Earl Wolff, S, NC State: He’s 5’11, 209, but otherwise, Earl Wolff’s measurables are off the charts:
Wolff is a good tackler. He’ll take a bad angle every now and then, but typically if he gets his hands on you, you’re going to the ground. He’ll lay a shoulder into ball carriers when he gets a chance, but the thing I love about him is that more often than not he wraps up. Tackle stats are tricky, because teams will sometimes give credit to a player for an assist when in reality the player didn’t have much to do with the tackle. But if you trust NC State’s stat guy, Wolff had a buttload of tackles over his college career.
He had 107 tackles last year, 106 as a Junior, and 91 as a Sophomore. That would be a total of 304 in 37 games. That’s 8.2 tackles per game over a healthy sample size. He also had 42 as a Freshman in limited playing time. Impressive.
Wolff will join a crowded safety group, including free agents Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung, to go along with Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, and Colt Anderson. Obvious, there will be casualties.
Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma St: Randle was one of the running backs that visited Valley Ranch earlier this month, so he is a player who has been in the Cowboys’ radar. Here are his numbers:
The stat that jumps out at you is the 24 TDs Randle had in 2011, although I’m not in love with his yards per carry (5.2 is great in the pros, not very impressive in college), or his 4.63 40 time at 6’0, 204.
DeMarco Murray is, in my opinion, a perfectly fine feature back. He has speed, he runs hard, breaks tackles, and is a weapon in the passing game. The Cowboys are fine there. They did, however, need to bring in a competent #2. There were a number of RBs that I liked better than Randle, and I thought the Cowboys would address the RB position sooner. Randle may be asked to take on a significant backup role his rookie season. To be determined if he’s ready.
Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond: Cooper Taylor is a physical freak at 6’5, 228 who ran a 4.49 at his pro day. The Giants may try to use him as somewhat of a S/LB hybrid. My buddy Tommy Lawlor runs a draft site called Scouts Notebook, where he previewed Taylor:
“Massive Safety. Looks like a LB. Plays like one at times. Lines up on the LOS on a regular basis. Is withing 10 yards of the LOS on almost every snap. At times he looks like a star. JMU lined up in the Ace formation and ran at Taylor. He drove the TE backward, shed him, and stuffed the RB. A few plays later the TE drove him 5 yards off the ball. Can cover TEs. Didn’t get a feel for him against WRs. Wrap-up tackler, but didn’t drive through his targets forcefully. Showed good range vs the run. Good speed. Some teams could consider him a SAM. Taylor will take on pulling OL and has the size/strength to win some of those battles.”
It’ll be interesting to see what role the Giants have in mind for him. Also of note: Taylor is a medical risk. Heart condition. ESPN has the story on that.
Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State: Mike Shanahan sure does love drafting RBs every year, and the strategy makes sense. Running backs get battered more than any other position on the field so it makes sense to bring in fresh blood every year, particularly in the later rounds, even if it isn’t a position of need. Here’s Shanahan’s history of drafting RB’s, minus his short stint in Oakland:
Thompson is a little guy (5’7) with bigtime speed and good receiving ability. Based on that description I’m legally obligated to compare him to Darren Sproles. However, there are major red flags. Thompson suffered a fractured back in 2011, and and torn ACL in 2012. Before he tore his ACL, here were his numbers:
And a quick highlight reel:
I’m surprised to see Thompson go this high, but the Redskins’ doctors have as much to do with this pick as anybody. Maybe they think he’s not a big injury risk.
Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State: Another Florida State medical risk for the Redskins. The Seminoles were absolutely loaded with DE talent, and Brandon Jenkins was originally the most heralded of their DE trio. Bjoern Werner went in the 1st round at 24, and Tank Carradine went in the 2nd round at 40.
After his sophomore season, Jenkins looked like he might be an eventual top 10 pick, when he had 13.5 sacks. That was 3rd in the nation:
However, his production declined in 2011, and in 2012 he broke his foot in the first game. He was done for the season. Still, the Redskins get themselves an intriguing prospect in the 5th round who at one time put up bigtime numbers.