Jack Follman’s Pac-12 Underclassmen to Watch for NFL Draft


Posted on November 27, 2022





  By Jack Follman, SuperWest Sports

It’s one of the most intriguing times of the year in college football when underclassmen start to declare whether to enter the NFL Draft or stay in school for at least another season.

Once again, many players will have complex decisions to make, given the number of them that still have an extra year to use if they want it, due to COVID.

Here are the primary Pac-12 underclassmen I think everyone should watch over the next couple of months as they mull over their decisions about leaving early for the next level.

Those decisions could greatly swing the power balance of the Conference going into the 2023 season.

Arizona

Jacob Cowing, Junior, Wide Receiver — The UTEP transfer has been the most prolific receiver in the Conference in his first year in the Pac-12.

I think he declares early and his speed and consistency are enough to get him drafted.

If he goes: 5th or 6th Round

Jordan Morgan, Junior, Tackle — The big man emerged as one of the Pac-12’s best linemen in 2022 and now has to think about the NFL.

Unfortunately, he tore his ACL late in the season and I think that limits his ability to work out, so he probably returns for 2023.

If he goes: 5th-6th Round

Oregon

Brandon Dorlus, Junior, Defensive Tackle — Dorlus has been a rock for the Ducks for three years now and the NFL is taking notice with his stock already getting up into the top three rounds.

He’s proven a ton and I think will declare early.

If he goes: 2nd-3rd Round

Christian Gonzalez, Sophomore, Cornerback — The Colorado transfer exploded this year and has turned into a projected First-Round pick.

I just can’t see him turning down that potential and I think he declares.

If he goes: Mid-to-late 1st Round

Bo Nix, Senior, Quarterback — I know Nix is a senior, but he has a COVID year if he wants it and Oregon is the kind of program which could possibly offer an NIL deal to rival the money he might make in year one in the NFL.

Coming back could also make Oregon a preseason CFP favorite. Yet, I think getting into the league and getting a year closer to a second NFL contract is too much and he moves on.

If he goes: 3rd-4th Round

Noah Sewell, Sophomore, Linebacker — He’s one of the harder prospects to evaluate in recent years.

Prior to the season, he seemed like a shoo-in to be gone at the end of the season after another great year.

The truth is he hasn’t had the best season and has major questions defending passing offenses so I don’t know where he is projected. I still think he declares though.

If he goes: 3rd-4th Round

Oregon State

Joshua Gray, Sophomore, Tackle – He’s going to be All-Pac-12 for the third-straight season as an athletic tackle and has to be getting NFL looks.

I think he returns, though, to keep proving himself.

If he goes: 5th-6th Round

Luke Musgrave, Junior, Tight End — It sounds like Musgrave already plans on playing in the Senior Bowl so I think he has basically already declared.

That’s unfortunate because he missed so much due to injury and Oregon State barely got to use his amazing talent.

If he goes: 3rd-4th Round

Kitan Oladapo, Junior, Safety — Oladapo is part of a group of Beaver juniors who went through Senior Day and whom I’m kind of surprised they aren’t considering one more year more, but have basically declared.

He’s had a great year, though, and should get NFL interest.

If he goes: 7th Round

Riley Sharp, Junior, Linebacker — Sharp is a huge talent, who has had a good career at Oregon State.

He’s basically already declared and will be testing the NFL waters or possibly doing a grad transfer.

If he goes: 7th Round or UDFA

Omar Speights, Junior, Linebacker — Speights has been a Pac-12 standout mainstay and now looks ready to test the next level, having essentially declared.

He will look to have a shot to get picked at the end of the draft.

If he goes: 7th Round or UDFA

James Rawls, Junior, Defensive Tackle — He’s exploded this year after laying low in his career and is an All-Pac-12 level player.

He went through Senior Day at OSU so he’s essentially declared.

If he goes: 6th or 7th Round

Stanford

Tanner McKee, Junior, Quarterback — McKee is mysterious. He’s been nothing but below average at Stanford yet is constantly put as a top NFL QB prospect for the 2023 Draft.

I think he goes like Davis Mills, declares and lands in the second or third round because of his tools.

If he goes: 2nd or 3rd Round

Benjamin Yurosek, Junior, Tight End — He’s been one of the best tight ends in the Conference the past couple of years and has the Stanford tight end pedigree.

