The NFL Draft is littered with media hype. Throughout the process, you will undoubtedly hear about Nick Bosa, Ed Oliver, Quinnen Williams, Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, among other prospects. But sometimes, the true gems simply slip by the wayside of the media, and fall too far in the actual draft.
The Steelers are all too familiar with that in regards to guys like Antonio Brown, Vince Williams, Donnie Shell, and Greg Lloyd.
In this year’s draft there are a few guys who just aren’t getting the attention they deserve, and it is undoubtedly true that they can be steals in the later rounds. Thus, here are three guys you should keep your eye on.
Will Harris, S, Boston College
If you want to see want a blur looks like on the football field, I would say Will Harris would be a good place to start. Harris might be the fastest playing safety in the class this year period, maybe not the quickest, but an uber-aggressive, quick-minded type of guy who goes balls to the wall every single play he is out there.
Now, that is somewhat of a double-edged sword because of what it connotates overall. And that is the fact that his instincts are somewhat raw, but he trusts them anyways. Now, we should all love the confidence and the tenacity he plays with, but it would be fantastic if he could read the play better and not blow some assignments.
Harris has some of the best ball skills in the draft at Safety as well. He is silky smooth in his transitions in coverage and tracks the ball with ease. Add in the fact that his aggressiveness carries over to man coverage and his press ability and you have yourself a versatile player who can drop down into the slot, play single-high, or be a juggernaut, uber-aggressive box safety. The best projection for him right now is probably in that robber, single-high hybrid type of a role that the third safety, such as Morgan Burnett would occupy. Regardless, I am super excited for this guy, especially after a great week at the Senior Bowl and hopefully a great combine.
Our here at the Senior Bowl – Boston College's Will Harris nabs this interception during passing drills. pic.twitter.com/ygUHe7GgyF— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 24, 2019
Keenan Brown, TE, Texas State
Man, he is a converted WR and no one at TE, not even Noah Fant, moves as well as Brown does in space. He is scarily fluid and agile for a TE. You can see the WR skills just translate right into his game now. Whether it is the route running that is surprisingly sharper than you would expect for a guy of his size, or his ability to win vertical good finesse moves, Brown impresses heavily as a receiver.
As a TE, he had to learn how block in-line after being a rockstar stalk blocker at WR, and he improved as the year went on. He already plays with good hand usage, but his leverage is an issue for sure. He needs to play with a flat back when coming off the the line rather than becoming upright straight off the line. He did what he was supposed to do there, but there is room to grow for sure.
The real area he shines is his YAC and contested catch ability. Brown knows how to use his size incredibly well. He boxes guys up, high points the ball, and uses those big mitts to haul it in well. As a YAC guy, he has awesome contact balance and a good deal of quickness with some nice cuts. He is the type of guy you draft to be your TE2 now and hope he can grow into his much higher ceiling as a TE1.
As a receiving TE, no one moves better in the open field this year than Keenan Brown, yes, not even Noah Fant. Dude is so fluid and a pretty good route runner honestly. He uses his frame to go up and box guys out consistently, and he can block. He’s going to be a stud. pic.twitter.com/izGn3cnjYk— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 12, 2019
Darryl Johnson, EDGE, North Carolina A&T
Johnson is crazy bendy. I am serious with how awesome it is to see the guy just slither around the edge versus OTs. His ability to run a tight arc and use his size and length to long arm and bend around with amazing ankle flexibility is a gorgeous sight to see. His fluidity in general at 6’5” is pretty crazy. You can see the guy drop back in coverage, process well, and move as well as anyone in space. I think he will test pretty well too, the guy just moves well in space.
He is super raw though. While he does have a ton of pass rushing moves, his counters are completely nonexistent, he plays too high at times, and his first step is about as meh as they come. You are gonna need a guy to coach him in order for him to honestly be a great player in this league, regardless of his tools, even if they are eye-popping.
The thing that sold me was his playing demeanor, regardless. The guy plays as hard as anyone on the field and you can see his motivation and effort on every single play. It is just a joy to watch a guy who legitimately just gives it his all every play.
Ummm, are we ready to talk about Darryl Johnson?! Invited to the NFL Combine - Yupppp— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 8, 2019
DE/OLB from NC A&T. MEAC Defensive player of the year with 10.5 sacks and 18.5 TFL.
Longgg, lean and wirey DE with good hand use and flexibility. Covers serious ground with those long limbs! pic.twitter.com/nlFsYnj1Db