By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers both had 10 wins a season ago. And provided one of the better rivalry games in the past handful of years. More history could be made on April 27th, as both Oregon and Oregon State could have a first-round pick for the time ever in the history of the NFL draft.
Ducks cornerback, Christian Gonzalez, is a lock to go in the first round. The question for Gonzalez is when he will be picked. Most mock drafts have Gonzalez as the second-best cornerback and it looks like he could go anywhere from 4-20 with a consensus pick of #7 to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Todd McShay of ESPN had this to say about Gonzalez, “Gonzalez is a talented press corner with the length to get his hands on receivers, the foot speed to mirror a receiver’s release, the fluidity to flip his hips and the speed to run with receivers. He shows the burst to recover quickly when he gets caught out of phase, and he’s smooth changing directions matching up underneath. Gonzalez also closes well breaking on passes thrown in front of him and plays the ball rather than the man. He’s versatile enough to match up over the slot and on the outside, but he needs to get stronger to improve his ability to come down with 50-50 balls.”
While Christian Gonzalez looks like a lock, Oregon State Beavers tight end, Luke Musgrave, has been steadily climbing draft boards since the Senior Bowl. Musgrave only played in two games for the Beavers last season, but was a dominant force in those two games. Musgrave has the size and speed NFL scouts look for in tight ends. Musgrave has had mock drafts where he goes #15 to the Packers, but also mock drafts where he goes in the second round. But most of the mocks have Musgrave falling in the first round. If he does, this would be the first time in history that both an Oregon and Oregon State player were drafted in the first round of the NFL draft.
The Athletic’s draft expert Dane Bulger had this to say about Musgrave, “An impressive size/speed athlete, Musgrave runs like a gazelle (elite high school track numbers for his size), and his lacrosse and skiing backgrounds translate to football with his core strength and hip fluidity as both a pass catcher and blocker. He blocks with outstanding body control and leverage to be a physical edge setter and engage defenders at the second and third levels, although he still needs to improve his sustain skills and steadiness as a pass blocker (only 5.9 percent of his career snaps on offense came in pass protection). Overall, Musgrave must continue to build up his football resume and overall consistency, but he is a high-level athlete with the route running and blocking talent to be a productive starting combo tight end in the NFL.”
Thursday, April 27th could mark history in the great state of Oregon. And the momentum from the draft will carry on into what should be a great season of college football for both the Ducks and the Beavers.