College players enter the draft process knowing that they’ll spend the next couple of months under constant analysis and scrutiny. Scouts are looking at the talent they already possess and try to measure how they will develop and perform in the league. It seems that every year there are a couple first round prospects that come in with question marks around them. These players become X-factors in the draft and shape its complexion due to the uncertainty surrounding them, and here at N2K, we’re breaking down our Top 3 X-factors for this year’s draft.
- Noah Spence: Noah Spence is well known among the scouting community for multiple reasons. Spence was a huge recruit coming out of high school, and went to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes. During his sophomore season, Spence played amazing for the Buckeyes, totaling 8 sacks. Following that season, though, the talented defensive end was dismissed from the team for drug issues and later went to rehab for an ecstasy addiction. Since rehab, Spence has transferred to Eastern Kentucky, dominated on the field, and has had no off-the-field issues. Spence is an extremely smart player and understands the game very well. He uses this to make most of his plays and he looks like he is a decent NFL-caliber athlete as well. Teams are worried about his production though. While at Ohio State he played with an amazing defensive line and linebacker corps so a lot of times he was not the primary blocking focus and when he transferred he played against people much less talented than him. He also has to deal with his drug issue from years past. Spence could rise up into the top 15 and be the second or third edge rusher taken, but he could also fall to the end of the first round.
- Braxton Miller: Braxton Miller is in a tough position for scouts to evaluate him. Miller was once the best QB in the Big Ten and a 2-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, but now he’s playing receiver. Miller has shown elite speed and open field moves that make him untouchable, but he has very little experience at his new position. Coming into the NFL, he has very little film and production for people to evaluate, but some people believe he could be the best receiver from the class (myself included). While at the Senior Bowl he dominated pretty much every drill and has shown what might be a natural skill set, but none of that came against elite talent in the secondary. His speed and elusiveness makes team salivate over his potential, but many will still be scared of drafting him due to his inexperience. Miller also has another major question mark that has ruined NFL careers. Miller has had an injury in every season at Ohio State and he will be getting hit harder and more often when he goes pro. What makes Miller such an intriguing prospect and lands him on this list is his varying draft position. He has been all over the place in the mock drafts as anywhere from the second round to being the first receiver drafted.
- Carson Wentz: Wentz is a top-3 quarterback for the draft and he has been projected as the first second and third QB taken in the draft already. He has a big build, at 6’5” 235, and already possesses a strong arm. He is also winner, having won the 2 FCS national championships in 2 years as a starter. He has also shown enough mobility to be able to make plays in the NFL with his legs. The only problem with Wentz is he played in the FCS, meaning that the talent level was not on par with the NFL. People talk about the jump from Alabama to the NFL and say that it is a hard adjustment. It’s only going to be harder for Wentz coming out of North Dakota State. He has shown that he can throw at all levels of the field with accuracy and can make plays with his legs, but will he be able to read an NFL defense or adjust to the speed of not only defenders, but also his own receivers? He is a good talent, but projecting him in the NFL could be the toughest thing for teams looking for a new quarterback.