December 30, 2013 Bowl Games: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56
*#12 Donte Moncrief – WR – 6’3/226
Third year junior that has not yet declared. Moncrief is a thick receiver that can push his way around a secondary. Very good functional strength and power. He has some sneaky speed downfield when tracking the deep ball and shows great ball skills. He is a reliable pass catcher with a strong pair of hands. The main issue I see here is the lack of ability to separate from defensive backs. I like receivers that run themselves open, Moncrief struggles to do that. He is a QB friendly receiver that can be a guy that moves the chains though. He could be a day two pick next spring, but if he goes back and shows more agility/speed, he could be a 2015 first rounder.
#38 Mike Marry – ILB – 6’3/250
Fourth year senior that has played a lot over his four years. Marry won’t jump off the screen when looking at statistics and production. But I see a guy that has the tool set you want out of an inside linebacker in the NFL. He has a huge frame with a lot of length. He has good straight line speed that can maintain power on the move. I think his game is limited because he doesn’t change direction in short space very well, but he can make an impact as a run defender and special teamer. I’d look for him in the 6th or 7th round.
Potential UDFAs to Look For:
#71 Pierce Burton – RT – 6’5/290
#85 Ja’Mes Logan – WR – 6’3/185
#3 Jeff Scott – RB – 5’7/170
#45 Attaochu, Jeremiah – LB – Georgia Tech – 6’3/240
Fourth year senior that has been very productive over the past three years. Has played in a couple of different schemes, having experience as a 3-4 OLB and a 4-3 DE. I think his future will need to reside at linebacker because he doesn’t have the bulk to play with his hand in the dirt. Attaochu is a great athlete that plays aggressive and smart. He bends well, explodes off the point of attack well, and pursues with the best of them. I took a liking to him last year, but was a little underwhelmed in 2013. He is a raw space player that struggles when bigger linemen get a hold of him. He is going to need a specific role on top of needing time to add some weight and strength. I think he ends up being a 4th-5th rounder.
#14 Jamea Thomas – S – 5’10/195
Fifth year senior. Versatility is his top asset, as Thomas has played plenty of CB and S. I need to get another look or two at him before getting a feel for who he is. This is only my third time watching Georgia Tech this year. Thomas has the movement skills to play cornerback. He can turn his hips and maintain balance when sticking with a receiver. In addition, he plays a physical game and tackles well in space. He doesn’t seem to make a jump on many passes however. He doesn’t diagnose well and his angles towards the action are over-aggressive. I think Thomas is attractive because he can back up several spots but I don’t think he will ever be a consistent starter. 6th/7th rounder.
#20 David Sims – RB – 6’0/225
Interesting power back here that has really been evolving in to a quality prospect over the past few years. He was originally brought to Georgia Tech as a quarterback, but was moved to running back because the coaching staff wanted to get his talent in to the mix. From there, Sims took off and created a nice role for himself in one of the nation’s top running attacks. Sims will break a lot of tackles and earn the tough yards inside. He struggles in space, as he is not a quick change of direction back. He is strictly north/south, plain and simple. Backs like this won’t get drafted early but I think teams will look at him late day three.
Potential UDFAs to Look For:
#8 Louis Young – CB – 6’1/196
#52 Will Jackson – LT – 6’3/295
*#14 Ekpre-Olomu, Ifo – CB – 5’10/185
Third year junior, third year starter. Ekpre has been one of the nation’s top cornerbacks from the beginning of his career and he will grade out near or even at the top of my sheet at the position. Despite the size, he is a physical player that tackles well and hits hard. I really like his movement skills and combining that with his strength, I think Ekpre can be a very good man-coverage cornerback. The lack of height and length may hurt his grade for some, but I’ll still have him in the top 20 overall.
*#8 Marcus Mariota – QB – 6’4/215
Redshirt sophomore that has already stated he will be going back to school, but has also sought out a grade from the advisory board. Mariota was my favorite QB prospect early in the year, showing improved throwing mechanics, arm power, and presence within the pocket. He has accuracy on the move and obviously the movement skills to be a factor as a rusher. He started to fizzle out as the year progressed, however. He failed to adjust to certain looks and schemes that defenses threw at him and it seems obvious that he needs more time to develop. When all is said and done, Mariota is a solid prospect but could be THE guy in 2015. If he comes out now, I think we are talking about a 2nd/3rd rounder.
