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The Return of the Fullback

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5 Under-the-radar signings

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The Return of the Fullback  |  Gridironalytics 5 under-the-radar signings of the 2018 off-season  |  Gridironalytics




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Top 5 2019 NFL Draft Prospects

by Terry Matthews  |  @Gridironalytics   |  Published November 21, 2018

Image Credit: MGoBlog










Surprise! Most of them are defensive linemen! Well that actually shouldn’t come as a surprise if you know anything about the depth and quality of defensive talent coming out of college in 2016 – especially on the defensive line.

  


 5. Dexter Lawrence  |  DT  |  Clemson

Run-stuffing interior defensive linemen are no longer the flavor of the month – or the decade, for that matter – so you'd be excused for having issue with Lawrence making this list. However the Clemson DT has much more upside than as a basic two-down D-lineman, for a start he's an athletic 6-4, 350lb (yeap, that's 350lb of athletic upside) yet can still get around and shows unnatural quickness for a man his size. Is he going to duke around an offensive guard in order to collect a sack...well, sometimes, yeah he is; but mostly he's using that huge 350lb frame to bullrush opponents into the backfield or simply over-power and man-handle them at the point of attack. Being able to draw on such immense raw power, and his nasty strong hands are the stock traits in Lawrence's passrush arsenal, but he also has the advantage of sound instincts in leverage, consistently playing with good pad-level and not falling into any of the traps guys his size often experience going up against shorter, stockier offensive linemen.

  

NFL Comparison(s): Calais Campbell, Kawann Short


NFL Fit: 4-3 3/1-technique DT; 3-4 1-technique; NT



 4. Christian Wilkins  |  DT  |  Clemson

A do-it-all type defensive linemen, Wilkins illustrated his run-stuffing prowess in college, as well as showcasing an intense, almost-angry play-style that comes in handy when he's rushing the passer. Continued to stand out on a stacked Clemson D-line in 2018, exhibiting all the monstrous power and unholy quickness that often separated him even from potential fellow first-round picks like Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell. Wilkins is a lockdown first-round pick himself and should be a day one starter in the NFL


NFL Comparison(s): Geno Atkins, Jurrell Casey


NFL Fit: 4-3 3-technique DT; 3-4 5-technique DE



 3. Greedy Williams  |  Cornerback  |  LSU

The value of cornerbacks continues to rise as offenses throw more and amassing monster pass yards is ever more the norm. Consequently guys like Williams are always going to be in high demand. Unlike the other cornerbacks coming out this year garnering first-round consideration, DeAndre Baker and Trevon Diggs, Greedy has the upside of being something of a turnover-artist, continually working into the right positions to snatch a ball out of mid-air and come away with a potentially game-changing takeaway. The Combine is going to be important for him, as there are questions regarding his size, however with his skillset Williams looks a lock-down first-round pick whatever happens.


NFL Comparison(s): Stephon Gilmore, Marcus Peters


NFL Fit: Boundary Cornerback, No.1 Cornerback








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  2. Rashan Gary  |  DE/DT  |  Michigan

Gary has the kind of natural skillset that gifts him immense versatility and should ensure he’s a fit in just about any defensive front. However if you want premier production out of him, then lining him up off the edge in a 4-3 is probably the way to go. Despite weighing in close to 290lb, Gary has superb quickness and straight-line speed, ensuring he’s a real menace in pass-rush, where his sheer athletic ability married to the kind of power he can generate, often proves too much for opposing O-linemen. His nice mix of quickness and strength also ensures he figures strongly when setting the edge. In sum someone’s going to get a superb weapon to install on their defensive line.


NFL Comparison(s): Cam Jordan, Joey Bosa


NFL Fit: 4-3 3-technique DT; 3-4 5-technique DE; 4-3 Edge Rusher



  1. Nick Bosa  |  EDGE  |  Ohio State

Barring injury, as sure a thing there is in this draft, based on a) his stellar college performance; and b) his genetics/lineage: for those that don't know, Nick is brother to Joey and son of John Bosa, both of whom were previously first-round picks in the NFL Draft. Joey of course is still playing, and has become one of the top pass-rushers in the league. With that in mind, brother Nick has little obvious downside. Is he quite as good as his Pro Bowl brother – some claim he's better, but its probably more accurate to say he's better at some things, whilst Joey is better at others. Unlikely to drop out of the top 5.


NFL Comparison(s): Joey Bosa


NFL Fit: 4-3 Edge Rusher