Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


The Post-Gazette’s veteran pro football writer breaks down the top prospects at each position heading into the NFL draft this week. Heights, weights and 40-yard dash times are from the NFL scouting combine in Indianapol­is or the player’s pro day workouts.


Quarterbac­ks Mitch Trubisky

North Carolina junior 6-2 • 222 • 4.67 Started only one season and rarely took snaps under center but the Ohio native was impressive. Has mobility, strength and is accurate. Extremely confident.

Deshaun Watson

Clemson junior 6-2 • 221 • 4.66, Jr. Once thought to be No. 1 overall, he may have been overscruti­nized and faults exaggerate­d. He has everything including mobility but Tigers offense was simply snap and throw. Must learn to read defenses.

Patrick Mahomes

Texas Tech junior 6-2 • 225 • 4.8 Flying up the boards. Steelers like him but won’t last to 30. A 21⁄ 2- year starter. Plays like a young Ben Roethlisbe­rger. Needs nurturing, though, before he plays in the pros.

DeShone Kizer

Notre Dame sophomore 6-4 • 233 • 4.83 Two-year starter. Big, strong and good arm. Holds ball a little long and his play declined in second half of the season, but has all the tools to be good NFL starter.

Davis Webb

California senior 6-5 • 229 • 4.79 Steelers had a bead on him for awhile. Previous Texas Tech starter but injury opened door for Mahomes there and he transferre­d. Raw, never worked in pro style offense.

Halfbacks Dalvin Cook

Florida State junior 5-10 • 210 • 4.49 Patient runner who had two best rushing seasons in Seminoles’ history – 1,691 yards followed by 1,765. Fumbler. Elusive, hard to get a bead on to tackle.

Leonard Fournette

LSU junior 6-0 • 240 • 4.51 Three-year starter who fought through ankle injury last season. Big back with outstandin­g skills. Runs through and over tacklers and that could lead to more injuries in the pros.

Christian McCaffrey

Stanford junior 5-11 • 202 • 4.48 Another patient runner who waits for his blockers. Excellent runner and receiver who can line up anywhere. Fought through 2016 injury, then sat out bowl game to prepare for draft.

Alvin Kamara

Tennessee junior 5-10 • 214 • 4.56 Another complete back who can run and catch and lines up everywhere. Perhaps it is the Le’Veon Bell effect, but another patient back who lets the play develop.

Joe Mixon

Oklahoma sophomore 6-2 • 228 • 4.45 In our rankings only because of his talent, considered firstround but he won’t go before the third and may drop out entirely. A PR problem for the team that takes him after he punched a woman in the face 3 years ago.

Wide Receivers Mike Williams

Clemson junior 6-4 • 218 • 4.54 No consensus top pick at the position. He has the height, strength and ability to go up and outbid for the ball. Not fast but height and stride can make up for it.

Corey Davis

Western Michigan senior 6-3 • 209 • 4.48 Productive four-year starter who dominated MAC. Only question is level of competitio­n and so-so speed. But then, they said that about Central Michigan’s Antonio Brown too.

John Ross

Washington junior 5-11 • 188 • 4.22 Blazing speed and great athlete who played defense and offense for awhile. One-year starter. Small, but explosive and good route-runner who will make DBs defend deep.

Curtis Samuel

Ohio State junior 5-10 • 196 • 4.31 Had 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in his career, a first for the Buckeyes. Not tall but has the speed, athletic ability, strength and toughness to get the job done.

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Southern Cacliforni­a junior 6-2 • 215 • 4.54 Big, physical, reliable who beats the press easily and gets deep despite so-so speed. Will come down with most contested passes by sheer muscle and strong hands.

Tight Ends O.J. Howard

Alabama senior 6-6 • 251 • 4.51 The cream of an unusually strong crop. Has everything but the stats because the Tide did not throw to him as much as his talent says they should have. Can move all over an offense.

David Njoku

Miami sophomore 6-4 • 246 • 4.64 Shared tight end job with Hurricanes; won’t in the pros. Has big-play ability but needs work on his route-running. Not the best blocker but is willing and should learn. Great leaper makes him play taller.

