Panthers begin process of evolving offense with McCaffrey

PHILADELPHIA — Panthers coach Ron Rivera talked after the season about the need for Carolina's offense to evolve.

He feels like the Panthers now have the player to make that happen.

The Panthers selected Christian McCaffrey, the versatile running back from Stanford, with the No. 8 pick in the NFL draft, giving former league MVP Cam Newton some needed help on offense.

Along with his ability to run the ball, the 5-foot-10, 202-pound McCaffrey has the ability to play slot receiver and will also return punts, Rivera said. McCaffrey set an NCAA record with 3,864 all-purpose yards in 2015, rushing for 2,019 yards along with 645 yards receiving and 1,070 on returns.

(PHOTO: Getty)

Rivera said McCaffrey's position versatility will allow the Panthers to use him in "many different ways" and create mismatches for opposing defenses.

"He can make an impact very early for us," Rivera said.

McCaffrey refuses to pigeonhole himself into a particular position and said he'll play wherever the Panthers need him.

Round 2

The Panthers picked Curtis Samuel of Ohio State in Round 2 (40th overall) in the draft.

"I'm a football player," McCaffrey said. "I don't put a title on what I am. If you need me to go to wideout, I can go to wideout. If you need me to run between the tackles I can do that as well. There are such a variety of different things I can do and that is something I pride myself on."

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman called McCaffrey the best "tackle box runner" he's seen since Curtis Martin, referring to his ability to run between the offensive tackles.

[PHOTOS: Panthers' first round pick Christian McCaffrey]

The Panthers don't share some critics' view that McCaffrey's size doesn't translate to him being an every down running back in the NFL. They believe the fact that McCaffrey averaged more than 30 touches per game over the last two seasons — more than any player in college football — is proof enough that he's durable.

But McCaffrey won't have to carry the load in Carolina anyway — at least not right away.

He's expected to split time with nine-year veteran Jonathan Stewart, who signed a two-year contract extension earlier this offseason.

"To be able to line up in the backfield with him, I'm hoping we can do some special things," McCaffrey said.

In terms of the bigger picture, Rivera believes McCaffrey will be a huge help to Newton, who struggled last season after an MVP season in 2015. Newton completed a career-low 52.9 percent of his passes last season as the Panthers failed to make the playoffs.

McCaffrey can serve as an outlet for Newton on short slant routes and dump downs because of his abilities as a receiver. Gettleman said McCaffrey has "suction cups" for hands. Only the Green Bay Packers had fewer catches out of the backfield than the Panthers last season.

"He will take a lot of pressure off Cam," Rivera said.

The Panthers were also last in the NFL in yards after the catch, an area the big play McCaffrey excelled at with Stanford.

The Panthers are impressed with McCaffrey's football IQ, which he comes by naturally. He's the son of former Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist and won a Super Bowl ring in Denver.

"He's been around the NFL his whole life and he gets it," Rivera said. "And that is huge. His dad was a pro and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

The Panthers had inside information on McCaffrey.

Lance Taylor, his position coach at Stanford, was hired by the Panthers earlier this offseason as Carolina's new wide receivers coach.

Rivera said one comment Taylor made to him stuck with him throughout the draft process.

"He told me he has Luke Kuechly's DNA," Rivera said of the team's intense and hard-nosed two-time All-Pro middle linebacker. "He's all about football."

The Panthers have two selections in the second round (No. 40 and 64) and one in the third (No. 98) on Friday night and could address at defensive end with one of those picks.

NFL DRAFT GUIDE: Carolina Panthers 2017 preview

The 2017 NFL Draft started Thursday and the Carolina Panthers picked eighth overall -- the team's first top 10 pick in the draft since 2012 -- taking Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.

In addition to the eighth pick, the Panthers hold three picks on the second day of the draft: two second-rounders (40, 64) and a third-rounder (98).

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[LINK: Panthers complete college draft history]

Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman told Channel 9 last week in his pre-draft press conference that he’s very excited that the Panthers have four picks in the top 98.

He made an analogy to ice cream, saying this year's draft is the full "Ben and Jerry's -- there's a lot of different flavors of talent at various positions."

