Pre-Grading Pick #20

JerHawk81

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Grading draft picks is a blast for me. So this year, I thought I’d do something a bit different, and pre-grade some possible choices. To start, here are my pre-draft grades for pick 20. Note that these assume that we go DL or Edge at 5.

Witherspoon or Gonzalez (CB) – A++. I’m not a huge fan of going CB in round 1, but I just love both of these players, and think they are both legit top 7 prospects meaning the value here is amazing. My read is that at least one of them will fall near 20. Maybe our most likely trade up targets.

Nolan Smith (Edge) – A+. Good value and great fit. Tested great and it does show up on the field as he really does fly around. Tough as nails and plays bigger and stronger than his size. Probably the best edge in space of any of the top 10 edges. Great first step. But, he’s struggled to put it all together – probably due to his struggles getting off blocks.

Levis or Richardson (QB) – A+. I’m not targeting these guys at 5, but love them at 20. Even though I don’t think either will reach his full potential, the risk reward of me being wrong is simply too good at 20 to pass on. I’d opt for Richardson over Levis, but would take either with a smile at 20.

Murphy (Edge) – A. A physical freak who has amazing upside and good fit, though his tools are inconsistent on the film. When I watch him, he almost looks a bit tentative at times, and struggles with wash/garbage/etc.. He's at his best on clean plays, where he is matched up 1:1, makes a single read, etc. This is right in his range and maybe the single most likely option at 20. If we pick something other than front 7 in the top 5, this becomes an A+ for me.

Bresse (DL) – A-. An interesting pick who was trending towards a top 10 selection until last year when he struggled, likely due to a family tragedy. I give him a bit of a pass for that. I view him as a high floor guy, as a fine/rotational 3-4 DE. His upside is through the roof as a long, strong, big, quick, slippery, well rounded, and ideal 3-4 DE. He’s currently being mocked a bit later than this, but I like him enough to still give it an A-.

Klancey (DL) – A-. An outstanding pass rusher, he’s being mocked in the late 1st or early 2nd, but I expect for him to go higher than consensus, and to be off the board by 20. One of the top 3 pass rushers in the draft, I’d love him as a rotational guy on our DL in year 1. Yes, he does get run over in the run game…

Van Ness (DL/Edge) – B+. Great value, but I’m still not sure where he fits on the team. At his best in a 4-3, and may be a situational player in a 3-4. But, a great player and an infusion of talent – you just may need to scheme him into your D for a while.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR) – B+. My favorite WR in the class by a mile, and the only WR who gets a passing grade from me at 20. He’s a less savvy, but more physically gifted Baldwin. He'd be great in the slot right away, with the ability to develop to an outside guy in a year or two.

Mazi Smith (NT) – C. Even though he’s the best NT in the class, at probably our greatest position of need, and is projected to go in this range, I simply don’t see the value. To me, Mazi is a clear 2nd rounder, and at a position that should come cheap. This is too much of a reach for me. Note that he’s one of my best-case scenarios at 37.

Flowers / Adison / Johnston – C-/D+. Even though all three of these guys are often mocked in this range, and some may even be gone by 20, I don’t see 1st round grades for any of them. I’m especially concerned about Adison, and I don’t see him jump off the film like the pundits.

Torrence (OG) – B-. Probably the best interior OL in the class, he’s big, strong, and adequately athletic. This is a pinch high for him and we have other needs, but at an area where we do need some bodies and a good fit. I never see him mocked to Seattle, and I’m not sure why…

Aliva (OG) C-. A slight poor man’s Torrence, I like him as a prospect and have him as a solid early 2nd, so 20 is simply too high for him. One of our likely targets at 37 and a good player – just not the value I want.

Michael-Schmitz (Center) – C. The best center in the class, and someone who can start on day 1. But, this is a bit high for him, and there’s a good chance that he’ll be there at 37 or even later.

