2015 Draft Reaction Blog, Round 3
Switching over now, you probably saw our Round Two coverage but to break things up a little we’ve moved over here to run down the third round with you all.
There’s been some stunning picks so far and some teams have really caught us by surprise. But who will use the third round as the vehicle to make their statement? As ever we’re going to give analysis on every single pick after our grading process ran the rule over 870 FBS game in the 2014 season.
Check us out on twitter and keep coming back as we analyze every draft pick.
99. Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Dawson, LB, TCU
Dawson is a great case study for how important workout numbers are. His tape is as good as any player at any position with him showing the kind of instincts that led to him leading the nation in defensive stops and run stop percentage. Cincinnati didn’t have a huge need at linebacker but Dawson just represented too much value here.
98. New England Patriots
Geneo Grissom, ED, Oklahoma
Only 541 snaps on defense during the 2014 season but Grissom is one guy who really improved his draft stock with his Senior Bowl performance where he showed himself as far more natural going forward rather than going back on his heels. New England aren’t likely to throw him in given the depth they have at end, but he does offer something a little different to their bigger edge rushers.
97. Kansas City Chiefs
Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State
Sure tackling cornerback who didn’t miss any tackles during the season and had the 10th highest overall grade of cornerbacks against the Power-5. A bit overly aggressive at times given how physical he plays the game and may lack the top end speed to go one on one with top wide receivers. Ultimately may end up playing inside.
96. Cleveland Browns
Xavier Cooper, ID, Washington State
Not quite as productive as Henry Anderson, Cooper did though have the fourth best productivity score rushing the passer against the Power-5 so it’s easy to see why the Browns like him. He could quite easily latch onto a backup and subpackage role additionally, and completes a fantastic couple of days for the organization as they retooled their defensive line.
95. Washington Redskins
Matt Jones, RB, Florida
Didn’t impress in 2014, earning a negative grade overall for his efforts. With such a deep draft class it feels odd to see Jones go before more talented players.
94. Green Bay Packers
Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
Is he a wide receiver or a more natural running back? Green Bay have plenty of time to find out because there’s zero rush to force Montgomery onto the field before he’s ready. Montgomery is fantastic with the ball in hand in space as evidenced by his 17 forced missed tackles on receptions.
93. Indianapolis Colts
Henry Anderson, ID, Stanford
First round tape but for whatever reason teams just let him fall and fall. Anderson just makes plays and what’s more is he’s got correctable flaws that mean he can be a better player than he showed at Stanford. Anderson was the most productive pass rusher from the defensive interior against Power-5 opposition and he should see plenty of action with the Colts.
92. Denver Broncos
Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State
Earned the eighth highest blocking grade of all tight ends but was only targeted 21 times as a receiver which really limited his impact as a pass catcher. Denver, with Gary Kubiak, will be heavy users of tight ends so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Heuerman was able to grab some rookie snaps.
Chaz Green, OT, Florida
Doug Free won’t be a Cowboy forever and Dallas is clearly committed to maintaining a top quality line beyond his days with them. But is Green the best available option in this draft? He was far from dominant in the run game at Florida and had real problems in pass protection against Alabama. This is a tools pick that Dallas have plenty of time to develop.
90. Baltimore Ravens
Carl Davis, DI, Iowa
Capable of wreaking havoc at times or going missing when teams get multiple bodies on him. Davis has talent that suggests he should go higher than this, but didn’t display that consistently. Still had the 11th highest grade of all interior defenders against the Power 5 and the Ravens always get production out of their guys on the line.
89. Minnesota Vikings
Danielle Hunter, ED, LSU
Came out a year early by the reckoning of most. Has all the natural strength in the world that allows him to be a force against the run but is a bit rudderless as a pass rusher and non-effective for the most part. Scheme didn’t overly help him with so focused on playing the run and it showed up with the second highest run stop percentage amongst 4-3 defensive ends. Just did nothing as pass rusher (just 16 total pressures) so might struggle for playing time as a rookie.
88. St Louis Rams
Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
Mannion has the size and build you look for in a quarterback. It’s just a shame his play doesn’t quite match it. There are times he looks a useful prospect but you only need to see how he played against Oregon to start questioning what type of player Mannion will be in the pros.
