We often talk about the Draft and the prospects in it. However, several players move up quickly with out really much of an explanation. That`s what I am going to do here. I will provide some insight to some of the players who have been quickly rising up my rankings in position and overall.
5. Adoree Jackson, CB University of Southern California
Adoree came up big on award night taking home the best defensive back award. This kid can do it all he is another one of those freak athletes that can start on defense, return kicks and play on offense with out losing a step. The NFL is starting to shift extremely slowly and slightly to getting the best talents and using them all over the field with guys like Terrelle Pryor, Su`a Cravens and Tavon Austin. Adoree can do the same he can be in on just about every play in the game. What he lacks in coverage skills he makes up in tackling and pure athleticism.
He had 42 solo tackles, 4 Ints and one forced fumble this year on defense. While posting an electric 22 kick off returns for 671 yards and 2 TD with a 30 yard return average. Matched with 19 punts returned for 302 yards and 2 TDs giving him an 15.9 punt return average.
His most game changing ability might be in the kicking game, but his ability as a corner might have just as much elite potential. He will be able to learn the different coverage`s as he grows in the NFL which is usually a flaw in these raw college corners who rely on athleticism more than technique. With his ability he will come in and easily start at Nickle or take on the fastest WR on the other side of the field. If there is one issue with him it might be his size 5`11 and 185. He is not as big as most people would want and he kind of disappeared in 2015 with just 22 tackles in 14 games. He played in 12 games his freshman year and almost doubled that tackle total. If he can keep this consistency going his ball hawking ability and speed will make him one very interesting CB coming in to the draft. Look for him to get to around 190 at the combine to try and beef up, that should not affect his speed. If he can get some good press and gain some weight I see Adoree in 2 years as a young lock down type corner who will be close to impossible to burn deep. His aggression in the run game is also a big up for me as well in comparison to the over-hyped Jabril Peppers the LB/S/CB hybrid he had 66 total tackles where Adoree had 55. 11 tackles less with better coverage ability and an actual position don’t sleep on this guy.
Projection- Highest- 12th overall
Lowest- late 30`s overall
Current Projection- 19th to Miami
4. Jake Butt, TE Michigan
Yes, I finally get to talk about one of my favorite players in College Football Jake Butt. No, its not just cause of his name. I love the way this kid plays and he is a versatile TE, he is one of the guys who can line up as a TE to catch or block and also slide into the Slot. Michigan uses him similar to how the Patriots use Gronk and I think he could be used in the same way at the next level. No, I am not comparing him to Gronk in anyway in the passing game for ability I am just saying he can be used the same type of way.
This year he had 518 yards and 4 TD on 43 rec giving him about an 11 yards per catch average. Over his 4-year career at Michigan he is at 135 rec, 1620 yards and 11 TD. With a total average of 12 yards a catch.
He clearly has the ability to be a pass catching TE at the next level, while he is not as good a blocker as OJ Howard from Alabama I think he offers a bigger upside package. The league is now enamored with TE who can play on the line and in the slot. Butt is a big guy at 6`6 250. In comparison to Gronk, Jake is the same height and about 15 pounds lighter. With his size and pass catching ability he could easily warrant a mid-20s pick. He is very versatile and is a great check down choice in almost any offense. His sure hands and size make him a good over the middle target. While he is lacking as an elite blocker, that will come with time and coming in at 250 if he can get up to around 255-260 and keep the speed he will be bigger than most OLB and DE coming his way. There is a lot to like with Jake Butt and unlike with the previously drafted Funchess I think his upside is that of an all-pro. Jake is an elite TE at the college level, but that may not help him in the draft. As I think he will be drafted as the best player available rather than a team looking for a TE. Not every offense wants a TE like Butt or knows how to use one, but I think a bigger factor is if a early pick is an TE and they are a bust you are pretty much fired. I think the is far above better than Hunter Henry who came out this last year and is making a name for him self out there in San Diego.
Projection- Highest- 21st Overall
Current Projection- 25th to Houston
3. Brian Hill, RB Wyoming
If you do not know Brian Hill you should go watch some tape. This kid is a big 6`1 220, he plays more like he is around 240, but has the speed of a back around 190lbs. I love this kid, and so did his college of Wyoming. His attempts jumped aggressively each of his three seasons there. He is a very smart running back, and does not rely on his size and ability over mechanics and vision. Quietly he put together one of the best RB seasons in the country this year. If he would have done what he did at a more high-profile college his name would be up there with the top 5 right now.
