2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cornerbacks

Khalil Smith

  1. Jalen Ramsey
    • School: Florida State
    • Class: Junior
    • Height/Weight: 6’1” / 209lbs
  • Strengths:
    • Ramsey is simply a flatout “football player”. He made his mark at Florida State as the first true freshman to start since Deion Sanders, a 3-year starter, and a 1st team All-American selection in 2015.
    • Ramsey separates himself from other DB prospects with his versatility, playing all over the field at cornerback, safety, and even nickelback. Ramsey plays with impressive instincts, anticipating passes well before the ball leaves the quarterback’s hands. With Ramsey, you don’t have to worry about his willingness to help in run support. He’s a defensive back with a linebacker’s’ mentality, a ferocious head-hunter who aggressively plays up at the line of scrimmage.
  • Weaknesses:
    • The most popular statistic amongst defensive backs is interceptions, and Ramsey didn’t have many during his career at Florida State. Many scouts have questioned his ball-skills, and more specifically, his hands. Ramsey frequently dropped interceptions, and didn’t record a single interception during his junior season. There will be a learning curve for Ramsey when he first enters the NFL. Scouts expect him to struggle in man-coverage early on, but don’t expect these struggle to last forever, as Ramsey has the all the physical and intangible skills to overcome his deficiencies in man-coverage.
  • Comparison:
    • Best-case Scenario: Ronnie Lott / Tyrann Mathieu
    • Worst-case Scenario: Brandon Browner
  • Draft Prediction:
    • A few weeks ago, Ramsey was in consideration for the #1 overall pick in the draft. Now, after a couple draft-day trades (Rams, Eagles), look for the San Diego Chargers to take Ramsey at the #3 spot. Although Ramsey could fall as low as #6 to the Baltimore, Ravens fans shouldn’t get too excited, as Ramsey is far too talented to slip that far down.

2. Vernon Hargreaves III

    • School: Florida
    • Class: Junior
    • Height/Weight: 5’10” / 204 lbs
  • Strengths:
    • Hargreaves was the top cornerback prospect entering the 2015 college football season. While Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey took over that title, Hargreaves still remains the top “cover-corner” in this draft, period. Hargreaves is known as a “quick-twitch” athlete. He explodes out his breaks and his footwork is already at an NFL-level. His elite ball skills are elite, his recovery speed is remarkable, and unlike Ramsey, Hargreaves has the statistics to prove it (10 career INT’s, 38 career passes defensed).
  • Weakness:
    • Height and size (which are not entirely his fault). The average NFL cornerback size has increased over recent years, and so have the receivers’, causing concern for Hargreaves who only stands 5’10”. Look, he’s not getting any taller, but he must improve upon his size to stand a chance against the Dez Bryant’s and A.J. Green’s of the NFL.
    • Although he’s known for his “quick-twitch” athleticism and instincts, Hargreaves had his eyes caught in the backfield often during his time at Florida. If he’s not careful, he’ll get lured into double-moves all day long.
  • Comparisons:
    • Best-case Scenario: Joe Haden
    • Worst-case Scenario: Dee Milliner
  • Draft Prediction:
    • Many scouts believe Hargreaves will land back in his hometown of Tampa, Florida with the Buccaneers at #9, who are in desperate need of secondary help. If Hargreaves was a couple inches taller, he would be considered a top-5 pick.

3. Eli Apple

    • School: Ohio State
    • Class: Sophomore (RS)
    • Height/Weight: 6’1” / 199 lbs
  • Strengths:
    • Eli Apple solidified himself as a boarder-line 1st round pick last season at Ohio State while earning Second Team All-Big Ten Honors. Apple has all all the physical tools NFL teams look for in a cornerback: size, length, speed, quickness, etc. He’s a fluid athlete who moves his feet and hips well, critical for tracking receivers downfield. Apple is extremely competitive in jump-ball situations, aggressively breaking up passes and fights for possession of the ball.
  • Weakness:
    • Although Apple possesses the physical traits to be a solid shutdown corner in the NFL, he needs to improve upon his discipline in pass defense. Too often was Apple caught up in being physical with receivers to where he picked up countless penalties. If his disincline fails to improve, Apple will begin to get exposed by offensive coordinators, and perhaps referees too.
  • Comparisons:
    • Best-case Scenario: Antonio Cromartie
    • Worst-care Scenario: Andre Woolfolk
  • Draft Prediction:
    • Apple is a borderline 1st round pick. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who’s secondary proved to be a liability, have their eye on Apple at #25. If he slips past the 1st round, he immediately becomes second-day steal for whoever lands the Ohio State product.

