Draft day brings a lot of drama and unexpected surprises. A few years later, evaluations are made on what was “missed” on players taken too high and too low. Injuries, stubbornness on adapting to changing trends in the game, character concerns, and bad drafting habits are all culprits, and every year teams do their best to try to produce a draft that is best for their team. Here is our list of players that have some variables associated with their draft status… this is not a list of the best players, specifically, but our “Most Interesting” players. ( Draftblaster.com Mock 4 Round Mock Draft )
Jabrill Peppers, Strong Safety, Michigan – One of the first profiles we did for this draft year, Peppers was playing linebacker, and every other position at Michigan at the time. He needed to add 10 pounds after the season, we noted, and he came to the draft with an additional 13 pounds of bulk. He is going to be a safety at the next level, but he is far behind the other top safeties in terms of experience. He has the physical attributes, football IQ, excellent attitude, and versatility that teams covet for their new breed safety. What he is missing is “safety wisdom” that can only be attained through experience.
Takkarist McKinley, Defensive End (OLB), UCLA – Another top player in the draft, but one that might take a small tumble in the draft. His issue is that he had shoulder surgery and is going to be out 4-6 months. With a very deep class of pass rushers, teams tend to panic on draft day and go for the safer pick. Based on history, he could slip 10-20 slots and a team might get a steal.
Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan – See above. He hasn’t been able to run during the draft process and with a deep class of wide receivers, could he slip? He is arguably the best wide receiver on tape, but teams hesitate when draft day rolls around, and like their first picks to be “clean” if possible. It is very possible that the wide receiver that ends up having the best pro career could drop to a playoff team.
Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, USC – A possible first round pick, Jackson is a potential/versatility guy. He has put up some very good tape as a cornerback, but doesn’t have the experience as most of the other top prospects at that position. What makes him especially interesting is his immediate contribution in the return game and most likely, with a special offensive “package” that a creative team can put together for him. He would be under consideration for playoff teams in the first round, and could make one instantly more dynamic.
Malik McDowell, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State – It feels like someone is going to get a stud or a dud with McDowell. MSU imploded last year, and several top prospects put up uncharacteristically inconsistent tape throughout the season. McDowell has the talent to be considered in the top 5, but what caused the hot and cold play? With the right coaching, in the right situation, he could be a steal. In the wrong situation, a flop.
Evan Engram, Tight End, Mississippi – A true “Big Slot” receiver, more than a tight end, Engram is the new breed of matchup nightmare for defenses. Players like him are what are driving the need for “super safeties” and slot corners that can cover speed and size. There are probably a few other guys listed as tight ends later in the draft that fit this description as well, but Engram is the cream of the crop.
Patrick Mahomes II, Quarterback, Texas Tech – This guy has a cannon. In a world where scheme is king on offense, it is fun to watch a young QB that just loves to sling it all over the field. It is too bad that Dak Prescott is doing so well, because Scott Linehan could do wonders with this guy. We hope he finds his way onto an Air Coryell, vertical passing offense and gets a chance in a few years to play gunslinger.
Chris Godwin, Wide Receiver, Penn State – His Rose Bowl tape showed a guy that was quite different from what we saw all year at Penn State. He ran very, very fast at the combine. He checks off the primary boxes that scouts are looking for in receivers: runs good routes, gets separation, high points the ball, wins contested balls. Godwin is probably going to be one of those guys in a few years that we talk about when mentioning how important the second round is.
Larry Ogunjobi, Defensive Tackle, Charlotte – The first glance at Ogunjobi is that of a 2 gap defensive tackle that stops the run. Then you start to watch more and more tape and see that this guy is explosive off of the snap and has great penetration skills. He is a rare talent. Very few tackles of his size and length, that can stop the run, have the one gap pass rush skills that he possesses.
Alex Anzalone, Inside Linebacker, Florida – This guy is an animal on the field. We think he will move inside at the next level, but is more than capable of playing on the outside, and in either a 4-3 or 3-4. The problem is that he has been injured- a lot. Teams know the medicals, so it will be fascinating to see where he ends up and if he can stay healthy.
Curtis Samuel, Wide Receiver, Ohio State – Nobody seemed to notice his 4.31 40 at the combine, but Samuel backed up what most scouts saw on tape – he can fly. But what position will he play- is he a running back or wide receiver? In a lot of the Erhardt-Perkins type offenses, that ambiguity is a prized asset. Having a player that can be effective at both is driving defensive coordinators crazy, and he is exactly the type of versatile offensive weapon that modern offenses desire.
Julie’n Davenport, Offensive Tackle, Bucknell – The offensive tackle class is lacking star power near the top, and a lot of that has to do with their not being a lot of players that have the length that teams want in a left tackle. This draft is actually fairly deep at right tackle prospects. Davenport, however, has the length, size, strength, and athleticism that teams want in their left tackle. The problem is that he is a late bloomer and didn’t play against top competition.
Adam Shaheen, Tight End, Ashland – This is the “double take” prospect of the draft. When you watch him on tape, or see him just standing there, immediately you think “blocking tight end”. He is big and burly and, to be honest, looks like he would lumber down the field. Instead, he moves smoothly and quickly down the field. He is going to be a seam route nightmare for defenses.
Tanoh Kpassagnon, Defensive End, Villanova – Maybe the physical specimen of the draft. He is a late comer to football, but is showing excellent improvement as he gets more experience. He needs to learn technique, but is a gifted athlete and has already shown he takes to coaching very well. In a deep class of pass rushers, he won’t be in the first wave of players taken, but might be the most physically gifted of them all.
Joe Mixon, Running Back, Oklahoma – How far will Mixon drop will be an early mantra of the draft. It is a very deep running back class, but he would be considered near the top if he wasn’t such a character concern. He can do it all on the field, and it will be interesting to see which team is willing to take the PR hit for drafting him.
Mack Hollins, Wide Receiver, North Carolina – Probably the best special teams player in this draft, he is an ace on all of the special teams units. In terms of pure offense, he can take the top off of defenses, a type of player that a lot of teams consider the final step of having a complete offense.
Sidney Jones, Cornerback, Washington – There are injuries and there are injuries, and Sidney Jones’ injury will be the most talked about in the draft. Last year, two players with very bad injuries went much earlier than expected. Will that trend continue this year?