Below are the notable Kansas State Wildcats eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft. As a young team looking to build off of their progress last season, the Wildcats have a chance to make some noise in the Big 12 this season. With rising playmakers and stout lines on both sides of the ball, top teams in the conference would be foolish to overlook this young group of talent.
Wide Receiver Byron Pringle – 6020, 205 – Junior
After averaging 16 yards per catch on 39 receptions for 631 yards, Byron Pringle is undoubtedly the top offensive weapon returning for the Wildcats. Speaking of his play-making ability, he is also one of the nation’s premiere kick returners. He has the explosiveness and top-end speed to simply blow by defensive backs on vertical routes. The problem Pringle runs into is everything in between as a receiver.
Other than winning on a vertical or in open space after the catch, he is limited. He does not have the play strength to consistently fight off press coverage at the LOS. In addition, his route tree is unrefined and limited at this point to verticals, slants and stop routes. Pringle is only a junior with plenty of room to improve, but he is a dynamic deep threat to keep an eye on in the Big 12 this season.
Offensive Lineman Dalton Risner – 6050, 300 – Redshirt Junior
The best prospect on the Wildcats is versatile offensive lineman Dalton Risner. At 6’5, 300, Risner has started all 26 games in his career, both at center and right tackle, earning First Team Freshman All-American and All-Big 12 honors respectively. He also has experience playing at both guard spots as well.
With his ability to play nearly all five positions on the offensive line in a pinch, Risner has the positional flexibility that coaches dream about. His combination of strength, technique and mobility serves him well in both pass protection and the run game. He rarely has problems reaching and getting to second level. Some offensive lineman need more of a mean streak, but Risner’s consistent toughness jumps off the screen.
In pass protection, he did struggle against the speed rushers of the conference at right tackle however. Overall, Risner is one of the cleanest, most reliable prospects on the offensive line in the country, and if he can put up another year of consistency across the line of scrimmage, he could declare for the draft.
Center Reid Najvar – 6040, 295 – Redshirt Senior
Cornerback DJ Reed – 5090, 188 – Redshirt Junior
At a listed 5’9, DJ Reed is undoubtedly going to face questions about his size when transitioning to the next level, but his production for the Wildcats after transferring in from Fresno State speaks for itself.
With three interceptions and a Big-12 leading 19 pass deflections, DJ Reed is one of the league’s most feared ball hawks. He has arguably the quickest set of feet in the conference, if not the nation, as shown when changing direction and mirroring receivers in off man coverage. As a result, he is difficult to shake and consistently win against one on one despite his size. Look at Reed as a similar prospect to former Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson, who was drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft.