Nelson Agholor, Michael Bennett could be surprise first-rounders

There are usually a few players each year in the NFL draft that are first-round surprises, coming off the board much earlier than expected.

Who will get the earlier-than-expected call this year? NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah says two players out of longtime college football factories could fit the bill.

"I'll look at Michael Bennett, a defensive tackle out of Ohio State. I have him just outside my top 50 but when you start looking at interior pass rushers, to me he's going to be right there at the top," Jeremiah said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" Wednesday. "Originally, I said he's going to go in the second round, but I think he's got a chance to potentially climb up into the bottom of the first because he can give you some disruption and pass rush in the interior."

Bennett doesn't get as much press as some of the other interior linemen in the draft, but he played a big role in the Buckeyes' run to a national title last season while going toe-to-toe with Alabama and slowing down Oregon's flashy offense. He made plenty of great plays after returning for another year of seasoning in Columbus and no doubt would be thrilled to go in the first round.

The big man in the middle isn't the only one who could end up as a first-round surprise, though. Jeremiah believes one sneaky good wide receiver is starting to make his case to be taken earlier than expected.

"I'm going to go with Nelson Agholor from USC," Jeremiah said. "You can play him outside, you can play him inside. I know he has a slight frame but he has burst and can also return punts and kicks. He has a lot of value and is a very, very bright guy who has impressed teams with his football knowledge. The top of the second round is where I have him, in the 30s, but I can easily see him sliding up into the first round."

Agholor had a good showing at both the NFL Scouting Combine (despite a hand injury) and his pro day, so don't be surprised if he goes earlier than many expect after the draft gets underway April 30 in Chicago.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content