Dec 292017
 
Share Button
Sam Darnold, USC Trojans (December 1, 2017)

Sam Darnold – © USA TODAY Sports

2018 NFL Draft Prospects: December 29, 2017 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

WAKE FOREST

#85 TE Cam Serigne – 6’3/240

5th year senior. Leaves WF and the ACC as the all time leader in receiving yards and catches among TEs. He isn’t a very dynamic athlete, but he catches everything thrown his way. Has a knack for finding extra yards after contact via awareness and toughness. Blue collar guy that will stick somewhere, albeit with a limited upside. 5th/6th rounder.

#53 DE Duke Ejiofor – 6’4/275

5th year senior. 2nd Team All ACC. Top tier run defender, plays the inside gap of the tackle really well. May want to bulk up and play a 3-4 DE type role, he can excel there. Crafty, excellent technique, nose for the ball. Some teams will have a 3rd round grade on him, not a pure edge guy though.

Other Notables:

#10 QB John Wolford – 6’1/200
#14 DE Wendell Dunn – 6’3/250
#6 LB Jaboree Williams – 6’0/245
#50 LB Grant Dawson – 6’1/225

TEXAS A& M

#92 DT Zaycovern Henderson – 6’2/300 (WIL NOT PLAY – Suspended)

*#3 WR Christian Kirk – 5’11/200

Junior that hasn’t declared yet, many expect him to. Was one of the top playmakers in the country from beginning of 2015 through end of 2016. As a returner and receiver, he was as electric as it got. 7 return TDs over his career.Led the SEC with 83 catches in 2016. There is some Odell Beckham in him when it comes to the explosion he has in and out of his breaks and the toughness he plays with. Production saw a dip in 2017 with such poor QB and OL play. But when looking at this kid move with the ball, he has 1st round talent written all over him.

#7 RB Keith Ford – 5’11/215

5th year senior, began career at Oklahoma but transferred when he saw he wasn’t going to be the guy. Effective downhill, short yardage back. Consistently breaks through initial contact but a limited athlete that won’t create on his own. Late rounder.

#4 WR Damion Ratley – 6’3/190

Fourth year senior that had a hard time seeing action in his first three years. Entered 2017 with 17 career catches, finished 2017 with 26-603-6. Legit deep speed, has always been a guy that would get people excited in training camp. Maybe someone gets a late rounder that is about to blossom?

#23 Armani Watts – 5’11/200

Four year starter, one of my favorite players in the draft. Likely will finish as my #1 or #2 safety in the class. I want to see how he tests athletically, if he is truly a 4.4 guy, I am putting him in my top 10 overall. This kid is all over the field, plenty of TFL, INTs, PDs, blocked kicks…etc. Just an incredibly smart player that tackles well. Not a big thumper, but he gets the man down. Would be an ideal fit next to Landon Collins in all likelihood.

#40 DE Jarrett Johnson – 6’3/260

Fourth year senior, played behind Daeshon Hall and Myles Garrett, got to show what he has in 2017. Looks like a pass rusher-only, but with upside. Love the body and pad level, has some natural tools that can be worked with. Just didn’t get a ton of playing time in college. Late rounder, maybe UDFA that is worth taking a chance on.

Other Notables:

#24 CB Priest Willis – 6’2/205
#9 DE Qualen Cunningham – 6’3/245

________________________________________________________

NC STATE

*#15 QB Ryan Finley – 6’4/210

Fourth year junior. Hasn’t declared yet, I am leaning towards him going back to school. He doesn’t have 1st round talent and in a somewhat crowded QB class, he could be the guy that gets bumped down to round 3-4. Finley is a pro style passer, excellent footwork and release. Very accurate, poised, consistent. Doesn’t have the live arm that some of these other guys do and his athletic ability is average at best. That said, I think he can be very solid in the NFL. Alex Smith type passer.

#1 WR/RB Jaylen Samuels – 5’11/236

In all honesty, one of my favorite players in the class. This guy may be as versatile as any offensive sklll position player I have ever scouted. He averaged 6+ yards per carry with 2017 being majority short yardage and goal line attempts, caught 195 passes, and scored 47 touchdowns over his 4 years. I’ve seen him 11 times over the past 2 years, and I think he can play both WR and RB in the NFL, a la Ty Montgomery. Samuels plays as hard as anyone, loves the game, total team player. He is a gamer that understands situational football very well. I think he is a 2nd rounder and it will be on the coaches to find the proper ways to use him.