[IN PHOTOS: Every Carolina Panthers 1st round pick in team history]

The team said they've looked at players on tape dating back to 2014 to get a full scope for evaluating their talents. Gettleman said the goal is to find guys who can come in and help immediately as well as long-term.

He emphasized that the organization would draft the best player available.

"I can't just say, ‘Oh, we got to have the best prune-eater in America,’” Gettleman said. “No, that's not the way it works. It's now and down the road."

5 prospects the Panthers could be eyeing

Picks: First round (8), second round (40, 64), third round (98), fourth round (115), fifth round (152), sixth round (192), seventh round (233).

The team took a massive step back a year after their Super Bowl run two seasons ago, finishing in last place in the NFC South at 6-10.

Many pundits believe the needs are glaring, most importantly the need to better protect quarterback Cam Newton with at least one tackle and an interior offensive linemen.

Others may think it is more important to improve the pass rush and try to replace Kony Ealy, who was traded to the Patriots.

And still others believe the team needs to acquire more offensive weapons for Newton, specifically a versatile running back and a solid wide receiver.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Some will argue for LSU star back Leonard Fournette, but the Panthers already have a power running back in Jonathan Stewart. McCaffrey, who is just as adept at splitting out wide as a receiver as he is running between the tackles, could provide more dynamic talent and might be able to open up the offense.

Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn

Lawson is difficult to get a good read on because he missed so much time to injury while at Auburn, but when he was healthy, he played like a top prospect. According to ProFootballFocus, Lawson averaged a hit or hurry every 5.4 pass rushing attempts last year. If he falls to the second round, it might be a perfect fit for the Panthers.

Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee

Cornerback is still a big concern for the Panthers, particularly in the wide-receiver rich NFC South, and free safety is a big issue. Sutton proved in the Senior Bowl that he could play all three secondary positions and the Panthers may need him to.

Julie'n Davenport, OT, Bucknell

The Panthers have a need at offensive tackle, but they don’t need a first-year starter, though they do need someone to replace Michael Oher next year at right tackle. This draft is not particularly deep with talent at tackle, and the Panthers may take a chance here.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

The scouting report on Westbrook is that he possesses elite over-the-top ability and is a smooth and clean route runner with strong hands. There are concerns whether he’s going to be big enough to withstand the beating the NFL can inflict, but the Panthers’ offense has plenty of short slants that can give Westbrook space to work.

Associated Press Mock Draft (First Round)


That's going to be the area of concentration in this draft, in the first round and through much of the proceedings in Philadelphia. Indeed, the first half-dozen or so selections could come from that side of the ball.

That's often the fallout when there are no slam-dunk quarterbacks available.

Here's how we see Thursday night's first round falling, minus any trades.

1. Cleveland

With the QB class so dicey, especially to start things, Cleveland goes for the potential of a dominant, long-term pass rusher. Some analysts wonder about his passion for football, but ...


2. San Francisco

When in need of defense, go for the pass rusher first, the shutdown cornerback second, the stud linebacker or safety next. So ...


3. Chicago

John Fox, a defense-first coach, gets his pick of the top defensive backs for a team that needs help at receiver, on the offensive line, and has settled on Mike Glennon as its QB. Lots of options lead to ...


4. Jacksonville

Sticking with the theme - Tom Coughlin is running the Jaguars now and he won two Super Bowls with a deep, powerful and fast defensive front ...


5. Tennessee (from Rams)

There's a great chance the Titans will trade out of this spot. Staying put will lead them to the most promising cornerback in this crop ...


6. New York Jets

Offense, offense. New York wouldn't mind grabbing future all-world tight end O.J. Howard here, except the Jets have no one of note to throw to him. So they try - again - to find their franchise quarterback in ...


7. Los Angeles Chargers

San Diego - Oops, that's one even Roger Goodell might mess up on draft night - make that Los Angeles was hoping one of the top defensive backs remained available here. One did ...


8. Carolina

This one is easy. The Panthers need a standout running back to balance their offense and make sure there can be a smooth transition from Jonathan Stewart down the line. That RB is ...


