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Scouting Notebook: Top Dogs and a way too early Colts mock draft

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Who are the 2019 Draft’s top prospects to watch for the Colts?

NCAA Football: Navy at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Five weeks into the 2018 NFL season and the Colts are sitting at a measly 1-4. Though they have played some tough teams— including the two teams that played in last year’s Super Bowl— this is not the start that Chris Ballard and company had hoped for. If the Colts continue losing, there is a silver lining. The 2019 NFL Draft appears to have three stout prospects that are excellent fits with the Colts.

This week we won’t have a guest expert— fear not as next week’s expert is one of my favorite people in the business— so you will have my analysis with each prospect. Luckily each of these prospects are incredible players so it should be easy for me to find enough traits to discuss.

Let’s jump right into our 5th Scouting Notebook of the season!


Ed Oliver, DL (6’3” 290)

NCAA Football: Arizona at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Background

Oliver will likely enter the 2019 NFL Draft as one of the highest regarded defensive lineman in the last few years. The former 5 star recruit has enjoyed a very successful career at Houston as he has started since a true Freshman. In his two and a half years as a starter, Oliver has totaled 178 tackles— 110 solo tackles— 45 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks. Oliver has also collected his fair share of accolades which includes winning the Outland trophy for the Nation’s top interior lineman in 2017.


Analysis

Oliver may be the best specimen on the defensive line to enter the draft since Aaron Donald. With elite athleticism, Oliver is able to abuse interior offensive lineman. Add on that he has elite strength and a low center of gravity and you have a near unblockable defensive lineman. He flashes excellent hand usage, which combined with his incredible bull rush makes him a nightmare for other offenses. Oliver is an absolutely disruptive force on the inside.


Film Room

Our first rep just shows how dominant Oliver has been in run defense throughout his collegiate career. His low center of gravity and strength allows him to get instant penetration into the backfield. From there, Oliver is able to shed the lineman effortlessly and then slam the running back to the ground. The overall strength along with awareness to shed the lineman and make the play is what makes Oliver such a highly touted player.

This next rep shows off Oliver as a pass rusher. He may not have the stellar stats as a pass rusher that he has as a run defender, but that’s mainly due to him being double teamed his entire career on passing downs. Here Oliver is able to drive his lineman back and free himself with a spin move, which leads to a sack. When he is single teamed, Oliver can be a lethal rushing the passer.

This last rep is more just a fun one that I wanted to throw in here just so you can see what kind of athlete Oliver is. Here is spying the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. He notices that the quarterback is staring down his receiver to the right. Oliver hurries over and then soars through the air to get the pass deflection. Just want to add a reminder that this man is 290 pounds. Unreal movement skills for a man his size.


Fit with the Colts

Oliver would thrive in the Colts 4-3 defense. First, he wouldn’t have to play nose tackle like he played at Houston. When playing nose, Oliver was often asked to eat up double— and sometimes triple teams— in order to give room for other players to make plays. With the Colts, Oliver can shoot gaps and disrupt plays with his elite strength and athleticism. With more single teams and more opportunities to shoot gaps rather than taking on blockers, Oliver would be an instant star with the Colts.


Nick Bosa, DL (6’4” 265)

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Texas Christian Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Background

A former 5 star prospect and a top 5 overall recruit in the country coming out of high school, Nick Bosa has tore up college football. Much like his older brother— Joey Bosa— Nick has been a dominant force at Ohio State since stepping foot on campus. In his two and a half years of playing time, Bosa has accumulated 77 total tackles, 29 tackles for a loss, and 17.5 sacks. Bosa was also named the Big Ten’s defensive lineman of the year in 2017.


Analysis

Bosa brings almost every trait to the table that his older brother did years ago. A pure technician, Bosa is able to pull off any pass rush move in the book to get to the quarterback. The one trait that Bosa has that his brother lacked— to a degree— is elite level bend to get around the edge. Bosa is an effortless athlete and silky smooth around the corner. Combine an elite technician with top level bend and you get a potentially great NFL pass rusher.


Film Room

This first clip may not show off his ability to beat lineman straight up— as he beats a tight end and a running back here— but look how quickly he gets to the quarterback. His get off and burst out of his stance are incredible and he turns the corner with such ease. The tight end and running back trying to block him are barely able to get a hand on him as he flies around the edge. As a pure athlete, I like Bosa as a prospect better than his brother.

This next rep shows a little bit of what Bosa brings in run defense. Pretty similar to Jabaal Sheard in this department, Bosa isn’t the most overpowering force in run defense. Where he really excels though is reading running lanes and shooting inside to blow up plays. Here Bosa is able to rip underneath the offensive tackle and shoot inside to stop the runner in his tracks. Bosa has a reputation as a stellar pass rusher but he’s just as good against the run.

