NFL Hot Press



Off-the-Field Issues Could Cause Key to Slide

Updated Jan. 11, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Weeks ago here in the Hot Press, we surveyed sources from around the league on who were the elite talents in the 2018 NFL Draft. One of the names chosen by every evaluator was LSU defensive end Arden Key. Similar to some other great recent edge rushers like Jadeveon Clowney, Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett, Key's numbers were down as a junior compared to his sophomore season for a variety of reasons, including injury and extra blocking attention. Those three NFL edge rushers still were all top-three picks despite the decline in production. Key also is viewed as a special athletic talent like them, but another issue could cause Key to slide in the 2018 NFL Draft and that is off-the-field concerns.

Sources from a few NFL teams said the off-the-field concerns are significant enough to have a big impact on Key's draft stock. Key took a leave of absence from the LSU program in the spring of 2017, and that may be related to the off-the-field issues. Evaluators at multiple franchises brought up off-the-field concerns independently of each other. They all said that the background check on Key is very important, and how he interviews with teams during the leadup to the 2018 NFL Draft will be critical. If the interviews go well, Key could be a high first-rounder. If they don't, sources say his slide could be substantial.

After shoulder surgery prior to the 2017 season, Key was overweight and had to work himself back into playing shape after missing a few games to open the season. Therefore, his weight and health will also be watched closely by teams when he reports to the NFL Scouting Combine. Key is a wild card in the 2018 NFL Draft, and teams are going to be putting a lot of emphasis on how he interviews prior to the draft. Right now, it sounds like the off-the-field issues could cause Key to slide.






Cornerback Emerging as a Strength for the 2018 NFL Draft

Updated Jan. 8, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

In every NFL Draft, there are some positions that are especially strong with good values for NFL teams extending into the second and third days. Team sources, based on some recent declarations for the 2018 NFL Draft, say that cornerback has emerged as a position of strength and will yield some good values for teams.

In speaking to sources at multiple teams, they see some good values on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft. Iowa's Joshua Jackson, Ohio State's Denzel Ward, Auburn's Carlton Davis, LSU's Donte Jackson and Central Florida's Mike Hughes were all named as players possessing first-round potential. As one can expect, there was a big variety in that group, with some team sources thinking Davis, Jackson or Hughes didn't belong in the first round, while others thought they could go on the opening night of the 2018 NFL Draft. Some members of that group of corners might slip to Day 2, but even after them, there are a number of prospects who could be selected on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft.

"There is some impressive depth into the second and third day of the draft," said a NFC director of college scouting. "J.C. Jackson - Maryland -, Isaiah Oliver - Colorado -, Anthony Averett - Alabama - are all second-day guys with starting potential. Duke Dawson could be a later Day 2 pick. Nick Nelson - Wisconsin - could get pushed into Day 2. There are varying opinions on him. Adonis Alexander could be in that group, but I'm hearing he's going to return to [Virginia Tech] next year. There also could be some workout warriors that move themselves up. Christian Campbell - Penn State - could work out well and push himself into Day 2. His timed speed is really fast, and word is he will work out really well. He might be this year's Shaq Griffin." In last year's draft, there was a run on defensive backs, with many safeties and cornerbacks coming off the board in the second and third round. That pattern could repeat itself in the 2018 NFL Draft given the deep and talented group of second-day quality corners.




NFL Teams Hear Darnold and Jackson Inclined to Return to School

Updated Jan. 3, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

As the deadline approaches for underclassmen to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft, many pro prospects are weighing the risk and reward aspects of jumping to the professional ranks. Two prospects who are facing a tough decision are USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. For weeks and months, scouts have been saying that Darnold would prefer to return to USC for 2018. Jackson's plans and feelings have been more of an unknown. As detailed by a few team sources, NFL teams are hearing that both have an inclination to return to school for next year.

On Wednesday, a NFC director of college scouting said this about what he has heard about Darnold and Jackson: "I've been told they both would prefer to return [to school] and are weighing the business odds more than anything."

Darnold has a recent USC example with Matt Barkley who could give him pause on going back to school. Barkley could have been a high first-rounder in the 2012 NFL Draft before deciding to return for another season. That year didn't go well, and Barkley fell to the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. After four seasons, he has been on four different teams while quickly becoming a journeyman backup quarterback. Darnold has a better skill set than Barkley, but the business decision to return to USC ended up backfiring on Barkley, and that same decision is something that Darnold is pondering.

Jackson is an interesting prospect as team sources across the league are higher on him and his NFL potential than how he is being portrayed in the media. One high-ranking AFC personnel executive had this to say about the suggestion that Jackson should switch positions and isn't viewed as a high quarterback prospect, "It's unfortunate, much like [Deshaun] Watson. Lamar's the most dynamic player in the draft."

Scouts do feel that Jackson needs to add weight for the NFL and improve his accuracy. The dual-threat quarterback also has to consider the injury risk of returning to school and how that could impact where he goes in the 2019 NFL Draft.

As part of the business decision on whether to go or not go pro, Darnold and Jackson could look to purchase insurance policies if they end up not going high in the 2019 NFL Draft. A lot is up in the air as players can change their minds and they get a lot of pressure from family members, coaches, and agents this time of year. Days after their 2017 seasons ended, NFL teams are hearing that Darnold and Jackson would prefer to return to school for next year.




NFL Hot Press Month of Jan. 2018
NFL Hot Press Month of Dec. 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of Nov. 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of Oct. 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of Sept. 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of Aug. 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of July 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of June 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of May 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of April 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of March 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of Feb. 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of Jan. 2017
NFL Hot Press Month of Dec. 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of Nov. 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of Oct. 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of Sept. 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of Aug. 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of July 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of June 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of April 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of March 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of Feb. 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of Jan. 2016
NFL Hot Press Month of Dec. 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of Nov. 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of Oct. 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of Sept. 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of Aug. 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of July 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of June 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of May 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of April 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of March 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of Feb. 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of Jan. 2015
NFL Hot Press Month of Dec. 2014
NFL Hot Press Month of Nov. 2014
NFL Hot Press Month of Oct. 2014
NFL Hot Press Month of Sept. 2014
NFL Hot Press Month of Aug. 2014
NFL Hot Press Month of July 2014
NFL Hot Press Month of June 2014

Click here for older NFL Draft Rumors




Comment...


LOADING COMMENTS...





NFL Picks - Jan. 17


NFL Power Rankings - Jan. 15


2019 NFL Mock Draft - Jan. 14


2018 NFL Mock Draft - Jan. 13


Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 6


2018 NBA Mock Draft - Aug. 23


 

© 1999-2018 Walter Cherepinsky : all rights reserved
Privacy Policy
2 5 9 df
Google

WalterFootball.com is part of the NESN digital network.



 



 
 
 




 
WalterFootball.com Now on Twitter:

WalterFootball.com Twitter

Subscribe to the WalterFootball.com RSS Feed:

Walterfootball.com RSS Feed
 
 
 




 
 
Support Walt's Other Site:

Sales Tips and Sales Advice - Tons of sales tips, sales techniques and sales advice, including a Sales Mock Draft: The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales.