Each year, we see players that were picked outside of the first round make a tremendous impact in the NFL. Guys like Everson Griffen and Antonio Brown are great examples of high-upside talents that weren't quite finished products when they were drafted. Over a brief period of development, they emerged as stars at their respective positions. Which current senior prospect has the most upside? I polled five different NFL executives. Here are their answers.
Executive 1: LSU WR Travin Dural
"I think both wideouts at LSU have tremendous upside. I'd lean toward Dural over (Malachi) Dupre."
Executive 2: UConn safety Obi Melifonwu
"The UConn safety is really intriguing. He's freaky athletic and he's going to put up big-time testing numbers. He'll run low 4.4s (in the 40-yard dash) and jump over 40 inches. He can play in the slot as well. Huge upside."
Executive 3: Baylor QB Seth Russell
"Russell isn't polished but he's a great athlete and he has arm talent. He's got some really good tape. He could end up being a really solid starting quarterback at the next level."
Executive 4: Texas A&M DE Daeshon Hall
"Myles Garrett gets all of the attention but Daeshon Hall has a ton of upside. He's got the ideal frame and he's explosive. He has a chance to be a really good pass rusher at the next level."
Executive 5: Virginia Tech TE Bucky Hodges
"Hodges has tremendous upside. He's a former QB and he's still learning how to play the position. He has impressive size, athletic ability, speed and hands. He can be as good as he wants."
Summary: That's one vote apiece for Dural, Hall, Hodges, Melifonwu and Russell.
Conclusion: These are some very interesting players. I'm excited to study Melifonwu. I didn't know much about him before this executive mentioned him. Hall is well-liked by the scouting community, while Russell elicits a wide range of opinions. Some evaluators love him, while others are lukewarm and view him as a backup at the next level. Dural's production is limited because of poor quarterback play, but he has a lot of tools to be excited about. Hodges could end up being a value pick because of the depth at the tight end position in the upcoming draft.
Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.