NFL Draft: Thoughts on Packers Day Two Picks

The Packers went all defense on day one and now seemed to switch on day two and go all offense. The Packers again exclusively took players from my offensive draft board. So, lets get to my thoughts on the Packers day two picks!

I will give my thoughts on the picks and what the probable plan for them is, and how they will fit the Packers offense. My day one thoughts are here as well. You also can find a list of their draft picks here.

Credit: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Christian Watson:

The Packers traded away both their second round picks — #53 and #58 — to get up to #34 for Christian Watson. If you go by the Rich Hill chart, the Packers gave up 197 points to get to #34 which is worth just 175. So, the Packers obviously overpaid. Not a huge overpay, but an overpay regardless. My point is that is a lot to give up for a player who is probably two years away from being a significant contributor to the offense.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense for a team in win now mode. If Green Bay was in a rebuild then that would be okay, but they aren’t. There is some bust potential associated with Watson. The player who he plays a lot like is Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

He is not, I repeat not Deboo Samuel. They are completely different players with different skill sets. Just because he did some things at NDSU that the 49ers do with Deebo does not mean he is a similar type player. He also dropped seven balls in 2020, but cut it to four in 2021. If they had drafted a player who was more pro-ready, say an Alec Pierce, or had even kept Davante Adams then you could let him develop.

Now, on to how he will fit into the offense. He is very raw as a route runner and played in a very simple offense for receivers where they did not have to make a lot of sight adjustments or things like that. So, I expect the Packers to bring him a long slowly.

Day one he walks in he is the best kick returner on the roster. He will return kicks and be the best kick returner they have had in a very long time. They will try to find ways to get him the ball, mostly on slugo, post, and, fade routes. Maybe some crossers. Expect him to end up around fourth in snaps and with numbers similar to MVS’s rookie season. We may still see Green Bay add another vet, and probably at least one more draft pick.

Credit: Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Sean Rhyan:

Sean Rhyan was a little bit of a surprise pick. Luke Butkis recently said in his press conference that they wanted to bring in a couple more tackles. While Rhyan started three seasons at left tackle at UCLA, he is destined for guard in the NFL.

He has 32 1/2″ arms. Ideally a tackle has 34″ arms, but the Packers have shown they will go under it. Specifically Bryan Bulaga had the shortest arms of any tackle drafted by Green Bay since Ted Thompson. Bulaga though had 33 1/4″ arms. Will the Packers cross train him at tackle and guard? Yes. But guard will be his primary position.

Even though he tested out as an elite athlete for a guard (9.35 RAS), he doesn’t play up to his testing. He is not a terrible athlete on film. Rhyan moves well, just not as well as his testing suggests. Off his film you would think he was a 7.75-ish RAS guy. But he is big, mean, and strong. The former Bruin is a good run blocker and improving pass blocker. Kavon Thibodaux did give him trouble this past season. He allowed 13 pressures and one sack in 2021.

Offensive linemen who are taken early usually are penciled in as starters as a rookie. I would expect the same with Rhyan. They will probably let him, Yosh Nijman, Cole Van Lanen, and Royce Newman battle it out for the right guard and right tackle spots in camp, but it’s just a formality. Rhyan will start at right guard and Newman will be a swing offensive lineman.

I would expect there to be growing pains like any rookie starting offensive lineman. But, he should provide a more physical presence than Newman, who even though his arms are short looked better at right tackle than guard at Ole Miss. I expect Rhyan to develop into a high level guard, probably similar to a Josh Sitton-type player.

Day 1 NFL Combine Takeaways

Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Scouting combine is in the books here are the 3 takeaways from the first day of on-field workouts.

Takeaways from day 1 at the NFL scouting combine
Image Credit: Sporting News

Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books here are the three takeaways from the first day of on-field workouts.

40 times

The first night of on-field workouts was a speed thrill. In a city that celebrates speed with Indy cars, the wide receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine matched a record Thursday that would have NASCAR opening their eyes.

The group of pass catchers left dust, as the eight sub-4.4 clockings tied the most by the wide receivers at the combine in any year evaluated since 2006.

Tyquan Thornton had the only official time under 4.3, as Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., had the second fastest official clocking at 4.31.

Many unofficial times had to be changed and chatter around the league was this years class of pass catchers is the fastest in NFL History — or the 40 times were off.

Kenny Pickett’s Hand Size

It is hands-down the most critiqued quality attached to NFL quarterback prospects each year.

