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Draft Notes: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

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Scouting Blog - Scout Report: Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State

Kevin Johnson is a quick, 6'0 188lb athletic corner that started in all 36 games for Wake Forest the past 3 years. Tested very well at the combine:

  • 4.52 40
  • 41.5" vertical
  • 10'10 broad jump
  • 6.89 3-cone drill
  • 3.89 short shuttle (2nd fastest among all players)

To compare, these are the numbers of the other top corners in this draft class:

  • Trae Waynes: 6'0 186lbs, 4.31 40, 38" vert, 10'2 broad, 7.06 3-cone, 4.39 SS
  • Marcus Peters: 6'0 197lbs, 4.53 40, 37.5" vert, 10'1 broad, 7.08 3-cone, 4.08 SS
  • Jalen Collins: 6'1 203lbs, 4.48 40, 36" vert, 10'4 broad, 6.77 3-cone, 4.27 SS

So, based on measurables, Johnson looks to be the quickest and best leaper of the group. Johnson's speed ranks right in the middle of the pack, coming in 15th out of the 29 corners that ran it at the combine. Although he has a thin frame at only 188lbs, he's put on about 15lbs since last Spring so it's safe to assume he could continue to add weight.

He's a good open-field tackler; not afraid of contact but does get mauled a lot, could be a liability versus the run. Very good in coverage but can get overly aggressive and draw flags. Great hips, shows up in tape and in the drills at the combine, very fluid. Instinctive playmaker, shows a quick reaction and very good awareness.

22 years old, graduated December with a degree in communications. Unlike other prospects he is not a project; he can come in and contribute day 1.

For Dallas the need at corner is evident: epic bust Morris Claiborne is coming off knee surgery and in the final year of his rookie deal. Even if he's retained, unless he makes a huge leap this year, I find it hard seeing him as more than a 3rd CB.

Meanwhile, Brandon Carr has been good, but nowhere near worthy of the 5-year $50M contract he signed in 2012. Carr is a potential cut if - as his agent claims - he refuses to accept a pay cut this offseason. Orlando Scandrick is a great #2 corner, but if Carr is lost then the need at CB has to become top priority for Dallas.



26 years old. Cowboys fan since I can remember. Love anything to do with the NFL, but I'm especially a fantasy football and draft junkie. Always up for a good football debate on Twitter - @bigbackjay.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram

NAME: Johnathan Abram

POSITION: Safety

SCHOOL: Mississippi State

CONFERENCE: SEC

CLASS: Senior

JERSEY: No. 38

RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star

HT: 5' 11 3/8"

WT: 205

D.O.B.: 10/25/1996

Tackles Tackles Tackles Tackles Tackles Def Int Def Int Def Int Def Int Def Int Fumbles Fumbles Fumbles Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2015 Georgia SEC FR S 8 11 14 25 1.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
*2017 Mississippi State SEC JR DB 12 43 28 71 5.0 2.0 0 0 0 5 0 2
*2018 Mississippi State SEC SR S 13 53 46 99 9.0 3.0 2 9 4.5 0 5 1 1
Career Overall 107 88 195 15.5 5.0 2 9 4.5 0 10 1 3
Georgia 11 14 25 1.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mississippi State 96 74 170 14.0 5.0 2 9 4.5 0 10 1 3

Highlights:

Johnathan Abram: Hardest Hitting Safety in College Football

Johnathan Abram, playing for the Bulldogs of Mississippi State University, is considered the hardest hitting safety in college football. He's top NFL prospect, who is projected to be selected in the late 1st to early 2nd round(s) of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Pros:

Johnathan Abram's biggest strength as a safety prospect is his ability to play around the line of scrimmage as a box safety, which is why he's projected to be a strong safety in the NFL. Possesses the prototypical size for the position. He also has the ability and skill set to play a hybrid safety/linebacker role as well.

Abram is at his best when he's playing downhill and sideline to sideline against the run. His size, strength, and physicality allow him to stack and shed blocks like a linebacker. Aggressive tackler who is always looking to deliver a big hit. Also shows good technique to get his head across the ball carrier's chest while wrapping up to make the tackle.

Shows adequate range and speed in coverage. Is able to flip his hips and redirect to change direction quickly, but there is some stiffness there as well. Has the size and athletic ability to match up with tight ends. Shows an understanding of route recognition. His physicality in the run game carries over into the passing game.

