NFL Hot Press



Teams Had Day-Two Grades on DeMarcus Walker

Updated June 27, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Florida State's DeMarcus Walker was one of the breakout pass-rushers in college football in 2015. He had 10.5 sacks with 15.5 tackles for a loss, five passes batted and 58 tackles on the season. Many expected the junior defensive end to skip his senior year and enter the 2016 NFL Draft. In the passing-driven NFL, edge rushers who can get after the quarterback are always in demand, so Walker had early-round potential. While some were projecting Walker to be a first-round pick, however, league sources were giving Walker second-day grades.

The 6-foot-3, 281-pound Walker is a bit short on length to be a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. His body type also isn't a great fit to be a 3-4 outside linebacker or defensive end. A similar body type in Florida defensive end/tackle Jonathan Bullard helped push him down to the third round in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Walker decided to return for his senior year, and that could turn out to be a wise decision. If he continues to play on the same level, he won't be labeled a one-year wonder player. If he builds on his junior season, that could cause his grade to be elevated for the 2017 NFL Draft. Some sources felt he would have been a late second- or early third-round pick had he entered the draft, so perhaps his stock will rise as a senior.

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Teams View Jamal Adams With Top-20 Potential

Updated June 23, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



In recent years, there was a trend in the NFL to downgrade the safety position. Many safeties, running backs, and non-pass-rushing linebackers were pushed down draft boards as the league trended more towards the passing game. Some safeties were making it into the first round, but many players were slipping to Day 2 who would have been first-rounders if they played a decade or two earlier. In speaking to some team sources, however, they feel that safeties are figuring more into the first round conversation for teams. They point to the Raiders' Karl Joseph and Falcons' Keanu Neal both going in the top 20 of the 2016 NFL Draft. One prospect they believe will follow suit as a top-20 pick is LSU safety Jamal Adams.

Sources say that the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Adams looks like an exciting player with his size and coverage skills. As a sophomore, he had six passes broken up and four interceptions. He has versatile size to cover big receivers or tight ends and tackle in the ground game. Adams had 67 tackles last year and that mirrored his freshman year of 66 stops.

In speaking to some sources from a playoff team that has every reason to believe they will be in the postseason again, they say that Adams is going to be gone by the time they are on the clock. Their early impression is that Adams is on par with Joseph and Neal as a top-20 talent. If Adams has a big junior season, he could be a high first-rounder.



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Corey Davis Had Some Second-Round Grades

Updated June 20, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.



Last fall, many NFL scouts expected Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis to enter the draft, as he had excellent production to start out his collegiate career. Davis caught 78 passes for 1,408 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2014. He had quality production as a freshman as well (67-941-6). Thus, many around the league thought he would be entering the 2016 NFL Draft as he produced a good junior year while playing banged up. Team sources say they were giving Davis a second-round grade in their reports before he decided to return for his senior year.

Sources say the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Davis is long and athletic. He has impressed evaluators with good route-running, hands and deceptive speed. They also like his toughness and ability to produce while not being 100 percent. Davis totaled 90 receptions for 1,436 yards with 12 touchdowns while dealing with injuries.

Team contacts say if Davis produces as a senior like he did the past two seasons, he is likely to maintain that second-round grade for the 2017 NFL Draft. Given his consistency up to now, it looks like Davis has a good shot of being a Friday night selection next April.

Comment on this story here.


Scouts Excited for Michigan Talent

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



Last year, new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh engineered a huge improvement for the proud Wolverines program. While Harbaugh and his staff did an excellent job, the emergence of a lot of young talent was a leading catalyst for Michigan's rebirth. In speaking with sources from NFL teams, they say that Michigan is one of the top schools in the preseason scouting lists with a plethora of talent for the NFL. Here is a rundown of some of the Wolverine players scouts are excited to see.

  • Senior tight end Jake Butt could have been a second-day pick if he entered the 2016 NFL Draft. He probably would have graded out similar to the first tight end selected, San Diego's Hunter Henry, who was taken early in the second round. Butt had 51 receptions for 654 yards with three touchdowns in 2015. The 6-foot-6, 248-pound Butt is a good receiver down the seam who uses his size to his advantage. Butt has looked very good as a receiver and blocker in Harbaugh's pro-style offense. Some team sources are already saying they would love to land Butt on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft.

  • Michigan's defense was phenomenal in 2015, and defensive end Chris Wormley was their best defender up front. He recorded 43 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss on the year. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder has versatile size to be an end or tackle in a 4-3 defense. He also is a great fit as a five-technique in a 3-4. If Wormley builds on his 2015 season, he could be a high selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.

  • Defensive back Jabrill Peppers (6-1, 205) was excellent as a sophomore in 2015, recording 45 tackles with 10 passes broken up. He has some man-coverage skills to go along with athletic upside. Peppers could play safety or maybe be a press-man corner. He also has been a weapon on offense and special teams.

  • Wide receiver Jehu Chesson had a breakout junior season with 50 receptions for 764 yards with nine touchdowns. He also ran for two scores. Chesson (6-3, 207) has size to him, and so the speed to separate will be the key attribute that scouts will be looking for.

  • Similar to Cheeson, running back De'Veon Smith didn't do a lot as a freshman or sophomore, but was much more productive as a junior. Smith averaged 4.2 yards per carry for 753 yards with six touchdowns. He had 19 receptions for 159 yards. The 5-foot-11, 228-pound power back finished the year with an impressive performance against Florida and one of the best defenses in college football. Smith could be even better with more experience going into his senior year.

    Sources say there are a number of other prospects on the defensive and offensive line that they are eager to see. In recent years, programs like Ohio State, Alabama and Florida State have been the most visited schools by NFL evaluators, but in 2016, Michigan could make that claim.

    Comment on this story here.


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