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VanS

VanS 2018 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

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Good work, I disagree with a decent amount but I love reading your opinions.  Some questions:

1. Why Kallen Ballage in the 3rd round?  I just see a Latavious Murray-eque runner with better receiving ability.  Why use a valuable Day 2 pick on a likely replacement level RB?  Yes, he's big and athletic but that's essentially all I see with him.  Very linear runner who goes down easily on contact.

2. Why no Austin Corbett or Braden Smith in your OL rankings?

3. Why do you have Harold Landry so low? He had a dominant 2016 and then struggled a little last year with injuries.  I think he has the profile of a 10 sack per year edge.

4. I really, really don't understand the Tim Settle ranking.  He's a NT who plays like a 3 Tech.  While he looks explosive for his size on film, he's doesnt have the movement skills necessary to become a dominant interior pass rusher and his awful testing numbers back that up.  Plus, I don't think he can really 2 gap in the NFL as he really struggles to anchor vs double teams.  I think he'll get eaten alive in the NFL.

5. I dont understand having Fred Warner and Micah Kiser > Roquan and Edmunds.  Why do you think Warner was "all over the field?"  It's not his fault, but he was mostly asked to play shallow zones and thus wasn't one of the LBs (like Roquan and Edmunds) who are constantly around the ball.  Did we see different things or are you just projecting his range?  Also, why is Fred Warner better than Dorian O'Daniel besides from the size?  With Kiser, I like him more than most (3rd round grade) but you don't think he looks very, very slow and unexplosive on film?  I'm not sure he's a 3 down or sideline to sideline player.

6. You explained Denzel Ward a little bit but what games are you referring to where he's getting bullied by bigger WRs?  The only flaws I see with him are his weight + he gets a little grabby and can be late turning his head around.  However, I didn't see his weight show up as a problem on film and Ohio St teaches their CBs to play the WR rather than the ball so I can forgive a little bit for that.

 

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Posted (edited)

Well, I have saved it for posterity and will post it for the next few years and we will see how you did!!! I will say this, you laid it all out there for everybody to judge!!!

As for my opinion, I think you are just trying too hard to prove the experts wrong and it has led you into some ridiculous rankings, but to be fair, only time will tell!!! 

One of your comparison left me totally laughing: 5. DJ Moore (Maryland) - 1st round grade......NFL comp: Percy Harvin   DJ Moore is about as close to Harvin as an animal is to a fish. They are nothing alike !!! Harvin was a WR who tried to avoid contact at all costs and depended on his speed and quickness to beat pressing CB and never physically challenged a CB in his football life. DJ Moore is a thick, muscled up WR with outstanding toughness. He powers through press coverage. Moore routinely break tackles. His competitiveness is off the charts. Where in the world did you ever come up with this comparison???

Edited by Iamcanadian

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20 hours ago, VanS said:

Just ask yourself this, has there ever been a draft where the order the players are selected reflected the order the players actually turned out to be in the NFL?

I'm not trying to rate players so that they are in accordance with what the so-called "experts" are saying.  I'm just looking at it fresh with no regard for what the consensus says.  So for example, if everyone and their mother loves Roquan Smith and thinks he'll be a star, I have no problem saying I found him to not be very impressive.  Conversely, I have no problem in rating Brandon Facyson (a guy who might go in Day 3) as a top 15 player overall and the #2 CB in this class. 

I will say the only impact the consensus has on my opinion is it does make me give guys like Roquan the benefit of the doubt when I watch their tape and it does make me look for flaws in guys like Brandon Facyson.  So if anything, I'm trying to confirm what everyone else is seeing in these guys but sometimes I just can't go along which is when I diverge. 

Just because experts don't get everything right, doesn't mean that they don't know what they're looking at -- conversely, just because you've gotten a few hits, doesn't mean you do know what you're looking at. I'll leave at that, but I do like reading your posts. They're creative and entertaining, and that's a nice change of pace from the super serious attitudes that many people have about the draft.

