Every year in the NFL Draft there are players who go much higher than we expect and also much lower. I guarantee you this year will be no exception. In fact, there could be more surprises than ever with the talent parity this year being particularly strong.
Christian McCaffrey – Top 10 pick?
McCaffrey’s stock has slowly risen throughout the pre-draft process, and it appears it’s finally hit its peak. ESPN’s Benjamin Allbright says “put it in ink” on Christian McCaffrey being a Carolina Panther, who own the eight pick in the draft. Earlier this week, a team reportedly told McCaffrey they would pick him if he fell to them in the teens, but it appears whoever it was won’t have the chance.
Derek Rivers – First round pick?
The sleeper from FCS school Youngstown State isn’t much of a sleeper anymore. Rivers has cemented himself among the draft’s top pass rushing prospects and now it appears he’ll be a mid to late first round pick. Rivers could be the third edge rusher off the board behind Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas, ahead of higher profile guys like Tim Williams of Alabama and Derek Barnett of Tennessee.
Haason Reddick – Top 20 pick?
Reddick wasn’t even talked about as a day one or two prospect before the Reese’s Senior Bowl, but since then his stock has blown right through the ceiling. After dominating the Senior Bowl and Combine, Reddick is a surefire first round pick and more than likely going in the top 20. Scouts love his ability to play both off-ball linebacker and edge rusher. The former Temple Rice Owl is a fit in any defensive scheme, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any team draft him.
Jalen “Teez” Tabor – Day Three pick?
The pre-draft process has not been kind to Tabor. The former Florida shutdown cornerback severly disappointed evaluators with his athletic testing, running a 4.62 40 yard dash and jumping 31″ at the NFL Combine. Couple that with his mediocre height, short arms, and small hands, and scouts are questioning if he has the physical tools to play in the NFL. Tabor ended the college football season as many’s number one cornerback prospect in the draft, but it’s looking like he won’t even be one of the first two defensive backs from Florida’s 2016 team drafted.
Dalvin Cook – Second round pick?
After dazzling fans and scouts alike with his on field play during the season, Cook’s off-field behavior is being scrutinized now more than ever, with some scouts saying they feel more comfortable with Joe Mixon‘s character than Cook’s. Florida’s 2013 Mr. Football has had a slew of run-ins with the law since high school, and there is concern the people he’s hanging around aren’t good for him or his career. We’ll see if these concerns hold any water, but they certainly look to be affecting his draft stock. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cook comes off the board after the aforementioned Mixon.
Sidney Jones – Third round pick?
No one’s stock dropped more suddenly than Sidney Jones, who suffered a freak injury at Washington’s pro day. Before tearing his Achilles tendon, Jones was easily a top three cornerback prospect in this draft, probably number two behind Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore, a surefire top five pick. With a lengthy rehab ahead of him, whichever team drafts him will have a bit of a wait before he’s ready, and they’ll have to decide if they’re comfortable enough with that to take him in the first two days of the draft.