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NFL Draft Notebook: Marvin Harrison Jr. vs. Malik Nabers, underrated prospects

Rogers' 2024 NFL Draft EDGE rankings
Connor Rogers walks through his EDGE rankings for the 2024 NFL Draft, led by Jared Verse and Laiatu Latu.

With the NFL draft less than a month away, now is the time that everybody is looking a little bit deeper.

The superstars who will hear their names called early in Round 1 garnered all the attention at the Combine, but now NFL scouts and coaching staffs are digging through the tape to set up their draft boards and hoping to uncover gems.

RELATED: Connor Rogers’ updated NFL Draft Big Board

This week’s NFL Draft Notebook dives into a handful of prospects I’m higher on than consensus and breaks down a few key position rankings debates, highlighted by wide receiver: Marvin Harrison Jr. vs. Malik Nabers.

Underrated prospects

Mohammed Kamara, EDGE, Colorado State

A compact EDGE rusher at 6’1 ⅜” (with just 32 ⅜” arms), Kamara was extremely disruptive in 2023 with 64 total pressures. However, he’s not a one-year wonder after tallying 29 total sacks over the last three seasons.

Kamara plays fast, firing off the ball and throwing heavy hands into blockers. His flexibility allows him to turn into the pocket to finish plays.

Overlooked due to his build, it would not surprise me to see Kamara carve out a role as a pass-rushing specialist and be very impactful as a Day 3 pick. He’s the 68th overall player on my updated big board.

Kamal Hadden, CB, Tennessee

If not for a season-ending shoulder injury after seven games in 2023, there is a chance Hadden is viewed as a top 75 pick.

In that two month span he put out the best tape of his life, grabbing three interceptions and running stride for stride down the field with wide receivers trying to get vertical. Hadden has the prototypical size of an outside corner, with above average vision to make a break on the ball.

If healthy, he could surprise a lot of people as a starter at some point in his rookie season.

RELATED: Connor Rogers’ latest NFL Mock Draft

Fabien Lovett Sr., DT, Florida State

Projecting prospects in the draft can take you a lot of different directions. Is the player raw, but has the ceiling to be a star? Maybe the prospect is scheme specific, but not for everyone. With Fabien Lovett, he takes pride in simply doing the dirty work of controlling space in the trenches.

He’s a well-built (97th percentile hands and 98th percentile arm length), two-gapping presence, tailor made for early downs and goal line situations. Lovett won’t ever fill the stat sheet, but he’ll make life significantly easier for his teammates around him at the next level.

Javon Baker, WR, UCF

Baker exploded in 2023 with over 1,100 receiving yards, seven touchdowns and, most impressively, 30 receptions of 15-plus yards. He simply knows how to win down the field with sharp routes, body control and tracking.

In contested situations Baker (6-1, 202 pounds) positions himself well and is very good at leaping to high point the ball. His experience playing both inside and outside will bring versatility to an NFL offense.

KT Leveston, OL, Kansas State

The Kansas State left tackle has long arms with a thick build that helps him drive defenders off the ball in the run game. Leveston unlocks power from his hips and is at his best paving the way for the inside run game.

His strengths make for a no-brainer transition to guard at the next level, where he could be a great value pick on Day 3 in this deep offensive line class.

Three draft rankings debates to watch

WR: Marvin Harrison Jr. vs. Malik Nabers

This one is attracting the most attention outside of the non-Caleb Williams quarterbacks because the wide receiver class this year is special.

Harrison Jr. has the size, route-running ability, bloodline and highlight reel grabs. Nabers is more explosive with lightning-quick burst and agility after the catch.

This debate is a unique situation that will come down to what skillset the wide receiver-needy teams at the top of the draft (Patriots, Cardinals, Chargers, Giants) place a premium on. Harrison’s game has a pro ready feel and his size (6-4, 205 pounds) allows him to dominate on the perimeter. Nabers’ acceleration and playmaking will have certain offensive coordinators moving him all over the formation, dying to get the ball in his hands as often as possible.

I’d still bet on Harrison Jr. being the first wide receiver taken on draft night and I have him at No. 1 overall on my Big Board.

RELATED: Connor Rogers’ NFL Draft WR rankings

RB: Trey Benson vs. Jonathon Brooks vs. Jaylen Wright

This is a battle that won’t kick off until Day 2 of the draft, but is as tight as can be.

Benson’s contact balance, agility and ability to turn nothing into something sets a high floor.

Brooks slices through the opposition in a smooth manner, showing off above average acceleration and elusive cuts.

Wright is the wildcard here. He’s truly shot out of a cannon, equipped with home run speed and natural hands in the pass game.

If not for an in-season ACL tear, Brooks might’ve been the clear frontrunner. While Benson is my top-rated running back, I think Wright’s big-play ability will leave him at the top of multiple team’s draft boards.

RELATED: Connor Rogers’ NFL Draft RB rankings

IDL: Jer’Zhan Newton vs. Byron Murphy

In an interior defensive line class that can be defined as unspectacular, Newton and Murphy are very deserving of first round grades.

Let’s start with Murphy who put on a pass rush clinic this season with 45 total pressures. He constantly finds a way to dart through gaps and slip by blockers. He has 11” hands (97th percentile) and ran a ridiculous 4.87 forty yard dash at 297 pounds. The athleticism he brings up front is a matchup issue.

As for Newton, he’s now posted two years of dominant tape. There is an argument that no defender in this class has better film from this year than his performances against Penn State and Wisconsin.

Although he couldn’t test at the NFL Combine due to injury, he’s also an explosive athlete. His ability to stack and shed blockers is a very translatable skill he’ll take to the next level, on top of having great awareness and vision.

Ultimately, I think Newton will be the first one taken in this group and an above average starter right away.