It is draft day, and fans should anticipate the rollercoaster ride of emotion that is the NFL draft.
Round one of the NFL draft is set to commence at 8 p.m. eastern standard time; and while there are a lot of big names that will be announced come 8 o’clock, it’s some of the quieter names that will shock fans during the regular season. Every team would like to draft a Dak Prescott to change the franchise, but grabbing a player that flies under the radar is harder than it sounds.
There is a strong sense that players like Myles Garrett, Jonathan Allen and Jamal Adams are going to translate to the NFL. If they do not, it will come as a shock to the teams that draft them and their fans, but there are five names that NFL fans should keep an eye on for when they enter the NFL.
Three of the names on the offensive side of the ball to look out for are wide receivers Corey Davis from Western Michigan, Josh Reynolds out of Texas A&M and Texas Tech Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. The 6’ 3” 209 pound Davis is widely seen as the top wide receiver in the draft and ESPN draft guru, Todd McShay, has him going to the Los Angeles Chargers with the seventh pick. Davis had a sensational 2016 season with 97 receptions and 1500 receiving yards. He also co-led the FBS in touchdowns with 19 and draws comparisons to players like Antonio Brown and Julio Jones for his size and route-running ability.
The second wide receiver to keep an eye out for during the draft is Reynolds. Though he will more than likely not be a first round draft pick, the Texas A&M wide-out has the prototypical height and athleticism to translate nicely to the NFL. Scouts like his ability to create separation from corners and make big plays, but his hands tend to be one of the bigger question marks when teams evaluate the Texas A&M receiver.
The Last player on the offensive side of the ball is Mahomes, the son of former Minnesota Twins pitcher, Pat Mahomes. Like his father, Mahomes has a cannon for an arm and probably owns the strongest arm out of any quarterback in this year’s draft. The Texas Tech quarterback also led the NCAA with 5,052 passing yards and 41 touchdowns.
Over to the defensive side of the ball, there are two big names to look out for in Wisconsin Badgers’ outside linebacker T.J. Watt and Washington Huskies’ cornerback Kevin King. Watt is ranked as the second-best player at his position and a projected first-round pick. In his final season, he totaled 63 tackles and 11.5 sacks and helped lead the Badgers to a Cotton Bowl victory.
King also had a successful season with the Huskies and the projected first-round draft pick has unmatched size at the position. His 6’3” frame will allow him to potentially move around the secondary of whatever team drafts him. It’s hard to say what exactly will happen during the draft, but one thing is certain: when these athletes hear their name called Thursday or even later, their lives will be changed forever.