DRAFT COVERAGE

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12 prospects to watch at the top of the 2019 NFL Draft

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They’re practically household names for any NFL fan who has spent even a small amount of time researching the 2019 draft class. The top prospects in this year’s class are largely on the defensive side of the ball, but there is an offensive contingent that’s not to be forgotten. With the 2019 NFL draft upon us, here’s what you need to know about the top players in the class. Players are listed in alphabetical order.

1. Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky (6-5, 262)

Stat to note: Went from seven sacks in each of his first two collegiate seasons as a starter to 17 in 2018.

Measurables: 40 time – 4.63, bench press – 28 reps, vertical – 9’10”, 3-cone – 7.15 seconds, short shuttle – 4.23 seconds

Experts say: “He was a different player 2018. He really improved as a pass rusher from 2017 and it says an awful lot of about him. I think 3-4 teams will look at him as an outside backer and 4-3 teams will see him as a defensive. He has all the traits you look for in an edge rusher. He has good edge bend, flexibility, change of direction, counter moves and closing speed. I think he's got a chance to develop into a special player.”

NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell

2. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State (6-4, 266)

Stat to note: Had 17 sacks in his last full season for the Buckeyes (2017).

Measurables: 40 time – 4.79, bench press – 29 reps, vertical – 33.5”, broad jump – 9’8”, 3-cone – 7.1 seconds, short shuttle – 4.14 seconds.

Experts say: “I really like Nick Bosa a ton. I just think if Nick stays healthy he’s going to grind out a 10 or 12-year career where he’ll have 11, 12, 13 sacks over and over again.”

ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick

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3. Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State (6-5, 315)

Stat to note: Had the highest pass protection grade of any starting tackle in the nation in 2018 according to PFF (94.0).

Measurables: 40 time – 4.96, bench press – 24 reps, vertical – 29”, broad jump – 9’10”, 3-cone – 7.44 seconds, short shuttle – 4.4 seconds

Experts say: “Who knew Washington State would have a top tackle? In my opinion, he’s the top tackle in the draft. It used to be we tried to avoid offensive linemen from the air-raid offense, but they've done a nice job of finding this kid and developing him, and Dillard is a big-time dude.”

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah

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4. Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan (6-4, 277)

Stat to note: Almost half of his tackles in went for a loss in 2017.

Measurables: 40 time – 4.58, bench press – 26 reps, vertical – 38”, broad jump – 10’, 3-cone – 7.26 seconds, short shuttle – 4.29 seconds

Experts say: “He’s got a rare skill set. He was the number one player coming out of high school for a reason. He’s 277 pounds. He’s 6-4 ½ and has really long arms. He ran 4.58 and has really good upper body strength. He’s a gifted athlete. He’s got everything you want to be the number one pick in the draft besides the sack production.”

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper

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5. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa (6-5, 251)

Stat to note: Doubled his receiving numbers across the board from 2017 to 2018.

Measurables: 40 time – 4.7, bench press – 17 reps, vertical – 37.5”, broad jump – 10’3”, 3-cone – 7.02 seconds, short shuttle – 4.18 seconds

Experts say: “He’s just a darn good football player. He plays his tail off. He’s gotten better each year. Coaches at Iowa will rave about him. At 6-4 ½ and 251, running a 4.7 is not bad. The combine average is 4.75. He had a 38-inch vertical, over 10 feet in the broad jump. 7.02 in the three cone, 4.18 in the short shuttle, so he has the short area quickness and body control. I think he’s the most complete tight end.”

ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay

6. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss (6-3, 228)

Stat to note: Averaged almost 22 yards per catch before his 2018 season was ended prematurely due to injury.

Measurables: 40 time – 4.33, bench press – 27 reps, vertical – 40.5”, broad jump – 11’2”, 3-cone – 7.38 seconds, short shuttle – 4.5 seconds

Experts say: “Metcalf is an interesting guy because of the just the size, speed. He's 228 pounds and his 40-yard dash was ridiculous. He's very straight line, but he did run by SEC corners often when they weren't in off coverage. So he's an explosive vertical dimension. Metcalf is more of a one trick pony at this point, but it's a good trick.”

