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04/29/16:  So, a few people have messaged me mentioning how much they like to use the value boards and top 100 to follow along - thanks for the feedback!  To assist, a link to the 4th/5th round "Next Best 75" players is shown above.  The Top 100 list takes us two picks into Rd. 4, with the Browns owning #99/#100, but then there are 75 more picks to get to the end of Round #5 (pick 175)...   So the Mid-Round Talent page ranks the players that didn't make the cut for the Top 100, but weren't far off.
 
04/28/16:
M.I.S.S.I.O.N.  A.C.C.O.M.P.L.I.S.H.E.D  .. .. .. .. 
Finally, we have reached that home-stretch.  It's draft day, friends.  A special day, indeed, and a very exciting weekend for football fans and draft-lover's everywhere.  The *final* updates have all been loaded up to the site, including the most recent (and final) piece to the puzzle, the Mock Draft Projection.  We are ready to roll!  Please enjoy the 2016 NFL Draft and follow along with the draft value charts and top 100 list of prospects.
With Draft Enthusiasm Always,
Doug Martz
 
04/26/16:
FINAL Top 100 Prospect List has been published.  A total of 45 offensive players, 54 defensive players, and 1 special teams (kicker) made this year's final tally.  As always, they are rated 1 through 100 in the "expected off the board" order, which also catches a pinch of my own evaluation on these prospects.  To access the Top 100, see the link above.
 
04/25/16:
It's Draft Week !
The site will get updates in all areas this week, prior to the start of the 2016 NFL Draft.  Today, the Steelers Prognostication Page and Offensive/Defensive Value Board Pages have been given their final refresh...  Tuesday night the Final Top 100 Update will be posted before midnight, and Wednesday night the Final Mock Draft will be posted.
 
 

 
04/10/16:
A List of My Favorites

Each year, just a couple weeks before the draft, I like to post a list of my favorite players at each position here on the blog page.  The rule I give myself is simply this: 1.) Pick the guy at each position you just really like, the guy you feel has so much upside, yet isn’t prone to be a classic “bust."  2.) To have a runner-up selection for each position, 3.) And the final attribute that keeps the list relevant is that no college will be included anywhere twice on the list. Finally, the round in which the prospect is suppose to go is irrelevant to this exercise; it just consists of guys that stand out for one reason or another – guys that I would certainly love to have on my team.  So, here’s my 2016 NFL Draft future All-Star team, with 10 overall gems that really make me happy, along with 10 runner-up choices that we might ponder as well.

 
My Quarterback: Brandon Allen, Arkansas, 5SR, 6’1”, 217, 4.84-40… 3rd Rd

Small hands aside, Allen was a three-year starter for the Razorbacks and he’s experienced in a pro-style setting and moves-around the pocket like an NFL QB. He threw for 30 TD’s with 8 INT’s in 2015 and has 64 TD’s and 26 INT’s during his career at Arkansas.  If I’m a team drafting for other needs early, but would like a middle-round QB to groom behind an entrenched starter, Allen is my guy. He’s cerebrally day and night ahead of the guys that will be mentioned as the top choices in this class, the first rounders, and is only pushed down the draft charts due to the lack of physical attributes and hand size.  I’ve heard far enough about hand size in the political debate world this year and if Donald Trump can get past the predicament then Allen is going to as well.

My Runner-Up:  Paxton Lynch, Memphis – 1st Rounder – The big man will be snapped up earlier than draft-media thinks.  I’ve said all along, watch out for Buffalo because GM Doug Whaley will “go get his own Big Ben” when they try to maneuver to get him.  Lynch has a quiet confidence that reminds me of Big Ben, when Ben was the clear “#3” in media circles back in 2004. 

 

My Running Back: Darius Jackson, Eastern Mich., 4SR, 6’0”, 219, 4.38-40… 5th Rd

Hours of draft work lead you to guys you just fall in love with and this might be my #1 crush for 2016.  Jackson looks the part of the perfect NFL RB.  He has the type of feet and strength combination that is nothing short of impressive and folks that often dismiss the smaller-school prospects (me) must not overlook this sure-fire diamond-in-the-rough.  Jackson looks the part of a smaller Jerome Bettis as he knocks down perspective tacklers one after another, but he’s of course not of those same weight dimensions – it’s just that many of his 1,067 yards rushing (5.2 ypg average) as a senior involved him plowing over the first, second, and sometimes third contact that was initiated.  He had 16 TD’s in the senior campaign, 14 rushing and 2 receiving… and this was all on a team that totaled one win in 2015.  I believe that Jackson could be the equivalent of what a guy like Antonio Brown, the 6th rounder out of Central Michigan, was at wide receiver and if RB was a “want,” but not a “need” on an NFL Draft board, I’d run to the podium with this selection in the 4th or 5th round.  Huge upside, little doubt about making roster.

My Runner-Up:  C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame – 4th Rounder – This wide receiver turned RB still has a ton of development to do, but for any offense that likes to pass to the RB, you need to take Prosise in Rd. 4, or late Rd. 3 if you pick late, as Prosise is a fringe Top 100 type that has massive upside-potential.  He has great cutting ability, a natural instinct, and a helluva body with athletic build – could be a great mid-round value!

