The Bills signed Star Lotulelei, but they could use an interior pass-rusher to go with their heavy nose tackle. Additionally, Kyle Williams is nearing the end of his career.
Green (6-4, 275) played well for the Trojans in 2017. He recorded 43 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, one forced fumble and four passes broken up on the year. Green has good instincts and play recognition. He uses those skills to bat a lot of passes to prevent completions downfield. As a sophomore, Green made 55 tackles, 6.5 sacks, four passes batted and two forced fumbles. The junior played defensive tackle for USC, but in the NFL, he will have to move to defensive end, unless he is able to put on some weight. Gaining weight and staying on the inside could be the best plan for Green.
The Giants could grab an edge defender to replace Jason Pierre-Paul.
Sweat totaled 56 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for a loss and three passes batted in 2017. The junior has a lot of talent and was starting to flash as a sophomore in 2016. He totaled seven sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 41 tackles and one forced fumble that year.
Sources say the 6-foot-5, 251-pounder has a first-round skill set, but teams have major concerns about baggage around a knee injury. Florida State tried a variety of methods to treat the lingering knee issue, which happened during Sweat's senior year of high school, but the injury hasn't healed and he has instability in a few areas. He labors through the knee issue and hopes to play as long as possible. Thus, sources were saying during the season that Sweat planned on entering the 2018 NFL Draft to play to maximize his career. He could be a one-contract player as a pro.
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Jones (6-4, 299) is a smooth player who is balanced as a run blocker and pass protector. He is not a twitchy athlete who is especially powerful or heavy-handed, so he isn't a first-round talent. Still, Jones was a solid blind-side protector for the Buckeyes throughout his time with Ohio State. He allowed a sack in the 2017 season opener against Indiana, but he was dependable for Ohio State. Jones also should have the flexibility for the NFL to move over to right tackle or guard if necessary.
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The Texans badly need a receiving-tight end upgrade, plus Bill O'Brien recruited Gesicki out of high school and knows him well.
Gesicki totaled 57 receptions for 563 yards and nine touchdowns in 2017. He played well as a receiver and was a dangerous red-zone target with an excellent ability to high point the ball. Gesicki was a poor blocker for Penn State. He turned in an impressive 2016 season with 48 receptions for 679 yards and five touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 242-pounder played well at the Senior Bowl as a receiver and could have starting potential for the NFL, if he can improve as a blocker.
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69.New York Giants:Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
This is the pick the Giants got for Jason Pierre-Paul. Here's more offensive line talent and competition with a player who New York has shown a lot of interest in.
Parker (6-7, 303) is a prospect who impressed area scouts during the fall and followed it up with a solid Senior Bowl performance. Teams think he has developmental potential to be a starter in the NFL. They like his size and length to protect on the edge. Sources say that Parker has received some mid-round grades, and after his time in Mobile, he could end up being a third-round pick.
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70.San Francisco 49ers:Auden Tate, WR, Florida State
The 49ers need more receiver talent. Here's a mismatch weapon.
Tate notched 40 receptions for 548 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2017, but he was more impressive than the stats illustrate. The huge Tate (6-5, 228) is a mismatch weapon who gives defensive backs a lot of problems. He is very dangerous to win jump balls downfield and is a real red-zone weapon. Tate's numbers were held back in 2017 by playing with the backup quarterback, but Tate has huge potential and upside for the NFL. Some sources think that Tate should have returned to Florida State for 2018 and improved before going to the next level, but he decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
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The Broncos grab a developmental quarterback to work with behind Case Keenum.
Rudolph is very much a love/hate prospect in scouting circles. Some team sources think he could justifiably go in the second round. Then again, I've also heard grades deep into Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft because of the amount of quarterback-needy teams, I could see a team reaching for him on Day 2.
For the NFL, Rudolph (6-4, 229) has some serious limitations. He is not very athletic and isn't a running threat, while his arm strength is just average. Rudolph also needs to improve his accuracy and terrible anticipation. Routinely, Rudolph wouldn't pull the trigger on a throw until his receiver had long since gotten wide open rather than anticipating the play to get the ball out faster. The length of time he holds the ball in the pocket is going to be a problem in the NFL. Rudolph is also inconsistent with his field vision as he can work off his first read, yet other times he stares down targets. His games against West Virginia and Texas provided other examples of him struggling to throw into tight windows.
In 2017, Rudolph completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,904 yards with 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,091 yards with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2016. Rudolph ran for six scores as well that season.