9. Cincinnati

Always a haven for players with off-field incidents, Cincinnati fills a linebacking need with a guy who was dismissed from the NFL combine in February and has questions surrounding him about a drug test. If he behaves, the Bengals have an anchor at LB with ...


10. Buffalo

Hard, no impossible, to see the Bills passing up a target for Tyrod Taylor or whomever becomes Buffalo's quarterback down the line. Howard is tempting, but an outside receiver is more tempting ...


11. New Orleans

At some point, the Saints need to think about a young quarterback to groom behind Drew Brees. Maybe in the next round, but with so much juicy defensive talent available, how about ...


12. Cleveland (from Philadelphia)

Now, for that QB to follow in the footsteps of Otto Graham and Brian Sipe - oh, wait, those were the other Browns. Anyway, it's a gamble here, yet ...


13. Arizona

Bruce Arians blinks once, twice, three times. Yep, the perfect weapon to balance out his offense (if everyone can stay healthy) is there ...


14. Philadelphia (from Minnesota)

A terrific pass rusher remains on the board, and though the Eagles need a wideout, they can wait in this deep draft to get him. So the man is ...


15. Indianapolis

If Andrew Luck is in the Colts' draft room, he's also in the staff's ear to get him more protection. He is, after all, coming off shoulder surgery. Here's some help, Andrew ...


16. Baltimore

A team with mostly mediocre receiving options for Joe Flacco might dip into the wideout and tight end pool more than once this year. As a start ...


17. Washington

Another club with eyes on a young quarterback, but probably not here with the defense needing bolstering and lots of options there. Such as ...


18. Tennessee

The defense was addressed earlier, so for Marcus Mariota and the passing offense, a potential game-breaking receiver with lighting speed makes sense ...


19. Tampa Bay

Tampa has an interest in the running backs and offensive linemen still sitting there. With Doug Martin's status in question, it seems logical to go with the versatile RB ...


20. Denver

When C.J. Anderson went down last season, Denver headed straight into the dumpster. If John Elway is truthful about being satisfied with his quarterback crew, he gets those guys some help now ...


21. Detroit

Back to defense after a short run on offensive players. The Lions get a boost to their cornerbacks group with the third Buckeyes DB chosen in this round ...


22. Miami

Miami continues the lovefest for DBs with the fifth one taken and the second from the Louisiana State secondary ...


23. New York Giants

What, only one offensive lineman off the board? Rejoice, Eli, the Giants have lots of blockers they could grab in this spot, and they gladly take ...


24. Oakland

Already winners with the vote to allow their relocation to Las Vegas, the Raiders would like to add to their fortune with some help for the D. It comes in the form of ...


25. Houston

Had Watson or Trubisky been on the board, the Texans might have pulled the trigger on a quarterback. The others left are even bigger gambles, so the best option is the O-line ...


26. Seattle

The Seahawks would have liked to have Lamp up front, but with the Texans beating them to the choice, they turn to their secondary. An addition to the sputtering "Legion of Boom" in ...


27. Kansas City

Best talent still in the mix is where the Chiefs need to go. Some believe they will draft a QB for the future, but more likely it is ...


28. Dallas

Having scored bigtime in recent drafts, particularly last year with Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott, the Cowboys seem to know what they are doing. Defense is a priority, though a TE to eventually replace Jason Witten is possible ...


29. Green Bay

Folks point to how weak the Packers' secondary looked late last season, but it was so banged up that backups for backups were playing. With better health expected, DB isn't the selection. LB is with ...


30. Pittsburgh

With Ben Roethlisberger beginning to think about retirement and the Steelers in a good spot to develop a QB for perhaps two years, this is a perfect time to get one. He is ...


31. Atlanta

Had the Falcons only been able to keep pressure on Tom Brady in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Addressing that shortcoming ...


32. New Orleans (from New England)

Ooh, that hurt. The Saints had their eyes on Mahomes, and there aren't any other QBs worth this pick. Here's a chance to spice up the return game and bolster the secondary ...


