Tag Archive for: NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Watchlist

Summer scouting season is underway and continues with the wide receiver class. Here is my 2023 NFL Draft wide receiver watchlist.

Top 5 2023 wide receiver watchlist

Kayshon Boutte

The top wide receiver of the 2023 class had a very productive freshman 2021 season and sadly dropped off a little bit due to injuries in 2022. Boutte is an extremely well-rounded receiver.

He flashes the foot quickness and toughness to handle slot duties at the next level and lines up all over the field. Boutte is dangerous with the ball in his hands.

Speaking of, the Tigers product hands’ accepts the ball fluidly on most throws and is ready to make a play afterward. He makes catches in traffic, even going up over taller defenders with vertical and toughness. 

Kayson Boutte is one of the most athletically gifted players in the 2023 class, who possess great speed, acceleration, and size and combines these traits with decent hands and outstanding route running.

The only reservation I have of Boutte is his medical issue. If he has a quality year in 2022, Boutte could easily become the top-rated receiver come the 2023 NFL Draft. Still, Boutte is the top prospect in the 2023 wide receiver watchlist.

Jaxson Smith-Njigba

At the age of 20, Jaxson Smith-Njigba has fine tuned his route running and has a great understanding of how to dissect different zones and attack the leverage on defensive backs.

As a sophomore in 2021 he played in 13 games and had 95 catches for 1595 yards for an average of 16.8 yards per catch, with 9 TDs, and a QB rating when targeted of 141.8. 

The Buckeye standout has the strongest hands any NFL wide receiver coach and quarterback would covet. He tracks the deep ball over either shoulder and brings in passes fluidly without breaking stride downfield

Expect 2022 to be even better than 2021 as Smith-Njigba will be gifted the number one receiving spot on the Buckeye’s offense. I have him slated as the number two prospect to watch in this 2023 wide receiver watchlist.

Jordan Addison

The third pass-catcher in this 2023 wide receiver watchlist is USC’s Jordan Addison. Addison had a very productive season last year winning the Biletnikoff trophy at Pittsburgh.

This off-season he transferred to USC and will play for offensive mastermind Lincoln Riley.  Addison is looking to replicate his 2021 season with Caleb Williams as his quarterback.

The Trojan playmaker has amazing flexibility and can pretty much make any catch you ask him to do. 

There’s evident speed to his game, along with the ability to break the angles of defenders in the open field. A slippery athlete, Addison is a headache to deal with when he has the football in his hands

Addison’s catch comfortability does not instill much confidence as he does tend to bring passes into his frame rather than working with his hands away from his chest. The further outside of his frame he has to work, the less dependable his hands become.

He has a chance this year to become to establish himself as a top ten pick if he continues to play at the level he displayed as a sophomore at Pittsburgh.

Parker Washington

Nittany Lions’ receiver Parker Washington had an 800 yard season sitting behind Jahan Dotson as the number two option. With a prime role coming this season, he’s looking to absolutely breakout and torch BIG-10 defensive backs.

Washington saw the bulk of his snaps from the slot last year, and got a lot of free releases. I expect to see him on the outside a little more and how he handles contact at the line of scrimmage. 

He is very good at tracking the ball in the air and, for his size, does a great job timing jumps to beat defenders for contested catches. So far in his career, he has brought in 11 out of 23 attempts on contested balls. A big reason to why is due to his strong hands.

When Washington gets in the open field, he can take it to the distance. He snags the ball well and is able to fully extend on off-target passes by extending his arms rather than pure speed.

Marvin Mims

Mims has the versatility to line up at all three receiving positions (X, Flanker, and Slot), and is able to execute all three levels of the field.

A savvy, natural pass-catcher with reliable hands and very good focus. He routinely looks the ball into his hands and can maintain concentration to haul in circus catches way outside of his framework. 

Despite being a smaller receiver, Mims competes well above his weight class and his competitive toughness shines as a blocker. Mims is one of the few receivers in this draft class that blocks well, which catapults him to the fifth spot in the 2023 wide receivers watchlist.

In 2023, Mims could solidify himself as a first-round talent if Oklahoma builds on his route tree. He runs the routes in his package well, but a more diverse route tree will allow him to produce more and more quickly at the NFL level.

Honorable Mentions: 

Josh Downs-UNC, Dontay Demus-Maryland, Zay Flowers-BC, Quentin Johnson-TCU, Xavier Hutchinson-Iowa State

 

***This article was originally published on the ATB Network by Hussam Patel***

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel
 
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2023 NFL Draft Quarterback Watchlist

Summer scouting season is underway and it kicks off with the 2023 quarterback class. Here is my 2023 NFL Draft quarterback watchlist.

Top 5 2023 quarterback watchlist

Bryce Young

Alabama’s Bryce Young is coming off a heisman season and is looking to build off that as he’s regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation at making throws out of the pocket and out of structure. 

Although, his draft stock may be hurt by his slight frame. Young looks more like a slot receiver compared to what a franchise quarterback is billed at.

Young led the Crimson Tide to a win in the SEC Championship game, becoming the only quarterback to beat the vaunted Georgia defense last season. In that game he was 26 of 44 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns. 

While the Crimson Tide ended up losing in the title game in the rematch against Georgia, Young showed throughout the season that he could play the position at a high level.

In the play above you see Young’s quick feet moving him to allow him a clean pocket. He throws a rope in-between two defenders outside the hash marks. 

His anticipation and touch at this level makes him one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and number one in this 2023 quarterback watchlist.

C.J. Stroud

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks in this class. He completed 72% of his passes in 2022. Stroud will look to build off what he did in the rose bowl game against Utah.

Stroud is accurate, aggressive, willing to attack the middle of the field, and reads the field extremely well as a passer.

Pre-snap, Utah show single-high coverage in the defensive backfield. However, the post-snap reality does not match the pre-snap expectations. The Utes defense converts into a two-deep shell.

Stroud, after opening to the left side of the field, reads the rotation and throws to the post route from Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

He’s a smart signal-caller who is a natural leader with great instincts and the ability to quickly cycle through his reads. Which makes him the second quarterback on my 2023 quarterback watchlist.

Tyler Van Dyke

There is excitement in the area around the Miami Hurricanes this season, mainly in part to new head coach Mario Cristobal. Tyler Van Dyke’s play last season is another big reason for that excitement.

In 2021 as a sophomore he played in 10 games as he passed for 2918 yards on 326 attempts with a completion percentage of 62 for an average of 9.0 yards per pass, with 25 TDs, while also taking 23 sacks, and putting up a QB rating of 108.9. After the first year as starting quarterback, he earned ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

This touchdown early in that contest is a good example of how well Van Dyke sees the field and throws with anticipation. He hits the post route for a touchdown on a switch concept, letting the ball fly as the receiver gets into his break.

Van Dyke is my third ranked prospect in this 2023 quarterback watchlist because of his processing skills. Also, he uses good technique, squaring his shoulders to the target and stepping into his throws

Will Levis

Kentucky’s Will Levis came from nowhere last year and is now looked at as a legitimate first-round talent. He has great physical gifts as well as good accuracy and powerful quick release as well a natural feel for the game

Levis offers a nice blend of size, arm strength and toughness. In the pocket, he has a good feel to climb and avoid pressure — and also possesses enough athleticism to extend plays with his legs.

If he can work on ball placement issues, and lower-body inconsistencies with his mechanics, he’ll live up to the hype.

The Wildcat product has an elite quick-release coupled with fast processing skills which makes him an ideal for a condensed formation offense, similar to the likes of the Rams.

Tanner McKee

In his first year starting at Stanford, Tanner McKee showcased a handful of NFL Traits. He has elite size for the position – stands 6-6 and weighs 230lbs and has the arm strength to match.

The Cardinals product accuracy is decent but his ball placement is one of his best traits overall. McKee shows excellent accuracy on short timing routes to backs and receivers. Slightly, he places the ball in front of receiver to lead them to potential yardage after the catch.

This completion against Oregon highlights two of his strengths: Aggression and ball placement. McKee is not afraid of challenging small throwing windows, and has no fear throwing over the middle. Couple that with accuracy, and McKee can have a solid foundation for the NFL.

