It’s time to get this pre-draft process truly underway. The East-West Shrine Bowl is an excellent opportunity to begin scouting players more in depth. Most of these players won’t hear their name called on Day 1 or maybe even Day 2, but there are always a few players who climb up draft boards with their performances in this game and the Senior Bowl. In 2018, Chase Edmonds, Phillip Lindsay, DaeSean Hamilton and Poona Ford all featured. 2019 had Cody Barton, David Blough and Jesper Horsted. These aren’t the stars of the draft, but plenty of these guys will be Day 3 picks come April. Additionally, the talk is this year’s roster is much better than last year’s.
Looking at this group, the offensive line group is particularly impressive. There are a few players I have third and fourth round grades on at this point set to play, including Calvin Throckmorton, Jack Driscol and Darryl Williams. Here are the players worth keeping an eye on Saturday January 18, at 3 pm on NFL Network.
Jack Driscol, OT, Auburn (6’5″, 296 lbs)
Driscol started all year at right tackle for Auburn. He would probably be best suited to stay on that side or even kick inside in the NFL. He has the length, but he will likely need to bulk up a little bit once he gets drafted. His movement skills have already been on display this week at practice.
Darryl Williams, C, Mississippi State (6’3″ 310 lbs)
Another lineman who started for an SEC school in need of some gym time here with Darryl Williams. His is technically sound, but definitely needs to improve his play strength. This is really clear in the run game because he doesn’t often generate a ton of drive off the line. Buzz at practice this week is he is looking stronger already.
Charlie Heck, OT, UNC (6’8″, 315 lbs)
This is a name I have seen popping up in mock drafts more frequently. Charlie Heck undoubtedly has the size to play tackle in the pros, but he flew under the radar a bit at UNC. His hand usage is pretty good and he actually held up pretty well when he played Clemson. A good showing here could push him up a lot of boards. He has NFL pedigree as well as his dad Andy was a former first round pick.
Shyheim Carter, S, Alabama (6’0″, 191 lbs)
He is nowhere near as polished or talented as his Crimson Tide counterpart Xavier McKinney, but Shyheim Carter could be a sleeper in this draft. He moved around a lot in the Alabama defense, showing some nice versatility. He might not be an immediate starter, but he could end up being a solid depth player right away.
Michael Divinity II, LB, LSU (6’2″, 242 lbs)
No one has had a more interesting season than Michael Divinity. Between academic issues and team rules violations, Divinity missed a solid chunk of LSU’s late-season games. However, he was cleared to play in the national championship game. He has the prototypical size of an NFL linebacker. He is talented enough to play in the NFL, where academic issues won’t follow him. Any team misconduct will be something teams will address during the combine.
Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami (6’1″, 241 lbs)
This was not the season expected of Miami entering the year. Shaq Quarterman and the defense were solid though despite the disappointing record. He topped 100 total tackles and showed flashes of playmaking ability. Size shouldn’t be a problem, so if he can play sideline to sideline again, he should be in good shape.
Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte (6’4″, 242 lbs)
Here is the list of players with more sacks than Alex Highsmith this season: Chase Young and Gregory Rosseau, potentially the top two edge players selected in the 2020 and 2021 NFL drafts. Highsmith obviously did it against much weaker competition. He will need to get stronger to truly compete in the NFL, but he reads his keys and has a good number of pass rush moves to go to.
Tavien Feaster, RB, South Carolina (6’2″, 221 lbs)
The former Clemson running back stayed in state and moved to the SEC. He likely fits as a complementary back at the next level, but he has some receiving work under his belt as well. He could be an interesting Day 3 prospect. His size could have teams interested in using him as a short yardage option.
Malcolm Perry, WR, Navy (5’9″, 190 lbs)
Malcolm Perry bounced all over the place at Navy and finally landed at quarterback. He mostly ran the ball for the Midshipmen, but this week, he will get a chance to show off his receiver skills. He could be a late-round flyer teams hope to develop into a receiver. The athleticism is definitely there. Reports are he has looked fairly comfortable this week running his routes. I’m excited to see how he handles this new role in a game.
Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon (6’5″, 309)
Calvin Throckmorton was part of one of the best offensive lines in college football this year. He played right tackle, but his size could lead him to a future at guard in the NFL. He played all over the place in 2018, starting at every position but left guard. He will find a home somewhere and his versatility could make him appealing for teams looking to fill multiple depth positions with one player.
Binjimin Victor, WR, Ohio State (6’4″, 199 lbs)
Despite not getting as much press as the receivers that came before him Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell, Binjimin Victor seems ready to stand out. His size and speed make him intriguing. Word is that he has impressed this week in practice as well. He likely won’t go before Day 3, but he could have an early impact.
Yasir Durant, OT, Missouri (6’7″, 330 lbs)
Entering this process as a massive prospect, Yasir Durant is a wild card in this tackle class. He started the past two years for Missouri at left tackle and put together some decent tape. The hype around Missouri died down without Drew Lock, but Durant’s size should be enough to keep teams interested. Some solid work here could help him be a mid-round selection.
Levante Bellamy, RB, Western Michigan (5’9″, 190 lbs)
One of my favorite sleepers in this year’s draft, Levante Bellamy is explosive. He was a great playmaker for Western Michigan this year. He is a bit undersized, but his speed should help him turn some heads. If given the right opportunity to shine here, he could find a home in the later rounds.
Kelly Bryant, QB, Missouri (6’3″, 225 lbs)
Two years ago, he was starting in the national title game. Now Kelly Bryant is hoping he can do enough to convince an NFL team to give him a chance. His mobility has never been an issue, but his accuracy and mechanics are questionable. He is one of the biggest profile players in Florida based on name-recognition. People will be talking if he can show some improvements.
Jon Runyan Jr., OT, Michigan (6’5″, 321 lbs)
Another offensive tackle to add to the mix. Jon Runyan, son of former Washington offensive tackle Jon Runyan, has reportedly looked solid all week at practice. He is very fundamentally sound and clearly understands how to play the position. If he can show some nastiness and consistency, his physical tools should he enough to pique someone’s interest.
Diondre Overton, WR, Clemson (6’4″, 210 lbs)
A late arriver after the Clemson-LSU game, Diondre Overton made an instant impression on Wednesday with one of the catches of the week. He had to play behind some really talented receivers at Clemson. I am excited to see how he does in a more prevalent position here. He is a big body target with production in the red zone. He could fit a role right away in the NFL.
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