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Green Zone League Articles

GZL Draft – Top 10 Offensive Prospects
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

The 2015 regular season is all but over, and there’s an entire post-season to be played, but the majority of teams are already turning an eye to the 2016 draft class. The class of 2016 is potentially a deep one, with studs available on both sides of the ball. It’s certainly fun to scour the draft class and find those hidden gems. But at the same time, there are always a handful of players that make every GM’s mouth water. While there’s still a lot of study and analysis to be done on the potential rookies, below is an initial write-up on the Top 10 prospects from the offensive side of the ball.

The below are listed not in order of preference, but rather by position.

QB Jonathan Higgins – Every year there seems to be that one QB who looks to be a once-in-a-decade kind of player – Kendall Irving, Geno Smith, Andrew Luck, etc etc. Higgins is that QB this year. Not as aware as Irving or Smith were coming out, his 73 AWR is still exceptional. His arm-strength (94) is close to the elite range and he possesses amazing accuracy for a rookie (88). All that, plus he’s huge (6’6”) and can motor (84 SPD). Expect to hear his name called early in April.

HB Riddick Owen – The halfback class this year is not spectacular, but there’s some cream at the top. Among them is Riddick Owen, who possesses a nice combination of attributes and is a sure-fire 1,000 yard rusher. Owen isn’t too different from Bronze Pittman who was taken in the first round last year. Owen has high end speed (94), coupled with legit power (77 STR) and brings a load, weighing in at 234 lbs. While he doesn’t possess elite agility, he is an incredible tackle-breaker (87 BTK).

WR Donald Lake – The Wide Receivers are deep in 2016, and there’s an option for every kind of preference. Some will love the speed guys, and some will love the tall guys. With Lake, you get the best of both worlds. Lake is tall (6’4”) and has above average speed (92). Across the board he has no flaws in his game, but nowhere where he excels, either. Still, the allure of Lake’s big body leaping over shorter defensive backs will prove too strong for most GMs.

WR Mark Perez – It’ll be interesting to see which WR goes first in the draft. Depending on the preferences of the GM, the first one off the board could be one of several options. Either way, teams will love Perez and his attributes, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him be the first pass catcher off the board. And for good reason. At 6’2”, 204, he has ideal size. Added to this is his 96 SPD, which mind-blowing as it means defensive backs may one day line up against a 6’2” wideout with 99 SPD.

WR Ronyell Conway – Last year’s pick of Jessie Hendricks cemented size as one of the most important attributes for pass catchers. Conway is a lot like Hendricks in that they both possess frames that are 6’4” or more, however Conway is faster, coming in with 91 SPD. Conway is all but guaranteed a pick in the top half of the draft. There are only 11 players in the league who equal his size and his speed at the position.

WR Rick Urban – As mentioned above, the Receivers are deep this year. Based on the varied and amazing attributes of each of the 4 WRs listed here, it’d be hard to come to a consensus as to which was the best. Urban is perhaps closest to Perez in attributes. While Perez is a tad faster, Urban is a much more polished receiver. Also, Urban has 72 STR. There are only 2 other players with his height, speed and strength: Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. Wow.

TE Chris Jones – The GZL has never had a Tight End taken in the first round. Is this the year? Maybe, maybe not. If it is, Jones will be the selection as he brings to the table some serious abilities. Though not the fastest (83 SPD) or strongest (75 STR) TE available, he has the best combination of the two attributes available. But what really sets the rookie apart is his agility and acceleration. Just as intriguing is his amazing vertical leap (91 JMP), which will create some very real mismatches in the secondary.

OC Fernando Wilson – Centers don’t get much love come draft day, but Wilson may be exception. Though the position lacks pizzazz, don’t be surprised to find Wilson as the first Center taken in the first round since Khaled Holmes in 2013. Wilson has no weak spots in his game and is easily the best Center on the board. Wilson will anchor someone’s line for the next decade.

OL Michael Millen – Michael Millen is the best offensive line prospect in the history of the GZL. Period.

OL Shannon Crockett – Guards are only a step up from Centers in terms of sexiness, but Crockett deserves a lot of love. Though Crockett lacks elite strength, he makes up for it with the second best time in the 40 in the draft. He is also among the most polished blockers coming into the league this year, so he’s ready to start from Day 1.
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