Both Ohio State and Clemson have several underclassmen considering making the jump to the NFL. The biggest name of this group is Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. He has a realistic chance to come off the board somewhere in the top 10. Keep an eye on Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde who could easily be the first running back taken in May’s draft. Jon Dove looks at the top prospects in this contest.
Sammy Watkins/WR/Clemson: Sammy Watkins is a big-time play maker who features good size and speed. His strong hands allow him to make plays in traffic and pull down poorly thrown balls. During his career at Clemson, Watkins proved that he’s capable of both taking the top off a defense and working over the middle. The only real concern surrounding Watkins is his maturity. Evaluators are going to ask why he had a drop in production from his freshman to sophomore season. This is why the interview process will have an impact on where Watkins comes off the board. Early 1st Round
Vic Beasley/DE-OLB/Clemson: Vic Beasley is a ferocious pass rusher who mixes both a power and speed rush into his attack. His quick burst off the line of scrimmage allows him to threaten the edge while his balance helps him flatten out. However, it’s his change of direction and use of leverage that makes him a well-rounded rusher. Beasley is committed to getting inside hand placement and keeping low when employing a bull rush. His ability to use this power move off his speed rush helps keep blockers off balance. He’s further along in his development because he knows when to mix things up and use a different attack. Early 1st Round
Carlos Hyde/RB/Ohio State: Carlos Hyde is the most complete running back in this draft class. He’s a powerful runner who flashes the quickness to break off long runs. It’s his ability to run behind his pads and with balance that makes him such an effective runner. Hyde also quickly deciphers post-snap information which helps him identify open running lanes. He doesn’t waste time dancing behind the line of scrimmage quickly getting north and south. While Ohio State doesn’t use him much as a pass catcher, Hyde has shows good hands and the ability to pick yards after the catch. Early 2nd Round
Ryan Shazier/OLB/Ohio State: Ryan Shazier is an explosive and athletic linebacker. He has an excellent closing burst that allows him to make plays sideline to sideline. His suddenness allows him to avoid blocks and get back in position to fill the hole. However, he needs to be more committed to taking on blocks and using his hands. Shazier just doesn’t make enough plays behind or at the line of scrimmage. There are times where he’s to hesitant which allows offensive linemen to seal him at the second level. I’m interested to see what he weighs in at because it appears to have a thin frame. 3rd Round
Jack Mewhort/T/Ohio State: Jack Mewhort is a good athlete with the quickness to pull and reach the second level. He features fluid enough feet to mirror and protect the edge. However, he has a tendency to get upright which impacts both his balance and anchor. Despite his athleticism, Mewhort struggles changing direction and adjusting to counter moves. He also lacks the power needed to get a push off the line which makes him a better fit for a zone-blocking scheme. Late 4th Round
Marcus Hall/G/Ohio State: Marcus Hall features good size, arm length and athleticism for his position. Ohio State uses him at guard, but Hall looks like a fluid enough athlete to possible play some tackle at the next level. He does a good job using his long arms to create space and keep his body clean. However, the advantage his arm length provides is hindered by Hall’s lack of heavy hands. Defenders can quickly get off blocks and work their way to the ball. Hall is a solid athlete with a natural bend and quick feet that allows him to mirror the pass rush. He also features a thick enough lower half to anchor after initial contact. The biggest thing Hall needs to focus on is adding strength and keeping his legs moving once engaged. I also get the feeling that he isn’t maximizing his potential and might need a strong-minded coach to push him. Late 4th Round
Tajh Boyd/QB/Clemson: Tajh Boyd features a strong arm, quick release and good athleticism. However, he just doesn’t have a great feel for the quarterback position. His tendency to make poor decisions, only read one side of the field and bouts of inaccuracy are all major concerns. Those bouts of inaccuracy have to do with his inconsistent arm slot. At times, Boyd will drop his elbow for no reason and the ball will arrive off target. Defensive backs in the NFL will have a field day against Boyd unless he cleans up his tendency to stare down his target. Boyd also needs to do a better job connecting on the deep ball. Too often, he’ll overshoot his intended target. I’m afraid someone will fall in love with his physical talents and draft him way too high. At best, this is a 3rd to 4th round developmental type quarterback. Late 4th Round