INDIANAPOLIS—Character issues will likely be at the forefront of this week’s scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, as some of the draft’s top prospects will be under the microscope for off-field problems.
“Character is going to be a big issue with Jameis Winston,” draft analyst Tony Pauline said. “The flavor of the week at the receiver position, Dorial Green-Beckham, didn’t play last year because he transferred from Missouri after he was dismissed from the program. Outside linebacker Paul Dawson of TCU on film is a legitimate first-round choice, but character issues could force him down to the third round.”
Pauline believes this year’s draft class is highlighted by the running back position.
“Tremendous running back class. Good players that can either be rotational backs or starters through the third round, and situational backs through the sixth round,” Pauline said.
“It’s also a very good year for pass rushers. A lot of undersized college pass rushers, such as Dante Fowler of Florida and Vic Beasley from Clemson; guys like Alvin Dupree from Kentucky and Shane Ray from Missouri.”
Inside linebacker doesn’t appear to be as strong as outside linebacker.
“If you need a middle linebacker, the pickings are slim, and there aren’t a lot of great tight ends, either,” Pauline said.
Denzel Perryman of Miami and Eric Kendricks of UCLA are two of the top inside linebacker prospects, "but they’re both really small,” Pauline added.
The Packers are thought to be in the market for a nose tackle, and Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips fits about where the Packers are scheduled to pick, 30th.
“Mammoth lineman, powerful, better athlete than he’ll test. Needs work on his game,” Pauline said.
“It’s a weak quarterback crop. You have two guys at the top and then it falls off. It’s a mediocre at best class of cornerbacks and safeties. You may be looking at more nickel backs than starters.”
Prospects that might surprise?
“Tyler Sambrailo of Colorado State can play left or right tackle. He could slide into the late first round and be a very good player a couple of years down the road. If he tests well, he could jump up.
“Two defensive ends – Owamagbe Odighizuwa of UCLA and Danielle Hunter of LSU – could jump up. They should test well; explosive pass rushers,” Pauline said.
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