The Bills moved on from Marcel Dareus, and Kyle Williams is aging. Here's some young talent for the interior of Buffalo's defensive line.
Payne has dominated at the point of attack this season, stuffing runs while showcasing his freakish speed and athleticism. In 2017, he has 42 tackles, two sacks and a pass batted. I've heard general managers and scouts raving about Payne this year.
Scouts were already raving about Payne's potential in the preseason. He has been the Crimson Tide's best defensive lineman in 2017, following Jonathan Allen's moving on to the NFL. Payne (6-2, 319) is a run plugger with a lot of potential to grow. When given the opportunity to rush the passer in 2016, Payne was impressive, and sources have said that he helped set up sacks for Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson last season.
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The Packers could use more pass rush off the edge.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Allen has been one of the top edge defenders in college football during the 2017 season. The junior has seven sacks along with 56 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and three passes batted. Allen produced well as a sophomore in 2016 with 62 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and four forced fumbles. One national scout compared Allen to Leonard Floyd coming out of Georgia with Allen's ability to rush off the edge. That scout said Allen isn't as freaky of an athlete as Floyd was, and Allen is not a top-10 pick, but he did grade Allen as a first-rounder.
Another director of college scouting said he had given Allen a high second-round grade, but thought Allen could definitely end up going in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. That director said Allen was an interesting player because he also can play inside linebacker, whereas Floyd was just an outside edge defender. That college director said that as an inside linebacker, Allen has similarities to current Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham in terms of his height, speed, length, and athleticism in the middle.
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The Seahawks could use some young edge-rushing talent, especially if Cliff Avril retires.
In 2017, Armstrong has 59 tackles with 9.5 for a loss, two sacks, four forced fumbles and three passes batted. A NFC general manager told me that Armstrong continues to impress them. He was a big presence for Kansas in 2016 as he totaled 10 sacks with 20 tackles for a loss, 56 tackles and three forced fumbles. The 6-foot-4, 241-pounder could use more weight for the NFL to be an edge rusher against pro offensive tackles. That would help him to get off blocks. Armstrong is extremely quick and athletic, but could use more strength. He would be a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker as well.
The Lions grab a player who should transform their offense from being one-dimensional.
Chubb is averaging 6.3 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,045 yards with 12 touchdowns. Last season, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry on his way to 1,130 yards with eight touchdowns. He had five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown as well. In 2016, Chubb didn't quite have the speed and explosion that he had before his 2015 knee injury. Considering it was only about a year since he was hurt, that was understandable.
Prior to his season-ending knee injury in 2015, Chubb had picked up where he left off as a freshman. The sophomore averaged 8.1 yards per carry for 747 yards and seven touchdowns in his shortened 2015 season. In 2014 while splitting time with Todd Gurley, Chubb averaged 7.1 yards per carry for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also caught 18 receptions for 213 yards and two scores.
Chubb is akin to a human bowling ball, rolling over tacklers and and being a physical force in the SEC. The 5-foot-10, 220-pounder is a powerful runner who also has the quickness to rip off yards in chunks. He also is an explosive track competitor.
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The Ravens could use more weapons at receiver. If Baltimore takes a wideout early, the organization could target offensive line help on Day 2.
This year, Sutton has 56 catches for 910 yards with 12 touchdowns. He totaled 76 receptions in 2016 for 1,246 yards - a 16.5-yard average - with 10 touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has size to him, and in 2015, he showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch. For the year, the redshirt freshman totaled 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions.
Scouting sources really like Sutton and think he is a mismatch weapon. One playoff general manager said they loved Sutton and thought he could end up becoming the best receiver from his draft class. Another scouting director told WalterFootball.com that, in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps before the 2016 season, Sutton's tape really stood out, and he continued to impress them in 2016. Sutton is a long-strider, and sources say his speed is comparable to TCU's Josh Doctson, who the Redskins took in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
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The Titans could use a bigger corner to pair with Adoree' Jackson.
Davis (6-1, 203) is a good corner who has size, length and press-man ability. He has nice quickness in the short part of the field and can battle big wideouts. Davis is a physical defender who really competes, but he does struggle with deep speed.
