEMBER 08: Quarterback Taylor Kelly #10 of the Arizona State Sun Devils rushes the football against linebacker Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 8, 2014 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Fighting Irish 55-31. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

A perfect replacement for the departing great Derrick Johnson, once Smith is ready to go, he’ll headline a fearsome defensive unit that should only get better in the coming years. Andy Reid and John Dorsey are building a potential powerhouse.

29. Arizona Cardinals: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

6’5 253 lbs.


Jermaine Gresham was, inexplicably, unused in Arians’ offense. However, a play-maker like Henry should allow Carson Palmer to be that much more potent. He can also add some juice to the emerging running game.

30. Carolina Panthers: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

6’0 225 lbs.


Ohio State plays Indiana at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, November 22, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.

Do the Panthers ever recognize or draft for their needs? Not since they double-dipped for Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in the first and second rounds respectively. Still, you can’t argue with Gettleman’s strategy here. Elliott is a game changer at running back. Him and Cam Newton in the same backfield would give defensive coordinators absolute fits. Also big-game experience blah blah blah.

31. Denver Broncos: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech

6’3 325 lbs.


Elway wants to hold onto Malik Jackson, but it seems like Jackson might chase the money. Proven to have adequate eye-sight and cognitive abilities, Elway recognizes his team was special due to defense and continues to refuel with an impressive talent from a small school who has been shooting up boards.


Mock Draft 1.0 (Picks 27-32)

Wednesday April 1, 2015

The complete first round is now available on NFL Draft

And now the final installment: NFL Mock Draft 1.0 Picks 27-32

No April Fools jokes in here, seriously.

27 Cowboys Jalen Collins, CB, LSU

The Cowboys have more immediate needs, but they’re going to be in a world of hurt if they don’t start infusing young talent in the corner position. Not to mention, this is the kind of prospect Jerry Jones falls in love with. Carr has lost a step and is too inconsistent. He’s still a serviceable starter but I don’t think he will be for much longer. Scandrick is a stalwart and should stick around for quite some time since he’s just coming into his prime. I think the Cowboys have to start planning for the possibility that Mo Claiborne never lives up to his draft stock.

Collins is all upside, but he sure has a lot of it. He’s quite awful against savvy receivers but is a stand-out athlete in run support and can run stride-for-stride on deep balls. In the right situation, he could thrive and I think the Cowboys might be just the place for him. They have athletes at linebacker who could help if Collins loses inside release. If he’s forced to play early in his career, he will have to be schemed around. In a year or two, he has all the tools to become a pro bowler and the Cowboys have been a team known to gamble on upside.

LSU vs. Ole Miss 11/17/12

And then they said we’re gonna take you in the first round

Height: 6’1

Weight: 203 lbs.

2014 Stats: 38 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 9 passes broken up, interception

Projection: Above average starter

Floor: Out of the league within a few years

Ceiling: Pro Bowler

NFL Comparison: Jimmy Smith, CB, Baltimore Ravens- raw prospect coming out of college, prototypical size and all the speed and athleticism to challenge deep balls and develop, lacks the technique to be a true game changer at the position but all the potential to grow into it.

28 Broncos Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami

The Broncos have to consider some help for Von Miller. DeMarcus Ware is a nice piece but he’s better saved for third down where he can wreak havoc off the edge and cover backs out of the backfield. They need a run stopper to set the edge of their 4-3 defense and Denzel Perryman may just provide exactly what this team needs.

Perryman hits like a much larger man. He’s consistent, strong at the point of attack and very savvy against run blockers. At times he looks solid in pass coverage, but more often than not he looks unsure what to do out there. Coaching should improve that facet since the necessary athleticism is not lacking. He has strong instincts and a nose for the ball. He’ll immediately contribute as a two-down linebacker and has the potential to develop into a three-down guy down the line. His height hurts his stock a bit but he’s a strong pick at 28 for the Broncos.


Trust me I’m Ray Lewis

Height: 5’11

Weight: 236 lbs.

2014 Stats: 110 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 2 sacks, interception

Projection: Strong starter

Floor: journeyman

Ceiling: Strong starter

NFL Comparison: London Fletcher, LB, Washington Redskins- Though stout, packs a huge punch. Tough-as-nails linebacker with a mentality that he’s the strongest man on the field, a sure tackler, he’s a force in the run and strong against the pass at times.

29 Colts Cameron Erving, C, Florida State

With three different starters at center last year, addressing that position in the draft becomes a no-brainer. Despite Andrew Luck being an athlete, he’s a pocket-passer first and a clean pocket will make his game rise just that much more. Maybe he’ll stop throwing so many picks early in games. Nah, he’s just a performer, he likes to make the second half interesting. The Colts were active in free agency, but center is one spot they did not address.

