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The Sports Daily > Ultimate NYG
2017 NFL Draft Part 3: TE LB DB

Tight End

Deep in quality, but not many superstars. Depth. Best TE class since 2010, which had Gronk. Hernandez, Pitta, Gresham, Graham. 2017 might be better for quality and depth.

OJ Howard. The best TE in this class. Worth a R1 pick. If the Giants can get him at 23, yes, take him. He can do everything.. split out wide, fast, strong, can block. Old fashioned TE but with even more (modern 21st Century) speed. No negatives, clean. Not a blazer, not as fast as Vernon Davis. This guy will be All-Pro or Pro Bowl for 10 solid years, can’t miss. About as safe a pick as you can make.

Evan Engram. Modern TE. Not for a classic Offense which would ask for any blocking. He cannot block. He is a WR in my opinion. Repeat, he cannot block. If you have a guy like Howard Cross who is a blocking TE, you can draft this guy for a 2 TE set. He is frankly unguardable. He can take a mini TE screen and before you know it, he is 60-70 yards into the end zone. So he has the speed and strength to break it. He has more speed than maybe all but 3 or 4 WRs in the entire draft. It is smooth speed. Football speed. On the Pats, 1000 yds and 12 TDs. I would not take him for the Giants because they need blocking. The Giants already have explosive weapons. How do you guard this guy? He eats up a CB or S alive. Line him up in the slot, a slot CB is not going to be able to handle him. Would be a great fit for the Cowboys, because OL can block, and Witten is your possession TE receiver. Engram is the new NFL prototype. If taken by the right team, very scary. Even with the Eagles, if he develops over the next few years with Wentz, it would be a nightmare for opposing teams.

George Kittle. This is a guy for the Giants. Best blocker in the Draft for a guy who can catch the ball. Round 4. Decent speed. Good hands. Reminds me of a poor man’s Jason Witten. Not quite as big. Doesn’t drop the ball. All purpose TE. 3 WRs, Perkins, Kittle, and snap the ball. So many things this guy will help you do. He and Marshall will help block on the run. Can’t stack the box because 3 WRs split out wide. Good asset for Gmen, perfect guy for that team. About the only really knock is that I’d like him a little bit bigger. He can add 10 lbs and will be fine.

David Njoku is overrated, Round 2. Just another GOOD player. Will be a fine pro. But not a Round 1 pick. He cannot carry OJ Howard’s jock.

Other TEs with honorable mention is what will be a great class: Jordan Leggett, Bucky Hodges, Jake Butt, Darrel Daniels (sleeper).

Inside Linebacker

This draft in my humble opinion s*cks for Linebackers, and I do not care what anyone else thinks. There are no Khalil Macks or Von Millers.

Reuben Foster. The only LBer in 2017 who is closest to elite. Runs side to side. 3 down Linebacker. Very good football player. One problem- he plays a little crazy, with an edge (like Burfict, Lewis). Had a couple of concussions because he buried some players with the crown of his helmet. That is my only concern… he gets another concussion or two and now my investment in a Round 1 pick evaporates. The NFL will use the concussion protocol to bench him for 4 games. So I worry about his availability down the road. Everything else I like about him. Without the concussions, he’s a Top 10 pick. With the concussion risk, he is Round 1. My medical staff needs to assist me in evaluating whether I can go higher or lower in Round 1.

Raekwon McMillan. I think he is R2 or R3 quality. He is just going to be a good solid pro. Playmaker. Solid. All 3 downs. Not a superstar, but will be a great addition to your roster. Given that he is ranked 15th on NFL.com LBers, he can be super value in Round 3. If you took him at the end of Round 2 I would not be able to argue. Good instincts. Reminds me of Gary Reasons, although Reasons was bigger. Reasons was always around the ball and did the right thing. Good solid pro. In the Giants D of 2017 which has Jenkins, Collins, Harrison, Vernon and JPP, that means this guy is going to be very busy making plays.

Tre’Von Johnson. Longshot. Ranked 59th LBer on NFL.com. A little small, 227, fast. A little room to gain some weight. I think he is a helluva lot better than what they are giving him credit for. He can get drafted in R6 or R7 or UFA and not only make the team but become a starter. He has the speed to blitz. He may go nowhere, or he can become explosive. So tremendous upside with little risk.

Jarrad Davis. Kind of small for ILB. Where do the Giants play him? Will not hold up. So not a fit. Doesn’t have experience outside. So why are you trying to fit him into Round 1? Round 2 or even Round 3. You’d need a big set of DTs to keep him clean. Good player, that’s it. He will be overdrafted.

Outside Linebacker

Haasan Reddick. Best OLB in this draft, fast, can cover, can blitz, but he is a Tampa 2 weakside LBer. He cannot take on Tackles, needs to play in space. Needs system fit. Derrick Brooks is in the Hall of Fame, perfect for that defense, but not a very strong guy. Not your big tough rugged NEast LBer. He is a speed guy. He can cover your RB who runs routes out of the backfield. Mid to End of Round 1. Has to fit your system. Not at all for a 3-4, he’ll get washed up.

Tyus Bowser. Good solid, R2, maybe early R3. Football player. He is fast so he can play all 3 downs. He can cover, he can blitz, he can tackle. Not big and rugged. Asset to your team.

