18 Sep 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

NFC NORTH DRAFT EVALUATIONS – GRADES FOR EACH PICK AND PLAYER BREAKDOWNS

I’d like to preface this by saying I like every team here, I have 0 bias (if you choose to believe that) and hope every player pans out and every team succeeds. That being said I am basing these evaluations on my personal takes on these players, the teams needs and whether there were better options available. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and ask me any questions about player X or what I saw.

BEARS – B+

2.11 – COLE KMET, TE, NOTRE DAME – C-

Cole Kmet was my TE2 in this draft partially because of how weak a TE class it was. He’s a solid all-round type of player who doesn’t particularly excel at any one thing, but it is good at pretty much everything. My scouting report reads “Kmet is a fantastic chain-mover and will catch almost any pass thrown in his direction. He has above average athleticism for the TE position he runs routes with a nice precision and finesse especially downfield and he’s a competent blocker. My issue with this pick is need, the Bears had big needs at Safety and OL, and with this pick there were some quality options available that I would have taken. Additionally, the Bears already had 9(NINE) TEs on their roster, including Jimmy Graham who they paid a lot in this offseason.  

2.18 – JAYLON JOHNSON, CB, UTAH – A

Johnson was my CB7 in this class and my ideal fit for him was actually the Bears. A small part of my scouting report reads “Johnson is a smart press corner who would be ideal for a zone and press heavy scheme and could potentially start day one as a CB2 and can become a CB1 in a zone-heavy scheme. He is physical with his jams, taking on blocks, and in his tackling. Has natural ball skills and breaks up passes which is complimented by his long arms, Johnson jumps short routes better than anyone in the class. He has some hip tightness and may struggle with longer developing routes and sharp cutting routes. I think this is a fantastic pick for the Bears who got my 2nd best CB available and the best scheme fit CB available, this fills a hole and is excellent value.

5.10 – TREVIS GIPSON, EDGE, TULSA – B-

Gipson was my EDGE25 in this class, I did have a late day 3 grade on him, part of my scout report reads “Gipson is a really good run defending EDGE who can play outside on 1st and 2nd down and contribute as a rookie. He’s ideally a 5-tech who can play inside & rush the passer a little on 3rd downs. Gipson probably has a limited ceiling due to lack of power and less than ideal size, he was not overly productive as a pass rusher in college.”. This is a pretty good fit for Gipson and it allows Robert Quinn to take a few early downs off as run D was never his strength, a solid selection.

5.18 – KINDLE VILDOR, CB, GEORGIA SOUTHERN – A-

Vildor was my CB18 in this draft. He is a phenomenal athlete who can play good man coverage and contribute on a few 3rd and longs for this team, shots on quality athletes are what day 3 is all about. A brief report on him reads “Vildor is an elite athlete in a small school who really stood out, he’s excellent in man coverage downfield and it is hard to beat him deep. Not a very physical player who struggles with tackling.”. While he may not fit the zone scheme that is run here, it’s always important to have a variety of good player with various skillsets in the secondary. A good pick with some upside.

5.28 – DARNELL MOONEY, WR, TULANE- C+

Mooney was my WR20 in the class, a brief report reads “Quality separator and a special athlete who dominates after the catch, badly needs to develop his footwork in the open field as he gives away his routes far too easily the same applies to his release. Is better on contested balls and as a run blocker I expected. Drops are a massive issue and are probably going to be a future problem.”. This pick is solid as I think he can actually play a little as the 4th WR on this team as Chicago is a little thin at WR and he has a high ceiling with his athleticism.

7.12 – ARLINGTON HAMBRIGHT, OG, COLORADO – C

Did not see his tape but round 7 is always a good place to take some extra OL shots.

7.13 – LACHAVIOUS SIMMONS, OG, TENNESSE STATE – C

Also did not see his tape, but extra OL help is always a solid move.

The Bears came into this draft with big needs at. CB, S, OL and a smaller need at WR. The Bears fully addressed their need at CB and should feel fairly confident with who they have on their roster currently. They took some nice shots on an EDGE, WR and some OL late, all of which are valuable positions and are always worth drafting. My only real issue with this class is taking Kmet over one of the available safeties, not that Kmet is a bad player because I firmly like him, but because TE is the biggest offensive strength for this team and SS may be the biggest defensive weakness. An overall good draft for Chicago who should be looking to run for the playoffs again this year.