#1 Josh Huff – WR – 5’11/202
Fourth year senior. Huff was one of my favorite under-the-radar prospects heading in to 2013 but I’m afraid he is no longer overlooked. He went for 57/1,036/11 this season. Huff is a deep threat that accelerates well and runs decisive, aggressive routes. He has great ball skills, attacking the ball with strong hands. He can track the ball well downfield. Once he has the rock in his hands, he is a tough guy to bring down. He has a thick frame with strong legs. Huff lacks the ideal height and length but he is a guy that simply produces no matter what the situation is. I think he gives an offense a reliable threat all over the field. He’ll grade out in the 3rd/4th round area.
#25 Boseko Lokombo – LB – 6’3/229
Fifth year senior. Lokombo is a tools-rich athlete with the frame, length, and speed you want out of a do-it-al linebacker. A quick look at him and he may become one of your favorite defenders in this class. Lokombo became a factor in the Oregon defense in 2012 after consistently grading out as one of the fastest/strongest players on the team in workouts. I want to like Lokombo but he was very average in 2013. He doesn’t seem to click mentally when diagnosing plays. He has poor reaction time which consistently leaves him in poor positions to make plays and/or get off blocks. Lokombo will get drafted based on his upside because watching him move and hit will make many dream about the upside. He can be a good one if it ever clicks. 3rd/4th rounder.
*#6 De’Anthony Thomas – RB – 5’9/169
Third year junior that had made himself known as one of the most explosive talents in college football. Thomas has not yet declared and I think he needs to go back for another year. Rarely do you see a ball carrier under 170 pounds do well in the NFL. As of right now, he is mainly a return specialist in the eyes of NFL scouts. He has elite burst once he finds a seam and doesn’t lose any speed when changing direction. He has he unique level of acceleration. My issue is that he doesn’t have the physical side to his game that you need when carrying the ball. I don’t see him having the impact at the next level that he does in college. The elite movement skill set will be hindered a bit in the NFL and he doesn’t have the necessary strength to do anything else. If he comes out, I think he is viewed as a 4th/5th rounder.
#12 Brian Jackson – S – 5’10/197
Fifth year senior. Good athlete that will test out well in workouts with a nice strength/speed combination. Jackson is good tackling safety that does his best work in the box. Even though he doesn’t have elite size, Jackson plays strong and big. He isn’t a quick-twitched cover man, however. He struggles to turn and run and won’t hang with receivers underneath. I think his lack of coverage dependability will knock him down to day three, but I think he gets drafted based on his ability to play the run from the defensive backfield.
#21 Avery Patterson – S – 5’10/189
Fifth year senior that made the move to S from CB during the 2012 season. Patterson is less physical than Jackson, but he is a much better cover man that plays the centerfielder role very well. He is a quick decision maker that can reach the sidelines fast. While he isn’t as physical, Patterson has shown reliable tackling ability in space. His versatility in the defensive backfield will earn him a draft-able grade, possibly even in front of Jackson.
#66 Taylor Hart – DT – 6’6/287
Fifth year senior. Versatile player that can pretty much play any role along the defensive line in any scheme besides the 3-4 NT spot. Hart has played mostly inside, but he has the movement skills to shift outside in certain packages. Hart is an aggressive hustler that makes a lot of plays away from the line of scrimmage. He pursues well and knows how to finish. I think he will struggle to make an impact in the NFL though. He plays with such a high pad level and doesn’t generate power from his base. He can be pushed around by bigger linemen. He is a very cheap version of JJ Watt, in that he uses his length to his advantage along different spots of the line. I see him as a 6th/7th rounder.
#92 Wade Keliikipi – DT – 6’3/306
Fifth year senior. He was a rotational guy early in his career that became a stout run defender in 2012. Keliikipi’s game revolves around anchoring his position and eating up blockers to free up the linebackers. He does that well but is very limited elsewhere. He offers minimal pass rush and won’t make plays away from the line of scrimmage. I think a limited amount of team will like him based on his ability to play the NT role in a 3-4, but that’s about it. I see a late day three pick here.
#1 Mike Davis – WR – 6’2/195
Fourth year senior. Davis has been a productive asset to the Texas offense for all four years of his career. I think he is one of the more underrated receivers in this class. He has tools to work with, being tall and long with big hands. Davis is a quick accelerator downfield that can knife his way through the top of a defense. He’s not just a long strider though, he can get open underneath with quick steps and agile hips. Very efficient route runner that understands coverage. Davis shows the toughness necessary to be a factor over the middle in tight spaces. If you watch him, there isn’t much he can’t do on the field. I think he can be a solid #2 receiver at the next level.