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21 hours ago, VanS said:

Just ask yourself this, has there ever been a draft where the order the players are selected reflected the order the players actually turned out to be in the NFL?

I'm not trying to rate players so that they are in accordance with what the so-called "experts" are saying.  I'm just looking at it fresh with no regard for what the consensus says.  So for example, if everyone and their mother loves Roquan Smith and thinks he'll be a star, I have no problem saying I found him to not be very impressive.  Conversely, I have no problem in rating Brandon Facyson (a guy who might go in Day 3) as a top 15 player overall and the #2 CB in this class. 

I will say the only impact the consensus has on my opinion is it does make me give guys like Roquan the benefit of the doubt when I watch their tape and it does make me look for flaws in guys like Brandon Facyson.  So if anything, I'm trying to confirm what everyone else is seeing in these guys but sometimes I just can't go along which is when I diverge. 

Nobody is asking for you to put your rankings and make them similar to the talking heads.  But when your rankings come out looking like you picked names randomly out of a hat, that says enough.

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Label me a fan of your posts. For someone who doesnt watch college football but loves hearing opinions and watching some youtube cut ups, I like hearing your thoughts and similarly believe if after watching a few minutes of someone play they don’t jump out at you, then I’m not so interested. 

Question for you @VanS with the recent news of the combine drug fail of Callaway where do you put him in terms of getting drafted and  do you still believe he has got his head on straight?

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Callaway is very talented but in the running for Red Flag gold metal for the draft. He will be lucky to go in the 3rd.  I predict the 5th round

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New stragety in life.... throw out tons and tons of bs, hope one actually hits and constantly bring that up while ignoring all the other bs that ended up being bs. Thanks Vans!

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I disagree with some of these picks, particularly your QB evaluations but I'll give you props for putting it out there and doing the work. Great write up. Will be fun to see where everything shakes out.

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A lot of great questions.  I hope my answers were satisfactory.

On 4/23/2018 at 7:09 PM, AlNFL19 said:

-> You say Mayfield is the biggest projection in the draft because of his system concerns, but have Josh Allen ranked first. Can you explain why you don't see Allen as a projection coming out of Wyoming with less than a 60% completion percentage?

-> Why specifically do you think Lauletta has the best chance to be a 5-10 guy on your rankings to be a solid NFL starter?

 

I think all the hoopla over Josh Allen's completion percentage is a joke.  I've watched several of his games in full and did not see any issues with accuracy.  What he did was play in a pro-style offense that was having him make big boy throws almost every time.  There were no gimme's or layups in his playbook.  For example, he was not throwing 5-10 screen passes a game like Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold.  He was throwing the ball down the field.  And when you're throwing the ball down the field, your completion percentage is going to be lower.  Now I will add that he does have a gun-slinger mentality.  So there were times he should have taken the wide open check down rather than forcing the ball downfield looking for the big play.  And that definitely contributed to the low completion percentage.  But that is something that can be coached.  Its not an issue with accuracy.  I feel very comfortable in saying Josh Allen is the top QB in this draft and even the safest.  I don't see how he becomes a bust given his physical tools, mental makeup, and skill set he's put on tape.

Almost every draft has a mid-round QB who ends up outperforming guys who go in the first round.  Of those candidates this year, I like Kyle Lauletta the best.  He performed the best of any of the QBs at the senior bowl winning MVP of the game.  He's got good size and arm talent.  I like his poise and accuracy.  And when it comes to mid-round picks, its typically the guys with the best intangibles that end up developing into the best NFL players.  I like Kyle Lauletta's intangibles better than the rest of the guys not projected to be taken in the 1st round.

 

On 4/23/2018 at 7:09 PM, AlNFL19 said:

-> Why do you prefer Royce Freeman to Nick Chubb?

