NFL training camps are kicking off, which means it is time to get ready for two things:
- People tweeting about rookies being studs or busts based off of five-second video clips.
- The college football season
With the college football season around the corner, I'm eyeing a couple of senior players who I'm confident will turn heads as NFL prospects next spring. Watching film on seniors the last couple of weeks, I've started to develop some favorites in this class. So in this installment of "Tuls' Takes," I dished three spicy takes on senior prospects I'm betting on ahead of the college football season.
1 - Utah State EDGE Tipa Galeai is TJ Watt all over again
You want to talk about a pass rusher with juice? Look no further than Utah State senior Tipa Galeai. Primarily as a 3-4 outside linebacker, he finished with 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions last season. With his ability to both drop in space and lethally rush the quarterback, Galeai's skill set reminds a lot of TJ Watt coming out of Wisconsin. Watt was a little heavier, but Galeai is also a bit longer. What brought the comparison to mind was because of Galeai's energy each snap I saw on tape. He is always active and in constant attack mode. Combine that motor and competitive toughness with his athletic gifts, and you could have something special on your hands. Now, Galeai's frame, as is, won't hold up as a three-down defensive end, but if used in a capacity like TJ Watt in Pittsburgh, where he is asked to both rush and drop back as an outside linebacker, look out.
2 - Alabama's Trevon Diggs has CB1 potential in the 2020 NFL Draft
He's only started a handful of games for the Crimson Tide since flipping to cornerback from wide receiver, but Trevon Diggs' film shows flashes of elite talent and upside, including a lights-out performance against the Ole Miss WR trio in 2018. At 6'2, 200, Diggs should not be as fluid as he is. It is incredibly rare to see a cornerback his size move with so much ease. It just speaks to his natural athleticism and physical gifts. With most position switches, it usually takes a long period of time before that player gets comfortable, but for Diggs, it was almost instant. He is an ascending player who continues to get better and better, and with his NFL-ready man coverage skill set, it is scary to think how his ceiling could be with more experience at the position.
3 - Don't forget about UCLA's Joshua Kelley in this RB class
The two senior running backs who get most of the hype in this class, and deservedly so, are Utah's Zack Moss and Vanderbilt's Ke'Shawn Vaughn. But after studying a third senior this week, I believe his name needs to be mentioned in this upper-echelon group. That player is UCLA's Joshua Kelley. In terms of running back-specific traits like patience, vision, balance, and elusiveness, he clearly checks all of those boxes. There aren't a lot of runs on his film that seem forced or result in a self-inflicted loss. He patiently waits for blocking to develop before decisively choosing his moments of burst. You add those traits to his resume on paper, and it is mind boggling why he isn't mentioned in the same breath as Moss and Vaughn. He finished 2018 with 1,243 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns, and 5.5 yard-per-carry average as a first-team All-Pac 12 player. In addition, he put up an impressive 27 receptions. Kelley has the skill set of a true, three-down back, and while his physical tools may not be as tantalizing as other runners in this class, I believe his game translates strongly to the next level.