NFL draft offensive prospects thumbnail scouting reports


Deshaun Watson, 6-foot-2, 221 pounds, Clemson

Notable: In two national championship games against Alabama, Watson passed for 825 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: College superstar and charismatic leader, but pro scouts are still a bit skeptical because of accuracy issues, a penchant for forcing throws, and size and height that is a bit less than ideal.

Outlook: When Watson is selected will be the story of the first day of the draft. Projections seem to be all over the board, from top 10 to slipping out of the first round.

Mitchell Trubisky, 6-2, 222, North Carolina

Notable: In his lone season as the Tar Heels' No. 1 quarterback, Trubisky completed 68 percent of his passes with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Trubisky has the arm, athleticism, and quick delivery NFL teams love, but one year as a starter in spread offense means he has a lot to learn.

Outlook: Most likely quarterback to be drafted in first round.

DeShone Kizer, 6-4, 233, Notre Dame

Notable: Kizer took over as a starter early in 2015 because of an injury and was a revelation in a 10-win season for the Irish. Notre Dame slipped to four wins last season, though Kizer's play was not demonstrably worse.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: The decision making and touch need work, but Kizer has size and arm strength you cannot teach.

Outlook: In a quarterback class that is not blowing away scouts, Kizer could be a late first-round pick.

Patrick Mahomes II, 6-2, 225, Texas Tech

Notable: Running the Red Raiders' Air Raid offense, Mahomes passed for 5,052 yards and 41 touchdowns last season, with 10 interceptions and a 65.7 completion percentage.

Sum-it-in-a-sentence scouting report: Dynamic playmaker and athlete, who needs to be reined in a bit.

Outlook: The postseason draft process was good to Mahomes, who could squeeze into the first round.



Leonard Fournette, 6-0, 240, LSU

Notable: An ankle injury limited him to seven games in 2016 and he ran for over 100 yards in five of them. Ran for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: With power and speed to spare, the only nit to pick is elusiveness.

Outlook: Top-10 pick, unless NFL's running back value appraisals drag him down.

Dalvin Cook, 5-10, 210, Florida State

Notable: Averaged 6.5 yards per carry in his college career, with three 1,000-yard plus seasons.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Home-run hitter with big-time acceleration, but ball security has been a problem and there are questions about his ability to run between the tackles.

Outlook: If he slips out of the first round, Cook will be a second-round steal.

Christian McCaffrey, 5-11, 202, Stanford

Notable: Set an NCAA record with 3,864 all-purpose yards in 2015, then was slowed by injuries in 2016 - and still ran for 1,639 yards.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: What he lacks in size and power, McCaffrey makes up for with speed, quickness and versatility.

Outlook: Likely to come off the board in the second half of the first round.

Joe Mixon, 6-1, 226, Oklahoma

Notable: Mixon was suspended for his freshman season for punching a female student.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: He is a bigger, more powerful version of McCaffrey.

Outlook: Top 15 talent with a red flag that can be spotted from space.



Mike Williams, 6-4, 218, Clemson

Notable: Serious neck injury cost Williams almost all of the 2015 season, but he returned in 2016 to make 98 catches for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Big, strong and fast enough, with the ability to come down with passes in close coverage - and drop a few easy ones.

Outlook: First receiver off the board.

Corey Davis, 6-3, 208, Western Michigan

Notable: Four-year starter and FBS career leader in receiving yards with 5,285.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Polished playmaker who has to prove he can consistently deal with cornerbacks getting into his body.

Outlook: There are a bunch of teams picking in the teens that need a receiver and one will probably take Davis.

John Ross, 5-11, 188, Washington

Notable: Tore a ligament in his left knee in 2015, but it does not seem to have had any effect on his 4.2 speed.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Sure, Ross is a bit undersized, but he will be the fastest player on just about any field on which he steps.

Outlook: Receivers with legit 4.2 speed and reliable hands get drafted in the first round.



O.J. Howard, 6-6, 251, Alabama

Notable: The offensive MVP of the Crimson Tide's 2015 College Football Playoff championship game victory with five catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Brilliant athlete who was either under-utilized or too passive during his four seasons with Alabama, depending on your perspective.