72.New York Jets:Christian Campbell, CB, Penn State
The Jets needed to bring in a few corners this offseason. They made a couple of smart moves in signing Trumaine Johnson and re-signing Morris Claiborne. Here's a third corner for New York.
The 6-foot, 195-pound Campbell possesses excellent size to defend big receivers in the NFL. The senior had a solid 2017 season, notching 45 tackles with 12 passes broken up and one interception. As a junior, he totaled 31 tackles with six breakups and an interception. Campbell is said to run really fast in the 40, but doesn't play up to his track speed.
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The Dolphins grab some offensive line talent. They could start out Christian at guard and move him to tackle if Ja'Wuan James isn't re-signed.
Christian was not expected to enter the 2018 NFL Draft, and evaluators feel that he should have returned to school to get better before going pro. That being said, there are sources who feel that Christian has a good physical skill set with big upside. They believe he has lots of tools to work with, including impressive athletic ability for a 6-foot-5, 298-pound tackle. They say Christian possesses excellent quickness, agility and athleticism. He isn't a first-rounder, however, because he gives up some bad pressures. Christian is slow to redirect back to the inside, slow to counter inside moves, and too often oversets to the outside. One college scouting director said Christian has terrible technique, is really raw, and needs a lot of work. Still, Christian has the skill set to become a starting left tackle in the NFL. They compared him to Duane Brown coming out of Virginia Tech in 2008.
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The 49ers need more edge rush. Here's a replacement for Elvis Dumervil.
Turay (6-4, 252) had a solid week at the Senior Bowl, showing some ability to rush the passer off the edge. He was able to get some wins in the one-on-ones by using his speed to run by blockers. Turay will need to get stronger in the run game. In the early going of his NFL career, he could compete to earn a roster spot as a backup designated pass-rusher - DPR - in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. In 2017, Turay totaled four sacks and 58 tackles.
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The Raiders need more talent on their defensive line.
The 6-foot-3, 283-pounder is strong at the point of attack and also has some speed with athleticism. In 2017, Speaks totaled 67 tackles with eight tackles for a loss, seven sacks, one forced fumble and one pass batted. He then decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft rather than return for his final season. Speaks could get second-day consideration as a base end in a 4-3 defense who also rushes from the inside in passing situations. He also could gain weight to play tackle in a 4-3 and could potentially play end in 3-4 defense.
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At the combine, Hill (6-3, 321) had a good workout and helped himself by illustrating his athleticism. Hill was part of a talented defensive line for the Wolfpack, and all four of their 2017 starters are future NFL contributors. Hill is a tough run defender at the point of attack who is tough to move and reliable to fill his gap. The senior recorded 57 tackles with 5.5 for a loss, three sacks and three passes batted in 2017. As a junior, he totaled 39 tackles with 2.5 for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble and three passes batted. Hill contributed 50 tackles as a sophomore with 3.5 sacks and 40 tackles as a freshman with 1.5 sacks.
This is a typical Cincinnati pick. Key is a first-round talent who could thrive under Marvin Lewis. Carlos Dunlap is in the last year of his contract, so the Bengals can groom Key for a year similar to other draft picks they've made in recent years on the offensive line and Joe Mixon last year.
Key is a fast edge rusher with a ton of upside to develop. He has the skill set to be a high first-round pick, but he comes with off-the-field concerns that are similar to Tim Williams and Randy Gregory, making Key likely to slide. That being said, the 6-foot-5, 238-pound Key is known to love football and is a hard-worker who strives to improve in the offseason. He previously worked with pass-rushing-moves guru Chuck Smith, and that is impressive dedication for a collegiate player.
Key missed the first two games of 2017 and was overweight in the early going. Eventually, he worked himself back into his old form and flashed his sophomore caliber of play before an injury ended his 2017 early. For his year, Key totaled 33 tackles with four sacks and a forced fumble. In 2016, Key was one of the best players in college football. He recorded 56 tackles with 14.5 for a loss, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and three passes broken up on the year. Key is a dangerous pass-rusher with excellent speed and the ability to bend around the corner. He flashed a ton of potential as a freshman for LSU, totaling 41 tackles with 6.5 for a loss, five sacks and one pass broken up.
The Chiefs grab a third receiver to go with Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Washington can stretch teams vertically with his speed. Some team sources told me they graded him as a mid-rounder. Washington has a running back-like build and is not really twitchy. He is still deceptively fast, but that is speed he builds up rather than quick explosiveness. They say that Washington has good hands, but doesn't really make players miss after the catch. One team source said they graded Washington as a late fourth-rounder for the 2018 NFL Draft.