LIONS – A+

1.03 – JEFF OKUDAH, CB, OHIO STATE – A

I probably don’t need to explain too much as to why this is an A. Okudah was my 2nd BPA after Simmons, and I’m not entirely sure how to use Simmons correctly, and his ideal fit was a team like DET or NE who would heavily employ the man coverage that he is so dominant at. A slam dunk pick and absolutely the right move for this team, elite coverage is the name of the game now and it allows this front 7 to generate a little more pressure. A brief report on Okudah “Okudah is your classic #1 CB who checks every box. He is comfortable in any sort of coverage, can press or play off in zone and played all but 18 snaps in 2019 in either cover 3 or man coverage (the 2 most common coverages in the league). He has incredible length, great foot quickness and enough long speed to run with anyone not named Tyreek Hill. He has good ball skills and will break up passes consistently. Has the right physicality, mindset, and football IQ to be an all-pro level player early on in his career. His only problem is, despite him denying it, that he does tend to be “grabby”, PI isn’t called quite as often in college as in the NFL where a flag is thrown every 20 seconds and he may give up a few penalties early in his career.

2.03 – D’ANDRE SWIFT, HB, GEORGIA – B-

Okay so I love D’Andre Swift. He is my HB1 and I love almost every aspect of his game. The reason this is a B- is because of value. The value of a running back here over some of the quality players available is minimal, however this does say what Detroit thinks of the health of Kerryon Johnson. It is hard to criticize a player I believe to a top 25 guy in the class, but I just don’t think it was a huge need that couldn’t be addressed later. Day 2 however is where the value is at currently for HBs and I think this is a perfect fit. A brief report on him reads “The modern running back. Swift is fast, elusive, has excellent balance and vision, and is a great receiver. Swift can run legitimate routes out of the backfield or lined up in the slot, arguably the most valuable attribute for an HB in 2020. Swift has great acceleration out of the backfield and is ideal for inside or outside zone runs. Swift is very elusive and has hips made of steel. His biggest weakness is his lack of power and that he can be brought down far too easily with his weak lower frame”. Swift should be a top 10 HB in the league before long and while I believe more valuable players were there, this does mean you can ignore and not worry about the HB spot for the next 4 years.

3.03 – JULIAN OKWARA, EDGE, NOTRE DAME – A+

This is an absolute steal here as far as I’m concerned. Okwara was my EDGE8 and I fully expected him to go before here. He is not only paired with his brother in Detroit, he’s also the perfect complement to his brother. Romeo is your solid hybrid run defender, much like Trey Flowers who is already there, and Okwara is the explosive pass rusher this Defense needed. My report reads “Lengthy, finesse rusher who uses his explosiveness, length, and power to win early and often. Lands his inside punches consistently and wins through hiss hand fighting. Has great power to his game, he bull rushed Isaiah Wilson and Mekhi Becton with ease. He isn’t great against the run, but with plenty of run-defending edges on the roster I don’t think that matters much. He’s a good coverage player too with great versatility”. Does that not sound like the D’onta Hightower this team would covet?

3.11 – JONAH JACKSON, OG, OHIO STATE – A+

One of the not talked about steals of the draft. Jonah Jackson was my IOL1 (unless you consider Isaiah Wilson IOL, which I do, which makes Jonah IOL2) and the best healthy OG in the class. Jonah is a fantastic pass protector with an absolute anchor at his base, along with plenty of power to haul in the run game. He probably starts day 1 and helps Stafford out a tonne, this is a guy I consistently was okay with drafting late round 1. My report reads “elite pass blocker and a plug-and-play OG who should start day 1. Tonnes of functional strength, along with a lot of power and speed in the pass game. His run blocking is solid but he needs to work on his get off, he can be out of balance sometimes and will develop well”. This was a need for Detroit and it was absolutely filled.

4.15 – LOGAN STENBERG, OG, KENTUCKY – C

Stenberg was my IOL12 and after taking a safe selection in Jackson I thought Detroit should swing for the fences with Netane Muti here. OL depth is warranted here however and Stenberg is a solid but unspectacular player and my report reads “Big, thick, technically solid OG who lacks any sort of good traits. Carries his power in his lower body but can be caught playing high. Lacks juice when he brings it in the run game an doesn’t generate a lot of push. Gave up far too many pressures than he should have and will need to sit early.”. A nice depth piece but not much to be excited about.

