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NFL Draft: Top offensive players available by position

In this Oct. 6, 2018 photo, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws a pass against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl, in Dallas. Murray is a possible pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. (Cooper Neill / Associated Press)
In this Oct. 6, 2018 photo, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws a pass against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl, in Dallas. Murray is a possible pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. (Cooper Neill / Associated Press)
By Ralph D. Russo Associated Press

Some of the top offensive players, by position, available in the NFL draft, which takes place April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee (x-indicates early entrant to draft):

Quarterback

Position outlook: The most interesting player in the draft and a few players likely to be selected earlier than they should because that’s what happens with quarterbacks.

x-Kyler Murray, 5-foot-10, 205, Oklahoma

Strengths: Explosive athlete with a strong arm, nice touch and solid accuracy.

Weaknesses: Kyler Murray is small. You might have heard.

Fact: Murray’s Allen (Texas) High School team went 43-0 at with three championships in the state’s most competitive division.

Gone by: Certainly seems as if he will be No. 1 selection to Cardinals.

x-Dwayne Haskins, 6-3, 230, Ohio State

Strengths: Big guy with a big arm who commands his offense.

Weaknesses: Heavy-footed and prone to fall back against pressure. Only 14 career starts.

Fact: Led the nation with 4,831 yards passing and 50 touchdowns last season.

Gone by: Even if the teams currently in the top 10 don’t want Haskins, good bet someone will trade up to grab him.

Drew Lock, 6-4, 228, Missouri

Strengths: Size, arm and athleticism.

Weaknesses: Accuracy and ability to throw with varying speeds are inconsistent.

Fact: Four-year starter at Missouri.

Gone by: Might not be a top-15 player, but good chance he’s a top-15 pick.

Daniel Jones, 6-5, 231, Duke

Strengths: Combo of size and athleticism is top level.

Weaknesses: Decision making was often questionable and release needs to be sped up.

Fact: Three years as a starter under coach David Cutcliffe, aka the guy who coached Peyton and Eli Manning in college.

Gone by: Pretty good chance Jones gets taken in the first round.

Others to watch: Ryan Finley, QB, North Carolina State; Jarrett Stidham, Auburn; Will Grier, West Virginia; Tyree Jackson, Buffalo.

Running back

Position outlook: The trend away from first-round running backs has been broken in recent years, but there is no Ezekiel Elliott or Saquon Barkley in this group.

x-Josh Jacobs, 5-10, 220, Alabama

Strengths: Bursts through holes and knocks tacklers back. Complete back who can block and catch.

Weaknesses: Will need to be better at avoiding contact at the next level.

Fact: Thanks to Alabama’s wealth of talent, Jacobs left college with only 299 touches from scrimmage.

Gone by: Early second round.

Others to watch: David Montgomery, Iowa State; Damien Harris, Alabama; Darrell Henderson, Memphis; Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic; Miles Sanders, Penn State.

Offensive line

Position outlook: This draft seems light on those plug-and-play offensive tackles teams covet. Even some of the better tackle prospects such as Alabama’s Jonah Williams and Oklahoma’s Cody Ford have teams considering them at guard. But depth looks good.

Andre Dillard, T, 6-5, 315, Washington State

Strengths: Excellent athleticism and carries his weight comfortably.

Weaknesses: Needs to show more power as a run blocker.

Fact: Former two-star recruit who redshirted as a freshman and became a three-year starter at tackle.

Gone by: Top 20.

x-Jawaan Taylor, T, 6-5, 312, Florida

Strengths: Able to drive defenders and finish as a run blocker.

Weaknesses: Arrived at Florida overweight and that will need to be managed.

Fact: Started 12 games at right tackle last season for the Gators.

Gone by: Top 20.

x-Jonah Williams, T, 6-4, 302, Alabama

Strengths: Sound technician and good athlete.

Weaknesses: Shorter than ideal arms and relatively small frame for tackle could necessitate move to guard.

Fact: Three-year starter who moved to left-tackle as a sophomore and was an All-American as a junior.

Gone by: End of the first round.

x-Cody Ford, T, 6-4, 329, Oklahoma

Strengths: Huge, but with some athleticism that gives him big upside.

Weaknesses: His talent and technique need to be refined. Another tackle possibly headed for guard.

Fact: Started four games at guard in 2017 before taking over at right tackle in 2018.

Gone by: Early second round.

Garrett Bradbury, C, 6-3, 306, North Carolina State

Strengths: Strong, lean and instinctive.

Weaknesses: Better in pass protection than drive blocking for the run.

Fact: High school tight end who developed into All-America center.

