Sports

2022 Steelers Draft Big Board – By Grade (April 21st Edition)

1:01 T/G Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu, NC St. (Junior). 6’4”, 310 lbs. with 34” arms and 10¼” hands. Your author’s draft crush of the year, Ekwonu is a natural athlete with sweet feet, tremendous strength, and a desire to dominate opponents that will endear him to fans of all kinds. Viewed purely as a Tackle, he has enough promise to earn Lance Zierlein’s Top 10-15 grade and a comparison to Kelechi Osemele. He looks even better as a potential Guard! The length, wrestling background, natural athletic talent, native strength, and other assets are all top notch. All of which adds up to this: Pittsburgh could plug him in right away as an elite Guard prospect, while he works on the things that might let him mature to be an elite Tackle as well. Puzzle, meet piece. The best part may be that Ekwonu is, in Zierlein’s words, “A gentleman in class and killer on the grass, [whose] football character and urgent field demeanor make it easier to… anticipate him landing closer to his ceiling than his floor as either a guard or tackle.” That’s as good a floor as you’re going to see for an OL prospect. Ekwonu will fit any scheme and, even more important, be a decade-long credit to his team and his city. Me want. But me ain’t gonna get. He could get picked in the Top 5, and will get picked in the Top 10 if there is any justice in the world. I’m not the only one with a draft crush, either. Consider this scouting profile from the well respected Brandon Thorn: “As a run-blocker, Ekwonu uses a stunning blend of athletic ability, size and power to dominate on the front and backside of wide-zone runs and in space as a puller to both sides. His ability to track down smaller targets in space as a puller is special, and it results in at least a few spectacular blocks per game…” It goes on. Joe Marino’s TDN scouting profile ends in an easy Top 10 grade. This detailed scouting profile lays out the issues with his pass blocking, which are all correctable but still there. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report likewise ends in a Top 10 grade, though he does sound a few doubts about Ickey’s ability to excel purely as a Tackle due to some inconsistent footwork and a tendency to dip his head when searching for extra power on some plays.   1:01 EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan. (Senior). 6’6⅝”, 260 lbs. with 32⅛” arms and 10¼” hands. The NFL has a draft order so that no team with T.J. Watt can ever pick the likes of Aidan Hutchinson. ‘Nuff said. Top 5 talent.   1:05 T/G Evan Neal, Alabama. (Junior). 6’7½”, 337 lbs. with 34” arms and 10⅛” hands. There’s a HOF ceiling here if Neal can tighten everything up, and a starting-Guard floor if he can’t. His issues basically come down to an array of niggling balance problems, body dynamics that don’t always work in sync, a bad habit of allowing his feet to stall, and a pattern of inconsistency you might describe as ‘running hot and cold.’ NFL Edge Rushers routinely embarrass Tackles with those problems, and the best ones will do just that to Neal if he cannot build more discipline, consistency, and coordination in his play. Can he? Sure, people do. Will he? That’s the hard projection. The work we’re talking about involves breaking old habits and then building up new ones. That is a difficult, tedious, and frustrating task for anyone, and Neal could escape it by moving inside to Guard. How many people take the nasty, thorny, maddening path toward greatness, when the easy path leads to a decade-long career with Pro Bowls mixed in? Just remember the wow! if he does get them fixed. Neal carries his enormous size with the grace of someone fifty pounds lighter, so that HOF ceiling is very real. But so is the level of work required to get there and even 287 lb. men are known to be a bit clunky. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a fringe-1st grade and a comparison is to D.J. Fluker: “a solid yet unspectacular tackle who suffers the same problems in his play as Neal does.” That’s as harsh a verdict as you’ll find. The well respected Brandon Thorn ends with a Top 10 grade, based on the fact that his issues really can be fixed. Why assume the worst for Neal and not for others? The TDN scouting profile agrees with Jonathan, ending with a fringe-1st grade despite a player comp to Orlando Brown. “Ideal Role: A dominant run blocking RT [in a] downhill power scheme that allows him to use his rare combination of size and power to punish defensive lineman.” This thorough and detailed scouting profile goes in with the Top-5 talent crowd, acknowledging the issues but believing he will solve them. Back and forth, forth and back. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends with the “Year 1 Quality Starter” grade seen in Top 10 picks, while simultaneously naming a lot more concerns than one typically sees with that kind of grade. An internal seesaw perhaps?   1:05 EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon. (Junior). 6’4”, 254 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and 9¾” hands. Go ahead and dream if you must. Now clean up the mess and forget about it. No supermodel for you; no Thibodeaux for the Steelers. Top 5-10 talent even if he’s been more flash than fire over his college career. The big critique is that he reminds people a lot of Jadeveon Clowney.   1:05 EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia. (Junior). 6’5”, 272 lbs. with apelike 35½” arms and very big 10¾” hands. [Mtg. at Combine]. One of those pass rushers who could destroy the universe if paired with T.J. Watt, Walker’s calling cards are speed, power, and the ability to combine the two. Lots of room to grow because he tends to win more on assets than technique, he’d be pushing toward the Top 10 if he’d only shown more than just-acceptable bend. Gives off sort of a Bud Dupree vibe, with better development and Combine-Buster, Top 99.9% athleticism. Built like a classic 4-3 DE, but studies like this good January Bleacher Report scouting profile emphasize his movement skills in space and his experience as a stand-up OLB. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report leaves no doubt that he is a Top 5-10 talent who’s worth a pick regardless of quibbles about greater team needs at other spots. Combine 1:05 S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame. (Junior). 6’4⅛”, 220 lbs. with 33” arms and 9⅛” hands. [Mtg. at VISIT] The film says he is a Colbert Special all day, every day, so good that you’d draft him no matter what for the chance to build a defense around him. Like Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report concludes, “Hamilton is as impressive as they come… something of a unicorn… [and] will rightfully be a Top 5 pick.” He uses Derwin James as the comp. The Combine testing did not live up to that lofty standard, coming in at “only” a Top 7% athletic score with a moderate 4.59 dash as the biggest drag. It’s still hard to imagine it happening, but Safeties do fall at times, so one can at least enjoy the fantasy without feeling too ashamed.  Visit 1:05 CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati. (Junior). 6’2¾”, 190 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A football player who happens to play Corner, Gardner is a flat out playmaker who loves to stick his face in the fan if it’s going to blow up some offensive scheme. Zone schemes allow him to do that best, but it’s not like he has many flaws in man coverage either, and his combination of speed, length, and athleticism are good enough to stand out against the Alabama passing game in the semifinal playoff game. A serious Round 1 target if the team has concerns about the position. Daniel Jeremiah’s top CB in the entire class. Same for Lance Zierlein. That may also be true for Steelers Depot if you go by Owen Straley’s gif-supported scouting report. “I have traditionally been skeptical of the modern NFL’s infatuation with size and length at the cornerback position, placing higher value into traits such as hip mobility, [COD] skills, and ball skills. Enter [this] refined technician in press coverage, equipped with fluid hips, agile feet, and elite ball skills despite his [6’2” frame]… I am higher on Sauce Gardner than I was on either of last year’s top 10 CB’s, Pat Surtain II and Jaycee Horn.” Combine 1:05 CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU. (Junior). 6’1”, 190 lbs. with 30⅝” arms and 9⅝” hands. The pure physical prototype of a shutdown Corner, he has every asset you look for in man, zone, and off coverage. Period. The past two years of film have not been up to his personal standard, but they aren’t hard to excuse if you try. Has suffered from injuries, chaos at the coaching level, and lack of support around him. Has been accused of losing focus at times too, and his devotion to tackling has varied from superior down to lacking. Culture will matter. But it won’t be in Pittsburgh, because he’s just too good. This year’s target of draft second-guessers everywhere. Daniel Kitchen’s gif-supported Depot scouting report scorns those doubters, ending with a mid-1st grade and the statement that it would be even higher if not for the constant, niggling injury history. “When you watch what he does well on the field, Derek Stingley Jr. is one of the best cornerback prospects in recent memory.”   1:10 T Charles Cross, Miss. St. (RS Sophomore). 6’4¾”, 307 lbs. with long 34½” arms and big 10¾” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Will be a 21 year old rookie, turning 22 in November. A brilliant athlete who can actually match up to pass rushers on that basis, while almost every other Tackle needs to compensate with size and strength instead. It’s special. But Cross will struggle with pure power until he comes into his full grown-man strength, and will develop in sync with the quality of his coaching and culture. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees little reason to doubt his ability to add that power, and thus ends with a Top 10 grade, an “eerily similar” player comp to Tyron Smith, and the statement that Cross should be able to develop into a sound run blocker and a premier pass protector. Daniel Jeremiah called the foot quickness and knee bend “average” but still had Cross at #10 overall in his first big board. This scouting report from the well respected Brandon Thorn ends in a solid Round 1 grade and the opinion, “He should be an immediate-impact starter.” Combine 1:10 QB Malik Willis, Liberty. (RS Junior). 6’0½”, 219 lbs. with 9½” hands. [Mtgs. at Senior Bowl, Combine, dinner with Tomlin and brass at pro day]. In recent drafts we have seen 4-5 QB’s per year come out who have Top-10 natural talent, many of whom fell in the draft by as much as 3-4 rounds due to football IQ or off-field question marks. Willis is the only QB in this year’s draft with that kind of natural talent, but he also has so many question marks that he will require an absolute minimum of one, and probably three redshirt years before he can even be evaluated on an NFL scale. Needless to say, the Pittsburgh Steelers would not spend a Round 1 pick on a different QB while that evaluation continues. Our task is to assign a value to someone with that many delays and unknowns. The question marks begin with Willis losing his starting job at Auburn in 2019 to a true Freshman, and then coming out of the transfer portal at Liberty’s insignificant program. There he earned praise for his leadership, but also built the reputation of a QB who can be rattled, cannot read opposing defenses, and could not produce results despite his personally awesome flashes. The pre-draft process has shown him to be extremely intelligent, thoughtful, well spoken, and fundamentally decent as a human being.
The NFL.com scouting profile starts by touting the “rare combination of elite rushing talent and a rocket-launching right arm.” Then it goes on to describe “[a distinct] lack of touch;… [erratic] ball placement [that] causes stride breaks and adjustments for wideouts;… [accuracy that] plummets when scrambling;… below average [pocket presence];… poor field recognition and progression quickness;” and other concerns. Eek. But that physical talent cannot be denied, and thus he’s still in the conversation. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported scouting report compares Willis’ physical skill set to someone like Jalen Hurts (picked at 2:53), with a developmental level well below what the very raw, and even more gifted Lamar Jackson showed when he came out of Louisville (picked at 1:31). This goes to Jonathan’s follow-up interview at the Senior Bowl. The pure upside earned Willis a #32 ranking on Daniel Jeremiah’s pre-Combine board and #35-40 for Lance Zierlein. Showed a huge but somewhat inaccurate arm at the Combine, but it might be the sort of inaccuracy that can be cured with a few years of focused work to rebuild his footwork and fundamentals. This gif-supported scouting report from a Washington POV makes the best argument I’ve seen for a Round 1 grade, opining that Willis’ combination of elite traits will let him compete at the QB position long before he becomes a competent NFL passer, especially in a system tailored to hide his shortcomings. This tremendous, gif-supported and Giants-oriented article does a pro and con on Willis that everyone should read. The pro side: “We are in the middle of another offseason wondering whether Jones is the answer, and whether he’ll take that necessary step forward for the Giants to get to where they need to be as an offense. We can continue to wonder, or we can see New York make the move to go get the guy.” The con side: “Yes, the ceiling of Willis is intriguing,…but what are those odds? Ten percent? Fifteen?… Is that a bet you are placing with [a] first-round selection?” Alex Kozora’s QB1 of the 2022 class, with a Round 1 grade. Sr Bowl
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Visit 1:10 CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson. (Junior). 5’11¾”, 200 lbs. with 31½” arms and 9⅜” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Will turn 21 in June. This kid loves football, including the hitting part that so many Corners disdain. And he does that with elite coverage skills to back it up. The problems come from an occasional need to say, “whoa boy,” which everyone knows is Tomlin’s favorite kind of problem to deal with. His grade rattles back and forth between early-1st and fringe-1st depending on the reviewer. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile falls in the “easy Round 1” category: “He needs to play more football, but his ball-hawking instincts, burst to close and toughness in run support will be very appealing.” Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report follows suit, seeing Booth as a Top 10 talent in other years who might fall in this one. “His ability to excel both in press bail as well as traditional press and off man coverage… could be the perfect fit for the Steelers single high centric scheme.” The Bleacher Report scouting profile is a fringe-1st example based on worries that his long speed, pad level, and COD skills may be “NFL-good” rather than “NFL-special.” This Top-10 grade scouting profile sees instead a comparison to Jaire Alexander for a prospect “with no weaknesses.” Here’s a scouting report would prefer an old-school comp to Peanut Tillman. “He can change direction in a heartbeat” and “has absurd reaction time” according to this February scouting report. This February scouting profile goes back to the fringe-1st grade based on concerns about “lack of physicality at the beginning of the snap and [] high pad level.” This scouting profile ends with a “10th overall player” grade. This goes to an interesting point-by-point scouting profile from late January. Combine 1:15 WR Jameson Williams, Alabama. (Junior). 6’1½”, 179 lbs. with 32⅛” arms and 9¼” hands. Transferred from Alabama because he couldn’t beat out Wilson & Olave, and then promptly became a star. An all around weapon with fabulous speed that kills both CB’s and potential tacklers (probably a 4.2-something player but could not prove it due to injury). Williams gets quick separation, makes defenders miss, and then heads off to the races. Lacks the size & build to be a physical presence on the field, but has pretty much everything else you want. Devin Jackson’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes Williams as a Top 10-15 talent even with the ACL tear that he suffered in January. This gif-supported March scouting report from a Patriots POV calls him, “by far the most talented receiver in this class.”   1:15 WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio St. (Junior). 5’11¾”, 183 lbs. with 32” arms and 9⅞” hands. [Mtg. at Combine]. A moderately bigger, faster, and higher pedigreed version of Diontae Johnson, complete with an awe inspiring ability to get open, and the occasional but curable concentration drop. A combination of artist and craftsman who’d be a perfect fit for what Pittsburgh could use at this position, but is likely to go long before the Steelers would pick a receiver. Daniel Jeremiah’s top WR in the class. The gif-supported Depo scouting report by Daniel Kitchen describes Wilson as downright “poetic in the air” with essentially no flaws except limited top-end speed and physicality. Lance Zierlein’s #2 overall WR. This goes to a relatively critical scouting report from a Falcons POV that ends with a rare late-1st grade. Combine 1:20 T/G Trevor Penning, N. Iowa (RS Senior). 6’7”, 321 lbs. with 34⅞” arms and 10⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Combine (informal)] A small school star whose power and multisport athleticism are as good as anyone’s, and who plays with a nasty streak that’s almost fearsome to watch. He’s played some Guard despite the towering height, which can only help. The gif-supported scouting report from Jonathan Heitritter ends with a mid- to late-1st grade based on the endless upside as offset by niggling balance and technique concerns, with the time it may take to nail them down. This clip-supported, detailed pre-Senior Bowl scouting report from a Raiders POV would agree on the grade, but sees Penning as more of a power Tackle than a fluid mover, with questions about slower feet and choppy/inefficient footwork in his vertical sets. Here is a nice TDN article/interview from the Senior Bowl, where Penning’s power and mean streak were on full display along with some footwork and balance lapses that got him forklifted when he lost the leverage battle. His strength and nastiness were on full display at the Senior Bowl, but so were the occasional problems with sometimes-lagging feet and losing leverage from playing too high. Combine 1:20 G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M. (Junior). 6’3⅞”, 323 lbs. with 34⅛” arms and big 10⅜” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] How likely is Green to be the pick? As poster CP72 pointed out: Team Captain: check. Power five school: check. Young (21): check. Position of need: check. Smart (all academic): check. Interview: check. And more than good enough when it comes to the film. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported scouting report describes Green as a versatile Guard who might manage snaps at Tackle in a pinch, but projects far batter on the inside, where he’s clearly one of the year’s best prospects. All the assets are there. Green is big, strong, nasty, surprisingly quick, and just as good a pass protector as he is in the people-moving run game. His anchor is particularly good; no one blows this kid off the ball. There just aren’t that many holes, and the ones he has can be fixed easily enough (technical issues like maintaining his balance rather than leaning into his punch, and not lunging at targets in space). Came in at #17 overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s first big board. This goes to a scouting profile from the well respected Brandon Thorn, which ends in a Round 2 grade based his possession of “key foundational traits… but he needs to clean up some bad habits and polish up his footwork and hands.” Had a poor day at the Combine in both the testing and the drills. This goes to a Kenyon Green vs. Zion Johnson comparison article. Combine 1:20 G/T/C Zion Johnson, Boston Coll. (RS Senior). 6’2¾”, 314 lbs. with 33⅞” arms and big 10⅞” hands. [Five (!) mtgs. at Senior Bowl] A JUCO transfer and lifelong Steelers fan who became a multiyear starter at a really good program that’s more similar to the pros than most. Johnson is a sneaky good athlete with a nasty attitude, and feet good enough to survive as a college Tackle despite his lack of height and length. The kind of player who seems to “get it”. B+ power on the absurd scale of “NFL Guard”. Stock has gone steadily up as people dig deeper in. This goes to a top notch, clip-supported January scouting report from a Raiders POV, which expresses a little concern about his anchor, but many more doubts about his ability to stay outside at Tackle. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a top-2nd grade based on his projection as a powerful, run blocking Guard with enough pass-blocking issues to make him no more than an emergency backup at Tackle. Johnson gets a bump on this board because successfully worked out at Center during the Senior Bowl, which adds to the upside in a big way. This early February scouting profile from a Giants POV sees a versatile player with few weaknesses except (maybe) a limited jolt in his punch. Looked fantastic at the Combine in tests and drills alike. Monster DT Travis Jones told our own Jonathan Heitritter that Zion Johnson was just about the only O-Lineman at the Senior Bowl he simply could not move in a straight-up, mano-a-mano power battle. This goes to a Kenyon Green vs. Zion Johnson comparison article. Sr Bowl

 

1:20 WR Chris Olave, Ohio St. (Senior). 6’0⅜”, 187 lbs. with 31⅛” arms and 9½” hands. An elegant, already professional, route running possession receiver from Ohio State with 4.3 speed that Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile describes as “buttery smooth” and “effortless in the air”? It’s just unfair. The only issue is whether he’ll be able to deal with NFL physicality. He was rarely targeted on 3rd down, for what that is worth. Wesley Cantliff’s gif-supported Depot scouting report digs down into deep detail, ending with a “great WR1-b” description that reminds me a lot of the 1980’s 49er star Jonathan Taylor, a fringe HOF player who was never The Man on his own but was so good that he opened the field for everyone else – including the one and only Jerry Rice. This excellent gif-supported scouting report from a Washington POV sums Olave up as “a starting level Z receiver [top-three] that you will win with in a vertical offense that allows him to run in the intermediate and deep-level routes (curls, comebacks, speed outs, post, flys), allowing him to manipulate his speed.” This Falcons-oriented scouting profile sees Olave as a tremendous deep threat who is limited to that role because of his slender physique.   1:20 DT/NT Jordan Davis, Georgia. (Senior). 6’6⅜”, 341 lbs. with long 34” arms and 10¾” hands. [Pro Day dinner with Tomlin] [Mtg. at Combine] Georgia had by far the best college defense in 2021, and as usual that started in the trenches. Which is to stay, it started with this quasi-human yeti and his ability to toss opponents backward into the lap of a QB and/or a running lane. Think, “young Casey Hampton” and you won’t be that far off, except that Davis is even more athletic. Yes, D-Line is the Steelers’ strongest unit, and no, there is no “need” at the position unless Stephon Tuitt has secret plans to retire. But this young man has pushed himself into the category of “Colbert Specials”, those top 5-10 talents that you simply don’t pass over. He may look like a NT, and he was used that way in college, but he has now shown the athletic ability to play DT in Pittsburgh’s 2-4-5 sub packages as well. That means he won’t be a 2-down player opponents can scheme off the field, and he will be able to rotate in with Heyward and Tuitt to prolong their careers. Conditioning will matter, particularly since he’s been known to make plays downfield, but also to take plays off. The Steelers demand the former, all the time on every play. But if he can get in shape, stay in shape, and stay motivated… wow. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Top 10 grade based on his supreme ability as a 2-down run plugger, and the belief that he can at least “chip in with 2-3 [sacks] per season and consistently push guards and centers into the QB’s lap.” Combine
Dinner 1:20 EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida St. (RS Senior). 6’4⅜”, 254 lbs. with long 34” arms and 9⅞” hands. Top scores for both floor and ceiling, including a Top 5% athletic score, make him an obvious Round 1 talent. Has the versatility to be a 3-4 OLB too, despite the size. Here is an interesting scouting summary from before the Senior Bowl. This solid looking January scouting profile describes a Bud Dupree type, with great length and run-control ability, plus very good explosion, but not a lot of bend. This January scouting profile from the respected Daniel Kelly worries that Johnson may have “maxed out against collegiate competition,” which could make for a disappointing pro. Looked very good during Senior Bowl week, highlighting his length and power. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile expresses no such doubts. “Johnson has NFL traits and the potential to keep getting bigger and better as a pro.”   1:20 CB Kyler Gordon, Washington. (RS Junior). 5’11¼”, 194 lbs. with 31” arms and 9¼” hands. A fiery, explosive football player who happens to play the CB position. Has exceptional athletic talent and wiring, including the agility to succeed on the inside just as well or better than he does outside. A very fine tackler too, who’s often been used as a blitzer. Came in at #22 overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s first big board and #23 on Gil Brandt’s hot 100. Earns a solid Round 1 grade in the NFL.com scouting profile, with notes like “Plant-and-drive juice is on a different level,” but also some warnings that his “instincts are average” at this point, and he is “still working on technical aspects of the position.” Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees an instant impact starter” with one of the higher compliments you’re going to see: “I couldn’t help but see shades of a younger Joe Haden, both in his ability to stay square and challenge receivers in press coverage due to superior foot quickness, as well as his willingness and effectiveness both as an open field tackler and ability to defend the run in the box.” Yes please. FWIW, Joe Haden had almost identical measurables with the single exception of arm length, where Haden came in at 32¾” instead of 31”. Haden, of course, was picked in 2010 at #7 overall.   1:20 CB Trent McDuffie, Washington. (Junior). 5’11”, 193 lbs. with short 29¾” arms and 8¾” hands. There’s something really likable about tough, physical football players who simply “get it.” McDuffie is one of those. His skill set looks better on the inside than as a boundary CB, but he isn’t limited to that role. Think of a bigger, more physical Cam Sutton who needs to develop some extra polish. That isn’t fair to either young man, but it will get you into the ballpark. His stock has fallen since the Combine because no CB with arms less than 31” has made all pro for more than a decade. It’s one of those seemingly silly traits that seems to make an actual difference. Came in at #13 overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s first big board. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile offers this pithy summary: “He lacks lockdown traits but has lockdown talent and his competitive energy is contagious.” Here is a treat: a clip-supported scouting profile from the fan site for his college team. It ends with a Round 2 grade for a high floor player with a star ceiling, whose only deficit is the lack of length.   1:20 STEELERS ROUND 1 PICK   1:25 QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss. (RS Junior). 6’1½”, 212 lbs. with 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine, brass at pro day, dinner with Tomlin, VISIT], A master of the college RPO game, with exceptional athletic skill, a very fine arm, and an amazing ability to scurry around, extending plays until something breaks down. Also has one of the quickest releases seen in recent memory. Could be a great one if he can hold up to the physical and mental pounding, but those are real concerns given his moderate size and his open revelations about his teenage fights with clinical depression. OTOH, he also gets points for playing in his bowl game at the cost of a high ankle sprain that set back his draft prep, and for his lemons-to-lemonade support for mental health care. Jonathan Heitritter’s long, gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 2 grade that offsets “moments of greatness” against a distinct lack of size for this “quintessential gunslinger” who reminds JH of the on-field, college version of Johnny Manziel. The upstairs part will make all the difference for Corral. The top QB by a hair for the NFL.com scouting profiles, which praises his significant leap from being a boom-or-bust interception machine to a “quicker processor and better decision-maker in 2021.” An AFC scouting director is quoted as saying: “He doesn’t have the physical advantages that Pickett or Willis have but he’s a better pure quarterback than either of them.” Here is a quality, gif-supported scouting report from a Steelers POV by Bradley Locker. Alex Kozora’s QB2 of the 2022 class, with a Round 1 grade. Combine
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Visit 1:25 QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati. (RS Junior). 6’3⅜”, 211 lbs. with big 10” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl, Combine, and dinner with Tomlin and brass at pro day, VISIT] A prospect in the same general school as Marcus Mariota, Deshaun Watson, Colin Kaepernick, and Josh Dobbs as seen from the POV of both the main assets (a proven leader, winner, and character pick with fine, but secondary, mobility) and the drawbacks (a big but troublingly erratic arm). Ridder has four years of starting experience, led his little known program into the Final Four, tested as a great overall athlete (top 5% of the NFL), and would be a fine young man to be the face of your franchise. The bywords coming out of the Combine were “mature,” “impressive,” “intelligent,” and “the sort of young man you want your daughter to marry.” Jonathan Heitritter’s careful, gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a fringe-1st grade for a player with large amounts of all the assets, but a significant need to refine them enough to make it in the pro game. Alex Kozora’s QB5 of the 2022 class, with a Round 3 grade.