5.21 – QUINTEZ CEPHUS, WR, WISCONSIN – B-

WR was a sneaky need for the Lions who were starting to get a little older and thinner there. Cephus was my WR25 and is a solid guy with some upside as a jump ball/deep threat, my evaluation reads “A good deep threat with nice straight-line speed and body control. Had some serious injury issues and got hurt a lot, played just over 1000 snaps in his career. Will come in and compete for a starting role on the outside immediately and may be a rotational deep/red-zone threat”. He’s quite similar to Marvin Jones and I think he should develop nicely.

5.27 – JASON HUNTLEY, HB, NEW MEXICO STATE – F+

This gets a D for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you took a running back in round 2, so I would have waited until round 7 before taking a shot on another as there were some players I liked still available at LB, TE and CB. But mostly it’s because Huntley was my HB30 and I had a lot of available guys ahead of him, even some in my top 10. Thirdly, I think he’s a mini version of Swift. My report says “Speed back with good vision, accelerates much faster than you imagine and breaks away often. Was employed often as a receiver but didn’t really run routes with any sort of precision or make guys miss. No real strength to his game and I worry about fumbles.”. A depth piece I’m sure but not one I imagine having too much of an impact.

6.18 – JOHN PENISINI, IDL, UTAH – A

This is a guy I like a lot. Arguably a better run-suffer than Raekwon Davis who went about 100 picks earlier, Penisini fires into the backfield as a nose tackle and can be a real gap-holder in the trenches on 1st and 2nd down. My IDL15 my report says “Penisini is a fantastic run defending nose tackle. He has the elite power in the trenches that you’d want vs the run and he defend his gap well. Has strong arms to shed blocks. Lacks any sort get off or explosiveness to do anything vs the pass which showed in college as he didn’t generate a lot of pressures. Doesn’t have any sort of moves to his game either, but a quality run defender is a good late round pick”. This is a solid pick for Detroit and he should do 90% of what Snacks Harrison did in that Defense for them at a fraction of the cost.

7.21 – JASHON CORNELL, IDL, OHIO STATE – A+

Taking OSU pass rushers is often a good move. Cornell was my IDL14. I had a 4th to a 5th rounder on him because he’s a quick penetrating pass rusher who I could see carving out a starting role. I wrote “Incredibly explosive pass rusher, wasn’t a starter because of the non-stop rotation on the OSU DL. Most notably, he flies off the ball and is difficult for less quick interior lineman to get a hand on, has a few pass-rush moves already developed and got better at time went on showing he’s a hard worker. Would not be shocked to see him as a IDL2 or 3 for a team, or potentially an EDGE3 if he drops a little weight”. Does that not sound like the kind of guy Detroit wants? A nice little rotational pass rusher than can defend the run also.

Detroit came into this draft with needs at; CB, IDL, EDGE and OL. They managed to address them all. They got a stud CB in Okudah who seems on a course to becoming the next elite OSU CB. They got a franchise running back who won’t cost a lot for the next 4 years. They got an explosive starting EDGE. A powerful pass-blocking OG who can step in and potentially fill the hole that Glasgow has left. Along with some nice OL, WR and DL depth later. A fantastic draft that couldn’t have gone much better really, Detroit has a lot of good pieces to work with now and it’s all up to Patricia to work with them.

