The first round of the NFL Draft is almost here and after months of prep, NFL teams, scouting departments and even fans are anxiously waiting for the first prospects to fall off the board. The first round always has a few surprises and the list below will name five prospects who ‘surprisingly’ could hear their name called on Thursday night….

1. Jordan Willis-DE-Kansas State

Jordan Willis NFL Draft

Whenever your legendary coach (Bill Snyder) says you are the “epitome of Kansas State football” it means a lot—and scouts don’t take those type of things lightly. Jordan Willis is rising draft boards and could be taken at the end of Round 1. He is a high character, high effort defensive lineman who can rush the passer and be a force on your d-line for years.

2. Joe Mixon-RB-Oklahoma

Joe Mixon
(Getty Images)

When haven’t we heard a Joe Mixon rumor? From undrafted, to third round, to first round we have heard it all. I don’t think he will go ROund 1 but stranger things have happened. If a team can look past Mixon’s past, he has the talent to be a first round pick. The question is…which team will take the risk?

3. Zay Jones-WR-East Carolina

Zay Jones

In a less than stellar WR class, Zay Jones isn’t talked about as much as Mike Williams, Corey Davis and John Ross—but he could be the best of the bunch. He is a versatile receiver that can play inside or outside, has great hands and is thought of as a leader in the locker room. I know one NFL team has him ranked as their 2nd WR on their draft board and if any other teams have a similar thought process we could see Jones drafted on Thursday night.

4. Chidobe Awuzie-DB-Colorado

Chidobe Awuzie

One of my favorite prospects in the draft, I watched Awuzie develop into a potential star DB at the next level. He can do it all—cover, tackle and is probably the best DB blitzer in the draft. In a deep corner class it’s likely Awuzie will fall to Round 2, but he’s ranked as the 4th best corner on my board and I wouldn’t be surprised if NFL teams view him the same.

5. Curtis Samuel-RB/WR-Ohio State

Curtis Samuel

Curtis Samuel is Christian McCaffrey without the hype. Both are stellar receivers out of the backfield and I believe both will lineup more as a receiver than a running back. One scout I spoke with has Samuel ranked AHEAD of McCaffrey on their teams draft board and that team is drafting in the back-half of Round 1. It will be interesting to see what happens…

 

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