In 2017, Washington caught 74 receptions for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns. He made 71 receptions for 1,380 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. As a sophomore, Washington snagged 53 passes for 1,087 yards with 10 scores.
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The Cardinals could use more receiving talent at tight end.
In 2017, Andrews notched 62 receptions for 958 yards with eight touchdowns. He totaled 31 receptions for 489 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016 after making 19 catches for 318 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman. The 6-foot-5, 256-pounder is a receiving threat as a tight end with good athleticism, route-running, quickness and hands. Andrews might be the top receiving tight end for the 2018 NFL Draft. He should work to improve his blocking.
80.Houston Texans:Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
Houston needs to bolster its offensive line.
Harrison (6-6, 292) was part of the Texas program before being dismissed by then-coach Charlie Strong. Failed drug tests were the reason for Harrison's dismissal. He landed at West Georgia, where he played well for the Wolves. Team sources say that Harrison has the skill set of a first- or second-round pick. He has NFL size, quickness, athleticism and length. Some team sources say they don't think Harrison will get out of the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft, but others are really down on him because of character concerns. Some sources say their team is close to dropping Harrison off their board because of the character questions. Hence, he's a wild card in the 2018 NFL Draft.
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The Cowboys need more talent at safety and have shown interest in Elliott.
Elliott enjoyed a breakout 2017 season as one of the nation's leaders in interceptions with six. The junior also recorded 63 tackles and nine passes broken up on the year. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder has NFL size with good instincts. He fits as a free safety for the pro game, and sources have told me that they've given him a second-day grade. They say that Elliott lacks the elite athletic ability and speed to be a first-round pick, but he makes plays in coverage and is a willing participant against the run. It would have been hard for Elliott to duplicate his production if he had returned for his senior year, so it was in his interest to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft - like he did.
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The Lions signed LeGarrette Blount, but he's not a long-term starter. Here's a potential feature back for Detroit.
The 5-foot-11, 213-pound Johnson carried Auburn to wins over Alabama and Georgia to put his draft stock on the map late in the 2017 season. Versus both defenses loaded with NFL talent, Johnson showed real quickness with good cutting ability, vision, and decisive downhill running. He also played banged up, illustrating his toughness to withstand a heavy work load and some hard hits. In 2017, Johnson averaged 4.9 yards per carry for 1,391 yards with 18 touchdowns. He also had 24 receptions for 194 yards and two scores. Johnson ran for 895 yards and 11 scores in 2016. Johnson looks like a three-down starter in the NFL who should be able to hurt defenses as a runner and a receiver.
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83.Baltimore Ravens:Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
The Ravens could use two wide receivers and have shown a lot of interest in Gallup.
Gallup had 100 receptions for 1,413 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017. He put together a decent week of practice at the Senior Bowl and then turned in a solid showing at the combine. There is a nice media buzz about Gallup, and he could end up being one of the solid mid-round values at wide receiver. Gallup (6-0, 198) had nice production for the Rams in the 2016 season as he totaled 1,271 yards and 14 touchdowns on 76 receptions.
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The Chargers took a nose tackle in the first round, but they also could use an upgrade at three-technique.
McIntosh (6-4, 286) had an impressive 2017 season and caused disruption for Miami at the point of attack. He totaled 52 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, seven passes broken up and one forced fumble on the year. McIntosh also played well as a sophomore with 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss. The junior has scheme flexibility with the ability to play tackle in a 4-3 and serve as an end in a 3-4.
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The Panthers could use more young talent at defensive end.
Sources tell me that the 6-foot-5, 277-pound Thomas is really talented physically, but he didn't put it all together on the field. There were flashes of excellence and stretches of doing nothing while looking clueless. They say that Thomas lacks instincts as well. However because of his great skill set, grades are going to be all over the board on Thomas, with some high and some low. In speaking to evaluators at a few teams, they think Thomas will end up being a third- or fourth-round pick. Thomas totaled 30 tackles with 8.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks in 2017. In 2016, he collected 37 tackles with 11 for a loss, four sacks and three passes broken up.
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86.Kansas City Chiefs:Jordan Aikens, TE, Central Florida
The Chiefs grab a tight end to go with Travis Kelce. Kansas City needs depth in case Kelce gets hurt again.
