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Steelers NFL Draft Prospects: College Game Day and Open Thread

Time to check in on the potential prospects for the black-and-gold.

NCAA Football: Washington at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to week 8 of the college football season

This weeks slate of Top 25 match ups, highlighted by an old school rivalry between the Spartans and Wolverines. There is an ACC match up that has two undefeated teams playing for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

No. 6 Michigan (-7) at No. 24 Michigan State, noon on FOX

No. 16 N.C. State at No. 3 Clemson (-17), 3:30 on ESPN

No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU (-6.5), 7 on ESPN

No. 12 Oregon (-1.5) at No. 25 Washington State, 7:30 on FOX

This weeks highlight game also contains first place implications in the Pacific 12 North Division, putting two 5-1 teams against one another. This game boasts one of this years top draft-able quarterbacks in Justin Herbert. The Cougars look to make it 4 in a row against Oregon and College Game Day will make it’s first ever visit to Pullman on Saturday. With sole possession of first place on the line and College Game Day invading it has the makings of a great game.

No. 12 Oregon (-1.5) at No. 25 Washington State, 7:30 on FOX

Oregon Ducks

Justin Herbert #10 QUARTERBACK 6’6” 233 LBS

Jake Hanson #55 OFFENSIVE LINEMAN 6’5” 297 LBS

Tony Brooks-James #20 RUNNING BACK 5’9” 190 LBS

Jalen Jelks #97 OUTSIDE LINEBACKER 6’6” 245

Troy Dye #35 INSIDE LINEBACKER 6’4” 224 LBS

Ugochukwu Amadi #7 SAFETY 5’10” 201 LBS

Washington St. Cougars

Andre Dillard #60 OFFENSIVE LINE 6’5” 310 LBS

Jalen Thompson #34 SAFETY 6’0” 190 LBS

Gardner Minshew #16 QUARTERBACK 6’2” 220 LBS

Oregon Ducks

QB Justin Herbert

Herbert is by far and away the best QB in this class. I mean I am sorry but it is not even close. Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones are good, but they are still so raw that Herbert is so far ahead of them. He has everything you want to see in an NFL QB, especially in the arm and height category. He has some serious zip on the ball and throws it into places where not many guys could do it. Has elite ball placement and overall awareness of his receivers. He knows how to absolutely dice up zone coverages. He navigates the middle of the field as well as about anyone I have seen as of recent. In addition, he has an incredible arm and accuracy combination that allows him to just sling it deep too. He can do some improvisation, and is most definitely mobile, so he can beat you with his legs.

His release is rather inefficient and it will lead to him either getting strip sacked or overthrowing the ball deep. He has some issues with his mechanics as well, and while his footwork is generally sound, his feet get a little tense when he is under pressure. He needs to improve on his pocket presence and not completely collapse under pressure once it comes anywhere near him. He needs to go through his progressions more as he seems to key in on one guy at the beginning of the play. I should add that while he folds under pressure, he has trouble processing things pre-snap, and it is why blitzes are that much more effective against him.

Round Grade: Late 1st

NFL Comparison: Marcus Mariota

ILB Troy Dye

Hello Darius Le…..I mean Troy Dye. Yeah, every time I watch Troy Dye play I see a more athletic version of Darius Leonard. I am way higher on Dye than most, and while he is gaining traction around draft circles, I likely am going to be higher than them too. I see legitimate star potential in Dye and until he proves me wrong I will not come down off of that. He is a freakish athlete who has some of the best downhill speed and coverage speed in the draft. It is Mack Wilson level good. His lateral quickness is stupid good and he knows how to avoid defender rather well. He really knows how to get into the backfield, and will even go to the extent of powering through linemen, which he can do, but he also skinnies through multiple gaps. He is one of the few ILBs to have active hands in the draft and block sheds well. He is physical and tenacious in all aspects of the game, he is Vince Williams levels of intense. His coverage skills continue to improve and he has begun to process well too.

His reaction can be slow, which is the biggest knock on him, because it leaves the middle of the field open and allows him to get washed out of plays. He overpursues on angles and sometimes takes bad angles, but can make up for them on speed alone. He needs to add some bulk. He is strong, but has a very Shazier-like frame when he was coming out and at the ILB position that is no bueno. He just needs to trust his eyes more, because he takes himself out of plays and washes himself out of plays he would otherwise make. He is a great prospect, but has to trust those eyes.

Round Grade: Mid 2nd

NFL Comparison Darius Leonard

EDGE Jalen Jelks

I like how twitchy and reactive he is at the line. Jelks, due to that, is stupid quick off the line and it allows him to win off of his athleticism alone at times. He has some really nice explosiveness that allows him to get a great jump straight off of the line. He has a nice swim and rip combo and even has a spin move he breaks out. He gets straight out leverage and turns his speed into power effortlessly. With it comes excellent bull rushes and the ability to simply get around the edge. He can drop back in coverage due to how fluid he is in his hips, thus making him an ideal fit in the Steelers’ system.

