USF’s draft drought has stretched into its second consecutive April.
When the NFL’s three-day virtual selection spectacle ended Saturday, the Bulls and East Carolina were the only American Athletic Conference programs not to have anyone chosen.
For USF, that’s two consecutive draft shutouts. Since Bulls players started getting drafted in 2001, the program never has gone three consecutive years without having at least one player picked.
So will the Bulls avoid similar embarrassment in 2021 and ‘22? Our intel says yes.
While next spring may not produce the draft bounty of 2010 (Jason Pierre-Paul, Nate Allen, George Selvie, Jerome Murphy, Carlton Mitchell) or 2017 (Marlon Mack, Rodney Adams, Kofi Amichia), the Bulls aren’t likely to be totally bypassed. And ’22 could be even better.
Based on what we’ve observed (and input we’ve received from former USF staffers), here are the guys we believe will evolve into the top draft candidates over the next two seasons.
1. KJ Sails, Sr., cornerback
This East Bay High alumnus tops our list because he’s likely the very next Bull to be drafted. Sails needs to get a little thicker (he was listed on the spring roster at 175 pounds), but he has produced quality tape at both USF (three picks, six pass breakups last season) and North Carolina (where he played 19 games from 2016-18). He’ll need to perform well at his pro day, but he’s sure to impress teams in interviews with his maturity (he’s a dad) and engaging personality.
2. Demetris Harris, Jr., left guard
The offensive line’s ailments last year had little to do with Harris, an agile interior behemoth (6-3, 324) with a tremendous football IQ and nasty streak needed for the next level. If Harris were a senior this year, he’d be atop our list. As it stands, he’s the top prospect for ’22.
3. Mike Hampton, Sr., cornerback
After recording two interceptions and 18 pass breakups in 2018, Hampton’s production dropped off significantly last fall (no picks, six breakups). The frame (6-feet-1, 190 pounds) and skills are there, but the output must increase.
4. Donovan Jennings, Jr., left tackle
Former Bulls coaches loved this Gaither alumnus’ footwork and physical upside (6-5, 328). If and when the ’20 season commences, Jennings and Harris could represent one of the AAC’s top left sides.
5. Darrian Felix, Jr., running back
Fleet backs with soft hands and decent route trees have evolved into NFL commodities. Felix (5-11, 197) brandished his versatility in flashes last season at Oregon (34 carries, 197 yards; six catches, 78 yards) and could flourish in Jeff Scott’s system at USF.
Five wild cards
WR Latrell Williams, Jr. Former Tennessee signee just might be the team’s fastest player
QB Cade Fortin, So. Has three seasons of eligibility remaining, but man, we’ve heard raves about his arm
LB Dwayne Boyles, Jr. Getting better and better, and bigger and bigger (6-3, 227)
DT Kevin Kegler, Sr. Most seasoned, skilled defensive lineman on the roster
LB Devin Gil, Sr. This Michigan graduate transfer appeared in 40 games for the Wolverines