The 2019 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 25, with the first round taking place in Nashville, Tennessee.
Nebraska has had at least one player selected in the draft every year since 1962, getting another this time around would stretch that streak to 57 years.
But after just one NFL Combine invite (Stanley Morgan Jr.) and a pretty large range of opinions on each guy heading into the week, that streak might be in jeopardy.
Here’s where things stand with just a few days left.
Eligible for the draft: WR Stanley Morgan Jr., RB Devine Ozigbo, OL Tanner Farmer, OL Jerald Foster, LB Dedrick Young, S Aaron Williams, S Tre Neal, S Antonio Reed
The Key Names: Stanley Morgan Jr.
Morgan seemed like the top guy of the group after the first 1,000-yard receiving season in Nebraska program history, but his trip to the NFL Combine doesn’t seem to have boosted his stock much.
An unofficial 40 time of 4.53 tied him for 21st among receivers at the event. Fourteen reps on the bench tied him for 20th. The rest of his results:
- second in three-cone drill
- tied for seventh in vertical
- fourth in 20-yard shuttle
- tied for ninth in broad jump
Those prompted this from NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein:
“While some scouts see Morgan as ‘just a guy’ with average size and athleticism who fails to stand out as a prospect, others may appreciate his professional approach to the position and competitive demeanor. He's best judged by the sum of his parts, which takes into account his toughness and durability, as well. He doesn't open wide catch windows, but his ball skills and ability to haul in contested catches tend to make up for it. He could start off as a WR4/5 but has the chance to find playing time as he works his way up.”
Morgan's presence on mock drafts hasn't been encouraging.
- CBS Sports: fifth round, pick No. 143 to the New York Giants
That’s the only major one with him being taken.
The Athletic's Dane Brugler wrote this about Morgan:
"A four-year starter at Nebraska, Morgan lined up both outside and in the slot for the Huskers, catching a pass in a school-record 38 straight games. He finished his Cornhusker career with the program records for catches (189) and receiving yards (2,747). Morgan, who has a “passion” for the game and his teammates, according to Nebraska coaches, plays with detailed focus, finding the ball in flight and making strong adjustments. As a one-speed player, NFL cornerbacks will be able to sit on his underneath routes because he lacks the juice to strike fear into coverages. Overall, Morgan isn’t a true deep threat with only average on-field athleticism, but his play strength and ball skills can be an asset, projecting as a bottom-of-the-roster NFL receiver."
The Key Names: Devine Ozigbo
Ozigbo wasn’t invited to the Combine and that came as a shock to plenty. In 10 games his junior season, with 129 carries, Ozigbo hit for 3.8 yards a tote. He totaled 493 yards rushing as the ground game for Nebraska sputtered. During his senior season, though, he bumped his average to 7.0 yards a carry and became the Huskers’ first 1,000-yard rusher in three years.
He didn’t hurt himself with Nebraska’s Pro Day in March, but he also didn’t do anything to jump up draft boards.
Brandt doesn’t have any Nebraska players in his top 150, but there’s at least intrigue surrounding the running back. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlien wrote this about him:
“Intriguing, one-year wonder with size and speed to catch the attention of NFL evaluators. Ozigbo is an explosive, downhill runner with adequate vision and above-average power, but he's a one-speed runner who might need a more nuanced approach on the next level. Ozigbo's senior tape and impressive traits could be enough to land a role as an NFL backup.”
Ozigbo is actually showing up on more mock drafts than Morgan.
- 247 Sports: third round, pick No. 102 to the Baltimore Ravens
- NFL.com: fifth round, pick No. 167 to the Kansas City Chiefs
- The Athletic: sixth round, pick No. 210 to the Cincinnati Bengals
- CBS Sports: sixth round, pick No. 209 to the Minnesota Vikings
- WalterFootball.com: seventh round, pick No. 221 to the Cleveland Browns
Brugler wrote this about Ozigbo:
“Ozigbo is a straight-line athlete and lacks an elusive lower body, but he makes quick decisions to swerve away from danger. His toughness in pass protection and experience as a receiver will be traits that separate him from other college backs. Overall, Ozigbo’s tape showed a lot of all-or-nothing-type runs, but he is a physical, hard-charging back with strong acceleration and every-down versatility.”
Ozigbo worked out with the Cowboys and has met multiple times with the Browns.
Right on the Cusp: Luke Gifford
The former captain and Husker outside linebacker isn’t on any mock drafts, but he’s met with several teams who could be interested in taking a late-round flier on him. The main concern with interested teams at this point is Gifford’s injury history, particularly his hip. He has met with the Cowboys, Saints and Vikings. Minnesota holds four picks in the last two rounds and New Orleans has five in the last three.
Next Up: Tanner Farmer
No one helped themselves at Pro Day more than the interior offensive lineman. He repped 39 on the bench (a mark that would have tied for the best of any player at the NFL Combine) and put up a broad jump of 9-feet, 10-inches (which would have been the best of any lineman at the Combine).
Still, Farmer is likely a long shot at getting drafted. He isn’t popping up on any mock drafts and Brugler listed him as the 70th-best available guard prospect. Zierlien wrote this:
“Center prospect with above average size and strength to go along with well-documented leadership. Farmer's accountability and work ethic will be appealing but his lack of functional movement and athletic ability could be hard to overcome. While he played both center and guard, the tape is much better at center and the lack of length could preclude teams from even considering him at guard. The size and strength helps, but finding a 53-man roster will be a challenge.”
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.