- NFL evaluators are poring over mountains of video on this year’s draft prospects. What if they had to base their judgments solely on highlights posted online—like most of the rest of us?
Imagine a universe in which teams couldn’t watch college football, study tape or work out players. All they had to go on was the Internet. That’s the premise of a YouTube mock draft. Throw technique and consistency out the window. This is about highlights, where the video editors play as big a role as the coaches. While this may seem like a ridiculous exercise, it’s closer to how most fans gather info on players before the draft, and see just what their team got on draft night.
The rules: Take the 32 players in Connor Orr’s recent MMQB mock draft, search for their on-line highlights, and work with the first video that comes up.
Here’s how the first round shapes up—if you’re judging on YouTube sizzle instead of traditional football skills. (Warning: Some music is NSFW, a danger that can’t be avoided in YouTube scouting. Mute your speakers accordingly.)
1. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Perfect example of how YouTube covers up issues. No Lisfranc injury here. Coming in at 5'9" and 166 pounds? No worries. Brown barely gets hit. This clip makes you wonder: Is Brown actually that fast, or is the defense is that slow? With the Big 12, probably a little of both. You can almost hear Chris Berman’s “Woop Woop” as Brown streaks down the field.
2. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, QB
As close to a video game as a YouTube clip gets. The long passes are effortless, the runs are ridiculous. He’s so cool in the pocket. And to think, when Murray was doing all this, we thought he was going to play baseball. A few other things stand out—Coach Lincoln Riley gets guys wide open, and Big 12 defenses look like extras in a movie who aren’t supposed to tackle the star. Kansas should’ve pulled a fire alarm to get out of the building.
3. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Call me old school—I love running back highlights. Jacobs takes it to the next level catching the ball and returning punts. The whole time, you can’t help but think, how did this guy run a 4.6 40 at his pro day? He’s flying past dudes on college football’s best defenses. And he is fearless about initiating contact. Fans of the team that takes him are going to go ballistic when they see this clip.
4. Devin White, LSU, LB
Defensive highlights usually rank below offense, but White’s clip is in Jadeveon Clowney/Roquan Smith territory. That 4.3 40 speed shows up. White is a runaway train. He even chases down Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts. Based on this highlight, White singlehandedly hurt Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham’s draft stock by hitting him so often.
5. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The highlight reel of a bad, bad man. Reminiscent of Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy. The kind of defensive tackle who penetrates so quickly he disrupts the handoff. It’s hard for Alabama defensive players to stand out on YouTube because so many of them are future pros, but Williams is next-level.
6. D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi, WR
One-handed catches. Making cornerbacks look like little kids. Reaching around the defender’s helmet to snag the ball. But maybe because we know he tested poorly in agility at the combine, Metcalf looks a bit stiff. Once again, YouTube is remarkable at erasing injury history.
7. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The producer of this clips just gets it. There’s almost as much footage of the 315-pound Wilkins toting the rock as there is defense. He had four carries in his Clemson career. It will be a crime if an NFL team doesn’t line him up in the offensive backfield. Oh—his defensive highlights are great as well, which I’d imagine is a priority for coaches.
8. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa, TE
Get ready to see lots of Hockenson jumping over would-be tacklers on draft night. He does it at the :25 and 1:10 marks here. I’m not sure if it’s an effective move, but it’s super-cool. He can supposedly block at an elite level, but thankfully the producer of this clip didn’t waste time on that.
9. N’Keal Harry, Arizona State, WR
Love the low-angle close-ups of Harry looking cool in warm-ups. He’s absolutely ripped, and most of the highlights include him outwrestling cornerbacks. The question is speed—you don’t see a ton of separation, although he has a sick punt return at the 1:40 mark. The Arizona State uniforms are polarizing as well. All tan?
10. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State, QB
Extremely high passer rating in this video. Running backs often are doing the work on short passes, but Haskins sets them up with accuracy. He doesn’t run at all in this videe, but you can see Haskins moving in the pocket and throwing under pressure.
11. Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
Burns looks too fast for his position. A minute in, I went back and looked at his combine numbers: 6’5”, 249 pounds, and he runs a 4.53 40. Burns backs those numbers up on YouTube. At the :54 mark, he pulls off a reverse spin, leaving the blocker grasping at air ,and chases down the Virginia Tech QB for a 12-yard sack.
12. Nick Bosa, Ohio State, DE
Because of injuries in 2018, the first highlight to come up was from 2017. It starts with Bosa chasing down Baker Mayfield and just gets better from there. He gets around the edge in a millisecond. Could probably use a sack dance or something to spice up the reel a bit.
13. Drew Lock, Missouri, QB
Lock looks amazing, but this is one of the most “college spread” highlights you’ll see. Hard to tell how accurate Lock is because of the blown coverages. But that’s not unique. Could say the same thing about Murray.
14. Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
Kept thinking, why didn’t I notice McLaurin more at OSU? One thing is for sure—he’s way faster than anyone on Wisconsin. Best part isn’t a reception; McLaurin shows why he’s considered the special teams ace of this draft by tiptoeing on the goal line to keep a punt in play. If he does that in the NFL, the fans are going to love him.
15. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
I’ll never get used to seeing Duke football. Feels like a mid-major playing in a big conference. Nevertheless, Jones does some work in here. The difference-maker is two long touchdown runs against North Carolina. The 6’5” Jones looks more tall than fast, but no one catches him.
16. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Want to see a cornerback knock the daylights out of guys? In this clip, Murphy appears to be more Kam Chancellor than Darrelle Revis. Of course, cornerback highlights are farthest from reality because they never get beat.
17. Rashan Gary, Michigan, DE
Gary only had 3.5 sacks last season, but the producer of this video wisely showed a series of impressive hurries. Watching Gary fly around the edge, you can almost hear the blocker yelling for help. Another one where you have to check his profile, because he looks too fast to weigh 280. And who doesn’t like a big guy wearing No. 3?
18. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
If you’re looking for swagger, Williams delivers. No surprise for an LSU corner. He makes ordinary passes defended look exciting. Not 100 percent sure that confidence is for every team in the real world. We’ll see on draft night.
19. Jeffery Simmons, DE, Mississippi State
The audio mix of music (Kap G’s “Marvelous Day featuring Lil Uzi Very & Gunna”) and commentators gushing over Simmons moves him up the boards a bit. Simmons gets after guys. Once again, you gotta feel bad for quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Where are Auburn’s blockers?]
20. Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
Was curious if the Bills quarterback would show up first in search results, but the Kentucky star is owning the algorithm right now. A string of boring sacks is broken up by Allen picking off Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. The play gives you an idea of how special Allen could be in today’s NFL.
21. Garrett Bradbury, North Carolina State, C
This should be the model for all interior offensive linemen. Straight to the point— some solid blocks and a fired up attitude on the sideline. Looks like he has the coveted “mean streak,” but you’d still have him over for dinner.
22. Montez Sweat, Mississippi State, DE
Sweat is visually interesting because he’s so tall and skinny for a defensive end. Why is an NBA small forward out there running after quarterbacks? As for the clips themselves … a lot of coverage sacks. You don’t see pass-rush moves. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them, but if I were an NFL team I’d dig deeper than this four-minute video.
23. Ed Oliver, Houston, DT
Have to blame the producers here. Too much run-stuffing. Who cares about limiting Rice to a one-yard gain? The video gets better when Oliver starts to get after QBs. The last play, Oliver takes on a double-team and pushes both guys back into the QB’s lap. Wanted more of that.
24. Devin Bush, Michigan, LB
Bush’s highlights are solid—which is not a compliment for this medium. The Big Ten Network didn’t do him any favors by choosing these plays. You see the speed and pursuit, but where are the big hits from a guy who has the same speed as Devin White?
25. Jonah Williams, Alabama, OT
Kept looking to see the impact of Williams’ short arms (he measured 33 5/8), but no one gets past him in this set of clips. Surprisingly fast-paced for a lineman video because the editor doesn’t waste too much time showing actual blocking. Your eyes immediately go to the ball carrier, and quickly you forget you’re watching an O-lineman.
26. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Baker’s highlight hits you right away with a pick-six, Baker almost throwing the ball to the ground before he crosses the end zone and does a cool air-guitar celebration. After that, a series of broken up passes. Kind of blah, although Baker looks big and fast.
27. Clelin Ferrell, Clemson, DE
Ferrell is fierce against the run and rushing the passer, but he gets a bit lost with all the other Clemson defensive linemen blowing up blockers. If you wanted to feature one play, at the 2:25 mark Ferrell explodes off the line and gets and arm on Duke’s Daniel Jones. The QB somehow escapes and thinks he’s safe, until Ferrell gets himself off the ground—Terminator 2 style—and chases the quarterback down.
28. Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Google didn’t have any highlights, which makes you wonder if a left tackle does anything in Mike Leach’s offense. Had to settle for a local news clip, which was actually quite refreshing. Came away from this clip really liking Dillard as a person without seeing much football.
29. Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Feels like Tillery would be a bigger deal in a different year that wasn’t so stacked defensively. He tortures Stanford and strips Shea Patterson to seal a win over Michigan. Like most of the D-linemen in this draft, Tillery is scary big and fast.
30. Jawan Taylor, Florida, LT
Offensive line play is tough. Couldn’t find a montage of pancake blocks for the first O-linemen taken in the draft. Instead, we have this nice technical breakdown from a YouTube analyst named Voch Lombardi. If you’re into the finer points of line play, this clip might be for you.
31. Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
The editors are trying really hard, and they do a nice job. But it’s tough with safeties. Lot of disruptive tackling, a few pass break-ups. All great stuff for real football. Not necessarily for YouTube.
32. Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma VOLUME
No traditional highlights … but I did find someone named Coach Evans breaking down Ford’s work. Evans describes his analysis as “a viewpoint from the average guy for the average girl/guy.” That’s not encouraging, but he has “Coach” in his Twitter handle and seems to know about pad level and O-line stuff. Another situation where NFL teams and everyone else is best advised to expand their scouting beyond YouTube.
For mock drafts based on actual discussions with scouts, coaches and other NFL talent evaluators, go to The MMQB’s 2019 Draft hub.
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