There is nothing fairly just like the run-up to the NFL Draft for chatter and opinions. Some would possibly chalk a whole lot of this as much as smokescreens, but it surely’s often not that. It’s actually extra a byproduct of how a lifetime of soccer experiences form somebody’s perspective.

And that brings us to Ickey.

By now, you’ve heard about Ikem Ekwonu, NC State’s unheralded recruit turned All-American O-lineman whom a 12 months in the past virtually nobody knew about other than ACC coaches. The 6-foot-4, 320-pounder, like most of the guys mocked to be first-rounders, is a polarizing subject in NFL circles. On Tuesday, The Athletic talked to 1 NFL O-line coach who known as Ekwonu “a future All-Pro” and proceeded to rave about him for almost 5 minutes, saying there is no such thing as a offensive line prospect near him on this draft.

“His game film is ridiculous,” stated the coach. “It’s particular. You see all the skin and broad zones and him ending guys on the second stage. He’s blocking linebackers 10 yards downfield. He has 34-inch arms, big-ass palms. He’s all the pieces that you just’re on the lookout for. His go safety remains to be a bit uncooked, however that’s school guys. He nonetheless wants some work in go safety, countering inside strikes — shutting down inside strikes is his largest weak spot — however he’s simply so athletic with nice lateral motion expertise and is so good and so powerful. His motor was completely different, and the IQ interview is thorough the roof. … He has all of the instruments. We must construct his toolbox.

“He’s a generational guy. He’s a Day 1 impact starter. He is, by far, the best lineman.”

The Athletic subsequent known as a veteran NFL scout. His tackle Ekwonu: “He’s completely overrated. He is talented; has the athleticism, the foot quickness and all that stuff. I worry about his core strength. He plays in a shitty league. I like Evan Neal and (Charles) Cross more.”

Later that night time, we talked to a different NFL line coach and introduced up the large disparity on Ekwonu. The coach, who is also a giant believer within the 21-year-old from Charlotte, stated he wasn’t stunned.

“I think it’s like this: Coaches love him; the scouts and personnel people don’t because of what he looks like,” he stated. “He’s actually knock-kneed — he has caved-in knees. He’s thin-legged. Initially, after I first noticed him, I believed, how the fuck is that this man probably the primary decide? But then when he begins transferring, you see that he’s loopy athletic.

“We evaluated about 60 guys and he was, by far, the best. His demeanor of play is just different. His run blocking is really good. It’s how nasty he plays. His game film is like a highlight tape. A lot of these guys, they ride the roller coaster. It’s like the guy from Ohio State (Nicholas Petit-Frere), they get beat once and then they get beat several times in a row. They weren’t competing the way you’d want him to. Ickey is always competing. He finishes plays. When the whistle blows, he’s either on a second-level player or a third-level player.”

As for the shot at enjoying within the ACC, the coach was fast to level out that Ekwonu “played great against Florida State,” which had projected first-round defensive finish Jermaine Johnson, who didn’t have a single TFL within the recreation.

“I’m telling you, he’s friggin’ good, man,” the coach stated.

Worth noting: None of those three sources’ groups have a decide within the prime 15, so it’s uncertain their feedback are subterfuge to assist jostle Ekwonu or another O-line prospect their approach.

Over the previous few weeks, The Athletic has spoken to greater than a dozen NFL coaches and personnel individuals to seek out out who and what’s catching their eye because the 2022 NFL Draft approaches.


North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (Grant Halverson / Getty Images)

Quarterbacks

There has been a whole lot of discuss that this can be a very down 12 months for quarterback prospects. How many guys are seen as legit first-round abilities?

QB Coach 1: Usually you might have the consensus No. 1 man or some actual top-10 picks. With this group there’s a scarcity of depth, and it’s possible you’ll get a few of them pushed up into the primary spherical. But I view these guys, the highest ones this 12 months, as second-round abilities.

QB Coach 2: Our highest-graded quarterback this 12 months is Sam Howell. I’ve obtained a second-round grade on him. We’ve obtained a third-round grade on Kenny Pickett, and if you happen to checked out his 2020 movie, it’d be a sixth- or seventh-round grade.

What stands out most about Howell?

