NFL Hot Press



Weight Loss Hurts Mario Edwards' Draft Grade

Updated March 31, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Florida State defensive tackle Mario Edwards has a natural combination of size and speed with a NFL pedigree from his father. However, Edwards never produced up to that skill set as a sophomore or junior with a total of 6.5 sacks and 72 tackles over those two seasons. Still, Edwards had a quality 2014 campaign with disruption at the point of attack. Sources at the All-Star games in January opined that his physical talent had him as a potential late first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

However, at the Combine, Edwards checked in at 6-foot-3, 279 pounds. It was believed that Edwards had played in or around 290 pounds in college, and even that weight is undersized for the NFL. It appears that Edwards dropped the weight to run faster at the Combine. and sources say that was a bad idea. While Edwards had a fast 40 at 4.84 seconds, team sources say that Edwards' weight loss caused them to lower his draft grade, as it hurts his fit in the NFL.

At 279 pounds, Edwards doesn't have the weight or the length to have a fit in a 3-4 defense. His weight is too low for a nose tackle, and he isn't tall or long enough to be a five-technique 3-4. That rules out a lot of teams.

The weight limitations also extend to a 4-3. He is too small to play a nose tackle and eat up blockers in the trenches. The sub-290 Edwards' only real fit comes as a three-technique in a 4-3. That limits the number of teams that Edwards could play for, as there aren't a lot of teams running a Tampa 2-type system that is predicated on a fast three-technique. Not all of the other 4-3 defenses that have some flexibility with occasionally inserting a three-technique necessarily have a need for that.

Team sources say that after the weight loss, they lowered Edwards' grade to the late second round. Perhaps Edwards will help himself by checking in heavier at the Florida State pro day and on pre-draft visits in April.

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Ereck Flowers to Visit Bucs, Panthers

Updated March 27, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Miami left tackle Ereck Flowers is in the mix to be the first offensive tackle selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. Before the turn of the year, sources from multiple teams told us that Flowers had graded out as a first-round pick and that they could see him going in the top 20. With that being the case, a lot of teams are showing interest in Flowers as the draft approaches.

All four of the NFC South teams are showing significant interest. Sources have told us that Flowers will take pre-draft visits to visit the Buccaneers and Panthers. Carolina offensive line coach John Matsko flew to Miami to work out Flowers and take him to dinner recently. The Falcons are going to Miami for a private workout with Flowers, and the Saints will meet with Flowers before his pro day. The Bucs are coming to Miami to conduct a private workout with Flowers, and he will also go visit the team at One Buc Place.

Among other teams, Flowers will also have upcoming meetings with the Colts, Browns and Chargers in Miami. Flowers was extremely busy at the Combine, as had 28 meetings, and he has met or spoken with 31 teams thus far. Aside from Carolina and Tampa Bay, sources say that Flowers will have other pre-draft visits to NFL facilities. The 6-foot-6, 329-pounder is only 20 years old with a lot of upside to develop. He could hear his name called quickly on the opening night of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Teams Split on Marcus Peters' First-Round Chances

Updated March 25, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Every year in the NFL Draft, there are players who are first-round talents but end up falling because of off-the-field concerns. This year, one of those prospects is Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. He was enjoying a fine senior season before run-ins with the new Huskies' coaching staff led to him getting kicked off the team. Since then, Peters has been trying to convince NFL teams that his attitude issues are a thing of the past and he is worthy of being a first-round pick.

Multiple sources have told us that Peters did not interview well at the Combine and hasn't convinced teams that he truly has changed. There are still plenty of teams that are skeptical and a number of them have ruled Peters out as a prospect.

With that being the case, we surveyed teams to see if they believe that Peters will end up going in the first round of the draft. Two teams believe that a franchise will end up taking Peters in the first round, although they said their team would not draft Peters on Thursday night, and probably would not consider him on the second day, as they are set at the position.

