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Jon Ledyard, SB Nation NFL Draft Analyst

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2024 6:43 pm

Jon Ledyard, SB Nation NFL Draft Analyst

JR Sports Brief / JR

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April 25, 2024 6:43 pm

Jon Ledyard joined JR to breakdown which quarterbacks will be drafted at the top of the draft and discuss a few sleepers!


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See John, how are you, man? I'm doing well, man. Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Well, thank you for taking the time to hop on. Obviously, we know about the big name who's expected, the gold number one in Caleb Williams. How do you think those next few picks are going to play out between Washington, New England, et cetera? I think you're going to see quarterbacks come off the board.

I'm not going to buck the trend that everybody's kind of on right now. I think it's pretty accurate once you get to this point in the draft. You usually have a pretty good idea about these next couple of picks.

I think you'll see Jayden Daniels and you'll see Drake May. And I think Arizona might actually stick and take Marvin Harrison. They just already have so much draft capital. They're going to have to weigh that against their trading down.

And so I think they're going to stay. And then it gets interesting at the Chargers pick where I think at five, they need to take one of the two receivers that's left Roma Dunesay or Malik Nabors. And they may ultimately decide to go with an offensive lineman. And maybe they do that after a trade down, someone trying to come up for a quarterback. I would at least trade down if I were them if you're not going to take one of the wide outs. But to me, these guys are game changing wide receivers.

There's three of them in this class. We almost never get that. I don't know how you pass on one of these guys if you're there. There's a lot of good offensive linemen, but you can get those later in the draft if you need. I just think you've got to get one of these game changers or wide out. Well, John, you talk about the wide receivers and we know they all have their interesting skill sets, whether it's Marvin Harrison Jr. or you take a look at Malik Nabors and a Dunesay. What's the separating factor between each player or is it a matter of team need?

I think they're different stylistically for sure. But with some of these teams at the top, I mean, what don't they need a wide receiver when it comes to Arizona or Los Angeles to leave the Chargers? So, I mean, even the Giants, same thing.

Like you look at the room and you're like, who's here that we're really sure is going to be around long term? These teams don't have long term solutions to that position. So, you know, I always think about building your wide receiver core sort of like a basketball team in some ways and skill set wise. And I think that these guys are just starting from the ground up, these teams.

And so they can probably drop to anybody and have it fit. I mean, I would just guess that Roma Dunesay, I've guessed that he is playing more of a fit for the Giants, for the personality, the Giants staff and some other teams. You know, the Chargers very well, probably one of those teams could be more of a neighbor's team, I think, if he's the guy for them. And so it wasn't just guesses, but I mean, just when you think about a fit perspective, like we just haven't seen Justin Herbert with great speed at the wide receiver position. Mckinnon Allen's great player, not necessarily known for speed, Mike Williams, contested catch guy, certainly a vertical threat, but not a blazer.

And it would just be nice to see an arm like that coupled with some some rare speed and acceleration and neighbors definitely has that. So it could be a very fun combination. Mahomes Tyree kill ask combination there in the with the Chargers if they take neighbors, and that's who I'd be found on the table for.

But there's a lot of smoke on this JC Latham. And Jim Harbaugh loves them and all this stuff with that pick. So we'll see what they end up doing. John Ledyard is here with us from the audibles and analytics podcast covers everything NFL draft. When you think about the teams that don't necessarily need a QB, especially in that top, I guess, 10 or 15. What team do you think is most likely to say I'm going to trade out of my spot and let somebody else get in here?

We know Minnesota certainly has capital at eleven and twenty three. I think Atlanta is the one that makes the most sense. I mean, like I said, the Chargers could definitely do it.

There's been talk about Tennessee being the team that does that as well. Atlanta is the one that makes the most sense to me just because they've made a lot of moves in recent year, recent offseasons in draft. And so they're a team that it feels like the rosters they really need corner and any defensive line address or pass rusher. Can they move back in the teams and probably get a pretty good player at one of those positions? I think so, given how the tackles the wideouts and the quarterbacks are getting pushed up the board in this draft. So they may feel like they can move out three spots to Minnesota.

They probably still have everybody that's on their board. They've made moves at wide receiver. They've made moves in their offensive line as in they've drafted offensive linemen like crazy for the last several years.

They have two tackles. I mean, they're certainly think they could improve those position groups if they wanted to. But it's a nice draft for them to be able to take advantage of what other teams need and just kind of move back and still be able to get everything they want. John, when you look up and down the board, we all know about the big names expected to be taken, primarily offensive players.

We'll get into that in a bit. Who are some names that you think might shock people that might climb the draft board that aren't necessarily getting the same type of buzz? You know, it's always hard to know projection wise who's going to end up going, you know, if I'm predicting who's going to end up going high. But there are some players that I really like that I feel like right now it's like, oh, is Johnny Newton for Illinois defensive tackle? Is he going to fall out of the first round altogether? There's, you know, he's at the tail end of some of these mocks, some of these mocks.

