NFL Draft Preview
by: Dom Stearn
Another exciting football season is in the books. Since the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl, it is officially the NFL offseason. With the offseason comes the NFL Draft. For many sports fans, this is the only professional draft that everyone pays attention to. In the NBA draft, a very select amount of players make a major impact. In the MLB draft, almost all of the players that are drafted never make the majors. And the NHL draft doesn’t get much coverage. The NFL draft is an opportunity for teams to turn around their franchise or load up on what they already have. With the draft coming up this Thursday on April 25th, here are a few storylines that you should be focusing on:
Nick Bosa: The edge rusher from Ohio State profiles as an impact player for any team that needs to get pressure on the Quarterback. The Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers need a pass rusher, so expect the 6’3” tall 270-pound lineman to be selected with either the first or second pick in the first round. Bosa is known for his hand technique and burst out of his three-point stance on the defensive line, projecting him to go for multiple sacks per game in the NFL. Offensive lines will surely needed to pay special attention to Bosa, leading to other defensive lineman getting pressure on opposing Quarterbacks.
Quinnen Williams: This nose tackle out of Alabama wasn’t a highly regarded prospect coming into the 2018-19 season. However, his draft stock rose quickly this year when he dominated the SEC. Williams measures in at 6’ 4”, 294 lbs. He won the Outland Trophy for being the best defensive lineman in the NCAA, tallying eight sacks and 71 tackles. Williams is also regarded by most as the second best prospect in this draft, following the previously mentioned Nick Bosa. Lots of scouts are comparing him to Fletcher Cox or Aaron Donald, as he possesses the unique ability to get after the quarterback, despite being an inside pass rusher.
Dwayne Haskins: Ohio State has produced winning quarterbacks at the NCAA level year after year, but its past two prospects, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, have yet to produce at the next level. The minds of football still have faith in “The” Ohio State with the cannon-arm Dwayne Haskins possesses. On the other hand, Haskins still needs to develop at the next level. His poise is a weakness which must improve if he wants to compete in the NFL. Haskins will have to develop his poise, but the 214 pound quarterback that stands at 6’2 has the ability to step up in the pocket to make the big play which will help him go far in the NFL.
Kyler Murray: After Baker Mayfield declared for the draft, the casual college football fan would not be able to name his replacement for the following season. Kyler Murray made sure everyone knew his name by throwing 42 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards passing. Murray is an electric quarterback that has the potential to be a cornerstone for any franchise that needs a talented quarterback of the future.
Josh Allen: No, not the quarterback for the Bills. The Kentucky Wildcat made a statement as an edge rusher his senior year with 17 sacks, 88 tackles (21.5 for a negative yardage), and 2 fumble recoveries. Considering the fact that Allen was going up against SEC offensive-linemen, these numbers are extremely impressive. Allen struggled with Pass rush counters and defending the run, but he has a strong ability to give his team position flexibility and he possesses a strong burst that allows him to get to the quarterback each snap.
While the Chargers no longer play here, it is still safe to assume that they are still the most popular football team on this campus. After a very successful season, the bolts don’t have too many holes to fill up. However, there are a few positions where they are weak and could look to improve in the draft. The first position the Chargers should consider drafting in is offensive tackle. After Russell Okung struggled alongside Sam Tevi, it is clear that the Chargers should consider drafting a tackle to help protect Philip Rivers. Yodny Cajuste(WVU), Greg Little(Ole Miss), and Dalton Risner(KSU) are players that might be available at the 28th pick. The second position the Chargers should draft is a defensive tackle. Veteran Brandon Mebane’s contract is finished, and Los Angeles did not resign. Players at this position that the Chargers might select could be Dexter Lawrence(Clemson), Jerry Tillery(ND), or Dre’mont Jones(OSU). The last position Chargers should consider drafting in the first round is QB. Philip Rivers is 37 and won’t be in the league for much longer. If the Chargers see a QB that they like, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take him. Quarterbacks that might be available late are Will Grier, Daniel Jones, or Drew Lock.