One of the most well known statements in scouting is, “guy I’d bang the table for.” Now what does this mean? If you’re willing to bang the table for a prospect it means you’d put it all on the line to draft the kid. Every scout, professional or media, builds an affinity for certain prospects. Maybe these guy’s posses on-field traits the scout covets, maybe they’re great all-around football players, or maybe they just play harder than everybody else. At the end of the day all scouts have guys they would bang the table for and these guys become “their guys.” They pride themselves on how these prospects develop in the league and can brag about them down the road if they do reach their potential. The following are my guys in the 2019 NFL Draft and I believe all of them will reach NFL success. These are the guys I would bang the table for if I were an NFL Scout in a War Room. Here’s last year’s All-My Guy Team.
QB- Brett Rypien, Boise State (6-2, 210 pounds)
- There’s always going to be a QB in the draft that becomes beloved by Draft Twitter. Last year it was Kyle Lauletta and this year it’s Brett Rypien. Rypien is the ideal non-first-round option to develop into a starting QB down the road. Not only does he have bloodlines, but he’s one of the most accurate passers in the class. Nobody throws a seam shot like Rypien. He’s not the biggest or most athletic QB, but the combo of accuracy, footwork, decision making, and surprising arm strength are hard not to fall for. The NFL likely won’t value him like I do, but a team like New England should look hard at Rypien in the third-round to sit and develop into a starter.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 103rd/4th
- Pro Comparison: Kirk Cousins
RB- Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska (6-0, 222 pounds)
- Never ever take a running back in the first-round. Why? Because it’s so easy to find talented and productive backs these days. One of the guys who could go in the third or fourth-round and provide instant impact is Devine Ozigbo. He’s another Draft Twitter darling who the NFL didn’t even invite to the combine. Ozigbo is a bigger back who runs well behind his pads, but he’s not limited to being just a power back. He’s an explosive athlete and it shows on tape with constant home run hitting runs. With his combo of contact balance and burst he’s devastating in the open field. He can be a plug-and-play NFL RB.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 92nd/6th
- Pro Comparison: Deuce McAllister
Flex- James Williams, Washington State (5-9, 197 pounds)
- Every NFL team needs a satellite back in today’s game. A back who can add as much if not more in the passing game as they do on the ground, like Tarik Cohen or James White. The master of this role in the 2019 class is James Williams. Coming from Mike Leach’s air raid system, Williams was used as a go-to pass catcher and is the best in the class at it. He’s got natural hands and might be the best route runner at RB in the draft. On the ground he’s elusive and has impressive contact balance for a smaller back. Get him in an offense with an established runner and use him as a pass catching compliment and it’ll pay off quickly.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 123rd/10th
- Pro Comparison: James White
X-WR- Antoine Wesley, Texas Tech (6-4, 206 pounds)
- In an incredibly deep WR class there is no general consensus on how these guys stack up, but there will be talented pass catchers sliding through the cracks. One of the most underrated players in the class is Antoine Wesley. He’s rarely talked about as a top 10 WR and could slide into Day 3, but he’s got the makings of a productive NFL outside option. Wesley has a knack for making circus catches downfield with his impressive catch radius and natural hands. What really stands out with him though is his ability as a route runner for a bigger WR. He’s a natural mover with the body control and patience to consistently win with his route running. Get this guy back with his college coach in Arizona.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 46th/7th
- Pro Comparison: Allen Robinson
Z-WR- DaMarkus Lodge, Ole Miss (6-2, 202 pounds)
- The top two wide receivers taken in the 2019 NFL Draft might be from Ole Miss, but what about the third member of NWO? Don’t forget about DaMarkus Lodge. He doesn’t have the freak athleticism of DK Metcalf or the production of AJ Brown, but Lodge is one of the best pass catchers in the draft. With the ability to play inside or outside, Lodge is going to win in the NFL with his clean release game and nuanced route running. He’s not just a route runner either, he has the ability to make big plays downfield with separation and ball adjustment skills. Lodge is the perfect compliment in any WR core lacking a natural Z.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 44th/6th
- Pro Comparison: Davante Adams
DaMarkus Lodge is a top 5 WR in the 2019 NFL Draft. Nastiest release, great route runner, impressive separation ability, and can make plays like this. Just needs to cleanup concentration drops. pic.twitter.com/Qef9p0heeR
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) February 26, 2019
Slot- Anthony Ratliff-Williams, North Carolina (6-1, 205 pounds)
- No wide receiver has been lost in the shuffle in this nasty class more than Anthony Ratliff-Williams. ARW was snubbed from the combine and he’s rarely been talked about since then. There’s a good chance he’s available late on the third day of the draft, but he’s more than just a depth option. There might not be a better 50/50 ball receiver under 6-2 in this class than ARW. He just wants it more than everybody on the field and it shows when the ball is in the air and when it’s in his hand after the catch. With his route running, YAC ability, jump ball skills, and return man background he can be a versatile weapon in the league.
