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Gophers NFL Draft Prospects and Predictions

The NFL Draft begins Thursday night and there are plenty of Gophers that could hear their name called.



The NFL Draft will be held on Thursday, April 25th in Detroit, so let’s take a look at some Gophers who are looking to have their name called to start their NFL careers.

Tyler Nubin

Minnesota’s career interception leader has a chance to be the first safety taken off of the board on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft, as well as being the University’s highest defensive back draft pick since his former teammate Antoine Winfield Jr. Tyler Nubin’s ball-hawking and open-field tackling was on display during his time as a Gopher, but speed, susceptibility to getting beat deep by speedy receivers, and footwork are weaknesses that could potentially lead to a slip out of the first round. Teams such as the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles, all having late-round picks and having safety as a potential need, could bode well for Nubin hearing his name called Thursday night. 

Ceiling – Late 1st round pick 

Floor – Mid-late 2nd round pick 

Prediction – Pick 36 to the Washington Commanders 

I believe Nubin is the best safety prospect in the draft and should be a first-round selection based on what he has done during his college career. Except when there are potentially 5 QBs, 5-6 WR/TE, and numerous offensive linemen as projected 1st round picks, some defensive players are bound to slip a bit.

Brevyn Spann-Ford

Brevyn Spann-Ford’s 2023 numbers dipped a bit from a breakout 2022 season, as drops seemed to plague him for much of the season. Although the numbers have dipped, the size and athleticism have remained, as well as the ability to block well at the line of scrimmage. Spann-Ford has the range to be a mismatch against linebackers and safeties to being a sixth offensive lineman on running downs, which should call for a team to take a flier on him with a Day 3 pick. With the 2023 dropped passes hopefully being a case of the yips, teams in need of a sizable red-zone target and a good line-of-scrimmage blocking ability will be interested. 

Ceiling – Late 5th round pick 

Floor – High-priority UDFA

Prediction – 7th round pick 228 to the Baltimore Ravens 

Baltimore would be a good situation for Spann-Ford as he would have the opportunity to take the needed time to fix some problems that plagued him in 2023, as they have Andrews and Likely under contract. Also, Spann-Ford’s run-blocking ability could be valuable for a squad that looks to run a lot. 

Chris Autman-Bell

After spending seven seasons in a Gopher uniform and being a mainstay at WR, Autman-Bell should come in as an experienced pass-catcher with a great ability to adjust to the ball for an NFL team. Injuries, including a season-ending knee injury in 2022, have slowed Autman-Bell down from what Gophers saw from 2018-2021, but he should still get a shot to display high-level athleticism and ability to help a QB out with his mid-air adjustments. 

Ceiling – 6th round pick

Floor – Mini-camp invite

Prediction – UDFA 

Kyler Baugh

The former Houston Baptist transfer was a solid rotational player for the Gophers in 2022, but had a slight breakout in 2023 with improved numbers and playing time. Baugh caught a lot of attention from scouts at the University’s pro day, as weight was more closely in line with other prospects and strength was on display with 34 bench press reps. This performance may have pushed his stock enough to him being a potential Day 3 pick. 

Ceiling – 7th Round pick

Floor – UDFA

Prediction – UDFA to the Vikings

Minnesota has shown the tendency to give players from their backyard a chance, and with DT being a position of need for the Vikings, I could see them signing Baugh post-Draft. 

Tre’Von Jones

The grad-transfer from Elon had a very solid season in 2023 for the Maroon and Gold, starting all 13 games. Jones has good size, at 6’0, and the ability to play inside or outside with good reactions. Minnesota’s recent ability to produce quality NFL defensive backs could help Jones make a case for a team to make an offer.

Ceiling – 7th round pick

Floor – Mini-camp invite

Prediction – UDFA

Brady Weeks

The Gopher have had the luxury of ELITE long-snapping since the Weeks stepped on campus, as he came in as the No. 1 ranked LS, according to Kohl’s kicking camp. Weeks has been extremely consistent during his college career and should definitely get a UDFA offer from teams looking to get a new long-snapper.

Other draft-eligible Gophers

Corey Crooms Jr.

Chris Collins

Sean Tyler