Gone by: Top 40.

x-Erick McCoy, C, 6-4, 303, Texas A&M

Strengths: Thick build and strong hands.

Weaknesses. Gets a little lost in space trying to block beyond the line of scrimmage.

Fact: Three-year starter after redshirting as a freshman.

Gone by: Top 40.

Dalton Risner, T, 6-5, 312, Kansas State

Strengths: Strong and consistent.

Weaknesses: Quickness and agility are so-so.

Fact: Started at center as a redshirt freshman before settling in at right tackle.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

x-Greg Little, T, 6-5, 310, Mississippi

Strengths: Athleticism and size work well in pass blocking.

Weaknesses: Power in the running game needs work.

Fact: Played with Kyler Murray at Allen (Texas) High School and was one of the top recruits in the country in 2016.

Gone by: Late second round, but raw materials could push him up much higher.

Others to watch: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College; Kaleb McGary, T, Washington; Tytus Howard, T, Alabama State; Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State.

Wide receiver

Outlook: The best prospects all have at least one question mark to keep them out of the first 10 or 12 picks, but enough talent to put them in the first round.

x-D.K. Metcalf, 6-3, 228, Mississippi

Strengths: A physical specimen with blazing speed.

Weaknesses: Route running and hands are inconsistent.

Fact: Father is former NFL and Ole Miss offensive lineman Terrence Metcalf.

Gone by: Top 25.

x-Marquise Brown, 5-9, 166, Oklahoma

Strengths: Explosive speed and elusiveness.

Weaknesses: Skinny and short.

Fact: Nicknamed “Hollywood” for his Florida hometown and star qualities.

Gone by: The size (not great)/speed (great) combo gives him a wide-range of possibilities from pick 15 to 45.

x-A.J. Brown, 6-0, 225, Mississippi

Strengths: Good size, effective route runner out of the slot and plays tough.

Weaknesses: Can he play outside effectively?

Fact: Drafted in the 19th round by the San Diego Padres in 2016.

Gone by: Middle of the second round.

Parris Campbell, 6-0, 205, Ohio State

Strengths: Breakaway speed.

Weaknesses: Needs refinement because he was used in non-traditional ways in college.

Fact: Filled a role in Urban Meyer’s offense similar to Percy Harvin at Florida.

Gone by: End of the second, but the game-breaking ability could tempt a team much sooner.

Others to watch: N’Keal Harry, Arizona State; Deebo Samuel, South Carolina; Riley Ridley, Georgia; Hakeem Butler, Iowa State.

Tight end

Outlook: Three possible first-rounders and then a bunch of players who do a few things well that will likely land them in the middle rounds.

x-T.J. Hockenson, 6-5, 251, Iowa

Strengths: Best combination of athleticism, receiving skills and blocking in the class.

Weaknesses: Needs to fill out and become a more reliable blocker to reach star status.

Fact: John Mackey Award winner as nation’s best tight end last year.

Gone by: Top 20.

x-Noah Fant, 6-4, 249, Iowa

Strengths: Speed and athleticism aplenty.

Weaknesses: Might be more of a slot receiver, motion-type tight end.

Fact: Fant was the hyped Iowa tight end going into last season, but Hockenson’s emergence probably held down some of his production. Fant had 39 catches for 519 yards and seven touchdowns.

Gone by: Early second round.

x-Irv Smith Jr., 6-2, 242, Alabama

Strengths: Speed and route-running to be a downfield threat.

Weaknesses: Needs to catch better in traffic.

Fact: Father, Irv Smith Sr., was a first-round draft pick by New Orleans out of Notre Dame in 1993.

Gone by: Middle of the second.

Others to watch: Josh Oliver, San Jose State; Kahale Warring, San Diego State; Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M; Dawson Knox, Mississippi.

Kickers/punters

Outlook: Punters are more likely to break into the draft than kickers these days.

Mitch Wishnowsky, P, 6-2, 218, Utah

Strengths: Like a lot of former Australian rules football players, the placement of his punts is precise.

Weaknesses: Lacks booming leg strength.

Fact: Handled kickoffs as a junior, but not last season.

Gone by: End of the sixth round.

Jake Bailey, P, 6-1, 200, Stanford

Strengths: Big leg has no problem with distance.

Weaknesses: Placement needs work on shorter punts.

Fact: Handled kickoffs and piled up touchbacks (102) in his final two seasons.

Gone by: End of the draft.

Others to watch: Matt Gay, K, Utah; Cole Tracy, K, LSU; Jack Fox, P, Rice; Tyler Newsome, P, Notre Dame.

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