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Draft Notes - Should you take a RB in round 1?

CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to Issue #12 - We’re now just over 24 hours away from the NFL draft, it’s always a little bittersweet. We spend so much time looking into all these prospects, spotting the ones we love, and hoping beyond all hope that some will find their way onto the Jets. The reality is that most of the prospects we love will find their way onto other teams, some of them will find their way onto our rivals. Let’s jump straight in. For all past issues please click HERE

Where’s the value at RB?

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The closer we get to draft day, the more we start to hear about the Jets potentially looking to take a running back at #23. This morning I read that the Bills were looking to jump ahead of the Jets to ensure they can get Travis Etienne in the early 20’s.

I’m a big fan of Etienne, Harris, Williams and a number of other running backs, but I simply do not agree with taking a RB in the first round.

We look at the 2020 San Francisco team and we see Jeff Wilson (undrafted), Raheem Mostert (undrafted), Jerick McKinnon (3rd round - Vikings).

We look at Joe Douglas’s time in Philadelphia and the RB’s that they drafted during that period. Wendell Smallwood in the 5th round in 2016, Donnel Pumphrey in the 5th round in 2017, Corey Clement undrafted in 2017, Josh Adams undrafted in 2018, Miles Sanders in the 2nd round in 2019.

The value of the position has changed and you can get production from the system as well as the back. I would be really surprised if the Jets decided to take a running back in the first round.

The value for the position this year is in the middle rounds, you look at guys like Khalil Herbert, Kylin Hill, Kenneth Gainwell, Michael Carter, Trey Sermon, Elijah Mitchell and Demetric Felton among others. It would make more sense for the Jets to grab someone like Herbert or Sermon.

Remember the name Bijan Robinson

Texas Spring Game Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

If you’ve been reading this newsletter from the start, you’ll know that every now and then I like to look to the future.

Bijan Robinson isn’t a name for the 2021 draft, in fact, he was only a freshman in 2020 so you’ll need to wait a couple more years to see him in the NFL. However, he’s one of the most exciting prospects I’ve seen in a while at the running back position.

Ranked as the #1 recruit at the position in 2020 and 15th ranked prospect in the entire country, Robinson played straight away as a freshman and impressed, especially towards the back end.

Over the final four weeks of the season, Bijan rushed for 522 yards and 4 touchdowns at an average of 12.5 yards per carry, he also brought in 8 passes for 129 yards for 16.1 yards per reception.

Last year he showcased a little bit of everything, vision, speed, acceleration, and power.

He recently flashed at the orange-and-white spring game for Texas and the expectation is that he’ll get far more carries this year alongside Roschon Johnson. If 2020 was anything to go by, Bijan is about to explode onto the college scene, so get ahead and give him a watch this fall.

Let’s Talk About Cameron Sample

Memphis v Tulane Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Yesterday we touched on some of the top edge prospects in the first round, the Jets may look to surround their young QB with talent early in the draft, and if that’s the case, we’ll need to find some edge players later in the draft.

Cameron Sample is a name that I love, he’s developed considerably since first landing at Tulane and playing a true freshman back in 2017. In 2020 he enjoyed his most production season with 52 tackles, 7.5 for a loss and 5 sacks. In total he had 37 hurries in 316 pass rush snaps for a pressure percentage of 12%.

He plays with tremendous leverage and has some real punch in his hands, he needs to learn which pass-rush move to use in which situation, but the good news is that he does have a variety of moves. He’s 6’3 and nearly 270lb’s with good get-off.

He’s not the perfect prospect and that’s why he’s likely going in the 3rd or 4th round but he has the raw tools. He went to the Senior Bowl and graded out as the best edge in pass-rushing drills. Keep an eye on him, he’s one of the more intriguing prospects at the edge position, some team may look to kick him inside to defensive tackle.

Don’t sleep on LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr.

LSU vs Texas A&M Photo by Chris Parent/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

A 6’3, 200lb receiver who runs a sub 4.4 forty...that in a nutshell is what you get with Terrace Marshall Jr. He’s a player who probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves, in large part because his teammate Ja’Marr Chase is expected to be taken in the top 10.

There’s so much to like about Terrace, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was drafted in the first round this week. He has 23 touchdowns over the last two years to go with 94 catches, he’s worked from both the slot and lined up outside and his catch radius is excellent.

Last year he came down with 82% of his contested catches and flashes some YAC ability. This year he largely took over for Justin Jefferson who was drafted by the Vikings in 2020, and their games are quite similar in some regards, their measurements are also quite similar although Marshall is faster.

Chase will get a lot of the love, but don’t sleep on Marshall.