‘Hoos in the Draft: Latest on Virginia players’ NFL prospects

uva footballI’m seeing five names with a Virginia designation beside them in mock NFL drafts, including, surprisingly, refreshingly, Bryce Perkins.

I mention Perkins with a caveat: not everyone is sold on our guy.

The takes on Perkins, who threw for a school-record 3,538 yards in 2019, with 22 TDs and 12 INTs, and led the ‘Hoos to the Orange Bowl, range from possible late Day 2 pick, to solid Day 3 guy, to, are you serious?

Perkins has size (6’3”, 215), which, thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Perkins, for that, an NFL arm, and the ability to move the chains with his feet (running for 1,692 yards and 20 touchdowns in his two seasons at UVA).

Those are the pros.

The cons: well, he gets dinged for being a one-read QB, for maybe not having a great pocket presence (he was sacked or scrambled on 92 of his 550 dropbacks in 2019).

The dings might be forgiven a bit when front-office types consider how Perkins was playing this season behind a young line that got better as it got older and more experienced as the season went on.

There’s also a factor involving leadership that will be a plus in Perkins’ favor. People around the program will tell you that Perkins’ biggest difference wasn’t on the field, but in the locker room, in the weight room, on the practice field, setting a tone that made his teammates strive to work harder to be able to keep up.

His coach, Bronco Mendenhall, will tell you that Virginia doesn’t do what it’s done the past two years – win a bowl game, win the Coastal Division for the first time in program history, lose a one-score game to a CFP contender in a New Year’s Six bowl – without Perkins.

Other Virginia prospects

  • Bryce Hall is getting late first round love, and it would be a surprise to see the cornerback fall too far into the second round. Hall brings size (6’1”, 200) and speed to the corner, giving DCs the ability to match him on taller wideouts and provide support against the run.
  • Joe Reed is looking like an early Day 3 guy, as high as the fourth round. Reed is listed at 6’1”, 215, which is good size for a guy with his speed, and he’s versatile – able to contribute at wideout and in the return game. Reed was used in Robert Anae’s offense at UVA in the slot, which makes him a nice fit for NFL teams that are more and more using speed guys in the slot to create openings in the middle of the field.
  • Jordan Mack is a later Day 3 guy, sixth or seventh round. Mack played a good bit of his 2019 season hurt. Versatility is a key for Mack (6’2”, 230), who can contribute in the middle or on the edge.
  • Hasise Dubois can be anything from an end-of-Day 3 guy to an undrafted free agent, but it’s hard for me to imagine that he isn’t playing on Sundays next fall. Dubois has size (6’3”, 215), and he had a nice end to his senior season: four catches (on eight targets) for 139 yards against Virginia Tech, 10 catches (on 11 targets) for 130 yards against Clemson, 10 catches (on 13 targets) for 83 yards and 2 TDs against Florida. Dubois was one of four FBS receivers with 100+ target, 70 percent catch rate and 10+ yards per target, and was tops nationally in most catchable passes without a drop (75). Dude is an NFL guy.

Story by Chris Graham

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