He’s an intriguing pro prospect due to his obvious tangibles. McKee looks the part possessing prototypical drop-back passer qualities, is a quick decision-maker, and decent accuracy. He can easily transition into a pro-style offense which makes him the fifth prospect on the 2023 quarterback watchlist.

Honorable Mentions:

Phil Jurkovec-Boston College, Spencer Rattler- South Carolina, Hendon Hooker-Tennessee, Anthony Richardson-Florida, Jake Haener-Fresno State.

 

***This article was originally published on the ATB Network by Hussam Patel***

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

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What Erik Ezukanma brings to the Miami Dolphins

With the 125th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Texas Tech WR Erik Ezukanma.

The Miami Dolphins 2022 NFL Draft series continues with fourth round pick Erik Ezukanma

Round 3: Pick 102

Pre-draft

Initially in the draft process the Miami Dolphins were interested in Texas Tech WR Erik Ezukanma. During the NFL Combine, the Miami Dolphins had a formal interview with Ezukanma.

“Throughout the process, Miami did show a lot of interest and I had a formal (interview) with them at the NFL Combine. That’s where I got this hat. They just showed love throughout the process and for them to pick a spot with me, it was big.”

Erik Ezukanma on his pre-draft process with the Miami Dolphins

On Mike McDaniel’s evaluation of Erik Ezukanma, both he and Chris Grier liked him enough to draft him.

“It was exciting to watch him play and I think he fits the energy and the skill level that we’re looking for. We want guys to be fast and play fast and doing both with a decisiveness and a team-first passion that he bleeds. We’re excited to add him. That was the biggest thing, I saw a football player playing the receiver position.”

Mike McDaniel on Erik Ezukanma 

Scouting Report

Strengths

At 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds, Erik Ezukanma’s best ability in his toolkit is his contested catch ability. He’s goes above defenders and makes catches with defensive backs draped all over him.

The red raider product has the size, length, and strength to defeat press jams. Can make spectacular catches in the open field and when covered by defenders.

My favorite asset of Ezukanma and how Texas Tech preferred to use him. Ezukanma is built for breaking tackles after the catch. He looks like a power back when breaking away from tackles with his frame.

Another facet of his game is his versatility. At Texas Tech, Erik Ezukanma lined up mostly out wide; however, he was used plenty in motion, on screen plays, and swing passes as well as the occasional jet sweep.

“I’m a versatile guy. I feel like I can fit in right where Jaylen Waddle – the way he can take the ball out of the backfield as well as be a deep threat down the field, but also just a versatile guy with RAC ability and YAC ability – yards after contact and run after the catch. You can put me anywhere on the field and I feel like I can help the team in any situation.”

Erik Ezukanma describes his play style

Ezukanma’s hands are strong and among several NFL talents. However, with a revolving door of quarterbacks at Texas Tech Ezukanma had some drops that showed he was adjusting the other quarterbacks

Weaknesses

As mentioned above, a revolving door at quarterback and a coaching change was not ideal for Erik Ezukanma.

His production during the beginning of the season was red hot with 13 catches and 322 yards in his first two games.

The Texas Tech alum needs to improve his release package at the next level. He doesn’t gain enough separation on most of his routes, with the exception of the drag route over the middle.

Erik Ezukanma does not have enough route running ability which is needed for the NFL. Furthermore, while Texas Tech runs a spread concept, Ezukanma was used on scripted routes to maximize his usage and gain production.

There some inconsistencies at the top of his routes and when making adjustments in traffic, more so relying on his frame and contested catch ability to make plays on the ball.

Projection

The way in which Erik Ezukanma or “EZ” can simply pluck the football out of the air is ridiculous. There should not be any issues with his hands throughout his career and based on what he has shown on tape.

I expect Mike McDaniel to put Ezukanma in any position and let him work. His playstyle is very similar to Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins, who was also able to snag nearly every deep ball.

“That’s one of my strong suits. I feel like throughout my career I’ve really worked on contested catches, bang-bang plays. I feel like in the beginning of my career at Tech, that was one of the places I struggled at, but I gained more confidence with that and just getting bigger in the weight room, buying into the weight room and being able to make those contested catches even if a defender is on my back or hitting me at the same time. So I feel like that’s one of my high points of my game.”