*#7 Nyheim Hines – 5’9/197

Undeclared junior, guys that grade out round 3 or better are usually pushed to go to the NFL, legs only have so many mileage. Hines has already been banged up and with a strong 2017 where he had flashes of big play ability inside and out, he could definitely come out. He is really quick and explosive, runs physical. I think he has a better career in the NFL that he did in college.

#50 OG Tony Adams – 6’2/300

Four year starter. Powerfully built, specializes in run blocking with his initial punch and low center of gravity. Good straight line mover that equally struggles to move laterally with balance and quickness. Smart guy, leader of the line, makes the calls. Needs work on sustaining blocks. 4th/5th rounder.

#9 DE Bradley Chubb – 6’4/260

Fourth year senior that was very solid leading up to 2017, then broke out in a big way. Chubb was 2nd in the nation with 25 TFL. An equally dominant player against the run and pass, does all the little things right. Excellent hands, feet, and leverage. Mean dude, wants to obliterate his opponent. This can be a guy that changes the entire outlook of a defense. May not be the explosive edge guy some want, but he is a big time player with a probable top 10 overall grade.

#98 DT BJ Hill – 6’4/300

Fourth year senior with a lot of experience, started games every year of his career. Coaches say he is one of the most important players on that team, gets overlooked a lot. Really good at holding his ground, massive lower body power. Showed some penetration skills in 2017, he is a safe player to draft and put in to action right away.

#35 DE Kentavius Street – 6’2/290

Fourth year senior, little underwhelming career wise. Has experience at DT and DE, I think he may be best suited for DT at the next level, maybe a 3-4 DE role. Freakish athletic ability for a 290 pounder, will blow up the combine. He shows glimpses, he is more than an athlete. 4th rounder somewhat based on good workout numbers.

#27 DT Justin Jones – 6’2/312

Big guy with speed and hustles. Makes a lot of plays via secondary movement and pursuit, which I always like to see. Doesn’t do much at the point of attack, needs to work on initial positioning and hand placement. But guys this big that make as many tackles as he does (62 over past 2 years, 15 of which went for loss) are always worth looking at Day 3.

Other Notables:

#4 LB Jerod Fernandez – 6’0/227
#24 CB Shawn Boone – 5’10/206
#58 LB Airius Moore – 6’0/235

ARIZONA STATE

#7 RB Kalen Ballage – 6’3/230

4th year senior, was a goal line back early in his career and evolved in to more of an every down guy. Rare combination of size and speed, might see a big boost in his stock when the workouts happen. Has shown flashes of dominance, but consistency isn’t there. Doesn’t run with a feel, lacks vision and reaction ability. Limited in terms of what you can do with him scheme wise, 4th rounder.

#4 RB Demario Richard – 5’10/219

4th year senior. Gets overlooked because Ballage is the more sexy prospect based on tools, but Richard might be better suited for the NFL. He is quicker, just as hard to bring down, and has more vision and easy-ness to him. Creates more on his own. Has had some issues with drops and ball security, blocking is sub-par. 4th/5th rounder.

#3 LB DJ Calhoun – 6’0/236

4th year senior that was in and out of the starting lineup early in his career, had some discipline issues assignment wise. Cleaned things up in 2017, played very well. Led the team with 22.5 TFL over past two years. Physical and rangy wrap up tackler that is all over the field. Struggles in traffic. 4th/5th rounder.

Other Notables:

#44 LB Alani Latu – 6’2/248
#90 DT Tashon Smalwood – 6’0/279
#17 S J’Marcus Rhodes – 6’1/214
#65 OC AJ McCollum – 6’2/311

_________________________________________________________

KENTUCKY

*#41 OLB Josh Allen – 6’5/230

Junior that hasn’t declared yet, seems like he is coming out though. Really, just a 1 year starter/contributor that has really good tools. Explosive and fast, easy bender, that can both rush the passer an factor in coverage. Seems like a natural at both and his best days are ahead of him. He doesn’t make a physical impact on contact, not a powerful guy. Another year in school could make him a 1st rounder, while right now I see a 5th rounder.

Other Notables:

#9 WR Garrett Johnson – 5’11/175
#73 OT Kyle Meadows – 6’5/303
#68 OG Nick Haynes – 6’3/308
#70 OT Jordan Swindle – 6’7/313
#51 LB Courtney Love – 6’2/242

NORTHWESTERN

#9 TE Garrett Dickerson – 6’3/248

4th year senior, saw a spike in production in 2016. Has had a knack for making plays downfield and after the catch. Really interesting athlete that can sneak by guys. Foot speed and body control are a plus, but ball skills and hands have been inconsistent. 6th rounder.

