Top Prospects Remaining in Round Two of NFL Draft

Adonai Mitchell #WO19 of the Texas Longhorns
Adonai Mitchell #WO19 of the Texas Longhorns | Image by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The first round of the NFL Draft concluded on Thursday night with a record-high 23 offensive players being picked, leaving just nine selections for the defensive side of the ball.

Despite 32 prospects being taken off the board by teams, high-level players remain available entering the second day of the draft, which will kick off on Friday at 6 p.m. CT.

Of the more than 180 players who remain eligible to be drafted by an NFL team over the next six rounds, five players stand out as those who can make an immediate impact on the team that selects them:

Cooper DeJean, Cornerback, University of Iowa

DeJean has all the tools to be an instant starter on any defense in the NFL and is almost guaranteed to be selected early in the second round.

Although listed as a cornerback, he will likely transition into safety once he is in the league, which would partially explain his fall down the draft board.

Regardless, DeJean’s high-level athleticism would allow him to play almost any position in the secondary, allowing teams to adjust matchups and gameplans based on where he fits best in any given week.

The Iowa Hawkeye is coming off a season in which he racked up 41 total tackles with two interceptions, proving to be a player who can take the ball away from the opposing team.

However, his best season came in 2022 when he accumulated 75 tackles and five interceptions, including three interceptions he ran back for touchdowns.

Adonai Mitchell, Wide Receiver, University of Texas

Mitchell’s athletic profile is one of the most impressive of any prospect in the NFL Draft, boasting a 6-foot-2-inch frame to go along with a 39.5-inch vertical jump.

The Texas Longhorn also posted a staggering 4.34 second 40-yard-dash, the third-fastest time posted by any receiver and the fifth-fastest time of any player.

Mitchell is one of the more polished route runners in the draft, which combines with his speed and athletic tools to make him a threat on every level of the field.

The one concern regarding Mitchell’s fit in the NFL came from a recent report that he struggles with his attitude when his blood sugar begins to drop, according to Sportskeeda.

However, multiple NFL players have dealt with diabetes in their careers and have shown the ability to manage their blood sugar during games, meaning teams who stay on top of this concern should be able to handle any potential issues that arise.

Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry, Cornerback, University of Alabama

McKinstry boasts a unique combination of athleticism and football IQ that should translate into being an immediate impact player on whichever team he is selected by.

Although he is not an incredibly twitchy player that can quickly change direction, his length and smoothness in the secondary allows him to remain glued to opposing receivers.

In the final two seasons of McKinstry’s collegiate career, opposing quarterbacks completed fewer than 50% of their passes when throwing to his matchup, according to Pro Football Focus.

McKinstry is most successful when asked to press his man off the line of scrimmage, which allows him to use his IQ and physical tools to undercut routes and push receivers off their intended lines.

Despite falling into the second round, McKinstry could be an immediate starter on many teams and will likely be selected within the first 15 picks on the second day of the draft.

Jer’Zhan Newton, Defensive Tackle, University of Illinois

Once projected as a high first-round pick, Newton’s slide into the second round was a shock due to his incredible skill set.

Newton has a plethora of pass-rush moves at his disposal and the athletic abilities to get into the heart of the pocket quickly at the next level.

The 21-year-old utilizes strong hand placement and footwork that allows him to beat offensive linemen through the center of the line of scrimmage.

The two biggest reasons for his fall into the second round were likely his overall size and a slight lack of bend. The combination of these two factors puts Newton somewhere between being on the interior or edge of the defensive line, likely making teams nervous about committing a first-round pick.

Newton stands at just 6 feet and 2 inches tall and only 304 pounds, meaning he will likely have to bulk up to be most effective on the interior defensive line.

Although he is not able to bend around the corner the way other elite players can, he still can turn a corner and get to the offensive players.

However, Newton will likely be drafted within the first 10 picks of the second round due to the tremendous upside attributed to his skill level.

Jackson Powers-Johnson, Center, University of Oregon

Powers-Johnson’s fall into the second round was one of the most surprising slips on Thursday night, with many projections having the Oregon Ducks’ center landing in the mid-20s to a team that desperately needed an interior offensive lineman.

Instead, a run of offensive tackles and receivers resulted in Powers-Johnson slipping into the second round, where he could prove to be one of the draft’s biggest steals.

The 21-year-old center has all the physical tools needed to thrive in the NFL and the ability to play along any of the three positions on the interior line.

As a former wrestler, Powers-Johnson has the lower body control to effectively anchor an offensive line, coupled with a strong upper body that will not allow defenders to beat him with their hands.

Powers-Johnson’s abilities along the interior offensive line, young age, and physical tools will likely result in a team selecting him within the first 12 picks of the second round.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article