While it may not have as attractive of prospects as The American, the Sun Belt certainly has its fair share of quality players in this year’s NFL Draft. It’s certainly putting out some of the top talent among Group of Five programs.
Not only that, but this league seems to have plenty of guys that can have longtime careers playing on Sundays. There seems to be a theme among the guys on this list, and that’s that they do what it takes to get things done.
That should pay off.
Here are the top 10 prospects from the Sun Belt in this year’s draft:
EDGE Nick Hampton, App State
Owning the highest Relative Athletic Score among EDGE rushers that competed in the Senior Bowl, Hampton can be used as a situational rusher in the NFL. He knows how to utilize his strengths to his advantage as well as anyone, and hopefully whoever drafts him can find ways to utilize him just as well.
RB Camerun Peoples, App State
A hard-nosed runner that’s hard to be brought down, Peoples can bring some juice to a roster:
The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder averaged 5.6 yards per carry in his four-year career and will carry that same grit with him to the league, which should equal some playing time.
DL Jerrod Clark, Coastal Carolina
It’s hard for viewers tuning in to a game to miss Clark on the field clogging up rushing lanes. That’s why I know it’s hard for scouts and draft personnel to miss him when they’re watching tape. Clark will be a late-round selection, but whoever drafts him will get a steal.
CB Lance Boykin, Coastal Carolina
Boykin has the physical traits to be successful at the next level, especially when he adds some bulk to his frame. But for now, he’s seen as a scheme-reliant defensive back who has the potential to thrive in certain situations.
EDGE Andre Jones, Louisiana
Behind his athleticism and versatility, Jones should be a target for teams late in the draft. Jones will have no trouble playing all over the field on the first and second levels and making plays while doing so. Defenses would be stoked to have a player like Jones in their arsenal.
TE Zack Kuntz, Old Dominion
Kuntz took draft talk by storm following his showing at the Combine last month. He proved he was one of the most athletic players at the event. His size matched with his speed are rare, and he can easily become a key guy for an offense in the NFL.
OL Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion
Saldiveri continues to creep up draft boards as the draft gets nearer. The versatile lineman should have no issues adapting to whatever situation he becomes a part of as he’s able to play every position along the line. Right now, Saldiveri is projected to be a Day 3 pick but should be chosen early in the day.
CB Darrell Luter Jr., South Alabama
A nice showing at the combine helped Luter Jr. raise his draft stock. The lengthy defensive back showcased some speed, which was one of his biggest question marks entering the draft. Now, if he can piece it all together, he should give himself a chance to make some noise.
OL Jake Andrews, Troy
It’ll be no surprise if Andrews becomes a journeyman in the league. He has plenty of attributes that will allow him to do so. On top of his IQ, skill, and ability to move along the line, Andrews also has plenty of reliability and durability:
He never missed a game, and the best ability is availability.
LB Carlton Martial, Troy
If your team is looking for someone that can always make a tackle, Martial is the guy for the job. While his size is still considered a downfall, it’s hard to say that will matter with how hard he plays. You might be surprised when Martial is drafted late, or even goes undrafted. But don’t be surprised with what he does with whatever opportunity is given to him.