Prisco's 2019 NFL Draft Better-Than Team: 20 guys I like more than the scouts do
Vanderbilt's JoeJuan Williams headlines a list of guys who have draft steal written all over them
Tall corners, who can play press-man coverage and can back it up with a cocky attitude have great value in today's NFL.
Vanderbilt's JoeJuan Williams is that type of corner, and he's a darn good one. He's also the captain of my 2019 Better-Than Team. It's a team made up of 20 players I like better than the scouts, a team I've been putting together for a decade now.
Some of the players who have appeared as captains on my list in the past are Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David, Steelers safety Sean Davis, Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and last year's choice, Panthers tight end Ian Thomas, who impressed as a rookie fourth-round pick.
Williams is the first corner I've picked to be the captain of my Better-Than Team. At 6-3, 210 pounds, he plays with a physical style that will make him perfect for teams that like to play a lot of man coverage.
Williams isn't a burner – running 4.55 at his pro day – but he plays faster than that and makes up for it with his ability to get his hands on receivers. Sometimes, he does do too much and gets called for or even gets away with holding a lot. That has to change in the NFL, but a good coach can get that out of his game.
Williams is also a willing tackler, often times coming up in the run game to knock a back off his legs. Corners who can cover and tackle are rare.
Williams is from Nashville, the same hometown for brash Jacksonville Jaguars corner Jalen Ramsey. He isn't on Ramsey's level in terms of coverage, but he's certainly on his level when it comes to swagger.
Pop on any of his games and you will see a corner jumping around with enthusiasm and not back down from any of the best receivers in the SEC. He appears to talk a good game, but he plays one as well.
Here is my full Better-Than Team:
Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State
He is a tall corner at 6-3 and he's a good man-press player. He should excel at that on the next level. He is a physical player who won't back down from a battle, which you want in a corner. He just might end up being the best corner in this draft.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
I like safeties who have played corner, which Gardner-Johnson did in his career. He can play slot corner in the league, but I think he projects as a safety with range. He made major improvement in 2018 for the Gators.
Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State
Teams love versatile offensive lineman and Jenkins has played guard and tackle before settling in at center. That gives him value. He has good size at 6-4, 310 pounds, but he doesn't always play to that size. He is a good athlete who can move.
Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
He doesn't have blazing speed and he didn't catch a ton of balls at Georgia, but he is a player who will be a productive NFL receiver. He isn't as good as his brother, Calvin, who plays for the Atlanta Falcons. But he is a player who should go in the second round and can be a long-time starter in the league.
JoeJuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
There aren't many 6-4 corners, but Williams is that. He is also good in press-man coverage, which will make him valuable to teams that play his style. He isn't a burner, running 4.55 in the 40 at his pro day, but he is plenty fast enough to be a good starter on the next level.
L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
Collier is one of those players who doesn't possess the explosive edge speed, but he makes due with this power and competitive style. He is relentless. At 6-4, 275 pounds, he can anchor in against the run as well. Will be a three-down player, moving inside as a rusher in the nickel.
Dru Samia, G, Oklahoma
I love guards who play with an attitude. That's Samia. He is a tough, physical player who will mix it up with anybody. He isn't a great athlete, but he's going to battle every single play.
Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State
This is a kid who I think will be better in the NFL than he was in college. Strange, right? But he has all the tools to develop into a nice interior player. He played nose for the Sun Devils, but I think he can be much more than that. He has a nice first step, and just needs some seasoning.
Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State
He came late to football, having starred in other sports like water polo. But he is an impressive athlete, who should develop into a quality pass catcher on the next level. He didn't get a lot of use at San Diego State because of their run-first approach, but on the next level he should develop into a nice play-making tight end.
Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida
Linebackers who can run are valuable in the NFL, even if he Joseph will be limited to a will linebacker spot for 4-3 teams. At 6-foot-1, 226 pounds, he has to get a little heavier to take on contact consistently. But they said the same things about Lavonte David when he came out, as well as Telvin Smith. He has a tendency to be over-aggressive at times, but that can be coached out of him.
Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
He is a tough, hard-nosed player who isn't an explosive rusher, but he will be a guy who hangs around the league for a long time and could develop into a Pro Bowl player. He can also play inside in pass-rush situations.
Michael Dieter, OL, Wisconsin
Here is a versatile lineman who has started at tackle, guard and center. I think he's a guard on the next level, even though he has the ability to be a nice right tackle. He played in a pro-style offense, which will help on the next level. I would draft him, start him at guard, and see him become a longtime starter.
Stanley Morgan Jr., WR, Nebraska
If a team wants a player who can be a potential big-time producer in the slot, Morgan Jr. is that guy. He is a player who has been productive in the Big-10 for the past two years. Why he isn't getting more pre-draft love is a mystery to me.
Gary Jennings Jr., WR, West Virginia
I love receivers with good size who can get deep and make big plays. Jennings Jr. averaged 17 yards per catch last season with 13 touchdowns. He also can fly for a 6-2, 215-pound receiver. That's a nice combination for a team looking for a project receiver.
James Williams, RB, Washington State
If a team is looking for a pure third-down back, Williams is their guy. Playing in Mike Leach's pass-happy offense, he caught 202 passes in three seasons, including 83 last season. He didn't get a lot of work between the tackles, so there is some question about that, but it doesn't mean he can't do it. He could be a nice Day 3 steal.
Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame
If a team is looking for a big, raw receiver who has the tools to be a starter in the league, Boykin is that guy. He just needs some refining, which shows up on his tape. But at 6-3 with good speed and a good combine workout, he is certainly a player who can develop with the proper coaching.
Bobby Evans, T, Oklahoma
On a good offensive line, he did a nice job in front of Kyler Murray last season. He is a good athlete who does a nice job in pass protection. He might need to add some bulk in the league, but on his 6-5 frame that is certainly doable. He moves well for a big man.
Cortez Broughton, DT, Cincinnati
With Aaron Donald having so much success, the idea of a smallish defensive tackle becoming a force inside isn't so off the wall now. At 6-2, 285 pounds, Broughton gets by with his quick first step and ability to get penetration. He will have to get stronger in the run game, but didn't they say that about Donald when he came out?
Greg Little, T, Mississippi
He was once considered a top draft pick, but he didn't quite play to that level. Even so, there is a lot to like. He is athletic and can move. He is also solid in pass protection, although his technique needs some work. He could be a nice pick in the third round for a tackle-needy team.
Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
Let me say it again: I like safeties who have been corners at one time in their careers, and Thornhill played that spot at times for the Cavaliers. That gives him range in the middle of the field. He can also play some slot corner if need be if needed. I like these types of players who project well to the style of the NFL game.
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