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NFL Draft Preview

Norris: Best Available For Day 2

by Josh Norris
Updated On: April 24, 2020, 12:12 pm ET

After each day of the draft, NFL teams re-stack their board. Let’s do the same. Below are the top remaining players available according to my final top 150. As you can see, the original ranking is listed.

1. (Original: 12)  WR Denzel Mims, Baylor - Might be typecast as a Baylor receiver, but Mims has so many of the details of the receiver position down. He’s sneaky with his contact, using his hands or shoulder to create separation at the top of his routes or on breaks. If the corner closes at the catch point he’s then able to create another sliver of separation - putting him in the position of success. He’s the one who wins the contact battles and maintains his speed. The athleticism easily pops on free releases, acrobatic catches, sideline grabs and with the ball in his hands. While this isn’t Briles-level limited route tree, Mims certainly wasn’t asked to be Stefon Diggs. Still, I’ll bank on his combination of athletic profile, size and willingness to be the one in control of contract.

2. (Original: 18) S Antoine Winfield, Minnesota - Absolutely incredible range both against the pass and against the run. You can see numerous examples of quarterbacks or play-callers trying to bait Winfield, to remove him from an area or looking in the wrong spot - but he trusts his eyes and preparation. This leads to rangy pass breakups or covered receivers in a progression that was supposed to be open. Winfield tracks like a center fielder. There is no doubt that Winfield is small at 5-foot-9. But I can’t get over the plays that he makes. Sure, in man coverage against some of the best in the league he might struggle with size, but as a space player to anticipate and close, the tape already shows Winfield has such a natural feel for multiple alignments. There’s very little second guessing to his game. Target acquired, make a play.

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3 (Original: 20)  EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State - There’s just a natural look to his game when it flows together: fluid movement with some bend at 266-pounds along with hand use to create an angle advantage, then closing strides to make a play on the ball. There aren’t many prospects in this class with that potential combination, nor is two-step quickness. Loop him inside and awaiting interior linemen are just too stiff to stay in position. This is probably higher than you’ve seen Gross-Matos ranked by others. I understand the consistency questions - but he has an ability to totally disrupt the offense’s script a handful of times per game. Many of his wins occur early in the snap, so I’d love to see more late/hustle plays. Reminds me of Ezekiel Ansah entering the NFL.

4. (Original: 22)  S Xavier McKinney, Alabama - Nick Saban clearly trusted McKinney to be the chess piece (queen?) of his defense, moving in every direction and attacking the ball from each angle. Slot, to deep to box safety and reliable in all three. He’s unafraid to make plays on the ball in coverage and will gladly fill in run support. In some ways a discount, lighter Isaiah Simmons, as they were asked to operate in many of the same areas of the field. The concern is he’s not close to the athlete Simmons is, so will his profile hold up in the same way in the NFL?

5. (Original: 23) OT Josh Jones, Houston - While it might look ugly, Jones constantly locked down his island. Light feet + strong hands equals rarely allowing disruption. Jones isn’t passive, commonly securing hold of the pass rusher then driving them further away from his quarterback. That translates in the running game too, where Houston asked Jones to block in space.

6. (Original: 24) CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah - Ball skills translate to the NFL. To me, it shows that the game slows down for a corner. They don’t panic while the ball is in the air, slowly making its way to the intended receiver. And while staying in phase, these corners locate the ball and make a play on it. That’s Jaylon Johnson.

7. (Original: 27) RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin - Likely leads the class in traditional under center carries, but Taylor’s game extends beyond the typical productive Badger back. Slalom skier between the tackles to weave and cut to make box defenders miss. Has big play upside thanks to an athletic profile in the 89th percentile. His combination of vision, speed and comfort on contact likely means he’d star in a zone system.

8. (Original: 28) WR Michael Pittman, USC - A prospect who I initially had outside of the Top 50, but over the last few weeks stood out when re-watching compared to other “bigger” names. An athletic profile in the 85th percentile at 6-foot-4, winning from a variety of alignments and great ball skills along the sideline on intermediate and vertical passes.

9. (Original: 29) T Ezra Cleveland, Boise State - I see Jake Matthews when watching Cleveland. He absolutely has the footwork to mirror and athleticism to keep his butt to the quarterback, sealing off rush angles. He can absolutely get stronger and re-anchoring can be an issue. Cleveland also hit the elite Combine threshold of a 4.47 short shuttle - which has shown to be a great indicator of future success (OL who hit the mark go on to start over 80 percent of their NFL games).

10. (Original: 31) LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin - Kyle Van Noy-like. Need him to operate on the edge and maximize an isolated matchup? Yep. How about split into the slot and operate in space against a detached tight end? That too. A defense that wants to be multiple will be intrigued by Baun’s pedal to the floor versatility.