He's not in there. And so I find that one really fascinating because I think there's a good chance he's the best defensive player in this class. And so I feel like he should be, he'd be, I'd be considered him in Atlanta at eight, Chicago at nine. Um, Latu is another one. You know, I think Latu is the best pass rusher in this class, uh, edge pass rusher. And so I would be taking him pretty high as well. Obviously there's the medical concern with him and I can't really speak to that to the degree that teams will be able to, if he falls, you would guess maybe that's part of the concern, but, um, I just, they made state healthy last two seasons. He'd been on the field for every game. He's been dominant, dominant production, dominant tape.

Testing was pretty good. Um, so I just feel like he's the full package of that position. And those guys are somehow sometimes in the back end of the first round or in Newton's case, not at all. So those are two guys I'm definitely higher on.

And if they go higher than what's being projected right now, I certainly will not be surprised by that. Uh, so there, those two are ones that I'd look out for tonight. Yeah. Jerzan Newton expected to be a, a world-class wrecker in the middle of a line.

John Ledyard is here with us, the JR sport reshow on the infinity sports network. What does it say to, to how the NFL has evolved where we can look at a draft and just go quarterback, quarterback, why receive offensive linemen and then just say, okay, now who's going to go chase the quarterback? How has the draft and the approach changed from like 10, 15, even 20 years ago?

Yeah. I mean, obviously we've been training this way for a long time now, but those frontline players that can be, can make plays behind the line of scrimmage. I mean, most valuable position on a defense, you know, paid like the most valuable players on defense. I think our top six or seven highest paid defensive players are maybe more than that are our frontline defensive players, defensive tackles or edge rushers. And so very easily the most important positions on a defense. So those guys that can win one V one upfront, they can create disruption against the run against the past.

Um, they get their hands on the ball front, all of those things. And you don't have a ton of them in this class, but I think, I mean, the two is one to me. I think Johnny Newton is really good. I Byron Murphy from Texas.

Those three are really, I have first round grades on them. And I think Dallas Turner, you know, he's might be the first defensive play off the board. He is my number two edge. He certainly has a chance to be one of those guys. Uh, if he can continue to develop, I do like him.

I don't love him quite as much as some other people. And then there's some other guys, maybe as you get down the board, I'm not quite as high on the other guys getting to that level of those three or four of Turner can keep developing. But I, if you have a couple like that in this draft, those guys usually go in the top 15 picks of the draft. So this year, unusual situation for quarterbacks are going to go top 10. Probably you could see six in the first round.

They say, well, I'll believe that when I see it. Um, but I think those are all like possibilities that you can end up getting some of these guys later than you would in a normal draft, just because of some of the abnormalities at the top of the draft with all these quarterbacks, all these tackles, and then three game changing wide receivers that pretty much are universally thought of as top 10 picks. John Ledyard is joining us from the audibles and analytics podcast. You talk about a lot too from UCLA. If this man didn't get the neck in that knocked him out, potentially could have ended his career flattened period, where would he be drafted? Like he's, is he going to fall because of the injury? Is somebody just going to go forget his neck? We're going to draft him.

Yeah, I think he's still going to end up going before pick 20. I, there's just too many teams that need that, that role, that pass rusher. He's been healthy for two years now. There's no signs of any type of injury when you watch him play. He's even adapted just how he plays as a tackler. I was reading the other day to make sure he keeps his neck out of collisions and things. So it certainly just feels like at this point that that stuff's in the past teams could have a totally different opinion on that.

They could think that this is degenerative. I just don't know from my vantage point. So it just doesn't sound like there's been all this negative buzz around him. Most of the forecasting type of draft media, the guys who kind of are more on the reporting side, they still seem to be mocking him in the top 20. And so I still think he's probably projected to go in that range of the draft. And if he falls, that would be, you know, maybe those storylines will creep back up.

But right now it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of smoke there. Now, John, when you talk about the quarterbacks projected to go at the top, there's some conversations as to whether or not Jayden Daniels or Drake May, who do you think grades out better than the other? Drake May looks like more of a project.

I think there are things about Drake May that are more of a project. His accuracy concerns me on tape quite a bit. I still do have him at QB 2 behind Caleb in this class.

I have a tear below Caleb. I think it's pretty close between him and McCarthy. And I don't think Daniels is a distant fourth for me. But I do think with Daniels, I'm really concerned about how little he stands in and throws in the face of any type of pressure or when he has to move off his first read. His first initial kind of reaction is to get out of the pocket and usually to run.

Now, he is an unbelievable athlete. And when he does throw from the pocket, he is very good. He's a very accurate quarterback. But some of his tendencies in the face of pressure or when that first read isn't open might not work as well in the NFL as they did in college.

May is more of a mechanical issue, I think. There's times where he gets... His situation was horrendous, by the way. Daniels was in a very QB friendly offense, similar to kind of some of the offenses we've seen in Washington this year, Tennessee last year with Enden Ochre. A lot of these offenses, you're just not going to get all this space that you have in the college game in the NFL to throw the ball. And so I do think things will get harder for him in the NFL.