Last clip here just shows how technical he is as a pass rusher. He starts with his body angled towards the quarterback and attacks downhill. He notices that the tackle blocking him is slow out of his stance so Bosa simply swipes his hands away and sidesteps him for an easy sack. His athleticism to pull this play off along with his ability to successfully swipe the hands and create separation is quite incredible.


Fit with the Colts

Bosa would likely slide right into being an every down defensive end for the Colts. His savvy ability to play the run with great leverage makes him a strong run defender. His ability as a pass rusher would instantly improve an already solid pass rushing group. Bosa would add another dimension that the Colts don’t have on the front though— an elite player that requires attention. With more attention drawn to Bosa on third downs, it could open up more opportunities for Kemoko Turay and Jabaal Sheard (perhaps rushing from the inside on third downs) to get more sacks. It could potentially be one of the top pass rushing groups in all of football.


Greedy Williams, CB (6’2” 185)

NCAA Football: Miami at Louisiana State Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Background

Although Greedy Williams may be a red-shirt sophomore, this young cornerback is a star in the making. As a red-shirt freshman, Greedy he was selected to the All-SEC first team as he led the conference in interceptions and pass deflections. For his career, Greedy has tallied 56 tackles, 12 pass deflections, and 8 interceptions.


Analysis

Standing at 6’2” 185 pounds, Greedy has the desired height and length that you look for in a starting cornerback. His length and fluidity in coverage gives him the ability to mirror and match with any type of receiver. He excels in both man and zone as he has plenty of experience playing in both systems at LSU. With a nickname like “Greedy” he is obviously a ball hawk as he is very opportunistic in coverage. He has the ability and skill set to be a top corner in the NFL.


Film Room

Our first rep here shows how advanced he is in man coverage. Greedy is in press man coverage and is mirroring the receiver off of the line of scrimmage. Once he sees the receiver break inside, he initiates contact to cut off his desired path. In doing this, Greedy establishes inside position between the quarterback and receiver. He gets his head back to the quarterback and makes the interception. Overall, a textbook play.

This next rep shows how his length and athleticism helps him match up with receivers. This is an endzone fade. It’s a pretty well thrown ball by Jarrett Stidham but Greedy is able to get up and make a play on the pass. Look at how his length gives him an advantage in these situations. This type of corner could really come in handy for the Colts, especially since they have to face DeAndre Hopkins twice a year.

The last rep shows that he can also operate in zone defense. Here, Greedy is sitting back in deep zone but notice his vision. He is able to spot the receiver and quarterback at all times and breaks on the ball as soon as it is thrown. He comes down hill with great acceleration and burst and gets the pass breakup here. Greedy may operate mostly in man coverage at LSU but he has the traits to be a good zone corner as well.


Fit with the Colts

Greedy has the ability to instantly step in and be this team’s number one cornerback. His skill set lines up more with being a man corner but he can excel in a zone scheme as well. With Greedy, the Colts can have a cornerback who can follow number one receivers around for an entire game or sit back in zone coverage and make plays. Greedy is an absolute playmaker in the secondary and would be an amazing addition to the Colts’ defense.


Way too early mock draft

Since I did not have a guest analyst in this week’s article I decided to do something fun and give you all a way too early mock draft. This mock is based off of one I did on Fanspeak so every pick on here is a result of that draft. I tried to make the picks as realistic as possible although I do think some of these guys do rise come draft time.

Round 1: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

All around corner who can excel in man or zone. Lockdown potential.

Round 2: Jerry Tillery, IDL, Notre Dame

Good athlete who is excellent at rushing the passer. Gives the Colts more interior pass rush.

Round 2 (via Jets): Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

Technician in pass protection. Excellent pass blocker who can start from day 1 on the right side

Round 3: Collin Johnson, WR, Texas

Big and athletic with excellent hands. Andrew Luck gets a reliable downfield target who can make difficult plays look easy.

Round 4: Oshane Ximines, DE, Old Dominion

One of the top pass rushers in college football. Ximines could immediately come in and excel as a sub pass rusher, much like Kemoko Turay.

Round 4 (Comp Pick): Stanley Morgan, WR, Nebraska

Very nuanced and technical, Morgan would be an excellent underneath option for Andrew Luck.

Round 5: Ryan Pulley, CB, Arkansas

Competitive and very talented corner who could slip due to a season ending injury in 2018 (shoulder injury). Colts add a skilled corner late in this mock.

Round 6: Jalin Moore, RB, App State

Strong, downhill runner with great vision. Colts again take advantage of a talented player slipping due to injury.

Round 7: Chase Hansen, S/LB, Utah

Do it all player. Great tackler who can play linebacker or safety. Special teams stud from day one.


Final Thoughts

Overall I hope the Colts don’t have a shot at any of these players. Each of these three players will likely go in the top 5 or 10 picks so if the Colts are in position to select one, then this season really went downhill fast.

At least if this season does spiral out of control though, we can all see the silver lining of drafting one of these three guys. All three are potential franchise changers who would be excellent fits on the Colts.