Cons:

The biggest concern about Johnathan Abram's game is his ability, or lack thereof, in coverage. Whether it's an man or zone coverage, he struggles with his responsibilities and can be eaten alive by receivers who know what they're doing. This doesn't bode well for his transition to the NFL, which has become a heavy passing league.

His aggressive nature will get him into trouble in the passing game. Can be clunky in his transitions against good route runners. Will panic and grab when he's caught out of position, which has generated, or should have, flags being thrown. Lack of desired range will keep him from becoming a deep safety, making him a strong safety only.

Questionable ball skills. Only has two interceptions and 10 pass deflections in his career. Struggles locating the ball and doesn't show instincts or anticipation to jump routes. Can be too aggressive against the run, causing him to over pursue and create cutback lanes.

Cowboys Fit:

If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a hard-hitting strong safety who excels around the line of scrimmage, then Johnathan Abram is their guy. He is a heatseeking missile when playing downhill or sideline to sideline, and would play that Kam Chancellor type role on the backend of Kris Richard's defense. He has outstanding size and speed for the position, and is a more fluid athlete then he's given credit for. More of a "traditional" throwback safety.

Abram unfortunately struggles in coverage, despite showing good range and long speed. He may be nothing more than a box safety or nickel/dime linebacker in the NFL. This could hurt his chances of landing with the Cowboys, especially if they are looking for an interchangeable safety to pair with Xavier Woods. But, if there are looking for that "enforcer" type of player, they'd probably have to take him at 58 in the second-round because it's unlikely he will still be there when they're on the clock in the third-round.



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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys Make Trades in this 7-round Mock Draft

John Williams

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Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

Though we're still in the midst of the free agency frenzy that took hold this week, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing the grind toward the end of April as they look forward to the most important aspect of roster building for their franchise, the NFL Draft.

As we know by now, the Dallas Cowboys prefer to build their team through draft, supplement their roster with lower cost free agent signings, and retain their own players through contract extensions and resignings. As they get ready for the draft, they'll be exploring all opportunities to improve a roster that made it to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs in 2018 with the hopes of advancing even further in 2019.

This is the first installment of mock drafts that you'll see from me here at Inside The Star, and like last year, I wanted to explore what some trade options might look like for the Dallas Cowboys. For this installment, I used Draftek's big board over with Fanspeak's On The Clock Premium Simulator. It allows for trades and allows you to select whether the simulation will use the same big board or multiple big boards to create more variables. I selected multiple, because that's closer to the reality of the NFL Draft. Every team has a unique big board that they're operating from.

All trades went through Draftek's Trade Value Chart, which is what the teams use when assigning value to draft picks.

58 - TRADE

58 to San Francisco for 67 and 86

Because the Cowboys don’t have a first round pick or a sixth round pick and this draft class is deep at several positions where the Cowboys could use some reisnforcements, they’re going into the draft looking to trade back with their first pick.

The San Francisco 49ers come calling and offer picks 67 (3.3) and 104 (4.2) for the 58th overall pick.

Per the trade value chart produced by Draftek, the Cowboys gain 21 points in value from the trade. It’s not a far trade back, as it’s only nine spots. Their ability to pick up an extra fourth is huge.

67 - Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama

With their first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, The Dallas Cowboys select Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama.

Somewhat of a forgotten man on the Alabama defense, Miller exploded for eight sacks and 11 tackles for loss in his senior season with the Crimson Tide.

With Randy Gregory facing an indefinite suspension, the Cowboys could use some help on the opposite side of DeMarcus Lawrence that can provide pressure.

Check out The Draft Network's Scouting Report on Christian Miller.

90 - Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas

Admittedly, I’m not as high on Charles Omenihu as some others might be as a second round selection, but as a third rounder, I can see the value in drafting Omenihu to help fortify your defensive line.

The Texas Longhorn product has experience playing on the EDGE, 3-Tech, and 1-tech alignments, and would probably be best suited playing 3-Tech in the NFL.

He reminds me a bit of Tyrone Crawford in that he doesn’t do anything spectacular, but he finds ways to make plays.

He was a productive player at Texas finishing with 9.5 sacks in the season.

