Football

Who to Watch Out For at the NFL Draft

Who to Watch Out For at the NFL Draft

With the regular NFL season over, the Draft is imminent and the sport’s attention turns toward who will be picked and what impact they could have on the league.

After a difficult season with just one win, the Jacksonville Jaguars get the first overall pick this year, followed by the New York Jets.

Based on this year’s NFL Draft odds, there are some exciting talent that could give teams like the Jaguars and Jets hope of success next season.

There is really only one player to start with when picking ones to look out for; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Anyone playing fantasy football will be keen to snap him up after his impressive college form.

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The 21-year-old suffered just one defeat during his three-year college run with the Tigers, and prior to that was the No. 1 quarterback, the No. 1 recruit from Georgia and the No. 1 recruit nationally in the 2018 class out of high school.

He went from 65.2 percent as a freshman to 69.2 in 2020, as well as his 86 career passing touchdowns compared to only 15 interceptions. That kind of improvement has made him a favourite with NFL scouts.

With incredible arm talent and mental dexterity, Lawrence also boasts outstanding athleticism, which brings him the confidence to make every throw.

Put simply, Lawrence is a generational talent with the frame and build – 6’6″ and 220 pounds – to fit comfortably into the aggressive nature of the NFL. If he’s picked by a team laden with offensive talent like the Jaguars, Lawrence has the tools to establish himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

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In 2019, the LSU Tigers offense grabbed the world’s attention and a lot of the focus was on quarterback Joe Burrow, however the dominance of wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase makes him a hot pick for this year’s draft.

Chase opted out of the 2020 season in order to prepare for the draft; an understandable decision given how much he had already achieved at collegiate level.

A unanimous All-American in 2019, Chase broke SEC records for receiving yards and touchdowns in a season. He finished his career with 107 receptions for 2,093 yards and 23 touchdowns, winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver in 2019.

At 6’1″ and 200 pounds, Chase isn’t the biggest player in his position but he makes up for that relative lack of size with his athleticism and body control. He’s excellent in contested-catch situations and has elite-level reflexes and hand-eye coordination.

The 21-year-old’s fluidity and toughness will make him a top pick for any team looking to significantly bolster their offensive offerings.

Like most drafts, this year’s will see a lot of competition over quarterbacks and while he may not be the top in his class, Ohio State’s Justin Fields is one to look out for.

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Deadly accurate in all areas of the field, Fields has a quick release, making him vital when teams need to get the ball to their receivers in a hurry. He’s also proven his toughness over the past few seasons with the Buckeyes, taking countless hits and – according to head coach Ryan Day – playing through a knee injury in the final phases of the 2019 season.

Since transferring from Georgia, Fields has completed 70.3 percent of his passes for 4,680 yards, 56 touchdowns and only six interceptions at Ohio State. He also finished with a 20-2 record as a Buckeyes’ starter, with those two losses coming in the College Football Playoffs.

There are other quarterbacks, other than Lawrence, who could well be picked before Fields – such as Zach Wilson and Trey Lance – but his ability to withstand punishment while maintaining top-class speed and excellent control of his body make him an exciting prospect for the NFL.

While a lot of teams will have their eyes on quarterbacks, the position of tight end isn’t considered nearly as valuable but a player as talented as Kyle Pitts makes that point moot.

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The Florida Gators’ star has elite athleticism and deft footwork, coupled with a sturdy 6’6″ and 240 pound-frame, meaning he moves more like a wide receiver in the passing game.

He’s great in contested catches, and with the Gators he’s also proven himself effective as a run-blocker, with clear room for improvement as well. It will be fascinating to see how Pitts is drafted; his position is not one of the most sought after, but his outstanding ability make him a hard player to pass up on.

Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell is another prospect to monitor. With his hulking size, the 2019 All-American bullies opponents and utilises his brutish strength to drive defenders in back.

With a near perfect pass-protection record to boot, Sewell looks as close to the ideal prospect as you can get. He would make an excellent addition to any team’s offensive line.

This year’s draft will be monitored closely, with top-tier talent on offer in a variety of positions. Lawrence is a fairly safe bet for the number one pick, but players like Pitts and Fields have made themselves exciting prospects within the rest of the pack.

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