Player News

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NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Washington State DL Hercules Mata'afa to New England Patriots DL/LB Cassius Marsh.

Zierlein calls Mata'afa a tough player to evaluate, because "his tape features him as an interior lineman who won with quickness when matched against players who were 50-70 pounds heavier than he was." Very few players were rated higher analytically, and he was among the NCAA leaders in pressures during his time at Washington State. Zierlein notes he's "much too small" (6'1/254) to play in the interior spot, but that he has a "zombie like" motor. Mata'afa will be one of the more divisive prospects this year, but someone likely takes a chance on him in the late rounds.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 21 - 3:38 PM

NFL Draft Scout's Rob Rang lists Army T Brett Toth as a potential UDFA that will sign after the draft.

Rang believes that the two-year commitment to the Navy will keep him from being drafted over draft weekend, but also cites his inexperience as a pass protector hurting those chances, too. "Toth likely goes undrafted," Rang writes, "but he has an intriguing skill-set that a forward-thinking general manager should secure." We'd love to see Toth get his name called on Friday or Saturday, but Rang's logic makes sense.
Apr 21 - 3:29 PM

An AFC linebackers coach told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein that Temple edge-rusher Jacob Martin "has a chance" as a pass-rush specialist.

"He's a little on the small side but I could see him playing as a rotational backup as long as he is good on special teams," the coach said. "I think he has a chance as a rusher if he can add more moves to his rush." Zierlein mentioned Martin as a potential "diamond in the rough" earlier in April, and notes his relentless motor and plus athleticism (4.59 second 40 yard dash). Zierlein projects him to go late on Day 3, and he could be a potential steal if he does show effectiveness as a pass-rusher that late.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 21 - 3:19 PM

NFL.com Draft Analyst calls Texas A&M WR Damion Ratley "intriguing."

Jeremiah says that Ratley is a "smooth route runner" and that he has size (6'1/196) speed and strong hands. It's not the first we've heard of Ratley causing analysts some intrigue, but it's nice to hear it from someone as respected in the industry as Jeremiah. Expect to see Ratley come off the board sometime in the middle of Day 3 -- maybe as early as the fourth round.
Apr 21 - 3:11 PM

Iowa redshirt senior LB Aaron Mends will miss "extended time" after suffering an undisclosed injury.

Mends (6'0/227) is expected to be a starter for the Hawkeyes' defense, but that could be in jeopardy with the injury. The only information given was that it was suffered during the final week of Iowa's spring practices, but there are reports it involves his knee. This could be a substantial loss for Iowa.
Apr 21 - 2:59 PM

An NFC executive calls Jordan Mailata a "freak athlete."

"Big dude, athletic," a scout told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein. "Someone will draft him late and he's a project, but very much a freak athlete for his size." Mailata has NFL tackle size (6'8/346) but the former Australian Rugby player has never played a down of American football. Zierlein notes that he "played in sport that required change of direction and lateral movement," and that he has "very good physical traits and athletic traits." It's a big risk using a draft-pick on a player that's never played the game, but whomever takes that chance could come away with a future starting tackle.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 21 - 2:48 PM

Wisconsin redshirt sophomore Karé Lyles announced his intent to transfer from the program.

Lyles made the announcement over his Twitter account. The 6-foot, 207-pound quarterback was projected to be the third quarterback on the roster behind Alex Hornibrook and Jack Croan, so he wasn't likely to take snaps for the Badgers anytime soon. Because he hasn't graduated yet, he'll have to sit out one season at whatever school he lands at -- assuming it's not an FCS program.
Apr 21 - 2:40 PM

Penn State received a verbal commitment from four-star 2019 G Caedan Wallace.