PACKERS – D-

1.26 – JORDAN LOVE, QB, UTAH STATE – A+

The most controversial pick I’m sure, but the pick of the draft in my mind. Due to Tua’s injuries Love was my QB2, he has all the potential in the world and can make some unbelievable throws he just needs to go somewhere we he can sit and learn for a year or 2. Well, here he can learn from a smart mind in LaFleur and the most talented QB to ever play. I get that Rodgers can still play and has time left, but securing the next 15 years of QB play is more important than taking a WR you hope can make an impact. My report on Love reads “Love is a plus prospect with the highest potential of any QB in the class, his combination of; mobility, elite arm talent, deep ball ability and throw on the move ability, is second to virtually none. There’s almost no throw he cannot make and he trusts his ability to do so more than most young QBs do, he’s confident in his abilities and has a miniature Mahomes type quality to his game in his ability to make plays from nothing and carry a team. Love has the desired multiple years starting you want out of a top tier prospect along with playing in a scheme that has had him throwing the ball 30,40,50 times a game to win. However there are clear faults to his game; his pocket awareness and tendency to fumble at times could very well be a future problem, his trust of his arm could very well lead to more turnovers as NFL DBs will be more tuned in to the risky throws down the field which Love tends to do, and his overuse of power in his throws leading to simple misses needs to be cut out right away. Love is not ready to start in the NFL and will need to sit at least most of year 1 the way Mahomes, Rodgers, Lamar and many other QBs have done. However, given good coaching and a half-decent surrounding cast, Love could very easily become a top15 or better starter in the league as he already possesses the tools and processing abilities to succeed”. This is why I think it’s a great pick, I think he’s a great player who can develop here and can be the future and be a great backup right now for if Rodgers gets hurt again.

2.30 – AJ DILLON, FB/HB, BOSTON COLLEGE – F+

This is a massive reach for me and a pick I simply don’t understand. Don’t get me wrong, I had serious fun watching Dillon play, but he was my HB15 and I had many better players ahead of him just as HBs, not to mention WRs. I don’t believe he was being considered as a day 2 pick by many teams and he simply doesn’t fit the modern game. Rodgers still has a few years left and there are massive holes at this team with; WR, CB, DT, which could have been filled here with say Kristian Fulton or Neville Gallimore or Devin Duvernay. My report reads “A rare back with deceptive breakaway speed despite his size. Very similar back to Derrick Henry and has the same lack of fluidity catching passes out of the backfield, though obviously not as good as Henry. More built for the 1980s than the 2020s, a fun to watch player who should make a roster”. Like I said, he’s not a bad player, but there are bigger needs than HB and Dillon was likely there at least in round 3.

3.30 – JOSIAH DEGUARA, TE/FB, CINCINATTI – F-

I have even more issues with this than the Dillon choice. You basically took a Fullback in Dillon, which is not a valuable position in 2020 anyway, over a WR/DB/IDL and you then passed up on that again just to take a player you admit will be used as a Fullback? I cannot fathom this move personally and I know that Packers fans, and Aaron Rodgers who is probably face-timing Bill Belichik right now, are disappointed. He was my TE15 and he was likely available in round 5, or a very similar guy would have been, and I had a 6th round grade on him. I wrote “Perfect 3rd string TE. Can block, run routes well enough and has solid but unspectacular hands. Very limited athleticism meant that he didn’t dominate in college and will struggle in the NFL as he cannot attack downfield and cannot be a red-zone threat due to size. Likely never more than a potential TE2”. I firmly believe this to be a reach and do not understand why Green Bay is investing in running the ball.

5.30 – KAMAL MARTIN, LB, MINNESTOA – B-

I kind of like this pick, my LB20 is Martin. Green Bay finally got rid of Blake Martinez and his coverage liabilities and Martin may not be a fantastic player but he should be an improvement in coverage there already. I wrote “Martin is a lengthy backer with really good coverage capabilities. Doesn’t have the athleticism to cover side-line to side-line or the power to hammer in the run game. Uses his eyes well in coverage and has long arms and quick feet to get in the way of passing lanes. Overall a smart guy who can cover in base but lacks elite athleticism, physicality and anything special to be excite about.”. Not a special guy but has a little upside and can certainly contribute.

6.13 – JON RUNYAN, OG, MICHIGAN – C+

I had Runyan listed as an OT but I thought he would be better at OG, he was my IOL18, OL depth is always a solid choice but KJ Hill was on the board and I don’t know why you would think your WR core couldn’t use him, because it could. I wrote “Runyan is a solid OT with positional versatility. As a guy who can do a little of everything but nothing exceptionally well. he is unlikely to ever start. But he is a smart player who can round out a depth chart at the next level and play all along the OL if someone gets hurt. He is best suited at OG”. I like him a little and it’s not a bad choice, but I do feel KJ Hill should have been the pick.