Where May, there's a little more pro stuff, but at the same time, he was, I think, mechanically a little bit further behind with some of the other guys. Now, he's capable of making throws from different platforms, probably better than anybody in the draft, except for maybe Caleb. There's a lot of throws in his tape where he's kind of... The guy's hanging on him and he makes a throw way down the field and he threw the left-handed ball with a defender on his back for a touchdown.

And so he can do some really cool second reaction improvised out of structure stuff. And he wants to play in structure, but the structure was so bad at North Carolina, the protection. It wasn't even just the O-line, the backs, the tight ends, everybody. It was just a terrible protection situation at UNC. So he's really running for his life this whole past year. The offense was different than the year before.

I think that really hurt things. I don't think he had the same level of talent as a wide receiver and so guys weren't open as often. He had to really create and make a lot of magic happen for that team. And I don't think he was as good as the year before because of that. But I do wonder if in the NFL, a better situation, if he gets in a better situation, that very much remains to be seen. If New England takes him, that's a little bit scary. But I do think he could be even better in the NFL.

And McCarthy, people are kind of missing, I think. This guy has really, really good tools. I think he's not like a Mac Jones. People talk about him like, there's no ceiling. No, he's a cannon for an arm and he's an awesome athlete. He might be a better athlete than most of these other guys that are getting drafted around him. So I think he can be really good in the NFL. The questions with him are what happens when defenses are preparing for him rather than for this Michigan run game and for all the play action and everything.

Is the team going to be as friendly? They got him a lot of good stuff at Michigan just from their scheme. Now, it's a lot of pro-style stuff, but he could go somewhere that asks him to be a totally different type of quarterback, a shotgun quarterback, a spread quarterback, something like that. That's not who he's been. I can't say what he'll look like. Whereas I've seen May and Williams and some of these other guys, Daniels, in different offenses, different situations, and I've seen a little bit more. So that's the unknown with McCarthy, knocks him down people's boards to me more than anything, because I think what you see on tape is generally pretty clean.

There's some things here and there that I think can continue to be ironed out. But I do think these are three pretty solid quarterback prospects. I don't think anybody's quite on the level of Caleb Williams, but I think they're pretty good prospects. And I think you have to take them in the top 10 and take your chances if you're an NFL team.

Well, John, final question for you before I let you go. Nobody talks about Bo Nix. There's so many other prospects at the quarterback position that jumped in front of him. What about Bo? Yeah, I mean, very much a point and shoot offense at Oregon, color in the numbers type of system, first read, lots of screens, just a design spot to put the ball all the time. Very low averaged up the target, so he wasn't throwing the ball down the field all that often.

I think the tools are okay. I think he's probably solid enough in that capacity. But I mean, when he was in more of a real offense at Auburn, it was kind of a mess. I think now even when you see when he is forced off that first read, when things do go awry up front or protection breaks down, just how much his game falls apart is really concerning. I think that offense at Oregon, I give them a lot of credit. He didn't look like a draftable player at Auburn. And then they brought him in and they turned him into a guy who could potentially be in this first round. We'll see.

And they deserve credit for that. And he does too for buying into the system. But I do think he is pretty much a guy you have to scheme pretty heavily around. And so I'm just not usually as excited about quarterbacks like that, where they're kind of going to be propped up by everything around them, in my opinion, more so than who they are. I just think that keeps up to the lid and the feeling on what your team is capable of doing eventually.

So that'll be a flavor for somebody. It could be Sean Payton. We'll see.

He probably has that confidence to think he can fix any quarterback or get any quarterback to be good enough in his system. So maybe that ends up being a surprise fit in the first round. But I just thought that interested him in round one. No, we'll find out soon enough.

Yeah, I'd be shocked if he was taken in round number one. Well, John, thank you for taking the time to hop on and lend your expertise. Where can people follow you when you work, whether it's with the Steelers, the Audibles and Analytics pod? Fill us in.

Yeah, for sure. So I do podcasts about the Steelers a couple times a week for the Yins No Ball podcast. That one's free and available for everybody wherever you listen to podcasts. And then I also run a substack and my Audibles and Analytics podcast is several times a week. I do that with Ollie Connolly. We are in-depth footballs, X's and O's, player evaluation scheme breakdowns. We do that stuff in the NFL season. We do the draft free agency. We do all of it.

We hit it all pretty hard and go pretty in-depth. So if you're a pretty big football fan and you like to go a little bit deeper than what you might get on TV and things like that, definitely a good spot to subscribe. It is like a couple bucks a month. It's like $4.17 a month if you do the annual subscription or $5 a month.

So it's a pretty cheap cost. But we do podcasts a couple times a week over there. And so my written stuff, my draft board and all that can be found over there as well.

And then always on Twitter at Ledyard, L-E-D-Y-A-R-D NFL draft on Twitter. John, thank you so much and enjoy the draft and we'll see what happens. All right. Take care, my man. Absolutely. Thanks so much.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-25 20:54:26 / 2024-04-25 21:03:46 / 9

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