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Durst's 2019 NFL Draft: Top-20 Positional Rankings (Offense)

Durst's 2019 NFL Draft: Top-20 Positional Rankings (Offense)

Quarterbacks Running Backs Wide Receivers Tight Ends Offensive Tackles Guard or Center
Justin Herbert, Oregon David Montgomery, Iowa State DK Metcalf, Mississippi +++ Noah Fant, TE, Iowa Greg Little, Ole Miss Jonah Williams, Alabama T/G
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State Damien Harris, Alabama Kelvin Harmon, NC State Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama Alaric Jackson, Iowa Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin - C
Drew Lock, Missouri Miles Sanders, Penn State N’Keal Harry, Arizona State Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford David Edwards, Wisconsin Michael Jordan, Ohio St G/C
Daniel Jones, Duke Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma ++ A.J. Brown, Mississippi Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri Dalton Risner, Kansas State - T/G Cody Ford, Oklahoma - G
Shea Patterson, Michigan Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky Parris Campbell, Ohio State Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA Jawaan Taylor, Florida Elgton Jenkins, Miss St - C
KJ Costello, Stanford Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M Marquise Brown, Oklahoma Alizé Jones, Notre Dame Andre Dillard, Washington St Michael Deiter, Wisconsin - G
Will Grier, West Virginia Darrell Henderson, Memphis Riley Ridley, Georgia Zach Gentry, Michigan Isaiah Prince, Ohio State Ben Benzschawel, Wisconsin - G
Ryan Finley, NC State Bryce Love, Stanford + Bryan Edwards, South Carolina Isaac Nauta, Georgia Kaleb McGary, Washington Garrett Bradbury, NC State - C
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern Mike Weber, Ohio State Anthony Johnson, Buffalo Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M Colton McKivitz, West Virginia Garrett Brumfield, LSU - G
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn Zack Moss, Utah + Deebo Samuel, South Carolina + Dawson Knox, Mississippi Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia Connor McGovern, Penn State G/C
11. Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
12. Deondre Francois, Florida State
13. Jake Browning, Washington
14. Gardner Minshew, Washington State
15. Eason Stick, North Dakota State
16. Bret Rypien, Boise State
17. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
18. Taryn Christion, South Dakota State
19. Eric Dungey, Syracuse
20. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi St
11. Travis Homer, Miami
12. Elijah Holyfield, Georgia
13. Myles Gaskin, Washington
14. Justice Hill, Oklahoma St
15. Karan Higdon, Michigan
16. Jalin Moore, App State ++
17. Devin Singletary, FAU
18. Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
19. Reggie Corbin, Illinois
20. Dexter Williams, Notre Dame

11. Mecole Hardman, Georgia
12. Jauan Jennings, Tennessee ?
13. Emmanuel Hall, Missouri +
14. Stanley Morgan, Nebraska
15. Anthony Isabella, UMass
16. Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
17. Jaylen Smith, Louisville
18. Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
19. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
20. Jalen Hurd, Baylor (Ex Tenn RB)

11. Matt Sokol, Michigan State
12. Jared Pinkeny, Vanderbilt
13. Tommy Sweeney, Boston College
14. Tyler Petite, TE, USC +
15. Foster Moreau, LSU
16. C.J. Conrad, TE, Kentucky
17. Josh Oliver, San Jose State
18. Logan Parker, TE, Southern Utah
19. Brandon Fritts, North Carolina
20. Keenen Brown, Texas State
11. Yosuah Nijman, Virginia Tech
12. Tyree St. Louis, Miami
13. Dennis Dalay, South Carolina
14. Mitch Hyatt, Clemson
15. Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Michigan
16. Koda Martin, Syracuse
17. Cole Chewins, Michigan State
18. Matt Kaskey, Dartmouth
19. Max Scharping, Northern Illinois
20. Wyatt Miller, Central Florida

11. Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama G/C
12. Ben Powers, Oklahoma - G
13. Derwin Gray, Maryland G/T
14. Damian Prince, T/G, Maryland
15. Zack Bailey, South Carolina - G/T/C
16. Ryan Anderson, G/T/C, Wake Forest
17. Chris Lindstrom, Boston College - G
18. Lamont Gaillard, Georgia - C
19. Nate Herbig, Stanford - G
20. Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas - G

+ = Medical Concerns, ? = Character Concerns

Quarterbacks:

Overall, I am not very impressed with this year's QB class, but as we all know, there are many NFL teams that are desperate. There are many who doubt Oregon's Justin Herbert declares for the 2019 NFL Draft, and eight of my top-12 QBs have eligibility remaining. In the end, I expect at least two to be drafted in the top-10.

