Cleveland could use more weapons for its young quarterback.
Scouting sources compare Samuel to Percy Harvin and think Samuel could be a special play-maker in the NFL. The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder would probably fit better as primarily a receiver in the pros given his build. In 2016, Samuel had 74 receptions for 865 yards with seven touchdowns. On the ground, he averaged 7.9 yards per carry for 771 yards and eight scores. Samuel has explosive vertical speed and is a play-maker with the ball in his hands.
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The 49ers could use a linebacker upgrade, and Cunningham is a good value in the second round.
In 2016, Cunningham totaled 125 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, three passes batted and one forced fumble. The 6-foot-3, 234-pounder is a quick, instinctive linebacker who is a reliable tackler. He is a versatile player with the skill set to be a three-down starter in the NFL. There has been buzz about Cunningham in scouting circles, and teams are giving him late first-round/early second-round grades.
In 2015, Cunningham totaled 103 tackles with 16.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes batted and four forced fumbles on the year. He was only a redshirt sophomore that season and has upside to develop.
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Tom Coughlin's wants the Jaguars to improve their rushing attack and be a tougher, more physical team. They traded for Brandon Albert, but they can't count on the oft-injured veteran to be their long-term left tackle.
Team sources say the medical report on Ramczyk had some concerns. Some teams also question his love for football after he quit the sport after high school. Ramczyk had a strong 2016 season blocking for the Badgers in his debut as their starting left tackle. In 2013 and 2014, he was the starting left tackle at UW-Stevens Point where he earned a lot of accolades before sitting out the 2015 season with a redshirt after transferring to Wisconsin. Ramczyk was one of the better left tackles in college football during 2016.
Ramczyk (6-6, 310) has a lot of good qualities that could lead to him being a starting left tackle in the NFL. He is quick out his stance, fast to hit blocks in the second level, and is able to get in position for blocks in space. In pass protection, Ramczyk can play the type writer with his feet and shuffle with rushers. He gets depth in his drop as well. On some plays, Ramczyk can be slow to react and adjust to counter pass-rush moves, but that will change as he gains more experience. Ramczyk also needs to add more strength. He can get bull rushed and pushed back by rushers. His frame doesn't look maxed out though, and he should get stronger in an NFL strength and conditioning program.
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Let me preface this pick by saying I think Chicago will move back into the first round for Watson. The Bears have shown a ton of interest in him, and he could develop for a year behind Mike Glennon. Trading back into Round 1 for Watson would give Chicago a fifth-year option on his rookie contract, which could be massive savings if he pans out.
In 2016, Watson completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards with 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He had nine rushing touchdowns as well. Watson turned in underwhelming performances during the year against Auburn, Troy, Georgia Tech and Louisville. However, he played much better during the final month of the regular season and in the postseason. Watson can start games slowly, but plays his best when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter.
A problem for Watson in 2016 was poor accuracy in the first two-thirds of the season. He has lots of room for improvement with his field vision and ball placement. Watson missed wide-open receivers for scores throughout 2016. Watson also throws a lot of interceptions, and some of them come from forcing passes rather than reading the field. He also will have to make a huge jump to a pro-style offense, which will entail learning to work under center and call plays in the huddle. The Clemson offense predetermined where Watson would throw pre-snap, so he will need to learn to make reads in the NFL. Watson is great off the field with work ethic, character, quiet leadership skills, and loving football. His accuracy was better late in the year and in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line.
As a sophomore, Watson (6-2, 221) made some beautiful passes and was a big-time point producer. Watson played really well in 2015 to lead Clemson to the National Championship game. In 2015, Watson completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. On the ground, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 1,105 yards with 12 scores.
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The Rams signed Robert Woods, but he isn't enough to upgrade their weak receiving corps. Here's a legit weapon.
Jones had video game-like production playing in a college offense that inflates numbers. As a senior, he totaled 158 receptions for 1,746 yards with eight touchdowns. Jones had other quality production as a junior (98-1,099-5), sophomore (81-830-5) and freshman (62-604-5). The senior set an NCAA record for receptions, breaking the total previously held by former teammate Justin Hardy.
Jones was phenomenal at the Senior Bowl and really helped his draft stock. He showed a quick burst off the line with the speed to get separation. Jones also ran good routes and displayed excellent hands. He plays bigger than his listed numbers and has functional size for the NFL.
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The Chargers could use a safety upgrade, and Peppers could be a nice value in the second round.
