NFL Prospect Draft Board
Contributing Writer | Roberto Castro
It’s that time of year again as the NFL Draft is upon us which is a time where many players will hear their names called fulfilling a lifelong dream, while others will have to wait until training camp to occupy a roster spot in hopes of fulfilling their dreams as well.
This is also a time where mock drafts and player rankings are being discussed, as well as draft boards being formed by every NFL team. Last year I formed my own draft board based on player rankings as prospects. This year I decided to do things a little differently by creating my own personal draft board as an acting GM based on players I would select.
The rankings will consist of the top three players at each position in the order I prefer them, excluding offensive and interior offensive lineman in an effort to shorten the length of the article as possible, along with a lack of appealing in scouting such players (no offense).
I will also include a most intriguing player that I believe has upside, but come with a bit of a risk or unpredictability when it comes to drafting these players. I will also include sleepers that tend to be overlooked, however could prove valuable in the NFL, and along with honorable mention players who missed my draft board that have playing potential while able to contribute as special team players.
Lastly, each player will have listed height and weight measurements, along with a relevant testing measurable at the NFL combine relative to their positions. A quick overview assessment on each player that includes: strengths, weaknesses, and traits that make them valuable.
*This list includes attending players at the NFL Combine and are listed based on their positions tested. Those that did not attend the combine were not a part of this list.
Josh Rosen (UCLA): HT: 6’4 WT: 226 Hands: 9 7/8
Overview: Rosen lacks mobility and forces occasional throws, but his accuracy and ball placement, along with natural feel for the position and proven toughness can become a reliable franchise quarterback so long as that is his priority.
Sam Darnold (USC): HT: 6’3 WT: 220 Hands: 9 3/8
Overview: Darnold is still raw and learning the position as evident in his decision making. He plays fast at times, but his arm talent, football IQ and mental toughness should make him a future star.
Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma St.) HT: 6’3 WT: 235 Hands: 9 1/8
Overview: Rudolph lacks a single, special trait in his game. However his poise, maturity and play style resembles that of an NFL veteran and can be reliable without pressure of having to be a franchise quarterback.
Lamar Jackson (Louisville) HT: 6’2 WT: 216 Hands: 9 1/2
Overview: Jackson is a project in every sense of the word in order to refine his accuracy and understanding of the position. However, his combination of athleticism and arm talent are rare and worth taking the risk.
Kyle Lauletta (Richmond) HT: 6’3 WT: 222 Hands: 9 3/4
Overview: Laultetta is a self made player who lacks next level arm strength and mobility. Additionally he has all the intangibles from a mental and accuracy standpoint that will translate at the next level.
Luke Falk (Washington St.) HT: 6’4 WT: 215 Hands: 9 1/4
Overview: Durability is was an issue for Falk, along with some inconsistencies in his play, but if he can put it all together he has the accuracy, and football IQ teams look for in their quarterbacks.
Ronald Jones (USC) HT: 5’11 WT: 200 40 YD Dash: 4.65
Overview: Jones can fly so don’t be fooled by a slower forty time due to a pulled hamstring mid run. He won’t ever be a workhorse back, but his elusiveness and vision along with proven toughness as a runner can amount to star potential.
Sony Michel (Georgia) HT: 5’11 WT: 214 40 YD Dash: 4.54
Overview: Michel benefitted from his offensive line and needs to become a consistent receiving threat out of the backfield, but has the combination of size, explosiveness and shiftiness along with toughness as a runner to have a solid career.
Derrius Guice (LSU) HT: 5’10 WT: 224 40 YD Dash: 4.49
Overview: Guice is an “alpha” running back who carries an “angry” and hard running style. This could lead to a shortened career, however with limited touches can be an instant factor due as a balanced runner and pass catcher out of the backfield.
