2016 Draft Prospects to watch for…

by Dave Syvertsen, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst

While we inch closer to Draft Day, we will be briefly discussing and possibly introducing 5 names per week that you should get to know. These are not necessarily the top players of the class, but instead the lesser known prospects who will become known more and more as the 2016 Draft approaches.

1 – CB DJ White – Georgia Tech – 5110/185

 The three year starter has shown the necessary foot quickness and easy hips to factor in man coverage up and down the field. White has quick reactions thanks to both his athleticism and awareness. He is a smart player who is moved around the field based on matchups, as there are few receivers he can’t stick to. White doesn’t play a real physical style of football but his ability to easily change directions and burst out of his breaks make him a prime mid-round candidate next spring.


2 – WR Sterling Shepard – Oklahoma – 5100/193

 If there is an offense in search of a game breaking slot receiver, Shepard is worth the long look. His ability to stop and go on a dime make him a lethal cover underneath for any defensive back. He has the short area quickness and agility to go along with the route running know-how that will make him a weapon on 3rd down passing downs. I’ve seen him plenty over the past two seasons and there is some sneaky downfield ability with him as well. He competes hard for the ball in traffic and understands how to position his body between the ball and the defender. Shepard can fit into a few roles but it’s from the slot where he will do a ton of damage.

3 – OT Kyle Murphy – Stanford – 6070/301

 Stanford has been producing some quality offensive linemen over the past few years and the trend will continue with Murphy, a potential 2nd rounder. He is currently manning the left tackle spot for the Cardinal, but played on the right side when 2015 1st rounder Andrus Peat was protecting QB Kevin Hogan’s blind side previously. Murphy has the footwork and length to play the left side.   His flexibility is good enough but he could use a year to improve both that and his lower body strength. I like how Murphy uses his hands, however. There is a violent aspect to his game that you want to see in linemen. His  mechanics are very consistent as well. I think there is future starting potential here but his immediate dividends could be limited. Comparing his grades to other top tier OTs in this class, Murphy really isn’t all that different.


4 – DE Bronson Kaufusi – BYU – 6080/280

 There have been very few players that I have seen take over games in the trenches the way Kaufusi has done on a couple of occasions this season. The hybrid DE/DT, college version of JJ Watt has been opening my eyes to a point where he could end up with a 1st round grade. At first glance Kaufusi looks almost too big, leading to stiff and what seems to be unnatural movement. But in two November games (Missouri and Fresno State) he looked like a man among boys. His size gives him easy range to make plays down the line and the short area explosion to the ball carrier was dominant. When Kaufusi had his mechanics lined up, there was no stopping him, plain and simple. He could fit into multiple schemes at the next level and it could lead to a night one selection.

5 – OLB Jordan Jenkins – Georgia – 6030/254

 Jenkins took over for the heralded Jarvis Jones in 2013, but didn’t quite meet the sky high expectations. They tried to make him an explosive edge rusher early in his career but that simply isn’t what he does. Jenkins has settled in to a strong side role where he uses his heavy hands and excellent upper body strength to stifle blockers and toss them to the side upon diagnosing the play. He lacks the speed and bendability along the edge as a rusher, but he has the quick twitch and reaction to factor as an elite run defender. His best fit is likely the 3-4 OLB role where he may be limited to non-passing situations, but we are talking about a role player who will be worth his weight in gold. For teams struggling to defend the run, Jenkins will be viewed as a must-have asset.

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