Aikens (6-3, 246) could find a role as an H-back and receiving tight end in the NFL. In 2017, he totaled 32 receptions for 515 yards and four scores. In 2016, he caught 23 passes for 347 yards and two scores. Aikens will need to improve his blocking for the NFL, but at the Senior Bowl, he showed some receiving skill. Some teams have a third-round grade on Aikens, although others have him later.
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In 2017, Armstrong totaled 63 tackles with 9.5 for a loss, two sacks, four forced fumbles and four passes batted. An NFC general manager told me that Armstrong continued to impress them in 2017 even though his production was down. 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, 257-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.
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The Panthers could add some more cornerback talent. They've shown interest in Dawson as well.
Dawson is a feast-or-famine defender who makes some big plays and gives up some plays. The senior notched 34 tackles with nine passes broken up and four interceptions in 2017. In 2016, he totaled 24 tackles, seven passes broken up, one interception and one forced fumble.
The 5-foot-11, 197-pounder is quick with the athleticism to run with receivers, prevent separation, and has good ball skills. For the NFL, Dawson is a slot corner. He is good when plays are in front of him. He also has instincts and a good concept of route combinations. Dawson transitions well with above-average speed to carry verticals, but he is also tight and struggles to open his hips. Sources have told me they are grading Dawson as a third- or fourth-rounder.
Brown totaled 46 tackles with 10.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 2017. In 2016, he was at his best playing inside as a three-technique working to get upfield. Brown totaled six sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and 38 tackles that season.
Entering the 2017 season, scouting sources said that Brown possessed a first-round skill set, but they had concerns about his dedication to football and why he played so little as a freshman and sophomore when he was clearly more talented than the players ahead of him. Brown is a great athlete with excellent speed to fire past linemen. He can be a real threat at the point of attack to knife into the backfield. Brown could use more strength and improvement at holding his gap when runs come at him.
The 6-foot-3, 296-pounder could be a base end in a 4-3 who moves inside in passing situations. He also could serve as a three-technique defensive tackle full time, and adding weight for that role would make sense. The senior has the length to be a five-technique in a 3-4 as well.
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The Falcons could use some cornerback depth, and I've heard that they like Reed.
Some NFL sources have said they know some teams that are targeting Reed as a mid-round pick. The 5-foot-9, 188-pounder is an undersized corner, but one who has the speed and coverage skills to prevent separation. He totaled 47 tackles with nine passes broken up and four interceptions in 2017. He also was a star on special teams, averaging 14.9 yards per punt return with a touchdown and 34 yards per kick return with a touchdown. For the NFL, Reed projects as a nickel corner who also could be a team's feature returner on special teams. In 2016, he recorded 75 tackles with 16 passes broken up and three interceptions.
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The Saints could use more talent at defensive end and tackle. Here's an interior disruptor.
Thompson totaled 38 tackles with 3.5 for a loss and zero sacks in 2017, but he also missed multiple games with a knee injury. Thompson was a tough defender for Georgia in 2016, recording 56 tackles with 9.5 for a loss and five sacks. The 6-foot-3, 288-pounder has upside to develop. Thompson could fit well as a 3-4 defensive end or as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. Scouting sources have said that Thompson has a first-round skill set, but he is inconsistent and doesn't play up to his potential.
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92.Pittsburgh Steelers:M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
The Steelers take more long-term corner talent to go with Artie Burns.
The 5-foot-10, 198-pound Stewart has a lot of variety in his grades. Some see him as a second-day talent, while others view him as a fourth- or fifth-rounder. They all say, however, that he is a nickelback for the NFL. Stewart has some limitations and is not a very good athlete, but sources are impressed with his production and ability to get his hands on a lot of passes. In 2017, Stewart totaled 45 tackles with 12 breakups, but zero interceptions. He recorded 66 tackles with 11 breakups in 2016. Stewart notched 14 breakups with four interceptions as a sophomore.
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The Jaguars add another lineman, and Crosby could compete on the inside for them.
Crosby (6-5, 309) turned in a solid senior year, protecting the quarterback and opening holes for Royce Freeman. Sources at the Senior Bowl said that Crosby helped himself with his performance in Mobile. They like his quick feet, athleticism and agility, but they do have concerns about Crosby lacking length and said he has a bad body that needs work in a pro strength program. Still, Crosby possesses the athletic upside to develop into a starter.
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This pick would thrill my good friend Thor Nystrom of Rotoworld. Samuels would be a perfect rotational back and receiving threat to pair with Dalvin Cook. If you haven't checked out Thor's work on Rotoworld, you're missing out. He does an awesome job of covering college football, handicapping college games, and covering the NFL Draft. Read his work and you won't be disappointed!