4. Artie Burns

    • School: Miami (FL)
    • Class: Junior
    • Height/Weight: 6’0” / 193 lbs
  • Strengths:
    • A two-sport star athlete at Miami (FL) in football and track, there is no questioning Artie Burns’ speed in this draft. He effectively uses his speed in man-coverage, especially when tracking down deep balls. He also possesses solid quickness, with the ability to turn his hips and explode out his break. Burns has a natural eye for the football, leading the ACC with six interceptions this past season with the Hurricanes.
  • Weakness:
    • Still a work in progress with his mechanics. Burns’ often relies heavily on his natural speed, which may work in college, but not at in the NFL. Often exposed to elite route-running wideouts. Needs to attack blockers rather than waiting for the ball-carrier to come, will get exposed in the running game early in his career.
  • Comparisons:
    • Best-case Scenario: Darius Slay
    • Worst-case Scenario: Alphonso Smith
  • Draft Prediction:
    • Burns can go as high as the second round and as low as the fourth round. He should be off the board by the middle of the third round at the latest.                                                             

5. William Jackson III

    • School: Houston
    • Class: Senior
    • Height / Weight: 6’0” / 189 lbs
  • Strengths:
    • William Jackson III enters the draft with good size at the cornerback position. He is at his best when the ball in the air. Jackson III has receiver-like ball-skills, anticipating the ball at its highest-point, and he’s not afraid to get physical with receivers when fighting for jump-balls.
  • Weakness:
    • Although Jackson III is a decent athlete with good size, some question his quickness when covering shorter routes. This may become a problem when he faces shorter, quicker receivers who run tight and crisp routes (ex. Antonio Brown)
    • Some scouts also question the competition Jackson III faced in college. He started at a junior college, then transferred to Houston, who plays in the mediocre AAC.
  • Draft Prediction:
    • Although Jackson III is projected as a second round pick, don’t be surprised if the Kansas City Chiefs, who needs a solid cornerback to play opposite of Marcus Peters, take Jackson III late in the first round at #28.

2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Safeties

Safety: David Rodriguez

1. Vonn Bell – The Ohio State State senior Vonn Bell has had an elevated career as a Buckeye. Bell led the Big Ten with six interceptions as a sophomore and finished with just two his junior season. His speed is something NFL teams should take note of. Bell switched to free safety from cornerback where he was involved in more tackles, ninety two to be exact his sophomore year and with just sixty five his junior year. Bell has blown a few coverages at free safety but it’s nothing you can’t fix.

Vonn Bell is one of the better free safeties coming out of the top five projected players for his position for the draft. His team’s success throughout the years he played shows that he can defend the best. He matched up with Amari Cooper in the college football playoff during the 2014 – 2015 season. Vonn Bell will hopefully be one of the later picks in the first round or early second.

2. Karl Joseph – The most fearful defender in the college backfield before suffering a knee injury after just four games into the season. After a disappointing season he seeks to go early in the second round with his aggressive play style and gritty tackle tactics. Joseph, with his 4.57 forty yard dash speed while staying low and engaging contact, he demolishes the opposing offenders.

His aggressive play style could be a downfall for the Mountaineer senior. It has been said that Joseph lacks in open field tackling which could be a problem. No team wants a guy that can’t handle his own during one on one situations, and that could be crucial. Joseph’s landing in the draft will be based on how quickly he can recover from his knee injury.

