In this day and age it seems like all you need to be considered a “draft expert” is an Internet connection.
So today I’m going to put on my “draftnik” hat and venture a guess as to which players have the potential of hearing their names called in the 2015 NFL Draft.
While it’s true the Cougars don’t have anyone who’s a preseason draft lock like Kyle Van Noy, they do have a number of prospects NFL teams should find intriguing so long as they put together strong senior seasons.
No. 1: Alani Fua, OLB
Alani Fua showed he has sufficient talent to make it at the next level when he stretched out to snatch a pass out of mid-air and out ran QB Vad Lee 51 yards for a touchdown against Georgia Tech last season.
With his partner in crime Kyle Van Noy graduating to the NFL, the spotlight will be on Fua. If he’s able to build on his solid junior season where he recorded 63 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions, Fua should catch the eyes of NFL scouts.
No. 2: Jordan Leslie, WR
Jordan Leslie came to BYU with something to prove. As a sophomore, he hauled in 51 passes for 973 yards and six touchdowns, but those numbers plummeted during his junior season.
If Leslie can return to the form he showed two years ago, hearing his name called from the pulpit at Radio City Music Hall is not outside the realm of possibility.
No. 3: Michael Yeck, OT
The Cougars haven’t had an offensive lineman drafted since the Eagles selected Scott Young in the fifth round of the 2005 draft. Michael Yeck could end that drought next year. Yeck, who is the 22nd rated offensive tackle prospect in the 2015 draft by CBSsports.com, started every game for a Cougar offense that ranked 16th in the nation in total offense. Yeck could stand to gain weight, but at 6’8” and 292 pounds, he’s undoubtedly built to protect the quarterback’s blind side.
No. 4: Marques Johnson, DL
If there is one thing that can’t be taught, it’s size, and Marques Johnson has that in spades.
Johnson, who measures in at 6’2” and 308 pounds, is a prototypical nose tackle in a 3-4 defensive alignment. He will be called on to anchor the middle of the defensive line with the graduation of Eathyn Manumaleuna. As a sophomore at El Camino Community College, Johnson was a force of nature, leading his team with 14.5 tackles for loss while also recording four sacks.
No. 5: Ross Apo, WR
Ross Apo came to BYU amidst a lot of hype, but due to injuries, inconsistent play, and the emergence of Cody Hoffman as the primary target the past three seasons, he hasn’t lived up to that early fanfare. With Hoffman trying to catch on with the Washington Redskins, there is a void open at receiver that Apo will be competing to fill. Apo has always had the physical tools to succeed and has showed flashes of the type of player he could be, but if he wants to succeed and move on to the next level he will have to show his mettle game in and game out in 2014.
Dark Horse: Paul Lasike, RB
The odds are stacked against Paul Lasike.
It’s not often that a team will use a draft pick to select a fullback, but the more I watch the havoc Lasike is wreaking on the rugby pitch, I can’t help but see him streaking down the field as a gunner on special teams. But maybe I was just looking for a reason to link to this clip of him lighting up a Navy defender in the national semifinals last month.