QB Coach 2: I really like his arm and I feel he sees the sphere one of the best of all these guys despite the fact that he’s solely 6 toes. He can form throws; throws with contact, can throw a great deep ball; can anticipate and get zip on the ball to be lethal within the RPO and fast recreation. He carried a nasty crew. He’s very correct in any respect three ranges. He might be maxed-out bodily, which is OK. He’s additionally actually powerful.

His large flaw, you don’t actually really feel him. He’s simply kinda there. I feel Kenny will likely be a significantly better chief. Guys within the locker room will love him.

What offers you essentially the most hesitation about Pickett as a possible first-round decide?

QB Coach 1: I really like all the pieces about Pickett’s recreation, however the hand dimension (measuring 8 1/2 inches on the mix) is a legit concern. In the historical past of the league since 2000, there’s solely been three quarterbacks taken within the first three rounds with palms that small: Michael Vick, Charlie Frye and Kevin O’Connell. If Pickett’s palms had been 9 1/2 inches, it’s a first-round (grade). I feel it’s a giant distinction, particularly whenever you play in chilly climate.

QB Coach 2: I do suppose it’s one thing you need to contemplate. They are small … nevertheless, after I shook it, it wasn’t like, whoa, you might have a child hand. It was sturdy. You may really feel like his thumb felt a bit wonky. People say “but he played at Pitt.” Yeah, and he fumbled like 38 occasions at Pitt. It was an issue. I’ve talked to coaches who’ve guys with 9-inch palms and so they say they must preserve it in thoughts in-game and discuss cold-weather video games the place their man has fumbled twice and simply dropped the ball.

Pickett wears gloves, which helps, however as quickly as these gloves get moist — oof. You can change to leather-based gloves and all of that, but it surely’s not the identical as utilizing sticky gloves.

Lots of parents actually discuss up Malik Willis’ arm however have considerations in regards to the system he performed in school. How involved are you about how his recreation interprets to the NFL and what his transition will likely be like?

QB Coach 2: You must commit if you happen to take him and alter your offense and go to one thing like what the Philadelphia Eagles do. He’s extra like Jalen Hurts, who’s highly effective, sturdy and (like Willis) offers protection issues along with his legs.

Malik’s arm is de facto sturdy. It’s legit sturdy, in all probability a prime 8 within the NFL. Jalen Hurts, I feel, throws it higher proper now than Malik. More precisely. Has extra throws in his arm the place he has some contact and might throw with tempo. If you’re taking Malik, you gotta make it the faculty offense, and never do the drop again, learn the protection, play it out. To me, it’s a sq. peg, spherical gap, at the very least whereas they’re younger and actually studying.

Scout 1: I feel Malik’s ceiling is so excessive due to his arm and he’s so athletic. I’ve heard he’s a wise child. There are these errant throws, however the extra performs, the higher he’s gonna get.

QB Coach 3: Someone’s gonna fall in love with the arm, however the system he performed in worries you. I feel with him, you’re gonna must construction the system, just like the Eagles do with Hurts. He’s turn out to be extra correct relying on how a lot you give him to learn. There is elite energy within the arm (with Willis). The query is the opposite throws, guys operating throughout the sphere and when you need to layer the ball and on the comebacks. You can’t be a flat-line passer on this league.

There’s been some skepticism about whether or not Desmond Ridder is correct sufficient to be a great beginning quarterback. How involved are you about his accuracy?

QB Coach 2: It is a priority. He is de facto intriguing as an athlete. I really like the individual. He’s tremendous mature. Really good. It’s virtually irritating as a result of he checks all of the bins that just about each man in each draft is lacking one in all, like he has a robust sufficient arm; he has performed in a professional type offense. He’s simply not a really pure processor and never a really pure thrower. He’s fairly robotic. He appears like a very good athlete that stated, “I want to play quarterback.” He educated onerous at it and obtained good at it in school. however the issues that Desmond’s not good at are extra talent-based than they’re skill-based.