3. KelVarae Russell – The questionable KelVarae Russell of the Fighting Irish has on and off battles with his football career through college. Being suspend the season of 2014 for academic dishonesty, Russell managed to return in 2015 and play a good season until the final two games where he broke his right leg. The Irish defensive back Russell has raw talent, his unreal athleticism and excellent hand eye coordination helps him squeeze on the ball mid air. Some cons with his play style are keying in on the quarterback too long and that’s where he loses the receiver. If Russell can to recover from his injury safely he can become something special in the NFL but he’ll have to stay focused and healthy. KelVarae Russell is projected to go third or fourth round in this years draft.

4. Keanu Neal – The six foot junior weighing in at two hundred pounds solid, Keanu Neal, hopes to go in the first round as stated by scouts. The Florida Gator whose physical defense has stood out at his time as a Gator. Neal could be the new addition and perfect fit to the Arizona Cardinals five star defensive backfield. Quick to the ball and with the ability of breaking up passes instantly, Neal has the authority to make a statement in the NFL. Don’t sleep on this guy.

5. Justin Simmons – Justin Simmons of Boston College didn’t miss a beat while playing center field for Boston College. Simmons played an outstanding fifty games while having his time spent on the field. Leading his team in tackles his final year with seventy-six, Simmons’ lengthy play style has made him someone to look out for. He has the ability to break up passes and jump routes. His toughness and ability to make open field tackles with no hesitation is a plus.

There aren’t many weaknesses of Simmons but his size could get to him with his lengthy-ness   slowing him down during coverages in the open field.

Kerry Washington signs ABC contract under Simpson Street Productions

Kerry Washington, aka Olivia Pope, is grabbing a seat at the big table in ABC Studios with her own production company: Simpson Street

In a recent statement Kerry Washington says, “I believe strongly in the importance of having a seat at the table, which makes starting this production company thrilling for me. It’s an honor to be at a point in my career when I can help generate projects that that are exciting, necessary, and truly reflect the world around us. I’m grateful to be on this journey with ABC, a network that remains unparalleled in its commitment to inclusive storytelling.”

#BlackGirlMagic at it’s finest!

Simpson Street just signed a two-year contract with ABC Studios. First project is said to be an Anita Hill documentary starring Kerry Washington herself!

 

Read more at: Blavity.com

2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Running Backs

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Scouting Report: Running backs

  1. Ezekiel Elliot
  • Height: 6’ 0”
  • Weight: 225
  • College: Ohio State
  • Class: Senior

Elliot is NFL ready and could be the first running back taken out of the draft. Had a great resume in college, was very consistent and averaged back to back 200-yard rushing games in the Big Ten Championship Game, Sugar Bowl, and National Championship game. Also has won offensive MVP honors in the final two games of this past season. In the 2014 season he rushed for 1,878 yards. That was a record at Ohio State which is second in school history, and he ran for a total of 18 touchdowns. Also at the NFL combine, he ran a 4.47 second 40yard dash. He needs to work on being a better receiver coming out of the backfield, but overall has no weaknesses.

Why he would fit with the Browns. Definitely has a better running ability than combined talents of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson, and can make a huge impact as soon as possible. Very versatile, and has a great footwork and know how to hit the holes and explode through the gaps. Also runs with ease, and has a great balance, able to bounce off tackles and get extra yards.

  1. Derrick Henry
  • Height: 6’ 3”
  • Weight: 247
  • College: Alabama
  • Class: Junior

Derrick is pretty much right where Elliot is. Henry is a more of powerful runner than Elliot. In college he was the Crimson Tide’s leading rusher and averaged 5.8 yards a carry in 2014. In the SEC, he really excelled and set a new record in rushing yards with 2,219 and a total of 28 touchdowns. Also, he won the 2015 Heisman Trophy. He has improved as a receiver and blocker, and rarely fumbles the ball. He had the size for the position but struggles to maintain his balance while running, and is sometimes inconsistent on some runs.

Why he would fit with the Browns. Could make a huge impact and score touchdowns in a hurry for the team, able to find holes and find an opening and get instant offense something the Browns need desperately.

