Stanford has not placed a player in the first round of the draft since 2017, which seems like an eternity looking at their history the past decade. If things turn out as planned, that will change next April.
Walker Little was universally graded as a first-round pick entering the 2019 season, but his year was cut short after he suffered a leg injury in the first game of the season.
Little is a tall, fluid left tackle who blocks with solid fundamentals. He’s smart, displays solid footwork off the edge and makes great uses of angles and positioning. Little also shows a lot of skill blocking in motion.
If he had not gotten injured last season and met expectations, Little would’ve been a first-round pick, somewhere along the lines of where Austin Jackson was selected by the Miami Dolphins. The only reason I spotted him as a potential Round 2 choice next April is due to the injury. All things considered, I expect Little to enter the draft and wind up in the first round.
Paulson Adebo is liked in some areas of the internet, but I have concerns.
Adebo has terrific size and a physical nature to his game, but he’s not fluid, cannot make plays with his back to the ball and lacks great deep speed. Remember, he got hammered by Gabe Davis last year during Stanford’s blowout loss to Central Florida. Adebo made the right move returning to college for another season, but he must improve his techniques and ball skills.
Could this be the final season for Chip Kelly at UCLA? It is quite possible, and the divorce would be mutual from everything I’m told. Kelly has won a combined seven games since taking over in 2018 and produced just a single Day 2 selection.
Like last season, if UCLA has a player drafted on the second day, it will be an underclassman.
Sean Rhyan is an athletic tackle with solid footwork and movement skills. He’s fluid sliding off the edge and blocks with proper fundamentals and knee bend. He needs to get bigger and stronger, but Rhyan is only a redshirt sophomore.
Kyle Philips is another redshirt sophomore, but he’s a big-play receiver who comes through in the clutch. Phillips is fast, reliable and consistent. He makes a lot of big plays downfield, but he also comes away with the important reception across the middle.
Osawaru Odighizuwa is an explosive defensive lineman who plays with a nasty attitude, but he has growth limitations.
Keep an eye on Quentin Lake, a once-productive safety who is returning from injury.
Reminder: To view my grades and projected draft rounds for Big 12 draft-eligible prospects, scroll to the end of the article.
Last year, the Trojans placed their aforementioned left tackle, Austin Jackson, in the first round. In 2018, it was a quarterback. Next April, it looks like another player from the offensive side of the ball will break into the top 32.
Over the years, the Trojans have placed a lot of receivers in the top 90 selections of the draft, though they often did not pan out.
I believe Amon-Ra St. Brown is one who will.
The true junior is a great combination of big-play ability and natural receiving skills. He consistently comes away with the home-run reception, but at the same time he makes the ordinary catch with ease. He’s quick, fast and very tough to cover. St. Brown has a slight frame and will struggle in battles and against press coverage, but he does not back down to a challenge. I love his upside and feel he’s destined to be a first-round pick.
Tyler Vaughns gave serious consideration to entering last April’s draft, but he made a late decision to return to USC. Though he’s not as fast as his teammate, the argument could be made that Vaughns is a more complete pass catcher, and that’s not to disparage St. Brown. Vaughns has nice length, solid speed and very consistent hands.
Olaijah Griffin possesses terrific ball skills, plays a feisty brand of football and consistently makes positive plays on the ball. Griffin struggles in battles and lacks great size for the next level — but even in a worst-case scenario, I seem him as a solid nickel back on Sundays.