As a potential first round pick, Pickett’s hand size has been scrutinized heavily. His hands officially measured in at 8 1/2″ at the NFL Combine. This makes Pickett’s hands the smallest of any quarterback in the NFL.

“The reason I didn’t measure at the Senior Bowl was just to have those extra couple weeks, just kind of a commonsense thing, to have more time working the exercises…Whatever it measures, it measures, I’m sure that won’t be the end of it, but that will be the last measurement I’m sure I’ll take of it.”

Kenny Pickett

According to ESPN Stats & Information data, average hand size for quarterbacks taken in the first round from 2008 to 2020 is 9 7/10 inches.

Christian Watsons big day

Watson won the day at the receiver position. He’s 6-4 and 210 pounds, one of the most sizable receivers in this class.

He ran 4.36 with a 38.5-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot, four-inch broad jump, one of the longest in combine history. 

““He’s a special dude. You can see that just physically, how big he is, how fast he is. Great person to be around, obviously one of my closest friends. Someone that helped me get to where I am right now. I wouldn’t be here without Christian.”

Trey Lance on Christian Watson

I wrote about Christian Watson last summer and how the Miami Dolphins should take a chance on him.

Now, I’m not sure if Watson lasts till the end of the 2nd round, he’s highly thought of in league circles.

Follow Hussam Patel on Twitter

2022 All Senior Bowl Offense

Embed from Getty Images

With the week of practice and game wrapped up, it’s time to pick out the best players for the Senior Bowl offense. Make sure you go back and check out Around the Block’s winners and losers from Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of practice. Instead of picking out the winners again, this article will select the All-Senior Bowl team.

This article will echo the format of any all-pro or conference where each position will have a few players that performed the best over the course of the week. Additionally, each player will have a more specific positional designation if necessary. For example, the positions will be broken out on the defensive line by technique/alignment (0T, 1T, etc.). 

QB: Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis

Frankly, none of the quarterbacks dominated at the Senior Bowl on offense. All of them struggled at various points during the week of practice. Therefore, I’ll pick two quarterbacks representing opposite ends of the spectrum. First, Kenny Pickett was perhaps the most positively steady of the quarterbacks in Mobile. He had some issues with maintaining velocity during the monsoon on Wednesday. However, all the other quarterbacks had issues, too.

Once Pickett developed some chemistry with his receivers and the linemen, he started dealing. During the game, none of his passes hit the ground. Furthermore, Pickett crushed his interviews with NFL teams. Pickett is the starter on this team because he is the safer, game manager-type that can keep the offense on schedule. 

On the other side of the coin, Malik Willis put together the most volatile week for the Senior Bowl offense. His issues with mechanics, accuracy, and decision-making were abundant throughout the week. However, he also threw some of the most incredible passes every day. Willis also repeatedly made highlight plays with his feet to buy time and pick up yards if nothing was there.

Additionally, Willis exhibited a unique energetic leadership style that resonated with his teammates. He was continuously dancing and hyping up the other players on the field, somewhat similar to Mac Jones last year. Willis gets the nod for this team because of his potential for incredible plays that no one else in Mobile could make; if the team gets down, Willis’ penchant for highlight-reel plays would be a major asset. 

RB: Dameon Pierce, Tyler Badie, Rachaad White

Similar to the quarterbacks, none of the running backs were dominant at the Senior Bowl. None of them excelled in all three phases of the running back position: rushing, receiving, and pass blocking. We’ll lead off with Dameon Pierce from Florida.

Pierce looked fantastic running the ball; he’s a compact back that runs hard behind his pads with great contact balance. He excelled in pass protection as well, winning the one-on-one to end practice on the second day. Pierce wasn’t fantastic catching the ball, but this was mainly because it seemed like he needed to make difficult catches. 

Tyler Badie was one of my favorite running backs in the group going into this week. Despite his diminutive stature, Badie shone in practice every day. He’s a highly shifty runner with great vision, which helps him catch the ball out of the backfield. Naturally, as a smaller running back, Badie is not the best pass protector.

Finally, Rachaad White was probably the best pure runner of the three, displaying great burst and long speed on outside zone runs. He made some nice catches out of the backfield and wasn’t terrible in pass protection. He still needs work there, but he’s a pretty raw back with light tread on the tires, so teams will be interested. 

