Apr 042016
 
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Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi Rebels (January 1, 2016)

Laquon Treadwell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft Preview: Wide Receivers

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*These rankings and grades are based somewhat on NYG schemes and perspective.

WHERE THEY STAND

For such a highly ranked passing offense (#7 in the NFL last season), the NYG receivers sure are an unintimidating group. Odell Beckham is one of the most dangerous weapons in the league and proved his record setting rookie season was no flash in a pan. As long as he is on the field, defenses will fear every Eli Manning drop back. That doesn’t mean this is a group that is all set, however. Outside of Beckham, the team’s next leading wide receiver that is set to return in 2016 is Dwayne Harris who went for 36/396/4. Behind him? Myles White with 7/88/1. Yes, that’s on the season. Even though nobody was upset to see Reuben Randle leave for PHI, there is no denying the hole that exists. They are really banking on Victor Cruz returning to full strength. It will be almost 2 full years between his last game and week 1 of the 2016 season.

TOP 20 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – LAQUON TREADWELL – 6’2/221 – OLE MISS: 83

Third year junior. Some questioned his career after a broken fibula and dislocated ankle late in 2014. However Treadwell showed a tremendous drive and work ethic to fight his way back for an SEC leading 1,153 yards and 11 TD campaign. Treadwell has elite-level ball skills and strength for the position. He is a reliable target to throw to no matter where he on the field. He does things with and without the ball that impact the game from start to finish. Treadwell may still be bouncing back from his injury, as he’s been quoted saying he doesn’t quite trust his quick twitch yet. He is an immediate contributor in the NFL that has the drive to be great.

*Now I know there is a lot of negative talk about the poor 40 time and overall workout. I actually did decrease his grade a bit as a result. But I think he still is the top WR in the draft. He is a classic example of playing “faster than he times” and to be honest, speed isn’t what he’s built on. He can out-physical anyone and won’t need the room that some others do. You don’t lead the SEC in receiving and TDs without very good athletic ability. My Dez Bryant without the attitude comparison still exists.

Upside Pro Comparison – Dez Bryant/DAL

2 – COREY COLEMAN – 5’11/194 – BAYLOR: 82

Fourth year junior. All American and Biletnikoff Award winner, given to the nation’s most outstanding receiver. Coleman has proven to be one of the country’s top deep threats and playmakers over the past two years. Despite lacking ideal height and length of a number one receiver, he hauled in 31 touchdowns since the start of 2014. He outplays his size with a blend of aggression, ball skills, and toughness. The speed and quickness are NFL-ready, as he owns the top 40, 3-cone, and vertical among the Baylor team that is always known for having more than their share of workout warriors. Coleman has the ability to be a game changer but his lack of effort and consistency is worrisome. He will need to apply more effort to the small details if he wants to be a star in the NFL. Boom or bust type prospect.

*I really like the talent here. There may not be a better “mover” in the class when considering the explosion off the line and legit speed downfield. He has shown flashes of Steve Smith (not the NYG one) type toughness and attitude. There are simply inconsistencies in his game that I see every time I study him. I don’t think he is a level behind Treadwell at all, I just don’t trust him as much.

Upside Pro Comparison – Antonio Brown/PIT

3 – JOSH DOCTSON – 6’2/202 – TCU: 81

Fifth year senior that started off at Wyoming. Transferred to TCU after one productive season there. Two very successful years at TCU and was on pace to go after single season receiving records before a broken wrist ended his 2015 campaign a few weeks early. Doctson is an All American player that was somewhat a product of a friendly system. He essentially ran three routes weekly. He caught a lot of uncontested balls and was often put in position to make easy plays. That said, there is an undeniable skill set here that translates very well to the tools he possesses. Doctson has very good hands and ball skills. He is a very sure and balanced mover. He can be sneaky fast off the line and he tracks the ball with ease. While he may lack the ideal top end speed and agility, Doctson can get open in the NFL and make catches in traffic. There is an upside with him once he can learn the NFL system.

*There was a point early in the year where I thought he was going to be the top guy in this class. He is as fluid as it gets when it comes to tracking the ball and plucking it out of the air on the move. His top tier body control and savvy movement can make him a dangerous weapon with the right QB. My main concern is how tough he can be against NFL defenders. Will hr back off in traffic? Can he take hits? He looks on the frail side.

Upside Pro Comparison – AJ Green/CIN

4 – STERLING SHEPARD – 5’10/194 – OKLAHOMA: 81

Four year senior and three year starter. Has elite slot receiver potential. Shepard has all the movement ability to run himself open underneath but also the strength and toughness to factor in traffic. He has made plenty of receptions in traffic and shows no hesitation doing so. He has very good concentration and ball skills. Shepard will surprise defenses with his ability to run deep routes and make catches on the vertical move. His work ethic is second to none and the attention to detail is what makes receivers get to the next level in terms of production and consistency. Shepard may be limited to slot duty in the NFL, but it’s a role that almost every team is using more and more each year. He has a bright future.

*Although the long term upside of Shepard may not be as high as some of these guys, I think he is the safest bet among all the WRs to at least be a solid contributor. He has the ideal physical ability and mental approach for the vital slot presence. But when you watch him you notice he can do more than run quick routes over the middle. This kid competes as hard as anyone in the entire class. If NYG has any ounce of doubt about Cruz coming back all the way, Shepard needs to be strongly considered if he is there in round 2, which I highly doubt is the case.

Upside Pro Comparison – Doug Baldwin – WR/SEA

5 – CHARONE PEAKE – 6’2/205 – CLEMSON: 80

Five year senior. Came to Clemson as a top tier high school recruit but failed to break in to the consistent rotation in Clemson’s consistently star studded wide receiver groups. Peake finally got his every down opportunity in 2015 and thrived, finishing second on the team in both catches and yards. Peake has tremendous body control and ball skills. He is the kind of receiver that does not need to be open in order to be thrown to. He can beat most defensive backs in 50/50 situations.

*I don’t think you will find many people with a 1st round-ish grade on Peake like I do. But I started to think this way halfway through the season and it was only strengthened during their playoff run and pre-draft process. Peake’s biggest problem was how often he would disappear at Clemson but I think that was mostly a result of the Clemson offense just being stacked year after year with big time talent. Just not enough balls to go around. Peake’s skill set is unique and it something most of the NFL is looking for, NYG included.

Upside Pro Comparison – Alshon Jeffery/CHI

6 – TYLER BOYD – 6’1/194 – PITTSBURGH: 78

Third year junior that burst on to the scene right away in 2013. First player in ACC history that recorded 1,000+ receiving yards in both freshman and sophomore seasons respectively. Boyd was an All American in 2014. He failed to take the next step up in 2015 but he lacked star power around him and defenses were putting their sole focus on stopping him only. Boyd is a high floor, high ceiling type player. He does enough to make him a reliable player when it comes to getting open and catching the ball. His ability after the catch is something to note as well. His limits have more to do with speed and overall athletic ability. He can be an immediate contributor in the NFL with big time upside.

*I know some people that have Boyd at the top of this list and I really don’t blame them. He had a little bit of a raw deal at Pitt. I didn’t like the way he was used. I don’t say this often but I do think he could have been top 5 in this class if he was at Alabama these past few years. If the speed were better, he’d be in the top 10 discussion I think. Another guy that plays faster than he times with big time ball skills and concentration. I did have to take a few points off because of some off-field red flags.

Upside Pro Comparison – Eric Decker – NYJ

7 – PHAROH COOPER – 5’11/203 – SOUTH CAROLINA: 75

Third year junior. First Team All SEC two years in a row. Only player in the country that has rushed, thrown, and received touchdowns each of the past three years. Cooper is truly a jack of all trades threat. He has a running back type build and approach with the ball in his hands and is a threat to score every time he’s in possession. He has the potential to be a quarterback’s best friend because of his yards after catch and savvy movement when plays break down. He is a very smart, heady player. Cooper is a raw route runner and may not be a ideal fit for a strict system that requires a lot of responsibility out of receivers. If he can find a role that allows him to freelance a bit and just make plays after the catch, he can be a star.

*There is something about this kid. He is just a gamer, plain and simple. Loves the game and plays it hard, always finding ways to make things happen. He lacks he ideal athletic ability but Cooper can make a big difference in several ways. He won’t be a guy that is running downfield and making plays. He is a guy you want underneath for the sole purpose of easily getting the ball in his hands. Cooper can make broken plays in to touchdowns. It’s hard to find anyone that plays harder and smarter than him.