#21 RB Justin Jackson – 5’11/193

4th year senior, has had a very productive career. Burst on to the scene as a freshman in 2014. 4 straight years of 1,000+ yards, but also 1,000+ career carries. I see a quality back with vision and instincts being his strengths but an inability to run through tacklers and break tackles Poor blocker. Just don’t see the presence of an NFL back, but I bet he makes a team with his plus-receiving ability 7th rounder. He will be at the Senior Bowl.

#1 DT Tyler Lancaster – 6’4/315

5th year senior. A ton of experience, team captain that coaches and teammates rave about. If you like enormous, long armed, big handed, country strong players this is your guy. He is going to put on a show at the combine with his bench press. He is functionally powerful as well, a major force inside. Can eat up space and make some plays at the point of attack. Not really a pass rusher but a reliable 2 down defender that will factor right away. 4th rounder, safe pick.

#16 S Godwin Igwebuike – 6’0/212

Fifth year senior, 3 year starter. Has been among the team’s leaders in tackles and interceptions since 2015. Some guys view him as a top tier, maybe top overall, safety in the class. I don’t see it because he has a hard time seeing things transpire before they do. Doesn’t forecast well. Fooled by playaction a lot, double routes kill him. He tackles well and shows excellent agility, but a safety needs the 6th sense. I say 4th/5th rounder.

#21 S Kyle Queiro – 6’2/221

Fifth year senior. Missed some time earlier in his career with an injury. Broke out in a big way in 2017, leading the team with 4 INTs. Has more upside than Igwebuike considering his frame and versatility. He can match up in man coverage against slot corners, has a better feel for the game. Right now I have him in round 5, but I am going to se more of him in the coming months and he has top 100 potential.

Other Notables:

#69 OC Brad North – 6’2/290
#15 WR Macan Wilson – 6’0/185

_____________________________________________________

USC

*#14 QB Sam Darnold – 6’4/225

Third year junior. Broke out in 2016, more in particular in the Rose Bowl against Penn State. Entered the year as the top prospect in the nation, everyone assumed he would be the guy the #1 overall team would take. That isn’t as clear now. Darnold had a rough year and if I am going to be honest, a really rough year. We already knew the arm strength, body, toughness, athletic ability…all of that was there. Darnold turned the ball over way too many times and looked terrible in the pocket for the majority of the year. Just a young kid trying to do too much. Trying to fit balls in to windows that didn’t exist, didn’t protect the ball with defenders around him. The chatter of his OL being poor is a weak argument. Darnold played poorly and there isn’t any way around it. There is a ways to go with him and maybe this ends up being a good thing for him, maybe it doesn’t. But I know this right now, I am nervous about drafting him that high.

*#25 RB Ronald Jones – 6’0/200

A few months ago I was under the impression there was no shot anyone would over take Saquon Barkley as the class’ top running back. Well, I still have him up there but Ronald Jones is making things difficult. Jones might be the most explosive, best moving back I’ve scouted in years. The former USC track athlete has the forward lean and top tier balance that make him a threat to reach his elite top speed in a blink. He leaves school as one of the top rushers in program history and is a 1st rounder in my book, maybe a top 10 talent.

*#80 WR Deontay Burnett – 6’0/175

Junior that hasn’t declared. If Darnold comes out, Burnett probably will too. His stock isn’t anything special right now, but his QB play will likely drop next year and he may not want to risk playing a year with lesser talent around him. He is very slight-framed, doesn’t have a ton of deep speed. He does move very well underneath, showing excellent slot potential. But can a guy under 180 pounds hack it physically? I prefer more strength potential. 3rd/4th rounder.

*#94 DT Rasheem Green – 6’4/275

Junior that hasn’t declared yet, I think he will. He stood out to me from week 1, a guy that looks like an NFL player on a college field. Just massive everywhere, has pro-caliber technique and movement. His ideal fit is 3-4 DE and I think he can be one of the best in the league. This is a guy that PIT or NE drafts and goes on to a stable and consistent 10 year career. Safe pick with big upside.

#42 OLB Uchenna Nwosu – 6’2/240

Fourth year senior, 2 year starter. Very active 3-4 OLB type that checks all the technique boxes. Excellent with his hands and leverage, wins a lot of 1 on 1 battles that way. He is a step too slow when it comes to pure edge rushing speed and doesn’t carry a ton of presence physically. I think 4th/5th rounder.