Justin Huebert, QB, Oregon (Marcus Mariota, Pk#2, Colin Kaepernick, Pk#36)

According to draft analyst, Matt Miller, "there are also those scouts, who say Herbert is "soft" or "immature" or "quirky, not really a leader of men." and is not a given to declare for the 2019 draft.

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (comp Mitchell Trubisky, Pk#2)

Listed at 6'3/220, he is approximately the same size as Trubisky. Also, similar to Trubisky is that he is a pass-first QB with good mobility, with enough natural talent to leave for the NFL after just one season of starting experience.

QBs entering the NFL after their red-shirt sophomore seasons don't have a great track record, but QBs entering after only one season of starting experience are even more rare. Fortunately, Winston, Sam Darnold, and Mitchell Trubisky have all been drafted in the top-three and all have had some level of immediate success despite their inexperience.

It is notable, that the the best NFL QB to come out of the Urban Meyer system is (ironically) Alex Smith. However, in 2016, Meyer described Haskins (then just a freshman) as "the best quarterback at his age I’ve ever seen".

Haskins might be the lone high-end quarterback prospect (in a weak QB draft class). He possesses adequate size, a big arm, and the ability to throw with accuracy from the pocket or on the move.

QB3 - Down to Lock or Jones?

While most of the draft media have come to an agreement on the first two, there is much debate afterwards. Drew Lock appears to have a better physical skill set, while Daniel Jones appears more developed.

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Physically, here's a lot to like about Lock. He has good size (6-4, 225) with solid mechanics, and shows the ability to get good velocity on vertical/deep-out throws.

Over the summer, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote - "His plus size and arm talent combined with his inconsistent accuracy are eerily similar to what we saw from Josh Allen, who was selected with the seventh pick of the 2018 draft."

Despite throwing for an FBS-best and SEC-record 43 touchdowns in 2017, Lock didn't receive first- or second-round draft grade from NFL advisory committee and decided to return for his senior season, despite a coaching change.

The results were not as anticipated. As a senior, Lock's stats plummeted in passing yards, yards per attempt, and touchdowns (just 25). However, he improved his completion percentage and adjusted QBR.

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Prior to Duke's bowl game, Jones ranks as Mel Kiper's 25th overall prospect, and most analysts feel he will be drafted in Rd1. Just a two-star recruit, Jones originally committed to Princeton until Duke coach David Cutcliffe, a quarterback guru, recruited him to the Blue Devils. A quick note about Cutcliffe. Six quarterbacks whom Cutcliffe coached in college have gone on to play in the NFL, including both Peyton Manning and Eli Manning.

Others: Both Finley and Grier are slightly over-aged, and will be 24 yrs old at the time of the draft, after transferring.
As a point of comparison, Jared Goff will still be 24 as well, Sam Darnold will be 21, Rosen 22, and Mahomes will be 23 on the day Finley and Grier are drafted.

Jarrett Stidham proved to be a poor fit for the Gus Malzahn offense, but might be a better prospect than he appeared to be?? Clayton Thorson has the most QB starts in B10 history, but has mostly played with accountants and lawyers. I like that KJ Costello and Shea Patterson run more traditional pro concepts in the David Shaw/Harbaugh system. Kyle Shurmur is the son of Giants' head coach, Pat Shurmur. Bret Rypien is the son of former Redskins' QB Mark, who was a two-time Super Bowl winner.

Running Backs:

After no running back were drafted in the first round from 2013-14, NFL teams selected eight running backs in Rd1 over the past four drafts, with the results being that most of them have became foundation pieces for their teams.

The flip side, is the NFL teams continue to unearth productive backs later in the draft, or even afterwards. Phillip Lindsay, Gus Edwards, Austin Ekeler, and Josh Adams were each UDFA running backs.

Running backs that are seen as assets in the passing game have more value than ones that don't.

I am also not very impressed with this year's RB class, and I don't believe we will see a RB drafted in the first round. The top backs coming into the season were Bryce Love and Rodney Anderson, but each suffered through injury-plagued seasons. While prospects like, Damien Harris, David Montgomery, and Benny Snell have good but not elite traits for the position.

I feel Miles Sanders and Mike Weber are being underrated. Holyfield runs like Trent Richardson, but that's ok in Rd4. Bryce Love should carve out a role similar to Nyheim Hines. Reggie Corbin could be this year's Phillip Lindsay. Miles Gaskins resume resembles Justin Jackson.

Wide Receivers:

The 2019 WR class looks very deep, as I have over 50 with draftable grades, but only about 33-35 normally are drafted. However, once again, I don't see a prospect I would use a top-20 pick on unless DK Metcalf's neck checks out.

Receivers absolutely must have exceptional hand-eye coordination and the ability to catch a football. While they should be as athletic as possible, they do not require peak ability in every area. Since offenses dictates the plays and the route concepts, receivers can get away with being quick (good acceleration in and out of breaks) or fast (elite top speed) or outstanding at competing for the ball against tight coverage (contested catches).

