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Draft Notes: The Crapshoot

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 BYU at USF Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Recently I’ve started a draft notes newsletter to get some thoughts down on some prospects. After releasing 8 editions they became longer and longer, so going forward I’ll be posting them here on GGN every single weekday. If you’d like to see the past issues then please click HERE - These aren’t feature scouting reports or feature articles, more little things that crop up that I think are interesting, little snippets of information and interesting stats.

It is a Crapshoot

I’m a huge fan of Jim Nagy, he’s a driving force of positivity in a world of negative takes, he’s one of my favourite follows on Twitter and the senior bowl was executed to perfection this year, a lot of credit goes to Jim.

However, I disagree with him here.

The NFL is a crapshoot and it doesn’t trivialise the players in the slightest. The exact definition of crapshoot is an “unpredictable outcome” and it’s for the exact reasons Jim outlines which makes it unpredictable.

All you have to do is look at the numbers to see that the NFL draft is the absolute definition of an unpredictable outcome. Whether it’s Brian Bosworth, Tony Mandarich, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf or Charles Rodgers, NFL history is littered with players who were taken with big expectations only to disappoint. It happens for a number of reasons, injury, personal issues, bad team fits, bat attitude or just players not being able to make the step up,

The NFL draft is an educated guessing game, NFL teams now possess some of the brightest analytical minds on the planet and we still see selections that don’t pan out, it’s the way it is. It’s the exact definition of a crapshoot.

Lets talk about Matt Bushman

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 BYU at San Diego State Photo by Alan Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Will the Jets target a tight end in the draft or are they happy handing the 2021 reigns to Chris Herndon, new signing Tyler Kroft and 2019 4th round pick Trevon Wesco? (Ryan Griffin is still here but he could be cut any day)

If the Jets do decide to go ahead with a TE selection there are some fine options for the system, Brevin Jordan and Tommy Tremble are two that instantly come to mind. If the Jets decide to look at the position later in the draft, Matt Bushman could be a name that crops up.

Here’s the crux with Bushman, he’s going to be 26 when the season starts, I didn’t see a lot in his game to indicate that he’s going to be a in-line blocker at any point. His route-running won’t excite you and he doesn’t show much acceleration in and out of breaks. It’s why he’s seen as a 5th-7th round prospect.

However, here are the positives. He was productive in college with three seasons of over 500 yards. He’s averaged 13.8 yards per reception, had just 1 drop on 72 targets in 2019 and broke 15 tackles on 125 career catches. He has good straight-line speed and he was a favoured target of Zach Wilson.

I’m sure Bushman will be devastated he picked up an injury before the season considering the rise of Zach Wilson in 2020, Wilson’s performance has vaulted Dax Milne up draft boards, especially when you consider the numbers that TE Isaac Rex put up (12 TD’s and 429 yards).

How risky is Jalen Mayfield?

Vrbo Citrus Bowl - Michigan v Alabama Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

At one point it didn’t look as though we’d see Jalen Mayfield in 2020, he had originally opted out of the season before deciding to return to appear in two games, one against Minnesota and one against Michigan State. He’ll be thankful he did, because those two games really helped his draft stock.

There is a lot to like about Mayfield who was Michigan’s starting right tackle in 2019. He’s a 6’5 325lb tackle that moves like a 300lb tackle. He’s as strong as an ox and he’ll only turn 21 next month. He’s shown marked improvement through his college career in both pass blocking and run blocking and showed well in zone schemes.

The issue with Mayfield is that technically he’s still very raw, his hand placement in pass protection will be easy pickings at the next level, he often falls forward too easily and can be set up by smart rushers. His length is questionable after his arms came in on the very short side at his pro day (8th percentile).

It’s likely that Mayfield will need to kick inside to guard, at least to start his NFL career and he’ll need a lot of work, but if you can get him in the 3rd round, the payoff may be worth it. I’m a touch wary of Mayfield because of the technical flaws, but there is no question he offers good promise.

5 Interesting Stats

Iowa v Northwestern Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images
  • Greg Newsome has allowed 1 TD over 471 coverage snaps since the start of the 2019 season. Talk about elite.
  • Justin Fields has a 91.2 PFF grade against top 25 defenses on 447 drop backs from 2018-2020.
  • Ja’Marr Chase had more catches of 15+ yards in his college than any other draft eligible receiver in 2021.
  • Walker Little had 680 pass-block snaps in his college career and he allowed just 4 QB hits.
  • UNC RB Michael Carter has 29 runs of 20+ yards over the last two years, more than any other player.