Nfl Draft: Breaking Down Top Offensive Players Available

Top offensive players available in the NFL draft, scheduled for April 28-30:

QUARTERBACKS

Position outlook: The 2013 draft was the last in which a quarterback was not selected in the top 10 picks. There is a distinct chance that could happen with this group.

Kenny Pickett, 6-foot-3, 217 pounds, Pittsburgh

Breakdown: Throws with good anticipation and seems to process quickly. Good athlete with a solid arm. This is not a draft with elite QB prospects, but Pickett is probably the safest bet to become a productive starter.

Fact: A fifth season of college football turned Pickett into a first-round draft pick after setting Pitt records for passing yards (12,303) and total touchdowns (102).

Gone by: Pickett originally committed to Temple (then coached by Matt Rhule) out of high school). Rhule’s Carolina Panthers select No. 6 and could use a QB.

Matt Corral, 6-1, 212, Mississippi

Breakdown: Athletic and nimble runner and passer who can make throws from all angles. Not very big for a player that hasn't shied away from contact, and some questions about how he will read progressions.

Fact: Injured his right ankle in the Sugar Bowl, his final college game, which kept him out of the Senior Bowl and from working out at the combine. He did hold a pro day workout.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

Malik Willis, 6-0, 219, Liberty

Breakdown: Best athlete of this year’s quarterback class and maybe the highest ceiling of the prospects, with the ability to make eye-popping throws and runs. He has work to do with decision-making.

Fact: Went to Auburn out of high school but transferred to Liberty after two seasons as a little-used backup behind Jarrett Stidham.

Gone by: Willis’ potential will lure a team into a first-round selection.

Desmond Ridder, 6-3, 211, Cincinnati

Breakdown: Throws well on the move and is a cool-headed leader and good athlete. Lanky frame could use some bulk and his accuracy in the middle of the field is inconsistent.

Fact: Went 43-6 as a starter at Cincinnati.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

Sam Howell, 6-0, 218, North Carolina

Breakdown: Throws a good deep ball and became a willing and rugged runner during his final college season. He's shorter than ideal and can lock in on receivers.

Fact: Had three games last season of 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing.

Gone by: End of Day 2.

Others to watch: Carson Strong, Nevada; Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky; Jack Coan, Notre Dame.

RUNNING BACKS

Position outlook: Could be another year without a first-round running back, though a couple could squeak in late.

Kenneth Walker III, 5-10, 210, Michigan State

Breakdown: His sharp cuts and explosiveness changing direction were the keys to ripping off long runs. He will need to run lower to challenge tacklers at the next level.

Fact: Won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back last season with 1,636 yards rushing.

Gone by: Early second round.

Breece Hall, 6-1, 220, Iowa State

Breakdown: Gets tacklers to miss with quick stops and starts and finishes runs with a surge forward. He doesn't explode through holes, which limits his big play ability.

Fact: Two-time All-American who set an Iowa State record 56 touchdowns in three seasons.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

Others to watch: Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M; Tyson Allgeier, BYU; Dameon Pierce, Florida.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Position outlook: Could easily have a half-dozen receivers selected in the first round. With lots of good options, teams near the top of the draft could wait to see what slips through to the second round.

Garrett Wilson, 5-11, 185, Ohio State

Breakdown: Highly skilled at tracking the flight of the ball. Works the sideline adeptly with excellent footwork and has speed and precision to run away from defenders. On the lean side.

Fact: Playing with other star receivers limited his production, but he caught 23 touchdown passes in 33 career games with 19 starts.

Gone by: Could be first receiver off the board.

Chris Olave, 6-1, 188, Ohio State

Breakdown: Quickness to win off the line of scrimmage and speed to get separation in the open the field. Like his teammate, Wilson, he lacks power, but he’s hard to cover and catches pretty much everything.

Fact: Set an Ohio State record with 35 touchdown catches.

Gone by: Middle of the first round.

Jameson Williams, 6-1, 180, Alabama

Breakdown: Dynamic speed burner who became the top deep threat in the country last season (19.9 yards per catch). Only one season as a starter and it ended with a torn knee ligament in the national championship game.

Fact: Transferred to Alabama from Ohio State, where he played behind Wilson and Olave for two years.

Gone by: The knee injury could keep him on the board until the back half of the first round.

Drake London, 6-5, 210, Southern California

Breakdown: Enormous catch radius with long arms and good hops. Makes lots of contested catches and runs through tacklers after the catch. Top-end speed is lacking and route running needs more precision.

Fact: Was on the way toward Heisman Trophy consideration in 2021 before a right ankle fracture cut his season short.