Erik Ezukanma on his contested catch ability

Often, wide receivers are asked to block in Mike McDaniel’s offense. Ezukanma is more than willing as a blocker and should see an increase in snaps as the season progresses on run plays. Ezukanma has the size and strength to be an asset as a run blocker out on the edge.

In Miami,  he will be best served as a possession receiver that can work the middle of the field, a red zone target and a mismatch against defenders on motions, screens, and jet sweeps.

The modern day of NFL wide receivers is changing where wide receivers are more athletic than defensive backs. A weapon in any route or scenario that can make big plays, Ezukanma is just that.

Mike McDaniel will find a way to get Erik Ezukanma the football and let him eat.

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

 

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What Channing Tindall brings to the Miami Dolphins

With the 102nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall.

Pre-draft

The Miami Dolphins brought in Channing Tindall in a 30-visit. Overall, General Manager Chris Grier and the Dolphins brass were impressed with the Bulldog Product. 

Chris Grier cited his game speed, versatility, and character. 

“That character too, that part of him really stood out to me like, ‘Hey, this kid loves ball and wanted to be around his teammates and do anything he can to help them win.’ And it paid off. They won a national championship. We really enjoyed getting to know the kid. Specifically, the speed stands out on film on him.”

Chris Grier on Channing Tindall

Tindall on his pre-draft visit in Miami:

“I just really got in with the linebackers coaches. I talked to the whole staff and I felt like home, honestly, when I was there.”

New Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Tindall

Scouting Report

Strengths

Channing Tindall is a super fast and athletic linebacker that runs a 4.4 forty time.  He’s a sure fire tackler who always brings down the ball carrier

At 6-foot-2, Tindall may be a tad undersized but it does not show on film. The Georgia product is a hard hitter and flys by blockers blowing up run plays. Has surprising strength for his size. 

Channing Tindalls’ coverage skills are reminiscent of a big nickel, or strong safety in the slot position. He’s able to cover tight ends in press man and stick with faster running backs. 

In terms of Tindalls’ pass-rushing prowess, he has some natural pass rush moves. In high school, Tindall was an EDGE. He’s got fluid hips and nice lateral movement. 

He provides a good outside rush and is able to get around bigger offensive lineman with his blazing speed on the outside. Also, as a run defender, he takes good angles and pursues ball carriers. Very rarely do you see Channing Tindall out of position.

Weaknesses

Tindall was never able to secure a starting spot in the linebacker core behind Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean. 

While the Bulldog alum did see increases in production numbers his senior year, he barely even logged over 600 snaps over four years at Georgia. 

In such a talented collegiate defense, Tindall was rarely focused on as a weakness and that might have not shown how he does when teams target him. 

Routinely, as an “undersized” player he was pushed around when teams ran at him. A majority of his successful plays were when he was a chaser than in a blockers face.

However with such little snaps, the reps Channing Tindall played in, he made the most of his opportunities. Tindall was third on the team in tackles. 

Projection

Projecting how new Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Tindall will not be hard. 

Miami’s defensive philosophy asks their linebackers to play the run, rush the quarterback and occasionally be a spy in coverage. 

Channing Tindall has done all those things in his time at Georgia. 

“I think when you watch the film, it’s a very talented defense and how they use him – they use him as a spy, they use him to blitz, he covers backs. Just a lot of the ways that are kind of similar to how he will probably be used here in different schemes”

Chris Grier on how Channing Tindall was used in Georgia

Tindall is one of the fasted linebackers in this year’s class – he’s a player who covers like a safety and possesses serious tackling and hitting power.

It’s likely that Tindall will be used as an inside linebacker, but that’s not all he can do. Not only can he be a MIKE, he can also be on the outside as a SAM or WILL linebacker. 

“The way they use their linebackers is different. They use their linebackers everywhere, put them on the edge sometimes, put them on the line, they put them at Mike, Will. They are very versatile and I feel like I fit into it.”

Channing Tindall on the Dolphins Linebacker usage

It’s a solid selection to start of Mike McDaniels’ first ever draft as a head coach. Channing Tindall fills a need and brings more athletic talent and speed that the Miami Dolphins currently have and covet.

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

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2022 NFL Draft Rumors

It’s the largest smokescreens NFL teams put out year after year. Many NFL Teams moves are a mystery as news is intentionally leaked out by the organizations themselves, truth or not.

