Josh Norris


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NFL Draft Prospects: Top-32

Thursday, October 24, 2013

16.Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama*

NFL Comparison: Trent Williams

Where He Wins: Does occasionally bend at the waist but is athletic enough to recover and regain balance. Best when keeping separation thanks to great length. Can get a bit short in his drops, but again, has the athletic lower half to react and keep positioning. Better in pass protection than run blocking.

Where He Fits: Likely left tackle but could start on the right side as well. The two aren’t so different anymore.

Draft Projection: Has shown weaknesses this season, mainly in the form of overextension or slow feet off the snap, but talent is there. Top-20.

17. WR Marqise Lee, USC*

NFL Comparison: Reggie Wayne

Where He Wins: Long, lean strider. Best as a straight-line receiver. Doesn't mind chipping the edge when in motion or finishing off runs with low shoulder. Obvious burst of quickness in first or second step, then it builds after that. Lines up in the slot and outside, smooth runner in his breaks to avoid contact. Frequently sent in motion. Hands catcher. Can make people miss in the open field, but doesn't have outstanding lateral agility.

Where He Fits: Likely outside receiver who gets vertical with fluid routes and long speed. Can easily peel back patterns and create separation when working towards the quarterback.

Draft Projection: Has dealt with injuries, drops, and bad quarterback play this year. Still a top-40 selection.

18. DE Aaron Lynch, USF*

NFL Comparison: Aldon Smith

Where He Wins: Very quick movements in tight spaces. Looked lean in 2011 and has lost weight since, which has made things interesting. Turns poor positioning into positive situations with length and foot speed. Plays high but lifts and shrugs to create leverage. If technique and pad level work out, watch out.

Where He Fits: If frame stays the same, he could be a stand up rusher next to a three man line with the ability to close off the edge, use length, and loop back inside.

Draft Projection: Lynch is noticeably still rusty, but the talent didn’t just disappear. Top-40.

19. DT Will Sutton, Arizona State

NFL Comparison: La’Roi Glover

Where He Wins: Sutton takes advantage of space. Whether it be shooting past reach blocks in the sliver of time afforded to him thanks to an animated first step and forward lean, or hand use and quick feet to generate that separation on his own, Sutton finishes with closing speed. His flexibility to bend and gain positive positioning is tough to find.

Where He Fits: Likely as a three technique in a four man front, could play some in pass rushing situations.

Draft Projection: Too much has been made about his added weight. He isn’t a different player. The foundation of Sutton’s game was never quickness, it was leverage and technical hand use. Still, he will get knocked for lack of size or added weight. Top-64.  

Extended Evaluation

20. TE Eric Ebron, UNC*

NFL Comparison: A physical Jared Cook Jr.

Where He Wins: An outstanding straight-line athlete with some bend/flexibility for his size. Will stretch defenses and then cut his route back to the quarterback. Presents a big target and can separate after the catch. Improving consistency at the catch point and a willing blocker.

Where He Fits: An inline option who can be split out to matchup with different defenders.

Draft Projection: Top-25.

21. CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

NFL Comparison: Aqib Talib

Where He Wins: An extremely physical corner who loves to press at the line of scrimmage. Frequently patient with his jam, not overextending but rather allowing the receiver to enter contact area. Rides inside hip downfield while sustaining position. Hand fights and flips his head quickly when receiver looks back for the football at the top of their route.

Where He Fits: Press corner or a few yards off on the edge. Will be physical in run support. Matches up at the catch point in contested situations which is critical.

Draft Projection: Might run a slow forty, which will lead to overreaction. Top-40.

22. T Taylor Lewan, Michigan

NFL Comparison: Sebastian Vollmer

Where He Wins: Wide stance, wants to find contact through his hands. Has an aggressive mentality, but that can get him in trouble. Even if positioning is off balance, his strong base helps anchor and stop momentum. Better run blocker than pass protector, but wins when gaining a latch in either situation. Asked to pull inside and lead blocks well.

Where He Fits: Could see him on the left or right side.

Draft Projection: Obviously the NFL values offensive tackles. Possible top-15 selection.

23. WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M*

NFL Comparison: Vincent Jackson

Where He Wins: Absolutely dominant at the catch point. Wins on the edge with long speed, excellent body control, strong hands, and high pointing ability. When he is covered he is still open. Winning in these situations might be more important than separation at the NFL level.

Where He Fits: Outside receiver with a quarterback who is not afraid to test tight single coverage.

Draft Projection: First-round and would not be shocked if he is the first receiver off the board. Slow test times could hurt.

24. WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State*

NFL Comparison: Victor Cruz

Where He Wins: An explosive receiver that wins at every level of the field. Can take short passes for long gains after creating even more separation. Creates space on intermediate patterns. Tracks vertical passes exceptionally well. Takes the top off coverages. Has a large catch radius for someone his size.