 

My Wide Receiver:  Charone Peake, Clemson, 5SR, 6’2”, 209, 4.45-40… 3rd Rd

If RB Jackson is my personal favorite, finishing a tick behind him is this guy, Peake, from the town of Moore, South Carolina.  He will re-formulate “southern hospitality” for a QB in the league when he acts the part of the recent Clemson WR graduates.  Basically, this guy has the same type of game and scheme value as what Martavis Bryant did coming out of Clemson.  He was heavily recruited and seen as a gem coming out of H.S., with offers throughout the entire SEC Conference, but while he was stacked behind the type of talent you get stacked behind at Clemson, it was late until he was able to shine.  His 81 1/2” wingspan is amongst the biggest of any catching prospect in the draft class. There’s a lack of production in terms of numbers (5 TD in 2015), but that’s what this column is all about – finding the guys that turn me on, that pass my own eye test rather than the popular trend.  Peake is my under-the-radar prospect to predict sneaking into round three, and hence, the top 100 choices of this draft class – MASSIVE upside potential.

My Runner-Up:  Tajae Sharpe, UMass - 4th Rounder – A very adequate while not spectacular prospect at any phase of the game, Sharpe comes out of the Mark Whipple offense in Massachusetts with a great knowledge of the entire route-tree.  Had 111 catches for 1,319 yards and 5 TD as a senior, while starting all four years at UMass.  He seems to have a great sense of the game and awareness, a trait I look for.

 

My Tight End:  Jerell Adams, South Carolina, 4SR, 6’5”, 247, 4.64-40… 3rd Rd

I really love the potential in this prospect.  Well, to say “love” puts it a bit strong… I hate the TE class in this year’s draft.  It stinks.  But of them all, Adams is the guy that could best transcend his collegiate production. At his best, he has very clearly utilized his past as a star basketball player at the position – you can see him “box-out” and use natural basketball instincts.  He also has footwork/cuts when looking to get open against a zone that are reminiscent of a basketball player.  I say this big power forward could be a nice pass catching target with a big radius – a good QB could make him look good, while a poor offense will not.

My Runner-Up:  Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky - 4th Rounder – Was a favorite target of QB Brandon Doughty in the offense and, similar to Adams, has upside to grow even further in the NFL.  At 6’5”, almost 6’6”, and very impressive athleticism, Higbee creates massive mis-match nightmares.  He’s a natural hands-catcher that has little experience blocking, but in a weak TE class, he could turn out to surprise.

 

My Offensive Lineman:  Jason Spriggs, Indiana, 4SR, 6’5”, 301, 4.94-40… 2nd Rd

It might be a reach, actually, to call Spriggs a “2nd rounder,” because I do feel that teams will think about him similar to what I’m trying to say here. The four-year starter as a Hoosier would be the second rated OT if he had played at Mississippi, Texas A&M, or in the SEC anywhere.  He was previously a TE (in HS) before being changed to OT at Indiana, where he started from day #1, always at left tackle.  He looks so much the part of an NFL LT that I simply cannot help it but to sneak him into mock drafts, often ahead of Taylor Decker of Ohio State, when projecting round one.  Spriggs will bring the ultimate reliability and will end up having an equal career to top prospect Laremy Tunsil before their 12-year careers come to an end.

My Runner-Up:  Christian Westerman, Arizona State - 3rd Rounder – When this massive man (6’3”/298) latches on, the defender is simply “done.”  His balance is the best of any interior lineman in this draft class and he just stays latched-on and kills the defender.  Amazing balance/hand-work player with a nasty streak!  Top 70 prospect.

 

My Defensive Lineman:  Willie Henry, Michigan, 4JR, 6’3”, 303, 5.00-40… 4th Rd

Versatility and Motor defines this selection.  Henry has one of the best hustle/motor attributes of any lineman. He goes and goes and goes.  I love this about him and think he could be very versatile and rotate amongst the various hybrid/sub-package situations that today’s NFL presents.  Henry did not have a lot of great prospects surrounding him at UM and, therefore, took on a lot of double-teams.  Even with that he managed 6.5 hustle-sacks in 2015.  I’ve read up on Henry to find that many people around UM, including Coach Harbaugh, genuinely love this guy as a human being, too.  And that’s all after he grew up in Cleveland, OH.  So, with all this said, I really love the violent, hustling, warrior that is Willie Henry.  Give me a guy that cannot be out-worked.

My Runner-Up:  Matthew Ioannidis, Temple – 4th Rounder – This is the most non-flashy guy in the world, but I just like him. What a hard worker!  Temple was good for a reason (a rare thing to say), and Ioannidis is one of the cogs that made them run.  Like Henry, above, Matt is a hard-working hustler that will be well worth a mid-round selection.  A very smart, under-athletic type, that uses technique and brain.

