Every week, there are new 2024 NFL Draft prospects who pop up, with some flying under the radar. Each week, I’ll highlight a few prospects that need more attention.
In this edition of Scouting the Nation, we look at three Northeast prospects: A Penn State pass rusher who wowed in Week 1 and the two best offensive linemen from Connecticut in recent memory.
Top Underrated 2024 NFL Draft Prospects To Watch in CFB Week 2
Adisa Isaac, EDGE, Penn State
Adisa Isaac has been on NFL radars since his freshman season with his size, speed, and athleticism. Unfortunately, going into his junior campaign, Isaac suffered a torn Achilles and had to miss that season.
Now, two years after the injury, Isaac has his explosiveness back. He was flying all over the field against West Virginia in Penn State’s season opener. He consistently got after the quarterback with excellent bend and a great first step. His speed flashed on a twist, where he got a quarterback hit.
Isaac also looked natural dropping back into coverage. His hip fluidity and athleticism were on full display in that regard. There were several “wow” plays on Isaac’s film against West Virginia, who has a solid offensive line. Isaac, along with Chop Robinson and Dani Dennis-Sutton, gives Penn State the best pass-rush group in the country.
Isaac was viewed as a Day 2 prospect going into this performance, but he showed top-50 potential, especially if he can build off this game the rest of the season.
Christian Haynes, G, Connecticut
A college guard, Haynes projects better at center for the next level. Last season, he first stood out against Michigan and NC State early on in the season.
To be on the NFL’s radar, a prospect needs to excel when playing top competition, and Haynes did that. He had a lot of success against Michigan first-round pick Mazi Smith and held his own against the rest of their defensive line.
He followed that game up with another strong performance at NC State. Haynes is a high-end athlete and plays with excellent pad level. He anchors well to handle speed to power in pass protection. His instincts and overall awareness allow him to pick up stunts and twists.
Haynes is always in the right spot on the move in the run game. He takes proper angles to the second level and uses his long arms and strong hands to clamp down on defenders.
On UConn’s first touchdown against NC State in Week 1, Haynes got to the second level and sustained his block on the linebacker, giving the running back an easy path to the end zone.
He can be a starting NFL guard, but his football IQ, explosiveness off the line, and athleticism will give him the chance to be a great center. Haynes can establish himself as the top center in the draft if he performs well at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.
Kiran Amegadjie, OT, Yale
The best FCS player in the country by a wide margin, Kiran Amegadjie had elite tape week in and week out last season. He gave up zero sacks and was always the best player on the field.
Amegadjie wins with impressive foot quickness, balance, and knee bend in pass protection. He kept pass rushers outside the pocket when they tried to win with bend and speed. Against power, his core strength and anchor led to him stonewalling defenders consistently.
His play strength allows him to displace defenders in the run game on almost every play. Amegadjie moves very well for a 320-pound tackle, and he had a lot of success at the second level.
He uses incredibly long arms and strong hands to drive linebackers out of the play. His loose hips make it easier to redirect and adjust to linebackers’ movements downfield.
Amegadjie overwhelms defenders with his natural tools in the run game, which is what you want to see from an FCS tackle. His tape at guard in 2021 was also very good, giving Amegadjie four-position versatility.
The top FCS picks were both offensive linemen the last two years: Trevor Penning and Cody Mauch. Amegadjie is in the same tier as them as a prospect, and he should be a Round 1-2 pick.