(Private QB coach) Jordan Palmer has Desmond and he’s gonna say, ‘You can improve accuracy. Look at (another Palmer protege) Josh Allen.’ I feel that’s an oversimplification. Josh is freaky proficient, and I nonetheless wouldn’t say that he’s not pinpoint correct. That offense had much more gimme throws, much more bubbles, much more fast recreation and extra RPOs, so there’s less difficult throws. He additionally obtained Stefan Diggs (in 2020), who will get actually open, and when groups wish to double him, everyone else is one-on-one. I feel it’s not a coincidence that Josh Allen was 55 % (58.8 %) and so they get Diggs and it jumps to 65, 70 % (69.2 %). When individuals say, “Yeah, you can get better at it,” I simply don’t suppose that you just actually can. It’s like pace. You can tweak it and assist your self out, however you’re both naturally correct otherwise you’re not.

QB Coach 1: I feel (Ridder) might be one of the best quarterback of this group in a 12 months or two. I do see inconsistencies. He’s a long-levered man; I feel it’s a mechanical factor that he’s gonna must preserve engaged on.

Scout 1: Man, I like the great, however I hate the dangerous. He’s a winner; I feel he actually wants to wash up his mechanics. His professional day was off beam, so I went again and watched the movie and also you see a whole lot of, Dang, the way you gonna miss that one?

Matt Corral is intriguing as a expertise however appears to have given some evaluators extra concern. What have you ever seen with him?

QB Coach 1: His quickness is elite. But at his professional day, it was a decrease and tighter release, which was a priority. You must throw from completely different arm slots and alter the launch level. I really like the participant, however he’s gotta get that mounted.

QB Coach 2: I watched his professional day. It was dangerous. He missed on a whole lot of throws, and I used to be like, what’s he doing? He already has a borderline too fast of a release. It’s like somebody advised him you’ll want to make it even sooner. He was barely bringing the ball again. Typically, most guys flip the ball away from their head after which deliver it again ahead. Some guys, like Tom (Brady) and Mac Jones, barely flip it in any respect. Corral actually brings the ball from his carriage, up by his ear after which ahead. It’s form of spectacular he can get something on the ball. Compact is sweet and fast is sweet, however now it’s virtually so shot-puttish it will probably result in a great quantity of batted balls. That movement can restrict your throw repertoire. It will be inconsistent when you need to layer a throw, like on a comeback with an out of doors linebacker or a nickel buzzing out and you need to get it over that man.

I feel his largest subject is the off-the-field. I is likely to be a bit overly essential simply from guys we’ve needed to cope with, however I wouldn’t contact him. With his character, I’ve a tough time viewing him as a backup or a third-string as a result of often these guys are tremendous supportive, tremendous good. He is likely to be all of these issues, however I didn’t get that vibe.

Scout 2: I like Matt; I don’t love him. His professional day was horrible. He began spraying it all over the place. I feel he’ll get over-drafted. I don’t fear in regards to the off-field stuff with him. Prior to this 12 months, I did.

Scout 1: My large questions after I noticed him on the mix and noticed how skinny his body is and the way small his joints had been: Is he gonna be enjoying in January? Can he maintain up?

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Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

Wide receivers

Who do you suppose is one of the best receiver on this draft?

WR Coach 1: Jameson Williams. To me, it’s not shut. There’s a giant drop after him. He’s blazing quick and you may’t replicate that top-end, and his play pace is completely different  — like Tyreek Hill completely different — he’s operating away from SEC guys. His explosiveness after the catch is uncommon. His quickness on the line of scrimmage is simply completely different. He’s a palms catcher not a physique catcher. I feel he’s a great catcher, not an important catcher.

Scout 2: Love Jameson Williams. He’s aggressive as hell, not solely in video games however at follow. I haven’t seen a large receiver compete at follow like he does since Michael Thomas was at Ohio State. I do fear about his maturity, although.

WR Coach 5: I wasn’t certain what to think about Jameson Williams. I believed he was simply gonna be a deep menace, however he’s greater than that. He’s obtained a very good talent set. It’s not simply pace, it’s his acceleration, however he can get again to full pace actually fast, like only a few guys can do. He is a bit little bit of a smaller man, however he’s not afraid to do a number of the soiled work.

WR Coach 2: Garrett Wilson. He’s simply so twitchy. He’s very fast and he’s polished. He’s not as explosive as Williams, however his ball expertise are glorious, and I feel he can excel each as an inside man and as an out of doors man.

Can Treylon Burks impression a recreation like Deebo Samuel?