Upside Pro Comparison – Julian Edelman – NE

8 – MALCOLM MITCHELL – 6’0/198 – GEORGIA: 75

Fifth year senior. Split time between cornerback and wide receiver in 2012. Missed the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in week one. Mitchell earned the team’s comeback player of the year award in 2014 and showed steady progress all around in 2015. Mitchell is a tough, hard nosed gamer. He is a guy that consistently finds a way to get the job done. He lacks size. He lacks top end speed. But he is a smart and savvy route runner that can adjust on the fly. Mitchell is the kind of receiver that quarterbacks love to throw to. He out-performs his tool set. He is very clean off the field and his intangibles could bring him to a higher level than what his talent tells.

*Mitchell might be the best route runner within this second tier of receivers. Don’t underestimate the importance of that, as it is something I feel a lot of people do not take seriously. It was one of Beckham’s main positives coming out of LSU. Mitchell is tough and hard nosed that does the little things right. Maybe not a high upside guy but has a high floor.

Upside Pro Comparison – Michael Crabtree/OAK

9 – WILL FULLER – 6’0/186 – NOTRE DAME: 75

Third year junior. Won the team’s Offensive MVP award in 2014 after a breakout campaign. All American in 2015. Fuller, in a traditional NFL style offense, showed consistent production that can be matched up with the nation’s top receivers over the past two seasons. He is a big play threat with the kind of speed that can take a top off a defense. He has a well developed skill set that came from a tireless work ethic. His approach is very professional. When combining talent, intangibles, and performance like his, it’s hard not to label him a safe bet to produce in the NFL.

*Fuller’s main negatives revolve around his hands. Physically, they are smaller than ideal. On the field, he has some of the worst drop rates among the names on this list. That’s something that usually carries over in to the NFL from college, so that has to bump him down a bit. He has decent ball skills though. Very good at tracking the deep ball while maintaining speed and body control. He isn’t just a fast guy that lacked production. Fuller has legit playmaking ability and he proved it for 2 years. He could be a huge get for the NYG offense.

Upside Pro Comparison – Mike Wallace/BAL

10 – LEONTE CAROO – 6’0/211 – RUTGERS: 75

Three year starter and Rutgers’ all time touchdown receptions leader. Team MVP award winner in 2015. Carroo has been a very productive big play receiver each of the past three seasons despite poor quarterback play. Carroo is a thickly built, sneaky fast receiver that already has pro-level ball skills and route running. His top end potential is limited due to a lack of vertical speed and short area agility, but he can be a part of a rotation. His off field concerns need to be looked in to, however. He will need to clear a lot of red flags in pre-draft meetings.

*Carroo’s pre draft process could not have gone better. The off field concerns were enough for some people to say he could be crossed off board but according to some people I know, they shouldn’t impact his draft grade too much. On the field and in workouts, Caroo has been “wow-ing” some people that didn’t know much about him. Carroo is a physical kid with toughness and ball skills. He is a better athlete than some think. He may not run himself open with ease but he can do it well enough considering how productive he is in traffic. Again, not a high upside guy but he can be a player that sticks for awhile if the maturity concerns don’t arise.

Upside Pro Comparison – Pierre Garcon/WAS

11 – BRAXTON MILLER – 6’1/201 – OHIO STATE: 75

Fifth year senior that spent his four years as a quarterback. While missing the 2014 season because of a shoulder injury sustained in practice, his position was taken over by younger, more capable players. Miller willingly made the unselfish move to wide receiver in 2015 despite being a Heisman Candidate at his original position. Miller’s greatest traits are better fits for receiver. He has explosive speed and agility. Once the ball is in his hands, his potential to score is a credible fear of any defense. Miller has a ways to go when it comes to route running and ball skills, but while he develops those he still poses as a gamebreaker. Miller has as much upside as any receiver in the draft.

*It’s been an up and down 7 months for Miller. He started the year off showing the natural ability to come down with the ball and make plays. As the year went on he had trouble getting open on more difficult routes. He showed poor ball skills. Telling him to do anything other than catch a screen pass just seemed so unnatural. He really is a raw WR that has athletic ability on his side but to be honest, guys like that can always be found. Miller’s name hypes his grade up higher for some than me. I think he is a 3rd rounder at best but I can see why people like him. His explosion and speed with the ball is dangerous.

Upside Pro Comparison – Randall Cobb/GB

12 – RICARDO LOUIS – 6’2/215 – AUBURN: 75

Fourth year senior that was in and out of the starting lineup for a few years. Had to wait his turn early in his career while Sammie Coates and Duke Williams formed the team’s 1-2 punch. Shined at moments in 2015 showing explosive straight line speed and big play ability. Has a very good size/speed combination. Was given more opportunity in 2015 when Williams was suspended and he responded well. He can make things happen with the ball in his hands. Simply put he is bigger, stronger, and faster than most defensive backs. Upside-based prospect but not a guy that failed to produce in college. He has some really good tape.

*I have a higher grade on Louis than most and I admit it’s based mostly on upside, much more so than his tape. However, he did show more versatility in 201t5 than I think people thought he had. Mainly Louis is a straight line athlete that can really burn through a secondary. When you tell him to change direction and show fluid hips, he doesn’t stand out as much. But remember this kid is 6’2/215 with toughness over the middle. Tools-wise he has a lot of “plus” marks. Maybe not an early contributor type but I love the upside.

Upside Pro Comparison – Kamar Aiken/BAL

13 – JALIN MARSHALL – 5’10/204 – OHIO STATE: 75

Third year sophomore entry. Was an overlooked redshirt in 2013, but performed his way on to the field and put together two playmaking seasons. Marshall is an ideal fit for the Urban Meyer scheme, but has a skill set that is questionable to work in the NFL. He has quickness and explosion to go along with reliable hands. He needs space to be effective though. Marshall gets overwhelmed by bigger defenders and will disappear a times. He was a jack of all trades player that ran the ball out of the backfield, returned punts and kicks, and of course caught the ball. Versatile threat that may need a gimmick type role to stick around.

*Marshall grew on me after the season ended when I focused more on what he is capable of rather than what he did at Ohio State. Simply put, this kid is a slot receiver that is thicker than most at that spot. He can break tackles in traffic, he can make defenders miss. He has quick acceleration and a good sense of where to go after the catch. I just think there are limitations with him that some of the other slot guys may not have.

Upside Pro Comparison – Golden Tate/DET

14 – KENNY LAWLER – 6’2/203 – CALIFORNIA: 74

Fourth year junior. Led the Bears in touchdown catches the past two seasons respectively. Lawler lacks standout physical attributes. He does however have a nice blend of length and body control. He can make plays with defenders draped all over him. He has a certain level of savvy-ness to him that quarterbacks love. He shows a lot of potential as a route runner as well. His upside is limited but his basement is high. Smooth receivers with easy hands and easy hips can be molded in to very good players.

*Lawler is a smooth operator that can easily move from point A to point B quickly while maintaining his balance and body control. Very good ball skills and underrates athletic ability. I think he has good potential for a team needing an outside guy.

Upside Pro Comparison – Terrence Williams/DAL

15 – DEVON CAJUSTE – 6’4/234 – STANFORD: 74

Fifth year senior. Didn’t really see the field until 2013 and when he did, it was pretty situational. He broke out in 2014 with a 16.4 yards per catch finish, proving to be the team’s deep threat. Has the big time size and strength advantage that can easily combat the more physical CBs in the league. Some teams view him as a TE. Has WR type physical ability when it comes to speed and quickness, however. Took a step back production wise in 2015 but that had more to do with the offense than anything. When looking at the combination of skills and tools here, Cajuste has to intrigue you. We aren’t talking about a big, stiff guy.

*This is an intriguing player. I got to watch Cajuste warm up pre game and you want an Odell Beckham type show (crazy 1 hand grabs), look no further than Cajuste. I think we are talking about a very unique player here. He stole the show at the combine at 230+ pounds and he is a physical presence on the field. He does a lot of things right. I don’t see him as a TE. He isn’t Aaron Hernandez. I think this kid is a legit WR that can be a dangerous player if used correctly.

Upside Pro Comparison – Vincent Jackson/TB

16 – MICHAEL THOMAS – 6’3/212 – OHIO STATE: 73

Fourth year junior. Redshirt in 2013 as a sophomore. Burst on to the scene in a crowded wide receiver group in 2014, but failed to take the leap many were expecting in 2015. Thomas is a specimen. He looks the part and will occasionally show big play ability. His size and strength can dominate. However as a route runner and overall movement athlete, he lacks the special attributes. Thomas has an upside that few can possess, but he will need time and a lot of work to get there. Raw, high risk/high reward prospect.