Erratic passing accuracy raised eyebrows at the Senior Bowl, because he has good mechanics, but makes throws that vary from pinpoint accuracy to buried in the dirt with no apparent reason for the disparity. As this nice little March scouting profile puts it, “It is maddening to watch Ridder play sometimes because he misses some of the easiest throws you’ll ever see. It makes very little sense considering how solid his overall throwing mechanics are. It feels like he lets emotions take over at times, resulting in throws that are not consistent with the player he is on a majority of snaps.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile writes, “He’s intelligent and processes quickly, [but] despite favorable mechanics, his accuracy and ball placement need work… He can run but is more of a pocket passer who can win with his legs than a true dual-threat quarterback.” Here is a good looking scouting profile from January. This February scouting profile ends with a Round 3 grade due to concerns about accuracy and pocket awareness. This goes to a page with twin scouting profiles, the first being an early-2nd grade and the other a 3rd, again with notes on the need for better pocket awareness and more consistent accuracy. “Desmond Ridder is an extremely talented QB prospect that is seemingly flying under the radar,” complains this scouting profile from a Steelers POV. Sr Bowl
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Visit 1:25 QB Sam Howell, N. Carolina. (RS Senior). 6’1½”, 212 lbs. with 9⅝” hands. [Mtgs. on campus with Colbert, at Senior Bowl, at Combine, VISIT]. Howell looked like the Next Big Thing after a monster 2020 year when his offense featured two great RB’s and two very accomplished WR’s. All four of those weapons got drafted, leaving him with not very much in 2021, plus an offensive line he couldn’t trust. It showed. The highlight reel passes faded away, his decision making looked more erratic, and he was forced to be a dual threat runner (which he did). Kevin Colbert visited UNC several times during 2021, which surely indicates some serious interest. No one doubts that Colbert came away impressed. The question is, how impressed? Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported scouting report shows one film expert who was impressed enough to question whether Howell will be “only” a Baker Mayfield, or rise to be a Russell Wilson. Translate that as, “potential franchise QB with a long way to go before he gets there.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile indicates a film watcher who is much less impressed, and ends with a Round 3 grade. Alex Kozora has said that Howell reminds him of Jake Locker before he got crushed by NFL physicality. Alex Kozora’s QB3 of the 2022 class, with a Round 3 grade. Sr Bowl
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Visit 1:25 WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas. (Junior). 6’2”, 225 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9⅞”hands. This is the guy to root for if you want a 1:1 replacement for Juju Smith-Schuster at his best. Same kind of “big slot” player except even taller, heftier, with much more native playmaking talent, and even better hands. The problem, as outlined in Devin Jackson’s gif-supported Depot scouting report, comes down to weighing his enormous things-you-can’t-teach assets against his desperate need to learn his craft at a professional level. He did his [vast amounts of] damage in college on plays where he got open due to scheme rather than beating coverage, and that cannot continue at the next level. Came in at #11 overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s first big board. This Falcons-oriented scouting profile ends with an early-2nd grade. This Giants-oriented scouting profile leans toward late-1st: “Some may be disappointed in Burks’ measured athleticism, but those concerns don’t show up on the field. He is seldom caught from behind, and was a consistent big-play threat against some of the best defenses in the country.” This gif-supported, Washington oriented scouting report sees Burks as a perfect, bruising, possession-receiver complement to that team’s WR1 Terry McLaurin.   1:25 WR Jahan Dotson, Penn. St. (RS Senior). 5’10⅝”, 178 lbs. with short 30¾” arms and big 9½” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] An oily smooth, sneaky good route runner on the smaller side, Dotson creates easy separation, has the best hands in the class to finish the catch, and has the pure speed to turn any catch into a TD if all those bigger folks don’t get a solid grasp. He tested at 4.43, but knowledgeable reviewers say he plays more like a 4.2-something on film. You only worry that he’ll get sawed in half by some over-eager Safety. This quality, clip-supported January scouting report from a Raiders POV raises a number of questions that largely center around Dotson’s lack of the high quality play strength required to break tackles in addition to avoiding them. Owen Straley’s detailed, gif-supported Depot scouting profile sounds an excited note for an early-2nd talent with “elite, sticky hands,” who could “stretch the field vertically with nuanced technique and speed.” Owen also notes that he “plays tough for his size [and is a] fundamental, very willing blocker.” Combine 1:25 MACK ILB Devin Lloyd, Utah. (RS Senior). 6’2¾”, 237 lbs. with 33” arms and 9½” hands, and an easy top 10% athlete. [Mtg. at Combine] College football’s best off-ball linebacker in 2021, Lloyd has a nose for making plays. But can he be a Buck ILB in Pittsburgh’s system – the guy who takes on blockers to plug developing holes – in addition to the Devin Bush run-and-chase Mack ILB role, which relies on the D-Line to keep him clean? This January scouting profile from Bleacher Report lists mano-a-mano physicality as the primary shortcoming. This nice, Falcons-oriented scouting profile sees Lloyd as a Round 1 ILB who might serve as an occasional Edge player. Combine 1:25 S Jaquan Brisker, Penn St. (Senior). 6’1⅜”, 199 lbs. with 31¾” arms and 9⅞” hands. Will be 23 as of April 20. Born and raised in Pittsburgh (Monroeville), he had to work his way up from Lackawanna College due to significant academic issues. But that doesn’t seem to have bled over into his football IQ at all. Everyone, including this long January scouting profile from PFN, agrees that Brisker “gets it” and deserves to be a Top 50 pick. Versatility is his biggest selling point. He excels in coverage, is a perfect TE-eliminator, and can play both Free and Strong Safety. Needs to improve on his tackling but all the ingredients are there. Pairing Brisker with Fitzpatrick would drive QB’s mad trying to account for both young talents as they wove, twisted, and played games to disguise the actual shell. The pre-Senior Bowl Bleacher Report scouting profile agrees, ending with a late-1st grade that could have gone up with his top 10% testing. Same for this fine January scouting profile. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report loves Brisker’s ability as a TE-eraser, dislikes the missed tackles, and ends with a strong Round 2 grade.   1:25 S Lewis Cine, Georgia. (Junior). 6’2¼”, 199 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 9⅜” hands. Turns 22 as a rookie. His fabulous Combine, headlined by a 4.37 dash, resulted in a Top 1-2% athletic score. Another multipurpose Safety, Cine put on a tremendous show in the national championship game, showing coverage, pursuit, and tackling talent in a single body, against future NFL talent, under the brightest of lights. The Bleacher Report scouting profile from January describes him as a model zone Safety who’s at his best when he can read and react in space, but dislikes his tendency to go for kill shots high rather than making surer, fundamentally sound tackles around the legs. The January NFL Draft Buzz scouting profile agrees but is more positive, ending with a Round 2 grade versus the B/R Round 3. This January TDN article is close to a rave, ending with a Round 1 grade that uses phrases like “versatile chess piece” and “high-level blitzer.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting profile ends in a strong Round 2 grade for a talented “enforcer in the secondary… Pairing Cine with Minkah Fitzpatrick would create a dynamic, physical safety tandem for years to come.” Here is a very good, Giants-oriented comparison piece on Hill vs. Cine vs. Brisker.   1:25 S Daxton Hill, Michigan. (Junior). 6’0¼”, 191 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 9½” hands. Turns 22 as a rookie. He played the multipurpose Safety role in college, but one hopes he could be more limited in the pros. Not because he can’t do it all. He can, and he does. Emphatically. It’s just that sometimes you need to protect players from themselves, especially the ones like Hill who combine an outsized heart in an undersized frame. A team leader with a reputation for a high football IQ who simply “gets it.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes him as a sort of Minkah Lite, who can play all over the secondary from FS to the Mike Hilton Nickel-DB role. Top 10% athletic profile with elite scores for speed (4.38) and agility. Barring injuries, he’s got an extremely high floor as a starter somewhere in the league. This admiring January scouting profile ends with a late-1st grade, calling him the #2 Safety of the class behind Kyle Hamilton. Compare that with the 4th Round grade in this Bleacher Report January scouting profile. Came in at #23 overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s first big board, with a comparison to Darnell Savage. Here is a very good, Giants-oriented comparison piece on Hill vs. Cine vs. Brisker.   2:01 WR Drake London, USC. (Junior). 6’3⅞”, 219 lbs. with long 33” arms and 9⅜” hands. Turns 21 as a rookie. Downgraded on this board due to his similarities to Chase Claypool. An oddball player to evaluate because he doesn’t get open with either speed or agility, but has contested catch abilities so good that he’s open even when he’s covered. A classic example of the big time basketball talent who decided on football instead, and will succeed or fail in the NFL depending on whether he lands with a team that can accomodate his somewhat unique skill set. Could you call him a very undersized, but extraordinarily good Move TE? A fractured ankle toward the end of 2021 prevents athletic testing during the draft process. Came in at #10 overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s first big board based on both the size and being “a nuanced route runner.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees him as a fantastic but limited role player who has, “the size and skill to dominate the catch phase, [but] his one-speed route-running and lack of separation burst means a career full of contested catches.” This January scouting profile agrees that contested and box-out catches are his main asset, but also loves his blocking. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 1 grade, the common comparison to Tee Higgins, and the note that London’s skill set largely mirrors that of Chase Claypool. This excellent gif-supported scouting report from a Washington POV sums up as follows “London is a smart, athletic player with elite competitive toughness and playmaking potential, [who will] struggle as a separator with his foot speed and should not be consistently asked to run routes in the deep areas of the field (post, fade, or fly).”   2:01 WR Skyy Moore, W. Mich. (RS Sophomore). 5’9⅝”, 195 lbs. with 31” arms and huge 10¼” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A Pittsburgh boy from Shadyside, Moore was one of the main reasons why Pitt lost in a major upset. Known for his speed, quickness, route running, and hands, his Combine testing raised new questions because of surprisingly poor agility grades that drag down a 4.41 dash. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes him as a playmaker who is “dynamic both before and after the catch…, a nightmare for CB’s to cover,” and worthy of a Round 2 grade. The Bleacher Report scouting profile ends with the same Round 2 grade as JH, and also the same player comp: Golden Tate, who enjoyed a 10-year career as one of the best WR2’s in the business. The TDN scouting profile has the same grade and ends with a comp to Sterling Shepard. “[Moore will be] good for one tough as nails catch over the middle per game.” The PFN scouting profile adds: “On top of his receiving ability, Moore is simply an all-out competitor who brings phenomenal energy and competitive drive on the field.” This gif-supported, late March scouting report goes back to Golden Tate as the comp. Golden Tate for this April scouting profile too. Is anyone sensing a pattern? Combine
Home 2:01 WR George Pickens, Georgia. (Junior). 6’3¼”, 190 lbs. with 32⅜” arms and 8¾” hands. [All brass were at the pro day, and Pittsburgh’s WR coach put Pickens through his drills]. Long, wiry, and fast with good hands and nice route running talent. The frame is thin enough to create injury concerns, which have been an issue. Tore an ACL in March of 2021, but managed to come back for the championship season (“a medical marvel”), albeit at a lower level than he played in 2020. Projects as a fine field stretcher on the outside who possess that acrobatic ability to twist in the air for difficult jump balls. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a comp to A.J. Green, and a Round 2 grade (with medical asterisk) for a “jump ball savant [who] may not have been gifted with elite deep speed [but is] difficult to catch in the open field once he gets going.” The poor (33”) vertical leap at the Combine came as something of a nasty surprise, with the 4.47 speed and the overall 93rd percentile athletic score being good ones. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile also has a Round 2-3 grade, particularly admiring the “vice-grip hand strength.” This January scouting profile describes him as “your traditional X receiver with good size and strength” but worries that he “lacks urgency when he’s not the 1st or 2nd option in the play” and needs to amp up the intensity on his role as a blocker. This Packers-oriented scouting report adds that he has tremendous hands, with an all but nonexistent 2.1% drop rate. Pro Day 2:01 WR Christian Watson, N. Dak. St. (RS Senior). 6’4⅛”, 208 lbs. with 32½” arms and big 10⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl, Combine] Looks like he ought to be a contested catch specialist, but he also runs very good routes, has surprising shiftiness, and put up a 4.36 dash at the Combine. Those are top 2% of the NFL numbers. His father was an NFL safety. Has also shown good special teams play as a punt/kick returner and also in coverage. This goes to a TDN article/interview during the Senior Bowl. This admiring and gif-supported article by Tyler Wise digs into Watson’s physicality and how much he enjoys blocking as well as pass catching. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile, which really only worries about a lack of deep bend for sudden stop/start moves. Tyler Wise’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 3 grade after describing what I would call a Round 2 player: someone comparable to an extremely raw Martavis Bryant with his head screwed on straight, who’s also willing to block. This long Tampa-oriented scouting profile agrees on a Round 2 grade. Hit every box on Alex Kozora’s “What The Steelers Look For” study. Sr Bowl
Combine 2:01 EDGE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn St. (RS Senior). 6’2⅜”, 250 lbs. with long 34⅛” arms and big 10¼” hands. An explosive speed rusher and athlete, with decent size, excellent agility, and serious bend around the corner. That pure potential underlies his entire grade and could let him start early as a one trick pony, situational rush specialist, but inconsistency and lack of strength litter the tape and need to be fixed if he wants a full career. Put up an impressive 91st percentile athletic score, with great numbers for everything but height, weight, and bench press. The athleticism and bend wow the author of this January Bleacher report scouting profile, but the strength issues do not and the explosion is questioned. This thorough January scouting report sees all the explosion, but questions the bend. The NFL.com scouting profile agrees with a ‘so-what?’ added on: “He’s not bendy and loose but uses body lean and skilled hands to grease the edge and access the pocket.” Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in an excited late-1st grade: “This is a quality, underrated prospect who may be hidden because he played just one year at Penn State and frankly, didn’t see the field a lot prior to that… My NFL comp to him is Harold Landry [without] the medical concerns.” This Falcons-oriented scouting profile, based on a 5-game film study rather than the normal 3, ends with a Round 2 grade for that version of the 3-4 defense.   2:01 EDGE Boye Mafe, Minn. (RS Senior). 6’3¾”, 261 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and 9⅞” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A toolsy Edge Rusher who looks like a model for the body type and assets Pittsburgh prefers. Scored a top 10% athletic profile held back by OLB weight on the scale of a 4-3 DE; i.e., he’s probably a top 1-2% athlete even for NFL Edge Rushers. Wow. Has a solid amount of every measurable asset, and even some experience falling back into coverage, but the best one is a white hot motor that never slows for a second, and sees him constantly chasing down plays from across the field/formation.Can he pull all the pieces together into a coordinated whole? If so, he could be a star. If not, he’d still be good for 5-8 “cleanup” sacks per year based on effort alone. This January scouting profile catches the excitement his traits have caused in the draft community. Lance Zierlein writes in his NFL.com scouting profile, “His combination of rare explosive measurables with average fundamentals could make for a perfect storm of rapid development once he gets focused skill work at the pro level.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 1 grade for a prospect who “has flashes that pop on tape, but [also] inconsistencies in stringing together a full game in terms of execution.” Combine 2:01 CB Kaiir Elam, Florida. (Junior). 6’1½”, 191 lbs. with 30⅞” arms and 8⅞” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] His father was Abram Elam, a 7-year NFL Safety, and his Uncle is the Ravens’ Matt Elam. Kaiir is a long, athletic, cover Corner who’s equally adept in both press and zone. Needs to be more consistent and physical, but he excels at job #1: coverage. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a comparison to Xavier Rhodes and a late-1st grade based on the special physical gifts and all-star potential. Owen Straley followed up with this admiring gif-supported Depot film room report that examines Elam’s tremendou ability in man coverage. The NFL.com scouting profile sees “early CB3 and eventual CB2 value as a press and zone corner” with inconsistency and what I’d call professionalism as his main challenges. Combine 2:01 CB Roger McCreary, Auburn. (Senior). 5’11”, 189 lbs. with short 29¼” arms and 8⅞” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl, Combine] If Pittsburgh wants him it will need to be in Round 1, because McCreary is just that solid. As high a floor as you’ll ever see in a Corner who isn’t a miracle athlete. I was waiting eagerly for Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report, and it did not disappoint. “If you’re looking for a man cover corner, [this] is your guy. Some will question his size but it didn’t stop him from consistently winning against college football’s best… [T]here won’t be too many better corners in man coverage than McCreary is, especially knowing he wasn’t blessed with elite size or physical traits.” Paraphrasing the conclusion: “McCreary projects as a better and more athletic version of Cam Sutton.” How many more ways can I say it? He’d be a Top 5 lock if he was 2” longer and anything more than a “merely tremendous” athlete on the already-absurd NFL scale. The young man has a certain amount of chippy class, too. Look at this Senior Bowl TDN article/interview asking about the surprising measurements. “I’ve put it on tape [and] I’m gonna play the game the way I play the game.” Yep. No need to add that his results were dominant against the best opponents CFB could offer. Runs with extremely short, choppy steps that maximize acceleration and COD. The NFL.com scouting profile ends in something more like an early-2nd grade based on his obvious “lack of playmaking and tackling length.” Sr Bowl
Combine 2:12 T Daniel Faalele, Minnesota (Senior). 6’8⅛”, 387 lbs. with 35⅜” arms and 11” hands. A freak of nature whose frightening size, athletic talents, and overall potential has teased, tantalized, and dazzled draft watchers for the past several years. Faalele grew up as a rugby and basketball player in Australia, only transitioning to football in 2017 (there’s a cute story about learning the rules by playing Madden after he was discovered by Jim Harbaugh in 2016). He’s developed every year, but he still has some way to go in order to keep NFL technicians from using his height against him. Bottom line? The potential is literally off the chart, so much so that one can see him becoming the single best player of this year’s class. El numero uno. But he could also end up as a career-long might’a-been, and there’s not a chance in the world that he sees the field in 2022 absent total disaster. Probably not in 2023 either, but at least that’s possible. Jacob Harrison’s gif- supported Depot scouting report ends in a late-1st grade after showing that you can’t go around him, or over him, or through him, and only occasionally underneath him – and that is both hard to do and fixable. Here is a brief follow-up interview from the Senior Bowl. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile agrees with most others by using Zach Banner as the comp, complete with both the upside potential and the 3-year waiting period. The well respected Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile agrees completely. He sees a better run blocker than most, but still a high ceiling prospect who isn’t ready to start against NFL opponents, and will “need to have some schemed help as a pass protector for his first few years as a starter.”   2:12 T Rasheed Walker, Penn St. (RS Senior). 6’4⅝”, 313 lbs. with 33⅝” arms and big 10⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] The well respected Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile ends in a Round 2 grade for a prospect with a “special blend of size, natural power and body control,” held back by severely inconsistent pass sets and “a glaring overreliance on using two-hand strikes to initiate contact.” The TDN scouting profile gives off a vague Chuks Okorafor vibe with a better pedigree, focusing on the dextrous feet, quality starting experience, and good hand fighting skills, but complaining about a lack of dig’em out power and plain, old fashioned nastiness. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees no issues at all with the nastiness or the running game power, just correctable issues coming from too much concern about protecting against the outside pass rush, which can open him up to inside counters. Combine 2:12 QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh. (RS Senior). 6’3¼”, 217 lbs. with historically small 8½” hands. [Mtg. at Combine, pro day, VISIT] Will be a 24 year old rookie. For heaven’s sake: he broke Dan Friggin’ Marino’s college passing records, and he has good enough size and running ability to make a team pay if they forget about that part of his game. His records didn’t come the easy way, either. Like Mac Jones in last year’s draft, he lacks the unearthly physical talent that has headlined recent drafts, and has had to build his college success on being more smart, accurate, and professional than his peers. Earns a small discount on this board because he projects as a high floor type of pick rather than the high-ceiling, potential franchise QB that we believe Pittsburgh is looking for. Daniel Kitchen’s gif-supported Depot scouting report has a summary that many reviewers would agree with: “It’s hard to imagine him reaching the highest tier of quarterbacks in the NFL, but there is room for him to be one of the better passers in the game and an above-average quarterback in the right offense.” This decent, 7-minute video scouting report ends with a Round 2 grade due to concerns about pocket presence. Alex Kozora’s QB4 of the 2022 class, with a Round 2 grade. Sr Bowl
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Dinner
Visit 2:12 WR John Metchie III, Alabama. (Junior). 5’11¼”, 187 lbs. with 30⅝” arms and 9¼” hands. A hard player to evaluate because he combines top production with limited measurables, and could not be tested because of a late-season ACL in 2021. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report makes it clear that Metchie offers a huge number of assets that Pittsburgh could really use. He’s tough, fast, physical, a ferocious blocker for a WR, and above all has the knack of getting open on a regular basis. You know those guys who’d play, “whoops; Now you see me, now you don’t?!” That’s Metchie as a route runner. Polished, with off the charts stop-start ability. There are enough drops to drive you mad, but Jonathan describes those as matters of poor technique rather than bad hands. Not “drops” so much as fixable lapses where he’ll body catch instead of snatching the ball out of the air. So the drops may be maddening, but it really comes down to his knee. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile also worries about a “lack of explosiveness,” but admires the “pro-caliber route tree,… route instincts… [and ability to] snap off route breaks at crisp angles.” This nice, Giants-oriented scouting profile ends with an easy Round 2 grade.   2:12 ILB Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati. (RS Senior). 6’4”, 237 lbs. (down from 252 lbs. at the Senior Bowl) with 32⅝” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl, Combine]. An excellent, multisport athlete who outgrew his H.S. position as a Safety, became a talented Edge Rusher at U. Conn., and then went to his native Cincinnati where he morphed into a sideline to sideline enforcer at ILB. This January Bleacher Report scouting profile particularly admires the “lightning fast mental trigger [with a] head-on-fire mentality… when engaging with offensive linemen.” You couldn’t come up with a better description of a true Buck ILB. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report agrees, showing highlights of some very impressive burst to go along with the bulk and the straight line speed. Here is a follow-up Senior Bowl interview with Jonathan Heitritter. The questions go to whether he can hold up in coverage. That verdict is still out because he’s looked good at times but seems to lack some lateral agility. An ideal thunder to Devin Bush’s lightning, Beavers would specialize in the dirty work that raises all boats while earning a lot of wrath from the ill-informed because of highlight reel plays where he loses in coverage. A bigger and more athletic version of Vince Williams? His coach has compared him to Zaven Collins from last year’s draft, which suggests that his stock may rise as the process moves forward. Good agility numbers and impressive drills could push him into Round 1. This January scouting profile looks both good and thorough. Sr Bowl
Combine 2:12 ILB Quay Walker, Georgia. (Senior). 6’3¾”, 241 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and 9¼” hands. [Mtg. at VISIT] Walker is an athletic specimen who played the physical, run-stuffing role in college but only started for only a year. His football IQ got notably better as the season went on, but the significant need to keep learning lowers his grade. The sheer athletic talent is top notch, and he achieves a grade of “average” for coverage while still being a physical banger. Thus as Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report concludes, “Walker is [] raw but he could be molded into the blitzing Buck linebacker a la Vince Williams that the Steelers are missing.” Welcome news! Tom ends with a Round 3 grade. This January scouting profile from PFN continues with another view that should excite Steeler nation. “Walker’s play strength is another factor that separates him from other linebackers. He undoubtedly has the size and strength to take on offensive linemen at the second level. The Georgia ILB latches onto opposing linemen’s pads, then rips down anchors with violent force.” Came in at #31 overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s first big board. “Smart, athletic, and versatile” runs the verdict of this Giants-oriented April scouting profile. Visit 2:12 S Bryan Cook, Cincinnati. (Senior). 6’0¾”, 206 lbs. with 31⅞” arms and 8½” hands. [Mtg. at Combine, Pro Day Dinner] A tremendous tackler in the box who projects as a special teams demon early on, but the sort of player that will need a year or two of study time before finding a way to contribute as a defender too. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report, which is supported by brief interviews with various professionals and coaches, ends in a surprising Round 2 grade for an underrated prospect whose home lies at box Safety, but who has the versatility to play in the slot and as a deep Safety too. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile agrees wholeheartedly, listing Cook as the #3 Safety in the class, and describing him as a “skilled enforcer [whose]… blend of football intelligence, athleticism and physicality makes him an ideal fit for matchup-oriented defenses looking for versatile back-end chameleons.” Both of those scouting reports independently came up with Julian Blackmon as the comp. Combine

Dinner

