Very soon, we are going to witness two Stanford men join the NFL fraternity as first round draft picks with Juniors Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey becoming “sure-fire” top selections.
Now where do the other top Stanford draft eligible players land and continue their ascent into the next level of competition?
Here is the list:
Michael Rector, WR: At 6’0” tall and 193lbs, Michael Rector does not stand out with massive physical size; but scouts have all complimented his intelligence in interviews and absolute blazing speed.
Rector did not have stellar numbers while a receiver on the farm, but he made the big plays when it was necessary. Scouts have all noticed his explosiveness off the snap of the ball, and that he has no fear in going over the middle into heavy traffic. Many are comparing him as a faster Doug Baldwin; and will need to bulk up his frame a bit to be able to take the heavy hits at the next level.
Projection: Round 6-7
Dallas Lloyd, SS: What many do not realize is that Lloyd came to Stanford as a heralded player from Utah, that had great elusive ability as an option QB. Lloyd realized quickly that for him to get on the field with the Cardinal that he would need to transform his game to the other side of the ball, and has really only been a defender the last few years after returning from his 2-year mission. Lloyd took on this responsibility with great passion, a la one of the most notable Cardinal alums Richard Sherman, and became a leader for the Cardinal defense.
Lloyd has good size at 6’1” and checked in at Stanford’s Pro Day at around 207lbs in the best physical shape of his life. Lloyd is still considered “green” by many scouts with his limited time on defense, but he carries tremendous confidence, and is very coachable. Lloyd can easily develop into a Special Teams stalwart due to his tremendous athletic ability.
Projection: Round 7 – Priority Free Agent
Francis Owusu, WR: Owusu came to the farm with lofty expectations as the younger, yet much larger and athletic brother of former standout Chris Owusu. Francis never got to be “the man” as a member of the Cardinal, but had arguably the most spectacular TD reception in school history with his over the back grab against UCLA in 2015.
Owusu has always been known as the “ultimate team player”, and this off-season was dedicated to getting in the best shape of his life while at the famous Cal Strength facilities under the expert tutelage of Dave Spitz and his staff. Owusu blew away scouts at Stanford’s Pro Day with his body transformation and showed off his blazing speed with a 4.34 40-yard dash and 39” vertical. At 6’3” and 221lbs, Owusu surely has the body for the NFL, and was always known to be a tremendous blocker downfield for the Cardinal. The biggest challenge at the next level will be his ability to prove that his route capabilities are just as good as his hands at the next level. More than likely will have to prove himself on special teams in the beginning of his career.
Projection: Round 7 - Priority Free Agent
Conrad Ukropina, PK: “Ukro” developed over his time on the Farm to become one of the most reliable kickers in the history of Cardinal football.
Ukropina was invited to the National Combine and was the only kicker to put each kick attempted through the uprights while in Indianapolis. Many Cardinal fans would joke that Ukropina was too accurate as he even called himself the ‘Upright King” after hitting the uprights four times throughout the season. Cardinal writer RJ Abeytia called Ukropina the “most reliable player on the team” at one point, however, and has shown that he can make the big kick under the bright lights with the game on the line. This year, only one kicker his being heralded as a possible top pick, but do not be shocked if a team takes a flier in a late round and bring “Ukro” in as their new, less expensive Place Kicker.
Projection: Round 7 – Free Agent Signee
Noor Davis, LB: Davis came to Stanford as the Butkus Award winner as the best linebacker in High School football in 2012. Davis was a 4-star recruit, but had trouble staying healthy while picking up the college game throughout his career on the Farm.
Davis has an NFL pedigree as his father Chris played two seasons, and uncle Andre Tippett is an NFL Hall of Famer. Davis posted solid numbers at Stanford’s Pro Day, and at 6’3” and 241lbs – Davis has the size of the traditional linebackers at the next level. With his athleticism and pedigree, he surely will be at least given a try-out at the next level, and may have to prove himself up north before making a mark in the NFL.
Projection: Free Agent signee – NFL Tryout
Jordan Watkins, DL: At 6’5” and 270lbs, Watkins (affectionately known as Big Fella) is surprisingly agile, and performed very well for scouts at Stanford’s Pro Day.
Watkins had to play in the shadow of former Stanford stars Solomon Thomas and David Parry, but always was well respected by fellow teammates and coaches. Stanford Head Coach David Shaw always complimented Watkins heart, and said that he was the “consummate teammate”. Now game tape of Watkins was another story as it showed he had trouble shedding the double team, and on several occasions missed gap assignments. Watkins does have decent speed for his size as he ran a 5.0 40-yard dash, but he will be seen as a project at the next level. More than likely will have to prove his ability at another level prior to getting a chance in the NFL.
Projection: NFL Tryout