Cover 3: Underrated draft prospects to watch

COVER-3-UNDERRATED-POSITION

By now you’ve heard all about the quarterbacks and edge rushers in this year’s draft class. That won’t change between now and April 25, but what positions are not getting enough attention heading into next week’s NFL Combine? We debate in this edition of “Cover 3” on Giants.com.

JOHN SCHMEELK: The offensive tackle class. This has quietly become one of the best offensive tackle classes in recent years. There could be as many as five taken in the first round of the draft with two or three going off the board in the top 15. There are players with different body types and skillsets that have played on either side of the line in college. Jonah Williams is a fundamentally sound player who was a three-year starter for Alabama at left tackle. Cody Ford is a mountain of a man with good movement skills who played right tackle for Oklahoma. Jawaan Taylor (Florida) and Greg Little (Ole Miss) both have the type of athleticism any team would want out of a starting offensive tackle. Andre Dillard has shown what you want from a pass protector in his time at Washington State.

The last few seasons it has been difficult to find first-round offensive linemen, but this year there are a handful of potential prospects. It is one of the premium positions in the NFL that is hard to fill, so these players will be highly sought after in this year’s draft. Giants fans will be watching closely whether any of the five players I listed above could still be on the board in the second round of the draft, much like Will Hernandez was last season.

DAN SALOMONE: The interior defensive line is stacked, and they are getting the attention they deserve. So I’m going with the safeties as the position group not getting talked about enough. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has four among his top 50 prospects: No. 25 Johnathan Abram (Mississippi State), No. 27 Nasir Adderley (Delaware), No. 42 Deionte Thompson (Alabama), and No. 44 Taylor Rapp (Washington). Adderley shined at the Senior Bowl last month, and as I wrote, he is a descendent of Hall of Famer Herb Adderley, whom Vince Lombardi called the best cornerback he had ever seen. Just like Herb, a converted running back, Nasir is a versatile player who started his freshman and sophomore years at corner. He moved to free safety and nickel as a junior, and then played strictly free safety in his final collegiate season. Nasir was the only player in the country with over 160 tackles and nine interceptions over the past two seasons. For good measure, he also added a 92-yard kickoff return touchdown. He is just one of the many names you should get to know, at a position you should get to know.

LANCE MEDOW: Edge rushers are getting all the attention because there’s a great deal of depth at that position in this year’s class. And quarterbacks, by default, will always steal the spotlight. With those two off the board, I think there should be more attention directed toward the wide receivers because there’s a chance this could be the best group of wideouts in the last five years. Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown, D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown of Ole Miss, Georgia’s Riley Ridley, N’Keal Harry of Arizona State, South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel and Kelvin Harmon of N.C. State are just a few names to keep close tabs on in the early rounds. But don’t overlook the depth at this position, including Gary Jennings (West Virginia), Hunter Renfrow (Clemson), and Andy Isabella (UMass). There’s a great deal of athleticism and versatility in this year’s group. The wide receiver group hasn’t necessarily lived up to expectations over the last few seasons, but I think this year’s class could break the drought.

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks unveiled his first position rankings for the 2019 NFL Draft.

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