Tippman (center) – D+. A fine player, but lacks the physical tools to be taken this high. He may be around at 52, but I worry that this is the guy that draws the gasps on NFL Network when we take him at 20. This is my mostly likely most bad scenario at 20.

Emmanuel Forbes (CB) – D. He’s that super lanky CB. I worry that we’ll target Forbes at 20 as he’s a CB with crazy length and good with speed, and is sneaking into round 1 in some mocks. But to me, I simply don’t see it. He’s as skinny as any NFL prospect I’ve ever seen, and can get manhandled a bit like a tall Kelly Jennings – and lacks the fluidity of the other CBs going in the 1st. This wouldn’t get graded as poorly as some of the others I’ve listed by the pundits, but to me, looks like the worst pick of the options listed.

Paxton Brooks (punter) – F. A player who none of us have heard of, who is not graded in the top 150 on any big boards, at a position that we don’t think we have a need, but who we take at 20… And while I mention Paxton tongue-in-cheek, there are dozens of other guys who have a similar profile, where we do our own thing and reach massively. Joking aside, these are the guys who I’d grade as an F.



How about you?
 

Boycie

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Grading draft picks is a blast for me. So this year, I thought I’d do something a bit different, and pre-grade some possible choices. To start, here are my pre-draft grades for pick 20. Note that these assume that we go DL or Edge at 5.

Witherspoon or Gonzalez (CB) – A++. I’m not a huge fan of going CB in round 1, but I just love both of these players, and think they are both legit top 7 prospects meaning the value here is amazing. My read is that at least one of them will fall near 20. Maybe our most likely trade up targets.

Nolan Smith (Edge) – A+. Good value and great fit. Tested great and it does show up on the field as he really does fly around. Tough as nails and plays bigger and stronger than his size. Probably the best edge in space of any of the top 10 edges. Great first step. But, he’s struggled to put it all together – probably due to his struggles getting off blocks.

Levis or Richardson (QB) – A+. I’m not targeting these guys at 5, but love them at 20. Even though I don’t think either will reach his full potential, the risk reward of me being wrong is simply too good at 20 to pass on. I’d opt for Richardson over Levis, but would take either with a smile at 20.

Murphy (Edge) – A. A physical freak who has amazing upside and good fit, though his tools are inconsistent on the film. When I watch him, he almost looks a bit tentative at times, and struggles with wash/garbage/etc.. He's at his best on clean plays, where he is matched up 1:1, makes a single read, etc. This is right in his range and maybe the single most likely option at 20. If we pick something other than front 7 in the top 5, this becomes an A+ for me.

Bresse (DL) – A-. An interesting pick who was trending towards a top 10 selection until last year when he struggled, likely due to a family tragedy. I give him a bit of a pass for that. I view him as a high floor guy, as a fine/rotational 3-4 DE. His upside is through the roof as a long, strong, big, quick, slippery, well rounded, and ideal 3-4 DE. He’s currently being mocked a bit later than this, but I like him enough to still give it an A-.

Klancey (DL) – A-. An outstanding pass rusher, he’s being mocked in the late 1st or early 2nd, but I expect for him to go higher than consensus, and to be off the board by 20. One of the top 3 pass rushers in the draft, I’d love him as a rotational guy on our DL in year 1. Yes, he does get run over in the run game…

Van Ness (DL/Edge) – B+. Great value, but I’m still not sure where he fits on the team. At his best in a 4-3, and may be a situational player in a 3-4. But, a great player and an infusion of talent – you just may need to scheme him into your D for a while.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR) – B+. My favorite WR in the class by a mile, and the only WR who gets a passing grade from me at 20. He’s a less savvy, but more physically gifted Baldwin. He'd be great in the slot right away, with the ability to develop to an outside guy in a year or two.

