ORIGINAL: Tom Sykes
2019 NFL Draft: Four players who could be first-round surprises
Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
Drafting Howard in the first round would be, in the words of one NFC executive, "really ballsy." But the upside is tantalizing on a high school quarterback who arrived at an HBCU as a tight end, then converted to offensive line, where he's still putting on weight and learning the finer points of the position.
Howard showed well in his two opportunities against top-level competition, last season against Auburn and at the Senior Bowl in January. He has the traits to play the premium left tackle spot, in a year when not many of those guys are near the top of draft boards. Some feel Howard could play right tackle or guard, as well.
"Great kid. Smart and can pick things up. Good worker," an NFC scout said. "Can get his pads a little high at times. Good strength to drive defenders off the ball. Needs to clean up his technique and finish. Has all the size and athletic tools to get better."
The number of teams giving Howard extra attention is one reason there's growing talk in draft rooms that someone might take a chance early. By draft day, Howard will have visited and/or had a private workout with 24 franchises, including the Redskins, Rams and Jets this week, a source said, with the Jaguars planning to send a contingent to see him once Howard returns to campus.
Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
His name hasn't been discussed as much as the draft's other top linemen, but teams will be surprised at this point if Lindstrom doesn't go in the first round -- perhaps even in the top 20, thanks to his athletic ability, smarts and versatility. He helped himself with a solid Senior Bowl week. Some believe he can play center, too.
"He's one of those guys that it's not a sexy pick, but he'll end up playing eight to 10 years and just be a steady, good pro," an NFC personnel director said.
There was a run on interior offensive linemen in the back half of Round 1 a year ago and the same thing may well happen here, with N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury, Texas A&M center Erik McCoy and maybe even Mississippi State's Elgton Jenkins in the mix, as well.
That was a very interesting article. Thanks for sharing. I was interested in the situation of Simmons, too. He's supposed to be a top ten talent, but he may or may not be selected in the first round. In the end of the round are teams who are "hopeful" that they can go all of the way. It would be hard for them to sacrifice their precious first round pick for a red shirt player. One exception might be Oakland which has Chicago's pick near the end of the round and which has enough picks where they might feel they can use one for the investment long term. The other team that has a late pick not their own is Green Bay. I believe Green Bay thinks that they are always in the hunt for a Super Bowl because of Rodgers, but I do remember them being the ones to draft Aaron Rodgers even though they has Bret Favre. (different GM, though now) The last remote possibility might be the Patriots, just because they are sort of mavericks with how they do their draft and obviously it has worked for them. They often trade out of the first round and perhaps they might do it again with a team that wants to move up for Simmons. The trade up scenario makes the most sense to me for him.
I do think it is wonderful that football can bring people together from different persuasions. We need more of that and less of what divides us.