 

My Edge Rusher:  Shilique Calhoun, Michigan St., 5SR, 6’4”, 251, 4.82-40…2nd Rd

I keep waiting for Calhoun to catch “round one talk,” but it never seems to evolve.  The guy had 27 sacks while at Sparty, including 10.5 as a senior.  He’s a bit older, at 24 years old, and is far more of an edge pass rush specialist than a set-the-edge run defender, but he takes off like a missile.  There’s a great physicality to Calhoun’s engagement with the offensive tackle.  In a weak Edge class, I like Calhoun as a guy that could develop further and be placed in packages on the edge in passing situations.

My Runner-Up:  Kamalei Correa, Boise State – 2nd Rounder – Correa played a wildcard position in the Boise defense, where he was given liberty to move around and do some impromptu play.  He has the speed to cover and play the OLB position, which makes him different than Calhoun.  I don’t think he has the pure strength as Calhoun, but has a more well-rounded overall set of skills.  Remarkable athlete – big upside.

 

My Linebacker:  Myles Jack, UCLA, 3JR, 6’1”, 245, Fast (injured)… Top 5 prospect

It’s boring to include Jack, because it’s fairly obvious this guy is a beast, but even though Jack is a top 5 prospect and a generational LB prospect, I cannot leave him off the list because he stands for everything this list is about.  If he was a baseball player you would call him a “5-star prospect,” because he simply does everything well.  Blitz him. Check.  Cover receivers or backs.  Check. Read and react/cover sideline to sideline.  Check. Jack is so impressive and I would want him on my team, I just pray all goes well with his recovery because he will be a fun one to watch in the NFL.

My Runner-Up:  Deion Jones, LSU – 3rd Rounder – Jones was always a player that intrigued me because he looks like a LB is suppose to look, even though he’s a bit light in the category of the weight. But then he took his Combine 40-time (4.59) and transitioned that to a Pro-Day time of 4.39.  A sideline-to-sideline LB that goes somewhere between 4.39 and 4.59 needs to be on this team!  Jones is a smart football player that has natural LB/coverage instincts and will be a great Top 100 prospect.

 

My Cornerback:  William Jackson III, Houston, 4SR, 6’0”, 189, 4.37-40… 1st Rd

Jackson looks like an all-pro.  He competes with the most natural of all ball skills and has a huge wingspan and hand use along with keen awareness.  Jackson is just so smooth with every coverage step and every awareness of his responsibilities as a tackler and overall play-maker.  With the league expressing greater and greater interest in long-limbed taller CB’s, Jackson SHOULD be a top 15 choice if the league knows what is best for them, and it will not surprise me at all if he goes higher than the media might speculate.  With no hesitation, WJII is a first-teamer on my special list of talents.

My Runner-Up:  Eli Apple, Ohio State – 1st Rounder – Even though it’s somewhat mundane to include two very popular CB’s on this list, I simply cannot let-down my natural love for the physique that Apple presents.  He’s built like a rock.  The tall and athletic body of Apple couples with Jackson as two prospects that just look the part of top 10 CB.  Apple has aggressiveness for going after the ball that impresses me and is just a couple ticks away from the greatness of #1 star, Jackson.  Give me either!

 

My Safety:  Keanu Neal, Florida, 3JR, 6’0”, 211, 4.62-40… 2nd Rd

Neal might just be a first rounder.  That is, if teams feel the same about the potential in Keanu as I do, he will go earlier than the projected “mid-second” that is often floated about him.  Neal is the 2016 Safety prototype.  He’s scheme diverse.  He’s a free safety one moment, a strong safety the next…  At Florida, in fact, they simply did not clarify such things as “strong” and “free’’ within the scheme, and instead made their DB’s all responsible for similar aspects of the game. What I personally see in Neal is a downhill tackling machine that will violently take on that responsibility. But he’s a smooth athlete that can line up on a slot receiver or tight end and take the player away.

My Runner-Up:  K.J. Dillon, West Virginia – 4th Rounder – So often lost in the talk of star prospect Karl Joseph is the quiet reliability of his tandem brother, Kimlon “KJ” Dillon.  K.J. is a bit of a hybrid, LB/S type himself, but this isn’t talked about a lot, as he projects to safety far better than others such as Jeremy Cash and Su’a Cravens.  Of all the safeties in the draft class, Dillon might have the most consistent technique with tackling… at least that I’ve seen.  His 4.53 40-time gives him necessary speed attributes to do many things, and I truly believe Dillon will be a 4th-round STEAL.  A total STEAL, I tell you…. While the Neal’s, Joseph’s, and Bell’s are getting all the attention, watch out for Dillon to steal the show in the actual main act: The NFL career.


 
With Draft Enthusiasm,
Doug Martz,
DraftBoardGuru.com
 
 
  
 
 
         As a reminder:  The NFL DRAFT SCHEDULE:                Where?    The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago
            Round 1:  Thursday, April 28th - 8:00 PM!
            Round 2/3:  Friday, April 29th - 7:00 PM!                              Television Coverage:  NFL Network, ESPN & ESPN 2
            Rounds 4-7:  Saturday, April 30th - Noon start