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Ell’s Top 50 NFL Rookie Prospects

Ell’s Top 50 NFL Rookie Prospects

1. Nick Bosa, DE/DT Ohio State (Drafted #2 49ers)

Before all of the hype on Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa was considered the #1 overall pick going into the offseason. Bosa comes from a football family and has had the advantage of learning from older brother Joey Bosa who has had pass rush success early in his career. Nick Bosa is a versatile D-lineman who can bring pressure from both inside and outside and despite coming off injury months ago, he should still be considered the safest player in the draft.

2. Quinnen Williams, DT Alabama (Drafted #3 Jets)

The key to the best defense in college football at Alabama, Quinnen Williams is a dominant defensive lineman who could play both inside and outside, but fits best as a DT in the NFL. Williams is a tough run defender, who can also provide a nice push at the QB when needed. He was one of the most athletic 300lbs. prospects in NFL Combine history, which attests to the type of athleticism he brings to the table. Williams is a strong high motor player who can fit in any scheme.

3. Dwayne Haskins, QB Ohio State (Drafted #15 Redskins)

It’s tough to find anything to not like about Dwayne Haskins, as he has the size, arm, and talent to win games. Haskins can make all of the throws and stands tall in the pocket, while providing great leadership and presence. He is smart QB with good awareness which leads to good decisions with the football or minimal turnovers. Haskins is not very mobile, but he can move around well in the pocket and will only improve with adjusting to NFL pressure over time.

4. Josh Allen, OLB/DE Kentucky (Drafted #7 Jaguars)

Josh Allen was a top leader on one of the best defenses in college football not named Alabama and a consistent edge rusher. Allen has the size, speed, and athleticism to step right in and contribute with a relentless motor at the LB position for any team from Day 1, despite the scheme. Allen is not only a pass rusher, but he can cover sideline to sideline and get out in coverage making him even more versatile as a three down LB.

5. Montez Sweat, DE/OLB Mississippi State (Drafted #26 Redskins)

Montez Sweat wowed teams with an amazing 4.41 sec. 40 yard dash time at the NFL combine showing his athleticism. Sweat is a consistent edge rusher using his speed, length, and high motor to get to the QB, but he doesn’t carry much weight which should cause a move to the LB or purely edge rusher spot to use him at his best; he clearly has double digit sack potential. Sweat needs to get stronger to hold up consistently and help him against the run game, where he struggles. However, I fully expect him to be a nightmare off the edge, especially in the right scheme.

6. Kyler Murray, QB Oklahoma (Drafted #1 Cardinals)

Kyler Murray is coming off a great Heisman winning season which has shot him up the draft boards, deservingly, but while I do believe he is a good QB, he is not the best QB in the draft. Murray throws a good deep ball and has the ability to make all the throws, while using his mobility to get out of the pocket and make plays. Murray has the skillset to be a consistent starter in the league, but I remain biased that his size may cause problems (injuries) and baseball is the better option; however, baseball will always be there, if needed.

7. Rashan Gary, DE/DT Michigan (Drafted #12 Packers)

Rashan Gary is another prospect who wowed at the NFL Combine with his size, high motor, and athleticism as a pure freak of nature. Gary appears to be the prototypical 3-4 defensive end giving him the ability to show off his abilities as a pass rusher and run defender, as he has the strength and skillset. He has the ability to move all around a defense and could be one of the best players in the draft, if he is used in the correct scheme; at this point his more potential than production, but the talent is evident.

8. Ed Oliver, DT Houston (Drafted #9 Bills)

Despite the knocks on his size, Ed Oliver was one of the most disruptive players in college football. Oliver is a high motor interior lineman who knows how to get after the QB and constantly provide pressure in the backfield. Oliver has been compared to Aaron Donald, who is considered the best defender in the league, but Oliver needs to get stronger and continue to get better against the run. He could be a disruptive force in a 4-3 defense in the right scheme next to a huge NT.

