Last update: Friday, April 27, 2018.
This is a 2018 NFL Mock Re-Draft of Rounds 2 and 3 for Friday evening's NFL Draft coverage. With all of the trades that will go down, I don't expect to get many of these right, but it's still fun to speculate where the top prospects will go on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft.
By Charlie Campbell.
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Cleveland Browns: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Browns need more cornerback talent, and here is a player who could be a future solid starter.
Jackson (6-0, 196) enjoyed an excellent 2017 as a dangerous ballhawk for the Hawkeyes. For the season, Jackson recorded 48 tackles with 18 passes broken up and eight interceptions.
Jackson has a good size for the NFL with length and athleticism. For the next level, he has the skill set to be a No. 1 cornerback. Jackson possesses superb instincts with phenomenal ball skills. He also has soft hands, with his background as a receiver showing up in natural catching and playing the ball extremely well. Additionally, Jackson has good height and length to battle big receivers. He is physical and can jam them at the line. Being so instinctive allows him to thrive in zone coverage, and he is adept at picking up receivers who run into his territory.
While Jackson isn't overly twitchy or fast, he does a nice job of running the route to prevent separation when in man coverage. Jackson also has been well coached into being a disciplined corner. While Jackson didn't run an overly impressive 40 at the combine or look great in the field drills, he is a pure football player who has functional speed in game action.
New York Giants: Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
Even though they signed Nate Solder, the Giants could use some upgrades to the interior of their offensive line. Here's tough blocker to reestablish a physical ground game.
Hernandez (6-2, 340) is shorter and lacks length compared to a lot of starting guards in the NFL, but he makes up for it with overpowering strength. He is very strong at the point of attack with a heavy base to help him get movement at the point of attack. At the Senior Bowl, Hernandez showed that he is a future starting guard in the NFL who can be a difference-maker for a rushing attack. He is a solid pass protector with room for improvement, but once he gets NFL coaching, he should be a balanced guard who is a force as a run blocker and reliable in protection.
Cleveland Browns: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
The Browns continue to build up their secondary. They could use a third safety, and Jabrill Peppers really struggled as a rookie.
In 2017, Harrison totaled 74 tackles with three interceptions, 2.5 sacks and four passes batted. He played really well as an enforcer in the middle of the field. Aside from coverage issues, Harrison had a quality 2016 season as the strong safety when he totaled 86 tackles with seven passes broken up and two interceptions.
Harrison (6-2, 207) is a tough run defender who has the athletic skills to cover, but he has issues dealing with receivers in man coverage. Team sources have said an example of that was Clemson's Hunter Renfrow really abusing Harrison in the past, and that was why Minkah Fitzpatrick served as the coverage safety for the Crimson Tide. Playing zone in the middle of the field is a better fit for Harrison. Because of some coverage limitations, Harrison is a strong safety type for the NFL.
Indianapolis Colts: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
The Colts grab a feature back for their offense. Indianapolis would be fortunately to land Guice early in the second round.
Guice averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2017, totaling 1,251 yards with 11 touchdowns. He had 18 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns as well, but LSU doesn't really use its backs in the passing game. For a lot of 2017, Guice was slowed down by a knee injury.
With Leonard Fournette in and out of the lineup with an ankle injury in 2016, Guice (5-10, 224) took advantage of a larger than expected workload to have a breakout season. As a sophomore, he averaged 7.6 yards per carry for 1,387 yards with 15 touchdowns. Guice had nine receptions for 106 yards as well. He put together some massive games that season with 252 yards versus Arkansas and 285 yards rushing against Texas A&M.
Indianapolis Colts: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The Colts could use a cornerback to go with Quincy Wilson.
Oliver (6-0, 201) is a man-cover corner who excels playing press man. He is able to turn to run with receivers and blanket them running downfield. Oliver is adept at running the route and preventing separation. He has vertical speed to run with speed receivers to go with height, long arms, and the size to take on big wideouts. Oliver has quality ball skills to tip passes away and uses his size with quickness to recover. With his good footwork, body control, and ability to redirect, he is able to keep receivers from getting open consistently.
