Tag Archives: NFL

Top 10 wide receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft:

We have now moved back out of the trenches and gone to the skill-positions. This week will be about wide receivers and cornerbacks, while next week we will to the tight-ends and safeties. After that it’s time to look at the quarterbacks and reveal my top 100 big board, before putting out my one and only mock draft of the year. When it comes to the receiver position, as it is with most, there is a lot of versatility and different teams or schemes ask for different skill-sets. There are your prototypical big-bodied X-receivers, smaller and shifty slot receivers, those taller guys who can almost be used like a seam-stretching tight-ends and everything in-between.

This class of wide receivers has not gotten a lot of love, but similar to the way I talked about the running backs, this is very deep position in my opinion. There might not be that bona fide stud wideout for everybody and I could see only three of them going in the first round, but there are so many quality options from rounds two to four. The twelve names I will talk about in this article all deserve to go off the board and I could easily see a run at them in the second round, where there could go seven or eight of them. As far as my evaluations go, I have two definite first rounders and my entire top ten will earn top-60 grades. I like two other guys a whole lot, who still need some development, and there is a load of talented prospects beyond that, who I will mention at the very end.

Also check out my positional rankings on the best available running backs, linebackers, interior offensive linemen, interior defensive linemen, offensive tackles and edge rushers.

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Top 10 edge rushers in the 2019 NFL Draft:

We have done all the interior guys and the offensive tackles now, so we are moving on to the edge rushers. Once again, I differentiate between interior defensive linemen – meaning anything from true nose tackle to 5-tech defensive end – and edge rusher. This class includes defensive ends and outside linebackers, whether those are the spots they played in college or where I project them fit at the next level. I already mentioned this with the inside guys – With how hybrid defensive schemes are today and how little teams actually line up in base sets, the fit of these prospects is not necessarily as important. What counts is primarily if you can rush the passer, then if you can set the edge in the run game and finally if you can stand up and drop into coverage. Of the course the more you can do for your team, the better, and the draft boards will vary depending on the scheme of teams, but not all of these areas are equally important.

I already marveled at the talent on the interior D-line, but this class of edge rushers is even better and deeper. I could easily see up to eight of these guys be selected in the first round and the top two will probably end up being among my three highest-graded prospects. What I really like about this group is the versatility, not necessarily when it comes to scheme fits, but rather their overall style of play. You have technically sound players or raw athletic freaks, finesse speed rushers and frenetic power guys. Whatever your flavor is, there is someone for you to find – as long as you have the draft capital.

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Top 10 offensive tackles in the 2019 NFL Draft:

Now that we’ve completed the interior portion of the offensive line, it is time to look at the guys on the edges. When it comes to offensive tackles, maybe more than at any other position, size is definitely a skill. While you don’t have to be exact prototype size and weight, there are thresholds when it comes to height and length that all successful players at the position seem to reach. Until a few years ago, people acted like your left tackle is far more important than the one on your right side. However, once defenses started putting their top pass rushers against those formerly less talented right tackles, the NFL learned that both those spots have to filled with quality players if you want to survive in this league.

This class of offensive tackles is falsely labelled as a poor one in my opinion. It more so due to the fact that four of the top five guys are better suited to play on the right side. I think there is one prospect that should absolutely be a top ten pick and at least four more that I could easily see going in the first round. After that there are a lot of different opinions, but no matter how you turn it, twelve of them should end up being top 100 prospects. I will refer a lot to these guys’ performances at the Senior Bowl, because with offensive linemen the one-on-ones against quality competitions are the most indicative drills when it comes to their pass pro abilities.

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Top 10 interior defensive linemen in the 2019 NFL Draft:

Having talked about the top interior offensive linemen on Tuesday, we move back to the defensive side of the ball with their direct opponents. Unlike many mainstream pages I am not differentiating between outside linebackers, defensive ends and defensive tackles, because the job descriptions don’t match a lot of times. A base D-end in a 3-4 has completely different responsibilities than one in a 4-3 who is primarily an edge pass rusher and those are way more similar to actual outside backers that line up on the edge than actual stand-up backers. Therefore you will find my rankings on edge rushers here next week and this edition includes all interior D-linemen, meaning anything from head-up on the offensive tackle to true nose tackles lining up across center.

I don’t remember the last time we had such a talented group at the top. Three of them will probably be selected in the top 20 and up to nine of them could be top 50 overall prospects, with one being so talented that he might go in the first round despite possibly not being available at all for the 2019 season. For me, I don’t consider current injuries in my positional rankings. You will find their impact on my big board once I’m done with every position. Most of these guys project as upfield penetrators, who will be asked to play one gap and create problems for opposing offenses, even if their schemes or teams’ needs didn’t allow them to do that at the collegiate level. With the amount of sub-packages and hybrid defenses, true fits aren’t as important as long as you can be a disruptive player and help out your team. I will refer to many of them as “3-techniques”, meaning they line up on the outside shoulder of the guard and only play that B-gap in base sets.

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Top 10 interior offensive linemen in the 2019 NFL Draft:

After talking about the best running backs and linebackers available last week, we move into the trenches in our positional draft rankings. For this edition, I combined offensive guards and centers because the necessary skill-sets are very similar and many of these prospects played both positions during their collegiate careers. While their value might differ depending on offensive scheme, I like to evaluate them as one group.

There are definitely no generational-type prospects like Quenton Nelson on this list, who I had as my number two overall player, but this group has about a dozen quality names. As the league moves more towards wide-open offenses that throw the ball out of shotgun and try to get it out quickly on a multitude of screens, mobility and pass-protecting are becoming more important, but there is still a lot of value of what interior offensive linemen can do for you in the run game. Obviously each team will evaluate these prospects according to their scheme, but for the purpose of this list, I am looking for complete players, who will help my offense move the ball.

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Top 10 linebackers in the 2019 NFL Draft:

We started our positional rankings on Tuesday with the running backs and the way we are going to do this is alternate between offense and defense with kind of the direct matchups in one week (so tackles vs. edge rushers, wide receivers vs. cornerbacks, etc.). So that leads us to the linebackers in this edition and the opinions about this group seem to be all over the place.

While I do believe there is a clear order of one, two and three, after that there is a lot of disagreement. I think there are two clear first-rounders and another guy, who should go somewhere early on day two, but from my number five prospect on these guys might not even hear their names called before day three when I look at many of these rankings out there. Two that are frequently among the top five or so didn’t even make my list at all. I am looking for fast, athletic linebackers who fit the modern game, while also being able to defend the downhill run game, as I could see a trend of more power football being played in the near future.

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Top 10 running backs in the 2019 NFL Draft:

We have come to the point for me to reveal my positional rankings for the upcoming NFL draft. I will put out my top ten (plus) with two positional groups coming every week leading up to April 25th, with my top 100 big board and only mock draft finishing up the process. This week I am starting with the running backs and linebackers.

While there is no generational running back prospect such as Saquon Barkley in this class, I think overall these skill positions are very deep this year. You will see something similar with the wide receivers, where there is no consensus number one guy, but plenty of prospects NFL front offices will try to get their hands on. When it comes to the RBs, I think one young man has crystallized himself as the cream of the crop, but my rankings look a lot different compared to others after that. Obviously these boards will alter depending on scheme fits and personal preferences, but for me I am looking for an all-around back with vision, appropriate footwork, natural running style, versatility and the ability to create more than what is actually there.

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Who stood out at the 2019 NFL combine:

Every year there are prospects who boost their draft stock with amazing performances at the NFL scouting combine and then there are those who really hurt themselves with slow times in the fourty, a lack of explosiveness in the leaping events or bad on-field drills. With that being said, the combine is just a small part of the evaluation and most of the information can be found on tape. However, there are some things you see in Indianapolis that make you go back to the film and re-evaluate certain areas of these guys’ games, whether that may be stiffness in their hips, a lack of speed preventing defensive backs to survive full-time on the outside or heavy feet in the drills. Of course, these can also be positive, but for the most part it is just a confirmation of what you have already seen if nothing particularly stands out. The prospects I chose for this article are the ones who I wasn’t completely sure on where I would rank them among their position or on the big board, but really solidified or even improved their draft status.

Overall I think the linebackers and defensive linemen are the groups that really stood out on day three, which was to be expected to some degree but still was highly impressive, considering how they were able to move with the weight they carried. I was discouraged by some of the cornerbacks and there was only one quarterback who really left his mark in Indy in my opinion. Although there were a few performances that made me drop guys a few spots, I thought most of them helped themselves. So while there was nobody who completely threw off my board, I thought these young guys really shined over the weekend:

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