2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Are Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon & Jeff Driskel Viable NFL Prospects?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

On Saturday night Louisiana Tech defeated Arkansas State 47-28 in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. It was a game that was likely overlooked by most, but featured a pair of potential NFL Draft prospects (both of which played for Louisiana Tech). How high is the upside? Let’s take a look:

RB Kenneth Dixon
He had a monster game, showing off both his running and pass catching skills:

  • Rushing – 21 carries for 102 yards and 2 TD
  • Receiving – 6 receptions for 113 yards and 2 TD

He finishes his college career with 87 TD, leaving him as the FBS career leader with 87 TD (a title he could give up before long, as Navy’s Keenan Reynolds has one game remaining and could retake the lead). He’s posted 30+ receptions in back-to-back seasons while averaging 5.1 yards per carry or better in all four of his college seasons.

He’s caught the eye of CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler, who recently said:

“Dixon is an extremely productive runner who understands the subtleties of the position. A well-rounded runner, there isn’t much that separates him, but he is a reliable decision-maker with vision, balance and decisive movements. Dixon also stands out in pass protection and as a receiver, which is why he will be one of the first senior running backs drafted this spring.”

He clearly has a nose for the end zone and at 5’10” and 213 lbs. could at least profile as a short yardage/third down back. The potential will be there for him to develop into more than that, but he’s going to have to earn it. It’ll be interesting to see where he lands in the draft, but in the right spot his time could come quickly. Monitor the name and see how things develop.

QB Jeff Driskel
He ended his career with a strong performance, going 26-38 for 458 yards and 3 TD. The former Florida quarterback had his best college season, by far, completing 62.4% of his passes for 4,033 yards, 27 TD and 8 INT. As Brugler stated:

“He has ideal physical traits for the position with his size, athleticism and arm, but scouts still want to see him improve his timing, anticipation and decision-making as a downfield passer.”

He’s listed at 6’4” and 231 lbs., so the size certainly is there. However it’s going to take more than these numbers, given the performance he had in his final season at Florida (53.8% completion rate, 1,140 yards, 9 TD and 10 INT), to convince NFL teams that he deserves an opportunity.

If he is drafted it’ll likely be as a developmental prospect late in the draft who will spend a year or two on the practice squad. The numbers are gaudy, but don’t get overly excited.

Sources – ESPN, CBS Sports, NCAA.com

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