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2018 NFL Draft: Team Prospects - San Diego State Aztecs

Which Aztecs will hear their names called come draft day?

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Best Kept Secret

  • Name: Rashaad Penny
  • Position: Running Back
  • Height: 5’ 11”
  • Weight: 220 lbs
  • 40-Time: 4.46 sec

What Makes Him Great: The Perfect Mix

Penny clicked in at 220 pounds and ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which gives him the weight and speed to sit on par next to most NFL running backs. He’s shifty through the hole and decisive, which gives him the feel that on a team with some backfield stability, he could find a way to contribute from the get-go. Two of Penny’s best skills are his ability to break away from defenders in the open field and keep his feet moving between the tackles.

Where He Could Struggle: One Dimensional?

It’s hard to say that Penny struggles to come out of the backfield and into the slot, since he was rarely used in that package during his time with the Aztecs. The truth is that Penny may be a more underrated receiving option than given credit for, but there’s also the chance that he could be just downright weak at the skill. Other critics of Penny have claimed that he’s not the best decision maker at times, relying too much of his natural ability, a skill that won’t translate to the next level.

Where He’s Projected: 2nd-3rd Round

According to Walter Football, Penny is listed as the seventh-best running back prospect, behind an imposing group of power conference standouts. Simply put, depending on how hot-or-cold running backs go on draft day, Penny could be either a stretch for an early-round team or a steal for a squad selecting a bit later. The Aztecs star doesn’t have the imposing size or natural play-making abilities of some of more revered SEC runners, but he has all the intangibles to make it work.

The Mystery Man

  • Name: Nick Bawden
  • Position: Fullback
  • Height: 6’ 3”
  • Weight: 245 lbs
  • 40-Time: N/A
NCAA Football: Boise State at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Enigmas Of All Enigmas

There’s few prospects in the draft class that are as unique as fullback Nick Bawden, which unfortunately could go against the San Diego State workhorse’s draft stock. Bawden would be an ace on any special teams unit in the NFL and could be a serviceable fullback on a team that uses that package (or as a second option in red-zone areas). However, as good as Bawden has been at the college level, the one-time quarterback is sometimes too much physicality and not enough technique. In reality, the odds of a fullback getting taken anywhere before the last day of the draft is extremely rare and Bawden won’t be the top-ranked prospect at his position. The reality is that Bawden will likely be a post-draft invite to a training camp.

Baseball Name, Football Prospect

  • Name: David Wells
  • Position: Tight End
  • Height: 6’ 5”
  • Weight: 255 lbs
  • 40-Time: 4.75 sec
NCAA Football: San Jose State at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Prototypical NFL Tight End?

Big, strong and athletic, it seems that David Wells checks about every box in terms of what just about anyone would describe the prototypical NFL tight end prospect as. Wells stands at 6’ 5”, can manage edge rushers in protection packages, can get downfield to make open catches and can play the in-between game as a horizontal route option. Also, he’s an absolute handful and a half to bring down, with an imposing 255 pound-frame.

So what’s the catch (no pun intended) with this guy?

Actually, just about nothing. Wells didn’t have the most prolific receiving numbers (9 catches, 133 yards, 2 TD’s) last season, but was still named to the All-Mountain West Second Team for the second year in a row, due to his absolutely imposing nature on the offensive front. A blocking machine, Wells’ lack of catching experience may be dwarfed by his ability to open up the run-game, even at the next level. He’s projected anywhere from the 4th-7th round on different NFL Draft boards but I’d consider him a safe 5th-6th round selection.

The Beast

  • Name: Kameron Kelly
  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Height: 6’ 2”
  • Weight: 204 lbs
  • 40-Time: 4.66 sec
NCAA Football: Boise State at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Call me biased, but there’s few defensive backs in this draft class that I’ve enjoyed watching personally over the past few seasons more than Kameron Kelly. I could get into his measurables, his athleticism and his play-making skills, but sometimes it’s just better to watch in on video. Here’s some clips on the defensive back stand-out from San Diego State.