Things are shaky in Palo Alto so I wouldn’t be surprised if he declares though I predict he returns.

If he goes: 6th or 7th Round

UCLA

Laiatu Latu, Junior, Defensive End — The Washington transfer has been a sack master at UCLA in 2022.

He actually had to medically retire at UW so I would think he’s going to try and get to the next level sooner rather than later and declare.

If he goes: 4th or 5th Round

USC

Jordan Addison, Junior, Wide Receiver — He already won the Biletnikoff at one school and has starred at USC.

It would be shocking if he doesn’t declare.

If he goes: Mid-to-late First Round.

Tuli Tuipulotu, Sophomore, Defensive End — Tuli absolutely exploded in 2022.

There aren’t many reasons he would come back in 2023 so I think he declares.

If he goes: 2nd or 3rd Round

Utah

Braeden Daniels, Junior, Tackle — An All-Pac-12 stalwart, he’s a rock for the Utes and has to be considering the NFL.

I think he’s back for one more year, returning, even though he could get drafted.

If he goes: 4th or 5th Round

Sataoa Laumea, Sophomore, Guard — Maybe the best young lineman in the league, he’s eligible for the Draft and should consider it.

I still think he returns, though, with a lot to prove and show on film.

If he goes: 6th or 7th Round

Cam Rising, Junior, Quarterback — Rising was electric in 2021, leading Utah to their first Pac-12 championship. He’s been banged up and had some struggles in 2022.

It still feels like it’s time to head to the NFL as he has indicated is his plan.

If he goes: 4th or 5th Round.

Tavion Thomas, Junior, Running Back — I thought Thomas was a senior for some reason. I also thought he was going to declare last year. He came back and has been banged up as well.

He declared last week, and it’s time to go to the next level.

If he goes: 4th or 5th Round

Washington football pac-12

Washington

Troy Fautanu, Sophomore, Tackle — He emerged as Washington’s left tackle this year and has had a great year.

He’ll probably have to at least think about the NFL, but I think he returns as he could really bolster his stock with another big year.

If he goes: 6th or 7th Round

Tuli Letuligasenoa, Junior, Defensive Tackle — He’s a mainstay veteran for the Huskies and a stellar DT.

I have to think he’s tempted to go to the next level given how many miles he has in college.

Still, I think he returns because a big final year could push him way up in the Draft.

If he goes: 5th or 6th Round

Jalen McMillan, Sohomore, Wide Receiver — McMillan emerged as one of the Pac-12’s best pass catchers this year and put up great numbers in Washington’s new offense.

I think he needs another year to grow and put up more stats to maximize his NFL potential and he returns.

If he goes: 5th or 6th Round

Rome Odunze, Sophomore, Wide Receiver — Another one of the Conference’s best receivers. He has great size and is ultra smooth.

His size and production has been enough that it’s probably time for him to declare.

If he goes: 2nd or 3rd Round

Michael Penix Jr., Junior, Quarterback — Penix has had one of the most electric years a transfer QB can have and has turned himself into a legit NFL prospect, especially because he has stayed healthy.

That health history, or lack thereof tells me he needs to go start playing pro now and declares.

If he goes: 3rd or 4th Round

Bralen Trice, Sophomore, Defensive End — He emerged as one of the best pass rushers in the Conference in 2022 and he’s a big athlete who will have to look at the NFL.

I think he returns because a big enough 2023 could entertain him as a First-Round prospect.

If he goes: 4th or 5th Round

Washington State

Brennan Jackson, Junior, Defensive End — He’s done so much as a Cougar there’s not much left for him to do and he has to think about the NFL.

Ultimately though I think he returns.

If he goes: 6th or 7th Round

Jarrett Kingston, Junior, Tackle — A multi-year starter who is an All-Pac-12 player this year, he has shown he has plenty of NFL potential.

Like so many on this list, one more big year could do a lot for him and I think he returns.

If he goes: 6th or 7th Round

Cam Ward, Sophomore, Quarterback — Ward’s size and athleticism make him an exciting NFL prospect.

He still probably needs at least another year of refinement though and I think he returns.

If he goes: 4th or 5th Round


—More from Jack Follman—

Latest posts by Jack Follman (see all)



Source link

Comments are closed.