Each year I, Vershelstradomous, have certain prospects that I like significantly more than Big Draft. While national media coverage and certain draft analysts minimize their deviation from the common perceptions, I luckily have the freedom to delve into and project players as higher than most of my peers. The All-Vershel team contains players that are not necessarily the best of their positions, but each player on this team is a guy I would pound the table for as a GM. Look for these players to be drafted higher than where they are currently slotted.
Starter: Deshone Kizer
Backup: Mitchell Trubisky
Runner Up: Joshua Dobbs
While the quarterback position remains a relative weakness in this years strong draft class, Deshone Kizer stands out at the player with the most potential at the position. Kizer has every trait that teams look for in a franchise quarterback, but may need some time to grow into that role. Kizer’s best fit would be with the Cardinals, Saints, or Steelers where he can spend a couple years on the bench learning how to be a professional. Kizer has a combination of size, speed, and arm strength/accuracy that NFL teams covet, and it would not surprise anyone familiar with his game if he is the first quarterback drafted this year. Trubisky is the overall favorite to be the first quarterback selected. Coming from UNC, Trubisky has a lot to like about his game. While he is less mobile than Kizer, Trubisky holds a more accurate arm and field vision. Trubisky was only a 1 year starter for the Tar Heels which leads to questions about his readiness to enter the NFL. Trubiskys ceiling is a rich-man's Alex Smith. Dobbs is the first on the list after the top names at quarterback. While Davis Webb and Nate Peterman may be selected before Dobbs, Dobbs’ work ethic and smarts (engineering major at Tenn) coupled with his natural ability will likely lead Dobbs to have a more successful NFL career than his late round counterparts.
Starter: Dalvin Cook
Backup: James Conner
Runner Up: Joe Mixon
Dalvin Cook underwhelmed during the biggest job interview of his life at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. His numbers were significantly lower than what the masses were expecting, and were not improved that much at his Pro-Day. However, if you can get past the workout numbers it will be evidently clear when watching Seminole’s games that Cook has true game speed. Cook thrives in a man blocking scheme where he can use his exceptional balance to attack holes and reach the second level. Cook’s speed comes to the forefront after he breaks through the defensive line; he runs past defenders and makes it look like they are standing still. Cook did more than any back in college football not named Christian McCaffrey, and will be a top 2 back in this class. While his draft stock may have taken a hit due to his low combine numbers, Cook will likely be selected at the 8th or 9th pick (Panthers, Bengals respectively) and will not fall past the Buc’s at 19. Conner was a heisman candidate at Pitt and entered his sophomore year as one of the most exciting and electrifying future NFL prospects. However, a battle with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma caused him to miss most of the last couple years. Conner returned this year and showed glimpses of his former, magnificent self. Look for Conner to be selected early round 3. Mixon entered the draft process as an UDFA, but through film evaluation and workout scores, Mixon has entered first round consideration. Mixon assaulted a woman and as a result his stock has understandably taken a dive. Mixon was very good at Oklahoma, but figures to be a mainstay for a team picking late in the 1st round or in the middle 2nd round.
Starter: Evan Engram
Backup: Jake Butt
Sizing in at 6’3 and over 230 lbs, Evan Engram truly dominated the combine by running a 4.4 40 yard dash… a top 10 time overall. Engram is the prototypical new age tight end ala Jimmy Graham and Jordan Reed that is taking over the NFL and feasting over the middle of the field. Engram had a far more productive college career than peer David Njoku, and is gaining momentum to become the 2nd tight end selected. While not a great blocker, Engram offers more than Njoku as a pass protector/run blocker. Engram compares favorably to Jordan Reed. Engram won’t slip past teams picking at the top of the 2nd round. Jake Butt entered this draft process with a tremendous pedigree and resume. He was expected to be in contention with O.J. Howard as the top tight end in the class. A torn achilles has likely sent Butt to the late 3rd round, but when he is finished rehabbing it is likely that Jake Butt will become the dominant player he is expected to be.
Starters: Chris Godwin, Zay Jones, Curtis Samuel
Backup: Jehu Chesson
I suspect that Chris Godwin will have a meaningful, productive NFL career. Godwin is 6’2 and ran a blazing fast (4.42 s) 40 yard dash. Weighing in at over 200 pounds, Godwin has the size and speed combination to win over the top, and the build to win over the middle. Watch for Godwin to sneak into the top of the second round. Zay Jones, the Senior Bowl darling, plays a different game than the other receivers listed here. Jones’ set the mark for the most catches of all time in his last season at lowly ECU. While he was schemed open on many plays, he found ways to get open quite often as well. Jones’ impressed at the combine with a 4.45 second 40 yard dash, proving that Jones can be more than a simple slot receiver in the NFL. Measuring in at 6’2, 200lbs, Jones should be able to withstand his transition to the NFL and provide a security blanket to the quarterback of whichever team is lucky enough to select him at the top of the second round. Curtis Samuel is an relatively unheard of name, but should make a big impact for whichever team drafts him in the 3rd or 4th round. Samuel is a blend of Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson, and will likely be a gadget player (3rd down back, slot receiver, kick and punt returner) in the NFL. Jehu Chesson dominated the combine and has the size to be quite successful. Chesson moved from a 6-7 round pick to consideration at the middle of round 5.
OT: Zach Banner, Antonio Garcia
OG: Forrest Lamp, Isaac Asiata
OC: Pat Elfein
Swing Reserve: Dion Dawkins
Forrest Lamp is going to be a dominate professional if whichever team drafts him is smart enough to keep him at the guard position. Lamp was critical to the success of WKU and was acknowledged as a true leader and dedicated worker. Lamp dominated each opponent and has set himself up to be a late first round or early second round pick. The top guard in this class, I don’t expect Lamp to fall past Miami in the first round. Asiata is a huge mauler that should be successful in the NFL based on size and technique alone. Asiata fits with a zone blocking team such as the Steelers or Dolphins. Dion Dawkins is one of the top guards in this class, but can also play either tackle in a pinch. Dawkins’ versatility will lead to him being selected in the late second round. Look for Minnesota to attack Dawkins with their pick in the second round. Zach Banner sizes in at a massive 6’8, 350+ lbs. A mountain of a man, teams with clinical offensive line coaches such as the Seahawks or Eagles could make this man into a star. With that frame and size, even NFL edge rushers will have trouble getting around him. Garcia dominated at the FCS level, and continued his propensity for blocking at the Senior Bowl, where he was far and away the best lineman there. Garcia should be selected in the late second round or early 3rd. I expect the Browns to pull the trigger if he is available at their first pick in the 3rd round.
|Austin Vershel||Other guys that missed the cut: Shelton Gibson, Ardarious Stewart, Samaje Perine, ryan Glasgow, Terell Basham, Jordan Legget, Tyler Moton, and Buddha Baker.|