Colorado played Oliver on the island, and he was consistently in man coverage. Oliver is not as comfortable playing zone or off-man coverage. If he goes to a team that plays a lot of zone and off man, Oliver will need more development. In 2017, Oliver totaled 13 passes broken up, two interceptions and 25 tackles.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Tampa Bay grabs a feature back. The Buccaneers like Sony Michel, Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb and Rashaad Penny, but two of them went in Round 1 and Guice is already off the board in this mock. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Tampa Bay traded up for one of them. Chubb is a high-character player who loves football, and his makeup fits with the kind of players who Jason Licht has drafted.
Chubb averaged 6.0 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,345 yards with 15 touchdowns. In 2016, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry on his way to 1,130 yards with eight touchdowns. He had five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown as well. That season, Chubb didn't quite have the speed and explosion that he had before his 2015 knee injury. Considering it was only about a year since he was hurt, that was understandable.
Prior to his season-ending knee injury in 2015, Chubb had picked up where he left off as a freshman. The sophomore averaged 8.1 yards per carry for 747 yards and seven touchdowns in his shortened 2015 season. In 2014 while splitting time with Todd Gurley, Chubb averaged 7.1 yards per carry for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also caught 18 receptions for 213 yards and two scores.
Chubb is akin to a human bowling ball, having rolled over tacklers and was a physical force in the SEC. The 5-foot-11, 227-pounder is a powerful runner who also has the quickness to rip off yards in chunks. He also is an explosive track competitor.
Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Bears badly need more receiving talent for Mitch Trubisky. Here's a mismatch receiver who Chicago has shown interest in.
In 2017, Sutton recorded 68 catches for 1,085 yards with 12 touchdowns. He totaled 76 receptions in 2016 for 1,246 yards - a 16.5-yard average - with 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder has size to him, and in 2015, he showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch. For the year, the redshirt freshman totaled 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions. If Sutton finds a little more "Dez Bryant to him," aka playing more physically and bullying defensive backs, he could be tremendous in the NFL.
Scouting sources really like Sutton and think he is a mismatch weapon. One playoff general manager said they loved Sutton and thought he could end up becoming the best receiver from his draft class. Another scouting director told WalterFootball.com that, in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps before the 2016 season, Sutton's tape really stood out, and he continued to impress them over the next two seasons. Sutton is a long-strider, and sources say his speed is comparable to TCU's Josh Doctson, who the Redskins took in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Denver Broncos: James Daniels, C, Iowa
The Broncos could use an upgrade at center.
Over the past three seasons, Daniels started for Iowa. He was a rock-solid run blocker for Akrum Wadley and was reliable in pass protection. Daniels (6-3, 306) has good technique and should be able to play quickly in his NFL career. After his true junior season, Daniels submitted for feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory and then declared for the 2018 NFL Draft. He could stand to add more strength to his frame, but he still is a young player and should gain weight as he ages. Daniels should go no lower than the second or third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Oakland Raiders: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
The Raiders could use a slot receiver to go inside of Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson.
Miller played really well for Memphis, showing good route-running, quickness, good hands, and elusiveness after the catch. He totaled 92 receptions for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2017. Miller (5-11, 201) came up huge to help Memphis upset UCLA. He has created some positive buzz in the scouting community and is viewed as more of a second-day talent who could be a weapon as a slot receiver in the NFL. In 2016, Miller totaled 95 receptions for 1,434 yards with 14 touchdowns.
Miami Dolphins: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
The Dolphins need a tight end upgrade and have shown interest in Goedert.
Goedert (6-4, 260) was a dangerous receiving threat over the past two seasons for South Dakota State. The senior amassed 72 receptions for 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017. He put up even better production as a junior with 92 receptions for 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns. Goedert has size and some athletic ability. Team sources said that they were grading Goedert in the fourth round and have medical concerns with him.
New England Patriots: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
The Patriots traded away Brandin Cooks and lost Danny Amendola in free agency. Here's an excellent fit at receiver who New England has shown interest in.
