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It's Gotta Be The Shoes

Projecting The Brand Deals of 10 Top NFL Prospects

By: Marty Winkler

Posted: 4/25/2019

Months (and in some cases, years) of speculation will finally come to an end this week as the top football prospects will finally learn where they will begin their professional careers as they are selected in the NFL Draft.

But as we learn what teams these up-and-comers will be playing for, only new questions arise: Will they live up to expectations? Can they adapt to the speed of the professional game? And probably most important of all, what shoes will these guys be wearing?

Now more than ever, the apparel and the brands a player wears are as big of a story as accomplishments on a football field. Brands are becoming a lifestyle, and athletes want to link themselves to the life they see themselves living. And this is good news for apparel brands, especially those specializing in athletic products.

For the last few months, companies such as Under Armour and Adidas have been trying to woo the top talent to sign onto their respective brands and wear their products in-game. The recruitment process can be quite fruitful for NFL prospects as these company's have shown no issues with dressing these athletes head-to-toe with free swag, and in some cases, providing free shoes or jackets for family and close friends.

But this relationship is mutual. In exchange for free clothing, both Under Armour and Adidas are given a chance (if even briefly) to get to know these new football prospects, and make sure their styles and personalities align with the lifestyle these brands want to portray. Under Armour has traditionally preferred athletes that can show power, agility, and portray a "graceful gladiator" image. Adidas in years past has been all about speed, looking for the fastest players available and for a guy who can break a game open in a fraction of a second.

With this in mind, let's see if we can predict which of these two brands the Top 10 prospects will sign with (in the process, we will also take a shot at predicting the first 10 picks in this year's NFL Draft). We will be excluding Nike as all players will be forced to represent the swoosh on their new jerseys due to Nike's licensing deal with the NFL.

 


 

1. Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma) – Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray made headlines this past year in several different ways. Not only did he become Oklahoma's second consecutive Heisman Trophy winner, following Baker Mayfield, he became the first player in FBS history to average at least 300 yards passing and 60 rushing yards per game. Then, he famously forfeited nearly $5 million from the Oakland A's when he chose to continue to play football over baseball. He then became the rare player to sign an endorsement deal before the NFL Draft, agreeing to become a brand ambassador for the menswear line, Mizzen+Main.

With his ability to single handedly change the outcome of a game, and a modern sense of style, it's clear that not only will Murray be the first overall draft pick, he'll be the head man for Adidas for the next several years.

BRAND: Adidas

Projected Shoe: Adizero 8.0 Prime Knit Low Molded Football Cleats

 


 

2. Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama) – San Francisco 49ers
Quinnen Williams Quinnen Williams

Before the 2018 college season, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban told Quinnen Williams that if he wanted any shot of being the Crimson Tide's starting nose tackle, he would have to gain some weight. Williams heeded that advice and it paid dividends. Williams put together one of the best defensive seasons in recent memory, recording 19.5 tackles for loss and 8 sacks last season. This production did not go unnoticed, as 49ers General Manager, John Lynch has said on several occasions that even though San Francisco has a plethora of interior lineman already, they would find room for Williams and his skillset.

Williams can rip momentum away from any opponent with a well-timed hit or a huge sack, seemingly at will. His immense strength has him in line not just to go number two overall, but to ink a big deal with Under Armour.

BRAND: Under Armour

Projected Shoe: UA Spotlight MC Molded Football Cleats

 


 

3. Nick Bosa (DB, Ohio State) – New York Jets
Nick Bosa Nick Bosa

Despite only appearing in three games in his final season (in which he still tallied six tackles for loss to go along with four tackles), Bosa comes into the NFL Draft as one of the top available talents and has a legitimate shot at being the top overall pick. Though we think going at number three to the Jets is both a fair and safe bet.

Along with being a strong pass rusher, Bosa is also a master at clogging up spaces to prevent gains on the run and can nearly take away an opposition's running game. With his quick foot speed and instinct to see how a play is going to develop, Bosa is a solid choice at number three, and a solid acquisition for Adidas.

BRAND: Adidas

Projected Shoe: Adizero 8.0 SK Low Molded Football Cleats

 


 

4. Josh Allen (DE/LB, Kentucky) – Oakland Raiders
Josh Allen Josh Allen

Say what you want about Allen, but he's not afraid to speak his mind as he has countlessly stated that he is the best player available in this year's draft. This type of unwavering confidence will make him a great fit for the Raiders.