*This is an upside-based WR and I wouldn’t disagree that if Thomas reaches his ceiling, he can be the top guy in this class. There is a lot that needs to happen, however, and his weaknesses are things that always bother me extra in the scouting process. I just don’t like the guys that lack the suddenness to quickly react and adjust. Upside, yes. Unlikely to get there, yes.

Upside Pro Comparison – Allen Robinson/JAC

17 – KOLBY LISTENBEE – 6’0/197 – TCU: 73

Fourth year senior with several accolades as a sprinter for the TCU track team. Was a 2 year contributor for the football team after riding the bench prior. Was the team’s main top threat that almost averaged 20 yards per catch. One tricky pony that can outrun almost anyone downfield but struggles to make an impact underneath and intermediate. Looks frail and weak when in contact with defenders. Not sure he has the fire to really get after it. Doesn’t always hustle. For a team that wants to lengthen the secondary, he’ll be in demand. Deep threats are always nice to have and that’s what he can be.

*He might be the fastest WR in this class. He has very good acceleration and straight line movement but he doesn’t turn well. It’s just not how his body is programmed and/or trained. He isn’t only a track guy though. He has decent ball skills with good tracking and body control. But he did drop the ball too much and he seemed to struggle in workouts when getting to the ball in and out of routes. Upside is there enough to spend a mid round pick on him.

Upside Pro Comparison – Ted Ginn/CAR

18 – RASHAWN SCOTT – 6’1/199 – MIAMI: 73

Fifth year senior that has had a roller coaster career for the Hurricanes. His time on the field was very inconsistent because of injuries and suspensions. Very good mover with a combination of agility and explosion. Hard guy to cover because of the straight line deep speed and easy ability to stop and change direction. Good after the catch as well. Might not be the most physical player. Will shy from contact often and shows the lapse in concentration over the middle. All in all a very good prospect that could have been a top 100 guy if his injuries and suspensions never happened.

*Watch Scott for a few games and its hard not to raise your eyebrows. He has ability and there is no denying it. He’ll make catches that a lot of guys can’t, he’ll move with the ball in his hands that a lot of guys can’t, and he’ll run routes better than most. The consistency is the main issue with him. He’s immature and frail. Tough combination but if a team sees enough talent he could go pretty high.

Upside Pro Comparison – Marvin Jones/DET

19 – CAYLEB JONES – 6’3/205 – ARIZONA: 72

Fourth year junior that played one season as a backup for Texas. Redshirt in 2013 because of the transfer. Father, Robert, was a 10 year NFL veteran. Nephew to former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake. Jones has football in his blood and showed big time upside in his two years at Arizona despite inconsistent quarterback play. His frame alone is worth a second look, but he also possesses some natural ability to track balls downfield and out reach most defenders. He is a limited speed guy and has holes in his game when it comes to consistency and aggression, but there is no denying his long term upside. It can be hard to find the combination of tools and skills that Jones has in his arsenal.

*There are teams with a top 100 overall grade on Jones. I don’t think he is quite there but I can see why someone has him there. He has excellent ball skills and he has the size/toughness combination. I think he is a few pounds away from being that kind of guy in the NFL though. Another guy that may have been impacted a lot by poor surroundings. High upside.

Upside Pro Comparison – Reuben Randle/PHI

20 – RASHARD HIGGINS – 6’1/196 – COLORADO STATE: 72

Third year junior entry. Had a consensus All American season in 2014, leading the nation in yards and touchdowns. Leaves Colorado State as the school’s all time leader in receiving yards, receptions, and touchdowns after playing just three seasons. Higgins’ production took a few steps down in 2015, as the team implemented a new offensive system with a new quarterback. Higgins also fought through a nagging foot sprain. His production outweighs his talent and potential, but he still has the skills and tools to be a rotational receiver in the NFL. He shows a natural feel for the position and has enough speed to pose as a deep threat. His lack of strength and lateral quickness will limit him to specific roles.

*If you are someone that looks at stats-only, you probably had Higgins as one of the top WRs in this class heading in to 2015. That was never really the case but there are reasons to like him. He doesn’t get himself open that well but at the same time he has the ball skills to make catches in traffic. Although he could use some more meat on his bones, he is a tough kid. He’ll compete hard.

Upside Pro Comparison – Rishard Matthews/TEN

THE REST (21-30)

21 – CODY CORE – 6’3/205 – OLE MISS: 72
22 – DEMARCUS ROBINSON – 6’0/203: 71
23 – TREVOR DAVIS – 6’1/188 – CALIFORNIA: 71
24 – DEMARCUS AYERS – 5’9/182 – HOUSTON: 71
25 – MARQUEZ NORTH – 6’2/223 – TENNESSEE: 70
26 – JORDAN PAYTON – 6’1/207 – UCLA: 70
27 – DARIUS POWE – 6’3/220 – CALIFORNIA: 70
28 – KJ MAYE – 5’8/194 – MINNESOTA: 69
29 – BYRON MARSHALL – 5’9/201 – OREGON: 68
30 – TAJAE SHARPE – 6’2/194 – MASSACHUSETTS: 68

NYG APPROACH

Plain and simple here. There is less talent at the WR position than a good passing offense needs, even if the QB is playing at his all time best. Victor Cruz is the wild card here but I don’t think plans should be made around him returning to form. If he does, great. But NYG cannot waste the back nine of Manning’s career with their current WR group. They’ve had good success with rookie WRs coming in and making an impact and there are plenty of guys on here that could add to that. The question is now, how early do they look at one? Corey Coleman and Laquon Treadwell should be available at #10 overall but they are borderline top 10 talents. Josh Doctson could be there in round 2 presenting great value and Sterling Shepherd is a day one impact guy. The further in to the draft you get, the more these guys get grouped together grade wise. There are plenty of 3rd-4th round grades that could trickle down in to the 4th-6th round area of the draft. A lot of those guys really don’t stand out among each other so patience could be the way to go. NYG can’t be too patient though or else they are going to have to hope and pray Cruz returns to full strength and someone comes out of nowhere to contribute 50+ catches at least.

Mar 312016
 
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Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State Buckeyes (January 1, 2016)

Ezekiel Elliott – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*These rankings and grades are based somewhat on NYG schemes and perspective.

WHERE THEY STAND

Over the past three years, the Jerry Reese regime has brought in 3 RBs to be a serious part of the rotation. 31 year old Rashad Jennings has been the group’s top option, averaging just over 4 yards per carry and adding a couple catches per game. Andre Willians is the lone draft pick of the trio and has been nothing worth discussing outside of a few solid preseason runs. Shane Vereen was signed last spring in an effort to enhance their pass catching out of the backfield. He was used sporadically and the scheme struggled to get him a consistent flow of touches. Orleans Darkwa showed off some young, fresh legs and ran hard when given the chance. He was the one back that has a sense of big play ability. NYG has struggled to piece together a strong rushing attack for years now. It’s partially a personnel issue and partially an OL issue.

TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – EZEKIEL ELLIOTT – 6’0/226 – OHIO STATE: 84

Third year junior. All American back that has rushed for 3,699 yards over the past two seasons combined, number one in the country. Elliott is a three down back with the body to take hits between the tackles and keep the chains moving, but also more than enough ability to break off the big runs. He has powerful acceleration and good-enough speed. He holds on to the ball and is a reliable, consistent rusher. His main issues revolve around a sense of self-entitlement, as he’s called out the coaching staff to the media following a loss. Elliott has some “all about me” in him. He will grade out above average-to-elite across the board physically, however. Definite long time starter potential. NYG will need to consider Elliott at #10 overall. He would be the second best skill position player (Manning not included) on this team right away. The notion that first round picks shouldn’t be 1st rounders is baseless. Elliott makes this offense more dangerous week 1 and there is no denying that. His running style is perfect for the NFL.

