Below are notable Baylor Bears eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft. The Baylor Bears are coming off a 2016 season riddled with scandals and transfers, including star quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who decided to move to Auburn.
The team only had one player selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, when center Kyle Fuller was selected by the Houston Texans in the seventh round. I expect that number to go up in 2018 because of eligible talent at the line of scrimmage for this team on both sides of the ball, but the success of the team as a whole may see similar, if not worse results.
Offensive Tackle Maurice Porter – 6060, 310 – Senior
After transferring in last year as the top-rated junior college prospect in Texas, Porter primarily served as the swing offensive lineman for the Bears in 2016. Whether it was at guard or tackle, Porter filled in nicely at either position. At 6’6, 310, he displays power at the point of attack and is able to clear pathways in the run game. He is going to start at left tackle this season, and if he can show improved patience in his pass sets, he could be one of the positional group’s biggest risers heading into the 2018 NFL Draft.
Offensive Guard Ishmael Wilson – 6050, 310 – Senior
Defensive End KJ Smith – 6010, 260 – Senior
KJ Smith is an undersized, productive defensive end who makes his presence known in the run game. As a pass rusher, I’d call him nifty. He is not the fastest player to simply beat offensive tackles with speed, so he is forced to win with power and technique. However, Smith’s position in the NFL may be up to debate.
He is a tweener, similar to DeMarcus Walker from last year’s draft. Smith’s traits translate to being a five technique at the next level, but his lack of size and length essentially condemns him from playing that position. The best option may be to kick inside as a rotational three-technique with pass rush potential if he can beef up his frame.
Defensive End Brian Nance – 6030, 250 – Senior
Brian Nance is the most talented pass rusher on the roster for the Baylor Bears, but issues off of the field, both personal and academic, have derailed his career up to this point. On talent alone, he has the athleticism and pass rush ability to be a difference maker, but it is hard to project a player that we have not seen since 2015.
If he can translate his traits into some kind of production for the Bears this season, he could elevate his name into late-round draft consideration as a situational pass rusher.
Linebacker Taylor Young – 5090, 225 – Senior