11. (Original: 32) S Ashtyn Davis, Cal - There are a number of versatile defensive backs in this class - ones who already were asked to flip between the box, slot and free safety spots. Davis spent 64 percent of his snaps as the deepest safety, showing great range, anticipation and timing… but the 32 percent of snaps closer to the line of scrimmage display a will to be the hammer. To finish plays other safeties might shy away from.

12. (Original: 34) S Grant Delpit, LSU - Numerous teams will see Delpit and think big nickel. 42 percent of snaps as the deep safety, 18 percent as the box safety and 34 percent in the slot. Although tackling is not his calling card, playing the ball in the air is. And at 6-foot-3, you have to wonder if teams who struggle with covering tight ends will give him a long look.

13. (Original: 35) S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois - Chinn was just on another planet athletically compared to his peers. 6-foot-3, 221 pounds with a projected athletic profile in the 99th percentile. He absolutely flies around the field. His closing speed on quarterbacks is frightening. It’s not out of the question for teams to view him as a box player, maybe a discount Jamal Adams.

14. (Original: 36) OL Robert Hunt, ULL - One of my favorite prospects in this class. Hunt was a mauling right tackle at the collegiate level and might shift inside to guard in the NFL. He’s a surprisingly easy mover in pass protection, looks to lock out and maintain control of his opposition. And in the running game, Hunt anticipates angles when getting to the second level to create space for his back. Hunt is the opposite of passive, and sometimes it leads to over-extension.

15. (Original: 40) EDGE Josh Uche, Michigan - It’s tough to know where to put Uche every single snap on an NFL field. Perhaps that’s why he only played 470 snaps for the Wolverines last year, and even fewer in previous years. But what you do see is unreal explosion and tenacity when facing guards or tackles. That kind of pass rush ability can contribute three to five potential game altering plays per game.

16. (Original: 41) iDL Jordan Elliott, Missouri - This class is shallow in interior disruptors. Elliott shows fluidity to work the angles of guards and centers, squirming free with rips and swims to release into the backfield. 

17. (Original: 42) iDL Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M - After the top two interior linemen, you have to bank on flashes hopefully resulting in more consistency. Madubuike’s flashes are intriguing. For the Aggies, he played anywhere from 1-technique to outside the tackle. Those moments of snappy hands, attacking angles, movement to win the positioning advantage, then dipping to eclipse the lineman and get to the ball carrier stand out.

18. (Original: 43) CB Kristian Fulton, LSU -  All around averaged sized corner, but plays smart when recognizing concepts, timing his break and disrupting the catch point. Many corners allow separation on inside breaking routes - Fulton has a 'my ball' mentality and often beat the pass catcher to the spot.

19. (Original: 44) RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State - Few players enter the NFL with a 2,000 rushing yard season already on their resume. Dobbins is one, and coming out of Ohio State’s program only makes Dobbins’ projection easier. At 5-foot-10, 209 pounds, he boasts great vision to read and cut off the hip of his linemen. Zone teams likely rank Dobbins quite highly among his peers - he decisively puts his foot in the dirt to get upfield and maximize the spacing created. Then at the second level, Dobbins displays wiggle to bounce and weave away from defenders. A shoulder fake here, a head bob there, and the awaiting tackler is left grabbing jersey in the open field. And while he looks like a compact runner, Dobbins does have a number of big plays to his name at the college level. 31 total runs of 15-plus yards last season, per PFF. So while production may be Dobbins’ best calling card, the total package is there to rack up yards in the NFL as well.

20. (Original: 45) WR Antonio Gibson, Memphis - In a league that is on the look for players who create yards on their own with the ball in their hands, Gibson could be a fantastic option at a discount price in the second or third round. While some rank Gibson as a running back in this class due to his size at 6-feet, 228 pounds. But I see a receiver, and that’s where Gibson spent 70% of his time last season in college. Turn on his game against SMU and you see some real natural receiver traits from Gibson out of the slot, shifting down to create separation in his breaks and naturally adjusting to off frame throws when working across the middle of the field, traits even “real” receiver prospects don’t show. Teams love to copy recent success stories, and if clubs are searching for this year’s Deebo Samuel, I will nominate Antonio Gibson. 16 missed tackles forced on 33 carries. 17 missed tackles forced on 38 catches, both per PFF. Those numbers are on another planet compared to all other prospects in this class.

21. (Original: 47) WR KJ Hamler, Penn State - All speed out of the slow. If Hamler lands with the Chiefs, watch out. He’s got the vertical explosion teams covet while maintaining it in downfield breaks, and is comfortable to create more yards after the catch. There are two significant questions with Hamler - how will he fair against press and why his hands were such a big question in 2019.

