Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Davenport is a small school guy that I really hadn’t watched much tape on. After 3 games it was apparent that this guy has serious NFL talent. He not only looks good against weak competition, but he violently dominates them. I mean, some of his bull rushes are just not even fair....the offensive tackle has no chance. He’s 6-7 and like 250ish but the bend and the athleticism are unbelievable. He is also very strong; at times he uses one hand to keep tackles off him while driving them back. I know the competition factor is a legit concern but I was impressed with his Baylor tape and I really am not too concerned with them translating to the NFL. His motor is high, he recognizes plays and plain and simple this kid is first round pick. I fully expect once the draft season really picks up people will be talking a lot about this young man. Right now honestly, I would not be mad if we drafted him with our first pick. I am not fully comfortable with a draft grade though so I am trying not to fall in love too much but he’s a darn good football player and his film is awesome to watch. Do yourself a favor and watch some on youtube, you won’t be disappointed.
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Guice is a hard film study for me. There are things I really like about him. He’s a fantastic athlete; is able to start/stop on a dime, has amazing cutting ability, very shifty/elusive, tremendous field vision and he does a good job keeping his feet moving after contact. My main concern really is his durability. I know he’s listed at like 215ish and that’s a good size but he just looks thin on film. He’s a tough runner too so taking hits every play and his injury issues this season really scare me. I don’t see breakaway speed and I don’t see great agility. I really got into some film this past week of Guice, where as before I really had only watched 3 games. I love his tough running style, the refusal to go down easy, the cutting ability....there are things I really do like; I just don’t see a game changer. At this point, I am way more impressed with Sony Michel’s film (although I think Michel is only behind Barkley). This is a really good and deep RB class though, I think it will come down to what style you want. This is just my personal opinion. I still think this young man could be a first round pick, but for me, right now I would be very nervous pulling the trigger on him in the first round.
Ito Smith, RB, Southern Miss
Smith is a smaller shifty back that is quite dangerous with the ball in his hands. He has great cutting ability and like Guice, can start/stop on a dime. He hits the hole hard with a pretty good burst and even for a little guy is tough to bring down. He’s a very reliable receiver and also does a decent job blocking. Now, he’s only 5-9 200 ish so obviously that’s a big red flag there. However, if I am drafting him I am not asking him to be a full time back. He’s special with the ball in his hands and could be an intriguing option in the middle of the draft.
Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
Michel has been one of my favorite players to watch all year long. I have had a first round grade on him for a while now (he’s currently going 25 to Buffalo in my last mock) and after that performance against Oklahoma, I don’t have a doubt in my mind that’s where he belongs. He’s such a versatile back with elite quickness, change of direction speed, and cutting ability. To me, he’s so much like Kenyan Drake. He catches the ball well, has good field vision, and can take it to the house. He’s just fun to watch. The cutting ability and change of direction speed are simply devastating to opposing defenses. After that Oklahoma game, on my board, he’s a solid first round pick, sitting only behind Barkley in my RB rankings.
Lamont Gaillard, C, Georgia
Gaillard has been an underrated prospect all season. I think he’s sound in both pass and run blocking and plays with really good awareness. I think he can get better and needs to be more consistent in the running game but I was really impressed with his pass blocking. In fact, I really think the whole Georgia O-line had a great game against Oklahoma, but I’ve been a fan of Gaillard for some time now. I still have a decent amount of tape where I want to focus on just him and he’s only a JR so he could not even be in this draft but I really wanted to include him on this list. Keep an eye on him in the National Championship.