I’m still bummed.
This should be fun to write. Notre Dame is yet again providing the NFL with a ton of talent. But man, I feel terrible for Jaylon Smith. He’s such a special talent and person and it’s finally real, he’s not going to be going early tonight. The best case scenario is that he goes toward the end of the night. Huge bummer.
As a reminder, these aren’t my personal rankings. This is where I think they’ll ultimately go this weekend.
All of the NFL comparisons stayed the same except for Will Fuller and KeiVarae Russell. I changed the Fuller comparison from Torrey Smith to DeSean Jackson. I just don’t think we’ll see him used as a possession receiver in any capacity for quite awhile.
I changed KeiVarae Russell’s comparison from Brandon Boykin to Tyrann Mathieu. We’ll see Russell used as a safety-hybrid much more often than previously thought.
So here is the final Notre Dame Big Board. I’ll have the (way too early) 2017 Big Board at some point over the summer.
1. Ronnie Stanley – OT (Previously: 1)
He’s gaining momentum toward being the first OT taken tonight, as early as 3rd overall to San Diego.
Grade: Top 10
NFL Comparison: Ryan Clady
2. Will Fuller – WR (Previously: 4)
I do think he ends up getting picked tonight. That speed is hard to ignore, especially in class full of slow receivers. I’d rather have the natural gifts and work on his hands. He’ll help a team Day 1.
Grade: Round 1
NFL Comparison: DeSean Jackson
3. Jaylon Smith – ER/LB (Previously: 2)
Again, bummer. I do not think he’ll be picked tonight but I’ll be beyond thrilled if he is. Don’t be surprised if a smart team that can afford to wait on him scoops him up in the second round.
Grade: Round 2
NFL Comparison: Khalil Mack
4. Nick Martin – C (Previously: 6)
Personally, I think he’s being overrated a bit. He’ll be a solid pro but don’t expect a ton of Pro Bowls or to end up with a 10-year starter. I’d take him a round later.
Grade: Round 3
NFL Comparison: Nick Mangold
5. CJ Prosise – RB (Previously: 7)
I’d take both of the defensive guys following him ahead of him but it sounds more and more like Prosise will have his named called earlier than expected. He is a great fit for the modern NFL, a pass-catching back that can make people miss. But he did play behind an unbelievable OL though.
Grade: Round 4
NFL Comparison: Lamar Miller
6. Sheldon Day – DI (Previously: 2)
It’s hard to explain why he’ll go so low. I may end up being too generous in Round 4, as it seems like Round 5 is becoming a solid possibility. He’ll step in and play right away. Not only that, he’ll produce right away. His size is scaring teams a bit but he’ll stick around this league for a long time.
Grade: Round 4
NFL Comparison: Aaron Donald
7. KeiVarae Russell – CB (Previously: 5)
He’s another guy that’s being hurt by the tweener tag. His ball skills don’t necessarily make teams comfortable with him at CB but he can be a really good S. He’d thrive in a Tyrann Mathieu type of role and that’s what a smart team will do with him. He’ll also be an outstanding special teams contributor.
Grade: Round 5
NFL Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu
8. Romeo Okwara – ER (Previously: 9)
Romeo is trending in the right direction. No doubt, it’s a potential pick. He’s still really young and he’s extremely athletic. A team will grab him and look to tap into that potential and see where he fits best. I still think he’s best suited to be a standing edge rusher.
Grade: Round 6
NFL Comparison: Paul Kruger
9. Elijah Shumate – S (Previously: 8)
Now we’re into the question mark guys. I feel real comfortable about the first eight guys getting picked, even Okwara. Shumate will also have to be a hybrid-safety but used in a much different way. They’ll want to keep him out of coverage and use him in the box.
Grade: Round 7
NFL Comparison: Deone Bucannon
10. Chris Brown – WR (Previously: 10)
If he doesn’t get picked, his phone will be lighting up after the draft. A lot of times, it works out better for the player to get that call after the draft rather than being taken in the last of the draft. The allure of Brown will be the ability to step in and play right away, he’s a really bright kid. He has good hands and he’s also extra athletic, making him a favorite to land on a roster where he’ll be able to help on special teams.
Grade: Round 7
NFL Comparison: Cole Beasley
DI – Defensive Interior
ER – Edge Rusher