From the college recruiting process to NFL draft evaluations, ESPN's scouts have analyzed many top players through the course of their high school and college careers. All the players listed below were ESPN 300 prospects coming out of high school. While some like Leonard Fournette were expected to become three-and-out first round selections, others greatly enhanced their skill set at the collegiate level.
Here's a comparison of five top draft prospects' high school and NFL draft scouting reports.
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (No. 16 in 2014 ESPN 300)
Luginbill (2014): A very savvy and confident player with a nice feel for the game and a presence for what is going on around him. Poised and calm. Makes quick, good decisions on passes and on the give/keep option plays off the zone-read game. Has natural ball carrying instincts with good ball handling on play-fakes. Operates from the shotgun, but has a gamer's attitude and would easily adjust to just about any scheme.
McShay (2017): Battle tested and played some of his best football against top defensive competition. Has the clutch gene and is a proven winner. Highly confident individual with outstanding mental and physical toughness. Coaches rave about his leadership and football instincts. Works in an up-tempo shotgun based spread offense with a lot of 'check with me' pre-snap reads. Occasionally locks onto primary target. Also will force some throws or fail to see dropping LBs or backside safeties.
Release / arm strength
Luginbill: The ball comes out quickly and his motion is compact and loose. Does a very good job of using his body. Natural release point is a little low, but very consistent and with little-to-no wasted motion. Arm strength allows him to attack with depth from sideline-to-sideline. Throws with zip and softness at the same time and can change ball speeds when necessary.
McShay: Quick, compact delivery. Adequate-to-good zip on deep outs. Can make all necessary NFL throws. Below average height and his ball comes out a bit low at times, which led to an unusually high percentage of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Luginbill: Dual-threat with a passer's mentality and is very reminiscent of Jameis Winston. Will exit the front door to reduce losses and is smart with the football when under duress but at times will take off too early. Shows initial quickness and the elusiveness to consistently move the chains with his legs when called upon. Can improvise, escape and make things happen when the play breaks down.
McShay: Extends a lot of plays with his instincts and quick feet. Eyes will drop on occasion but more often than not he keeps his eyes downfield while sliding/climbing within the pocket. Showed more patience in 2016 but still can be too quick to abandon the pocket at times. Instinctive open field runner with good burst and elusiveness for the position. Usually smart about when to slide and when to fight for extra yards. Good ball security despite a heavy rushing load.