Upside Pro Comparison: Arian Foster – UFA

2 – KENNETH DIXON – 5’10/215 – LOUISIANA TECH: 80

Accomplished career. If it weren’t for Navy QB Keenan Reynolds, Dixon would have left college as the all time leader in TDs in FBS. Dixon is the best two way threat among the RBs in this class. He is an elite receiver out of the backfield with hands that are better than most of the WRs in this class, no exaggeration. He can even be split out wide and run routes like an accomplished pro WR. Dixon has Marshall Faulk in him. He is a hard nosed game that understands game situations and it shows every game. He can lower his shoulder and gain tough yards with a quick approach to the line. He can bounce things outside and play games with defenders in space. He understands the nuances of blocking and finding the blitzers. Dixon is a guy that wont need to come off the field. What’s not to like? He may have a hard time holding up in the league? He saw a lot of touches over his 4 year career in which he started from the beginning. He also has average top end speed. I care more about quickness and change of direction than I do straight line speed, but I have seen him get caught from behind a few times. Dixon is a starting back in the league and if he can stay healthy, could be an all purpose yard machine.

Upside Pro Comparison: Marshall Faulk – RET

3 – PAUL PERKINS – 5’10/208 – UCLA: 79

Fourth year junior. Team’s leading rusher in the 2014 and 2015 seasons respectively despite battling a nagging knee injury this past fall. Perkins may not have the body or running style to be an every down back, but his ability to make something out of nothing cannot go overlooked. He has the rare, hard to find ability to completely change direction while moving at full speed at anytime. His top end speed and lack of size may limit his touches week in, week out however he is a prime candidate for a committee approach. If he can find an offense that needs someone to offset a between the tackles, chain moving bruiser, Perkins will excel. I have a higher grade on Perkins than what I see out there. He has the kind of talent that can change how an offense approaches thing, which ended up happening at UCLA after 2013. Perkins may not have the ideal situation here in NY because of Vereen’s presence, but NYG hasn’t had a back that can move in and out of traffic like this since the early days of Tiki Barber. He may not be the ideal every down guy, but he is a dangerous playmaker that defenses are afraid to see with the ball in space.

Upside Pro Comparison: Lesean McCoy – BUF

4 – ALEX COLLINS – 5’10/217 – ARKANSAS: 76

Third year junior. SEC Freshman of the Year and Freshman All American in 2013. Has rushed for 1,000+ yards all three seasons respectively of his career. Collins has the goods. He is an explosive downhill runner that approaches the line with anger and aggression. Collins is tough to bring down on initial contact but he also has elite level footwork and balance that allow him to adjust at the last second in traffic. He can make defenders miss but also has the option to run them over at any point. His off-field maturity issues appear to be behind him now and his speed in space is average. One thing I’ve noticed inmy secondary review of him is how exposed his legs are to tacklers. He has a tendency to run high and he has a weird body shape. Very thin lower body, especially beneath his knees. He may be a guy that has a hard time staying healthy in the NFL. While I know it may seem I am over-analyzing to a fault, it’s a legit concern for me. All this in mind, I still think Collins can be a starter with big time upside, I’m just not as sure of him as I once was.

5 – DANIEL LASCO – 6’0/209 – CALIFORNIA: 74

Fifth year senior. Battled an injury-riddled career but showed glimpses of being an effective, explosive inside runner. Lasco has an aggressive nature about him when running north/south. He has the ability to improve the physical side of an offense with his bruiser mentality and willingness to block pass rushers. Lasco has been battling lower body injuries over the past two years, mainly hip and ankle tweaks in 2015. If you watched him on the wrong week, you would have thought Lasco was a below-average back with average athletic ability. But make no mistake here, Lasco has elite explosion and open field speed. There are some backs that jump off the screen when it comes to their approach to the line. Lasco is one of those guys. He is a borderline reckless runner. He is the complete opposite of the back that you hate to watch tip toe to the line and show fear when approaching tacklers. Lasco is angry and aggressive with a developing skill set. The extras are that he blocks extremely well and he proved to be an effective special team defender.

Upside Pro Comparison – Donald Brown – NE

6 – DERRICK HENRY – 6’2/247 – ALABAMA: 74

Junior entry. 2015 Heisman Trophy, Doak Walker, and Maxwell Award winner respectively. Set the all time single season SEC rushing and TD records. Elite production after an elite High School career. Henry was a man among boys most weeks throughout his entire career. He has a rare size and speed combination. His foot speed while moving downhill and in to the open field is very good. He has the speed to make big plays and the power to move the chains throughout an entire game. His struggles come from overly long legs and maybe too much height. Defenders get a ton of big hits on his lower half and will likely fight nagging injuries throughout his whole career. His lateral quickness and ability to cut in and out of lanes is also very limited. That’s the thing that deters me from making him a 1st or 2nd rounder. Backs that can change direction always make me look in another direction. One could make the argument that Henry could be a part of an elite rotation for sure. He can be a 10-15 carry per game guy that will get more in weeks where a team needs to grind out the clock in the second half. I’m just not confident he will stay healthy and I think there are power backs that can be just as effective but can also do more with the ball in their hands laterally. He will be a role player at the next level but in a committee approach, he can be an important piece.

Upside Pro Comparison – Latavius Murray – OAK

7 – DEVONTAE BOOKER – 5’11/219 – UTAH: 74

Spent two years at Utah following a two year stint at American River Junior College. Booker played a part time role in his first three games for Utah, but quickly took over the offense and performed his way to two straight First Team All Pac 12 seasons. Booker is an every down threat with his ability to dominate between the tackles, catch the ball out of the backfield, and pick up pass rushers and at the very least get in their way. He lacks the star-caliber speed and agility and he won’t be a big time power back, but he has stating potential because he is very good at everything a back needs to be good at. There are issues with his ball security and toughness to break tackles, two things that are major parts of the grading process for me. The offensive system at Utah was set up for well for Booker as well, so I’m not sure this kid would have been that productive in every situation. He is a risk but one with big potential dividends.

Upside Pro Comparison – Lamar Miller – HOU

8 – DEANDRE WASHINGTON – 5’8/204 – TEXAS TECH: 73

Fifth year senior that tore his ACL in late November of 2011, forcing him to miss the 2012 season. Scat back type that can be a playmaker in the right role. Can be a dangerous third down back that will create a lot by himself in space. Team player that will run hard, block hard, and make things happen. Washington was one of my favorite players to watch this past season. He is all out, all the time. He’s the guy that you forget about his size when watching him. He won’t ever be a move-the-chains rusher or a guy that gets 15-20 carries per game, but his impact can be there weekly. Very quick and savvy. Tougher to bring down than you would think. Lacks star power but can fill a role for a team looking for an offset to a big power back.

Upside Pro Comparison – Giovani Bernard – CIN

9 – JONATHAN WILLIAMS – 5’11/220 – ARKANSAS: 73

Fourth year senior entry that missed his final season because of a foot injury. Williams was part of a lethal two back attack that ranked among the nation’s leaders in yards. His bruiser approach is best suited for north/south running. He can be a hard guy to bring down initially especially if he can learn how to run with a lower pad level. Once in the open field, Williams has shown the ability to make things happen on his own as well. He has an upside of being versatile rushing threat and pass blocker, but most likely of backup caliber. Don’t sleep on his potential to be THE guy in a backfield. If it weren’t for the injury, Williams could have easily been a top 5 guy on this list. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team took a flier on him much earlier in the draft than where I have him pegged.

Upside Pro Comparison – Marion Barber III – RET

10 – CJ PROSISE – 6’0/220 – NOTRE DAME: 73

Fourth year junior. Made the move to RB in 2015 after spending two years as a wide receiver and top special teams defender. Prosise has the triangle numbers and hustle-approach that coaches will want to work with. Just one year’s worth of carries will make him attractive as well considering he’ll have taken a much lesser beating than most college running backs. All in all, he lacks the vision, natural feel, and quick twitch of a difference maker. He is a developmental back that can excel as a special teams gunner early in his career while he tries to figure out the position. I don’t think we are looking at elite upside but there are tools here that NFL coaches like to work with.

Upside Pro Comparison – Rashad Jennings – NYG

11 – TRA CARSON – 5’11/227 – TEXAS A& M: 72

Fifth year senior. Started off at Oregon and was the Ducks’ fourth leading rusher in 2011. Transferred to the Aggies in 2012 and ended up as the team’s leading rusher in 2014 and 2015. Carson appears to be a short yardage specialist in the NFL. He runs behind his pads and can carry defenders downfield consistently. He is very consistent at breaking through initial contact with defenders and falling forward. You can call him one dimensional but I think with these rotations becoming a team by team thing almost, there is value with him. While he lacks dynamic speed and agility, he can carve himself a role somewhere.

