Mock Draft No. 2
Pick No. 5 (first round) – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
From a very young age, Ed Oliver knew he had something special in his future as long as he did things the way he knew he needed to. Coming out of high school, Oliver was a consensus 5-star recruit, and had offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M and many more. But The Houston native decide to stay at home and play for the University of Houston.
Why? Momma, of course.
Oliver is very close with his family, and playing ball for the Cougars meant he was only about 20-25 minutes from seeing them whenever he wanted. With playing so close to home came a sense of comfort, and that comfort turned into confidence on the field. If I were to list all of preseason and postseason accolades Oliver has won or been a part of over the last three seasons, the list would spill over into the next page. But we’ll just name some of the big ones.
Oliver started all 13 games in his true freshman season, recording 23 tackles for loss, second most in all of the NCAA. In his second season, he was the Outland Trophy winner, led the nation with a career average of 1.56 tackles for loss per game and totaled 39.5 tackles for loss in only 25 games played. After his final season in 2018, Oliver became the only three-time All-American in school history.
As the rumors have been flying this offseason about what the Buccaneers might do with Gerald McCoy, their need for an interior defensive lineman might be dire come draft night. If it is, you can believe Oliver will be in their sights. But don’t think that Oliver is a perfect prospect. Jon Ledyard of The Draft Network says that with the eye-popping traits also come some concerns for the 6-foot-1, 280-pound, somewhat undersized interior lineman.
“For years Ed Oliver has been heralded as no. 1 overall pick material, but the lack of improvement during his junior year is pretty troubling despite his unreal athletic gifts. Powerful, explosive and capable of winning the leverage battle on every rep, Oliver isn’t where he needs to be in terms of production because of his lack of mental processing in the run game and rush plan on passing downs.
“Two things could help him right away in the NFL: fixing his stance and putting him at 3-technique, rather than at the nose where Houston often played him. At the end of the day, Oliver is far too explosive with freakish strength and movement skills to not take a chance on, but we need to acknowledge that he is definitely a risk; a risk that might not be worth taking in the top ten of the 2019 NFL Draft.”
If the Bucs do move on from McCoy, that 3-technique spot could be Oliver’s for the taking – a perfect fit, scheme-wise.
Pick No. 39 (second round) – Garrett Bradbury, OG, N.C. State
You know how commentators love to point out when tight ends have basketball backgrounds? I have that same kind of energy for former tight ends who now play offensive line – give me athletes on the line.
In comes Garrett Bradbury, one of the most promising interior offensive linemen in the 2019 NFL Draft class.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound senior interior linemen has had an interesting career with the Wolfpack. When he arrived on campus for his freshman season, he was 6-foot-3, 240 pounds. Over the course of four years (one as a redshirt season), Bradbury has gained 60 pounds and has been taught the ways of a guard.
As you would expect, Bradbury’s calling card is how well he moves for a man his size. He has fantastic lateral mobility, and can push, pull and get to the second level as smooth as an interior offensive lineman can in this class. He has adequate power, but he is still getting the hang of things when it comes to pure anchor and power blocks.
This is what Joe Marino of The Draft Network had to say about Bradbury.
“Bradbury came to NC State as a tight end recruit and leaves as an outstanding NFL interior offensive line prospect. His technical refinement and consistency is even more impressive considering the relative newness to his position. Given his lateral mobility and proven success in the Wolfpack’s zone blocking run scheme, he projects most favorably to the same role in the NFL. Bradbury’s range as a blocker will be major asset to him and his NFL offense. By year three, Bradburry has the upside to become a solid starter that is primed to sign a lucrative second contract.”
If the Bucs want to incorporate more movement and pulling with their guards this season, or even if they just want to zone block with more efficiency – last year they were awful at it – Bradbury is their guy.
Pick No. 70 (third round) – Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
Ya-Sin is a very interesting prospect, and if the Bucs haven’t address outside cornerback by the time they get to the third round, he would be a good fit for what they might be trying to do when getting more aggressive on defense under Todd Bowles.
Ya-Sin started his collegiate career at Presbyterian. When the school announced it was dropping from FCS to non-scholarship Division II, the All-Big South player decided to change schools for his final season to help get him noticed.
Here’s what Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network had to say after watching Ya-Sin’s tape.
“Rock Ya-Sin is a developmental target for teams who like to rely on man coverage and are looking to develop a potential outside starter by Year 2 or 3. Ya-Sin is clearly comfortable playing in tight quarters, and has great body control and flexibility — both traits that project him favorably as man-coverage starter. That said, Ya-Sin must grow more comfortable playing the ball in the air and matching multi-break routes with measured footwork, or he will always remain a low-impact player on the ball despite his length. Ya-Sin’s wrestling background, esteem for hard work, and limited football experience all project favorably to a successful developmental track in the NFL.”
A player with risk, yes. But that will always be the case with man coverage cornerbacks outside of the Top 50. Despite being just 5-foot-11 (which was a disappointing height when measured at the Senior Bowl because Ya-Sin is listed at 6-foot-1 on Temple’s website), Ya-Sin could match a similar style to Carlton Davis with long arms and a desire to press.