By: Lucas Kochevar
It's finally time to close down the mock draft machine for the foreseeable future now that the 2023 NFL Draft has finally wrapped up. The draft saw some notable names get selected on days two and three of the draft, including Will Levis, who went early in round two. Two Heisman finalists, Stetson Bennett and Max Duggan, also found homes. Coincidentally, they're both in Los Angeles where the national championship was held, Bennett with the Rams and Duggan with the Chargers. Some teams were also able to start their draft: The 49ers, Broncos, Dolphins, Browns and Rams. A lengthy list, but they had solid picks here and there. In this volume of LK League Notes, I'm going to go over some of the picks I loved from each round outside of the first.
Picks that I Loved
Cam Smith, CB South Carolina -> Miami Dolphins
Smith was a corner that I had a low first round grade on and him slipping twenty picks in the second round was a shocker to me. It's impressive that the Dolphins got this type of value in the second round for their first pick of the draft. I think he has a specific role in the league as a zone corner in the CB2 role early in his career. With professional coaching and learning under All-Pro Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard, he should improve. He's fairly athletic and has strong instincts around the ball. He has to clean up some of his technique in man coverage, but I think he can be a solid starter in the league.
Trenton Simpson, LB Clemson -> Baltimore Ravens
This is a typical Ravens pick that make you scratch your head wondering, 'How did he fall this far to them?' Simpson is a tremendous athlete that should eventually find his way into the rotation if he can improve the tendency to over commit to the run. He was a versatile player at Clemson and attacks the ball with speed and force. After the draft, the Ravens declined the fifth-year option on 2019 first round pick Patrick Queen, who plays the same position. If it wasn't obvious before, it's clear the Simpson could be the replacement for Queen sooner rather than later.
Adetomiwa Adebawore, EDGE Northwestern -> Indianapolis Colts
The Colts had a fantastic draft and Adebawore was one of the best picks they had value wise. A player that could have gone in the second or third round, Adebawore could find himself in the rotation with a strong camp. He's at a weird size that makes it hard for him to find a true position, but his strength makes him appealing as a power rusher in the league. The big key for him is to figure out how to not get washed into the pile of offensive lineman in the run game. He has the impressive raw tools, he just needs to figure out how to maximize them.
Chase Brown, RB Illinois -> Cincinnati Bengals
There were a couple of guys for consideration in the fifth round, but Brown to the Bengals was the pick I liked the most. There have been a few hits in the fifth round at the running back position, such as Tyler Allgeier and Aaron Jones. The Bengals taking a swing here is a good move given their backup Samaje Perine recently left and Joe Mixon seems to be in trouble. Brown was an explosive back in college with his speed and cuts. Though he doesn't have power, his elusiveness should help him make the jump. He's not stranger to being a workhorse back after last season with Illinois. I love this player and fit.
Karl Brooks, EDGE Bowling Green -> Green Bay Packers
If there are any Bowling Green Falcons in the comments, you understand how much of a steal this guy is. Brooks was a key leader for the Falcons throughout his time with the team. He's a great athlete and provides a unique mix of savviness and technique that should help him in the pros. His only issue is finding the right spot for him on this 3-4 Packers defense with his size. He should line up on the edge and provide good depth until he can develop into a rotational guy.
Cory Trice Jr., CB Purdue -> Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are another team that killed the draft and their last pick was just as good as the first. Trice Jr. could have gone earlier in the draft based off of his size and tools. He likely fell due to his inconsistent technique, but it's very fixable with pro coaching. His physicality should help him make smaller receivers uncomfortable, but he can't let receivers beat him with slower closing speed. He's definitely has some work to do, but Mike Tomlin has done wonders with late-round picks before.
Forgotten Player of the Week: Chad Greenway
It's hard to find many players who were as consistent in their career as Chad Greenway was. This weeks Forgotten Player of the Week comes from the University of Iowa as the the 17th overall pick. Greenway came into the league and contributed immediately as he started in all 16 games. He was a tackling machine in his rookie year compiling 105 combined tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. One of those interceptions was a pick six.
In his sophomore campaign, Greenway put together another season over 100 tackles and added on 5.5 sacks. The next season, he was one tackle off of another 100-tackle season. He truly hit his prime in his fourth season at age 27. He had 144 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss. The next three years he recorded over 130 tackles each year, with a career-high in 2011 with 154 tackles. He earned back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately, father time started to make himself known as Greenway's production started to go downhill until his retirement in 2016. He finished fourth all-time in Vikings history for tackles.
Greenway was an underrated player during his time in the league. He was one of the last players that fit the archetype of an off ball linebacker that compiled a consistent high number of tackles. Other guys that come to mind are Paul Posluszny, James Laurinaitis and Falcons legend Paul Worrilow. Could it be coming back with the likes of Jack Campbell? Likely not, but there is still a demand for linebackers that understand the art of tackling like Greenway did.