Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts has been one of the best players in the nation but can college football’s top tight end be a top-10 NFL Draft pick?
During the last couple of weeks, the players on this list have consistently risen up big boards and draft boards. They have traits that scouts love at their perspective positions and continually produce solid to outstanding tape.
There might be some receivers who have higher ceilings than DeVonta Smith because of their size and speed, but Smith is the best route runner in this draft. Smith has NFL-level speed with the ability to get open. If you know how to get open in the NFL, there is a long career ahead. Kyle Pitts is not only the best tight end in this class, Pitts might be the best player in the country.
Ian Book’s last month has been the best of his career. Book has gone from a late-round/priority free agent level prospect to a solid mid-round quarterback. Book might never be a star at the next level, but he could have a solid NFL career. At last season’s NFL combine, a reporter asked former Clemson All-American Isaiah Simmons what position he played. “Defense,” Simmons replied. That describes Book’s teammate Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to a tee. Owusu-Koramoah can cover the entire field, drop into coverage or blitz.
Not to be outdone is North Carolina linebacker, Chazz Surratt. The former quarterback is active all over the field. Surratt can cover and play the run well and has great anticipation.
NFL Draft prospects helped their cause in Week 13
DeVonta Smith (1st-Round) WR
Watching DeVonta Smith play wide receiver is like watching a surgeon cut and suture a patient. Smith has 8 of his 12 touchdown receptions in the last four games including a four-touchdown performance against Mississippi State. This week, Smith carved up Auburn’s secondary for seven catches and 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Smith is a technician who makes him such a fun watch. Smith is as polished a route runner that has come out of the draft in a long time. Smith does not possess elite, high-end speed, but has great acceleration out of breaks and does not have to decelerate when cutting.
Kyle Pitts (1st-Round) TE
Pitts has proven to be an all-field threat at tight end. Pitts is a freak athlete that can get verticle and present matchup issues for linebackers and safeties. Kyle Pitts caught five passes, three of them for touchdowns and 99 yards. Pitts has pulled away from Brevin Jordan, Pat Freiermuth and Charlie Kolar as the best tight end in this class.
Pitts has the speed to separate from either linebackers or safeties in man coverage. If Pitts cannot separate, he posts up to create space between the defender and the ball. Pitts has huge hands and rarely allows a ball to get into his body.
Ian Book (4th-6th Round) QB
Ian Book was not thought of by many people as a draftable NFL prospect at the start of this season. Book’s early numbers did not impress many scouts either. However, Book has shown NFL traits in the last three games. Book has shown an incredible understanding of the playbook with the anticipation he throws the football with. Though Book does not have any elite traits, he’s shown the ability to make NFL-level throws.
Book anticipates the rush well and can elude in the pocket and make throws or pick up yards with his feet. Book might not be a full-time starter at the next level but could be a valuable backup in the right situation.
Chazz Surratt (2nd Round) LB
Chazz Surratt came back to improve his draft grade, which was the correct decision. The outside linebacker has improved his stock. A vital part of Surratt’s game that has improved is his self-control. Surratt does not over-pursue in the run game and gets caught in traffic the way he did last season. Surratt has also become more comfortable in man coverage.
Surratt does not shed blocks in traffic well and needs to show continued improvement in coverage, but Surratt is a sure-fire plug and plays starter in the NFL next season with his natural athleticism.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (1st Round) LB
Owusu-Koramoah plays a hybrid position for Clark Lea’s Notre Dame defense. Owusu-Koramoah is the prototypical perimeter defender in the modern game. There might have been a time Owusu-Koramoah would be considered a tweener; that is no longer the case. Owusu-Koramoah is big and physical enough to be nosy in the running game, he is a masterful blitzer and can drop in zone or play man.
Owusu-Koramoah will settle in as a safety at the next level because of his versatility. Owusu-Koramoah’s best asset is his ability as a closer. The converted safety does not miss tackles often and has great closing speed in coverage.