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Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook: NFL Teams Talk Top Underclassmen of 2019 Draft

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Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook: NFL Teams Talk Top Underclassmen of 2019 Draft

December 7, 2018

Nick Bosa (EDGE, Ohio State)

"I still say he's better than his brother (Joey). He's so powerful and has excellent hand usage. He's a plug-and-play Pro Bowler." — AFC area scout

"You hear that he might rub some coaches the wrong way because he's pretty blunt and playful, but everyone [at Ohio State] had great things to say about his work ethic and love of the game. That's all that would keep him from being our top player." — AFC scouting director 

Ed Oliver (DL, Houston)

"He's rare. He might not be Aaron Donald, but he's pretty f--king close. And in the pros he won't be triple-teamed every snap." — NFC area scout

"He might not have improved a ton in college, but did he need to? Wait until he gets some pro-level coaching. He has a lot of room to improve." — Former NFL defensive lineman/trainer

Rashan Gary (DL, Michigan)

"I hate how he was used [at Michigan], but it goes to show just how athletic he is. I think he's a top-five player." — AFC area scout

"If I had to pick one of the top guys to be better in the pros than he was in college, Gary would be my guy." — NFL general manager   

Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)

"His size and speed are really impressive. He's a little lean but can get bulked up. I would say he's a top-15 lock." — AFC scouting director

"There are other corners who had better numbers, but his play is lights-out good. The only time he got beat up was against 'Bama, but they tore up everyone." — AFC area scout  

Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State)

"Watch this dude go top 15. I love his burst and athleticism." — NFC area scout

"Yeah, he's skinny, but athletes like that who can rush the passer get drafted early. Real early. He made the right call [coming out]." — NFC defensive line coach

Noah Fant (TE, Iowa)

"We loved him, but his teammate (T.J. Hockenson) really overshadowed him this year. I don't think he's going to run that well, either. Probably could have gone back to school, worked on his numbers and be a top-15 pick." — AFC area scout

"He's the best tight end in the class, bar none. Long, athletic, fluid. He's exactly what we look for." — NFC offensive coach

Rodney Anderson (RB, Oklahoma)

"Medicals are the key here. He could be the top back drafted or not drafted at all." — NFC area scout

"His tape is good when he was on the field. I like [David] Montgomery a lot more as far as the big backs are concerned." — NFC area scout

The Scout's Report

—Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins should get plenty of credit as this season's biggest riser. Haskins started the year with considerable hype from Ohio State coaches and teammates and lived up to that. His play down the stretch against Michigan and Northwestern has scouts buzzing, too. Haskins, if he declares for the 2019 draft class, should be considered the favorite to be QB1 as of today.

—Many in the NFL were surprised when fired Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury opted to take the offensive coordinator job at USC over waiting for an NFL assistant job to open up. Said one high-level executive for an NFC team, "We really thought he'd jump to the NFL right now. I know a lot of his players were trying to talk him into coming to their pro team." 

—Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs have been asking all week on Twitter, so here's the answer: There are no Round 1 running backs in the 2019 class. Damien Harris (Alabama), David Montgomery (Iowa State), Benny Snell Jr. (Kentucky) and Darrell Henderson (Memphis) are all intriguing Day 2 options, but the replacement for Kareem Hunt won't come via the first round. 

—A pair of LSU defenders are exciting scouts the more they dig into their play, athleticism and character. Cornerback Greedy Williams and linebacker Devin White were recently called "two of the safest dudes out there" by an area scout assigned to the school.

—The defensive line class gets a ton of publicity for being great, and it should, but one under-the-radar talent with top-15 skills is Auburn's Derrick Brown.

Scouts love his toughness and versatility. My review of his tape showed a limited pass rush skill set—an area coaches are trending away from with two-down run-stuffers—but his movement skills and size (6'5", 325 lbs) do remind me of Da'Ron Payne, who went Round 1 and is playing great for Washington.

—An early favorite to watch at the Senior Bowl: Miami (Florida) defensive tackle Gerald Willis. The former Florida Gator has some off-field issues (he took a leave of absence from Florida and transferred to Miami) but has been amazing this season as a breakout player. A good week in Mobile could put him into the first round.

 

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