The NFL scouting combine begins this weekend, and young players will make their presence felt, writes John Clayton of ESPN.com. An unprecedented 98 underclassmen declared for this year’s draft. Clayton chalks up this trend to the language in the new collective bargaining agreement which sets precise slotting values for each selection. While the youth movement will deepen the talent pool, negative effects will inevitably be felt in future drafts, where gifted players may be hard to find.
More draft notes:
- Within the same piece, Clayton notes that the Texans, Jaguars, and Browns will all consider trading to lower slots within the top ten selections. He also pegs Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who excelled at the Senior Bowl, as someone to watch.
- Clayton continues, writing that impressive workout numbers are especially critical for pass-rushers like Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack, both of whom could solidify their top ten draft statuses with good combines.
- Draft guru Mike Mayock of the NFL Network released his positional rankings, and there weren’t too many surprises. Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater got the nod as the top quarterback over Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles, while Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde comes in as Mayock’s top running back.
- The Seahawks and 49ers displayed the advantages of having a young, inexpensive quarterback, as both teams were able to fill in their rosters with money that otherwise would have been spent on a QB, writes Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. Seifert highlights several quarterbacks who could fill the same role, with Garoppolo, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, and Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas among them.