2018 NFL Draft: Picks 251-256
NFL Draft Scout
251 Chargers: RB Justin Jackson
Jackson's four years as a starter show with his instincts and anticipation of holes, darting to and through the line of scrimmage. Like a frog leaping from a lily pad, Jackson is consistently able to elude trouble with sharp lateral jump-cuts and sudden starts and stops, leaving defenders off-balance. He is not a traditionally powerful runner but keeps his legs churning through contact and his body spinning, ducking, slipping to squirm his way forward to maximize every attempt, showing impressive determination and awareness of the line to gain, earning the respect of teammates and opponents, alike. He possesses a well-developed upper body and has shown incredible durability over his career, never missing a game due at Northwestern. -- Rob Rang 1/11/2018
Contrary to his gaudy production, Jackson does not possess the burst and straight-line speed scouts expect out of a back weighing less than 200 pounds. He shows just average acceleration to and through the hole and was too easily caught from behind when breaking into the open field. Further, Jackson sports relatively narrow hips and legs which leave him lacking ideal power to break tackles and struggling to handle rushers when asked to block. Jackson was not asked to run complicated routes at Northwestern, showing limited burst to get separation, catching most of his passes on relatively simple dump-offs and quick screens. He does not have experience returning kicks or punts. With a staggering 1,264 career touches, there is plenty of reason to wonder how much more punishment his body can absorb. - Rob Rang 1/11/2018
COMPARES TO: Ian Johnson (retired) - You might remember Johnson, the former Boise State star who helped the Broncos upset Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and then famously proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend (and yes, I'm happy to report, they are married with a daughter). Johnson, similarly built to Jackson, was a natural runner with instincts and wiggle which helped him bounce around the league for a couple of years with stops in San Francisco, Arizona and Minnesota.
IN OUR VIEW: Jackson was a true workhorse for the Wildcats, logging 20+ carries in 33 games over his career with 11 games with 30+ carries, including a career-high 37 attempts (for 172 yards and a touchdown) in the 2015 regular season finale against Illinois. The tape suggests that he won't wow scouts in workouts with estimates of 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash perhaps generous. The stopwatch isn't always the best predictor of future NFL success, however, and Jackson is one of the more creative runners in the country.
252 Bengals: OG Rod Taylor
SUMMARY: A four-star offensive guard recruit out of high school, Rod Taylor was a three-sport letterwinner at Callaway, earning Second Team all-state honors as a senior – also led the basketball team to back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013. He was courted by numerous SEC programs before signing with Ole Miss, seeing immediate action at right guard. He started seven games at left tackle as a junior, missing three games with a high right ankle sprain (Oct. 2016). Taylor moved to right tackle as a senior and started all 12 games. He is light-footed for his size, but struggles to control his kickslide momentum, using choppy steps to compensate. Taylor competes with and edge, but he tends to try and overwhelm defenders instead of utilizing correct body position – he needs to play smarter, not harder. Overall, Taylor looks to out-physical his opponent and needs to develop better patience and technical polish if he wants to stick on a NFL roster, likely best at guard.
253 Bengals: WR Auden Tate
Impressive body structure and length. Uses his frame to out-physical defensive backs. Galloping route speed with powerful strides. Routinely makes full-extension grabs, showing off his catch radius, body control and large hands. Comfortable attacking the ball with a defender on his back. Physical finisher and will choose contact over an escape route out of bounds. Makes it a chore on defensive backs to get him on the ground, carrying would-be tacklers for an extra five yards. Smooth release off the snap. Efficiently transitions from receiver to ballcarrier to be more than a possession target. Played through a shoulder injury most of 2017. Productive near the red zone – first Florida State player with double-digit touchdowns in a season since Benjamin (2013). – Dane Brugler 1/10/2018
Adequate speed for his size, but doesn’t accelerate away from defensive backs. Tips his patterns with inconsistent tempo and pacing. Plods in/out of route breaks, lacking short-area burst to separate. Undeveloped field sense and doesn’t achieve proper depth in his routes. Not a clean catcher of the football with a high percentage of drops and double-catches. Shaky hands hurt his size advantage. Blocking effort needs to improve. Inconsistent footwork at the sideline. Missed one game as a junior due to a dislocated AC joint in his left shoulder (Sept. 2017) – minor nagging injuries have been a consistent issue dating back to high school. Underwhelming production with only two career 100-yard receiving games – didn’t earn All-ACC honors in any of his three seasons at FSU. – Dane Brugler 1/10/2018
COMPARES TO: Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers – A projection that is both a positive and a negative, Tate and Funchess are well-built athletes with near-tight end size. The highlights and splash plays look great, but the inconsistent play is what stands out.
IN OUR VIEW: Tate will never be a dynamic separator in coverage and needs to develop the details of the position, but he is able to mismatch defensive backs with his size and body control, boasting the skill-set to make a living in the red zone (scored a touchdown once every 4.1 catches in college). Tate is a classic boom or bust prospect.
254 Cardinals: OT Korey Cunningham
255 Bills: WR Austin Proehl
256 Redskins: WR Trey Quinn
Quinn possesses a compact, well-developed frame with excellent weight distribution for a receiver. He shows good initial quickness off the line, as well as at least passable burst to create separation. His best attributes are his body control, which includes the ability to contort to make difficult receptions, and sticky hands. For a receiver with just average height, Quinn offers a large catch radius, pulling in grabs high, low and behind him including with defenders in close proximity. Quinn is a highly competitive player who looks to inflict damage after the catch, showing enough balance and lateral agility to elude defenders, as well as the strength and determination to fight through arm tackles and good vision to take advantage of downfield blockers - attributes which helped him as a returner in 2017, averaging 22.3 yards on five kick returns in 2017... Quinn's strength and competitiveness also show up when he is asked to block for others, as well, looking to help out teammates. He saw action on special teams, recording two tackles in 2017. -- Rob Rang 2/4/2018
Quinn possesses a relatively thick frame for a receiver with good strength but only average height. Further, despite his track background, Quinn does not offer the preferred straight-line speed for the perimeter, with defenders too often closing on him from behind in the open field. He is reliant upon body positioning and quarterbacks trusting him to make tough receptions, showing just fair burst out of his breaks due to marginal route-running, at this time. Rob Rang 2/4/2018
Jermaine Kearse, Jets - The 6-1, 209 pound Kearse rarely had opportunities to catch the ball in Seattle which preferred a run-heavy scheme but he put up career-highs in every category (65 catches for 810 yards and five touchdowns) with the change of scenery in New York. Like Kearse (who left Washington as the school's all-time leading receiver), Quinn lacks elite height or straight-line speed to create gaping separation. Nevertheless, their trust-worthy hands and body control, however, can deliver some highlight-reel catches.
IN OUR VIEW
Quinn's breakout 2017 campaign was clearly enhanced by SMU's offense and the attention dedicated to Sutton but he possesses a pro-caliber build, as well as the sneaky athleticism and sticky hands to re-emerge in the NFL as a trusted slot receiver.