NFL Network draft analyst Greg Cosell

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7. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (5-10, 207)

Stat to note: He became the second quarterback in FBS history (Deshaun Watson, 2015) to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards.  

Measurables: 40 time – 4.35-4.49 (estimate), did not test at NFL combine

Experts say: “His arm strength and accuracy and football IQ, today’s NFL suits him perfectly. He’s kind of wild card. Murray can do everything. He can throw from the pocket, but you want him outside the pocket throwing through windows and his football smarts are strong.”

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper

8. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston (6-2, 287)

Stat to note: In 2017 had 73 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks, and three pass breakups despite facing constant double-teams. 

Measurables: 40 time – 4.73, bench press – 32 reps, vertical – 36”, broad jump – 10’, 3-cone – 7.15 seconds, short shuttle – 4.22 seconds.

Experts say: He’s a three technique (defensive tackle). He’s an upfield defensive lineman. He has rare athletic gifts. Rare quickness, rare explosiveness, rare speed. He works out with a wide receiver coach in Houston. He’s out catching passes like a matchup tight end. He’s crazy instinctive and gets great reads on where the ball is going. He has great initial burst and has the strength to take on blockers.”

NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein

9. Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi St. (6-6, 260)

Stat to note: Led SEC in sacks in 2017 with 10.5 and followed up in 2018 with 11.5 sacks.

Measurables: 40 time – 4.41, bench press – 21 reps, vertical 36”, broad jump – 10’5”, 3-cone – 7.0 seconds, short shuttle – 4.29 seconds

Experts say: “Montez is -- man, that's how you want to draw up a defensive end, and that's what you want him to look like. He is tall and long and explosive. Unique ability to be able to bend and wrap at the top of his rush once he gets to the very top to be able to flatten to the quarterback. He's got big-time get-off and burst.”

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah

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10. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida (6-5, 312)

Stat to note: According to PFF had the third-highest run-blocking grade among starting tackles from the Power 5 conference schools.

Measurables: Bench press – 24 reps

Experts say: “A guy who I think could hold up and initially be an awesome right tackle, I think might even develop into being a really good left tackle is Jawaan Taylor from Florida. He can handle speed in pass protection. He can redirect easily in the run game. He's got some serious torque to be able to latch on and turn and dump guys. He's a really, really good football player who has played on the right side, and I think has the ability eventually if you needed him to, I think he could survive over there on the left side.”

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah

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11. Devin White, LB, LSU (6-0, 237)

Stat to note: Had 256 tackles over his final two seasons at LSU.

Measurables: 40 time – 4.42, bench press – 22 reps, vertical – 39.5”, broad jump – 9’10”, 3-cone – 7.07 seconds, short shuttle – 4.17 seconds

Experts say: Speed, range, the ability to cover, the effort, the leadership, all those traits you're looking for in a modern linebacker. The ability to cover and run is so huge right now at that position. So that's what makes him unique. Wherever he goes, he's going to plug and play. He's going to be a Rookie of the Year candidate who's going to collect a ridiculous number of tackles and explosive plays.”

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah

12. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama (6-4, 302)

Stat to note: The second-highest graded tackle in the nation according to PFF. Gave up just 12 quarterback pressures against SEC competition.

Measurables: 40 time – 5.12, bench press – 23 reps, vertical – 28”, broad jump - 8’4”, 3-cone – 8.01 seconds, short shuttle – 4.79 seconds

Experts say: “I think he can play tackle. I really do. It may be right tackle where he played earlier in this career. There have been linemen in the past whose arms aren’t ideal (length) and have played tackle successfully. If he’s moved into guard, he’d be a great guard too. I know he wants to play tackle.”

ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay

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