-> Why do you see Penny as a Potential All-Pro RB and "superstar" as you say in your explanation? I don't see much that's special about Penny - he doesn't have track speed or electric quickness or anything despite pretty good vision to me. A lot of his tape made him out to look like a one-cut guy to me, not a Curtis Martin kind of guy.

I like Freeman over Chubb mainly because of the health.  Freeman hasn't suffered a devastating knee injury like Chubb.  And eventhough Chubb does seem to be back to full health, its stil a concern to me.

I love Rashaad Penny.  He's one of those players that it only took watching a few minutes of his tape to see what he could do.  He's got great speed and vision.  And even though he does run a little upright, I don't think it'll be a big problem in the NFL.   I would have to disagree with you about the speed.  He ran 4.4 at the combine and of the top RBs in this class, he looks to have the best breakaway speed for home run plays after Saquon Barkley and Ronald Jones II.  I know a lot of people don't agree with the Curtis Martin comparison but that is who I see when I watch Rashaad Penny.  He's got a similar upright running style but he can also get low and make people miss.  And both have similar breakaway speed.

On 4/23/2018 at 7:09 PM, AlNFL19 said:

-> I agree with the low grade relatively on Sutton, but what makes you think Ridley is the 14th best receiver in the class? I think he's right at the top and is an electric athlete with a lot going for him.

-> Why do you have guys like James Washington, Deion Cain, and Jordan Lasley, who are mostly deep-ball specialists, over Ridley, the consensus No. 1?

--> Why is the tight end class "very average?" Not every TE class has potentially 4 guys who could be Day 1 picks. 

-> I agree with most of the other placements - Goedert is my No. 1, I have Andrews highly rated and Hurst not as much, etc. I think Andrews could be a solid tight end who plays essentially like a big slot receiver. I don't want to link him to anyone really bad characteristically, but he could carve out a role like Aaron Hernandez would have if he didn't... you know.

My concerns about Ridley are: (1) his age, (2) his lack of size, and (3) poor testing at the combine.  First of all, Calvin Ridley will be 24 years old before the end of his rookie season.  Just as a point of reference, he's only a few months younger than AMARI COOPER!!!  Just think about that for a moment.  Amari Cooper is about to enter his 4th season in the NFL while Calvin Ridley just completed his junior year at Alabama.  That's very old.  Then, when you add to that the fact he's less than 190 lbs, it becomes very troubling.  You're talking about a guy who might have simply been more developed than the players he was dominating in college and has already tapped out his full potential.  Its possible he doesn't get any better.  That slight built makes it unlikely that he'll be able to get off press coverage.  Also the poor jumps at the combine will be a problem.  Its shows that he might not be as explosive in the NFL as previously thought.  I just think there are too many questions surrounding Calvin Ridley to take him in the first 2 rounds.

I have James Washington, Deoin Cain, and Jordan Lasley rated higher mainly because I have less questions about them.  As you can see from my preceding paragrah, I have a laundry list of concerns with Calvin Ridley.  Nonetheless, there isn't a huge gap between these guys.  I have Washington, Cain, and Ridley rated as 3rd round picks so they are roughly the same in terms of value in my eyes.

I guess I was a little harsh in judging the tight end class.  You're right, in a vacuum, this is fine class of TEs.  Its just that compared to the other position groups in this draft and last year's TE class it does seem to be lacking a little in the way of star power.

 

On 4/23/2018 at 7:09 PM, AlNFL19 said:

-> Yes, Ragnow might be more athletic, but Nelson is almost technically flawless! I've seen accounts saying he might step in and be the NFL's best guard from the get-go. I'm not really seeing it with Ragnow above him despite your explanation.

-> I disagree with Kolton Miller over Connor Williams. Yes, Miller's a phenomenal athlete, but he's somewhat of a project in terms of technique. I don't think Williams is - he's got pretty good technique already. Williams is also a solid athlete - he did a good job in the explosion drills at the Combine. I would put Williams over Miller because of his combination of technique and athleticism instead of Miller's raw athleticism.

