It is so tough to predict which prospects will pan out. Every year the NFL draft is littered with Hall of Famers and busts and many that fit somewhere in between.
The draft is tonight and with that, let’s take a look at who will be the best and worst picks from the 2016 draft.
Ryan Kelly, Center, Alabama
This guy played against top competition just about every week he was in college playing at Alabama. Kelly was about as close to flawless as you can get during his career with the Crimson Tide. His name has popped up as a late first round candidate now. He will likely be one of the top three centers in the league by the time the calendar reads 2020. Whoever takes this guy is getting a stud to build the offensive line around. Just to give you some reference, the last five centers drafted in the first round were Nick Mangold, Alex Mack, Maurice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey and Travis Fredricks. They have 14 Pro Bowls between them, with Fredricks being the only one not to go yet, but he is only 25. If Kelly goes in the first round, he will be joining some pretty elite company.
Ezekiel Elliot, Running Back, Ohio State
He might have dropped all the way to 18 in our mock draft, but Elliot is probably even better than Todd Gurley. The former Buckeye was a beast in college and reminds me a lot of LeVeon Bell. His versatility to catch the ball out of the backfield, stay in to pass block, run inside or outside makes him special. If he goes to Dallas, there is a chance this kid is a Pro Bowler as a rookie. He will be a top five running back in the league by 2020, if he isn’t already the best by then. Gurley might challenge him for that title though.
Laremy Tunsil, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss
This kid is flat out tough. There has been a lot of adversity surrounding him, but I think he will push past all of it and be an impact player in the NFL. Scouts complain that he could put more on his frame, and maybe he will after a year or two, but he already measures in at 6’5″ and 310 pounds. He has very good footwork and solid upper body strength. His will develop into a better run blocker at the next level and he is already a very polish pass protector. He played in the SEC and is used to competing against top talent. I think he is pro-ready and will get even better as he plays more.
Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Memphis
I am far from sold on this kid. Most are projecting Lynch to go in the first round, but I’m not buying the hype. Similar to the concerns about Carson Wentz, Lynch didn’t have great competition in college and as a result, his college numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. There are also a lot of concerns about his ability to progress through reads on the field and to master an offensive gameplan. Those are two massive red flags to me. Everyone knows that Lynch is not pro-ready, but with some of the flaws he has, I don’t know if he will ever really be set to play at the professional level.
Emmanuel Ogbah, Defensive End, Oklahoma State
This is the classic example of a guy who doesn’t really have a position. He possess good speed, but not great agility. He could play in a 4-3 or outside linebacker in a 3-4. He seems to be a man without a position and I think that will hurt him as he tries to adjust to the professional level. If he becomes an outside linebacker, he will have to develop the coverage skills necessary to stay on the field. Otherwise, he is a liability. He is much more comfortable playing along the line and his strength will prevent him from getting knocked around but he relied on it to pass rush in college. Relying on strength alone won’t cut it in the pros.
Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Fuller is a speedster with great college numbers, but I don’t think he will translate to the next level. He doesn’t have great hands, dropping a number of passes over the past two years. Fuller has decent height, but lacks much bulk. He only weighs 185 pounds and only managed to bench 10 times at the combine. Fuller also has small hands, measuring in at eight and a quarter inches. He reminds me a lot of a slightly shorter Darrius Heyward-Bey. His route running isn’t polished and I just don’t see him developing into more than a speedy slot receiver.