Neil’s Draft Notes

I’ll be on Sky Sports News discussing the NFL Draft between 5-7pm on Thursday and Friday this week and I will be in the studio from midnight on Thursday for our live coverage of round one.


With that in mind, I thought I would share with you 10 players I really like in this upcoming Draft. They are not necessarily the best 10 in order – they are just guys I really like as players after watching them in action on film over the past few weeks.


Here are 10 players I am looking forward to watching in the NFL in years to come, complete with the notes I have made on them for Sky’s NFL Draft show.


Todd Gurley – Running Back – Georgia

I have made no secret of how much I like this guy and I feel he can be a foundation back in the NFL for many years to come. Here are a sample of my notes on Gurley:


“Rare blend of speed and power… Immense power in legs… Decisive runner… Can give you everything you need from a franchise RB, except a clean bill of health when it comes to durability… Best RB in this draft – excellent combo of power, size, short-area burst… Patient, tough and good balance.”


Jay Ajayi – Running Back – Boise State

Okay, so I’m biased in wanting to see this Brit do well when it comes to the NFL Draft and his pro career beyond this weekend. But I do think Jay possesses all the necessary tools to be a quality NFL player. Here are some notes on the young man flying the flag for Britain:


“Good size at 6-0/216… Loose hips, quick feet and good acceleration… Has the feet and moves of a smaller back… One of the most well-rounded backs in the Draft – can also block and catch… Possesses a mean stiff arm.”


Phillip Dorsett – Wide Receiver – Miami

The NFL is moving towards a big man’s game at wide receiver but there is a lot to like in Dorsett, who is built more like Antonio Brown or T.Y. Hilton rather than Calvin Johnson. Here are his notes:


“Being dubbed a slot threat but can also get downfield from outside the numbers… Kills man defense on crossing patterns… Explosive, electrifying and fast – run after the catch threat… Averaged more than 25 yards per catch since 2012 and half his catches in 2014 were for 25 yards or moreTough and willing to work over the middle.”


Breshad Perriman – Wide Receiver – Central Florida

The son of Brett Perriman, who caught more than 500 passes during his NFL career, Breshad is a bigger and more physical receiver than his father. He is a fast-riser who should go in round one. Here are a few of my notes on him:


“Good size and length at 6-2/212… Dangerous after the catch… Ball skills were something of a concern but they got better as 2014 progressed… Improving player… Speed means could be a deep threat in the NFL… Played big and powerful… Was not always helped out by his QB on the film that I watched.”


Devin Funchess – Wide Receiver – Michigan

I don’t know if this guy is a big wide receiver or an agile tight end, but does it matter what we label him? He is a mis-match waiting to happen in the NFL and I’m fascinated to see how he is used. Here are a few Devin Funchess notes:


“Moved to WR after the 2013 season so just 1 year at receiver after playing TE… Looks like a TE split out wide… Creates a physical mis-match… Very physical route-runner but has just enough speed to get deep…. Can’t blow the top off the defense but will be intriguing because of his size/speed ratio.”


Cameron Erving – Center – Florida State

I cannot help but admire a young player who has lined up at defensive tackle before switching to offense and then making the rare move from tackle to center with some considerable success. Here are a few lines on Cam Erving:


“Extra value because he could go back to tackle and also has experience at guard… Considered one of the safe picks in this Draft – really impressed Florida State coaches with ability to switch positions… Excellent athleticism for a center… Versatility adds to his value.”


Leonard Williams – Defensive Line – USC

The quarterbacks will go one and two but I think this is the best player in this Draft. Cat-quick and dominant along the defensive line, Williams can grow to become an NFL star. Here is the lowdown on the premier defender on offer:


“Extremely explosive and dominant versus run and pass… Has the quickness to split double teams, as well as the power to anchor down and hold the point of attack… Can play in 3 or 4-man fronts… Has the look of the strongest kid in the playground… Rare player who should have immediate impact.”


Dante Fowler Jr. – Outside Linebacker/Defensive End – Florida

In a Draft packed with explosive edge rushers, Fowler is the best of the bunch and I would have no problem with him going as high as Jacksonville at number three overall. In fact, I think he is a better prospect than the two quarterbacks. Here are a few notes:


“More than just an athlete… Moved around a lot at Florida in 2014… More than just a sack machine… Values lies with his versatility… Depending on situation the Gators line him up at RDE, LDE, DT, and OLB… Energetic defender with athletic traits that make him a nuisance to block in space.”


Vic Beasley – Outside Linebacker/Defensive End – Clemson

With off-the-field concerns surrounding Randy Gregory and Shane Ray, the explosive Beasley has become the hot pass-rush prospect behind Fowler. Here is the low-down on the Clemson star:


“One of the smarter edge-rushers in the class, showing the ability to use his hands, head, feet, hips and shoulders to get past blockers. His dominant move is a pure speed rush… Fast-rising player… Wowed at NFL Combine… Collapses like a house of cards when blocked on running plays.”


Trae Waynes – Cornerback – Michigan State

You cannot get by without top cornerbacks in today’s NFL and I think Waynes is the safest pick if your team is going after a defensive back early on Thursday night. Here are some of my thoughts on the Michigan State defender:


“High character player and safe pick… Top CB in Draft… Use of hands might get him into trouble when he gets to NFL… Had a very good NFL Combine… Has speed to close on the ball and to make up space if receiver gets behind him… Loves to compete on an island in man to man and is mentally tough.”

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