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  1. Saw the thread posted recently about not worrying if Beasley wasn't on the board, and it got me wondering how many people on these message boards actually watch full games of the prospects and not highlight videos...no offense, because I don't expect everyone to invest the time into that, but highlight videos are just not the best way to judge a prospect's body of work. Same with stats. Pretty sure my rankings differ a lot from most people's because of that. Gregory, for example, does a much better job against the run than he does affecting the passer. There are very few full games on YouTube (I watch via other means) but there are several videos with all the plays a prospect was featured on, and those are a decent way of judging a prospect. So this thread'll just be a fairly long read with brief descriptions of the 5 most talked about prospects being mocked to us, and my opinions of them, along with a video of a game from each of them that I feel represents them fairly. NOTE: I don't claim to be an expert, but I don't think I'm being egotistical when I say that regarding front seven players, I'm right an awful lot more than I'm wrong. My opinions on other positions are decent but I don't consider myself nearly as good at evaluating that kind of talent. Also, I'll be operating under the assumption that Leonard Williams has no chance of making it to our pick. Vic Beasley I'll start with the one everyone wants. Nearly every game he's in could double as a highlight reel. Beasley is the best pass rusher in the draft. I might go so far as to say he's the best player in the draft PERIOD. He's got one of the fastest first steps I've seen in my life, an array of honed pass rushing moves ranging from dips, rips, spins, the whole shebang. And his ability to defend the run is way better than people give him credit for. I see him being easily capable of double digit sacks in his first season and every season thereafter. The biggest qualm I have - and don't get me wrong, it's pretty big - is his tackling. God, his tackling is awful sometimes. But while I'm not drinking all the Quinn Kool-Aid, if there's one thing I'm confident he can coach, it's tackling. If Beasley is there at #8, we should be running to the podium, and he's the one player in the draft I would actually be alright with trading up for. Heck, I might even encourage it. Can't miss. Randy Gregory Gregory is an interesting one, to say the least. When I started really focusing on certain players a couple months ago, I hated the idea of Gregory. He relies on athleticism so much that it's sometimes difficult to get a feel for what type of player he is. But lately...I've come around somewhat. I still think his getoff leaves a lot to be desired, and his hand usage is pretty mediocre to say the least. But he has a lot of length, and he plays the run significantly better than his frame would suggest. He plays with considerably more strength than anyone else I've seen his size, and if he can put on some good muscle, I feel like he has the potential - again, the potential - to be an very good DE or OLB in a 4-3. That'll depend largely on where he ends up, as I think he needs a lot of coaching but he has the tools. If we got him I do feel like our new coaching staff has the capabilities to coach him up...but I'd be lying if I said I feel like the value is there at #8. Maybe if we traded down a bit. But he has one of the highest chances of busting of any edge prospect in the draft. Bud Dupree Nearly the opposite of Randy Gregory, in terms of my opinion on him. I started off very, very high on Dupree. And don't get me wrong - I still think he might be the most physically talented defensive end in the draft, and he's arguably one of the most physically talented defensive ends that has EVER been in the draft. But his motor has me worried. I'll watch him shoot off the snap with a borderline elite getoff one snap, and then the next he'll walk right into the tackle and just...push. On some run plays, he'll seriously just stand up and do hardly anything when he sees the play going away from him. There are so many plays where he looks like he isn't even trying. But he flashes enough that I think a motivated Dupree would be a true terror to face. This guy has crazier measurables than Mario Williams. Think about that. When all is said and done, I'm not necessarily comfortable with him at 8...but I've certainly heard worse ideas. He has all the potential in the world. Dante Fowler Jr Alright, we can't have all sunshine and rainbows. If we took any of the aforementioned guys, I'd be relatively happy with it - or at the very least, I could convince myself to be, even if I didn't think the value was there. Fowler is where that optimism ends. I watched every game Fowler had this year, and I'm firmly convinced that he's not a top 5 talent like many are saying. He's not even a top 15 talent. There's an argument to be made that he isn't a first round talent. While his highlights are truly flashy, and his measurables are impressive as heck, Fowler spends most of his time looking lost. A majority of his impressive plays come off of either stunts or weird pass rushing plays from the middle linebacker position - something that won't work nearly as well in the NFL. He gets flat out bullied by a lot of OTs, including those who likely won't even be drafted in the NFL. And while he does have some potential, and I've been trying to cover my azz by saying he could be pretty good in the NFL...I'm tempted to say he just won't be. In my opinion, he'll likely be a below average starter, if even that. He just doesn't have the pass rushing moves to merit being drafted this early, and even his ability to set the edge is questionable. Of all the front seven players likely to be taken in the first round, he's my least favorite by far. Luckily, it's likely someone will take him before us and we won't even have to worry about that. Shane Ray This guy. Oh man, this guy. I'd like to say I have no idea how he's suddenly fallen out of favor with the majority of people and evaluators - a lot of people don't even mention him now - but I already know. He didn't run at the combine. To that, I say - so what? Just you wait until he runs that 4.4 on his Pro Day. Shane Ray has somehow went from a borderline top 5 prospect to underrated, with some having him fall out of the top 10 entirely in mocks. But don't sleep on Ray. He's just shy of Beasley in terms of pass rushing prowess, and it could be argued that his ceiling is higher. He has a terrific getoff, some decent pass rushing moves that'll develop more with time, and he also has the most heart and motor of any top pass rushing prospect this draft. He's a leader and a warrior on the field, and I have no doubt that with our coaches - not only Quinn, whose specialty is DL, but Richard Smith, and even the LB savant Ulbrich - he could be transformed into an elite pass rusher. The biggest thing I worry about with Ray is his ability to set the edge and defend the run. And don't get me wrong...it's bad. Terrible. I don't know if it's what he was asked to do, but there were times where teams would run right at his side, several times in a row, and he would immediately break inside and not even try to set the edge. But as a pass rusher, there are few more intriguing prospects. All in all? I won't straight up rank these players. I think that should be up to you, as readers. But I'd love to hear where you agree, disagree, and whether or not you learned anything. All in all, the pass rushers this draft are truly enticing...I can't help being excited for the draft. We're in for a fun offseason, that's for sure!
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