Mazi Smith (NT) – C. Even though he’s the best NT in the class, at probably our greatest position of need, and is projected to go in this range, I simply don’t see the value. To me, Mazi is a clear 2nd rounder, and at a position that should come cheap. This is too much of a reach for me. Note that he’s one of my best-case scenarios at 37.

Flowers / Adison / Johnston – C-/D+. Even though all three of these guys are often mocked in this range, and some may even be gone by 20, I don’t see 1st round grades for any of them. I’m especially concerned about Adison, and I don’t see him jump off the film like the pundits.

Torrence (OG) – B-. Probably the best interior OL in the class, he’s big, strong, and adequately athletic. This is a pinch high for him and we have other needs, but at an area where we do need some bodies and a good fit. I never see him mocked to Seattle, and I’m not sure why…

Aliva (OG) C-. A slight poor man’s Torrence, I like him as a prospect and have him as a solid early 2nd, so 20 is simply too high for him. One of our likely targets at 37 and a good player – just not the value I want.

Michael-Schmitz (Center) – C. The best center in the class, and someone who can start on day 1. But, this is a bit high for him, and there’s a good chance that he’ll be there at 37 or even later.

Tippman (center) – D+. A fine player, but lacks the physical tools to be taken this high. He may be around at 52, but I worry that this is the guy that draws the gasps on NFL Network when we take him at 20. This is my mostly likely most bad scenario at 20.

Emmanuel Forbes (CB) – D. He’s that super lanky CB. I worry that we’ll target Forbes at 20 as he’s a CB with crazy length and good with speed, and is sneaking into round 1 in some mocks. But to me, I simply don’t see it. He’s as skinny as any NFL prospect I’ve ever seen, and can get manhandled a bit like a tall Kelly Jennings – and lacks the fluidity of the other CBs going in the 1st. This wouldn’t get graded as poorly as some of the others I’ve listed by the pundits, but to me, looks like the worst pick of the options listed.

Paxton Brooks (punter) – F. A player who none of us have heard of, who is not graded in the top 150 on any big boards, at a position that we don’t think we have a need, but who we take at 20… And while I mention Paxton tongue-in-cheek, there are dozens of other guys who have a similar profile, where we do our own thing and reach massively. Joking aside, these are the guys who I’d grade as an F.



How about you?
Cool write up! Thanks
 

vonstout

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No chance that Spoon or Gonzo will be there. Porter and Banis are much more realistic IMO.

TE: Mayer, Kincaid, Washington are potential options
OL: Paris Johnson can play either tackle or guard.

I agree with most of your grades. That’s why I hope the trade down If they can. A lot varying opinions on guys from #20-#60
 
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JerHawk81

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No chance that Spoon or Gonzo will be there. Porter and Banis are much more realistic IMO.

TE: Mayer, Kincaid, Washington are potential options
OL: Paris Johnson can play either tackle or guard.

I agree with most of your grades. That’s why I hope the trade down If they can. A lot varying opinions on guys from #20-#60
I'm really worried that we end up going TE in round 1. Even though the guys you listed are studs (I especially like Kincaid), and are being mocked in this range, I don't think we have the capital to make going TE at 20 a good option.

I'd love for Paris (or Skoronski, who is my favorite) to fall to 20 and be selected. I have both of these guys much higher than the OL guys I listed, and would grade either of these really well at 20. With that said, I figure there's a 95% chance that both are gone by 20, which is why I didn't list them. But I agree - either would be great additions.

Regarding Witherspoon or Gonzalez falling to 20, time will tell. My best guess is that there's a 50% chance one of them is there at 12, 30% chance at 17, and a 20% chance at 20. Here's my thinking: To me, the 2022 class was stacked at CB, and included the best top-end CBs to come along in a few years with Singley and Sauce - both were probably better prospects than either Witherspoon or Gonzalez. While top end CBs aren't quite the same prospects the 2022 CBs, the 2023 CB class is freaking loaded with something like 7-8 guys warranting consideration in the top 40, so teams that need a CB may be enticed to wait. To say it another way, it's a buyer's market for young CBs right now, and that may result in some good players falling.
 

bileever

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Excellent analysis, although I disagree with Levis and Richardson, even at 20. And a little surprised about your grade on John Michael Schmitz (I think it should be higher). What's your grade on Bijan Robinson or Michael Mayer if they're available at 20?
 
