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Josh Norris

Draft Decisions

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Draft Decisions: NFC North

Saturday, June 2, 2018


How does a draft writer spend the first weeks after the big event? I’m not sure, but I have decided to watch every press conference for every team after each day of the draft, so you don’t have to. The goal is to pick up tendencies, tells and specific reasoning for selections. Sometimes the coaches and general managers have a role in mind, and as I’ve learned, too often they do not.

 

NFL franchises are honest in two ways: with their wallets and with their draft picks.

 

As you can see, the notes are very rough. This is not transcribing, more so noting the important points involved in an entire thought.

 

Chicago Bears


Speaking: Ryan Pace Day 1 & Day 2, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy Day 3


1 (8). LB Roquan Smith, Georgia - We’re fired up. We loved this guy from the get go… A position that needs to quarterback the defense. His intangibles are a great quality. His makeup is huge for us… Play speed, instincts and physicality stand out… Felt we could stay at 8 and get a good football player… Scouts have been pounding the table for him for a long time. A scout talked about him during one Bears game in the box midseason… We might have 10-15 grades on the same player, and it makes it easy when we are unified in grades on the same prospect… Has great burst. Sudden and twitchy… Thick, muscular build allows him to play strong. We are good with his size… Comfortable in coverage. Mirror routes, sticks with backs, awareness to feel stuff around him in zones… Actually didn’t answer his phone the first time around when waiting to be drafted while in Dallas… Explored getting back into round one. Interest wasn’t super strong in terms of offers at 8… You can see him directing people on the field. Hand signals. Slam dunk as a person… Will play all three downs. Base and sub. Typically those guys struggle in the running game. He doesn’t, so that makes him a top 10 pick… He can force offenses to look at different areas of the field


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2 (39). iOL James Daniels, Iowa - Acquired the best players on our board at need positions… We value his position versatility. Start him out at guard, cross train him at center… Excellent technique in pass protection. Great balance… Daniels will play left guard, Whitehair will play center. Position versatility is important for all of them… OL coach was very passionate about him. Flexibility and athleticism allows him to recover from awkward positions. Potential is there thanks to age… Has a high floor and a high ceiling… We think he is big enough for guard thanks to his lower body… We’d be crazy to not take Harry’s advice (OL coach)... Competition creates motivation


Received:

2018 second round pick (51)


Traded:

2018 fourth round pick (105)

2019 second round pick


2 (51). WR Anthony Miller, Memphis - Route quickness, hands, mentality, all are infectious qualities… Walked on. We like that confidence. That swag and energy. He’s 100 miles an hour every single snap.  That effort is fun to watch… We were surprised he was there. We felt he was worthy of the compensation… Miller said he didn’t have a lot of direct contact with the Bears. He was an easy evaluation… We believe he can play inside and outside. Has 10 inch hands that are strong… A position we attacked this offseason… Run after catch ability stood out… Matt Nagy has a sign in the building that says “Be You” and we want our players to be themselves. We like his confidence. It is important at that position. He wants the ball in a critical moment… You want to see route running at pro days and at the Combine, you look for routes that we use in our system that you can tag. Miller likes to set the angle for the quarterback at the top of his route. He’s sharp. There's a violent move for him to set angles. He’s aggressive with it… Will start out in the slot… "The circles on my coaches' board are now turning into names"


4 (115). LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Western Kentucky - “Iggy.” Physical, fast, highly intelligent player. Jumps off the tape… A number of times where Nagy called Pace into his office to show him plays of this player. Many in the backfield.


5 (145). DL Bilal Nichols, Delaware - Good fit for our scheme as a defensive end. Has upside as a pass rusher… Put through a private workout. A lot of upside as an inside rusher.


6 (181). EDGE Kylie Fitts, Utah - Great size-speed combo at outside linebacker. Love his get off. High character… There are certain numbers we care about at certain positions. His get off, three-cone and short area. You notice when a guy has a little bit more twitch than the other guys… No injuries are significant. A couple nicks and bruises… His magnet was sticking out high up there when he was on the board. Can’t exactly explain why he was still available. Sometimes this happens.


7 (224). WR Javon Wims, Georgia - Nagy and Pace have talked about him for a long time. Great body control and catch radius… Played in a lot of big games. Big moments in big games. We were staring at that magnet and were hoping he would be there. We feel fortunate.