WR Coach 3: He is a freak present, however he’s tremendous uncooked. I feel he can do something you need him to do. He didn’t actually run routes at Arkansas. I don’t blame these coaches. He was a very good participant in that system. He runs quite a bit like Deebo, however he’s quite a bit larger than Deebo. He’s about two biscuits away from being a flexed-out tight finish.

WR Coach 1: I actually like him. They used him like Deebo. He has to discover ways to run routes. They’d do some go routes, however on movie he’s not often sinking his hips and operating curls and comebacks. But there’s stuff there, just like the back-to-back catches towards Ole Miss excessive of their heads, you’re like, Damn!

QB Coach 2: Liked him quite a bit. Do you need to manufacture touches for him just like the Giants did for Kadarius Toney? I feel you’ll have to seek out methods to get him the ball with possibility routes, put him again on punt return. Can he do it from a deep cross or a dig? How many specialty performs are we gonna must put in for this man?

How do you separate the 2 Ohio State receivers, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave?

WR Coach 1: Wilson is extra of an inside man who can play exterior. He’s quite a bit looser. He’s gonna be actually good option-route operating, and issues he does out and in of his breaks actually translate to this stage. He’s sooner than I believed he was.

WR Coach 3: Wilson’s extra dynamic; extra bodily. I’m undecided how bodily powerful Olave is. Numerous occasions guys battle after they’re not that bodily at this stage. I feel he’s a improbable child, however he’s not gonna rip your face off on the market.

WR Coach 4: Wilson is general higher. He’s higher after the catch and a bit harder. Olave’s routes are higher than you suppose. He’s not only a deep man. I feel he’s a well-rounded man.

WR Coach 5 Olave is extra clean; he’s a very good route runner. Garrett is extra athletic and has extra burst; mo:re extra dynamic. But I don’t see that 4.38 (that he ran on the mix) on tape.

QB Coach 2: Wilson was not good within the interview we did with him. Olave was superior, however his tape isn’t nearly as good.

WR Coach 1: I feel there’s a bit little bit of edge to Olave, a bit chip on his shoulder as a result of individuals are saying Garrett’s higher, and (Jaxon Smith-Njigba) is even higher than each of them.

Which WR is essentially the most boom-or-bust man?

Scout 2: George Pickens. There’s a whole lot of upside, however he can’t get out of his personal approach. He’s been enabled his entire life.

WR Coach 3: Pickens. You love his recreation, however there’s some points. Do you wish to work with him? He’s a top-6 talent-wise, but it surely’s not possible to not add these different issues. He has the dimensions, has actually good vary. He positions his physique on deep throws. He constantly beats press protection. Has good start-stops with some AI (Allen Iverson) crossover in his recreation. Numerous the stuff in (Todd Monken’s) system interprets to the NFL. But I wouldn’t contact him.

WR Coach 5 on Pickens: On tape, he’s in all probability a top-5 broad receiver however there’s simply so many pink flags, and so they’re large pink flags. He’s obtained a whole lot of rising as much as do. If he goes to the suitable place with a room stuffed with veterans that assist him go the suitable approach, I feel he’ll have an opportunity.”

WR Coach 2: North Dakota State’s Christian Watson. He’s obtained glorious dimension and he’s a freak athlete testing-wise, however man, I fear about how effectively he catches the ball. He drops straightforward catches. Does he have imaginative and prescient issues? He simply doesn’t look pure making an attempt to catch a soccer.

Which WRs do you suppose are sleepers and never getting talked about sufficient?

WR Coach 3: WMU’s Skyy Moore. He raised actually excessive throughout this offseason, however I beloved him already. His mix and professional day had been actually good. He has nice instincts, is hard, sturdy. Never harm, ever. He can do quite a bit; play inside and outdoors. I feel you possibly can line this dude up within the backfield. He’s highly effective. He’s wired proper. He went there as a nook. I’m stunned he didn’t switch. Tells you numerous in regards to the child. I like the truth that he caught round.

Scout 2 on Alabama’s John Metchie: I do know individuals don’t see him as a No.1 receiver. I feel he’s gonna excel within the NFL. He’s actually fast. Has actually good palms and is aggressive as fuck. It’s all simply actually good with him.

