FUTURE STARS: THE BEST DRAFT PROSPECTS TO DISCOVER – WEEK 7

FUTURE STARS: THE BEST DRAFT PROSPECTS TO DISCOVER – WEEK 7
Reading Time: 6 minutes.

Another Week means more Future Stars. 

Future Stars brings you the 2021 NFL Draft Prospects you should keep your eye on each and every week throughout the college season into next year’s Draft.

Sky Sports carry on their coverage of Notre Dame home games in Week 7, which sees 3 games televised in the UK across Sky Sports NFL and BT Sport ESPN.

You can watch Louisville at Notre Dame (19:30 UK Time) on Sky Sports NFL. 

You can also watch Texas A&M at Mississippi State (21:30) and Georgia at Alabama (01:00 am) on BT Sport ESPN.

Here are your Future Stars in week 7. 

FUTURE STARS

TOMMY KRAEMER – OG – NOTRE DAME

Tommy Kraemer is included in our Future Stars. Image Credit: Rick Kimball/ISD

The Notre Dame offensive line is widely regarded as the best in the country. Tommy Kraemer is just one of many future draft picks that are scattered across it.

Kraemer is an aggressive brutal guard. He drives the opposition backwards when he has locked on with brute force and his physical attributes. Kraemer has a broad physique and carries good weight at 6’5” 319 lbs.

He has all the ability to dominate the run game and could slot straight into a run heavy offence as a starter at the next level. Not only that, but he has performed admirably in the passing game. Considering the issues, Notre Dame have had a Quarterback the whole o-line has to take credit. 

One aspect of Kraemer’s game that isn’t so successful is his mobility. He simply doesn’t have the lateral agility or movement to compete with other guards in this class. He can struggle getting up to and competing at the second level and this will affect his draft stock. 

Saying that, he will be a great fit for a rushing first offence that needs a big power blocker upfront. I expect him to be mocked to teams such as the Ravens or Patriots in the future.

Kraemer is a solid lineman, but he has plenty of room to improve. He can be a dependable starter at the next level; he just needs to show a few more flashes to increase his draft stock. 

ERROLL THOMPSON – LB – MISSISSIPPI STATE

Erroll Thompson is another physical player. He plays hard and would run through walls if you asked him to. 

Thompson is a physical player who attacks the line of scrimmage and thrives when blitzing. He has good instincts and a good football IQ. Thompson is a leader in the backfield and plays with the fearless style coaches and staff will love. He can run over the opposition and rarely hesitates as to where the ball is and doesn’t hesitate to fly into tackles.

Thompson, however, doesn’t have the mobility that some linebackers do. At 6’1” 250 lbs he doesn’t have the natural athleticism expected of a middle linebacker. He doesn’t have smooth fluid actions. His size means he doesn’t have the every down, sideline to sideline playability. He also doesn’t have the speed to keep up in coverage. 

Thompson definitely has a role to play at the next level and teams will like his measurables and hard hitting playing style. He projects as a 2 down, run stopper middle linebacker who will be the best friend of blitz heavy player callers.

ERIC STOKES – CB – GEORGIA

Eric Stokes draft stock is on the rise. Image Credit: Tony Walsh/UGA

The battle between Georgia’s defence and Alabama’s offence has us hyped for this game. Especially the Bulldogs cornerbacks and the Crimson Tide’s wide receivers. It is an opportunity for both units to stand out from the crowd. This applies none more so than Eric Stokes who has been under appreciated by scouts up till now. 

Stokes has really good instincts on the outside and his football IQ allows him to pick up quickly on routes when being given different looks pre-snap. He should test well because he has the desirable size and measurables that scouts love. The Georgia defence predominantly plays press coverage and he is effective at disguising his looks. 

He is a strong corner. He does well at limiting separation in the passing game. His speed is good enough especially in short spaces and he has the hips and reactions to stay with his opponent. 

There were question marks over the summer whether Stokes had the productivity on the ball to make plays. He does, however, have 2 interceptions on the year so he has clearly improved in this area.

He doesn’t seem to be used in run support often, but that is mostly down to Georgia’s pressing defence rather than a lack of ability. Scouts like to see different looks and Stokes will be looking to prove he can be used all over the field not just in outside press.

So far this season Stokes draft stock is on the up and a good game against Alabama will see him rise even further. 

DEZ FITZPATRICK – WR – LOUISVILLE

Louisville has a really exciting offence. We have already featured 1 Cardinal in our future stars in Tutu Atwell and we feature another one here in Week 7 in the form of Dez Fitzpatrick.

We can’t talk about the 2021 receiver class enough. It will be the best in a generation. The same was said in 2020. 

Now, Fitzpatrick won’t be at the top of this class, but he will have a role to play for an NFL team as a fifth receiver. He doesn’t get the lion share of catches because he has Tutu Atwell next to him who has game breaking speed. But, he is and has been consistently productive through his college career.

Fitzpatrick definitely has traits NFL teams will like and find usable. Firstly, He has the size of an NFL receiver at 6’2” 205 lbs. Secondly, he also has decent athleticism and physicality. His best plays come as a possession receiver and fits a role on third down and on short distance plays. He is competitive after the catch and can ride his way through contact. 

Fitzpatrick isn’t a speedy wideout. His burst and explosiveness is underwhelming and his route tree isn’t extensive. He doesn’t have a high ceiling but his floor means he will enter the NFL as a backup fifth receiver who can expect some plays when teams are looking to manage the clock or looking to protect the ball.

But Fitzpatrick definitely has a role to play at the next level as a possession receiver. 

NAJEE HARRIS – RB – ALABAMA

Najee harris is included in our future stars in week 7
Harris is a future star. Image Credit: rolltide.com

Najee Harris has been cooking so far this season. He clearly feels he has a point to prove. Travis Etienne seems to have had a gap out in front as RB1, but Harris is doing all he can to close it. 

After 5 touchdowns against Ole Miss and 10 touchdowns on the year so far, Harris is making himself increasingly difficult to ignore.

Harris is an angry runner who has the desire, aggressiveness and assertiveness needed to be a successful power back. He runs with urgency and can find extra yards when there doesn’t seem to be any. Harris has great technique when in contact where he always sees him fall forward and drag defenders along with him. 

Harris has pure power and will draw comparisons to Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry because of his size and pure power. 

There are reasons why Harris still isn’t seen as the top running back, however, he isn’t the most elusive of backs and can have tunnel vision in some situations. He also doesn’t have the skill moves of modern NFL running backs, but he more than makes up for this with is determination. As an angry power back he can leave himself open to cheap shots when running straight up and sometimes over defenders. 

Harris has been a productive college player, but he has has a lot of mile on the clock and this will be something that scares NFL teams. There is no doubting Harris has been yielding high results already this season and with the right fit he will be a future star at the next level.

Which Future Stars will you have your eye on this week? Let us know over on Twitter @NinetynineYards and @Owain_Jones_ 

Feature Image:Wade Payne/ starkvilledailynews.com

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