Rashaad Penny (San Diego St.) HT: 5’11 WT: 220 40 YD Dash: 4.46
Overview: Penny will need to run with lower pad level in the NFL and become a better receiver out of the backfield, but his fluidity as a runner of his size, vision and toughness are worthy traits to become a solid option in the backfield at the next level.
Mark Walton (Miami) HT: 5’10 WT: 202 40 YD Dash: 4.60
Overview: Durability will be a concern with Walton who doesn’t possess great speed, but his toughness, shiftiness and ability to contribute on all three downs make him valuable later in the rounds.
Nick Chubb (Georgia) HT: 5’11 WT: 227 40 YD Dash: 4.52
Overview: Chubb might not be the same player he was pre- injury, but his great balance, and improved cutting ability should allow him to become a viable piece in someone’s backfield.
Calvin Ridley (Alabama) HT: 6’0 WT: 189 40 YD Dash: 4.43
Overview: Ridley is a quick twitch athlete at the receiver position, but needs to become more controlled in his routes, and tougher in physical coverage and contested catches. However, his reliable hands, shiftiness in route running and ability after the catch give him star potential.
Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) HT: 5’10 WT: 201 40 YD Dash: 4.47
Overview: Kirk will need to prove he can run any route on the route tree, but his toughness, maturity and reliability as a receiver and ability with the ball in his hands should lead to a solid career.
Courtland Sutton (SMU) HT: 6’3 WT: 218 40 YD Dash: 4.54
Overview: Sutton will need to display a level of consistency with his route due to his lack of threatening speed, but can make contested catches as a big body target and runs with a level of fluidity uncommon for his size to be a consistent target.
D.J. Moore (Maryland) HT: 6’0 WT: 210 40 YD Dash: 4.42
Overview: Moore will need to expand his route tree and become a greater vertical threat, but displays a level of quickness in his routes, ability after the catch and willingness to make tough catches to become a solid receiving option.
Deon Cain (Clemson) HT: 6’2 WT: 202 40 YD Dash: 4.43
Overview: Despite some inconsistencies and focus drops at Clemson, Cain has the ability to become a better pro due to his ability to make tough catches, and display a level of smoothness and feel for the position to become a solid receiving option.
Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame) HT: 6’5 WT: 214 40 YD Dash: 4.48
Overview: St. Brown is a project that will need to expand and improve route running to become a more integral piece in the NFL. He has the mental tools and combination of size, speed and playmaking ability to become a weapon if used correctly.
Dallas Goedert (South Dakota St.) HT: 6’5 WT: 256 40 YD Dash: N/A
Overview: Goedert will need to improve his route running in order to separate at the next level, but possesses elite pass catching ability to become a safety blanket for a quarterback.
Ian Thomas (Indiana) HT: 6’4 WT: 259 40 YD Dash: 4.74
Overview: Thomas is still raw and will need to refine his technique as a blocker and route running as a receiver, but his nastiness at times as a blocker, pass catching ability and athleticism should allow him to become a solid balanced tight end over time.
Hayden Hurst (South Carolina) HT: 6’4 WT: 250 40 YD Dash: 4.67
Overview: Hurst will need to improve his play strength as a blocker and become less predictable in his routes, but possesses reliable hands and ability after the catch as a runner to become a reliable receiving option as a tight end.
Chris Herndon (Miami) HT: 6’4 WT: 253 40 YD Dash: N/A
Overview:Herndon is a project, but will need to improve his route running and blocking technique. He can be a solid contributor if those aspects of his game catch his athleticism, reliable hands and ability after the catch.
Dalton Schultz (Stanford) HT: 6’5 WT: 244 40 YD Dash: 4.75
Overview: Schultz will need to expand his route tree and become less predictable, but displayed a level of technique and hand usage when blocking, as well as catching to be in the rotation for an NFL team.
Marcus Davenport (UTSA) HT: 6’6 WT: 264 40 YD Dash: 4.58
Overview: Davenport is still learning the position and will need to improve hand technique, as well as not always taking on blockers head on. However his length, athleticism and aggressiveness give him a high ceiling as a disruptive pass rusher with coaching.
