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NFL Prospect Evaluations – March 18

Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina, 5-foot-8, 200 pounds

PROS: Prototypical NFL build. Runs low, squatty, built strong, one cut and go type, tough to bring down.

He looks the part, but on the field? I expected more. Maybe I set the bar too high, but nothing about him has me saying ‘wow’ nor does anything about him say he is a steady chain mover. He looks great, but on tape he looks like a JAG (just a guy).

Too many NFL teams put a high priority on skill set, and Bernard aces that test. Someone will take him in the Top 50.

2013 OUTLOOK: Like any Top 50 pick, he is one to keep on your radar. While my expectations are lower than everyone else’s, the most important piece in evaluating running backs is expected workload.

DYNASTY OUTLOOK: Given where I expect him to be drafted and how dynasty owners value Top 50 running backs, I’ll pass. His ceiling looks like run-of-the-mill RB2, and I think he’s more likely to be just part of a committee. Not something I want to invest a high first-round pick in.

Keenan Allen

, WR, California, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds

PROS: Game tape. Quite simply, he’s a play maker. Runs hard, angry, crisp routes, wins 50-50 battles for the ball and has the ability to get open deep.

CONS: Most are concerned with his lack of top end speed. I’m not. He may not have a season with a half-dozen 50-plus yard touchdowns, but that’s not his game. His knee is my concern. He hurt it late in 2012, opted not to have surgery, and is still not 100 percent. His private workouts are going to be very important over the next few weeks.

DRAFT BRIEFING: Our own Greg Kellog interviewed Allen earlier this week. I strongly recommend taking part of your lunch break to give it a listen. Lots of nuggets of information within. Initially, I thought he was the only lock of the first round. While others categorize him as ‘sliding,’ I am more hesitant and have slotted him in a more vague ‘volatile’ category. The draft is still over a month away, so there is time for him to show his stuff in private team workouts. There isn’t any reason to believe he won’t be the star he was in college. Yet, anyway.

2013 OUTLOOK: Late-round flier to keep an eye on. His game will translate quickly to the NFL if given the opportunity, so it’s all on what team picks him and how the knee holds up.

DYNASTY OUTLOOK: Tentative buy. Again, those private workouts are so important. As is, I will draft him before Eddie Lacy and Giovani Bernard, but the next few weeks of (mis)information could change that.

Ryan Nassib

, QB, Syracuse, 6-foot-2, 225 pounds

PROS: Intangibles, football IQ, mechanically sound, ace in the intermediate passing game.

CONS: Decision making breaks down when the pocket gets messy, and anything more than 20 yards down field leaves a lot to be desired.

DRAFT BRIEFING: In a weak draft class and with so many NFL teams looking for viable backups, he will not make it out of Day 2. Banking on him to be a starter is a mistake, but bringing him in as backup to refine his craft makes a lot of sense, especially for teams that don’t rely on the vertical passing attack.

2013 OUTLOOK: Ignore him, even if he has a job. He has to learn to operate in garbage and become a master technician diagnosing defenses before he can be an asset.

DYNASTY OUTLOOK: Worthwhile flier. His types, ones that lack a down field game, have a place in the NFL but they must become masters in the rest of their craft. This will not happen overnight and is more likely a 2-3 year process. If you have the patience to wait out his development, he is probably the best bet of the Day 2 or later quarterbacks to have a job in five years. In shallower dynasties, it’d probably be best to ignore him now and re-visit in a year or two, though.

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