FB: Connor Heyward

I expected Jeremiah Hall to be the best fullback in Mobile, but Connor Heyward quickly took that honor. Hall struggled with drops and wasn’t a dominant blocker, whereas Heyward excelled. Hayward is a converted running back/kick returner that moved to fullback/tight end. He’s an impressive athlete with impeccable NFL bloodlines; it would not shock me if he’s the first fullback off the board. 

WR: Christian Watson (X), Calvin Austin III (SL), Romeo Doubs (Z/X), Bo Melton (Z/SL), Tre Turner (Z/X)

Christian Watson had the best week of any skill position player at the Senior Bowl on offense. The argument could be made that he was the best offensive player, and he was undoubtedly among the best overall players. He displayed rare athleticism and route running for a receiver of his size. Calvin Austin III negated concerns about his size by showing that he could not be caught or covered by any defensive back there.

Romeo Doubs had a few issues with drops, but his release package and patience with his routes were special. Bo Melton and Tre Turner had quieter weeks, but both displayed good explosiveness; Melton also adds values as a return specialist, while Turner caught nearly everything thrown his way and was one of the more nuanced route runners. 

TE: Jeremy Ruckert (Y), Greg Dulcich (H), Isaiah Likely (F)

The tight end group was very impressive across the board. One of the things I greatly appreciated was that both coaching staffs asked the tight ends to fill roles they hadn’t in college. For example, Isaiah Likely from Coastal Carolina took most of his snaps at the Y position, aligning attached to the offensive line and on the line of scrimmage. Even though he was an outstanding blocker at Coastal Carolina, it was good to see him doing it more traditionally.

Jeremy Ruckert reminded many people why he was one of the higher-ranked tight ends in last year’s class before returning to school. Unfortunately, he filled the fourth fiddle role behind three elite wide receivers this year. But Ruckert was very solid in both blocking and receiving before going down with an injury. Finally, Greg Dulcich might have had the best week of any tight end in Mobile; he showed excellent route running to all levels of the field. 

OT: Trevor Penning (RT), Max Mitchell (LT), Darian Kinnard (RT), Matt Waletzko (LT)

While the offensive line as a whole looked good in team drills during the week, the tackles were certainly the weaker group. Trevor Penning made multiple “highlight” reps during one-on-one drills, even if he nearly started a fight every day in practice. Max Mitchell lost some reps here and there, but he certainly looked the part of an NFL offensive lineman in terms of his movement skills and strength.

The same goes for Darian Kinnard. He might end up at guard at the next level, but proved he could stick at tackle, if necessary, and be a plus player in a suitable scheme. Finally, Matt Waletzko quietly had one of the best weeks among the smaller school offensive linemen. He still needs some technical work, but has all the physical tools to be a late-round developmental project who could become a starter. 

OG: Zion Johnson (LG), Ed Ingram (RG), Chris Paul (RG), Cole Strange (LG)

Despite the excellent performance of the defensive line, the interior offensive line was among the best position groups in Mobile. Despite spending most of the week at center, Zion Johnson solidified himself as a first-round prospect and arguably the best guard in this draft. Ed Ingram had a terrific week as well; granted, it was probably not good enough to overcome concerns about his off-field history.

Chris Paul took most of his reps at tackle, but his future is probably at guard, where he should be a high-quality player. Like Johnson, Cole Strange took most of his reps at center. At the beginning of the week, Strange looked overmatched, especially in one-on-one drills. But as the week went on, he got better and adjusted to the level of competition pretty well. He’s not ready to be an NFL starter now, but he could develop into one with a few years of professional training and development. 

C: Dylan Parham, Luke Fortner

There was a lot of shuffling of bodies at the center position on offense for the Senior Bowl. Many guards moved in and out of the middle, so I tried to pick two players that should stay there at the next level. Dylan Parham erased any concerns about his size with the initial weigh-ins, coming in almost 40 pounds over his listed college weight. He didn’t look any slower with the added weight, and performed exceptionally well throughout the week. Luke Fortner also impressed at the pivot position. He’s one of the bigger centers in this draft, but is also an excellent athlete that helped his stock this week.

Senior Bowl Watchlist: National

Senior Bowl watchlist
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

This is the second part of the first Senior Bowl watchlist by the Around the Block scouting department — read the first part here. By this time next week, almost 150 prospects will be in Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl. The Senior Bowl is the most prestigious collegiate all-star game for draft prospects.

They will practice with NFL coaching staffs during the week then play in a game on Saturday, February 5th. The Senior Bowl provides a fantastic opportunity for prospects from diverse backgrounds to prove themselves on a level playing field.