Kirk totaled 71 catches for 919 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2017. He also produced some big kick and punt returns. Kirk saw a lot of double coverage his direction, and quarterback Kelly Mond struggled to get Kirk the ball. As a result, some teams are down on Kirk. A few teams said they had him graded as a 2/3 - a second- to third-rounder. One team said they had him as late in the first round, but another said Round 3.
Kirk played well in 2016 despite inconsistent quarterback play from the Aggies. He had 83 receptions for 928 yards with nine touchdowns while splitting targets with wideouts like Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones. Kirk is a quick, explosive play-maker. Multiple scouting sources have compared Kirk to Sterling Shepard and Jarvis Landry.
Kirk (5-10, 201) had an outstanding freshman debut for Texas A&M and earned playing time over more veteran receivers who had previously produced for the Aggies. In 2015, Kirk caught 80 passes for 1,009 yards with seven touchdowns. He averaged only 19.3 yards per kick return, but averaged 24.4 yards per punt returns and took two for touchdowns.
Washington Redskins: Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
Washington can't rely on Rob Kelley, and Samaje Perine was up and down as a rookie. Here's a feature back for Jay Gruden.
Jones (5-11, 205) ran really well for USC in 2017, showing more decisiveness and displaying more power after gaining weight over last offseason. He also showed a burst at the point of attack with the quickness to rip off some chunk runs. On the season, Jones averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,550 yards with 19 touchdowns. He also had 14 receptions for 187 yards and a score. Jones ran for 1,082 yards in 2016 and 987 yards as a sophomore. Jones is an athletic and versatile back in the mold of Jamaal Charles.
Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, DE/3-4OLB/OLB, Boston College
The Packers could use a pass-rusher.
Landry is a fast edge rusher who would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. In 2017, the senior totaled 38 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two passes broken up. He was manhandled by Notre Dame, struggling against a freshman right tackle and, on a few snaps, against left tackle Mike McGlinchey. Landry was moderately better, but still underwhelming, against Clemson. He then missed the final five games of 2017 with an ankle injury.
The 6-foot-2, 252-pound Landry had an impressive junior season as an edge rusher for Boston College, recording 16.5 sacks, 22 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, four passes batted and 51 tackles. He contributed as a sophomore with 60 stops and 4.5 sacks.
Cincinnati Bengals: Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
This is a typical Cincinnati pick. The team often doubles up on need positions. This is the Bengals grabbing a versatile blocker who could move inside or compete at right tackle.
The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Rankin had a quality 2016 season as a run blocker and pass protector for Mississippi State. He received a second-round estimation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board for the 2017 NFL Draft. Team sources are comparing Rankin to Troy's Antonio Garcia, a third-round pick of the Patriots in the 2017 NFL Draft, and believe that Rankin could go in the same range. They say that Rankin is a great kid, so they think he will work hard to become a more complete player as a pro.
Rankin played well at left tackle in 2017, but he needs to get stronger for the NFL. In Week 3, he had some wins and losses against LSU's Arden Key, but Rankin was steady on the blind side all year. He is quick, athletic, and has a good build, but he has to up his strength. Rankin gets knocked on the ground too much and will get pushed around in the NFL until he adds strength, but Rankin has good feet and athleticism to block speed rushers. With his work ethic, many team sources feel Rankin will get stronger to be a complete player.
Arizona Cardinals: Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin
The Cardinals need more corner talent across from Patrick Peterson.
Nelson (5-11, 200) put together a strong 2017 season for the Badgers, breaking up 21 passes and making 34 tackles. Nelson had zero interceptions, however, and not turning some of those breakups into turnovers will bother some evaluators. The NFL Draft Advisory Board gave the redshirt junior a second-round estimation in his report.
Nelson started out his collegiate career at Hawaii, where he had 53 tackles with 15 breakups as a sophomore in 2015. He started as a freshman for the Rainbow Warriors, notching 36 tackles and six breakups.
Los Angeles Chargers: Da'Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama
The Chargers grab a base end who can also move inside to rush from tackle in the sub package.
Hand has a nice skill set with natural strength, quickness, and athletic-movement skills. The 6-foot-3, 282-pounder has developed technique and impressed teams with his football IQ at the Senior Bowl. He is a solid run defender who can set the edge and hold his ground at the point of attack. As a senior, Hand totaled 27 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. In 2016, he had 21 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks while playing with Jonathan Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson.
