Here are five players who have surely drawn the interest of NFL scouts and are likely to hear their name called during the 2019 NFL Draft weekend in Nashville.
RB Wes Hills, Slippery Rock
The New Jersey native was a little known recruit from a small high school but has played bigger than almost everyone during the draft process. He entered the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl as a blip on the radar but left such a strong impression after being named MVP of the event and was then called up to the Senior Bowl a week later, where he continued to put on a show. A long strider who showed some nice wiggle out there with several change of direction cuts and a very impressive spin move. He possesses a stout upper body and does a nice job catching the ball out of the backfield. Showcased his ability to run between the tackles or take it to the corner and break a big run. He can steamroll over would-be tacklers and has barreled over a handful of defenders on film. The DII product owns an intriguing blend of size and speed but his vision as well as anticipation are what will make him money at the next level. He really sees the field well and appears to know what defenders are thinking at times.
WR Keelan Doss, UC Davis
Doss is a wide bodied possession type of receiver with adequate height that has a lot of experience lining up in the slot as well as on the perimeter. He was the focal point of the Aggies and used a lot in the mold of a bigger slot like a Marques Colston. Doss has excellent body control and can make space with just subtle moves but also has the ability to leave corners in the dust with how well he sets up his cuts. He has plus ball skills, as Doss goes up and gets it. He is a hands catcher that makes plays on the ball away from his body and he’s very reliable on contested catches with his hand strength. He is an effective stalk blocker, showing solid effort and great understanding of play development/timing. He has tackle breaking ability but he isn’t going to make many people miss and won’t string many moves together. Doss does a great job of creating space and separating from corners with excellent footwork. He has versatility to play any receiver position and will be a welcomed addition in the running game as a blocker.
TE Brandon Dillon, Marian
A smooth route runner with exciting yards after the catch ability; his physicality and fierce competitiveness stood out especially during the week of practices at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, where the step up in level of competition didn’t prove to big for him. In fact, Dillon did his best Big John Stud impersonation, as he clobbered LSU SS John Battle with a straight stiff arm that pummeled him to the ground in the open field. He does an excellent job of making a chip block and then proceeded to find the open seam in the defense and make the catch. He set career-highs with 35 catches, 603 yards, 17.2 average and five touchdowns in 2018.
OT Trey Pipkins, Sioux Falls
Blessed with prototypical size and athleticism, Pipkins dominated at the DII level and was one of the standouts during the week of East-West Shrine Game practices after he flashed some rare movement skills. He finished third in voting for the Gene Upshaw Award (Top D-II Linemen) as a senior. Pipkins possesses excellent size and length, combined with tremendous athletic ability. Quick to beat his opponents to the spot and does a great job of initiating contact on his quick sets. With experience playing both tackle and guard, he has been credited with 146 career knockdowns, including 95 as a junior, according to the school’s website. Also played basketball, in addition to track and field in high school. He is a sudden mover with enough lateral explosion to go out and deal with wider techniques. He oozes potential and his versatility to play multiple positions will endear him to a coaching staff in search of a potential swing man to start out in year one, as he could be a valuable backup until he evolves into a full-time starter.
OG Sua Opeta, Weber State
Moving from defensive line to offensive line before his sophomore season, Opeta proved himself to be a mainstay on the Weber State offensive line. Opeta earned all-American honors in his junior and most recent senior season. He has extraordinary strength which he showed off at the combine as he performed 39 reps on the bench press. Opeta also shows off his strength on film, as he is a mauling blocker with the ability to pancake defenders. Opeta has the ability to use his strength to be a stable anchor in the pass game and rarely gets pushed back into the quarterback. Opeta played all over the line throughout his career, but he looks most natural at guard.
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