2:12 SS/Nickel DB Jalen Pitre, Baylor. (RS Senior). 5’10”, 198 lbs. with short 30⅝” arms and 9” hands. This early January scouting profile describes an undersized Box Safety with the playmaker gene; exactly what was required in the college “Star” role. The sort of young man who plays bigger than he is, with “springy, sudden lateral twitch,” explosiveness, and range. The testing confirms that, with great agility scores yielding a Top 35% athletic score despite poor grades for size, and without including the 4.44 dash and smooth drills at his pro day. Would grade higher if he had the size as well as the other assets desired for a true Strong Safety. Surprised a lot of people when he displayed good coverage chops at the Senior Bowl, though the gif-supported Depot scouting report by Daniel Kitchen points out that he also got regularly burned by slot-receiver quickness during those practices. This clip-supported scouting report from a Washington POV ends in a strong Round 2 grade. So does the NFL.com scouting profile, which calls Pitre “a coach’s dream with exceptional competitive drive and desired intangibles for teams where locker room culture matters.” A fine athlete (top 16% held back by poor size) with “acclaimed football character and intelligence.”   2:12 CB Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston St. (Senior). 6’2”, 202 lbs. with either 30¾” arms (Combine) or 31⅛” arms (Senior Bowl) and 9” hands. An unbelievable top 1% athletic profile put this small school phenom squarely on the radar, and he has only continued to raise his stock as the process moves forward. Size, speed, hips, overall agility, and other measurables? Check. Ball skills? Big time check. Zone coverage? Check. Team captain with excellent football IQ? Contributor on special teams? Check. Success in the slot as well as on the boundary? Check. Tackling: he tries. Press man coverage? Not so much, and the arm length may relate to that, but OTOH he’s never been forced to really learn it and there have been some good flashes. The biggest issue is the vast projection required since he’s coming from such a small program. Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in an excited Round 2 grade for someone he describes as “one of the most NFL ready prospects in the 2022 CB class.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile isn’t that far behind, summing up McCollum as a “ball-hawking FCS cornerback with outstanding combination of size and athletic traits for the next level.” The typically useful PFN scouting profile contains some nice background information, and is useful because it predates the Combine testing that sent everyone over the moon. Here is an interview from way back in August.   2:20 STEELERS ROUND 2 PICK (# 52 OVERALL)   2:24 T Bernhard Raimann, Central Mich. (Senior). 6’6⅛”, 304 lbs. with 33” arms and 10⅜” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Would have a solid Round 1 grade on this board if not for the fact that he will turn 25 at the start (September) of his rookie season. Age matters less for OL’s, but that is enough to push him down by a round. A small school star with huge upside from both his footwork and the “combination of core and hand strength” that led to him coming in at #10 overall in Daniel Jeremiah’s first big board. Came to college from Austria as a wrestler with track and field experience, became a TE, and has now matured into a two-year starting Tackle. Two years only, and he could go on Day 1! Talk about a combination of aptitude and fast learning… May require a redshirt year because he’ll be making several steps up the LOC ladder at once, but his potential is sky high. Looked great during the Senior Bowl practices and also in the game. Brandon Thorn’s Bleacher Report scouting profile ends with a Round 2 grade for this “surprisingly polished [tackle] with an uncanny knack for staying attached to blocks using skilled, strong hands, [plus] excellent body control and weight distribution to recover and maintain his center of gravity.” This nice little scouting profile by Devin Jackson sees “a developmental piece, with the upside to be a starter by year 2 and a reliable starter for the next decade.” Here is a good, pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile from a Giants POV. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes Raimann as an “athletic yet raw prospect that needs some refinement in the finer details of his game,” but brings “phenomenal effort” and is worthy of a Round 2 grade. Combine 2:24 G/T Darian Kinnard, Kentucky. 6’4¾”, 324 lbs. with long 35” arms and huge 11¼” hands. Team captain who will turn 23 in late December. Reportedly played at 345 lbs. In college, and close to 360 lbs. in high school. An enormous man who carries his weight naturally and with ease, Kinnard played Tackle throughout college but projects better as Guard for the pros. Three year starter in the SEC, but not so polished that you worry about his ability to improve once a pro coach starts working on the details. This good looking scouting profile from the respected Brandon Thorn ends with a comparison to Cody Ford, after noting that Kinnard shows real flashes of “jarring power and quickness” that are held back by “pad level and hand placement [that] are extremely up and down, leaving him high, off-balance and struggling to control blocks consistently.” Kyle Crabbs’ TDN scouting profile is quite similar but a little more positive, ending in a Round 2 grade. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile also uses Cody Ford as a comp, calling Kinnard “an all-day mauler [who] rel[es] heavily upon a nasty demeanor and physical advantages to overwhelm opponents,” with “hand usage, footwork and overall technique” flaws that must be solved before he can earn snaps at the next level. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 3 grade for a Guard who could slide outside in an emergency. Jonathan worries in particular about the heavy feet and balance issues. This scouting profile goes up to a fringe-1st grade, and this Ravens-oriented article could even see Kinnard going at 1:14. A prospect who clearly offers a lot of upside. Here is a thoughtful, clip-supported January scouting report from a Raiders POV, which breaks the mold by suggesting that Kinnard might do better if he continues at RT despite the doubts about his foot speed. The PFN scouting profile could also see him as a Tackle if he can clean up the sloppy hand work. This good-looking, Giants-oriented scouting profile sees a Round 2 guard with “potential tackle upside.”   2:24 G/T Sean Rhyan, UCLA. (Junior). 6’4⅝”, 321 lbs. with short 32⅜” arms but very big 11⅛” hands. A multisport athlete (track & field, baseball, rugby) in H.S., who became a freshman starter in college, played well at Tackle, but will want to move inside at the NFL level, at least to start his career. Fundamentally sound, with good balance and technique that compensate for his substandard length. Put up a very good, top 20% athletic profile heavy on the explosion and agility grades. This good looking NFL Draft Buzz scouting profile describes a dominant run blocking Tackle with questionable length who might make it on the outside, but could dominate at Guard. This scouting profile from the respected Brandon Thorn sees almost no chance for success at Tackle, and ends with a Day 3 grade based on sub-average movement skills and “persistent lunging and getting beat clean across his face on kick-out blocks.” The strength, explosiveness, and ferocity would fit better at Guard. By contrast, this February scouting profile sees “silky smooth feet, and excellent, effortless quickness.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile falls in between, suggesting that he would make a good Guard while listing a variety of issues that he will have to overcome if he wants to continue at Tackle. Here is a good looking February scouting profile from a Giants POV. The gif-supported Depot scouting report by Jonathan Heitritter sees a legitimate OT prospect with “some technical issues in his game [and a] lack of foot quickness” that could force him inside to Guard.   2:24 G/T Jamaree Salyer, Georgia. (Senior). 6’2⅝”, 320 lbs. with 34” arms and 9½” hands. [Mtg. at Combine (informal)] A natural Guard with the balance and technique to survive at Tackle in a pinch. Georgia trains its linemen well, had an exceptional 2021 line in particular, and Salyer was probably the best player on that line despite his lack of nimble athleticism. The ‘hearts and smarts’ factor plays in here too, since he’s supposed to be an extremely smart player who’s even taken snaps at Center. Lord knows, the Steelers could certainly use some versatility along the line. Had a tremendous game playing Tackle against Michigan’s fearsome pass rush duo in the CFB semi-final Orange Bowl, and then followed it up with equal success against Alabama in the finals. Brandon Thorn’s February scouting profile offers an excellent summary: “He managed to play surprisingly well at tackle over the last two seasons despite having a guard’s body and foot quickness… by using his girth [] on rushers to force them to maneuver around or go through his big body and long arms.” My summary of Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report would be something like, “a strong, capable Guard with some position flexibility in a pinch, but probably a piece of the building rather than a foundation stone.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL scouting profile sees a “lack of functional bend” that will cause range and leverage problems no matter the position, and may limit him to “doing battle against power-based defenders.” This Giants-oriented scouting profile sees a future starting guard in a power-run system. This relatively thorough PFN scouting profile agrees completely with that evaluation. Combine 2:24 C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa. (RS Junior). 6’2⅛”, 296 lbs. with T-rex 31⅛” arms and big 10” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] I can remember Maurkice Pouncey in college. Tyler Linderbaum reminds me of that prospect with maybe even more mobility, but without an important 15-20 lbs. of muscle, and several key inches of length. Linderbaum plays with tremendous leverage and quickness that compensate for those limitations, but Tom Mead’s gif-supported scouting report confirms that they are real and can’t be wished away. An outside zone attack would suit him best, but he’s talented and skilled enough to survive in other systems too. Survive, yes… But will he thrive in Pittsburgh’s gap/power scheme, against the rough and tumble AFC North? This January scouting report from the well respected Brandon Thorn agrees with Tom’s take: “a dynamic run-blocker inside a zone-heavy scheme with the ability to be devastating at the second level. His size and anchoring concerns can lead to issues against high-end power-rushers in the NFL…” This goes to a gif-supported scouting report in the “rave review” category, with the author expressing zero doubt about Linderbaum’s ability to dominate men of any size. Combine 2:24 WR David Bell, Purdue. (Junior). 6’0⅞”, 212 lbs. with 31⅞” arms and 9¼”hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A really good possession receiver who creates separation, catches what’s open, and gets the available yards. Extremely solid floor but moderate ceiling. The perfect player if you want a WR2/3 who’s going to move the chains in the short and midlevel game. Had a horrible Combine that put him in the very bottom of the class from an athletic POV. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report points out Bell’s steady production over several years, and he certainly looks faster on film than he timed at Indy. This interesting scouting profile from January provides insight because virtually every area is marked as average or better, with none being really special. The NFL.com scouting profile uses an interesting metaphor to describe him: “Bell is like a crafty pitcher with a limited fastball but a variety of pitches to get hitters out. He wins with process over speed and has an ability to keep man coverage off-balance with rhythmic route-running and detailed footwork.” Combine 2:24 WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati. (Senior). 6’2¾”, 213 lbs. with 33” arms and 9” hands. A popular draft target as a chain moving WR2/3 prospect with a chance to mature into something a little better. Big enough, tall enough, fast enough, shifty enough, and possessing flawless hands, he plays a physical game and is also a fine, multisport athlete. The sort of guy whose wiring is so good that everything simply ‘works’ in a coordinated way. All he lacks is a next-level asset in any category to put him over the top, and some vague concerns that he may have a skillset uncomfortably close to Chase Claypool’s. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes him as a shorter but shiftier Tee Higgins who can play multiple WR spots and also win above the rim. The NFL.com scouting profile prefers a comparison to Donovan Peoples-Jones, and ends with something more like a Round 4-5 grade due to worries about how much of his game will carry over to the next level. Great athletic profile for size and speed, but poor for agility.   2:24 EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue. (Junior). 6’3¾”, 275 lbs. with short 32⅝” arms and big 10¼” hands. A game wrecking, power rushing 4-3 DE who would rank significantly higher if he fit better into the Pittsburgh defensive scheme. Could even be a top 10-15 player for the right team. The NFL.com scouting profile expresses confidence that he will be a future starter, but less about stardom, and offers an all-time great quote: “Hulk-smash rush approach could use some variance.” ROFL!   2:24 EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan. (RS Sophomore). 6’4”, 250 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9” hands. Born in Nigeria, moved to Scotland at age 7, and then to the U.S. for H.S. Supposed to be an extremely high-character young man. Torn Achilles at his pro day will prevent him from trying to participate until late in the season, and will probably cost him all of his rookie year. That knocks him down from the Round 1 status he would have otherwise enjoyed. Ojabo is an easy top 5-10% miracle athlete with proven production, who could be a true star by adding grown-man strength and professional technique to his game. This goes to a nice, introductory scouting profile from around New Years. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile loves the explosion, fluidity, and potential, but notes that he would be even more special if he had some extra bend around the corner. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report calls him a “combination of current Giant Azeez Ojulari and Colt Yannick Ngakoue” en route to a Round 1 grade despite the injury and the rawness (only 8 career starts).   3:01 T Max Mitchell, Louisiana. (Senior). 6’5¾”, 299 lbs. with 33⅝” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine (informal)] A prospect who fits the Chuks Okorafor stereotype of great feet and good hands, with a need for growth in order to develop his grown man strength, anchor, and pro-level technique. Projects better in pass protection than run blocking because his game is based on quick feet, mobility, and length, while the flaws go to lack of pure heft and play strength. The Bleacher Report scouting profile by Brandon Thorn ends with a solid Round 3 grade, summarizing Mitchell as a player who “springs out of his stance with very good foot quickness and range to play on an island with quick, crafty hands to keep rushers guessing, [but]… is light in the pants with middling play strength that results in getting knocked back on contact and overextended on drive blocks.” This point by point NFL Draft Buzz scouting profile also admires the fact that he “is supremely athletic and moves like a TE,” but worries about the play strength and therefore projects him as a better fit for zone blocking teams. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile compares Mitchell to Pittsburgh’s Dan Moore Jr., calling him a “Tough, durable team leader” who can play either Tackle position, but “needs to prove he can roll downhill and generate movement in hat-on-hat battles.” Tyler Wise’s gif-supported Depot scouting report offers a Round 4 grade based on “flaws in his game against speed and power rushers” that were visible against top talent at the Senior Bowl. Combine 3:01 T Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio St. (RS Junior). 6’4¾”, 316 lbs. with 33⅝” arms and big 10¾” hands. How can you fail to love a giant human being whose name translates to “little brother”? A two year starter in an elite program where he played both LT and RT, Petit-Frere looks like he was designed in the OT laboratory, and has the quick twitch, explosive reflexes and response time that separate elite prospects from the plodders. These made him the #1 OL recruit coming out of H.S. He’s a bit more divisive now because he plays with much more suddenness and power than he does with grace and control, and it makes for a difficult evaluation. Has dominated lesser competition, but been beaten by top talent such as the Michigan pass rush duo. This scouting profile from TDN’s Kyle Crabbs may be the most enthusiastic you’ll see, projecting Petit-Frere as a solid, plug and play, Round 1 talent comparable to Ronnie Stanley. The equally respected Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile ends with a Round 3 grade, largely on the basis of “choppy loud feet with disjointed footwork” that can cause him to play too high, and some objections to his “messy and unreliable use of hands.” This careful looking January scouting profile also ends with a fringe 2/3 grade, based on “franchise” potential offset by overaggression, balance, and handwork issues. This easy-reading scouting profile comes closer to the Round 1 grade. This point-by-point scouting profile believes the issues come down to coachable inconsistency, and ends with an early-2nd grade. This Giants-oriented scouting profile ends with a Round 4 grade for someone who “has the look of a starting tackle at first blush,” but who the author projects as only a swing-OT backup. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 2-3 grade for a player who has very quick feet and can play on either side of the line, but needs to clean up all the little things required to succeed as a professional athlete.   3:01 G Luke Goedeke, Cent. Mich. (Senior). 6’4¼”, 318 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and 9⅝” hands. A former TE who converted into a good, small-college Tackle. Lost 2020 to a knee injury, but played in 2021. The injury record offsets in a way, against the chance that recent tape may be hiding some extra talent. He will most likely move further inside at the next level. Many good scouts have a lot of confidence in his ability to succeed at that. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends with a grade equivalent to the early 3rd or so, describing Goedeke as a “surly, rancorous run blocker with a talent for rooting opponents off the spot [using] above-average technique.” The well respected Brandon Thorn ends with a similar grade, though he sees Goedeke succeeding as an undersized Tackle despite “Shorter arms [that] make it difficult for him to stay attached to high-end speed rushers who get to his edge.” This nice scouting profile from NFL Draft Buzz makes for a trio of identical grades, concluding that Goedeke “has all the skills to quickly develop into a quality starter at either guard or right tackle.” Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report agrees that he should move to Guard, where he “wouldn’t have to worry about losing the edge as much against speedy rushers and would be a terrific run-blocker.”   3:01 G/C Dylan Parham, Memphis. (RS Senior). 6’2”, 313 lbs. with 33½” arms and 10¼” hands. A college Guard on the small side from an NFL perspective, who plays with fundamentally sound technique due to his four years of starting experience. The football IQ and body type suggest a move to Center, where he never had a single snap until the Senior Bowl. OTOH, he earned glowing reports about his athleticism at the Senior Bowl, was described as one of those “football players to his core who just gets it,” he did look okay snapping the ball, and he came in almost 20 lbs. heavier than expected. This grade is based on his being able to succeed as a Guard while understudying for the Center position. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile quotes an AFC scout for a perfect summary: “He’s small but has a really proportional, big-boned frame so I’m not that worried about how he’s going to match up against guys in the league. He’s smart and knows how to play.” Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile ends in a solid Round 3 grade, noting that Parham has “excellent mobility… good athletic ability,” and agrees that he should consider “a possible move inside at center, where his sawed-off frame may be best utilized long-term.” This gif-supported scouting report from a Patriots POV views Parham as a Round 3 Guard, ending with this statement: “I can not and I will not find a reason for them not to draft this player [at 3:21 a/k/a #85 overall.”   3:01 G/T Tyler Smith, Tulsa. (RS Sophomore). 6’4⅝”, 324 lbs. with 34” arms and big 10¾” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Turns 21 a few weeks before the draft. I always hate this line, but here is a prospect who should have gone back to school. His lack of fundamentals – forget polish – drag down his draft stock by at least a round, despite the push he gets for unrealized potential. Absolutely dominant against smaller school competition, Smith has that “it” factor you look for on the offensive line, and the assets are there in full measure. Strength, athleticism, foot speed, ferocity, size… Every box gets checked. But the skill to make those assets work against experienced professionals? Not a bit of it. His handwork is very subpar, and his combination of balance and footwork has holes that better opponents will be able to use against him. Very high ceiling that will require at least one redshirt year before we can tell if he’s ever going to reach it, ideally with another year at Guard before he competes to earn a spot at Tackle. Earned a strong Round 2-3 grade in Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile, with the comment that he is a “big, wide and nasty power merchant” who projects well as an NFL Guard. Zierlein concludes: “The holes in his game can all be filled if he accepts coaching and brings it to the field on Sundays.” Jonathan Heitritter wrote a particularly good gif-supported Depot scouting report on this prospect, outlining both the positives and the issues en route to a late-3rd to early-4th grade. Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile (Round 3 grade) says “he is as raw as sushi,” agreeing with Jonathan on that standing tall with low hands is the primary sin. Here is a good TDN article from early January, when he declared for the draft. This thorough looking, gif-supported scouting report from a Raiders POV sees Smith as a Round 2-3 developmental OT, and devoutly hopes to see him in a Vegas helmet. Combine 3:01 C Cam Jurgens, Nebraska. (RS Junior). 6’2⅞”, 303 lbs. with 33⅜” arms and 10” hands. A solid enough, Center-only prospect with three solid years of starting experience, Jurgens stunned the draft world when he put up a 99th percentile, well-rounded athletic profile at the Combine. For example, Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile complained that his “size and overall mass fall below the mark,” and that his “short arms diminish his block redirection in recovery mode.” Neither is remotely true after seeing the actual measurements. A promising looking Day 3 prospect who may have unplumbed depths to his game. Good experience at line calls, etc. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 3 game for someone with all the assets (and more) of a Kendrick Green, but  who also has years of experience as a Center under his belt.   3:01 QB Carson Strong, Nevada. (RS Senior). 6’3⅜”, 226 lbs. with 9⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl, QB coach Mike Sullivan at pro day] A divisive prospect because people look and see conflicting stereotypes. The first is, “classic pocket passer with a huge arm, a great deep ball, and no mobility.” That was certainly true in 2020 and 2021, partly because of the next stereotype: “Too bad he’s broken.” Both years ended with surgeries to repair a knee issue that has nagged him all through college. OTOH, reliable sources suggest that the knee may finally be healing up. Does that lower the red flag? If so, we get to stereotype #4: “Mr. Comeback;” a/k/a that Clutch Performer gene your author values above all else. Inside information from a Depot reader suggests that the knee may be “Joe Namath bad.” That would end the debate. Our own Dr. Mel explained the medical concerns in this article, which will be far better and more reliable than any source that isn’t barred from discussing the case by HIPAA regulations. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a fringe-1st “eventual starter” grade and a comparison to Matt Ryan. Sr Bowl
Pro Day 3:01 TE Greg Dulcich, UCLA. (RS Junior). 6’4”, 243 lbs. with 33⅜” arms and 9⅞” hands. Burst onto the scene with a dominant day of practice at the Senior Bowl. “Dulcich was as smooth as an athlete could possibly be with his athletic profile. A big-bodied pass-catcher who wins off the LOS as a technical route-runner with sneaky burst, I can’t express enough how impressive he was each and every rep he received.” Daniel Jeremiah agrees that Dulcich flat out won the Senior Bowl practice week. More of a pass catching TE than a blocker, but even the usually-critical Lance Zierlein agrees that he “has the demeanor to get better” in that facet of the game too. Tested as a Top 20% athlete, but that score would be much higher if it had not been downgraded significantly for size.   3:01 TE Trey McBride, Colorado St. (Senior). 6’3⅝”, 246 lbs. with 32½” arms and big 10⅛” hands. Another actual TE who both catches and blocks, though he’s more developed as a receiver. Was actually his team’s primary target, which says something. Good, TE-level hands, sufficient size, and the basic toughness to be a special teams ace as well. Excellent basketball and baseball player in addition to football. This nice scouting profile ends in a Round 2 grade and a comparison to Brent Celek for this “Throwback tight end who excels at the catch point and in the run game [and has a] substantial floor.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile agrees: “McBride is solid in all phases and should appeal to every team looking for a combination tight end with early starting potential.” His comp is Austin Hooper. This Washington-oriented scouting report sees McBride as an ideal “complete the room” prospect for a Round 3-ish pick.   3:01 TE Cade Otton, Washington. (RS Senior). 6’5”, 247 lbs. with 32¾” arms and 9½” hands. Will be a 23 year old rookie. A dual purpose TE who’s actually better as a blocker? You bet! The one thing he lacks as a receiver is next level speed, but he makes up for that with next level separation ability based on sudden quickness and excellent hands. Steelers Nation would be head over heels for a prospect like this if 2022 wasn’t the first year in living memory when the room was somewhat stacked. Lance Zierlein’s gif-supported scouting profile has nothing but praise for his route running, hands, and even his blocking fundamentals. “[Otton is] an ascending combination tight end with starting talent.” This nice looking scouting profile agrees, calling him an “all-around tight end who can impact both the run and pass game,” and ending in a Round 2 grade with a comparison to Tyler Eifert. Here is a nice March scouting profile from a fan site for his college team.   3:01 TE Jelani Woods, Virginia. (RS Senior). 6’7⅛”, 253 lbs. with long 34½” arms and 9½” hands. Sleeper alert! Woods was a H.S. QB who only moved over to TE in 2017, and has made major and consistent strides in all parts of his game. Earned recognition as a good blocker in college, which is usually the hard part. Hitherto known for his massive size and blocking talent, Woods recently displayed newfound “serious route running” skills that allowed him to “flat out dominate” during Shrine Bowl week. Josh Carney even went on to call him “just an insane mismatch in the middle of the field.” That certainly warmed the soup. On to the Combine… and a historic Top 99.6% athletic score. Now we’re cooking with serious gas. The NFL.com scouting profile describes him as an ascending talent whose “breakout 2021 could foreshadow more to come as an in-line backup with upside.” The film says Round 4 according to this Bleacher Report scouting profile, which came out before Woods blew up the world with his athletic testing. This goes to a film-supported scouting report from a Giants POV. This late-March PFN scouting profile by Tony Pauline sees a talent who “continues to ascend from an unknown to one of the most talked-about tight ends in the 2022 NFL Draft.” If you want a taste of the post-Combine hype, see this gif-supported march scouting report from a Bills POV: “There’s been some debate recently over chasing Rob Gronkowski or Evan Engram. But why fight to get these overpriced TEs when Jelani Woods can be had for a fraction of the price and can be productive for longer?”   3:01 WR Jalen Tolbert, S. Alabama. (RS Junior). 6’1⅛”, 194 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 10” hands. A small school phenom who dominated the lesser level of competition with a very well balanced mix of size, speed, hands, toughness, and other assets. Plenty of room to grow as he learns his craft. Here is an admiring, clip supported scouting report from a Raiders POV that came out before the Senior Bowl. This goes to a Senior Bowl interview with Steeler Depot’s Tyler Wise, and this to a Senior Bowl interview with TDN. The gif-supported Depot scouting report by Alex Kozora ends in a Round 3 grade for someone who projects as a big-play WR3 with good speed, but is also “a bit of a straight-line player who isn’t incredibly dynamic after the catch.” Hit all but one box (bench) on Alex Kozora’s “What The Steelers Look For” study.   3:01 DT Travis Jones, Connecticut. (Junior). 6’4⅜”, 326 lbs. with 34” arms and 10¼” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A player I would love to see in black & gold, Jones is a penetrating NT in the Javon Hargrave mold right down to being a standout dominator and team leader for a small school program. They aren’t the same player down the line, of course. Jones is probably a little stronger, and Hargrave is probably a little more bursty, but that role he’d fill. There is even a chance he could play the 2-4-5 Nickel in rotation with Heyward and Tuitt, which would prevent him from being a 2-down player that opponents could scheme off the filed. Dominated the class during Senior Bowl week. This goes to Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report, which could hardly be more positive. Combine 3:01 DT Phidarian Mathis, Alabama. (RS Senior). 6’3⅞”, 310 lbs. with long 34⅝” arms and 10⅜” hands. Will be a 23 year old rookie. Well known for football and human character alike, Mathis has been a multiyear Alabama starter, team captain, emotional leader, etc. His game centers on the exact skill set that Pittsburgh looks for in a DE. High energy motor; strength-forward, sound technique; and phone-booth quick penetration ability. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes a DT who can play anywhere from the 1-tech spot out through 3-tech and the 4i-tech used in a lot of Steeler sub packages, and suggests he could even be a late-1st prospect if the testing shows that level of pure athleticism. The fixable problems actually enhance his grade because you can see how he might improve over even his startling college production. A penetrator more than an immovable object, but still very sturdy against double teams. Probably not a candidate to succeed as a full time NT. This clip-supported scouting report from a Giants POV has doubts about the pass rush contributions (“flashes the ability [but] it’s rare”), but emphasizes that “Mathis is capable of being a 2-gap nose tackle, as well as holding up against double-teams.”   3:01 DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia. (Senior). 6’2⅞”, 304 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and 9⅞” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] That hackneyed phrase about, “he’s the lightning to XYZ’s thunder” doesn’t apply often to D-Linemen, but Georgia’s 2021 DL had exactly that. Jordan Davis is as thunderous as they get, while Devonte Wyatt is an oversized penetrator who makes his living on the quickness to burst through and then exploit a gap. May not fit the Steelers as well as he would other teams, because he isn’t as strong as they want in a pure NT nor as long as they want in a multitool DE, but a tremendous talent nevertheless. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a fringe-1st “all teams” grade levied by questions about the Steelers-specific fit. There is minor smoke from a 2020 incident where he was arrested after kicking down the door of a girlfriend during a public fight. The misdemeanor charges were later dismissed. Combine 3:01 EDGE Drake Jackson, USC. (Junior). 6’3½”, 254 lbs. with 34” arms and 10⅛” hands. A younger, better pedigreed version of Alex Highsmith before we knew about the Steeler-level football IQ and work ethic. Will be better in Year 2 after a year of strength training and professional discipline, but could easily turn into a true star if he has the right stuff on the inside to reach his potential. Has experience as a 3-4 OLB, so he can hit the ground running. This January scouting profile ends with a typically solid Round 2 grade. This January scouting profile joins others in emphasizing his distinct lack of grown man strength, and how much he has accomplished without it. Lots of room for growth.   3:01 EDGE Cameron Thomas, San Diego St. (Senior). 6’4”, 264 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and 10” hands. A natural 4-3 DE who can play in space when the situation demands it, Thomas could fit in Pittsburgh if the team was willing to go even further toward abandoning the idea of using our nominal OLB’s in coverage. Has some bend, but it is a secondary asset to his length, strength, power, and hand fighting. Fantastic motor. This goes to a January, pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile. This nice January scouting profile emphasizes Thomas’ advanced set of pass rushing skills, and corresponding ability to contribute early.   3:01 ILB Troy Anderson, Montana St. (Senior). 6’3¼”, 242 lbs. with long 32⅛” arms and 9¼” hands. A really interesting prospect to research because he’s had success at QB (2018-2019, including all-American honors), RB (2017, freshman of the year), and LB (2020-2021, all-American again, and future pro). I think it’s fair to say he’s a football player first and foremost, who also happens to be an astonishing top 99.9th percentile athlete. Very good speed and as much hustle as you could ever want, he needs to learn the details of his new craft properly, and figure out what kind of ILB he wants to be as a grownup. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported scouting report says the athleticism is real, but also sees significant noticeable projection required for every aspect of his game. Here is a December article/profile from his local paper. This goes to an early February scouting profile from a Giants POV. Very much the pride of Montana.Here is a fun, Giants-oriented cluster-buster article on Muma vs. Troy Anderson vs. Leo Chenal.   3:01 BUCK ILB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin. (RS Sophomore). 6’1”, 250 lbs. with short 31” arms and 9¾” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Anyone described by TDN’s Kyle Crabbs as a “fearsome enforcer” is a prospect that Steelers Nation ought to study with care. Honestly? The descriptions sound like Vince Williams’ self-description: “Who needs a goon?” The tape says he won’t be a 3-down player. Make no mistake about that. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting profile couldn’t be clearer. But the testing…! Chenal put up a top 99.9% athletic profile, which now includes great agility numbers from his pro day. Here is the Mockdraftable spider chart (which omits those top agility scores). Bottom line: question marks exist about whether the stunning athletic talent will allow him to develop coverage skills in the NFL that were never displayed in college, but even if he can’t this is the sort of ILB who really can make up for deficiencies in a defensive line. A Run Stuffer Supreme, which Pittsburgh could use. This nice January scouting profile ends with a late-2nd grade for Chenal as an “old school thumper.” This January scouting profile climbs up to a high-2nd grade, using phrases like “elite dominator” and “carved out of rock.” Mmmm, spicy. Here is a clip-supported scouting report from a Giants POV, which ends in a solid Round 2-3 grade. This gif-supported scouting report from a Washington POV agrees with almost everyone else on the “attractive 3rd round” grade. This gif-supported Chargers evaluation ends with, “[the Chargers] group needs an enforcer and a tempo-setter, and I think Chenal can be that guy.” Here is a fun, Giants-oriented cluster-buster article on Muma vs. Troy Anderson vs. Leo Chenal. Combine 3:01 ILB Chad Muma, Wyoming. (Senior). 6’2⅜”, 240 lbs. with short 31⅝” arms and big 10” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl, Combine] Grade would be higher if he’d played against tougher competition. Reports like this January scouting profile have raved that he is tremendous in all phases from coverage to run support (with the exception of blitzing), with special credit for his communication on the inside. Alex Kozora’s careful, gif-supported scouting report ends with a late-3rd grade based on concerns that Muma will fit a 4-3 defense much better than the 3-4, where he’d be less athletic than you want in a Mack and less physical than you need in Buck. Alex describes a very good all around athlete who lacks the elite trait or two that would raise him over the NFL crowd. Here is a Senior Bowl interview he did with Jonathan Heitritter. This goes to a scouting profile from a Tampa Bay POV. Here is an efficient April scouting profile from a Falcons POV. Here is a fun, Giants-oriented cluster-buster article on Muma vs. Troy Anderson vs. Leo Chenal. Sr Bowl
