It was a long 16 days on the road covering the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, but its good to be back in my routine which includes delivering 6-Pack Thursday to you each week. I have enjoyed writing the “let’s talk prospects” editions of this column and wanted to keep things rolling. After all, it’s draft szn and talking about the prospects is pretty important.
I hope that this column has become a staple for you each week, but just in case you are new, 6-Pack Thursday is my weekly brain dump on six football-related things that involve the NFL, College Football or NFL Draft.
Let’s crack this thing open.
**You can click on the name of each prospect to read my full formal film evaluation on them**
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
I have a few more weeks to sort it out, but the gap between Nick Bosa and Williams as the best prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft is tighter than you may think. There may not even be a gap at all.
Williams is unbelievable. Not only does he offer a rare blend of quickness, power and technique but his football IQ is off outstanding. He has exceptional processing skills that when combined with his ability to play through contact and dispose of blocks, make him a dynamic playmaker.
Quinnen Williams = Blue Chipper
— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) January 29, 2019
You can gripe about him only have one year of production but that is a weak argument. He dominated and I MEAN DOMINATED SEC offensive lineman all season long. People can be loose when labeling a player as unblockable but with Williams, it actually makes sense.
He is scheme-versatile with game-changing upside against the run and pass. His ceiling is incredibly high and he’s worth a top-5 selection in any draft.
Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic
Singletary is a really unique prospect. While he is insanely elusive and often made tacklers look silly in college, he doesn’t possess the quickness or long speed expected for his size and style.
I love his vision and creativity as a runner. An escape artist, he does an unbelievable job of getting out of situations that most backs would be dead to rights in. With that said, most of his runs are horizontal and he’s a bit of a one-speed runner.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 28, 2019
For a guy with his agility, why wasn’t catching the football a bigger part of his college role? He only caught 6 passes in 2018, with his receiving output declining every season. He doesn’t perform well in pass pro, bringing even more questions regarding his passing down upside.
From the basic standpoint of vision, elusiveness, spatial awareness and the ability to slip tackles, Singletary features an exciting skill set. I just wish he were more diverse, especially given his size and profile.
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
What a delight Taylor was to watch on film. You just don’t see dudes at his size move as well as Taylor does. His blend of size, power, length and mobility make him a really exciting prospect. A three-year starter for Florida, Taylor kept improving every season and put it all together for a dominant junior campaign.
My favorite thing about Taylor is how sound he is as a pass blocker. He frames rushers so well initially, but also does a great job of sliding his feet and mirroring rushers while protecting both the arc and inside gap. Playing at Florida, we saw him face a murderers row of pass rushers this season including Montez Sweat, Josh Allen, D’Andre Walker and Brian Burns. I love how prepared he was to face each one and adapted his plan to counter the strengths of each rusher. It was especially evident against Burns.
Taylor is as powerful as his frame suggests he is. He controls blocks and imposes his power on opponents but also excels as a move blocker. I’m blown away by some of the landmarks he reaches in space and his range is shocking for his size.
Folks! (Florida OT Jawaan Taylor No. 65) pic.twitter.com/jxLpw8pfy7
— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) January 26, 2019
While there is a lot to be excited about regarding Taylor, I am even more excited given the technical improvements he can make to be become an even more effective blocker. His hand carriage, punch technique and leverage all need development which are all teachable components. I don’t think the top-15 is out of question for Taylor.
Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
Ridley is a top-5 wide receiver in this class. You read that correctly. The market share truthers are livid but what if I told you Ridley lead Georgia in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Well, he did.
Perhaps you see 44 receptions for 570 yards and 9 touchdowns as modest production but you have to understand the context of Georgia’s offense and more importantly, extrapolate the traits. A run-heavy offense, Georgia ran the ball 537 times in 2018 compared to 322 passing attempts. Georgia was also loaded with other worthy targets including including Mecole Hardman, Isaac Nauta, Jeremiah Holloman, Terry Godwin and even Charlie Woerner.
With the nonsense about his production out of the way, Ridley is an exciting package. I love his ability to sell his routes, hands, body control, ball skills, post-catch ability, play strength and blocking ability. He checks a lot of boxes in terms of traits and he has dynamic playmaking upside in the NFL to every level of the field. Don’t sleep.
Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida
The first word that comes to my mind when I think about Joseph is inconsistent. Pop on the LSU tape and you’ll see a first rounder. Put on the Georgia game and he’s a UDFA. Check out the Michigan tape and you probably find the truth about what he is as a prospect.
It’s easy to like his lateral mobility and speed but his processing skills, physicality and ability to play through contact are major question marks. There are just too many negative reps where he slowly and incorrectly diagnoses plays, runs himself out of position or into blocks and is easily manipulated by the backfield, opening the door for cutback lanes. I don’t think its by coincidence that Florida blitzed Joseph so much, trying to take advantage of his speed and limit the amount of thinking he has to do.
The overall depth of the linebacker class is lacking and I am far from comfortable with Joseph’s film resume.
Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
I’ve seen Abram mocked in the first round lately and let’s just say I am very perplexed. In today’s NFL where coverage ability, range, ball skills and versatility are coveted, Abram misses the mark.
What is true about Abram is that he is super physical. He is aggressive and violent hitter that is willing to run alleys and explode into contact. WITH THAT SAID, he isn’t a consistent tackler and whiffs way too much. And for a guy with his play demeanor, I am often disappointed with his ability to play through contact and disengage from blocks. Even with his best ability, there are concerns.
For me, Abram is a dime linebacker and special teams guy. He may have some upside situationally to matchup with tight ends in coverage but his skill set is incomplete. We don’t see Adrien Wilson or Roy Williams like players really thriving in today’s NFL and Abram fits that mold more than he does a player who can be a neutralizer against pace and space offenses the NFL currently features.