2019 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Add Miami's Gerald Willis to group of premier DT prospects
The redshirt senior defensive tackle has been unblockable in 2018 for the Hurricanes
We went into the season knowing names like Ed Oliver, Dre'Mont Jones, Dexter Lawrence, Raekwon Davis, and Jeffrey Simmons.
It's time we include Miami's Gerald Willis to the collection of dazzling defensive tackle prospects in the 2019 draft. He's been an unstoppable force on a loaded Hurricanes defense through the team's first seven games and has demonstrated a nasty swim move from his powerful, compact frame.
I don't know if he'll test as outstandingly as Sheldon Richardson did in 2013, but I get Richardson vibes while watching Willis.
Here's my updated Top 20 prospects list.
1. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa made the right decision to leave Ohio State to prepare for the NFL Draft. As I wrote yesterday, for me unless someone like Ed Oliver or Clelin Ferrell goes bananas over the next few months.
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2. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Williams will stay here for now, but against Missouri I noticed his lack of mass can hinder him against big, power-rushers on the edge. Alabama's left tackle is as fundamentally sound as they come and very powerful himself. There are just times he gets rocked backward from the initial jolt he receives. With more weight, he'd likely anchor more consistently.
3. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Here's what Williams did in the win over Georgia -- five targets, two receptions for 44 yards, one pass breakup. More specifically, he allowed a 35-yard back-shoulder throw to Riley Ridley with a little under seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and he could've had an interception to essentially seal the game but it was taken away by his teammate ranging from center field. On Williams' pass breakup, which came on a post route in the end zone, his length and leaping ability were on full display. He undercut the receiver, jumped in the air, and was able to get a hand on it.
Oliver notched two sacks against East Carolina and showed off some counter moves, including a spin, as a pass-rusher. Those were far from his only pressures of the game. Oliver also forced a fumble. It was the type of performance -- which included some "finishes" -- I've been looking for all season.
5. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Both Clemson and NC State had byes leading into their clash this weekend, when Ferrell will face the best pass-blocking offensive line in the ACC.
6. Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
Against Minnesota, Jones added a sack and a handful of backfield disruptions to his resume. He's easily one of the most effective pass-rushing defensive linemen in the country, and at his size, with his skill set, he'll fit perfectly into today's nickel-package heavy NFL.
7. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Here's what Baker did against LSU -- six targets, one reception for six yards, and two pass breakups. Even on the catch he allowed, Baker showcased his impeccable plant-and-drive ability. He's a lockdown corner.
8. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
Brown had six grabs for 64 yards in Ole Miss' narrow victory over Arkansas. He's mostly a possession / yards-after-the-catch receiver, but his strong hands allow him to make plays down the field.
9. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Thompson has two pass breakups and a pick in the last six games after an interception and three passes defensed in the season-opening win at Louisville. However, he's still the best safety prospect in the country thanks to his elite movement and versatility. You can play him at deep center field or ask him to run sideline-to-sideline in run support.
10. N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Harry and Herm 'You Play To Win The Game' Edwards were off last week and play a perpetually gritty Stanford team on Saturday.
11. Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Every week I watch Tillery I'm more impressed with his burst off the snap and that he's not constantly out-leveraged by shorter offensive linemen. He didn't have his best game against Pittsburgh but still created backfield disruption -- particularly against the run -- and exploded through a few gaps as a pass-rusher with a powerful swipe move.
12. Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Risner locks down the right side of the Kansas State offensive line with an NFL-caliber combination of power, anchoring ability, and light feet. In today's NFL, his position is as important as left tackle.
13. Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
Harmon will draw 6-foot-2 Trayvon Mullen for the majority of his snaps against Clemson. Legit NFL Draft prospect matchup.
14. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams is a redshirt sophomore and has appeared in only 16 games to date for the Crimson Tide, so there's a decent chance he'll return to Tuscaloosa for another season. But, maaaan is he good already. Like most Alabama linemen, Williams is a little further ahead as a run-stuffer than he is as a pass-rusher at this point, but he's impossible to miss on seemingly every play thanks to a vicious combo of sheer power and efficient hand usage.
15. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Little is a mirroring machine and can be left on an island against the opposition's best pass-rusher and hold it down. His athleticism provides him what he needs to flourish as a run-blocker too. He'll be some NFL team's starting left tackle Week 1 of 2019.
16. Ryan Finley, QB, NC State
One game shouldn't make or break the reputation of a quarterback -- or any player for that matter. However, I have a feeling Finley's draft stock will hinge on the contest against Clemson. If he flops against a loaded Tigers team, he'll be widely considered a system quarterback who's feasted on lackluster defenses in the ACC. If he's up to the challenge and thrives, he'll be viewed as a first-rounder by most ... although I already think he's that caliber.
17. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite's flashes are tremendous ... I'm just slightly concerned with his motor that runs a little more hot and cold than what I saw in 2017 and early in the season. Also, his lack of play strength worries me. He's a dynamic mover with some pass-rushing moves. Florida mostly uses him as a edge-rushing specialist in obvious passing situations. That's probably what he'll be in the NFL, and there's nothing wrong with that.
18. Gerald Willis, DT, Miami
Willis has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Hurricanes with 13 tackles for loss in the team's first seven games. He might have the most effective swim move in the nation, and he plays with serious power at the point of attack. He has a checkered past off the field but has done plenty of good for his draft stock early in 2018.
19. Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
Rapp is one of those always-around-the-ball safeties who moves at a different pace than everyone else on the field. Twitchy and fast. He was magnificent against Oregon and should've had an interception on a tipped pass if his teammate didn't bump into him as they both went for the ball. Rapp is used mostly as a box safety and identifies quickly, then gets to the ball in a hurry. He has range in coverage too and isn't limited athletically.
20. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert flashed first-quarterback-off-the-board skills against Washington but wasn't spectacular. His game is still somewhat raw. However, the Oregon signal-caller is now clearly ahead of Drew Lock as my QB2.
Brian Burns, DE, Florida State, Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State, Zach Allen, DE, Boston College, Devin White, LB, LSU, Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford, Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson, Te'von Coney, LB, Notre Dame, Drew Lock, QB, Missouri, Ben Powers, OG, Oklahoma, Michael Jackson, CB, Miami, Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
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