The odds and news have changed dramatically over the last days as this years NFL Draft is truly the most unpredictable in years.

Here are some of the 2022 NFL Draft rumors and notes:

Deebo Samuel

League source confirms Deebo Samuel is not being traded at this time, which means a draft day move is unlikely for many teams hoping to get an electric player.

Top 10 news

Jacksonville Jaguars

Georgia EDGE rusher Travon Walker is garnering a lot of hype lately and the oddsmakers are betting on the Bulldog product to be taken first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I’ve had Aidan Hutchinson in several mock drafts to Jacksonville, but with rumors coming out, it may not be far fetched.

Schematically, it favors Walker than Hutchinson as Walker can play outside linebacker, standup EDGE and as an interior lineman. This help out K’Lavon Chaisson and Foye Olukun, compared to Hutchinson who is a hand in the dirt rusher.

Detroit Lions

A Malik Willis pairing in Detroit is all about the future. Willis can learn behind Goff as he needs the most development of any quarterback in this years 2022 NFL Draft class.

General Manager Brad Holmes is “looking” at the quarterback position and it might not be with the second overall pick.

It may come down to Aidan Hutchinson or Travon Walker to beef up the defensive trenches.

However, how much longer does Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers have left to play, the same may be said about Kirk Cousins.

The Chicago Bears still need some pieces and Justin Fields is still developing, drafting Willis may pay off in the future.

Houston Texans

Derek Stingley Jr. and the Texans have had connections for a while due to his former DB coach part of the Texans Coaching staff.

If Houston is all in on Davis Mills, building the trenches would be a better option with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft. In the latest mocks and with some news coming out, the Texans do have two offensive tackles in mind: Evan Neal and Ikem Ekonwu.

It’s a deep defensive class towards the backend of the draft, especially for defenders. The 2022 NFL Draft rumors have the trading back from the 13th overall pick.

New York Jets

I’ve heard that Robert Saleh is not a big Travon Walker fan. Also, Kyle Hamilton fourth overall would not fit with what the Jets defense is looking to build.

Ikem Ekonwu is a favorite of Jets General Manager Joe Douglas. Having another offensive lineman fortifies the the line for Zach Wilson and we may see shades of his BYU playing days.

Gang green will look to load up on offense by pairing Wilson arm with a big body wide receiver in the likes of Drake London. Jameson Williams is a possibility with the tenth overall selection.

Head Coach Robert Saleh may want to get better in the trenches on defense. If Kayvon Thibodeaux falls, it may be a tossup between him and Jermaine Johnson.

New York Giants

The 2022 NFL Draft rumor mill has it that the Giants may look to trade back a few spots to gain more value.

While General Manager Joe Schoen has hinted that the offensive line is a priority, they may forgo passing on a lineman for more pressing needs. An EDGE rusher, a deep class overall, is very much in play. Especially the top three in Thibodeaux, Walker, and Johnson.

If the Giants are comfortable at fifth and seventh overall Evan Neal and Charles Cross are targets. Big Blue has a big decision to make after the draft if they want to keep Daniel Jones for a fifth year, which does not seem likely.

Carolina Panthers

Carolina is a weird team this year. Considering the fact that they are heavily interested in a quarterback this year, Sam Darnold is still “the guy”.

They have the sixth pick and their next is in the fourth round. I highgly expect Carolina to select a quarterback with the physical tools of Matt Corral. Kenny Pickett seems like the logical choice– have Matt Rhule and co. made a logical decision recently?

Atlanta Falcons

Expect Terry Fontenet and the Falcons to after several EDGE rushers hard. I’ve heard Kayvon Thibodeaux is a favorite but Jermaine Johnsons skillset is very hard to pass up on.

Atlanta could be a dark horse for Malik Willis if he were to fall to the eighth pick, even if Kayvon Thibodeaux is on the board.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle just seems so perfect for Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.

They’ll have to re-build their defense and Sauce brings the moxie and physical play style Carroll wants in his defense.

However, recent draft history has shown that the Seahawks routinely trade back to garner more picks later on to fill needs. Offensive line is another deep position group in this years class.

