The National Football League Draft is full of potential playmakers on both the offensive and defensive side of the football, but in every draft there are only a few picks that will make a real impact for their professional teams. Good football players are a combination great athleticism, good intellect, and good instincts. The following football players will strive in the NFL.
Jalen Ramsey, Defensive Back, Florida State University
Though Ramsey spends time at both cornerback and safety, he is one of the most gifted athletes that is on the field at any given moment. At 6’1″ with a 6’4″ wingspan and weighing 202 pounds, he is the type of defensive back that most teams are looking for in the draft. He has proven that he can play physical bump-and-run coverage at the line and keep up with speedy receivers, and he is great in space when he lines up at free safety. At the combine, he ran a 4.41 40 yard dash - a time that is faster than the typical wide receiver runs - and he tied for the biggest broad jump and vertical leap at the combine with measurements of 11 feet and 3 inches and 41 and 1/2 inches, respectively. With good size, good technique, and good intuition on the field, Jalen Ramsey should be decent pro.
Myles Jack, Linebacker, UCLA
Though he has been recovering from a devastating knee injury, Myles Jack is still a freak athlete. At 245 pounds, Jack recorded a 40 inch vertical at the UCLA pro day despite the knee injury. Though he is only 6’1″, he will excel at the professional level because of his ability to play in open space. Jack is great in zone coverages and can play man occasionally. He is physical to a fault against the run, using his body to slam into blockers instead of using his hands to shed blocks. But, his overall quickness in space and his ability to make plays will help him to a good pro career. And, if he has trouble on the defensive side of the ball at the next level, teams could try him out on offense. He was the Pac-12 newcomer of the year on offense and defense as a freshman.
Ben Braunecker, Tight End, Harvard
The best pure tight end in the draft may be from a school known for its education rather than its football. Ben Braunecker is a physical blocker with a mean streak. He uses his hips well when blocking and in his route running. He plays well with contact and adjusts his routes accordingly. Braunecker ran a 4.73 40 yard dash at the combine and a 4.66 at his pro day, jumped 35 and 1/2 feet at the combine and 37 and 1/2 feet at his pro day, and had a broad jump of 10’1″. At 6’3″, 250 pounds he is a little smaller than the prototypical NFL tight end, so the only question about Braunecker is can he compete against the bigger, stronger athletes in the National Football League? If his NFL team uses him as a move tight end and uses him effectively in blocking and pass route scheme, then he will excel.
Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State
Bosa is an elite prospect on the defensive line. He is one of the rare linemen that stops the run equally as well as he creates havoc in the passing game. Though he had a average 40 yard dash time at 4.86 seconds, Bosa showed his explosiveness and athleticism in drills like the broad jump and shuttle run. In fact, his shuttle run time of 4.21 at 269 lbs. was faster than the time of William Fuller, a wide receiver. Bosa earned All-Big Ten honors as a freshman, was the Big Ten Player of the Year and a unanimous decision for All-American as a sophomore, and Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year this past season despite missing a game due to rules violations. He uses his hands well in traffic and has a great bull rush. Joey Bosa relishes contact and would play well on the outside as either the defensive end of 4-3 defense or a 3-4 outside linebacker.
DeForest Buckner, Defensive End, Oregon
At 6’7″ and 291 lbs., DeForest Buckner already has incredible size and athleticism for a NFL player. He has good range and is a premier run stopper in college garnering 163 tackles over his last two seasons in Oregon. He has good game speed and uses his long arms to make plays on runners and knockdown passes. And, he uses his hands well to shed blockers. If Buckner continues to improve on keeping a low pad level, then he could be an All-Pro in the NFL. Very few athletes have both his natural gifts and his production.
Ezekiel Elliot, Running Back, Ohio State
There are plenty of talented running backs in the college game today, but Ezekiel Elliot may be the most ready to play. He is a rare combination of break away speed, great vision, and quick, explosive feet in traffic. And, since he played a pro-style offense in college, Elliot has some blocking experience on passing plays. He sees the field well and likes contact, but can outrun most defenders on a straight away. He sets his blocks and is decisive in making cuts. Elliot should excel in a zone-blocking scheme at the next level.