Where He Fits: Some might only see a slot receiver, but he’s an accomplished edge target as well.

Draft Projection: Top-50.

24. CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon*

NFL Comparison: Brandon Flowers

Where He Wins: Won’t always engage blockers but will attack full speed when lining up ball carriers in the open field. Attempts to disrupt catch point when receiver high points target. Top end closing speed. Mirrors in tight man coverage but also displays press bail skills.

Where He Fits: Experience as field side corner, so can play either half.

Draft Projection: First-round.

25. T Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M*

NFL Comparison: Tyron Smith

Where He Wins: Outstanding length with footwork to mirror. Does not possess the strongest punch, but he bends in all the right places (knee, ankles). Finds contact through his hands, obtains a latch, and keeps his opposition under control. Understands to ride edge rushers around the pocket and inside armbar prevents a shorter distance on inside rush.

Where He Fits: Has experience at guard and right tackle, but he is more than capable to play left tackle in the NFL.

Draft Projection: Has stated he will return, but that could draft with a projection from the draft advisory board. First-round.

26. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington*

NFL Comparison: Jason Witten

Where He Wins: Inline target who has the movement skills to play detached in the slot. Willing to block and improving in that area, even at the second level. Absorbs contact at the catch point, strong in that area. Not a quick twitch athlete, short catches usually stay short, but very reliable in intermediate to downfield areas. Body control is excellent.

Where He Fits: Inline tight end that can move outside to take advantage of receiving options.

Draft Projection: Top-50.

27. DE Vic Beasley, Clemson*

NFL Comparison: Bruce Irvin with less movement skills

Where He Wins: Displays a great get off and bend. Finds contact through his hands from a five technique spot, extends to strafe along the line then close on the outside. Also used as a stand up rusher at times, getting quick depth in the backfield thanks to speed.

Where He Fits: Has experience as a right defensive end, but his best projection is likely as a stand up edge rusher.

Draft Projection: First-round.

28. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M**

NFL Comparison: Tony Romo

Where He Wins: Wearing down defenses with tempo. A master of broken plays. Stretches teams laterally with his feet. Forces defenses to match up with quick passes followed by elongated plays with little time to rest in between.

Where He Fits: Has shown development from the pocket, but could thrive in a creative system. Thrives on broken plays. Drops his eye level, but can magically find open space and available passing lanes to connect on ridiculous completions. Will test tight single coverage. Gives his receiver a shot. Can also be a quick decision maker, which is key to Air Raid. Has made more throws outside the numbers and downfield this season. Obviously extremely mobile.

Draft Projection: Top-10.

29. RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin**

NFL Comparison: Jamaal Charles

Where He Wins: One cut back with great vision. Has excellent long speed, but breaks more tackles than many other lean backs thanks to balance. Displays great vision and decisive running style from an I formation or on jet sweeps.

Where He Fits: Despite playing in a committee attack at Wisconsin, Gordon can claim a lead ball carrying role in the NFL.

Draft Projection: Lack of pass protection attempts and success will likely keep him out of the first-round. Top-40.

30. LB Telvin Smith, FSU

NFL Comparison: Danny Trevathan

Where He Wins: Ridiculous closing speed. Run and chase backer who is improving at fighting through trash. Has all the athleticism necessary to be a solid contributor in nickel situations. Finishes with force.

Where He Fits: Likely a weakside backer behind a four man front but could make most of his money in nickel situations.

Draft Projection: Third-round.

31. WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU*

NFL Comparison: A compact Brandon Marshall.

Where He Wins: Despite sub-5’11 size, he dominates at the catch point. Easily climbs the ladder with great timing and strong hands to win in contested situations. Add on good vertical speed, fluid fleet to break routes off, and a willingness to work back towards the quarterback. Willing blocker.

Where He Fits: Outside receiver, unless a team wants to work him in trash over the field to high point.

Draft Projection: Top-40, but he could go much, much higher.

32. WR Jarvis Landry, LSU*

NFL Comparison: Santonio Holmes.

Where He Wins: Goes up and gets it at the highest point. Will win in tight coverage by creating a sliver of separation at the last moments. Good straight-line speed. The combination makes him a very good downfield receiver.

Where He Fits: Seen plenty of time in the slot, but could also be an outside target that can make a home in the intermediate to downfield levels.

Draft Projection: Top-40, but he could go much, much higher.


Next four: T Antonio Richardson, Tennessee, DL Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame*, DB Lamarcus Joyner, FSU, T/G La’El Collins, LSU*.

Next Tier of QBs: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, UCLA’s Brett Hundley**, Miami’s Stephen Morris, Fresno State’s Derek Carr.

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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