How do you view the remainder of the WR class?

WR Coach 4 on Penn State’s Jahan Dotson: He’s a greater participant than the hype he’s getting. He’s sooner than you suppose.

WR Coach 3 on Dotson: He has phenomenal ball expertise. He will run proper by means of a soccer in visitors. He is so proficient.

WR Coach 1 on Dotson: He’s obtained one of the best ball expertise within the draft. He does an important job of attacking the ball, however he’s so slight even in comparison with these Ohio State guys. I feel he’s gonna must play inside to translate within the NFL.

WR Coach 3 on Purdue’s David Bell: I feel he’s gonna battle. He can’t run away from anyone. He’s heavy-legged. He’ll get pressed. People deliver up that Anquan Bolden additionally didn’t run a great 40-time, however he performed quick. You noticed explosion out of his break. With Bell, there’s no second gear, no suddenness to him. It’s all the identical pace.

WR Coach 1 on USC’s Drake London: He has actually good motion expertise. He runs effectively with out being blazing quick and has that basketball capability to publish individuals. Inside or out, he finds the ball. He has higher ball expertise and is extra constant than (former USC teammate Michael Pittman).

WR Coach 5 on London: He’s so younger, and his physique remains to be growing. His arrow is up. His pace is regarding, little question about it. I feel he’s a bit extra superior than Mike Evans was at this stage; however Mike was a bit sooner, however they make the contested catches and so they go inside-and-go excellent. I do see these comparisons.

WR Coach 1 on Utah’s Britain Covey: I feel he’s strictly a return man. He doesn’t flash as a receiver. I feel he’d battle within the slot as a result of he doesn’t have elite quickness and he’s so tiny. He would get pinballed round in there, however he’s a dynamic return man.

WR Coach 1 on Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson: I like him. He’s a hybrid man. He transferred to Kentucky (from Nebraska) and obtained to play in a pro-style offense. If he doesn’t go to Kentucky he’s not draftable. He can play within the slot. I see a whole lot of Randall Cobb in his recreation. He’s simply so good with the ball in his palms; I feel he’s greater than only a gadget man.

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Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal (Ken Murray / Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Images)

Offensive line

If Ickey isn’t the highest O-lineman, who’s?

Scout 2: Evan Neal. He’s my favourite deal with. He’s a large human being with freakish upside. He’s good however not nice. He’s no Trent Williams, and if Tristan Wirfs had been on this class, he’d be forward of Neal.

OL Coach 2 on Neal: You by no means know what you’re gonna get with him. He has a whole lot of potential. He absorbs guys in go safety. At the mix, he regarded like he was 250; it was loopy.

OL Coach 1: We preferred (BC’s) Zion Johnson. He’s so good. Good swing participant. He has the flexibleness to get well; is sweet in go professional, explosive within the run recreation. Does the load room translate to the sphere? With him, it does. We had been fired up about Neal due to his depth and play demeanor. He underwhelmed. His run blocking must be developed. It’s night time and day in the case of how his motor compares to (Ekwonu). He is an elite go protector and a great child, however within the run recreation he leaves quite a bit to be desired.

What did you consider the opposite O-linemen talked about as potential first rounders?

OL Coach 1 on MSU’s Charles Cross: We didn’t actually like him. We noticed him as rather more of a mission. The system hurts him. It issues. We didn’t love his interview. He has the instruments, however he’s not as thick and highly effective. We don’t suppose he’s a Day 1 man.

OL Coach 1 on Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning: We like his physicality. He’s nasty. Has good toes. He’s in all probability a backup Year 1.

OL Coach 2 on Penning: You don’t understand how he’s gonna translate towards higher competitors. He has apparent bodily expertise; was being a prick on the Senior Bowl. Some individuals are into that and a few don’t prefer it.

OL Coach No. 1 on CMU’s Bernhard Raimann: We preferred him. He had a great interview with us. We graded him as a backup offensive deal with. He’s a great fluid athlete, however he must get stronger. He’s extra of a finesse blocker, not a thumper.

Intriguing O-line sleepers to keep watch over?

OL Coach No. 1: Chattanooga’s Cole Strange: He was a great interview. There’s a whole lot of depth to him. Like him athletically. He can bend; has pop; can climb and end and is powerful on the level of assault and he actually understands leverage. He’s an asshole on the market; he gained’t again down. I feel he has the intangibles.