He still needs to refine his bend. It is there and present, but it is not fully there. It is never timed correctly and can lead him to going around the arch. He tries cross chopping, but it never has any success and has little improvement, could continue to try, but his other moves are far better. Somewhat of a shoddy run defender. Can set the edge but drops his eyes and does not block shed on time.

Round Grade: Early 3rd

NFL Comparison: Jabaal Sheard

S Ugochukwu Amadi

Absolutely fantastic in coverage, both man and zone. Absolutely manhandles opponents on the line, keeps hips square, and has great mirroring skills. It is nearly CB level good, and his aggressiveness with active hands only help. His recognition skills in zone are some of the best in this class. He is reactive and gets right into his zone and recognizes routes so easily. He has great hands and the ability to make a play on the ball is not foreign to him. Has some scary good ball skills and will go up and fight for jump balls. His hips are extremely fluid and he easily keeps up with the fastest receivers. Keeps his eyes on the QB and it leads to INTs.

Does not show that he can play single-high, as he has played in the box and the slot, but he has the athleticism to play single-high. Somewhat shoddy run defender, can be timid to get in the play. Gets burnt deep due to being caught napping, his body seemingly shuts down, but his trail technique is good enough to not allow him to give up too many big plays. His angles are rather bad and he will not be able to fight off many blockers, thus single high might be his area.

Round Grade: Mid 3rd

NFL Compaison: Ha-Ha Clinton Dix

Washington State Cougars

S Jalen Thompson

I like him in coverage. He will not blow you away, but he plays smart football. Has a great football IQ and knows what the QB will do 9 times out of 10, and it leads to some ridiculous level of anticipation. He has some great mirroring skills and discipline skills. Will not get fooled by bunch sets and will keep upfield leverage in case of a deep bomb. He is a fantastic communicator and clearly a leader of the secondary. Has amazing aggressiveness in man and will never get beat deep due to fluid hips and strong mirroring skills. On top of that, he is a solid run defender and can come into lanes to make good plays from the box.

He is an absolutely dreadful tackler. He cannot wrap up well at all, and is easily powered through. He is timid sometimes at the line and can be too aggressive in man coverage and give up inside leverage. Bites on double moves all the time and opens the middle of the field to slants. Has not played that much of other positions and is overall limited in his zone experience. Does not have the size to truly play Safety, thus likely being a nickel corner.

Round Grade: Mid 4th

NFL Compaison: Bryce Callahan

QB Gardner Minshew

Yeah, Minshew is a bit of a sleeper here. He is incredibly smart and has a clearly high football IQ. His pre-snap and post-snap processing are all fantastic as he consistently audibles into advantageous positions. He goes through his reads rather easily and does not stick on just one read. Has sharp intermediate and short accuracy that allow him move the ball down the field at times. He is still mobile and creates plays out of nothing. Is a fiery leader and great presence that any team rallies behind.

Mechanics are a complete mess. A narrow base and long release are only two of the main issues. He does feel pressure and completely collapses under it. Has spotty deep accuracy at best and arm strength is nothing to write home about. Will always go for the check down and is never aggressive. Has little anticipatory skills and will miss easy out routes and boundary routes that an NFL QB should hit. Drops his eyes once pressure gets near him and it leads to INTs.

Round Grade: Late 5th

NFL Comparison:Josh McCown

OT Andre Dillard

Has all the physical tools you want in an NFL tackle, and is agile and quick when getting into the second level. He will block LBs and get off of double teams rather easily to reach to the LB. Creates huge rushing lanes when he gets his leverage right and his hips are fluid and allow recovery for him if he is beat. He has good recognition of stunts and strong hands, which often get inside meaning he seldom holds. He has good footwork on the line.

However, his feet are too active. They get jittery and his hands are fundamentally flawed. He is not powerful enough to hold his inside block and gets beaten by bull rushes all the time. His hips face the inside too much and allow outside leverage to EDGE rushers, and speed rushers eat him alive. His anchor is stiff and he plays too tall, and often loses the leverage battle that he so badly needs to win. He loses to EDGEs on the edge with bend due to inconsistent hand placements, as he can hold the outside shoulder, and never recover from it. His lack of power leaves him susceptible to block sheds on the second level.

Round Grade: Mid 4th

NFL Comparison: Jamarco Jones


In the comment section tell us what games and who you are watching. Let us know your thoughts concerning the 2019 draft. Go Steelers!