Connor Williams, OT, Texas
- It’s probably somewhat surprising to see a first-round projection listed as underrated. The thing is, somehow Williams isn’t considered the consensus first offensive tackle off the board. Questions surrounding his height and arm length seem to be keeping him down. Williams 2016 tape is some of the most dominant tape you’ll see from a tackle, but a knee injury in 2017 hurt his play. Despite the injury, his 2017 tape is still light-years ahead of the rest of this tackle class. Nobody can stonewall a defensive lineman like Williams can. His ability to anchor down and lock his hands inside is incredible. Even if he doesn’t come in at the 6-6, 320 pounds he’s listed at and if his arms are under 34”, he has the skills to be a dominant guard. Williams is either a Pro Bowl franchise left tackle or the next Zack Martin at guard.
- My Rank: 6th
- Pro Comparison: Joe Thomas
- Yes, another player with a first-round projection being put on the underrated list. Like Williams, Landry battled injuries in 2017 and hurt the potential top 10 pick prestige he was carrying before the season. Basically, the combination of an ankle injury and Landry not having the same pass rush arsenal as the more polished Bradley Chubb hurt his stock. Chubb being above him makes sense, but now Marcus Davenport and Arden Key have overtaken him. Landry has an explosive first step, the ability to dip and shed offensive linemen with superb body control, and can naturally bend the edge. Sure, Landry doesn’t have the same amount of pass rush moves as these other guys, but his one move is dominant. His traits and athleticism are going to make him an impact pass rusher from day one. Landry is more NFL-ready than Davenport and doesn’t carry the off-field questions of Key. Someone is going to get a steal in the mid to late first-round
- My Rank: 9th
- Pro Comparison: Cameron Wake
Hercules Mata’afa, ED, Washington State
- There’s a big reason Hercules Mata’afa is underrated: he played out of position at Washington State. Despite being just 6-2, 252 pounds Mata’afa played on the interior of the Cougars’ defensive line. At his size he’ll be playing on the edge in the NFL, but having played 3-tech and 5-tech in college shouldn’t hurt his stock, it should help it. He’s handled much bigger men than him both as a pass rusher and run stopper. Mata’afa has three years of big production in college for a reason, he’s relentless. Two massive keys to succeeding early as an edge in the NFL are a high motor and violent hands, Mata’afa checks both boxes. Obviously, there will be questions about his length and athleticism. The Scouting Combine will be massive for his draft stock, but his tape shouldn’t let him slip past day two of the draft.
- My Rank: 26th
- Pro Comparison: Brandon Graham
Kyzir White, S, West Virginia
- It’s an interesting safety class with big names like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James, but there’s nice depth to it too. Kyzir White might be the third best safety in this class. He’s the younger brother of Bears wide receiver Kevin White and West Virginia wide receiver Ka’Raun White. White is versatile and plays nickel, safety, and linebacker. He’s at his best coming downhill vs the run, but can hold up in coverage. The team that drafts him will need to use his versatility to get the most out of him. He can be a nickel linebacker or a box safety right away due to his aggressive nature, he’s the biggest striker in this secondary class. He isn’t the smoothest athlete, but plays with enough technique in coverage to help makeup for it. White shouldn’t get out of the second-round with his tape.
- My Rank: 31st
- Pro Comparison: Harrison Smith
Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
- In a top-heavy quarterback class with a lot of big names, Kyle Lauletta seems to be slipping through the cracks. He isn’t on par with Rosen, Mayfield, Darnold, or Jackson, but he isn’t far off from Josh Allen. Pretty much, Lauletta has become a “Draft Twitter” darling because he’s the anti-Josh Allen. He doesn’t have a ton of arm strength or velocity, but he’s one of the most accurate QBs and throws with incredible touch. He has the tools to be a developmental starter. Lauletta is the type of QB that the Patriots select and everyone calls Belichick a genius, and rightfully so. He’s better than Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph and safer than Allen. Don’t be surprised if he goes in the second-round.
- My Rank: 48th
- Pro Comparison: Jimmy Garoppolo
Jeff Holland, ED, Auburn
- Just like another pass rusher from Auburn last year, Jeff Holland isn’t receiving the hype he deserves. It was Carl Lawson last year due to size and it’s the same deal for the 6-2, 249 pound Holland. Despite his size, Holland is consistent in the run game and understands how to set the edge. He’s ideal for a 3-4 outside linebacker role where his athleticism and strong hands can be shown off and his lack of size can be hidden. Holland has the athleticism and pass rush tools to get on the field as a rookie and should go early in the third-round.