Notes

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia is on the market for cornerbacks and Trent McDuffie has been mocked routinely. The 2022 NFL Draft rumor mill has Kaiir Elam as the third or fourth corner picked, I would not be shocked if Kaiir Elam is picked up by the Eagles with their second first round pick.

The Eagles are also on the marke for an EDGE rusher, George Karlaftis has been a mainstay in several recent mock drafts. Although, another wide receiver for Jalen Hurts would not hurt, a potential trade up for Jameson Williams may be in play. Garrett Wilson could also be on the board.

Kyle Hamilton

Hamilton seems to be one of the most polarizing players in this draft cycle as he can do it all on the defensive side of the ball.

The range he showed on tape didn’t match the speed he showed in workouts; shockingly, to NFL teams it may matter. However, teams within the top 10 have other pressing needs than a safety.

The Washington Commanders and Houston Texans have been heavily linked to Kyle Hamilton in the 2022 NFL Draft rumors.

Running back in Round 1?

A new saying goes that you do not ever take a running back in the first round, there are differing opinions.

There’s been a recent trend of running backs devalued in the first round; however, it is situationally based.

The 2022 NFL Draft rumors has the Buffalo Bills circling around Iowa State’s Breece Hall as the first running back taken off the board. Pair with a lethal aerial attack in Orchard Park, the Bills may well be on their way back to the AFC Championship game.

Miami Dolphins

It’s quiet in south beach, a bit too quiet. It’s been an aggressive off-season for the Miami Dolphins and General Manager Chris Grier.

Grier talked about finding the right time to be aggressive in the off-season and the NFL Draft is a part of it.

With Miami only having four picks in this years draft a move up to grab a player they really like is a good possibility to complete a piece on either side of the ball.

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor and Lead NFL Draft analyst at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

 

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Day 2 NFL Combine Takeaways

Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Scouting combine is in the books here are 3 takeaways from the second day of on-field workouts.

40 times (again)

Remember Thursday night at the scouting combine, when the receivers blew the roof off like they were on the racetrack?

It extended to Friday’s offensive line drills, when we saw a display of pure speed from Hog Mollies we’ve never seen before.

It’s as if monster trucks beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. by one-tenth of a second.

There were six offensive linemen with official sub-5.0 40 times in the first group, and six in the second. The previous record was six, and there were 11 sub-4.5 40-yard dashes overall in the last three combines.
Rutgers’ Isiah Pacheco and South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong tied for the fastest running back at the 2022 combine with 40 times of 4.37 seconds.
https://twitter.com/brgridiron/status/1499968529856188416?s=20&t=qqh9-WqPIMlqPs6QOBwK2A
Notre Dame’s Kyren Williams caught flak for his 4.7 40 yard dash time as many expected him to run faster.
https://twitter.com/DP_NFL/status/1500124754837131267?s=20&t=KZeswPrZHw85YSWx0Y-Ahg

However for RB’s there are more important factors and measurables at play than 40 times.

Zion Johnson’s Big Day

Zion Johnson played tackle and guard at Boston College, and then took reps at center during Senior Bowl week. Johnson has showcased his versatility and followed it up with a fantastic combine performance.

Few offensive linemen are as undersized like Johnson at 6-foot-3 and 312 pounds, but few had better combines than Johnson. He ran a 5.18 40-yard dash aced other drills, and looked very smooth and powerful on the field.

Johnson needed to show some athleticism to go with his play strength, and he took care of that admirably. He led all lineman with 32 bench press reps and showed off his movement in space with the wave drill

The Boston College product was showing an ability to create power without planting during on-field drills.

Johnson is an easy mover, and you can see how he’s able to gain power and efficiency from that. He has separated himself as one of the top interior offensive linemen.

James is Cooking

In today’s league, top running backs threaten defenses on third down with their receiving skills, and NFL teams loved what they saw in James Cook on Friday.

Cook ran a 4.42 40 times and made seamless cuts with the ball in his hands during the on-field drills. He looked natural in space, secured all of his passes and caught the ball with his soft hands like a natural receiver.

At Georgia, Cook only logged 230 carries, so he doesn’t have mileage on him; however, he can project as a featured ball-carrier primed to log 15-plus carries a game.