For the NFL, Hand projects as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. In a 4-3 defense, he could play end on run downs and move inside in the sub package, or he could gain weight to be a full-time defensive tackle. Being a five-technique in 3-4 would be Hand's best fit.
Indianapolis Colts: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
This was the Seahawks' second-rounder dealt to New York for Sheldon Richadson, which was then sent to Indianapolis. The Colts use this pick to grab a receiver to go across from T.Y. Hilton.
St. Brown totaled 33 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. His production and opportunities were killed by an incompetent quarterback in Brandon Wimbush, who completed less than 50 percent of his passes in 2017. St. Brown also saw a lot of double teams. The 6-foot-5, 214-pounder had a quality 2016 season with 58 receptions for 961 yards and nine touchdowns with DeShone Kizer at quarterback.
Some scouts are really intrigued with St. Brown. They say he is a super-polished route runner with tremendous speed, athletic ability, body control, and hands. St. Brown could be a steal. Other scouts aren't as high on St. Brown and grade him on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
Dallas grabs a speed receiver for Dak Prescott.
Chark is a quick receiver who is a threat to challenge defenses downfield. In 2017, he had 40 receptions for 874 yards and three touchdowns despite LSU fielding an inconsistent quarterback. That quarterback issue held back Chark, Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural. In 2016, Chark notched just 26 receptions, but averaged almost 18 yards reception to total 466 yards with three touchdowns. Chark (6-2, 196) also brings special teams value as a returner.
Detroit Lions: Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
The Lions could consider a safety. Bates' intelligence and makeup fit who Bob Quinn has drafted for Detroit.
Bates (6-1, 200) had a respectable 2017 season with 79 tackles, five passes broken up and an interception. His 2016 was more impressive with five interceptions, 100 tackles and four passes broken up. For the NFL, the redshirt sophomore could use more strength and weight on his frame to help him tackle.
Philadelphia Eagles: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
The Eagles may not re-sign Ronald Darby. Here's a similar cover corner.
Jackson is a bit of a love/hate prospect as some scouts say they see him as a first-rounder and others think he belongs on Day 2 because of playing discipline and size. However, all the scouts say Jackson is extremely fast, so he will be a good matchup corner to line up against speed receivers. The 5-foot-10, 178-pounder is athletic to run the route and prevent separation, but he is a gambler and could stand to play with more discipline for the pros. Scouts tell me that Jackson is talented, but has a ton of issues to work on, and that might include some hard lessons versus pro receivers. Still, he has great speed and serious coverage skills to run the route and prevent separation. Jackson is a track star and runs an eye-popping 40 times that push him higher. The scouts who like Jackson compare him to Janoris Jenkins, and Jenkins would have been a first-rounder had it not been for off-the-field issues.
Jackson had 49 tackles with 10 passes broken up and an interception in 2017. As a sophomore, he recorded 39 tackles with eight pass breakups and two interceptions.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
The Bucs could use more cornerback talent.
Davis (6-1, 206) is a good corner who has size, length, and press-man ability. He has nice quickness in the short part of the field and can battle big wideouts. Davis is a physical defender who really competes, but he does struggle with deep speed. The junior notched 36 tackles with 11 passes broken up, one forced fumble and an interception in 2017. As a sophomore, he totaled 46 tackles, 10 passes broken up, one forced fumble and zero interceptions. Davis recorded three interceptions with 56 tackles and eight passes broken up as a freshman.
Kansas City Chiefs: Lorenzo Carter, 3-4OLB/OLB, Georgia
The Chiefs moved on from Tamba Hali, while the disappointing Dee Ford is nearing the end of his contract. Additionally, Justin Houston is aging with a big contract and has had injuries. All things considered, Kansas City could use young edge-rushing talent.
Carter (6-6, 242) was improved as a senior and is still full of athletic potential. He showed dangerous edge-rushing skills against Notre Dame and made a lot of big plays to help the Bulldogs win in South Bend. In 2017, Carter totaled 61 tackles with 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 7.5 tackles for a loss. He recorded 44 tackles with five sacks and two forced fumbles in 2016. Carter notched 4.5 sacks as a freshman.