The crazy thing about Allen's statements, is that he has mostly been able to back them up with his play. After a breakout junior season at Kentucky, Allen had an even better senior year, setting school records for sacks in a season (17) and in a career (31.5), all while tying the school record for career forced fumbles (11). Adidas wants to be linked to a type of guy that can provide that kind of pressure, and so do the Raiders.

BRAND: Adidas

Projected Shoe: Adizero 8.0 SK Mid Molded Football Cleats

 


 

5. Ed Oliver (DT, Houston) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ed Oliver Ed Oliver

Oliver was ranked one of the top defensive tackles coming into college and now thanks to nearly 200 career tackles and 13.5 career sacks, he ranks as one of the top prospects in this year's draft. We see him fitting in nicely at number five with Tampa Bay.

Though considered small for his position, Oliver has shown that his athletic ability more than makes up for what he may lack in stature. His athleticism and his ability to break up passes has people drawing comparisons to Pro Football Hall of Famer, John Randle. So with that in mind, we also welcome Oliver to the Under Armour family.

BRAND: Under Armour

Projected Shoe: UA Spotlight MC Molded Football Cleats

 


 

6. Rashan Gary (DE/DT, Michigan) – New York Giants
Rashan Gary Rashan Gary

The debate on where Gary will end up on draft day has been all over the board with some people having him going as high as two and some as low as 15. We think his skillset will land him comfortably within the top 10 and number six with the New York Giants.

Gary has the rare combination of speed and athleticism for his position, but also has the size to boot, measuring in at 6'4" and 277 pounds. Under Armour will be happy to add Gary to their roster, along with his career 24 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.

BRAND: Under Armour

Projected Shoe: UA Men's Highlight MC Football Cleats

 


 

7. Jawaan Taylor (OT, Florida) – Jacksonville Jaguars
Jawaan Taylor Jawaan Taylor

Before being offered a scholarship, Florida coaches told Taylor he would need to lose some weight in order to be successful. Taylor heeded the advice and has dropped nearly 70 pounds since his initial recruitment and has become one of the most talented offensive lineman in the country. The Florida native will get to start his career in his home state, as we project him going to the Jaguars.

Taylor has shown that he has great speed for a big man, and should fill in nicely at right tackle for Jacksonville, replacing Jermey Parnell. And when he lines up at the line of scrimmage, he'll be sporting some new kicks from Adidas.

BRAND: Adidas

Projected Shoe: Freak X Carbon Molded Football Cleats

 


 

8. Devin White (LB, LSU) – Detroit Lions
Devin White Devin White

Devin White will be one of the most sought after defenders in this year's draft, especially given how shallow the prospect field is this year at the linebacker position. Knowing this, the Lions are not going to pass up a guy who can instantly make any defense a strength.

Totaling 25.5 tackles for loss over the last two years, White has proven that he has the strength to break through any offensive line and take down even the most bruising running backs. All of these things make him a perfect fit for Under Armour.

BRAND: Under Armour

Projected Shoe: UA Men's Hammer D Football Cleats

 


 

9. TJ Hockenson (TE, Iowa) – Buffalo Bills
TJ Hockenson TJ Hockenson

According to several NFL Draft experts, Hockenson might be the most sure bet in this year's draft. With the ability to both block and catch, he can add some much needed offensive support to the Buffalo Bills.

At 6'5", 251 pounds, Hockenson's all-around game will immediately put him in discussion for the best tight end in the game. And we will be having this discussion while watching him play in Under Armour cleats.

BRAND: Under Armour

Projected Shoe: UA Adult Nitro Low MC Football Cleats

 


 

10. Drew Lock (QB, Missouri) – Denver Broncos
Drew Lock Drew Lock

Of all of the top NFL prospects in this year's NFL Draft, Lock may be the most underappreciated. A prototypical pro-style quarterback, Lock caught the eyes of Broncos GM, John Elway, fairly quickly. So it's a safe bet that Lock will find a new home in Denver.

Lock is a Missouri native, so it was a nice story when he chose to play for his home university. While Missouri fans will remember him for helping the university transition head coaches (Gary Pinkel retired following the 2015 season and was replaced by current head coach Barry Odom), the SEC will remember him for some gaudy offensive numbers, including 44 touchdown passes in 2017, which is a single season SEC record. No wonder Adidas is going to bring Lock on board.

BRAND: Adidas

Projected Shoe: Adizero 8.0 Prime Knit Low Molded Football Cleats