It’s never easy to determine whether or not a college football prospect will flourish in the NFL. Draft experts and front offices around the league spend months studying film and taking their own needs into consideration before committing to these talented athletes, but even then, things do not always pan out as teams may have hoped.
However, many draft picks do play to a team’s advantage and work out better than anticipated. While it is certainly too early to determine who those players might be, here are a few from the 2019 NFL Draft that experts expect to make huge impacts on their respective teams sooner rather than later.
Darnell Savage, Safety – Green Bay Packers
Coming out of the University of Maryland with an impressively well-rounded portfolio, Savage proved himself as a dangerous defensive player in college football, and one with a skill set that looks promising for a successful NFL career. He ran a 4.3 40-yard-dash in this year’s combine, proving that he can cover large parts of the field in short periods of time and disrupt the deep-passing game.
In Green Bay’s scheme, his versatile style of play could be most effective in the free safety position next to strong safety Adrian Amos. The two could very easily become a physically dangerous duo that little to no quarterbacks or wide receivers will look forward to playing.
Byron Murphy, Cornerback – Arizona Cardinals
Murphy was rated the number 1 cornerback in this year’s draft by Pro Football Focus, so any team to draft him might have been praised for doing so. However, he thrived in the Washington Huskies’ zone defense, which is very similar to the Cardinals’ defensive scheme.
Murphy is able to quickly adjust his positioning on the field according to the routes that he reads so accurately, and he rarely misses a tackle when the opportunity arrives. With him paired alongside Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, Arizona seems to be building yet another secondary that will send fear into the hearts of its opposing offenses.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles
Another tall receiver to complement his new teammate Alshon Jeffery, Arcega-Whiteside was one of the best at his position in contested catches and was nearly impossible to stop after the point-of-catch during his time at Stanford University, where he was named Second-team All-Pac-12 in 2018.
Arcega-Whiteside should serve as a threatening red zone weapon for quarterback Carson Wentz, who led the NFL in accuracy percentage on tight-window throws in 2017. He could get Wentz back to form and improve the entire Eagles’ passing game by serving as yet another option among their already impressive offensive weapons.
D.K. Metcalf, Wide Receiver – Seattle Seahawks
Metcalf caught the nation’s attention with his unbelievable output at this year’s NFL Combine after he recorded a 4.33 40-yard-dash, 27 bench press reps, a 40.5 vertical jump, and a 134.0 broad jump. It’s hard to pass on someone who shows pure athleticism on one of the biggest stages imaginable.
While he may not have been the highest rated receiver in this year’s draft, he certainly had a number of experts second guessing themselves after his combine performance. Now paired with top-tier quarterback Russell Wilson in Seattle, Metcalf could be a serious deep threat as well as a back-shoulder weapon for tough sideline catches, or catches in the corner of the endzone. Look for the Seahawks to utilize as much of his unique skill set as they possibly can.
In this article, we explore the debate about which sport requires the most athleticism. Before we start to analyze each sport we need to ask the question of what the term athletic means? By definition, it is defined as physically strong, fit, and active. However, this doesn’t really answer the question. If we’re discussing pure strength and power, then we would consider bodybuilders and powerlifters. If speed and agility are taken into account, then we would consider track and field. However, these sports wouldn’t do justice.
Therefore, we need to take into account a combination of 5 categories: strength, speed, agility, endurance, and hand-eye coordination. If you do some research regarding which sport requires the most athleticism, you will have a difficult time finding a consensus. However, across the board, American Football is usually rated at the top, based on the 5 categories aforementioned.
In the NFL, a football player must have the qualities of pure raw power, strength, agility, and a quick burst of speed. These are the expectations among the players, excluding linemen and kickers. Football players are a unique breed because they’re strong and powerful.
What separates football players from other athletes is the raw speed attached to their muscular frames. For example, a 220+ pound player is expected to run a 40-yard dash at a sub 4.40. In addition to these remarkable numbers, they’re expected to take huge hits after huge hits and continue playing at a high level. A wide receiver, running back, and linebacker are typically freakish athletes; however, it’s the defensive back that’s considered the best athlete on the field.
Unlike a wide receiver or running back who runs orchestrated routes, a defensive back has to be quick on their feet in order to guard the assigned player. They don’t know which route the offensive player will be running while guarding them from 10 yards away. On top of this difficult assignment, they still need to have the tenacity to make an open field tackle.
One of the other sports ranked very high is boxing. What makes boxing difficult is having the endurance to fight a 12 round pound for pound fight consisting of 3 minutes per round. Between each round, you get a 30-second break.
Taking into consideration how much athleticism goes into sports in general, it is interesting to see which excel among the rest. It is no surprise that football is ranked the highest in overall athleticism due to the multitude of physicality that is demanded from each player on the field.
Athletics have always been an important part of Matt Kupec’s life. Born and raised in Syosset, NY on Long Island as the middle child of seven children of Bill and Helen Kupec, Matt enjoyed a prolific high school career as an outstanding student-athlete to become one of the most decorated high school athletes on Long Island.
A three sport star – football, basketball and baseball – Matt Kupec earned many honors and awards including prep All-American in football where he led his Syosset HS football squad to an undefeated season and #1 ranking as the top High School team in New York. Matt was also awarded the highly coveted Thorp Award, given to the top player in Nassau County.
Matt Kupec was an all-county player in all three sports during his high school career. Please remember that Nassau County has over 80 public and private high schools. As a basketball player, Matt was a sharpshooting point guard in basketball with a career high game of 34 points at a time when the three-point shot was yet instituted. In baseball, he was a pitcher and shortstop. In Matt’s senior year in high baseball, he pitched three games during Syosset’s march to the Nassau County semi-finals – a one-hitter, a two-hitter, and a three-hitter. Matt struck out a combined 21 batters, gave us just 6 hits, and walked zero – yes zero – batters in those 21 innings.
With many full scholarship offers to choose from following his successful football career, Matt Kupec chose to accept a full scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because of its high academic standing and strong football program.
At UNC, Matt was the starting quarterback for four years and led the Tar Heels to bowl games in three of the four seasons. He was named Most Valuable Player in the Liberty and Gator Bowls becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to earn two bowl game MVP awards.
Matt Kupec set nineteen season and career passing records while a UNC quarterback. In fact, two of those records – most consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass and most wins as a starting quarterback – remain standing nearly forty years after his playing career. Matt led the ACC in five passing categories his senior year including setting an ACC record for most touchdown passes in one season.
After a brief stint with the Seattle Seahawks as a free-agent quarterback, Matt Kupec began a long career in higher education as a fundraising executive with stints at the University of Bridgeport, Hofstra University and twenty-one years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In these roles, Matt played was actively involved with the athletic administration staffs and coaches in raising money to support the athletic teams at these institutions.
Of the philanthropic gifts that Matt helped to raise for athletics, the most significant gift was the lead gift form Charles “Charlie” Loudermilk to fund the building of the Loudermilk Center for Excellence within Kenan Stadium on the University of North Carolina campus, a 150,000 square-foot facility that serves all of UNC’s nearly 800 student-athletes across 28 sports.
All of these experiences as an athlete and as a higher administrator supporting a wide variety of men’s and women’s athletic programs, have given Matt Kupec an insight and perspective to the athletic world that few have experienced.
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It’s never easy to determine whether or not a college football prospect will flourish in the NFL. Draft experts and front offices around the league spend months studying film and taking their own needs into consideration before committing to these talented athletes,...