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NFL Draft Blog: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

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The Cheat Sheet To Each Team’s Targets

Up until this point, everyone, for the most part, has been guessing as to which players each team will covet in the NFL draft. Outside of a few insider nuggets, we have no idea who each team likes in this draft class. Nevertheless, we will be getting a little glimpse into which players teams are interested in when they bring 30 players for their national visits.

For those that don’t know, teams can bring up to 30 players, who aren’t from their area, for a visit prior to the draft. This is where teams will put players through workouts, intense whiteboard sessions and interviews. Since each team only gets 30, these visits are extremely important and mostly consist of players who teams are really interested in.

Unfortunately, these lists aren’t made public, but team blogs usually can put together a pretty accurate list based on reports and information from social media. Therefore, if you want to get a more accurate picture as to whom your team might be selecting, keep an eye out for players who are brought in for a national visit.

Buckner Or Bosa?

The first defender off the board will most likely be Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey; however, who will be the first defensive lineman off the board is significantly more difficult. For most of the pre-draft process, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa was seen as the easy choice as he has been among the top-five prospects in this draft class since last year. However, one player who may steal that spot from him is Oregon’s DeForest Buckner. In fact, there was a report that many think Buckner will be the first defensive lineman off the board at the NFL draft.

From a talent perspective, both players are very similar. They both have an ability to wreck a game on a regular basis, a lot of position flexibility and they use technique and power more than athleticism. Bosa is a base defensive end who can slide down to defensive tackle who plays with immaculate hand technique and a great motor. Buckner can play base defensive end is a 4-3 or 3-4 defense with the added caveat of being able to play both defensive tackle spots in a 4-3 defense. Buckner uses his strength and explosive power to physically dominate opposing players.

It appears that if a team is looking for an interior disruptor, Buckner would be the choice because he has the size, length and power to be a dominant force for the foreseeable future. If a team is looking for a base end in an even front, Bosa would appear to be the pick because he brings a more viable pass rush from that spot.

Underrated Player of the Week

Javon Hargrave, Defensive Tackle, South Carolina State

One of the most criminally underrated players in this draft is South Carolina State’s Javon Hargrave. If a team is looking for a nose tackle, Hargrave is one of the best options in this draft class.

He is a short and stout player (6-foot-1 and 309 pounds) with an incredibly powerful lower half. He utilizes great knee bend, which allows him to play lower than his opponent and utilize great leverage when he explodes into offensive linemen. He has the rare ability to take on multiple blockers while also having the ability to attack his gap and play in the backfield.

The only negative with Hargrave is that he played at a small school against competition that won’t sniff the NFL. It was unfair to see him dominate opposing linemen as he made play after play. Fortunately for Hargrave, he showed the ability to dominate at a higher level as he fared well in the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl.

If Hargrave was from a power-five conference, there would be no doubt as to whether he was a first-round pick or not. However, since he is not, he should be a top-50 pick.


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