This year, the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets will be coaching up the players. The scouting department for Around the Block put together a watchlist of players from each Senior Bowl team, the American and the National. This Senior Bowl watchlist will preview the players on the American team, coached by the Detroit Lions.

Quarterback – Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Desmond Ridder was a near-unanimous choice among the scouting staff for the National team quarterbacks. Ridder has been the starter for Cincinnati for four seasons now and is among the winningest quarterbacks in college football history, boasting a 44-5 record as a starter. Three of those losses came at the hands of some of the best programs in college football: Alabama (in the College Football Playoff), Georgia (in the Peach Bowl), and Ohio State.

Despite this success, many questions surround Ridder. He’s a gifted athlete but is not an elite runner; his arm is good but not elite. Furthermore, he struggles with maintaining consistency in his accuracy in ball placement. In Mobile, Ridder will need to show he can distribute the ball accuracy to all levels of the field. 

Offense – Khalil Shakir, Boise State

Khalil Shakir might have the longest highlight reel of all the players in Mobile. He routinely makes incredible leaping, one-handed catches while keeping at least one of his feet in bounds. But Shakir is more than just a walking spectacular catch.

He’s a highly versatile playmaker who can return kicks, run the ball, and occasionally throw it. His teammates reportedly call him “Swiss”, referencing the versatility of the Swiss Army Knife. With that being said, Shakir struggled with drops during his career at Boise State. He will have to show consistent, reliable hands during the week of practice. 

Christian Watson, North Dakota State

Staying in the upper-middle part of the country, another player who was a favorite of the scouting staff was Christian Watson. A massive target (6’5”, 208), Watson led North Dakota State in receiving for the last three seasons. He also served as their primary kick returner, earning All-Missouri Valley Football Conference and FCS All-American honors at the position.

This shows that Watson is not your typical big receiver who only wins vertically; he’s a remarkable athlete in short areas, and the North Dakota State offense uses him in screens to take advantage of his run-after-the-catch skills. Like most smaller-school prospects, Watson will need to show he can hang with the best of the FBS; can he separate from faster, more athletic cornerbacks? Can he defeat press-jam technique at the line of scrimmage?

Offensive Line – Daniel Faalele, Minnesota

Daniel Faalele will be very hard to miss at the Senior bowl. At 6’9” and 380 pounds, “big” does not adequately describe the Australian offensive tackle. Faalele is relatively new to football, only playing competitively when he transferred to IMG Academy. He played at 400 pounds during his early years at Minnesota but slimmed down when he opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID travel restrictions.

When he returned in 2021, he dropped at least 20 pounds and played the best season of his career. Faalele will need to show that he has the movement skills to keep up with NFL-caliber edge rushers. He’s also still pretty raw as a technician, but his physical gifts make him a rather intriguing ball of clay. 

Defensive Line – Logan Hall, Houston

Last year, Payton Turner exploded onto the scene at the Senior Bowl, which helped him become a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints. This year, another Houston Cougar will be looking to replicate Turner’s journey. Logan Hall came to Houston as a tall, lanky edge rusher. But he’s put on around 50 pounds to become a dominant interior defensive lineman. He’s remarkably explosive for someone of his size, especially considering the weight he’s added.

Hall will most likely take reps at defensive end and defensive tackle; he will need to show he has the play strength to hold up in run defense against larger, stronger offensive tackles. Furthermore, he will need to display a diverse arsenal of pass rush moves and counter, allowing him to win matchups in a variety of ways. 

Linebackers – Chad Muma, Wyoming

Chad Muma will also be following in the footsteps of an alumna from his school at the Senior Bowl. Two years ago, Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson parlayed his excellent time in Mobile to become a third-round selection by the Cincinnati Bengals. He is a vital part of their defense that helped carry them to the AFC Championship this weekend.

Muma is arguably an even better prospect than Wilson, so a strong showing at the Senior Bowl could cause his draft stock to skyrocket. He is a versatile player who plays well in coverage and when rushing the passer. Again, like most smaller-school prospects, Muma will need to show he has the speed and athletic ability to succeed in the NFL. As a former safety, this should not be a problem for him. 

Defensive Backs – Jalen Pitre, Baylor

The last player on our Senior Bowl watchlist is another hybrid player, Jalen Pitre from Baylor. Pitre is the reigning defensive MVP of the Big 12, contributing significantly toward Baylor’s turnaround that won them a Big 12 Championship. He played the Star position for Baylor this season, which is their designation for the slot/overhang defender. He filled a variety of roles for his defense, stopping the run, defending the pass, and even occasionally rushing the passer.