Samuels totaled 76 receptions for 597 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. On the ground, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry for 403 yards and 12 touchdowns. For the NFL, the 5-foot-11, 223-pounder is a unique prospect. He was listed as a tight end, played some H-back, and also played wide receiver. In speaking with scouts, they like Samuels, and some feel that his best fit would come as a third-down running back. They think Samuels has really good hands, is a nice receiver, and could also run the ball as a tailback. Samuels could be tried as a fullback as well.
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The Patriots grab another second-day pass-rusher with big upside.
In 2017, Ejiofor had 43 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted. He put together a big 2016 season with 10.5 sacks, 17 tackles for a loss, 50 tackles, four passes batted, two forced fumbles and an interception. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder could be a solid base end in a 4-3 defense.
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The Bills could trade LeSean McCoy away during the 2018 NFL Draft. Buffalo is in a rebuilding process, while McCoy turns 30 before training camp. Here is a high-upside runner for the Bills.
Ballage was part of a running back-by-committee approach in college, but he is a tough runner with a powerful build and surprising quickness for such a big back. The 6-foot-2, 222-pounder had an excellent week at the Senior Bowl, displaying his downhill running style with a burst to hit the hole. He also showed some receiving ability. As a senior, Ballage averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 157 attempts for 669 yards with six touchdowns. He had 14 touchdowns as a junior and caught 44 passes for 469 yards and a score that season. Ballage is sleeper back who could be a nice value pick.
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The Cardinals grab a young quarterback to develop behind Sam Bradford.
Some team sources think Lauletta is just a guy while others really like him and think he could be a mid-round steal. In 2017, he completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,737 yards with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Lauletta was the starter as a junior and sophomore. The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder has some arm talent and athleticism.
Houston needs more cornerback talent because Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph aren't long-term players anymore. Additionally, Kevin Johnson is nearing the end of his contract.
McFadden totaled 30 tackles with 10 passes broken up and zero interceptions in 2017. Sources from multiple teams are down on McFadden and are not grading him in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. They say that his film is very underwhelming, and he is getting some second-day grades just because of his skill set. They felt that McFadden gives up too much downfield and struggles with balls over his head. Some sources think that McFadden's vision and eye discipline are severely lacking, and are some of the reasons for why he gives up too much downfield.
McFadden was up and down in 2016, too, but he has a ton of talent to grow into a better player. Sometimes that 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 prospect with similar strengths and weaknesses to David Amerson. At 6-foot-2, 204 pounds, McFadden has great size with upside to improve.
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WalterFootball.com was first to report that the Broncos would move on from Aqib Talib this offseason. Here is more corner talent for Denver.
Averett recorded 48 tackles, eight passes broken up and an interception in 2017. He totaled 48 tackles with eight passes broken up, zero interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2016.
One team source thought Averett might end up going in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but sources from five different teams said they have Averett as a second-day-caliber player. A lot of team sources see problems with Averett. They think that he is not a play-maker on the ball and is not a finisher. He's intelligent and was more consistent within the scheme, which earned him playing time over the more physically gifted Tony Brown, but sources from each team said they didn't like how Averett played the ball. One general manager said that weight is an issue with Averett, who has been in the 180s. At the Senior Bowl, Averett checked in at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds. Another general manager said that Averett being a narrow-framed guy who doesn't play the ball well is a concerning combination for the NFL. Thus, this GM said that the highest they could see Averett going was the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, although the third round is a definite possibility.
The Bengals moved on from Adam Jones. Here's some corner depth for Cincinnati.
While he comes with serious off-the-field concerns, sources have raved about the talent and skill set of Jackson. The 5-foot-10, 201-pounder has excellent athleticism to go along with speed and a good build. In 2017, Jackson totaled 40 tackles with seven passes broken up and three interceptions. He recorded 40 tackles with six breakups and a pick in 2016.
Jackson was kicked out of the Florida Gators program in 2015 following an armed robbery - for which he was ultimately acquitted. In that incident, Jackson allegedly set up some drug dealers to be robbed but wasn't present at the robbery. There was also another incident in late 2014 during which Jackson was shot at - with a bullet grazing his eye lid - and a companion of his was shot in the face.
The off-the-field issues are going to be vetted heavily, but Jackson did not have problems at Maryland and scouts have not received negative feedback from the school's staff on Jackson. He has the physical talent to be an impactful starter in the NFL.
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