NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Every April a handful of prospects end up going much higher than originally thought. Often times we refer to them as “reaches” or players who were unworthy of their draft spot.
This list isnt’t to identify reaches, but more so to identify players who will go higher than they are being talked about right now. I expect a lot of the players on this list to rise before the draft rolls around.
*This list is in no particular order.
LSU WR Rueben Randle
Randle’s combination of size and athleticism is something that is always coveted high in the draft. With WRs like Jeffery and Floyd unlikely to light the track on fire in Indy, it could open up for a WR to pass them on teams boards.
If Randle posts a low time and shows good route running, he could move into the first round mix. He wasn’t able to make a huge impact in LSU’s offense due to poor QB play. People seem to be giving Alshon Jeffery a pass because of that and Randle should get the same. He’s a borderline first round pick right now and could be solidily in there by April.
Oregon RB LaMichael James
A lot of the mocks I have seen have him as a late 3rd-4th round pick. While that ma ybe where he should end up, players like James tend to go much higher. I can see a team falling in love with his home run ability and drafting him high in the second round to be their “gadget back”.
Dexter McCluster went at the beginning of the second round. James in my opinion is a much better all around player. His speed, ability to catch the ball and special teams capability will have some team willing to take him high.
Iowa OT Riley Reiff
Reiff’s stock is already sky high. However with so many teams at the top of the draft needing OT I can see Reiff going as high as #3 in the draft. I have heard rumors that the Vikings are going to do everything they can to make sure they get one of the top OT in the draft. With Matt Kalil likely going off the board at #2, I could see the Vikings pulling the trigger on Reiff at #3.
Boise State DL/LB Shea McClellin
McClellin played DE in college at Boise State, but was moved to MLB at the Senior Bowl. While McClellin looked unnatural at first, he got better as the week went on. I have heard great things about his work ethic and coach ability. McClellin can play DE, OLB and MLB. I would say he is a more polished Dane Fletcher and can see McClellin going as high as round 3.
After the top 3-4 MLB the board thins out. If McClellin impresses teams at the combine and at work outs he will move up the ILB board.
Alabama DT Josh Chapman
Chapman is a player who isn’t flashy, didn’t put up big stats and is coming off a torn ACL. No way he would go that high, right? Wrong, Chapman is very highly thought of in NFL circles. I have him as the best pure NT in the draft. His able to anchor the LOS and play against the run, is some of the best in the draft.
He also played the final eight games with a torn ACL in the SEC, which is pretty incredible. I think Chapman goes mid-second round easily, regardless if he has a torn ACL or not. He is simply a brick house who a team can plug and play at NT the minute he steps foot on the practice field.