On 323 carries he had 1767 rushing yards and 21 Tds. He finished his college career with 789 carries for 4758 yards and 34 Tds on the ground. However, he is also very good with his hands netting 40 catches and 384 yards in 3 seasons.
Most of the time if a kid gets 21 TD`s for a RB or a WR his name is littered on Heisman ballots, but because he was at Wyoming that was chalked up to a lack of quality opponents. Against 3 teams who were ranked this year (he played SDSU 2 times so 4 total games vs teams who were ranked) he had 92 carries with 419 yards and 3 TD. He also had an out of this world game vs Nevada where he ran for 289 yards and 3 Tds on just 29 carries. He has a nose for the goal line and is not afraid to take a hit. There are so many good things to like about this kid. Maybe the most impressive is in over 750 carries in a very cold environment in Wyoming he only fumbled 6 times in 3 seasons. 3 of those fumbles were in 2015 with 2 in one game vs Air Force and his lone fumble this year was against SDSU in their last game of the regular season. So if you are looking for a sure handed back with speed and proto-type size who deals out punishment Brian Hill fits the build with a bullet.
Projection- Highest- mid-2nd-round
Current Projection- early teens in the second round.
2. Mason Rudolph, QB Oklahoma State
Mason might quietly be the most consistent QB in all of college football with 2 back-to-back seasons throwing for 3700+ yards, 20+ Tds, less than 10 ints, 63% comp, 149+ rating and 260 comp. His Comp, Comp %, and yards are almost identical in back to back seasons. That is about as consistent as it gets. While the Big 12 defenses are nothing to write home about they have also had several quality out of conference opponents. At 6`5 235 he has that good size you are looking for in a QB at the next level. Lets also point out the fact he has been lacking in elite WR and RB at OK State.
His career state line 575 comp, 62.1 comp %, 8400 yards, 52 TD: 17 INT, 153.2QBR and no fumbles. His first year he had just over 800 yards in 3 games.
Rudolph might be the least talked about QB with so many people focusing in on Kizer, Watson, Kaaya and Trubisky. However, he might have the most consistent arm out of all 4 of them. It really is hard to gauge his pro potential with the fact he has not had great talent around him and he stayed so consistent. If he had one season that just broke the trend with crazy yards or TD`s we might get an idea of what else he has. I like his feet and his vision and he controls the ball, he wont let bad passes get away from them and avoids throwing into double coverage. His ability to manage the game and make the right choices is one of his best abilities. I think he has better vision and game management ability than any of the 4 or 5 Qbs talked about in the first round. He just doesn’t have that big arm or escape ability of some of the other Qbs in this class. While I am not sure he is an elite starter at the next level Chad Pennington type comparisons should be about right for Rudolph at this point in his development. He is another one of those QBs who has everything you want, but you just want to see a bit more to try and see if he can be successful at a high-level in the NFL.
Projection- Highest- 32nd overall
Current Projection- late-2nd-round
1. John Ross, WR Washington
John Ross is just a stud. There is no other way to say it he trusts his hands, he has the ability to get a step on the deep routes and he is not afraid to go over the middle, which is awesome since he is 5`11 and 190. Lets not forget though one of the elite and maybe best WR in the NFL in Antonio Brown is not much different in size. John Ross only had one real break out year and it was this year after injuries and not having a great team his first 3 seasons, but man what a break out year. He was leading the offense all the way to a top-10 finish and a birth in the College Football Playoff. We will see what he can really do here soon when he goes vs Bama.
This season his stat line was electric 76 rec 1122 yards 17 TD that’s almost a 15 yard per catch average. He also played well in the run game 8 carries 102 yards and 1 TD.
This kid is electric and I like the previous comparison of Antonio Brown he came into the Draft at 5`10 186lbs. Ross is just a little bit bigger but I think has all of the same skills. He can easily burn you deep and can play in the run game as well. My favorite part of Ross is his hands and how well he trusts them, rarely will you see him jump to catch a ball he could have just caught around his chest. This is a common flaw in college with guys who dont trust their hands trying to catch it with their body. He almost turns into a running back once he gets it into his hands. He even has ability in the kick game has he had 14 returns for just shy of 400 yards and a TD this season. If there is one downside which may not have been his fault was his early injuries and sometimes he gets lost in games, not sure if it is the Randy Moss syndrome where if he doesn’t get the ball he stops trying, but a few games this year he was non-existent. I think he can be electric at the next level and a true #1 WR even with him being under 6-ft.
Projection- Highest- 7th overall
Lowest- late 20`s overall
Current Projection- 21st to Tampa Bay Buccaneers