With the 2016 NFL Draft just one day away, teams are working diligently to finalize draft boards, pull off last-minute trades and acquire any information possible to select tomorrow’s stars.
To help get some insight, analytics and context, Pro Football Focus’ senior analyst Steve Palazzolo shares his thoughts on some of the Stanford draft hopefuls.
Joshua Garnett is the highest-rated Cardinal on Pro Football Focus’ draft board, coming in at #50. In the site’s analysis of Garnett, they say: “Our top run-blocking guard in 2015, Garnett is a scheme-specific power guard that is best fit for a man-blocking scheme similar to Stanford’s. He struggled at times in pass pro and posted his worst games against his best competition (Buckner and Day)”.
It’s no secret Stanford produces offensive line prospects by the metric ton. Along with fellow prospect Kyle Murphy, Garnett is the next in line to be NFL-bound, joining the likes of David DeCastro, David Yankey, Cameron Fleming and Andrus Peat as recent o-line draftees. Palazzolo sees similarities between Garnett and a current Pittsburgh Steeler.
“Garnett is probably closest to DeCastro as a power-blocking guard. He is so good on the move, locking onto targets and creating movement at the point of attack. He's a perfect fit for a man/gap scheme at the next level. It's hard to compare him to the previous tackles, but Garnett and DeCastro have some similarities.”
Austin Hooper and Devon Cajuste:
The duo of Austin Hooper and Devon Cajuste were two punishing, big-bodied pass catchers for the Cardinal over the past few years. Hooper is listed as a tight end and Cajuste is listed as a wide receiver, although Pro Football Focus lists him as tight end. Cajuste and Hooper each stand at 6-foot-4 and between the range of 225-250 pounds and combined for 22 career touchdowns in their careers.
Palazzolo predicts Hooper will be a fourth-round pick and sees comparisons to Lance Kendricks of the St. Louis Rams. He says Hooper can make the big-time plays, run block and is a “fairly safe bet as an NFL tight end”, but he needs to focus on making the basic plays if he wants to succeed at the next level.
“Hooper has certainly made some spectacular catches, but he has to catch the easy ones as he's dropped 10 over the last two years."
As for Cajuste, Palazzolo loves his mix of size and speed. The combine’s biggest receiver is listed as a sixth-round pick and this “freakish” athlete could be a playmaker, whether that is at the tight end or in the slot position.
“Cajuste flashes shifty route running and he can create matchup problems but improving his work as a blocker can really add value as a "move" tight end.”
More to come on other Stanford prospects on Thursday.