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Norris: NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, Top 50

by Josh Norris

We are one month away from the 2019 NFL Draft. It is an interesting class, heavy at certain positions and lacking in others. You’ve heard about interior defensive line and edge rusher (although the latter might not be as appealing as it was at the start of the process). I’ll add wide receiver, thanks to the return of big receivers with outstanding athleticism, and offensive tackle.

This list will continue to be fleshed out, with the top 50 receiving write-ups and rankings going into the 200 range. If you know me, you know I grade the quarterback position a bit differently. If I believe they are quality starters, they shoot to the top of the board. If I have some concerns but still think that is an achievable level, then they are slotted after first round quality prospects. Therefore, you can conclude I see just 18 first round quality prospects in this class.

All athletic composite scores are provided by Zach Whitman from 3sigmaathlete.com. The ages are in reference to September 1, 2019 and are rounded up from 0.8.

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NFL draft profile: Kyler Murray

Mar 20, 2019
Kyler Murray's incredible athleticism and special arm make him one of the most intriguing NFL draft prospects in history.

1. QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma 

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: Elected to not complete

Where He Wins: Absolutely electric arm. Despite just one season as a full-time starter, he’s hit every throw you want to check off. We know his arm is strong, but it’s the level of touch he exhibits when necessary that is truly impressive. Lofted passes over underneath defenders, pinpoint targets on deep sideline throws. Much of his game is processed on time inside of structure, and we all have seen his trump card as a runner. Fantastic at avoiding big hits.

Forecast: Murray’s biggest hurdle will be his field vision. That’s not due to being short, a quarterback who is a foot taller could have the same issue - recognizing that the open receiver might be the back side read due to safety movement. He also turns down potential 17-yard gains for seven-yard runs. It’s not a huge issue, because his movement is outstanding, but it does override the passing patience at times.

2. EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 69th percentile

Where He Wins: Plays the game so similar to his brother. Exposure of winning with explosion around the edge, exposures of winning through the chest of an offensive tackle. Uses the same patented move as Joey: Swipe with both hands, rip, flatten out to the quarterback, hit. Gives you a chance of winning one on one reps. Strong run defender.

Forecast: He’s a hair less athletic than older brother Bosa, but Nick will succeed in any defense he is placed into. He can win on the edge, he can likely win inside when set up to maximize one on one matchups.

3. iDL Quinnen Williams, Alabama

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 83rd percentile

Where He Wins: Will make plays between the tackles. First off the ball. Slippery on first contact against guards and centers. Despite his wide base he can get skinny to work on the edges of offensive linemen. Shows some flexibility to turn around OL when QB moves. The type of player who can impact three to four plays per game by himself, which have the chance to be outcome changing.

Forecast: Young, check. Athletic, check. Productive, check. Williams doesn’t always have the motor to chase down plays outside of the tackle box, but that’s not a negative. He will create plays on his own and for others.

4. iDL Ed Oliver, Houston

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: TBD

Where He Wins: First one off the ball. Always. Shows bend and flexibility when contorted by blockers and while adjusting to ball carriers. Chase down speed is there. Shoots gaps and empty spaces for immediate disruption. Can change the offense’s plan on 3 to 5 plays per game. Rare to see his type of movement from an interior spot.

Forecast: Sometimes players who end up being among the top at their position come in unique packages. That is Oliver, who is a wrecking ball from the middle. He plays the run on the way to the quarterback. I don’t want to move him further away from the football, but some might see a Melvin Ingram-like transformation for him to the edge. He will be even better when his stance is altered.

5. EDGE Brian Burns, FSU

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 94th percentile

Where He Wins: This is a simple evaluation to me. Did Burns win with athleticism in college? Yes. Did Burns test like one of the best athletes at his position in the last few years? Yes. So, to me, his game translates. Burns threatens tackles from the first snap with his upfield burst, and then when linemen have to protect that, he can work into the chest or inside. Shows signs of a pass rush plan: burst, swipe to create, flatten to quarterback, attack throwing arm. Flashes inside spin counter.

Forecast: Needs to get stronger. Tackles with balance, fluid feet to mirror and strength in the upper half (meaning they are very good) can clamp him down at the line of scrimmage. Strength and power would allow him to jumpstart that momentum again. A good DC can use him as a missile from a variety of alignments.

6. EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 81st percentile

Where He Wins: Very fluid athlete with body control. Looks to release hands and dip around the corner. He understands the importance of separation, as he’s consistently looking to create space with the blocker while working to the QB. If he can’t get to the QB, he swats at the throwing arm. Very good at attacking the throwing hand. Gets off the line, dips shoulder into blocker, makes target skinny, releases hands, angles towards QB, attacks hand/ball. Abnormally comfortable when dropping into coverage.

Forecast: A small concern of mine is teams will see how comfortable Allen is in space, in curl to flat areas, and use him there more often than they should. A player lining up at a pass rushing position selected in the top 5 should rush the passer.

7. T Andre Dillard, Washington State

Age: ? | Athletic Profile: 96th percentile

Where He Wins: Stays patient with distance then makes contact with full extension. Keeps his butt to the QB and will ride edge rushers all around the pocket, maintaining the pocket. Will not be overmatched athletically, and his game is built on mirroring and staying in good position. Seems to have above average strength. 

Forecast: Obviously the offense doesn’t put him on an island for a long period of time in most passing situations due to quick throws, however, they throw so much that there are plenty of exposures out there for evaluators to feel comfortable with. Not a powerful run blocker, but that’s not what he’s drafted to do. It’ll be about positioning. Plug and play left tackle.

8. EDGE Montez Sweat, Miss State

Age: 23 | Athletic Profile: 97th percentile

Where He Wins: Will win a number of pass rush snaps in just his first two or three steps. And even when he doesn’t, if he creates that separation on a contact exchange he can then win with a step with that space that the blocker can’t catch up to. Does like to take outside step then work inside, or inside to outside. Needs to use a long arm to generate force to maximize his opposition getting off balance. Flashes of using it and taking a tight line to the QB with some bend. Closes in just a few steps when looping inside.

Forecast: Sweat is not really your bender on the edge. Neither in the hips or the ankles. He’s about explosion to maximize space or explosion into his opponent’s chest after they compensate for the outside move. Has positive reps from both sides. 

9. LB Devin White, LSU

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 94th percentile

Where He Wins: Incredible sideline to sideline player. Can be the backside linebacker and still make a huge play at the line of scrimmage on a stretch to the opposite side for no gain. Has the speed to make up plays when taking an initial false step. But when he hits the right keys immediately it makes him even more special. Anticipates. Is not waiting at his depth, he wants to make the tackle as soon as possible.

Forecast: There are a lot of role players in the NFL at the off-ball linebacker spot. White is not one of them. He’s a pillar piece on that side of the ball.

10. LB Devin Bush, Michigan

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 97th percentile

Where He Wins: Incredible athlete. His two-step explosion and closing speed to the football is something special. His game versus Ohio State answers questions about coverage. Will read action in front and fluidly drop to cover the tight end down the seam without wasted movement. Even if the offense targets Bush on screens with a blocker, he beats it and anticipates the play to make a tackle near the line of scrimmage.

Forecast: It will be interesting to see if teams prefer Bush or White. Plus-three down off-ball linebackers are tough to find, and Bush is a plug and play piece immediately.

11. TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 87th percentile

Where He Wins: Complete inline tight end… those are not easy to find. Also split out in situations. Eats up a lot of ground on his breaks. As a blocker, allows his defender to pick a side, then he uses that momentum to push them out of the play. Crushes defenders at the second level. As a receiver, he does most of his damage in the intermediate area. Long strider.

Forecast: Will overstride a shoulder block. Tight end is the slowest developing position in the NFL, as many starters hit their stride on their second contract or with their second team. Everyone believes Hockenson will be different and immediately help the running and passing game.

12. WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State

Age: 23 | Athletic Profile: 92nd percentile (no agility scores)

Where He Wins: Chris Ballard talks about the difficulties in evaluating receivers out of college, mainly due to them not facing physical press coverage. That is not Butler, as he has plenty of snaps face up against corners. Variety of releases versus press. Sometimes a bit slow with those releases, but he doesn't give up and creates that separation. Used all over the formation. Powerful YAC vs Oklahoma. Outstanding body control to adjust on floated targets. Heck, even saw him sink his hips and run a whip route on 4th down versus Iowa. At 6-foot-5, 227 pounds.

