Josh Norris

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NFL Draft: Norris' Top 50

Tuesday, February 04, 2014



15. Off LOS LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State


NFL Comparison: Some Lavonte David, but with more length. What many want Alec Ogletree to be.


Where He Wins: Long and lean. Projects to weakside linebacker. His speed to the edge is excellent. There are some wasted movements when working the backside, but once the target and ally are located he gets there in a hurry. Zone drops are smooth. Asked to blitz from inside and on the edge. Takes tight angles into the backfield on edge runs.


Where He Fits: Likely as a weakside linebacker who will stay on in nickel situations.


Draft Projection: Top-40.



16. 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.  



17. DT Aaron Donald, Pitt


NFL Comparison: Mike Daniels.


Where He Wins: Excellent burst off the line to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Despite size knocks, he has good length and active hands. Able to get skinny to work through gaps and trash. Closing quickness is there to make tackles for loss.


Where He Fits: Obvious nickel or dime rusher, but likely not limited to that. He disrupts fronts. Could see him lining up in a variety of sub-package sets at 1, 3, or 5 technique.


Draft Projection: Top-40 due to measurement minimums, but he could go much, much higher.



18. OL Zack Martin, Notre Dame


NFL Comparison: Logan Mankins


Where He Wins: Held up at tackle well this season and during Senior Bowl week. Hands are so strong to prevent inside moves or latch on and control at the point of attack. Willing to sustain blocks with position and leg drive.


Where He Fits: Can make a good tackle but an outstanding guard. Wide base can be troublesome against agile edge rushers who weave inside and out.


Draft Projection: Has a legitimate chance to be the third offensive lineman selected. Likely as a tackle.



19. WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU


NFL Comparison: Antonio Brown-plus


Where He Wins: Mainly an outside receiver but has seen snaps in the slot. An excellent intermediate to downfield threat, but likely has the skills near the LOS. He just was not used there. The downfield routes are not usually go or straight-line patterns, instead most of his success comes off breaks. Has quickness and explosion to his game, but does not mind winning at the catch point in contested situations.


Where He Fits: Shines on inside and outside breaking routes, like posts and corners, and also works towards his quarterback.


Draft Projection: Tough to know right now. Would not be surprised if he is the third WR off the board.



20. Edge player Dee Ford, Auburn


NFL Comparison: Robert Mathis


Where He Wins: Great burst off the snap and explosion upfield. Bends very well around the corner once beating offensive lineman's depth. Has also displayed hand use, leverage, and strength to keep his opposition on skates. The Texas A&M game shows the complete package.


Where He Fits: Line him up wide and let him run, likely as a 7 or 9 technique. Stance (stand up or three-point) does not matter to me.


Draft Projection: First-round



21. Edge player Anthony Barr, UCLA

 

NFL Comparison: Athleticism could be similar to Bruce Irvin.

 

Where He Wins: The lightning-quick pass rusher is able to gain an advantage on the edge and keep it thanks to his burst off the line, ability to cut off either foot towards the quarterback, and flexibility to bend around the corner. He closes distances quickly, which can be effective from a variety of alignments.

 

Where He Fits: Experience as a stand up rusher next to a three man front. Able to loop inside.

 

Draft Projection: Top-15 selection.



22. DT Ra'shede Hageman, Minnesota


NFL Comparison: Michael Brockers


Where He Wins: Predominantly used as a 1/0 technique this season. Obviously has a natural anchor. Improving hand use to create separation. Flashes of good athleticism for someone his size. Has the necessary power and leg drive to keep his opposition off balance.


Where He Fits: Appears his career can be taken on one two ways, either as a 1 in an even front or 5 technique in an odd front. I bet he will test well at the Combine, leading many to pick the latter, but I prefer him inside. Needs to deliver a consistent initial punch.


Draft Projection: First-round.



23. 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.



24. Edge player Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech


NFL Comparison: Cliff Avril


Where He Wins: Line him up wide as a 7 or 9 and let him run to a spot in the backfield. Explosive off the snap and can win around the corner, on inside moves, or when engaging into the opponents’ chest.


Where He Fits: Many will attempt to project him to an outside linebacker role and drop Attaochu into coverage. I do not see it. He played that role through his junior season, but was so much better as a senior with limited responsibilities in a disruption role.


Draft Projection: Top-50



25. 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.



26. CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State


NFL Comparison: Jason McCourty


Where He Wins: Attacks the jam or blocking receiver, frequently gets into the action. Will play off or press man coverage, attacks the catch point by cutting in front of the target. Even plays on special teams. Trails in close distances and prevents the sliver of separation at the catch point. Makes things difficult on the opposition.


Where He Fits: Not locked into one side of the field. Likely better in press due to physical nature, but shows he can attack and drive in off coverage.


Draft Projection: Poor performance against Jared Abbrederis, but likely top-32.



27. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M


NFL Comparison: Tony Romo in terms of improvisational style.


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.



28. QB Blake Bortles, UCF


NFL Comparison: A poor man’s Andrew Luck in terms of mannerisms, running ability and pocket movement.


Where He Wins: Strong pocket mover results in handling pressure others might fold under. Not afraid to work through multiple reads and multiple levels of the field. Spent a lot of time in shotgun, but throws from multiple arm angles. Does not hesitate when throwing to covered receivers to let them win at the catch point.


Where He Fits: Velocity has dropped since 2012, and I am not sure why. With that said, I don’t think he has limitations in terms of an offense in the NFL.


Draft Projection: A top-10 selection, possibly No. 1 overall.



29. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State


NFL Comparison: Jay Cutler


Where He Wins: Has an incredible arm, not only when discussing velocity but also touch. Is forced to throw a lot of screens, but flashes upside as a vertical passer when given the opportunity. Shows athleticism when scrambling outside of the pocket. Aren’t many windows he can’t test.


Where He Fits: Doesn’t always throw from a balanced base but has improved willingness to take a hit on release.


Draft Projection: Likely the fourth quarterback off the board.



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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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