The junior has 29 tackles with 11 passes broken up and an interception in 2017. As a sophomore, he totaled 46 tackles, 10 passes broken up, one forced fumble and zero interceptions. Davis recorded three interceptions with 56 tackles and eight passes broken up as a freshman.
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The Falcons could use more youth on the inside of their defensive line, and Jack Crawford is just a stop-gap solution for 2017. Atlanta could also use more disruption and pass rush next to Grady Jarrett. Additionally, Dontari Poe is entering free agency after this season.
Wilkins has 45 tackles with seven for a loss and four sacks this season. He has been disruptive at the point of attack, showing speed to create havoc behind the line of scrimmage. Wilkins is a great athlete for his size and has the versatility to play a variety of techniques. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder has a nice skill set with upside and could also fit as a 3-4 defensive end.
Wilkins played well for Clemson in 2016 as part of a tough defensive line that controlled the point of attack. The sophomore had 48 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and 10 passes batted on the year. Because of injuries, Wilkins played a lot of defensive end. He showed nice athleticism and versatility, but is at his best on the inside, using his mismatch speed against guards. Wilkins made 33 tackles and two sacks as a freshman in 2015.
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The Rams could use a safety upgrade next to Lamarcus Joyner.
In 2017, Harrison has 57 tackles with three interceptions, three sacks and two passes batted. He was impressive during the 2016 season, when he totaled 86 tackles with seven passes broken up and two interceptions.
Harrison (6-3, 216) is a tall safety with good length to cover big receivers and tight ends. He will probably fit as a strong safety in the NFL. Sources rave about Harrison's skill set and say that he is a first-round talent. The question will be if his production is enough to escape the shadow of Minkah Fitzpatrick.
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This is the Chiefs' first-round pick traded to Buffalo when Kansas City moved up to pick No. 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft for Pat Mahomes. The Bills could use a corner to replace Ronald Darby, particularly one with some size.
McFadden has totaled 26 tackles and five passes broken up across Florida State's 2017. Overall, he has played well, but was beaten for the game-winning touchdown by Miami in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
McFadden was up and down in 2016, too, but he has a ton of talent to grow into a better player. Sometimes last season, he looked great, but other times, he seemed lost. McFadden still tied for the nation's lead in interceptions with eight, although part of that was because he had a lot of opportunities as teams targeted him. He also recorded 20 tackles and six passes broken up.
McFadden is a huge press-man corner. He is a similar prospect with similar strengths and weaknesses to David Amerson. At 6-foot-2, 198 pounds, McFadden has great size with upside to improve.
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Jacksonville could use an upgrade at right tackle over Jeremy Parnell. Cam Robinson might be better off on the right side in the NFL, and McGlinchey would upgrade the Jaguars' run blocking for Leonard Fournette.
McGlinchey has blocked well for Notre Dame overall in 2017, less a few rough plays versus Miami and Georgia. The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder is a tough run blocker and has been part of a good Notre Dame line for years. The senior has good enough feet and athletic ability to get depth in his kick slide and cut off speed rushers. As a run blocker, he can get movement at the point of attack. McGlinchey flashes heavy hands to push defenders out of their gaps and open holes for his back. He also has a nice ability to bend at the knee, and that in combination with his feet, keeps him from having to reach after edge rushers. McGlinchey uses his strength to sustain blocks and has developed good hand placement. His performance in 2017 and 2016 protecting Notre Dame's quarterbacks is evidence that he is a future starting left tackle in the NFL and a first-round pick.
McGlinchey was very impressive at left tackle for the Fighting Irish in 2016. He looked natural in pass protection, and one wouldn't have thought that he wasn't playing the position before last season. In 2015, McGlinchey showed well as a right tackle and displayed a more physical style of play than former Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley. The main area that McGlinchey really needed to improve was his repeated problem with false starts as a junior. McGlinchey seems to have fixed that as a senior.
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Carolina could use a young pass-rusher to replace Julius Peppers.
