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Draft Quack: Pac-12 Season Review

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NCAA Football: UCLA at Oregon Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

There are several big time and some lesser known names in the conference that are eligible in the 2019 NFL Draft. How did they fare during the 2018 season? I’ll break them down by offense and defense for this exercise.

OFFENSE

QB

1. Gardner Minshew 6’1 220 RS Senior Washington State

- He can make all the NFL throws and is very accurate in the short and intermediate game. He has completed over 70% of his passes and has lived off of crosses, slants, outs, and the other various short routes to get receivers open. The obvious system fit questions will crop up during the offseason. He’s a grad transfer from East Carolina. Has run some form of the Air Raid offense since high school. 2018 stats: 433/613 (70.6%), 4,477 yards, 36 TDs, 9 interceptions. He has accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl.

2. Justin Herbert 6’5 240 Junior Oregon

- Herbert mirrored the Ducks’ 2018 season in which he was consistently inconsistent. Going into the season, he was the top QB prospect in the nation and maintained that stock by default. Surprisingly (to national audiences) declared that he would stay for a senior season.

3. Jake Browning 6’1 210 Senior Washington

- The exact definition of good college player but not a good pro prospect. He just doesn’t have the physical skill set for the NFL but is a good enough game manager for the Huskies. It’s quite laughable that he was in contention for a Heisman a couple of years ago. Could catch on as a backup at the next level ala Colt McCoy.

RB

1. Myles Gaskin 5’9 191 RB Senior Washington

- Gaskin has been a mainstay for the Huskies’ running game for four years now. He is the only running back in conference history to rush for 1000+ yards every year. Undersized runner that excels catching passes out of the backfield. Football IQ is above average. Knows how to work angles and cutback lanes to his benefit. Tree trunk legs. Plus speed and lateral agility. Has accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl.

2. Bryce Love 5’9 196 Senior Stanford

- Love hasn’t been the same this season. He’s been a shell of his former self and could have severely damaged his stock beyond repair. While it’s admirable that he came back to pursue his degree, the on field product has been dismal. He looks a step slow due to the myriad of injuries that have piled up through the years.

3. Zack Moss 5’10 217 Junior Utah

- He plays much heavier than his listed size and relishes contact. Instinctive as a runner and knows how to find the different angles of a hole. Rarely loses yardage. Pretty good straight line runner. He was the best back in the conference until an unfortunate injury ended his season early. Has decided to return to school.

4. J.J Taylor 5’6 180 RS Sophomore Arizona

- Taylor finished up with 1,434 yards and six touchdowns. His size will be a question throughout the process should he choose to declare. Could be a specialist at the next level.

WR

1. N’Keal Harry 6’3 216 Junior Arizona State

- Harry is the WR1 in this year’s class, no questions asked. He is a big physical target for the Sun Devils and should warrant all the attention. He has made several highlight reel catches so far. The physical measurements are elite. We will see how he tests in the offseason at the Combine and at Pro Day. Has declared for the draft.

2. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 6’2 222 RS Junior Stanford

- Whiteside was the Cardinal offense at times this year due to the lack of Bryce Love. Simply put, he’s baby Mike Evans. Posted 63 receptions for 1,059 yards and 14 touchdowns.

3. Aaron Fuller 5’10 187 Junior Washington

- Fuller is the go to weapon for Jake Browning and it shows. Has enjoyed a breakout junior campaign. Profiles as an excellent slot weapon at the next level. Draft status is unknown at this time.

4. Dillon Mitchell 6’3 201 Junior Oregon

- No other receiver in the Pac-12 dominates the ball for his offense like he does. Mitchell has improved during his junior campaign that resulted in his unexpected declaration for the draft. He’s projected to be a late round pick due to a lack of productivity until this year. Needs to test well at the Combine and Pro Day.

5. Shawn Poindexter 6’5 218 RS Senior Arizona

- Poindexter was the veteran gamebreaker receiver (18.1 yards per catch) for the Wildcats. He was a solid contributor that posted 42 receptions for 759 yards and 11 touchdowns. Has accepted his invite to the Shrine Game.

OL

1. Kaleb McGary 6’6 318 OT RS Senior Washington

- Started at left tackle to begin the 2018 season when Trey Adams was out with injury. Did well in the interim before moving back to right tackle. Accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl.

2. Chuma Edoga 6’4 295 OT Senior USC

- Edoga projects to be a right tackle at the next level after being at the position for a majority of his college career. He’s had a decent enough season to merit an invite to the Senior Bowl, which he accepted.

3. Casey Tucker 6’6 315 RS Senior OL Arizona State

- Tucker is a graduate from Stanford and subsequently transferred to Arizona State using the graduate transfer rule so Furd couldn’t block the move. He’s one of the better tackle prospects in the conference. Solid in run blocking. Played primarily guard in 2018.