Carolina Panthers: Justin Reid, S, Stanford
The Panthers could use some young talent at safety.
The 6-foot, 207-pound Reid played really well in 2017, impressing NFL scouts. Sources who are tough graders said they thought Reid had first-round potential for the 2018 NFL Draft. They say that Reid doesn't have Earl Thomas-like range as a free safety or Kam Chancellor-like size as a strong safety, but he does everything well. Reid is a good free or strong safety with the ability to run and tackle. They say that he is a polished, clean, good all-around safety similar to HaHa Clinton-Dix coming out of Alabama.
Reid had 99 tackles with six passes broken up and five interceptions in 2017. He totaled 57 tackles with seven breakups in 2016. The junior is the younger brother of 49ers safety Eric Reid, a first-round pick out of LSU in 2013.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Braden Smith, G, Auburn
The Buccaneers could use more interior offensive line talent.
Smith is a solid player who is well-balanced as a run blocker and pass protector. The 6-foot-6, 315-pounder has NFL size, quickness and athleticism. For the pros, Smith could use more strength, but he has the frame to get bigger in a NFL strength and conditioning program. Smith did well in the combine bench press, but he doesn't play strong and isn't a people mover at the point of attack. That could change in time. Smith is a quality run blocker who was solid in pass protection for Auburn. He is a safe pick to become a quality NFL starter. Sources from multiple teams have told me they see him as a second-day talent.
Tennessee Titans: Sam Hubbard, DE/3-4OLB, Ohio State
The Titans could use a young edge rusher. A valued source also told me that the Titans are very interested in Hubbard and Harold Landry, and I am inclined to listed. Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are aging while nearing the end of their contracts, plus either Hubbard or Landry would be a good fit for Mike Vrabel's scheme. Hubbard is bigger and a better run defender than Landry. Thus, I think he's the safer pick, and that is also the direction GM Jon Robinson leans.
Hubbard totaled 43 tackles, seven sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in 2017. In 2016, he collected 46 tackles with eight for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two passes batted. While rotating into the game as a sophomore, Hubbard showed his potential with 6.5 sacks. He also had 28 tackles with an interception that season.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder has a great skill set, but never produced up to it. Hubbard possesses a serious combination of size, speed, and athletic ability that should help him to rise during the pre-draft workouts, however. Some team sources feel that Hubbard was an underachiever and should have turned in a lot more production over his collegiate career.
Atlanta Falcons: Tim Settle, DT/NT, Virginia Tech
The Falcons could use multiple defensive tackles from the 2018 NFL Draft. Here is one.
Settle (6-3, 329) put together a strong 2017 season and was one of the better defenders on a tough Virginia Tech defense. On the year, the big nose tackle totaled 36 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and one pass batted. That was a big improvement over his 2016 season when he had 17 tackles and no sacks. The physical defender had a shot at being a first-rounder because he has some serious speed for such a big body, but falling to the second day is probably also about how nose tackles are downgraded.
San Francisco 49ers: Brian O'Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
The 49ers have to improve their offensive line for Jimmy Garoppolo. Here's an athletic blocker who fits Kyle Shanahan's offense well, and the 49ers have shown interest in O'Neill.
O'Neil (6-6, 298) is an exceptional athlete, which was put on display at the combine. He played wide receiver in high school before going to Pittsburgh as a tight end. After redshirting as a tight end, O'Neil switched to offensive tackle and gained a lot of weight. In 2015 and 2016, he was the starting right tackle for Pittsburgh. With Adam Bisnowaty moving on to the NFL, O'Neil was the left tackle in 2017 and had a fine season. He is a good athlete at left tackle with quickness, agility, and quick feet to block speed rushers. O'Neill needs to add more strength as he can get pushed around and doesn't have the power to knock defenders off the ball. Getting stronger in the lower body is also vital for O'Neill to anchor in the NFL. He is light in the pants, so he needs to gain upper body and lower body strength to become a starter at the next level.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Darius Leonard, OLB/ILB, South Carolina State
The Steelers need some young talent at inside linebacker.
