Note: All seniors mentioned have their report profiles linked, although they are not filled out yet.
The Arizona Wildcats forged a 7-6 record in 2017 despite being one of the less talented teams in their conference. This success was largely brought about by underclassman quarterback Khalil Tate who made an instant impression once he was inserted into the starting lineup. Tate was not an elite passer, but he showcased some arm talent and creativity through the air. His rushing skills were on display all year as he racked up 1411 yards on the ground. Tate's resume includes a 327 rushing yard performance against the Colorado Buffaloes and a stretch of six games topping over 100 yards on the ground. If Tate continues on his upward trajectory he might be worth a draft pick. The junior is certainly a name to watch.
One of Tate's favorite targets throughout the year was Shun Brown, a senior who may not be athletic enough to create separation, but has some reliable hands when the ball comes his way. Brown consistently found ways to get into open air space and show his chest to his quarterback. His limitations will probably prevent him from being drafted without a massive leap in his final season at Arizona. He is arguably the best senior on the roster though, and could become a low level contributor in the league.
Flipping to the other side of the football, Dereck Boles brings some energy and hustle to the Wildcat defense. Despite being a mediocre athlete Boles plays hard and goes snap to whistle. The technical aspects of his game will be detrimental in attempting to make a move to the professional level. Boles is unrefined with his hand usage and approach to shedding blocks. He's reckless and pulls himself out of the play too often. Boles also has some off-field red flags, as he was kicked off the Boise State football team and later charged with biting off a piece of a teammate's ear. It's a peculiar case for a guy who may already be struggling to get into a camp on talent. Don't expect him to make the transition to the NFL.
Cornerback Jace Whittaker seemed to be the overlooked man last year in a secondary that housed some excellent talent for a college program. His teammate Dane Cruikshank was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 Draft thanks to a freakish combine and some excellent upside. Whittaker isn't the same caliber of athlete that Cruikshank is, but he's a reliable starting corner for the team. He plays bigger than his listed 5'11" and 180 pounds, and has a mean streak as a tackler. Whittaker is willing to come up in run defense and put his body on the line. He's not a guaranteed finisher, as evidenced by the Oregon game, but he's got a tackler's mentality. Coverage is where Whittaker will have the hardest time adjusting his game to a higher level, as he is very uncomfortable backpedaling and mirroring receivers out of man. He might get a shot in an NFL camp, but the physical question marks are huge.
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles rounds out the group of notable senior prospects for the team in Tucson. Despite being the highest billed out of the four seniors I watched, he was the least impressive. His versatility was on display as he played everywhere for the Wildcats. His leadership and command of the defense flashed on the screen pre-snap. The physical traits did not match the hype around Flannigan-Fowles. He was easy to shrug off for most runners due to lack of upper body strength and some suspicious angles to the ball. He isn't a sideline to sideline mover and may test in the high 4.6 range in the 40 yard dash. When asked to carry receivers deep downfield in two deep or single high he struggled to stay in step. His ball skills were underwhelming despite being listed at 6'2", and he could never get his eyes around to find the football. If Flannigan-Fowles doesn't improve significantly he may have trouble finding work beyond a few weeks in August.
WR Shun Brown: Undrafted
DT Dereck Boles: Undrafted
CB Jace Whittaker: Undrafted
S Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles: Undrafted
If you'd like to read my complete Arizona notes you can do so by clicking the link below.