Stanley Morgan Jr. could go early on Day 2 of the draft
When the official Nebraska football Twitter account uses its "ProBigRed" hashtag, those behind the keyboard do so with authority. Nebraska has had at least one player selected in the NFL draft over the past 57 years and looks to extend that streak during this week's annual player selection meeting. Big Red backers shouldn't have to wait as long as last year when quarterback Tanner Lee went 203rd overall in the sixth round.
Three former Huskers stand out as potential draftees. Here's what you need to know about them:
Stanley Morgan Jr., WR
Obviously, Nebraska’s first 1,000-yard receiver in school history stands out as the Huskers' potential earliest pick. At 6-foot-2 and just over 200 pounds, the best thing Morgan has going for him is his work ethic and demeanor. While he may not have incredible physical measurables, he did register notable marks at this year's NFL Scouting Combine. A top-10 vertical (38.5") and broad jump (125.0") in his position group did him favors, but he did struggle during both the three-cone and 20-yard shuttle drills.
Morgan stands out as a potential solid investment in that he can be picked up on the third day of the draft with a high ceiling in relation to this round valuation. However, if the right organizational fit is there, he could sneak into the end of the draft's second day. It should be noted that Morgan garnered quite a bit of attention from his hometown New Orleans Saints, who currently have five picks scattered throughout the final three rounds.
However, there is chatter that the Kansas City Chiefs may take him in the third round to solidify their receiving corps. It should be noted that Morgan has been working with former Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams, who also has mentored the Chiefs' own Tyreek Hill among other NFL veterans.
From NFL.com: "He's draftable but just a guy for me. I think you can find those guys anywhere. If he finds the right situation he might play for a while." — Area scout for NFC team
Projected Selection: 3rd-5th round
Devine Ozigbo, RB
Ozigbo has received rave reviews from a number of pundits despite being an under-the-radar prospect. Still, his Combine snub was a surprise considering how many scouts who've been eyeballing him even during this past season would get an even closer look. Perhaps they felt a more intimate setting at Nebraska's pro day would serve them better.
At the Big Red's NFL invite, Ozigbo turned in a 4.57 unofficial 40-yard dash and completed 19 reps during the bench press drill, two measurements that won't turn too many heads. However, his 37-inch vertical jump would've put him in the top five among running backs that tested at the Combine and his 124-inch broad jump would've been worthy of a top-10 mark.
Erik Turner, founder of Cover1.net and a film analyst for The Athletic had the following to say about Ozigbo:
"He will be a back who will show flashes in year one in a zone running scheme, especially if primarily based out of Shotgun. This structure will play to his explosive lateral abilities and help his vision as he presses the line of scrimmage. We can sit here all day and discuss how his long speed is a question mark but his game tape says otherwise.
He has the game speed to play with NFL talent and enough speed to take it the distance. Also, he is very underrated as a pass catcher. I believe he has the ability to keep defenses honest on early downs as a receiver, not just a runner. While I have a third-round grade on him, I wouldn't be surprised if he is taken later given his position, the depth in the draft [and a few other factors]."
If the first Husker running back to notch 1,000 yards on the ground in four years gets picked up, Turner's assessment on where he'll be selected should be extremely accurate. Perhaps even a potentially greater value pick than Morgan depending on how late he's chosen, his refusal to give up on his goals should net him an eventual fruitful payday much like his former teammate.
Projected Selection: 5th-6th round
Tanner Farmer, OL
The third and final officially recognized draft prospect by NFL.com, Farmer's pro day achievements and the benefit he provides on the field can’t be ignored. It's hard to brush off a big man who performed a broad jump that would've bested every offensive lineman at the Combine (9'10"), 39 bench press reps (which would've tied him for first place), and a 32.5" vertical leap.
The one major knock on Farmer is his arm length. He's viewed as a guard at the next level but checks in at 31.5 inches from one fingertip to the other. Most guards pegged as likely draftees boast numbers closer to 33-34 inches. He could find a place at center, a position he eventually settled into last season after usurping Cole Conrad. While it's unlikely he gets drafted, he's almost guaranteed to be one of the first players to get an invitation to an NFL camp. In Farmer's case, it's almost preferable to be passed over entirely than getting plucked during the seventh round as he will then be able to sign with any team that expresses an interest.
Projected Selection: Undrafted Free Agent
— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, FWAA member and part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@eightlaces), on Facebook, and enjoy the Eight Laces podcast. To contact him, click here.