Myles Murphy, Bryan Bresee and Jordan Addison to Round 2? It could happen, national draft analyst says

NFL Draft News

Will Texas A&M safety Antonio Johnson drop to the third round?

Is star Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee a second-round talent?

And is Bresee’s teammate Trenton Simpson the fourth-best linebacker and destined for the late second-round?

The always-plugged-in Trevor Sikkema certainly thinks so.

The Pro Football Focus draft analyst released his three-round mock draft on Thursday, and while there wasn’t a ton of surprises in Round 1, there were several eyebrow-raising picks on Day 2.

Johnson, Bresee and Simpson are just three of the notable second- or third-round picks in Sikkema’s mock draft. He has Johnson falling to the New York Jets with pick No. 74 overall, Bresee going to Detroit at pick No. 48 and Simpson falling to Dallas in the second round at pick No. 58. Linebackers taken ahead of Simpson include Drew Sanders of Arkansas, Jack Campbell of Iowa and Washington’s Daiyan Henley, a fast-riser.

Other notable Day 2 picks by Sikkema include:

* Wisconsin DL Keeanu Benton going to Pittsburgh with the first pick of the second round after taking giant Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones in the first.

* Pass rusher Myles Murphy, also of Clemson, landing in New Orleans with pick No. 40.

* USC receiver Jordan Addison falling to Cleveland with pick No. 42. Addison is the fifth receiver in Sikkema’s draft.

Frankly, none of those moves should come as a big shock if things fell that way in the draft.

Start with the positions some of those prospects play: defensive tackle, safety and linebacker – unless they are considered generational talents at those position, it’s never a surprise when one of those players fall. That’s because it comes down to positional fit – a B.J. Ojulari is a better fit for a 3-4 team than a 4-3 team, for example – and team preferences, as players outside those upper-echelon tiers are generally ranked/graded fairly similarly. Translation: Campbell and Henley might be drastically different types of linebackers but still have similar grades by teams, which is why a team might take a slightly “lower ranked” player if he’s a better positional fit.

And, frankly, those three positions, along with guard, center and tight end, aren’t “premiere” positions. Add running back to that group – you can always find good players at those positions later in the draft, some of whom are capable of starting or playing right away.

Furthermore, it not a huge surprise to see Jones go that high or Addison fall to Day 2 – size and traits probably factors into both decisions. At 6-foot-8, 374-pounds, Jones was the biggest player at the Combine and looked fairly agile for his size, while the 5-foot-11, 174-pound Addison didn’t help himself with a good-not-great 4.49 40.

Plus, Addison has been falling in recent weeks., for example, lists Addison as the draft’s seventh-best receiver.

Likewise, Murphy has been trending in the wrong direction in recent weeks, too, although it’s unclear why, as the 6-foot-5, 268-pound junior was considered a top-10 talent for much of the season and didn’t start falling until after the season — despite no reports of health or work ethic concerns.

So it’ll be interesting to find out in the coming days why Siekkma ranked those players so low with the draft now just over a month away.

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Murphy and Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson are going in opposite directions.

Mid-way through the college season, and Murphy was still seen as a potential top-10, maybe top-5 player, with several draft analysts comparing him to another pass rusher with elite traits who wound up going No. 1 overall last year, Georgia’s Travon Walker. Many draft analysts, though, were not sold on Wilson and tabbed him as more of a mid- to late-first rounder.

The litmus test was supposed to be during the measurement phase of the Combine, as Wilson is still recovering from a foot fracture while Murphy wasn’t expected to participate in many drills.

Turns out, there’s a reason why Wilson is ranked so much higher than Murphy, at least from a traits stand-point.

And those Murphy-Walker comparisons? Those were a bit premature, too.

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ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on “NFL Live” this week that he thinks Carolina will take Alabama QB Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick, although he also added that people within the organization also like Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.

With all due respect, that’s not going out on a limb in a four-QB draft. (How long before it’s reported that the team also likes Kentucky’s Will Levis, while some in the organization prefer Florida’s Anthony Richardson?)

Others draft analysts since the Schefter segment have said it sounds like a “smoke screen.” Question: Smoke screen for what? Carolina already has the top pick in the draft.

For what it’s worth, Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline said one of the same sources who told him last year that Walker would go No. 1 overall is among those who are saying Carolina currently favors Stroud and Richardson. Draft analyst Trey Wingo, in the same “Football Insiders” podcast, said the Richardson-to-Carolina talk is surprising, adding that he knows people in Indianapolis who would be concerned about taking the Florida QB at No. 4.

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Benjamin Allbright’s below tweet just about broke the internet on Thursday:

Fact is, trading a one-plus-a-player isn’t that steep of an asking price considering the average 2023 receiver class. If, for example, one of those three teams doesn’t like the players on the board when it’s their turn to draft, then they’re essentially counting Denver receiver Jerry Jeudy as their first-round pick.

Of the three teams mentioned in the Allbright tweet, New England has more to offer than Dallas or Cleveland simply based off draft standing. The Patriots’ pick is at No. 14 overall, while Dallas picks at No. 26 and Cleveland doesn’t pick until No. 42 in the second round.

Therefore, to acquire Jeudy, New England would have to offer its first plus a player like second-year QB Bailey Zappe, which would give new coach Sean Payton a reasonable option at quarterback should Russell Wilson continue to implode.

That’s a far-more attractive offer than a Dallas trade of its first plus a player like second-year tight end Payton Hendershot or even third-year defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa or defensive end Dorance Armstrong.

Cleveland, meanwhile, would really have to sweeten the pot for Jeudy’s services. The Browns’ pick in the second plus a player like CB Denzel Ward probably isn’t enough – Cleveland would likely have to add another pick to make it work.

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The Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board will be updated next week after several of the more significant pro days have taken place.

Georgia held its event on Wednesday; Michigan on Friday. Iowa will hold its pro day on Monday, followed by USC (Tuesday), Ohio State (Wednesday) and Alabama (Thursday). The Rigdon big board will be updated sometime after the Alabama pro day.

Expect several changes — some subtle, some not-so-subtle. LSU DL Jaquelin Roy (No. 213) is the biggest riser, as most draft analysts see him as a potential Day 2 player (Sikkema has Roy going to Dallas in the third round).

Jake Rigdon (@jrigdon73) covers the NFL draft for His big board is updated at least once per week during the season and leading up to the draft. Message him on Twitter to receive $3 off your new Ultimate GM subscription.

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