Forecast: I don’t understand why Butler isn’t viewed as the No. 1 receiver in this class. I understand there were drops last season, but I try not to let a percentage of snaps cloud an entire list of positives. Butler wins at every level from every alignment.

13. iDL Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

Age: 23 | Athletic Profile: 84th percentile

Where He Wins: Gives you a chance of winning a one on one rep every time he’s fortunate to have one. Won from a variety of alignments, face up or over top of a gap. Wins with immediate explosion or locking up, creating a balance advantage, and winning to one half of a blocker. It can be difficult to find interior players with balance, flexibility and explosion. He offers that combination. His awareness is at a high level, as even when his job is to create lanes for others, he still works towards the quarterback on a flat line when hitting depth. Add leverage and hand use to press above his eyes, and you’ve got a winner.

Forecast: I know Tillery isn’t often ranked here, but he fulfills so many of my biases. He offers the potential to create disruption from the interior on every play.

14. OL Jonah Williams, Alabama

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 17th percentile

Where He Wins: Actively tries to keep his butt to the quarterback. Is much more aggressive as a run blocker moving forward. He’s outstanding at picking out second level defenders. His game is all about his lower half.  

Forecast: Has a tendency to overstride in his drop set, which allows for an inside move by edge after two steps. Some teams will certainly consider him on the inside, even at center, which is fine.

15. iDL Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Age: 23 | Athletic Profile: 47th percentile

Where He Wins: Best when square up and winning the hand fighting/positioning battle. Will win after creating and sustaining momentum. First step is very quick to play on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage. 

Forecast: I expect Wilkins to be a top-15 selection and likely the second interior player off the board after Quinnen Williams. An average athlete is very different than a bad athlete, but I do prefer pass rushers to be top athletes.

16. EDGE Rashan Gary, Michigan

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 95th percentile

Where He Wins: Right now Gary’s game is built on flashes. The most consistent part of his game is his two-step explosion to beat tackles to their spot and around the corner. Occasionally off of that you see hand use to press, create separation and win the positioning battle after a rip move. Sometimes you see him use a long arm and win the balance advantage. Once in a while you see him bounce off his outside foot to convert and win on an inside move at quarterback depth.

Forecast: Is he Sam Hubbard? Where is his pass rush plan? Where is the bend? When is he attacking the edges? When does he use his length? This is a ball of clay worth betting on thanks to the athletic advantage at a position where it is important. The consistency just isn’t there.

17. TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 98th percentile

Where He Wins: He gets after it as a blocker, even on doubles. Looks to get in advantageous position. Plenty of snaps inline and plenty of snaps detached. Not Evan Engram in terms of after the catch comfort, but he is very fluid on breaks and running across the field. Separates versus zone better than man. Not a make you miss runner after the catch. Creates separation with physicality, not movement versus tight man. 

Forecast: Iowa often glitched college defenses with Fant in goal line or short yardage situations, as he’s sent in motion pre-snap to get his momentum going, and the ball is hiked with Fant near full speed, allowing him to easily create loads of space versus the defender following him across the formation. Don’t think of him as a Joker, he’s absolutely an inline player if you want him there.

18. C Garrett Bradbury, NC State

Age: 24 | Athletic Profile: 89th percentile

Where He Wins: His quickness out of his stance to reach block and get in proper positioning is so impressive. His game is all about being in the proper place at the line of scrimmage, or getting to the second level, targeting, anticipating and hitting his defender to take them out of the play. Foot quickness to mirror in pass pro is absolutely there.

Forecast: Plug and play starter in a zone scheme. It’s really that simple. Question is if teams only view him at center, which might limit his destinations. 

19. QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: ?

Where He Wins: A very smart player. He wants to be the extension of the play caller on the field, winning inside of structure. Will definitely work to his third option, even if it’s across the formation or if it is in the middle of the field. Unfortunately sometimes he is too late to get there. Wants to win inside of the pocket and shows poised pocket movement with his eyes up and downfield.

