Rounds 1, 2, and 3 are in the books, and for better or worse, you’re team made at least a couple of selections in the process. Now, it’s time for the draft-nerds and scouts to do what they do bets- analyze and critique the picks that no one has ever heard of. Below is a list of some of the best players available.
Andrew Billings, Baylor
Andrew Billings had been getting accolades from every part of the NFL world. Pro Football Focus listed Billings as a 1st round selection. One scout claimed that Billings was someone “you can rely on”. NFL.com even says that he “has all-pro potential”.
Billings got better with every year he spent at Baylor as he increased his tackle, tackle for loss, and sack numbers every season. He won Defensive POY in his conference and finished tied for third in tackels for a loss- 2 behind Emmanuel Ogbah. So, it’s puzzling as to why Billings is available this late; VERY young.
My best guess is a three-part answer. First, there is rumor of a knee injury, though it’s not confirmed by anyone. Second, Billings is young. He just turned 21 in March. Finally, Billings depends on power moves. He lacks any significant finesse in his game. As such, he’s still a bit of a project. But, he’s a project with Elite NFL strength already. It’s tough to turn that down. He should be gone in the first 5-10 picks.
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Not all that long ago, Cook was considered one of the best. Every analyst in the game had him going before the end of the third round, so we can’t be sure why he hasn’t been drafted yet. Graham Couch seems to believe it’s a medical issue.
The rumors of red flags surrounding Connor Cook became real Friday when MSU's QB slid in the NFL Draft. Column: https://t.co/qmIPo4D4Lg
— Graham Couch (@Graham_Couch) April 30, 2016
When I’m drafting a Quarterback, I like guys with a proven track record. I’m not willing to consider a QB who hasn’t started for at least 2 seasons. Cook showed that he can handle an NFL style offense and that he’s able to learn and adapt. At this point in the draft, he’s worth the risk.
Cardale Jones, Quarterback
Jones is an interesting prospect here. For all of his accolades in College, he’s still fairly unproven. Some Ohio State fans will argue against this, but let’s look at his stats. In 3 seasons, he’s played a total of 23 games, which doesn’t sound bad. But in 3 games as a freshman, he threw a total of 2 passes. As a sophomore in 2014, Jones lit it up to the tune of 9.9 yards per attempt. He had a 160.2 rating. Seemingly great, Jones only threw 92 passes in 10 games. Finally, last year, as the starting QB for the Buckeyes, Jones only threw 175 passes, finishing with 8 TD and 5 INT.
So in 3 years as a QB in the Big Ten, Cardale Jones has thrown a total of 269 passes. For comparison’s sake Connor Cook completed 229 passes in 2015. That’s right, Connor Cook had almost as many completions last season as Jones has attempts in his career.
Paul Perkins, Running Back
Perkins is easily my favorite running back left in the draft. He’s not popular in the consensus rankings, but I think there’s a little bit of magic to his game. At UCLA, Perkins averaged 5.6 yards per run and 9.2 yards per catch while amassing over 4,000 total yards. He finished 4th in attempts for the Pac-12 the last two years. He also led the conference in yards in 2014.
NFL.com calls Perkins a “poor man’s Jamaal Charles.” I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but Perkins is an impressive football player more than anything else. He reminds me of Duke Johnson a bit. By NFL standards, he’s not especially big, strong, or fast, but he’s just a great player.
I’m impressed by Perkins’ ability to protect the quarterback. My favorite clip is Perkins stepping up against a linebacker and stopping him dead in his tracks.
Pharoh Cooper, Wide Receiver
Cooper is good at everything but not great at anything. He’s strong and is quick off the ball. Cooper comes from a military family and has an incredible work ethic. I like the Cooper is able to contribute in the return game as well.
As a pure receiving prospect, Cooper shows great body control, but doesn’t seem to be able to make plays down the field. It seems like Cooper will be a guy who starts as a possession receiver but has the ability to break tackles and get away from defenders with the ball in his hands.
Christian Westerman, Guard
Westerman is an interesting prospect, but you’re depending on his potential. Westerman has great speed and agility for a guard. He would be at his best with a zone-team who allows him to pull or go straight to the second level. He never really got a chance to play at Auburn, so he transferred to Arizona where he became an all-conference performer.
Westerman is great in the weight room, but his weight room strength doesn’t fully translate to the NFL. I’d like to see him add to his frame. That being said, using 4th round pick for a guy who is smart, agile, mobile and can add strength sounds like a great plan.
Shawn Oakman, Defensive End
Oakman is one of my more intriguing players. He will be a very late pick, but I think he has significant upside. Oakman needs to be in a good locker room that can teach him how to handle the fame that he’ll be coming into.
As a talent, Oakman could have gone in the first two rounds with ease. Oakman finished his junior season with 19.5 tackels for a loss while tacking on 11 sacks. As a senior he “only” had 14.5 TFL with 4.5 sacks. The concern is his character (sounds like a Bengal to me!).
Oakman was arrested for sexual assault just a few weeks ago. Which may ruin his chances of being drafted. Much like La’el Collins last year, Oakman may have to sign a “prove it” rookie contract. Much like Collins, I think Oakman could turn out to be a great player for whatever team takes the chance on him.