Graphic by Matt Shiffler

Get ready for the NFL Draft this Thursday

The NFL Draft is here and there is talent up and down the board

The NFL Draft is coming to Nashville Tennessee on April 25-April 27. The NFL Draft is when National Football League franchises get to select newly eligible players who are coming from colleges.

There have been 11 players drafted to the NFL that went to Humboldt State University in 84 years of the Draft. Alex Kappa was the last Humboldt State player to be selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the 94th overall college player in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Mike Mayock was quoted in 2018 saying, “he had the nastiest tape of any Division II offensive lineman he has ever seen.” Before that the last time an HSU student-athlete was drafted was 1992, it was Freeman Baysinger.

Baysinger was selected as the 333rd overall player by the New England Patriots. The difficulty and the journey to be considered for one of the top spots in football is a statistical longshot but these few may have what it takes.

There are a ton of great future pro bowlers in this year’s draft that teams need. The top five picks are sure to make an impact in their first season and for their organizations. Here are my top (projected) five picks in the draft and the teams that will select them.

1. Kyler Murray – Quarterback – Arizona Cardinals

Murray is an outstanding thrower and playmaker from Oklahoma University, opting to play professional football over playing professional baseball. He is an excellent pocket passer that can extend plays with his feet and deliver the pass on the run. The Cardinals already drafted quarterback Josh Rosen last year but went just 3-13. Patience might be running out in the desert with likely only one season left for Larry Fitzgerald’s Hall of Fame career. With David Johnson, Christian Kirk, and newly signed receiver Kevin White, there is undoubtedly enough star power to win games for Murray in Arizona.

2. Nick Bosa – Defensive End – San Francisco 49ers

Bosa is an explosive lineman that attacks the line of scrimmage with authority. He went to The Ohio State University and his brother Joey is a top 10 defensive end in the NFL on the Los Angeles Chargers. The 49ers can use all the defensive help they can get. They went out and acquired a top linebacker in Kwon Alexander, and added outside linebacker/pass rusher Dee Ford who compiled 13 sacks for the Kansas City Chiefs last year. The 49ers also have Defensive End Deforest Buckner who had 12 sacks last year as well. With Bosa and Buckner on the ends and Ford coming to rush the passer as well this defense should be much improved given the health of their star cornerback Richard Sherman.

3. Josh Allen – Outside Linebacker – New York Jets

Allen, a University of Kentucky product, is a fantastic edge rusher, something the Jets need. Allen is fast and extremely athletic, closing in on the ball carrier or QB with speed. The Jets acquired C.J. Mosley to man the middle in free agency and Zadarius Smith. They should see an upgrade on the defensive side of the ball. Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams are among the elite on the defensive side of the ball and are looking to change the identity of the Jets D. If the Jets select Allen at three expect him to be a starter Week 1.

4. Quinnen Williams – Defensive Tackle – Oakland Raiders

The Raiders need someone to plug the middle of the defense, and Williams can do just that. Coming from the University of Alabama, Williams is a disruptive force. He stuffs the run and rushes the pass from the interior gaps along the line. Grabbing Lamarcus Joyner and Vontaze Burfict in free agency were significant additions to this defense, Williams would immediately help as well. With three first round picks the Raiders can’t afford to mess this up. If they choose Williams they should be ok.

5. Devin White – Inside Linebacker – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Losing Kwon Alexander to the 49ers was huge but getting White would also be a great addition. With current linebacker Lavonte David and White paired, they would be one of the best tandems in the league. With Jason Pierre-Paul who had 12.5 sacks and Gerald McCoy who is a force on the line, this group has talent. They are looking to improve and White’s speed will do just that. Nobody in this year’s draft has the defensive intelligence to obtain a quick read on the ball like White. This ability helps him get into crucial spots on the field, where he’s waiting to make the big play. The Buccaneers will need this going up against the speedy New Orleans Saints offense.

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