2019 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: N'Keal Harry and the prospects with most to prove during pre-draft process
These prospects have something to prove during the pre-draft process over the next few months
With the 2019 NFL Draft upon us, it's time to prepare yourself for the wild ride ahead.
Drastically fluctuating draft stocks without games being played, precise analysis of combine workouts and pro day performances, and intricate tracking of team visits for top prospects, all wrapped in a gigantic blanket of speculation.
In this Big Board update, I've highlighted the prospects with something to prove over the next few months leading into the 2019 Draft in late April.
1. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa doesn't have to show much ... but, at some point during the pre-draft process, he'll want to prove to teams his core muscle injury has healed. Whether he does that by doing a few of the drills at the combine or waiting until the Ohio State Pro Day, Bosa can lock himself into the top spot by showing he's physically ready.
5. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
6. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Ferrell has the inside track to be the second edge-rusher off the board after Bosa, particularly after his, but Josh Allen from Kentucky isn't very far behind, and there are probably some teams that have Allen ahead of Ferrell. The Clemson end is a lock to go in Round 1. A high-caliber performance at the combine would go a long way in Ferrell solidifying himself as the No. 2 edge-rusher in a class loaded at the position.
8. N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Harry naysayers believe he's too slow and not athletic enough to be a first-round pick. The combine will ultimately decide the range at which the 6-foot-4 Harry is selected in the draft. If he runs anything under 4.55, tests well in the jumps, and times somewhere around 7.0 seconds in the three-cone drill, Harry should get consensus Round 1 consideration. If not, he very well could land in Round 2.
9. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
A lot of what I wrote about Ferrell applies to Allen. After 17 sacks in his senior season, the 260-pounder has solidified himself as a first-round pick. Just how high will he go? If he erupts at the combine, he'll have a good chance to land in the top 5. Having a three-cone under, say, 7.15 will be vital. Teams will want to see measured explosiveness in the vertical and broad jumps too.
10. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
12. Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
14. Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
15. Zach Allen, EDGE/DL, Boston College
Allen is a fascinating prospect at a legit 6-5 and 280-plus pounds at the edge-rusher position. At that size, no one expects him to be lightning-fast around the corner, but Allen did showcase excellent movement skills and was able to bend the edge tightly at times. So just how athletic is he? Taven Bryan-esque? J.J. Watt? Probably not the latter, but an athletic profile -- after the combine -- close to the Texans' superstar will catapult Allen up draft boards.
17. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
Arcega-Whiteside doesn't look like the fastest "power forward" wideout on film, but unsurprisingly, at 6-3, he's a long-strider, so he covers plenty of yardage with each step. It's easy to see Arcega-Whiteside's dominance in contested-catch situations. He may need a good combine / pro day to go in the first round. He doesn't need to blaze in the 40 though. Depending on his weight -- which I'm guessing will be in the 215-225 range -- if the Stanford touchdown machine runs under 4.55, he'll go in Round 1.
18. Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
This is probably as high as you'll see Burr-Kirven on the Internet, and I'm fine with that. The linebacker spot is transforming to a safety spot, so BBK's listed height and weight of 6-0 and 225 doesn't bother me. But some NFL teams might be scared away by his lack of "traditional" size. If he hits those marks at the combine weigh-in, he should be OK. His athletic testing will be critical to his draft stock too. As a quick, sideline-to-sideline coverage linebacker, BBK will need to test impressively in the 40, both jumps, and the agility drills to cement his status as one of the best, new-age, off-ball linebackers in the class. It'll be an uphill battle.
19. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
20. Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
21. Devin White, LB, LSU
White's listed at 6-1 and 240 pounds, pretty massive for a linebacker today. On film, he looks like one of the most athletic prospects at his position in the 2019 class. He's very likely to go well ahead of BBK and is the odds-on favorite to be the first off-ball linebacker to be selected. White just doesn't want to weigh-in at much more than 240 at the combine, and a good performance -- doesn't have to be amazing -- should lock him into the top 15 picks or so.
22. Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Butler is listed at 6-6 and 225 pounds. If he's officially 6'5 over 220 in Indy ... look out. He was a premier deep threat who flashed the ability to sky for the football at Iowa State. Teams will want to see a time near 4.50 for the dynamic wideout. If he goes under 4.50 and his vertical is around 40 inches -- both of which I believe are distinctly possible -- Butler will be in the running to be one of the first receivers picked. Seriously.
23. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
23. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite is a pure pass-rusher. He didn't even play that much on "running downs" for the Gators' defense in 2018. At around 6-2 and 242 pounds, he's the size of most "pass-rushing specialists," and in today's NFL, there's nothing wrong with being one of those. However, Polite clearly wins with blistering speed and insane bend around the corner -- along with a nice repertoire of pass-rushing moves. A relatively bad time in the three-cone drill wouldn't destroy his stock, but he'll want to be under the paramount 7.0 second threshold, and I expect him to be.
25. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Of course neck injuries aren't exactly viewed the same way as a high ankle sprain. The former is what Metcalf suffered during the 2018 season that led to his season ending prematurely. The priority for Metcalf during the pre-draft process is to get medically cleared. If and when that happens, the 6-4, 225-pounder will probably put on a show whenever he gets an opportunity to work out. With an explosive performance either at the combine or at the Ole Miss Pro Day, Metcalf will move up boards.
26. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
27. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
28. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
After not playing in the College Football Playoff, Lawrence will want to remind everyone how rare of a prospect he is at 6-4 and 345 pounds. He displayed impressive quickness off the snap for his size in 2018, was certainly overwhelming when he deployed his bull rush, and the true junior flashed an array of pass-rushing moves. Dontari Poe is the recent gold standard for gigantic but mobile nose tackles, and he went No. 11 overall in the 2012 Draft after running 4.98 at the combine that year. If Lawrence runs under 5.00, there's a good chance he'll land inside the top 15 too.
29. Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
Just how athletic is the 6-1, 203-pound Oruwariye? That height-weight combination is ideal for a tremendous showing at the combine, and right now, Oruwariye is somewhat flying under the radar. He had seven interceptions and 18 pass breakups over the past two years at Penn State but enters the draft season with less buzz than cornerback prospects like Greedy Williams and Byron Murphy. His measurements in Indy will be vital to his draft stock and a super-fast 40 along with explosive jumps could very well lead to him being the second player off the board at his position.
30. Terronne Prescod, OG, NC State
31. Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion
Because he's coming from a small school, Ximines absolutely has to show scouts, GMs, and defensive coordinatiors he has NFL-caliber athleticism that stacks up with other top edge-rusher prospects in this class. The reshirt senior had 32.5 sacks and 51 tackles for loss at Old Dominion thanks to bend around the corner and a variety of calculated pass-rushing plans involving fantastic hand work. He'll just need to test somewhere in the realm of Jachai Polite to sneak into the late portions of Round 1 or go early in Round 2. A big week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl would go a long way to an improved draft stock too.
32. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Honorable mention: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss, Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo, Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State, Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida, Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma, Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State, Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma, Beau Benzschawel, OG, Wisconsin
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