Peppers had a good 2016 season for Michigan with 72 tackles, 16 for a loss, four sacks, one interception, zero pass breakups and one forced fumble. He was electric on special teams and especially phenomenal on punt returns, taking one for a touchdown. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder was excellent as a sophomore in 2015, recording 45 tackles with 10 passes broken up and zero interceptions.
Sources say they see Peppers (5-11, 213) as a hybrid safety/linebacker in the NFL. He has the athletic skill set to play pass coverage, but often can be caught flat-footed. His ball skills aren't special either, as he made just one interception in his collegiate career, which was from catching a tipped pass. Thus, some sources think Peppers would fit best as a safety in the middle of the field. That would allow him to make plays off his instincts, and he could be a weapon in pass coverage on tight ends, blitzing quarterbacks, playing zone, and defending the run. There is no doubt that Peppers has a ton of athletic upside. He could play safety and dime linebacker, similar to Deone Bucannon. Peppers should also be used on special teams as he is a dangerous weapon there.
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The Jets will be able to land a great tight end value early in Round 2. Here's one of those potential steals.
The 6-foot-4, 246-pound Njoku is a freak athlete who has size, physicality and excellent speed. The junior recorded 43 receptions for 698 yards with eight touchdowns in 2016 despite Miami not using him as much as it should have. Sources have said that the coaching staff loved tight end Chris Herndon as a worker and teammate, so they tried to reward him by splitting targets his direction. The underachieving play of Brad Kaaya also hurt Njoku's production with the quarterback's propensity to watch the pass rush and take sacks.
According to team contacts, Njoku was torn on whether to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. The main reason he would have returned to Miami was to help his younger brother make the transition as he joins the program in 2017. However after the last regular-season game, Njoku posed for a photo with the senior class and took grass from the field as a keepsake. That suggested the junior was leaning toward entering the 2017 NFL Draft before his actual declaration.
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The Panthers grab an edge rusher to groom behind Julius Peppers.
In 2016, Walker totaled 68 tackles with those 16 sacks, 21.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and two passes batted. He caught fire in the second half against Ole Miss to record 4.5 sacks and help lead Florida State to a huge comeback win over the Rebels.
The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder broke out in 2015 with 10.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up and 58 tackles. He was a tough edge rusher for the Seminoles. Sources told me that they were projecting Walker to the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft prior to him announcing he would return for his senior year.
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The Bengals could use some young linebacker talent and another edge rusher across from Carlos Dunlap. Bowser addresses both needs.
In 2016, Bowser had 47 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one pass batted. He was a tough edge rusher for Houston. Bowser could fit as a 3-4 outside or inside linebacker, and he could play inside on run downs and move to rush off the edge in passing situations. In a 4-3 defense, Bowser (6-2, 244) would fit as a Sam - strongside - linebacker and could rush off the edge in obvious passing situations.
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The Saints could use multiple cornerback upgrades. This pick could also be Davis Webb as they are looking hard at getting a young quarterback.
Jones would have been a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft if it weren't for a torn Achilles suffered at his pro day. That injury could cost him his rookie season and drop him a few rounds this week.
In 2016, Jones recorded 39 tackles with six passes broken up, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. He was superb as a cover corner for the Huskies. The 6-foot, 186-pounder finished the year by shutting down Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Jones has excellent feet, quickness, and fluid athleticism to run with receivers and prevent separation.
Jones had an excellent 2015 season as one of the top cornerbacks in the nation. For the year, he recorded 10 passes broken up, four interceptions, 45 tackles and three forced fumbles. He also showed coverage skills as a freshman with five pass breakups and two picks.
The Eagles grab a feature running back who is a great fit for Doug Pederson.
Kamara is a super-hot prospect in scouting circles and is going to keep rising throughout the leadup to the 2017 NFL Draft. Some sources say they wouldn't be surprised if Kamara ends up getting Thursday night consideration in the middle to back half of the first round because he is such a versatile, explosive play-maker.
The 5-foot-10, 214-pounder has a strong build with impressive speed. He is a dynamic receiver out of the backfield who also gives defenses a lot of problems running routes from the slot. Kamara has soft hands and is a superb route-runner. He also is a dangerous weapon on special teams with returning kicks. In my opinion, Kamara is a lot like Jamaal Charles; a comparison sources have agreed with.
In 2016, Kamara averaged 5.8 yards per carry for 596 yards and nine scores. He also took 40 receptions for 392 yards and four scores, plus was a threat as a punt returner. In 2015, Kamara averaged 6.5 yards per carry for 698 yards with seven touchdowns. He showed his skills in the passing game with 34 receptions for 291 yards with three scores.
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Buffalo needs a No. 2 wide receiver to pair with Sammy Watkins. This would be a perfect complement.
