Welcome to the second ever TDN Mailbag! Every Friday I’ll be taking questions from our elite fans about the NFL, NFL Draft and college football landscape, looking to provide you with the type of insight you desire into all three realms. If I don’t get to your question on here, Trevor and I will more than likely answer on the Locked on NFL Draft podcast Fan Friday or Spectator Saturday episode.
Who are a couple of under the radar cornerback prospects who have stood out to you so far this year?
— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) September 20, 2018
Answer: I have admittedly not been high on this cornerback class at all, and this season has done little to change my mind on that front so far. I’m skeptical of all the top cornerbacks beyond Greedy Williams, who still has issues to work on in terms of his technique.
I think Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye is probably going to run in the 4.5s at best, but he’s grown on me this season as a zone corner. He seem to have eliminated a little hitch in his pedal-to-close transition, allowing him to attack the ball in front of him more fluidly. Not many corners offer his height, length, overall size and ball skills. He’s an impressive specimen for sure, but for some reason nobody in big media markets seems to be talking about him, although I know he has plenty of fans at The Draft Network.
Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed many others. It’s a hard position to scout live, because they’re out of the screen most of the time, so when the All-22 drops I’ll have a better idea.
Thoughts on Jaylon Ferguson, LA Tech ?
— Deuce Windham (@RevDeuceWindham) September 20, 2018
Answer: I watched some of Jaylon Ferguson’s 2017 tape and wasn’t a big fan. I didn’t see a pass rusher with great athletic tools or flexibility, which typically doesn’t translate well to better competition. Ferguson has the size and length you want to see, but if traits are lacking for a small school player, they have to compensate with a very elaborate set of rush moves, which I haven’t seen either. But, admittedly, I need to watch more of him.
Two questions: 1) Who are your top 5 prospects atm? 2) Do you think DJ Moore should be more involved in the CAR passing game?
— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) September 20, 2018
Absolutely he should be. Carolina has one worthwhile receiver in Devin Funchess, outside of what Moore can bring to the table. His post-catch ability and vertical prowess are a combination that of traits that are sorely needed in Carolina. By the end of the season, he should be the featured target in that offense.
Long time listener, first time caller. Thoughts on my guy Tyler Clark
— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) September 20, 2018
Answer: I like Tyler Clark! He’s tough, physical and a better athlete than he’s given credit for. His physical dimensions and propensity to play too high and get stuck on more powerful blockers is a bit concerning, but he’s powerful and has flashed the ability to be disruptive too. Georgia doesn’t ask their interior defensive line to get upfield a lot, but I think that is where Clark might make his hay in the NFL if they can make his stance more threatening.
Who is the biggest draft sleeper that could rise into 1st RD territory?
— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) September 21, 2018
Honestly, my answer still should be Dawson Knox, but he has one catch for six yards this season. They just don’t ever target him right now, with the number of vertical shots Ole Miss has been taking on the outside. He has all the physical and athletic traits to be a coveted tight end, but he needs a few highly productive games to break out.
There’s an on-going debate on the value of fantasy football writers to the evaluation and appreciation of the actual product of football. Where do you stand: can/does a contributor, writing from the perspective of fantasy football, lend credible debate to football topics?
— joseph rossi (@ABQjoe_r) September 20, 2018
Answer: Yes. While the distinction between fantasy evaluation and true football evaluation needs to be understood, many of the things uncovered by fantasy evaluators through the use of analytics and advanced statistics, are also extremely helpful in the analysis of scheme, an individual’s skill set and player usage.
Which prospects stock has taken the biggest hit in the first 3 weeks?
— Joe Romano (@JoeRomano51) September 20, 2018
Answer: To me it’s Jarrett Stidham. I think NFL teams were considering him one of the top guys to watch if he took a big leap this season, and I don’t know how anything he’s done on the field could convince them that he’s there. It’s been a really rough start for Stidham.
Considering the Rodney Anderson injury, at this point are there any RBs who have a shot to be first rounders come April?
— KP (@KevinParker5) September 20, 2018
Answer: I really don’t think so. Iowa State’s David Montgomery makes the most sense because of his size, power and ability to function as a receiver right away in the NFL, but I don’t know that his vision or athletic tools are significant enough to be considered that high in the draft.
There will be some solid mid-round backs in this class, but if those are your best guys, it’s a bad class. Damien Harris, Justice Hill, Bryce Love and others will be solid NFL players, just not Round 1 picks.
Which rookies have surprised you so far? Which have disappointed?
— Paul (@mrpchvz) September 20, 2018
Answer: Keep in mind, try as I might, I haven’t seen them all yet. Also, because they’ve disappointed me doesn’t mean they won’t ever impress me. We’re early into their careers, a lot can happen.
Surprised: Darius Leonard, Desmond Harrison (he’s been adequate, but I thought he would suck), Will Dissly and Phillip Lindsay.
Disappointed: Ronald Jones, Josh Allen (although I expected it), Nick Chubb and Lamar Jackson (preseason obviously).