3 Prospects I Love and 3 I Hate

With the NFL season coming to an end, it also marks the start of another great season: Draft Season. It’s never too early to start scouting players, and today we will take a look at three players I love in this years draft and three that I’m not so sure about:

Love: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner

Cornerback, Cincinnati Bearcats

The value of a true lockdown cornerback in the NFL cannot be overstated, and that’s exactly what Sauce Garnder is. In his three years at Cincinnati, he allowed just 712 receiving yards on 138 targets and 0 touchdowns. He held one of the highest regarded college wide receivers, Jameson Williams, to one catch for negative two yards on two targets. Sauce Gardner has ideal length and height for a coverage corner, although he is just a little on the lean side. He has strong natural instincts that guide him in coverage, and on top of that, an opportunity to intercept the football rarely passes by him. I don’t know how hot of a take this is, but Sauce Gardner is the cornerback one on my draft board, and it isn’t as close as you might think. He will be a star in short order.

Hate: Derek Stingley

Cornerback, LSU

The word “hate” isn’t fitting here, but for writing’s sake I’m going to leave it. I don’t hate Derek Stingley, but he does have high potential to be a bust and is too risky to take at his price. Let’s start with the good; he has very good ball hawking skills, he is solid in run support, and has rare and natural athletic traits. Unfortunately, the good is outweighed by the concerns. Stingley has an injury history, playing only 3 games in 2021 before getting a foot procedure done. He also missed some time in 2020 for a lingering leg injury. Aside from injuries, it is concerning that he has regressed since his first year. Granted, his freshman season was absolutely insane, it’s never a good sign when college players regress rather than improve. Since that year, he has shown inconsistencies in coverage, and has shown mental lapses/laziness at times. It is possible that the injuries factored into that regression, but there is too much risk to have him ranked in the top-tier of players in the draft. He is still my cornerback two in the draft, but there is a big tier break between him and the aforementioned Sauce Gardner.

Love: Nakobe Dean

Linebacker, Georgia

I’ve been reading a lot of mock drafts lately, and it really surprised me to see Dean falling into the late first round in many of them. To me, he is easily a top 15 pick in this draft, and I don’t really understand why some people are low on him. He was a staple of one of the best defenses college football has ever seen, and the only major criticism people have for him is his height/length, which are less than ideal for a linebacker. However, when you get an energetic, sideline-to-sideline linebacker who is also exceptional in coverage and no slouch when blitzing, you can look past some of his physical flaws. Micah Parsons balling out in his rookie season reminded people how important it is to have a high-intensity leader in the middle of a defense. At Dean’s current draft price, he is a steal. He is reminiscent of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah from last year’s class, who excelled with the Browns in year one. Look for Dean to be a good pick, relative to his draft price, in this year’s draft.

Hate: Jordan Davis

Defensive Tackle, Georgia

Another Bulldog, Jordan Davis was one of the most dominant players in all of college football this season. His unmatched size mixed with his surprising athleticism makes him a nightmare for any offensive lineman who has to line up across from him. The big problem with Davis is that he is too one dimensional. Jordan Davis can stuff the run as well as any elite defensive lineman, but he has a very difficult time getting pressure on the quarterback in passing situations. He also had a weird situation going on with his snap count, playing on less than half of Georgia’s defensive snaps. While this may have just been an attempt by the team to keep their players fresh and give younger players more experience, it’s also a possibility that conditioning or injuries were an issue for Davis. That’s just speculation, however, so take that with a grain of salt. Overall, any team that drafts Davis will get an exceptional first and second down defensive tackle, but they won’t be getting a well-rounded, multi-dimensional defensive tackle that is highly sought after in today’s NFL.

Love: Chris Olave

Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Chris Olave has been a top-end college wide receiver for a few years, but people have seemed to either have forgotten about him or have gotten fatigued from him. I see far too many mock drafts and big boards that don’t have him as a top five wide receiver in the draft, and that’s nothing more than ignorance. When you turn on the film for Olave, you see an elite route runner who has solid speed and good hands. He has great football IQ and instincts, and has a knack for finding soft spots in zone coverage. He has shown elite production in his time at Ohio State, and he will be a day one starter for whatever team is lucky enough to steal him at his way-too-low projected price. Don’t be surprised if Olave becomes a household name in the NFL in the very near future.

Hate: Kenyon Green

OL, Texas A&M

I’ve debated a lot with myself about Kenyon Green, but I think I’ve finally formulated an opinion. Green will be good if he gets used as an interior player. I don’t think that he would be very good at the tackle position, specifically left tackle. His flaws in hand placement is the worst thing about his game, and that is fairly damning to his overall draft profile. What he does do well is in his coordination, knockback, and acceleration. Kenyon Green has the tools needed to succeed at the next level, but his limitations hold him back from being worth his draft price. He would probably end up being a fine guard, but his draft price is too steep for a rather-risky interior offensive lineman.


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