Josh Norris

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Day 3: Top 25 Best Available

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I will be murmuring, “how is he still available?” in my sleep tonight. There’s a variety of reasons the prospects listed below missed out on the first two days of the draft. Some possibly due to medicals (Jesse Williams' rumored knee, Quanterus Smith), others a poor pre-draft process (Jordan Poyer), and finally, a few specialize in a certain role (Washington, Rambo).


I’ve narrowed the evaluation of each of these prospects down to what truly matters: where they can help the team that drafts them. Next to each name is where they ranked on my pre-draft top 151. A list of my top remaining QBs can be found on the second page.


1. DT Jesse Williams, Alabama (23)


Where he wins: Experience at nose tackle and as a five technique end. Strong upper body to absorb and hold an anchor. Shows power in hands to shed or extend and press the pocket from the interior at times.


2. WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (30)


Where he wins: Extremely fluid and smooth in his routes. Sets up opposing cornerback with head fakes and cuts. Reliable hands and adjusts body positioning after tracking to come down with difficult catches. Burns opposition vertically when speed isn’t respected.


3. S Bacarri Rambo, Georgia (47)


Where he wins: Center field type safety who tracks the ball well with angles to disrupt the catch point. Shows enough tackling ability to be a reliable last line of defense. Great ball skills and shows a physical side closing downhill versus receivers.


4. DE Alex Okafor, Texas (48)


Where he wins: Uncommon kind of pass rusher in that he does his best work with hand use, extension, and shedding ability. Lines up in two and three point stances. Not afraid to plant off of his outside foot and work inside, or keep his opposition on skates. Reaches to make a play on the QB in the pocket.


5. CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (50)


Where he wins: Adept in off man, press man, and zone coverages. Physical player on the edge, attacks WR blocks and fights off to make a play. Has a good feel for timing with decisive footwork. Has experience in the slot.


6. DE Cornelius Washington, Georgia (51)


Where he wins: In wide 7 or 9 technique. Excellent get off with low pad level, gains leverage with strong first contact. Leg drive to keep opposition on skates. Has more athleticism than was shown at 5 technique in 2012.


7. S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse (52)


Where he wins: A very aggressive, confident hitter in the open field and when closing on the edge. See him blowing up the middle on inside runs as well. Sniffs out misdirection. Strong safety that lays the hammer on short to intermediate patterns.


8. RB Andre Ellington, Clemson (54)


Where he wins: Lean runner who sticks close to his blocks with great acceleration after cutting off their backsides. Despite his narrow base he has some nice balance and isn’t afraid of contact as a runner or in pass protection. Decisive cutter, likely in a zone scheme.


9. RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA (55)


Where he wins: One cut, decisive runner with great vision to find backside lanes. Doesn’t shy from contact as a pass protector and can make a big play happen if given a seam due to excellent straight-line speed. Upfield cuts make defenders miss at the second level.


10. DE Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky (60)


Where he wins: Eats up a lot of ground getting upfield off the snap, shows a nice dip to turn the corner against right tackles and free his path towards QBs. Not a one trick pony, shows willingness to plant outside and work in.


11. WR Da’Rick Rogers, Tenn Tech (62)


Where he wins: Gets physical in his routes by creating separation, slightly pushes off. Tracks vertical passes well and a determined runner after the catch. Makes grabs in traffic with corners attempting to undercut pattern.


12. LB DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina (65)


Where he wins: Prototypical strong side linebacker. Gets up field against the run but remains under control. Extends arms to create separation in order to shed on ball carrier. Plays low and former safety skills show when asked to play in short to intermediate game.


13. CB Adrian Bushell, Louisville (68)


Where he wins: Lots of press man and mirrors early in routes with good burst to cut in front of receivers. Tight angles off the edge when sent on a blitz, cleans up on hits when downhill. Frequently used as a gunner on the punt team.


14. CB Sanders Commings, Georgia (69)


Where he wins: A true press corner, sticks in the hip pocket and slows his opposition downfield. Sheds to put himself in position to make a play in the running game and doesn’t mind tackling.


15. T Reid Fragel, Ohio State (78)


Where he wins: Played right tackle despite a left tackle frame and was not overpowered. Shows nice posture and length to extend, with necessary footwork to make an impact at the second level. Hand placement always seems to be inside to control.


16. WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (83)


Where he wins: Primarily a slot receiver in college with quick feet to create separation in breaks. Thrives on the broken play due to vertical speed that wasn’t regularly used. Improved hands from 2011 to 2012.


17. S Earl Wolff, NC State (85)


Where he wins: Physical tackler coming from the free safety position, reads and reacts quickly. Makes plays from the opposite hash, takes solid angles and times contact well. Can play single high, two deep, or run with receivers down the seam.


18. CB B.W. Webb, William & Mary (86)


Where he wins: Plenty of off man coverage in college with nice back pedal, strafe, and hip turn to stick with receivers. Attacks the catch point to disrupt. Does well to keep everything in front of him.


19. RB Dennis Johnson, Arkansas (87)


Where he wins: Will shine on passing downs. Short choppy steps allow for quick cuts to change defenders’ angles. Comfortable as a receiver in the flats or on angle routes. Low center of gravity helps with broken tackles.


20. S Josh Evans, Florida (88)


Where he wins: Does not mind getting physical despite frequently lining up as Matt Elam’s free safety. Knifes through trash to make tackles rather than waiting as the last line of defense. Does not shy from attacking the catch point or immediately after. Comfortable trailing tight ends from the slot.


21. OLB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers (90)


Where he wins: Obviously comfortable in space, runs the seam with tight ends or receivers and shows closing speed in every aspect of his game. Shows more aggression when working downhill whether ball carrier is lined up or on the edge. Weakside linebacker.


22. DE Malliciah Goodman, Clemson


Where he wins: Freakish length and can generate consistent separation when it is used. Shows a variety of techniques when rushing from the 5 spot, including push and pull or slap with dip to turn the corner. Strong side defensive end.


23. LB Chase Thomas, Stanford


Where he wins: A very technical pass rusher in terms of hand use, extension, and shedding ability. Not going to wow with athleticism but understands leverage and lines to keep his opponent off balance. See him as a pass rushing linebacker.


24. RB Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt


Where he wins: Rarely goes down on first contact. Powerful runner with solid base to work through tackles. One cut runner with some burst. Unafraid to work between the tackles. Covers ground with jump cuts.


25. Phillip Thomas, Fresno State


Where he wins: Has excellent ball skills as a center fielder with enough skill to take downfield receivers in man coverage. Good angles with some aggression in the running game, even if he doesn’t finish the tackle.


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Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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