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2018 NFL Draft Random Thoughts: Hubbard vs Sweat, Justin Reid & a WR Sleeper

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NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
  • Mike provided us a great list of potential first round players that the Titans have met with, and so I wanted to dig a little deeper into the edge rusher debate, particularly Sam Hubbard vs Josh Sweat. The two are fascinating prospects because they are so, so different.
  • Hubbard has everything you want in a pass rusher but lacks elite athleticism. That is very likely going to limit his ceiling. Still, its easy to see why he has drawn attention. He has demonstrated a variety of pass rush moves (including an underrated spin). He also spent most of his time lined up with his hand in the ground as a defensive end, but can stand up and rush too. On (rare) occasion, he was asked to drop into coverage.
  • Sweat is a physically impressive player. He frequently wins matchups with power and strength. While Sweat’s Combine results are impressive, the athleticism doesn’t show up as much on film. I thought he was slow getting off the line of scrimmage very often (and that is ignoring the plays when Sweat has to read the play first). The most important question for scouts to answer pre-draft will be why his speed and explosion isn’t consistently showing up on film. That said, Sweat is a more well-rounded prospect than I anticipated. He can hold the edge in the run game, and as mentioned briefly above was forced to read-and-react often in FSU’s scheme.
  • If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to check out Football Outsider’s SackSEER projections for this year. Hubbard is predicted to have a higher five year sack total, but Sweat’s not far behind. The other interesting note is that it projects Uchenna Nwosu higher than most.
  • If given the choice, I’d choose Sam Hubbard over Josh Sweat. The catch, however, is that I don’t really love either as a prospect. Personal preference will likely push you to one or the other. I think Hubbard’s got a higher floor, but likely won’t rack up high sack totals in his career. Mike Vrabel’s early headline phrase of front multiplicity with coverage consistency fits with selecting Hubbard. You can move him around the formation, and Ohio State used a Hubbard in a lot of stunts and twists too.
  • Why aren’t we talking more about the Titans drafting a safety in the first round? Justin Reid and Ronnie Harrison are really solid prospects. Evaluating safeties can be really difficult without All-22 film, but there is enough from regular game tape to love both prospects.
  • Justin Reid is the more complete player. He lined up all over the field for Stanford, most commonly in the slot. He provides a bunch of safety buzz words: fast, smart, and instinctive. He should be an instant starter for many teams.
  • The more I see of Ronnie Harrison, the more I think he is a great fit for the Titans. I think the coaches here will appreciate his time spent in a Nick Saban defense. He has a similar skillset to Johnathan Cyprien, but the hope would be that Harrison ends up with better coverage skills.
  • A mid round receiver to watch will be UCF’s Tre’quan Smith. His name is being overlooked because he doesn’t have one truly defining trait. He does, however, do a bunch of things really well. He can just flat out play football.