There's been a lot of talk the last two weeks about quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft. Nothing like a couple ofbig trades to steer the conversation toward a select few players.
But there are some really good players in this draft beyond the top ones who are deserving of more buzz. Listed in alphabetical order, here are seven of my favorite prospects who have slid under the radar for one reason or another but who I believe have the potential to turn into Pro Bowl players in time.
- Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh: He doesn't have top speed (4.58-second 40), but he more than makes up for it in production. He set school records at Pitt for receptions (254) and receiving yards (3,361), and his 5,243 all-purpose yards is second only to Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett. And he did it in three years. He has really good size (6-foot-1, 197 pounds) and is an NFL-ready route runner.
- Sean Davis, DB, Maryland: Big, strong, athletic defensive back who was a top combine performer at his position in the broad jump (10 feet, 9 inches) and bench press (21 reps of 225 pounds). Versatility is his strength. I see him as a safety in a base defense and a cornerback in nickel packages. Davis is also a good press corner. He's a New England Patriots kind of player.
- T.J. Green, S, Clemson: Green is a converted wide receiver; he's only been playing safety for a year and a half. He's going to be a terror on special teams. He's a really good tackler who will learn to play the ball better with time. Exceptional size (6-2, 209). If you're a team like the Cleveland Browns or Tennessee Titans, with lots of extra picks, you can take a shot at a player like Green and hope it pays off big.
- William Jackson III, CB, Houston: Running a 4.37 40 at 6-foot and 189 pounds, Jackson has good size-speed ratio. Very productive player; had five interceptions and an FBS-best 23 pass breakups. Doesn't get a lot of publicity, but I wouldn't be shocked if he was taken in the middle of the first round.
- Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: Rankins had a tremendous Senior Bowl week, but for the most part has stayed under the radar. Some of that is intentional, as Conor Orr wrote about this week. Reminds me a lot of Warren Sapp with his strength, speed, quickness and burst. Opponents are going to have a difficult time blocking him.
- Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma This guy's the real deal. He's a fearless player who's also a good punt returner. He averaged 19 yards per catch in 2015. He reminds me of Wes Welker, but I think he's more talented. He'll play the slot and catch everything in his vicinity. Shepard didn't have many drops in college. He would be a steal in the second round.
- Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State: A five-year player who's a really good athlete. He lacks strength, but the team that takes him will put him in the weight room, build it up and get a really good player. He can legitimately play three positions (center, guard or tackle), but I think his best position is guard.