Monday, February 15, 2016

Top 5 Offensive Prospects by Position

Draft Nuggets 2016: Entry #7
By Jeff Bowers of

Prospect Overview Part One: Offense

With the NFL Scouting Combine just a week away (February 23-29), here is an overview of the Top 5 Prospects at each position along with a positional strength rating and a talent projection. Keep in mind, there is still a long way to go in this process and these evaluations are always subject to change as new information is gathered. In addition, the talent projection is not necessarily indicative of where a player will be drafted but more of their talent level, as it can’t account for the need of a team, the value of the position or the ineptitude of some teams.


Positional Strength: 3 of 5

1.       Jared Goff, California, Top 5
2.       Carson Wentz, North Dakota State, Top 10
3.       Paxton Lynch, Memphis, 1st round
4.       Connor Cook, Michigan State, 1-2 round
5.       Cardale Jones, Ohio State, 2nd round

Commentary: This year’s quarterback class lacks a true “franchise” player, but the depth in rounds 2-4 raises the overall strength. Goff and Wentz have separated themselves from the pack but both come with questions; Goff’s potential but slight frame versus Wentz’s leadership but level of competition. Lynch needs grooming but has all the tools. Cook needs solid workouts and interviews to maintain his already falling status. Jones is my choice of the 3rd tier guys as he will likely be a better pro than in college.

Running Backs

Positional Strength: 4 of 5

1.       Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State, 1st round
2.       Alex Collins, Arkansas, 2nd round
3.       Derrick Henry, Alabama, 2nd round
4.       Kenyon Drake, Alabama, 2-3 round
5.       Devontae Booker, Utah, 2-3 round

Commentary: This is an pretty nice year to grab a RB, as the position goes 10 or 11 deep with quality talent. Elliot is clearly a #1 runner and will likely hear his name on Day 1. Collins and Henry are in my second tier, with questions of durability for both. Drake tops my tier 3 of runners due to his kickoff ability and lack of wear and tear (assuming he can stay healthy). Booker is also a #1 type runner only in tier 3 due to injury and fumbling concerns.

Wide Receivers

Positional Strength: 1 of 5

1.       Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss, 1st round
2.       Michael Thomas, Ohio State, 1-2 round
3.       Josh Doctson, TCU, 2nd round
4.       Corey Coleman, Baylor, 2nd round
5.       Will Fuller, Notre Dame, 2-3 round

Commentary: This is one of the worst WR classes I have seen in a long time. Treadwell is a borderline #1 WR if he shows the speed. Thomas is a possession receiver with nice size but who might struggle to separate at the next level. Doctson is likely a quality #2 receiver similar to Jordan Matthews in Philly. Coleman is explosive but the recent history of super fast slot receivers is mixed at best. Fuller is my darkhorse who could just be a guy or turn into the next Antonio Brown.

Tight Ends

Positional Strength: 2 of 5

1.       Hunter Henry, Arkansas, 1-2 round
2.       Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky, 2-3 round
3.       Austin Hooper, Stanford, 2-3 round
4.       Bryce Williams, East Carolina, 3rd round
5.       Nick Vannett, Ohio State, 3-4 round

Commentary: The tight end class this year only has 1 standout and a lot of small-school hopefuls. Henry is a legitimate stud and might go in round 1. Higbee is coming off of injury but has the most upside of any player in this class. Hooper is a solid but unspectacular. Williams is a basketball star that has shown a willingness to get his nose dirty too. Vannett was an under-utilized prospect at Ohio State hoping to be a better pro.

Offensive Tackle

Positional Strength: 3 of 5

1.       Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss, Top 5
2.       Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame, Top 10
3.       Jack Conklin, Michigan State, 1st round
4.       Taylor Decker, Ohio State, 1st round
5.       Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M, 1-2 round

Commentary: The OT class is good, but not great in 2016. Tunsil might be the #1 overall pick, but still needs to add some strength. Stanley is good, but will likely be overdrafted due to need. Conklin is solid in both run and pass and could be ready to play RT as a rookie. Decker might be better suited to be a RT in the pros. Ifedi could play guard or tackle and excel at either.

Offensive Guard

Positional Strength: 4 of 5

1.       Vadal Alexander, LSU, 1-2 round
2.       Cody Whitehair, Kansas State, 2nd round
3.       Joshua Garnett, Stanford, 2nd round
4.       Landon Turner, UNC, 2-3 round
5.       Christian Westerman, Arizona State, 2-3 round

Commentary: This is a great year for interior linemen, which has seen a resurgence of respect in the league. Alexander gets my nod as the best guard due to his flexibility and tenacious run blocking. Whitehair is powerful and could start immediately for most teams. Garnett is smart, loves football and fights. Turner is best suited for a power running system with strength but lack of athleticism and Westerman is best suited as a zone blocking scheme for his mobility.


Positional Strength: 3 of 5

1.       Ryan Kelly, Alabama, 1-2 round
2.       Nick Martin, Notre Dame, 2-3 round
3.       Max Tuerk, USC, 2-3 round
4.       Graham Glasgow, Michigan, 3-4 round
5.       Jack Allen, Michigan State, 3-4 round

Commentary: Though is runs out after only 6-7 draftable prospects, the 2016 class of centers has some real stars. Kelly continues the tradition of quality Bama linemen. Martin, the brother of Cowboys LG Zack, is solid and could start on Day 1. Tuerk is coming back from injury but would be my #1 center if healthy. Glasgow showed at both the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl that he belongs. Allen anchored a solid line at Michigan State and should be a fine pro.

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