I have always enjoyed the process of team building and everything that goes with it, as do most guys who study the NFL Draft. So I decided to put together the 33rd NFL franchise out of players that fit my team. I tried not to make it just an all star team and am also counting on my highly paid coaching staff to coach up a few of these young guys. It’s all about fit, and you know what they say if it don’t fit …..
Our franchise is called the Tri-State Ruckus. Our head coach is John Gruden, who we were able to pry away from the self proclaimed worldwide leader in sports. For everyone’s sake we were promised that he would limit his usage of the “Spider 2 Y Banana”. Our defense will be run by Dick Lebeau, yeah he’s old but if we are going to have Vic Beasley as our main guy there isn’t another defense I would want to run besides Pittsburgh’s 3-4.
QB Jameis Winston FSU- Say what you want but the kids a winner and his teammates follow him. Also this draft class’s lack of any other guys that are ready to play in the NFL made the decision almost automatic. What we love about him is his anticipation, so the plan is to protect him and surround him with quality route runners.
Back up QB Austin Dodge Southern Oregon- If you have no idea who he is shame on you. Go watch one of his games or even his highlight tape and you will see possibly the best and most accurate deep ball in this whole draft. The questions about level of competition are understandable but we are going to let Gruden mold him.
RB TJ Yeldon Alabama- When we run the ball we are going to run to our right (more on that later). I like that Yeldon knows his strengths and plays to them. He presses the line of scrimmage, locates the hole, and then quickly gets north and south. He’s a willing blocker and can contribute in the passing game. We are expecting him to be our workhorse.
3rd down RB Trey Williams Texas A&M- When it comes to open field, stop & start, make you miss and look foolish in the process this is one of my favorites in the draft. He can catch the ball and also contribute in the return game.
WR Amari Cooper Alabama- One of the best route runners to come out of college in a long time. He has proven that he can be a #1 and will get open vs zone or man. Cooper is great at setting the DB up and then leaving them behind.
WR Tre McBride William & Mary- He showed he can play with the big boys vs West Virginia and at the East- West Shrine game. He is deceptively fast and has the ability to go get the ball with strong hands.
Slot WR Justin Hardy ECU- Hardy consistently gets open and makes tough catches. He knows how to work the middle of the field and is a good route runner. He has unbelievable hands and is a reliable target.
WR Jamison Crowder Duke- He has proven that he can do it all but on this team he will mainly win on the inside, relying on his quickness in & out of breaks and run after catch ability. His punt return ability is also a plus.
TE Nick Boyle Delaware- A physical specimen who we can put in line to block but also athletic enough to help in the passing game. Brings some toughness and intensity to the team.
TE Jean Sifrin Umass- Steps in as the oldest guy on our team. He has one purpose on this team cause he doesn’t have much interest in blocking, he has al large catch radius which gives him the ability to make tough catches.
RT La’el Collins LSU LT D.J. Humphries Florida RG Laken Tomlinson Duke LG Ali Marpet Hobart C Max Garcia Florida
Our right side along with our center will be our physical drive blocking, break your will side. While our left side is our athletic pass blocking side. Marpet has the athleticism to pull and do damage in the run game as well. Humphries will protect the blindside and is mobile enough to get out and make the cutoff blocks to get our backs to the 2nd level.
Defensively we will be playing Hall of Famer Dick Lebeau’s 3-4. Man to man on the outside while matching up on the inside. We will be sending 5 guys a majority of the time and with this unit we expect to give offenses fits.
DE Arik Armstead Oregon- He flashes the ability to be a dominant 5 technique. He destroyed double teams vs FSU and Ohio St. and we are counting on our staff to get that out of him on a consistent basis. Armstead has skills you can’t teach.
DE Preston Smith Miss. St- A versatile end who can fit any defense. May be slightly undersized to play the 5 technique but he has shown the speed, strength, and most importantly in this defense the ability to anchor. Guys like Smith will always find a way to make plays.
NT- Joey Mbu Houston- A wide body with long arms who plays with good strength and quickness. His job will be to eat up double teams and keep our fast Lbs clean.
OLB- Vic Beasley Clemson- We are expecting him to be a 15 sack per year guy for us. He has a ridiculous burst off of the edge and an inside counter that can make the best offensive lineman look foolish. He has the ability to cover but if Lebeau puts him in coverage too often he won’t have a job.
OLB Lynden Trail Norfolk St / Shaq Riddick West Virginia- Every good team thrives on competition and the Ruckus is no different. These two players are raw prospects but have really high ceilings. Trail has great size, length, and athleticism for the position and he has experience dropping into coverage. Riddick killed his pro day, with some of the best explosion numbers of any player at his position. During the season he flashed pass rush ability despite being used as more of a 5 technique. We will coach them up.
ILB- Eric Kendricks UCLA- He is one of those prospects that’s position is football player. 3-4 may not be his best fit but Kendricks gets to the ball and makes tackles. The NFL is a passing league and when it comes to coverage there aren’t many better than Eric, even in the NFL.
ILB Kwon Alexander LSU- He played the Will LB at LSU but with his ability to slip blocks and make plays all over the field we are comfortable moving him inside. His speed and ability in coverage are also a big plus.
One team has removed Marcus Peters off their draft board
CBs- Marcus Peters Washington and Steven Nelson Oregon St- Our two starting corners are all about the “Ground and Pound”. Physical press man from the second the plane lands. These two play angry and always took the challenge of the other teams best receiver. I have no doubt that Peters will be one of the leagues best in a short time and Nelson isn’t too far behind.
Nickel/ Dime CBs Ifo Ekpre-Olomu Oregon and JaCorey Shepherd Kansas- Both of these guys have the ability to mirror receivers and do a great job locating the ball and making plays on it. At the moment Ifo is more of a complete player but Shepherd has all of the tools to be a good CB for a long time.
FS Damarious Randall Arizona St- He will be our centerfielder, he is a smart player who has good instincts and ball skills. He adds to our defense with his ability play man coverage whether it be in press or off coverage. So it allows us to bring the heat on the other teams QB.
SS- Jaquiski Tartt Samford- Tartt will be the enforcer in our secondary. He is a physically imposing defender who will ale receivers think twice when they come across his area. He is a good tackler who thrives in the box but also has the athletic ability to become a solid player back deep as well.
Well there goes the 2015 Tri-State Ruckus. Win, lose, or draw we will have a whole new roster in 2016. Let us know what you think of the team and what players you would add. Follow us@SportsRuckusand@Draftdiamondsfor all of you NFL and NFL Draft news and takes.
NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at [email protected]