My fellow DN peeps, Ted and Chris got their feet wet in some mock drafts. I figured I’d do some brief player profiles for the players that were picked at No. 22 and No. 25, in their respective mock drafts. Look for more profiles as they update their mock drafts moving forward.
Who did Ted and Chris pick at No. 22?
Well, both understand the Vikings need to bolster the OL somehow, someway. Here’s their two O-line picks:
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Ted snags Austin Jackson with the 22nd overall pick in the draft. The six-foot-five, 322-pound offensive tackle is an experienced collegiate offensive tackle with raw, athletic talent. Jackson has some technique and fundamental issues that can easily be teachable throughout his rookie year. The junior from USC participated in 39 games and started in 25 of them at left tackle. Jackson received All-Pac-12 honors his junior year. He participated in all 14 games his freshman year as a reserve or on special teams.
The Phoenix, Arizona native graduated from North Canyon High School in 2017. He made some noise during his high school playing days. Jackson was named to the 2016 PrepStar All-American Dream Team, USA Today All-USA second team and USA Today All-Arizona first team (won junior year, too) as a senior. Jackson wasn’t just a one-trick pony in high school. He also participated on the track and basketball team.
Jackson had non-related sport surgery in the summer of 2019 before his junior season. His little sister, Autumn, suffered from a rare blood disorder that causes the bone marrow to not sufficiently produce enough red blood cells. Jackson answered the call and stepped-up as the bone marrow donor. Jackson had three spots from his back removed, resulting in the lack of strength some analysts are concerned about. He returned to the field two weeks after the surgery.
Jedrick Wills Jr., OL, Alabama
Wills wasn’t on the board for Ted’s mock, but even Chris was a little surprised when he saw Wills still on the board at No. 22. The six-foot-four, 312-pound lineman turned plenty of heads when he started 15 games for the Crimson Tide during his sophomore season. He’s an ideal candidate for a spot in the NFL with his wide frame, quick feet and hands. He may be slightly smaller than the average lineman, but makes up for it with his talent.
Lance Zierlein describes his athletic ability like this, “He has basketball-caliber foot quickness and the quick hands of a boxer.” The right tackle only missed seven assignments on 771 snaps and allowed only one sack throughout his junior campaign. Wills was named to the All-SEC First Team by conference coaches and the Associated Press. He was also on the Outland Trophy watch list, an award given to the top collegiate interior offensive lineman.
The Lexington, Kentucky native was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and dubbed as the top player to come out of Kentucky. Wills was invited to the Under Armour All-America Game, he was the only player invited from Kentucky. He also helped his alma mater, Lafayette High School to a state championship during his senior year.
What about the No. 25 pick?
Ted and Chris both address needs on both sides of the ball. Ted grabs a defensive player and Chris eyes someone for the offense.
K’lavon Chaisson, OLB/Edge, LSU
This Houston, Texas native has quite an interesting story about how he got to where he is now. He only played two seasons of varsity football while at North Shore High School and was offered a scholarship from LSU before he even played a down for his school. Chaisson was ranked by ESPN as the fourth-best prospect at his position and seventh-best in the state of Texas. He led the state with 15.5 sacks his senior year.
Now, the six-foot-three, 254-pound linebacker entered the NFL Draft after playing two seasons at LSU (sat out his sophomore year due to an injury). If we want to talk about raw talent, then Chaisson is the perfect example. He played in all 12 games and started in three during his freshman campaign. He earned Freshman All-SEC after recording 27 tackles, two sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss of yards.
Unfortunately, Chaisson’s sophomore season abruptly ended after he sustained a torn ACL in the fourth quarter against Miami. Jump forward to the following season and you would have never thought Chaisson tore his ACL a year prior. He started in 13 games his redshirt sophomore season and led the team in tackles for loss (13.5) and sacks (6.5). Chaisson had quite a season of accolades: Earned first team All-SEC honors, Defensive Player of the Game in the CFP National Semifinals (six tackles, two sacks) and a national championship with LSU.
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Chris goes for a skilled position player for his pick at No. 25. Higgins was taken off the board in Ted’s mock, one of the reasons why he grabbed Chaisson with his pick. The six-foot-four, 215-pound, Oak Ridge, Tennessee native racked up 27 receiving touchdowns in his three-year campaign at Clemson. That number put him in the record books with former Clemson standouts, Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins for most receiving touchdowns.
Higgins wrapped up a team-high 1,167 yards from 59 catches and managed 13 receiving touchdowns. The former-Tiger received first team All-ACC accolade for his season performance. According to Clemson Athletics, Higgins was the only player in school history to record double-digit touchdown receptions in consecutive seasons. His sophomore campaign was just as impressive. He led the team with 59 receptions that resulted in 936 yards and 12 touchdowns in his 15 starts. Higgins earned second-team All-ACC honors.
The Oak Ridge High School alum was Clemson’s top rated signee in 2017 and he sure didn’t disappoint. Higgins was a starter as a freshman, the first player to do so at Oak Ridge since 2002. On top of being a high-profiled football student-athlete, he also had talent on the hardwood. He was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in Tennessee as a junior.