Pro Football Focus analyst Steve Palazzolo stopped by CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney on Tuesday to preview the NFL Draft, beginning with the No. 1 pick. Palazzolo believes that Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett will edge out Alabama’s Jonathan Allen for the top selection.
“Both guys would be great because Cleveland is really weak up front, but I like Garrett,” Palazzolo said. “I just think the upside that he has, (he’s been) very productive already, great athleticism. I think he still has room to improve his strength and his power, but he’s already been a dominant force for three years at Texas A&M. Stepped right onto campus as a true freshman and was excellent. I think there’s still room to improve his game, and he’s already an outstanding player. So I think it’s Garrett. He has that ability to be a game-changing pass rusher and (he’s) a much-improved player against the run.”
Palazzolo also likes Dalvin Cook over Leonard Fournette.
“I just think Cook has this special play-making ability, that special angle-changing speed,” he said. “A lot of times when the team is down in the fourth quarter, you look to your QB to make that big comeback, like Tom Brady did in the Super Bowl. If you watch Florida State over the last three years, they’re handing the ball off to Dalvin Cook, even when they had Jameis Winston. He was leading comebacks because he has such great big-play ability. I think that’s going to translate at the next level, and he can really contribute in the passing game as well.
“So I think Dalvin is that special game-changing talent at the top, and that’s not a knock on Fournette,” Palazzolo continued. “I think he’s an excellent prospect as well. I don’t think he does as much in the passing game and he’s more of that downhill, bruising-type runner. I don’t think he has as much wiggle. But at his best in 2015, his sophomore year, he did show the ability to run through tacklers, run around tacklers, so I think he’ll translate well to the NFL, but maybe not as well as Cook, who I think has that game-changing three-down ability.”
Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, meanwhile, is rising on various draft boards and could be the safest prospect in this year’s quarterback class.
“I think he shows up really well this weekend,” Palazzolo said, referring to the Combine. “He does have that cannon for an arm. He just has that great feel for the game, and I think that’s one of those things that works for him and against him because he doesn’t always look pretty. He doesn’t always have his feet set when he throws. He doesn’t always work within the flow of the system. Sometimes he invites too much pressure upon himself, but he has that special magic, that ability to make plays inside the pocket, outside the pocket. He can, with the flick of the wrist, put the ball on a guy down the field. Now, with some of the good comes the bad, decision-making, that type of thing that he needs to tie up. But he’s a guy I think teams are going to look at as this incredibly moldable prospect that has this unteachable feel for the game, that ability to find open receivers. I don’t want to completely compare him to Brett Favre, but I’ve seen that comparison thrown around. I don’t hate it. He has a little bit of that Favre-like magic, and I don’t use that (compliment) very often. So I think he’s going to come out of this week, show off that big arm and get even more hype as a potential first-round pick.”
Palazzolo also weighed in on Kirk Cousins. He believes the 28-year-old will remain in Washington.
“I just think the marriage needs to continue over there, whether it’s another awkward franchise tag or whether it’s the long-term deal,” Palazzolo said. “The way the salary cap is right now, there’s so much room. Guys who look overpaid are no longer overpaid two, three, four years down the road. I think a resolution can and will happen in Washington. . . . I don’t think Cousins is a top-five or maybe even a top-10 type of quarterback, but I think you know that you can move the ball with him, so I think you have to find a way to do that. He does a good job distributing the ball. I think they’re in a good spot right now and I would rather try to (win with Cousins) than trying to start over completely at the QB position.”