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NFL Draft 7 Days Away: Who To Look Out For?

NFL Draft

One of the most exciting days of the year for football fans is quickly approaching. The NFL draft is the most important weekend of every team’s offseason. The moves being made completely alter the trajectory of each organization.

In a recent conference call, ESPN’s draft expert, Todd McShay, took a deep dive into names and storylines that should have EVERY fan on the edge of their seats come draft night.

Many around the league believe this draft class isn’t loaded with top-end talent like in past years. But expect your team to be able to land good value picks in rounds 2, 3, and 4. 

McShay said it best “Not much of a difference of what you’re getting at 22 and 42”.

How Far Does Jalen Carter Fall?

One of the most intriguing storylines leading up to the draft has been what to make of Georgia DT Jalen Carter. Carter was considered the favorite to go #1 overall, but due to an off-the-field issue, he has fallen off some team’s draft boards.

Ignoring all the great attributes Carter brings to the football field is impossible. As McShay said, he is the “Most dominate defensive player in this draft,” but he also mentioned speaking to teams about their worries about his practice habits.

But in terms of checking all the boxes on the field, Carter does just that—the 6’3, 314 lbs. DT plays with a unique combination of skill, explosiveness, and toughness. He has the potential to be a top DT in the NFL.

According to NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein, Carter is projected to be similar to Tennessee Titans DT Jeffrey Simmons, who just inked a new 4-year $94 million contract this offseason.

From what McShay has heard from execs around the league, he believes “He won’t get out of the top 10.” The two most likely spots are 5th overall to the Seattle Seahawks or 6th overall to the Detroit Lions.

A Lot of Interest in Top Offensive Tackles

Since few skill position players have 1st round grades in this year’s NFL Draft, there is a lot of interest in the offensive line talent. Up to five offensive tackles are expected to be taken in round 1.

Todd McShay raved about the ability of the top 3 tackles, Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), Paris Johnson (Ohio State), and Broderick Jones (Georgia).

Peter Skoronski

When discussing Skoronski, McShay said, “Ready plug and play…efficient hands.” Peter plays with excellent footwork and hand placement, allowing him to play both tackle and guard in the NFL.

Peter spent most of his college career playing left tackle, but due to his below-average arm length (32 ¼ inches), many expect him to be better as a guard. But in an NFL that values position flexibility, Peter will most likely be taken off the board quickly. 

Paris Johnson

Johnson looks like a prototypical OT in the NFL. He’s 6’6, 313 pounds, and has an ideal arm length (36 1/8 inches).

When discussing Paris, McShay believes he will be “A good starter in this league” but is still “Developing.”

 Similarly to Peter, Paris has position flexibility as he played guard during his sophomore season. 

Paris has good footwork in pass protection and is athletic enough to recover when beaten initially. In 2022 he played 13 games at LT, totaling 757 snaps and only allowing 2 sacks.

But he will need to improve his overall strength to be more effective in finishing blocks and being a force as a lead blocker in the run game.

Broderick Jones

Even though Jones is the least experienced of the three, only starting in 19 games in college. Many believe he has the highest upside due to his athletic profile and great tape.

Jones is 6’5, 311 pounds, and has a good arm length (34.75 inches). Additionally, as a former high school basketball player, his loose hips and quick feet allow him to make all the necessary blocks.

When asked where he could improve, McShay spoke about his hand placement being too wide and the need to improve lower body strength to sustain blocks in the run game. He quickly added that those flaws are easily fixable.  

Teams Interested in OT

When mentioning teams who have done their homework on these tackles, McShay said the Chicago Bears at 9th overall. The Eagles at 10th overall, and the Jets almost being a “Lock” to draft one.

Lots of Value at Center in the Draft

The center position is never considered ‘sexy’ and often goes overlooked. But with a handful of teams looking to upgrade, this draft is the time to do so.

When asked about the centers in this year’s draft, McShay laughed and said, “It’s a weirdly good center class, but nobody wants to talk about it cause it’s center.” McShay later mentioned there are 4 or 5 guys that will be starters in the NFL.

In Todd McShays latest mock draft, he has Joe Tippmann from Wisconsin as the first Center going off the board at 42 to the Jets.

When talking about why Tippmann is his favorite Center, he explained that Joe is 6’6 and could move. He understands the game well, is a great communicator, and is elite in getting out on the second level.

McShay also mentions John Michael Schmitz from Minnesota as a plug-and-play day-one starter. Schmitz doesn’t have the athleticism or size of Tippmann but plays with great strength and leverage.

Other centers to look out for on late day 2 or 3 are Luke Wyper from Ohio State, another plug-and-play starter, and Olu Oluwatimi from Michigan, a true “Team Caption and leader.”

NFL Draft Dates

April 27, 8:00pm EDT ESPN/ABC

April 28, 7:00pm EDT ESPN/ABC

April 29, 12:00pm EDT ESPN/ABC

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