I’ll be on the SEC Network this week to help with its coverage of the 2019 NFL draft, my second year joining the crew to break down picks and NFL fits and take a deeper look at how the skill sets of the top prospects in the conference will transition to the next level.
I have done a lot of film preparation, watching every SEC prospect in this draft class. So let me share with you my favorite guys, from the top-tier pass-rushers all the way down to the underrated steals who could make an impact on Day 3. I’m sorting my favorite prospects — more than 40 this year — into categories, and you can skip to each section below.
Favorite edge rushers
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 3
Allen racked up 17 sacks last season, including three in Kentucky’s Citrus Bowl win over Penn State. He can get to the quarterback with his 4.63 40-yard dash speed off the edge, plus he has the counter moves to set up and defeat offensive tackles at the point of attack. But don’t forget about Allen’s versatile skill set. You can see him drop into coverage on tape, too. That’s freaky stuff for the top-five prospect who can fit into multiple schemes.
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 13
At the combine, Sweat dropped a 4.41 40 at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds. That’s ridiculous. Yes, Sweat can eat up grass off the snap to attack the edge, but he also has shown the ability to convert speed to power to rock back offensive tackles. And with 35¾-inch arms, he has the length to separate from blockers on contact. There’s a lot of upside here with a prospect who can also set the edge in the run game.
Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 66
There are some questions about Polite after he ran a 4.84 40 time at the combine, but I really like his 2018 tape. He has a great first step off the ball that allows him to dip and bend underneath offensive tackles. And the effort level jumps. Polite plays hard. Think of him as a situational pass-rusher who can find a role in sub packages as a rookie.