Conference Draft Preview: American Athletic Conference

It was a banner year for the American Athletic Conference in 2016 with Temple and Navy forming a surprising title game. While no team had the individual success of Houston in 2015, the individual talent making its way to the NFL is nothing short of extraordinary.

Houston, in particular, has a small shot to end the draft with five players picked. Temple again looks to send more talent to the NFL, while wide receiver is a position to watch in rounds 5-7.

Haason Reddick, LB, Temple: The star linebacker was previewed here and should easily go in the first round of the draft. There is an outside chance of Reddick hearing his name called in the top ten. The biggest issue facing Reddick is whether he can step in an play linebacker at a high level after playing defensive end in college.

Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut: Previewed here, Melifonwu was one of the hottest topics following the combine. He ticks off all the measurables and has shot of the board with some predicting him heading off the board in the first round. I personally expect a a series of teams considering him in the early portion of the second round.

Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina: Everyone that watched any sort of college football last season is familiar with Jones. He set the single season and career receptions marks last season and has an NFL bloodline. He will go in the second round and find his role at a #2 or #3 receiver for a quality team.

Dion Dawkins, OT/OG, Temple: Dawkins is a player that fits better on the inside, but could surprise and play at tackle for the right team. Dawkins is the perfect utility player on the line and will have a large group of teams looking to bag him in the second round.

Tyus Bowser, LB, Houston: Bowser is one of those players that elicits strong opinions. Scouts are either in love with him or see him as a complete bust. There is little to no middle ground on him, meaning he is a perfect choice to go in the third round to a team that loves his game.

Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida: Mack has produced from day one at South Florida and proved to be a team player as the offense changed through his career. He lost some carries last season due to the emergence of quarterback Quinton Flowers, but he is young and experienced and a perfect fit to go right around pick #100.

Shaquill Griffin, CB, Central Florida: Griffin continually improved throughout his career at UCF with his best season coming as a senior. He has seven career interceptions, but may make his first waves in the NFL on special teams. He can block kicks, cover on kickoffs, and even return kicks if needed.

Jake Elliott, K, Memphis: Very rarely does a kicker from the Forgotten 5 actually hear his named called on draft day. Elliott is good enough to get drafted and start from day one in the NFL. He will at the very least get a chance to make a roster in a camp battle.

Nico Marley, LB, Tulane: One of the most productive players in AAC history, Marley has been overlooked by many due to his size. It is likely that he will get overlooked again this weekend, but Marley will get a roster invite and I would not be surprised to see him make a roster.

Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane: A three-year starter at Tulane, Smart is another player that falls on the draft board due to size issues. Many scouts do not think he can hold up in the middle due to his 6-1 frame, but he was incredibly productive against quality competition when he had a chance. He is an interesting backup option for some team.

Others that could hear their names called in the NFL Draft:

  • Nate Hairston, CB, Temple
  • Howard Wilson, CB, Houston
  • Brandon Wilson, CB, Houston
  • Rigoberto Sanchez, K, Hawaii
  • Kofi Amicha, OG, South Florida
  • Dane Evans, QB, Tulsa
  • Rodney Adams, WR, South Florida
  • Keevan Lucas, WR, Tulsa
  • Deyshawn Bond, C, Cincinnati
  • Tion Green, RB, Cincinnati
  • Art Maulet, DB, Memphis
  • BJ Singleton, NT, Houston
  • Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple
  • Steven Taylor, LB, Houston
  • Noel Thomas, WR, Connecticut
  • Mike Tyson, S, Cincinnati
  • Greg Ward Jr., WR, Houston
  • Eric Wilson, LB, Cincinnati

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