Tuesday Draft Notes -- 6.0

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The offensive tackle position takes a hit and I’m told more underclassmen have settled on representation or are in the final stages of deciding on an agent. Here with that and much more is our most recent edition of Tuesday Draft Notes.

The season ending injury to Trey Adams of Washington is a major blow to the tackle position for next April’s draft. As we reported almost a month ago in our second edition of Tuesday Draft Notes, Adams was set to enter the draft off a good campaign. Since the injury, which occurred during Friday night’s loss to Arizona State, it has been reported Adams will return to Washington next season.

That leaves just two potential first-round tackles: Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame and Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown

People I’ve spoken with tell me they expect Brown to enter the draft but that he doesn't grade out as a top-25 selection -- an opinion I share at this point.

Several scouts are enamored with Chukwuma Okorafor of Western Michigan, but I haven't heard any first-round grades on him since the season began. The recent ankle injury to Martinas Rankin, which I’m told is worse than what’s being reported, also negatively impacts the position. 

The projected crop of free-agent tackles for next March does not look very promising either. This means teams needing an offensive tackle in the offseason could be in a bind.

While most of the top-rated quarterbacks have failed to meet expectations, Kurt Benkert of Virginia continues to swiftly move up draft boards. The Week 2 riser entered the season literally ignored by scouts but is now receiving some early- to mid-round grades around the league. Expect Benkert to be invited to a major postseason All-Star game (Senior Bowl?) as well as the combine.

Almost a year ago, we alerted readers to the rise of small school cornerback Brendan Langley, who was eventually selected by the Denver Broncos in the third round. 

The hot cornerback from the small-school ranks making the rounds this year is D'Montre Wade of Murray State.

Wade, who was not on scouting sheets around the league before the season began, has four interceptions in six games this season despite dealing with an injured shoulder. I’m told there’s a good chance Wade gets a Senior Bowl and combine invitation. Some scouts have Wade graded as a third/fourth-round prospect.

As we get further into the 2017 campaign, the buzz on highly rated underclassmen set to enter the draft is getting louder.

The word circulating in the industry is Lamar Jackson has settled on an agent, while Josh Allen is close to settling on representation. 

Sources tell me it also looks as though Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, a Week 5 riser, will enter the draft. And the belief from those coming out of Norman is that tight end Mark Andrews will join his teammate and is expected to enter the draft. Andrews presently grades as our top tight end for 2018.