Welcome to the first edition of Brad Kelly’s NFL Draft mailbag. From here on out, we’ll do a weekly mailbag where I answer your questions sent to me through Twitter. These can be 2020 NFL Draft, NFL team or prospect-related. Heck, you can even ask me about my life and the path I took to get into scouting.
Without any further delay, let’s get into answering your post-NFL Scouting Combine questions. This week’s mailbag includes information on Chase Claypool, Isaiah Simmons, the Denver Broncos free agency plans, and more.
If you have a question you want to send me for next week’s mailbag, send a tweet to @PFN365 on Twitter using the hashtag #AskBradPFN, and we’ll try to include it in an upcoming mailbag column.
The Brad Kelly Mailbag
Where do you see Chase Claypool getting drafted, what is his ceiling and floor?
After his NFL Scouting Combine performance, it’s likely that Notre Dame’s Claypool has worked himself into being a top-100 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. Claypool was a borderline second-day pick in a loaded wide receiver class at the end of the season, and his steady work at the Senior Bowl and infectious attitude had already helped his stock prior to testing as a 99th percentile athlete at the wide receiver position.
Claypool should find himself taken in the second round this April, possibly slipping to the early stages of the third due to the depth of this particular class. Looking at his ceiling, it’s all going to be dependent on his role in the NFL. If an NFL team decides to play him along the boundary, Claypool should play like a faster Devin Funchess. There has been talk that Claypool’s NFL role could be as a “move” tight end, utilizing his size-speed combination against slot defenders. His athleticism in that role reminds me of Giant’s tight end Evan Engram or the early stages of Dustin Keller’s career.
Now that A.J. Bouye has arrived, what do you think the Denver Broncos plan will be in free agency and the NFL Draft, especially in the first round?
The Denver Broncos are one of those teams poised to take a step forward next season, as long as second-year quarterback Drew Lock’s development is progressing naturally. Their roster is pretty strong, with a mix of veteran and young talent after they hit on the 2019 NFL Draft.
In free agency, they need to find a way to keep star safety Justin Simmons in house. That would once again give the Broncos a strong secondary, even with the departure of Chris Harris Jr.
Looking at the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Denver’s needs more speed at the wide receiver position to fit Lock’s skill-set. Either one of Alabama wide receivers, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs III, would be an ideal fit across from Courtland Sutton, allowing Noah Fant to thrive over the middle of the field and keeping crafty route runner DaeSean Hamilton in the slot.
Latest news on the Washington Redskins 2020 NFL Draft plans?
The speculation surrounding the Washington Redskins and the number two overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft has been picking up steam since the NFL Scouting Combine, but we won’t have a firm grasp on the situation until Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa participates in his pro day on April 9th.
If Tagovailoa has fully healed and performs like his normal self, then the rumors of him becoming the second pick will pick up even more steam. Until we know that he’s healthy and ready to compete for a starting spot next season, drafting Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and rolling with Dwayne Haskins as the starting QB of the future will be their best option.
Would it make sense to compare Isaiah Simmons to a modern-day John Lynch? Would it make sense for teams to play him at linebacker and cornerback?
This one is tough, as few players in today’s game play with the same style that John Lynch once did. For Simmons, his best projection will be the utilization of his versatility. In man coverages, He can erase tight ends and running backs. In zone coverages, he can play the deep half. In blitz packages, he should be coming on a stunt. There isn’t really a position or role that he can’t fill.
With that said, I wouldn’t love Simmons playing cornerback unless a running back happened to be flexed out there. It feels like a waste of his physicality and the threat of a blitz when he isn’t aligned closer to the box.
What kind of offense fits Zack Moss’s style of play? Could he be one of the top-three running backs for some teams?
Zack Moss’s best fit in the NFL will be in a predominantly zone blocking scheme, specifically one that focuses on inside zone. His lack of long speed could limit his ability on stretch or outside zone runs in the NFL, but highlighting his balance through contact in-between the B gaps will make him a feature running back.
After his lackluster performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, it would surprise me to see Moss as one of the first three running backs drafted when you consider the strength of the class as a whole. Still, Moss should be a second-day selection with a starter projection.