#98 DT Josh Fatu – 6’2/315

Senior that started off at junior college. Broke out in 2017, carries tremendous power and short area quickness. He can be a factor between the tackles. Actually had 6.5 sacks this year, didn’t see that coming but he is so good off the ball and after initial contact. I think he can be a 4th rounder that contributes early.

Other Notables:

#4 WR Steven Mitchell – 5’10/195
#74 OC Nico Falah – 6’4/285
#4 S Chris Hawkins – 5’11/190

OHIO STATE

#74 OT Jamarco Jones – 6’5/310

Senior, 2 year starter. He is the one guy I am targeting right now that can likely be had in round 2 that I think is a week 1 starter at LT in the NFL. If NYG doesn’t want to move forward with Flowers at that spot, Jones is interesting to me. Excellent footwork and hand placement, stays under control. Has some trouble sustaining in space and will be slow out of his stance at times. I like him.

#54 OC Billy Price – 6’4/312

Fifth year senior. Leader of the line, All American. Widely considered the best OC in the draft, maybe the top interior guy in the class behind Quenton Nelson. Coaches love this kid, as hard a worker as you will find and always gets the job done. Has plenty of experience at OG and OC. Gets a little sluggish in there, feet will get stuck. I would be a little worried with him at guard, but at OC I think he is plug and play.

*#21 WR Paris Campbell – 6’1/208

Undeclared junior. Raw but exciting player that would likely be a 1st rounder next year. Right now he is viewed more as a gamble, just hasn’t gotten a lot of looks. 52 career catches. Can really shoot out of a cannon and he tracks the ball exceptionally well.

#16 QB JT Barrett – 6’2/230

A lot of people like to overlook this kid. He isn’t among the top QBs in the class, not close, but as a late round shot in the dark he might be one of my favorite QBs. Has a ton of experience in big situations, has responded really well in the majority of them. Has a lot of work to do on his footwork but he reads the defense well, has mightily improved his throwing, and has shown to be very innovative. Barrett doesn’t project as a starter in the NFL right now, but he is very coachable, tough, and talented. For a day 3 pick, what more can you want?

*#12 CB Denzel Ward – 5’10/191

Undeclared junior. May have been the team’s 2nd best CB last year behind Lattimore, but a little overlooked because of tools-rich Gareon Conley. Ward is very good at playing the ball. A lot of PDs despite teams rarely throwing his way. Excellent slot defender, a growing role in the NFL. Doesn’t tackle well, but does make an impact on special teams as well.

#7 S Damon Webb – 5’11/195

Senior that has played CB and S. I am looking forward to studying him more. I often discuss the need for a safety to have the 6th sense, Webb has it. He is very smart and quick to react. Has true, legit sideline range from the CF spot. Size is a little bit of a worry for the position, doesn’t impact the game much as a tackler. When I talk about what the Giants need next to Landon Collins, Webb is it.

*#86 DT Dre’Mont Jones – 6’3/295

Third year sophomore. Scouts love this guy, upside through the roof. Hasn’t really put everything together yet but I bet if he comes out, he ends up being a top 45 pick. Has the NFL body right now and when he turns it on, rare athletic ability. A gamble because he hasn’t produced consistently yet.

#59 DE Tyuan Lewis – 6’4/266

5th year senior, a lot of experience. Powerful, has had NFL calibe strength and power for 2 years now. Led the team with 8 sacks in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Doesn’t have the initial explosion off the edge, but he can make up for it somewhat with what he does post engagement. Strong hands, aggressive nature, pursues hard. Projects as a starter or #3 guy that plays a lot.

*#6 DE Sam Hubbard – 6’5/265

Undeclared fourth year junior. Was tabbed as the next Joey Bosa, probably unfairly. He hasn’t reached anywhere near that level but the tools still excite me. Big and nimble, bends well, can play the hands game very well. The quick twitch and explosion are average though. I think he is a solid rotational guy in the NFL, safe pick, but a limited player.

#11 DE Jalyn Holmes – 6’5/274

Overlooked senior. Nick Bosa has made it tough for Holmes to get on the field a lot, but don’t take that as Holmes not being good. I think his potential is just as high as Hubbard and Lewis. Has the frame, has the moves, has the quick feet. He may be the most attractive DL on this team when it comes to long term progression.

#35 LB Chris Worley – 6’2/230

Senior with 2 years of starting experience. I’m not wild about him, kind of average across the board. Has played with more talent in front of him than maybe any LB in the country but still struggles to produce a lot. Weak contact as a tackler, speed is OK. Coverage OK.

Other Notables:

#85 TE Marcus Baugh – 6’5/250
#93 DT Tracy Sprinkle – 6’3/293