- My Rank: 88th/17th
- Pro Comparison: Jeremy Maclin
TE- Kahale Warring, San Diego State (6-5, 252 pounds)
- It’s hard to find a tight end class as talented as the one in the 2019 NFL Draft. There will potentially be five tight ends selected in the first two rounds, but who’s the sixth best option? Definitely Kahale Warring. He’s been a late riser through the process, but has the tools to be a starting tight end for a long-time. Warring is a big and athletic with soft hands that showup consistently in traffic. He wins tough situations for his QB and can dominate on seam routes. Warring also happens to be one of the most willing blockers in the class and should make an instant impact as an in-line tight end in the run game.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 82nd/6th
- Pro Comparison: Todd Heap
LT- Jonah Williams, Alabama (6-4, 302 pounds)
- It’s hard to justify a top player in the NFL Draft as “my guy,” but the NFL seems to be sleeping on Jonah Williams still. They’d rather look at the slight holes in his game (length and athleticism) than three years of dominant tape. Williams it the best offensive lineman in the class, a top five overall player, and a future franchise cornerstone. It’s rare to find such a dominant run blocker at left tackle in the draft. Williams will inject attitude into any offense and can plug-and-play pretty much anywhere up front. His anchor and hand strength in pass pro help hide the length and athleticism questions that are overblown. Don’t overthink big Jonah.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 4th/1st
- Pro Comparison: Joe Staley
LG- Alex Bars, Notre Dame (6-6, 312 pounds)
- The Notre Dame O-line got a ton of attention during the 2017 season because of Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey, but Alex Bars deserved some hype to. Unfortunately for Bars he tore his ACL during this past season and sort of fell of the radar. Well, he’s healthy now and could be a major steal if he falls to Day 3. Bars has everything you want in a left guard. He’s big, strong, mean, and loves to get after it in the run game. As long as he’s healthy he can plug-and-play at left guard half of the teams in the NFL. He’s no slouch in pass pro either with great use of his length/hands, a hefty anchor, and solid athleticism.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 94th/6th
- Pro Comparison: Joe Thuney
C- Garrett Bradbury, NC State (6-3, 306 pounds)
- The interior offensive line position is often devalued compared to most offensive positions, so you have to be really damn good to justify a top 10 selection. Well, Garrett Bradbury is really damn good. So good in fact he might be the safest player in the entire draft. He’s got one of the highest football IQs in the class, rare athleticism for the IOL, and dominates all competition. With his short area quickness and understanding of how to attack angles he’s going to be one of the most impressive run blocking centers in the league. When it comes to pass pro he’s almost as good with his balance, footwork, and lateral quickness. You want a future top five center? This is him.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 8th/1st
- Pro Comparison: Ryan Kalil
RG- Michael Deiter, Wisconsin (6-5, 309 pounds)
- Getting an offensive lineman that has started for four years at all five positions is rare, but that’s what Michael Deiter did for Wisconsin. He’s been all over the O-line and dominated for the Badgers. Deiter is an ideal fit at guard in the NFL with his run mauling style and consistency finishing every block. He does a great job getting onto linebackers in the second level to spring big runs for his RBs and once he latches onto a defender he isn’t letting go. Deiter isn’t the best athlete, but he makes up for that in pass pro with great use of his length, powerful hands, and lower body strength. He may not be flashy, but Deiter is a lunch pail lineman.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 48th/4th
- Pro Comparison: Josh Sitton
RT- Dalton Risner, Kansas State (6-5, 312 pounds)
- There might not be a meaner SOB in the entire draft than Dalton Risner. He’s the type of guy to pancake you into the dirt and then spend the rest of the game telling you about it, this is a big compliment. Every offensive line needs an enforcer/energizer like Risner to give it that spark. A huge bonus with him is he’s played every position along the O-line and can plug-and-play almost anywhere in the NFL. With his dominance in the run game and consistent ability to get to the second level he’ll be ripping open holes in no time. Risner also has a heavy anchor and vice grip hands in pass pro. He can start at right tackle for a decade.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 32nd/5th
- Pro Comparison: Matt Light
EDGE- Brian Burns, Florida State (6-5, 249 pounds)
- The edge rusher class is impressive and there are a handful of polarizing prospects, Brian Burns is one of them. Some draftnik’s believe he’s a top 10 talent and others think he’s a Day 2 guy. Well, when you have the freaky athletic tools and polished pass rush game of Burns, you’re probably worth a top 10 pick. Only Nick Bosa is better on the edge than Burns. With his elite bend, explosiveness, and motor he’s going to be a speed rush demon, but he’s more than athleticism. Burns knows how to win with his hands and if initially beat he knows how to work a counter move. Some question his frame and ability vs the run, but he’s going to be a dominant pass rusher.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 6th/2nd
