Newmanomics 2017 NFL Draft Rankings

Newmanomics thought we’d throw our hat in the ring of under-qualified folks telling fans who is going to be good at football.  And I suppose if we’re going to try this out, we wouldn’t fit in unless we told you how dumb the combine is, and its all about the gamefilm (which is true, and how I evaluated all of these players).  Special thanks to @draftbreakdown.  They made finding any/all game tapes on the prospects very easy, check them out at draftbreakdown.com.

So, without further adieu…

The rankings you’ll find below in NO WAY represent where I think a player will be picked.  What you’ll find below is (holding all equal, i.e. quality of team, coaching, injury and off field stuff held constant) the players ranked purely by talent/how I predict their NFL careers to shape up.

To be crystal clear, this “big board” may change, since I used the CBS Sportsline’s top 32 as my “base” (have not looked at all 300 something cats coming out), and after looking at 2-3 game films of each player I wanted to see within those most commonly associated with the “top 25” in the draft, who belongs and who doesn’t.

The biggest differences between my board and the common sentiment in the media:

Underrated:
-O.J. Howard, he may be the best offensive player in the draft
-Haason Reddick, true football player that doesn’t lack speed measurables
-Taco Charlton, stuck in the middle of a very strong edge class
Overrated:
-Derek Barnett, look at the film vs. Bama…its bad.  Ultimate looks like Tarzan/plays like Jane.
-Every QB, I completely understand the deficit of QBs in the league, but this is feeling like one of those “Chris Redman” type draft years for the position.
-John Ross, he broke the 40 record and that’s going to get him over drafted.

*Depending on feedback, I’m likely to do positional rankings as well, so stay tuned for that.  Ratings go from 1-10 (10 being high).

1. Myles Garret, Edge, Texas A&M
Newmanomics Score: 10

Good
·        Elite Jump off the ball, with flat back.
·        Extremely powerful upper body/can move and control an O-Lineman with one arm
·        World-Class athleticism, that can make “wow” plays in the backfield (undercutting trap blocks, hurdling pass protectors or supermaning QBs)
·        Can get skinny and beat the double team

Bad
·        Doesn’t necessarily take plays off, but once the ball is past him, his play is over.  Also, tends not to get his hands dirty in the pile.
·        A little tough to tell, but it seems he puts his head down in contact with the OL a lot…which scares me from a health/concussion standpoint.
·        Not a whole lot of moves besides the bull rush (doesn’t need them).
·        A bit of a body tackler/wrestler in the run game, sometimes slow to diagnose plays

Overall
The distance between Myles and the number 2 isn’t the same as say the year of Jadeveon Clowney, but there is a steep drop.  He will be a day one starter/impact player wherever he ends up.  His combine numbers we’re insane to match his out-worldly athletic play on the field.  As long as he stays healthy, and I’m just being nit-picky about the head thing, he should be a perennial pro-bowl guy.

2. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
Newmanomics Score: 9.25

Good
·        Strong/thick upper body.
·        Has played both inside and outside/right and left (in a 4 man front)
·        Has some nasty to him, very strong hands
·        Good general awareness, and quick eyes when engaged, sniffs out screens/draws well
·        Gets hands up and consistently disrupts passing lanes
·        Great get-off/especially for his size

Bad
·        Similar to Garrett, if the play is past him, he’s done.
·        Doesn’t split double teams as consistently as you’d hope (one of the few reasons I believe he’s better suited for the outside).

Overall
I really hope the team that takes him puts him in as an end in a 3-4, or MAYBE an end in a 4-3.  Either way, he’s an elite talent in this year’s draft, a notch below Myles, but still clearly in the top tier of the draft.

3. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Newmanomics Score: 9.00

Good
·        One of the best downfield blockers I’ve ever seen.  Very willing and capable blocker on every level. -Finds the second level and bodies up and drives his responsibility.
·        Very smooth in all his movements, really reminds me of Greg Olsen, with more blocking ability.
·        Not electric as an athlete but fluid.
·        Soft hands, rarely misses a ball thrown in his direction.
·        Although there were few of those passes, he seemed to always make the most of their opportunity.

Bad
·        Trying to find one.  It will be interesting to see his transition to the more pass heavy NFL/volume of throws.  He may need to put on some pounds too, as he has a “big” WR body.

Overall
This is where Newmanomics ranking really start to look different than the media’s, but I have fallen in love with this guy’s tape.  Its not sexy, but downfield blocking is the most selfless, likely most important aspect to an offense that completely falls under the radar/yet impacts the set immensely, and I have not seen a guy block this well in a long time.  Then to top that off, his receiving skills are elite for his position, and clearly makes the most of his opportunities/plays his best ball vs. the best competition, on the biggest stage.  I would not be surprised if he’s the type of selfless talent that elevates his team in the first year.