Bradley Chubb (N.C. State) HT: 6’4 WT: 269 40 YD Dash: 4.65
Overview: Chubb needs to play with better instincts and control at times, but his combination of power, explosiveness and high motor, especially as a pass rusher should allow him to become a disruptive defensive end in the NFL.
Sam Hubbard (Ohio St.) HT: 6’5 WT: 270 40 YD Dash: N/A
Overview: Hubbard will need to improve as a pass rusher plays provides great versatility due to his instincts, IQ and ability to play defensive end or linebacker in the NFL which should allow him to become a solid contributor in any system.
Rasheem Green (USC) HT: 6’5 WT: 275 40 YD Dash: 4.73
Overview: Green needs to play with more strength, toughness and fire. He shows promise to become a better pro down the road he will just need a coach to help pull it out of him.
John Franklin (Stephen F. Austin) HT: 6’4 HT: 283 40 YD Dash: 4.75
Overview: There isn’t enough film to evaluate Franklin, but looks a bit raw and needs to improve his pass rushing techniques. Despite being a project he plays angry and has the physical tools to become a factor in a defensive rotation at the next level.
Kemoko Turay (Rutgers) HT: 6’5 WT: 253 40 YD Dash: 4.65
Overview: Turay is still raw and needs to play with more strength and refine his pass rushing skills, but his versatility to rush, drop in coverage and play in space make him a valuable edge player.
Lorenzo Carter (Georgia) HT: 6’6 WT: 250 40 YD Dash: 4.50
Overview:Carter is another raw athlete that needs to add play strength and refine his pass rushing technique, but provides great versatility as a pass rusher with the ability to drop into coverage and play in space.
Uchenna Nwosu (USC) HT: 6’3 WT: 251 40 YD Dash: 4.65
Overview: Nwosu isn’t the best athlete and needs to play with better instincts and but his versatility as a pass rusher; playmaking skills and mentality make him a valuable rotational edge player.
Rashaan Evans (Alabama) HT: 6’3 WT: 232 40 YD Dash: N/A
Overview: Evans plays with an edge who can be a step slow reacting to plays at times but is a fast, instinctive and versatile linebacker capable of playing inside and outside with at the next level.
Roquan Smith (Georgia) HT: 6’1 WT: 236 40 YD Dash: 4.51
Overview: Smith is a fast instinctive linebacker who can play in space, and has a knack for finding the ball. He will need to improve shedding blocks at the next level, but his toughness and leadership ability should allow for a solid career.
Leighton Vander-Esch (Boise St.) HT: 6’4 WT: 256 40 YD Dash: 4.65
Overview: Leighton is still raw with high potential that needs to utilize his hands more when taking on blockers, but possesses a high motor along with the versatility to blitz, drop in coverage, as well as shoot through the gaps during run plays.
Darius Leonard (S.C. State) HT: 6’2 WT: 234 40 YD Dash: 4.70
Overview: Contributions in the run game will be limited as he will need to add strength. However, Leonard is a smart, instinctive player who can cover and play in space as a contributing outside linebacker at the next level.
Christian Sam (Arizona St.) HT: 6’2 WT: 244 40 YD Dash: 4.75
Overview: Sam will need to utilize his hands when taking on and shedding blocks, as well as display more discipline, but his fluidity in space, toughness and pursuit downhill should allow him in rotation.
Tegray Scales (Indiana) HT: 6’0 WT: 230 40 Time: 4.77
Overview: Scales lacks any elite traits and isn’t the most fluid athlete in space, but his instincts, football IQ and versatility to help against the run and pass should help him in rotation at the next level.
Jaire Alexander (Louisville) HT: 5’10 WT: 196 40 YD Dash: 4.38
Overview: Alexander plays with an edge despite some inconsistencies in coverage, but is a fast, quick twitch cornerback with the instincts, cover skills, toughness and swagger to become a pesky corner in the NFL.