- Pro Comparison: Jevon Kearse
People will have questions about Brian Burns weight, but I’m not worried. Dude has rare flexibility around the edge. Top 10 player with double digit sack ability. pic.twitter.com/ee1wweXm2w
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) February 26, 2019
1-Tech- Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame (6-6, 295 pounds)
- Okay… maybe Jerry Tillery isn’t a true 1-Tech, but both him and Charles Omenihu had to be on this team and Tillery did see time all over the D-line at Notre Dame. In the NFL Tillery will likely be used more as a 3-Tech or 5-Tech, but his versatility is what makes him so interesting. There aren’t many players in the NFL with the size and athleticism Tillery possesses and it translates on the field. He’s explosive off the snap and knows how to generate power and how to use his length. With all of that he can become a premier interior pass rusher down the line. Despite being a taller IDL he plays with nice leverage that allows him to hold the point and clog up running lanes as he absorbs blocks. Tillery can be a stud.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 19th/4th
- Pro Comparison: Chris Jones
Jerry Tillery mugs this dude with an easy rip move and then ends Kyle Shurmur with a strip sack. After his #NFLCombine first-round seems likely. pic.twitter.com/jscqFFVw7c
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) March 6, 2019
3-Tech- Charles Omenihu, Texas (6-5, 280 pounds)
- You’ll have a tough time finding a IDL with a larger wingspan in NFL history than Charles Omenihu, he’s at 7’1.” With that length and his athleticism, he’s a terror on the inside despite lacking the ideal bulk to play there. At Texas he played all over the D-line and was at his best playing 4i and a smart team will move him all over. He’s a powerful rusher with an explosive first step and the quickness most interior O-linemen aren’t used to going against. Allowing him to play strongside edge and kicking him inside on passing downs would cause a lot of mismatches. Omenihu isn’t a classic 3T or EDGE, but he’s got rare length, top-end athleticism, and the versatility teams covet.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 30th/6th
- Pro Comparison: DeForest Buckner
EDGE- Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan
- There was a time when it looked like Maxx Crosby could be a secret Day 3 steal, but now he’s almost guaranteed to go on Day 2. After blowing up the combine a lot more people caught wind of how impressive Crosby was for Eastern Michigan. Not only is he one of the best athletes in the class, but he’s got ideal length, violent hands, and one of the best motors. Crosby is raw, but with his tools and effort he can be shaped into a long-term NFL starter on the edge. The best part about him is his hands and how constantly active he is with them. He’s willing to try almost any move to win as a pass rusher and can always default back to his athleticism.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 81st/12th
- Pro Comparison: Aaron Schobel
Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby is one of my favorite players in the draft. Little swipe move to beat the right tackle and an easy sack. pic.twitter.com/Xj7XyO1FzS
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) March 12, 2019
WLB- Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame (6-2, 234 pounds)
- It’s no secret that this linebacker class is less than stellar. It’s going to be hard to find safe prospects with starter potential outside of the top 50 picks, but Drue Tranquill is worth betting on. He’s a former safety with plenty of athleticism at the linebacker spot and the kind of leadership every locker room wants. On the field he’s an all out player every snap flying around the field. Tranquill has the aggressiveness you want in a linebacker vs the run and the range to cover running backs vs the pass. He might not be the flashy player some of the linebackers in the class are, but he can be a plug-and-play starter for a long time.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 76th/5th
- Pro Comparison: Alex Anzalone
I would bang the table for Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill. Reminds me of Saints LB Alex Anzalone with the athleticism, physicality, and injury history. pic.twitter.com/hnXtys1L1N
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) April 12, 2019
MLB- Blake Cashman, Minnesota (6-1, 237 pounds)
- The consensus top two linebackers in the class are Devin White and Devin Bush, but who’s the third option? It’s Blake Cashman. After a massive combine performance Cashman hype is alive and well, and rightfully so, he’s very good. Not only is Cashman an explosive athlete, but he’s a physical and aggressive tackler, he’s got some of the best instincts in the class, and he’s got a motor that runs hot. As long as he’s healthy, Cashman can be an impact player for almost any defense. If a team needs a linebacker in the second-round this is the guy to target. He has all the tools to become a Pro Bowl player down the line and can get on the field from day one.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 45th/3rd