9. Devin White, LB LSU (Drafted #5 Bucs)

Devin White lived up to his word, as one of the fastest LBs in the draft, as he showed off his athleticism at the NFL Combine. White is a quick, sideline to sideline tackler who brings great leadership projecting as a MLB. He has a high motor which he uses in coverage against TE’s and to provide a nice pass rush when needed; there isn’t much he can’t do on the field, but he will need to improve against the run. 

10. Devin Bush Jr., LB Michigan (Drafted #10 Steelers)

Devin Bush is another prospect of football pedigree with a father who played in the NFL and should be ready for the next step. Bush is a high motor, sideline-sideline tackler who knows how to get after the QB when needed or drop back in coverage doing a good job of making plays in space. However, there are concerns about his height and run stopping consistency, but his talent is undeniable.

11. Clelin Ferrell, DE Clemson (Drafted #4 Raiders)

Clelin Ferrell is a player who seems underrated as he is not considered as athletic as the other pass rushers, but there is no doubting his talent. Ferrell seems to be a prototypical 4-3 DE who can hold stand strong against the run and get after the QB when needed. He may need to add some weight to his frame as teams are starting to view him as a 3-4 OLB which may not be to his advantage.

12. Christian Wilkins, DT Clemson (Drafted #13 Dolphins)

Christian Wilkins is a huge DT with good athleticism and a high motor for a guy his size playing with more finesse than power. Wilkins has the ability to both consistently stop the run and bring pressure on the QB from the inside or the outside. His versatility to line up anywhere on the D-line with his size, speed, and athleticism will make him a nightmare in any scheme.

13. Noah Fant, TE Iowa (Drafted #20 Broncos)

Noah Fant could be something special at the TE position as his passing skills, athleticism, and speed are along the lines of having another WRs lined up which could cause matchup problems. Fant comes out of Iowa which has done a good job producing TE’s but usually blockers. He will need to improve his blocking, as he is used to being the 2nd TE, but in the right scheme he could be a matchup nightmare with his ability to make plays after catch. 

14. Andrew Dillard, T Washington State (Drafted #22 Eagles)

Andrew Dillard proved at the NFL Combine that he is a very nimble big man with great footwork, technique, and athleticism that teams look for in a LT. Dillard is a very good pass blocker who can handle both the speed and the bull rush, however he needs to get stronger and improve on his run blocking; that should only get better with coaching. 

15. Brian Burns, DE/OLB Florida State (Drafted #16 Panthers)

Brian Burns is one of the most explosive pass rushers in the draft and will be probably picked higher than this as he has added some much needed weight to his frame. Burns is still an undersized DE who may need to move to LB in the NFL, but he does have experience rushing standing and kneeling. He has a nose for finding the QB, but he will need to get stronger against the run.

16. Chris Lindstrom, OG Boston College (Drafted #14 Falcons)

Chris Lindstrom rose up boards after a strong NFL Combine showing, which placed him as the best pure guard in the draft with his footwork, technique, and athleticism. Lindstrom has experience at both Guard and Tackle while playing with good toughness and quickness to recover against both power and speed rushes. Lindstrom is a very good pass blocker and may be one of the best in the draft.

17. T.J. Hockensen, TE Iowa (Drafted #8 Lions)

Another TE from the TE factory of Iowa in the draft, T.J. Hockenson is the more balanced of the two TEs as he is more of a blocker, with the ability to find the soft spots in the defense. Hockenson doesn’t have great speed, but knows how to play in the trenches and bring a blue collar attitude; he should be ready to produce early and often, even if it’s mostly blocking until he finds his groove.

18. Jonah Williams, T Alabama (Drafted #11 Bengals)

Jonah Williams is a tough, physical blocker who plays with good discipline and technique coming out of Alabama. Williams has versatility to play Tackle and Guard and strongly believes he is the best LT in the draft. I think Williams fits best as a Guard and can make the impact that most of the recently highly picked guards have made in the run game as he is a mauling run blocker and improving pass blocker.

