Rookie Reports have wrapped up for the 2023 NFL season. So what’s next up? It’s time for Pigskin Paul to jump on the 2024 NFL Draft Express with Brian & Shane. Projecting who’s hot and who’s not for the 2024 NFL Draft at the end of April. I am headed for Mobile next Monday to join Mr. Bosarge for Senior Bowl scouting.
But before I delve into that exciting main event I wanted to give you a short list of prospects who I am currently projecting as Day Two Draftees on my Big Board. They are listed in alphabetical order, not rankings yet for me. These guys would be high on my team’s big board if I worked for an actual NFL team. Some should be no surprise at all, while others you might find on Day 3 Draft Boards with most Draftniks.
Pigskin Scouting the 2024 NFL Draft Prospects
AUSTIN BOOKER DE/ER Kansas (ex-MN) 6’6/245
A lanky, bendy prospect who was somewhat of a surprise Underclassman who entered the Draft process this month. Shows some serious pass-rush skills for a guy with such limited playing experience. Our own Shane P. has already expressed his initial excitement over this young man’s athleticism and potential. He recorded 56 tackles last season which included 8 Sacks. I could see Austin Booker being snatched up late in Round 3 and hope to confirm that opinion next week in Mobile.
CHRIS BRASWELL ER/DE/OB Alabama 6’3/255
With all of the attention going the past 2 seasons to WILL ANDERSON & Dallas Turner, Chris Braswell had limited chances to shine. But with Anderson on to the pros he sized his chance and had a stellar 2023 season. He recorded 42 Tackles which included 8 Sacks and 3 Forced Fumbles. I think we may find at the Combine that he is even more athletic than TURNER. He’s the one guy on this Day Two list who may have a chance to crack Round One if he excels at the Combine.
JERMAINE BURTON WR Alabama (ex-UGA) 6’0/195
The UGA transfer was nagged a bit each season of his time with the Tide. But when he played his work was impressive. He is physical and wins the most 50/50 balls. He creates separation and I am anxious to see his 40 time in Indy. Run after catch is a big part of his game. He averaged 20.5 yards per reception last season on 39 catches, * td scored on 39 catches is also quite impressive. Is a bit too feisty perhaps, which could result in personal foul penalties as a pro if he doesn’t chill a bit. Late Round 3 looks like a good spot for Jermaine Burton.
EDGERRIN COOPER OLB/ER Texas A&M 6’3/230
Most of his career has been spent on seemingly under-achieving Aggie squads. But his overall talent of Edgerrin Cooper is undeniable on tape. He covers the field with his speed and knack for finding the ball. He also shows a good feel for saving the QB, though not an elite edge rusher. He recorded 83 tackles in 2023, 39 of them solo. Those numbers included 8 Sacks and 2 Forced fumbles. He could be taken as early as Round 2.
JACOB COWING WR Arizona 5’9/175
A jitterbug with soft hands and amazing body control to evade tacklers in the open field after the catch. Snatched 90 balls for the Wildcats last season, including 13 for TD. Jacob Cowing looks like an ideal prospect as a slot receiver in the pro game. Size is less than ideal, but as his numbers indicate they shouldn’t be a deal breaker for him as a pro. Combine numbers will determine his round, but scouts cannot ignore his collegiate productivity.
DYLAN LAUBE RB/RS New Hampshire 5-10/208
An all-purpose weapon who was first in the nation while averaging 209.5 all-purpose yards per game last season for the Wildcats. He’s a good Return Specialist and a solid runner, but he is best as a receiver out of the backfield. He is sure-handed and has great run-after-catch ability. In today’s NFL, he would fit with a lot of teams given his after-catch skills. Dylan Laube has a knack for the end zone as demonstrated by scoring 18 TD in only 10 games last season. He totaled 749 rushing yards & 699 receiving yards last season. Hemal may not be from a Power 5 program, but his numbers do NOT lie. Remember Danny Woodhead?
RICKY PEARSALL WR/PR Florida (ex-ASU) 6’0/200
Another highly regarded potential slot receiver for the pro game. He played on a mediocre, challenged Gators program last season, but still performed well, with 65 catches, for 965 yards and 4 TD. Ricky Pearsall also returned 11 Punts at an 11.5-ypr clip. Can’t wait to see what his vertical jump measures at the Combine. Round 3 sounds good to me for him. Should show well in Senior Bowl practices.
WALTER ROUSE OT Oklahoma (ex-Stanford) 6’6/320
Joined the Sooners program to refine his technique under highly regarded Sooners highly regarded OL Coach Bill Bedenbaugh. Though RT Tyler Guyton gets more luv & pub, Rouse looked better and more consistent in his play at LT. He sometimes resembled a revolving door in pass-pro while at Stanford. But under Bedenbaugh’s tutoring, his improvement was notable. In 10 games, and playing 770 snaps last season, ROUSE gave up only 4 QB Hurries, 1 QB Hit, and 1 Sack. The best may be yet to come under an NFL OL Coach who is a noted developmental coach. If he can post some good numbers at the Combine he might sneak into late Round 3.
SIONE VAKI S/RB Utah 6’0/210
Yes, you read it right. This guy has serious 2-way pro potential in my eyes. Primarily a safety, who filled in last season in a thin and banged-up Utes RB group. All he did was carry the ball 42 times for 317 yards & 2 TD. Do the math… that’s a rate of 7.5 ypc. Sione Vaki runs with good contact balance, breaks tackles, and is strong for his 210 lbs. He also played S for the Utes last season delivering 51 tackles, including 2 Sacks and 8.5 TFL. I expect some explosive numbers from him at the Combine. I will be watching him intently next week at the Senior Bowl venue. He is one of my personal favorites for the next Draft.
MEKHI WINGO DT LSU 6’1/290
Wingo struggled through some relatively minor injuries during the 2023 season in the Bayou, and their DL play was just not at its highest level of play without him in the lineup. Mekhi Wingo is functionally strong and shows an innate ability to hit gaps and pressure the pocket when healthy. He recorded 36 tackles last season, including 4 1/2 Sacks. Wingo was a transfer from Missouri before the 2022 season. I expect the Combine to show he has an impressive combination of quickness and strength.
We are early in the 2024 NFL Draft evaluation process before the April Draft. LAUBE, BOOKER, VAKI, BRASWELL, COWING & PEARSALL are currently listed on the Senior Bowl rosters and I will be watching them as closely as possible all week. I will be shocked if all 10 are not at the Combine at the end of next week.