Happy Halloween! In the spirit of the holiday, this week’s 6-Pack is all about freaky traits that you can find in 2019 NFL Draft prospects.
I hope that this column has become a staple for you each week, but just in case you are new, 6-Pack Thursday is my weekly brain dump on six football-related things that involve the NFL, College Football or NFL Draft.
Let’s crack this thing open.
Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama: Speed
There’s fast and then there’s Ruggs fast. There are very few football players I have ever watched that come close to the rapidity in which he accelerates and gets to his top gear. He’s a matchup problem in college and I expect him to be the same in the NFL. There will be an extremely low number of teams that have an athlete in its secondary that has enough speed to match steps with Ruggs and he will command considerable attention every time he steps on the field which will do wonders for his team’s offensive spacing.
What makes Ruggs truly exciting is that he isn’t “just a fast guy”. Ruggs blends his blazing speed with good hands, ball skills and route-running technique. So far in his time at Alabama, Ruggs has 85 touches from scrimmage, 24 of them resulting in touchdowns - that’s 28 percent! If he gets a step or an angle... he’s gone. Get ready for a sub 4.30-forty at the Combine.
Tristin Wirfs, OT, Iowa: Strength
I love watching the weight lifting videos that pop up in the offseason coming from the college football world. There isn’t one that passes me by without watching it when I see it come across my timeline. Without question, Tristin Wirfs’ repping 450 pounds four times in the power clean is the most unbelievable thing I have ever watched:
His weight room strength translates to the football field where Wirfs does a wonderful job rolling his hips into contact and pushing opponents against their will in the run game. His anchor is powerful and he has the functional strength to compete in the NFL right now.
Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State: Pass Rush
Young is a freak, a total man child, the best prospect in the class and an elite pass rusher. There won’t be any debate over his NFL projection and he is simply a rare talent.
Checking all the boxes, Young has first step quickness, flexibility, vision, length, power, rush variety, arc speed and a hot motor that makes him the easiest scouting report that I will write for this coming class. He’s a top of the first round talent in any draft and should be a premiere defensive playmaker in the NFL for a long time.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson: Size/Movement
Simmons is a rare dude. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Simmons might be the freakiest blend of size and mobility of any prospect in the rising class. He has a 40” vertical leap, 11’ broad jump and runs a sub 4.40-forty yard dash. The explosiveness he showcases on the football field backs up those rare measurements.
Simmons is the ultimate defensive chess piece needed to defend today’s NFL offenses that are more wide open than ever, often predicated on pace and space. His ability to cover ground, combined with his size to serve as a matchup eraser makes him extremely valuable. He's on his way to being a top-10 prospect.
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma: Ball Skills
Lamb’s body control and ball skills are in the conversation for the top trait of any prospect in the class. The game just slows down for him when the ball is in the air and he does an incredible job of tracking and adjusting. Unfazed by contact or the sideline, Lamb is exceptional at positioning himself to win at the catch point and his concentration is unbelievable. He makes difficult things look easy and he’s going to make an NFL quarterback extremely happy in 2020
Jeffery Okudah, CB, Ohio State: Raw Athleticism
When scouting cornerbacks, I’m looking for quick feet, fluid hips, clean transitions, sudden change of direction ability and a smooth pedal. I get every single one of those traits from Okudah at a high level.
His physical gifts profile him as an elite cornerback prospect because he has every trait needed to dominate in coverage at the next level. By the way, he’s exceptional in all coverage techniques, plays physical and his ball skills have been outstanding this year. He’s the total package. CB1.