- Pro Comparison: Sean Lee
SLB- Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii (6-2, 250 pounds)
- It gets harder and harder to find quality linebackers these days because the NFL is no longer a run first league. You need LBs who can do more than just thump vs the run. Jahlani Tavai is built like an old school backer and hits like one too, but he’s more than that. He’s not an elite athlete, but his versatility makes him interesting. Tavai has spent time playing on the edge and is one of the best pass rushers at off-ball linebacker. He also brings attitude to the position that makes him one of the most ferocious hitters in the class. With his motor and aggressiveness, he’s often making impressive plays vs the run, but he’s improving in coverage too. Deployed in the right scheme and Tavai can be a long-term starter.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 96th/6th
- Pro Comparison: Vontaze Burfict
CB- Byron Murphy, Washington (5-11, 190 pounds)
- This cornerback class is still up in the air. There’s about eight or so guys who have been mentioned as potential first-round picks and there’s no consensus CB1, but the guy to bang the table for is Byron Murphy. No, he’s not nearly as flashy, big, or athletic as some of these other guys, but he knows how to play the position. Murphy is as technically sound a corner prospect as you’ll find and that showed up when he dominated the NFL Combine drills. He’s also got rare instincts when playing zone and a natural ability to break on the football, that combo leads to plenty of breakups/interceptions. With fluid hips, crisp footwork, and ball skills for days everything just looks right with Murphy.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 10th/1st
- Pro Comparison: Chris Harris Jr.
FS- Juan Thornhill, Virginia (6-0, 205 pounds)
- There are few players in the NFL more athletic than Juan Thornhill. He’s basically only second to Byron Jones in terms of explosiveness at DB and he possesses the size and range needed to excel as a free safety. Thornhill is one of the best all-around coverage safeties in the class having played corner and nickel as well as safety at Virginia. With his length, range, fluidity, and ball skills he can play single-high, lineup over top tight ends, and matchup with slot receivers. For a defense looking for a coverage safety who will create takeaways and make plays with the ball in his hands, Thornhill can be dangerous. Let him be a coverage chess piece.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 52nd/3rd
- Pro Comparison: Byron Jones
SS- Darnell Savage, Maryland (5-11, 198 pounds)
- There aren’t many guys who are pound-for-pound more fierce tacklers than Darnell Savage. He’s a human bullet on the football field. Savage’s last name matches his playing style as he’s relentless punishing receivers over the middle or running backs at the line of scrimmage. Although he’s a terrific hitter/run defender, he’s more than just that. Savage is rangy and explosive with the ability to man up on slots as a nickel or play up top. He’s a Swiss Army knife DB that will be able to play almost anywhere, including dime linebacker. If a defense needs an ultra athletic versatile tone setter on the backend, then look no further than Darnell Savage. He’s quietly generating first-round talk and it’s well deserved.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 28th/2nd
- Pro Comparison: Bob Sanders
NB- Sheldrick Redwine, Miami (6-0, 196 pounds)
- Now that everybody understands the nickel position is its own position in today’s NFL, players who play it at a high-level are being selected higher than ever. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is the top nickel in the class, but Sheldrick Redwine can be the third or fourth-round version of him. Redwine is long and rangy with the ball skills to make plays all day in coverage. He’s also a willing tackler and is constantly involved against the run. Redwine has experience playing nickel, corner, deep safety, and in the box. His versatility will be coveted by coaches and he’ll never need to come off of the field.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 106th/4th
- Pro Comparison: Damarious Randall
CB- Tim Harris, Virginia (6-2, 204 pounds)
- Virginia has the top CB prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft on their roster, Bryce Hall, but the guy who played across from him last season is being slept on. Tim Harris has flown under the radar far too long and will be a Day 3 steal. The NFL covets length and explosiveness at cornerback and Harris has both for days. He’s more polished than some of the other long athletic corners getting hyped and far more aggressive. Harris has impressive ball skills that lead to frequent PBUs and he has no trouble hanging in man coverage. Teams that want athletic press-man corners will love what Harris brings to the table. As long as he can stay healthy he’ll out perform where he is selected in the draft.
- My Rank/Position Rank: 85th/7th
- Pro Comparison: Ike Taylor
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