6.29 – JAKE HANSEN, OC, OREGON – B-

This was actually really good value so I won’t critique this one. Hansen was my IOL11 and I actually do think he can play, I had him as a 5th rounder so this is solid value and you have secured some good OL depth. I wrote “A solid but not special player who started a lot but gave up a lot of pressure in the passing game and did not dominate in the run game. Simply lacks the traits you look for as a potential franchise center. He has solid arms and a tough base but he is moved far too often, lacks the quickness and power you desire in the run game. Has a solid floor but doubt he ever becomes anything better than a swing man, can definitely play in spots when players get hurt and not be a liability, certainly a draftable player.”. I think this is a solid choice and felt GB had addressed their OL needs here with some good rotational depth players.

6.30 – SIMON STEPANIAK, OG, INDIANA – D-

Okay so, you addressed the run game very heavily with multiple previous picks, this should be KJ Hill surely who I had as my WR14. However, GB took another IOL player for depth instead of helping out Rodgers. Stepaniak was not a player I had a draftable grade on and this is a poor pick in my opinion. I like the Packers and what they did last year but I do not understand taking 3 straight IOL players. Stepaniak was my IOL18 and I put “Difficult to spot any holes in his game but has few strengths also. An average, at best, athlete with okay technique. He lacks any level of play strength and get off to be a significant run blocker. As a pass blocker he is solid with his hands but has un-agile hips. A practice squad guy.” I’m fine with taking OL, but at least take high-upside OL, and after taking 2 straight OL this really should have been a WR for Rodgers to throw to.

7.22 – VERNON SCOTT, S, TCU – C

I had an UDFA grade on Scott, I expect him to be a solid tackler on special teams as he did not impress me much on tape and do not anticipate that he is much more than that.

7.28 – JONATHAN GARVIN, EDGE, MIAMI – C+

I actually kind of like Garvin. He was my EDGE29 and I put “Garvin is a strong, long-armed pass rusher who struggles heavily vs the run but may be able to rotate in for 5/6 snaps a game as a pass rusher, lacks explosion but has some power.”. I don’t hate taking a shot at EDGE in the 7th round, but taking 0 WRs is not excusable.

The only reason this grade isn’t an F is because they got Jordan Love. GB entered the draft with big needs at; WR, CB, IDL and needed depth at OL too. They addressed the OL but took 2 fullbacks instead of drafting a single WR, CB or IDL. I cannot fathom why you would approach the best WR draft in over a decade this way, and one of the best CB drafts also, and treat this draft like it’s 1975 but they did. I really hope the Packers do well because while I’m not a GB “fan” I have always been a fan of the team. A poor draft all in all and I hope these players prove me wrong.

VIKINGS – A+

1.22 – JUSTIN JEFFERSON, WR, LSU – A

Justin Jefferson was my WR3. No, I don’t care he basically played in just the slot, Jeudy played over 70% of his snaps in the slot also, I think he has the speed and size to play outside and if not, he will be a dominant slot weapon. I think this is the perfect fit for him and I think he actually plays similarly to Adam Thielen and that’s a great combination of guys, especially when Jefferson is so dominant in contested situations also. I thought he was for sure going top 20 and I wrote this about him; “Jefferson is an elite slot chain-mover. A very safe pair of hands who can catch it in tight coverage or go up and get the ball. He’s a nuanced route runner, especially in the short to intermediate range, who has really nice footwork at the LOS. His contested-catch ability is definitely a plus too and he reads the game very well. However athletically on tape he just isn’t special, lacking top end speed, this feeds into why he’s not great after the catch either, however at the combined he showed off some speed so perhaps he was simply reserving energy on the field. He played almost exclusively slot in college and will need to adapt to the outside in the NFL.”. I think this was a fantastic selection and the Vikings, and myself, did not think he would be available here.

1.31 – JEFF GLADNEY, CB, TCU – A+

This was an absolute steal in my mind. Gladney was a top 20 pick, at least, to me and I had consistently mocked him to Atlanta or Dallas. He is an outstanding athlete who will thrive in off-man or press-zone coverages as he is almost impossible to beat deep. I wrote this about him “Gladney is a good CB who is good in man and zone, he is very instinctive and athletic, but lacks length. He is elite in off coverage and reads routes at a quality level, often breaking up passes and reacting to them before the receiver has even turned around. He has the speed and agility that you desire for man coverage. Not a guy who can play the run or tackle very well due to his smaller size, but he has the experience, smarts, technical ability, and elite athleticism to be a stud right off the gate.”. Now I know that Zimmer doesn’t play rookie CBs, but I’d seriously consider making Gladney your CB2 straight away and letting him develop into the CB1 I think he can become. This 1st round could not have gone better for Minnesota.