87. Pittsburgh Steelers
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
One of those frustrating players someone is going to take a flyer on. Coates is big, strong and fast with an ability to get off press coverage but who can struggle to locate the deep ball. So close to being very good but not quite there. He’s your classic round three gamble and Pittsburgh, with a young receiver group, is a great landing spot for him.
86. Arizona Cardinals
David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa
Slightly odd pick here. We figured Arizona would be in the market for a pure running back but instead have got a guy who in a lot of ways is better receiving out of the backfield than running. There Johnson displays a good burst but you feel like with his size he could be more physical given the level of competition.
85. Cincinnati Bengals
Tyler Kroft, TE, Rutgers
Is this the final nail in the coffin of the Bengals career of Jermaine Gresham? Kroft is a good athlete for his size but it was his blocking that really set him apart and likely what the Bengals see in him. There he had the third highest grade against Power-5 opposition and promises to be a good complement to Tyler Eiffert.
84. Philadelphia Eagles
Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas
Didn’t really distinguish himself with his 2014 play though he was impressive enough in coverage to earn the ninth highest grade in coverage against Power-5 opposition. Will likely have to make a mark on special teams to get himself noticed this year with so many guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
83. San Diego Chargers
Craig Mager, CB, Texas State
A multi dimensional player who earned positive grades in coverage, run defense and rushing the passer without truly excelling in any regard. As with most non-Power 5 players you have to be concerned with the level of competition. Especially that he didn’t dominate against players you might expect he did.
82. New York Jets
Lorenzo Mauldin, ED, Louisville
The rush on Louisville players continues! Mauldin was an incredibly productive player this past year and ended up with a production grade that was fifth best overall of all edge defenders. He’s more than just a feel good story. playing with strong hands and a relentless motor which limits his lack of speed showing up on tape. The Jets lack young edge rushers and Mauldin could quite easily develop into the long term Calvin Pace replacement.
81. Buffalo Bills
John Miller, OG, Louisville
The big mauler played at left and right guard for Louisville and given the lack of talent ahead of him has a real shot at playing time in Buffalo. Not agile enough for a zone scheme, this might be a good fit for him but feels a little early for a player who struggles sustaining his blocks. Length caused him some real problems and while he has some experience pulling, he wasn’t completely convincing there. Much better in the run game than in pass protection where 21 quarterback disruptions allowed are far too many given the level of opposition.
80. Detroit Lions
Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
Different to the en vogue corner in that he’s much better in zone. Will struggle with change of direction and isn’t the quickest, so naturally had problems with shiftier receivers which resulted in a poor production grade (he was only 43rd against Power 5 opposition). He won’t be asked to play this year you’d imagine and that might be for the best.
79. San Francisco 49ers
Eli Harold, ER, Virginia
Who knows what will become of Aldon Smith so it never hurts to have some insurance. Harold is raw and arguably would have been better served staying in college for another year but he did flash his talent. At times. Persistent if not productive, a lack of strength shows up but he can get to the corner quickly and that is something to work with. Ninth highest pass rushing grade amongst edge defenders against the Power-5.
78. New Orleans Saints
P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
Incredibly frustrating player. Looks good when he has his hands on a wide receiver, but as soon as he loses contact he’s lost the receiver. Does have a great recovery burst to help cover for this but is so inconsistent and missing so many tackles you really wonder what type of player you’re getting. Very feisty and always puts his head in, as evidenced by his 33 defensive stops (second most of all cornerbacks). Good fit to sit in New Orleans and learn from guys like Brandon Browner and Keenan Lewis.
77. Cleveland Browns
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
Cleveland have added another talent to the mix of a muddled backfield with the selection of Johnson. He has just as much chance as his established peers of getting carries, especially after posting our second highest overall production grade among draft eligible backs this year. Johnson offers something in the passing game, perhaps more so than any back currently on the Browns roster, and worst case scenario we could see him finding his niche there.
76. Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Conley, WR, Georgia
Can you say workout warrior? Didn’t impress our staff who thought for all his speed he wasn’t nearly as handy when a defender got a hand near him. Did finish the season stronger than he started it and has the tools you want to develop. Would have liked to see him targeted a little more on deeper passes after he turned 18 targets into 10 receptions with six touchdowns.
