Q&A With: Nolan Nawrocki Part I

Pro Football Weekly's college scouting expert recently finished his guide to the NFL Draft, before taking a few hours off. Then it's back for more analysis of the April Draft. He shared his thoughts on what the Redskins might do with the ninth overall pick -- and what positions are strongest.

Warpath Insider: What are you hearing about the Redskins?

Nolan Nawrocki: Their looking hard at receivers. I don't know if getting Santana changes anything. I would guess they'll still take a receiver unless they start trading picks. I would expect receiver to still be a need and defensive end and cornerback.

WI: Will Mike Williams be there at No. 9?

NN: I had to do a mock draft and had him going to Minnesota at No. 7. I know they think he's a top 5 guy so that's a real possibility. So he might not be there.

WI: What do you think of Williams?

NN: You can throw his speed out the window. A lot of people got hung up on that. It's his size: he'll be a player at the next level. He showed up in better shape at the combine than he did a year ago. I can't figure out what the Bears are thinking at No. 4. I think they'd like to trade down and get a third-round pick back. But they liked him a lot, too.

WI: Then who do you have the Redskins taking?

NN: Erasmus James.

WI: What's your scouting report on him?

NN: He's a flexible guy, super powerful. There are two concerns about him. One is production -- he only played one year when he lit it up. And there's the hip. If he clears medically, I think people will get over that. He didn't start playing until his senior year in high school so I think about the upside in him. He'll be the top end off the board. LSU's Marcus Spears is another guy, but he had a knee injury working out for the combine. I think the Redskins would like a big defensive end and if you want to talk about stout . . . So he could wind up there. GMs in the league say Spears is a top five pick, but his knee gave me concerns.

WI: Some have mentioned the tight end from UVA, Heath Miller, as a possible pick. Any thoughts?

NN: That's too high. He could get over-drafted because there are so few tight ends. There were none in free agency and only two or three are worth a damn. Drafting him ninth is a stretch. Some people say he shouldn't be a first rounder.

WI: Where is this draft deep?

NN: Corners and defensive ends, so it's also good for them if they try to get a corner. Running backs are great.  There's depth in this draft, just not great quality. Especially when you stack it up against this past year. A lot of these guys would have been the third or fourth best at their positions last year.

WI: The Redskins might draft a corner, too. What do you think of Antrel Rolle?

NN: Antrel Rolle is a possibility because he'll be there and he's a big physical guy. A lot of teams like him at safety. I think he might be a Pro Bowl safety. He could play corner. One pro director said he was looking at the Pro Bowl corners in the league and their average size was 5-11, 197 pounds and they ran a 4.49 40. The knock on Rolle is that he doesn't run fast enough and isn't fluid enough and better suited for safety. But look at his numbers compared to Pro Bowl corners and he stacks up. I talked to three scouts at his workout and his fastest time was 4.49 but a lot had him between 4.51 and 4.56. So it's not the greatest. Rolle won't last long. I have a bet with a scout who said he'll be there after 15. I said he's full of it. There are quite a few teams who think he belongs in the second half of the first round. Pac Man Jones is so explosive and has a quick twitch. He won't make it to nine. Tennessee will take him because he can return kicks, too.

WI: Who's an intriguing guy?

NN: Shawn Merriman. He can play inside and he could stack the corner and be a base end or even be a linebacker. He's so versatile. Mike Tice will be looking at him. He'll come off between seven and 12, so he's another guy the Redskins will look at.  Some people think he could even play all three linebacker spots. What's great is that he went to high school with LaVar's younger brother and LaVar took him under his wing. He's a bitch, a downhill guy and he'll test through the roof. He was a 40-inch vertical guy at the combine. That's freakish.

WI: Is there a market if the Redskins want to trade down from No. 9?

NN: The whole top of the draft sucks. Nick Saban is trying to get out. The Browns are trying to get out. The Bears don't want that pick. I'm not sure if this draft is even six-deep. Who are the six? The Niners, I think Alex Smith is their guy. I think teams 2-3-4 all want defensive players so there's a lot that goes into it.

WI: Anything at middle linebacker?

NN: It's pretty weak. The top two guys are from Georgia. They have character concerns and I don't know if they're Gibbs type guys. They've got some issues. I don't think either will wind up going in the first round.


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