Scout 2 on Strange: He’s grown me on me. Was a superb interview. He’s obtained form of a small-school studying curve. It’ll take a while with him.

OL Coach No. 1: LSU’s Ed Ingram. We beloved him. I heard he’s dropping on some crew’s board due to his soccer IQ, however he’s very explosive and might transfer guys off the ball on an iso block, which is de facto onerous to do. He kills guys on pulls. Physically, he’s among the best guards on the market. There’ll be a studying curve, however somebody will take an opportunity and spend money on him. Once he will get it, he generally is a good starter. Him being round some professionals will assist him out.

OL Coach No. 2: Washington State’s Abe Lucas. He’s a great athlete. The system he performed in will harm him and folks make the plain comparisons to (former WSU first-rounder Andre Dillard) and that’ll harm too, however we like him. He was very mature in his interview.

OL Coach No. 1: Nebraska heart Cam Jurgens. He’s like a Corvette with no management on the market. He is so quick-twitch and is such a high-effort man. He will climb to the second stage however he’ll miss the man as a result of he’s uncontrolled.

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Michigan defensive finish Aidan Hutchinson (Dylan Buell / Getty Images)

Defensive line

Aidan Hutchinson is atop a bunch of mock drafts going No. 1 general to Jacksonville. Does that make sense to you? Do you purchase him as a prime general expertise?

Defensive coach No. 1: I’m undecided he has fairly the ceiling as a couple of of those guys, however his ground could be very excessive. He’s the most secure man within the draft. Like in the event that they take him, I don’t suppose anybody’s gonna be like, man, we fucked that decide up. I simply don’t suppose whenever you watch the movie, he doesn’t have that holy crap, how are we gonna block this man? He simply doesn’t have that one uncommon trait. He’s only a good, proficient, high-effort soccer participant.

Defensive coach No. 2: I wouldn’t take him there and even within the prime 4. He doesn’t have the arm size (32 1/8 inches). I don’t see the twitch. I don’t suppose he’s obtained explosiveness the place we’d must take him. There’s nothing particular about him athletically to go that top. He does have actually good change of route, and he’s a very good elementary participant, however aside from his make-up and his fundamentals, there’s nothing particular about him athletically. I don’t see him constantly successful off the sting along with his preliminary transfer. I don’t see him being a 12-15 sack man. I feel his manufacturing in school is as a result of he’s a very good technician. I’d fairly take the athlete over the technician as a result of we are able to educate him the approach. I don’t suppose he’s gonna get that significantly better.

Defensive Coach No. 3: I like his twitch and bend. He’s going to transition quick as a result of his make-up is so good.

Defensive Coach No. 4. His arm size could be very regarding. He regarded like a person amongst boys on the market quite a bit as a result of he’s actually developed and technically superior. In the NFL, he’s going to be going up towards males, and I’m undecided he’s going to face up. I feel he’ll be a very good participant however not an important one. Do you’re taking a man with the primary general decide who might by no means be a double-digit sack man?

People love Travon Walker as a expertise, however are you involved about his relative lack of manufacturing as a playmaker?

Defensive Coach No. 3: That man has obtained all of it. He’s the one you’re drooling over.

Scout No. 1: He will play by means of you. He is such a violent, explosive man. He will steal your lunch cash.

Defensive Coach No. 1: I do like him. There’s no purpose to suppose he can’t do all that you just hope he can do. But you’re making a projection and betting on the traits with this man. Is he an out of doors man on first and second down after which kicks inside on third down? You know what you’re getting with Hutchinson and Jermaine Johnson, you see it on the movie. With this man, you’re hoping his greatest soccer is forward of him. I feel it’s.

Scout No. 2: As a potential first or second general decide? I don’t love him that top. For certain, prime 10. He’s so large, sturdy and lengthy, however I don’t see a uncommon expertise. He might be 290 simply. He put up ridiculous numbers on the mix, however none of that stuff actually translated on tape. Even throughout their professional day, he was the third-most athletic D-line dude behind Jordan Davis and (Devonte Wyatt), and he didn’t look as freaky as these different dudes.

