Prisco's 2017 NFL Draft Better-Than Team: 20 guys I like more than the scouts do
Texas A&M's 'other' DE headlines a list of guys who have draft steal written all over them
Scouts kept telling me about the "other" end at Texas A&M, the guy not named Myles Garrett, the guy who won't go in the first round.
"He isn't Garrett, but he's a damn good player," one NFC personnel man said.
So I took a look -- a long, hard look at Daeshon Hall, the Aggies' other end.
What I saw was a raw prospect, one who didn't play football until his junior year of high school because he was a basketball player. Hall is a player who has the tools to be a starting end in the NFL and one who can slide inside on passing downs.
He doesn't have Garrett's athletic ability, but who does? Yet he's more than capable of pushing the pocket. At nearly 6-foot-6 and 266 pounds, he has the frame to add more weight and become an even better player against the run. He has also played standing up, which might be attractive to to 3-4 teams.
When you put in his tape, you see a player who can make plays. He had 13 tackles for a loss last season to go with his 4.5 sacks. Some will say that production isn't good enough playing opposite Garrett, who got a lot of attention, but it's no different than saying Garrett's 8.5 sacks aren't good enough either.
Hall needs seasoning -- and he will get it on the next level -- but the clay is there to mold him into a 10-sack guy and certainly a rotation player early in his career. When a kid succeeds after moving from the basketball to football late in high school, that says a lot about his athletic ability.
He has added 65 pounds the past few seasons, which can be a challenge, but one Hall has met.
All of this is why he's the captain of my annual Better-Than Team, a 20-man team of players I think scouts are under-valuing. Some will still be first-round picks, but most will go on the second or third day.
As captain, Hall joins a group from my past teams who have had big-time professional success, including Jason Pierre-Paul, Bennie Logan, Lavonte David, Grady Jarrett, Sean Davis and Dak Prescott -- six quality NFL starters. , in case you want to see what I got right and wrong.
Hall has a lot to live up to with that group. Now for the rest of the team.
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
At 5-9, 175 pounds, he doesn't have great size to be a 25-carry player. But he can be an outstanding back in the passing game and can handle 10-12 carries as a change-of-pace guy. He broke a lot of Marshall Faulk's records at San Diego State and is the all-time leading rusher in FBS history. Don't get caught up in his size. He will be a nice NFL player.
Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, Alabama
Playing on a talented defense, which included Jonathan Allen playing opposite him, Tomlinson was sometimes overlooked. He is a power player at 6-3, 310 pounds who has a good feel in the run game but needs work with his pass rush. He isn't Allen, but he will be a good, solid NFL player.
Kevin King, CB, Washington
Long before it became chic to mention King as a possible first-round pick, I loved his game. He is long, athletic and physical. He doesn't back down. He isn't great in short areas all the time, but I think that will improve as he gets coached up better. He would be perfect for a team like Seattle.
Curtis Samuel, RB-WR, Ohio State
He was a running back last season, but I see him more as a receiving weapon on the next level. He caught 74 passes in 2016 as a back. He will be able to play in the slot in the NFL, but he can also be a runner. His versatility will make him attractive, and he can fly with a 40 time of 4.31. At 5-10, 196 pounds, he will be a game changer on the next level.
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
This 6-2, 240-pound linebacker made a lot of tackles (275 in three seasons, including 18 TFL) for the Buckeyes and will be an inside/middle linebacker on the next level. He has to improve his footspeed to be a three-down linebacker, but he will be effective against the run early in his career.
Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
At 5-11, 212 pounds, he isn't an overpowering runner, but he has the ability to rip off the big play, even though his 40 time isn't great at 4.50. He averaged 6.2 yards per rush in his career, including 6.8 last season. That shows the type of back he can be on the next level.
Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee
He has good size (6-2½, 208) and speed (under 4.4 in the 40) and was productive for the Volunteers, catching 50 passes with 12 touchdowns last season. His yards per catch average was 19.4, which shows big-play ability. He needs to improve on the little things, but a good receivers coach will make this kid a nice downfield threat.
Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
He caught 158 passes last season. Think about that for a second. That's in one season. That's unreal. He had 399 catches in his four-year career. He isn't a stretch-the-field player, but he is a polished wideout and he did run 4.45, which is plenty fast, at the combine. Scouts I talked with love this kid. He is the son of former NFL linebacker Robert Jones, so he's been around the game his entire life.
Michael Rector, WR, Stanford
This 6-foot, 185-pound receiver is a deep threat who ran 4.4 at the combine. He plays to that too, averaging an amazing 30 yards on his 14 catches as a freshman in 2013. His numbers went down from there, but in 2016 some of that was because of bad quarterback play. Every time I watched Stanford play, he seemed to be making big plays. He could be a late-round pick, and he could be a steal.
George Kittle, TE, Iowa
This is a deep tight-end class, which is why Kittle might fall some. But the former wide receiver is one of the best blockers in this class. Even so, his receiver background makes you think he can be a quality pro pass catcher. He could be a third- or fourth-round steal.
Isaac Asiata, G, Utah
This 6-3, 330-pound guard is a power player who excels in the run game. He would be a nice addition to a team looking to get tougher inside. He is limited some in pass protection, even though he was a right tackle some in college. At 25, he's a little older, but also more mature.
Dorian Johnson, G-T, Pittsburgh
A big get for the Panthers after leaving Penn State, he came in as a tackle but wound up a three-year starter at guard. At 6-5, 300 pounds, he could use a little more weight to help his power. But he is an athletic player, and once he gets bigger on the next level, he has a chance to be a good starting guard.
Joe Mathis, OLB, Washington
He was limited to six games because of foot surgery last season, but still managed five sacks. At 6-1, 266 pounds, he has a little James Harrison look to him. He was a big recruit who struggled to adjust on the college level until last season. When you watch his senior tape, there is a lot to like before he got hurt. His medical has to check out, but he would be a nice player for a 3-4 team as a rush linebacker.
Dawuane Smoot, DE-OLB, Illinois
He had 13 sacks the past two seasons for the Illini, which is solid work. But the thing that is truly impressive is his athletic ability. He was a former track star in high school as a high hurdler. That's unreal for a player who weighed 264 pounds at the combine. He didn't run great 40 times, but that's not what pass rushing is all about anyway.
Montravius Adams, DT, Auburn
At 6-3, 305 pounds, he has impressive quickness for a man his size. He won't overpower people, but he makes big plays with his quickness. He had 4.5 sacks last season playing on the nose. I think he has a chance to be an even better inside rusher in the pros.
Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
Why he isn't getting more love from scouts and draftniks intrigues me. This kid has the in-line quickness and speed teams love to attack up the field. He isn't a power player, but at 310 pounds can get stronger and do a better job at the point. His quickness off the ball makes him a player to watch in this draft.
Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida
When you talk to scouts about this kid, they all say the same thing: He needs to stay on the field. Anzalone was limited to 10 starts the past two seasons and then opted to forego his senior season. He was a major recruit, who -- when on the field -- was productive. At 6-2, 241 pounds, he will be a starter inside for the team that takes him.
Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
He is a game-breaker who is really good in coverage, but he is outstanding as a return man. He will make an immediate impact as a rookie in the return game and could be a starting nickel at the outset. He's only 5-10, 185 pounds so there is some size concern. But don't discount his ability to make plays as a corner and a returner.
Desmond King, S, Iowa
He was a play-making corner but doesn't have the top-end speed needed to play the position in the NFL. I think if he slides inside to free safety, he would be a nice starter for a long time. At 5-11, 201 pounds, he was a willing tackler on the corner, which is why I think he can smoothly make the transition.
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