If you’ve spent any time looking through early projections for next year’s NFL draft, you’re already aware of a good amount of the nation’s top NFL prospects.
However, as is the case every year at this time, there are players in these early mock drafts that NFL scouts aren’t quite as high on as media prognosticators. There are also numerous players that NFL scouts are much higher on than most probably realize.
Based on intel from NFL scouting sources, we’re going to identify some highly regarded, early-round prospects who aren’t being talked about enough at this point. To start, here are 10 on offense.
Illinois OL Isaiah Adams
It’s no secret that Bret Bielema and Illinois have two NFL prospects along its defensive line, including a top two round prospect in Jer’Zhan Newton. However, Newton’s not the Illini’s only player currently viewed as a possibility to be selected in the early rounds of next year’s draft. They have one on their offensive line, too, with Adams.
At least some scouts view the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Adams as one of the better NFL prospects among draft-eligible guards and as someone good enough to go in the first two or three rounds of next year’s draft. The former JUCO transfer had double-digit knockdowns in six games last season and was a third-team All-Big Ten selection. In addition to starting 12 games at guard, he also started one at left tackle.
Alabama WR Ja’Corey Brooks
Although it was Jermaine Burton who led Alabama in receptions and receiving yards last year, Brooks led the Tide with eight touchdown catches. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Brooks posted a touchdown in six of Alabama’s final seven games against Power Five opponents, including each of the final four. The former five-star recruit also averaged a team-best 17.3 yards per catch.
While Burton is looked at as more of an early-to-mid Day 3 prospect (fourth-to-sixth round type range), Brooks is regarded by at least some scouts as a legitimate early-round possibility. “I think he’s pretty talented and started really coming on during the second half of the season last year,” an NFL scouting source told On3.
TCU OL Brandon Coleman
A TCU offensive lineman went in the the first 40 picks of this year’s NFL Draft. It may happen again next year, too. Scouts view Coleman as a top two round talent who could maybe even end up in the first round conversation. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Coleman shifted to left tackle for TCU last year after playing guard in 2021. He was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection.
Wake Forest WR Donavon Greene
Wake lost its leading receiver from last year, New Orleans Saints sixth-round pick A.T. Perry, but returns a receiver who could end up going a decent amount earlier in the draft. After missing 2021 with an injury, Greene was second on Wake Forest last year with 642 receiving yards. He had multi-touchdown games against Clemson and North Carolina. For his career, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Greene is averaging 18.6 yards per catch. Current grades on him from scouts seem to mostly be in the third-to-fourth round range.
Oklahoma OL Tyler Guyton
It could end up being back-to-back years for Oklahoma of having first-round offensive tackles. After Anton Harrison went in the first round this year, Guyton is now a legit first-round prospect for next year. At least some scouts already have first-round grades on Guyton heading into the season despite him having made just five career starts as an offensive lineman.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Guyton transferred to the Sooners last year after two years at TCU. His lone start at TCU came as an H-back in 2021. During that 2021 season, he had a 6-yard touchdown catch against Iowa State. “He’s got all the ability in the world,” Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said during the spring. “One of the most talented guys I’ve ever seen. And we’ve had some pretty talented guys come through here.”
Georgia WR Ladd McConkey
Just three years after ranking outside of the top 1,100 overall players in the 2020 recruiting class, McConkey may be the SEC’s second-best NFL draft prospect at wide receiver behind only LSU’s Malik Nabers. McConkey posted 58 catches for 762 yards last season with nine total touchdowns. Word is that 6-foot, 185-pound McConkey has been timed sub-4.5 in the 40-yard dash at Georgia. He has also recorded a vertical jump of about 38 inches. “He’s probably going to be one of the top slot receivers in the draft,” an NFL scout told On3. “He’s little, but he’s more explosive than some of these traditional slot receivers that are quicker than fast. He’s quick but also fast and explosive. Love his body control. And he shows up every time you watch him.”
Houston OL Patrick Paul
Houston isn’t without some NFL-caliber talent as it makes the transition to the Big 12. At least some scouts view Paul as one of the top offensive tackle prospects for next year’s draft and as a first-round possibility. The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Paul was a first-team All-AAC left tackle for the Cougars the last two seasons, becoming the first Houston offensive lineman in 11 years to earn first-team all-conference recognition in back-to-back seasons. “He’s a pass blocking monster,” a Power Five offensive line coach told On3. Paul’s brother, Chris, was a standout offensive lineman at Tulsa and now plays for the Washington Commanders.
Tulane QB Michael Pratt
An early heads up: Don’t be surprised if Pratt ends up going earlier in the draft than some bigger-name Power Five QBs currently being talked about as early-round possibilities. Pratt led Tulane to a 10-win turnaround last season, guiding the Green Wave to a 12-2 record and a Cotton Bowl win over USC just a year after Tulane finished 2-10. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Pratt had 27 passing touchdowns, 10 additional rushing scores and only five interceptions last season. Him going at some point in the first three or four rounds of next year’s draft seems like a real possibility. “I love Michael Pratt,” an NFL scout told On3. “He’s big. He’s athletic. He’s poised. He’s got a good arm. He comes off as a really smart guy. He’s a stud. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s one of the top five QBs taken.”
Kansas State TE Ben Sinnott
Sinnott, a product of the same Iowa hometown and high school as Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman, has evolved into a potential top three round draft pick after initially arriving in Manhattan as a walk-on. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Sinnott, who has put on more than 30 pounds since joining the Wildcats in 2020, was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season and was recently tabbed as a preseason second-team all-conference pick heading into this year. Sinnott finished last season with 31 catches, 447 receiving yards and four touchdowns. It was the most catches and receiving yards from a Kansas State tight end in 14 years. He also ranked fourth nationally among tight ends with an average of 14.4 yards per catch.
USC WR Mario Williams
Williams may be USC’s top draft prospect on offense aside from its reigning Heisman Trophy winner at QB. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Williams, who followed the aforementioned Caleb Williams from Oklahoma to USC, ranked third on the Trojans last season with 40 catches, 631 yards and five touchdown catches. “He’s small, but he’s got a rocket up his butt,” an NFL scouting source said.
Tahj Washington is another USC receiver with a better NFL draft outlook than most probably realize. Washington, who posted 50 catches for 785 yards and six TDs for the Trojans last season, is viewed in the NFL scouting world as an early-to-mid Day 3 type prospect.