Not since the days of Graham Harrell have we seen a Texas Tech Red Raider signal caller be in contention to get drafted. This year's class features one of the prominent arms in the NCAA coming out of TTU. Mahomes has NFL size, strength, and intangibles to become successful in the NFL. However, Texas Tech has a proffessional stigma of running a quarterback friendly air raid scheme. This scheme causes quarterbacks to put up super-inflated numbers which can cause confusion in the draft process. I think Mahomes could easily turn out to be the best quarterback of this class, based on his arm cannon alone. However, I have an easier time believing that Mahomes will likely go the way of Zach Mettenberger and Brock Osweiler.
I tried to focus this article on a player from each position currently slotted to go in the first/second round. Running back was easily the hardest position. I love the top 3 backs and I think the Joe Mixon will likely have an extremely successfuly NFL career if he can stay out of trouble. I strongly considered using Fournette here; Fournette, much like Adrian Peterson, is a complete liability on passing downs as he has zero pass catching ability and an aversion to pass blocking. Fournette does not fit the mold of a current NFL runningback. However, I think that Fournettes size/speed combo will allow him to be a great runner for whatever team drafts him. McCaffrey, on the other hand, lacks prototypical size for the position. McCaffrey may be better suited to line up at WR.
John Ross broke the record for the fastest 40 yard dash at this years NFL Combine. Running a blazing 4.22 second 40, Ross literally outran his competition by nearly 1 whole second. Unfortunatley, speed does not always correlate with NFL success. Ross has dealt with injuries including a shredded knee and more recently a torn labrum. He likely doesn't have the size to hold up in the NFL.
JuJu is one of the best, most complete receieving prospects in this years draft class. So why the bust? Much like John Ross, Smith-Schuster has dealt with a myriad of injuries during his career. And unlike Ross, JuJu does not have the speed to create seperation. Smith-Schuster will likely develop into a fine #3/average #2 at best.
He's got the speed, but not much else. David Njoku had a phenomenal draft process, and looks like a new-age prototype at the tight end position on paper. However, Njoku offers little in the run game as he often shys away from contact. He is basically a wide reciever playing tight end. Njoku has a history of drops and questionable hands. I prefer Evan Engram to Njoku 10 times out of 10.
By the time the season starts, JuJu Smith-Schuster will be just 21. Matthew Stafford has played in the league for 7 years and will be only 28 when the season starts. Much about NFL success correllates to the amount of time you have to learn the game and develop. Unfortunately, Garret Bolles doesn't have that kind of time. A former bad-boy-turned-good, Bolles has all the physical traits you can ask for except the date on his birth certificate. Bolles will be 25 by the time the season starts in his rookie year.
Ramcyzk has all the physical tools you could ask for, but teams have grave concerns regarding his medical evaluations. Ramcyzk is likely to be off of many boards due to knee and shoulder problems that may persist over his NFL career.
A violent defender with a Dwight Freeney-like spin move, Charles Harris may be the best Edge Defender to come out of Missouri this decade including players like Shane Ray. Harris often wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks and made plays in the backfield quite often. With the current porous state of NFL EDGE defenders, why couldn't Harris succeed? Well, the main detriment to his success will be his size and athleticism. Harris measured in at a measely 6'2 and scored a below average RAS from his Combine and Pro-Day scores. Harris will have to add lbs to his frame and inches to his height in order to find a greater chance of success in the NFL. Charles Harris would be a tremendous fit in a 3-4 as an OLB, but in that case he must improve his athleticism scores.
I could've just rewrote what I wrote for Charles Harris here, and included the severe injury riddled career of Tak to demonstrate what a risk he would be if picked in the first round. But, I'm not going to do that.
A true LB/EDGE hybrid. T.J. Watt may find himself in the purgatorious state the Jabrill Peppers and Obi Melifonwu are in. I personally like Watt better as a linebacker. At 250 lbs, Watt does not have the size to play End in a 4-3 and doesn't have the athletic profile to play olb in a 3-4. Watt will likely be selected early due to name recognition, but teams may have a hard time finding his true position. I believe the ideal landing spot for T.J. is somewhere he can play OLB in a 4-3 defense. In that event, Watt will need to lose 15-20 lbs (we all do, really.) in order to fulfill that role. It's very complicated.
Lattimore here represents my feeling for the entire Ohio State secondary this year. When you have 3 top 15 picks in your secondary, and you play Big 10 opponents, your defense is going to look very good against any opponent. Opposing QB's don't know whether to throw at Lattimore or Conley, and always have to be looking out for Malik Hooker over the middle. The three Buckeyes may turn out to be terrific pros, but I believe it is more likely that they will falter when split up and matched up against NFL opponents.
I could've just rewrote what I wrote for Marshon Lattimore here, replaced Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker with Sidney Jones and Budda Baker, and noted that the Buckeye trio is a better trio. But, I'm not going to do that.