Pick 74 – Kansas City Chiefs
KeiVarae Russell, DB, Notre Dame
With Sean Smith leaving in free agency the Chiefs need another defensive back. Russell is experienced and has a good feel for coverage in the slot, outside, deep, in zone and in man. He has missed some time for various reasons but he should be able to step in immediately as at least a nickel corner and help solidify this secondary even more. Remy Cabache
It’s been quite the rollercoaster career with the Irish for Russell. After impressing early on, Russell found himself suspended due to an academic dishonesty incident. He had to await reinstatement by the NCAA, and was eventually allowed to return to play in the 2015 season. Even after being allowed to return for this past season, it was a year not without its own problems. He had some struggles getting back into game sharpness early on, and later admitted that he didn’t work hard enough during his year off and initially after his reinstatement. That has to be a bit of an additional concern, to keep him motivated to put the work in, which he’ll need to do to make it in the NFL. Add that on top of the academic incident, and he’s going to have to impress in his interviews to alleviate concerns about his character. He did get back to some good form mid-season, and had a particularly standout performance vs USC, in which he was matched up regularly with their excellent receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Unfortunately, his season came to a premature end, breaking his right leg and missing the last two games of the year. If he can’t get healthy in time to work out for scouts pre-draft, then that will be another thing working against him. Looking past all these various issues though, there is a really talented corner with a lot of potential. Had he been able to build on his first couple seasons, he might have been pushing for a top 75 pick. Russell is a very well built athlete with both the speed and quick change of direction movement. He runs fluidly, both in his back pedal and when flipping his hips to run deep. While his work ethic during his time off was in question, it’s not on the field. So many times in his film, Russell can be seen flying on to the screen from the other side of the field to bring down receivers who have broken away, preventing touchdowns with his excellent hustle. He keeps good contact with his assignment, and rarely falls for double moves. He’s a strong tackler, totalling 60 tackles and two forced fumbles in his 11 games this year. There is a risk element with Russell, but he has some day 2 talent. (Rebecca Rennie)
Pick 75 – Oakland Raiders
Shilique Calhoun, EDGE, Michigan State
The Raiders defense is getting scary. Calhoun has a lot of similarities to Bruce Irvin as a designated pass rusher who does that job so well. Now they have both. Plus Mack. Watch out AFC West! Love the value. Calhoun has been so under-rated, getting graded down for his questionable play versus the run. But when you can get after the QB, who cares? Rebecca Rennie
With 26 sacks and 41.5 TFLs the past three seasons, Calhoun has been one of the top playmakers on a consistently strong Spartans defence and one of the best pass rushers in the Big 10 conference, yet seems to have been barely talked about in the build-up to the draft. His long, lean frame is put to excellent use on speed rushes, where his initial get off often gives him the advantage early before turning the corner effectively to finish the play. Lining up at defensive end, Calhoun regularly switches from left to right, and as he’s developed with more experience, has added better use of his hands and a dangerous inside rush to go with his standard moves round the edge. While he has a lot of appeal with his length, the question on Calhoun relates to his strength and power, which are somewhat lacking right now. If he doesn’t win early in his rush attempts with his quickness, Calhoun can be kept in check, losing the leverage battle and failing to find an effective countermove. His overall field and situation awareness are a bit raw still. There’s plenty development required as he transitions to the pros, but his natural pass rush skills are always a coveted commodity to warrant an early selection. He is criticised for his run defense, and there’s no doubt that it’s not his strength. But if you can get to the QB, then teams will want you. Look at Bruce Irvin, not only was he a high first round pick but now has also gotten paid big by the Raiders, and none of that was based on his play against the run. (Rebecca Rennie)
Pick 76 – Cleveland Browns
Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn
An incredible story here, an man who overcame Leukemia and now been drafted by the Cleveland Browns. While he is raw for a left tackle, he is incredibly strong and plays very nasty. With star Left Tackle Joe Thomas on one end of the line Coleman has time to learn his trade, while using his nastiness in the run game to put a hurting on Defensive Ends. Thomas Clapham