Marquise Brown is frequently mentioned as WR1, and is listed as such by both Mel Kiper and Matt Miller (among others), but I see him more like a cleaner off the field version of former Sooners' WR Dede Westbrook, with a profile that is similar to Tyler Lockett (Pk#69).

After Brown, Mecole Hardman, Nyquan Murray, and Jauan Jennings are have the speed to take the top off of defenses.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside heads of group of jumbo-sized wideouts whose main trait is being bigger than opposing corners. The "contested catches" group includes N’Keal Harry, Collin Johnson, Lil' Jordan Humphrey, Kelvin Harmon, Anthony Johnson, Bryan Edwards, and David Sills.

40 times and 3-cone drills will help determine which, if any suffer the same fate as similar (2018) prospects like Simmie Combs, Allan Lazard, and Auden Tate. Three well-hyped collegiate stars, two of which went undrafted and one went in Rd7.

Anthony Isabella and Stanley Morgan might be the two best route runners in this draft class.

It's not a lazy comparison to compare Parris Campbell to former OSU receivers Braxton Miller and Curtis Samuel. Other than Percy Harvin, playing the H-back position in Urban Meyers' offense has not been an effective launching point for the pro's. There is hope, as Samuel is making progress in year two, and Campbell is being used less in the backfield than his predecessors, after the Buckeyes became a pass-first offense with Dwayne Haskins under center.

Tight Ends:

The tight end position has been highly valued over the last two drafts with eight prospects going in the top 50 picks between both 2017 and 2018. Expect that trend to continue in 2019. In fact, TheDraftNetwork's Trevor Sikama wrote the 2019 NFL DRAFT TE CLASS COULD BE HISTORIC, in that it could see ten TEs taken in the top-100.

I don't believe that will occur, but I see the TE class as having more difference makers than either the WR or RB classes.

Both Isaac Nauta (2016) and Alizé Jones (2015) were rated the #1 ranked HS TE prospect in their respective years, but neither are in my top-five NFL prospects. At the Nike SPARQ combine, Mack's scores were comparable to OJ Howard, Evan Engram, and David Njoku's NFL Combine results.

No team in the country does a better job at recruiting and developing tight ends than Stanford, and Kaden Smith appears to be the next. Another Smith - Irv, has the resume and bloodlines to go higher. Albert Okwuegbunam skill set reminds me of Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Caleb Wilson led the nation for receiving yards among tight ends one year after suffering a season-ending Lisfranc injury. Jace Sternberger led all SEC tight ends in yards, touchdowns, first downs and yards after the catch in 2018. Zach Gentry is a converted QB that is listed at 6’8" 265+.

Finally, Iowa has not one, but two TEs who could be selected in the first round.

Offensive Tackles:

Normally, I am quicker at identifying my T => G converts, but I am starting to agree with those that feel that Jonah Williams (most analysts' top OT prospect) will need to move inside once in the NFL.

Similar to predecessor, Laremy Tunsil, Little came to Ole Miss ranked the No. 1 offensive lineman in the country, a 5-star prospect and a consensus top-five national prospect. While his tape is inconsistent, Little has the athletic profile to remain on the outside. I would expect to hear his name called in the top 12 Picks of the Draft.

Alaric Jackson is a red-shirt sophomore that probably shouldn't entertain leaving for the NFL just yet, but with so many question marks at the position, he might be one of the most steady prospects at the position.

The remaining tackle prospects can be divided into huge men, who struggle to match the level of athleticism of today's NFL pass-rushers, or more athletic guys that are lacking in technique, power, and "nasty".

The later include David Edwards, who began his career at tight end before moving to offensive tackle, Yosuah Nijman, a former DE recruit who transitioned to OT in 2015, and Prince Tega Wanogho, who is relatively new to the game of football after moving from Nigeria to Alabama in high school, hoping to land a college basketball scholarship.

With his body type, quickness, and technical skills, Mitch Hyatt reminds me of the Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari when he was coming out of Colorado. Not highly thought of in scouting circles, I think Hyatt deserves a shot on the outside as a tackle.

Interior Offensive Line:

Senior Bowl executive Jim Nagy wrote "Certain college programs have reputations for cranking out quality NFL players at specific positions and one of the best OL-producing schools of the past decade is the University of Wisconsin."

In 2019, the Badgers will send at least three more offensive lineman to the NFL, and could have four selected in the top-100 picks.

Just like Billy Price and Pat Elflein before him, Michael Jordan has made the transition from guard to center and has performed at a high level at both positions.

Speaking of versatility, over half of my top-20 interior Oline prospects have played the tackle position in college. The pair from Maryland and Oklahoma are guys I think could rise during the pre-draft process.




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