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NFL Draft Blog: It’s A Copycat League

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Copying The Denver Broncos

After the Denver Broncos’ dominant defensive effort, the rest of the NFL will likely look at ways they can replicate the Super Bowl Champions’ success. Just like the way teams copied the Seattle Seahawks’ tendency to value long and tall cornerbacks, NFL teams will look at how they can duplicate Denver’s devastating pass rush. That means teams will likely look to the NFL draft to try and develop a pass rush as deadly as Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

In this draft class, there are three edge rushers who have the potential to be No. 1 pass-rushers for whoever they are picked by. Luckily for the Broncos’ success will likely inflate their value more than it already has been. Teams will be looking to really bolster their pass rush in hopes they can wreck havoc on opposing quarterbacks throughout the season.

Joey Bosa, Shaq Lawson and Noah Spence are the three biggest names in this draft class as edge rushers. Bosa and Lawson are power rushers who utilize their length and strength to defeat blocks and get to the quarterback. Spence is a bendy speed rusher, in the same mold as Von Miller, who uses his speed and flexibility to kill opposing offensive tackles.

Outside of those three, there are a few other players with the potential to be big time contributors to a team’s pass rush. Lawson’s teammate, Kevin Dodd, has the potential to be as good as any of the three mentioned above. Dodd isn’t the most athletic or powerful, but he has the best variety of pass-rush moves of the bunch. He does a great job of layering his moves together and he has fantastic counters when his initial move is thwarted. A sleeper name to look at is Stony Brook’s Victor Ochi. He doesn’t have the size of a great pass-rusher, but he has the speed and bend to constantly threaten the edge in the NFL.

Whatever the case may be, you can expect that any player with pass-rush ability to get pushed up in this class because of the success of the Broncos.

Is Ezekiel Elliott Worth A Top-10 Pick?

Running backs are seldom taken in the first 10 picks of the NFL draft. You can usually find productive running backs throughout the draft, which diminishes the value of the running back position. Nevertheless, there are times when a running back is taken in the top 10 picks, like Todd Gurley last year. For that to happen, the running back has to be an almost transcendent talent who can step in right away and be a start, which Gurley did.

This year, the question is whether Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott is in that same elite tier as Gurley. The answer to that question should be a resounding yes.

Elliott is an all-around stud at running back who run, catch and block at an extremely high level. Elliott is a rare type of running back who is scheme diverse and he never has to come off the field. He has the explosiveness and power to be effective in a gap scheme and he has the vision, agility and elusiveness to be successful in a zone scheme.

If all positions were valued the same, Elliott may have an argument to be the best player in this class along with Mississippi’s Laremy Tunsil. He can step in on day one and be an extremely productive running back who improves the running game of any team he is on.

Most of the time, teams are looking for the best value when they pick, but if a team just wants to get the best football player regardless of position, Elliott should be their guy.

Is Jalen Ramsey A Cornerback or Safety At The Next Level

Jalen Ramsey is the most talented and versatile prospect in this draft. He has played cornerback and safety at an extremely high level at Florida State. Now, which position is the best fit for Ramsey in the NFL? The answer is both. Where Ramsey plays has a lot to do with the personnel and scheme of the team choosing him.

As a cornerback, Ramsey is an extremely intelligent player who understands how to utilize complicated concepts like pattern matching. Furthermore, he has the length and foot speed to be an effective press-man cornerback who can cover the big receivers in the NFL.

As a safety, Ramsey uses that intelligence to pick on keys and make plays in the center field. He can fill in the run game and he can take tight ends out of the game with his man coverage ability.

Nonetheless, Ramsey’s best position would be to play a sort of hybrid role like Tyrann Mathieu in Arizona. He can play some center field, he can slide down to the slot, play in the box or cover on the outside. Ramsey is the ultimate playmaking chess piece who can single handily improve a defense’s ability to create and capitalize on turnovers.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com