As the days, hours and minutes wind down towards the start of the 2017 NFL Draft, speculation is ramping up as to who will go off the board when. For players like Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas and Jamal Adams, they’ll expect to hear their names called pretty early on Thursday night but there always seems to be a few surprises with names rising (or falling) much faster than expected.
Some of these players could be first round players, others could come later in the draft. Either way, the NFL Draft always finds a way to create some suspense along the way. Here are five players who could hear their name called earlier than expected this weekend in Philadelphia.
QB Davis Webb, Cal, Prosper
With the way the NFL is now, having that franchise quarterback is crucial. The former Texas Tech and Cal quarterback put up some impressive numbers in college and he’s shown he has the tools to be successful. There are going to be teams who are concerned with Webb playing in a high-volume spread offense as opposed to taking snaps under center, but this is a draft where there are a number of teams needing quarterbacks. Projections have the former Prosper anywhere in the second to fourth round and I’m inclined to think he’ll go early in the second round.
LB Tyus Bowser, Houston, Tyler John Tyler
Bowser has been arguably one of the fastest risers of the NFL Draft process. The athletic standout from Tyler John Tyler has been projected as either a defensive end or an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. The NFL Combine really boosted his stock and aside from quarterback, edge rushers rank not too far behind in terms of need for many teams. Bowser has been projected as a second round pick, but there is at least some belief that he could sneak into the end of the first round.
WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M, San Antonio Jay
Texas A&M simply had an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver and each of them had their own strengths. Christian Kirk (who is returning) is a big play producer as a receiver and a kick returner, Ricky Seals-Jones was a big, physical target while Speedy Noil has the athletic ability and well…speed. That said, Josh Reynolds may have been the most consistent receiver for the Aggies.
His big 6-3 frame would make him a very good target in the red zone and is also a good option to catch deep passes. Most projections have the former San Antonio Jay receiver as a third or fourth round pick, but he can definitely go earlier than that, especially if there is a run on wide receivers.
K Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State, Deer Park
We’ve seen a couple of recent early surprise picks for specialists in the draft in punter Bryan Anger in 2012 and kicker Roberto Aguayo last year (who are both now in Tampa Bay). I’m not saying that’s going to happen this year, but former Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez is arguably the best kicker to come out of this year’s draft class.
Gonzalez broke the NCAA record for most points in a career and took home the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s best kicker. The former Deer Park talent may not go as high as Anger (3rd round) or Aguayo (2nd round) but having a reliable kicker is invaluable and depending on what’s available, Gonzalez could hear his name called in the middle rounds.
DE Daeshon Hall, Texas A&M, Lancaster
Daeshon Hall was sometimes the forgotten man on the Texas A&M defensive line, which is understandable given the projected top-overall pick named Myles Garrett was lined up directly on the other side. That said, Hall certainly has the talent in his own right to be a very productive defensive end.
Like with Tyus Bowser, Hall does have a learning curve when it comes to playing on the defensive line but he’s proven to be a very versatile talent on defense and a disruptive force during his time in College Station. The former Lancaster standout has been projected anywhere from the third to fourth round but the second round certainly isn’t out of the question. We’ll see what happens come this weekend.
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