Upside Pro Comparison – Joique Bell – DET

12 – JORDAN HOWARD – 6’0/230 – INDIANA: 72

Third year junior. Played 2013 and 2014 seasons at UAB prior to the program shutting down. Set the single season rushing record there in 2014 (1,587 yards). First Team All Big 10 in 2015 Howard appears to be a short yardage specialist when looking at his body type and ability to deliver blows to defenders. He has more breakaway ability than you think if he reaches the second and third level of the defense. His struggles revolve around initial contact with the ball if his running lane isn’t there. He takes too long to locate or anticipate running lanes. His power can be used in short yardage situations but when considering his running style in combination with a lack of receiving and blocking skills, his role in the NFL will be tough to create. For a guy this thick,, you would think he has a more physical side to him. I have heard some off-field concerns about him as well. Lacks the versatility and specialty of one aspect to the position. Guys like that are a risk but Howard is a guy that some people really like. High ceiling, low floor.

Upside Pro Comparison – Terrence West – BAL

13 – KENYAN DRAKE – 6’0/210 – ALABAMA: 72

Fourth year senior. A lot of hype surrounding this kid early on, as he’s always been a part of the RB rotation. Drake has been marred by injuries the past two years. When he’s on the field though, you are talking about elite level explosion and speed. He scares defenses every time he touches the ball. And we aren’t talking about a little guy here, he’s got some meat on those bones. If he can get the ball in space, he can outrun anyone. He won’t do much to create on his own though and he just doesn’t have the feel for finding lanes and creases. Dynamic threat but he is not a fit for every team.

Upside Pro Comparison – Reggie Bush – UFA

14 – KELVIN TAYLOR – 5’10/207 – FLORIDA: 70

Third year junior. Son of former NFL Running Back Fred Taylor, 16th on the all time NFL rushing list. Somewhat of a surprise early declaration here considering Taylor never quite had a breakout season. His tools are limited when looking at his triangle numbers and there isn’t anything that overly stands out about his game. He can be a productive runner in a zone scheme with his easy cut and go ability, but a lack of size and top end speed could make him disappear in to the pack of running backs in this class. The relation to his father is something scouts and GMs alike take very seriously. He is a feel-runner in that the anticipation and reactions make him play faster than he times. There is a shot his best football is way ahead of him.

Upside Pro Comparison – James White – NE

15 – PEYTON BARBER – 5’10/228 – AUBURN: 69

Third year sophomore entry that surprised many with his early declaration. There are family financial issues he is chasing after. Barber has an ideal running back body. He has a very thick lower half and understands how to win the leverage battle to take advantage of it. He shows jump cut ability and can really explode when moving downhill. He may be restricted to inside running in the league but he can be a very effective short yardage specialist.

Upside Pro Comparison – Alfred Morris – DAL

THE REST (16-25)

16 – JOSH FERGUSON – ILLINOIS – 5’9/198: 68
16 – DEVON JOHNSON – 6’0/238: 68
17 – TYLER ERVIN – 5’10/192 – SAN JOSE STATE: 68
28 – KEITH MARSHALL – 5’11/219 – GEORGIA: 66
19 – KEENAN REYNOLDS – 5’11/205 – NAVY: 68
20 – JORDAN CANZERI – 5’9/192 – IOWA: 67
21 – MARSHAUN COPRICH – 5’8/207 – ILLINOIS STATE: 66
22 – JHURREL PRESSLEY – 5’10/203 – NEW MEXICO: 66
23 – DWAYNE WASHINGTON – 6’2/226 – WASHINGTON: 66
24 – AARON GREEN – 5’11/202 – TCU: 63
25 – WENDELL SMALLWOOD – 5’10/208: 63

NYG APPROACH

To start off, I am in the camp that believes NYG needs a massive upgrade at RB. Just as I am against the general flow when it comes to LBs still being very important in the 4-3 defense, I believe a special talent in RB should not be passed on if you can grab one. This really is a one-back class. Ezekiel Elliott is the only one worth considering in the top 25-30 picks. With NYG sitting at #10, I think they need to at the very least consider him a strong option. The issue is, Reese has spent a draft pick and two straight years of free agency money on the position. Is he too proud to admit those assets simply aren’t enough and he needs to use another prime pick on the group? Or will he understand this may very well be his last shot and bringing in a day one starter and potential game-changer could literally save his job? Elliott is NFL-ready for all three downs. He is better than any NYG running back and I don’t care what Vereen did with the Patriots years ago, I don’t care what Jennings did late in the year, and I don’t care what Williams looked like during preseason. The decision whether or not to draft Elliott at #10 should have nothing to do with them. If you’re asking me, he is on a very short list of guys I am considering at that pick. After him, I think NYG can find a value after round 3 or 4. There are a lot of RBs graded very closely and some of them will slip. But then you are bringing in another “eh” back. There are some names in here with interesting upside (Lasco/Collins/Booker to name a few) that would be nice to have on the bottom of the depth chart. I understand “you can get good RBs late in the draft” but look around, there are a lot of VERY GOOD running backs taken in the 1st. And there are a lot of VERY GOOD players at other positions taken late in the draft. Going in with certain “rules” for specific positions will limit a team from getting to the next level.

Mar 292016
 
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Jake Coker, Alabama Crimson Tide (January 11, 2016)

Jake Coker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2016 NFL Draft Preview: Quarterbacks

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

*These rankings and grades are based somewhat on NYG schemes and perspective.

WHERE THEY STAND

Eli Manning is signed through 2018, when he will be 38 years old. Fortunately the hire of former Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach will keep Manning in the same system. Arguably he looks more comfortable in this attack than any other scheme he’s played in since being with NYG. Backup Ryan Nassib hasn’t seen any legit time since being traded up for 2013. He is a free agent next year and some are expecting the league to be somewhat aggressive with him on the market.

TOP 10 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – JARED GOFF – 6’4/215 – California: 86

Third year junior. Two time team captain. Semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award in 2015. Has started all 38 possible games over his three year career. Goff has been re-writing the California record book since the day he stepped on campus. He checks off almost every box on the list when it comes ability, leadership, and off-field behavior. He has elite-level accuracy and touch in addition to consistent lower body mechanics and release points. Goff is as poised and as tough as it gets. His only main drawback a lack of bulk. He will need to gain weight and strength to ensure he can bounce back from the increasing physical nature of the game. There is a sense of smoothness, toughness, and patience here that is tough to find wrapped up in to one QB. While the frame concerns me like it did with Sam Bradford a few years ago, I think Goff will be able to handle the hits and stay on track. All in all, Goff will be one of the class’ elite prospects and very possibly the first quarterback taken.

Upside Pro Comparison: Aaron Rodgers – GB

2 – CARSON WENTZ – 6’5/237 – North Dakota State: 82

2 year starter at the FCS level. Missed 2 months in 2015 with a broken wrist. So we are talking about a guy with a lack of starting experience in general, and that experience being at a lower level of college football. There are a ton of pro-ready and attractive traits to his game, but he may be more developmental than most think. Wentz is a tremendous athlete. Tough kid. Takes over a room the second he walks in and has a passion for the game. Very clean off the field. Wentz plays almost too confident. He forces throws and lowers his shoulder when he probably shouldn’t. He may learn the hard way that his approach in the NFL will need to change. I think most people will like Wentz more because of what the end-upside is. I fear it a little because there is a lot more that needs to happen progression wise than Goff. Still a very good grade here but not as high as Goff.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ryan Tannehill – MIA

3 – DAK PRESCOTT – 6’2/226 – MISSISSIPPI STATE: 78

2 time All-SEC QB that turned the Mississippi State program essentially all by himself. Prescott has a running back build with a strong torso and overly thick legs. When the team needed tough yards between the tackle, he got them. When the team needed big plays downfield, he threw them. Prescott is much more than a running QB. Very quick release and puts all the zip one needs on the ball. He makes players around him better. Good student of the game with leadership qualities. Prescott’s main negatives revolve around footwork mechanics that ultimately lead to inconsistent accuracy. He misses really easy throws too often. He may have a hard time adjusting to NFL schemes as well, both as leader of the offense and reader of the defense. If he cleans that up he can be a quality starter. I’ve always seen some Donovan McNabb in him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Donovan McNabb – PHI

4 – PAXTON LYNCH – 6’7/244 – MEMPHIS: 75

Three year starter that surprised some when he declared a year early. He hadn’t exactly had a big time career but the tools are intriguing and borderline rare for the position. It’s hard to find QBs this big with this kind of athletic ability. Lynch had a stretch through the 2015 season where everyone was trying to label him a potential number one pick. I never saw it. He came down to earth late in the year with poor performances where the pressure got put on and he lost track of simple reads and mechanics. Negatives aside, Lynch is intriguing when you look at him as a developmental prospect. He can rifle the ball. He can run. He can break tackles and stand strong in the pocket. Lynch understands ball protection and has the proper blend of aggression and patience. I think he can be a quick thinker but there is more development and learning that needs to be done here than any other QB in this class. He is a guy that likely needs 2+ years on the bench. But there are tools here that none of these guys will ever have.

