Jan 022014
 
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Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama Crimson Tide (September 1, 2012)

Cyrus Kouandjio – © USA TODAY Sports Images

January 2, 2014 Sugar Bowl: 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

OKLAHOMA

#14 Aaron Colvin – CB – 6’0/192

Fourth year senior.  Colvin will likely finish as a top 4 cornerback on my sheet.  He is a versatile, physical defensive back with starting experience at both safety and cornerback.  He led the team in tackles as a starting safety in 2011 before making the move back to cornerback in 2012, where he earned 1st Team All Big 12 honors.  Colvin is at his best at the point of attack.  He is a violent press corner that can easily turn and run with speed downfield.  Colvin has elite body control, which is one of the most vital skills a cornerback can have.  He shows the aggression needed to factor as a run defender outside as well.  Colvin’s weakness shows up underneath when trying to stick with receivers.  He is over-aggressive and gets too hands on, which simply can’t happen in the NFL.  I view him as a top 45 overall talent that can do a lot for a secondary.

#8 Jalen Saunders – WR – 5’9/157

Fourth year senior that has had a nice career.  Undersized but reliable, Saunders projects to be a potential difference maker from the slot.  He started off at Fresno State, making an immediate impact.  He averaged over 20 yards per catch as a sophomore with his ability after the catch and explosive speed to get behind secondaries.  Saunders also adds a weapon to special teams as a return specialist.  He is quicker and more agile than most, making him a tough guy to get your hands on.  Once in the open field, he can run away from guys.  His lack of size will limit what he can do at the next level, but I still think he’ll be worth a day two pick for some teams.

#64 Gabe Ikard – C – Oklahoma – 6’3/298

Fifth year senior.  Four year starter that played left guard in 2010, making an immediate impact.  Earned 1st Team All Big 12 three years in a row.  Appears to be settled in at center but his experience at guard will only help his grade.  Ikard is a great athlete that moves laterally and to the second level with ease.  He has consistently been the top graded offensive lineman on that team over his career, and there is something to be said about that.  Oklahoma has a solid history of putting out quality OL to the league.  Ikard is so highly regarded that I may have to re-watch a few games.  Personally I view him as a scheme-specific blocker that doesn’t play with enough power inside.  He doesn’t get a push; he doesn’t lock on to defensive linemen.  The tools are there and he has the frame for more weight, but I think he is more of a project that should be taken on day three.

#33 Trey Millard – FB – 6’2/253

Another accomplished four year starter.  Millard is a versatile weapon out of the backfield that could thrive in the right scheme.  He has surprising quickness to the line as an inside rusher.  He can be a productive short yardage running back.  As a blocker, Millard is powerful.  He can deliver a jolt to linebackers but he struggles to maintain blocks.  He is hit or miss that needs a lot of work when it comes to blocking mechanics if that’s what he will be used for.  As a receiver, Millard could fill the H-Back role for some teams.  He is an easy catcher of the ball that can do some things after the catch.  For his size, Millard is a big time athlete that can do a lot of different things.  I think he can be a 4th/5th rounder.

ALABAMA

*#71 Cyrus Kouandjio – LT – 6’6/310

Third year junior.  Very good chance at being the first or second left tackle taken in this class.  When it comes to pure tools and talent, Kouandijo is the blue goose of this draft.  He is big and long with minimal bad weight.  He shows easy movement all over the field.  Great flexibility and power production.  I watched a lot of his game tapes early in 2013 and noticed a lot of skill-based flaws.  His technique was so inconsistent and he was being pushed around by stronger defenders.  However, as the year progressed and especially in his last two games, Kouandijo looked better than ever.  His weight distribution was flawless and he made the game look easy.  Neither speed nor power can knock him off his plan.  I think he will be a top 10 pick, possibly even top 5.

#32 CJ Mosley – LB – 6’2/232

Fourth year senior that has been one of the more productive players on one of the most talented defenses in the nation.  Mosley is a favorite of mine, and has been for awhile now.  He is a true three down linebacker that can wear a lot of hats.  I think his best fit is at the 4-3 WILL position.  He pursues well and makes good decisions.  He’s a guy that is always in the right position, run or pass.  Mosley, like most college linebackers, struggles to disengage from linemen.  He gets too upright and can be taken out of plays too easily.  If I have one gripe with him, it is the lack of progression over the past 2-3 years.  I don’t think he has gotten much better than where he was in 2011.  That bothers me a little bit.  All in all, Mosley will be a solid starter in the NFL.  Superstar?  No.  But linebackers that are a true threat for all three downs can be tough to find.

*#6 Hasean Clinton-Dix – S – 6’1/208

Third year junior.  Considered to be the top safety in this class if he comes out.  Clinton-Dix caught my attention several times in 2012 when I scouted Dee Milliner.  I came in to 2013 with high expectations but they have not been met.  I think his general-public-grade has a lot to do with where he plays rather than his true ability.  He plays the physical brand of football that Alabama always produces.  He has a lot of range as a deep cover man.  His ball skills are wide receiver-quality.  All of that put together makes him a good prospect.  What I don’t like here is the lack of impact plays week to week.  He gets fooled easily and I think his aggression hurts a defense as much as it helps.  All in all, Clinton-Dix is a player that can help a team.  But a high first rounder?  Not on my sheet.  He will likely finish 30-45 overall for me.

#26 Deion Belue – CB – 5’11/183

Fourth year senior that played two years of junior college.  Won a starting job right away in 2012 and had a productive year.  He had a nagging toe injury all year that hampered his playing time and performance.  Because of that, I think there is some hidden value here.  Belue appears undersized at first glance but he makes a physical impact on receivers in coverage.  Very good technique and he consistently has his balance.  He struggles downfield a bit with a lack of ball skills and he can be too hands on.  I think he can be a 4th round pick that outplays several guys that are drafted ahead of him/

#83 Kevin Norwood – WR – 6’2/195

Fourth year senior.  Was not a factor in the offense until 2012.  He was second on the team in catches last year and tied for the team lead in 2013.  Norwood is a better football player than he is an athlete.  His tools don’t jump off the screen when watching the Alabama offense, but his skill set does.  He is a smart receiver that understands schemes and how to manipulate defenders.  Norwood is a strong hands catcher that attacks the football.  I love this kind of receiver and I’ll have a higher grade on him than most.  Possibly a top 100 overall guy.

#10 AJ McCarron – QB – 6’4/214

Fifth year senior.  Three year starter that will leave Alabama as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in the program’s history.  McCarron is a little underrated in my eyes.  Too often people will use the argument that his performances are a result of being surrounded by supreme talent.  He does have NFL prospects surrounding him everywhere, but I love this kid’s makeup.  He is a good decision maker that knows how to manage a game and exploit opportunities.  He comes from arguably the highest-pressure situation in the nation, so you know he can handle the mental side of things.  I have him graded as a 3rd/4th rounder that has starting potential.

#61 Anthony Steen – RG – 6’3/309

Fifth year senior.  Has been the starting RG for 2+ seasons.  Nothing spectacular about his game but Steen has been a reliable player for a top tier offensive line.  He is a great knee bender that plays under the pads of his opponent consistently.  He isn’t a guy that moves the line of scrimmage and he struggles to maintain his position as a pass blocker.  Steen will, at least, provide depth inside for a team that likes to move their guards in a zone-scheme.  Day three pick here.

Potential UDFAs to Look For:

#49 Ed Stinson – DE – 6’4/292
#7 Kenny Bell – WR – 6’1/180
#10 John Fulton – CB – 6’0/186

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