Furthermore, Cook can become a matchup nightmare on crucial downs either in the slot or on short routes in the middle of the field.

*** This article was originally posted at ATB Network***
Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

2022 NFL Scouting Combine Preview

The NFL Combine kicks off on March 1st and ends on March 7th. The 2022 NFL Combine will take place in Lucas Oil Stadium. 

NFL Network will be covering the 2022 NFL Combine:

  • March 3rd: quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends from 4 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET 
  • March 4th: running backs, offensive linemen and special teams from 4 pm. ET to 10 p.m. ET 
  • March 5th: Five hours of live coverage of defensive linemen and linebackers from 4 p.m. ET to 9 p.m. 
  • March 6th: Five hours of live coverage of defensive backs from 2 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET 

What it is

The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine allows prospects to participate in on-field drills in front of NFL evaluators. Additionally, prospects have the opportunity to interview with NFL teams.

There are around 324 total combine participants ranging from SEC powerhouses to FCS and HBCU players. 

Analysis

The NFL combine is the biggest draft-centric event of the year. A year after its full cancellation, the NFL combine is returning this year but the National Invitational Camp planned to implement several COVID-19 protocols, including a “bubble.” 

However, The NFL Combine is lifting bubble restrictions shortly after the news that player agents were organizing a boycott.

Most prospects train for the NFL Combine right after the season ends. Each prospect has a team of nutritionists, agents, and trainers- to help them with their testing, nutrition, training and even sleep schedule.

Training for the combine is no joke as it is the biggest interview of prospects lives.

It may be entertaining for fans and media alike to enjoy the testing events such as the 40 yard dash and even the bench press. NFL teams view the medical evaluations as the most vital aspect of the combine.

These medical evaluations are critical in decision making for NFL teams. At times if a player fails the evaluation it may knock them off a teams board or may even shatter their dreams of playing in the NFL.

Interviews with NFL team evaluators is the second most important part of the combine process. It’s a rare opportunity for scouts, coaches, and general managers to get to know players in a one-on-one format. 

This allows players to understand what teams are looking for in them and teams to really pick a prospects brain and see if they can be a cultural fit within their organization.

Prospects see a volatile change in their training regimen for the NFL Combine. The Combine itself has a different structure compared to how players train.

Players are in a new uncomfortable environment which interferes in how they go about doing things. It’s not an optimal environment that will translate into testing numbers they usually hit.

Furthermore, it’s why teams go to prospects pro days. Pro days are similar to the NFL combine except colleges host it for their players. This allows prospects to be comfortable in familiar circumstances to put their best foot forward.

Pro days are essentially structured by college training staffs where players know the surface they are working on. In short, players create the workout during pro days where the combine creates the work for them.

Conclusion

For many of us in the draft world, analysts don’t “trust” the pro day testing numbers as they want to see how prospects react to different environments as it translates to prospects figuring out things in the league and on game days.

Agents of prospects sometimes tell them to forgo the combine testing and do the medical testing and interviews with teams. Teams still take into account pro day numbers and can use their evaluation criteria to better judge players.

 

*** This article was originally posted at PhinManiacs***

 

Hussam Patel is a Miami Dolphins contributor at Five Reasons Sports Network, Director of Scouting at PhinManiacs and Editor at Dolphins ATB. Follow him on Twitter at @HussamPatel

Recap of Miami Dolphins’ March 26 Madness

Let me just start off with this,

 

Chris Grier my brother your flowers and a round of applause

 

I will be the first to admit that I had been a skeptic of Chris Grier because of picks like Charles Harris and no RB or WR being drafted before the 6th round, but wow did Chris knock it out of the park in trading back with the 49ers…. So, in the in the midst of me praising Chris Grier and writing this article, He decided that he would make another trade this time with the Philadelphia Eagles so let’s recap all the craziness so far.

 

The First Deal:

This bomb shocked everyone as Flores had previously mentioned picking someone “let’s say in the top 10” so a trade with the 49ers came as a surprise as most expected it to be the Carolina Panthers at 8 who would trade up. For the 49ers this move signals that a QB run will start the 2021 NFL Draft. For the Dolphins the move to 12 signaled serious Najee Harris vibes as the first pick but Chris Grier had other plans apparently, as he was not done dealing for the day.