2.26 – EZRA CLEVELAND, OT, BOISE STATE – A-

Okay so I had Cleveland as a late2nd-early3rd round player, so the value is fine, but the fit is fantastic here. My ideal team for him to go to was the Vikings a he is a phenomenal athlete and is perfect for a wide-zone scheme. I wrote “An incredibly athletic player who’s refined the speed and finesse aspects of his game, He is very quick on both run and pass plays and flies off the Line of Scrimmage. He gets out into space with excellent quickness and is very effective on zone runs. However, he lacks any sort of desired power for the position and can be beaten far too easily by any measure of strength, this means he must play OT and cannot move to OG but he may be limited with his ceiling at OT. He has excellent footwork with lightning quickness and he has surprisingly good balance too. However, his hand technique is quite poor and he will need to learn how to properly defend more than just 1 or 2 kinds of move, in particular counters may be an issue and he needs to land his punches with more power. He is a good developmental prospect who is worth a day 2 pick, however I’m not sure he can ever become a special starter.”. I think he can be a really good swing man right away and sit year 1, then develop into a starter ahead of Riley Reiff from year 2 onwards. A quality pick with tonnes of upside and a high floor too.

3.35 – CAMERON DANTZLER, CB, MISSISSIPI STATE – B

I’m not a huge fan of Dantzler, the value here is fine as I had him as a 4th round pick anyway, he will likely struggle if he has to play year 1 and he was my CB13. I wrote “Dantzler is a very tough and competitive CB, who lacks the speed or quickness to offer any sort of consistent coverage ability in the NFL. He may have some success in a press heavy scheme with a quality pass rush in front of him, but will have difficulty in off coverage or any sort of man coverage play where he has to cover something beyond 15 yards.”. I do not think he is a bad player, but I do not think he is particularly good either and will struggle against quicker receivers. Minnesota develops CBs well and I do believe this is a good fit for him and he can play a role here after a year or 2 of development.

4.11 – DJ WONNUM, EDGE, SOUTH CAROLINA – C+

I wasn’t super high on Wonnum, he is a developmental high-upside athletic pass rusher which is something that Zimmer has done a great job with in the past. Wonnum was my EDGE22 and this is I what I said about him “Wonnum is a long EDGE with good speed and a great get off. He bends around the edge but lacks the counter moves required to really trouble OTs often. He does not have the ideal power you would like in his game, but he has the nice movement skills to be a decent coverage player dropping back also, especially standing up.”. I think Wonnum could develop well here, but I do not think he’s an instant impact player.

4.24 – JAMES LYNCH, IDL, BAYLOR – A+

James Lynch is one of my “guys”. He was my IDL7 as he is very versatile, plays the run & pass well, and can play at EDGE OR IDL. I wrote this about him “Lynch is a tweener with elite quickness. Was productive almost purely as an edge player in college but I fully expect that he moves inside. Not a very strong player but has great speed & explosion and was able to win with finesse often. Not particularly good against the run so may not play too much on 1st or 2nd down, but will definitely be an impact player on 3rd.”. This is the kind of player Minnesota needed as they had holes at EDGE and IDL, Lynch helps fill both roles. I think not only can he be a starter right away but with this coaching staff he can become a potentially very good player.

4.26 – TROY DYE, LB, OREGON – A+

Another absolute steal for me. Dye was my LB4 because of how effective in coverage he was. He’s a highly cerebral player with elite instincts, he reads the game quickly and breaks on the ball. I wrote this on him “Has great length and is able enough to take on blockers to not be a total liability in run Defense. Drops back quickly and reads the routes well whilst also able to process the QBs movements and eyes. Breaks up passes often despite limited athleticism. Can be a good quality starter as long as there is a more athletic LB next to him, should develop with good coaching.”. This is exactly the type of player Zimmer wants, he can use Barr as more of a pass rusher as there is a bit of an EDGE2 need here and Barr isn’t a special cover player, this Defense just became really versatile.