Evan Engram

Mississipp­i junior 6-3 • 234 • 4.42 Pure receiver. In fact has the speed and ability to play wide receiver. Can line up close, split or in backfield. OK blocker. Caught 65 passes last season. Had a great combine in all areas.

Gerald Everett

South Alabama senior 6-3 • 239 • 4.62 Two-year starter who attended community college and then UAB before South Alabama. Caught 91 passes in his two seasons. Can get deep as well as making the plays over the middle with his quickness.

Adam Shaheen

Ashland junior 6-6 • 278 • 4.79 Massive athlete with untapped ability after dominating on the Division II level after walking on. Has rocketed up charts and earned the label “Baby Gronk.”

Centers Pat Elflein

Ohio State senior 6-3 • 303 • 5.32 Often not a strong group and no different now. Not likely first-rounder but the Rimington Trophy Award winner is the best. Can play guard but should settle in at center. Quick, strong and should be 2nd rounder.

Ethan Pocic

LSU junior 6-6 • 310 • 5.15 Good blocker for both run and pass. Good athlete with good tehcnique. A tad taller than preferred for centers but can get low to block the big boys in front of him. A Leonard Fournette favorite.

Kyle Fuller

Baylor senior 6-5 • 307 • 5.24 Three-year starter. Good runblocker and reasonably well in the passing game. Could play guard. Has plenty of room for improvemen­t and the size to do so.

Tyler Orlosky

West Virginia senior 6-3 • 298 • 5.18 Did not miss a start in the past three seasons. Powerful and a fighter who has strong hands and quickness. Has his degree. A tad undersized but won’t get overpowere­d. A leader, 2-year captain for Mountainee­rs.

Jon Toth

Kentucky senior 6-5 • 307 • 5.51 Started the past 48 games. Could also play guard or tackle, where he first broke in with the Wildcats. Good size and could still grow. Makes good adjustment­s against inside blocking shifts.

Guards Forrest Lamp

Western Kentucky senior 6-4 • 309 • 5.0 Four-year starter at left tackle who projects to guard because of his short arm length although he could play either. Good, tough, run-blocker. Missed Senior Bowl with high ankle sprain.

Dan Feeney

Indiana senior 6-4 • 305 • 5.24 Four-year starter at right guard. Quick off the ball, he can pull and does it well. Two-time team captain. Allowed one sack in three seasons. Out all of ’13 with Lisfranc and missed four games with concussion last season.

Dorian Johnson

Pitt senior 6-5 • 300 • 5.27 Belle Vernon native who is chiseled in frame and has quickness, strength and speed to become a good NFL guard. Left guard. Could sneak up higher in the draft.

Dion Dawkins

Temple senior 6-4 • 314 • 5.11 Big, powerful, athletic lineman who can play guard or tackle. Started the final 40 games at left tackle and team with a need there could draft him that way.

Isaac Asiata

Utah senior 6-3 • 323 • 5.34 A tad short but monster build for that size and powerful with quickness and the agility to pass protect and pull for the run. Picks up all the games defenses play. One-year LDS mission makes him older than others at 24.

Tackles Cam Robinson

Alabama junior 6-6 • 322 • 5.15 Became starting left tackle as true freshman but might go to right side in NFL. Outland Trophy winner. Perfect build, powerful run-blocker. Red flag: Arrested on weapons and drug charges last year.

Ryan Ramczyk

Wisconsin junior 6-6 • 310 • 5.29 Turned down Pitt’s Paul Chryst to attend Winona State, then Wisc-Stevens Point before joining Chryst in Wisconsin. Threeyear starter at left tackle. Right hip surgery in January.

Garrett Bolies

Utah junior 6-5 • 297 • 4.95 Went from high school to garage-door repair for two years before attending JUCO. Spent one season at Utah as starting left tackle. Turns 25 next month.

Taylor Morton

Western Michigan senior 6-5 • 319 • 5.18 Four-year starter with two years at right tackle, one at right guard and then back to right tackle. Powerful run-blocker who can play right tackle or guard in the NFL.

Antonio Garcia

Troy senior 6-6 • 301 • 5.15 Four-year starter at left tackle who allowed no sacks last season. Long arms keeps rushers at bay but he also blocks well for the run. Level of competitio­n may be questioned and he needs work on technique.

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