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JerHawk81

JerHawk81

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Excellent analysis, although I disagree with Levis and Richardson, even at 20. And a little surprised about your grade on John Michael Schmitz (I think it should be higher). What's your grade on Bijan Robinson or Michael Mayer if they're available at 20?
Thanks :)

These are largely philosophy based, meaning my lens is likely just unique. But here are my thoughts:

Value is a key driver of grades for me, and I don't see the value for Michael Schmitz at 20. It's rare that he is mocked in the 1st round. I'd love to have him on the team, but if that's the guy we're targeting, I'd hope that we trade back at least 5-10 spots. If we trade back, and get him at 30, I probably grade it a B+ (great player, still not great value). Again, my lens and my bias.

I thought a lot about Robinson, and have no idea how to grade him at 20. He's the #1 on my regardless-of-position-or-need-or-team-specific-big-board. And, one of the better RB prospects I've seen in a few years (though, I'll also confess that I haven't watched the amount of his film as I have the other guys)... Anyhow, there is clear appeal and he's the clear BPA at 20. However, I also don't like the idea of going RB in R1. We clearly need another RB, but having two stud, young, RB1s on a team has diminishing returns, and I'm not sure how much better we are today, or next year, or two years from now, with Robinson. Better, yes. But how much better??? I'm not sure...
 

bileever

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Thanks :)

These are largely philosophy based, meaning my lens is likely just unique. But here are my thoughts:

Value is a key driver of grades for me, and I don't see the value for Michael Schmitz at 20. It's rare that he is mocked in the 1st round. I'd love to have him on the team, but if that's the guy we're targeting, I'd hope that we trade back at least 5-10 spots. If we trade back, and get him at 30, I probably grade it a B+ (great player, still not great value). Again, my lens and my bias.

I thought a lot about Robinson, and have no idea how to grade him at 20. He's the #1 on my regardless-of-position-or-need-or-team-specific-big-board. And, one of the better RB prospects I've seen in a few years (though, I'll also confess that I haven't watched the amount of his film as I have the other guys)... Anyhow, there is clear appeal and he's the clear BPA at 20. However, I also don't like the idea of going RB in R1. We clearly need another RB, but having two stud, young, RB1s on a team has diminishing returns, and I'm not sure how much better we are today, or next year, or two years from now, with Robinson. Better, yes. But how much better??? I'm not sure...
Thanks for the thoughts. I hear you regarding draft value. And Robinson is a tough one to analyze. I think this year is an unlucky one to have picks at 5 and 20 when there aren't more players worth those picks, especially at #5.
 

Rat

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Torrence (OG) – B-. Probably the best interior OL in the class, he’s big, strong, and adequately athletic. This is a pinch high for him and we have other needs, but at an area where we do need some bodies and a good fit. I never see him mocked to Seattle, and I’m not sure why…
Because people just look at his weight and assume he's a fat, lazy slob. I think he'll become one of the best in the league by the end of his rookie season.
 

AgentDib

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It's a value question with Torrence and our needs. We only ran power 30% of the time last year, and could probably find excellent zone guards much later among the tackle pool. Skoronski, Wright, Matthew Bergeron, Tyler Steen, Ryan Hayes, Jaelyn Duncan, Connor Galvin, Cody Mauch, Nick Saldiveri and Blake Freeland all had the agility to play OT in college but have sub 34" arms and may be better off as guards in a zone blocking scheme.

Bergeron in particular looks like a really good comparative value. Very effective run blocker who's weakness in pass protection as a tackle would be largely mitigated with a move inside to guard.
 
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