By Adam Collins
Takkarist McKinley EDGE, UCLA:
Most people know by now that Takk is in play to be the Dallas Cowboys 1st round selection this year, but how much do you know about him? McKinley is one of the most talented edge rusher in the 2017 group due to his overall raw skillset. Going into this past season at UCLA he was known as an up and coming prospect, but due to his overwhelming performance he is highly regarded as a 1st round pick. He possesses an ability to get in the back field, and make plays. In his 2016 campaign, he racked up an incredible 18 TFL, 10 sacks, as well as 3 forced fumbles. McKinley has to show improvement in his consistency with his hand usage. He lacks the power behind the punch at times. The numbers, as well as his game tape show a prospect who is rough around the edges, but has the raw skill set to develop into a pro-bowl caliber player.
JuJu Smith-Schuster WR, USC:
Juju Smith-Schuster is one of the more interesting cases in this years draft for several reasons. First, he has had solid, consistent production while playing at USC, but he shows to lack the necessary speed to separate at the NFL level. However, the more and more you watch his game film, the more you begin to realize he has a natural feel for the wide receiver position. Smith-Schuster possess the size that teams want in their starting WR, being 6’2 220LBS. Over his 3 years playing at USC his best year was by far his 2015 campaign. During the 2016 season he saw his targets drop, but he still managed to have an impressive year scoring 10 touchdowns. His 40 yard dash runs are some of the more anticipated drills of the week, largely in part because that is his only question as a prospect. Most everything he does on the football field he does at a high-level, the question is whether or not he will be able to create separation against NFL talent.
John Ross WR, Washington:
John Ross is a Desean Jackson clone on film, and is comparable to Will Fuller from the 2016 NFL draft. Ross is known for his electrifying speed, and his ability to break open on long routes due to that speed. One of the knocks on Ross is his lack of consistency on his routes. He will be pushed around some off the line of scrimmage at the next level, but his speed and ball tracking abilities make up for the negatives. Emotional is the word that I would use to describe the way he plays the game, and you can see it watching him play. Sometimes it is a good thing, other times it appears to get the best of him. Being able to speak to teams throughout the week will help him resolve some of those questions. John Ross’s 40 yard dash is something I have been looking forward to seeing since the first tape I watched. Expect a time in the 4.3’s. If he does, don’t be surprised if his name is called within the first 20 picks.
Adam Shaheen TE, Ashland:
Shaheen’s draft grade is riding on his performance in the drills, as well as his meetings with the teams. The reason being, is that not many people are sure of the level of talent he has. Shaheen played at the D-II level, and absolutely dominated. In 2016, he had an astonishing 16 touchdown receptions. Watching him on tape, his technique is extremely raw, but throughout each game he physical dominates everybody that he is playing against. Standing at 6’7 and weighing in at 270 lbs., with quality body control, as well as good enough athleticism is the reason teams are interested to see him perform at the combine. If he is able to excel in meetings and drills, he could potentially hear his name called in the 3rd-4th round of the draft.
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