So I’m taking a brief break from my hiatus. This will be the one blog I post before one of my papers is done, though. My Hulk Hogan paper is most of the way done and the due date got pushed back a couple days so I feel comfortable briefly getting back to the blog for today. I won’t be regularly posting again until I’m done with both papers, however. I’ve got an interview for my other paper set up for Wednesday, though. He’s a guy who gives great insight so hopefully his interview will write a large chunk of my paper for me. So anyways, with the blog, the original plan with this week’s Draft thing was going to be just a Big Board, however I thought about it and I think I want to do a little bit more. Basically superlative stuff that will lead into the Big Board. I think that would be a little more interesting than just ranking 50 prospects with no explanations. So let’s get to the Superlatives. The one superlative I won’t do is “best prospect” because that would spoil my Big Board rankings.
Most NFL-Ready Quarterback: Josh Rosen-UCLA
Rosen is the one quarterback I’d be comfortable with starting Day 1. He does everything well on the field. The complaints about him are mainly questions about his love of football, but I doubt that it’s as profound as people are making it out to be. He’s just a guy who has lots of interests, football being one of them. He’s about as good a quarterback prospect as I’ve seen since Jameis Winston and Rosen doesn’t have the off-field baggage the former Florida State Heisman winner had.
Prospect I Just Don’t Understand the Hype For: Vita Vea-DL-Washington
Vita Vea is huge (6’5 340 pounds) and a really good athlete for his size. But every time I watch footage of him to try and understand why scouts love his game so much, I leave just as confused as before. Yeah he clogs space, but his get-off is so slow that any quality NFL offensive lineman is going to get the edge on him. He also kind of just plays patty-cake with offensive linemen when he does eventually get off the ball. Granted, he is my #2 interior defensive lineman, but that’s mainly because I do see potential with him. If he can work on his reaction to the snap, then I think he could be a beast and be impossible to run on.
Prospect I Like More Than Other People Do: Deshon Elliott-S-Texas
Elliott’s a guy that a lot of people have going in the third or fourth round of this year’s draft. I think he’s a high second-rounder, maybe even late-one if my defense needs a centerfielder-type safety. His instincts are really impressive to me and he always seems to be around the football, as he takes good routes to the ball-carrier. My one issue with him is that he looks like he lacks confidence as a tackler. He’ll make the tackle, but he seems hesitant to shoot the gap and deliver the hit. But he is as good a ball-hawk as there is in the nation. Just watch the USC game. He seemed to have Sam Darnold’s number all night. And one thing to note about guys that I like more than others. In the past, that honor has been held by the likes of Keenan Allen, Justin Houston, and Alex Collins. Just saying.
Most Impressive Prospect: Shaquem Griffin-LB-Central Florida
It kills me that I haven’t gotten a real chance to blog about this dude yet because he really is an inspirational story. He had to get his hand amputated when he was young due to a birth defect and for a lot of people, that would be the end of their usefulness. But Griffin instead became one of the top linebackers in the country and absolutely blew up the NFL Scouting Combine. He needed to use a prosthetic hand so that he could do the bench press, but he then went on to do 20 reps at 225 pounds. I have 2 perfectly functioning hands and the best I’ve done on the bench press is 5 reps at 165 pounds. Oh and there’s the whole thing about how he ran the fastest 40-yard dash ever recorded by a linebacker at 4.38. I watched his Auburn tape after this and he pretty much took over that game. He’s so quick that he can make offensive linemen look really stupid when he’s rushing the passer. He’d probably be a top-5 pick if he had two hands based on the tape I’ve seen and his Combine performance. But the guy has 4 career interceptions for God’s sake. I really do think he could be the steal of the Draft.
Most Intriguing Prospect: DJ Chark-WR-LSU
I had heard nothing about this guy until the Combine. Then he measured at 6’4 and ran the fastest 40-yard dash at 4.34. Those are Calvin Johnson-like measurables. However his production at LSU was limited. He did have over 800 yards as a senior but poor quarterback play I think hindered his ability to reach his potential. He could be one of those lesser-known guys that really blows up once he hits the NFL.
And now, on to the Big Board.
50. Shaquem Griffin-LB-Central Florida
49. Courtland Sutton-WR-SMU
48. James Daniels-C-Iowa
47. Harrison Phillips-DL-Stanford
46. Donte Jackson-CB-LSU
45. Mason Rudolph-QB-Oklahoma State
44. Ronald Jones II-RB-USC
43. Mike Gesicki-TE-Penn State
42. Uchenna Nwosu-EDGE-USC
41. Deshon Elliott-S-Texas
40. Taven Bryan-DL-Florida
39. Maurice Hurst-DL-Michigan
38. Carlton Davis-CB-Auburn
37. Sam Hubbard-EDGE-Ohio State
36. Will Hernandez-OG-UTEP
35. Brian O’Neill-OT-Pittsburgh
34. Derrius Guice-RB-LSU
33. Mike Hughes-CB-Central Florida
32. Malik Jefferson-LB-Texas
31. Jaire Alexander-CB-Louisville
30. Ronnie Harrison-S-Alabama
29. Dallas Goedert-TE-South Dakota State
28. Isaiah Wynn-OG-Georgia
27. Leighton Vander Esch-LB-Boise State
26. DJ Moore-WR-Maryland
25. Justin Reid-S-Stanford
24. Isaiah Oliver-CB-Colorado
23. Rashaan Evans-LB-Alabama
22. Kolton Miller-OT-UCLA
21. Mike McGlinchey-OT-Notre Dame
20. Josh Jackson-CB-Iowa
19. Harold Landry-EDGE-Boston College
18. Vita Vea-DL-Washington
17. Da’Ron Payne-DL-Alabama
16. Josh Allen-QB-Wyoming
15. Christian Kirk-WR-Texas A&M
14. Connor Williams-OT-Texas
13. Baker Mayfield-QB-Oklahoma
12. Derwin James-S-Florida State
11. Calvin Ridley-WR-Alabama
10. Roquan Smith-LB-Georgia
9. Sam Darnold-QB-USC
8. Josh Rosen-QB-UCLA
7. Marcus Davenport-EDGE-UTSA
6. Tremaine Edmunds-LB-Virginia Tech
5. Quenton Nelson-OG-Notre Dame
4. Denzel Ward-CB-Ohio State
3. Minkah Fitzpatrick-S-Alabama
2. Bradley Chubb-EDGE-North Carolina State
1. Saquon Barkley-RB-Penn State
So that’s it for today’s blog. Again, I won’t be posting consistently until my papers are done. But I will guarantee that I will have my mock draft ready for next Thursday’s event. Let me know what you think of the primer in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.