NFL Hot Press



Ohio State OL Grading on Day Two of the 2019 NFL Draft

Updated Oct. 18, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Under Urban Meyer, Ohio State has been a factory for first-round picks in NFL drafts along with plenty of other quality prospects for the second and third day. The Buckeyes have produced a number of early-round offensive linemen over the past few years, with the likes of Taylor Decker, Pat Elflein and Billy Price all going in the first couple of rounds. This year, there are two prospects for the NFL in tackle Isaiah Prince and center Michael Jordan. In speaking to NFL team sources who have been through Columbus this fall, they think that Prince and Jordan are more of the second-day variety and do not see them as future first-rounders.

Of the two, Jordan is liked more by scouts. They see him as having the potential to possibly be a second-round pick. However, team sources say they don't expect Jordan to enter the 2019 NFL Draft and think he will chose to return to Ohio State for next year. Multiple team sources say that Prince is receiving some third-/fourth-round grades. They think that he would better off playing right tackle in the NFL, but they do believe that he could develop into a starter after some developmental time.

Another offensive linemen with the Buckeyes who should get drafted is guard Michael Pridgeon. Team sources say that Pridgeon is a third-day talent who could be a nice pick to end up being a quality value. They like how Pridgeon has played this year.

In the 2019 NFL Draft, Ohio State should be well represented on all three days thanks to players like Nick Bosa, Dre'Mont Jones, Parris Campbell and Kendall Sheffield. However this year, the program's offensive linemen are being projected to the second and third days.






Not All Teams Grade Ed Oliver as a High First-Round Pick

Updated Oct. 12, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Since his first game in college football when Ed Oliver dominated Oklahoma, there has been a lot of projections of the Houston defensive tackle being a high first-round prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. The media hype has continued over his sophomore and junior seasons due to his quality production in the AAC. While draft experts in the national media have been projecting Oliver to be a high first-round pick, in speaking with NFL team sources who have scouted Oliver in person, they graded Oliver as a late first-round pick, although they could see a team taking him in the middle of the first round during the 2019 NFL Draft.

"I would bet a paycheck that [Oliver] does not go No. 1 overall. There is no way," said one area scout who has been through Houston. "There are too many potential issues. He's a lot smaller than people think. When the coaches and GMs see how light and short he is, there is going to be pause. Houston has him weighing at 275 [pounds] and say he has played as heavy as 282. They say that 285-290 [pounds] is too heavy for him to play at."

The national media has been quick to compare Oliver to Aaron Donald, the best defensive tackle in the NFL, but sources who have seen Oliver in person say that comparison is off base.

"[Oliver] is not the same guy as Donald," said another source. "He is more comparable to a Dominique Easley. [Oliver is] disruptive, twitchy, and can do a lot of positive things, so that is why people are eager to compare him to Donald because they both have surprising speed. But Oliver is not Donald. Donald is extremely strong, and you could see that at the Senior Bowl when he was tossing guys around. Oliver has issues with mass and problems with double teams that Donald does not. [Oliver's] lateral anchor is a problem."

Because of the size issue, Oliver could have some problems fitting certain schemes in the NFL. Obviously teams that want heavy nose tackles who play a two-gap scheme would not have a fit for Oliver. His speed, explosiveness off the snap, and quick-twitch athleticism would make him a fit as a three-technique. Weighing in the 270s, however, is very light for that role as well. and it would almost make him more of a designated pass-rusher. Evaluators feel there are scheme issues, but think he could play in a 4-3 or 3-4.

"My issues are, one, it is scheme specific that he has to go to the right team and used in a particular way," said an area scout. "If [Oliver] were to go to a 3-4 scheme with two awesome ends like Pittsburgh with [Cameron] Heyward on one side and [Stephon] Tuitt on the other, that could work because it would allow him to get off. Or Houston between Watt and Clowney, but that is a tough situation to find. I graded Oliver as a late [first-rounder], but I think someone will take him in the mid-first [round]."

In the past few years, WalterFootball.com has routinely reported that the media was way too high in their projections and hype on players like Teddy Bridgewater, Mackensie Alexander, Robert Nkemdiche, Anthony Averett, A.J. Cann and Connor Williams. Oliver looks like a safe first-round pick, but he could end up going much lower than the hype machine currently suggests.




Alabama DT Quinnen Williams Projected as a High First-Rounder

Updated Oct. 5, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Entering the 2018 season, the Alabama defensive line prospect who garnered the most media attention was Raekwon Davis. During the Crimson Tide's National Championship run in the 2017 season, Davis formed a dynamic duo with Da'Ron Payne to make the Alabama defensive line lethal at the point of attack. With Payne in the NFL having followed the footsteps of Jonathan Allen, many expected Davis to be the top Alabama defensive line prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft, but that was before Quinnen Williams put together a breakout performance to open the 2018 season. Source from multiple teams tell WalterFootball.com that they are projecting Williams to be a high first-round pick if he enters the 2019 NFL Draft.

Sources at multiple teams, including one general manager, feel that Williams will grade out as a high first-round pick if he is able to stay consistent with his early-season performance. Williams grading out as a high first-rounder could put him on a par with Houston's Ed Oliver and Auburn's Derrick Brown as the top interior defensive line prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft. Some team sources think Williams is better than Brown and have him higher, while a couple of others preferred Brown because he's bigger and could have more versatility in terms of the techniques he could play in the NFL. Both Brown and Williams are viewed as having huge upside for the NFL, as they are still very young players who are just scratching the surface of what they are capable of doing on a football field.

Sources say they are hearing out of Alabama that the redshirt sophomore Williams plans on filing paperwork with the NFL Draft Advisory Board for the 2019 NFL Draft. If Williams hears a high first-round projection, he could easily enter the 2019 NFL Draft, and that is what many NFL evaluators think is likely. Most redshirt sophomores return to school, but every year, there are a few who skip their final two years of eligibility to attempt to move on to the NFL.

Through the first five weeks of the season, Williams has been the most consistent play-maker and disruptor on the Crimson Tide's defensive line. He has 18 tackles with four tackles for a loss and one pass batted so far, but he also tends to only play one half of most games before Alabama empties the bench during blowout after blowout. Williams has caused a lot more disruption than the numbers indicate, plus has impressed with his ability to rush the passer from the inside. Williams is extremely fast at the point of attack with the ability to fire a gap and cause havoc in the backfield. A number of sources view him as a three-technique for the NFL.

While Williams is viewed as the most talented Alabama lineman right now, some sources are still high on Raekwon Davis, who they see as a sure-fire first-rounder. Here is how one scout summarized Davis, "I still think he's a top guy and worth of being a top-10 pick. He may not go that high because of how loaded this draft is on the d-line. (Alabama) is so good, and Raekwon's only played like 10 quarters of football this year, and that suppresses the production. You just can't move up. Double teams, side pressures; it doesn't matter, he can't be moved." The 2019 NFL Draft will be the year of the defensive lineman, as there could be a total in the teens grading out as first-round picks. After his tremendous start in 2018, Quinnen Williams could be one of the first players off the board, because multiple team sources see him as a high first-rounder if he stays consistent with how he started this season. Scouts have Williams as the same caliber of prospect as Brown and Oliver almost halfway through 2018.






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