The time period between the end of the college football regular season and the beginning of ‘draft season’ is the wild west. Prospect rankings are all over the place, as Summer boards begin to collide with not only 2018 film, but character reports and buzz coming out of scouts on the university trail.
You’ll see players that were projected first round picks fall well out of the top-50, while plenty of incredible surges up the board will take place as well. The drastic differences make this a fun process in the football world, and that’s why I’m here to breakdown who I think is ranked too low right now.
Over in the NFL the tank contest is in full affect. Unlike most years, there is no clear cut horrendous team right now. There are just a lot of bad ones all in the mix. The prizes for each? I’ll break that down in a mock draft for the top ten selections.
As always, let’s close out the week with some buzz in scouting circles of the NFL.
Prospects Ranked Too Low
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
For most draft fans the narrative around this corner class has become ‘Greedy Williams then everyone else.’
I think it’s time we start challenging that and one has to wonder if the NFL will too. It’s not that Williams is a mediocre prospect by any means, but Byron Murphy out of Washington has quietly had a stellar season while displaying top defensive back traits.
From the eye test, Williams is going to win. He’s 6-3 with incredible length that resembles a corner similarly built to Richard Sherman. Compare that to Murphy, who is 5-11 and has even more of a wiry build, it’s easy to get more excited about Greedy.
Looking beyond that though, Murphy is the prototype on film in coverage. He’s fluid, smooth and mirrors receivers effortlessly. The ball skills are evident, with an explosive click and close ability to make a break on passes. He’ll come down hill and tackle with force, showing little hesitation against contact despite his build.
Greedy Williams has been penciled in as the undisputed top corner prospect in this class since day one. It’s time we get Byron Murphy in the conversation.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Understandably, Noah Fant gets the most hype out of any prospect for the Hawkeyes. What’s insane is that Iowa has another tight end prospect on their team this year in T.J. Hockenson, who easily deserves top-75 consideration.
The redshirt sophomore isn’t the same elite caliber athlete as Fant, but he’s a workhorse blocker with soft hands and plenty of open field ability. In a loaded tight end class, he could fly under-the-radar and be a steal similar to former Hawkeye George Kittle.
Devin Bush Jr., LB, Michigan
It seems as if Devin Bush’s sub six feet tall listing has erased any thoughts of him as a first round linebacker, but that’s a gigantic mistake. He carries a thick, muscular build, plays with explosive pursuit and brings an alpha male attitude to the front seven.
Devin Bush – absolute alpha pic.twitter.com/xdFtZKAY4s
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) November 13, 2018
The biggest question scouts will need to answer is: how does his height limit him? From what I’ve seen, it simply does not. Bush has a high chance to be a standout defender at the next level and it’s time to treat him as that.
Top 10 Mock Draft
- Oakland Raiders: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
- San Francisco 49ers: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
- New York Giants: Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
- Arizona Cardinals: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
- New York Jets: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
- Buffalo Bills: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
- Detroit Lions: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
- Denver Broncos: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Scouting Buzz of the Week
- The wide receiver stock has been all over the place in this class, but the one name that has the best chance to finish ahead of the pack is N.C. State’s Kelvin Harmon. D.K. Metcalf’s season ending neck injury could lead to him returning to school, but if he doesn’t all eyes will be on his combine medicals. Speaking of Ole Miss, A.J. Brown projects as a really solid number two wide out as possession target that makes things happen after the catch. Teammate Damarkus Lodge is one of the better athletes in this receiver class, but he needs to be a more consistent player. There are speed and/or quickness questions on N’Keal Harry, Hakeem Butler and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, making their testing numbers a huge factor for where they fall. They’ve all had moments of absolute brilliance when given the chance to make catches over defensive backs. Deebo Samuel has had a long road back from injury, but his special teams ability, attitude and success in traffic will be highly valued.
- We’re often caught up discussing players that ‘made a mistake’ returning to school, so let’s flip the script. Pass rushers Josh Allen from Kentucky and Chase Winovich from Michigan both returned for their Senior seasons and tremendously improved their draft stock in the eyes of scouts. Allen is averaging over a sack per game, displaying a wide array of pass rush moves to make life a nightmare for any quarterback in his path. Winovich currently has his eyes on a playoff spot for Michigan, but his relentless style of play to wreak havoc in the backfield has been under the spotlight. Allen is a first round lock, while Winovich should find his way into the top 75 after once being a day three afterthought. Both should be day one starters at the next level.
- One of the hottest draft debates is if Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert will return to school. Everyone around the Ducks program believes he’s coming back, but will that change when he knows he’ll be a top ten pick in this class? If you think back to this time last year, the same discussion took place regarding Sam Darnold. While I have my doubts Herbert would pass up that kind of guaranteed money, I’ve heard his approach to this is different than your typical pro quarterback prospect. This story won’t be going away anytime soon.