Detroit Lions


Speaking: Bob Quinn for all 3 days


1 (20). iOL Frank Ragnow, Arkansas - Three year starter, played multiple positions. Everything we are about is what he is. We’ve had our eyes on him for a while… Had not contacted Ragnow since the Combine. First time I watched him on tape “he’s a really good player.”.. Had a good feeling he would be on the board. Word from a few teams after they were also interested in him… Clean process, other than the injury we didn’t feel the need to do extra work on him… It all starts in the trenches. We want to build the middle of our team. Offensive line, defensive line and the middle spots… Offensive line is difficult in general for a rookie… If he’s ready to play, we’ll put him in there. If not, we won’t put him in there… Equally good at run blocking and pass protecting. He plays his best games against the best defenses… Had numerous trade conversations. Both up and back. Multiple offers on the table for our pick… We have a lot of experience in the 16-21 range… Went all the way back to watch him as a sophomore against players currently on the Lions roster. Started watching him in October… Nothing really surprised us in terms of positions and number of players at each spot came off the board ahead of us. The 19 players ahead of us, we saw that coming… Baker Mayfield pick was “interesting.” Good football player, but wouldn’t have expected it a week ago… Because only seven OL are available on gameday, positional versatility is vital.


Received:

2018 second round pick (43)


Traded:

2018 second round pick (51)

2018 fourth round pick (117)


2 (43). RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn - Targeted this player at the start of day two. Couldn’t say for sure he would fall to us, so we had to move up a few spots…  Shoulder, ankle and hamstring injuries. He’s an SEC running back. Our medicals came back good for him… Johnson visited Detroit… He will hold up at our level. They ran him between the guards. Primarily will run inside, but we think he can run outside too. No issues with his durability for us… Unique running style Patient runner initially. Great acceleration and finishes runs… Having balance on offense is important. We haven’t done that over the last few years… We knew there was going to be a run on running backs in round two. He was the one we wanted, so it was worth moving up… This isn’t a one back league.. Very few backs in this league that you are going to turn around and hand the ball to 30 times. We will have 4 or 5 backs on this team. They will all have a role… Different impact for medicals. Some we take off our board completely. Some we move down a round or two based on risk of injury, tough to take those off the board… Has made four trades with the Patriots during Quinn’s tenure. It’s really easy to work with teams you know. Some teams you don’t know it takes 30 minutes, they can’t make up their mind. Others it takes 30 seconds. Atlanta, Tennessee, New England, those trades happen really fast. Was on the phone for a minute… Some teams are worried about stuff in Guice’s history. Won’t get into specifics. He’s a good kid, just a few things we are worried about.



3 (82). S Tracy Walker, Louisiana-Lafayette - GM was on the phone more than he has ever been between rounds two and three, looking for trades. Things just didn’t work out in moving up, need two teams to make trades. A busy couple of hours. Walker was another target player… A number of defensive backs were the highest rated players when we were on the board in round three… Good size, very athletic, playmaking. Toughness, tackling, speed… Go watch the Texas A&M game. Was one of the best players during Shrine week… Not going to comment on if Maurice Hurst is on the board… Can come down and play man to man or work in space… Cousins with Darius Slay. They have a really good relationship… We were a little nervous teams ahead of them would select Walker. We research which teams visit players, and a few visited with Walker on a 30 visit…


Received:

2018 fourth round pick (114)


Traded:

2019 third round pick


4 (114). DL Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama - Really good value pick. Position versatility. Inside and outside. Good knowledge of our DL coach and scheme… We won’t run a base 3-4 or a base 4-3… Rare combination of size, length and athleticism… Might not have lived up to high recruit expectations, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good player… If you have a coach who has spent time with a player it helps the evaluation… SEC football is the closest thing to NFL schemes… Will be much more focused on keeping our gap this year rather than fire up the field.


5 (153). T Tyrell Crosby, Oregon - Good value pick. Stood out on the board well above everyone else. Had him graded much higher… Likely will play a swing tackle role. Has never played guard. Had him in for a visit… Not sure off the top of his head how many concussions Crosby has had. Passed medical at Combine. Passed medical during visit… Much more depth along the offensive line and running back than pass rusher in this class… If you asked me last night if Crosby would be available in round 5, I would’ve said no chance. Thought he would be one of the first five or 10 guys in round four… Phone was buzzing a lot after we selected him saying good pick…


7 (237). FB Nick Bawden, San Diego State - Wanted to add to the mix to give the offense a physical presence. Wanted to add a fullback this offseason… Coincidence all three day three selections were Senior Bowlers. Event greatly improved over the last three years… Number of draftable players was very similar to 2017. Draft mechanics were very similar. Matt Patricia keeps it a little more lively… We submit a request list to the league of the teams we want to play in the preseason… NFL games come down to about 5 plays per week. Short yardage, goal line, red area, special teams. The fact we couldn’t run the ball for a half yard, that bothered me.




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Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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