Back in February I wrote a film review on Omenihu.

104 - TRADE

104 to the Buffalo Bills for 112 and 131

In another trade back, the Cowboys sent pick 104 in the fourth round to the Buffalo Bills for their two fourth round picks, 112 and 131. Per the trade value chart, the Cowboys picked up 25 points in pick value by trading back eight spots.

112 - Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi St.

The Dallas Cowboys could use a safety that can play in the box and Johnathan Abram from Mississippi St. could very well be the guy to line up next to Xavier Woods in the secondary.

In 2018, Abram recorded 99 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks, five passes defenses, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and two interceptions.

In 2017, he recorded 71 total tackles, diver tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and five passes defensed.

Abram, who will be one of the Dallas Cowboys 30 visitors in preparation for the draft, was a splash player in the SEC.

128 - Rodney Anderson, RB,  Oklahoma

Were it not for the ACL injury suffered by Oklahoma Running Back Rodney Anderson, it’s possible we’re talking about a top 60 selection in this year’s draft. Anderson’s injury history, however, has him consistently available for the Cowboys in the fourth round.

As they look for a backup to Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys would be hard-pressed to find a runner as productive and as talented as Anderson is without paying a premium price.

Like Elliott, Anderson’s a smooth runner, who is able to play through contact as well as make people miss in the open field.

For his career, Anderson averaged 6.4 yards per carry and scored 16 touchdowns. His only full season with the Sooners, he rushed for 1161 yards on 188 attempts (6.2 yards per carry), 13 touchdowns, and caught 17 passes for 281 yards, and five more touchdowns. That’s a touchdown every 11.4 touches.

Prior to being lost for the season in week two against UCLA, Anderson was averaging 10.8 yards per carry.

Read Brian Martin's Draft Preview on Rodney Anderson.

131 - Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

Parris Campbell has the speed, quickness, and athleticism to be a threat both in the slot and on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys.

Admittedly, it’s not likely that a player with his athletic traits and production would be available in the fourth round, but in the NFL Draft, there are few guarantees.

Campbell recorded 90 receptions for 1,063 yards, and 23 touchdowns in his senior season with the Buckeyes. He'd be an excellent asset in the slot and on the outside as a speed threat for the Dallas Cowboys.

136 - Ben Banogu, EDGE/LB, TCU

You can never have too many pass rushers, and that’s what the Cowboys believe as they double-up on weakside EDGE players by selecting Ben Banogu from TCU in the fourth round.

Banogu was a very productive player for the Hirned Frogs. For his junior and senior seasons, Banogu averaged 8.5 sacks and 17.25 tackles for loss.

At 6-4, 249, he brings good length to the position and has the frame to add a bit more bulk to help him set the edge in the NFL.

165 - Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA

Count me as one who’s excited about the possibility of Blake Jarwin developing into a starting tight end for the Cowboys. He certainly showed over the last half of the season that he’s capable, just needs more experience and playing time. That said, despite the addition of Jason Witten, the Cowboys should still look to add a tight end in the draft, and here’s a good one in UCLA product, Caleb Wilson.

In 11 games for the Bruins in 2918, Wilson caught 60 passes for 965 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 16.1 yards per reception in the PAC 12.

If there’s a knock on Wilson, it’s that he has had some injury struggles in his collegiate career. He has potential to be a move tight end in the NFL with his receiving ability.

241 - Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor

There are few prospects that can be had around the fifth round or later that are as intriguing as Baylor Wide Receiver Jalen Hurd.

The first three years of his collegiate career, Hurd played running back for the University of Tennessee and averaged about 4.6 yards per carry. In his freshman season, he ran for 899 yards and five touchdowns, while adding 221 yards receiving on 35 catches and two more touchdowns.

When he transferred to Baylor for his senior season, the Bears coaching staff converted him to wide receiver and he flourished. In 12 games, Hurd caught 69 passes for 946 yards and four touchdowns. The Bears also used him as a runner and he gained 209 yards on 48 carries for three more touchdowns.

In his four year career, he averaged 1,070 yards from scrimmage on 193 touches for 8.25 touchdowns. That’s at two different positions and two different schools.

at 6-4, 217 pounds, Hurd has the size to play receiver in the NFL. He has the ability to play both inside and outside and can give you some snaps out of the backfield as well.