19. Dexter Lawrence, DT Clemson (Drafted #17 Giants)

Dexter Lawrence was the key to the Clemson defensive line as a prototypical Nose Tackle with the ability to plug the middle and take up the attention of two blockers. Lawrence moves well for his size and can create a push up the middle when his motor is going. However, as any team would love he is the ultimate run-stuffer in the middle and can free up other players to make plays around him, but he does come with off the field concerns.

20. Marquise Brown, WR Oklahoma (Drafted #25 Ravens)

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is an exciting, but small playmaker with good speed and quickness allowing him to make plays in space or break a big play. He is one of the most explosive playmakers in the draft and the cousin of star WR Antonio Brown, which should explain his pedigree. Hollywood should be NFL ready after being the top WR for two Heisman trophy winners; showing their trust in him.

21. Garrett Bradbury, C NC State (Drafted #18 Vikings)

Garrett Bradbury is the top center in the draft and proved it by putting on an absolute show at the NFL Combine showing his footwork and athleticism. He has good size for the position and he is a smart player who can play all inside positions, if needed. Bradbury is considered one of the best Center prospects in recent draft history, so he should be an anchor in the middle for a long time.

22. Greedy Williams, CB LSU (Drafted #46 Browns)

Greedy Williams is a tall CB with good speed and coverage skills coming out of LSU which has done a good job producing quality CBs. Williams plays with good athleticism, ball-hawking skills, and recovery skills, but he does need to get  stronger which would also help him in run support. However, Williams is the #1 CB in the draft and should be a solid cover CB for years to come.

23. Daniel Jones, QB Duke (Drafted #6 Giants)

Daniel Jones is an accurate QB who impressed during the Senior Bowl after playing in a pro style system. Jones didn’t have the best targets at Duke, but displayed good decision making and accuracy as a leader on offense. He didn’t have the best pro day which showed that he may have issues throwing the deep ball, but he should be able to pick teams apart in the intermediate game.

24. DK Metcalf, WR Ole Miss (Drafted #64 Seahawks)

Despite being one of the biggest boom or bust prospects in the draft, it’s hard to deny D.K. Metcalf’s size, speed, and athleticism. He comes from a football family and has been trained up for this moment all his life. While some see him as only a down the field threat, he does have the size and strength to go across the middle. Metcalf has all of tools to be an all-around talent at WR which makes you one of the elite; he definitely has a wow factor the other WR prospects don’t have.

25. Nasir Adderley, S Delaware (Drafted #60 Chargers)

Nasir Adderley isn’t the biggest safety in the draft, as he is a converted CB, but he may be the best cover DB in the draft. Adderley is a ball-hawk with good size and should be a welcome asset, as he has the versatility to slide down to CB or play in a centerfield role as a 1 deep safety. He will be able to find a spot on the field early, as he is also a solid returner, but coming out of Delaware he may need some time.

26. Jawaan Taylor, T Florida (Drafted #35 Jaguars)

Strong, physical RT with great run blocking ability and good footwork; might have the ability to move to LT.

27. Jaylon Ferguson, DE Louisiana Tech (Drafted #85 Ravens)

NCAA leader in sacks, so no question if he can get after the QB; needs to show he can produce from a small school.

28. Jeffery Simmons, DT Mississippi State (Drafted #19 Titans)

Top 5 prospect before a late ACL injury, still a very dominant piece to have in the middle against the run and pass; some off the field concerns.

29. Deebo Samuel, WR South Carolina (Drafted # 49ers)

Versatile playmaker in space who can contribute in a number of ways, playing with good toughness and physicality, despite his size; hence the nickname “Deebo”.

30. N’Keal Harry, WR Arizona State (Drafted #32 Patriots)

Possession WR who knows how to go up and get the ball using his body to get good separation as a prototypical #1 WR.

