In the latest NFL mock draft that was released by ESPN this week, a pair of Oregon Ducks are projected to be selected in the first round.
They may not be the Ducks that you expect.
While many projections over the past several months have had quarterback Bo Nix among the first-round quarterbacks expected to be taken, it is not No. 10 who sees his name called according to ESPN. Instead, it’s DE Brandon Dorlus and WR Troy Franklin who come off the board on Draft Day.
I expect Dorlus to climb boards as we get closer to April. Every West Coast area scout I’ve talked to raves about him and the strides he’s making this season (four sacks). Dorlus is a bit of a tweener at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, but his combination of speed out of the starting blocks, active hands and disruption as a pass-rusher could make him a key part of Seattle’s rotation early.
Coincidentally, it is Franklin who comes off of the board a few picks later, going to the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 32 pick in the first round.
The Chiefs have poured resources into finding young wide pass-catchers for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, including a second-round pick in April on Rashee Rice, the most consistent of Kansas City’s receiver bunch. But the offense still lacks the explosive element that we’ve seen in past seasons. Franklin has caught a pass of 30 or more yards in six out of seven games this season. At 6-foot-3, 187 pounds, he’s a long-striding three-level threat who can race past defenders, averaging 11.8 air yards per target.
I don’t think that either Duck would be upset with their landing spot, going to two of the better organizations in the NFL and setting up for success down the road. You can also assume that Nix would come off the board early in the second round, going to a QB-needy team that is waiting to take a shot on his high upside.