Jeff Driskel, QB
Driskel is a well-known top recruit that couldn’t quite put it together at Florida. After gaining a fifth year of eligibility, Driskel was able to produce 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions at Louisiana Tech.
Driskel certainly looks the part and has the size, speed and arm strength combination that all NFL scouts are after. However, according to Lance Zierlein, Driskel has issues hitting receivers in stride, overthrowing balls and struggles in the pocket at times.
Despite his flaws, the 2016 quarterback class isn’t exactly littered with franchise quarterbacks, and Driskel could be the perfect quarterback to sit a few years and learn behind an established signal caller.
With a good combine, Driskel could go from a seventh-round selection to the fifth round.
Alex Collins, RB
Listing Alex Collins may seem a bit cheap, but he’s constantly ranked as a fringe top-5 running back in the 2016 class. That floors me, based one what I’ve seen, Ezekiel Elliot is the only running back I would draft over Collins. I’m no draft expert, that’s just my opinion.
Collins had a great start to his college career, posting 1026 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. He improved every season, culminating in a 2015 season with over 1500 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns.
My guess as to why Collins isn’t the apple of many online scout’s eye is he may not be the fastest of running backs and he only caught 27 passes in his college career. That’s not to say Collins has bad hands or is bad in pass protection, it just seemed that Arkansas didn’t use it’s running backs in the passing game.
Not to mention, Daniel Jeremiah was quoted as saying he really liked Collins’ pass protection skills, so he won’t be a liability on third downs in the NFL.
As far as his speed is concerned, as long as he can hit somewhere in the low 4.5 to 4.6 range, I don’t think it should dissuade general managers from taking a shot early in the second on Collins.
So, from online draft experts, it seems Collins draft stock is sliding and that may be the case for NFL scouts too, but I think Collins can solidify himself with a strong combine.
Marquez North, WR
I was happy to see the 20-year-old Marquez North get a combine invite despite a pretty disappointing college career due to a variety of injuries. Despite the limited playing time, North definitely made his presence known a few times throughout his college career displaying big-catch ability and a nack for catching contested balls.
While there are a few big receivers in the 2016 draft, not many have the height/weight combo that North has. Despite being either 6’3″ or 6’4,” he also weighs between 220 and 230 pounds He’s bit thicker than most 20-year-old receivers with his size.
Because of his age, size and 2012 40 time that was clocked a 4.41, North could shoot up draft boards as long as he doesn’t make any mistakes at the combine and catches everything that is thrown his way. Do not be surprised to hear his name called as early as the third round.
Denver Kirkland, OL
While I don’t have an affinity for Arkansas, I will say I was a big fan of their running game in 2015. Hence, why both Alex Collins and Denver Kirkland find themselves on this list.
Kirkland is a huge lineman measuring in at 6’5″ and 340 pounds. Shockingly, at his size he played left tackle in his final year and managed to do a solid job. However, it goes without saying, considering his size and lack of foot speed, he probably won’t be playing tackle in the NFL. But he certainly deserves points for playing the position well in college.
The reason why Kirkland has a lot to gain is because there are a lot of good guards in this class, but one isn’t clearly ahead of the pack just yet. Maybe Vadal Alexander and Cody Whitehair are the top two guards in the class, but if Kirkland tests well enough, he could shoot up to an early day two selection.
Travis Feeney, LB
Because of Deone Bucannon, I think safeties turned linebackers are going to be even more of a thing in the NFL. Small, fast guys like Darron Lee, Su’a Cravens and Deion Jones are going to go high in this draft because linebackers need to be able to cover more ground in today’s NFL.
Feeney, like Bucannon, is a safety turned linebacker from the University of Washington.
However, different from Bucannon, Feeney is much larger at 6’4″ 225 plus. Coupled with his size, Feeney also supposedly ran a 4.44 40 time in 2014.
Thanks to his size and speed, Feeney had a solid college career eventually tallying 8 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss. If Feeney is as fast as his 40 time claims to be and he tests well at the combine, he could be a Telvin Smith type of player.