4. Hasson Reddick, ILB (DE in college), Temple
Newmanomics Score: 8.75

Good
·        Proved very versatile in the Sr. Bowl, likely playing as good as any player there at a position he’s never played (DE in college, had him as a 3-4 ILB in the senior bowl)
·        Really helped his cause in the “draft season”, probably the highest riser of all, besides the aforementioned Sr. bowl to prove he can play a position better suited for his size, he ran a 4.52 and jumped 36 ½ inches.
·        Plays angry/lots of nasty to him.
·        Team guy, who hustles every play, and plays on a 100×51.1 yard field
·        Very good to great first step
·        Very disciplined in zone coverage (especially for someone that didn’t do that in college)
·        Very strong lower body/base and center of gravity

Bad
·        Small, only 6’1/237
·        Very likely going to playing out of college position
·        Although Temple has ND on its schedule, its still outside the Power 5

Overall
This is another one I am going to catch some crap for.  When a coach says “he’s just a football player” its usually an insinuation on his athletic talent lacking (but having good mental characteristics, or being tough etc.)…this kid is one of the most athletic “just a football player”s I have ever seen.  He has size limitations, and will NOT excel in the NFL at his college position, but if a 3-4 team wants him at inside backer, or maybe a 4-3 team at outside, I can see this guy being a multiple pro-bowler in the near future.

5. Taco Charlton, Edge, Michigan
Newmanomics Score: 8.25

Good
·        Tall, long athlete
·        Very good burst/first step, similar to Garrett comes out with a very flat back
·        Has a good array of nifty moves (including a spin that’s very difficult to defend)
·        Good base, able to stalemate in goaline situations
·        Quick and violent hands
·        Excellent closing speed
·        Can squeeze down the trap well (too well? Sometimes caught cheating/RB bounces it)

Bad
·        40-ed a little slower than expected, but shouldn’t matter much (33 inch vertical more indicative of his first step)
·        Loses discipline at times with contain/maybe a little too aggressive
·        A stud on obvious passing downs, but I think he may be a bit slow on run plays when it’s a questionable run/pass down
·        Nitpicking, but he seems much more comfortable in a 4-point stance (will that be an issue to teams that want him standing up?)

Overall
Taco is another in the collection of players I have rated much higher than the media.  Just an ideal mix of size, speed and strength with plenty of playmaking ability on the field, hence, I can see him doing damage right away at the right program.

6. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Newmanomics Score: 7.6

Good
·        Uses hands very well
·        Aggressive and willing tackler, consistently brings other arm around to try and strip ball carrier
·        Superb at diagnosing run/pass, with a good nose for sniffing out screens
·        Very good hip rotation out of cushion
·        Above average hands

Bad
·        A little high/lazy in backpedal at times
·        Slow to react and close on the ball at times down the field in coverage
·       Very good, NOT elite speed

Overall
Marlon is as close to a pure shutdown (think they call them island corners now) CB this draft has.  He’s an aggressive and elite overall athlete that played in a multi-set defense in college, and can do anything you ask of him on defense.

7. David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fl.)
Newmanomics Score: 7.0

Good
·       Has some nasty to him (however, looked like he was most aggressive with the “little guys”) in his first level run blocking
·       WR Body and athleticism, insanely long arms…can put 10-20 pounds on his frame easy
·        Very good run after catch skills
·        Jumped out of the gym, and ran well in all his tests (which matches his elite athleticism on the field)

Bad
·        He’ll miss blocks at the second level, rather consistently
·        A little soft/or too “finesse” in his blocking at times (again, would like to see the aggression against the big dudes too)
·        Athletic but not twitchy

Overall
From WR skills, he’s on par, maybe slightly better than OJ.  However, he’s not even in the Bama kid’s stratosphere when it comes to his blocking game.  Either way, I can see David having a higher ceiling with the right coaching staff, some more weight and a few technique tweaks.

8. Malik McDowell, DT, Alabama
Newmanomics Score: 6.8

Good
·        Fighter/Scrapper
·        Disruptive to an offense.  Relentless type, that annoys the hell out of offenses.
·        Good form tacker for an interior lineman
·        Violent hands, yet it seems he can only utilize them off the edge
·        Stalemates double teams consistently

      Bad
·        Can get overpowered
·        Not an elite first step

Overall
Malik is an interesting cat.  He has a very unique body type (not in a bad way), that I have tried to compare but failed.  I think I like him most as a 3-4 DE, especially if it’s in a 2 gap system (big guy that can take up space and hold down two gaps, while LBs flow over the top of him).

9. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Newmanomics Score: 7.25

Good
·        Size, first man off the bus type size at RB is unique now-a-days
·        Elite balance in a way his power allows him to shed off “ankle biters” with ease
·        Elite lower and upper body strength, at times looks like a man playing a kids game
·        Always 1.5-2.5 yards away (minimum) from going down at contact
·        Great burst and adequate ability to turn the corner

Bad
·        One dimensional, if this was 10-20 years ago, that wouldn’t matter, but now it does.
·        The vast majority of big runs come from behind a FB…will that matter at the next level?
·         Doesn’t have elite speed
·        I’m not a big testing guy, but the fact he only jumped 28.5 inches concerns me (whether a conditioning thing, or lack of true “relative-to-weight-power”)

Overall
In an ever, RB de-demanding-NFL, Leonard brings a little old school back in the mix.  He’s a power back with speed, ala Hershel Walker, Bo Jackson or dare I say Earl Campbell.  He’s a ton of fun to watch, and built like a grown ass man, yet as the quintessential bell cow back of the past 20ish years, he’ll have to bring his game to the 2017 NFL.  Bottom line:if this was 1990, he’d likely be a top 3 pick, but now he has to contend with the devaluation of RBs, and the increased demand for do-it-all RBs, which will bring his stock down regardless.

10. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Newmanomics Score: 6.75

Good
·        Big. Strong Brandon Marshall built WR
·        Catches the ball naturally with his grippy hands
·        Great strength for a WR
·        Clear YAC skills
·        Has the ability to get over the top (even without elite speed)
·        Good array of double moves/ability besides brute strength (which works for him too), which he uses to break press with ease
·        Good concentration on the ball in air
·        Willing and adequate blocker (would have figured better given his stature though)

Bad
·        Maybe its balance, maybe its footing, but every other time I see him, he’s tripping over something
·        The way he changes the ball in his arms, may create some ball security issues
·        Not an explosive threat, jumped 32.5, not a whole lot of acceleration
·        Not the best route runner, rounds them off at times (not crisp), especially out-cutting ones

Overall
Not that he’s at this (or ever will be) level, but the Michael Irvins, and Brandon Marshalls of the world showed us the advantage a big strong WR brings to the table.  Not a lot of speed, quickness or height, but just natural brute strength can get a WR open…has that big RB look to him very similar to Sammy Watkins too (or maybe it was just the jersey/position).
Quick Profiles/Rank:                                                            

11. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Newmanomics Score: 9.25
He’ll light you up, but at the cost of proper tackling form, missing a lot of tackles.  Looks like gumpy with those long arms, has a bit of nasty to him though.  He has some bend to get around the tackles on blitzes but I think is clearly going to be limited to being an inside the box safety.

12. Solomon Thomas, DT, Stanford
Newmanomics Score: 6.0
Very impressive combine, running a lot faster than I thought, kinda the new age tweaner, lean for an interior guy/big for an end.  Almost mad dog ish with his aggressiveness, doesn’t posses elite burst, but makes up for it with his inside qualities.  Kid may end up a stud, just a whole lot of good dudes in that area in this draft.

13. Corey Davis, WR, WMU
Newmanomics Score: 5.5
His current injury concerns me, a bit of a stomach catcher who (not to me) has proven he can put up numbers against Power 5 teams, and needs to put on some weight.  I’ve gone back and forth on him quite a bit.

14. Marshawn Lattimore, CB, OSU
Newmanomics Score: 5.5
Crazy fast, willing tackler, with great man-to-man skills squeezing out fades, and jumping dig/in cutting routes, has some ball-hawk to him.  He’s one of those that seems (or is?) like he’s not even trying and this comes so easy to him.

15. Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU
Newmanomics Score: 5.0
High character guy, wont be a foundational component to an offense, but may be able to do the Tevin Coleman thing.  It seemed every run over 3 yards he had was when the O-Line created a massive hole for him.

16. Christian McCaffrey, RB (I think WR), Stanford
Newmanomics Score: 4.5
Elite passing game RB, with very little shimmy, but very smooth one-cut runner.  I honestly think he would be best suited as a straight-up WR, but we’ll see how he’s used in the next level.

17. Malik Hooker, S, OSU
Newmanomics Score: 4.4
Tall, strider who has some makeup speed and willingness to tackle, but seems to take some poor angles and will cheat his coverage at times.  He strikes me as a little selfish, which may not be the worst thing (2-3 plays where he waited for the ball to ricochet, rather than going up to defend the ball).

18. Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Newmanomics Score: 4.3

19. Jabrill Peppers, IDK, Michigan
Newmanomics Score: 4.2

20. Mitch Trubisky, QB, NC
Newmanomics Score: 4.1

21. John Ross, WR, Washington
Newmanomics Score: 4.0

22. Reuben Foster, ILB, Bama
Newmanomics Score: 3.5

23. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Newmanomics Score: 3.0

24. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vandy
Newmanomics Score: 3.0

25. Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Newmanomics Score: 2.5

**If I get enough feedback looking for positional rankings I’ll make that a priority for next week, so let me know.  Also, I love having some fun with the combine numbers.  Here’s a peek at my favorite ” True Power Scores”, (some call it weight adjusted 40s, vert.s etc.), that is, in the draft class, who is able to apply the largest amount of force against the ground? (Vertical x Weight).

Newmanomics 2017 NFL Draft Rankings

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