  1. Devontae Booker
  • Height: 5’ 11”
  • Weight: 219
  • College: Utah
  • Class: Senior

Booker is a bit short but that doesn’t matter, he has game and should get drafted. His best season by far was in 2014, where he rushed for 1,512 yards and 10 TD’s. With Utah, he averaged around 133.3 yards per game and was acknowledged by all of the Pac-12 coaches as the conference’s top running back. Has the ability to break tackles, knows when to run and makes great decisions. Booker can make unbelievable cuts and runs the ball with ease. Sometimes his speed lacks, and NFL defenders could easily tackle him in the backfield.

Why he would fit with the Browns: He could be someone the Browns can rely on for a big play and for a 3rd down. Has decent ball control, and can be someone the quarterback can throw to for flat and screen plays.

  1. Kenneth Dixon
  • Height: 5’ 10”
  • Weight: 215
  • College: Louisiana Tech
  • Class: Senior

Dixon is definitely an NFL prospect and has soon as he’s drafted he will help out an NFL team extremely. He is one of the best NCAA running backs in the game. He started playing the game when he was in high school, he was very talented and was a three-star recruit out of Strong High School in Arkansas. His senior year at Louisiana Tech was by far his best, he ran for 19 touchdowns, rushed for 1,070 and also recorded 467 yards and seven TD’s as a receiver. Dixon is very strong and can easily take hits, and he is able to maintain his balance and run quickly on the field. Overall a decent runner, but sometimes dances a lot and tries to go to east-west too much and doesn’t gain any yards. Also inconsistent at times, has had an ankle injury in the past.

Why he would fit with the Browns: The Browns need a running back that can take hits and can bounce off of them. Dixon is the perfect fit for them because he could be someone they could use for the tough runs up the middle. Also, he’s a good decision maker and would know what to do if the Browns need a big play.

  1. Kenyan Drake
  • Height: 6’ 1”
  • Weight: 210
  • College: Alabama
  • Class: Senior

Drake is much smaller than Derrick Henry, who he played alongside with at Alabama. Drake has talent though and has talent and it ready for the NFL. At the combine, he ran a 4.45 second for the 40-yard dash. He has the resume at Alabama, and his best season by far was in 2013, where he rushed for 694 yards on 92 carries and was able to get in the end zone 8 times. Also, recorded 135 yards on 12 receptions. He is very talented and is one of the top SEC running backs, has good vision, and the ability to find the hole and create positive plays. Also, he is able to run really fast at any given time and likes to bounce to the outside for some of his runs. He has to stay injury free and take care of his body, has already suffered an arm and leg injury in college.

Why he would fit with the Browns. Definitely could be a huge upgrade, for the Browns, he has all the abilities the Browns need in a running back. He is very explosive and as soon as he inserted into the lineup he will make a huge impact.

2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Wide Receivers

Wide Receivers
1. Corey Coleman
– Height: 5’11
– Weight: 194
– College: Baylor
– Class: Junior (Redshirt)
Coleman is an explosive playmaker as an outside receiver. The 2015 Biletnikoff Award winner, which is the award given to the best collegiate receiver, Coleman is ranked number one on my board because of his ability to make the big play. Decent size for a receiver, not a physical monster by any stretch of the imagination, but has enough build to transition to the NFL.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.40s
– Bench: 17
– Vertical Jump: 40 ½ inches
– Broad Jump: 10’9
Most analysts have Treadwell as the clear top receiver in the 2016 class, but I believe in Coleman’s ability to stretch the field while still being able to make plays in the short to intermediate passing game.
Some of Coleman’s shortcomings are mental which causes red flags to be raised for a few organizations, but his high ceiling is what makes him the top receiver in the draft.
Coleman is a projected mid-first round pick, and would have to fall to the Browns later in the first round to be considered a good pick by Cleveland. Even with Coleman’s talent and potential, Cleveland would not be a good fit for Coleman because the of the Browns’ position in the draft.
NFL Comparison
Best Case Scenario – Emmanuel Sanders
Worst Case Scenario – John Brown