Gone by: Middle of the first round.

Treylon Burks, 6-2, 225, Arkansas

Breakdown: Another big, physical receiver who outmuscles defenders for the ball and breaks tackles after he gets it. A developing route runner who did lot of damage on quick throws near the line of scrimmage.

Fact: Set Arkansas record with six 100-yard receiving games.

Gone by: About pick 25.

Jahan Dotson, 5-10, 178, Penn State

Breakdown: Undersized, but a darting route runner with reliable hands and elusiveness after the catch or as a kick returner.

Fact: Moved into the starting lineup late in his freshman season and finished with 183 catches, second in school history.

Gone by: Early second round.

Others to watch: Christian Watson, North Dakota State; Skyy Moore, Western Michigan; George Pickens, Georgia.

TIGHT END

Position outlook: Maybe one first-rounder, but a handful of Day 2 players.

Trey McBride, 6-4, 246, Colorado State

Breakdown: Tough receiver with good hands. Not a dynamic runner after the catch and his blocking is only solid, but on a team with little else in terms of offensive weapons he was very productive.

Fact: First tight end in Colorado State history to surpass 1,000 yards receiving. The Mackey Award winner had 1,121 yards on 90 catches.

Gone by: End of Day 2.

Others to watch: Cade Otton, Washington; Greg Dulcich, UCLA; Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

Position outlook: Could be four top-15 picks within this group.

Ikem Ekwonu, 6-4, 310, North Carolina State

Breakdown: Light on his feet and able to lock up defenders with his long arms. Can get a little too aggressive at times — 10 penalties in his career — but it comes with a desirable toughness. Scores high marks for leadership and likability off the field.

Fact: Nicknamed Ickey after former Bengals running back Ickey Woods by a youth football coach.

Gone by: Maybe he gets past pick 10, but top five is more likely.

Evan Neal, 6-7, 335, Alabama

Breakdown: Remarkable combination of size and explosive athleticism. Balance and sustaining blocks need to become more consistent, but as long he keeps his weight in check there is a lot to like.

Fact: Started 40 games and missed only one in his three-year career, which ended as an All-American.

Gone by: Neal and Ekwonu should be 1-2 off the board among O-linemen. Just depends on what order.

Charles Cross, 6-5, 310, Mississippi State

Breakdown: Good size and length, Cross plays with balance and patience as a pass blocker. Could use some bulk and his run blocking will need development after playing in pass-happy offense.

Fact: Blue-chip prospect out of Mississippi elected to stay in his home state over offers from Southern California and Florida State.

Gone by: Top 15.

Trevor Penning, 6-7, 330, Northern Iowa

Breakdown: Salty competitor with great size and enough of athleticism to provide promise that he will be able to stay in front of NFL speed and quickness off the edge. But the whole game needs refinement.

Fact: Did not have any Division I scholarship offers until his senior high school season.

Gone by: Pick No. 20.

Bernhard Raimann, 6-7, 305, Central Michigan

Breakdown: Flexible athlete with good technique for a player who has been on the offensive line for just a few years. Lower body strength needs improvement.

Fact: Played tight end in high school and first three seasons in college before growing into an all-Mid-American Conference tackle.

Gone by: Early second round.

Others to watch: Tyler Smith, Tulsa; Daniel Faalele, Minnesota; Nick Petit-Frere, Ohio State.

INTERIOR LINEMEN

Position outlook: Teams steer clear of guards and centers in the first round unless they are really special players. There are three making a case in this class.

Tyler Linderbaum, C, 6-3, 290, Iowa

Breakdown: Timing, consistency, technique, effort and quickness rate about as well as you can for the position. Makes up for what he lacks in size by being a fierce competitor.

Fact: Moved from defensive line to center as a redshirt freshman and then started 35 games over his last three seasons.

Gone by: Late first.

Kenyon Green, G, 6-4, 325, Texas A&M

Breakdown: Powerful and versatile lineman who played four different positions in his time with the Aggies. A punishing run blocker who has struggled some with recognition in pass blocking.

Fact: Father was an offensive lineman at Grambling and his mother played volleyball at UCLA.

Gone by: Late first.

Zion Johnson, G, 6-3, 316, Boston College

Breakdown: Durable prospect who combines long arms, quick feet and good awareness. Powerful opponents can get him off balance, but Johnson is about as safe a bet as there is in the draft.

Fact: Transferred from Davidson to Boston College where he became a three-year starter, taking the extra year of eligibility to become a fifth-year senior with 58 college games.

Gone by: Middle of the second.

Others to watch: Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga; Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska; Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia.

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