As you can see from my overall rankings, I have Ragnow and Nelson ranked very closesly so we'll see how it turns out.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if Nelson is better.  I just don't think the gap will be that big.  Also athletic testing when it comes to offensive lineman is just something I've come to trust.  Not saying its fool-proof but it has been shown to correlate better to NFL performance than any other position group.  So when a guy like Frank Ragnow goes out there and tests as possible the best offensive lineman in this draft athletically, it gets my attention.

Connor Williams might end up being a guard while Kolton Miller will definitely be a tackle.  That is why I have him rated higher.  I will admit that I do not really have a good handle on these two guys so it wouldn't surprise me if you are right and Connor Williams develops into the better player.

On 4/23/2018 at 7:09 PM, AlNFL19 said:

-> Why do you have an All-Pro grade on Arden Key? Sure his tape from last year was pretty good, but he didn't look impressive to me at all this year and I think there are too many problems to fix with him, off the field and on it. I don't see the explosiveness of a top edge-rusher anymore and I doubt he has the work ethic to get there and sustain it. Speaking of guys with phenomenal 2016-17 tape, Harold Landry: why is it so far of a drop from Key to him in your opinion?

-> I actually really like Carter, I think he's a great prospect who will carve out a role like Jamie Collins. Why is he so low on your rankings?

I watch a lot of SEC football so Arden Key is a guy I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to.  I agree that his junior tape was terrible.  He looked like a totally different player from the player he was as a true freshmen and sophomore.  He was out of shape this year and the off-field issues are troubling.  However, I just can't get over how good he was as a freshmen and sophomore.  He's a guy who going into this season I had ranked as the 4th best player available in the 2018 draft after Saquon Barkley, Derwin James, and Antonio Callaway.   So maybe this is just me riding with a guy who I believed in before the poor junior season and off-field issues and I'll get burned for it.  But I just like his talent too much.  He physically reminds me so much of Simeon Rice who an All-Pro for many years in the NFL.  The athletic testing was troubling but on the field as a freshmen and sophomore he looked incredibly explosive and athletic as an edge rusher.  The difference between him and Landry is that I think Arden Key's tape as a sophomore is simply more impressive than Harold Landry's tape last year.

As I stated earlier, I watch a lot of SEC football and while Lorenzo Carter looks like a stud, he's rarely played up to how he looks.  He the classic guy who "looks like Tarzan, but plays like Jane".  Not saying he's an absolute bust, I'm just saying he won't be as good as he looks or tested at the combine.  He had very little production at Georgia and from just watching so many of his games, he rarely made impact plays that made me go WOW.  Arden Key, on the other hand, may not have tested well as an athlete but on Saturdays he the one making plays that made me go WOW.  Lorenzo Carter is a solid player.  Arden Key is a star.

 

On 4/23/2018 at 7:09 PM, AlNFL19 said:

-> Are you concerned at all about the neck brace LVE wears?

-> I'm not sold on the athletic abilities of Warner and Kiser to be such great prospects. Why are you?

-> I have Roquan Smith as the best prospect in the draft (tied with Barkley), but at weakside linebacker. I agree with your assessment that he won't be your MLB, but I think he's still far better than a Day 2 pick!

 

I'm not concerned about Leighton Vander Esch's neck issue.  I know the Steelers were one team that medically cleared him and saw it as no problem.  Also it looks like he's gonna go as high as 19th to the Cowboys.  If they are comfortable drafting him that high, then his neck must be okay.