22. (Original: 49) WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame - The immediate trait that pops is Claypool’s red zone and end zone dominance. He’s one of the top athletes in this class, and it shows when isolated in short fields. Then you dig a little deeper and see he was open for more big plays if the quarterback did his part. You also see that Claypool is quite fluid for his size, especially off the line, and was featured after the catch on crossing routes. Getting the ball to an athletic receiver at full speed is a simple and successful plan. If he hits, Claypool might find himself in Vincent Jackson territory.

52. LB Akeem Davis Gaither, App State110. CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
53. WR Tee Higgins, Clemson111. T Lucas Niang, TCU
54. EDGE Darrell Taylor, Tenn112. EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
55. S Terrell Burgess, Utah113. EDGE Derrek Tuszka, North Dakota State
56. C LLoyd Cushenberry, LSU114. S Geno Stone, Iowa
57. iDL Ross Blacklock, TCU115. S Antoine Brooks, Maryland
58. T Matt Peart, UConn116. iDL Raekwon Davis, Alabama
60. DL Marlon Davidson, Auburn117. C Nick Harris, Washington
61. T Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas118. CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA
62. WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado119. LB Davion Taylor, Colorado
64. CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama120. WR Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty
66. CB Reggie Robinson, Tulsa121. iOL Jon Molchon, Boise State
67. DB Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech122. TE Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech
68. C Matt Hennessy, Temple123. TE Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
69. EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame124. QB Jake Fromm, Georgia
70. iOL Netane Muti, Fresno State125. LB Dante Olson, Wyoming
71. EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama126. TE Harrison Bryant, FAU
72. RB D'Andre Swift, Georgia127. iDL Malcolm Roach, Texas
73. RB Cam Akers, FSU128. S Brandon Jones, Texas
74. iDL Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma129. TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
75. S Julian Blackmon, Utah130. CB Kindle Vildor, GaSouthern
76. S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne131. DB Khaleke Hudson, Michigan
77. EDGE AJ Epenesa, Iowa132. S Chris Miller, Baylor
78. EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State133. CB Harrison Hand, Temple
79. iOL Damien Lewis, LSU134. CB Daniel Thomas, Auburn
80. OL Cameron Clark, UNC Charlotte135. WR KJ Hill, Ohio State
81. EDGE Jabari Zuniga, Florida136. iDL Bravvion Roy, Baylor
82. RB A.J. Dillon, Boston College137. CB Rashad Robinson, JMU
83. iOL Jonah Jackson, Ohio State138. iOL Kevin Dotson, ULL
84. WR Devin Duvernay, Texas139. T Justin Herron, Wake Forest
85. DB L'Jarius Sneed, Louisiana Tech140. WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
86. DB Troy Pride, Notre Dame141. EDGE Alex Highsmith, Charlotte
87. CB Michael Ojemudia, Iowa142. EDGE Alton Robinson, Syracuse
88. CB Josiah Scott, Michigan State143. CB Grayland Arnold, Baylor
89. LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming144. CB Thakarius Keyes, Tulane
90. CB Cameron Dantzler, Miss St145. iOL Ben Bredeson, Michigan
91. WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina146. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan
92. T Saahdiq Charles, LSU147. RB Jason Huntley, New Mexico State
93. OL Ben Bartch, St. Johns148. EDGE Kendall Coleman, Syracuse
94. WR Van Jefferson, Florida149. iOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
95. EDGE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa150. QB Anthony Gordon, Washington St
96. TE Adam Trautman, Dayton151. EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
97. T Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn152. iDL James Lynch, Baylor
98. CB John Reid, Penn State153. iDL Jason Strowbridge, UNC
99. QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama154. TE Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati
100. QB Jacob Eason, Washington155. CB Essang Bassey, Wake Forest
101. WR Darnell Mooney, Tulane156. WR Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State
102. RB Zack Moss, Utah157. RB Anthony McFarland, Maryland
103. WR Lynn Bowden, Kentucky158. T Colton McKivitz, WVU
104. WR John Hightower, Boise State159. RB JJ Taylor, Arizona
105. TE Devin Asiasi, UCLA160. CB Levonta Taylor, FSU
106. iDL Leki Fotu, Utah161. G John Simpson, Clemson
107. S K'Von Wallace, Clemson162. CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver, FIU
108. LB Malik Harrison, Ohio State163. WR Tyrie Cleveland, Florida
109. LB Willie Gay, Miss State164. WR Aleva Hifo, BYU
Josh Norris

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for NBC Sports Edge and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .