Post originally appeared on Tha Sports Junkies 101
March 8, 2018
Image: Mizzou Football via Flickr
ESPN Media Conference Call With Draft Analyst Todd McShay
Posted on March 8, 2018
Todd McShay Hosts A Conference Call On ESPN
On Wednesday, March 7, 2018, ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay hosted a conference call with the media discussing his draft projections, as well as thoughts on specific players. McShay’s Mock Draft 3.0 was released Wednesday morning as well, indicating the most recent standings of the players hoping to be drafted in April.
The 2018 NFL Draft
The 83rd Annual NFL Draft will take place over three days, April 26-28. This year’s draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. All seven rounds of the draft will be shown on NFL Network for the duration of that weekend.
The Conference Call
During the conference call, Todd McShay gave some interesting insights into different players as well as team needs around the league. Todd McShay provided all of the following analytics during the call.
The New York Jets’ Team Needs
The Jets are sitting in the draft this year with the #6 pick. In his mock draft, Todd McShay has the Jets selecting Josh Allen, quarterback from Wyoming.
He mentioned that the Jets have a guy in Jeremy Bates who can coach quarterbacks up. Specifically, with Allen, Bates could help improve his accuracy through consistency in footwork. McShay noted that Allen had separated himself from other quarterbacks such as Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen for a lot of teams.
Something else beneficial for the Jets when it comes to Allen is his experience throwing in poor weather. Coming from Wyoming, he would fit the climate the Jets play in for a portion of the season.
Allen also really shocked some folks at the combine. Some of his numbers on the board were surprising; he was also imposing when the cameras weren’t on. McShay mentioned that he, “really couldn’t have performed better.”
Although there are high levels of variation when it comes to this year’s quarterback class, McShay believes Josh Allen would be the most logical decision for the Jets at #6.
Free Agency vs. Drafting
Another viable option for the Jets at quarterback is attempting to sign former Washington Redskins quarterback, Kirk Cousins. If that is the case, McShay pointed out that the Jets would need to use their picks either on placing playmakers around him or players to protect him.
Calvin Ridley might be a good selection, for example. It is apparent that running back Saquon Barkley won’t make it to #6, so Ridley would be another great weapon.
McShay described Ridley as “an attractive receiver” and mentioned that there are “not as many at his level mak[ing] him more valued.” According to McShay, he is a first-round talent in any draft, not just this particular year. He is going to continue to get stronger as time goes on.
Focusing on Ridley’s tape is what will show the most value. From a route running standpoint, McShay said he is one of the best he ever evaluated. He mentioned that there are teams out there with quarterbacks who rely on guys getting open quickly and creating yards after the catch, which is precisely where Ridley’s strengths lie.
However, if the Jets don’t wind up with Cousins, McShay said they “have to” go the quarterback route.
The Cleveland Browns Can’t Mess This Up Again
The Browns have a decision to make with their #1 pick. They have the chance to select the quarterback of their choice or Saquon Barkley. For the Browns, this is a difficult decision to make.
As McShay mentioned during the call, it’s not very often a running back goes 1st overall. He is an “instant impact guy” McShay said. He has exceptional running skills and also is good at protecting the quarterback. Not only are his football skills superb, but he is a leader off the field as well. The Browns must take all of this into consideration.
Jon Dorsey has not been a part of some of the failures that the Browns have had over the last 20 years, but they have faltered several times with first-round picks.
If they draft Sam Darnold, McShay believes that Darnold has the longevity that former Browns quarterbacks have not had. He is clean as can be regarding character, mental makeup is perfect, no durability issues, he is a humble leader, and would be the right decision number one.
The most significant problem here is what they also have the potential to do in free agency. McShay thinks that if they are unable to aquire AJ McCarron in free agency, they should draft Barkley at #1 and a quarterback at #4.
The Chicago Bears Need Defensive Help
When it comes to the Bears, the discussion was primarily on the defensive side. They need to find some 3-4 edge rushers that will be available at #39 in the second round.
A few guys McShay mentioned include Arden Key from LSU who comes with a few perceived character questions. Lorenzo Carter from Georgia who had a great work out at the combine, according to McShay and showed that explosiveness that you see from high-end pass rushers. Last he mentioned Harold Landry, who, although didn’t have the best 2017, he had a phenomenal 2016.
The Detroit Lions Are Looking For A Tight End
The Lions are expecting to enter the 2018 NFL Draft and season without tight end Eric Ebron. Regarding complete tight ends, there are two: Dallas Goedert from South Dakota State and Hayden Hurst from South Carolina.
McShay is a big fan of Goedert. He did the most bench reps of all tight ends and is a rare 2-way player. He is a great in-line blocker and can also create match-up problems as well. One thing to keep in mind about Hurst is that he will be a 26-year old rookie. Aside from that, he is a great athlete who can stretch the field.
Another tight end to consider is Mike Gesicki from Penn State. He is not going to block much, but he has speed, and his combine performance was exceptional. McShay noted that his routes aren’t always the prettiest, but his frame gives him an advantage. He also has a high success rate when it comes to 50/50 jump balls.
From there, McShay noted there is a massive drop off to the next highest graded tight end in Mark Andrews from Oklahoma. He can catch, but he will not do much blocking.
The New York Giants And What They Should Do With Their Pick
The talk since the draft order was solidified has been about Saquon Barkley going to the Giants. If they do not go with Barkley, or if Barkley isn’t still available, McShay thinks that quarterback would be the correct move.
If this is the case, running back would be their best move in the second round. A few 2nd-round running backs McShay mentioned include Darius Wright from LSU, a banger with quickness, Ronald. Jones from USC, an explosive back who has some big play ability. The last he mentioned was Sony Michel from Georgia, who can also catch the ball well making him an excellent asset.
Also discussed for the Giants were some offensive linemen including Philadelphia product, Mike McGlinchey from Notre Dame. McShay described him as a tremendous complete football player with good knowledge of the game. He mentioned he was a guy who has the potential to be a splendid starting right tackle in the NFL.
Denver Broncos Need A Quarterback Now
The Broncos are in need of a quarterback, and one in the discussion is Josh Rosen. However, there have been some questions about his personality and character.
According to McShay, some teams are concerned with how Rosen treats his teammates. He tends to speak in condescending ways to receivers if they don’t run correct routes. He is what McShay calls a “why guy,” meaning he asks “why?” to changes.
Some coaches like this quality, and others not as much. According to McShay, it would be beneficial for him to go to a place where they accept this and do not put him in a box.
A Few More Players Were Mentioned
A few more key players were discussed during the conference call.
First was Allen Lazard, Iowa State. McShay described him as big bodied and mentioned he had a terrific week at the senior bowl, causing some match-up problems. McShay predicts him to go in one of the middle rounds.
Another was Mike Hughes, UCF. He is an excellent cover corner, he is instinctive, can support the run, and he is a ball hawk. He makes a difference in the return game as well. Although he may not have top-end speed, he has a high football IQ and can see the plays developing.
Next was Shaquem Griffin, UCF. “This dude is awesome,” said McShay. “He lights up a room, he is so much fun to be around, and he brings so much energy wherever he is. He picks things up quickly, and teammates love him.”
How It Will All Develop
Although the predictions can be well thought out and analyzed by the best, it won’t be known where these guys will end up until draft day. Each team has their needs and preferences, but there never fails to be some surprises.
Featured Image By: Mizzou Football
Article originally posted on Tha Sports Junkies 101.