2019 NFL Draft Mailbag with Christian Page

11/02/2018
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Over half the college football season is in the books and that is heartbreaking to some. But with the conclusion of the schedules, NFL draft talk begins to heat up. With the draft order beginning to take its form, logical projections can now be made and team needs are becoming more evident each week.

I gave you guys the floor this week by unveiling a mailbag piece. I appreciate all the ones who contributed by letting me run my gums about football. You can comment below the post or reach out to me on Twitter if you want to provide any feedback.

Enjoy your football weekend!

 

“Scuttlebutt is that no offensive players are worth a top 10 pick in the 2019 draft. If you had to take an offensive player in the top 10, and still pass the value test, who would it be?” –Keith Lango via Slack

Alabama Athletics

The rumor has it right. It’s not to say the class will not produce any effective offensive playmakers, but how the class looks at the moment, it is dominated by defensive players, especially on the defensive line. The quarterback class is not as near as top heavy or as attractive as the 2018 crop. Justin Herbert of Oregon is the top QB prospect at the moment but he is not a top 10 player in this class.

Jonah Williams, left tackle of Alabama, is the best offensive prospect in this class. And it’s really not all that close. Williams came into the season as a highly-regarded prospect and his consistency and improvement have nearly already solidified a top selection. Williams is an excellent blind side protector. He has the nimble feet and athleticism it takes to keep quicker edge rushers out of the pocket. He has shown more power and strength this season along with appropriate body technique.

Williams is a true junior but is expected to turn pro a year early.

 

“Who are next year’s WR and OL prospects that will be worth a high first round pick?” —Frank Wojtasiak via Slack

Piggybacking off what is written above, Williams is the only lineman in this class worth a top 15 pick. His consistency and versatility make him out to be a home run pick. His ceiling may not be that of some other players but his floor is a consistent starter in the league.

As for others, it’s a tossup of which linemen can join Williams as a first round selection. Greg Little of Ole Miss has inconsistencies in hand technique and certain pass sets but has the physical makeup to be an intriguing pick in the 20s. A favorite of mine is Max Scharping of Northern Illinois. He checks nearly every box you want in a blind side protector with a smooth kick slide, a powerful punch and easy movement skills. Expect his name to rise when postseason all-star games come around.

NIU Athletics

One of the most NFL ready receivers went down early with a neck injury. DK Metcalf, Ole Miss, has an attractive skillset that screams first round pick.  However, his neck surgery puts his status in jeopardy as the redshirt sophomore still has to make a decision on entering the draft. As written last week concerning the Dallas-Oakland exchange of Amari Cooper, not many receivers in this class jump off the page with first round talent. AJ Brown at Ole Miss has next-level qualities with a physical stature and demeanor but he lacks the explosiveness and overall quickness to take to the bank as a top 15 pick.

The class isn’t bad overall but the Ole Miss duo may be the only two worth a first round selection.

 

“What OL, WR and RB should we (Buffalo Bills) be looking at for the draft?” –Garrison Comstock via Slack

It’s no secret the Buffalo offensive line has been putrid over the first half of the season. Dion Dawkins has dipped in performance along with others. Russell Bodine, to not much of a surprise, has not been good as the starting center. Is it time to blow up the whole offensive line and rebuild? Perhaps. Dawkins should be fine and John Miller has been good enough at right guard to be retained for the future.

As for the rest? Each slot can be upgraded with skill and youth. The 2019 NFL Draft class isn’t littered with offensive line talent but there is enough versatility and experience to help satisfy Buffalo’s offensive line needs. Dalton Risner of Kansas State has played right tackle the past few seasons after starting 13 games at center as a redshirt freshman. His athleticism, versatility and consistency will get him looks in the early Day 2 area.

To not too much of a surprise, the Kelvin Benjamin experience in Buffalo has not been good. Buffalo needs to build around Josh Allen at quarterback and that starts with a running game, a consistent offensive line and a reliable receiving unit. Zay Jones is making strides to get on track as a solid No. 2 wideout but Buffalo still lacks a true No. 1 receiver. Unfortunately, this draft class doesn’t have many that fit that category. Metcalf and Brown at Ole Miss could answer the call but to where Buffalo will most likely be picking, it may be too rich to select one of them in that slot. Hakeem Butler at Iowa State is a receiver to keep an eye on. He uses his 6-foot-6 frame to his advantage and has the deep threat ability to accentuate on such skills. Versus Iowa State’s ranked opponents this season (Iowa, Oklahoma, West Virginia), Butler has averaged four catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Fixing the offensive line will be a priority this offseason but finding a consistent runner should also be a necessity. Sticking with the Iowa State theme, David Montgomery has the makeup to be a premier back in the NFL. His quickness, physicality and vision, among other things, makes him an attractive second round pick that a team should feel comfortable starting Day 1. Utah running back Zack Moss is making a strong case to be considered as the top back in the country. He plays with excellent contact balance and is accustomed to getting chunk plays on a consistent basis. His overall athleticism isn’t anything to rave over but his vision, awareness and open space qualities highlight the tape of a Day 2 running back.  

 

“Who are some RBs in the later rounds to keep an eye on? As a Bills fan knowing Shady and Ivory are not long-term options, thinking it might be something to keep an eye on later in the draft.” –Aaron Quinn (@AaronQuinn716) via Twitter

Depending on who you talk to, drafting a running back early can be either a mistake or a well-made decision. I sit on the fence having the ability to make arguments for both sides. But one thing that one cannot argue against is that quality running backs can be found in the later parts of the draft. Each Sunday displays a new example of that.

A late round prospect that has burst onto the scene as of late is South Florida running back Jordan Cronkrite. The Florida transfer runs with determination and has enough speed to hit the home run ball. His nimble and active leg drive cause for a lot of missed assignments for defenses. He is a junior and this season is his only full year starting, so he may stick around in Tampa for another season.

Before suffering an ankle injury a few weeks ago, Appalachian State running back Jalin Moore had the potential to slip into the later parts of the draft and turn into a steal. In 40 career games, Moore churned out 3,570 yards on the ground with 33 touchdowns. His speed is his most attractive trait and he expresses it after executing above average vision to hit the hole. Moore will slip in the draft due to his recovery process but his productivity and speed will not go unnoticed in the 2019 draft.

 

Who is an on-the-cusp prospect who could really soar with a solid end to 2018?” —Nathan King (@byNathanKing) via Twitter

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M defensive tackle Daylon Mack came to College Station as a five-star recruit but had fallen well short of the mark in his first few seasons with the Aggies. This season, Mack seems to have somewhat flipped the switch. He has tremendous burst off the snap and shows the athleticism and physicality to add consistent interior penetration. His production will not wow the box score but he is showing more consistency in the trenches to be coveted as a late-round player that can be developed. Texas A&M travels to Auburn this weekend then plays host to Ole Miss, UAB and LSU.

Christian Page is a scout and writer for Cover1.net. His scouting experience dates back to 2015. Christian has a background of radio along with collegiate athletic department experience and corporate marketing.

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