31. Josh Jacobs, RB Alabama (Drafted #24 Raiders)

While not the fastest RB, clearly the #1 RB with good size and a jack of all trades who can stay on the field all 3 downs with good hands.

32. Parris Campbell, WR Ohio State (Drafted #59 Colts)

Smooth route running WR who can play inside and outside, but may fit best in the slot with his playmaking ability in space; coming off minor workout injury.

33. Byron Murphy, CB Washington (Drafted #33 Cardinals)

Solid cover CB, who plays with good toughness and ball skills, while also being a willing hitter in the run game; fits best in the nickel due to size.

34. Jonathan Abram, S Mississippi State (Drafted #27 Raiders)

Physical safety with good speed who loves to hit, fits best as an enforcer on the back end; needs to improve coverage.

35. A.J. Brown, WR Ole Miss (Drafted #51 Titans)

The other physical WR from Ole Miss not named DK, with good route running and the ability to play inside and outside; lacks pure speed.

36. DeAndre Baker, CB Georgia (Drafted #30 Giants)

Solid press, cover corner who knows how to get physical and does a good job of mirroring his assignments; lacks size.

37. Cody Ford, T/G Oklahoma (Drafted #38 Bills)

Versatile lineman who can play both guard and tackle, athletic with good power, would fit best as a guard in a running scheme; needs to improve pass blocking.

38. Jachai Polite, DE/OLB Florida (Drafted #68 Jets)

Solid pass rusher with a high motor who knows how to get after the quarterback, but he will need to play standing up; poor showing at the Combine and on interviews.

39. Andy Isabella, WR Boston College (Drafted #62 Cardinals)

Small WR with good hands, route running, and speed giving him the ability to make plays in space; should fit nicely in the slot on a passing team.

40. Greg Little, T Ole Miss (Drafted #37 Panthers)

Pass blocking LT who plays with good technique and athleticism; didn’t have the best showing at the Combine needs to improve his run blocking.

41. Irv Smith Jr., TE Alabama (Drafted #50 Vikings)

Pass catching TE who is good in space and could be a problem matchup with his versatility, needs to improve his blocking.

42. JoeJuan Williams, CB Vanderbilt (Drafted #45 Patriots)

Tall CB with great size and press skills who knows how to use his body to shield off receivers especially in the red zone; needs to improve his tackling, recovery skills, and cause more turnovers.

43. Rock Ya-Sin, CB Temple (Drafted #34 Colts)

Press CB who plays physical and doesn’t mind hitting, but he needs to improve his technique and his footwork due to limited experience.

44. Jose Arcega-Whiteside, WR Stanford (Drafted #57 Eagles)

Smart, possession WR with good size and hands who knows how to find his way to the end zone; not the fastest WR, but he is a playmaker who can catch in traffic.

45. Jerry Tillery DT (Drafted #28 Chargers)

Huge defensive lineman who has improved every year, especially at pass rushing; potentially his best football is ahead of him; needs to improve consistency.

46. Dalton Risner, T Kansas State (Drafted #41 Broncos)

Experienced college lineman who excels as a pass blocker, but can also create lanes in the run game, plays physical, but he needs to improve his footwork or move inside to Guard.

47. Taylor Rapp, S Washington (Drafted #61 Rams)

Versatile safety who can be moved to cover or attack from anywhere on the field, has good ball skills and size; not the fastest prospect so he needs to improve his deep ball coverage.

48. Drew Lock, QB Missouri (Drafted #42 Broncos)

Loved by a lot of teams and scouts, looks the part of a QB and has good athleticism, but he needs to improve his accuracy.

49. Trayvon Mullen, CB Clemson (Drafted #40 Raiders)

Tall CB with good press cover skills, athleticism, and speed; needs to improve against good route running receivers and show more consistency.

50. Riley Ridley, WR Georgia (Drafted #126 Bears)

While not the fastest WR, good hands and route running ability, brother of Calvin Ridley (Falcons); needs to show he can get consistent separation.

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