Draft Notes

The draft is less than a month away. Let’s talk about some players.

Did you see the day Houston LB Elandon Roberts had? Per Gil Brandt:

Linebacker Elandon Roberts — 5-11 3/8, 234 — ran the 40 in 4.63 and 4.6 seconds. He had a 36-inch vertical and 10-foot broad jump. He did the short shuttle in 4.26 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.23 seconds. Roberts put the bar up 25 times on the bench. Roberts — who led the nation with 88 solo tackles — also worked out in defensive back drills and has a chance to be a priority free-agent pickup for a team following the draft.

I wish I could tell you the game tape was equally as impressive. There are moments when Roberts looks really good. Keep him clean and let him attack upfield and you’ll like what you see. He has excellent burst and hits with some pop. He’s more athletic than instinctive, which doesn’t always work well with LBs. I think he needs to be a WLB in the 4-3. Let him play in space and use his speed/burst. Might remind you of a poor man’s Mychal Kendricks.

*****

One OL I’m curious about is Max Tuerk from USC. He tore his ACL back in October and isn’t healthy yet so that will greatly affect his draft value. Tuerk is 6-5, 298. He started at C in 2014 and 2015. Tuerk played LG in 2013 and started 5 games at LT in 2012. That is some serious versatility. He is a lot of fun to watch because he’s so athletic. If you like your C to pull and block on the move, Tuerk is your guy. He’s more than just athletic. He has good size and strength. He uses his hands well. Tuerk is a complete package.

If healthy, Tuerk had a chance to be a 1st round pick. His medical reports will dictate whether he goes in the 2nd round, 3rd round or falls further.

*****

The most physical player in the draft? That just might be MLB Steven Daniels of Boston College.

He only ran 4.86, but Daniels is smart and instinctive. He plays faster than he times. There are some plays where his lack of speed is an issue, but this is a player you want for his ability between the tackles.

*****

RB Jordan Howard had a very good year for Indiana, running for 1,213 yards and 9 TDs. He is 6-0, 230 and physically impressive. Some people are really high on Howard as an NFL prospect. I am not one of them. I see a talented runner, but he has stiff hips. His size offsets that issue a bit, but it still bothers me. At his best, Howard is a N-S runner with good power. I just have concerns about that in the NFL. Running over defenders in the Big Ten is one thing, but you can’t count on doing that in the NFL.

*****

Sheldon Day is one of the most interesting players in this class. The Notre Dame star mostly played DT, but put on game tape and you’ll see him all over the place. He plays DE and DT. He sometimes will stand up as an edge rusher. Sometimes he is a DE in a 3-man DL.

Day is an athletic, disruptive DL. He can use his quickness to beat interior blockers. On the edge, he does a good job of getting low and rounding the edge. He uses his hands well to beat blockers, inside and out. Day is 6-1, 293, hardly ideal size. He does have 32 5/8-inch arms. That helps him to keep blockers off his body.

The issue with Day is that he must play in a 1-gap system. He has to attack off the ball. If you have him take on blockers, he’s going to get overwhelmed and moved off the ball. Even in one-on-one situations there are times when Day gets stuck on blocks.

Day needs to go to either a creative defensive coach or one that runs an attacking scheme. I’d love to see how Bill Belichick would use Day. I could see BB doing something like putting Day at ILB in goal line situations. And Day might even do well in that role.

More likely, Day will go to a 4-3 team. They’ll use him as a 3-tech DT and occasional DE. Let him fire off the ball and he will make plays.

Day could go as early as the 2nd round or as late as the 4th. This is a deep DT class and he’s not going to be a player that everyone likes. I could see some coaches falling in love him because of his versatility and relentless motor.

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