Friday morning = TDN Mailbag time! Another terrific slate of questions, including who my new WR1 is with D.K. Metcalf hurt, the best UGA WR, SEC safeties to watch, Rodney Anderson stock, Trevor Lawrence, the prospects on that Kentucky defense and so much more!
I’ll dish a few of them out 🧐
Which Georgia receiver (even those not eligible) will get drafted the highest?
What SEC safeties should people watch other than Deionte Thompson?
Who has done more damage to their draft stock this season: Jake Bentley or Jarrett Stidham?
— Mark Jarvis (@WhatsOnDraftNFL) November 1, 2018
The best Georgia wide receiver is Riley Ridley. He might not be an elite athlete, but I still think he’s going to test well, his hands are outstanding, his routes have improved significantly and he’s capable of doing damage after the catch. I’m a huge fan.
Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Kentucky’s Mike Edwards might be slot corners in the NFL, but both have an eclectic skill set to do a number of things well at safety. CGJ has range and sticky mirroring skills in man coverage, but can be an atrociously bad tackler. Edwards is well-rounded and has flashed good ball skills, but lacks optimal size or athletic ability.
Georgia’s J.R. Reed is a good run defender who tackles well in space, but his complete lack of ball skills and elite range have revealed themselves this year. Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram has great physical and athletic tools and plays with his hair on fire, but he’s reckless to a fault (many of them actually) and lacks natural instincts for the position.
I’m going to say Jarrett Stidham, because you had to have actually had draft stock in the first place to hurt it, and if anyone watched Jake Bentley in 2017 and thought he was a legit prospect, I want what they’re smoking.
Rodney Anderson has declared for the draft. Where do you have him ranked now that he will be in draft?
— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) November 2, 2018
Anderson is still the best running back I’ve seen from the 2019 class, but his injury history is absolutely brutal. I’ve got a lot of backs to watch, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up with the best grade for his tape, although he’ll be heavily flagged due to his injury background. If I’m an NFL team, given his lack of positional value and inability to stay healthy, it would be hard to get me interested before Round 3.
Best dual threat (blocking/receiving) TE in the draft?
— Boring Ole Chris (@mistochristopho) November 1, 2018
This is not a fully educated response, but if Iowa redshirt sophomore tight end T.J. Hockenson declares, he’s probably the guy. He gets after people in the trenches, plays with an edge and has the athleticism and natural hands to be a stud receiver as well. I hope he declares.
Trevor Lawrence-top qb in 2 years?
— rybuc1 (@rybuc1) November 1, 2018
Obviously I don’t scout guys until they’re draft-eligible, but I’ve seen enough of Lawrence to think he has the possibility to become the best prospect I’ve scouted at the position since Andrew Luck. But development isn’t linear for all players, so I’ll be interested to see how Lawrence grows over the years. His natural accuracy, elite arm strength, athleticism and toughness are very intriguing.
Kentucky great this year. Draft grades on all their guysz?
— bobbyshaff550 (@bobbyshaff550) November 2, 2018
What a team. Not the most talented, but extremely well-coached and developed. Almost everyone on their defense will get an NFL look, starting with edge defender Josh Allen, who has a strong chance to be a first round pick.
There is no one else on Allen’s level on Kentucky’s defense, but cornerback Derrick Baity and linebacker Jordan Jones might have a shot to go day 2. Safety Mike Edwards, safety Darius West, cornerback Lonnie Johnson, linebacker Kash Daniel and defensive tackle Adrian Middleton should all garner day three interest.
On offense Benny Snell is obviously the big name, but will he declare as a junior? Lot of wear and tear on his body already, but I don’t think his ceiling is very high. Guard Logan Stenberg is big, mean and physical. Could be a big riser if he declares as a redshirt junior.
Any chance that @DTranquill gets drafted 4-5? Who do you think will take an extra year to develop instead of declaring, and who SHOULD do that.
— Coach Koch (@koch_coach) November 1, 2018
Drue Tranquill has a shot to go day three if his medicals check out and he doesn’t test horribly. My guess is there will be enough concern surrounding those two areas to push him into the Rd 6-7 range, and going undrafted isn’t out of the question. If he lands on a roster with a legit shot at a spot, he’ll make it. Special teams, pass rush, coverage and run defense are all in his repertoire, and while he’s limited across the board, teams will love his balance and his leadership.
Who is your WR1 with DK out for the year?
— Tyler Hernley (@hernleyt) November 1, 2018
Get ready….D.K. Metcalf! I just don’t believe in knocking the kid off my board until I know more. If the neck can heal enough for him to run at the Combine and play next year with no long term concerns, as was originally presented by head coach Matt Luke, then I don’t know why he wouldn’t declare.
Of course, if he does need a longer recovery time, declaring wouldn’t make a ton of sense as he’s still young. Riley Ridley is my current WR2, and would assume the top spot at least temporarily.
Who’s the best in order Burns, Polite, Sweat and Ferrell
— AJD (@A_J_D_58) November 1, 2018
I like Brian Burns the most, although I’m eagerly anticipating his Combine weigh-in. He has the most upside and is already as well-rounded as a rusher as anyone on the list outside of maybe Clelin Ferrell. Jachai Polite would be my no. 2, but he needs to get stronger and is still growing as a rusher. Ferrell has greats hands and a full arsenal, I’m just not sure how well he’ll test. I still like him a good bit. Montez Sweat is fourth but probably still a top 20 player on my board.
Seems to be varying opinions based on Clinton Dix trade some say he’s great and other say he is terrible with bad effort and afraid of contact, what say you Jon?
— Denis Fogarty (@Denis_Fogarty) November 1, 2018
I guess he’s graded really well for PFF this year, but in general he seems to be trending downward, and I’ve seen a ton of examples of a complete lack of effort or aggression from him this season back to last year. A lot of the mistakes in coverage get popularized, but I’m sure he’s done some good things too. Seems like the coaching and the group around him will be critical.
Will you be doing the War Room series on the podcast this year? That was my favorite part of draft season
— Josiah Jones (@kajosiahwhat) November 1, 2018
That’s the plan! For those who don’t know, last year Trevor and I launched the Locked on NFL Draft War Room series in April, doing one pick from a mock draft every day, with a media member that covers the team coming on the pod as a guest to make the selection. It was a ton of fun and we hope to continue the series this season.