Count ESPN's Mel Kiper among those that believe Oklahoma’s offensive prowess can translate to the NFL.
On a Wednesday conference call, Kiper heaped praise upon Jalen Hurts and Ceedee Lamb, remarking that both players can contribute immediately and significantly at the professional level.
Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs are widely considered the top three receiver prospects in the 2020 draft class. Ruggs is a sheer burner, as he clocked a blistering 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL combine (and added a 42-inch vertical jump). Jeudy, Ruggs’ collegiate teammate at Alabama, ran a 4.45. Lamb’s mark of 4.51 trailed both former Crimson Tide standouts.
But Kiper expressed that he’s wholly unconcerned about Lamb’s mediocre showing in the 40.
“Speed for wide receivers is very overrated. It’s [more about] how you apply it on the field, and he does,” said Kiper.
Kiper stated that he ranks Lamb higher than Ruggs and slightly below Jeudy. And beyond mere speed, he spoke very highly of Lamb’s other physical tools: “He’s a powerhouse with the ball in his hands. He’s quick; he’s explosive.”
As for Hurts, Kiper likened the 2019 Heisman finalist’s skill set to that of Taysom Hill.
“He can be a contributor as a rookie,” said the revered draft analyst. “He gives immediate production and immediate contribution. You can have your starter and still use Hurts in packages.”
Kiper disavowed any notion that Hurts belongs at a different position in the pros. He also believes Hurts has the potential to fall off the board much earlier than many other draft experts seem to believe.
“I think he’s a late second, early-to-mid third. He threw the ball well at the combine. People will say obviously, well, there’s some things he needs to tweak, but the bottom line is, this kid produced. He had a heck of a career at two different programs.”
Many projections currently have Hurts landing in the middle rounds. With a 2020 class full of elite QB prospects such as Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert, the expectation is that most NFL teams with a need at the position will address it in the first round.
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