Every week, I open up the mailbag for anyone to send me their questions on college football, the NFL, or the 2020 NFL Draft. With the College Football Playoff National Championship Game just days away and NFL Draft season beginning to ramp up, this week’s mailbag is packed with NFL Draft news and notes on Tua Tagovailoa, Henry Ruggs, and Isaiah Simmons, and much more. But we kick things off with some thoughts on what the Redskins might do now that they have their new head coach, Ron Rivera.
Do you have a question you want to send to me? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @pfn365 on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTonyPFN, and we’ll be sure to include it in an upcoming mailbag column.
The Tony Pauline Mailbag
Tony, do you have any insight into if new head coach Ron Rivera is comfortable with Dwayne Haskins? What about the New York Giants now that they have hired Joe Judge? Any chance they pull a Kliff Kingsbury?
I’m told two things about Rivera and the Redskins front office the way it is presently assembled: 1) they like Haskins; and 2) they love the Predator, Chase Young.
I think there is no way and no reason for the Giants to consider moving away from Daniel Jones.
Would the Miami Dolphins be willing to get into a bidding war, and win the bidding war, for Tua Tagovailoa? Are the Dolphins (mostly Stephen Ross) really as crazy about Tua as Rich Eisen has previously stated, enough so to trade up to number three in an effort to guarantee Tagovailoa?
Miami likes Tagovailoa, but it’s still early in the process to be going out on any limb. They’ve never met with him to have a serious one-on-one interview, and they’ve not yet examined him.
Who is Miami’s biggest (and most realistic) competition for Tua Tagovailoa?
The Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders (feels weird saying that – Las Vegas).
Who is part of the draft advisory board, and why are they giving wide receiver Henry Ruggs and offensive tackle Jedrick Wills second-round grades?
The “committee” is made up of general managers around the league. But it’s well known they hand the tape off to underlings to give grades, as it would take too much time away from their jobs to watch the film and grade everyone who inquires.
I’ve never been that high on Henry Ruggs and always graded teammate Alex Leatherwood ahead of Jedrick Wills.
In Ruggs’ case, I think he’s a terrific sprinter who needs a lot of work on his game. The great talent around him gives him a LOT of opportunities, which results in people overrating him. Think ArDarius Stewart.
I have to do more work on Wills, but I think he’s a nice right tackle prospect – nothing outstanding.
Since Isaiah Simmons plays both safety and linebacker, could he fall in the draft given he doesn’t have a true position?
No. The league has put a high value on smallish but explosive run and chase linebackers in the draft, and Simmons’ versatility is part of his appeal. The concerns center around his instincts, which is why he could slip.
Tony, who are scouts talking about that the media is not talking about?
Ezra Cleveland/OL/Boise State, who I previously profiled. Scouts love his tape, and some have told me if his arms are 33 inches or more and he turns in a solid workout at the combine Cleveland, he could rise into the late part of round one.
Who are some players that aren’t going to an All-Star game that might fly under the radar for the draft?
There are a ton of All-Star games this year, but I think right now, you’ve got to look at James Madison quarterback Ben DiNucci, whom I believe is one of the most underrated players at the position.
He did not play well at Pittsburgh before transferring to JMU and was ignored by scouts coming into the season, but has turned it around the past two years and may end up in the late rounds.
He’ll be on ABC on Saturday as JMU takes on North Dakota State for the FCS title.
Hi Tony, I’m intrigued by Darnay Holmes. If he runs as fast as people think and shows up at the Senior Bowl, how high could he possibly go?
Holmes is expected to test well at the combine, but when people put on the tape, they are going to be disappointed. Right now, scouts grade him as a late-round/practice squad/developmental guy.
What are your thoughts on Cesar Ruiz and Isaiah Wilson as potential draft risers?
I grade both as fringe first-round picks, so I don’t see either of them really rising from that point.
Looking at how the draft order has shaken out, is Detroit the main sweet spot in a trade-up scenario?
There are several including the Lions at three, the Giants at four, the Chargers at six, and Jaguars at nine.
What would it take for Joe Burrow to not become the first overall pick?
The Brown family falling in love with Chase Young.