Draft week is here, which means ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have a busy week ahead of them. Kiper and McShay took part in a national conference call Monday and touched on a number of different topics and prospects. Here are some of my takeaways:
1. Kiper called Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary a “polarizing” player in this draft because the production for the Wolverines didn’t fit the physical traits. Kiper thinks the range for Gary to be drafted is anywhere from No. 10 all the way to No. 28.
2. We’ve heard for months how deep this defensive line class is. McShay lists Miami defensive end Joe Jackson as his 19th best player at the position. He has a third-round grade for Jackson.
3. When asked about South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel, Kiper said he’s a solid second-round pick and could potentially sneak into the late first round. After D.K. Metcalf and Marquise Brown, Kiper thinks some teams will have Samuel as the third best receiver available in the draft.
4. In talking with NFL executives and people around the league, McShay said there’s a lot more excitement in NFL circles surrounding this year’s safety class than the class of cornerbacks.
5. LSU linebacker Devin White fits today’s NFL “perfectly,” according to Kiper. He compared White to Falcons versatile linebacker Deion Jones, who earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2017. Kiper doesn’t think White will get past Tampa Bay with the No. 5 pick.
6. Kiper doesn’t see Michigan linebacker Devin Bush getting past pick No. 11 (Cincinnati). He sees Bush as a very similar player to White, and lists Bush as the No. 7 overall prospect on his Big Board. McShay considers both White and Bush as top 10 picks in this draft. “They’re that good,” McShay said.
7. How deep is this receiver group? Kiper has 49 receivers in this class with grades worthy of making an NFL roster.
8. McShay sees Houston’s Ed Oliver as a player with more potential than we saw from him at Houston. He played nose tackle, which is a spot that’s easy to double team. McShay saw a lot of that on Oliver’s tape. McShay sees a more natural fit for Oliver at the three technique defensive tackle position, and thinks Oliver can be taken anywhere from picks No. 3 to No. 7.
9. The real value at the cornerback position is with the Day 2 prospects, according to McShay.