2019 Colts.com NFL Draft Positional Big Board 2.0

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INDIANAPOLIS — We are now in 2019 NFL Draft Month!

With just more than three weeks remaining, things are really picking up. The rumor mill is ablaze, as is customary at this time of year. Smoke screens, potential trades and reported interests and visits have people scrambling to find who may be selected where.

One thing that isn't changing, however, is who these players are as prospects. We've already got the Senior Bowl, the Scouting Combine and, for the most part, pro days, out of the way. For now, it's time to continue studying these guys.

I presented my first positional big board following the Combine, and now it is time for the next edition. There are some definite changes as I further familiarize myself with players' games. Here, I've broken down my top five players for each position group.

QUARTERBACK

  1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
  2. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
  3. Drew Lock, Missouri
  4. Daniel Jones, Duke
  5. Will Grier, West Virginia

For teams looking for a starting quarterback of the future, they'll want to do it in a hurry in the first round. Murray, Haskins and Lock all offer tremendous upside and could feasibly start as rookies. All three can do incredible things throwing the football, but Murray's ability to get out of tough situations with his cat-like speed helps raise him to the top.

Jones will likely be selected to start somewhere within his first couple of years as well, but his ceiling feels lower than the other three. Stylistically as a passer, he has a very Tom Brady feel to him — a fair amount of shorter passes with occasional lob shots taken deep down the sidelines. Jones' pass catchers haven't given him near as much help, however. Grier has a somewhat similar ceiling where, although they don't have elite arm talent, they could do well in primarily short-to-intermediate, rhythmic offenses.

RUNNING BACK

  1. Josh Jacobs, Alabama
  2. David Montgomery, Iowa State
  3. Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M
  4. Damien Harris, Alabama
  5. Miles Sanders, Penn State

This class lacks the elite generational back that we've seen in guys like Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson, but there are still some really strong prospects this year.

Jacobs and Sanders are a couple of young players on the rise who had a lighter career workload in college but now may become "the man" for their NFL team. While both have plenty of athleticism Jacobs is more likely to run through you while Sanders might make you miss. Both are really nice pass catchers.

Montgomery, Williams and Harris are the experienced veterans. All three have a pretty well-rounded game and are capable three-down backs, but Harris is a battering ram. Montgomery and Williams are creative runners who have great balance and make timely cuts to maximize their touches.

WIDE RECEIVER

  1. D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
  2. N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
  3. Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
  4. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Oklahoma
  5. A.J. Brown, Ole Miss

Metcalf's potential is too much for me to ignore. He tested through the roof at the Combine and cleaned up some areas that he wanted to at his pro day. His tape shows a big-time playmaker with great size. Overall, this class has excellent size and the ability to run after the catch. The other four all have the ability to make plays with the ball in their hand, and all have nice size with the exception of Hollywood's 5-9, 166 measurement.

Harry and A.J. Brown are both well built and turn into running backs once they catch the ball. Butler is an incredibly rangy target at 6-5 with a nearly 84-inch wingspan. He has the speed to make plays downfield and is an obvious contested pass target. Marquise Brown reminds me quite a bit of T.Y. Hilton. What they lack in frame, they make up for with sure hands, speed and playmaking ability. However, both are also very good route runners and aren't just one-trick ponies as deep-ball experts.

TIGHT END

  1. Noah Fant, Iowa
  2. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
  3. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
  4. Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
  5. Alizé Mack, Notre Dame

This is one of the better tight end classes I can remember studying. Guys like Smith and Dawson Knox from Ole Miss (my No. 6) would be in the top two or three of the tight end class in most seasons. All of these guys can run and pass block, catch, run routes and move around the formation. I wouldn't be surprised see a half-dozen tight ends off the board by the middle of the third round.

TACKLE

  1. Jonah Williams, Alabama
  2. Jawaan Taylor, Florida
  3. Dalton Risner, Kansas State
  4. Andre Dillard, Washington State
  5. Kaleb McGary, Washington

There's a good mix of skillsets at the top here. Williams, Risner and McGary are more of the mauler types who are going to move defenders out of the way against their will, although they are still good pass blockers as well. Taylor and Dillard are very gifted pass protectors who have good short-area quickness to mirror pass rushers. Though they excel as pass blockers, they're no slouches in the run game either.

For what it's worth, West Virginia's Yodney Cajuste is one of the top tackle prospects (originally likely Day 2 pick) and recently underwent surgery to repair a quad muscle injury suffered during pre-draft workouts. He is expected to be cleared within the next three months.

INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE

  1. Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
  2. Cody Ford, Oklahoma
  3. Garrett Bradbury, NC State
  4. Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
  5. Michael Deiter, Wisconsin

This is a pretty clean, experienced bunch. Lindstrom and Bradbury are likely plug-and-play guys from Day 1 with their new teams and should be considered very well balanced, safe prospects. Ford was a tackle last year with Oklahoma, but he and McCoy both have really nice power and adequate-enough short-area movement skills when on the move to make them nice interior linemen prospects. Deiter is a Swiss Army knife, having started 54 career games at Wisconsin between left tackle and guard, as well as center.

EDGE DEFENDER

  1. Nick Bosa, Ohio State
  2. Josh Allen, Kentucky
  3. Brian Burns, Florida State
  4. Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
  5. Rashan Gary, Michigan

This is a great year to need defensive line help, especially on the edge. Bosa is basically the total package: speed, strength, bend and technique. Allen has the skill sets of both an edge defender and an off-ball linebacker, but he's got too much burst as a pass rusher not to make that his primary duty. Burns may have the biggest pass-rush repertoire of any edge defender in this class. The main knock on him was his size, so he showed up to the Combine weighing about 15-20 pounds heavier than in 2018 and didn't lose any speed. Ferrell has good strength and gets a good jump off the snap, and he stays in opponents' backfields as a result. Gary is a very explosive, somewhat raw edge player who coaches will look to mold into their own clay project.

INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINE

  1. Quinnen Williams, Alabama
  2. Ed Oliver, Houston
  3. Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
  4. Christian Wilkins, Clemson
  5. Charles Omenihu, Texas

Like the edge rushers, this is also an awesome class of interior defensive linemen. Williams, Oliver and Simmons look like they could be perennial Pro-Bowl, even All-Pro talents with their blend of speed and power, which leads to their ability to effect both the run and pass games.

Wilkins and Omenihu should both be very productive, but are totally different players. Wilkins has a loaded frame but is very nimble for his 6-3, 315 pounds. He has gotten much more consistent throughout his collegiate career, which should mean his best football is ahead of him. Omenihu played a lot of defensive end at Texas, but he's got a great frame to go inside for a team like the Colts, who value versatility in their four-man front. At 6-5, 280 pounds with an 85-inch wingspan, Omenihu reminds me a lot of current Colts defensive tackle Denico Autry.

Simmons tore an ACL during pre-draft workouts and as a result may have to take a "redshirt" rookie season. He is a top-10 overall talent in the class.

LINEBACKER

  1. Devin White, LSU
  2. Devin Bush, Michigan
  3. Blake Cashman, Minnesota
  4. Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
  5. David Long Jr., West Virginia

This is an odd linebacker class for me. I'm a bigger fan of the "value" picks than I am some of the guys at the top, but I totally understand why guys project where they do. White and Bush are pretty similar in that they have speed and athleticism for days. However, I'd like to see a lot more discipline from them as tacklers. If they can become more patient and square-up against ball carriers then that would go a long way toward them becoming above-average NFL linebackers.

Cashman, Tranquill and Long all represent the new age of NFL linebackers. While considered undersized by old linebacker standards, they're fast, athletic and make ball carriers feel it when they hit them. They have range to cover sideline to sideline, and they stay on the field all three downs.

CORNERBACK

  1. Deandre Baker, Georgia
  2. Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
  3. Byron Murphy, Washington
  4. Greedy Williams, LSU
  5. Julian Love, Notre Dame

This has become a more wide-open group among draftniks over the last month and a half. Overall, it may have the most variance in its rankings of any position group in this draft. Oruwariye and Williams both present great length, speed and ball skills. Baker, Murphy and Love don't have the size or speed of Oruwariye and Williams, but they do have the ability to stay in their receiver's hip pocket and make plays on the ball.

SAFETY

  1. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
  2. Taylor Rapp, Washington
  3. Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
  4. Nasir Adderley, Delaware
  5. Deionte Thompson, Alabama

Gardner-Johnson and Rapp fit the mold of what NFL teams seem to be looking for in safeties now, in that they can move around and play several different roles for the defense, whether it's play deep, in the box, in the slot or even rushing off the edge.

Adderley and Thompson are more free safety types. While Adderley is more adept in coverage and is rangier, Thompson carries that Alabama attitude with him and is more likely to lay a hit on you. Abram's tape shows hard-hitting safety who can break up a pass both by dislodging it with a solid hit on the receiver or by flying in and getting a hand in the way. Before the Combine, he seemed more like a strong safety, but he put up a quality performance in Indianapolis, showing he may be capable of more.

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