Scouting sources told me that Leonard (6-2, 234) really impressed them during the fall. He flew around the field, creating a lot of production for his defense. The redshirt senior totaled 113 tackles with eight tackles for a loss, eight sacks, one pass batted, two interceptions and one forced fumble. Leonard has a knack for making plays behind the line of scrimmage as he totaled 42 tackles for a loss with 13.5 sacks combined over his freshman, sophomore and junior years. He has NFL size and dominated his level of competition.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
The Jaguars could use more offensive line talent, and Brown could be their long-term bookend to go with Cam Robinson. Brown's ability to put defenders into the turf and open running lanes will be helpful for Leonard Fournette.
Brown (6-8, 345) is a massive lineman who was a physical blocker for the Sooners. He opened a lot of holes for Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine in 2016. Brown did the same for others as a starter over the past few seasons. Brown can use his strength and physicality to toss a lot of defenders to the ground as he can be a flat-out bully on the field. However, he needs to improve his pass protection for the NFL.
Some team sources never saw Brown as a first-rounder, labeling him a likely second-round pick and a starting right tackle at the next level. He also could be a big guard, but his height is less than ideal for throwing lanes on the inside. Brown ran slowly at the combine and put up a meager total on the bench press.
Minnesota Vikings: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
The Vikings grab some tackle/guard depth and competition. Minnesota has shown interest in Williams as well.
Williams returned to play in the final couple of games of 2017 before shutting it down to prepare for the 2018 NFL Draft rather than play in his bowl game. He missed seven games during the 2017 season. After some bad performances to start the year, he went down with a torn knee meniscus and strained ligaments. Williams (6-5, 296) started at left tackle as a freshman and sophomore for the Longhorns. He was a steady pass protector in those seasons.
As we reported in the Hot Press, Williams was receiving some mid-round grades from evaluators this season. The main issue that sources said was hurting Williams is a lack of strength. One AFC team in need of tackle help said they gave him a late third-round, early fourth-round grade.
I spoke with a NFC general manager who scouted Williams in person during 2017, and they were disappointed in Williams overall. They felt Williams lacked strength and believed him overhyped. This NFC general manager said they thought Williams was a fourth-rounder. Williams had a disappointing 2017 season opener against Maryland, getting flagged for numerous holds, including some that canceled out big plays for his team. He allowed some pressures and hits, too. Williams has some athletic ability, and some evaluators feel he should move inside to guard. That was given further credence at the combine, where Williams checked in with extremely short arms for an NFL offensive tackle.
New England Patriots: Malik Jefferson, ILB, Texas
The Patriots need more linebacker talent next to Dont'a Hightower. Here's a great scheme fit.
Jefferson totaled 110 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks in 2017. He played his best football in 2017 and worked hard for Texas. In 2016, he recorded 59 tackles with 5.5 sacks and three passes broken up. Jefferson (6-2, 236) was highly recruited and showed why as a freshman contributor for the Longhorns. He totaled 61 tackles with seven for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. Jefferson was a bigger presence than the stats illustrate.
The junior possesses a nice combination of size and speed, plus a ton of athletic upside. However, some sources have said they've heard that Jefferson doesn't love football. They say that can be seen in his work ethic, preparation and lack of production. Jefferson was supposedly unhappy with how he was used by the previous staff, and that led to that perception, but either side of the argument brings concerns for NFL evaluators.
Cleveland Browns: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
The Browns grab a speedy three-technique to go next to Myles Garrett.
Hurst recorded 57 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one forced fumble and two passes broken up in 2017. As a sophomore in 2015, he totaled 35 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. Hurst improved as a junior with 34 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.
The 6-foot-1, 292-pounder is a quick defender at the point of attack who can cause a lot of disruption. If Hurst were a few inches taller with more length, he would have likely been a high pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Hurst could play end or tackle in the NFL, but his best fit likely would be in a 4-3 defense that plays him at end on rush downs and moves him inside for passing situations. Unfortunately, Hurst was sent home from the combine after tests revealed a heart condition. He has since been cleared, but the issue could unnerve some teams.
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