With the 2016 NFL season beginning in just a couple of days, there are always teams that are going to vie for a chance at that Lombardi trophy. Then there are the teams that are rebuilding, looking to land that number one draft pick, to land a player that will bring both crowds and success in the future. Those players are hard to come by, but once they’re found they have the ability to change the entire course of a franchise. These are the players who have the opportunity to be that player that will change a franchise.
Brad Kaaya, QB, University of Miami (FL)
In an era where a franchise quarterback can make or break a team regardless of talent around them (see Rodgers, Aaron, Green Bay Packers). Kaaya has both the arm strength and the accuracy to be that quarterback for a team. He also has the mobility to handle pressure and move around in the pocket when necessary. Kaaya has struggled through the Al Golden era but that era is over. During the 2016 season with the Canes we may get a glimpse into the future with new head coach Mark Richt. Look for Kaaya to produce career numbers under the new system in South Florida.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Deshaun Watson could be the next great duel threat quarterback. Watson does have a torn ACL on his record, but this seemed to have little to no effect on his 2015 campaign with the Clemson Tigers, one in which he led them to the final of the College Football Playoff and finished third in the Heisman Trophy vote. During this breakout season Watson showed both his passing skills in addition to his explosiveness and open field capabilities when he runs the ball, racking up over 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 yards on the ground and a total of 47 touchdowns. Watson has the build and skills that could lead to a similar situation in Carolina after they drafted Cam Newton.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Louisiana State University
Staying on the offensive side of the ball I’m going with LSU’s star running back. Last season he missed out on the 2,000 yard mark by less than 50 yards and added in 22 scores. Fournette has shown that he can produce in all the ways a team can ask of a running back, between the tackles, bouncing it outside, and even receiving out of the backfield. Fournette has the talent alone to warrant a team taking him first overall.
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
A solid defense can win a team a championship. Look at the Seattle Seahawks. While yes they did have a sound offense, it was their defense that set them apart from the rest of the league in recent history. A solid pass rusher can change a defense entirely. Garrett can be that pass rusher. He has proven his ability to take on blockers and make a play. He’s also been the face of consistency, recording double digit sacks in each of his first to seasons at A&M in addition to at least 45 total tackles a season. Garrett could become the cornerstone for the next “Legion of Boom”.
Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
Likely the first drafted defensive back in this draft regardless of whether it’s at number one overall or not. Tabor has the skill set to set the tone for any secondary and has the ability to make plays in both pass coverage and run support. Tabor has the capability to shut down a receiver, and in a pass heavy NFL this skill is invaluable. Look for Tabor to make a splash this upcoming season with the Gators and make a run at that top overall pick.