75. New Orleans Saints
Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State
Is this the successor to Drew Brees? If so he’s going to have to take a giant leap forward after finishing only 10th amongst draft eligible quarterbacks in our production passer grades. And that despite a lower level of competition. On the plus side was a master using play action, with a 140.3 NFL QB rating leading the entire nation.
74. New York Giants
Owa Odighizuwa, ED, UCLA
Pass blockers, don’t let this guy pick up a head of steam. He’s devastating converting speed to power. Much better outside the tackle compared to when he was used more inside against Texas. Because of his use is something of an underrated pass rusher despite finishing 10th amongst his 4-3 defensive end peers with a 10.2 pass rushing productivity score.
73. Atlanta Falcons
Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
The Falcons haven’t had this much speed at running back since the days of Jerious Norwood. Coleman is a true home run hitter who isn’t all that elusive and won’t make defenders miss, but will force them into taking bad angles and making them pay. 57% of his yardage came on runs that went at least 15 yards which was the biggest in the nation. Like we said, he will make you pay if you give him space.
72. St Louis Rams
Jamon Brown, OL, Louisville
In our Round 2 blog we mentioned Rob Haverstein might have a clear path to starting at right tackle for the Rams. Well hold on a second there as St Louis have double dipped. In truth this is more of a project pick with Brown, who flipped between left and right tackle at Louisville, potentially ending up at guard but he was certainly the most impressive Cardinals lineman last year. His production grade was 15th overall amongst all tackles and he was particularly strong his run blocking. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling but his floor is considerably more elevated than some who have gone before him.
71. Chicago Bears
Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon
The Bears aren’t exactly stacked at center with Will Montgomery currently pencilled in to start so Grasu has a real chance to start. Referred to by some as a poor man’s Jason Kelce, Grasu is an extremely fluid athlete but is a little undersized and it shows with how much help he got at Oregon. Real zone blocking center who had the highest run blocking grade of Power-5 centers in a scheme that was a little friendly in this regard.
70. Houston Texans
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
A lot of teams are going to be disappointed they let Strong slip to the third. Sure he can look a little lazy with his routes but his ability to win at the catch point and his talent for creating after the catch are top end. He’s got room to get better and we say that despite him having the fifth highest grade of all wide receivers against Power 5 teams. He’s landing in a spot that offers real playing time potential.
69. Seattle Seahawks
Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State
Sleeper alert. Lockett doesn’t have the kind of size that scares you, but he plays a lot bigger. Only Amari Cooper graded higher from a production point of view in 2014 and has the ability to hurt you all over the field. It’s no surprise that Seattle traded up to get him given what he is capable of doing. Will beat teams deep as evidenced by his 559 yards on deep passes that were third most of all wideouts.
68. Oakland Raiders
Clive Walford, TE, Miami
Not the blocker that Maxx Williams is but a comparable (if not slightly better) athlete. Walford is excellent picking up yards after the catch but can’t be counted on as much of a blocker. Led the nation with his 3.26 yards per route run figure amongst tight ends. Derek Carr is smiling tonight.
67. Jacksonville Jaguars
A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina
Cann has some ways to go before he’s the finished article but he’s an extremely powerful blocker when he latches on, making it extremely hard for defenders to shed him. A joy to watch in that regard but nearly as bad in pass protection where he is far too lungy and something of a liability. Not ideal in the current NFL. Still that second best grade against Power-5 teams for run blocking amongst left guards is something to work with.
66. Tennessee Titans
Jermiah Poutasi, OT, Utah
A bit of a reach at this stage. Struggles to anchor, not great with his feet and extremely lungy in the run game. Watching Poutasi it was hard to see where he would fit in at the NFL level. Going to need a lot of work to get to a stage of being able to start because while he has the length, he doesn’t do anything with it. 33 Power-5 tackles had a better production grade than him in 2015 that were draft eligible.
65. Indianapolis Colts
D’Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic
Didn’t grade particularly well despite playing against inferior competition which is always a concern. Shy of six foot he might profile better in the slot but only spent eight snaps there in 2014. Does get stuck in against the run with the fourth highest grade of cornerbacks outside the Power-5 in run defense.