Here are the four players about whom we disagree.
CB Aaron Robinson, UCF
Craig Stout: Just one month ago, Robinson was receiving late-Round 1 buzz. While he’s a good player who translates well as an NFL slot defender, only one cornerback of his build and speed has been chosen in the first two rounds of the NFL draft since 2010: Damon Arnette. Among early-round cornerback picks, the NFL covets size, speed and length; the league tends to wait out more slot-specific players — such as Amik Robertson in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. Robinson will likely be drafted in the middle of Day 2 — more of a testament to a poor cornerback class than his projection to the next level — but he has never struck me as an early-round player.
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Matt Lane: Owusu-Koramoah is a guy who is starting to get buzz as a starting linebacker (with Micah Parsons) and it absolutely floors me. He’s a fun prospect with fantastic athleticism and quality coverage skills — maybe even great coverage skills for a linebacker. But that’s where the problem starts. As a box player, he is almost non-existent; his entire impact is predicated on chasing down the ball carrier. There is no real diagnosis of blocks — and when he does get framed up, he doesn’t have the skill set to slip them. His entire goal is just to outrun everyone to every spot — but he doesn’t always know where that spot is. For a linebacker, he’s a good coverage player — and that’s what really gets everyone’s attention. But in the slot, he isn’t going to man up on wide receivers or quality tight ends. He’s a chess piece player who is a B-minus to C-plus player in the majority of the things he can do — which is still limited to nothing more than WILL or SAM roles.
WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Jake Stack: Bateman came into the 2020 season with top-20 hype, decided to opt out — and then he opted back in. He is a good player — but when I watch him, I don’t see the type of explosiveness you want to see in a first-round wide receiver; his athleticism doesn’t jump off the screen to me. He does a lot of things well, but I have a hard time imagining his clear path to NFL success. Is he just a guy who is winning at the catch point? Or will he be able to separate consistently at the next level? Don’t get me wrong: I still like Bateman — just not in the first round, which is where a lot of people are valuing him.
EDGE Carlos Basham, Wake Forest
Kent Swanson: Basham (he goes by “Boogie”) is a guy who helped himself at the Senior Bowl, showing promise in pass-rushing reps on the interior. He looks like a Steve Spagnuolo-type EDGE who can kick inside on third down and rush with effectiveness. Admittedly, I’m higher on him after than I was before the Senior Bowl — but I remain lower than the consensus; he didn’t show me enough at defensive end — his likely primary position — to change my opinion. When I watch him line up outside, I don’t see a Round 1 player. He’s a long, dense EDGE who wins with power — but has an average first step, stiffness through his frame and doesn’t (and likely won’t) threaten the corner enough to develop a complete pass-rushing plan. There’s value in a big, high-effort player like him, but not in the first round — and for me, maybe not even the second round.
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