The prospect evaluation process is fluid. As we learn more about the prospects and their resumes become more complete, players inevitably move up and down the board. With our summer scouting efforts coming to a conclusion, we recently released our initial TDN100 Big Board.
The collaborative approach that our scouting staff embraces in stacking our prospect rankings leads to a comprehensive board that encapsulates the collective viewpoints of our team, which includes an incredible amount of experience scouting football players. With that said, there are only 100 spots available so there isn’t room for every prospect, even ones that one or more of our staff members feel strongly about.
Given it’s early in the process, numerous prospects with high ceilings and incredible physical upside are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to the TDN100. As we gain more exposure and information on the prospects, I have three players that I believe will take a step forward and land among the TDN100 in our next update.
WR Joseph Ngata, Clemson
The Clemson passing game is going to look very different in 2021 with DJ Uiagalelei entrenched as the quarterback and a new group of primary pass-catchers. The Tigers have been a factory for producing NFL wide receivers and they are once again brimming with talent at the position. With that said, the group isn’t fully established and it’s anyone's guess who will emerge as the go-to targets, especially with Justyn Ross slated to return from injury.
I expect Joseph Ngata to become a heavily featured target in Clemson’s offense and claim a spot in the TDN100 in the future. A rising junior, many expected a breakout season from Ngata in 2020 but he suffered an abdomen injury in the season opener which limited him and he eventually had surgery to fix the issue and missed the last five games of the season.
While Ngata has only 24 catches in his career, the talent and traits are easy to spot when studying his play. He features terrific size, hands, ball skills, physicality, and impressive speed for his stature. He hasn’t shown enough yet to be a TDN100 player, but that could change quickly once the 2021 season gets underway. Fellow Clemson receiver Frank Ladson Jr. has a chance to do the same.
OL Sean Rhyan, UCLA
I’ll go ahead and say it: Our team is too low on Rhyan. Between the late start and the shortened season, some of the NFL talent in the Pac-12 feels a bit overlooked at this point in the process and Rhyan being outside of the TDN100 to start the year provides evidence to that.
Earning the starting left tackle job as a true freshman in 2019, Rhyan has demonstrated steady growth at the position across his first two seasons. He’s a powerful man with good body control that leads to consistency on the field. His reps in the Oregon game from last season when matched up with Kayvon Thibodeaux were particularly impressive, as he more than held his own against one of the premier defensive talents in the nation.
While his NFL home may be at guard, he projects as a quality starter. As more of our team gets familiar with Rhyan’s game, I anticipate a big jump up the board in our next update.
EDGE Zach Harrison, Ohio State
A consensus 5-star recruit, Harrison offers an enticing blend of length, size, and burst. He is powerful at the point of attack and has the ability to reduce rush angles and get after opposing quarterbacks. He showcases the ability to defend the run where his length and power are major assets.
Despite all the tantalizing physical ability, Harrison has only been a rotational defensive lineman so far in his two seasons at Ohio State and only averages around 20 snaps per game. He needs to claim a more prominent role in the Buckeyes’ defense and prove he can make a consistent impact while maximizing his physical upside.
Harrison’s physical tools alone make a strong argument for him to already be included among the TDN100, but our staff is hopeful to see a more consistent impact on the field before placing him in that range.