- My Rank: 63rd
- Pro Comparison: Yannick Ngakoue
Justin Reid, S/NB, Stanford
- Another safety prospect with a brother in the NFL. Justin Reid is the younger brother of NFL safety Eric Reid. Like Eric, Justin is a big safety who doesn’t shy away from contact. Justin Reid is the jack of all trades and spends more time playing nickel than he does safety for Stanford. He can be used as a box safety, nickel linebacker, true free safety, but he’s the best nickel in the class. Reid uses his size well and has the technique to stick to quicker receivers in coverage. His ball skills are terrific and he rarely misses a tackle. Unlike the other top safety prospects his name doesn’t carry a ton of buzz, but he’s a top five safety.
- My Rank: 65th
- Pro Comparison: Malcolm Jenkins
Tim Settle, ID, Virginia Tech
This is a STUPID amount of balance, quickness, burst, and effort by Virginia Tech NT, Tim Settle. So many good D Lineman at the top of this #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/Q0jdSsMUGh
— Marcus Whitman (@TFG_Football) February 16, 2018
- Usually the most fun tape to watch is when a player plays with reckless abandon, that’s the definition of Tim Settle’s tape. Settle is a mammoth at 6-3, 335 pounds, but plays like a much smaller man. He’s quick as can be at that size and shoots gaps like a nimble 3-tech. His motor never seems to stop running and helps makeup for a lack of technique. With the combination of his size, athleticism, and style of play, if he gets with the right coaching staff Pro Bowl ability can be unlocked. Settle is the type of player to blow up the Scouting Combine and lock himself into the second-round due to upside.
- My Rank: 67th
- Pro Comparison: Jurrell Casey
Trey Quinn, WR, SMU
Will be interesting how they compare at the combine, but I think you can get *a lot* of what you’d expect from Christian Kirk out of SMU WR Trey Quinn. Very similar prospects. pic.twitter.com/Y1QyPav1Xp
— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) February 8, 2018
- There’s a chance you’ve never heard of Trey Quinn. He was the Robin to Courtland Sutton’s Batman at SMU. After spending two seasons at LSU, Quinn transferred to the Mustangs and his one season there was ultra productive. In 2017 he caught 114 passes for 1,236 yards and 13 touchdowns. His tape matches the production. It’s almost a certainty that Quinn will be labeled as “sneaky athletic,” but he just athletic and it’s not sneaky. Quinn can play in the slot or on the outside and win with speed or his routes. Unlike some of the receivers he does nothing poorly and everything well. He’ll be the receiver that falls to day three and with a little bit of development ends up a starter in two years.
- My Rank: 80th
- Pro Comparison: Adam Thielen
Jeremy Reaves, S, South Alabama
Now we get to see Jeremy Reaves display some centerfield range, and the force with which he can arrive with a full head of steam. Punishing blow to the WR pic.twitter.com/L1gSOxbQM3
— Ryan Booher (@bootang25) December 14, 2017
- Defensive backs have evolved in recent years and the more they can do, the more valuable they are to a team. Jeremy Reaves is the rare DB that can play nickel, corner, and either safety spot. At South Alabama he started as both a cornerback and safety and proved he can play either in the NFL. Reaves isn’t the biggest DB, but he plays physical and isn’t afraid to press receivers. He often comes up against the run and makes splash plays. The combination of his range, footwork, and physicality will have teams intrigued, but he was somehow left out of the NFL Scouting Combine. Reaves can be a dynamic safety in the NFL and has enough talent to go as high as the third-round.
- My Rank: 85th
- Pro Comparison: Jordan Poyer
Nathan Shepherd, ID, Fort Hays State
"Hey Kyle what do you look for when trying to account for level of competition?"
- A fellow Canadian, Nathan Shepherd looked like he was going to be the star of the Senior Bowl before breaking his hand. His day and a half of practice was still enough to get people buzzing about him. Throw on the Shepherd tape and you’ll see a freak athlete playing on the defensive line and blowing up triple teams. When watching a small school player, they need to blatantly standout on tape. Shepherd was always the best player on tape and has the build and athleticism to make a big NFL impact. Shepherd should be ready for the Combine and looks like he’ll test better than most defensive tackles. It isn’t crazy to think he could go in the second-round.
- My Rank: 87th
- Pro Comparison: Malik Jackson