NFL Hot Press

Some Grade South Alabama TE In Round Two

Updated Dec. 31, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

In the scouting community, you will hear a lot of rave reviews on the tight end talent for the 2017 NFL Draft. After a few seasons where the tight end position was weak, the 2017 NFL Draft could be a special year at the position with early-round talent and depth extending to all three days of the draft. One prospect who is helping to fuel the banner crop is South Alabama's Gerald Everett. Some team sources say that Everett has received second-round grades, and they expect him to go in the top round of the draft's second night.    

Scouts really love Everett's receiving ability. Following his bowl matchup versus Air Force, Everett finished with 49 receptions for 717 yards and four touchdowns. This isn't the first season of production, as Everett had 41 catches for 575 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior. He started out his career at UAB and played one season where he caught 17 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown. After UAB ended its football program, Everett transferred to South Alabama.  

Scouts feel that the 6-foot-4, 240-pounderis similar as a receiving weapon to Washington Redskins pro bowler Jordan Reed. Everett isn't the biggest of blockers for the NFL, but sources believe he has real mismatch potential as a receiver.

In January, Everett will take part at the Senior Bowl, and a strong week of practice in Mobile should solidify his standing as a second-day pick with the possibility to increase the number of teams that look at him as a second-rounder.  

49ers Should Hire Highsmith for GM Position

Updated Dec. 28, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

San Francisco is expected to clean house in their front office this offseason with general manager Trent Baalke likely to be fired. The once-proud 49ers franchise has had a dramatic dismantling after appearing in three straight NFC Championships and a Super Bowl earlier this decade. Baalke has led the decline of the talent on the 49ers roster and running successful coach Jim Harbaugh out of the organization.

The new San Francisco general manager should be Green Bay Packers senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith. The Packers have sustained a talented roster that has made Green Bay a perennial playoff team. Highsmith has been a critical member in the Packers front office, leading Green Bay to being on the cusp of its eighth straight playoff appearance and a Super Bowl championship in 2010.   

Highsmith has been apart of football greatness since he was a youth in South Florida. Highsmith was a water boy for the Dolphins during the early 1980s. He was close with Don Shula’s family and went to high school with Mike Shula. Highsmith was a high school All-American in Miami and starred at the University of Miami before playing for the Oilers, Cowboys and Buccaneers. After his NFL playing days ended, Highsmith was a professional boxer and compiled a 27-1-1 record in his pugilist career.  

Executives from around the league say that Highsmith has one of the best eyes for talent in the NFL and has played a massive role in assembling Green Bay’s roster. Not only do they say that he has a great eye for talent, but he works tirelessly, and is especially good at scouting quarterbacks. Highsmith has played with and has been apart of teams with great quarterbacks, going back to playing with Shula in high school. He was a teammate of Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde in college at the University of Miami. Highsmith played with Warren Moon and Troy Aikman in the NFL, while being part of Brett Favre’s tenure in Green Bay and was part of the Green Bay drafting and developing Aaron Rodgers into the best quarterback in the league.   

Highsmith has learned under some of the best general managers in the NFL over the past 15 years in Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson, so he’s ready to lead a franchise in the general manager position. He also learned from coaching greats in Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Don Shula, and his father Walter Highsmith.  

Highsmith was hired by then Packers Executive Vice President/General Manager Ron Wolf in 1999 to be a college scout for Green Bay. After serving as an area scout for many years, Highsmith was promoted to his current spot in 2012. Working closely with Thompson has given Highsmith a perfect position to prepare for running a franchise.  

Sources say that Highsmith has a tremendous work ethic from his time as a player, professional boxer, and area scout. Given his background, he works very well with NFL players and is able to identify with them. With his personal and organizational leadership skills, he can get a franchise working in one direction from the front office into the locker room. Everything he does at Green Bay is about winning as an organization, and sources believe he will build that kind of atmosphere for any team that hires him as their general manager.  

Prior to last offseason, the Redskins tried to hire Highsmith away, but they were blocked from doing so. But league sources from multiple teams feel that Highsmith would be a the perfect higher by the 49ers.  

Pat Mahomes Planning on Entering NFL Draft

Updated Dec. 22, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky, and Clemson's Deshaun Watson have been the big named quarterbacks with speculation about their plans to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Kizer and Watson have declared, while Trubisky hasn't made his announcement, though most across the league expect Trubisky will enter the draft. They won't be the only early-entry signal callers. Sources have told that Texas Tech junior quarterback Pat Mahomes II plans on entering the draft. 

