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Geoff Nichols Top 5 By Position 1.0
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Geoff Nichols
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April 10, 2017 - 11:11 am
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At long last I’ve made it through at least the top 10 players within each position group which allowed me to rank the top 5 prospects within each for the 2017 draft. For Vikings fans this may end up being more valuable than any mock draft since it will give an idea on players who may slip into the 2nd round. I will offer an updated version the week of the draft.

Two things to remember when looking through this listing. First, assume that players are system fits for the team who are drafting them. Second, I have made some slight adjustments for off-field/personal/injury. These players are designated with a (*).

Offense Defense
Quarterback: 
  1. Mitchell Trubisky – UNC
  2. Patrick Mahomes II – Texas Tech
  3. DeShone Kizer – Notre Dame
  4. Davis Webb – California
  5. Deshaun Watson – Clemson

 

Interior D-Line:
  1. Jonathan Allen – Alabama*
  2. Malik McDowell – Michigan State*
  3. Larry Ogunjobi – Charlotte
  4. Caleb Brantley – Florida
  5. Chris Wormley – Michigan
Running Back: 
  1. Leonard Fournette – LSU
  2. Christian McCaffrey – Stanford
  3. Joe Mixon – Oklahoma*
  4. Dalvin Cook – Florida State*
  5. Alvin Kamara – Tennessee
Edge Rusher:
  1. Myles Garrett – Texas A&M
  2. Solomon Thomas – Stanford
  3. Charles Harris – Missouri
  4. Derek Barnett – Tennessee
  5. Takkarist McKinley – UCLA*
Wide Receiver: 
  1. Mike Williams – Clemson
  2. Corey Davis – Western Michigan*
  3. John Ross – Washington*
  4. Carlos Henderson – Louisiana Tech
  5. Chris Godwin – Penn State
Linebacker:
  1. Reuben Foster – Alabama*
  2. Haason Reddick – Temple
  3. Jarrad Davis – Florida*
  4. Zach Cunnigham – Vanderbilt
  5. Duke Riley – LSU
Tight End: 
  1. O.J. Howard – Alabama
  2. David Njoku – Miami
  3. Evan Engram – Ole Miss
  4. Jake Butt – Michigan*
  5. Gerald Everett – South Alabama
Cornerback:
  1. Marshon Lattimore – Ohio State*
  2. Gareon Conley – Ohio State
  3. Kevin King – Washington
  4. Obi Melifonwu – UConn
  5. Tre’Davious White – LSU
Offensive Tackle:
  1. Garett Bolles – Utah
  2. Cam Robison – Alabama
  3. Ryan Ramczyk – Wisconsin*
  4. Taylor Moton – Western Michigan
  5. Will Holden – Vanderbilt
Safety:  
  1. Malik Hooker – Ohio State*
  2. Jamal Adams – LSU
  3. Budda Baker – Washington
  4. Jabrill Peppers – Michigan
  5. Marcus Williams – Utah
Interior O-Line:
  1. Forrest Lamp – Western Kentucky
  2. Dion Dawkins – Temple
  3. Dan Feeney – Indiana
  4. Zac Elflein – Ohio State
  5. Dorian Johnson – Pittsburgh

 

 

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Skol Geoff Nichols - The following users think this post rocks!:

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JR44
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April 10, 2017 - 11:06 am
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I’d like to see this pinned so we have it up for the draft.

I haven’t seen a lot of these QBs, but from what I have seen from Watson, I can’t see how he will not be the #1 QB picked.  I know the Jets at #6 and Browns at #12 have been linked.  If I were the Browns, I wouldn’t mess around and I would take him at #1.  On the biggest stage and pressure situation, he picked apart the best defense in college for the national championship.  I think he has all the tools physically and mentally to be a top NFL QB.

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April 10, 2017 - 11:47 am
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Geoff Nichols said

Two things to remember when looking through this listing. First, assume that players are system fits for the team who are drafting them.

Thanks Geoff! Re your comment about team fit…did you write this taking the position of ranking them based on how they would fit the Vikings‘ system?

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I was wondering if you were going to put together a Top 5 this year…  thanks for taking the time to do this, Guru.

Couple quick comments…

1)  As JR44 noted above, I’m surprised you have Deshaun Watson #5.  I’m curious about your reasoning…  I’ve read some draft pundits knock him for his decision making this past season (uptick in red zone interceptions), but you can’t overlook the fact that he has played like the best player on the field in back to back National Championship Games.  Trubisky and Kizer may have a bit more pure arm talent than Watson, but I’ll take a high floor passer with the ability to run and play his best in big games over some guys with limited starting experience.  Personally, I would have him as my #1 QB in this draft.