Upside Pro Comparison: Joe Flacco – BAL

5 – CHRISTIAN HACKENBURG – 6’4/223 – PENN STATE: 74

Third year junior. Started all 38 games of his career. Arrived to Penn State with huge expectations and hype but he never quite reached the level many were thinking he would. Hackbenberg checks off most of the initial boxes. Good height, weight, and speed. Tremendous work ethic. Great genetics. The mechanics and arm strength look elite during workouts. However his career was very underwhelming for a variety of reasons. He was sacked over 100 times in his three years, underwent a coaching change that did not suit his abilities, and lacked true star power around him. There are whispers that he is a “me” guy. He throws others under the bus when things go south, which you never want to hear. Hackenberg has the talent to succeed in the NFL and his learning curve won’t be as steep as some others. The questions with him revolve around confidence, leadership qualities, and a consistent approach. Three essentials of being an NFL QB.

Upside Pro Comparison – Mark Sanchez – DEN

6 – CODY KESSLER – 6’1/220 – USC: 74

Coming in to the year, I had Kessler near the top of my QB ratings. I kept seeing Drew Brees when watching him in 2014. He is consistently accurate all over the field. Short, medium, deep, left, right…he can put the ball where it needs to be. Very controlled passer. One of the few prospects that came from a pro style offense. Has patience and assertion. Very protective of the ball. In his 3 years as the starter, he threw 88 TDs and 19 INTs. Kessler has a feel in the pocket that is hard to find. His lack of height doesn’t appear to be the issue that some make it out to be. He naturally moves in and out of pockets to find his throwing lanes. Very smart kid, too. I watched a lot of Kessler in 2015 and had to keep my bias aside. I just didn’t see the difference maker in him this year. He was bailed out by some big time plays from his supporting cast. He wasn’t making things happen the way I want a college prospect to. Personally I would love to draft this kid and feel good about my backup, but I’m not sure I would draft him expecting starter upside.

Upside Pro Comparison – Brian Hoyer – HOU

7 – JAKE COKER – 6’5/236 – ALABAMA: 71

Started off at Florida State, sitting behind EJ Manuel and Jameis Winston, both 1st round picks. In his one year as starter for the Crimson Tide, he steadily improved as thr weeks went by and won the National Championship. If there is one late round QB that I think comes out of nowhere and ends up a top 10 NFL QB, it’s Coker. I think there is still a good amount of the unknown with him. Really good deep ball thrower. Really good size and room for more bulk. Tough and smart. He looked nervous and uneasy during the beginning of the season but he has a different look about himself towards the end of the year when the pressure was really on. If Coker had another year of eligibility, I think he’d be in contention for 1st round talk in 2017. He isn’t overly impressive when it comes to arm strength and athletic ability. He may never be a dominant guy but NYG fans, I see some Manning in him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Eli Manning – NYG

8 – CONNOR COOK – 6’4/217 – MICHIGAN STATE: 70

Big 10 QB of the Year in 2015. Three year starter that set several school records. Came in to 2015 as a candidate for being the top QB of the class. If you watch the right tape, you can certainly see why. Cook has a smooth, quick release with plenty of zip Easy flick of the wrist and he can send the ball 50 yards downfield. Protected the ball very well throughout his whole career. Pure pocket passer with good feel in and out of pressure. Cook had a somewhat rough season though, and each time I watched him there were a few things missing. I question his toughness. I question his ability to process information with the blitz bearing down on him. He wasn’t voted team captain and honestly, that is a big deal to me. The QB is almost always a team captain. What gives there? I don’t have all the necessary information with him to fully evaluate who he is off the field but I’ve always hated how he carried himself on the sidelines. You can piece together a few things and come up with the assumption he probably isn’t the guy you want playing the most important and influential position on the field. Talented? Yes. But not enough so to look past the other stuff.

Upside Pro Comparison – Nick Foles – LA

9 – BRANDON ALLEN – 6’1/217 – ARKANSAS: 69

Three year starter. Was an after thought in the scouting community until 2015. He kept getting better and better against some really tough situations. Allen is as tough as they come. A pure gamer. He got the most out of himself and the players around him. Very smart and aware. Plays fast and will hit his target more often than not. Allen has less than ideal size, strength, and athletic ability. Some wonder if his performance was a direct result of no pressure being put on him. He had a very solid offensive line and a running game that opponents were constantly focusing on. That could very well be the case. I wouldn’t mind having a guy like Allen back my QB up though. You know he is going to be ready if his number is called and he won’t back away from the challenge. You can’t say that about everyone. Allen probably doesn’t have starter upside but that doesn’t mean he can’t be drafted.

Upside Pro Comparison – Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ

10 – JEFF DRISKEL – 6’4/234 – LOUISIANA TECH

You can look at Driskel one of two ways. Classic overhyped high school recruit that failed to use his tools to mold himself in to a quality football player or a guy that just got the raw end of the deal at Florida. I go back and forth with him. Driskel has an impressive physical package. He’s big, strong, and fast. He is a power player one drive and a finesse guy on the next. I think he can wear several hats. The broken leg and unstable coaching staff at Florida really hurt his chances at progressing there. Playing for Louisiana Tech may have been the best thing that ever happened to him. I know guys that think he is a top 5 QB in this class. He does have the upside to be called that. His issues revolve around touch and accuracy. He struggles to complete the tough throws. He is often a step behind or in front of his target, both physically and mentally. I think he is a guy worth trying to develop. He has talent that some guys on this list will never have.

Upside Pro Comparison – Blake Bortles – JAC

BEST OF THE REST (11-15)

11 – CARDALE JONES – 6’5/253 – OHIO STATE: 69
12 – JACOBY BRISSETT – 6’4/231 – NC STATE: 66
13 – JOEL STAVE – 6’5/236 – WISCONSIN: 65
14 – NATE SUDFELD – 6’6/234 – INDIANA – 64
15 – VERNON ADAMS – 5’11/200 – OREGON – 63

NYG APPROACH

The next NYG draft pick QB is coming. Maybe not this year but if not, it will be in 2017. Ryan Nassib hasn’t seen the field, obviously a good thing., but after what will be 4 seasons in the league and demand for his services, I expect him to be playing elsewhere next year. I am always a supporter of the notion that Manning needs a very capable backup. Not because he has an injury tendency, but because he is approaching his upper 30s and this team needs to be ready for when he’s done and/or when he gets hurt. Not having a quality backup has ruined so many teams with otherwise solid rosters. The draft is the best way to do it for financial reasoning. There is chatter among some that they will use a top 100 pick on one if the value presents itself. I don’t think so. If Nassib is gone at this time next year, I could see it being the case. But as long as he is here, NYG will only consider the position late if a value drops. I think the team will like Coker and Driskel.

Jan 112016
 
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A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama Crimson Tide (December 31, 2015)

A’Shawn Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: January 11, 2016 National Championship

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

ALABAMA

*#2 RB Derrick Henry – 6’3/242

Third year junior. Heisman winner. Old school bruiser that would have been a top 10 pick a decade ago. Henry isn’t the most exciting guy to watch but he’s effective. He wears a defense down. Always pushing the pile, always delivering blows to defenders. He needs space though. If he can’t get to the open field, he isn’t as effective. He doesn’t elude defenders, he won’t miss contact in short spaces. I don’t like how upright he is and long limbed he is, it just screams injury because defenders will be diving at his knees from day one.

*#88 TE OJ Howard – 6’6/242

Hasn’t declared yet, many expect him to. Some think he is the top TE prospect in then nation. I don’t see it. He is very tools rich and could develop in to a matchup problem at the next level. He is a sub par blocker though and I don’t see anything special about his speed or quickness. Maybe he just doesn’t get the looks because of the scheme. I don’t know. Some say he is a 2nd rounder, I think more like 4th/5th.

#70 C Ryan Kelly – 6’5/297

Fifth year senior. Team leader. Three year starter. Very good interior blocker that has the size and strength to stone defensive tackles. Active feet and good flexibility. He can be a day one starter in the NFL. High upside center that I have a 2nd round grade on.

