After some time off, it’s back in the saddle here on Monday Musings. So let’s get to the random Canes-related tidbits floating around in the recesses of my brain....
1) IT’S DRAFT WEEK!!!!!! Finally, after months of speculation, over-analysis of 40-yard dash times, and mock drafts, the drama will begin to unfold Thursday night in Cleveland. The Canes have a quintet of draft hopefuls in Jaelan Phillips, Greg Rousseau, Quincy Roche, Brevin Jordan, and Jose Borregales. Hopefully all five will hear their names called out by the time the weekend is over.
2) The real drama for the first two of the aforementioned players will play out after the first 10 picks are called out on Thursday night. There is a divided consensus as far as who the best defender in the draft is, and one well-known broadcaster and former player thinks Phillips is the best by a large margin:
I know about the concussions, but UMiami’s @CanesFootball Jaelan Phillips is the best defensive player in this year’s draft. I don’t even think it is close.— Cris Collinsworth (@CollinsworthPFF) April 13, 2021
3) The list of potential suitors for Phillips is long, as Phillips has the size and physical tools to play as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 OLB. The Giants could use pass rushing help at 11, as could the Vikings at 14, the Titans at 22, and the Steelers at 24, and the Jags at 25. Any of those teams could be in play for the Canes’ disruptive end, among others who are looking at him as their best player available. If I had to guess, I’d say Minnesota at 14.
4) Left as an afterthought among draft projectors and pundits, especially following Phillips’ meteoric rise, Rousseau has an incredible opportunity to show the league that they screwed up by passing on him. I’ll call for Rousseau to go early in the second round to an edge-needy team, such as Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, or Carolina in the first 10 picks of the round. Whoever it is will be getting a player with high-first-round upside at a premium price.
5) Of the three Canes edge players, Roche is a bit tougher to predicte. He fits more into a 4-3 DE instead of a 3-4 OLB due to his rushing prowess compared to coverage skills. His technique is sound, but he doesn’t have quite the same athletic upside as either Phillips or Rousseau. That said, he simply has produced wherever he’s gone, and I see him as an early fourth-round pick.
6) Brevin Jordan is battling among Pat Freiermuth and Hunter Long for the title of second-best tight end prospect in the draft behind Kyle Pitts. If a tight-end needy team has a high grade in him, he could go towards the end of the second round. More likely I see Brevin as a middle-to-late third round pick. Again, this would be a major value pickup from someone with the pass catching acumen of Jordan. Folks want to talk about Pitts as being a wide receiver playing as tight end, but Jordan exploited ridiculous mismatches in the middle of the field as well. That aspect of his game should transfer well into the NFL.
6) Lastly, Jose Borregales very well could hear his name called in the sixth or seventh round. The 2020 Lou Groza Award winner has the powerful leg (59-yarder vs. Louisville) and consistency (18-20 makes on the season) to entice a team to give up a late round pick to ensure his rights. I saw one alleged draft pundit make a statement that he was concerned about Borregales’ kicks being too low and subject to being blocked in the NFL, but I’ve seen nothing to back that up in watching him kick. He should have a solid career in the league.