2019 Picks #81-85
NFL Draft Scout
#81 Lions - Will Harris, SS, Boston College
OUTLOOK: With defensive-minded head coach Steve Addazio running the show, it should come as no surprise that Boston College has turned into a consistent producer of quality NFL defensive prospects. Harris is a bit of a throwback to a prior generation as a run-defending box safety. While his production and experience should not be ignored, Harris' lack of speed and agility in coverage could be exposed by the precision passing and explosiveness he'll face in the NFL
#82 Titans - Nate Davis, OG, Charlotte
OUTLOOK: A four-year starter, Davis made 37 career starts in 40-games played during his 49ers career. He had other scholarship offers but wanted to play for Charlotte, a new football program, which just finished up its sixth season of college football existence this past year. He played mostly defense growing up until making the switch to offense during his sophomore season in high school, so his aggressive style of play certainly stands out. He really stood out in one-on-one drills during the week of Senior Bowl, which could see his draft stock receive a major boost.
#83 Steelers - Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State
OUTLOOK: A former wide receiver with the size and speed package so popular in today's NFL, Layne is Michigan State's most intriguing defensive back prospect since cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard (24th overall in 2014 to Cincinnati) and Trae Waynes (11th overall in 2015 to Minnesota) earned back to back first round selections before he joined the team. Layne made the transition to cornerback during his freshman year in 2016, playing in nine games (eight as a cornerback) and registering 18 tackles, including one for loss and collecting his first interception. He emerged as an all-conference candidate the next two seasons, enjoying a breakout campaign in 2018 with a career-high 15 passes broken and 72 tackles, nearly doubling his production from the year before when he earned Honorable Mention accolades.
Layne announced his decision to bypass his senior season at Michigan State and enter the 2019 NFL Draft prior to the Spartans' matchup with Oregon and its celebrated junior quarterback Justin Herbert in the Redbox Bowl. Layne did not play in what turned out to be a 7-6 loss for MSU, ending his career with 130 tackles, 24 passes broken up and three interceptions in 34 career games. If Layne had more reliable hands he likely never would have been asked to change from wide receiver to cornerback. His lack of ideal ball-skills is a concern but not one that should keep teams from considering a Day 2 selection to acquire his services as he possesses the size, athleticism and toughness as a tackler to project as a future starter on the perimeter.
#84 Chiefs - Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois
OUTLOOK: Saunders made quite the impression at the Senior Bowl, opting to compete in it while his wife delivered the couple's first child (a little girl named Kambridge), turning heads with an impromptu gymnastics routine following practice in which the 320+ pound completed a dazzling over-head backflip and flashing the initial quickness and lateral agility which helped him earn a reputation as the "Aaron Donald of the FCS." As his flip and eye-popping production (204 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss, 18 sacks and four forced fumbles) suggest, Saunders is a fantastic athlete, projecting as a middle round prospect who may very well outplay some of the more traditionally-built defensive tackles selected ahead of him.
#85 Ravens - Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
OUTLOOK: Twitchy, long-limbed pass rusher capable of beating tackles off the ball with his burst, alone. Good upper and lower body coordination to slap away the reach of opponents while ducking or dipping away, leaving a small target for would-be blockers. Good core flexibility to scrape the corner, showing intriguing ability to re-direct smoothly without slowing down, perhaps in part due to his relatively high-hipped frame. Balanced, coordinated athlete with the lateral agility to elude flat-footed blockers. Good leg drive for the bull rush. Appears equally quick off the ball regardless of whether he's rushing out of the two point (stand-up) or three-point stance. Flashes strength in his hands to rip away would-be blockers. Long-arms (34") to lasso ball-carriers, showing good hand-eye coordination to trip up runners seemingly out of his grasp as well as to knock the ball free, forcing seven fumbles over his career. Plays a finesse brand of football that did not translate well at the Senior Bowl where Ferguson struggled to break free once the top tackles there latched onto him. Too willing to pin his ears back to rush the quarterback, failing to keep contain versus the run. Doesn't recognize traps or cut blocks coming his way. Too easily negated by misdirection and play-action. After passing by future Hall of Famer Terrell Suggs to officially be the new all-time sack king in college football with 45 career quarterback takedowns, scouts eagerly anticipated seeing Ferguson against top competition at the Senior Bowl. Though he did register a sack during the game, itself, Ferguson failed to distinguish himself during the week of practice, however, likely pushing him outside of the top 50 picks despite his undeniable production. At that point, Ferguson's length, quickness and experience rushing out of the two and three point stances could make him a steal.