I’m continuing to plough through games to fill out my horizontal board which already has 116 names on it. Considering I haven’t previously started a board until well after the college football season — I hope this provides some scope on the work I’m trying to put in this year, ahead of a huge draft for the Seahawks in 2023.
I wanted to write a few notes down on some players who’ve caught my eye. I appreciate I’m putting a lot of names out at the moment — I’d recommend running through recent articles you might’ve missed for other thoughts on different players.
I’ll share this though. This is what I’ve compiled for the first round:
Legit first round grades
Bijan Robinson (RB, Texas)
Will Anderson (DE, Alabama)
Will Levis (QB, Kentucky)
C.J. Stroud (QB, Ohio State)
Bryce Young (QB, Alabama)
Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida)
Mazi Smith (DT, Michigan)
Michael Mayer (TE, Notre Dame)
Jahmyr Gibbs (RB, Alabama)
Fringe first round grades
Jalin Hyatt (WR, Tennessee)
Darnell Wright (T, Tennessee)
K.J. Henry (DE, Clemson)
Bryan Bresee (DT, Clemson)
Kelee Ringo (CB, Georgia)
Jalen Carter (DT, Georgia)
I also have a bunch of second and third rounders — but I want to do more work and publish the board in 2-4 weeks time with some information/detail left unsaid for now. However — I do have six centers in this range (many of which I’ve written about recently). Ten receivers (including Zay Flowers — very impressive, Jonathan Mingo — big and only scratching the surface and Bryce Ford-Wheaton — if he declares, a very interesting talent). Luke Musgrave the Oregon State tight end is in this range, as is Georgia safety Christopher Smith and UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet.
Jalin Hyatt (WR, Tennessee)
A lot of people will be turned on to Hyatt after the Alabama game and I went back to review five Tennessee games. Speed kills in the NFL and there isn’t anyone like Hyatt in this class who can get into his route efficiently then accelerate through the stem and create separation. He’s not just a blazer off the line who leaves defenders in his wake. Hyatt does something that’s arguably even more useful. It’s that late change through the gears that often shocks cornerbacks. It’s devastating. And you see it on the deep shots and basic slants where he creates the key separation as the ball enters his eye-line. He also presents his hands to the ball and generally does a good job catching. He’s going to be tremendously difficult to cover at the next level and he carries himself with a confidence you expect to see from a future star receiver. He has a great chance to go in the top-45 if he continues to excel.
Byron Young (DE/DT, Alabama)
Young isn’t a game-wrecker and nobody is going to be ‘wowed’ by his tape. Yet I noticed a couple of things watching Alabama’s D-line. Firstly, he’s very good at attacking his gap. While it doesn’t translate to a lot of pressures or sacks — it frequently forces a running back to think on his feet and it’s an easy way to disrupt rhythm in the passing game. There are plays where even though he’s not creating a pressure — his ability to shoot a gap or shove someone backwards creates disruption. On top of that, he’s stout at the POA and difficult to move. I couldn’t help but think he’d be a nice option for the Seahawks if they retain the scheme they’re rolling with. I’m not sure how he’ll test but I see him as a second-day-er who can be solid and useful — if unspectacular — at the next level.
Matthew Bergeron (T, Syracuse)
A Canadian-born blocker — I thought he looked extremely accomplished on tape. He was rarely out of position. He can set with fluidity to block-off the route to the quarterback. I like his kick-slide although it can be a little choppy at times. He can smooth that out. I’ve seen some sniffy reviews about how he finishes vs the run but I didn’t see any problems there. He plays with an edge and there were a couple of snaps where he dumped opponents to the turf against NC State. He doesn’t look quite like a prototype left tackle — he lacks obvious length in the torso — and I’m intrigued to see how he weighs and measures. He’s got ample lower body bulk though and I think at the very least he’ll find a home at guard, with the potential to be a useful starter. Testing numbers are always big at tackle and if he performs well, there’s no reason why he can’t be at least a day-two pick.
B.J. Ojulari (DE, LSU)
If Ojulari can put it all together, he can be a real threat at the next level. He has great quickness off the snap to put the tackle on skates — plus the length and bend to get around the arc and straighten to the quarterback. He has a variety of moves — he just needs to refine them all. There’s a euro-step, a spin move, a rip/swim, he’ll stunt inside. He does everything and when he’s honed his technique — combined with his explosive power and speed — he could be a terror off the edge. Ojulari also drops quite a lot into coverage and plays the role of a traditional 3-4 OLB. He does it well — he’s a fluid mover who can cover ground and fly to the ball when needed. He also has an edge and an intensity to his play. At LSU they have a tradition of awarding the #18 jersey to a player who shows the following aspects and traits: attention to detail, laser focus, attitude, smarts, grit. I liked his brother Azeez Ojulari when he was at Georgia and B.J shares some of his qualities. He’s a good player with the potential to have his best years in the NFL. Before testing, I’ll give him a day two grade.
Sedrick Van Pran (C, Georgia)
Blocking in a phone booth — he is very accomplished. He can latch on and control 1v1. There’s evidence on tape of how useful this can be. A lot of Georgia’s successful runs come from the interior, running into gaps created by the 1v1 blocking at guard and center. There’s evidence of him pulling and latching on successfully, moving to his right. He does have a tendency sometimes to over-extend and it’s surprising nobody has tried bat his arms down and use his own forward momentum against him. It’s an odd technical niggle given he shows so well planting the anchor with a good, strong back — there’s little need for him to reach as much as he does. Even so, he does keep his frame clean regularly. Van Pran’s second-level skills are a mixed bag. Sometimes he seems a bit lost when he progresses — but then there’s also evidence of some nasty, vicious blocking against smaller linebackers. Depending on how he tests, he could have day-two potential. I’ve found six centers I like in this range so far.
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