Cameron Erving is as versatile as it gets for an offensive lineman. He was playing at an All-American level at left tackle a couple years ago and slid to center, where he continued to play at an All-American level. With so few snaps at center, he’s got nowhere to go but up and he’ll be helped by Luck’s athleticism and quick release early on. I expect he and Luck could become best friends for a decade. Erving doesn’t have a lot of weak spots in his game and he appears to be a natural inside. He pass blocks like a left tackle and is a punishing run blocker. He can blow holes the size of Manhattan open for running backs. His inexperience and his position are the only things hurting his stock but look for him to have Travis Frederick-level impact early in his career in Indianapolis.


These d-linemen are so slow

Height: 6’5

Weight: 313 lbs.

Projection: Pro Bowler

Floor: Average Starter

Ceiling: All Pro

NFL Comparison: Jeremy Zuttah, C, Baltimore Ravens- Fast feet, naturally fluid athlete with more height than usual at center, solid frame but needs to develop more lower body strength to become a seriously punishing run defender. Solid starter in his role with loads of versatility.

30 Panthers Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon

How bad to the Panthers need a talented tackle? Badder than Josh Gordon needs 24-hour supervision. Ok, exaggeration. But the Panthers have been absolutely lost at the position since Jordan Gross retired. They got their big Cam Newton target last year in Kelvin Benjamin, now they grab a guy who has experience playing with running quarterbacks in up-tempo offense.

A true athlete at the tackle position, Fisher even has a touchdown on his resume. He’s got great ability as a space blocker and will probably work best in a zone-blocking scheme since his range is so impressive. He’s powerful, but not overwhelmingly so and his hips look stiff at times when he has to swivel to catch speed rushers. He’s also susceptible to the bull rush which will be a problem if he’s asked to stand up and protect a pocket-passer consistently. Thankfully, none of that is going on for the Panthers which are a perfect fit for Fisher’s talents. He’ll play up to his potential with Carolina.

Jake Fisher

Wonder what it’s like to have only two uniforms

Height: 6’6

Weight: 308 lbs.

Projection: Strong starter

Floor: Backup/swing tackle

Ceiling: Strong starter

NFL Comparison: Riley Reiff, OT, Detroit Lions- Struggles with speed rushers, not ideally suited as a left tackle and may be better on the right side in a traditional offense, rarely attacks as a pass protector but possesses a mauling run-blocking skill set.

31 saints Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington

The Saints haven’t had a true athlete at linebacker since Jonathan Vilma was in his prime. It’s time to change all that. Covering tight ends has been a problem for the Saints for years. As has covering the outside run game and quick-hitting short routes. Vaccarro has helped in that area but the Saints have to have a linebacker with that sort of ability.

This guy oozes Rob Ryan and fits perfectly with the many different fronts and base packages the Saints employ. He’s an incredible athlete with the ball in his hands; he has exceptional field vision and burst as a play-making defender. His abilities in coverage are only limited by his inexperience. He can develop into an elite pass-coverage linebacker. He’s not terribly strong at the point of attack but the Saints have plenty of big uglies at linebacker in Humber and Hawthorne to clean up the running game. Thompson gives this defense juice and spark and in this scheme, he fits the range perfectly.


I’m a linebacker don’t be fooled by the 7 on my chest

Height: 6’0

Weight: 228 lbs.

2014 Stats: Defense: 80 tackles, 3 fumble return touchdowns, interception for touchdown, 4 passes broken up. Offense: 456 rushing yards, 56 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns,

Projection: Above average starter

Floor: Journeyman

Ceiling: Pro Bowler

NFL Comparison: LaVonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Undersized for a linebacker, a sideline-to-sideline athlete with a nose for the ball, has game-changing ability and always-ascending play to reach a very high ceiling, also a knack for creating turnovers.

32 Patriots Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

Bill Bellichick and Robert Kraft have proven time and time again that they’re the smartest guys in the room. Here’s another example. Obviously receiver is a consideration here but the draft is deeply talented in that area. It’s also deep at running back but the value here for Melvin Gordon is exceptional.

Gordon is a do-it-all back that allows the Patriots to save roster spots for different positions. He can play all three downs since he is a solid pass catcher and adequate pass blocker. He has elite vision and strong acceleration to go with mind-numbing consistency. Gordon shows up in every game, on every play, with absolute effort. In fact, his play style is also mind-numbing because he’s about as patient and savvy a runner as you’ll see. He doesn’t flash with big moves, he doesn’t bowl over defenders, he doesn’t streak up sidelines, he’s just patient and smart. Did I mention he had 408 yards and 4 touchdowns in one game against Nebraska, an average of 16.3 per carry? In three quarters? Ridiculous.


You gotta have muscles on your eyeballs

Height: 6’1

Weight: 215 lbs.

2014 Stats: 2587 rush yards, 29 rush touchdowns, 153 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns

Projection: Strong Starter

Floor: Above average starter

Ceiling: Pro Bowler

NFL Comparison: Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills- Can really do it all. Has enough speed to burst for big chunks, enough wiggle to get through small creases, the vision to find those creases before they develop and the elusiveness to make that last defender miss, excellent frame for an NFL back, Will make a long career as an all-around back and transition perfectly to a complimentary role when the time comes.