Denzel Ward (Ohio St.) HT: 5’11 WT: 183 40 YD Dash: 4.32
Overview: Ward won’t ever be a physical, outside corner but has all the intangibles that include: technique, instincts, footwork and change of direction to become a shadow corner at the next level.
Mike Hughes (UCF) HT: 5’10 WT: 189 40 YD Dash: 4.53
Overview: From a technique standpoint Hughes has some work to do, but he provides man and zone coverage ability, natural footwork and feel for the position along with playmaking ball skills to become a solid player.
Isaiah Oliver (Colorado) HT: 6’0 WT: 201 40 YD Dash: 4.50
Overview: Oliver needs to play with more physicality and close faster on receivers, but his length, instincts and cover skills on or off man should allow him to become a solid player with coaching.
Carlton Davis (Auburn) HT: 6’1 WT: 206 40 YD Dash: 4.53
Overview: Davis needs to become more comfortable playing off man, and get his head around to make plays on the ball, but if you’re a team searching for a lengthy, physical corner in press coverage and tackling he is your guy.
Duke Dawson (Florida) HT: 5’11 WT: 197 40 YD Dash: 4.46
Overview: Dawson can get grabby and needs to learn to trust his technique at the next level, but possesses high football instincts and IQ, along with finding the ball that can contribute on any defense.
Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama) HT: 6’0 WT: 204 40 YD Dash: 4.46
Overview: Fitzpatrick is a smart, instinctive and versatile defensive back that can play all over the field and make plays. He will need to play more controlled, however his toughness and aggression should help him develop a long career.
Derwin James (Florida St.) HT: 6’2 WT: 215 40 YD Dash: 4.47
Overview: James will need to improve consistency in pursuit angles, reacting, diagnosing and might not have a true position in the NFL, but “playmaker” is his label along with his athleticism that make him a game changer.
Justin Reid (Stanford) HT: 6’0 WT: 207 40 YD Dash: 4.40
Overview: Reid needs to play with a bit more physicality and consistent discipline in man to man coverage, but has everything from a size, instincts, IQ, versatility and playmaking standpoint to become a solid starter at the next level.
Jessie Bates (Wake Forest) HT: 6’1 WT: 200 40 YD Dash: 4.50
Overview: Bates will need to play with more discipline in coverage and consistency as a tackler, but displays a level of recognition and instincts in coverage, as well as in space that teams look for in a safety.
Armani Watts (Texas A&M) HT: 5’10 WT: 202 40 YD Dash: N/A
Overview: Watts might not be the most physically gifted safety, and needs to play with more consistency, but his playmaking abilities and aggressive mentality are translatable to the next level.
Kyzir White (West Virginia) HT: 6’2 WT: 218 40 YD Dash: N/A
Overview: White lacks the ideal speed and fluidity in man coverage needed as a full time NFL safety, but his instincts, playmaking and enforcing mentality should allow him to see the field as a hybrid in the later round.
Special Teams Honorable Mentions
Offense: Nyheim Hines (N.C. State) RB 5’8 198 4.38, Roc Thomas (Jacksonville St.) RB 5’10 198 4.56, Dante Pettis (Washington) WR 6’0 186, Deontay Burnett (USC) WR 6’0 186, Antonio Callaway (Florida) WR 5’11 200 4.41 and Michael Gallup (Colorado St.) WR 6’1 205 4.52
Defense: Duke Ejiofor (Wake Forest) DE 6’4 264, Josey Jewell (Iowa) LB 6’1 234 4.82, Shaquem Griffin (UCF) LB 6’1 227 4.38, Fred Warner (BYU) LB 6’3 236 4.64, Anthony Averett (Alabama) CB 5’11 183 4.36 and M.J. Stewart (UNC) S 5’11 200 4.54
*All measurements and testing were obtained from the NFL.com combine website. The NFL draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on April 26-28th