It's Monday, and that means we have a roundup of NFL Draft notes, mock drafts, and general football links for you. Each week we'll summarize some of the things worth knowing as draft news continues to stream in.
Last week at Buffalo Rumblings
Mel Kiper unveiled his first mock draft of the year last week, and he selected Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. As befits a Kiper pick, however, there was no chance of it happening for Buffalo, as Allen announced that he would return to school two days later.
Mock of the week
Kadar upped the ante this week with a two-round mock draft. In round one, assuming the Bills re-signed Glenn, he selected Ole Miss star defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, and in the second round, Duke safety-linebacker Jeremy Cash.
Both players would be tremendous upgrades for Buffalo's defense. Nkemdiche is a very talented defensive lineman with strength and speed on his side. At 6'4" and 300 pounds, he could slot into a disruptive five-technique defensive end role, but he's gifted enough to rotate anywhere on the line. The downside? He's so athletic that he's still developing a proper pass rushing technique, and he can struggle to diagnose misdirection. Oh, and he was charged with marijuana possession after breaking through and falling out of a hotel window, possibly while under the influence of synthetic marijuana. Is that going to scare off a lot of teams? You bet.
Cash, on the other hand, is as clean as a whistle, as a two-time captain at Duke. The 6'2", 210-pound senior played the "Strike" position on the Duke defense, which is mostly a blitzing linebacker who can drop into coverage on occasion. In that role, he was outstanding, accumulating 28.5 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hurries, 11 defended passes, seven fumbles forced, eight sacks, and two interceptions in the last two seasons. He'd be a dangerous chess piece for Rex Ryan. The question is, since he wasn't used very much in coverage, what is his range? In that respect, his Senior Bowl performance, playing in a more traditional role, will be crucial.
Around the web
Today is the deadline for underclassmen to declare their intentions for the draft. SB Nation has been tracking announcements as they come in, if you're curious about specific names.
The East-West Shrine game is coming up this weekend! This is the second-most significant offseason exhibition game for draft prospects, often featuring players from lesser-known schools. Here are some names to follow from each roster.
On the East Roster (coached by Charlie Weis):
- Massachusetts wide receiver Tajae Sharpe was a great athlete playing on a bad roster. Will he stand out when surrounded by better talent?
- D.J. White is one of my favorite cornerbacks. I see some Ronald Darby in him. You should definitely keep your eyes open for news about the Georgia Tech corner.
- Connor Wujciak was the nose tackle for one of the best run defenses in the nation at Boston College. He's only listed at 300 pounds (light for a nose guard), but had 11 tackles for loss this year.
On the West Roster (coached by June Jones):
- All three of the West quarterbacks intrigue me for different reasons. Brandon Doughty is a rare sixth-year senior (owed to a knee injury suffered in his redshirt freshman season), but an extremely prolific passer who threw for 5,055 yards and 48 touchdowns this season.
- Vernon Adams is undersized, athletic, and was a stat monster in his own right at Eastern Washington. He became the starting quarterback at Oregon this season, but injuries held him and the team back. The Ducks won every game that he started and finished.
- Nate Sudfeld, whose brother Zach plays tight end in the NFL, may have the best potential of the three. He has great size and a good arm, athleticism to move in the pocket, and works through progressions in a pro-style offense. Don't be surprised if he's picked on the second day of the draft.
- I'm excited by Tulsa receiver Keyarris Garrett, who stands 6'4" and weighs in at 220 pounds. He may be a Bills target, if they're still seeking their size receiver.
Pro Football Focus released a mock draft of their own last week, if you're interested in how their unique viewpoint plays into player ranking. For the record, they handed Conklin to the Bills, as well.
One of the best minds in football analysis, Matt Waldman, published an early brain dump on the 2016 NFL Draft class. Waldman focuses on skill position players, with his roots in fantasy football. He can be long-winded in his writing, but I don't know anyone who puts more effort and knowledge into his work.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller (also known as @NFLDraftScout on Twitter) published his weekly scouting notebook on Friday, mocking Kansas State tackle Cody Whitehair to Buffalo (as a guard). He also has some ever-important anonymous scout quotes, and a scouting report on Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee.
Concussions are among the biggest threats to the sport of football today. Is a squishy football helmet an answer to prevention? Wired broke down what one company was developing to make the sport safer.