Scouting the top prospects available in the NFL draft that will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia ((asterisk)-denotes early entrant):
(asterisk)Deshaun Watson, 6-foot-2, 221 pounds, Clemson
Notable: In two national championship games against Alabama, Watson passed for 825 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception.
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Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: College superstar and charismatic leader, but pro scouts are still a bit skeptical because of accuracy issues, a penchant for forcing throws, and size and height that is a bit less than ideal.
Outlook: When Watson is selected will be the story of the first day of the draft. Projections seem to be all over the board, from top 10 to slipping out of the first round.
(asterisk)Mitchell Trubisky, 6-2, 222, North Carolina
Notable: In his lone season as the Tar Heels’ No. 1 quarterback, Trubisky completed 68 percent of his passes with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Trubisky has the arm, athleticism, and quick delivery NFL teams love, but one year as a starter in spread offense means he has a lot to learn.
Outlook: Most likely quarterback to be drafted in first round.
(asterisk)DeShone Kizer, 6-4, 233, Notre Dame
Notable: Kizer took over as a starter early in 2015 because of an injury and was a revelation in a 10-win season for the Irish. Notre Dame slipped to four wins last season, though Kizer’s play was not demonstrably worse.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: The decision making and touch need work, but Kizer has size and arm strength you cannot teach.
Outlook: In a quarterback class that is not blowing away scouts, Kizer could be a late first-round pick.
(asterisk)Patrick Mahomes II, 6-2, 225, Texas Tech
Notable: Running the Red Raiders’ Air Raid offense, Mahomes passed for 5,052 yards and 41 touchdowns last season, with 10 interceptions and a 65.7 completion percentage.
Sum-it-in-a-sentence scouting report: Dynamic playmaker and athlete, who needs to be reined in a bit.
Outlook: The postseason draft process was good to Mahomes, who could squeeze into the first round.
(asterisk)Leonard Fournette, 6-0, 240, LSU
Notable: An ankle injury limited him to seven games in 2016 and he ran for over 100 yards in five of them. Ran for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: With power and speed to spare, the only nit to pick is elusiveness.
Outlook: Top-10 pick, unless NFL’s running back value appraisals drag him down.
(asterisk)Dalvin Cook, 5-10, 210, Florida State
Notable: Averaged 6.5 yards per carry in his college career, with three 1,000-yard plus seasons.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Home-run hitter with big-time acceleration, but ball security has been a problem and there are questions about his ability to run between the tackles.
Outlook: If he slips out of the first round, Cook will be a second-round steal.
(asterisk)Christian McCaffrey, 5-11, 202, Stanford
Notable: Set an NCAA record with 3,864 all-purpose yards in 2015, then was slowed by injuries in 2016 — and still ran for 1,639 yards.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: What he lacks in size and power, McCaffrey makes up for with speed, quickness and versatility.
Outlook: Likely to come off the board in the second half of the first round.
(asterisk)Joe Mixon, 6-1, 226, Oklahoma
Notable: Mixon was suspended for his freshman season for punching a female student.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: He is a bigger, more powerful version of McCaffrey.
Outlook: Top 15 talent with a red flag that can be spotted from space.
(asterisk)Mike Williams, 6-4, 218, Clemson
Notable: Serious neck injury cost Williams almost all of the 2015 season, but he returned in 2016 to make 98 catches for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Big, strong and fast enough, with the ability to come down with passes in close coverage — and drop a few easy ones.
Outlook: First receiver off the board.
Corey Davis, 6-3, 208, Western Michigan
Notable: Four-year starter and FBS career leader in receiving yards with 5,285.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Polished playmaker who has to prove he can consistently deal with cornerbacks getting into his body.
Outlook: There are a bunch of teams picking in the teens that need a receiver and one will probably take Davis.
(asterisk)John Ross, 5-11, 188, Washington
Notable: Tore a ligament in his left knee in 2015, but it does not seem to have had any effect on his 4.2 speed.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Sure, Ross is a bit undersized, but he will be the fastest player on just about any field on which he steps.
Outlook: Receivers with legit 4.2 speed and reliable hands get drafted in the first round.
O.J. Howard, 6-6, 251, Alabama
Notable: The offensive MVP of the Crimson Tide’s 2015 College Football Playoff championship game victory with five catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Brilliant athlete who was either under-utilized or too passive during his four seasons with Alabama, depending on your perspective.
Outlook: Strong tight end class, but Howard is probably the one first-round lock.
(asterisk)David Njoku, 6-4, 246, Miami
Notable: The next in a long line of athletic tight ends from Miami, joining the likes of Jeremy Shockey, Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: The former high school wide receiver has outside skills, but is still building a tight end’s lower-body power.
Outlook: Late first-rounder who could jump to middle of first because of his high ceiling, or slide to second because he is still developing.
Evan Engram, 6-3, 234, Mississippi
Notable: All-American last season, catching 65 passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: A downfield threat best used in ways that don’t require him to be an in-line blocker.
Outlook: Scheme fit is key and that could keep him out of the first round.
Forrest Lamp, 6-4, 309, Western Kentucky
Notable: Third-team All-America tackle last season who had a stellar Senior Bowl week.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: NFL scouts love Lamp, but his frame and arm length suggest more guard than tackle.
Outlook: If he was a sure-thing tackle he would probably be a top-10 pick. Instead, middle of the first.
(asterisk)Cam Robinson, 6-6, 322, Alabama
Notable: Started at left tackle each of his three seasons with the Crimson Tide.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Perfect body and athleticism for the position, but needs to play with better balance.
Outlook: He is a first-rounder, but probably not the top-10 pick many expected going into last season.
Ryan Ramczyk, 6-6, 310, Wisconsin
Notable: Started his college career at Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point before transferring up to FBS.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Well-schooled, typically sound Wisconsin offensive linemen who is coming off hip surgery.
Outlook: End of the first round sounds about right.
(asterisk)Garett Bolles, Utah
Notable: Troubled teenager who went the junior college route before going one-and-done at Utah.
Sum-it-up-in-a-sentence scouting report: Excellent athleticism has scouts excited about his potential.
Outlook: Wild card in a relatively weak offensive linemen class. Could be first off the board or Day 2 pick.
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