Fred Warner is definitely a great athlete.  I saw it on his tape.  But he also tested like a great athlete at the combine.   At 6'3" 236lbs, he ran a 4.64 40-yard dash and jumped 38.5" on the vertical jump.  His short shuttle, 3-cone, and broad jump were also outstanding.  With regard to Micah Kiser, I do agree that on tape he does not look like a great athlete.  That is why my comp for him was a "poor man's Ray Lewis" and by that I mean when Ray Lewis got old and was not as explosive as he was in his younger years.  The main reason I made that comp is because in terms of physique and the way he ran, Micah Kiser reminded me of the "old" Ray Lewis.  With that said, he did test well athletically at the combine.  At 6'0" 238 lbs, he ran a 4.66 40-yard dash and jumped 35.5" on the vertical jump.  His broad jump, short shuttle, and 3-cone were adequate for the position.  Micah Kiser actually tested better than I thought he would.  The main reason I'm high on him was his tape, his college production, and his intangibles.  I just think he's one of those guys who will succeed even with some physical limitations.

With regard to Roquan Smith, I've watched him a lot in college at Georgia since I'm a SEC fan and I watch a lot of SEC football on Saturdays in the fall.  He never jumped out to me during that time as a "star" player.  I always saw him as a solid player but never one of those guys who jump off my screen immediately as a future star on Sundays.  A guy like Arden Key did it.  He's a guy who from his freshmen year had me thinking he would be a superstar in the pros.  Same thing with Antonio Callaway, he immediately jumped out of the screen as a star.  I never got that from Roquan.  And even after delving into his tape this off-season, I still felt the same way.  He unfortunately reminds me a lot of Keith Rivers.  A linebacker with similar size to Roquan that was drafted 9th overall in 2008.  We'll see how he turns out but I'm just not sold on him as a star player in the NFL.

 

On 4/23/2018 at 7:09 PM, AlNFL19 said:

-> Denzel Ward - "lack of awareness and ball skills?" That's not really close to my assessment of the guy. Even though he's probably a slot corner, so are most of these guys. I'd take him early Day 1.

Denzel Ward has only 2 career INTs in 26 career games played.  Sure he was only a full-time starter on the outside this past season, but that is still a low turnover rate given the snaps he's played.  Beyond the numbers, just based on his tape, I see a guy who is almost always in the right position to break up a pass but he doesn't always turn his head around in time to knock the ball down or loose.  He reminds me a lot of Ronald Darby.  Another great cover corner with great ability to stick on his man but not a guy who makes game-changing plays in terms of creating turnovers.  At the corner position, I value guys who will create turnovers.  That is why I have Minkah Fitzpatrick ranked first.  He's had a lot of INTs in his college career and many of them returned for TDs.  He just seems to have a knack for finding the ball and that sort of ability seems to translate well to the NFL.

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On 4/24/2018 at 1:53 AM, Iamcanadian said:

Well, I have saved it for posterity and will post it for the next few years and we will see how you did!!! I will say this, you laid it all out there for everybody to judge!!!

As for my opinion, I think you are just trying too hard to prove the experts wrong and it has led you into some ridiculous rankings, but to be fair, only time will tell!!!

All I'll say is go back and look over old drafts.  Going with what everyone else says might only make you 50% right.  I'd rather just post and stand by what I believe rather than trying to conform with what the "experts" think.

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On 4/24/2018 at 4:05 PM, CWood21 said:

Nobody is asking for you to put your rankings and make them similar to the talking heads.  But when your rankings come out looking like you picked names randomly out of a hat, that says enough.

Stop picking on Van. Let him do his thing.

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12 minutes ago, VanS said:

Denzel Ward has only 2 career INTs in 26 career games played.  Sure he was only a full-time starter on the outside this past season, but that is still a low turnover rate given the snaps he's played.  Beyond the numbers, just based on his tape, I see a guy who is almost always in the right position to break up a pass but he doesn't always turn his head around in time to knock the ball down or loose.  He reminds me a lot of Ronald Darby.  Another great cover corner with great ability to stick on his man but not a guy who makes game-changing plays in terms of creating turnovers.  At the corner position, I value guys who will create turnovers.  That is why I have Minkah Fitzpatrick ranked first.  He's had a lot of INTs in his college career and many of them returned for TDs.  He just seems to have a knack for finding the ball and that sort of ability seems to translate well to the NFL.