2)  Where is Cooper Kupp?  He is being severely underrated by the draft media now.  I would swap out Carlos Henderson as a 1-year wonder and put in the more polished Kupp who also has plenty of big play ability with 37 receptions of 40+ yards in his career.  I don’t care what Kupp’s measurables were at the combine…  the guy plays faster than his timed speed.  He’s a Day 1 starter out of the slot with the potential to also play on the outside.  If Kupp slips out of the 2nd round, I would hope the Vikings are all over this kid in the 3rd.

3)  I’m a bit surprised you have Ramczyk not only behind Bolles, but also behind Cam Robinson.  What’s your reasoning?  Do you feel that Robinson has the potential to play LT after watching more of his tape?

4)  As far as the safeties…  I would flip flop Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker.  Nit-picking?  Yes.  But I love Jamal Adams.  I think he has the potential to be an All-Pro for years barring injury.

Thanks again for putting this together.

BOOM

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April 10, 2017 - 1:28 pm
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Jor-El said

Geoff Nichols said

Two things to remember when looking through this listing. First, assume that players are system fits for the team who are drafting them.

Thanks Geoff! Re your comment about team fit…did you write this taking the position of ranking them based on how they would fit the Vikings‘ system?  

These are generalized and don’t account for the Vikings system at all. I was getting more at the point that if a corner plays man-to-man or zone assume the team drafting them would be drafting them into the correct system. 

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April 10, 2017 - 1:56 pm
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Wetlander said
I was wondering if you were going to put together a Top 5 this year…  thanks for taking the time to do this, Guru.

Couple quick comments…

1)  As JR44 noted above, I’m surprised you have Deshaun Watson #5.  I’m curious about your reasoning…  I’ve read some draft pundits knock him for his decision making this past season (uptick in red zone interceptions), but you can’t overlook the fact that he has played like the best player on the field in back to back National Championship Games.  Trubisky and Kizer may have a bit more pure arm talent than Watson, but I’ll take a high floor passer with the ability to run and play his best in big games over some guys with limited starting experience.  Personally, I would have him as my #1 QB in this draft.

2)  Where is Cooper Kupp?  He is being severely underrated by the draft media now.  I would swap out Carlos Henderson as a 1-year wonder and put in the more polished Kupp who also has plenty of big play ability with 37 receptions of 40+ yards in his career.  I don’t care what Kupp’s measurables were at the combine…  the guy plays faster than his timed speed.  He’s a Day 1 starter out of the slot with the potential to also play on the outside.  If Kupp slips out of the 2nd round, I would hope the Vikings are all over this kid in the 3rd.

3)  I’m a bit surprised you have Ramczyk not only behind Bolles, but also behind Cam Robinson.  What’s your reasoning?  Do you feel that Robinson has the potential to play LT after watching more of his tape?

4)  As far as the safeties…  I would flip flop Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker.  Nit-picking?  Yes.  But I love Jamal Adams.  I think he has the potential to be an All-Pro for years barring injury.

Thanks again for putting this together.

BOOM  

1. Watson isn’t an easy scouting analysis. I am not so worried about his decision making in the bigger scheme of things. What it really boils down to is if Watson can learn to read defenses at the NFL level. Clemson’s system is designed to give the QB a hot read pre-snap with a single check-down. From a complexity standpoint, Watson has a long ways to go before he is able to completely understand what NFL defenses are doing to him. He proved to come up big at the NCAA field level but the NFL is a new ball game where teams have the speed to attack his weaknesses. When all is set and done Watson can be successful in the NFL but he will need to have a strong supporting cast. 

2. Cooper Kupp / Zay Jones would be tied for 6 and 7 on my list. Kupp great production but there are very few “big slot” receivers that have made the transition to outside receivers in the NFL over the years. Kupp has a lot of missteps in his routes that will need to be refined before he can get consistent separation on the outside if a team decides to make that move. The alternative is that he could move into a Jarvis Landy role on the inside. I would argue that he has less quickness than Landry so it may be a battle for him to get separation in the NFL. I just like other receivers chances better. 

3. Ramczyk has one year of play at the D1 level and injury concerns. He also didn’t interview well for some teams. The talent level amongst Bolles/Robinson/Ramczyk is fairly even when compared against the rest of the OT class so I would take the healthy player if I had the choice. 

4. I just love Hooker’s ball skills. But like you said, you can flip-flop the two. 

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I responded to this earlier, but I think it got lost when this was pinned. So I’ll try again…

This might be the first time ever I’ve agreed this much with your top 5 list. 🙂 I do have a few differences though. 