In 2017, Landry has 38 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two passes broken up. The senior was manhandled by Notre Dame, struggling against a freshman right tackle and, on a few snaps, against left tackle Mike McGlinchey. Landry was moderately better, but still underwhelming, against Clemson.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Landry had an impressive junior season as an edge rusher for Boston College, recording 16.5 sacks, 22 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, four passes batted and 51 tackles. He contributed as a sophomore with 60 stops and 4.5 sacks. Landry would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
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The Vikings grab a Lavonte David-type linebacker to pair with Eric Kendricks.
Smith (6-1, 225) is a linebacker who has impressed some scouting sources, who have compared him to the Falcons' recent second-day picks of the LSU duo of Deion Jones and Duke Riley, except they say that Smith is better than either Jones or Riley. These sources feel Smith is more on a par with Lavonte David coming out of Nebraska. There is no doubt that Smith is a fast and physical linebacker who flies around the field.
Smith has 92 tackles with 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes batted so far in 2017. Last season, he led Georgia in tackles with 95. Smith also had five tackles for a loss, one pass batted and two forced fumbles that year.
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The Steelers could use a safety to pair with Sean Davis.
The 6-foot-1, 204-pound Reid has played really well in 2017, impressing NFL scouts. Sources who are tough graders said they thought Reid had first-round potential for the 2018 NFL Draft. They say that Reid doesn't have Earl Thomas-like range as a free safety or Kam Chancellor-like size as a strong safety, but he does everything well. Reid is a good free or strong safety with the ability to run and tackle. They say that he is a polished, clean, good all-around safety similar to HaHa Clinton-Dix coming out of Alabama.
Reid has 79 tackles with three passes broken up and five interceptions in 2017. He totaled 57 tackles with seven breakups last season. The junior is the younger brother of 49ers safety Eric Reid, a first-round pick out of LSU in 2013.
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The Saints could use a defensive tackle to replace Nick Fairley and a defensive end to go across Cam Jordan. Here's the latter.
Hubbard has 31 tackles, two sacks, 7.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble in 2017. Last year, he collected 46 tackles with eight for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two passes batted. While rotating into the game as a sophomore, he showed his potential with 6.5 sacks. Hubbard also had 28 tackles with an interception that season.
The 6-foot-5, 266-pounder has a great skill set, but doesn't produce up to it. Hubbard has a serious combination of size, speed, and athletic ability that should help him to rise during the pre-draft workouts, however. Some team sources feel that Hubbard has been an underachiever and should have had a lot more production over his collegiate career.
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The Patriots dangled Dion Lewis as trade bait, so they clearly are ready to move on from him. James White and Mike Gillislee are rotational backs, so New England selects a dynamic runner to help Tom Brady.
I had Love in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft because he is a first-year starter, but I hear he's likely to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft instead. Team sources say that Love is better than other smaller backs who have gone in the first round, like David Wilson or Jahvid Best. They think that Love is more on a par with Chris Johnson coming out of East Carolina, except Love isn't as straight-line fast as Johnson, but possesses more elusiveness and moves in the open field.
While Love is extremely fast, he is a tougher running back than one would think given his size. He has excellent balance and is able to pick up yards after contact. Scouts have told me that they rate Love higher than Christian McCaffrey for the ability to run between the tackles in the NFL. Love has great vision that, combined with his speed, makes him deadly. One college director told me, "If the other nine guys do their job for a few seconds, this guy is gone."
In 2017, Love is averaging 8.8 yards per carry for 1,723 yards with 16 touchdowns. He has six receptions for 33 yards as well. Sources say Love has more receiving potential for the NFL than the numbers illustrate.
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The Eagles grab a play-making receiver for Carson Wentz.
St. Brown has 26 receptions for 357 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. His production and opportunities are getting killed by the lack of passing talent with Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush. St. Brown also sees lots of double teams. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder had a quality 2016 season with 58 receptions for 961 yards and nine touchdowns with DeShone Kizer at quarterback.
Scouts who did advance work on the 2018 class told me they were really intrigued with St. Brown. They say he is a super-polished route runner with tremendous speed, athletic ability, body control, and hands. They still think that St. Brown could be a first-rounder even though he won't have significant production this season thanks to Wimbush playing quarterback. Other scouts aren't as high on St. Brown and grade him on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft.