NFL Hot Press: Top Scout Sees Three Prospects Better Than Quarterbacks

Top Scout Sees Three Prospects Better Than Quarterbacks

Updated Aug. 8, 2017
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Entering the 2017 college football season, a lot has been made about the high level of talent and the abundance of quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft. USC’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and UCLA’s Josh Rosen have all been projected to be high picks next spring. While the demand for quarterback prospects is endless, one top scout who already has worked a lot on the 2018 NFL Drafyt prospects said, entering the season, he thinks there are three elite prospects who are currently better prospects than any of those quarterbacks. He sees that group comprised of LSU defensive end Arden Key, Washington offensive tackle Trey Adams and Florida State safety Derwin James. 

This source is a passionate believer in Key being a unique prospect, labelling him as the most-developed and diverse pass-rusher who the SEC has had over the past decade, including Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. The source sees Key as having transcendent ability for what he can do on the field. They think that Key may not be as explosive with raw power or raw speed but is way ahead and more advanced on pressuring the quarterback as a rusher.

When healthy, that evaluator sees James as also having transcendent ability for what he can do for his defense. In short, both players are ones a defense can be built around. Adams, meanwhile, has impressed with his athleticism and physicality. 

All that being said, this evaluator also said lot can happen on the field and off the field in the months to come. James barely played in 2016 because of a knee injury, so all eyes will be on if he returns to his pre-injury form. Key took some time away from the program during the spring for “personal reasons,” plus underwent shoulder surgery that has his status for the beginning of the season in jeopardy. Adams had an excellent finish to the 2016 season, and he will be challenged in maintaining that high level of play. Of course, the demand for franchise quarterbacks could easily push signal-callers ahead of these three prospects, but heading into the season, some evaluators see Key, James and Adams being the top football players for the 2018 NFL Draft.