5.24 – HARRISON HAND, DB, TEMPLE – C

Not a huge fan of Hand’s game (CB39) but it is always good to have DBs with different kinds of skillsets on the roster. Hand is very versatile as he can play a little of everything; boundary, slot, FS and SS. I wrote this about him “Hand is a zone scheme CB with good instincts and ball skills. He breaks on the ball early, which he needs to do due to a lack of speed and length. He is not very good downfield and will get burned on GO routes vs a fast WR. He isn’t a bad tackler or run defender, but it isn’t a strength as he lacks strength.”. He is a nice depth piece to have who can play a small role for you, but he’s not someone who gets you fired up.

5.31 – KJ OSBORN, WR, MIAMI – D

A reach for me, there were many WRs I liked more and Osborn was my WR44, I wrote this about him “Okay at everything, bad at nothing. Nice athlete with above average speed and goes up and gets the ball well enough. Was asked to run a wide variety of routes but the only one he ran very well was the slant. Could see him as a potential WR5 on a team who is used occasionally in this slot or on deep shots.”. An okay selection but a reach given better players on the board.

6.24 – BLAKE BRENDELL, OG, OREGON STATE – C

I did not see Brendell but I am all for taking OL help on day 3, hard to grade this well when I did not see him.

6.26 – JOSH METELLUS, S, MICHIGAN – D-

I am not a fan of this pick, I liked other guys more who were available as he was my S18, I wrote this about him “Metellus is a strong safety prototype who lacks range or athleticism. He is a good tackler and he has a good brain to read routes well, but his limited athleticism meant he under-performed in college and is likely to be a special teamer in the league.”. A low floor, low ceiling pick.

7.11 – KENNY WILLEKES, EDGE, MICHIGAN STATE – A+

I am surprised he made it this far. I don’t think he’s a special player but he’s a damn hard worker and I can see him carving out a starting spot. Willekes was my EDGE15 and I wrote this about him “Smart and versatile player who can defend the run effectively. Doesn’t have good traits as a rusher and will likely never be a high-end pressure getter, which showed in college as he struggled to generate pressure, but is really clever and makes plays against the run that might mean he can play a little on 1st and 2nd down.”. A solid depth guy who can definitely play a bit on early downs and give some IDL a break on 3rd downs as an inside pass rusher.

7.30 – NATE STANLEY, QB, IOWA – B+

I wasn’t a big Stanley fan, he was my QB11, and I did like Gordon and Huntley more, but taking shots on QBs are always good moves. “Stanley is a pocket passer with a little upside and a solid floor. Stanley has a quick processor and can read a Defense better than many of the QBs taken before him. Stanley has a great arm and when he does take a shot, he really slings it. He’s not inaccurate but he is at least competent enough that you know he won’t sling an out-route into the dirt on 3rd and 12. Stanley has poor pocket sense and this will limit him from ever becoming a special player. Stanley can be a good backup and a spot-starter the same way that a Case Keenum or a Jacoby Brissett has been in their careers.”. I don’t think Stanley is special but he can at least provide some nice depth and QBs are always worth drafting.

7.35 – BRIAN COLE, S, MISSISSIPI STATE – C

Cole is a fast box defender who was as a nickel corner in college this was not a good role for him as he wasn’t agile enough to break up many passes on fast routes. He did not show a lot of effort or special ability/traits to be more than a special teamer. Cole was my S21.

7.39 – KYLE HINTON, OG, WASHBURN – C

I did not evaluate Hinton, as I’ve said before, OL depth is always a good selection.

The Vikings came into the draft with needs at; EDGE, IDL, OL, WR, CB and a need for depth at S and LB. They were able to address all of their needs. They picked some nice developmental players on the DL as pass rushers who can all contribute vs the run straight away. They got some nice OL depth and a potential starter on day 2 who was a perfect scheme fit for them. They got 1 of the consensus top receivers in the class who fell to them and who can be an instant impact player on a weak WR core. And they picked up some steals in the secondary and at Linebacker to help them in coverage if not this year then 100% in 2021. A high upside class with a very high floor also and one of the best drafts I’ve seen in recent years. The Vikings needed to add impact players as they face a hard schedule and they absolutely did with multiple steals in the draft and great picks on days 1, 2 and 3.

CONNOR LEE

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