*#6 Quandre Diggs – CB – 5’10/200
Third year junior that many think will be leaving school early for the NFL. Diggs was a top tier recruit out of high school and made an immediate impact in 2011, winning Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Diggs will get a high grade from a lot of teams because of everything he can do. He is playing a similar role to what Vacarro did last year. He can play a solid CB and safety as well as add to the return game. He is short and stout with a physical element to his game. Diggs is a great tackler that plays downhill. Very fast reaction with good ball skills. I question his ability to turn and run however. He has tight hips when trying to shadow a receiver, which can be an issue if he plays CB in the NFL. Is he a tweener without a position? I think he only fits specific roles in specific schemes, which will hinder him a bit. All in all, Diggs is a solid prospect that will be drafted somewhere on day two.
#75 Trey Hopkins – G – 6’4/300
Fourth year senior. One of my favorite under-the-radar prospects in the nation. Hopkins has played plenty of RT and G during his time at Texas with a lot of starting experience. Hopkins has the ideal frame I look for in a guard. He is thick and powerful with minimal bad weight and a huge lower body. He has great knee bend and heavy hands. Hopkins is a guy that consistently creates a new line of scrimmage, pushing his man back and controlling engagement. He is a good enough pass blocker, as he can handle any speed/strength combination. I really think Hopkins will be a quality starter at the next level and I will likely have him graded in the top 100 overall.
#44 Jackson Jeffcoat – DE – 6’5/250
Fourth year senior. Jeffcoat’s career got off to a promising start and was considered a future first round pick until a torn pectoral ended his 2012 season prematurely. He came back for his senior season and has had a great year statistically. 12 sacks and 18 TFL will get a second look from anyone. Jeffcoat has the tall and long frame that teams want at defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. I don’t like what I see on tape though. He doesn’t have an elite burst and he can’t push linemen backwards. He is a slow-reaction defender that plays too high. I think his production is a result of playing next to some big time defensive tackles on that Texas squad that you will hear from in a couple years. I can see a team selecting him on day two but I wouldn’t touch him anywhere before round 4 or 5.
#23 Carrington Byndom – CB – 6’0/180
Fourth year senior. Has started 38 straight games for Texas. I’ve seen Byndom a lot over the past two years and I think there is some serious talent here to work with. He has good length and ball skills. Those two attributes together are always sought after but what I think sets Byndom apart is the fluidity in his hips. He shows effortless movement when changing direction and has the speed to chase receivers downfield. The one knock I have on him is the lack of physical play. He is a hesitant tackler at best and he won’t press a receiver at the point of attack effectively. He is a slender 180 pounds. I’m not sure how much that can improve and it will keep his grade down on my sheet. But he is a candidate for a guy that gets drafted late and shines at the next level.
#72 Mason Walters – RG – 6’6/320
Fifth year senior that has been starting at RG since his first season. 50 straight starts. Walters is best known for his work in the offseason. He has won numerous strength/conditioning awards. Walters is a tenacious blocker that plays angry. He can be a fun guy to watch because of his style and size. Movement wise, he is average across the board. His feet get heavy and he struggles to adjust to quicker defensive linemen. Walters might be a limited athlete but I think he is a safe bet to be at least a quality backup.
Potential UDFA to Look For:
#17 Adrian Phillips – S – 5’11/210
#90 Will Sutton – DT – 6’1/288
Fifth year senior that had to sit out a year because of poor academic performance. Was viewed as an average college player until 2012 where he broke out and earned 1st Team All American honors (23.5 TFL and 13 sacks). He came back down to earth a little in 2013 (11.5 TFL and 4 sacks) but many still view him as a top 45 overall guy. He is a fun player to watch, but I don’t see a big time prospect here. His impact play-to-play isn’t there. He is a gambler that can hurt a defense as much he helps one. He is a poor athlete in space that looks sluggish. He won’t anchor his position well and simply doesn’t demand double teams. He can however break in to the backfield with a powerful bull rush and make plays in tight spaces. Sutton is a solid prospect for a specific scheme but he just isn’t a fit for others.