In 2016, Smith-Schuster totaled 90 receptions for 914 yards and 10 scores. He was completely shut down in the 2016 season opener by Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitzpatrick, two future NFL cornerbacks. In 2015, Smith-Schuster took over as the No. 1 receiver with Nelson Agholor in the NFL and was excellent with 89 receptions for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder had an impressive freshman season in 2014, totaling 54 catches for 724 yards and five touchdowns.
For the NFL, Smith-Schuster is more of a possession receiver, but he runs good routes and has size, generally quality hands, yards-after-the-catch skills, and enough quickness to produce in the short to intermediate part of the field. He is good at winning 50-50 passes and should be valuable in the red zone. Smith-Schuster could be a quality starter quickly in his NFL career, but may never become an elite No. 1 receiver as a pro.
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The Cardinals grab their understudy for Carson Palmer.
In 2016, Webb completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,295 yards with 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The graduate transfer has a strong arm and can make some well-placed passes downfield. He also has good size and stands tall in the pocket. Webb shows some field vision to work through his progressions, but he doesn't have mobility for the NFL. In terms of the critical characteristic of accuracy, Webb has potential. Sources say Webb (6-4, 229) can be erratic, but that they like him enough to think of him as a potential second-day pick. California's offense does a poor job of preparing quarterbacks for the NFL - see Jared Goff -, so Webb will have to learn calling plays in the huddle, working under center, traditional footwork for a pro quarterback, and running NFL plays instead of California's Bear Raid college plays.
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The Colts continue to build up the talent on their defensive line. They need a disruptor at the point of attack, and McDowell could make a significant impact at five-technique. Indianapolis has hosted him on a visit, and I think this could be a great value for the Colts in the second round.
McDowell totaled 34 tackles with seven for a loss and just 1.5 sacks in 2016, but was very disruptive with pressure on the quarterback. He was a backup in 2014, but broke out in 2015. At times during that season, McDowell was the Spartans' most disruptive defensive lineman. He totaled 41 tackles with 13 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pick-six on the year.
The 6-foot-6, 295-pounder has a lot of upside to develop. Teams love his skill set, but have concerns about his work ethic in the weight room and motor. They also feel that McDowell seemed to be protecting himself in his final games. They question his desire to be great and love of football. Still, he would be a perfect fit as a five-technique in a 3-4 defense. Sources from multiple teams have McDowell as a high first-round talent and like him more than Arik Armstead and similarly to DeForest Buckner.
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The Ravens get their replacement for Timmy Jernigan.
Wormley notched 40 tackles with nine for a loss and six sacks in 2016. His pass rush looked improved as a senior. Michigan had a tough defense in 2015 led by a tremendous defensive line, and Wormley was the Wolverines' leading defensive end. He recorded 43 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss on the year.
At 6-foot-5, 297 pounds, Wormley has versatile size to play in a either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. In a 3-4, he would be a five-technique defensive end. In a 4-3, he could play tackle, end or both. Wormley needs to continue to develop his pass-rushing moves.
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The 6-foot-4, 304-pound Feeney is a well-balanced blocker. He has the strength to contribute as a run blocker and was effective in pass protection for the Hoosiers. According to Indiana, Feeney had allowed only one sack in 2,719 snaps - 37 career games - entering 2016. The senior missed a lot of time in 2016 with a concussion and also had to play some right tackle. For the NFL, however, Feeney projects as a power guard.
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Kpassagnon notched 45 tackles with 21.5 for a loss, 11 sacks, one forced fumble and a pass batted in 2016. He totaled 33 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for a loss, two blocked kicks and a forced fumble the year before.
Evaluators believe that the 6-foot-6, 280-pounder is raw and has great size, but the skill set is there with a lot of upside to develop. Sources say that Kpassagnon is a perfect fit as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense and they see him as a second-day talent.
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Tampa Bay could target some more edge rush. Here's a player who can rush from the outside and give the Bucs a young tandem with Noah Spence.
Willis caused a lot of disruption and negative plays for his defense in an impressive senior year. In 2016, he totaled 11.5 sacks, 52 tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, three passes batted and three forced fumbles. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder had a respectable week at the Senior Bowl that confirmed his second-day potential for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Willis has good strength to set the edge in rush defense and pass-rushing skills off the edge. He could be a defensive end in a 4-3 or an outside linebacker in a 3-4.
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The Broncos could use a replacement for Malik Jackson.
