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St. Marie's Grades: 2022 Draft 1-10
By Nic St. Marie
Special to gzl-football.com

1.1 - WR Ja'Vonte Nix - A+
A_Patel :
Lethal of a Pick, a Highly Physical Freak at WR with 71 STR? That's totally unheard of ever before and not even Julio Jones has ever close to possessing that being 6'4 himself at any point of his career and Nix as a Rookie has that Attribute to go along with this 95 SPD/ACC. Unquestionably the Best Talent at the Position and in the Draft you can argue along with the two STUD DE's. Nix will post unchartered territory Numbers. However, on improvement side his STA and TGH will need some work to make him Durable.
Grade: A+

Tom :
He was the only choice Size speed and Hands
Grade: A+

G_Pearce :
So Ja'Vonte Nix is a wide receiver, not always considered the greatest impact position.
He's 6'4" and 222lbs, which is above average height for a receiver while the 22lbs (possibly 232 with OT&C) puts him into the top 30 (or 20) in weight for a receiver. As a combination this is already making him fit into an even smaller class of unique players.
I'm sure Nic has every plan to throw as many progression points as possible into the likes of speed and acceleration, so we'd be looking at a 98 SPD, 95 AGI, 94 ACC player. Now that speed alone is something we expect to see on a 5'10" to 6'0" player. Anyone going 6'2"+ with that sort of top end steps up to another level. Acceleration wise he looks rather low (not elite) and I think this will ultimately only affect his longevity as he regresses below 90 ACC whilst his speed is still usable (check what has become of Jonathan Baldwin). The value of agility is as always in dispute as it is not determined what it actually helps. My view says the higher it goes the quicker you can change direction, but in any case 95 is really nice and any more is just icing on the cake.
So 6'4", 232lbs, 98 SPD, 95 AGI and 94 ACC looks pretty damn good so far. Throw in the 91 jump and he can still elevate over most defenders to maintain his advantage. Top this off with 71 strength and break tackle he now becomes a very big body that can handle contact inside, overpower safeties and even a lot of linebackers. If any weak little corner wants to try an arm tackle in the open field then he's a big chance of shrugging off the tackle and breaking away.
It wouldn't be much of a stretch to consider Calvin Johnson in his prime as the pinnacle of what we all want in a receiver, so if we want to take this #1 overall pick we'd be remiss not to make this comparison. He's 1 inch shorter, probably 17lbs lighter, 3 points faster, 7 points weaker, 1 point less agile, 2 points slower of the mark, 8 points of less vertical and 11 points better at breaking a tackle. Overall Calvin still looks like the top dog, but Nix has plenty where it counts and will prove a handful for coverage.
All things said and done he is the best receiver in the draft, and one of the best al-round receivers this league has seen (once progression is applied), so I'd agree with Nic's A+ rating. Now he needs to make sure his quarterback can work with the talent on hand.
Grade: A+

1.2 - HB Leonard Fournette - A
Oh boy, do I have a bias here. And yet, I can't penalize this pick even in as loaded a HB class as this. This guy is a clear best of class, and maybe best of all time. The Dolphins couldn't wait for this mixture of LaDainian Tomlinson and All Day Peterson to fall out of the top 5. There was less than a 50% chance of that happening.

We have yet to see league-changing dominance out of Ezekial Elliot, but he's been pretty productive in just two years. I expect Fournette will be just as good and quickly join the top backs in the league.

1.3 - WR Courtland Sutton - B+
Sutton was a very highly debated draft pick this year. One reason being the strength debate among WRs, and how much it adds to a player's ability to catch in traffic. Another reason being two other 6'3" WRs being available in the draft that could reach 6'3" 94 SPD with similar or better AGI/ACC.

Sutton was the first of the bunch picked, and has the ability to reach 96 SPD, while being tied for the best Jump and having better hands than the rest of the group. I think regardless of the debate on value, the Lions got themselves a WR that will have a healthy percentage of the impact Calvin Johnson had, and he compares pretty well to Julio Jones (add 2 SPD/AGI/STR to picture full-strength JJ), who had a monster career despite being quite a bit weaker than all other 6'3" WRs.

I prefer Julio Jones to Jaelen Strong or Keenan Allen, but either would have been a value worth taking in the top 5 of this draft.

1.4 - LE Ja'Bar Powers - A+
No debate in this pick. For Powers to last until 4 is a slight surprise, but was very possible. Lasting past 6 like some mocks projected was nearly impossible.