Outlook: Strong tight end class, but Howard is probably the one first-round lock.

David Njoku, 6-4, 246, Miami

Notable: The next in a long line of athletic tight ends from Miami, joining the likes of Jeremy Shockey, Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: The former high school wide receiver has outside skills, but is still building a tight end's lower-body power.

Outlook: Late first-rounder who could jump to middle of first because of his high ceiling, or slide to second because he is still developing.

Evan Engram, 6-3, 234, Mississippi

Notable: All-American last season, catching 65 passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: A downfield threat best used in ways that don't require him to be an in-line blocker.

Outlook: Scheme fit is key and that could keep him out of the first round.



Forrest Lamp, 6-4, 309, Western Kentucky

Notable: Third-team All-America tackle last season who had a stellar Senior Bowl week.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: NFL scouts love Lamp, but his frame and arm length suggest more guard than tackle.

Outlook: If he was a sure-thing tackle he would probably be a top-10 pick. Instead, middle of the first.

Cam Robinson, 6-6, 322, Alabama

Notable: Started at left tackle each of his three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Perfect body and athleticism for the position, but needs to play with better balance.

Outlook: He is a first-rounder, but probably not the top-10 pick many expected going into last season.

Ryan Ramczyk, 6-6, 310, Wisconsin

Notable: Started his college career at Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point before transferring up to FBS.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Well-schooled, typically sound Wisconsin offensive linemen who is coming off hip surgery.

Outlook: End of the first round sounds about right.

Garett Bolles, Utah

Notable: Troubled teenager who went the junior college route before going one-and-done at Utah.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Excellent athleticism has scouts excited about his potential.

Outlook: Wild card in a relatively weak offensive linemen class. Could be first off the board or Day 2 pick.

NFL draft defensive prospects thumbnail scouting reports


Myles Garrett, 6-4, 272, Texas A&M

Notable: All-American last season and one of the best pass rushers in the country, despite some nagging injuries.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Elite speed, quickness and strength add up to a potentially dominant pass rusher with only the need to stay on the field more.

Outlook: Odds-on favorite to be No. 1 overall pick.

Solomon Thomas, 6-3, 273, Stanford

Notable: Pac-12 defensive player of the year in 2016 and has been gaining steam in the postseason draft process.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Gets rid of blockers with strength and quickness, though he might need to add some bulk and power to handle massive NFL linemen.

Outlook: Top-five probable, top-10 seems a lock.

Jonathan Allen, 6-3, 286, Alabama

Notable: Finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2016 and won two defensive player of the year awards (Bednarik and Nagurski).

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: A fundamentally sound and furious competitor who can play inside and out, but not ideal length on the edge.

Outlook: If Allen slips out of the top-10, it won't be very far.

Derek Barnett, 6-3, 259, Tennessee

Notable: Set a school record with 33 career sacks.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Makes up for lack of burst off the edge with strong and fast hands, plus good power for his size.

Outlook: The NFL loves pass rushers and Barnett does it well enough to go in middle of first round.

Takkarist McKinley, 6-2, 250, UCLA

Notable: Junior college transfer who took three seasons at UCLA to become a star.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Relentless effort and raw technique.

Outlook: The NFL loves pass rushers and McKinley does it well enough to go mid-first round.

Charles Harris, 6-3, 253, Missouri

Notable: Missouri has been pumping out NFL defensive ends recently (Shane Ray, Markus Golden, Kony Ealy). Harris is next up.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Good first-step pass rusher who needs to better hold his ground against the run.

Outlook: The NFL loves pass rushers - get the message? - and Harris does it well enough to go late in first round.



Reuben Foster, 6-0, 229, Alabama

Notable: All-American and MVP of the SEC championship game last season.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Vicious hitter who is probably too light to play middle linebacker in the NFL.

Outlook: Top-10 talent who might slip a bit because the value of linebackers who are not edge rushers is down in the NFL. He also was dismissed from NFL combine for argument with hospital worker.

