We've got mail!
Friday Saturday mornings at The Draft Network are one of my favorite times of the week, as we wrap up an awesome week of content with some terrific questions from our readers, while also getting prepared for an exciting slate of college football this weekend.
Predictions for the CFB Playoffs, DaMarkus Lodge's value, top destination for Tyree Jackson, Hakeem Butler's rank among 2019 WRs, RB1 for the 2020 draft, top free safeties and the fate of Kyler Murray. This week's mailbag is loaded with great questions and hopefully adequate answers!
Predictions for the #CFBPlayoff?
— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) December 29, 2018
Alabama-Oklahoma play tight for awhile, but the Tide will get a couple stops and I'm not sure the Sooners get any. Bama will roll in some ridiculous high-scoring affair.
I definitely think the Irish are capable of an upset if Clemson comes in sleep-walking like we've seen them do before. The problem is, that doesn't usually happen to the Tigers in the playoffs. I think Clemson wins 27-13.
I'll withhold my Natty prediction until after Saturday.
Could damarkus lodge be the best value pick at wr
— Bobby Meinhold (@Bobby_Toddy) December 29, 2018
If he goes mid-late day three, where most non-Senior Bowl wide receivers are typically slated to go at this time of year, then yes. Maybe I'll be totally underwhelmed by DaMarkus Lodge's Shrine week or Combine performance, but right now I think he should be a top 50 pick.
With Tyree Jackson likely transferring next season, what program do you think he’d fit in best at?
— Trayton Miller (@TraytonMiller) December 29, 2018
Interesting question. WVU makes a ton of sense on the surface, but a non-Big 12 Power 5 school may do more to develop him than if he joins a team in the stat-padder league. Ben actually wrote a piece on this very topic today for TDN.
If butler does come out early where do u see him ranked among WRs? Asking for a friend. pic.twitter.com/dwbu0zR3at
— dwarner (@dwarner73) December 29, 2018
I think Hakeem Butler is likely to be a top 10 wide receiver on my board if he comes out. Somewhere in the day 2 range would be my guess. Sorting through the guys in his "tier' right now might require athletic testing though. Tons of close scores so far in my numerical scale.
If the Texans eye a corner or offensive tackle at the end of the first round, who do you think are reasonable targets?
— Texans Future (@Future_Texans) December 29, 2018
Really hard to predict who exactly will be on the board in that range, but offensive tackles I like so far are Oklahoma's Cody Ford, Kansas State's Dalton Risner (probably an interior offensive lineman in the NFL) and South Carolina's Dennis Daley later in the draft. I don't care for Kaleb McGary or what I've seen of Greg Little so far. Jawaan Taylor is a name to watch that I could see coming off the board in that range.
At cornerback, I bet Deandre Baker is still on the board there. I don't like many of the senior corners, so we need to see who else declares before I recommend anyone else in that range.
Who will be RB1 next year?
— DraftSZN (@panthernati0n28) December 29, 2018
Georgia's D'Andre Swift.
What pre-combine draft grades do you give the following TEs: TJ Hockenson, Kaden Smith, Irv Smith Jr., Dawson Knox?
— Eric Hutchins (@emhutchins) December 29, 2018
I like Dawson Knox and T.J. Hockenson the most, but I haven't put them through the full eval process, so I'm not sure who will grade out higher just yet. I like some things about Kaden Smith's game, but I have concerns as well. Irv Smith might end up grading out higher if he declares for the 2019 draft. All four are in my top 75 currently.
What position has more depth ILB or CB, asking for a Steeler. Should a team need a ILB would it be wise to trade up for Devin White?
— Jason (@JMX2323) December 29, 2018
Admittedly I need to watch a lot of the smaller school guys in this linebacker class still, but most of the Power 5 talent is terrible. It currently looks like one of the worst linebacker groups in recent memory, while cornerback has been solid and could improve quickly if a couple key underclassmen declare early. I'm not sure I'll be high enough on Devin White to want to move up for him.
At current draft positions, give my Raiders two pass rushers. Who ya got?
— RaidersSixersYankees (@BMoonan) December 29, 2018
What's more concerning for haskins? System he plays in or lack of starts?
— nick ryan (@KossoudjiFEST) December 29, 2018
Lack of starts. It's not concerning, it just means that he will probably need time in the NFL, something not a lot of rookies are afforded these days. If he is the type of player that can learn on the go, it'll be fine. But experience is HUGE for quarterbacks. The more reps you take, ideally the game starts to slow down for you. Just look at Haskins late this season for examples of that. The system isn't a major concern in my opinion.
If there's a running back that would be a nice pick on Day 3, who would be a good fit for the Chiefs?
— Braden Holecek (@ebearcat9) December 29, 2018
How about Nick Brossette from LSU? Can catch a little, powerful runner and has the traits to keep improving in pass protection. Tough guy.
If you're looking for a receiving back, James Williams from Washington State is one of my favorites, if he declares as a redshirt junior.
After Deionte Thompson is there any safety prospects who would be good fit in Seattle single high scheme?
— phillip (@PhillipPhipps) December 29, 2018
I need to get a look at Mike Bell from Fresno State, but the only other ideal free safety I've seen in this draft is Nasir Adderley. He's a monster. I'm not a Juan Thornhill fan. Marquise Blair has potential as a developmental free safety.
Enjoy reading your work. Do you think Kyler Murray ends up entering this draft and if so do you think he can translate well to the NFL considering his size, etc.?
— skins (@skinsuniverse8) December 29, 2018
I like some things about Kyler Murray's game, especially his quick release, general accuracy and arm strength. But he wasn't close to as impressive as Baker Mayfield in this offense, despite the fact his offensive line was better and his receivers were more developed than in Mayfield's senior season. Anyone telling you that is looking for clicks.
In terms of mental processing, pocket presence/management, decision-making and field vision, Murray has a long way to go. But regardless of what I think of him, the first round buzz the media is giving him blows my mind. Do we honestly think a 5-9, 5-10 quarterback with one year of experience in a conference that plays no defense, where he was never under pressure is going to go Round 1? Especially considering that he would need to shun baseball completely to focus on football, something I have a hard time seeing him do, or believing that a team would trust him to do.
For the NFL to take a guy like Murray in the first round would be one of the more shocking and unprecedented moves in NFL history. I'm just not buying it. But there is no doubt that lighting up Bama's defense with NFL-caliber throws can help nudge him toward a future in football instead of baseball.