Watkins notched 50 tackles with 13.5 for a loss, 10.5 sacks and four passes broken up in 2016. He caused a lot of disruption. To end the season, the senior dominated Ohio State and played well against Alabama. As a junior, Watkins produced a strong season with 34 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, three passes batted and an interception. The 6-foot-3, 312-pounder didn't record many stats in his prior seasons as he was buried on the depth chart by a lot of good talent at Clemson.
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The Browns need a third cornerback, and a bigger one would allow them to move Joe Haden inside to the slot when they go to the nickel.
After losing Vernon Hargreaves to the NFL, Wilson replaced him as Florida's starter alongside Jalen Tabor. Sources with multiple teams graded the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Wilson as a second-rounder, and team evaluators feel that Wilson has above-average speed to go along with his size. In 2016, he totaled 33 tackles with six passes broken up and three interceptions. Sources also feel Wilson has above-average feel and awareness. He is good at running the route to prevent separation with the size to take on big receivers.
Wilson is a longer press-man corner for the NFL with ball skills, but scouting sources say that there are aspects that Wilson needs to improve. He grabs at receivers a lot and could get called for pass interference penalties in the NFL. They also say that he lacks instincts and has some limitations in scheme. Thus, he will need some development. Wilson's best fit would be as a longer press-man corner.
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The Lions could use multiple linebacker upgrades from this draft class.
In 2016, McMillan was solid for Ohio State with 102 tackles, seven for a loss, two sacks, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder played well in 2015, totaling 119 tackles with 1.5 sacks and four passes broken up on the year. As a freshman in 2014, he played a lot for Ohio State and totaled 54 tackles with 2.5 sacks and a pick-six.
McMillan is a tough defender who has the skill set to be a three-down starter in the NFL. Right now, however, he struggles in pass coverage and needs to improve his ability to drop into coverage. McMillan is a physical, tough run defender at the point of attack.
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The Dolphins could use some young talent at cornerback, plus Mike Tannenbaum loves to draft corners early. Miami has hosted Tankersley, and he could compete quickly.
Tankersley recorded 47 tackles, four interceptions and 10 passes broken up in 2016. The 6-foot-1, 199-pounder has the size and coverage skills to be an first-rounder. In 2015, Tankersley was part of a tough cornerback duo for Clemson with Mackensie Alexander, showing impressive ball skills by racking up five interceptions and nine passes broken up. Tankersley also had 48 tackles.
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The Giants could use more talent at tight end. Jerry Reese likes freak athletes, and Engram's 4.4 speed as a tight end could be dynamic in New York's offense.
Engram is a dangerous receiving weapon. The 6-foot-3, 236-pounder is a fast, athletic tight end who can hurt defenses vertically. He has the speed to get separation and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Engram needs to add weight for the next level and get better as a drive blocker, but he already shows good intelligence and effectiveness with cut blocks at the right spot. Engram has a good attitude and tries hard as a blocker.
Engram amassed 65 receptions for 926 yards and eight scores in 2016. Against Florida State and Alabama, he showed that he is a dynamic receiving tight end for the NFL in the mold of Jordan Reed. Engram totaled 120 yards on nine receptions with a touchdown against the Seminoles and nine catches for 138 yards and a score versus the Crimson Tide.
Engram had a slow 2015 with only 38 receptions for 464 yards and two touchdowns. In his first two years, he was excellent for Ole Miss. Engram caught 38 passes for 662 yards with two touchdowns in 2014. He was a dangerous receiving threat who carved up Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State that season. As a true freshman, he caught 21 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns.
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The Raiders could use an interior disruptor and pass-rusher.
In 2016, Adams had 44 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two passes batted and one interception. There were times where he looked like a first-rounder with his size and speed. From a skill-set perspective, Adams is an early round talent, but his motor varies between hot and cold. The 6-foot-3, 308-pounder possesses an interesting body type that could fit as a 4-3 three-technique or a 3-4 defensive end. He had a very good Senior Bowl performance, rushing the passer really well in the one-on-ones.
In 2015, Adams had 44 tackles, three for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up. He dominated that season's opener against Louisville and seemed poised for a massive year, but that didn't come to fruition as his motor was too inconsistent. Adams recorded 43 tackles, eight for a loss and three sacks in 2014.
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The Texans need two safeties after losing Quintin Demps in free agency. Here is a potential plug-and-play starter.
Maye recorded 50 tackles with one interception and six passes broken up in his injury-shortened 2016 season. He totaled 82 tackles, six pass breakups and two interceptions in 2015. Maye was a solid free safety for Florida that season and generally a good deep center fielder, but he had an ugly performance against Alabama in the SEC Championship and didn't finish well against Michigan in the bowl game.
