Seven Prospects Deserving More 1st Round NFL Draft Love

  • Alex Leatherwood
  • Andre Cisco
  • Chazz Surratt
  • Chuba Hubbard
  • Dylan Moses
  • first round
  • NFl Draft
  • Rondale Moore
  • Trey Smith
By Daniel Kitchen December 10, 2020 0 Comment
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Still Time to Get into 1st Round of the NFL Draft

There are still conference championship games and College Football Playoffs to be held. After that, there’s The College Gridiron Showcase, Shrine and Senior Bowls, NFL Combine, and Pro Days. The list of players who deserve 1st Round NFL Draft consideration is as long as it’s ever going to be. Yet even still, there are some names being left out of the conversation too often.

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Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

Hubbard is somebody whom I have mentioned before as a Day 1 candidate and will continue doing so despite a drop-off from his Heisman candidate season in 2019 (2,094 yards, 6.4 average, 21 TDs) to 625 yards, a 4.7 average, and five TDs across seven games in 2020.

The main reason is his athletic ability. Hubbard has some of the best foot speed, acceleration, and explosiveness among running backs prospects from the last several draft classes. When a hole opens up in front of him, he is in the open field immediately. His 6’0”, 208-pound frame puts him in line with the average NFL RB, and helps him shrug off contact using good balance and add yards to the end of every run before being brought down.

In a scheme that runs a heavy dose of zone blocking, Hubbard is a weapon teams hope to have. There’s a potential home for him on a contender who needs an RB, much like Clyde Edwards-Helaire this past draft.

Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

It’s weird that the first Big Ten freshman to ever be named a consensus All-American isn’t getting more love for the Top 32 picks.

Moore’s 4.33 40 and 133.62 SPARQ Rating coming out of H.S. were the best among wide receivers in his class, and his 42.7 vertical wasn’t far off. At Purdue, he is a cheat code with the ball. His burst is elite, his acceleration and foot speed are matched by few defenders, and he can embarrass just about anybody by coupling those gifts with change of direction skills that let him get out of crowded areas with stunning ease. It’s fun to imagine him as an NFL slot receiver, and he has immediate 1,000-yard, 80-catch upside if used there as a rookie.

Moore’s knocks are his size — 5’9”, 180 pounds — and durability. After 114 catches, 1,258 yards, and 12 TDs as a freshman, he played only four games last year and three of Purdue’s six this season (catching the eye of many, including The Brawl Network’s John Vogel). Medicals are a scary thing for athletically-gifted WRs, but his upside makes him worth some 1st Round NFL Draft hype.

Alex Leatherwood, OG, Alabama

Alabama has had an offensive lineman drafted every year since 2013 and a player in the first 44 picks six of those eight years. Leatherwood should add to both totals in 2021.

Playing left tackle for the Tide, Leatherwood shows plenty of power in being able to absorb rushers attacking with momentum, and stonewall men off the line. He is aggressive getting to the second level to hit blocks and can move with the line on any slide or zone plays.

He is not a flawless prospect, with outside rushers able to expose some weaknesses and pressure the pocket against him. But if he were to move back to guard, where he played as a sophomore, Leatherwood’s stock should see a sizable bump. His physical profile and strengths displayed on tape show a player who can succeed at that spot, and is worth 1st Round consideration this draft.

Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee

Smith’s game is power, power, power, and he does it well.

The Volunteers guard plays aggressive off the line and quick off on the snap—a devastating combo when paired with the tremendous raw strength that he possesses. Rare is the player who can overcome him to blow up an inside run play. He is a dependable blocker to create gaps for backs to hit. In pass protection, Smith can anchor against oncoming DTs and doesn’t give up more than two steps toward the pocket when facing power rushers.

His aggressiveness shows in how frequently he finishes blocks in both the run and pass game.

Any team drafting Smith will have to sign off on his medicals—blood clots ended his sophomore season and nearly his football career.

Dylan Moses, ILB, Alabama

If Moses hadn’t torn his ACL before the start of the 2019 season, he would have been a 1st Round pick this past April. Instead, he is in the 2021 class, but Moses isn’t as solid a 1st Round talking point as he was last year, and should be considered right now.

Moses has the traits to be a truly special ILB at the NFL level. If Nick Saban offers you before you even hit high school, clearly there is something that puts you a tier above everyone else.

His athletic ability shines when he can run step for step with RBs up the sideline to make plays, and his strength does when he delivers highly intense hits with visible relish. He can display a mean streak, especially in physical games and when he gets a chance to square up a runner or battling a blocker.

Not only does he have potential to lock himself in to Day 1, it shouldn’t surprise many if his name is called by the halfway point of it.

Chazz Surratt, ILB, UNC

There is a lot to like about Surratt’s game, and his ability to handle every job requirement of being a starting ILB at the next level.

He has the range and versatility to handle assignments to all areas of the field. Defending the run, he can go sideline to sideline with RBs and make plays close to the line. He doesn’t miss many tackles, recording 115 last year and is up to 81 through 10 games in 2020.

In coverage, he can erase short-field targets, and stays aware to have a quick break downhill when plays break down and the QB leaves the pocket. He excels on blitzes, showing outstanding vision to identify and hit lanes to the QB, with 6.5 sacks last season and six this year.

It’s only his second season at LB after converting from QB, but Surratt has the tools to play ILB for most defensive schemes, as a blitzer and in run support, or in a more coverage-heavy role.

Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse

The safety’s calling card is his identity as the absolute ballhawk. Playing up high, Cisco earned freshman All-American status by leading the nation with seven interceptions. He was among the 2019 leaders with five more, and had one in two games played this season after earning preseason All-American status, before injury ended his campaign.

There’s no question he can survey the field in a single or two-high set and make the highlight plays as well as disrupt plenty of throws to the deep and intermediate levels.

The questions, and hesitation to place him firmly in the 1st Round, come from the rest of his game. Cisco spent time playing near the box and has made plays at the line of scrimmage, but is not able to make a consistent impact in run support. In coverage, he doesn’t disrupt QBs as much starting in the intermediate level of the field as he does from up high.

Out the rest of the year, Cisco won’t have the chance to display on-field improvements. He should still be in late 1st Round NFL Draft discussion as the draft approaches, because of his wonderful ballhawk skills and performance up top.

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Here to discuss and examine all things NFL Draft. Occasionally sarcastic. Life is better with more scrambling QBs.

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