#17 RB Kenyan Drake – 6’1/210

Fourth year senior. A lot of hype surrounding this kid early on, as he’s always been a part of the RB rotation. Drake has been marred by injuries the past two years. When he’s on the field though, you are talking about elite level explosion and speed. He scares defenses every time he touches the ball. And we aren’t talking about a little guy here, he’s got some meat on those bones. If he can get the ball in space, he can outrun anyone. He won’t do much to create on his own though and he just doesn’t have the feel for finding lanes and creases. Dynamic threat but he is not a fit for every team. The injury woes may bump him down to round 5 or 6.

#76 RT Dominick Jackson – 6’6/315

Transferred from JUCO in 2014. Didn’t start until this year. Big physical guy that has interesting tools. Long and stout. Good feet in space as a run blocker. He can drive guys back consistently. Struggles against speed to the outside. Has the ability to play inside in the NFL I think. Day three guy.

*#86 DT A’Shawn Robinson – 6’4/312

Third year junior that has been dominating from day one. All American DT. Plays DE and NT in their multi front scheme. He is a major matchup problem for any lone blocker. He can beat you in several ways. He doesn’t jump off the stat sheet but that isn’t his game. You have to watch him to appreciate it. He demands a lot of attention. He doesn’t get pushed back. He shows a lot of range in pursuit, just a crazy good athlete. 1st rounder, maybe a top 10 guy.

#90 DT Jarran Reed – 6’4/315

Fourth year senior, JUCO transfer. Early in the year I said Reed was a better player than Robinson. I’m not sure I still believe that but Reed makes up for less natural talent with a relentless, overly aggressive style. This guy can help change a culture of a defense. All out kind of guy all the time. He makes a ton of tackles from the DT position. Shows tremendous hand power, always delivering a violent blow to blockers. I like Reed a lot, maybe as a top 20 guy.

*#4 FS Eddie Jackson – 6’0/194

Third year junior. Haven’t heard much about his decision to stay or go but I think 2015 proved he is one of the top safeties in the nation, if not the best. All American. Made the move to FS from CB and he has 6 INTs with an amazing 230 return yards and 2 TDs. He is a game changer. Very rangy. Very fast. Won’t shy from contact and makes a lot of difficult tackles. Everything I want in a safety, Jackson has and I think the best has yet to come. I may have a 1st round grade on him if he comes out.

#19 LB Reggie Ragland – 6’2/252

Fourth year senior. This school just continues to pump out NFL caliber inside linebackers. Ragland is the next one. He’s not the athlete that CJ Mosley was a couple years back but he is just as good of a run defender. He can own the inside running game. Great tackler. Takes on blocks. I think he has a lack of range to the outside though and he may be a two down guy only or a 3-4 only guy. Still valuable but not to every scheme. Day 2 pick.

*#93 DL Jonathan Allen – 6’3/283

Third year junior. Pass rush specialist that may have played his way in to a 2nd round selection this year. Led the team with 10.5 sacks. He’s not on the field for a large percentage of plays and in college, that bothers me a little. I need to see more of him defending the run, playing more assignment based football. Some are saying he has 1st round potential but I’ll probably have him as a day 2 guy if he comes out.

#5 CB Cyrus Jones – 5’10/196

Fourth year senior. Jones could be drafted in the top 100 overall based on his return ability alone. He is the best in the country. Very shifty and fast. Great vision. Could potentially see a move to WR down the road a la Devin Hester. As a CB, Jones has struggled with consistency. He doesn’t stick to WRs in man coverage the way you would think he can based on his workouts. I don’t see the natural feel for coverage, which is essential for the position. Not sure where to peg him. Probably a 3rd or 4th rounder.

Other Notables:

#14 QB Jake Coker – 6’5/234
#16 WR Richard Mullaney – 6’3/208
#30 LB Denzel Devall – 6’2/252
#25 LB Dillon Lee – 6’4/242
#24 S Geno Matias-Smith – 6’0/194

CLEMSON

*#10 MLB Ben Boulware – 6’0/235

Third year junior. Hasn’t declared yet and I am split on whether or not he will. If he comes out, he will likely be my top LB in this class. I may even have a top 15 overall grade on him. Boulware is always around the ball, run or pass. Very instinctive and quick to the action. Low center of gravity and appears slippery to blockers. He is fast and powerful. Very good tackler that delivers a violent pop to ball carriers. Emotional leader of this team and is always on fire. Boulware is a 10 year starter in the NFL.

*#2 CB Mackenzie Alexander – 5’11/190

Third year sophomore. Broke on to the scene in 2014 with a Freshman All American season. I’ve been watching him all year and he has the goods from a physical perspective. Length, strength, speed, quickness, agility….it’s all there. Alexander is a fighter, constantly mixing it up with the opponent. If I had to nitpick, I’d say he struggles to maintain his physical ability when the ball is in there air. He loses balance and traction and has a tendency to get very grabby downfield. All in all he has the talent to be a star but there are several mechanical components to his game that need to be worked on. If he comes out he can be a top 15 guy.

*#90 DE Shaq Lawson – 6’3/275

Third year junior. Hasn’t announced a decision yet. Lawson wasn’t much of a factor until this year, playing behind Vic Beasley for his first two years. He really broke out this year and put himself in to 1st round territory. Lawson leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss. He is a complete defensive end that excels against both the run and pass. I can’t quite make up my mind on him. He’s good, but is he top 10 good? He lacks a couple of ideal physical traits but he has a technique-savvy player with a relentless motor. That is usually a nice combination when scouting a guy with such good production. I’ll spend more time on him in the coming months but he has a legit shot at being my #1 DE. I don’t see a major difference between him and Bosa.

*#98 DE Kevin Dodd – 6’5/278

Fourth year junior. Missed 2013 with injury. Dodd doesn’t get the attention that Lawson does but some people will have a higher grade on him. He has an NFL-ready body. A true 4-3 DE here that could start early in his career. He hasn’t seen the attention from opposing OLs that Lawson has, but I don’t want to use that against him too much. Power defender that shows proper mechanics across the board. Could be another 1st rounder.

#44 LB BJ Goodson – 6’1/250

Fifth year senior. Probably won’t get the attention that Boulware does but this guy is a player. Very physical, mean linebacker. A perfect fit for what we used to see in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Might not be the elite athlete that some are looking for but some LBs have a way of using sneaky speed and that’s Goodson for you. He can change a run defense from day one.

*#1 FS Jayron Kearse – 6’4/210

This year junior with some nice bloodlines. Nephew of former DE Jevon Kearse, cousin to former CB Philip Buchanon. Very experienced. Solid triangle numbers. Some love this kid but I think he is too long for his own good. Takes a long time to react and change direction. Misses too many tackles for a safety. He just isn’t comfortable or fluid as a mover. I think he is a late rounder if he comes out, others will say top 100.

Other Notables:

#19 WR Charone Peake – 6’3/215
#78 LG Eric Mac Lain – 6’4/305
#74 RT Joe Gore – 6’5/290

Jan 022016
 
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Tyler Johnstone, Oregon Ducks (October 3, 2015)

Tyler Johnstone – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: January 2, 2016 Bowl Games (Late Games)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

OREGON

#64 LT Tyler Johnstone – 6’6/295

38 career starts. One of the best athletes you’ll find along the OL this year. Undersized and will need bulk if he wants to stick. Great footwork. Aggressive and loves to get physical despite not being a heavy guy. Some say a Joe Staley kind of guy. Could be a 1st rounder.

*#11 WR Bralon Addison – 5’10/190

Hasn’t declared yet. Missed 2014 after suffering an injury in spring. He looked like a big time player in 2013. Been playing OK in 2015 but inconsistent QB play has hurt him. Very good out of the slot. Gets open with ease and dynamic after the catch. Could be a 3rd/4th rounder.

#44 DE DeForest Bruckner – 6’7/300

One of the top DL in this class. Has a shot at being top 10. He bounces inside and out, big time matchup problem. Really big, really physical. 39 TFL and 13.5 sacks over past two years. Elite run defender that blockers can’t attach to in pass protection. He is the real deal and complete package. 1st rounder for sure.

#35 LB Joe Walker – 6’2/240

Need to see more of him. Has three down ability. Will tackle well in space and run with tight ends up the seam, also a very good inside run defender that can get off blocks. Middle rounder.

#33 LB Tyson Coleman – 6’1/233

Speed linebacker that loves to play the pursuit game. Has range but also plays with some power to him. Limited in traffic and isn’t good in coverage. 5th/6th rounder.