Wallace was considering most of the big players along with Penn State; including Oklahoma, Auburn, Notre Dame and Florida; just to name a select few. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound guard ranks 84th overall in the latest 247 Sports composite rankings, and the fourth-best guard overall. It's a huge -- literally and figuratively -- get for James Franklin and company. We wonder if Wallace could compete for playing time for the Nittany Lions in 2019.
Source: Land Of 10
Apr 21 - 2:35 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Penn State G Brendan Mahon to New England Patriots OL Joe Thuney.

Zierlein lists several strengths on Mahon's report, including his ability to move naturally in space and ability to adjust to moving targets. He does note some concerns, including his average drive blocking ability and that he doesn't always flash on tape. "Mahon has the talent to become a decent backup, but still has room to improve in pass protection and as a block finisher," Zierlein summarizes. He projects him to go in the middle of Day 3.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 21 - 2:23 PM

ESPN senior writer Jeff Legwold ranks Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson as the top prospect in the class.

Legwold ranks NC State edge-rusher Bradley Chubb second, Penn State RB Saquon Barkley third, and Ohio State CB Denzel Ward along with Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick round out the top five. Guard prospects don't usually rank at -- or near -- the top, but Nelson (6'5/325) is proving to be an exception. "In technique, approach and ability to finish, he is simply the best football player in this draft," Legwold writes. "And he has potential to grow."
Source: ESPN
Apr 21 - 2:15 PM

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Washington State T Cole Madison to Indianapolis Colts OL Joe Haeg.

Madison was among the favorites of Pro Football Focus in his time with the Cougars; routinely landing at or near the top of their blocker grades. Zierlein calls him a quality athlete who "excels as a move blocker," and that he "reads and reacts to games up front." He does have some concerns about the 6-foot-5, 313-pound tackle's play strength, and he can be too upright in pass protection. Zierlein projects him to go in the middle of Day 3, but there's been some late-third, early-fourth round talk about Madison as off late.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 21 - 2:07 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline lists Shepherd QB Connor Jessup as a potential "small school gem."

Jessup transferred to Shepherd from Virginia Tech, and the 6-foot-5, 220-pound quarterback threw for 3,532 yards and 40 touchdowns for the Rams in the 2017 season. "He has NFL size and arm strength and the ability to make all the throws but needs time to work on his accuracy and pass placement," Pauline writes. "The Chicago Bears have shown a lot of interest in the strong-armed passer, who should make a practice squad this fall." We're intrigued.
Apr 21 - 2:01 PM

An NFC executive told NFL Media's Lance Zierlein that Pittsburgh CB Avonte Maddox is "shooting up" their draft board.

"He's really shooting up the board in our building," the executive told Zierlein. "Great tester but he shows it on tape with how athletic he is in coverage. I know our position coach thinks he can get a lot better with some work on his technique." Maddox also performed well at the East-West Shrine game in January, so it's been a good "off-season" for the 5-foot-9, 180-pound corner. Zierlein expects him to go early on Day 3, but he could sneak into Day 2 for a team looking for help at defending the slot.
Source: NFL.com
Apr 21 - 1:53 PM

Alabama received a verbal commitment from four-star 2019 QB Taulia Tagovailoa.

Yes, Tagovailoa is the brother of sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa, the potential starting quarterback for Alabama in 2018. The younger Tagovailoa was reportedly down to Tennessee and the Crimson Tide, but was also considering Florida, Michigan and Nebraska, among others. He's rated sixth-best "pro style" quarterback on 247 Sports composite rankings, and the eighth best player in the state of Alabama. We could see a Tagovailoa-to-Tagovailoa quarterback run in Tuscaloosa.
Apr 21 - 1:40 PM

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. calls Louisville CB Jaire Alexander his "favorite" cornerback prospect in the class.

Keep in mind that favorite doesn't mean best, but Kiper really likes the way Alexander (5'10/196) plays the game; noting that he has "Deion Sanders-type swagger." He also notes that Alexander looks great when returning punts and interceptions, which is always fun. Kiper believes that the former Louisville star could go in the top 20 picks.
Source: ESPN
Apr 21 - 1:34 PM



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