Haason Reddick, 6-1, 237, Temple

Notable: Former walk-on defensive back grew into force as an edge rusher and then showed potential at linebacker at the Senior Bowl.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Freaky athlete whose only limits seem to be lack of experience at the position he seems best suited for in the NFL.

Outlook: Reddick went from possible first-rounder to borderline top-10.

Jarrad Davis, 6-1, 238, Florida

Notable: A leg injury cost Davis about a third of last season, but he was still second-team All-SEC.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Athletic outside linebacker who needs to be better working his way through traffic to ball carriers.

Outlook: Strong pro day could push him into the first round.

T.J. Watt, 6-4, 252, Wisconsin

Notable: Brother of Texans All-Pro and former Wisconsin star J.J. Watt. Knee injuries limited him to one full season of college football.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Frame to grow into a full-time defensive end, but not necessarily the athleticism to be an elite rusher.

Outlook: Last quarter of the first round.



Marshon Lattimore, 6-0, 193, Ohio State

Notable: Hamstring injuries and good players in front of him meant Lattimore only started one season at Ohio State.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Long, athletic and aggressive at the line, but needs to locate the ball better.

Outlook: In a deep cornerback class, Lattimore is mostly likely to be first off the board.

Quincy Wilson, 6-1, 211, Florida

Notable: Was overshadowed by teammate Teez Tabor, but Wilson is the better prospect.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Perfect size, very tough, but does he have the speed and athleticism to keep up with deep threats?

Outlook: That size could make him the first cornerback off the board.

Marlon Humphrey, 6-0, 197, Alabama

Notable: Son of former Alabama star and NFL running back Bobby Humphrey.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Can be overly reliant on his elite athleticism and sprinter's speed.

Outlook: There could be a half-dozen cornerbacks taken in the first round and Humphrey should be among the first group.

Gareon Conley, 6-0, 195, Ohio State

Notable: Started every game for the Buckeyes the last two seasons.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Good footwork and quickness, but gets a little lost in when he is not in press coverage.

Outlook: Middle of the first round.

Tre'Davious White, 5-11, 192, LSU

Notable: White broke up 14 passes, eighth in the FBS, last season.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Shows skills on the outside and in the slot, but needs to be more physical.

Outlook: Could be first LSU cornerback drafted in first round since Morris Claiborne in 2012.

Adoree' Jackson, 5-10, 186, USC

Notable: Played some offense and caught 39 passes in three seasons, and had eight career touchdowns on punt and kickoff returns.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Spectacular athlete, though size could make him better fit in the slot but could be a problem in run support.

Outlook: Jackson's return skills are likely to push him into the first round.

Kevin King, 6-3, 200, Washington

Notable: Played safety his first two seasons at Washington before moving to cornerback as a junior.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: That height makes NFL scouts excited, though his speed tempers that enthusiasm.

Outlook: There are about six other cornerbacks who grade out around King, so maybe he slips to the second day of the draft. But 6-3!



Jamal Adams, 6-0, 214, LSU

Notable: Son of former Kentucky running back George Adams, who played for the New York Giants.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Adams gets high marks for leadership, on top of elite athletic ability, and makes it difficult to find flaws here.

Outlook: Adams won't go first overall, but he can make the case.

Malik Hooker, 6-1, 206, Ohio State

Notable: Hooker was a Division I basketball prospect coming out of high school and started just one season at Ohio State.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Sideline-to-sideline range and excellent instincts in the passing game, but needs improvement playing close to the line.

Outlook: Safeties are not often selected in the top-10. Hooker and Adams are likely to buck that trend.

Jabrill Peppers, 5-11, 213, Michigan

Notable: Three-way player (defense, offense and special teams) who lined up all over the defense for Michigan last year. Finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Explosive athlete who was mostly used as a linebacker in 2016, but does not have an obvious position fit.

Outlook: The versatility could get him into the second half of the first round, but the 'tweener' label could push him out.

Budda Baker, 5-10, 195, Washington

Notable: Given name is Bishard, but was nicknamed Budda as a baby because his mother thought he looked like a Buddha doll.

Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Undersized, instinctive and tough.

Outlook: Late first-round because he has just enough similarities to Tyrann Mathieu.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article)