Ja'Bar will likely receive +3 SPD/ACC and will become one of the three best speed rushers in the league (well, four with 1.5) and will be the second best behind the legendary Clowney, just ahead of Owa Odighizuwa. His AGI makes him a lot more like Owa than Clowney, but Double-O had just finished two consecutive years of 13 sacks and is just now reaching what will be a very long prime. Powers will bring elite pass rushing to a Colts team that has lacked that for quite some time. A great pick here.

1.5 - DE Myles Garrett - A+
Read 1.4, expect him to become an equal of Owa, slotted just behind Powers. But, Garrett brings strength that hasn't been seen in this sort of pass rusher since Mario Williams, who was once the most dominant pass rusher in the league.

The power rush with Garrett is an additional aspect to his game, and if he is improved to 87 STR we just don't know what that will do to his otherwise premium speed rushing. I'm looking forward to finding out.

1.6 - MLB Zach Cunningham - C+
Cunningham is a very good player, and will be a top 10 MLB pretty much his entire career. And yet, I don't love this pick for two reasons. First is a bias of mine, run-stopping value is lower than pass stopping value on defense. DEs and CBs are more valuable than linebackers. Furthermore, if he had game-breaking athletic I could see his pass-stopping skills bringing him into this area of the draft but it's not.

Secondly was Cunningham the best linebacker in the draft? I had Phillips, but a case can me made Zach is the best MLB even if personally I'd prefer Cunningham's athleticism to Zach's strength. All of these things make me question his selection here. Despite him being a great player who will be very successful.

1.7 - CB Marlon Humphrey - A
A_Patel :
Humphrey honestly should've went at #3 and I called it before the Draft started and after Sutton was drafted at #3 instead. You can never have enough CB's in this League especially when you have WR's like NIX coming out of the Draft. Great Size at 6'1 and Burning SPD/AGI/ACC across the charts at 93+. He will reach 96 on all three categories soon and his AWR 70 is a major Plus to start with. Perhaps even the Steelers should've taken Humphrey because Cunningham IMO was a mid 1st Pick but Humphrey and Nix combo arguably put Seattle as the Best Drafting Team this Offseason. Stellar Pick!
Grade: A (because there was also CB Adoree Jackson on the Board and Overall I liked him as much as Humphrey)

G_Pearce :
Humphrey is close to the best corner in the draft if you think a few inches in height make the difference. With top end stats of 96 SPD, 95 AGI and 97 ACC he should be able to keep up with any deep threat whilst not getting mauled by the bigger receivers. His 64 strength is nice and should pair well against many receivers, so overall a nice pick at #8. As this draft class doesn't feature any tall timber to be the most obvious best in class at corner, Humphrey proves good value at this spot.
Grade: A

Tom :
A Steal This late a CB who will be a starter with in 3 Seasons or Less
Grade: A+

1.8 - LT Cam Robinson - A-
If you like your OL athletic (check) but prize the pancake block, Robinson is your guy. Great feet, very good top speed, and the best knock-out potential of all of the top offensive linemen. Robinson tied with two others on my board (not including C) for the honor of top linemen. Which is the only reason not to give this pick an A. I think I'd choose to move back 5 spots if I could and still end up with McGlinchey or Nelson.

Almost not fair to make that penalty, but there were still some awesome talents in the front 7 and at WR, and I'm betting the move back would give something (even a 3rd or 4th) with virtually no discernable drop-off in on-field performance. Less penalty applied here than to Sutton.

1.9 - WR Michael Williams - A
Williams is either the 3rd or 2nd best #1-style WR in this draft. Being the one to fall to 9, makes the Bears get a better grade. Although in some cases, it may be a poor strategy (to wait) that paid off anyway. Poor process, good results.

In this case, WRs like Williams often don't fall to the 9th overall pick, but the Bears were likely considering other positions as well. Williams is still a franchise-leading type of WR, even if he's never going to be true deep threat in the GZL.

1.10 - CB Adoree Jackson - A+
Trust Anthony to make such a strong move for a very strong player that lacks perfection. At 5'11" some simply marked Adoree back to their 3rd or 4th CB, despite his fantastic ability. Not Fernandez. At 10th overall, the Buccaneers took the best CB of this stature since Blaine Hasty and in fact he's superior. Jackson has the strength to jar a man off of his route like few CB's in this league, and if some are to be believed that will disrupt even the 6'3" Sutton of the Lions.

Jackson will quickly reach 90 AWR, giving him a longer peak than the average rookie CB. Pair that with his ability to reach 99/98/99 athletics and already great hands, and Jackson could set career records for INT's returned for TD. Nothing but opportunity and quality of teammates stands in the way for him. A great pick at 10th overall.
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