Sources say that Mahomes is likely to do his pre-draft training in Tampa, Fla. His representatives also plan on having him work with veteran NFL quarterback coaches prior to the draft. At Texas Tech, Mahomes was part of a college spread passing attack, so he will have to learn many things for the NFL like working under center, calling plays in the huddle, improving footwork, and operating a pro offense. Working with a veteran NFL coach could help to speed up Mahomes' transition.   

As a junior, Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes in 2016 for 5,052 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns. His season was highlighted by throwing for 734 yards with five touchdowns passing, two touchdowns rushing, and one interception in a 66-59 loss to Oklahoma. Some team sources are intrigued by Mahomes, but others are skeptics. Even some of the evaluators who are skeptics acknowledge that the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder has a strong arm capable of making all the throws in the NFL. Scouts say that Mahomes has to improve his decision-making and will need development for the NFL. 

A general manger of a NFC team said they had a fourth-round grade on Mahomes, but felt he had some tools to work with. That same team has a 3rd/4th-round grade on Deshaun Watson, a fifth-round grade on Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, and a second-round grade on Mitch Trubisky. Another NFC team said they had Mahomes low, into Day 3, and didn't like him as a prospect. 

Sources from one AFC team, however, said they had a second-round grade on Mahomes and viewed him similarly to Derek Carr coming out of Fresno State. They were very high on Mahomes and think he could become a hot prospect in the lead up to his draft class. The scouting director of another AFC team said they liked Mahomes. They graded him in the third round, but don't think he is as good of a prospect as Carr. Another AFC team said they also had a second-day grade on Mahomes. 

There is a big variety in the perception of Mahomes around the league, and we have seen some quarterbacks rise extremely high or fall much lower than expected. Thus, entering the draft process, Mahomes could have a high ceiling and a low floor.

Teams Grade Raekwon McMillan in the Mid-Rounds

Updated Dec. 22, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

There have been some draft pundits who projected Ohio State junior inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan to be a first-round pick, and a potentially high first-rounder entering the 2016 season. McMillan played well in 2015, totaling 119 tackles with 1.5 sacks and four passes broken up on the year, so some hype was understandable. However, McMillan hasn't been as impressive as a junior, and sources from multiple teams say they have given McMillan a third-round grade. 

Sources question McMillan's pass-coverage ability for the NFL, as he has not impressed evaluators in defending the pass. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder is a quality run defender, but his limitations in pass coverage have many teams projecting him as coming off the field in nickel situations. NFL defenses are now operating out of the nickel around 70 percent of their snaps, so that is a huge chunk of playing time that McMillan is projected to be on the sideline. As a result, sources from multiple teams say they could see McMillan going off the board in the middle of the draft. One team thought he could go in the second, but they had a third-round grade on McMillan. One playoff team said they had a third- or fourth-round grade on him.  

As a junior, McMillan has 87 tackles, five for a loss, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles entering his college football playoff game against Clemson. McMillan will see a nice test to his coverage skills with Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett, and of course, dual-threat quarterback Deshaun Watson, so he will have an opportunity to improve his draft evaluation in the Fiesta Bowl. If the year doesn't end well for him, it could be in his best interest to return for his senior season and improve his pass coverage skills before entering the pros.

Multiple Teams Think Corey Davis Could Go Late First Round

Updated Dec. 15, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

In recent years of the NFL Draft, the wide receiver position has produced a ton of talent for the passing-driven NFL. Over the past three drafts, 15 wideouts have been selected with first-round picks as teams have been in search of play-makers. That need hasn't changed, but at first glimpse this draft class didn't look as strong at wideout. One senior receiver who has been popular with scouts for years is Western Michigan's Corey Davis, and sources say that Davis has a real shot at rising to be a late first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.   

Last year, sources said they gave Davis a second-round grade in doing their reports on him in case he entered the draft. As a senior, he only helped himself. Davis has 91 receptions for 1,427 yards and 18 touchdowns entering his bowl game this season.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Davis is long and athletic. He has impressed evaluators with good route-running, reliable hands and deceptive speed. They like his run-after-the-catch skills and size. One scout said that Davis reminds them of Denver Broncos star receiver Demaryius Thomas coming out of Georgia Tech, except Davis isn't as thick as Thomas was.

This is the fourth-straight season of good production from Davis. He was banged up somewhat in 2015, but still produced, totaling 90 receptions for 1,436 yards with 12 touchdowns.Davis was excellent in 2014 as well with 78 catches for 1,408 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had quality production as a freshman as well (67-941-6).  

