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.