Forecast: I loved Josh Rosen last year, but so many young successful quarterbacks are succeeding partially thanks to mobility presenting a trump card outside of structure. Think about it, basically all young passers have this except for Jared Goff. I wonder if Haskins will suffer the same fate Rosen did as a rookie if he goes to a similar situation. If the same caliber (poor) OL even exists.

20. WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 98th percentile

Where He Wins: Possibly the most athletically imposing player on the field whenever he steps foot on it. Everything is built off the linear plane. Seels vertical route with his size and speed, breaks off of it after corners are fearful of the deeper routes. Uses his physicality on his releases. Will also use that size to shield defenders on bucket catches, creating natural separation. If he’s even, he’s leaving.

Forecast: This is not a clean evaluation. Metcalf was glued to the left side of the formation. He was able to focus on just one set of releases. One set of routes. Footwork from one alignment. That’s a similar hurdle Kevin White tried to overcome. Then his agility scores were horrific. These are the difficulties prospects run into and why evaluating is difficult. Let’s bank on NFL coaching.

21. CB Byron Murphy, Washington

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 32nd percentile

Where He Wins: Great combination of sticking with receivers’ whose goal is to create separation, then catch match up with a more physical receiver while staying patient in his press, slowing down the receiver can close the catch point to deny a catch. In off coverage, his timing to close on the catch is very good. He’s going to come up and smack you when in cover 2 versus a short pass.

Forecast: Has sub-31-inch arms, but from what I saw he fits every single scheme.

22. T Jawaan Taylor, Florida

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: ?

Where He Wins: The play is over when you’re in his grasp. He’ll move you exactly where he wants you to go in the running game, or he will completely halt your momentum in pass pro. And if you try to counter with an inside move, you aren’t going far. Power.

Forecast: Plenty of right tackle experience, which is just as important as left tackles. The issue is it is not always pretty. Sometimes his feet are lethargic. Sometimes his hands and hips are late, so he’ll lose on dips to the outside.

23. S Taylor Rapp, Washington

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: ?

Where He Wins: More often than any player in this draft he is the one who starts plays off camera and ends up flying in and making the tackle. Gives you exposures from all safety alignments, including single high. Rapp can blitz, he can cover in man, he’s a fantastic tackler in space and he will time his hits to disrupt at the catch point.

Forecast: I’m not going to call him Derwin James, but Rapp can succeed with practically any responsibility and any alignment. 

24. OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 34th percentile

Where He Wins: He’s the terminator at the second level, will absolutely annihilate players trying to get into the mix or close on the ball carrier. Defensive backs, linebackers, dropping linemen, it doesn't matter. Hands, feet, and posture all work together in pass pro, and he looks to finish even in passing situations.

Forecast: Plenty of reps at left tackle, but I wonder if some teams will want to move him inside to guard. It all comes down to if teams believe in his foot speed and mirror capabilities on an island on the outside.

25. iDL Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 25th percentile

Where He Wins: Can win instantly with movement and hands, releases, and closes quickly. Obviously shows flexibility in his ankles and hips when immediately reacting to the ball carrier. This is very evident when reacting to a surprising movement in front of him. Many interior players get stuck in the mud or take multiple steps. Jones is very fluid. Love those movement skills. 

Forecast: He has the ability to win, but he still lacks a plan and to chain moves. The poor athletic testing was a bit of a surprise considering how well he moves.

   
26. CB Greedy Williams, LSU 39. CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
27. EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson 40. WR Miles Boykin, Notre Dame
28. S Nasir Adderly, Delaware 41. S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
29. OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State 42. WR Andy Isabella, UMass
30. DL Dexter Lawrence, Clemson 43. iOL Elgton Jenkins, Miss State
31. WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma 44. S Juan Thornhill, Virginia
32. RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama 45. CB D'Andre Baker, Georgia
33. RB Devin Singletary, FAU 46. T Chuma Edoga, USC
34. RB David Montgomery, Iowa State 47. iDL Renell Wren, Arizona State
35. WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss 48. OL Tytus Howard, Alabama State
36. WR N'Keal Harry, Arizona State 49. RB Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska
37. OL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College 50. QB Drew Lock, Missouri
38. iDL Jeffery Simmons, Miss St  

 

Josh Norris
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 .