Defensive Coach No. 5: At Georgia, they performed him at a 4i — inside approach off the deal with. When you’re in there, you’re doing a whole lot of grunt work. Testing-wise, he’s higher than Myles Garrett. He’s a freak and he’s aggressive. With Myles, we didn’t actually understand how a lot he desires to set the sting towards the run. His motor was up and down. This man is an animal. He was enjoying on such a loaded crew, however when the manufacturing isn’t actually there, it does form of scare you.

Defensive Coach No. 2: They performed him as 3-4 finish. That’s not his place. I feel he’s a 4-3 edge-setting defensive finish. He’ll be 280 quickly and might actually run.

Which of the highest D-linemen do you suppose is most underrated within the draft chatter you’ve heard?

Defensive Coach No. 2: Jordan Davis. He’s actually intriguing. He’s over 340 and runs 4.78? That’s fucking insane. Watch Atlanta take him at 8. He’s been actually well-coached there. Trey Scott is a superb D-line coach. I feel he’s extra explosive than Vita Vea. He’s not as sturdy however is rather more quick-twitch. I feel he will be very disruptive.

Defensive Coach No. 1: (Miami of Ohio DE/OLB) Dominique Robinson. He’s performed so little protection in his life, however for a man who has transitioned over to protection after enjoying broad receiver, you possibly can see the physicality and the willingness to place his face in there. With offensive guys, you are worried in regards to the transition: Do they’ve that nasty facet of him to play protection? I’m watching his movie and pondering, holy shit, this man is de facto fucking good. It’s the entire package deal: He’s obtained the size, athleticism, the change of route and the explosiveness. Watch him drop into protection; you see that he acknowledges exchanges and routes. I might be shocked if he’s not excessive on the 3-4 OLBs listing. He’s gonna be a starter.

Scout No. 2: (FSU DE) Jermaine Johnson. He’s an elite expertise. Can play the run as a result of he’s lengthy sufficient and heavy sufficient and he performs his balls off. He comes throughout as tremendous cocky, however the extra I’m round him, the extra I like him. He’s not too large for something. Everybody at FSU raves in regards to the man, speaking about how he got here again to work with youthful guys.

Kayvon Thibodeaux is among the most polarizing prospects on this draft. How do you see him?

Defensive Coach No. 2: He must be in the suitable system. I’m a fan of the go rusher. He can roll now. His first step is nearly as good as anybody’s. He’s twitchy. He’s a poor run defender. If a 4-3 crew takes him, they’re gonna wish he can get larger. I don’t see it. He’s a smaller-boned dude.

Scout No. 1: I like him. When he turns it on, it’s nearly as good because it comes. Is he gonna flip it on constantly? He’s lean, however he’s sturdy and explosive. I do suppose he’ll do sufficient to be a three-down man. I don’t suppose he’s a dumb child. He is aware of what he’s doing. I do suppose he’s gonna make it.

Defensive Coach No. 1: He’s a giant character. If you’re a crew that isn’t snug with one participant pushing himself into the highlight, he’s in all probability not for you. The points to me are gonna provide you with the competing focus. Is he too apprehensive about his model? When we introduced him in, I used to be like, whoa, shit, this man is a handful.

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Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean (Brett Davis / USA Today)

Linebackers

How do you consider Nakobe Dean, and do you suppose he goes within the prime 20?

Scout No. 2: The tape is unbelievable. In a approach, the damage helps him out. I didn’t anticipate him to run quick. He’s actually undersized and he’s like a 4.69 (40) man, however he’s the final word soccer man. I feel he’s a Day 1 starter. His instincts are too good. He’s explosive. The coaches (at Georgia) stated he’s the quickest individual to ever study that playbook, and it was as a real freshman. On Day 1 set up, he knew like all of the checks and all the pieces and was instructing all of the freshmen learn how to get lined up. But I may see him falling out of the primary spherical. He by no means ran. He’s had some damage points. I used to be pondering, uh-oh, after I noticed his title on the draft listing, as a result of he is likely to be that man caught within the inexperienced room.

Which linebacker’s inventory do you suppose has actually risen?