Sources from three other teams said they also could see Davis going late in the first round as well. The other wide receiver prospects that teams said they believe could be selected on Thursday night are Clemson's Mike Williams, Washington's John Ross, SMU's Courtland Sutton, and possibly West Virginia's Shelton Gibson. If all of those players join Davis in the first round, the 2017 NFL Draft could have a wide receiver class that resembles the strong groups of the past three years.  


Despite Lack of Production, Sources See Early-Rounds for Ohio State Receivers

Updated Dec. 8, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

A year ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes sent three wide receivers to the NFL with Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, and Jalin Marshall. Thomas and Miller were second-day picks who slid in part because the Buckeyes didn't give them a lot of targets in the passing game. Sources say that while production wasn't big for Buckeye receivers this year either, they see early-round potential for two Buckeyes if they declare for the draft.   

Junior Curtis Samuel was a dangerous weapon for the Buckeyes, and sources have compared Samuel to Percy Harvin in terms of being a fast, explosive play-maker who is a hybrid wide receiver/running back. Samuel has played well for the Buckeyes this year with 65 receptions for 822 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. On the ground, he has averaged 7.7 yards per carry for 704 yards with eight scores. Team contacts feel that the late first round is still a possibility for Samuel, and he shouldn't last long if he falls to Day 2.  

Samuel isn't alone in that portion of the draft, as team sources say that Noah Brown could go early on Friday night if he enters the 2017 NFL Draft. They feel that Ohio State's receiver rotation, running game, and the lack of passing skill at quarterback really hurt Brown's opportunities. Brown had only 30 receptions for 385 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. Four of those scores came against Oklahoma in Week 3. They feel that the 6-foot-2, 218-pound Brown could have a better skill set than Thomas, who has been enjoying an impressive debut for the Saints after being a second-round pick.  

Beyond Samuel and Brown, there are other receiving talents at Ohio State. Sources from multiple teams have said that sophomore Parris Campbell has the skill set to be a stud receiver and wowed scouts watching Buckeyes practice. 

Some theorize that the lack of production is in part by design to try to get players to stay for all four years because they don't have a big season to push them towards entering the draft. Regardless of that, J.T. Barrett was a running quarterback, and the Buckeyes featured their ground offense. Samuel was their leading receiver, but didn't even break 900 yards or 70 receptions. Eight different players had double-digit receptions, so the Buckeyes really spread the ball around. The lack of production could hurt Samuel and Brown in the draft, but they are so physically gifted that NFL scouts still see them being early-round picks. 

Prospects Planning on Entering Draft

Updated Dec. 1, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

As the college football season finishes up with conference championships and bowl games, college prospects are making their decisions on whether to enter the NFL or return to school. Some have already made that decision. Walter Football has reached to out to sources to find out who is planning on entering the draft.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Sources say that McCaffrey is definitely going to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. NFL teams have been giving McCaffrey late first-round grades, but he could move higher. Stanford staff says that McCaffrey will test really well and has freaky workouts. They think he will run well and be a combine star. He also is a great kid off the field that will interview well. He is a team leader that pushes his teammates to be better. McCaffrey has two seasons of good tape with big production as a runner, receiver, and returner. His stock could rise throughout the lead up to the draft.

Solomon Thomas, LB, Stanford
One of McCaffrey's best friends on the team is junior linebacker Solomon Thomas. Sources say that Thomas is definitely going to enter the draft as well. In 2016 he has 55 tackles with 13 for a loss, and seven sacks. The 6-foot-3, 273-pounder would probably fit best in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker.

   Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Sources say it is a foregone conclusion that Fournette will enter the draft. Everybody knows he is coming out and the announcement is just a formality at this point.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Sources say Smith-Schuster is definitely coming out. In 2016 Smith-Schuster has 63 receptions for 781 yards and nine scores. NFL teams see him as a bigger, possession receiver for the NFL with yards after the catch ability. Sources say that he could run faster than expected at the combine.

Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson isn't as clear-cut as Smith-Schuster. While the wide out is definitely turning pro, sources say that Jackson is pretty sure that he will enter the draft but it isn't set in stone yet. In speaking to some team sources, they are grading Jackson as a late first-round pick.

  Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Humphrey could be in the running to be one of the first cornerbacks drafted, and sources say he plans on coming out.

Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Ditto with Robinson. He could be the first tackle drafted and he is said to be planning on entering the draft.

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