Final yr’s draft was the primary since 2009 that noticed no Stanford soccer gamers among the many 259 chosen throughout seven rounds to ascend from the faculty ranks to the NFL. That ought to change this yr regardless of the Cardinal’s file staying the identical at 3-9 in David Shaw’s closing season as head coach. Listed here are 4 Stanford gamers who ought to count on to listen to their names referred to as on draft day in Kansas Metropolis, Mo. later this April.
CB Kyu Blu Kelly
High trendy NFL cornerback prospects are prized for his or her dimension and athleticism – each of that are robust factors for Stanford senior Kyu Blu Kelly. Hailing from Las Vegas, his 6-foot, 191-pound construct is well-suited for the mould NFL evaluators are looking for of their cornerbacks. Kelly additionally has an NFL pedigree because the son of a former 11-year NFL veteran, in addition to beginning expertise throughout all 4 of his years with the Cardinal.
He could not have a single trait that blows anybody away, however he’s well-rounded sufficient to carve out a stable profession on the subsequent degree. In an unusually deep cornerback class this yr, count on Kelly to be a steal for a zone-heavy protection within the late fourth or early fifth spherical.
Potential group matches: New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons
NFL comparability: Kendall Fuller
WR Elijah Higgins
The senior pass-catcher from Austin made a robust displaying in his closing yr at Stanford, racking up 59 receptions for 704 yards and two touchdowns. Nevertheless, he struggled considerably at creating separation on the Senior Bowl final month, which can imply that some groups will doubt his means to play as a pure outdoors X receiver. Some groups will doubtless label him as a tweener attributable to his unusually giant construct for a wideout at 234 kilos; others could also be open to attempting him in a dynamic F tight finish position the place he may have the chance to match up in opposition to much less agile linebackers or smaller safeties whom he might field out together with his 6-foot-3 body.
Higgins’ draft place will differ relying on whether or not or not groups will be artistic sufficient to combine him into their offensive gameplan. I see the Chiefs and Lions as offenses the place that could be attainable, and the Steelers as a group that has traditionally taken bets on gamers with Higgins’ dimension and profile (see Chase Claypool). Anticipate to see Higgins picked someday after the center of the fifth spherical relying on how groups stack him on their receiver rankings.
Potential group matches: Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers
NFL comparability: Quincy Enunwa
QB Tanner McKee
McKee was a extremely touted recruit who put up robust passing statistics regardless of struggling over 60 sacks all through the previous two seasons. With extra safety and a extra pass-friendly offense round him, the redshirt sophomore’s finest days as a quarterback ought to be forward of him. At 6-foot-6 and 231 kilos, he affords the scale profile that many entrance places of work will prize, although his lack of mobility could shrink the variety of groups which see him as a match.
In a top-heavy quarterback class, McKee will definitely not hear his identify referred to as on day one of many draft however might go as excessive as late day two. Search for a group with an ageing starter at quarterback to select him up as a developmental backup with a excessive flooring. Miami’s offense may be a match, given the calls for on its quarterback to remain within the pocket and course of reads shortly.
Potential group matches: Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins
NFL comparability: Nick Foles
WR Michael Wilson
The shifty extensive receiver from the Simi Valley did a superb job for himself by means of the draft course of, constructing hype by being one of many prime performers on the Senior Bowl and by main all receivers on the mix within the bench press, racking up 23 reps. Wilson ticks all of the containers evaluators are searching for: He was a group captain, dominated in an all-star occasion, carried out effectively in athletic testing, has prototypical dimension at 6-foot-2 and 213 kilos and boasts glorious run blocking for a receiver.
If accidents had not plagued Wilson over the previous few years, he would doubtless be a mid-second-round choose, however he could fall attributable to considerations that sturdiness will proceed to be a difficulty within the execs. His versatile talent set makes him a match for many offenses, however he could also be focused by groups who significantly admire his work within the run sport.
Potential group matches: Inexperienced Bay Packers (see Matt LaFleur’s emphasis on blocking), Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans
NFL comparability: Pierre Garçon