DEFENSE

EDGE

1. Jalen Jelks 6’5 245 RS Senior Oregon

- Jelks had his moments of brilliance but was largely held in check during the 2018 season due to being the opposing offenses’ primary threat. He will need a monster offseason to recover what was once an impressive stock. Has accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl.

2. Bradlee Anae 6’3 254 Junior Utah

- Anae was the Utes’ most feared pass rusher at times last season and his production showed up big time in several games. He could be the top pass rusher in the conference next season should he stay in school.

3. Justin Hollins 6’4 238 RS Senior Oregon

- The beneficiary of Jelks being the heavy focus was Hollins. He had a pretty good final season in Eugene. He flashed a lot more pass rush capability than in years past. Had a more productive year on film than Jelks. Has accepted invite to the Shrine Game.

4. Porter Gustin 6’4 255 Senior USC

- Underrated athlete as an edge rusher. He’s a veteran edge rusher that has seen a lot of offensive schemes to go against. Technically inefficient. He picked up a season ending injury so the medical will be scary he’s been hurt a lot in his career.

LB

1. Bobby Okereke 6’2 234 RS Senior Stanford

- Stanford’s leading tackler with 89 tackles, six tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He’s an athlete that can go sideline to sideline. He’s a bit of a bowling ball that fly all over once he gets going. Instincts are a bit off but that can be honed and developed. Has accepted his Senior Bowl invite.

2. Chase Hansen 6’2 220 RS Senior Utah

- Hansen has been a terror for opposing offenses to line up against. He’s a stat sheet monster, posting 114 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and two interceptions. I rewatched the Oregon tape and he was all over the place there too. An undersized linebacker prospect that moved from safety this past season. He generally is in the right area to make the tackle as evidenced in the screen below. Instinctive even for a first year linebacker convert. Hansen has accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl.

3. Ben Burr-Kiven 6’0 222 Senior Washington

- BBK is a stat sheet monster. He leads the entire country in tackles with a whopping 165 to go with one sack and an interception. He’s an athlete at the position. A bowling ball of energy. Ball skills are a plus. Size will limit him to a specialized role at the next level.

4. Troy Dye 6’3 224 Junior Oregon

- Dye is the closer for the Ducks defense. He’s the leader in the middle. The frame has questions though. He could be better moving back a level to safety given his listed size. An elite athlete that can cover sideline to sideline when asked. Recently declared that he will return for a senior season.

CB

1. Myles Bryant 5’8 180 Junior Washington

- Size wise, he compares to the Rams’ standout cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. He plays a lot bigger than what he’s listed at. Due to size, he won’t be CB1 but will still play a bit as the third cornerback at the next level. Lateral agility is a plus and instincts are as well. Versatile athlete with great speed. He’s the top corner in the conference.

2. Byron Murphy 6’0 175 RS Sophomore Washington

- Washington’s other starter at corner is pretty good in his own right. He’s a solid athlete that will test well. Pops off the screen when I watch him play. Doesn’t get beat often but when he does, he makes up for it. Declared for the draft recently.

3. Alijah Holder 6’1 191 RS Senior Stanford

- A big physical type of corner that press at the line and frequently win. Not the most athletic before his medical history. He can be beat over the top. Stanford’s fifth leading tackler with 52 and eight passes defensed. Has accepted his invite to the Shrine Game.

4. Julian Blackmon 6’1 190 Junior Utah

- Blackmon has the size and speed that NFL teams are looking for in corners these days. He hasn’t done much statistically for the Utes, however. Lateral agility is a major plus as he can go toe to toe with the best receiver and shut him down. Ball skills are a plus as well. Can flip his hips and turn on a dime. He has the potential to be CB1 next year should he stay in school.

S

1. Taylor Rapp 6’0 212 Junior Washington

- He is the best safety in the Pac-12 and possibly among the best in the nation. His 2018 season is just more evidence of this. He’s simply a play maker that flies around the field with calculative abandon. Versatile stat sheet as Rapp has posted 58 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles. He has declared for the draft.

2. Ugo Amadi 5’9 197 Senior Oregon

- The do everything safety for the Ducks has had a great year in terms of draft projection so far. He’s been a clutch play machine for the defense. Teams will love his versatility of playing both corner and safety. He was the ultimate chess piece that DC Jim Leavitt could deploy anywhere on the field. Expect him to be drafted high despite not being invited to a postseason all star event due to his positional versatility.

3. Evan Worthington 6’2 205 Senior Colorado

- He had a good senior season for an underwhelming Buffaloes squad that merited an accepted invite to the Shrine Game. He’s an excellent athlete and it shows in pass coverage. Could be a sleeper for top safety in the conference. Needs to test well during the offseason.