Combine 3:01 SS Nick Cross, Maryland. (Junior). 6’0⅛”, 212 lbs. with 31½” arms and 9” hands. A raw bundle of talent who has been used everywhere from single-high FS to weakside LB in a 4-3. Desperately needs to settle into one position and learn it well, at which point he can be properly evaluated. The size suggests that Strong Safety and Cover 2 would be ideal, a suggestion in full accord with Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report. The NFL.com scouting profile by Lance Zierlien equates to a higher (Round 2 or 3?) grade for a “tight-hipped, linear mover” who nevertheless “has the temperament, size and toughness to become an eventual starter in the league.” His stock rose significantly when he put up a 98.7th percentile athletic score headlined by a 4.34 dash and surprisingly solid agility scores that bring the “stiff hips” into question. This Raiders-oriented scouting profile has a list of flaws that seem to revolve around “questionable instincts,” “not a quick processor” and the like.   3:01 CB Coby Bryant, Cincinnati. (Senior). 6’1⅜”, 191 lbs. with 30½” arms and 9⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl, Combine] A very well schooled CB with NFL-average athletic skills, Bryant played (and held up) under extreme pressure in 2021 because Sauce Gardner was on the other side. He will be beaten from time to time by superior NFL talent, but he won’t lose on his own, none of it will be cheap, and he can be trusted to play within the larger defense at all times. Fundamentally sound and solid. Excellent ball skills. A poor tackler but a willing one, which suggests he will be able to improve. Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a strong Round 2 grade for “one of my favorite prospects for the Steelers to look at on Day 2.” The NFL.com scouting profile suggests that he might do best in a zone-oriented team because that would play to his technical and intellectual strengths. This gif-supported, Patriots-oriented scouting report projects Bryant as a Round 2 talent who is limited to being a very good, and high-floor outside Corner. Sr Bowl
Combine 3:01 CB Marcus Jones, Houston. (Senior). 5’8”, 174 lbs. with equally short 28⅞” arms and 8⅞” hands. Turns 24 as a rookie. [Mtg. at Combine, VISIT] My B&G fly on the wall overheard this at a recent meeting of Cornerbacks Anonymous: “Hi. My name is Marcus Jones, Slot Corner, and Mike Hilton is my hero, role model, and goal in life. Can I borrow some glass to chew instead of this cheap assed coffee?” He plays with top level violence and ferocity despite the size, and the team could do much, much worse. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a higher-than-average Round 2 grade after adding Jones’ dynamic ability as a return specialist to his ideal fit as a potential Nickel Back. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile concurs with that grade, calling Jones “a twitchy, undersized slot cornerback with playmaking traits and game-changing return talent.” He may be only a slot-Corner, but he may well turn out to be a dominant one. Double shoulder surgery knocks him back by a little, but he says he will be ready for training camp so it isn’t by much. Combine
Visit 3:01 CB Josh Williams, Fayetteville St. (Senior). 6’2½”, 193 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 9¼” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A small school titan with ideal measurements, he projects as a developmental outside CB prospect for the NFL. He’s got the measurements you want, and should be all but guaranteed as a special teams ace. But invincible against obscure D-II opponents doesn’t always translate 29 steps up the ladder to NFL competition. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile offers a Round 2-ish grade, while acknowledging that “traits-based cornerbacks from smaller schools can be very hit or miss.” Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade for a “CB2 who can be an immediate contributor on special teams.” Combine 3:12 T/G Abraham Lucas, Wash. St. (RS Senior). 6’6⅛”, 315 lbs. with 33⅞” arms and 10½” hands. A fine athlete with all the natural assets you look for, offset against a need for professional strength and position coaching to improve his anchor and clean up some bad habits that bleed into his movement and balance skills. Elite movement skills across the board result in a 97th percentile athletic score. Uses his length well, but there are signs that sophisticated pass rushers might find ways to use his flaws against him. This scouting profile from Brandon Thorn ends in a boom-or-bust Round 5 grade based on the difficulty of “retooling his technique from the ground up.” That is the most critical scouting profile I’ve seen. This lengthy PFN scouting profile is more optimistic, seeing a solid run blocker and excellent pass protector who played well against top prospects like Kayvon Thibodeaux. The TDN scouting profile ends with a Round 3 grade. So does this point by point scouting profile from around the Senior Bowl. This Jets-oriented February scouting profile joins others in emphasizing how playing in an air-raid offense has distorted the film, creating a more difficult evaluation. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a fringe-2nd grade. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees a pass-protecting Guard or maybe RT who needs to lower his pads significantly to succeed at the next level. Alex Kozora called him a “sleeper” after being impressed with both the Senior Bowl and Combine performances. This gif-supported scouting report from a Raiders POV loves the athleticism, and ends with another Round 3 grade   3:12 G/C Ed Ingram, LSU. (RS Senior). 6’3⅛”, 317 lbs. with 33⅜” arms and 10” hands. [Mtg. at Combine (informal)] Played occasional snaps at Tackle, but he’s really a Guard from the NFL perspective. He stood out to the Steelers Depot contingent at the Senior Bowl, also looking okay at Center even though he has never played that position in a game. Has all you want at medium-high levels; power in the running game, mobility to pull, football IQ, anchor, etc. Moved easily and well through all the Combine drills. Has a character red flag dating back to a 2018 charge for sexual assault, which cost him the entire 2018 season before getting dropped before trial in 2019. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report notes occasional balance and stalling-feet issues, but nothing more than one expects from a college athlete. Brandon Thorn’s top notch scouting profile (early 3rd grade) notes that Ingram had to suffer through three different offensive systems with three different OL coaches, is “an excellent puller,” “a tone-setting presence with the size, play strength and power to back it up,” “a quick processor,” and thus a really good prospect for a “downhill, power-oriented run scheme” so long as he cleans up some technical flaws like a habit of lowering his head and lunging. The TDN scouting profile ends in a Round 2 grade. The NFL.com scouting profile by Lance Zierlein is much less optimistic; almost an outright pan. Zierlein sees a better pass protector than run blocker who gets an extra downgrade for getting more inconsistent in 2021 than he’d been in 2020. This mid-February, Giants-oriented scouting profile sees Ingram as “a starting guard in the NFL [with] some scheme limitations [because he is] a limited athlete overall.” This Tampa-oriented scouting profile ends in a Round 3-4 grade after noting concern over some sub-par (bottom 10%) athletic testing. Combine 3:12 TE Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio St. (Senior). 6’5½”, 252 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and big 10⅛” hands. ‘Tis a good year for people who like old fashioned, dual-threat TE’s who win as both blockers and receivers while featuring outstanding, security-blanket hands. Enter the one with an Ohio State pedigree, who often gets compared to a certain current Steeler and former Penn State star. The NFL.com scouting profile compares Ruckert to Dalton Schultz as a TE2 with the potential to be more, particularly admiring his “toughness… radar and balance to find and tag targets in space, [as he races across formation[s] looking to flatten backside chasers.” The Bleacher Report scouting profile joins others in its repetitive use of adjectives like “competitive,” “tough,” and “above average.” The Draft Network scouting profile, one of those that uses Freiermuth as the comp, adores him as an above-average player in almost all facets who should excel as a security blanket receiver. Here is a somewhat critical gif-supported scouting report from an Ohio State site. This Giants-oriented scouting profile ends in a strong Round 2 grade for someone who “has the skill-set and traits to develop into a starting tight end at the NFL level – or at the very least a very high quality “TE2” for teams that use a lot of 12-personnel groupings.”   3:12 WR/KR Calvin Austin III, Memphis. (RS Senior). 5’7¾”, 170 lbs. with 30” arms and 9¼” hands. A spectacular athlete when it comes to everything but size, where he grades as “very poor.” But is it prohibitively poor? An electric athlete, return man, and nominal WR in the same school as Ray Ray McCloud but with even more juice. Those of us who remember the likes of Dri Archer and Chris Rainey will urge caution about taking the highlight reel at face value. Size really does matter. This Giants oriented scouting profile is a good read, explaining that Austin “is capable of making game-changing plays, [but] will likely need to be protected from man coverage against NFL cornerbacks, which could put some limits on how he is used.” Wesley Cantliffe’s give-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 3 grade for an electric gadget player who could be much, much more if he can overcome the size issues.   3:12 WR Romeo Doubs, Nevada. (Senior). 6’1⅞”, 201 lbs. with 32¼” arms and big 10” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl] Mr. Deep Threat at the other end of Carson Strong’s rocket arm, he also knows how to use that speed as a bluff to cut off easy receptions on short patterns. Often used as a playmaker on things like bubble screens. Hands can be inconsistent from game to game, which suggests focus drops more than poor hands. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade after noting the great football character (quoting the WR coach as saying, “he has all the ability of any superstar WR without any of the diva-ness”) and characterizing him as an instant field-stretching threat with the ability to become much more than that. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile offers a grade closer to Round 5 based on concerns that he’s a one trick pony. “He’s a linear route-runner who will struggle to elude NFL press and separate from tight man coverage over the first two levels.” This quality, clip-supported scouting report from a Raiders POV would agree, with some cautionary notes about the issue with occasional drops. Looked good at the Senior Bowl practices. The author of this January scouting report was all but horrified by what he calls “abysmal hands… [that] are some of the worst I’ve seen.” Ouch. Sr Bowl 3:12 WR/RB/ATH Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky. (Junior). 5’8”, 178 lbs. with miniature 27⅝” arms and big-for-his-size 9” hands. Went on my personal radar screen in a big way after he took over the Citrus Bowl against Iowa’s tremendous defense. He simply couldn’t be covered, almost couldn’t be caught, and showed the sort of playmaking creativity that Pittsburgh could really use. He isn’t hugely big or hugely fast (4.45 or so), but awesome hands multiply his effective size just as his sudden burst and COD ability make up for the straight line speed. Tough kid too. He was a highly decorated H.S. running back, and it shows in how hard he is to hit and to get on the ground. There’s a lesson in the fact that Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes his position as “RB/WR/ATH,” to reflect the fact that Robinson is a true gadget player that Wes likens to a young Tavon Austin. This nice PFN scouting profile from December contains good background. The TDN scouting profile ends in a fringe-2nd grade for this “impactful weapon… [with] a knack for explosive plays.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile describes him as a “much lighter [] Deebo Samuel [who is] sudden and slick with an ability to make plays from a variety of alignments.” This detailed scouting profile also ends with a Round 3 grade. This fascinating “boiler room” article/video from Matt Waldman shows some ways in which Robinson could “develop into a playmaking force, especially from the slot.”   3:12 DT/EDGE Logan Hall, Houston. (Junior). 6’6⅛”, 283 lbs. with 32¾” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A really good, extra-long 4-3 DE prospect who’d make a fine DE in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 base if he can pack on an extra 15-20 pounds of muscle. That tweener status hurts his stock enough on our board to make him an unlikely pick. Daniel Jeremiah loved his Senior Bowl week, believes his frame will easily accommodate the growth, and has called him a Top 50 talent. Could he also be an “elephant OLB” in the same style as LaMarr Woodley? Hmmm… Probably not, since Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report uses Chris Wormley as a “nearly identical” athletic profile. At least he acknowledges the possibility. This Falcons-oriented scouting profile sees Hall as an ideal DE for an attacking 3-4 defense. Combine 3:12 DT Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma. (Senior). 6’3¾”, 290 lbs. with very long 35¼” arms and 10¼” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A talented 3-tech who is shorter than Pittsburgh prefers, but may be able to make up for that with his exceptionally long arms and powerful hands. The Senior Bowl MVP, he proved to be a severely underrated prospect that Oklahoma had badly miscast as a 0-tech Nose Tackle. He isn’t that at all. As outlined in Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report, Winfrey is a long, quick-twitch DT who exactly fits the kind of prototype that Pittsburgh likes for it’s Defensive Ends. Maybe an inch or two shorter than the Steelers archetype, but he makes up for that with those crazy arms. Lacks the anchor against double teams Pittsburgh would require of any NT. Combine 3:12 EDGE Dominique Robinson, Miami (OH). (Senior). 6’4½”, 254 lbs. with 33⅜” arms and 9⅜” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A developmental pass rusher with excellent tools that Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sums up as “an unpolished gem with a high ceiling and stable floor.” Still new to the pass rushing role (formerly a WR of all things), Robinson has the burst and the bend you look for. Also plays with a great motor and loves special teams. All the signs are good, but he’s also as raw as sushi in the sea. Could be a gem after a year or two on the practice squad. Boasts a well rounded Top 3% athletic profile. The gif-supported Depot scouting report by Tom Mead likewise sees a middle rounds draft prospect who will require patience, but “the story is just beginning with him and the arrow is pointed up.” Combine 3:12 MACK ILB Nakobe Dean, Georgia. (Junior). 5’11¼”, 229 lbs. with 31⅞” arms and 9⅛” hands. [Pro Day dinner with Tomlin] An unlikely pick with both Devin Bush and Myles Jack on the roster because Tyler Wise’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes this year’s Butkus Award winner as a very similar player. Brilliant when his DL gives him the room to run, chase, and cover. But too small to succeed if the D-Line fails to keep him clean. Devin Bush Lite, which lower his Steelers-specific grade by a full round. The Bleacher Report scouting profile agrees completely, describing Dean as a fantastic run-and-chase ILB prospect who can change games when he’s kept clean, but will be swallowed up if he’s forced to deal with the offensive behemoths face to face. Same thing with this nice January scouting profile: a brilliant, game changing player but only when you keep the fullbacks, TE’s, and OL’s at a distance where he can use his speed and agility to avoid them. Dinner 3:12 CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, Alabama. (RS Junior). 6’0⅝”, 197 lbs. with 30⅞” arms and 9¼” hands. A traitsy developmental prospect with excellent tools, who will tackle. Could have gone much higher in 2022 if he’d returned to school for a year of extra seasoning, which could make him something of a steal. Hip tightness may limit him to a Seattle-type Cover 3 system. Needs to work on getting his head around. Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report expresses no concern about the reported hip mobility, instead seeing a versatile, “high end athlete with great top end speed and change of direction ability.” His comp is someone like Chidobe Awuzie, with a note that JA-D would provide immediate special teams help, compete right away for sub-package snaps, and could eventually “progress toward providing [inside/outside versatility] similar to [] Cameron Sutton.”   3:12 CB Martin “MJ” Emerson, Miss. St. (Junior). 6’1⅝”, 205 lbs. with 33½” arms and big 10⅛” hands. Projects as a cover corner with good length but a lack of physicality that will knock him down the board. The length and tools suggest an ideal fit for the Seattle Cover-3 system, but OTHO his press-man skills are only so-so and he actually has some decent movement skills. There is an odd dichotomy in the fact that the NFL.com scouting profile describes him as both a fine special teams gunner, but also someone with “run support issues [that] will most certainly hurt his draft standing with some teams.” Good hands for knocking the ball away, but not so much for catching it. Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report calls him “impressively refined” and sees some similarities to Jimmy Smith.   3:12 CB Derion Kendrick, Georgia. (Senior). 5’11½”, 202 lbs. with 30¾” arms and 9⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] How much has Georgia’s overall defensive excellence concealed the shortcomings that Kendrick has flashed? The good film is very good indeed. The lapses and the raw technique are equally concerning. A player who is quite likely to rise or fall as the process moves forward. Departed from Clemson due to an event where he was “discovered by police asleep in his girlfriend’s car at 3 a.m. with a 9-mm handgun in his lap and marijuana in the vehicle. He was charged with unlawful possession of a gun and simple possession of marijuana.” The same article notes that the charges weren’t just dropped, they were expunged. It will require some due diligence, but at this point it’s remembered smoke, not an actual issue. The NFL.com scouting profile sees inside/outside flexibility, but projects that he may find the slot more comfortable at the next level. Barely so-so as a tackler. Hideous testing (bottom 15%) so completely at odds with the film that one wonders about his health. Combine 3:12 CB Damarri Mathis, Pitt. (RS Senior). 5’10⅝”, 197 lbs. with 31¾” arms and 8¼” hands. 23 years old. Sat out the 2022 Covid year. A developmental cover-Safety with solid skills who put up extraordinary numbers during his pro day testing, good enough to earn a top 3% athletic score. This has sent a lot of people scurrying back to the tape, because the early descriptions all questioned his speed, burst, and overall athleticism, which were the very areas he excelled at in shorts. Projects as a fine special teamer no matter what. Supposed to be a good tackler, with good ball skills, and a good enough football IQ, but known for panicking and getting very grabby when a route runs deep. The NFL.com scouting profile sees him as a good Nickel DB player similar to what Tre Norwood now supplies. The PFN scouting profile believes that “no cornerback has helped his stock more in the 2022 offseason than Mathis,” and now considers him “easily worth a Day 2 pick based on his tape and testing. His elite athletic makeup and steely physicality would be maximized in a press-heavy scheme, but he has the traits to become a relatively scheme-versatile starter on the boundary.” Tyler Wise’s gif-supported Depot scouting report confirms Mathis as “an intriguing prospect who will fit in an NFL defense that runs a man-heavy scheme” so long as he can “clean up his footwork technique and grabbiness.”   3:12 CB Alontae Taylor, Tenn. (Senior). 6’0”, 196 lbs. with 31⅞” arms and 9” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A former receiver who became a CB in 2018 and has improved in every season ever since. Still gets beat by exceptional routes or over-the-top physical assets, but improved technique could solve those lapses. Also a good leader and tough guy who will also excel on special teams.Probably limited to being a boundary player because pure agility is his weakest area. Ran an extremely fast 4.36 dash. The NFL.com scouting profile sees him as being an excellent prospect, but only for the cover-2 and cover-3 teams that would be able to hide his COD deficiencies. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes Taylor as “an alpha [who] plays that way,” and agrees that his “best fit is in a Zone heavy [] scheme that will allow him to play press,” which might well fit into Pittsburgh’s approach in light of the free agency moves. Combine 3:20 STEELERS ROUND 3 PICK (# 84 OVERALL)   3:24 T/G Thayer Munford, Ohio St. (Senior). 6’5¾”, 328 lbs. with very long 35⅛” arms and big 10⅛” hands. Held down the job as starting Left Tackle for Ohio State until 2021, when he took one for the team by moving inside to Guard in order to allow Nicholas Petit-Frere to step up. Everyone expected Munford to kill it, but instead we got “meh.” Potential #1 pick Aidan Hutchinson humiliated the poor guy. What went wrong? How did he become so much less consistent? And will it be fixable at the next level? Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile suggests he is a natural Tackle who was playing out of position, since run blocking is a weakness. As a Tackle his issues come down to waist bending, dipping his head, and other issues tied to footwork and balance. Brandon Thorn’s Bleacher Report scouting profile also pounds on the “perpetual forward lean” as a primary flaw, but views him as a Guard who specializes in pass protection rather than a Tackle with limited foot quickness.   3:24 G/T Logan Bruss, Wisconsin. (RS Senior). 6’5”, 309 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and big 10¾” hands. A top 4% athlete as a Guard and top 15% as a Tackle, featuring premier scores in the most important areas: explosion and agility. The NFL.com scouting profile notes various technical flaws, but overall considers him to be a “well rounded [athlete who] should become a good starter early in his career.” The well respected Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile is a little harsher, ending with a Round 4-5 grade over concerns the testing belies, such as “marginal foot quickness.”   3:24 G Cade Mays, Tennessee. (Senior). 6’4½”, 321 lbs. with 34¼” arms and 9⅞” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A 4-year starter with experience at all five positions along the OL, Mays is a big, nasty, aggressive power-guy with limited mobility. An improving player despite all that experience, Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with the conclusion that Mays projects well as an NFL Guard with a Round 3 grade, who has starter potential and might grow into the ability to be an emergency backup at Right Tackle. This scouting profile by the respected Brandon Thorn agrees with the Depot’s on basically every point, including the grade. So does Joe Marino’s TDN scouting profile, though it ends with a Round 5 grade based on the disappointing lack of OT ability in a former 5-star recruit. Combine 3:24 G/C Lecitus Smith, Va. Tech. (RS Junior). 6’3⅛”, 321 lbs. [Mtg. at Combine] With short 32⅛” arms and 9⅝” hands. Strong, mobile, and hard to move, Smith suffers from his lack of length, but might make up for it if he can shift inside to Center; though that is pure speculation, since he’s never done it. Much better suited to an outside zone attack that will make special use of his athleticism while limiting the phone booth fights. Here is a February scouting profile from a Giants POV. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile objects most strongly to his inadequate run blocking technique and hand placement (correctable) and lack of length (not). “His lack of consistency as a run blocker is balanced by surprising technique and success in pass protection.” That is a pessimistic view. Smith has fans too. Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile ends with a Round 2 grade, calling him “an impact run-blocker in a downhill run scheme” and concluding that “Smith’s pro fit may be best at center to play in a more confined space where he can get his hands on defenders more quickly.” Combine 3:24 G Cole Strange, Chattanooga. (RS Senior). 6’4⅞”, 307 lbs. with 33” arms and 10⅛” hands. A player you’d love if there was any guarantee he could convert to Center, but no such luck. He’s played all of one game at the position in college, and struggled at Center in the Senior Bowl; though it must also be said that he showed dramatic improvement by the end of Day 3. Looks like a very solid mid-round pick anyway because he has the aggression, length, strength, and attitude to legitimately play Guard despite being undersized from an NFL perspective. Put up a fabulous Top 1% athletic profile that would have been even higher if he was 10 pounds bigger. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report loves the fire and the mobility, but worries about investing too much in someone the size of Maurkice Pouncey without the experience at Center. Tom suggests that Strange would do better on an outside Zone team, where his mobility would let him play Guard while adding 10 lbs. of good muscle, and learning the extra bits required to succeed at the pivot. This Jets-oriented scouting profile from February makes a good case for him as a pure Guard. Brandon Thorn’s pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile ends in a Round 3 grade that would have been higher if Strange had faced a higher LOC. His critiques go to an array of coachable fine points, such as: “Strange will need to refine his footwork and discipline against shifty rushers who can set up their moves with stutters and hesitations.” He got a solid fringe-2nd grade in Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile. Zierlein loves his ability to “gain early positioning and get into the sustain phase with proper hand usage and footwork,” and concurs that his best fit might be “as a future starting center for a zone-happy rush offense.” This gif-supported scouting report from a Patriots POV likes him in the Round 2-3 range.   3:24 C/G/T Zach Tom, Wake Forest. (RS Senior). 6’3⅞”, 304 lbs. with 33¼” arms and 10⅜” hands. Definitely a prospect to watch, because he has the length you want, and he’s only 15 lbs. or so below the standard size for a starting NFL Center. Supposed to be a very smart young man with surprising athletic talent. He played Tackle as well as Center, and may project best of all as a Guard! It would help a lot if that extra 15 pounds came in the form of functional, grown man muscle to improve his substandard power. Pick him; redshirt him; lock him in with the training staff for a year; and then crack the door open to see what emerges. Had a tremendous Combine. Devin Jackson’s gif-supported Depot scouting report loves both the 5-position versatility and the 97th percentile athletic talent even as a Tackle (99th percentile as a Guard and 100th as a Center). His main worry is the noticeable lack of pure country play strength. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends in something closer to a Round 4 grade, describing Tom as “a little lacking” in aggression and also a little small, but smart, versatile, and athletic enough to be “an above-average backup with eventual starting potential.” Brandon Thorn’s February scouting profile likewise ends in a Round 4 grade due to how “Tom’s slender build and below-average play strength limits his ability to displace, uproot and generate torque in the run game and anchor against power as a pass-protector.”   3:24 TE Charlie Kolar, Iowa St. (RS Senior). 6’6½”, 252 lbs. with long 34½” arms and 10” hands. Very much the basketball player in football pads, right down to the “where’s the beef?” wire-and-cable build. An exceptionally smart player who excels in both a box-out receiving role and as a get-in-the-way positional blocker, he could be a draft pick gem if professional training can add some bulk. Tested as a fantastic Top 3% athlete. The NFL.com scouting profile sums it up as, “He has the tools to improve but needs to add a glass-chewing mentality to match up against NFL defenders.” LOL. Kolar’s base assets are all there: great hands, height, length, and body control make him a serious red zone threat as well as a potentially good blocker. A good enough athlete to be too fast for LB’s and too physical for DB’s, but not a modern miracle athlete. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a late-3rd grade for “a well rounded prospect that can impact the game in all levels.” The Bleacher Report scouting profile describes him as a “high level developmental prospect” whose main flaw is that lack of consistently powerful blocking. This March scouting profile agrees with the consensus: a massive bodied, potentially special receiving threat who needs to improve his blocking, but has the native ingredients needed to do so.   3:24 WR Jalen “Speedy” Nailor, Mich. St. (RS Junior). 5’11¼”, 186 lbs. with 9¼” hands. Start your research by looking at a combination of Nailor’s intriguing, Top 20% athletic testing (here is a companion analysis) with the story told by Tom Mead’s superior and gif-supported Depot scouting profile, which neatly describes a very sudden football player who does almost everything better than ‘well’ but doesn’t have a defining characteristic to rely on. It’s the subtle things that matter in Nailor’s game, like the instant start/stop/start ability, the sharp and effective cuts, and the high IQ that shows up in the timely blocks. He’s not a haymaker right, or a dominating hook, or a flashy inside uppercut; he’s that deadly sharp jab on the nose that can dominate a bout even when it won’t end one. The downsides come down to play strength and injuries. He can be knocked around and off his routes. And he lost 5 games to a hand injury in 2021; played only 7 games in 2020 because of Covid’s effects; lost all but four games in 2019 to a broken foot; and hurt a “lower leg” in 2018 (ankle?). None of that is connected, but it does create some smoke. This goes to a good March scouting profile that ends with a Round 7 grade out of concerns that big NFL defenders will be able to nullify his short area quickness; a concern that both AB and Diontae Johnson refute imho. The PFN scouting profile is another must-read, in part for the entire section on “execution beyond the physical traits.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends in something like an early Day 3 grade by taking a Round 2 description and then discounting it because “he’s just not very durable.” Hit every box on Alex Kozora’s “What The Steelers Look For” study.   