Check out Brian Martin's film review on Jalen Hurd.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

This is just one of many scenarios that could take place when the NFL Draft rolls around at the end of April. The possibilities are endless. The Cowboys have several needs on the offensive and defensive side of the football and this draft has players that can fill those areas of need throughout. Obviously, they'll look to draft the best player available when they come on the clock, and these could very well be players that end up with a star on their helmet in 2019.

How would you feel about the Cowboys drafting any of these guys?



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NFL Draft

Interview with NFL Draft Prospect, WR Kahlil Lewis

Shane Carter

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Interview with NFL Draft Prospect, Kahlil Lewis

Hidden among another deep receiver class, Kahlil Lewis from Cincinnati is one who hasn’t gotten much attention. The 6'0" 200-pound receiver was among his conference's best but wasn’t recognized as such. In his four years with the Bearcats, he caught 168 passes for 2,116 yards and 21 touchdowns. Lewis improved his numbers each season he played and helped lead the team to an 11-2 record and a Military Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

Lewis won’t get as much attention as many of the receivers in this class but that doesn’t appear to be stopping him. Speaking with him, he's clearly ready and motivated for the next level. All he needs is to get one look and someone will see what I saw on TV and his game film.

Me: To get ready for the draft, many prospects will get their body right. They work out harder, become strict with their diets, and some even will go in-depth with their coaches on game film to see what areas they think they need to fix for the next level. How have you been preparing for the NFL? What’s been the biggest struggle?

Lewis: I have been watching a lot of film and learning more about the game of football in my off time now that I don’t have school work. I workout and have a meal plan and only one cheat meal day a week which is Saturday for me. I barely want to cheat my diet now though because now I see how your diet can improve your performance and how you feel, recover, etc. There isn’t a lot of struggle for me in this process because I love to grind and that’s exactly what it is.

Me: At Cincinnati you played both the slot and outside receiver positions, running routes across the middle and down the seams. But where do you think you would fit best?

Lewis: I like playing both and I was fine wherever the coaches needed me, but I love the outside. I love beating press coverage.

Me: I was just about to get to that. To me, watching your film, your ability to run crisp routes and create separation has been maybe your biggest strength. What do you think your best attribute is?

Lewis: I think me being smart helps me overall. Nothing physical or what I do specifically is that much better than the other, like routes, catching; stuff like that. I just study the game and it helps me execute.

Me: What kind of receiver do you try to model your game after?

Lewis: I don’t think I model my game after anyone. I want to be Kahlil Lewis and be the best I can be, but I watch tons of receivers, even when a game is on, I just watch the receivers and DBs, but if I had to name a few Stedman Bailey, Stevie Johnson and Odell.

Me: Every season you played at Cincinnati, you finished the year with better numbers than the previous one. You were catching more passes, scoring more and became your team’s best weapon on offense. How did you develop yourself every season, and do you think that process will translate to the NFL?

Lewis: I think I am getting better every day. I try to improve on something every chance I get but like I said previously, the mind is powerful. I stopped working as hard physically, but I still was getting it in. Not to get confused but like I said, I got smarter. I couldn’t kill my body because I was getting older. I had to take care of myself, so me getting smarter, the game slowed down for me and got easier.

Me: A lot of players get motivation from either a loved one, or trauma, or wherever. It’s what fuels them to be great or even greater than they thought possible. Where does your motivation come from?

Lewis: My motivation really comes from my mom. That’s why I work hard in whatever I do, on and off the field, and it never seems like I do enough because she worked 2-3 jobs all my life and I really hate seeing her tired with a passion, but I don’t let it out. I put that energy into being successful for her.

Me: That’s honorable. Last question. As of right now, you’re a projected Day 3 prospect. Why should teams take a chance on you, and what can you give them to offer?

Lewis: I love the game, I love to compete, I’m a team guy and I love to win. Whatever I have to do for the team's success, I’m doing it with no hesitation. Outside of being a receiver, I can do multiple things on specials teams as well.

Me: Thank you for your time. Good luck with the next few months and on your career as well!

Kahlil Lewis has a lot to prove but it doesn’t appear to phase him. He’s motivated and looks ready for the challenge. Some smart GM will find this smart young man, and make a very smart move.



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