1. I’d have Quincy Wilson somewhere among the top 5 corners. 

2. I’d have Jamal Adams over Malik Hooker. 

3. I’d have Zay Jones in the top five receivers. Maybe even 3rd. 

4. I’d have Mixon and Cook over McCaffrey. And Perine and Hunt over Kamara. 

I know a lot of folks are very high on McCaffrey and Kamara, but I have a hard time seeing them as anything more than 3rd down backs, slots and/or gadget players. Now, if your team needs something like that, they should be damn good in that role, so I understand why you (and others) have them ranked high. But I kinda see this through a purple lens. The Vikings need a 3-down back, so it makes me nervous that I’m hearing that we’re so high on Kamara. There’s a lot of projection with him. 

Anyway, good stuff. Thanks for posting. 

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April 11, 2017 - 2:26 pm
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MaroonBells said
I responded to this earlier, but I think it got lost when this was pinned. So I’ll try again…

This might be the first time ever I’ve agreed this much with your top 5 list. 🙂 I do have a few differences though. 

1. I’d have Quincy Wilson somewhere among the top 5 corners. 

2. I’d have Jamal Adams over Malik Hooker. 

3. I’d have Zay Jones in the top five receivers. Maybe even 3rd. 

4. I’d have Mixon and Cook over McCaffrey. And Perine and Hunt over Kamara. 

I know a lot of folks are very high on McCaffrey and Kamara, but I have a hard time seeing them as anything more than 3rd down backs, slots and/or gadget players. Now, if your team needs something like that, they should be damn good in that role, so I understand why you (and others) have them ranked high. But I kinda see this through a purple lens. The Vikings need a 3-down back, so it makes me nervous that I’m hearing that we’re so high on Kamara. There’s a lot of projection with him. 

Anyway, good stuff. Thanks for posting.   

1. If the corner class wasn’t so deep Wilson makes it into the top 5 most years. I actually really like him as a player and he may slide into the #5 spot if I move Obi backs to safety since that is really 50/50 at this point. There are only really 2 concerns I have with Wilson. 1. Gambling at the NCAA level is one thing, but teams in the NFL are going to try to get him to bite with the result being a man running wide open down the field. 2. Florida doesn’t move their CBs around so he has only played on the right side. If teams have a #1 CB and want to shadow a #1 WR he is going to have to learn to play on the left side which isn’t always as simple as it sounds. 

2. Like Wet, you’re really nitpicking between the two of them. I like Hooker but there is no point having a real argument over which is better since it comes down to team fit. If you’re looking for a safety who is dominant in the box, Adams is your guy. If you want a elite centerfielder Hooker is more of your type. My tiebreaker is historically safeties with a high rate of turnovers carry that over to NFL play. 

3. I’d say Zay is in the same tier as Godwin. Tied for 6/7 at the position. I just trust Godwin coming off the press and beating man to man coverage more than Jones. 

4. Mixon would be #2 on my board as well if it was a pure talent discussion, I’m just hedging against his character concerns some teams will hold onto. I personally am higher on Hunt than some others since I don’t think he needs to have an elite trait since he does most everything else well. I am still having a tough time with Kamara. He is incredibly elusive due to his pure athleticism but it is more of a gut feel that I think he works out well in the NFL as a #1 back. I am sure you know at some point you just have a gut feel about a guy and you learn to trust yourself. 

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Imagine that, another WR named Mike Williams.

Not much of a college guy, so I don’t have much opinion on these, but will be interesting watching as the draft unfolds.

Question for you Geoff, do you have an opinion on Deon Watson from U of Idaho.  I know his dad and this kid did well for U of I.  Probably a UDFA in all likelihood.  But just curious if you had seen anything on him.  He was a WR, but probably will be a hybrid TE/WR.  Bigger and not blazing speed.

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April 11, 2017 - 7:08 pm
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greediron said
Imagine that, another WR named Mike Williams.

Not much of a college guy, so I don’t have much opinion on these, but will be interesting watching as the draft unfolds.

Question for you Geoff, do you have an opinion on Deon Watson from U of Idaho.  I know his dad and this kid did well for U of I.  Probably a UDFA in all likelihood.  But just curious if you had seen anything on him.  He was a WR, but probably will be a hybrid TE/WR.  Bigger and not blazing speed.  

I haven’t watched any tape on him but I am familiar with the name since I personally track measurable’s as these later round prospects compete in pro days. Since I am not a scouting department and a single person I use measurable’s and an analytic I created to find outliers and positions and watch tape on the few that fall out and are unique in some way. 

I will watch some tape on Watson tonight and report back! beer_01

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