3:24 WR Khalil Shakir, Boise St. (Senior). 5’11⅞”, 196 lbs. with short 29” arms and 9½” hands. Projects like a solid WR3/4 type, with decent assets across the board and no glaring flaws except the need for good NFL coaching. Impressed Daniel Jeremiah at the Senior Bowl with his quickness and “phenomenal hands.” As this TDN article from the Senior Bowl said, “Shakir profiles as a quality slot receiver in the NFL. His short-area separation is top-notch and sets him apart from the other receivers on his squad Thursday.” Hit all but one box (3-cone) on Alex Kozora’s “What The Steelers Look For” study. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Day 3 grade for someone who would “fit the role nicely… [as] a potential JuJu slot replacement.” The combination of a 4.43 dash and exceptional football character definitely helps.   3:24 WR Isaiah Weston, Northern Iowa. (RS Senior). 6’3½”, 214 lbs. with 32½” arms and 9½” hands. [“Extensive” mtg. at pro day] Will turn 25 next October. Made big news when he tested as a Perfect 10.0 on the RAS athletic scale. The NFL.com scouting profile by Lance Zierlein describes him as a spectacular FCS athlete who dominated the lesser competition, but will take some time before he can hope to jump several levels up to where he’ll be dealing with pros. This brief scouting profile admires the “soft hands, toughness, and deceptive jets”, as well as his “knack for getting open and [being] a quarterback’s best friend” on combat catches. Tyler Wise’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a barely-draftable grade for a “one trick pony” deep threat. Pro Day 3:24 DT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M. (Junior). 6’3⅞”, 283 lbs. with 33¼” arms and 9½” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Pittsburgh plays a hybrid defensive front out of a 3-4 base. This requires a bit more in the way of flexible skill sets than classic 4-3 or 3-4 approaches. And that, in turn, explains this somewhat unfair grade for a really high quality 3-tech. Leal projects as someone with a good chance at true stardom in a 3-tech role for a true 4-3 defense. Talent, yes. Fit? Not so much. But if he can add 20 lbs… Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report confirms that the lack of size is reflected in his limited play strength. Combine 3:24 DT/EDGE John Paschal, Kentucky. (RS Senior). 6’2⅛”, 268 lbs. with 32¾” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A tweener who’d fit better in a 4-3 base than the 3-4, Paschal’s biggest calling card is his versatility. He won’t fit any Pittsburgh position well, and he won’t do any given job superbly; but he might fit the Front 5 extremely well as a hybrid guy who’d give opponents fits if they had to figure him out from play to play. A very hard prospect to grade. This January Bleacher Report scouting profile emphasizes that he is not a bendy pass rusher, but still an effective one due to length and power. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade for this “high-character, high-effort playmaker… [who] is a stout run defender… and can cause havoc as a gap penetrator as well as a sub package interior pass rusher.” His comp was Shaq Lawson. Combine 3:24 EDGE Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati. (Senior). 6’4⅜”, 228 lbs. (down from 240’s in season) with 33¼” arms and 9½” hands. [Pro Day Dinner] He was ill for a week before the Combine, which resulted in a solid 20 pounds of weight loss, and still put up a Top 8-9% athletic grade. What will happen in season, particularly since sand in the pants for run stuffing has always been an issue? He’s got the explosive first step that the F.O. adores, and the exceptional motor. Would grade higher if he could bend just as well. Stats show huge pressure numbers, but not many sacks. This January scouting profile from Bleacher Report ends with a Round 2 grade. This thorough-looking January scouting profile eagerly awaits some Combine numbers to explain question marks in his film. This goes to a TDN article/interview during the Senior Bowl. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 3-4 grade for a high character player who really does lack size, makes up for it with good technique and speed-to-power ability, but lacks the native bend around the corner that would push him any higher. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends in something like a Round 4-5 grade, and includes this interesting comment: “Three-year starter whose unorthodox movements can be off-putting until you realize they also help put him in position to make plays. Whether playing the run or rushing the passer, Sanders is flexible and slippery, making it hard to sustain run blocks and mirror him during pass sets.” The sort of guy who finds a way to get the job done when all the numbers and measurements say he shouldn’t.   3:24 BUCK ILB Mike Rose, Iowa St. (Senior). 6’2⅛”, 245 lbs. with 33¼” arms and big 10⅛” hands. An Alex Kozora special! Rose is typically graded as a Round 4-5 talent, but Alex’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 2 grade. The issues arise from a unique defense with huge amounts of zone duties, which suited Rose to a “T” and may have covered up his limitations. Everyone agrees that he has good size, leadership, and an awesome motor. But the reports vary wildly over his physicality, tackling ability, and even his demonstrated football IQ. Alex sees an all around Buck ILB prospect who can bang, run, tackle, and cover, all in a single package. The top-10% athletic testing shows a player with good speed, tremendous agility, elite size, and piss poor physical strength (as measured by an abysmal bench press). Professional trainers can do wonders when it comes to pure country strength, so… It just might happen. The TDN scouting profile ends in a Round 4 grade based on great fundamentals and superb anticipation that covers up physical limitations against NFL-caliber agility. This January Bleacher Report scouting profile is as negative as you’ll find, ending with a Round 5 grade based on questions about his tackling, physicality, coverage skill, and ability to read deceptive run plays. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile is dead on point, praising Rose’s “quality play strength and a fight-it-out demeanor.” Exactly what Pittsburgh could use. The TDN scouting profile emphasizes the same characteristics, especially on the neck-up side: “a physical and fierce competitor [who] does not mind putting his body on the line and playing a physical brand of football… Attacks blocks with physicality… Fiery competitor that exudes high energy… Communicates assignments… Team leader in career starts. His relentless effort and versatility are infectious.”   3:24 ILB Channing Tindall, Georgia. (Senior). 6’1⅝”, 230 lbs. (223 at the Senior Bowl) with 32⅞” arms and 10⅝” hands. A freak top 2% athlete who flunked the Senior Bowl weigh-in by measuring out more like a Safety. Plays with tremendous fire and explosion, bringing every twig of lumber he’s got into every play. The issue is, that’s not as much lumber as you want. This January PFN scouting profile, which calls him Georgia’s “attacker, whose physical profile and hot motor make him a constant disruptor… Moreover, Tindall has underrated play strength for his size. He occupies blockers for teammates and keeps his balance when clogging gaps and taking on double-teams. He’s a physical player who’s willing to lower his shoulder and engage blockers with force.” Guaranteed special teams star even if he can’t close the sale as an ILB. This January Bleacher Report scouting profile sees all that, but makes a point of listing the cautionary notes as well, particularly his raw technique in several areas, and the lack of pure size. Josh Carney’s gif-supported Depot scouting report expresses a belief that he “can handle a three-down LB role… as either a Buck or a Mack thanks to his size, strength and overall athleticism.” This clip-supported Giants’ scouting report sees “an effective coverage or nickel linebacker,… but teams might want to work on his ability to shed blocks before putting him on the field in short-yardage situations.”   3:24 FS Verone McKinley III, Oregon. (RS Junior). 5’10⅝”, 198 lbs. with 30⅝” arms and 9⅛” hands. A fine Cover 2 safety who can easily handle shallow coverage duties, play deep in a pinch, and will also make the interception if a QB makes any kind of mistake. Lacks the superb speed you want for a true single-high FS, and the combination of size and hitting power you want in a box Safety, but has both assets in good enough amounts to avoid being a one trick pony. This January scouting profile ends with a comparison to Earl Thomas (!) from an author with a self avowed, multiyear draft crush. This more cynical January scouting profile ends with a Round 5 grade based on concerns about his tackling and overall lack of big time physicality. This goes to an early February TDN interview. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade for a hybrid Safety/Nickel player.   3:24 CB Akayleb Evans, Missouri. (RS Senior). 6’2”, 197 lbs. with 32” arms and 8¾” hands. A player the Steelers will seriously consider in the middle rounds if he isn’t limited to the Seattle Cover 3 scheme. He’s got surprising agility for his size, great length, surprisingly fluid movement skills, and he loves to tackle. Long speed is the biggest issue, but the length makes up for that. Also more of a coverage guy than an interceptor. This goes to a good, thorough, pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile. Transferred from Tulsa to Missouri in 2021 rather than entering the draft too soon, and it was a good move. Has suffered a variety of not-too-serious injuries. Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 4 grade, but it sounds like he is describing a Round 2-3 talent: “Overall, [Evans] is a fluid athlete with prototype size to go along with unique physicality and play recognition skills… If [he can become] more efficient in breaking out of his crossover run and [ball skills] there is no reason to believe that he can’t become one of the best CB’s in the 2022 class down the road.”   3:24 CB/FS Tariq Woolen, UTSA. (Junior). 6’4⅛”, 205 lbs. with long 33⅝” arms but small 8⅝” hands. Will be a 23 year old rookie. This is one loooong drink of water, and that’s a big part of the appeal. The natural assets can be dreamed into almost any shape, including the one you most desire, especially since he was a WR until 2019. It isn’t just length, either. He’s got phenomenal 4.26 speed, with a great 10-yard split, broad jump, and vertical that combine for a Top 4% athletic score despite poor agility drills. You’d think that limited him to press coverage duties, but he’s also a willing (if so-so) tackler with the balance and reaction time needed to play in zone. What he lacks is high level experience and refined technique. Ball. Of. Clay. And a mandatory redshirt year. But after that? There is almost no limit to the upside. Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees Woolen as a cover Corner with a freakishly high ceiling, who may well be even better “as a safety and sub package defender rather than as a pure boundary cornerback.” Here is a long PFN scouting profile from January. This post-Senior Bowl scouting profile emphasizes his strength and control at the line of scrimmage when jamming. Looked terrific at the Senior Bowl, but the rare, unexpectedly fluid movement skills he showed off there disappeared in the Combine drills. Here is a Giants-oriented scouting profile from mid-February. This Bleacher Report scouting profile ends with a Round 3 grade and an overall, ‘Wow, what a promising developmental talent’ description. The TDN scouting profile ends with a Round 4 grade. The NFL.com scouting profile ends in something more like a Round 3 grade, as does this gif-supported, Raiders-oriented scouting report, and this gif-supported scouting report from a Washington POV.   4:01 T Dare Rosenthal, Kentucky. (RS Senior). 6’6¾”, 290 lbs. with 33½” arms and small 9” hands. Reportedly played at 325 lbs., and lost 30 for the Combine. WTH? Want a toy for your new OL coach to play with? A miracle athlete with very little technique, Rosenthal offers a Day 3 boom-or-bust bet of epic proportions. The TDN scouting profile from Kyle Crabbs describes him in jaw-dropping superlatives: “absolutely stupid levels of quickness and power… If you built an offensive tackle body in a lab, he’d look like Rosenthal. The wingspan and reach that he offers is textbook and he offers a very high level of strength and power at full extension.” Etc. But the footwork is all natural and therefore inefficient, with balance that cannot be relied on, and hand work that is “very, very irregular.” Had a 5-game suspension at LSU for unknown, “violation of school policy” reasons. This December PFN scouting profile concurs on the ultimate boom-or-bust judgment. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile approves of the athleticism, but sees a serious “lack of core strength and questions about his maturity [as] two areas that could short-circuit his chances.” Zierlein also agrees on the basic verdict: “A developmental tackle prospect who [sh]ould begin his career on a practice squad,” unless those maturity issues make him bomb out.   4:01 G/C Chasen Hines, LSU. (Senior). 6’2¾”, 327 lbs. with 33⅞” arms and 9⅞” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Put up a 93rd percentile athletic profile that would have been higher if not for a discount based on height of all things. Most college Centers are undersized linemen forced to play a technical game by their physical limitations. Hines came to LSU as a defensive Tackle, quickly converted to the O-Line, backed up at Center in 2019 (behind Denver’s Lloyd Cushenberry), and then played as an oversized, 350-lb. Guard (he wisely dropped weight for the Combine). Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees an immediate multiposition backup with starter potential but a limited ceiling, who should continue dropping some of the extra weight to enhance his mobility and technique at sustaining blocks. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a solid Round 4 grade that might have been even higher if not for the weight issues in his past. Combine 4:01 QB Jack Coan, Notre Dame. (Senior). 6’3¼”, 218 lbs. with 9½” hands. A developmental pocket passer with minimal but acceptable mobility, who’s won starting jobs at both Wisconsin (losing it to Graham Mertz) and Notre Dame. A very tough young man who is reported to be a good leader. The general verdict seems to be moderate floor and moderate ceiling. See, e.g., the concluding quote from an NFC personnel executive in the NFL.com scouting profile: “He was better once he got away from Wisconsin’s passing game, but I don’t see anything more than a backup at best.”   4:01 QB Bailey Zappe, W. Kentucky. (RS Senior). 6’0½”, 215 lbs. with 9¾” hands. A master of the college RPO game, with exceptional athletic skill, a very fine arm, and tremendous accuracy. Would rank that much higher if he was several inches taller and a few dozen pounds sturdier, but how important is that to the modern game?   4:01 TE Daniel Bellinger, San Diego St. (Senior). 6’4⅞”, 253 lbs. with 32½” arms and 10⅛” hands. Every year we look for a pattern that’s hard to find: the TE with good hands, who learned how to block in college, and then showed some really surprising athleticism at the Combine and other events. That’s Bellinger, and we’d be going wild for this kid if Pittsburgh hadn’t addressed the position last year. The blocking is already good, with room to get better, and he put up a 96th percentile athletic score, that would have been even higher if 6’5” wasn’t “short for a TE.” The more important numbers for speed, explosiveness, and agility were downright special. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile only asks for “a little more grit at the point of attack” and maybe a coach/culture to “keep the motor running hot.” I particularly liked this scouting profile/article because of the useful observations from reporters and analysts who followed his Mountain West career.   4:01 TE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M. (Junior). 6’3⅞”, 255 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and 9¾” hands. A four-star WR out of H.S. who kept growing, Wydermyer has evolved into a TE who can both block and catch, though he’s a little better on the receiving side. Has the TE security-blanket hands that we require. Plays faster and smoother than the laughable bottom 1% testing profile from his botched pro day, but no one would ever confuse him with the modern ‘miracle athlete’ types. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile has an air of disappointment, because Wydermyer’s 2019 freshman year was awesome but then he sort of plateaued: “If he doesn’t get run-blocking issues corrected, he’ll likely never rise above the level of a TE3 in the league.” This Bleacher Report scouting profile worries that “his route-running ability on third down might always be limited due to his lack of quick-twitch speed.” The composite Draft Network scouting profile ends in a healthy Round 4 grade. This good looking, Packers-oriented scouting profile notes that Wydermyer was a Mackey award finalist in 2020 before plateauing in 2021. That author’s main question is about that plateau: “I really do worry about the lack of development and the blocking.” This March scouting profile is as positive as they get, ending in a Round 2 grade for someone described as “a playmaker at the tight end position [in a] run heavy scheme.” This February scouting profile, by contrast, ends in a Round 5 grade. This Giants-oriented scouting profile goes with a Round 4 grade for a “number two tight end with schematic versatility at the NFL level, [who] would likely be best in a West Coast or spread offense.” This Washington-oriented scouting profile agrees on the Round 4 grade.   4:01 RB Breece Hall, Iowa St. (Junior). 5’11¼”, 217 lbs. with 9¾” hands. The descriptions bring me back to Terrell Davis, who made himself a HOF career by landing in the one system that would make perfect use of his skill set. The NFL.com scouting profile prefers a comp to Matt Forte. Hall’s skill set reminds me of Davis’, but Pittsburgh does not run that wide zone, one-cut attack. He might be a useful puzzle piece here, but it isn’t where he belongs. Especially since he isn’t much of a blocker.   4:01 RB Dameon Pierce, Florida. (Senior). 5’9⅝”, 218 lbs. with 9⅜” hands. The very model of a Steelers backup RB, Pierce is low, stocky, tough, and runs with good vision. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting profile describes him as a “jack-of-all-trades that will contribute … as a runner, receiver, and pass protector at the next level while not possessing that rare second gear that gets backs drafted early at his size.” He’s also a class act. This is the young man who went up in the stands to thank the marching band at the end of the season. Here is an interview he did with Jonathan Heitritter (the two know each other from college). Lance Zierlein is also a fan. As the NFL.com scouting profile said, “It’s a fun afternoon of tape study watching Pierce play the game like a coiled spring ready to explode on each snap.” This goes to a gif-supported scouting report from a Washington POV, which wonders about the same thing as every other reviewer: “Watching his tape, it is hard to understand why Florida did not use Pierce more. In four years, he never had more than 15 carries in a game.”   4:01 RB Brian Robinson, Jr., Alabama. (RS Senior). 6’1⅝”, 225 lbs. with 9¾” hands. Najee Harris’ backup became this year’s ‘bama bellcow, and did a fine job at it too. He lacks Najee’s over the top burst and brilliance, but he is certainly able to step in and do the complete job required of a backup. Hits the hole like a man’s man, but there isn’t much zag to pair with his initial zig to get going.   4:01 RB Kenneth Walker III, Mich. St. (Junior). 5’9¼”, 211 lbs. with 9½” hands. A well rounded back with power, agility, vision, and a violent streak in his running. Smaller than Pittsburgh prefers, but he has that twisting, get every inch style that Pittsburgh really likes.   4:01 WR Bo Melton, Rutgers. (Senior). 5’11”, 189 lbs. with 31¼” arms and 9” hands. A tricky player to evaluate because he never had a QB at the other end to rely on, Melton has excellent 4.34 speed and good agility (92nd percentile athletic score held back by a lack of height and weight). Multiyear team captain. Good special teams gunner as well as a punt and kick returner. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes him as a poor man’s Curtis Samuel, with great potential who still needs to learn his craft as a route runner despite lots of college experience, and may have WR/RB flexibility for gadget plays. Intriguingly, Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile agrees on that film grade but also notes that (a) “he doesn’t appear to have the vertical burst of a downfield weapon,” which the testing disproved, and (b) “his production was clearly hampered by QB play.” Taken together, those points suggest that Melton may be your classic sleeper who will put up better results in the NFL than he ever did in college. “Just call Bo Melton ‘Terry McLaurin, Jr.” says this gif-supported, Washington-oriented scouting profile; or at least McLaurin minus 20 important pounds. Hit every box on Alex Kozora’s “What The Steelers Look For” study.   4:01 DT Matthew Butler, Tennessee. (Senior). 6’3⅞”, 297 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9¼” hands. Played as a 0–tech NT in college, but that probably hurt him because it doesn’t match his more versatile skill set.Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 3-4 grade, describing Butler as a late bloomer with good quickness, good hands, a wonderful motor, the ability to handle double teams, and the flexibility to play across the D-Line. Stood out during Shrine Bowl practice week enough for Josh Carney to write, “it was astonishing how powerful he is in tight.”   4:01 EDGE/ILB Amare Barno, Va. Tech. (RS Junior). 6’4⅝”, 246 lbs. with long 34” arms and 9” hands. Has prior experience as an ILB and the top 3% athletic profile to play either position. He would fit Pittsburgh ideally as an oversized but super athletic Buck ILB, but he is generally listed as an Edge Rusher and would be both undersized and very raw at that position. Many good traits, including top notch length. Will require a redshirt year of strength and technique training to withstand pro rigors. Could be a real steal after that. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile is an interesting read because it notes that Barno’s production actually fell off from 2020 to 2021, and his play grew more tentative. Sounds like there’s an underlying story that could either enhance or kill his actual stock. Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees an immediate role as “a situational spy,” but little more than potential when it comes to being a successful NFL pass rusher.   4:01 EDGE/ILB Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma. (RS Junior). 6’2⅛”, 248 lbs. with 32½” arms and 9⅜” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] One of those frustrating tweeners who’s built like an ILB, but excelled in college as a pass rusher because of his extraordinary burst, bend, motor, and football IQ. Remember Haason Reddick? Same type of guy. A Rorschach Test that lets you see what you want, and thus is very hard to grade. After all, the original Reddick failed on the inside, where we wanted him, and then succeeded as an undersized pass rusher. I would prefer to see a prospect who really can transition to being a pass rushing Buck ILB; but I acknowledge that my vision goes through some thick B&G desire-glasses. Here is a Seahawks-oriented scouting profile from around New Years. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report agrees on Haason Reddick as the obvious and best comp, and ends with a Round 4 grade as a “situational pass rusher and special teamer.” Combine 4:01 EDGE Tyreke Smith, Ohio St. (Senior). 6’3”, 245 lbs. with 33¼” arms and 10¼” hands. Has a good first step and very good bend, with power, general athleticism, a never-cold motor, and some production as well; i.e., tools that call for a solid Day 2 grade. But he has also been serially bit by the nagging injury bug, and his stats are almost all pressures vs. actual sacks. Put up a solid 70th percentile athletic score that was heavy on the agility numbers. The NFL.com scouting profile describes him as an “elastic, long-limbed edge defender… [with an] urgent motor… whose unbridled, attacking style brings both highs and lows in every game.”   4:01 MACK ILB Christian Harris, Alabama. (Junior). 6’0¾”, 226 lbs. with 32⅛” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A run-and-chase tackler who can cover, has elite athletic numbers for everything but size, and can therefore be summarized as Devin Bush (or Myles Jack) Lite. One hell of a player so long as the D-Line can be relied on to keep him clean. This January scouting profile from Bleacher Report notes that he really enjoys the downhill part of the position, and plays like a bigger guy. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report supports the basic conclusion that Harris looks like a fine all-purpose ILB who’s just a little shy of the potentially elite talents that go in Round 1 nowadays, and needs to be kept clean by his O-Line and (in a 3-4) running mate ILB. Combine 4:01 BUCK/EDGE ILB Jesse Luketa, Penn St. (Senior). 6’3”, 253 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and big 10⅜” hands. A good looking, powerful defender in the middle of the field who has surprising speed and agility despite being built like the proverbial brick [ahem]-house. Native of Ottawa, Canada. Heavy hands and good at using them to disengage from blockers. Bound to be a fan favorite wherever he lands because he plays with a fantastic motor, tremendous strength, and endless amounts of between-the-lines ill intent. Ran a very slow 4.89 dash at the Combine. This pre-Senior Bowl January scouting profile from PFN lists pass rush as a weak area. The NFL.com scouting profile praises his team first character, “explosive hands [and] above-average play strength,” and phone booth quickness, but worries about his mental and physical speed. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report particularly admires the intangibles, describing Luketa as “a selfless, team-first player that does whatever is asked of him on the football field and leads by example.” But JH also sees him as something of a tweener who may not have a clear path to success as either an ILB or OLB.   4:01 ILB Brandon Smith, Penn St. (Junior). 6’3½”, 250 lbs. with very long 34⅝” arms and big 10¼” hands. Boom or bust baby! Smith has an all-time great, top 99.9th percentile athletic score with essentially no holes. Obvious potential to be a perennial all pro. The questions exist about his upstairs game. Can he learn to play fundamental football, absorb an NFL playbook, and recognize an NFL offense fast enough, and then play with the required aggression and physicality? Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile answers that with a flat “No.” As this January Bleacher Report scouting profile notes, Smith has an “ideal build for the position [and] flashes great strength… [but the] physicality comes and goes; too often does not play downhill with enough of a temper, [and has] below-average technique taking on blocks.” Doesn’t sound like a Buck ILB despite the size. This clip-supported, Giants oriented scouting report says the athleticism really does flash on the field, but complains that “his play speed slows noticeably when he is forced to read the offense, and he often winds up defending grass in zone coverage while trying to sort out the offense’s intentions. Likewise, he has a habit of biting hard on misdirection and taking himself out of the play. Smith also lacks good technique in taking on blockers and doesn’t tackle consistently.” As this gif-supported, Patriots-oriented scouting report puts it, “He’s got all of the physical tools… but his instincts and functional strength just aren’t there yet, [though] Smith’s main deficiencies are things that can be developed with time.” Daniel Kitchen’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees the athleticism, but ends in a Round 3-4 grade because Smith’s coverage and football IQ issues will limit him to a run-support role in his early career.   4:01 S Joey Blount, Virginia. (RS Senior). 6’0”, 201 lbs. with 30¾” arms and 9⅜” hands. [VISIT] Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a very surprising Round 3 grade for a player that most boards list much lower. AK starts with the extremely good testing (top 4% held by just-okay agilities) and then goes on to outline a “team leader, referred to as their QB of the defense” with a versatile skill set that basically matches up to the testing. The big asterisk is a long history of missing extensive time due to various injuries. He lost 2018 to ankle surgery, five games of 2020 (possibly a knee), and was “routinely” out for portions of several games in 2021 “due to nicks.” Multisport athlete in H.S. The TDN scouting profile considers him fringe-draftable based on concerns about lack of speed and burst, both of which are belied by the athletic testing. This NFL Draft Buzz scouting profile pretty much matches the one at TDN. This preseason scouting profile from March of 2020 (2 years ago) is much closer to the Depot’s, suggesting that as of that date Blount looked like a Round 2-3 pick.  Visit 4:01 CB Cordale Flott, La. St. (Junior). 6’0½”, 175 lbs. with 30⅛” arms and 8” hands. Start by doing a double take at those measurements, because that is a lot of the story. As Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile puts it, “Getting Flott to fill out and grow into his frame should be the top priority for teams taking a chance on him, [because] he plays the game fast and hard, [and] the athletic upside is great, but it will be asking a lot of Flott to take on big targets, which could limit his overall ceiling.” Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report calls him “a ball of energy on nearly every play,” and admires his combination of being “very sticky in coverage and [] boisterous in [his] style of play,” but agrees that “Flott’s size doesn’t match… and you must wonder if he can add more bulk.”   4:01 CB Josh Thompson, Texas. (Senior). 5’10⅞”, 199 lbs. with 31⅛” arms and 9¼” hands. Projects best as an off-man and zone CB that will make use of his aggression, solidity, and tackling prowess. A savvy, multiyear starter with lots of good college experience. The main questions go to doubts about his recovery speed, and his long speed in general.   4:16 T/G Spencer Burford, UTSA. (Senior). 6’4⅛”, 304 lbs. with very long 34¾” arms and 9½” hands. [Mtg. at Combine (informal)] A long, athletic, and mobile prospect with four years of starting experience at Tackle against lesser competition. Probably needs to move inside to have any realistic shot in the NFL, and could do with an extra 20 lbs. of good muscle. High ceiling and definitely worth a bet on Day 3. Maybe even earlier for teams with an outside zone attack able to use his mobility in a way that would hide his lack of sand in the pants. Would require a redshirt year in Pittsburgh, no doubt. Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile loves the movement skills, but worries that Burford is “a little light in his pants… with below-average play strength.” He sees starter potential if more quality weight and mass can be added, and various technical glitches corrected. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile basically agrees, adding that “Burford’s play can be rushed and unfocused, which can turn a win into a loss on any given rep.” Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report technically ends in a Round 5 grade, but the description sounds more like a Round 4 prospect. Combine 4:16 G Joshua Ezeudu, N. Car. (RS Junior). 6’4¼”, 308 lbs. with 34” arms and 9½” hands. A physical specimen in search of the right O-Line coach to get everything coordinated and working together. An impressive young man who deserves recognition for his off-field accomplishments too, including top academic results and volunteer work with kids who face challenges like Ezeudu’s own stuttering problem. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees “low-end starter potential [at Guard] with emergency tackle versatility.”   4:16 G Marquis Hayes, Oklahoma. (RS Senior). 6’4¾”, 318 lbs. with 33⅞” arms and 10⅞” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] He’s got good experience and phone booth power, but is not exactly a versatile player. Strictly a Guard for power/gap running attack. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report praises his core strength, length, and awareness, but sees a need to improve several fundamentals. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile worries about poor footwork, bend, and body control that “leads to inconsistencies in both run and pass blocking.” The scouting profile by Brandon Thorn is much more positive, seeing him as an impact player in the run game even if his “ceiling is likely capped as a solid starter.” Combine 4:16 G Tyrese Robinson, Oklahoma. (RS Senior). 