Zach Cunningham. Runs decent. For the size he is, he needs to be faster. Either you are big and strong or smaller and faster. He is neither. Round 4. He will be overdrafted.

Samson Ebukam. SUPER SLEEPER. 31st on NFL.com for Lber. Small school. I saw tape and it was great. He can play football. All over the field, did everything, can’t teach speed. Round 4 or maybe Round 5. Steal in Round 5. These are the guys you look for as a GM. Ridiculous sleeper.

Strong Safety

Jabrill Peppers (pictured). I do not care what people say, I think Peppers is going to be a great pro. He plays with ferocity and violence. He can be a Kam Chancellor (Remember folks, Wonder liked Kam 75 slots ahead of where he went, R5 to Seattle). Big, not as big as Kam. But he can run, he can cover, and he can drop into the box. Off the field issues. I want this guy on my team because he is going to lead me into battle every Sunday. Top 10 pick in the Draft.  Some mocks do not have him in R1, probably due to character. If he is there at 23 I RUN to the podium to take him, because alongside of Collins, it would be LIGHTS OUT AWESOME. He has enough coverage skills to do it next to Collins. The wideouts who cross over the middle will not be happy when Peppers hits them.

Jamal Adams. Anyone who takes Adams over Peppers is nuts. Adams is a really good football player. Worthy of a Top 10 pick, but please do not confuse him with Earl Thomas or Eric Berry. Solid, can do everything. Will be an excellent pro.

Donald Payne. SUPER SLEEPER. Round 7! Good football player. Small school. Stetson. Big and can hit. He can run. Can cover. You can get him for nothing. Your GM should be waiting with a contract 1 minute after the Draft is over to sign him. Or just take him in Round 7 to lock him up.

Free Safety

Malik Hooker. The problem is medical. Talented. You cannot take him in the Top 10. He just had surgery on his hip and hernia. Only played 1 year, so he is still raw. Not unbelievably physical, so I understand it as a FS. But you cannot take skill position guys that high with a history of injuries. They have him going in the Top 10. (Of course that means the Jets will take him at #6.) Everything depends on medical regardless. You cannot take injured guys at RB, WR, S, CB in the Top 10.

Budda Baker. This is the guy I like best at FS. Does it all. No problems. Fast, not a burner, strong. HS sprinting champion. A little bit undersized. In the NFL it is about covering. So that is why he is so valuable. Take him at/end of Round 1. Great for the Giants at Centerfield if Peppers is not there. He has terrific coverage skills. Small Ed Reed.

Obi Melifonwu. Huge. And runs a 4.4. I do not know exactly where you play him. Not the smoothest hips but fast and can adjust to the ball. Did not play in a big program so needs experience in coverages. A little cumbersome. Coverage skills are a little lacking. Athleticism and freakishness is off the charts. Played for 4 years so he’ll be ready. Round 2.

Delano Hill. Sleeper City. Big guy. 6’1″ 215. Tough, strong, fast. Hips are not fantastic. But I think you can make this guy into a Starting Safety. R6 or R7.

Jason Thompson. Utah. Good football build, good size, good speed. Almost 40″ vertical. 17 special teams tackles. You need to have this guy on your radar as undrafted Free Agent.  Great Reward for low risk.

Cornerback.

A lot of good corners, but none are really great or locks. So since no locks, I’d rather wait until the end of R1 for someone who will get the same job done, and may even turn out better. Guys like Marlon Humphrey, Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley, Tre’Davious White, Rasul Douglas are good players who will be overdrafted. Who will be terrific, and who will not? So why reach here when you can get guys underneath them in a deep draft at this position that will be arguably almost/as good? Tons of R2 and R3 talent.

Kevin King. Mid to late Round 1. Big. 6’3″ 200 with big hands. So he can line up against the Julio Joneses. Does not play as fast as his speed, but that is lack of experience. He can tackle. More importantly, he uses the height, big vertical leap & huge arms to break up passes and compete. It is a changing NFL. The days of Darrell Green are over. How do you cover Julio Jones? With Kevin King.

Marshon Lattimore. I am not taking a guy in the Top 10 who had hamstring surgery his freshman year and has only played one full year. Stay away! Let someone else take the risk, especially not Top 10 like many of these mocks. I am worried about the Jets taking him. He will be terrific until year/s later he gets hurt. Next.

Fabian Moreau. Burner. 6’0″ tall. Breaks up passes. Only thing I do not like, in 2015 his season ended with Lisfranc injury, but since he played in 2016 I think he should be ok. Former RB, thick frame. Strong, can jam and reroute WRs. A little inexperienced. Thumbs up. Round 2 is a steal. I’d rather have him than Lattimore because a lot less risk.

Jalen Myrick. Body looks just like Revis. Has that tough short build with strong hands. Only allowed 39% completions over last 2 years. He can run. 4.28 seconds in the 40. Blazing. Good hips, great athleticism. The only thing that is wrong with him is that he is 5’10, else he is a top 10 pick. But he plays long with almost 32″ arms. A lot of potential!

Shaquill Griffin. Burner. Sub 4.4. 6 feet and 32.5″ arms, 39″ vertical. So he has the physical ability, and good ball skills. Good hips, can turn hips to match receivers. Only allowed 33% completions. R3 pick. What keeps him from being a top corner is natural anticipation/CB skills. Some of that will come with familiarity and being in a system. With coaching and structure he will obtain that. A lot of potential!