Scout No. 2: Quay Walker from Georgia. He’s obtained nice size and had probably the most spectacular professional days I’ve ever seen in my life. He did a bunch of uncommon shit there. He’s so large, lengthy and quick. He’s 247 kilos and his capability to drop his weight and alter route and get by means of the baggage was like, holy fuck! He strikes so effortlessly, like he’s 215. He was actually simply making an attempt to determine it out final 12 months after they rotated him and Channing Tindall fairly a bit.

Defensive Coach No. 3: Troy Andersen from Montana State. He’s so intriguing. He performed a bunch of various sports activities. Has nice measureables, ran 4.42, broad-jumped 10-8 at 243 kilos. He’s very vibrant. He’s a novel case. He’s performed quarterback and sees the sport from that view and he performs nickel. He’s very spectacular.

Defensive Coach No. 1: DeAngelo Malone from WKU. He actually flashed on the Senior Bowl that he will be an NFL participant. His movie is inconsistent. But he confirmed that he was quick-triggered and explosive and will be violent off the sting. When he knew it, he actually reacted. The query you surprise: Is he gonna be 235 or get to 250 and maintain it?

Scout No. 3: JoJo Domann from Nebraska. He doesn’t have good size, however he’s a very good participant. He jogs my memory of (former Ohio State second-rounder) Pete Werner, however he’s not as large or lengthy. He runs very effectively and is bodily and simply has a knack for making performs.

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Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner (Robin Alam / Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Images)

Defensive backs

Sauce Gardner is being touted as a top-10 decide. Does he actually benefit that form of hype?

Defensive Coach No. 7: Yes. Sauce has ascended. He’s a wiry man who can run and he’s bodily. He wows you within the interview; he’s himself. He’s obtained confidence and he’s very good.

Defensive Coach No. 3: I feel so. He’s obtained all of it, and he’s coachable and a great teammate. You watched him carefully on this course of, in his professional day, he was so conscious of his teammates, so engaged in how they had been doing at professional day. You don’t at all times see that from these guys who’re so locked in about what they’re doing. It was extra, wow, he’s a man that obtained each purpose to be a dick, and he’s the precise reverse.

Derek Stingley Jr. was improbable as a real freshman in 2019 however battled damage and regarded like a special participant the previous two seasons. What do you make of him as a prospect?

Defensive Coach No. 7: I don’t know. You surprise, what are you gonna get? Who is he? In 2019, you noticed these large flashes. He is a legit expertise. He’s obtained elite ball expertise, actually good toes. He can return punts. He’s a greater all-around pure athlete than Patrick Surtain. He’s in all probability a top-5 decide if he may’ve come out after 2019. But now what? You simply gotta carry on digging.

Kyle Hamilton has some individuals speaking about him as a top-5 expertise, which is uncommon for a security. How excessive would you’re taking him?

Defensive Coach No. 7: Safeties usually are not a premium. He’s a unicorn, and he’s an excellent participant. He’s actually versatile. He doesn’t match the mould. He’s constructed like a sam linebacker. His man protection isn’t nice and his short-area quickness isn’t nice. He might be on the No. 3 within the 3-by-1 formation or on a slot. You can’t title a whole lot of safeties who can actually cowl a slot.

QB Coach No. 2: I don’t get it. It’s like he’s too tall. His FSU recreation was spectacular, however individuals are speaking about him like he’s one other Derwin James, and he’s not. When the Chargers follow, Derwin James covers Keenan Allen and covers him effectively. Keenan Allen would make Kyle Hamilton wish to retire.

Who are your DBs you don’t suppose get talked about sufficient?

Defensive Coach No. 3: Lewis Cine from Georgia. He’s so vibrant. His soccer IQ is extraordinarily excessive. He jumped out as an extremely pupil of the sport.

Scout No. 2: Decobie Durant from South Carolina State. He was 157 kilos out of highschool. He performed at an HBCU and didn’t have all of the sources to get heavier. He was 170-something his entire profession, however he’s gotten as much as 183 and was as much as 186 the opposite day, and he’s effectively on his approach to being 195. He’s a very good nickel who had two picks towards Clemson and performed a hell of a recreation. I really like all the pieces about that child. He’s powerful as shit. He’s obtained good toes, is aggressive and good.

(Illustration: Wes McCabe / The Athletic; pictures: Getty Images, Associated Press)



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