6’2⅞”, 318 lbs. with 33” arms and 10” hands. Stood out as a star in 2019 and 2020 when playing Guard. Lost some stock when moved to RT in 2021 because he played like a solid NFL Guard being asked to do just a bit more than he could against speed rushers out in open space. I.e. he has really good feet for a Guard, but not good enough to handle the job at Tackle. A road grader type with a great pass anchor and a good understanding of the OL as a unit. Might well grade higher if he played a more valuable position. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile is less positive based on concerns about poor agility and the ability of blockers to escape after initial contact.   4:16 TE Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin. (RS Senior). 6’4⅞”, 250 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and 9½” hands. A good, old fashioned, throwback TE who loves to block, serves well as a receiver, has proper TE hands, is a decent enough Top 35% athlete, and thus can stay on the field in almost any formation. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile only complains that Ferguson could use more physicality and nastiness in his game. “Durable, reliable and consistent… [with] outstanding ball skills, including a rare level of concentration to make challenging catches in the face of oncoming collisions… [but] while he gives effort as a blocker,… he’s likely to be overmatched [against NFL] defensive ends.” As summarized by this Giants oriented scouting profile, “Ferguson is something of a throw-back to a previous era of offensive football” who will be graded more harshly by teams “looking for a ‘hybrid TE.” The PFN scouting profile contains some good background and reaches the same conclusion: steady, consistent, and reliable, but also limited compared to some of the recent super-athletes we’ve seen at this position. Here is a briefer, late-March scouting profile. Had a very good Senior Bowl.   4:16 TE Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina. (RS Senior). 6’4½”, 245 lbs. with 31⅞” arms and 10” hands. Dominated low level competition as a primary receiving weapon, and should be able to succeed against NFL athletes as a special teams ace while he learns the multifaceted professional craft of this difficult position. As Lance Zierlein puts it in his NFL.com scouting profile, “He lacks a prototypical tight end frame and is an inconsistent blocker, but he runs well and filled up his career stat sheet with big plays. It could take Likely a year or two to find his footing against stronger, faster coverage, but he has the [intangibles and the] tools.” The Bleacher Report scouting profile is more concerned about the lower level of competition and rawness than the ceiling, because Likely is an eager, aggressive, and battling blocker even if “his lack of length and technique show up often.” The Draft Network scouting profile ends in a Round 3 grade because of the big play ability. The PFN scouting profile makes special note of his versatility. This February scouting profile compares him to Dawson Knox, and concludes that “[h]e is an excellent option on the second day of the draft.” This admiring scouting profile enthuses that he could be a better-blocking Evan Ingram. According to this late March scouting profile, “Likely is a well-rounded tight end that blocks at a very high level and possesses big-play upside in the passing game. He would fit best in a tight end-centric offense and has a case to be the first player drafted at the position.” Here is a decent overview piece from a Packers POV (the Packers are a TE-needy team this year). This March scouting profile describes him as a very high-ceiling prospect “that will likely take a few years to break out.” This gif-supported, Washington-oriented scouting report loves the versatility and sees a Day 2 grade for sure.   4:16 RB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M. (Junior). 6’0⅜”, 217 lbs. with 8⅝” hands. A “vision” back who excels at finding the right holes on the inside, hitting them, and then heading downhill. with a surprising amount of burst and shiftiness. Wonderful contact balance. Good blocker. Needs to work on ball security.   4:16 RB Zamir White, Georgia. (RS Junior). 5’11¾”, 214 lbs. with 8½” hands. How good did this 5-star athlete have to be if he still profiles as a potential star RB despite having two ACL tears (2017 and 2018), one in each knee? A big time track athlete before those injuries, he’s still known as a physical and elusive power back who can find that extra gear. The TDN scouting profile sees him as an ideal RB2 with upside. And Pittsburgh needs…? Read between the lines of Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile and you’ll see a draft crush on the kid that’s even bigger than his obvious respect for the young man’s game. The final quote is: “Unbelievable worker and he’s going to make your team a tougher team.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a likable comp to everyone’s second-favorite 2021 RB: Javonte Wiliams.   4:16 WR Kevin Austin Jr., Notre Dame. (Junior). 6’2⅜”, 200 lbs. with 32⅞” arms and 9” hands. A boom or bust, top 1% athlete who had his college career interrupted by a pair of 2020 foot surgeries and never began to live up to his potential until the final 6-10 games or so of 2021, where he looked like he could be a genuine star. Put up excellent times in both the speed and agility drills despite his very solid size. The NFL.com scouting profile emphasizes the tale of two films between his spotty and erratic play early on, and what he showed toward the end of 2021 and in the Combine. The relatively thorough PFN scouting profile comes out much the same: the flashes confirm the awesome testing, but how much can you rely on flashes when there’s so little actual film? Here is a brief, pre-Combine profile of scouting notes on the film. This solid-looking March scouting profile follows the same analysis as the others, ending with a Round 5 projection. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 4-5 grade for a one-dimensional deep threat. Hit all but one box (bench) on Alex Kozora’s “What The Steelers Look For” study.   4:16 WR Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech. (RS Junior). 6’1⅞”, 220 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9⅜” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile compares him to Donte Moncrief, as a product player with good size, speed, ball skills, agility, and toughness. His best asset seems to be run-after-catch ability, which has been described as “angry,” “powerful,” and with “superb contact balance.” A hybrid RB out of the Steelers big-boy prototype rather than the elusive profile? Team captain. He did little in the way of testing at the Combine, which is a shame because early scouting profiles like this September piece from PFN plugged him as a superb athlete with elite contact balance, while others like this NFL Draft Buzz profile saw a “straight-line athlete with only average speed.” It would have been nice to get some hard data! This “feels” like a solid scouting profile in its praise for specific elements such as route running, blocking, contested catch ability, and YAC ability, balanced off against specific debits for moderate ability to separate with either agility or long speed. This goes to a March interview/profile on a Steelers site, with some useful depth questions. This February scouting profile is useful for its attempt to break down small categories. Combine 4:16 WR Danny Gray, SMU. (Senior). 5’11⅝”, 186 lbs. with 31⅞” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine, WR coach at pro day]. A solid, speedy (4.33!), Day 3 field-stretcher who gets downgraded because that’s really all he’s shown. Gray played in a wide open offense that allowed him to use that speed, stop/start explosiveness, and leaping ability to full advantage without needing to learn much about his actual craft. (NOTE: his 89th percentile RAS includes a poor 34” vertical leap that is belied by what he does on film.) Inconsistent hands, with flashes of both tremendous natural talent and inexplicable drops and body catches. More fast and sudden than shifty and quick. Has also had some academic challenges. Here is a good PFN pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 6 grade based on questions going to just about everything other than a fighting spirit and top notch speed; i.e., the hands, route running, play strength, ability to find the ball in mid-air, and ability to separate other than vertically. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees the same issues but ends in something more like a Round 4-5 grade. Combine
Pro Day 4:16 WR Justyn Ross, Clemson. (RS Senior). 6’3⅝”, 205 lbs. with 32⅛” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Several mtgs] In the general James Washington mold, his best assets are amazing jumping ability combined with very good hands to win at the high point. Neck surgery to fuse some vertebrae in 2020 cost him that year. On film he is a decent athlete but only that; in testing he proved to be terrible (bottom 3% RAS score). Many people believe he may still be recovering from a 2020 spinal fusion surgery, because he looked better in earlier years, and could have been hampered at the Combine by residual issues from a 2021 fracture in his foot. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 5 grade for a player he sees as a WR3/4 with the ability to “play all over the formation” but without the “upper-tier athletic ability to truly dominate.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile admires the route running, but seems to agree with Heitritter on the grade due to “below-average juice.” “Several” 4:16 WR Tyquan Thornton, Baylor (Senior). 6’2⅜”, 181 lbs. with long 33¼” arms and tiny 8¼” hands. Stood out at the Shrine Bowl for his shifty route running, and corresponding ability to create separation. Tougher than the measurements might suggest. Had a spectacular Combine that featured a 4.28 dash with instant acceleration. Top 2% athlete despite the discount for his bottom 2% weight measurement; the Mockdraftable spider chart is hilarious for its extremes. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile calls him “a vertical threat with the speed and poise to win deep” but warns that “WR’s with his size profile have struggled mightily to succeed in the league.” Josh Carney’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 4 grade for a take-the-top-off receiver with the potential to become “a true WR2 in the NFL for a decade” if his slight frame and build can hold up.   4:16 DT/NT Neil Farrell, LSU. (Senior). 6’4⅛”, 330 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 10⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A physical force in the middle described as “a block-eating, two-gapper with impressive stack-and-shed power” by Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile. Also has decent quickness for a man that size, which (along with good, low pad level) offsets the somewhat shorter arms. A run stuffer with little upside in the passing game. I have heard the well respected film watcher Greg Cosell say that he “cannot see a meaningful difference between Farrell on tape and Devonte Wyatt.” Wow. OTOH, Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report certainly can, since he ends in a Round 6 grade for a rotational run stuffer with no pass rush upside. Combine 4:16 DT/NT Eyioma Uwazurike, Iowa St. (RS Senior). 6’5½”, 316 lbs. with very long 35⅛” arms and very big 10⅛” hands. The Steelers have a preferred “type” for their DT’s, and Uwazurike fits that to a “T”. There is little if any room on the roster for another D-Lineman, but this is definitely a guy to consider if you are looking to feed the pipeline. As shown in Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report, Uwazurike has the size, strength, and length to play NT if needed, and the inherent explosiveness to line up as a 3- or 4i-tech DE also. The flaws come down to lack of true NFL technique in all the little things that separate a good college player from his potential as a pro. It will take him time and hard work to fix those, but it can be done.   4:16 EDGE Deangelo Malone, W. Kentucky. (RS Senior). 6’3¼”, 243 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and 9⅞” hands. This year’s small school wunderkind. Dominated everyone on film with the whole spectrum of assets, but he’s a bit underweight for the NFL and it’s hard to judge reality against the lower LOC. According to the NFL.com scouting profile, “Malone’s wiry build belies his toughness and play strength… He uses quick feet, a flexible frame and unusually successful recovery balance to slink into playmaking positions in the run game. His rush is unorthodox and unpredictable but his burst to close and fluidity inside the pocket are valuable in finishing against mobile quarterbacks.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 4-5 grade on a very similar analysis.   4:16 EDGE Sam Williams, Ole Miss. (RS Senior). 6’3⅜”, 261 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and 9⅞” hands. Will be a 23 year old rookie. An experienced pass rusher who’s been poor against the run. Put up an impressively well rounded Top 3% athletic profile. Pittsburgh will love the bend and the burst, and he already has several good moves, but is he a one trick pony? And how much do we care, since getting to the QB is one heck of a valuable trick and he has the tools to learn everything else? Jonathan Heitritter’s careful, gif-supported Depot scouting report compares Williams to a limited pass rush specialist such as Bruce Irvin, complete with the character-related issues that require a minor downgrade on top of the running-play limitations.   4:16 SS Tycen Anderson, Toledo. (RS Senior). 6’1⅞”, 209 lbs. with 33” arms and 10⅛” hands. Growing up as a Steelers fan earns you some points. Anderson is described as a pure box Safety with some good developmental assets headlined by the elite 4.36 speed and agility scores that add up to a 94th percentile athletic score. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile describes major strengths in the area of range, length, toughness, speed, and special teams ability, but worries about coverage. “Anderson has the potential to handle coverage underneath but might not have the instincts or ball skills to handle additional coverage duties.” He ends with something like a Round 3 grade. Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report more or less agrees, ending with a Round 4 grade for a Safety with some tackling concerns who projects much better to zone coverage than the occasional man required for Safeties who get asked to cover Move TE’s. This goes to a brief Senior Bowl interview he did with Alex Kozora.   4:16 SS Leon O’Neal Jr., Texas A&M. (Senior). 6’0½”, 204 lbs. with 31⅝” arms and 9” hands. Projects as a high-floor, moderate-ceiling box Safety. Several years of starting experience has shown him to be a big hitting, physical Safety who only lacks top end speed (timed at 4.71, but plays more like a 4.5’s guy) and athletic talent. Should excel on special teams, and could develop well enough to earn defensive snaps too. Average ball skills at best. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report is much more positive than most, ending in a Round 3 grade. The NFL.com scouting profile sees a barely draftable prospect “​​with good size and field recognition but major deficiencies that could be tough to overcome.”   4:16 S Isaiah Pola-Mao, USC. (RS Senior). 6’3½”, 212 lbs. with 32⅜” arms and 8½” hands. Troy Polamalu’s nephew projects as a good but not great Safety who should be a core special teamer while he works on his craft. A good, fluid, 88th percentile athlete with elite size for the position. Has had some injury concerns. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a reasonable sounding comp to current Cowboys starter Jayron Kearse who, like IP-M, began his college career with a bang that dwindled over time. Kearse came to the NFL, cut his teeth as a potent special teams asset, and then worked his way into a starting lineup. I-PM could easily mirror that career arc.   4:16 CB Kalon Barnes, Baylor. (RS Senior). 5’11½”, 183 lbs. with 31¾” arms and 9⅝” hands. Owen Straley called him the West team’s standout defensive back during the Shrine Bowl practices, and then wrote in his gif-supported Depot scouting report that Barnes has world class speed (4.23 at the Combine!) and other assets worth a Round 4 grade. A 3-year starter in a four man rotation, Barnes is a basically solid all around Corner who simply needs to improve across the board. Showed good hand fighting skills off the line, and excels in press-and-mirror coverage, but isn’t particularly physical when competing downfield. Will tackle, but doesn’t seem to enjoy that part of the game. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees a pure, traits-based developmental pick for the final rounds who “has legitimate track speed but… can be too reliant upon that aspect of his game.” Looked a little clunky with his transitions in the drills.   4:16 CB Cobie Durant, S. Car. St. (RS Senior). 5’9⅜”, 174 lbs. with 30⅛” arms and 8⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Stood out during all of Shrine Bowl week for exceptional movement skills and technique. The NFL.com scouting profile sees the lack of size as his primary issue, but acknowledges that it is a real one that shows up on tape. Jonathan Heitritter, who interviewed Durant at the Combine ends his gif-supported Depot scouting report with a comp to Cortland Finnegan, as a “feisty competitor [who] lacks ideal size but [has] the athletic tools and demeanor to kick inside and play well in the slot [while] potentially hold[ing] his own on the perimeter with good technique and positioning.” JH ends with an unusually generous Round 3 grade. Combine 4:16 CB Dallis Flowers, Pittsburg St. (RS Senior). 6’0¾”, 195 lbs. with 31¾” arms and 9½” hands. Came out of nowhere to be a week long stand out during the Shrine Bowl practices. That, combined with pro size, earns him a solidly draftable grade. This goes to a long Shrine Bowl interview with Steeler Depot’s Owen Straley. Owen’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees an “extremely high upside prospect” who offers enough value as both a versatile (if developmental) CB and a kick returner to earn a Round 4 grade.   4:16 CB Mario Goodrich, Clemson. (Senior). 6’0⅛”, 176 lbs. with 30½” arms and 9” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Severely underweight at the Combine, and ran poorly anyway, but overall managed a basically middle of the road athletic profile. Transferred from Missouri after 3 successful years in both football and basketball, only to run up against a down year for the bigger program. Oh well. Projects as someone who’s very likely to become a valuable part of the defensive unit, without the special athletic “extra” to be the guy that everyone avoids. Outside CB3/4 with decent odds of becoming a CB2/3, but long odds against ever reaching the status of CB1. Excels at run support, which suggests he’ll be a fine special teams gunner if all else fails. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile saddles him with a mid-Day 3 grade because of worries over his physical assets (speed, agility, and COD). Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade due to Goodrich’s skill in zone and press-man coverage, as offset by his grabbiness and his distinct limitations in off-man. Combine 4:16 CB Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska. (Senior). 5’10½”, 200 lbs. with 31¾” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Top 20% athletic profile. An impressive all-around athlete (former HS QB) who converted to Corner and then became team leader with a diverse skill set. Multiyear starter, captain, and special teams ace who knows how to tackle. Here is a nice looking pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile. The questions go to whether he has any particular athletic genius to lean on as the foundation for everything else. The NFL.com scouting profile sees him as a zone corner who “has the tools to stick it out at cornerback but feast/famine play creates a buyer-beware tag as a likely Day 3 selection.” Zierlein particularly questions his erratic (if eager) tackling, and his tendency to get “cooked by double moves.” The gif-supported Depot scouting report by Jonathan Heitritter says that he also “lacks the requisite fluidity in his hips [] to succeed at the next level as a cover corner.” Alas, but that adds up to exactly the sort of smart but limited zone CB that Dick LeBeau would have loved, but who won’t fit the current defense anywhere near as well. “Cam Taylor-Britt is New England’s biggest scheme fit at CB,” says this gif-supported scouting report from March. This April ‘Coby Bryant or Taylor-Britt’ comparison agrees that he is a good zone CB prospect, but probably not as good for man coverage. Combine 4:33 STEELERS ROUND 4 PICK (# 138 OVERALL) (COMPENSATORY)   5:01 T Braxton Jones, S. Utah. (RS Senior). 6’5⅛”, 306 lbs. with astonishing 36” arms and 10⅛” hands. Plays with good physicality and run blocking technique, but not a genuine people mover. Plays with good feet, but hasn’t looked special. Has fantastic length that he doesn’t know how to fully use yet, suggesting an easy area for significant growth. Good experience, but at a smaller program. Loves football but his favorite team is the Ravens. Lots of good, yet there’s always a “but.” Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile ends with a Round 6/7 grade based on his struggles in pass protection and the difficult ground-up work he will need to fix the underlying problems. Joe Marino’s TDN scouting profile sees fewer and more fixable problems, ending in a Round 3 grade instead. This briefer, point by point scouting profile worries most about his habit of falling into waist bending as a play moves forward. This Packers-oriented scouting profile agrees on a Day 3 grade, but sees “all the tools to develop into a rock-solid NFL tackle.” The PFN scouting profile sees a Round 4-5 prospect with an “exciting ceiling” held back by lack of pure strength, foot work issues, and a recurring problem with pad level. This particularly critical scouting profile ends with a UDFA grade.   5:01 T/G Vederian Lowe, Illinois. (Senior). 6’4⅜”, 320 lbs. with very long 34⅞” arms and 10⅛” hands. A well rounded player with extensive experience (40 starts!), who does okay on both run and pass plays, and also has the assets to play on the inside. Only 23, but already married and about to have his second child. He also blossomed in a big way as a Senior. A prospect on the rise? Supposed to have a mature and professional attitude as well. This NFL Draft Buzz scouting profile says his “best asset is his strength and disposition as a run blocker,” but also worries about a supposed lack of a “finishing attitude.” It isn’t clear how those go together. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sums him up as an admirable young man “who checks multiple boxes in both the traits and intangibles categories;” who has excellent natural athleticism, strength and bend; but who needs to fix issues with his hand fighting, footwork, balance, and other niggling details that really add up.   5:01 T Bamidele “Bam” Olaseni, Utah. (Senior). 6’7”, 348 lbs. with orangutanish 36½” arms and 9⅞” hands. His wingspan would be the biggest in the NFL at 88⅜”! Comes from London, England. That’s a lot to get around, but there are real gaps in his game beyond the astonishing length. This January scouting profile likes the strength too, but worries that he is “not explosive in any aspect,… bends at the waist, loses leverage, and also has a tendency to lunge and lean too far when flustered.” Devin Jackson’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes Olaseni as someone whose “ceiling is a starting left tackle who spends his first season or two on a practice squad,” and ends in a Round 4 grade despite a projection that he might be there in Round 6.   5:01 G/C Ben Petrula, Boston Coll. (RS Senior). 6’5”, 316 lbs. with 33” arms and 10⅛” hands. Kudos to Depot’s own Daniel Kitchen for finding a legitimate draft target who the draft community seems to have overlooked. The gif-supported Depot scouting report describes a college RT who will need to move inside, where he has every chance to become a starting Guard – the one position on the offensive line that he has not played in college (one year as a Center and three as a Tackle). Petrula’s main assets are his anchor, grip strength, quick hands, and explosiveness off the snap (the “elite” part of his 77th percentile athletic score). The issues all come down to the reason he won’t be more than an emergency solution at OT: lack of agility and foot speed (“the word ‘lumbering’ comes to mind far too often”), which are only exacerbated by his very average arm length. Sounds like a great prospect for any scheme that will allow him to operate in the proverbial phone booth. There is also room for growth, since his poor bench press results suggest some room for a pro trainer to help.   5:01 G Justin Shaffer, Georgia. (Senior). 6’3⅝”, 326 lbs. with 33¾” arms and 10⅜” hands. As summarized in this good pre-Senior Bowl Bleacher Report scouting profile, Shaffer is a big, powerful, bulldozing Guard who can people-move with anyone, but lacks the quickness to be more than his allotted one-fifth of an O-Line solution. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile calls him “a mauling bear at LG who plays with a nasty, salty demeanor” but has a “lack of reactive athleticism and foot quickness.”   5:01 G Cordell Volson, N. Dak. St. (RS Senior). 6’6”, 319 lbs. with 33¾” arms and 10¼” hands. Got on our radar screen at the Shrine Bowl practices with a week long display of dominant pancakes and other physical abuse. Enjoyed a long career at Tackle for his elite but smaller program, he may even have some RT flexibility. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees solid Day 3 talent for a good power player with every chance to become an NFL backup, or better if he can manage to surprise us just a little.   5:01 C/G Luke Fortner, Kentucky. (RS Senior). 6’3⅞”, 302 lbs. with long 33” arms and 9⅞” hands. Started at Guard for several years before playing Center in 2021, and earning team captain status. Has NFL-average size. Good on screens and in space, but only a decent athlete for the position. Strength is also okay but not good. Tom Mead’s gif-supported, early February Depot scouting report ends in a fringe-3rd grade based on position fit, good hand strength, and flexibility. The position fit is no longer true, of course. This older TDN scouting profile ends in a Round 6 grade based on concerns about his athletic ceiling. This Senior Bowl scouting profile by the respected Brandon Thorn agrees with Tom on the grade, ending with a Round 3 “high level backup/potential starter” grade based on good fundamentals and position flexibility, but feels that Fortner belongs in a zone based run scheme rather than a gap/power scheme.   5:01 C Brock Hoffman, Va. Tech. (RS Senior). 6’3½”, 310 lbs. with 33⅛” arms and 10½” hands. A college Center who meets NFL standards for size and length! Amazing to see in this class. Has played some Guard too. The issue is that size is his finest trait. Everything else is just acceptable. Not bad, but not enough to get excited. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a mid-round grade for a “fine football player and an even better human being” who projects as a steady but unexciting contributor on the O-Line.   5:01 QB Kaleb Eleby, W. Michigan. (RS Sophomore). 6’0¾”, 210 lbs. with 9¼” hands. Definitely draftable on the basis of arm talent as good as anyone in the class, but his grade is held back by moderate grades for both size and mobility, without many top opponents to use for measuring his skills. Accuracy did not look good during the Combine drills.   5:01 RB Tyler Allgeier, BYU (RS Junior). 5’10¾”, 224 lbs. A big back who can pound the rock between the tackles, he actually profiles best as a zone runner because of excellent vision and the ability to cut-and-go once he makes that read. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile worries about the number of 2021 fumbles, and says his “hands are not very natural as a pass-catcher,” but calls him “well-built, reliable and productive” as a pure RB. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes the same player but in a more positive light, ending in a Round 3 grade.   5:01 RB Tyrion “Ty” Davis-Price, LSU. (Junior). 6’0⅜”, 211 lbs. with 9¼” hands. An intriguing prospect the NFL.com scouting profile describes as follows: “an enigmatic back featuring urgency, indecisiveness, physicality and finesse on any given carry.” Plays with better agility and suddenness than his testing (still top 20%), the descriptions sound like a player in need of just the right coach and environment. Could be a Day 3 gem if Pittsburgh’s staff could bring out his full potential.   5:01 RB Jerome Ford, Cincinnati. (Junior). 5’10¾”, 220 lbs. with small 8⅝” hands. A downhill, bell cow type of back with solid agility and enough speed to beat defenders to the edge or to break off a longer chunk run if he gets free. Decent as a receiver, but not adept as a blocker. Would be a fine backup for Najee Harris if the team goes in that direction. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 3 grade.   5:01 RB Pierre Strong Jr., S. Dak. St. (RS Senior). 5’11⅜”, 202 lbs. with 8¾” hands. The NFL.com scouting profile describes a small school version of Tevin Coleman (the actual comp), who has “kill you” speed but rarely gets enough of a hole to hit the jets and use it. When that speed is controlled by disciplined defense, he’s still okay because of excellent vision and spatial awareness, but no more than average. There may be hidden upside that could be tapped by NFL strength training, NFL coaching, or an NFL offensive line that can open actual holes. The last is the least likely, of course. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report also uses the Tevin Coleman comp, calling Strong “a perfect fit as an outside zone runner that can gash opposing defenses while also having the skill set and vision to work will in inside zone concepts.”   5:01 RB Zaquandre “Quan” White, S. Car. (RS Senior). 6’0⅛”, 206 lbs. with 9” hands. Sleeper alert. I think this might be the perfect type of RB to add into the Steelers room, because he has most of the size they look for, but runs with an entirely different style. White is a springy, creative runner who specializes in making “unpredictable, razor-sharp cuts from any spot on the field,” (Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile), whether it be out in the open or after expertly pressing the line (Matt Waldman’s typically good boiler room report/video). The TDN scouting profile adds that he has “good overall power [and] contact balance” along with receiving skills, vision, and overall athleticism. There are flaws and inconsistencies, and he’s never been the #1 guy, but as a developmental change of pace pick? Sleeper alert on full.   5:01 WR Kyle Philips, UCLA. (Senior). 5’11¼”, 189 lbs. with 29⅝” arms and 8⅝” hands. A fast, shifty slot receiver with decent size and tremendous hands. His excellent route running will get him open, he’ll catch what’s thrown in his general area, and then he’ll get upfield and earn those extra yards. A very fine punt returner too; a skill set that fits perfectly with his odd athletic testing (elite agility and short area speed, which amassed a Top 20% RAS despite very poor size and long speed numbers). This goes to an interesting TDN interview/article on his “uncoverable” route running at the Senior Bowl, along with a February follow-up piece on potential team fits. The NFL.com scouting profile sounds some well founded cautionary notes about the lack of speed and burst you look for to enhance the route running and COD prowess.   5:01 WR Tre Turner, Va. Tech. (Senior). 6’1⅜”, 184 lbs. with 30¾” arms and 8½” hands. A really good rebounder who wins almost all his 50/50 catch opportunities due to fantastic hand-eye coordination, body control, and grip strength. Plays like he’s 6’6” instead of under 6’2”. Had a Combine so bad (bottom 4% RAS) that one suspects there was something wrong, because it conflicts so badly with the tape and his repeated use on jet sweeps and the like. The NFL.com scouting profile calls him a “rebound king [with] supreme hand-eye coordination… [who] makes acrobatic catches look easy” but worries about how much truth underlies the athletic testing.   5:01 DT Thomas Booker, Stanford. (Senior). 6’3⅛”, 301 lbs. with 33¼” arms and 10⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Read up on this young man if you’re after a Day 3 D-Line prospect. He checks the boxes as a team captain and three-year starter. He’s an inch or two shorter than the Pittsburgh prototype, but has long enough arms to make up for that when combined with his ability to penetrate using quickness. The issues really come down to a need for grown man strength, which is common in rookies and solvable with dedicated effort. Obviously smart (Stanford), with a high motor too. An excellent longer term bet. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile. The gif-supported Depot scouting report by Tom Mead ends with a Round 6 grade for Booker as a “developmental 5-tech DE.” This gif-supported scouting report from a Washington POV ends in a Round 4-6 grade after accounting for the very impressive Top 2-3% athletic score. Combine 5:01 DT Zachary Carter, Florida. (RS Senior). 6’4¼”, 282 lbs. with 33½” arms and big 10¼” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A solid prospect who is just a little undersized compared to what the Steelers prefer on the inside. May do better as a 4-3 DE who’s better at run stuffing than pass rushing. Indeed, Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes him as a “pumped-up base [4-3] defensive end… [who] can play [also] inside as a 3-technique or 4i.” Grade might go up if Stephon Tuitt changes his mind and decides to not return after all. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile agrees up and down the line: “In a perfect world, Thomas adds mass and muscle to develop into a starting 3-4 defensive end with interior rush value in nickel packages. He currently… is more of a base 4-3 end with average play strength and a lack of explosiveness.” Combine 5:01 EDGE Ali Fayad, W. Mich. (RS Senior). 6’2”, 248 lbs. with shorter 32” arms and 9⅜” hands. An undersized edge rusher who wins with good bend, decent power, a fine motor, and a nasty, well balanced spin move along with other tools. A better football player than pure athlete (middle of the road athletic profile), Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report projects him as a solid enough pick if used properly, as “a good depth piece and situational pass rusher” comparable to someone like the Lions’ Charles Harris (with dreams of being a Freeney or Mathis, of course).   5:01 EDGE Jeffrey Gunter, Coastal Carolina. (Senior). 6’4⅝”, 253 lbs. with 33¼” arms and 9¾” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Put up a Top 2-3% athletic score. Gunter is a very sudden athlete from a small program whose H.S. experience as a DB provides some coverage basics. The motor is fine, and the pass rush talent is real, but he seriously needs to work on his anchor and his speed-to-power ability. Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 5 grade and a comparison to Matthew Judon. Here is the NFL.com scouting profile. Combine 5:01 EDGE Isiah Thomas, Oklahoma. (RS Senior). 6’4¾”, 258 lbs. with 33⅞” arms and 10⅛” hands. 4-3 DE with the ability to move inside in a pinch. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile describes him as a “long, rangy 4-3 DE with pass-rush talent to be cultivated, but a lack of stoutness at the point of attack.” Top 9% athletic profile.   5:01 ILB Aaron Hansford, Texas A&M. (RS Senior). 6’2⅛”, 239 lbs. with 32⅜” arms and 10⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Will be 24 on draft day. Good power with sideline to sideline speed, but has never lived up to his traits due to delays caused by slow processing time. Good but not great in coverage. Injuries cost all but two games in both 2016 and all of 2018. Here is a very summary pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 6 grade based on the need for a year or two of study to get the football IQ up to par. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends with something closer to a Round 4 grade, agreeing that recognition and processing time are the main issues. Combine 5:01 MACK ILB D’Marco Jackson, App. St. (RS Senior). 6’0⅛”, 233 lbs. with 32½” arms and 9¼” hands. [Mtg. at Senior Bowl]. Described by this pre-Senior Bowl Bleacher Report scouting profile as a Mack ILB, run-and-chase type of player who has sideline to sideline speed and very good burst, with the natural assets to cover well in space (if not the skill at this point). Combine 5:01 S Bubba Bolden, Miami. (RS Senior). 6’2⅛”, 209 lbs. with 31⅜” arms and 9” hands. Had to leave USC as a sophomore due to what seems to be drunken stupidity at a party, Bolden transferred to Miami in 2019; just in time to injure his ankle (maybe an achilles). 2021, his team captain year, ended in October with shoulder surgery. But when he isn’t hurt, Bolden is a gigantic bundle of intriguing talents with good experience and tremendous potential. This goes to a brief but decent January scouting profile.   5:01 S Yusuf Corker, Kentucky. (RS Senior). 5’11¾”, 204 lbs. with 30⅞” arms and 9⅛” hands. Projects as a high-floor, moderate-ceiling Safety who can play either Free or Strong. Several years of starting experience with a good football IQ. Quicker than he is fast, and more physical/scrappy than he is big. Not as balanced and fluid as you’d like. Should excel on special teams. Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 4-5 grade, describing Corker as a smart player who reacts quickly and hustles hard, which can be used against him by smart QB’s. The NFL.com scouting profile worries about inconsistent angles, tightness, and especially “an alarming number of missed tackles in run support” even though he “is more than eager to help in the run game and he seems to relish contact.”   5:01 S Sterling Weatherford, Miami (OH). (RS Senior). 6’4”, 215 lbs. with 32” arms and 8⅝” hands. I can remember the buzz when Miles Killebrew came out, with film galore of him blasting victims into next week. Weatherford is a 6’4” version who may prove to be similarly limited to being a special teams star. Or not. It’s hard to tell because the size and potential are so different from the norm. Definitely a box player because his speed can be questioned even if he did put up a top 12% athletic score.   5:01 CB Montaric “Busta” Brown, Arkansas. (RS Senior). 5’11¾”, 190 lbs. with 31¼” arms and 9½” hands. An SEC seasoned, multiyear starter who reportedly has a professional build, good speed, and sweet feet. Definitely one to learn more about.   5:01 CB/S Kyler McMichael, N. Car. (Senior). 5’11⅞”, 205 lbs. with 31” arms and 9¼” hands. Not bad at press man, he showed remarkable consistency in his technique that continued to stand out during the whole of Shrine Bowl week. The question marks go to whether he has the native athleticism to play read-and-react football at an NFL level. If so he’d have the position flexibility to be a good FS backup as well.   5:01 CB Damarion “Pepe” Williams, Houston. (Junior). 5’10”, 182 lbs. with short 29⅝” arms and small 8¾” hands. A good looking slot Corner who can maneuver with anyone in tight quarters, plays much bigger than he is, tackles well, and enjoys the physicality of the game. The only issue in any report is the obvious one: lack of size and length. This admiring gif-supported January scouting report from a Jets POV loves the physicality, tackling, and COD skills. This January scouting profile is more critical, expressing worry about a tendency to play too high in his backpedal. No such backpedal concerns appeared in the Shrine Bowl practices. A two-time team captain who has also spent time at Safety. The NFL.com scouting profile calls him “quicker than fast” and worries that he “will lose ground once he’s beaten deep.”   5:16 T Devin Cochran, Ga. Tech. (RS Senior). 6’6⅞”, 308 lbs. with long 35½” arms and 10⅛” hands. Good experience against top competition, with very good length. The issues all come down to being tall as well as long, playing high, and losing on leverage. Fix that basic issue and many other things will start to really work.   5:16 T Obinna Eze, TCU. (RS Senior). 6’6¼”, 327 lbs. with amazing 36⅛” arms and 9½” hands. One of those wonderful immigrant stories (Nigeria) in which an amazing athlete is discovered in college and starts working to make a career. Decent feet combine with extraordinary length for pass blocking, with very good movement for run blocking. Really needs to work on his knee bend and grown man strength. Something of a boom-or-bust because the assets are amazing but largely unharnessed by pro standards.   5:16 T/G Andrew Stueber, Mich. (RS Senior). 6’6”, 327 lbs. with long 34⅛” arms and 10⅛” hands. Uses his length and strength well to compensate for some lack of mobility, due in part to a 2019 ACL tear. An old school, brawling, people-moving RT who should consider the benefits of adding Guard play versatility to his repertoire. The Bleacher Report scouting profile by Brandon Thorn ends with a Round 5 grade based on the judgment that “Stueber will need to move inside in the NFL due to limited range at tackle that hinders his ability to protect the corner and poor lateral quickness to redirect against inside counters and movement across his face. He also needs to play with better pad level and hand placement.” This post-Senior Bowl scouting profile ends in a Round 4-5 grade, after noting that Stueber exceeded expectations by showing a sophisticated understanding of several different pass rush moves. The TDN scouting profile ends with a Round 4 grade, loving the “active and accurate hands,” but questioning the ability to move inside. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile offers this interesting, if lukewarm summary: “He’s built for power and gap run schemes but is more of a neutralizer than finisher.” Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report could also be called lukewarm, ending with a Round 6 grade for a T/G who “would benefit from a year to improve” and compares to the sort of prospect that might “carve out a career as a part time starter.”   5:16 G Chris Paul, Tulsa. (RS Senior). 6’3⅜”, 324 lbs. with 34” arms and 9⅜” hands. Team captain, class president in H.S., etc. Will turn 24 as a rookie. Played both Tackle and Guard in college but needs to move inside for the pros because his feet are only meh. Excellent hand fighting technique and decent strength. Impressive as a young man outside the sport too. This late January scouting profile ends with a Round 6 grade. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile ends in a terrible grade, but the words make it sound like most of the issues go to Paul’s play at Tackle, and might be solved on the inside. He quotes an AFC scout as saying that Paul is a, “great, great person [you want] in the locker room but the football movements [are] concerning.” The Bleacher Report scouting profile by Brandon Thorn sees a career backup at Guard who is worthy of a Round 6-7 pick. This gif-supported scouting report from a Patriots POV is more positive, seeing him as a Round 3 target who impresses greatly as a run blocker, but very little as a pass protector. This gif-supported, Washington-oriented scouting report ends in the Round 4-6 range.   5:16 C/G Dohnovan West, Ariz. St. (Junior). 6’3¼”, 296 lbs. with 33” arms and 9½” hands. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. West is a tough and strong college Guard who’s taken occasional snaps at Center, and physically projects to that position, but will need to learn the pro game if he makes that move. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile describes him as a good, smart player, but also one who “will struggle to contain power in the A-gaps and his tendency to lean in as a pass protector is sure to be taken advantage of if he doesn’t get his posture corrected.” I hate to say it, but the 2021 draft profile of Kendrick Green is a pretty good comp. Here is an enthusiastic scouting summary from November. The Bleacher Report scouting profile from the respected Brandon Thorn concludes as follows: “Overall, West’s lack of size and mass will hinder his ability to anchor on command and hold ground against bigger, hulking body types on the interior… However, his explosiveness, quickness and natural leverage make him an asset in a zone run scheme… [for] a coaching staff that can build in some additional help for him in certain matchups.”   5:16 RB Kevin Harris, S. Car. (Junior). 5’9⅞”, 222 lbs. with 9½” hands. A bruising power runner on the inside who will make some team very happy as the “thunder” part of a dual back lineup. Lacks the top end speed and agility to be a true RB1, but he’s definitely the sort of guy that DB’s will dread if he actually gets free. No ball skills to speak of (the NFL.com scouting profile says – wait for it! – “[he] catches the football like it’s made of lava.”   5:16 RB D’Vonte Price, Fla. Int’l. (Senior). 6’1⅜”, 210 lbs. with 9¼” hands. One of my favorite Day 3 sleepers until he came into the Senior Bowl almost 30 lbs. lighter than advertised (adding 15 back for the Combine, where he ran a 4.38 dash). Grrr. The size, speed, agility, and other assets are just what you want. The size is not, even though he’s supposed to be good in pass protection. Here is a pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile/interview. The NFL.com scouting profile sees him as a good height/weight/speed prospect with room to develop.   5:16 RB Abram Smith, Baylor. (RS Senior). 5’11⅝”, 211 lbs. With small 8¼” hands. Something of a sleeper, Smith is a power oriented back whose best when he can make that one cut and then “play the role of hammer into contact” as the NFL.com scouting profile put it. Not a great fit to Pittsburgh since that describes more of a zone runner, but he does excel on special teams.   5:16 WR Reggie Roberson Jr., SMU. (RS Senior). 5’11”, 192 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and 9½” hands. Transfer from W. Va. Very fast. Lost all of 2019 to a foot injury, and all of 2020 to a knee. The NFL.com scouting profile sums him up as follows: “When healthy, he takes the top off of defenses with high-power acceleration that can lead to long touchdowns. However, he lacks the short-area agility to beat tight man coverage with route success.” The somewhat hideous testing numbers suggest that he may still be fighting an injury. The Draft Network scouting profile compares him to Cedrick Wilson, as a slender but all-around receiver who can be a decent deep threat. The PFN scouting profile sums him up as “A speedy big-play threat with excellent catching technique.”   5:16 DT John Ridgeway, Arkansas. (RS Senior). 6’4¾”, 321 lbs. with 33⅜” arms and 10” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] This pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile from Bleacher Report describes a player with powerful arms and decent length, but a little below average in the sand-in-the-pants department. Good motor, champion H.S. wrestler, and competitive bass fisherman from Illinois. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes him as a Day 3 depth pick with good size and experience who is “solidly effective” even in a two-gapping role (plenty of sand in the pants), but has a limited ceiling nonetheless because he has “below average change of direction, speed, and acceleration” along with some issues reading combo blocks heading his way.. Combine 5:16 EDGE Kingsley Enagbare, S. Car. (Senior). 6’3¾”, 258 lbs. with long 34¾” arms and big 10⅝” hands. Severely downgraded for lack of fit. The sort of half developed player whose stock could have soared or sunk with the Combine, and then ended up with basically no change because the results were middling. Enagbare has all the assets you want except very average bend. Also has experience as an occasional, undersized 5-tech, which shows some selflessness. The biggest issue in both the film and testing is a lack of agility. Linear athletes do better as 4-3 DE’s than they do as 3-4 OLB’s. This goes to a solid enough January scouting profile from Bleacher Report. Won on a regular basis during Senior Bowl week due to expert use of his length and leverage. As Lance Zierlein writes in the NFL.com scouting profile, “Enagbare is long, strong… heavy-handed, and physical… but lacks explosiveness … [and] will never be confused for a playmaker on the edge.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 5 grade.   5:16 MACK ILB Jojo Domann, Nebraska. (RS Senior). 6’0⅞”, 228 lbs. with 30⅜” arms and 9½” hands. Turns 25 as a rookie. The age is a killer for the youth-loving Steelers. If that didn’t matter his grade might be a full round higher. Two rounds if the team didn’t have Devin Bush. Alas, but neither is the case. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes the sort of ILB who doubles as a supersized Nickel Safety, but will have trouble nearer the line of scrimmage and would be helpless if faced with NFL OL’s in his face. A discount version of Devin Bush Lite. Ain’t Gonna Happen. This gif-supported, Washington-oriented scouting report describes him as a tremendous “Big Nickel” player.   5:16 S Markquese Bell, Fla. A&M. (Senior). 6’2⅛”, 212 lbs. with 32⅜” arms and 9⅜” hands. A solid prospect if you’re after a developmental Safety who’d fit what Pittsburgh wants. He’s proven the ability to play in the box, with good size but average power, and as a free safety over the top. The flaws are in the above-the-neck game, where he’s been vulnerable to fakes and to QB’s who know how to manipulate Safeties with their eyes. Very good hands for INT’s. He’s also got a lean, whipcord kind of build that would benefit from an NFL training regime. Here is a brief but decent January scouting profile.   5:16 S Reed Blankenship, Middle Tenn. (RS Senior). 6’0¾”, 196 lbs. with 31⅝” arms and 9¼” hands. This is a name to watch. As outlined in this admiring TDN article by Kyle Crabbs, Blankenship took the world by storm in 2019, but then followed it up with a distinctly meh 2020. So he returned for 2021 and, “while the decision paid off, the buzz hadn’t quite returned.” Has enough unique size and athleticism to make the “Feldman Freaks” list back in the day, he profiles best as a Box Safety whose best trait is a tireless motor. The small school creates some LOC questions. Owen Straley’s Day 1 Shrine Bowl review notes “a tendency to stay too high in his pedal and drive, limiting his ability to transition quickly.”   5:16 S Kerby Joseph, Illinois. (Junior). 6’0⅝”, 203 lbs. with 33” arms and 10¼” hands. A one year wonder who flashed onto the scene in 2021, which makes it hard to determine how he will continue to grow as a pro. This gif-supported scouting report from a Washington POV ends with a Round 4-ish grade for “perhaps one of around two or three legitimate free safety prospects in this year’s draft.”   5:16 S Quentin Lake, UCLA. (RS Senior). 6’1⅛”, 201 lbs. with 31¼” arms and 9⅛” hands. Carnell Lake’s son may never be the star his father became, but he definitely has a road to being an NFL pro. He plays the hybrid Cover-Safety role that matches a genuine need in modern sub-package football, and he has the fluid movement skills, football IQ, and ability to communicate needed to do it at the next level. The Depot Shrine Bowl reports could be glowing, and he was definitely a charming interview. This goes to his gif-supported interview with Owen Straley.   5:16 SS Juanyeh Thomas, Ga. Tech. (Senior). 6’0⅝”, 198 lbs. with 30⅝” arms and 9” hands. A three year starter who does very well in the box when he can come downhill to finish a play, but has never figured out how to succeed in coverage. Was listed as 3” taller and 10 lbs. bigger in college, and brings enough lumber that people believed it. Here is a pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile.   5:16 CB Josh Jobe, Alabama. (Junior). 5’11½”, 182 lbs. with 32⅝”arms and 9¼” hands. 24 years old as of early April. He looks the part for sure, but the NFL.com scouting profile notes that his “disappointing senior season ended up leaving scouts with more questions than answers, [especially with regard to his] tight hips, [and] below-average pattern-matching attributes [and] instincts.” Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 5 grade who profiles as “an old-school, Cover 2 type of cornerback [who is] physical, loves press man, and throws his light 182-lb. weight around… [but will] struggle to flip his hips and [] looks a lot less comfortable playing off and in space than he does rolled up on the receiver.” In other words, a fairly poor system fit. Should be a core special teams talent, with fine football character, competitiveness, tackling ability, and overall physicality. Perhaps a move to Safety? Note that he played through an injured foot for all of 2021, which may have made the film less revealing.   5:16 CB Jack Jones, Ariz. St. (Senior). 5’10¾”, 171 lbs. with 30¾” arms and 8⅞” hands. A prospect viewed in radically different ways by different analysts, Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees a fringe-UDFA player who may be a “ball-hawking CB with playmaking instincts,” but has a “string-bean frame with small hands,… delayed reaction time to break on throws from zone,” and above all some significant off-field smoke such as being academically ineligible as a USC Junior, a guilty plea to misdemeanor burglary of a restaurant while at USC, and a separate suspension for violation of team rules at Arizona State. Meanwhile, Owen Straley’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 3 grade, calling Jones a “quick trigger… [and] extremely disciplined player… [with solid hit power for a player of his stature.” He tested as an average athlete but seems to play a little faster than that.   5.16 RB Ty Chandler, UNC. (Senior). 5’11¼”, 204 lbs. with 9” hands. Turns 24 as a rookie. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported scouting report ends in a surprise Round 3 grade for a very fast (4.38) athlete with limited size and explosion numbers.   6:01 T Jean Delance, Florida. (RS Senior). 6’3⅞”, 296 lbs. with exceptional 36½” arms and 10⅛” hands. Another player whose stock shot up with a dominant series of Shrine Bowl practices, the obvious question mark comes from his lack of heft. Excellent hand fighting skills build on those apelike arms compensated well in college, but can that carry over to the NFL? Projects better to an outside zone scheme that values mobility and technique (his strengths) over straightforward power. Here is a post-Shrine Bowl interview with TDN. The gif-supported Depot scouting report by Jonathan Heitritter admires the “rare length,… ability to engage and land his punches early,… [and] adequate athleticism and movement skills to be used on the move and mirror pass rushers.” The flaws go to a significant need for pure power, a tendency to lunge, and often a failure to sustain his blocks.   6:01 T Kellen Diesch, Ariz. St. (RS Senior). 6’7⅛”, 301 lbs. with short 32¼” arms and 9½” hands. He’s long enough despite the weirdly short arms, and he’s decently mobile, but has only an average anchor and overall level of strength. A developmental Tackle best suited for an outside zone team. This nicely detailed April scouting profile from a Raiders POV ends with a Round 6 grade.   6:01 T Matt Waletzko, N. Dak. (Senior). 6’6⅞”, 310 lbs. with loooong 35⅛” arms and 10⅛” hands. This scouting profile from the well respected Brandon Thorn loves the length, but sees so many issues with his contact balance, play strength, and technique that Waletzko may be undraftable. The PFN scouting profile sees a developmental prospect with rare traits, but enough flaws to drop him down toward the bottom half of Day 3.   6:01 G Nick Zakelj, Fordham. (RS Senior). 6’5¾”, 316 lbs. with 32½” arms and 9⅝” hands. A dominant, run-blocking Tackle in a smaller program who will probably move inside to Guard at the next level. Has the knack of moving unwilling men to where they do not want to go, and enjoys doing it. Will need some time to adjust to the vastly higher LOC, and has numerous issues with his fundamentals that need to be cleaned up. Brandon Thorn’s scouting profile considers him draftable, but only as a Guard and only just. “Zakelj has bursts of talent that make you take notice but [he has] a lot of issues to clean up,” including some serious balance concerns and leaning issues. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile sees at least a glimmer of hope in the toughness, and thinks has “a shot as a swing tackle with the potential to develop into a bigger contributor.”   6:01 C Alex Lindstrom, Boston Coll. (RS Senior). 6’3¼”, 294 lbs. with 32⅛” arms and small 9” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A smart, tough college Center with substandard size, length, and native athletic talent when measured on the NFL scale. Good quick feet. Best suited to an outside zone attack that would play to his strengths while limiting his weaknesses. This goes to a nice, Giants-oriented scouting report from January with some video clips. The gif-supported Depot scouting report by Tyler Wise describes him as “the picture in the dictionary for a guy that overachieved in his college career. He doesn’t have the elite traits or size but still was able to put together some good tape at a power five school.” Combine 6:01 QB Cole Kelley, SE Louisiana. (RS Senior). 6’7⅜”, 249 lbs. with 9⅞” hands. Won the NFLPA Bowl MVP. What if Zach Gentry hadn’t converted from QB to TE? Enter Cole Kelley, a Size XXXL prospect from a tiny school who won the award for being the nation’s top FCS player in 2020, and was the runner-up in 2021. This is the perfect guy to cite when someone says, “If you see a QB who has a chance to be The Guy, give up everything to go and get him!” Kelley definitely has a chance; it’s just a really small chance. He has the arm talent you want, including a quick release, but he’s never played against anything like NFL talent. A pure upside bet with a bottomless chasm for the floor, and a glimmer of “could be anything…” on the upside. The NFL.com scouting profile worries most about the lack of anticipation in his throws and discipline in his reads; neither of which he needed to perfect against the defenses he routinely carved up. Minor smoke from a 2017 DWI incident (he pled guilty). Here is a good looking point by point scouting profile from February.   6:01 TE Austin Allen, Nebraska. (RS Senior). 6’7⅝”, 253 lbs. with 33⅝” arms and 9½” hands. Think of Zach Gentry in his second year, when he’d filled out his body a bit and learned how to block. That comp is good enough that he might grade higher if Gentry wasn’t on the team already. Allen put up an impressive 88th percentile athletic profile at the Combine, which included some astonishing agility times for a man this big. That alleviates the concern about “heavy and plodding release(s) and route running” in the NFL.com scouting profile, which also notes that “Despite his tall center of gravity, Allen will flash as both a down blocker and as an athletic, moving shield when blocking in space.”   6:01 TE Chase Allen, Iowa St. (RS Senior). 6’6”, 251 lbs. with long 34⅛” arms and 9⅝” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A tall and gangly coach’s son with a multisport background, Allen is a good, sound blocker who will be even better if he adds some grown man muscle. Somewhat clunky receiver despite proper TE hands and a top 15% athletic profile headlined by good agility scores. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile prefers a comp to Foster Moreau. Likely to be especially popular among the feminine contingent of the fan base, which may be the best reason to avoid him (“Hair that no man deserves, just the right amount of naughty twinkle in his eye” according to the very Mrs. Hammer). The marks for football character simply couldn’t be higher. This November article from a local paper calls him the “dependable, durable and never-quit face of Iowa State football” after listing some astonishing physical challenges he’s overcome, and then quotes his offensive coordinator as follows: ““When I think about Iowa State football, I think of Chase Allen, just in terms of how he does everything, and the passion he plays with. I’m going to miss the kid the most.” Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees a late Day 3 player on film who doesn’t play up to his measured athleticism; i.e., a decent but not special receiving ability, and “is a willing blocker… but lacks the necessary bulk and play strength to be a difference maker in the ground game.” Essentially, Combine 6:01 TE Cole Turner, Nevada. (Senior). 6’6½”, 249 lbs. with 33” arms and 9¾” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] An old fashioned TE with solid receiving ability and hands, plus the willingness to mix it up and block. A nice, top-quarter athletic profile held back by the need to add maybe 10 lbs. of good muscle. Will require a few years of professional strength training and coaching to hit his peak, but there’s definite potential if things come together right. Here is a good interview he did with TDN. Earned a late-Day 3 grade in Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile, mostly due to major issues with his strength and lesser issues with his pass catching. This Giants-oriented scouting profile sees a fine TE2 who is significantly better as a receiver than as a blocker. Combine 6:01 RB Tyler Badie, Missouri. (Senior). 5’8”, 197 lbs. with 9⅛” hands. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting profile ends in a Round 5 grade for “a true scat back” with a “unique blend of speed, quickness, contact balance, and pass catching skills.” Likable enough, but would not add much to the room except as a 1:1 replacement for Anthony McFarland Jr. This goes to an April scouting profile from a Mizzou fan site. Sr Bowl