It’s unfortunate that injury has kept Coleman from taking part in all the pre-draft events building up to the draft, as it’s prevented him proving that he deserves to be discussed among the other potential early picks at the position as he ought to be. A big-time recruit out of high school, Coleman has had to come through a lot to get to this stage in his life as a soon-to-be professional football player. Shortly after joining the Tigers, Coleman was diagnosed with leukaemia, and took a couple years out from the game to recover from the illness which he thankfully succeeded in beating. He took another year out from actually playing in games in 2012 to work himself back in to football shape before finally returning to the field in 2013 as Greg Robinson’s backup. Coleman took over the starting left tackle job the following season, where he has now been a full time starter on the blindside for two years. With the time off, and due to turn 25 years old next November, Coleman made the decision to skip his senior year and head to the NFL now, and he’s certainly earned it. The seriousness of the disease he overcame will surely mean extra attention with his pre-draft medicals, but hopefully that won’t need to be a factor to concern the team who picks him going forward. On the field, Coleman has excelled in his two seasons as a starter, even though he’s a bit less polished at this stage than those above him, which is no surprise given his 3 years out of the game. The occasional lapse in pass protection does see him give up a few sacks, and his body position and balance are inconsistent, at times looking immovable, and other times being a bit too easily brushed aside when he gets a little sloppy in his form. Coleman does tend to lunge a bit, bending at the waist and not bending his knees, which is particularly noticeable in his run blocking. There’s certainly some coaching required, but the upside is tremendous. Despite the technical flaws, Coleman makes up for it with his ideal size including long arms, and natural strength. He is a powerful drive blocker in the run game which negates or at least minimises some of the technical issues. His long limbs allow him to mirror well and keep in touch with speed rushers, and he anchors well to maintain pocket integrity at the point of attack. Coleman offers all the traits looked for in a long-term left tackle at the next level.
Pick 77 – Carolina Panthers
Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia
Worley is the kind of guy you want on the oppositions number 1 guy. He’s big and aggressive. His play style means he will give you a lot of big plays, but he is prone to giving up the big play, which he can also lend to that play style. If you’re willing to put up with the occasional big play, he’ll give you plenty in return. Remy Cabache
A third West Virginia safety on this list? How many do they play? Well, Worley lined up at cornerback for the Mountaineers, not at safety, and has for the most part played well outside over his time as a starter. However, with his lack of ideal deep speed, and his sturdy build at a solid 6ft 1 and 204 lbs, he arguably will better suit switching to more of a free safety / big nickel type of role for the pros where his impressive ball skills can be put to use, while protecting him from having his weaknesses exposed and exploited. The specific role he’d fit might limit his stock and his scheme fit, or alternatively his experience outside and to perhaps offer depth across the secondary might be looked as an overall positive. It could vary between teams. Statistically Worley has a lot to sell himself on, with 12 pass breakups and 6 interceptions in 2015 and 10 picks in total over his time in college. He’s had his struggles at times though, being responsible for giving up some big plays. While one of his biggest traits is his size, he was hugely disappointing when going up against Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman this season, a tall 6ft 4 receiver who kept winning jump balls over Worley all game long; Worley’s size didn’t seem to help him in that particular matchup. Worley will also have some character questions to answer, receiving a suspended sentence over an assault charge in 2015.
Pick 78 – New England Patriots
Joe Thuney, OL, North Carolina State
He earns this pick based on the versatility and the athleticism. Thuney has played and can play, almost any position along the line, and has quickness to go with solid size. But that said, he’s average in terms of both pass protection and run blocking, failing to stand out in any area. He’s a depth player, whose value ought to fit day 3 rather than day 2. Rebecca Rennie
Three years starting in the ACC, the ability to play at least four spots across the offensive line, and being one of the better athletes at the position combine to create a résumé that gets you drafted. Add in being highly thought of within the program he played with for his high character, attitude and work ethic to help the team in any way he can, something that I’m sure pro teams that have spoken to him will have discovered as well, and there’s potential to go higher. Thuney played left tackle this season, left guard in 2014, and in 2013 played 10 at left tackle as well as 1 at right guard and another at right tackle. Though he didn’t end up playing there, he entered the 2013 season being listed by the team as the projected starting center entering fall camp. As to his actual play on the field, his effort stands out, but doesn’t always convince in pass protection. His hands can let him down a bit, in terms of the punch he delivers, and keeping good contact. Defenders can find success disengaging from Thuney leaving him having to scramble a bit to recover. Adding strength is a must, especially as he’s likely heading for a return to the interior as his primary position. He makes up for it a bit with his smart play and excellent awareness to recognise different pressure packages and reacting well, but his effort and intelligent play can only take him so far.