At Inside the League, we work with people across the football spectrum and provide a number of services. One of them is providing reports written by former NFL scouts to agents, parents, wealth managers, schools and others interested in finding out what professionals really think about draft prospects.
This year, we used Blake Beddingfield (Titans), Ryan Hollern (Bills, Saints), Matt Jansen (Texans, Ravens), Bob Morris (Browns, 49ers) and Josh Washburn (Titans) to write our reports. Now that college football is all but over and dozens of underclassmen are declaring for the draft by the day, we wanted to take a look at which players are making good decisions and which ones maybe aren’t.
Here are eight players that have already thrown their hat in the ’19 ring, or who are expected to, and what they might expect in late April, based on what our scouts saw.
- Clifton Duck, DC, Appalachian St.: Writing about him before the season, our scout wrote that he’s a “late-round draft choice or PFA if he decides to enter the draft” after 2018.
- Joe Giles-Harris, OB, Duke: A solid player who should be a blue-collar NFL player who contributes in sub packages and on special teams. “Lots to like but I don’t see a high ceiling athletically, which caps his draft value,” our report reads. He has third-round possibilities but probably figures more in the fifth round.
- Trysten Hill, DT, Central Florida: Though we see him as a fifth-rounder, there is something strange going on here. “This kid started 26 games prior to the 2018 season, but is a non-starter and rotational player now?,” asked our scout. “Possibly correlates with new staff, but he clearly is better than starters and the players he rotates with. (Teams) must know the reason” before they draft him.
- Elijah Holyfield, OH, Georgia: Holyfield has submitted his name to the draft review board, but he’s not likely to get good news. “I view him as more of a two-down back, with upside in the inside run game whether zone or gap scheme, but not a three-down RB,” wrote our scout. “I wouldn’t recommend him leaving early.” If he does, he’s probably a fifth-rounder.
- Josh Jacobs, OH, Alabama: Jacobs doesn’t get the big headlines because he’s part of a job-share in the ‘Bama backfield, so maybe he blossoms into something special on the next level. On the other hand, our scout wrote “I view him as well-rounded and a really good all-three-down depth player and serviceable starter, but not an elite-type player.” He’s probably a fourth-rounder.
- Dax Raymond, TE, Utah St.: This is another player who’s mostly unknown, but who could win fans over the next four months. “Needs to get stronger, and needs work on some lower-body strength to help with contested balls,” wrote our scout, but “I like his upside.” Fourth round maybe, fifth round probably.
- Saivion Smith, DC, Alabama: If he chooses to come out — we’re hearing that Smith’s leaning toward staying — he could be a second-rounder. “Will be a backup and special teams player in Year 1, but can be a starter in Year 2,” our scout wrote.
- Preston Williams, WO, Colorado St.: Our scout wrote that he sees him “as a solid possession-type WR with size/length who can operate in the slot” and who is reminiscent of former Saints great Marques Colston. We see him as a third- or fourth-rounder.
Want a few more looks at juniors as evaluated by former NFL scouts? We’ve got forecasts for seven more players — Iowa St. WO Hakeem Butler, Stanford OG Nate Herbig, Duke QB Daniel Jones, Mississippi TE Dawson Knox, Oregon WO Dillon Mitchell, Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. and Vanderbilt DC Joejuan Williams — in our Friday Wrap (here’s last week’s). Thousands of people across the football business read it every week. You should, too! Register here.