Friday morning = TDN Mailbag time! Y’all tossed a terrific slate of questions at me this week, including my five top players in the class for the Steelers, Round 1 sleepers, Brian Lewerke’s future, Jachai Polite’s draft spot ceiling, ranking this year’s quarterback class with last year’s and more.
If your team (the Steelers or whoever you choose to use) had the first 5 picks in this draft, but no other picks afterwards, who do you pick with your 5 picks?
— AJDraftScout (@AJDraftScout) October 26, 2018
Fun question ha. My choices for the Steelers would be Nick Bosa, Justin Herbert, Greedy Williams, Deionte Thompson and Mack Wilson. Need that elite pass rusher opposite TJ Watt, nab the quarterback of the future and finally land a cornerback with real potential and an edge to his game. Thompson is the ballhawk this defense has been lacking for so long, and Wilson gives them a rare linebacker with ball skills and elite coverage ability.
Who’s the most out of left field name you could see making their way into Round 1 come draft day?
— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) October 26, 2018
As long as we all know this is an impossible question to answer at this time of year, I’ll offer three names to consider: Oklahoma OT Cody Ford, South Carolina IDL Javon Kinlaw and Texas S Brandon Jones.
Who’s the highest drafted A&M player and why?
— Mark Jarvis (@WhatsOnDraftNFL) October 26, 2018
If it isn’t tight end Jace Sternberger, the NFL messed up. I’m a big fan of Sternberger, and think his upside as a blocker makes his game very similar to Vance McDonald as prospects. He has a chance to be a top 64 lock if he declares and tests well.
the consensus among the TDN guys is Mack Wilson>Devin White, which is interesting because seemingly every where else it’s Devin>Mack. Care to go into more detail about this?
— travis (@traviswhodey) October 26, 2018
Mack Wilson has rare coverage ability, instincts and ball skills for a linebacker, while also being a physical and sound tackler for the most part. Both players are still improving at the mental aspects of playing their positions, but Devin White can be a very inconsistent processor, and doesn’t always bring the fight to blockers like Wilson does.
White probably has the higher ceiling as a run defender if he can keep making strides, but Wilson can do pretty awesome things in space and in coverage, and that’s what wins at linebacker in today’s NFL.
Does Jachai Polite have a legitimate chance of being drafted in the top-5 next year?
— Grant Vich (@VichGee) October 26, 2018
Top 5? No. First round? I think so, yes. You can’t teach his kind of burst, speed and bend, but Jachai Polite is also a terrific counter rusher as well, using his first move to set up his second. He needs to get stronger and improve his run fits to be an every down player.
What’s the future outlook on Brian Lewerke? I don’t wanna give up on the guy
— Ian Cummings (@ian_cummings_9) October 26, 2018
Go back to school and improve poor mechanics, mental processing speed and pocket awareness. Those are three areas holding him back big time this season. He clearly has some talent, but not improving at all this season is a big concern.
What position group is more likely to have a *run* on it earliest in the draft, WR, DT, or TE?
— we ranked 6th b*tch (@Adudebutnotabro) October 25, 2018
Interior defensive line for sure. Exceptionally talented group that should see 3-4 drafted in the top 10-12 picks. Plus it is the most valued position group of those three. The tight end class is totally underclassmen dependent, but it would be a really special group if everyone declares.
Will Grier’s draft stock has regressed recently, what do you think he can do to improve his draft stock in the upcoming weeks?
— DTR (@WillHeisman) October 25, 2018
Honestly, I’m not sure he can do much. At this point, I think Grier is who he is at quarterback. He’s wildly inconsistent, careless with the football and his mechanics can crumble on any given snap and take his accuracy with it. He obviously has talent, but right now the product on the field is too up-and-down to value him highly as a prospect.
Why is Jaylon Ferguson not getting more 1st round talk?
— T (@Ra1der_T) October 25, 2018
I actually think he’s getting too much first round buzz. We do it every year with a couple small school prospects. Ferguson isn’t a bad player, but he’s stiff as a board and not super explosive in his rushes either. If you don’t have great pass rush athleticism, I’m just not going to be super intrigued unless you’re a technical wizard.
Ferguson is strong however, and could be a very strong rotational piece with some inside rush ability too.
Everyone was excited about D’Andre Swift coming into the season but Elijah Holyfield has been the back that has stood out to me. Why isn’t there much hype around him?
— Alessandro Biolsi (@AlessandroB1187) October 25, 2018
I’ve alluded to it in a couple of articles recently, but I really think Holyfield could end up being RB1 for me. He’s just not getting enough carries right now to really generate a lot of buzz, but he’s been extremely productive when he does get them. I value contact balance and burst a lot in running back prospects, and Holyfield seems to possess both in droves.
Outside of Thompson and Delpit, who are some safeties you like and deserve to be looked at?
— Cliné🤘🏻 (@OptimusClineTM) October 25, 2018
Delpit is sadly not draft-eligible just yet, so we’ll have to wait a year on him. I haven’t seen another safety even close to Thompson this year, but I’ll give you a couple unsung guys that I think could be good prospects.
Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman has been playing at a high level all season after transferring from Navy. Kentucky’s Mike Edwards is smart and versatile enough to play in the slot, while also flashing some impressive ball skills. I like J.R. Reed as a run defender, but I’m not sure he has the range or center-fielding traits to be a highly sought-after safety prospect.
As of today how would you rank the top qbs in this years crop vs last years
— Ron (@TheAgencyTMF) October 25, 2018
Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield would still be 1-2 pretty easily, but it’s close for no. 3. I think Justin Herbert is more physically gifted with better mechanics than Sam Darnold, but the Jets quarterback probably has the edge on intangibles. I have yet to run Herbert through the same numerical grading scale that Darnold went through last year, so we’ll see how he ultimately grades out.
I’m guessing here, because the 2019 crop won’t go through the formal grading process until after the early declaration deadline has passed, but I think Dwayne Haskins would be in a comparable range to Lamar Jackson on my board (mid-day 2 grade), perhaps even a bit higher. Drew Lock will probably end up in Josh Allen range (late day 2/early day 3), and I have to see more of Will Grier, Brett Rypien and others before making a final call on their evaluations.
Of course, if Herbert and Haskins don’t declare, Lock would be next in line for QB1 based on my current rankings, and I’m pretty positive he wouldn’t even be a top 75 player on my board. Crazy.