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2018 NFL Draft Scouting Notes

NCAA Football: Iowa at Nebraska Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Lee, QB, Nebraska

Lee is a prospect who I’ve seen ranked all over the place. Truthfully, I am not quite done with my evaluation on him but from what I’ve seen so far, he’s got a NFL arm. He’s possesses the tools you look for in a QB; I think he moves well in the pocket, has great zip on the ball, has the ability to put nice touch on deep passes, stands tall in the pocket also and can take hits while delivering nice passes, he can create plays with his feet and looks to be a good leader on the field. He’s not a running QB by any means, but he’s athletic enough to extend the play and does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield. His arm is strong too; I can’t remember what quarter, but in the game against Oregon, he takes a big hit from a D-lineman while throwing and still was able to throw a deep out on the far side of the field....that was a legit NFL throw. Now, I think he’s a lot better with a clean pocket; once he’s under siege, I think his decision making suffers. He does a great job of eluding pressure a lot and keeps his eyes downfield, but he doesn’t make the best decisions under pressure. I also think his overall awareness needs to improve in terms of the pass rush. So, to recap, I like Lee; he’s got a strong arm, good athlete, nice touch and zip but needs to improve his decision making and overall accuracy. I am not sure where he lands in this draft but I wouldn’t mind taking a shot on him somewhere in the middle to later rounds.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

BJ Hill, DT, N.C. State

Hill is a strong DT with a very good base and great anchor. He’s got pretty good hand use and does a good job of keeping his eyes on the ball. He’s actually very athletic for his size and his quickness is impressive. I do see a bit of a mean streak in him, but he’s got to embrace this and make it more consistent. He’s also got the ability to be a powerful bull rusher but, again, he’s got to be more consistent. I most definitely think Hill’s biggest weakness is his block shedding. He needs to use his strength and be more violent in this area. Hill has potential to be a very good DT in the NFL. I don’t see the dominance in film right now, so I don’t think he will be a high pick, but I think he’s got potential to be a great vale pick in this draft.

NCAA Football: Louisville at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Tremaine has been one of my favorite linebackers in this draft for some time. I think both him and his brother have great futures ahead of them in the NFL. While I need to dive deeper in Terrell’s film, I am very comfortable with my first round grade on Tremaine. He’s a versatile LB with great athleticism that can play multiple roles in any defense. I think he can cover, go sideline to sideline, tackle and plays with great aggressiveness. I would even go as far as to say I’d be happy with him as our first pick in this draft. I think he will be a great pro and will end up a hot name in this draft.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona St.

Ballage is really intriguing; he’s such a big back with really good athleticism, it is hard not to notice him. He doesn’t bend super well and doesn’t have the greatest cutting ability, but he catches well, hits the hole hard, and can be tough to bring down. His athleticism is pretty impressive. I think he is a bit raw as a RB; he almost looks like he’s simply too big to be a back but he moves well, and his the ability to be a threat as a runner and a receiver is impressive. I do think his pass protection has improved; although I thought it was bad to begin with, but I love seeing the improvement! Ballage isn’t elite in any area, but I think he’s a pretty good back and could even get a lot better in the NFL with some development.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St.

Vander Esch is a really underrated player. I recently took a lot of time and re-watched a couple games of his this year and I am really starting to become a believer in this young man. The first thing that stands out to me is the instincts and play recognition he has. He diagnoses plays so quickly and then flies to the ball to make the tackle. His tackling ability also stands out to me; he’s a reliable, tough and physical tackler. I, honestly don’t see many issues that really scare me. I am not blow away by his coverage skills but he’s decently athletic; I think he could stay on the field for third downs and eventually grow into a true 3-down linebacker. He looks like a leader on the field too. I am really impressed with this prospect and he’s not a first rounder but I would love to see the Phins consider him anytime after that opening round.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports