Leading up to the NFL Draft, USA TODAY High School Sports has tracked the prospects of players who were named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Football Teams. On Thursday night, in Round 1, six former ALL-USA players were selected.
Here are evaluations of those picks along with high school highlights.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars — Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU, St. Augustine (New Orleans),ALL-USA Offensive Player of the Year, 2013; ALL-USA First Team in 2012 and ’13: A very sensible pick. Fournette, widely regarded as the draft’s best back and one who has drawn comparisons to Adrian Peterson, immediately bolsters an offense that hasn’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Maurice Jones-Drew in 2011. Fournette should take some pressure off Blake Bortles and give him a better chance to prove whether he is the team’s long-term answer under center in his fourth year. But even if Bortles flounders again, Fournette and an underrated defense could be enough to vault this team back to relevance.
12. Houston Texans — Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson, Gainesville (Ga.), ALL-USA Second Team, 2013: The Texans take another crack at solving their perpetual quarterback issues by obtaining Watson, the club’s first Round 1 passer since David Carr was the franchise’s first-ever pick in 2002. Watson’s intangibles are off the charts. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist led Clemson to consecutive national championship appearances, including the school’s first title since 1981 with the Tigers’ win over Alabama in January. That’s great news for Houston, which has gone 9-7 in all three of coach Bill O’Brien’s seasons but has yet to be a real factor come playoff time. Watson must improve his downfield accuracy and decision making — and adapt to O’Brien’s demanding playbook — in order to unseat veteran Tom Savage. But like Dak Prescott a year ago, he’s joining a team that provides a top-shelf supporting cast.
16. Baltimore Ravens — Marlon Humphrey, DB, Alabama, Hoover (Ala,), ALL-USA First Team, 2013: GM Ozzie Newsome, a ‘Bama alum, lands one of his precious Tide stars. He’ll have to improve his ability to track the ball, especially ones that challenge him deep. But the son of former Alabama and NFL tailback Bobby Humphrey is an excellent athlete with ideal corner size (6 foot, 197). And given receiver John Ross’ arrival in Cincinnati, the Ravens suddenly need more corners in a division that already featured the pass-happy Steelers.