Ebs’ NFL Draft Hot Takes: Deshaun Watson, Jamal Adams, Malik Hooker, O.J. Howard, Jabrill Peppers

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WILKES-BARRE, PA – You know what I haven’t written about in sometime here for Meet The Matts? The NFL Draft… We’re less than a month away from the draft and things are starting to heat up.

In a fresh set of Ebs’ Hot Takes, I’m going to break down the buzz surrounding the draft.

Enjoy!

Deshaun Watson will be the first quarterback off the board. If Mitchell Trubisky had two years of experience under him and not one, the former North Carolina QB could be a No. 1 overall pick. However, considering quarterbacks with limited experience haven’t traditionally panned out in the NFL and Deshaun Watson has the intangibles to succeed, I believe the national champ will be off the first QB off the board.

Watson is a proven winner, a leader and has a lot of athleticism. He has the makeup to succeed at the next level if he’s provided a year or two to sit back and learn.

But where will he be drafted? I see three easy options: New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals.

Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty aren’t the answer. The Browns are smart enough to not take Watson with the top pick, but I do think he could be an option at 12. But the best option for Watson would be to No. 13 and Arizona. The Clemson product can sit behind Carson Palmer for a year or two. After Palmer retires, Watson can step right in and succeed.

Look out for the Buffalo Bills as a dark horse. I don’t agree with it, but Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller reports that GM Doug Whaley is in love with him.

Two safeties will go in the top 10. LSU’s Jamal Adams and Ohio State’s Malik Hooker are two names to remember come draft day.

Both are extremely talented and with a stress on the passing game intensifying every year, the safety position has become more important than ever before.

Adams is great against the run and Hooker is raw but has a higher ceiling. However, Adams is rising up draft boards and will likely be taken first.

The two could be options for teams like the Chicago Bears, Jets, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers and Bills.

O.J. Howard could step in and become the best at his position. Step over, Gronk. There’s a new sheriff in town.

O.J. Howard is a straight-up beast and can play both on the line of scrimmage and out in the slot. He’s a good run blocker too.

NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein compares Howard to Julius Thomas, but he has a higher ceiling than that, and by a quite a margin.

With his 6-foot-6 frame and wide receiver-type speed he could be a top weapon for almost any team in the league.

But will he try hard enough at the next level? That’s the concern many scouts have, and likely why he compares to Thomas and not a better tight end.

Jabrill Peppers is going to be the steal of the draft. Many knock Jabrill Peppers for his position versatility in college. That he played a bunch of positions because he wasn’t good at a single spot.

But I don’t see it that way. Michigan asked Peppers to line up at different positions because they needed him to play different roles at different times. His versatility shouldn’t be held against him.

Also, his ball skills are better than people give him credit for. He catches punts after all. You need good hands to do that. Sure he has one interception and just 10 pass defensed this past season, but it’s not like he was a corner and he lined up as a linebacker at times.

In a world where defenses are always changing and rarely stick to one scheme, a player like Peppers can become a commodity.

He should be a top-10 pick and might not even go in the first round. And I understand a second-round pick isn’t exactly a steal, but he’s being undervalued.

Come back tomorrow for Ben Whitney and please follow us on Twitter at @ByDJEberle & @MeetTheMatts, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

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About the Author ()

DJ Eberle: The youngest of our team, DJ is also the largest. Offensive Tackle Large. In fact, this Albany native used OT for Western New England University – until he graduated in May of 2014. Like Junoir Blaber, he’s a regular on Rugby Wrap Up – his dad played rugby with The Matts. His cross to bear, however, is his love for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. As for baseball and basketball, it’s the Yanks and Atlanta Hawks. Follow him on Twitter: @ByDJEberle.

  • AngryWard

    Excellent analysis, DJ. How about the Cavs blowing that huge lead to your Hawks yesterday? You must have been so torn, what with your loyalty to Atlanta and your unabashed man-crush on LeBron.

    • DJ Eberle

      Thanks Ward! Haha not only did they blow the lead on Sunday but the Hawks beat Cleveland on Friday when they sat just about all of their starters too. I’m surprised Atlanta has been able to string some wins together. Gives me some optimism heading into the playoffs. Haha and I’ll always root for the Hawks. LeBron and Co. will be okay though.

    • You were nearly flagged for “blowing that huge…”

  • Big Blue 56

    I don’t see Watson bombing in the NFL. Too much talent and he’s been under pressure and thrived. And look for the Giants to grab a QB.

  • Cheesybruin

    O.J. Howard is everything you say. He’s a Super Freak. As for Peppers, he’s a playmaker and what NFL team can’t use one of those no matter where he lines up?

    • Well, we can name 2 right off the bat: The Bills and Jets. Neither have a QB and neither ever will.

  • Buddy Diaz

    Peppers doesn’t get enough credit. He was the best defensive player on arguably the best defense in the country. Michigan defensive players tend to do well in the NFL and I don’t see that changing for Peppers

  • benwhit

    Good breakdown. I don’t see the Jets taking another project QB though. At least not early in the draft. It’s too risky for Mike Macc’s job security. I think they’ll focus on other needs, see if their 2 youngsters show any promise (unlikely), and grab one in the QB heavy draft next year if needed.

    • Full Disclosure: We call DJ prior to going on Danny B Sports, to get briefed on all things college sports.

  • benwhit

    Would love it if Howard somehow fell to the Gmen

  • Junoir Blaber

    I hope the Jets get Peppers. McCown will be the QB after Petty blows his chance and be able to string some wins together before Hack takes over due to injury.

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