Three teams told us that they believe that Peters will not go in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Two of those three teams could consider a cornerback on Thursday night. They think that Peters is going to slip to the second day of the draft, similarly to other troubled cornerback prospects like the Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu or the Rams' Janoris Jenkins.

It only takes one team to fall in love with the skill set, believe Peters that his problems are a thing of the past, and pull the trigger on him on Thursday night. But among five teams, the majority see him falling to the second day.

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Markus Golden Viewed as Mid-Round Prospect

Updated March 23, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Early in the 2014 season, Missouri defensive end Markus Golden's play helped Shane Ray jump start his breakout year. Golden was on fire in September, making a lot of plays in the backfield before an injury robbed him of a lot of the middle portion of the season. Still, Golden recorded 10 sacks, 78 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and three forced fumbles as a senior.

Because of his pass-rushing production, there are some projections of Golden being a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. However, the 6-foot-2, 260-pounder didn't impress at the Senior Bowl, as he made the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. Golden looked more like a tweener and may not have a true position. As a result, teams feel that Golden is more likely to be a mid-rounder.

Sources we've spoken to say that Golden has a shot at sneaking into the late picks in the second round. However, he is more likely to be a third- or fourth-round pick. Other pass-rushers who have been similar that have gone in that range include Alex Okafor (2013) and Carl Bradford (2014). Golden would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, as he doesn't have the size to play defensive end in a 4-3 and isn't the athlete to play outside linebacker in a 4-3.

Having said that, the NFL personnel we've spoken to aren't completely down on him. Some believe he'll be a nice value pick if he drops into the fourth round, considering his production at Missouri.

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DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman Viewed as Day 2 Talents

Updated March 16, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



It would be a surprise if Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker made it to the middle of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Even though Kevin White and Amari Cooper are expected to go before him, Parker is safely assumed to be a top-16 pick with receiver-needy teams like the Raiders, Bears, Vikings, Browns, 49ers, Dolphins and Texans all drafting in the top 16 selections. However, sources say that Parker is more of a second-round talent.

Sources from one team said Parker doesn't really run routes and is more of a downfield linear receiver. Another general manager said, "I don't see any special traits, but he's a good player though." Those teams graded Parker in the second round, but all of them say that he'll go much higher than Round 2.

Breshad Perriman, meanwhile, has gotten a lot of hype and has been mentioned as a potential first-round pick as well. We reached out to sources to see where teams are grading Perriman. They said that they think Perriman will probably end up going in the second round. One team has a third-round grade on Perriman, and they felt the first round was too rich.

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Alexander, Hunter Grading in the Mid-Rounds

Updated March 9, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Two of the surprise early entries into the 2015 NFL Draft were LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter and outside linebacker Kwon Alexander. Both players were expected to return for their senior years, and NFL evaluators have told us that both early-entrants should have gone back to LSU. Sources from multiple teams have said that Alexander and Hunter are grading out as mid-rounders.

Some pundits have projected Hunter to be an early-round selection, but teams aren't looking him at him there. Multiple teams told us that they have a fifth-round grade on Hunter. One team said they have a third-round grade on him. The 6-foot-5, 252-pounder ran quickly at the Combine, but he didn't produce much in college. Hunter notched only 1.5 sacks in 2014 alongside 73 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and six passes batted. He will need to add weight to play defensive end in the NFL or he will have to move to outside linebacker.

Alexander was the opposite of Hunter. Multiple teams said they had a third-round grade on Alexander, while one team said it had a fifth-rounder for him. The teams that had the 6-foot-1, 227-pounder on Day 2 like the sideline-to-sideline speed that Alexander displayed in 2014 and at the Combine (4.55-second 40-yard dash). Like Hunter, Alexander could stand to add more muscle to his frame. However, Hunter had more production in his final season of college football with 90 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, one pass broken up, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks.

Every year, underclassmen enter the NFL draft thinking they will be early-round picks and end up being disappointed. According to the NFL teams we spoke to, Alexander and Hunter will be the latest players to follow this trend.

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