Oregon’s Top 5 2016 NFL Draft Prospects

nfl draft

Marcus Mariota to the Titans, Arik Armstead to the Niners, Jake Fisher to the Bengals, Hroniss Grasu to the Bears, and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu to the Browns.  These are the names of the Oregon players we heard called by Roger Goodell in this year’s NFL Draft.  Now I think it’s obvious that Mariota was a once-in-a-lifetime player.  The Ducks are also not going to have an Armstead every year, although Canton Kaumatule may be better than Armstead and former Duck Dion Jordan combined.  Still, this means our expectations can’t be that Oregon is going to have two first round draft picks every year.  This also doesn’t mean that we can’t have a first round draft pick every year.  With that said, let’s take a look at five players that have the chance of getting drafted next year, in no particular order.

Marshall can play any position he's asked to play.

John Giustina

Marshall can play any position he’s asked to play.

Byron Marshall: Marshall is probably one of the most exciting Oregon players this year.  He is a bigger De’Anthony Thomas.  Marshall is not a pure running back nor receiver, but he can play both positions.  He is speedy, can break a tackle or two, and leave a defender wondering where he left his ankles.  The knock is he doesn’t have a true position and he has the occasional case of the “hands like feet” syndrome.  Marshall should be playing for someone in the 2016 NFL season, it’s just a question of where he gets drafted or who signs him if he doesn’t get drafted.

DeForest Buckner: Buckner is the best defensive player on the roster this season, without question.  His combination of size, 6’7″ and 290 pounds, and athleticism, 4.78 40 time, allows him to fly around the field.  He really showed his ability in the playoff last year as he flew all over the field against the Seminoles and Buckeyes.  Some scouts were saying that he would be the best Oregon defensive player in the draft if he declared last year.  Yes, that means he would be better than Armstead.  Buckner has been injured all spring, but once he gets healthy he should continue his meteoric rise up the 2016 draft board.

Brown's size and athleticism makes him one of the elite college football tight ends.

Kevin Cline

Brown’s size and athleticism makes him one of the elite college football tight ends.

Pharaoh Brown: I know there’s a chance Brown will never play again, but he has made it clear that he is going to do everything he can to get back out there.  He has the mental determination to do this, and if he comes back showing any hint of last year’s Pharaoh Brown, NFL teams are going to be excited.  Brown has exceptional size and speed, and he can block if need be.  His ball skills are phenomenal and last year he was Mariota’s most reliable target on 3rd down and in the red zone.  Brown is clearly one of the best tight ends in the nation when healthy, so let’s all hope he gets healthy soon.

Dwayne Stanford/Darren Carrington: These two are nearly identical receivers, and their stats say the same too.  They both can stretch the defense if asked, go highpoint a ball over the middle, and secure a 3rd down catch.  The problem with them is they take away play-time and receptions from each other.  Neither of their statistics jump out because they play in an offense that spreads the ball around to all receivers and they are so similar and interchangeable that they often split time 50/50.  If one of these receivers has a breakout year, expect them to declare and then expect the other to have a big year next year.

Tyner can break tackles and leave you in the dust.

Kevin Cline

Tyner can break tackles and leave you in the dust.

Thomas Tyner: Tyner may be in a very interesting position after this season.  Tyner is a year older than Royce Freeman, and, as of now, is his backup.  On any other team in the nation, Tyner would be the starting back without question.  As a backup, he won’t get the gaudy stats, or the play-time usually necessary for a running back to get drafted, especially since running backs are a dying breed in the NFL.  Tyner has the size and speed to play in the NFL and he can run between the tackles or outside the hashes; teams just have to look past the fact that he is a backup.  This is going to be one of the most difficult decisions Tyner is going to have to make, but he definitely has the potential to have a successful career in the league.

There’s your top five, or six, NFL Draft prospects for 2016.  If I were to do this again right before the season started, you would see highly anticipated Eastern Washington transfer, Vernon Adams, listed, but since he isn’t a Duck yet, he’s not a Duck draft prospect.  This year’s draft saw five former Ducks get drafted.  Next year, you may see zero, two, five, or seven, or more!  Either way, this season should be exciting, and many NFL scouts will be closely watching our high-flying Ducks closely.

Top photo from Flickr.com

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Rory Davidson

Rory Davidson

Rory Davidson: Rory (Football Analyst) is a sophomore at Oregon in the fall (Class of 2018). He has been a devout Stanford football fan since he was 2 months old and is excited about the energy and greatness Oregon sports has to offer. For the past 6 years he has been doing advanced data analytics for his high school football team and working alongside the coaches to understand how they strategize about the game. He wants to integrate more statistics into his analyses and try to help readers learn about and understand the future of sports.

  • SeattleDuck

    Rory, two huge names you missed are Bralon Addison and Tyler Johnstone, the latter of whom will be out of eligibility this year. Additionally, Brown almost HAS to come back to prove that he’s healthy, and Carrington is unlikely to get enough touches this year to max out his draft stock so he likely comes back. Dwayne Stanford is a redshirt junior, and I could see him coming back to play with his Ohio-mate Brown.

    DeFo: Round 1, Johnstone: Round 2, Addison: Round 4, Marshall: Round 4, Tyner: Round 5, Stanford: Round 6, Christian French, Joe Walker, Tui Talia, Alex Balducci: Round 6-UFA,

    • Rory Davidson

      I probably should have mentioned Johnstone. I have never been the best at evaluating offensive line talent, so I didn’t want to make any assumptions or statements about him based purely on what other people are saying. I do realize, though, that he is most likely going to be a top talent.

      In regards to Addison, I feel that he isn’t as good a talent as the 5 I had in my top 5, but that’s just my opinion. I know he had a great spring game, so maybe he’ll prove he is a great prospect.

      If Brown plays 6 games and then the whole postseason, and puts up good numbers, I think his potential will be enough to convince teams to take a shot on him.

      • SeattleDuck

        Haha, no worries, Rory. You must not have watched much Ducks football prior to Bralon getting hurt. Addison has the playing ability of a 1st rounder (hands, route running, feel for the game) but his combine numbers will hold him back. That said, he can be every bit as successful in the NFL as a guy like Wes Welker, so he should get picked middle-to-late.

        • Rory Davidson

          Ya, he definitely has the talent, as we saw in the spring game, I’m just worried about his size mainly. Receivers like Welker are becoming the “big thing” in the NFL, but sometimes they go unnoticed until they get into the NFL. I feel like Addison will be a late round pick or an undrafted signee. Main thing is, he will get a chance to play at the next level, assuming he remains injury free.

  • MAITAIDUCK

    Pharoah Brown is the best TE in the nation last year before his freaky injury so you got that right. He will not play for the Ducks next year it’s just not likely at all. Yes I agree about Buckner in that he’s clearly better than Armstead was or may ever be. I love Armstead but he should of played LT for Oregon and he would of most likely been the 1st O Lineman off the board. I’m not happy that my Niners wasted another 1st round pick on a guy who has a bunch of Question marks and how he’ll play. Niner’s clearly needed to move up and snag Cooper or White preferably Cooper and now another wasted season to see if Kap is the right QB. If Tyler Moose Johnston has a full non injury type season he will W/O a doubt pick right back up where he left off and I believe he will be a 1st rounder not 2nd. He’s better than Big Jake and Jake should of went in the 1st round. Oregon is going to be very scary team this next fall and they not USC should be getting all the Love but that’s O0K because these Ducks will have a real Big attitude when SC comes to Eugene for 1 of their 3 losses.