The NBA and NHL Drafts wrapped up last week, and considering MLB had their draft earlier this month, it actually means that the next draft in the big four of American professional sports is the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s ten months away, but it’s the next one!
Scouts and personnel executives get some time off after the draft, but it doesn’t take long for the scouting process to ramp back up. College football is only a couple months away, and teams will start figuring out the players and teams they’ll be tracking extra close. If you want to check out the year-long life of a scout, this is a great read.
In one way, the pre-draft process has already begun. It turns out that every summer, National Football Scouting grades out the following season’s college seniors. According to MMQB, the grades are, “done by scouts looking to break into the league, by definition guys not nearly as qualified as those who’ll make the decisions next April.”
The list lacks underclassmen, so it is something to take with a grain of salt, but is still at least moderately interesting.
MMQB was able to get a look at eight highest-graded seniors, which you can check out here. They offer a paragraph of detail on each player, but here are the eight of them for now:
Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech
Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
Deandre Baker, DB, Georgia
Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson
Ryan Finley, QB, N.C. State
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
One thing to note right off the bat is that Adonis Alexander is eligible for the 2018 Supplemental Draft, which is taking place on July 11th. The other seven players will be eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft.
It’s way too early to say where the 49ers will be picking a year from now, nor where these players might show up on the list. But it’s always interesting talking team needs, even before the season has gotten started.
The 49ers could use improvement in a lot of areas, but this coming season is like to change some of that. Barring anything drastic, we can expect the quarterback position to remain settled. DeForest Buckner puts them in a great position at defensive tackle, but we have to wait and see what Solomon Thomas is able to do in year two, and if Arik Armstead can play out a full season.
The team could find what they need in the pass rush from this group, but I don’t think anybody would be surprised to see them in the market for an edge rusher next April. Austin Bryant is going to be a name to watch. He could improve or take a step back, and even if he makes sense, we don’t know where the 49ers will be picking when it comes to a prime edge rusher.
But again, it’s June and there’s all the football to be played. Getting these kinds of early grades are a fun exercise in just getting prepared for the coming season.