College Football Players Who Could Reinvent Themselves for Success in the NFL
For a player to become a success on the professional level, it may require a position change. Often times, these sort of decisions involve undersized athletes for their respective positions.
Position changes occur along the offensive and defensive lines rather frequently. It also happens to manifest itself in the skill positions—especially at quarterback.
This piece will look at 10 players with the potential to reinvent themselves in the NFL with a position change. It doesn't mean the athletes listed here can't compete professionally at their current positions, but a change could further enhance their prospects for the future.
Vernon Adams Jr.: Quarterback to Running Back
Vernon Adams Jr. doesn't appear to have the size to play quarterback at the NFL level. He'll struggle to see over the line of scrimmage and could be prone to having his passes batted down.
With that said, no one can question his toughness or moxie as a player. Adams Jr. also competes at an extremely high level.
His somewhat stocky frame may signal a move to running back. Adams Jr. is quick enough to make people miss in space and also has displayed the ability to run between the tackles via zone-read opportunities at both Eastern Washington and Oregon.
Trevone Boykin: Quarterback to Receiver
There are some similarities between Trevone Boykin and Robert Griffin III.
Both hailing from Texas, they were track stars in high school at their respective institutions. Griffin III and Boykin are also exceptionally lethal with the ball in their hands. Each can roll out and throw on the run or tuck it and pick up yardage in space.
Unfortunately, both are also smaller with somewhat slight frames. The potential for injury (as illustrated by Griffin III) is high.
Boykin already has a history of playing at receiver. It seems like a natural fit going forward for an athlete with a slow delivery and unpolished skills in the pocket.
Myles Jack: Linebacker to Running Back
With his combination of speed and power, Myles Jack would arguably make for a better running back than a linebacker on the next level.
Athletically, few match up with Jack's ability. He accelerates exceptionally well in space. He's also proved over the course of his UCLA career he can run with power. Head coach Jim Mora has designated Jack as UCLA's goal-line back—even with Jack functioning as the leader within the linebacker corps.
It wouldn't be a shock to see a team take Jack early in the first round with the hopes of convincing him to play on the offensive side of the ball. The respective tread on the tires is also much less when compared to other athletes playing the position full time.
Adoree' Jackson: Wide Receiver or Defensive Back
Adoree' Jackson is the most versatile member within this piece.
For Southern California, he plays on both sides of the ball. Defensive back is primarily where he competes, but Jackson does have a package as a receiver. He also can return both punts and kicks. There simply isn't much Jackson can't do.
On the next level, it could be personal preference as to where he'll line up. Jackson has the ability to be a very good inside receiver with his sublime pace and agility.
William Likely: Defensive Back to Wide Receiver
William Likely is a kick return savant for Maryland.
A native of Florida, Likely holds four Maryland records for kick and punt returns. He had a punt return for a touchdown in the opener versus Richmond and added a second one in Week 2 versus Bowling Green.
Likely shows wiggle, shake, vision and unadulterated speed with these fantastic displays of athleticism. Those characteristics connect perfectly with the slot receiver position.
Although a corner, there's no question Likely could likely transition to the other side of the ball quite effectively if required.
Braxton Miller: Quarterback to Wide Receiver
OK...I cheated a bit on this one.
Braxton Miller's move from quarterback to receiver has already proved to be a good one. The measurables and athleticism always indicated Miller could theoretically become a very good pass-catcher.
The shocking thing is how quickly the transition has happened. Miller looks incredibly smooth and fluid with his route-running abilities. He's also demonstrated the propensity to make players miss in space—as seen at the top of the slide.
Kyler Murray: Quarterback to Slot Receiver
Kyler Murray is a fantastic athlete.
The Texas A&M freshman has superlative speed and quickness from the quarterback position. He's slippery with the ball in his hands and displays the instincts to avoid defenders and exploit situations in space.
Murray is generously listed at 5'11". It's not very common for a quarterback to succeed in the NFL with this sort of height—especially when the signal-caller is looking to run the football.
When taking into account his skill set, Murray could be lethal in the slot. He could in theory be utilized in a myriad of ways, including on screens, reverses, in the Wildcat formation or even on trick plays in which he throws the ball.
Dak Prescott: Quarterback to Tight End/H-Back
Dak Prescott plays the quarterback position with a physical nature. While he does have good short-area quickness, he barrels over defenders with a thick lower frame and considerable power.
He may not possess the passing skills to succeed on the next level. Regardless, there's certainly a spot somewhere in the NFL for a player of his caliber.
As mentioned, Prescott's agility for a man measuring 6'2" and 230 pounds is impressive. He easily could be in the mix as an undersized tight end on the next level. Perhaps his best position would be functioning as a hybrid fullback/H-back. The ball would still be in his hands in certain situations—with Prescott's physicality being present in the process.
Alex Ross: Running Back to Outside Linebacker
Alex Ross is a very intriguing talent.
The redshirt junior hailing from Oklahoma is universally regarded as one of the top kick returners in the country. In 2014, he was third nationally with a 31.22 yards-per-return average.
Buried in a deep OU backfield behind Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, Ross isn't getting a ton of touches, which is perplexing considering his talent level.
At 6'1", 220 pounds, he represents the perfect outside linebacker in the modern NFL. His physicality and sheer speed would work exceptionally well in coverage. Regardless of where he plays, Ross should get a look by a professional team based on his skill set.
Justin Thomas: Quarterback to Running Back
Justin Thomas is an extremely productive dual-threat quarterback on the collegiate level.
As a first-time starter in 2014, Thomas threw for 1,719 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also threw only six interceptions. In terms of running the football, he accrued 1,086 yards and eight touchdowns in Paul Johnson's run-centric scheme.
Thomas' size will likely necessitate a move away from the quarterback position at the next level. At 5'11", 189 pounds, a Denard Robinson-like move to running back seems like a smart move.
Thomas has been timed running an eye-popping 4.21 seconds in the 40-yard dash and is a former Alabama state 100-meter champion in high school. He's also an extremely tough football player.