Knowing who to avoid is arguably more important than knowing who to draft. Now that it’s officially draft week, most everything is written into stone and it’s up to GMs to execute their plan. Even so, he are some names to hope don’t show up on our draft boards when Nick Caserio & Co. spend our hard-earned draft capital on the next class of Houston Texans.
Jeremy Banks, LB - Tennessee
- Reason to avoid: Past team & personal misconduct
Jeremy Banks is a conundrum. Former RB turned linebacker with on-field stardom but off-the-field and locker room infractions. From fighting QB Hendon Hooker to altercations with students at bars, Banks has enough red flags to remove him from teams draft boards.
On the field, Banks is a heat seeking missile as a standup linebacker. This is a shallow but deep class (not many high-level talents but plenty of rotational players), and Banks has the potential to be a late-round impact player. He ran a 4.53 40 yard dash and put up an impressive 25 reps at the bench press at the NFL Combine.
While he may be a physically gifted athlete, his track record supersedes the value Houston can acquire by drafting him.
Nick Herbig, OLB - Wisconsin
- Reason to avoid: Physically ungifted
According to the NFL’s Combine Profile, Herbig ranks third in production, but 28th in athleticism in this linebacker class. That’s the greatest disparity in production vs. athleticism in this class. Take a look at NFL Draft Buzz’s percentile breakdown of the linebacker.
With these physical traits, he can’t be used in any role where he has to be physical. He’s being mocked in the third round, but could be destined for sup-package play only.
Adetomiwa Adebawore, DE - Northwestern
- Reason to avoid: Physically overhyped NFL combine
Conversely, take a look at how impressive Adebawore’s physical traits are compared to other D-lineman.
While he’s being labeled as a tweener, it’s his lack of positional versatility in games that will limit his ceiling. Northwestern primarily played him as an end, but he doesn’t have the leg drive or technique to succeed as a starting DE. Then at his height and weight he absolutely doesn’t show the ability to be a defensive tackle given the film.
Teams can be blinded by a player’s athletic acumen. Even for a player coming out of the Big 10, he does not have the productivity (only five sacks last season) to warrant the hype he’s being allotted. He gives me Christian Covington vibes, who went on to have a great career given his sixth round draft position, but Adebawore is being given a second-third round draft value.
Emmanuel Forbes, CB - Mississippi State
Reason to avoid: Skinny
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single player who will be drafted in the first round who is in the FIRST PERCENTILE in anything. That means he is the bottom 1%, not 99% folks...
Forbes comes in at 6-1, 166 pounds. There are breeds of dogs that weight more than that. Sure, he can technically put on more weight in an NFL weight room. But with more unnatural mass means less flexibility, angularity, and function. I’d be surprised if he ever cracks the 185 pound mark of most cornerbacks.
You worry drafting Forbes for durability and physicality issues. Expending a first round pick on a player who can’t compete physically is a recipe for a disaster.
Noah Sewell, LB - Oregon
- Reason to avoid: Disappointing 2022-23 season
Sewell entered the 2022-23 season with the label as the next great inside linebacker. He was the new model of MIKE linebackers; a guy who could cover tight ends and slot receivers but also demolish running backs between the tackles. His mediocre 2022 season, while still productive, came as a disappointment to those wishing he would redefine the role.
Sewell’s knack for being a sifter through blocks rather than a destroyer has removed him front draft boards all together. Unless Houston has a distinct role on the team for him, he is not worth the selection even on Day Three.
Sydney Brown, S - Illinois
- Reason to avoid: Surrounded by talent
The Fighting Illini will have three secondary players drafted in the first two days of this draft. That’s an incredible feat, but at some point one or two of those players will be the benefactor of the system or the talent around them. That player was Brown; much of his productivity in the passing game came from poaching errant passes, tipped balls, and cleaning up disrupted routes.
At 5-10, he is not the prototypical safety prospect, especially for one who uses their physicality as a factor in their game play. He’s really a poor man’s Budda Baker.
He reminds me of Taylor Rapp the Safety out of Washington who benefited Byron Murphy on his team.
Drew Sanders, LB - Arkansas: Positional fit at the next level
Eli Ricks, CB - Alabama: Surrounded by talent and one year of good film
Gervon Dexter, DT - Florida: Technique and reaction time
Lukas Van Ness, DT - Iowa: Too much of a tweener
Jalen Redmon, DT - Oklahoma: He’s already 24
Zach Harrison, DE - Ohio State: Lack of production given skillset and athleticism
Karl Brooks, DE - Bowling Green: Not a defensive end, but certainly not a defensive tackle
Jordan Battle, S - Alabama: Gave up too many big plays. See Tennessee game