Sources say Maye (6-0, 210) has good free safety pass-coverage potential for the NFL and can do everything well, but also has some kinks to work out. He has a tendency to play really well and then suffer a lapse that allows a reception downfield he shouldn't. Those plays stem from a lack of eye discipline, but scouts feel that Maye has Pro Bowl potential if he can be coached out of that flaw.
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The Seahawks could use young corner talent, and Seattle and Witherspoon are a perfect fit.
Some team sources really like Witherspoon and have given him second-day grades. Teams like the size and length of the 6-foot-3, 198-pounder, but also say that he has speed to run. The senior notched a staggering 22 passes broken up in 2016. He also chipped in one interception with 23 tackles. As a junior, Witherspoon recorded 36 tackles with three pass breakups and two interceptions.
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The Chiefs could use more cornerback talent to go with Marcus Peters.
White produced some huge plays early in 2016 on his way to totaling 35 tackles with 14 passes broken up and two interceptions on the year. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder is fast with the ability to prevent separation, but he can struggle with big receivers. Some team sources have said they graded White in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
White totaled 44 tackles with seven passes broken up and a punt returned for a touchdown in 2015. He had some struggles with big receivers in Mississippi State's De'Runnya Wilson and Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell that season. White played well in 2013 and 2014 with two picks in each year and solid run support. He had 55 tackles as a freshman and 33 stops as a sophomore. White showed steady ball skills over his career, batting away seven passes in 2013 and six as a sophomore.
The Cowboys could double up on cornerbacks to address their weak secondary.
In 2016, Awuzie recorded 65 tackles with 12 passes broken up, four sacks and one interception. The 6-foot, 205-pounder has decent size to him, but is inconsistent in coverage. He allows separation and doesn't play as big as his listed size. In his bowl game, he was torched by Oklahoma State. Awuzie had 84 tackles with 12 for a loss, four sacks, seven passes broken up and two interceptions in 2015.
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The Packers could use a cornerback upgrade, and I think they love Conley. The question will be if Green Bay is okay with the late-breaking off-the-field issues.
On Tuesday, news came out that Conley was the subject of a rape allegation. Two teams told me they thought it was bogus. Hopefully, they are correct for the sake of all involved. Another team said they thought it probably wasn't true, but they were very disappointed in Conley's lack of judgement and awareness to put himself in this situation. Regardless, the controversy could be damaging enough to cause Conley to slide in the 2017 NFL Draft, like La'el Collins or Laremy Tunsil in the past two years.
Conley recorded 26 tackles with eight passes broken up and four interceptions in 2016. He played well, and teams think he is a well-rounded player. The 6-foot, 195-pounder has enough size to start on the outside at the next level. In the NFL, Conley could fit in schemes that run zone, off man, and press man. He is a polished player who should be able to contribute quickly.
After some early issues, Conley had a solid 2015 season for the Buckeyes and improved as the year progressed. He totaled 49 tackles with two interceptions and five passes broken up that year. Conley has a good skill set, and he looks like a safe pick to develop into a quality starter.
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Jones (6-2, 215) was a solid player for the Wolfpack over the past three seasons. He is a strong safety type for the NFL and plays with an aggressive and relentless nature. Jones had 109 tackles with eight passes batted and three interceptions as a junior before deciding to skip his senior year. He recorded 63 tackles as a sophomore with 56 stops in 2014. Jones snagged four interceptions as a redshirt freshman.
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The Falcons could use a free safety upgrade next to Keanu Neal, where Baker would be a perfect fit.
In 2016, Baker totaled 65 tackles with two interceptions and five passes broken up. He needs to get stronger to tackle in the NFL, but Baker is a fast safety who flies around the field. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder has the ability to help in pass coverage and is a willing tackler in the ground game. Returning for his senior year and adding strength would have been his best route before going pro, but Baker decided to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
In 2015, Baker recorded 49 tackles with seven passes broken up and two interceptions. He had 80 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception as a freshman.
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The Panthers could use a right tackle candidate considering the uncertain status for Michael Oher.
Sharpe was a solid left tackle for the Gators. He is a good run blocker and a better athlete with more quickness than one would think. Sharpe had a good first half against Tennessee's Derek Barnett before struggling in the second half.
For the NFL, Sharpe would probably be best as a guard or right tackle. As a sophomore in 2015, Sharpe saw action at both tackle positions. He was a good run blocker who flashed some pass-protection skills. Sharpe (6-6, 343) needs to improve his pass blocking for the NFL, but he has upside to develop. Sharpe needs to keep his weight in check and avoid lethargy.
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