As the NFL modernizes its defenses, players like Pitre should be in much higher demand. In Mobile, the Jets’ coaching staff might try to see if Pitre can succeed in a more traditional safety role so that he can stay on the field for every down. He will need to display that he can succeed in deep zone assignments and prevent separation in man coverage.

Miami Dolphins way-too-early mock draft: 6th Round

Next up in the Miami Dolphins too early mock draft series is the sixth round. These two players should be on Miami’s radar this fall.

Miami Dolphins mock draft 6th round

Next up in the Miami Dolphins way too early mock draft series is Round 6.

Previous Way-too-early Miami Dolphins mock draft results:

Remaining Picks:

  • 6th round: Current Pick and Patriots Pick
  • 7th round: Tennessee Titans Pick

D’Vonte Price, RB, FIU

Hailing from Punta Gorda, Florida D’Vonte price has waited his turn to become the star at FIU.

Jim Nagy, the director of the senior bowl, noted that NFL scouts wanted to see D’Vonte Price at last years Senior Bowl.

“The league is always looking for 6-2, 225-pound backs who display a breakaway gear that can separate themselves from most backs that size”

Jim Nagy on D’Vonte Price

As big of a running back Price his he has no issues going through tight spaces and churn out hard fought yards against seven to eight man boxes.

Price had to wait his turn in a crowded Panthers backfield consisting of Alex Gardner, Napolean Maxwell and Anthony Jones. He made the most of his limited snaps as a reserve and in situational packages.

He exploded onto the scene in his games against Liberty, FAU and Western Kentucky gaining a combined 426 yards on 63 carries. Price was the brightest spot on FIU’s disappointing 2020 season.

D’Vonte Price is hard to bring down. He’s generally running between the tackles using his 6’2″, 225-pound frame, pushing the pile when his pads are low.

He possesses the frame and physicality to handle a big workload, has third down value as a blocker and good straight line speed as well as change of direction at his size.

Not to mention he can catch out of the backfield, a staple in this new Dolphins offense.

“D’Vonte Price has as good of vision and natural running ability as all of the great backs I’ve been around, the (Emmitt) Smith’s, Edgerrin (James), Clinton Portis’,” said Davis. “The year he had last year doesn’t get nearly as much recognition as it should, because we only played five games.”

FIU Head Coach Butch Davis

Mocking him in the 6th round right now is a crime as I believe he can sneak into the middle parts of the second round in next years draft if he consistently produces this upcoming season.

Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

While they may not need Watson, it would definitely be an intriguing option for the Miami Dolphins in this mock draft.

Standing at 6’3, you would expect him to be a red zone threat. Although he does get his fair share of touchdowns, they come from being an explosive playmaker.

His fastest recorded game speed was around 23 MPH, which is insane especially for his height. To compare here are the NFL top speeds for the 2020 season (in MPH): 23.09, 22.73, 22.11, 22.05, and 21.91.

Watson would have had a top time in the NFL last season. Below is a play where Watson certainly demonstrates that he can take it to the house whenever he gets the ball.

Watson outruns the entire defense for this 70 yard touchdown.

Watson’s fit in Miami would be a fun one. Will Fuller is on a one year prove it deal and may not be on the team next year. Watson is a perfect replacement for him. Both players are tall and can stretch the field.

That being said, Watson does have a one up over Fuller. Watson even returns kicks and punts and is also their go to guy when big plays are needed. He mostly runs bubble screens or end rounds if NDSU is trying to jumpstart the offense.

In Miami’s offense, Watson would be the perfect compliment to either DeVante Parker or Preston Williams, whoever the other outside receiver is.

Follow Hussam Patel on Twitter

Follow Tanner Elliott on Twitter

Prize Picks

PrizePicks operates in EVERY US state and Canada EXCEPT for the following: AZ CO DE HI ID IN IA LA MD ME MS MO MT NV NH NJ OH PA TN VA WA.

  • Use promo code “ATB” to receive a 100% instant deposit match up to $100
  • PrizePicks is the simplest fantasy game on the market.
  • You pick 2-5 players and can win up 10x on any entry.
  • PrizePicks has no sharks, optimizers, or mass-multi entry (It’s just you vs. the projection).
  • Allows mixed-sport entries (You can take the OVER on Lebron parlayed with the UNDER on Mahomes).
  • A slick easy to use mobile app, both on the App Store and Google Play