Combine 6:01 RB Leddie Brown, W. Va. (Senior). 6’0⅛”, 213 lbs. with 9⅛” hands. Moderate size, but runs with extra violence. A straight line, downhill player who needs the OL to give him a hole, but will hit that hole very hard and break out for big gains after he blasts his way through. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting profile ends with a Round 5 grade for a prospect in the Benny Snell or Jay Ajayi school, plus upside and undashed hopes.   6:01 RB James Cook, Georgia. (Senior). 5’11”, 199 lbs. with 9⅜” hands. Dalvin Cook’s little brother has grown into a medium-sized “slasher” back with good vision, good hands, and 4.42 speed, but he might provide much more value to an outside zone team than one like Pittsburgh. Top notch as a receiving weapon out of the backfield. Needs to work on his lower body strength in order to develop contact balance and the ability to bully through between the tackles. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a solid Round 3 grade for the right kind of outside-zone running system. Alas, but that doesn’t describe the Pittsburgh Steelers.   6:01 RB Hassan Haskins, Michigan. (Senior). 6’1¾”, 226 lbs. with 9¼” hands. [Mtg. at Dinner] Probably an upgrade on Benny Snell, but not by a huge amount, and also a very similar player. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report also likes the comp to Snell, but settles on the Patriots’ Brandon Bolden as a “slightly better athlete with more quickness.” Dinner 6:01 RB Isiah Pacheco, Rutgers. (Senior). 5’10⅜”, 216 lbs. with 9½” hands. Turned 23 in March. A fun and intriguing prospect because he plays white hot on every play and in every situation, even when he’s only a decoy on the far side of the field. In a defender you’d call it a “white hot motor.” Aside from that, the NFL.com scouting profile praises the “Rapid-fire feet [that] never stop chopping” and the “suddenness, [] energy… [and] burst,” but sees all that hyper energy detracting from his patience as a player. Tyler Wise’s gif-supported Depot scouting report admires the energy and physicality, but also sees too much impatience in various aspects of his game.   6:01 WR Velus Jones, Tennessee. (RS Senior). 5’11¾”, 204 lbs. with 30⅞” arms and 9¾” hands. Turns 25 as a rookie. Imagine Ray Ray McCloud with good size. He’s lightning fast (4.31) and has good hands, but is really more of a return guy who happens to be listed as a WR on the depth chart. Supposed to be a hard worker and good teammate. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report likes a lot of the assets, but sees Jones as someone who will need to make his bones as a kick returner, and therefore does not fit Pittsburgh’s current needs too well.   6:01 WR Braylon Sanders, Ole Miss. (Senior). 6’0⅛”, 194 lbs. with shorter 31½” arms but big 10” hands. Known for such dynamic speed that he was seriously disappointed with the 4.48 Combine dash, Sanders also has some decent agility. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report calls him a classic take-the-top-off, downfield threat that QB Matt Corral no doubt enjoyed, but who is probably limited to that role. “To steal Mike Tomlin’s phrase, Sanders is a true one-trick pony.” But as the NFL.com scouting profile notes, Sanders “won’t be a guy who can uncover on all three levels, [] his contested-catch finishing is below average… [and his] injury background comes with a “buyer-beware” sticker, but speed and talent matters.” Pretty good hands, and has flashed some excellent body control. Has also returned a pair of punts to the house. Hit every box on Alex Kozora’s “What The Steelers Look For” study.   6:01 NT Noah Elliss, Idaho. (Junior). 6’4¼”, 346 lbs. with short 32¼” arms and big 10⅜” hands. Described as a really interesting draft sleeper in this gif-supported February TDN article, Elliss flashed in a [ahem] very big way at the Shrine Bowl. He wasn’t just an immovable object. You saw burst and power as well, along with sound technique. That gets you looking. Then you see in this late January scouting profile (ending in a Round 3 grade!) that his Dad was a Round 1 pick with a 10-year career, his brother Kaden is a starting Linebacker for the Saints, and his other brother is on the Eagles’ practice squad. He won’t be shocked by the NFL game or lifestyle. The biggest concern seems to be LOC worries along with those short arms, which might limit him to being a NT and nothing but. This goes to an article from his local college town newspaper.   6:01 DT Haskell Garrett, Ohio St. (RS Senior). 6’2⅛”, 300 lbs. with very short 31⅝” arms and 9⅞” hands. A poor man’s Aaron Donald wannabe, Garrett made his living in college on the same kind of assets: burst, quickness, leverage, power, and motor. But Donald has those qualities at NFL super-freak levels. Garrett certainly did well against college opponents, but one questions whether he is special enough to carry it off against NFL O-Linemen; and if he can’t, the lack of size and length will push him out of the league.   6:01 NT MarQuan McCall, Kentucky. (Senior). 6’2½”, 342 lbs. with 33¼” arms and palm-a-watermelon 11” hands. A pure, 2-gapping, 0-tech Nose Tackle to line up over a Center and never get moved out of position. No pass rush to speak of, alas, which seriously limits his draft stock. Reportedly played as high as the 370’s, but showed up in better shape at the Shrine Bowl.   6:01 DT/NT Jayden Peevy, Texas. (Senior). 6’5⅜”, 308 lbs. with apelike 35½” arms and big 10½” hands. He’s built like one of the classic 3-4 DE prototypes that Pittsburgh adores, but Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report points out that “he has shown a good ability to handle and absorb double teams,” when tasked as a NT. The NFL.com scouting profile emphasizes that he played much (30 lbs. or so?) heavier in 2021, and doing so eliminated some “intriguing rush flashes in [the] 2020 tape.”   6:01 EDGE/ILB Jeremiah Moon, Florida. (Senior). 6’4⅝”, 249 lbs. with very long 35” arms and 10⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A developmental pass rusher with great length, speed, and other athletic traits. The NFL.com scouting profile notes that he is “praised for his high character and preparedness” over and above the physical potential. Exceptional inside spin move. Development has been hampered by season-ending injuries in 2016, 2019, and 2020. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a Round 6 grade that would be higher if not for his injury problems. JH particularly likes the flexibility to move inside too, and notes that Coach “Brian Flores has excelled with longer, larger off-ball LB’s in the past.” Combine 6:01 MACK ILB Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma. (RS Junior). 6’0”, 226 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and big 10” hands. A talent who’d rate higher for this board if there was no current Mack #1 in the room. The Steelers, of course, have two. Asamoah is sideline to sideline hunter who chases the ball down, tackles what he hits, shows good leadership, and has the native athleticism to succeed in coverage. Better than most at taking on blocks, but still inconsistent and not really built to excel in that role. Still raw enough to be much better at see-do than at reading what’s coming. This longish January PFN scouting profile emphasizes how much Asamoah’s game improved in 2021 versus 2020. Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends with a Round 4 grade and a caution that Asamoah is a “retread” of the Bush/Jack prototype rather than a prospect who’d bring something new to the team.   6:01 ILB Ellis Brooks, Penn St. (RS Senior). 6’1”, 230 lbs. with 30⅜” arms and 9¾” hands. A good looking, athletic prospect who seems to be suited for a 4-3 Mike (middle linebacker) rather than play as either a Steelers 3-4 Mack (not lightning quick enough) or Buck (not big and physical enough). This January scouting profile praises his speed, intelligence, and overall athleticism, but raises some questions about his “inconsistent hustle” and only-average skills when it comes to coverage, tackling, and power alike.   6:01 ILB Damone Clark, LSU. (Senior). 6’2⅜”, 240 lbs. with 33” arms and 9¾” hands. Out for the 2022 season due to spinal fusion surgery. A tough player to pigeonhole because he has incredible top 3% athleticism, very good size, and the sort of array of fixable flaws that hints at someone who could grow to be a superstar. But he will have to make that growth, and is likely to be neutralized until he does. Here is a thorough January scouting profile that is well worth the read. This briefer January scouting profile is also worth the time, loving the athleticism and size, but worrying that he has “limited vision and is easily fooled by misdirection.” Here is a background-focused scouting summary from December. Alex Kozora did an interview with him at the Senior Bowl, and then followed up with this video on why Clark “feels like a Steeler” and this gif-supported Depot scouting report, which ends in a Round 2 grade (before the news of his season-ending surgery came out).   6:01 MACK ILB Malcolm Rodriguez, Okla. St. (Senior). 5’11”, 232 lbs. with 30⅛” arms and 9⅝” hands. I would be seriously in his camp if the Steelers had need for another Mack ILB because his only real flaw is a severe lack of height, and even that big a red flag could only reduce him to a top 15% athlete. The NFL.com scouting profile says the lack of size really does show up on tape, but there are lots of assets to offset it such as “team captain and brain of the defense.” Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report loves the player but wonders if he might do better to shed some pounds and go back to being a super-hard hitting box Safety.   6:01 S Nick Grant, Virginia. (RS Senior). 6’0¼”, 191 lbs. with 31⅛” arms and 9⅜” hands. A traditional Safety who plays best when allowed to lurk in zone coverage and then fire in to either break up or tackle the catch. The tackling part could definitely use some work.   6:01 S Russ Yeast, Kansas St. (RS Senior). 5’10”, 192 lbs. with 31¼” arms and 9” hands. A versatile cover-Safety in the Tre Norwood mold, who has played every DB position there is during his college career. Excelled in coverage during Shrine Bowl practices, even on players who’d been abusing the true CB’s.   6:01 CB Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn St. (RS Senior). 6’0⅜”, 194 lbs. with 31⅛” arms and 8¾” hands. A fast CB with lots of starting experience at a premier program, TCT is a prospect with many assets held back by a few distinct holes. He is agile enough to project well in zone coverage, but is supposed to have issues flipping his hips for COD in man coverage. But as a poor (if willing) tackler, he has question marks for the zone-oriented teams as well. Here is a Bleacher Report pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees a prospect with good traits, but a distinct lack of physicality and tacking ability.   6:01 CB Jermaine Waller, Va. Tech. (Junior). 6’0”, 175 lbs. with 31½” arms and 8¾” hands. Looked great in 2019 as a Freshman, lost 2020 to injuries, and then flashed a lot in 2021 but also displayed some real inconsistency. Could easily grow into being a quality starter, but will need good coaching to get there. The NFL.com scouting profile describes him as “a decent athlete with adequate agility [and a] competitive nature, [who] lacks the size and strength to handle big receivers and the short-area quickness to stay connected to shiftier targets.”   6:16 T/G Tyler Vrabel, Boston Coll. (RS Junior). 6’5¾”, 315 lbs. with 32⅜” arms and 9¾” hands. Put up a surprisingly good Top 25% athletic score heavy on the important explosion and agility numbers. The coach’s son gets some points for knowing the game that well, with a gut-level understanding of what it takes to succeed as a pro. Plays like a tough guy with some fixable flaws (poor knee bend in particular) that bleed into his balance, anchor, and other parts of the game. Lacks the ideal length for a Tackle, and the desired heft for a Guard. Life would be great if he only had that special twist required to play Center, or that special athletic asset to enhance the ceiling. This goes to the TDN scouting profile, which ends with a Round 5 grade.   6:16 C Xavier Newman-Johnson, Baylor. (Senior). 6’1¾”, 303 lbs. with 32⅝” arms and 9¾” hands. A Center who stood out at the Shrine Bowl for “his ability to move laterally and get onto blocks, then showing his leg strength to move some guys.” An advanced above-the-neck game provides a much higher floor than the inadequate measurements might suggest. The descriptions read a lot like those for J.C. Hassenauer.   6:16 C Luke Wattenberg, Washington. (RS Senior). 6’4”, 293 lbs. with long 34⅜” arms and 9¼” hands. Turns 25 as a rookie. You’ve got to like the length, which is particularly unusual for a Center. The mass is about 20 lbs. less than it should be, however, and he needs that extra weight to be solid, grown man muscle. Then we’d be cooking with gas. Moves well, etc. He’s just on the old side and severely lacking in both sand-in-the-pants, as well as dig-em-out power.   6:16 RB Sincere McCormick, UTSA. (Junior). 5’8⅛”, 205 lbs. with 9⅛” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A hard running back who gets what is there by twisting, turning, spinning, and squirting through even small holes, but needs his OL to create those holes. Very productive in college. Good in protection and also in space as a receiving option. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report praises his lateral quickness, patience, and a nice jump cut he uses to avoid TFL’s, but worries about how often he goes down on ankle tackles. Combine 6:16 WR Ty Fryfogle, Indiana. (Senior). 6’1⅛”, 209 lbs. with shorter 30⅞” arms and 9¾” hands. Turned 23 in January. Looked great in 2020, and meh in 2021; the big question is why. The NFL.com scouting profile puts it down to lack of “catch focus” and being “not that excited by working into the middle,” a combination that earns a poor grade on that board. Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report is more generous. Yes, there are too many drops; and yes, there are too many contested catches; but AS suggests that he wins more than he loses, has good position flexibility, and runs better routes than the testing would suggest. (Top 30% athletic score weighed down by “very poor” agility scores). Andrew also notes that Indiana’s QB play was solid enough in 2020, but plummeted down toward awful in 2021.   6:16 WR Makai Polk, Miss. St. (Junior). 6’3⅛”, 195 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 9½” hands. He’s not particularly fast, quick, nor big from an NFL perspective, nor does he have all that much experience, but the hands and body control are good enough to believe he might develop into a competent WR4 with some upside if he surprises us with his route running. Those not great assets are also not bad, and collectively give him a 60th percentile RAS. Not a great fit for Pittsburgh, which explains the especially low HV. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile equates to something more like a Round 4-5 grade.   6:16 WR Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest. (Senior). 6’0⅞”, 182 lbs. with 31¾” arms and 9” hands. Turns 24 in July. A decent enough slot receiver if you’re looking for Day 3 depth, at least according to Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report. Boasts good 4.43 speed and the native ability to make difficult circus catches, but just not imposing in any part of his game.   6:16 EDGE Christopher Allen, Alabama. (RS Senior). 6’3½”, 241 lbs. with 33” arms and 10” hands. This was his year to show off and it ended in game 1 with a broken foot. Also missed all of 2018 with a knee injury. The NFL.com scouting profile describes Allen as a player with good burst but only average bend, who needs to focus on developing more sophisticated hand fighting technique in order to get the most out of his “premium physical traits.” Alabama plays a 3-4, so he should not require as big a learning curve as the guys who played as 4-3 DE’s.   6:16 EDGE Alex Wright, UAB. (Junior). 6’5⅛”, 272 lbs. with long 34” arms and 9¼” hands. The NFL.com scouting profile describes Wright as a less developed version of Taco Charlton when he was a prospect; a natural fit at 4-3 DE who has enough athleticism to project him into being a sound NFL starter. Discounted by a good round or two on this board for the lack of scheme fit, combined with the uncertainty of that projection. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report would drop him even further due to both rawness and a largely failed draft process.   6:16 SS Scott Nelson, Wisconsin. (RS Senior). 6’2”, 203 lbs. with 30¾” arms and 9” hands. A player who totally crushed the Combine (Top 4% athletic score) but has not shown that on the field despite several years of good experience. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report calls him “a hearts and smarts player [of the sort] the Steelers usually have an eye on.” The above-the-neck game seems to be his biggest challenge, and Safety is a particularly brain-intensive position.   6:16 CB Mykael Wright, Oregon. (Junior). 5’10½”, 173 lbs. with 30½” arms and 9” hands. Want a slot Corner/return man? You’ve found him. But the lack of pure size and strength may overwhelm his outsized heart at the next level. “The spirit is willing but the size is not” is decent translation of the NFL.com scouting profile.   6:29 STEELERS ROUND 6 PICK (# 208 OVERALL) (FROM KC FOR INGRAM) 7:01 QB Aqeel Glass, Alabama A&M. (RS Senior). 6’4”, 215 lbs. with small 8⅞” hands. He certainly looks the part, with room to add more mass. And he’s got the tools, with an NFL-good arm, very good mobility, and accuracy that ranges from solid to streaky according to this NFL Draft Buzz scouting profile. but it is hard to fathom how big a step up he’ll be taking when he goes against an NFL defense. Imagine the kid who hit .850 in H.S., and then .400 in single-A ball. What’s he going to hit when you drop him into the majors? Answer: who knows? You’re betting on pure potential with this one. Here is another simple scouting profile from February. This goes to a somewhat better scouting profile that points out Glass’s frankly erratic lower body mechanics, which are either (a) enough to make NFL success impossible, or (b) an area he could improve with coaching to obtain fabulous benefits. Take your pick, lol.   7:01 QB E.J. Perry, Brown. (Senior). 6’1⅝”, 211 lbs. with small 8¾” hands. Think Ivy League Taysom Hill and you’ll have a decent summary. Won the Shrine Bowl MVP.   7:01 TE Lucas Krull, Pitt. (Senior). 6’6⅛”, 253 lbs. with 33⅜” arms and 9⅛” hands. A local product worth a Day 3, stash-and-develop pick because he put up a remarkable Top 10% athletic profile despite the testing that pointed out his one major flaw: a very noticeable lack of play strength. But who can say how that will turn out if you drop him on a practice squad for a year or two of professional strength training? This brief scouting profile makes the point: it complains about some factors the athletic testing belies, while pointing out that he has a frame with room for at least 10 additional pounds of good muscle.   7:01 RB/FB Alexander “Zander” Horvath, Purdue. (Senior). 6’2⅛”, 228 lbs. with smaller 8¾” hands and 32” arms. Ding ding! Sleeper alert! Often listed as a fullback because of his size, but he played RB (and apparently LB) at Purdue with good success until he fractured one of the shin bones last fall (fibula). The descriptions and the top 2% athletic profile have a sort of poor man’s Jerome Bettis vibe – the big bruiser with surprisingly nifty feet, excellent explosiveness and 20-yard speed, but discounted because he is a rumbler who never gets any faster after that initial burst. He’s gotten no buzz at all, but sounds like an ideal, power-oriented RB2 for Pittsburgh who could make his bones on special teams too. Here is a brief scouting summary from a Bengals POV. This much better, gif-supported Depot scouting report by Alex Kozora, which suggests that a “lite” version of Mike Alstott could be the better comp.   7:01 RB Keaontay Ingram, USC. (RS Senior). 5’11¾”, 221 lbs. with 9” hands. Went to USC as a 5th year guy, he profiles as a very good top 15% athlete who’s never quite arrived despite all the natural assets. The NFL.com scouting profile notes that he was “quicker and shiftier at a lighter weight” (209 lbs. at Texas). His more recent film is okay, but just okay.   7:01 RB Master Teague III, Ohio State. (RS Junior). 5’11¼”, 221 lbs. With 9½” hands. As good an athlete as there is, even for Ohio State (top 2% at RB), people have spent years waiting for him to “arrive” and he simply never has. Some years it was a series of nagging injuries. Other times it’s getting outplayed by J.K. Dobbins in 2019, Trey Sermon in 2020, and Treveyon Henderson in 2021. Great speed, size, power, explosion, and even shiftiness, but there always seems to be something that holds him back. Is it vision? Lack of contact balance? The poor hands? The “tight hips” and “gearing down to change directions” identified in this scouting profile? It always looks like there’s untapped potential about to explode, and then [fizzle]. This scouting profile from an Ohio State fan site is about the best I’ve found. This goes to a long, 2020 background piece on Teague’s history of facing and overcoming both injury and life challenges.   7:01 RB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame. (RS Sophomore). 5’9¼”, 194 lbs. with 9” hands. A former WR who would make a wonderful 3rd-down back. He and Snell/Ballage, together, would add up close to a single Najee Harris. May be limited to zone runs and pass catching, as he’s the sort who works with vision and burst due in part to his lack of bell cow size. Gets an added discount on this board because I do not believe the Steelers will pick a smaller back while McFarland is still on the roster.   7:01 WR Josh Johnson, Tulsa. (RS Senior). 5’10¼”, 176 lbs. with 31⅞” arms and 8⅝” hands. The skinny frame looks like it should be a problem, but according to Josh Carney he dominated the Shrine Bowl practices with crisp route running and explosive cuts that created wide open pass opportunities. There was even a veiled reference to similarities that could be drawn to AB as a draft prospect. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile describes him as “a feast-or-famine slot target with explosive top-end speed but… troubling lack of ball skills.” He concludes that “the playmaking talent [will] hit a little harder than the drops will.” Sounds troublingly familiar in some ways. Can the dropsies be fixed? Andrew Shaver’s gif-supported Depot scouting report expresses genuine doubt, and ends in a UDFA grade for that reason.   7:01 WR Davontavean “Tay” Martin, Okla. St. (Senior). 6’1½”, 188 lbs. with 32⅜” arms and 9⅜” hands. Shrine Bowl standout for his ability to get clean releases off the line, and to separate in the routes thereafter.   7:01 WR Charleston Rambo, Miami. (RS Senior). 6’0⅝”, 177 lbs. with 32” arms and 9¾” hands. Really good speed and enough shiftiness to be a threat every time he holds the ball, Rambo gets a Day 3 grade because the lack of heft makes him very vulnerable to press coverage, and his hands have been worse than inconsistent. The cries of outrage from the fanbase would be so annoying that I really hope the team goes in another direction.   7:01 WR Samori Toure, Nebraska. (Senior). 6’0¾”, 191 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 9⅜” hands. 24 years old. Generally acknowledged by the DB’s as the best of the Shrine Bowl east team WR’s, he excels at contested catches and toe tapping sideline grabs. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report sees “real talent to mold” but sees the need for a lot of work on the route running and other detail-oriented portions of his game.   7:01 NT Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA. (Senior). 6’3½”, 324 lbs. with long 34⅜” arms and 10” hands. A college NT with exceptional length and good power. Very hard to move, but reviews like this pre-Senior Bowl PFN scouting profile see no way to stay on the field for passing downs. He will need to get out of his stance quicker even on running plays to avoid giving away the initiative to superior NFL Guards and Centers. The Bleacher Report pre-Senior Bowl scouting profile suggests that the required burst has shown in flashes.   7:01 DT Derrick Tangelo, Penn St. (RS Senior). 6’1⅝”, 304 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9” hands. A Penn Stater by way of a long career at Duke, he stood out at the Shrine Bowl practices for his quickness off the ball and skilled hand fighting. His issues come down to lack of size and length.   7:01 EDGE James Houston IV, Jackson St. (RS Senior). 6’0⅞”, 241 lbs. with long 34¼” arms and 9⅛” hands. A pass rusher who wins with misdirection, stutter steps, and burst, but lacks any real semblance of bend. The athletic testing comes out to a decent top 25% overall, but is sharply divided into great-to-elite testing on the burst parts, with really terrible scores for agility. That is pretty much what you see on the film too, according to the gif-supported Depot scouting report by Andrew Shaver. He’s the sort of pass rusher that will give some very good OT’s a series of fits, while also getting shut down by certain TE’s who he can’t manage to fool.   7:01 EDGE Tre Williams, Arkansas. (RS Senior). 6’4⅜”, 253 lbs. with 33¾” arms and 10” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] A well developed pass rusher who shifts seamlessly from move to move but doesn’t have exceptional explosion or bend. Weak in the run game. Red flags for a domestic violence accusation back in 2018, and a DUI arrest in 2021. Combine 7:01 ILB Nate Landman, Colorado. (Senior). 6’2½”, 238 lbs. with short 30½” arms and 9⅜” hands. An archetype in the mold of Robert Spillane or Tyler Matakevich, this young man probably has “football player” etched inside his skull. Awesome team member and special teams prospect, but lacking the physical genius that would let him use that overachieving character against superior NFL athletes on the starting defense.   7:01 ILB Zacoby McClain, Auburn. (Senior). 5’11¼”, 228 lbs. with 31¾” arms and 9¼” hands. [Mtg. at Combine] Takes on blocks like a much bigger player, but only average as an athlete and possessing limited speed. Plays a smart, high energy game to make up for the limited athleticism. Combine 7:01 BUCK ILB Joshua Ross, Michigan. (Senior). 6’0¾”, 227 lbs. with 30½” arms and 9¾” hands. An undersized Buck ILB who won’t hold up in coverage but loves to play downhill and do some hitting. Smart player and emotional leader too. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report is less than glowing, ending in a UDFA grade due to “lack of speed and tackling consistency.” Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting profile would agree on that grade, but leaves the impression that he would rank a few rounds higher if he was 15 pounds bigger – and he does have a frame that could accept some extra muscle.   7:01 SS Smoke Monday, Auburn. (Senior). 6’1¾”, 207 lbs. with 32⅞” arms and 9⅛” hands. A box Safety who is pretty much limited to that role. Tom Mead’s gif-supported Depot scouting report likes the alpha attitude but worries about the many times he goes too far. “[Monday] is an unsportsmanlike penalty waiting to happen.”   7:01 CB Gregory Junior, Ouachita Baptist. (Senior). 5’11¼”, 202 lbs. with 31¼” arms and 9” hands. Dominated his extremely small-school competition with physicality and athleticism they could not match. Played well enough at the NFLPA Bowl practices to get an invite to the Senior Bowl, no reports have been found on how he did against the better LOC.   7:01 CB Chase Lucas, Ariz. St. (RS Senior). 5’10”, 181 lbs. with 31¼” arms and 9¼” hands. Will be 25 on draft day. If only he was four years younger! Projects as a solid Slot CB who tackles well enough despite a slender build. Showed tremendous short area quickness at the Shrine Bowl practices. Also excels as a team leader and spark plug. But the Steelers love youth, and that’s the asset he’s missing.   7:01 CB Jaylen Watson, Wash. St. (Senior). 6’1½”, 197 lbs. with 32¼” arms and 9⅝” hands. A long, tall drink of water who struggles with agility. A developmental talent on the outside.   7:04 STEELERS ROUND 7a PICK (# 225 OVERALL) (FROM MIAMI)   7:16 T/G Myron Cunningham, Arkansas. (RS Senior). 6’5⅛”, 323 lbs. with 33⅞” arms and 10⅜” hands. [Mtg. at Combine (informal)] Will turn 25 as a rookie. An experienced, all around, SEC Tackle who does everything well but has enough technical flaws to prevent him from standing out as special. Could be just as solid in the NFL if new coaches and hard work can fix those flaws up to a professional standard. Combine 7:16 T Luke Tenuta, Va. Tech. (RS Senior). 6’7⅞”, 318 lbs. with short 32⅝” arms and 10” hands. A strange build indeed for a player who needs to master his craft in order to use that height well instead of having it used against him by longer-levered defenders.   7:16 G/T J’Atyre Carter, Southern. (RS Senior). 6’3⅛”, 306 lbs. with 33¼” arms and 10⅛” hands. A small school Tackle who’s built like a Center but has never played the position, and will probably end up at Guard. This NFL Draft Buzz scouting profile sees a quick-footed but otherwise limited player who may struggle to get drafted.   7:16 QB/GADGET D’Eriq King, Miami. (RS Senior). 5’8¾”, 196 lbs. with 9¼” hands. Will be a 25 year old rookie. NOTE: grade will change if he switches positions. He’d be on the small side for a WR. For a QB? It just isn’t viable. OTOH, he has the sort of eye popping athleticism to be a sensational receiver, return specialist, or running back. Just a special, special athlete. An ACL tear in his 2020 bowl game prevented him from entering that draft. King is the phenom who kept Kyle Trask (2021 Round 2) from seeing a single start in H.S.   7:16 QB Chris Oladokun, S. Dak. St. (RS Senior). 6’1¼”, 207 lbs. with small 8⅞” hands. [Mtg. at pro day, VISIT] A mobile QB from a small program who also has a solid enough arm. Here is a nice PFN profile/interview if you want more background. This goes to Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report. Pro Day
Visit 7:16 TE Ko Kieft, Minn. (RS Senior). 6’4”, 259 lbs. with 33” arms and 9 ½” hands. Someone our own Jonathan Heitritter has known since playing against him in H.S., and now describes as “one of the most physically dominant blocking TE’s in all of college football.” High floor, but low ceiling given the very moderate athletic gifts when measured on an NFL grading scale. The gif-supported Depot scouting report contains some highly entertaining pancake and is a good model for anyone who wants to see an illustration of terms like “sustaining the block” and “driving with the feet.”   7:16 TE Nick Muse, S. Car. (RS Senior). 6’4⅜”, 259 lbs. with short 31¾” arms and 9¼” hands. This goes to a gif-illustrated interview with Owen Straley at the Shrine Bowl that is well worth the read. Muse, the younger brother of Tanner Muse, is generally viewed as a solid, do-it-all TE who can be a crafty route runner, but will be held back by the reality of his T-rex arm limitations. Good odds of making a career on the basis of #3 depth and special teams performance. Unlikely to break through into a starter role.   7:16 HB/FB Chig Okonkwo, Maryland. (Senior). 6’2½”, 238 lbs. with 32 ¾” arms and 9¾” hands. A classic hybrid between Fullback and H-Back, who is too small to be a true Tight End, and too straight-line to be a RB, but has too many physical assets to just ignore. Projects as a true special teams ace. Anything more will be gravy. A find by poster Jerry Reid, who writes: “He has a connection with Canada, who used him as a HB as well as TE. He is a highly athletic, size/speed mismatch. He’s not much for blocking though.”   7:16 RB Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma. (RS Senior). 5’10⅝”, 209 lbs. with itsy bitsy 7⅝” hands. Described as an ideal RB2 for an outside zone running game, he is discounted here for a severe lack of fit.   7:16 FB John Chenal, Wisconsin. (Senior). 6’2½”, 254 lbs. With short 29½” arms and 9⅝” hands. A Top 7% athlete at the Fullback position, the brother of Wisconsin LB Leo Chenal is a throwback buster-open-of-holes and special teams ace, with enough athletic talent to carry the ball from time to time.   7:16 RB Mataeo Durant, Duke. (Senior). 5’11⅜”, 196 lbs. with 9½” hands. A track star turned RB with 4.38 speed and good hands out of the backfield, but lacking anything like the size that Pittsburgh prefers in its backfield. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes him as a one-cut, zone system back.   7:16 WR Dontario Drummond, Ole Miss. (RS Senior). 6’1⅞”, 215 lbs. with 31½” arms and 9½” hands. Turns 25 in August, just before his rookie season. Wesley Cantliffe’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes a big-slot WR who sounds a lot like a somewhat smaller and lesser version of Juju Smith-Schuster, which makes sense for someone who’d be projected to go 2-3 rounds later if he was also a 20-year old like JJSS was. As a 25 year old? He is probably undraftable for the youth-loving Steelers.   7:16 WR Emeka Emezie, N. Car. St. (RS Senior). 6’2½”, 212 lbs. with 32¾” arms and 9” hands. Josh Carney’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes a poor man’s, wannabe Anquan Boldin: the “bully boy” type of ultra-physical receiver who “thrives on contested catches and dominating in the air instead of separating and creating space overall within his routes.”   7:16 WR Jaivon Heiligh, Coastal Car. (Senior). 6’0¼”, 200 lbs. with 9¼” hands.   7:16 WR Jerreth Sterns, Kentucky. (Senior). 5’7⅜”, 183 lbs. with 30” arms and 9” hands. Josh Carney’s gif-supported Depot scouting report calls him a “quietly consistent [player who] knows how to work himself open, and has strong, consistent hands.”   7:16 WR Deven Thompkins, Utah St. (RS Senior). 5’6⅞”, 167 lbs. with 30½” arms and 8¾” hands. Grade dropped from the Round 4 suggested in Jonathan Heitritter’s gif-supported Depot scouting report to “barely draftable” on the basis of pure, unadulterated Sizeism. As JH writes, the tape says “dynamic weapon”, but the “measurables say that Thompkins shouldn’t be able to be an impactful player at the next level due to his lack of size, length, and low BMI.” Yes, he runs and leaps like a deer. But it’s a wee little meal-for-two roebuck, not a freezer-filling elk or whitetail, and your humble author admits to his prejudice.   7:16 DT Kurt Hinish, Notre Dame. (RS Senior). 6’2¼”, 302 lbs. with shorter 32⅛” arms and 10” hands. A combine snub from a good program who features good burst off the line, heavy hands, and a fine motor. The issues go to his lack of size, length, and pass rush ability.   7:16 EDGE Michael Clemons, Texas A&M. (RS Senior). 6’5¼”, 263 lbs. with very long 34⅞” arms and 10⅛” hands. A solid looking prospect for any team seeking a pure 4-3, power rushing DE. Heavily discounted because that does not describe the Pittsburgh Steelers.   7:16 ILB James Skalski, Clemson. (RS Senior). 5’11⅞”, 228 lbs. with 30½” arms and 9⅛” hands. (Reportedly played closer to 240 lbs.) [Mtg. at VISIT] Turned 24 in February. A badly undersized and only decently athletic (65th percentile) athlete, but a football player to his core, an SEC team captain, and a leader of men. This scouting profile takes a bit of exception to that athletic profile, noting that Skalski made the Bruce Feldman “freaks” list for his weight room strength and shuttle times. It also praises his “instincts” while noting that “He’s a tweener who lacks the size to be a dominant thumper inside and may not have the top-end speed to play on the outside in the NFL” This February scouting profile sees inconsistency across his game and lack of athleticism as the primary concerns.  Visit 7:16 S Brad Hawkins, Michigan. (Senior). 6’0¼”, 210 lbs. with 31⅛” arms and 9⅜” hands. A lower level version of the Steelers Marcus Allen. Special teams stud, but ill suited for playing in a modern defense.   7:16 S Nolan Turner, Clemson. (RS Senior). 6’0⅞”, 202 lbs. with 31¼” arms and 9⅛” hands. Turned 25 in late March. [VISIT] A dual purpose Safety who flashed onto boards after an excellent pro day where he ran a 4.42 dash that could have been faster with a better start (the jumps show plenty of burst, so it isn’t that). Somewhere around a top 25% athlete, maybe better. Here is a pro day report from a local paper. This somewhat older scouting profile suggests that his play speed and burst lag well behind his pro day results. The CBS scouting profile likes his attitude, burst and COD, but worries about play strength. This pre-Shrine Bowl scouting profile sees an all-around average Safety deserving of a Round 4-5 grade. Alex Kozora’s gif-supported Depot scouting report ends in a UDFA grade over injury concerns and worries that he “just struggled to see an exciting part of his game.”  Visit 7:16 CB Shaun Jolly, App. St. (RS Senior). 5’8⅝”, 177 lbs. with 30⅜” arms and 9” hands. An undersized slot Corner with good movement skills and technique who stood out several times during Shrine Bowl week.   7:16 CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart, USC. (RS Junior). 6’1½”, 201 lbs. with 31½” arms and 9” hands.   7:20 STEELERS ROUND 7b PICK (# 241 OVERALL)  

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