So were you super down on Jalen Ramsey? The biggest knock on him coming out was his ball skills. 

I get the appeal of a "ball hawk", but I think that interceptions, similar to touchdowns, can be a volatile statistic based on quite a few variables. Scrabble had 8 INTs one year, then only had one year with more than 1 the rest of his career. He wasn't any less of a corner during those other years. David Amerson had like 13 picks his junior year and 5 his senior year, but he wasn't a "good" cornerback. Sometimes it's also a byproduct of how the player plays. I do value turnovers, so I absolutely get this line of thought...but I think it requires a deeper dive than just the base statistics and you measure it out against how good that player actually is. 

Also, just a note...didn't most of Minkah's ints come from the safety spot 2 years ago filling in for Eddie jackson? Because that's kind of a different ball hawking - doesn't necessarily translate as a corner all the time. 

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On 4/24/2018 at 5:05 PM, CWood21 said:

Nobody is asking for you to put your rankings and make them similar to the talking heads.  But when your rankings come out looking like you picked names randomly out of a hat, that says enough.

That's called thinking for yourself.  Maybe you should try it.

If I think a guy is good, I'll say it.  I don't mind being wrong.  And I'm not afraid to be out on an island by myself.  I think far too many times, what we see even with the "experts" is group-think.  People are afraid of being wrong on an island by themselves.  So if they have divergent thoughts they won't say it.  They would rather be wrong in a crowd.  That is why it seems like before every draft we have a consensus on who the best players are.  Then after they actually start playing football, the decision-makers start talking about how this is not an exact science.  If the draft isn't an "exact science" then how why do all the draft boards seem similar?  Are guys just copying off each other?  Is there a fear of going against the grain and being wrong with everyone else?

I just think its silly that most of the "experts" are always in agreement of these prospects before the draft but then afterwards when we see the results they start copping excuses about how its an inexact science.  I wish more of these experts would actually say what they think rather than just agreeing with each other because of a fear of being wrong.

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40 minutes ago, VanS said:

That's called thinking for yourself.  Maybe you should try it.

If I think a guy is good, I'll say it.  I don't mind being wrong.  And I'm not afraid to be out on an island by myself.  I think far too many times, what we see even with the "experts" is group-think.  People are afraid of being wrong on an island by themselves.  So if they have divergent thoughts they won't say it.  They would rather be wrong in a crowd.  That is why it seems like before every draft we have a consensus on who the best players are.  Then after they actually start playing football, the decision-makers start talking about how this is not an exact science.  If the draft isn't an "exact science" then how why do all the draft boards seem similar?  Are guys just copying off each other?  Is there a fear of going against the grain and being wrong with everyone else?

I just think its silly that most of the "experts" are always in agreement of these prospects before the draft but then afterwards when we see the results they start copping excuses about how its an inexact science.  I wish more of these experts would actually say what they think rather than just agreeing with each other because of a fear of being wrong.

So because my rankings look a little too much like the talking heads, I'm not thinking for myself?  That's amusing.  Considering I have 2 QBs with 1st round grades (Darnold and Rosen), one RB (Saquon Barkley), one WR (Calvin Ridley), and 3 OL (Kolten Miller, Mike McGlinchey, and Quenton Nelson) with 1st round grades but yeah I don't think for myself.

And no I'm not asking for anything special, I'm just asking for a little bit of support other than citing your eye test.  You made the claim a couple of days ago that Josh Allen was an accurate passer.  You're more than welcome to make that claim, but I'm going to need more than an arbitrary "eye test".  Not a single example was made.  Not one.  It's like saying that the earth is flat, but with NOTHING concrete to support that argument.  You're more than welcome to come up with your own rankings, but when one of your random rankings turns out to be right don't completely ignore the rest of your rankings.  Your 2017 rankings were no more correct than anyone else's, despite you "thinking for yourself".  If you want to come up with out there rankings, go right ahead but I want to hear a bit more to support those rankings.

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