2. Laquan Treadwell
– Height: 6’2
– Weight: 221
– College: Ole Miss
– Class: Junior
Laquon Treadwell is the most physical receiver in the draft. As previously stated, the majority of analysts have Treadwell as the best receiver in the draft, but problems with drops, route running, and average speed leave me unimpressed. What you see is what you get with him, a solid pass catcher that can line up both inside and out using his physicality to get open. The problem with his “physical dominance” in college is that the NFL is a different animal, and every cornerback is just as physical as Treadwell.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.64s
– Bench: 12
– Vertical Jump: 33 inches
– Broad Jump: 9’9
With all that said I still believe Treadwell will transition well to the NFL and be a solid receiver for many years. Whoever drafts him should expect immediate production; the only reason I don’t have him listed as the top receiver is his potential. Treadwell is projected to fall somewhere in the middle picks of the first round, and would be a reach for the Browns at 8, but would be a great addition and a significant upgrade for Cleveland’s receiving corps.
NFL COMPARISON:
Best Case Scenario – Anquan Boldin
Worst Case Scenario – David Boston

3. Will Fuller
– Height: 6’1
– Weight: 186
– College: Notre Dame
– Class: Junior
Will Fuller is a speed demon, plain and simple. Fuller is the kind of receiver that stretches the field and allows other receivers to find open space in the middle of the field. A dynamic playmaker, Fuller is second all time on Notre Dame’s receiving touchdown list. Shows the ability to go up and snatch the ball out of the air, and has an extra gear down field that allows him to create space.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.32s
– Bench: 10
– Vertical Jump: 33 ½ inches
– Broad Jump: 10’6
It’s worth noting that Fuller was clocked at 2.51 seconds at 20 yards, which means he accelerates to top speed very quickly and that should translate well to the NFL. Fuller’s shortcomings include: untimely drops, thin frame at the receiver position, and question marks surround his ability to make plays in the middle of the field. Fuller is projected in the late first round or early second round. He would be a great fit for Cleveland as a playmaker on the outside, and would fall to the Browns in a range that would make him worth the pick.
NFL Comparison
Best Case Scenario – DeSean Jackson
Worst Case Scenario – Ted Ginn
4. Josh Doctson
– Height: 6’2
– Weight: 202
– College: TCU
– Class: Senior (Redshirt)
Doctson left TCU as the school’s all time leading receiver. A tall lanky receiver that needs to add bulk to his frame if he wants to excel in the NFL, Doctson has all the ability in the world to be a star. At TCU, Doctson played in the spread so he will have to adjust to an NFL playbook, but has enough raw athleticism to ease the transition.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.50 seconds
– Bench: 14
– Vertical jump: 41 inches
– Broad jump: 10’11
Doctson showed struggles with concentration catching balls over the middle of the field, as well as mediocre route running which raises red flags. If he can overcome those problems and add some weight to his frame he will be a productive receiver in the league.
The Browns could end up drafting Doctson as he is projected as a late first to early second round pick and would be a solid fit on the team.
NFL Comparison
Best Case Scenario – Joe Horn
Worst Case Scenario – Michael Jenkins

5. Michael Thomas
– Height: 6’3
– Weight: 212
– College: The Ohio State University
– Class: Junior (Redshirt)
Michael Thomas out of The Ohio State University is a physical beast. Great size for the receiver position, and possesses raw athleticism. More of a work in progress prospect than a NFL ready made guy. Thomas was Ohio State’s best receiver this past season and arguably was the best receiver on the national championship team two seasons ago.
Combine Results
– 40 time: 4.57 seconds
– Bench: 18
– Vertical jump: 35 inches
– Broad jump: 10’6
Thomas is still figuring out how to be a complete receiver and has much to improve on. Route running and mental focus are huge downsides to his game, but with the right team he could flourish. He is projected as a second round pick; Thomas could potentially be a good fit for the Browns, but not in a good position to be drafted by the Browns because if they take him high it would be a reach and he most likely won’t fall to the third round.
NFL Comparison
Best Case Scenario – Marques Colston
Worst Case Scenario – Roy Williams