The ACC has consistently been one of the higher producers of talent into the NFL. This especially has been true since the conference added Florida State in the early nineties. Today we are going to look at who are the top prospects for each of their fourteen member schools available for the 2019 NFL Draft.
BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES
TOMMY SWEENEY, SR, TE
When watching BC a year ago, Tommy Sweeney really caught my eye. He is a big target at 6’4” 255. He has nice hands, is a good route runner, and has a solid run-after-catch ability. Sweeney isn’t really a household name yet but I think that will change in 2018.
DEXTER LAWRENCE, JR. DL
If you had picked any name on the Clemson defensive line for this spot I would not argue with you. Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, and Christian Wilkins are all potential round one selections. For me, Dexter Lawrence gets the nod. He is 6’3” 340 pounds, plays the nose tackle position, and moves like an edge rusher. Lawrence has movement skills that are rare for a man his size.
DUKE BLUE DEVILS
DANIEL JONES, JR, QB
Daniel Jones’ name started picking up momentum early in 2017 and then fell off soon after. Jones has prototypical size and had decent arm strength. He makes poor decisions at times. Duke doesn’t have a whole host of NFL prospects and Jones is the best of them.
FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
BRIAN BURNS, JR, EDGE
Florida State has had to restock the shelves a bit this year but Brian Burns is a productive edge rusher with a quick get off. He has 13 career sacks and 23 tackles-for-loss. He has dominated the ACC.
GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
A.J. GRAY, SR, DS
It has been several years since Georgia Tech has had an elite prospect and that will likely not change in the 2019 draft. The best of the Tech players this year appears to be safety A.J. Gray. He has been a multi-year starter. He is more of an in-the-box type than a centerfield type.
JAYLEN SMITH, SR, WR
Jaylen Smith was Lamar Jackson’s go-to guy a year ago. Smith caught 60 balls for 980 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017. It was thought he would declare for the ’18 draft but he did not. Smith’s production may dip with a new QB but his skillset is NFL worthy.
MIAMI (FL) HURRICANES
JOE JACKSON, JR, EDGE
Joe Jackson has been a terror for the Canes off of the edge the last two years. The 6’5” 258-pound junior has amassed 14 sacks and 21 TFL. Jackson handles the run as well. He should be the next great pass rusher from The U and the ACC.
NC STATE WOLFPACK
RYAN FINLEY, SR, QB
Ryan Finley has the accuracy and mindset to be an NFL QB. He needs to add some bulk to his 200-pound frame but that is not a killer. Finley has been rock solid for the Pack since he grad-transferred from Boise State. A great senior season could move him into the late-first conversation.
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
JALEN DALTON, SR, DL
Jalen Dalton is an athletic interior defensive lineman. His hustle is his calling card for me. I saw him chase down a running back forty yards downfield. There are some injury issues that he has to deal with but I love Dalton’s attitude.
QADREE OLLISON, SR, RB
After his true freshman season, you would have thought Qadree Ollison was going to be a huge star. That has not been the case. Ollison has not captured the magic he had that season. He needs to showcase some of the skill he had in 2015 or he likely won’t be drafted. As of today, he is the only Panther prospect on my radar.
ERIC DUNGEY, SR, QB
Eric Dungey keeps being poised for a breakout and then he gets hurt. Dungey has nice size (6’3” 207) and enough arm strength. His accuracy has been good enough and his production has been great. The Dino Babers’ offense will keep his numbers up. Dungey just has to prove he can play a whole season. He has yet to accomplish this.
TIM HARRIS, SR, CB
Virginia produced a lot of defensive talent last year and Tim Harris (and another cornerback Juan Thornhill) hope to continue this. Harris is a good man-to-man corner. The downside with Harris is injuries. He has missed the last two seasons and had to apply for a 6th-year hardship waiver. So age is also working against him.
VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
MOOK REYNOLDS, SR, CB
A week ago this would have been a slam dunk to list CB Adonis Alexander. Alexander was declared academically ineligible and has declared for the Supplemental Draft. His running mate, Mook Reynolds, is no slouch but is not as good as Alexander. Reynolds has a solid frame and solid ball skills. I am curious to see how he handles the pressure.
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
RYAN ANDERSON, SR, OC
Ryan Anderson is a well thought of center prospect. He is 6’5” 305 pounds. I have not watched him as much as I need to. Anderson is versatile. He started 13 games at right tackle in 2016 before moving back to center a year ago.
That concludes our top prospect preview for the ACC. Next week we preview the Big Ten.
Let us know in the comments about your favorite ACC prospects!