 

 

Trade with Eagles:

If the deal with the 49ers didn’t kick you off your chair, then the one with the Eagles for sure did. This one move here signifies that the Dolphins aren’t just about wheeling and dealing for picks, but they’ll do it for a specific player as well. I really have to wonder which player or players they have identified as being potential choices for the number 6 overall selection.

 

New Draft Order:

Overall looking at the end result of the 2021 NFL Draft and a couple things standout for me.

  1. The 2021 NFL Draft will start with 4 straight QB selections.
  2. The Bengals will have the choice of both Penei and Chase
  3. And the Dolphins might still have the choice of the top 3 WR and Kyle Pitts at 6.

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To round it all up, this move was probably the biggest indicator of Chris Grier playing chess not  checkers with the competition. Not only was he able to turn the #3 overall pick into a plethora of riches in the coming years:

But he was also able to put the Dolphins in a position where all the options that should be getting considered at 3, are now slam dunk picks at 6 after all the moves.

 

Chris Grier, you killed this one chief!

2020 NFL Draft Live Coverage: Day 2

The 2020 NFL Draft started just how we wanted it, right? Tua is finally a Miami Dolphin!

Tonight, you get to share Day 2 of the NFL Draft with US again:

Five Reasons Sports Network NFL Draft Live Coverage Day 2:

 

Rewatch our NFL Draft Day 1 Coverage here: 

 

Our new TUA shirt! Get it here!

 

Catch up with our stories:

The official Three Yards Per Carry video draft guide (Alfredo Arteaga, Simon Clancy)

The final Three Yards Per Carry/Extra Yard mock draft (Alfredo Arteaga)

Tua, no matter what (Josh Houtz) 

Pressure point: is Tua the plan? (Craig Davis)

Hey Dolphins, be the Heat (Ethan Skolnick)

The most important Dolphins draft ever (Ramon Lo)

The South Florida draft prospects (Larry Blustein)

The Miami Hurricanes draftees (Paul Austria)

 

Thanks to our sponsors:

Andre Law (AndreLaw.com)

Keystone Chiropractic (Office here)

Luis Peters, State Farm (LuisPeters.com)

Greenlight Tek (GreenlightTek.com)

Lloyd Heilbrunn law (Palm Beach firm)

Greenview Construction (MACAINC.net)

Seltzer Mayberg law firm (North Miami firm)

 

 

Check our live coverage here:

Tua Tagovailoa Aces Three-Month Doctor Visit

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s hip looked ‘as positive as possible’ according to reports. Will the Dolphins draft the talented passer?

The NFL offseason is a long and grueling process.

No one truly knows what the team’s end game is, but if early reports are accurate, Tua Tagovailoa is at the top of their wish list. Acquiring the talented quarterback is an entirely different beast. And one that the Dolphins will soon have to make a franchise-altering decision on.

Is Tagovailoa worthy of the #5 overall pick? Absolutely.

Is he worthy of trading multiple draft picks to move up and secure the quarterback of the future? I believe so, but do the Dolphins?

That answer we may not know until April 23rd. But one thing we do know is that Tagovailoa is progressing quite nicely.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Tagovailoa’s three-month CT scan came back great.

There’s still a ways to go in Tagovailoa’s development, and the potential for AVN is still prominent. However, this is a massive win for Tua and his agent, who hope the QB can throw before April’s draft. One would assume that if he can showcase his skills to NFL teams and general managers, the likelihood that he would be a top-5 draft pick dramatically improves. As does the possibility that Miami–or any other team–would have to trade up to land The Left Arm of God.

In the end, there is no player in the history of the NFL draft that I wanted my favorite football team to draft more than Tagovailoa. And for years, Miami passed on elite quarterbacks, to settle for the safe prospect. Perhaps this is the end? Maybe, after twenty years of failing to address the most critical position in football with anyone other than Ryan Tannehill, a bunch of second-round draft picks, or aging veterans–maybe they finally land a once-in-a-generation QB.

The time is now. Tua Tagovailoa, No Matter What.

This article was written by Josh Houtz (@houtz) a lifelong Tua Tagovailoa stan.