*#52 Carl Bradford – OLB – 6’1/241
Fourth year junior that has already graduated and is seeking a grade from the advisory board. Most think he will leave early. Bradford is a hybrid DE/OLB that has had a nice two year run since the start of 2012 (39.5 TFL and 20 sacks). He is another fun player to watch because of his overly aggressive style. He is an all out hustler that wears a lot of hats for this team. When it comes to a tool set and overall ability, I think he is average across the board. A lot of his production comes from pure hustle and that’s not a bad thing at all, but it is something to consider. Can he, at this size, be a factor at the 3-4 OLB role? I see him as a solid contributor that can backup multiple spots and see some spot duty in pass rush situations. But as an every down player, I don’t see a difference maker. I’ll likely have him graded in the 3rd/4th round area but I think he goes higher.
#1 Marion Grice – RB – 6’0/205
Fourth year senior that is questionable for the game because of a lower leg injury sustained November 23rd. Grice transferred to ASU in 2012 after a couple years at Junior College. He is a legit dual threat that catches a lot of balls and rushes for an average of 5+ yards per carry. He has a nice frame for more weight, which he needs prior to be given a role in the NFL. He needs a stronger lower half to handle the physical upgrade he will see at the next level. Grice doesn’t have superb runaway speed nor does he have a lot of wiggle. I think he struggles to perform as an every down back but he can do enough to carve himself a nice role somewhere. 4th/5th rounder.
#4 Alden Darby – S – 5’11/195
Fourth year senior that has a lot of experience and a very good amount of production. Darby was a CB recruit but made the move to S upon arrival at ASU. He is a great zone defender that takes the proper angles and reads in coverage. He has an average impact on the game from a physical perspective and doesn’t have the speed you want back there. I think he is a backup caliber guy but can still make an impact. 5th/6th rounder.
#62 Evan Finkenberg – LT – 6’4/298
Fifth year senior. Has been starting since 2010 at both left guard and left tackle. He has a lot of experience against some of the nation’s top pass rushers over his career. Finkenberg is a guy that surprised me a few times in 2013. I think he can be a quality guard at the next level if he can develop physically, adding some weight to produce more power at the point of attack. He is a fluid mover that can explode out of his stance and get himself in to the right position. I like his consistent use of mechanics. He anchors well and doesn’t seem to be too far off from starting in the NFL.
#87 Chris Coyle – H-Back – 6’3/240
Fifth year senior. Versatile player that has seen a lot of time at Fullback, H-Back, and Tight End. Coyle was the team’s leading receiver in 2012 after standing out as a special teams producer earlier in his career. Coyle is an athletic blocker that does well against the second level of the defense. I think he has enough strength and power to be a solid fullback in the NFL. With is skill set as a receiver; offenses can do a lot with him. Versatile players like this usually get drafted late day three.
Potential UDFAs to Look For:
#24 Osahon Irabor – CB – 5’11/181
#21 Chris Young – ILB – 6’0/244
#9 Robert Nelson – CB – 5’10/169
#95 Gannon Conway – DE – 6’4/280
*#22 Jace Amaro – TE – 6’5/260
Amaro’s 2013 season has helped his draft status more than any other player in the country. He was a backup in 2011 with minimal playing time, but came on strong in 2012. However he missed the final 6 games of 2012 with a back injury before coming back for their bowl game. Enter 2013 and we may be looking at the top graded TE in the draft that could sneak in to the top 15. Amaro is a matchup nightmare because of his height, length, and girth. He plays in the wide open Texas Tech offense that has him playing the role of a WR most of the time, but Amaro has a physical style to his game. He can push defensive backs around with ease and get to a spot where only he can make a play on the ball. He has superb ball skills and sneaky speed up the seam. He plays with a tough, hard nosed aggression. Very competitive athlete. Amaro may need a little coaching up on blocking technique, but I think he can factor in to the passing game right away in the NFL. I really like what he can do for a passing game and he will grade out as a first rounder if he comes out.
#18 Eric Ward – WR – 6’0/205
Fifth year senior. Ward is a statistical compiler without the ideal tool set. He doesn’t have the speed to get behind a defense more does he show the elusive movement ability after the catch. Ward his a strong player though with reliable hands and route running ability. He comes away with a lot of balls in traffic. He does a lot of little things well that can hide some of his talent-weakness. I actually like this kind of player a lot. Very similar style to Anquan Boldin. He’ll struggle to stick to a roster in some places but I can see him eventually finding a team that uses him well out of the slot.
Potential UDFAs to Look For:
#5 Tre Porter – S – 6’0/205
#1 Terrance Bullitt – OLB – 6’3/225
#91 Kerry Hyder – DE – 6’2/280