The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

NFL Draft in Detroit: Future Stars Seek Landing Spots

AP Photo / Jacob Kupferman

After free agents have signed big contracts and found new homes, next on the NFL offseason agenda is the NFL Draft, which will take place from Thursday, April 25, to Saturday, April 27. These three days will be important for optimistic NFL fans hoping their team lands their next franchise player. Many teams enter the draft with the goal of making their fans happy, as some teams are in desperate need of new talent.

This year’s draft is set to be the year of the quarterback. The top quarterbacks in this year’s class are the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, 2023 Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels and University of North Carolina (UNC) star Drake Maye, all of whom are projected to be chosen within the first five picks of the draft. Another quarterback who could sneak into the first few picks of the draft is JJ McCarthy, who led the University of Michigan Wolverines to an undefeated season and the National Championship this year.

The most notable prospect this year is Caleb Williams. The University of Southern California quarterback was the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, throwing for 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns in addition to his five interceptions en route to an 11-3 season. His play declined a bit in 2023, but he still played at a very high level. Williams threw for 3,633 yards and 30 touchdowns on top of another five interceptions, leading the Trojans to an 8-5 season. Despite having a down year, he is still unanimously projected to be the first player selected on April 25. The Chicago Bears, who hold the first overall pick, desperately need a quarterback after trading Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The expectation is that they will be using that pick on Williams, who has been the consensus QB1” in the class for over a year.

It looks as if the Washington Commanders will follow suit and draft a quarterback. The Commanders just traded their incumbent starter Sam Howell to the Seattle Seahawks after finishing their season with a record of 4-13. They’ll hope a change at the most critical position on the field can help them win more games. The Commanders will most likely land Jayden Daniels, the current Heisman holder from Louisiana State University (LSU), or Drake Maye from UNC.

The other team looking for a quarterback is the New England Patriots. Mac Jones, whom they traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars this off-season, did not do enough for the Patriots since Tom Brady left the team. The expectation is that they will end up selecting whomever of Maye and Daniels is not drafted by Washington.

There is a lot of talent in this years draft class at positions beyond just the quarterback, with the wide receiver prospects also drawing attention. LSUs star receiver duo of Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. helped the aforementioned Daniels immensely in his Heisman campaign. Nabers will likely be selected in the first five to ten picks, while Thomas should go within the top 20. The University of Washingtons Rome Odunze is another receiver at the top of this class who should hear his name selected in the top ten. This wide receiver class boasts excellent depth as well, with the Texas Longhorns duo of Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell among the standouts. While not a wide receiver, the University of Georgias Brock Bowers is another elite pass catcher at the tight end position who could find himself among the first ten players selected. Bowers became the first player to win the John Mackey Award — given to the best tight end in college football — twice.

Aside from these big names, it is often the sleepers of the draft who make the most significant impacts in the league. My sleeper pick for this year’s draft is the running back from the University of Wisconsin, Braelon Allen. Allen stands at 6’1” and weighs 235 pounds. He ran for 5.9 yards per carry and 35 touchdowns in three seasons at the collegiate level.

Allen tested poorly in Indianapolis during the NFL combine. His 32” vertical jump and 9’9” broad jump ranked in the bottom of the pack compared to his fellow running backs, so he will likely not be an early pick. He might not be an immediate starter, but he is a solid downhill runner and is a perfect fit for a team that needs some power in their backfield.

College players don’t always do well in the NFL, let alone make it to the professional ranks. College football is one thing; the NFL is an entirely different animal. Yet those who do make it defy the odds and can leave their mark on a historic league that will see them vaulted into national spotlights and help achieve the ultimate prize in football: winning a Lombardi trophy.

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