The 2022 Nebraska football season left a bitter taste in the mouth of Cornhusker fans. Still, top Nebraska prospects are preparing for the 2023 NFL Draft cycle — what do the scouting reports suggest about their chances of hanging on at the NFL level?
Nebraska 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Caleb Tannor, EDGE
Strengths: Athletic college edge rusher who shows terrific speed and agility. Best off the edge, easily changes direction, or immediately alters his angle of attack. Stays with assignments, gives effort against the run, and wraps up tackling.
Weaknesses: Undersized. Not quick or fluid pedaling in reverse. Average production on the college level. Must learn to play in space.
Overall: Tannor is an athletic college pass rusher with safety size. He was primarily asked to make plays up the field, but he shows enough athleticism to develop into an off-ball/space linebacker. He won’t be drafted, but Tannor is worth stashing on a practice squad this summer.
Ochaun Mathis, EDGE
Strengths: Explosive and somewhat athletic pass rusher who breaks down well and is rarely off his feet. Slides off blocks and collapses down the line of scrimmage in pursuit of the action. Displays good movement skills, easily changes direction, and catches the ball handler from the back side. Agile, quick if asked to twist or stunt, and plays with excellent speed. Has long arms that he uses to protect himself, is fast up the field, and makes a lot of athletic plays.
Weaknesses: Easily blocked or controlled at the point by a single opponent or by lesser competition. Occasionally comes out of a three-point stance and gets mauled on running downs. Never really developed his game.
Overall: When he played at TCU early in his college career, Mathis looked like a big pass-rushing prospect and dominated games. He really didn’t develop on the field or meet expectations and heads towards the draft as a late-round prospect. Mathis possesses the physical gifts to develop into a starting 3-4 outside linebacker, but he must quickly elevate his game.
Want more information on Mathis? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Ochaun Mathis, EDGE, Nebraska | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Travis Vokolek, TE
Strengths: Underrated tight end with outstanding size and pass-catching hands. Displays terrific vision and gives effort blocking everywhere on the field. Tracks the pass in the air, adjusts backwards, and grabs the errant throw.
Displays terrific focus as well as concentration, makes the reception in stride, or extends in a crowd to come away with the ball. Uses his hands to separate from defenders, follows the quarterback across the field to make himself an available target, and always makes the reception with his hands.
Weaknesses: Plays to his 40 time and shows no burst in his game. Possesses average blocking strength. Marginal college production.
Overall: Vokolek was considered a nonfactor by league scouts entering the season, yet he improved his game and always displayed himself as a solid pass-catching threat. He possesses excellent size as well as growth potential, and enough upside to develop into a third tight end if given the opportunity.
Trent Hixson, C
Strengths: Underrated center with nice size and strength. Bends his knees and gets leverage on opponents. Quickly sets up off the snap, immediately gets his hands into defenders, and turns opponents from the action to open up the middle of the line.
Effectively quarterbacks the offensive line. Sets with a wide base, stays square, and keeps his feet moving. Outstanding run blocker who is strong and explosive. Plays with a nasty attitude and looks to finish off opponents.
Weaknesses: Not a nifty or nimble lineman. Slow to adjust. Has just one full season of starting experience.
Overall: Hixson is an outstanding story as a former walk-on who turned into a terrific center for Nebraska. He possesses excellent size and growth potential as well as the strength to be used in a power-gap system.
Trey Palmer, WR
Strengths: Former LSU receiver whose game took off last season. Quickly releases off the line of scrimmage, immediately gets to top speed, and displays good route discipline. Plays with speed, uses his frame to shield away opponents, and comes back to the ball to make himself an available target.
Tracks the pass in the air, displays good eye/hand coordination, and nicely times receptions. Gets vertical to compete for the reception. Adjusts to the errant throw and extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame.
Weaknesses: Must improve his footwork into breaks and rounds off routes. Doesn’t have an extensive route tree. Timed fast in the 40 but doesn’t show a true second gear or deep burst, nor does he work hard if he’s not involved in the action.
Overall: After not making an impact at LSU for three seasons, Palmer came to Nebraska and watched his game explode. He’s a solid pass catcher and a good athlete who must improve the details of his position. Palmer must get stronger, really improve his route running, and learn to do the little things well, but he comes with tremendous upside.
Want more information on Palmer? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Trey Palmer, WR, Nebraska | NFL Draft Scouting Report
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