The NFL draft is an exciting time as if you get it right, you have the building blocks of a really successful roster eg Seahawks, Broncos. Miss and you can hinder your team moving forward with the dream of making the playoffs and bringing the title home.
There are a few stages of the draft:
- Players play in college and put themselves forward for selection to the NFL.
- Teams watch as many players as they can play college football.
- Selected players are invited to participate in the Scouting Combine, this involves putting players through a number of physical drills and measuring their results as well as position specific drills.
- The draft then takes place over a weekend around April.
The combine is when it really starts hotting up for the college players. With the SuperBowl over, all eyes look forward to the future. Players don’t have to take part in the physical drills if they do not wish to (this can happen in the case of certain injuries), but most will take part in some way with the positional drills.
The top prospects are always debated and don’t bank on them going in the order of ability. Teams have different needs that they will address in the draft meaning that a player who might be thought of as being in the top 5 of ‘true talent’ might be selected half way in the first round.
That being said, just so you can get some background on the top prospects in the draft, here is a bit of background on each of the “top prospects” so you know a bit about some of the highest rated players going into the draft.
Richard King’s five players:
Laremy Tunsil (Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss)
Overview: This mountain of a man at 6’5” has been touted to be one of the best prospects in the draft and undoubtedly the top prospect in his position. While he attended the combine to take part in the positional drills, he didn’t take part in the physical drills.
NFL Comparison: College scouts have thought that his play will be similar to that of the Cowboys’ Tyron Smith, who took the league by storm.
Draft projection & Possible fits: Don’t expect Laremy to hang around on draft boards for too long, this players ceiling is pick 6 with the Ravens but could go anywhere before that. Other teams that would be in the market would be the 49ers, Jets and Eagles.
Joey Bosa (Defensive End, Ohio State)
Overview: Considered by many to be the top edge rusher in this draft class, he has NFL pedigree with his father John playing in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins. Joey took full part in the combine, with impressive times recorded in the 3-cone drill and the short shuttle. This explosive player will be the enemy of QB’s across the league.
NFL Comparison: Some in the media have compared him to Texan JJ Watt, with similar combine stats and a similar explosive nature.
Draft projection & Possible fits: Edge rushers are often sought after by teams that need to make an impact with their defence, expect Joey to be off the board by pick 8 with the Jaguars, Cowboys or the Browns picking up this talent.
Jared Goff (Quarterback, California)
Overview: Expected to go to the Rams with the #1 pick and thought to be the best QB prospect for a team that needs to make an impact in its first year in a new city. Impressive college stats, including a passer rating in college that was only bettered by Aaron Rodgers in Cali’s history.
NFL Comparison: This guy is a player that won’t make mistakes and turn the ball over a large amount of times, while the skills and talent level would indicate a comparison to that of Atlanta Falcon Matt Ryan.
Draft projection & Possible fits: Jared is going #1 – that’s where everyone expects the Rams to go. If he doesn’t, then he would only drop to #2 before being scooped up by the Eagles.
Ezekiel Elliott (Running Back, Ohio State)
Overview: A running back that can give that extra edge to a team that needs to improve their running game, he is also able to block to give protection to the Quarterback, or peel off and take a pass. But best used when fed the the rock to let him use his motor to get you over Paydirt.
NFL Comparison: There have been comparisons in playing style to that of Pro-Bowler Edgerrin James who enjoyed a very successful career in the NFL.
Draft Projection & Possible fits: Elliott is a player who is supremely talented but could slip out of the top 10 due to the position he plays in. Could go to the Cowboys at #4 but don’t expect him to go any further than the Dolphins, who would jump at the chance to add him to their backfield to make an immediate impact.
Shaq Lawson (Defensive End, Clemson)
Overview: Slightly undersized for the position, his combine stats were comparable to those of Joey Bosa but with his size being an issue for some teams, he won’t expect to be pushed up towards the top of the draft.
NFL Comparison: Early suggestions of play style have given suggestion of ex-Raven and current Falcon Courtney Upshaw
Draft Projection & Possible fits: Lawson is a first round talent but where he goes in that first round will depend on where Bosa goes and also the needs of the teams in the mid-round area. If he is on the board by the time the Saints get on the board at 12, then expect him to be heading to join Cameron Jordan on the underachieving Saints defence.
Kadeem Simmonds five players:
Jalen Ramsey (Safety, Florida State)
NFL Comparisons: Given his twitchy instincts to sniff out plays and ability to almost teleport to where the ball is, some scouts have likened him to Steelers legend Troy Polamalu.
Draft projections and possible fits: The Eagles and Rams moving up may hurt Ramsey’s chances of going inside the top 5 picks. It would be a shock to see him fall any further than the Browns at 8, with the Chargers (#3), Cowboys (#4) and Jaguars (#5) all in need of improving their secondary.
Myles Jack (Linebacker, UCLA)
Overview: Before Jack injured his knee last September, he was a standout linebacker in college. His tape showed a physical and athletic player who lined up both inside and out and was still able to get to the Quarterback.
NFL Comparisons: From NaVorro Bowman to Jamie Collins, scouts have struggled to find a definite comparison given Jack’s unique abilities.
Draft projections and possible fits: With whispers that Jack’s knee is a ticking time bomb, it is difficult to say whether any team takes a risk in the first round. The talent is there that he could go to the Jaguars at 5 but he could also drop out of the first round altogether.
Carson Wentz (Quarterback, North Dakota State)
Overview: Wentz literally popped out of nowhere. Up until a few months ago, he was just a QB playing for a small school. Now, he is projected to be one of the best signal callers in the draft. Played in a pro-style offence though was against a lower level of competition.
NFL Comparisons: His frame and ability to escape the pocket has had some label him the next Cam Newton, though Blake Bortles is a better fit
Draft projections and possible fits: When the Eagles traded with the Browns for the number 2 pick, it is believed it was to take Wentz as the Rams will pick Jared Goff. A 1% chance, if that, he falls to the Cowboys at 4.
Ronnie Stanley (Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame)
NFL Comparisons: Recently retired Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson springs to mind, as does Lane Johnson who was drafted fourth overall by the Eagles three years ago.
Draft projections and possible fits: Though Laremy Tunsil is arguably the best tackle, and player, in the draft, there are some scouts who say Stanley will go before him in the top 10 with the Ravens a possible destination at 6.
DeForest Buckner (Defensive End, Oregon Ducks)
Overview: Buckner towers on the line at 6’7” and was a monster for the Ducks, acquiring 83 tackles, 17 for loss, and led the Pac-12 with 10.5 sacks. Scouts say he is the most complete defender in the draft.
NFL Comparisons: Given his height, Cardinals’ Calais Campbell is an obvious match.
Draft projections and possible fits: Word on the grapevine is that the San Diego Chargers take Buckner with the number 3 pick. If not, expect him to go by time the Giants reach the board at 10.
The draft starts Thursday 29th April at 1AM on Sky Sports or streamed online on NFL Gamepass.