Ducks In the Draft

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Photo courtesy of USA Today

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Photo courtesy of USA Today

We wrote a similar post this time last year and it proved to be worthwhile, as Chip Kelly ended up selecting a pair of Oregon players — Josh Huff and Taylor Hart — in the 2014 draft.  It would be no surprise if he plucked a Duck or two again, especially now that he has full authority to build this team in his vision.

With that in mind, let’s look at a handful of Oregon prospects (not named Marcus Mariota) that could be taken in the upcoming draft. The projected rounds are courtesy of CBS Sports.

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
Height/weight: 5-10, 195
2014 stats: 63 tackles, 2 INTs
Projected round: 1-2

Analysis ( Suffered a severe knee injury after the regular season in preparation for the College Football Playoff semifinal vs. Florida State…Ekpre-Olomu’s height and knee issue are likely to take him off the board as a first-round prospect for many defenses. However, what he lacks in measurables, he makes up for with production, natural ability and confidence. He might lack the size teams want from an outside cornerback, but he’s more than capable of playing in the slot and playing press, off or zone effectively. Unfortunately for Ekpre-Olomu, the knee injury could hurt his draft stock.

DE Arik Armstead
Height/weight: 6-8, 290
2014 stats: 47 tackles, 3 sacks
Projected round: 1-2

Analysis (  Projection-based prospect with elite size and the traits to become a dominant run-stuffing defensive end in an odd front. Armstead has the explosiveness off the snap and in his jarring punch to gain early advantages and control offensive linemen. Armstead is a fast riser but is still very raw. He will need patience and coaching and must become a more effective pass rusher at some point.

C Hroniss Grasu
Height/weight: 6-3, 297
Projected round: 2-3

Analysis ( While Grasu isn’t a powerful center, he does display enough functional strength and movement skills to be able to assimilate into any offensive philosophy. Grasu can play bigger than his listed size and while he doesn’t possess any overwhelming qualities or traits, there aren’t any glaring holes in his game that should derail him. His leadership and winning pedigree should be a plus with GMs.

OT Jake Fisher
Height/weight: 6-6, 299
Projected round: 2-3

Analysis ( Former tight end who moves easily and naturally…If you are a zone-based team looking for an athletic, well-schooled tackle who can come in and compete for a starting position right away, then Fisher is your guy. He has the feet to play the left side and is savvy enough in the run game to man the right side. He needs more weight on his frame, but guard is also an option for Fisher.

OLB Tony Washington
Height/weight: 6-3, 250
2014 stats: 49 tackles, 5 sacks
Projected round: 5-6

Analysis ( Washington’s lower body could use more bulk, but as a 3-4 OLB, he has enough play strength. He’s technically proficient against the run on the edge and should continue to improve as a pass rusher with more work in that area during camps. Washington lacks dynamic qualities against the run or pass, but should be able to get into a camp.

OLB Derrick Malone
Height/weight: 6-2, 220
2014 stats: 85 tackles, 1 sack
Projected round: 6-7

Analysis (Oregon Live): Malone somehow finished second-most on the team with 85 tackles despite being held together by athletic tape, with knee and shoulder injuries stemming from a season ago still nagging.

S Erick Dargan
Height/weight: 5-11, 217
2014 stats: 95 tackles, 7 INT
Projected round: 7

Analysis (CBS Sports): Although he didn’t become a full-time starter until his senior season, Dargan took advantage of the opportunity, leading the Pac-12 in interceptions and the Ducks in total tackles. He is a physical striker in the run game and stays light on his feet to cover a lot of ground, but he does have some limitations in coverage, which can be exposed when asked to cover man-to-man. Although those limitations might keep him from starting in the NFL, Dargan has the ball skills and field physicality/speed to be a core special teams member and the first safety off the bench.

CB Troy Hill
Height/weight: 5-10, 168
2014 stats: 57 tackles, 1 INT
Projected round: 7-FA

Analysis (Bleacher Report): Hill is undersized for an NFL cornerback…but he plays with physicality. He also has very good ball skills, as evidenced by his ranking third in the entire FBS with 19 passes defensed this season.

Having pleaded guilty in January 2014 to a charge of menacing which stemmed from a December 2013 domestic violence arrest, Hill’s chances of being drafted could be adversely affected by off-field concerns. On the field, however, Hill has elevated his draft stock in a big way.