Orafor has been receiving a lot of attention as a potential 1st or early 2nd round OT from the MAC. I really don’t see it. He’s clearly a powerful, uncompromising athlete, with the ability to bury DEs and LBs in the running game. When, however, he is up against quick-twitch, nuanced pass-rushers (eg T.J.Watt), he looks pedestrian and confused – specifically, he has a tendency to lunge and play upright in pass protection which, against top tier NFL rushers, will leave him bewildered. He has, I think, the size, strength, power and aggression to shift inside but, should he do so, it would be very much a projection. He is too strong, too physical and too intelligent for MAC edge players but I have my concerns about how he projects to the NFL. My instinct is that, should he be drafted as an OT, he will find himself at OG before the end of his second training camp – he could make it in that position but there is no guarantee that he will. As such, I would see him as an early Day 3 projection at best.
The word that springs to mind when you watch Damon Webb is “good”. That is, by antithetical definition, not a bad thing but, at the same time, it wouldn’t have me banging down the door to draft him, were I an NFL GM. He is good in coverage, he is a good athlete, he is good in run support – he is not, however, exceptional in any of these areas, which leaves me unsure as to where he fits in the NFL. The corollary from this is that he is probably a fifth or sixth round pick, who can make your team as a third or fourth safety and a special teams player; indeed, his ability to come downhill and fill makes me pretty comfortable with the idea of Webb as a core special teams player. His ball skills are decent but not spectacular, as his career interception tally would indicate. Ultimately, I would probably be happy if my team took Webb in round six; my instinct, however, is that he will be taken a round or two higher than this and that he will only ever be one of those players who is struggling to make the roster at the conclusion of training camp.
There is a lot to like about Igwebuike. Entrance to Northwestern, of course, intimates that his brain contains more than a grey, nebulous mist and you can see evidence of this on the field. He is impressively instinctive against the run and, once he diagnoses a play, his closing speed is certainly of an NFL calibre – he is genuinely quick for a safety. He reads a QB’s eyes well, which enables him to get into position to make the tackle with an economy of effort. His tackling technique is sound, particularly against the run, where he takes excellent angles, enabling him to explode into contact. Against the pass, he has a tendency to wrestle people to the ground but I won’t criticise him too much for this; he does, at least, do it consistently, unlike Armani Watts of Texas A&M. I like his quickness and flexibility in man coverage; in zone, however, he is, on occasion, hesitant when it comes to diagnosing his responsibilities. He looks like a fluid, able athlete, with sufficient size to play well in the NFL and the attitude and intelligence to accept coaching. He is also an alpha-male leader, who should be a very positive addition to any locker room. I am not sure about his 6-0, 200lb measurable, which look a little generous; at the same time, I would be happy if my team were to draft Igwebuike somewhere on Day 2.
Hawkins is a good college football player in the Pac 12. He has considerable versatility as a DB, having started at CB, SS and FS at Southern California. He is instinctive, possesses good recognition and, against athletically limited offenses, he looks like a good prospect. When, however, he is up against more talented players, the flaws in his game shine through with uncomfortably lustrous brightness. He has marginal size at best (5-11, 188) for an NFL safety; he is not big or physical enough to play in the box and, as a free safety, I have concerns about his athleticism; he takes a lot of shallow angles towards the ball and lacks the speed or agility to compensate when those angles are flawed – see the 2016 Alabama game (Q2, 7:55) as an example. His tackling is also very erratic. He can be effective in small spaces but, in the open field, he tends to try to make arm tackles that are only sporadically effective. I also struggle to see how he would match up against big, physical TEs in the NFL. In short, although Hawkins should, justifiably, be highly thought of by Trojans fans, I don’t really see him as a bona fide NFL prospect at this point and I don’t have a draftable grade on him, going into the 2017 season.
The first thing that stands out about White – a JUCO transfer from Lackawanna CC – is his physicality. He absolutely loves contact and will hit ball carriers with an abandon that goes beyond the merely reckless. He has the size (6-2, 215) and speed to do so – as a result, he is an absolute force in the run game, where his closing speed is extremely impressive. He seems to take a block as a personal affront and I love the way he attacks blockers. He times his blitzes very well and is explosive coming off the edge – see, for example, his sack v Texas in 2016 (Q4, 13:08), where he just traumatizes Shane Buechele. He is not used as much in coverage as a conventional strong safety would be. When called upon to cover, he has a tendency to virtually gallop in his back pedal and he looks much more comfortable in zone coverage than in man. He didn’t record an interception in 2016 and that’s no great surprise, as he’s rarely in a position to contend for one. His limitations in coverage will, of course, impact his draft stock but an imaginative defensive co-ordinator could certainly use a player like White – perhaps, even, in a nickel-backer role. If nothing else, he should be an enormous asset on special teams and, if I were a general manager, I would be very happy to see him on the board midway through day three.
Statistics can be deceiving. Looking at Goedert’s gaudy numbers (92 catches for 1293yds and 11tds as a junior), I expected him to be essentially an oversized WR who played mainly in the slot. What I found, when I examined his tape, was one of the most talented all-round TE prospects in the 2018 draft class. His ability as a receiver, of course, stands out. He isn’t huge but, at 6-4, 250 he is big enough to be a match-up problem for NFL defences. He is a very smooth, fluid athlete with good speed, who is extremely physical after the catch – he has no interest in going down on first contact. He also has the body control to make absolute circus catches – see Q1 5:06 of the 2016 Villanova game for a superb example. It was, however, as a blocker that Goedert surprised me. He shows desire, good technique and the ability to sustain blocks – indeed, there were times when he was positively dominant. I haven’t seen a better TE block this year than the one he made in the 2016 North Dakota State game (Q3, 6:08), where he gives a clinic in how to open up a hole in the run game. He can occasionally over-extend as a blocker but this is a minor quibble; in essence, his blocking is really very good. Goedert will, of course, have to overcome questions about the level of competition he faced and I think he is a very good athlete without being an outstanding one. Overall, though, I think he has the skill-set and attitude to be a very good starting TE in the NFL and I would not be at all surprised to find him in the discussion for a 1st round pick, come next year.
Serigne seems to have been at Wake Forest for about ten years; he has been a consistently productive player in the ACC, particularly as a pass receiver. He is particularly adept against zone coverage; he finds the soft spots consistently and is a reassuring target for his QB. He has strong hands, a decent catch radius and flashes the ability to make the contested catch – evident in the 2016 Delaware game (Q3, 5:46). He can get open in the red zone and his touchdown numbers are good – at the present time (6th September, 2017), he has scored 14 career TDs. He is not much of a downfield threat, however, and his potential for yards after the catch is pretty limited. As a pass catcher, Serigne could have a future in the NFL. As a blocker, however, he is very limited. He is a bit better on the perimeter but, as an in-line blocker, he tends to lunge and reach and is strikingly lacking in the stability needed to anchor as a TE. In the run game, his angles are positively bizarre; there are times when you will see him just turn his body round to try and shield players off with his back. It seldom works. As a pass blocker, he is shaky – the bowl game v Temple was a good example of his limitations in this area (see for instance Q2, 4:57). Given his marginal size (6-3, 245) and his frailties as a blocker, I don’t see Serigne as having a high ceiling in the NFL and, accordingly, I have a late round/UDFA grade on him at this stage.