NFL Draft Preview: Most Explosive Playmakers
Christian McCaffrey RB, Stanford University
McCaffrey is a multi-faceted playmaker who can impact an offense in copious ways.
The three-down back is proficient as a receiver and return man, but is also much better between the tackles than many give him credit for. Though he is not particularly strong, McCaffrey makes up with brilliant vision and anticipation. He can be a quarterback’s best friend as a safety valve on swing routes and is a chance to take it to the house every time he gets a touch.
McCaffrey will be a first-round pick and has a chance to be the first back selected because of his versatile game. Think Reggie Bush meets Matt Forte.
Malik Hooker S, Ohio State University
Only a one-year starter, Malik Hooker showed enough to warrant a top ten pick in this year’s draft.
Hooker has been compared by many to NFL all-time great Ed Reed for his sensational ballhawking skills, fluidity and ability to take interceptions back for touchdowns. Any team who drafts Hooker will immediately have a center fielder who can make plays all over the field in the passing game. He may have better ball skills than most of the receivers in this draft.
Though he is inexperienced, teams believe that his raw tools can be harnessed into All-Pro talent.
John Ross WR, university of Washington
We all know about John Ross’ record-breaking 4.22 40-yard dash by now, but the fastest player in the draft is no one-trick pony.
Ross is the most explosive player in the draft and scored 23 touchdowns last season on only 112 touches. In addition to his explosivity, Ross is underrated as a route runner. This combination of speed and route running allows him to get separation from defenders almost at will, leaving him wide open for big plays.
If drafted to a team with a big-armed quarterback, Ross could make the Pro Bowl in his first season.
Reuben Foster LB, university of Alabama
Whatever team drafts Reuben Foster will get an inside hammer who can man the middle of their defense for the next 10 years.
Arguably the hardest hitter in college football last season, Foster punishes running backs and any player who gets in his way. Though most heavy-hitters are typically slow, Foster is remarkably quick and gets sideline to sideline as well as any inside linebacker in this draft class.
In addition, the Nick Saban product is fast enough to stick with tight ends and running backs in pass coverage, which will allow him to thrive as a three-down player in the NFL.
Foster might fall out of the top 10 due to a failed drug test at the NFL combine, but he is a top five talent in this draft.
Curtis Samuel WR/RB, Ohio State University
Curtis Samuel is a versatile playmaker who can be everything Percy Harvin was not.
Samuel will primarily be a receiver in the NFL, but he can be used in a similar way to Harvin or even Tyreek Hill out of the backfield. He has a knack for getting open on intermediate routes, which is a highly underrated trait that will help Samuel make a living in the league. Samuel can also take a screen pass to paydirt, or burn a cornerback deep with his vertical speed.
Samuel can be a swiss-army knife type player who can open new dimensions for an offense. Basically, this kid can do it all.