#56 DT Alex Balducci – 6’4/310

Haven’t watched him much. He carries the weight comfortably and he gets out of his stance fast. Not great after engaged but he plays hard and through he whistle. He’ll make plays 30 yards downfield. I want to see him a few more times.

#48 LB Rodney Hardrick – 6’1/250

Thick bodied, powerful bull type. Very good instincts and reactions. Limited athlete in space that won’t wow anyone. May need to be in a 3-4 scheme if he’s gonna stick.

Other Notables:

#62 LG Matt Pierson – 6’6/290
#72 C Matt Hegarty – 6’4/295
#3 QB Vernon Adams – 5’11/202

TCU

#7 WR Kolby Listenbee – 6’1/183

Big play guy. Averaging over 20 yards per catch over past two seasons. Might get more looks with Doctson out. He looks like a track athlete stillt trying to figure the game out. Project WR but with elite speed.

#74 LT Halapoulivaati Vaitai – 6’6/315

Three year starter. Not a fluid mover but he’s a tough guy to get around. Big time wingspan and hand power. He got away with a lot of holding in games I saw. He’s a little sloppy but I think he can stick somewhere as a backup caliber OT. Maybe eventual starter. Day three guy.

#22 RB Aaron Green – 5’11/206

Has been very solid over past two years. Over 6 yards per carry 2014/2015 combined. Part of a committee approach. Benefits from their spaced out offense. Solid all around but doesn’t stand out. Wasn’t used as a blocker or receiver as much as I want. Late rounder if he runs well in workouts.

#26 S Derek Kindred – 5’10/210

Undersized but good tackler, very physical. Fills the lanes hard. Good in zone coverage, anticipates well but is tight hipped. Late rounder best case.

Other Notables:

#55 C Joey Hunt – 6’3/295
#90 LB Terrell Lathan – 6’5/280

********************************************

WEST VIRGINIA

*#4 RB Wendell Smallwood – 5’11/201

Hasn’t declared yet but he submitted paperwork and he had a big year. I haven’t scouted him yet. I’m excited to because he has some really good movement ability. Very quick and fast, waterbug type. Little undersized but he has the frame for more weight.

#35 LB Nick Kwiatkoski – 6’2/235

Three year starter, has been the team’s leading tackler all three years. Need more looks at him but from what I’ve seen he can be a mid round prospect that starts early in his career. Smart and aware, reads the action, right place right time type.

#9 S KJ Dillon – 6’1/203

In the box safety that can be a force in the right role and scheme. Very good tackle and enforcer. Struggles to stick with WRs in space but he can make plays in coverage. Just can’t handle too much responsibility.

#36 LB Shaq Petteway – 6’0/230

Athletic in short space. Has a lot going against him but I like him from the little I have seen. He is a great tackler. Good blitzer that can feel the action. Late rounder.

Other Notables:

#78 LT Marquis Lucas – 6’4/318
#42 Jared Barber – 6’0/232

ARIZONA STATE

#55 LG Christian Westermann – 6’4/300

Fifth year senior, started off at Auburn. Widely know for his freakish weight room strength. He moves like a weightlifter. Stiff and slow to react to players. He is a good bender and wins off the snap initially often, but needs work on what happens after. I see a mid rounder, others think top 45.

#15 WR Devin Lucien – 6’2/195

Finally got his opportunity in 2015 and he shined. He made a ton of plays downfield. Really competes for the ball and showed some nice ball skills. He could be a big time value grab if he falls to day 3.

#8 WR DJ Foster – 6’0/195

Jack of all trades guy. He’s been a hybrid WR/RB his entire career. Fought some nagging injuries in 2015. I think he projects best to the slot in the NFL but he will need to refine his route running. Some people really like this guy. I think he is a mid rounder.

#2 QB Mike Bercovici – 6’2/210

He’s in that third or fourth tier of QBs but I think he is draftable. Nice arm and he had a lot of responsibilities in this offense. Throws a tight ball, puts the ball on the money downfield. Late rounder.

#81 WR Gary Chambers – 6’4/215

A deep sleeper of mine. Only saw him once and it was against Oregon, probably his best game in his 2 years at ASU. I see tools in this kid. Ball skills, long strides, physical. May lack some speed but this is the kind of kid I want to see at East/West Shrine or in private workouts. I think there is something here that ASU never got out of him.

#8 CB Lloyd Carrington – 6’0/195

Nice body for a a CB. Strong and long presence. Can run downfield with speed. QBs don’t look his way often, he can lock guys up. 2nd or 3rd rounder.

#32 OLB Antonio Longino – 6’2./230

Huge senior season. Plays a position that let shim roam and blitz all day. 19 TFL and 10 sacks is still noteworthy. Hustler that will pursue hard. Bends will and can punch the blocker hard. Fun player to watch. Still a day 3 guy.

Other Notables:

#73 RG VI Teofilo – 6’3/315
#50 C Nick Kelly – 6’2/296
#94 DT Demetrius Cherry – 6’6/300
#10 S Kwelshi Brown – 6’0/210

Jan 022016
 
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Cody Whitehair, Kansas State Wildcats (September 18, 2014)

Cody Whitehair – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: January 2, 2016 Bowl Games (Early Games)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

PENN STATE

*#14 QB Christian Hackenburg – 6’2/228

Fourth year junior. Has always been a high ceiling kid but he’s been as inconsistent as it gets. Has had a rough situation with the poor OL. Would love to see him go back to school, he needs more time. If he comes out maybe a day 2 pick but I don’t see it. Too many negatives.

*99 DT Austin Johnson – 6’3/323

Hasn’t declared yet. Solid space eater inside with the quicks and strong punch. Has the upside of a starter. He seems stiff to me after engagement. Might be a day 2 guy if he comes out.

#98 DT Anthony Zettel – 6’3/288

Active and and quick off the snap. Plays low and strong. Annoying guy to block but I think his upside is limited. Wasn’t much of a factor in 2015. 3rd or 4th rounder.

#95 DE Carl Nassib – 6’7/272

Broke out in 2015. Had 15.5 sacks after just 2 in his career prior to. Lacks quick twitch. Won’t beat guys off the snap but does well after engagement. Another limited upside guy. 3rd or 4th round best case.

Other Notables:

#10 CB Trevor Williams – 6’1/200

GEORGIA

#26 WR Malcolm Mitchell – 6’1/195

Team leader type. Has seen time at WR and CB. He has the tools for both in the NFL. Tough kid with good ball skills but isn’t a great athlete. Day three pick.

#71 RT Jon Theus – 6’6/303

Started off as a Freshman All American in 2012. Hasn’t lived up to the hype since. Struggles with speed and quickness. Has a long frame though but needs time to develop physically. He’s sloppy. Late rounder.

#59 OLB Jordan Jenkins – 6’2/246

Not a big time athlete but he is a guy that controls the point of attack and adds a physical element to the defense. Tough as nails. Strong and powerful. Very reliable player assignment wise. He can start day one in the NFL. 2nd rounder.

*#84 OLB Leonard Floyd – 6’4/231

Hasn’t declared yet. Some will love this kid and put a 1st round grade on him. Typical explosive edge athlete that needs bulk. Can run with WRs. Has length. Easy bender, very agile. Athletic upside is as good as it gets but he gets moved by blockers too easily. Could be a top 45 guy on my board but right now he is a 3rd rounder.

Other Notables:

#4 RB Keith Marshall – 5’11/212
#51 LB Jake Ganus – 6’2/227
#93 DT Chris Mayes – 6’4/323
#58 DT Sterling Bailey – 6’3/282

*************************************************

KANSAS STATE

#55 LT Cody Whitehair – 6’4/309

Has played all over the OL. He projects to OG in the NFL and he may finish as my top guy at that spot. I like him a lot. Incredibly strong and powerful from head to toe. He can bend guys backward. Very good athlete off the edge. Has an easy time with speed and quickness. Won’t lose the strength game. 1st round possibly.

#33 CB Morgan Burns – 5’11/202

Could be drafted on his return ability alone. Fastest guy on team, some say 4.35 guy. Returned 4 kickoffs for TDs in 2015 alone which is amazing. As a CB alone he could be a 4th or 5th rounder. Combine the two and he could sneak in to day 2. High upside pick.

Other Notables:

#77 LG Boston Stiverson – 6’4/316
#68 RG Luke Hayes – 6’6/295
#65 RT Matt Kleinsorge – 6’5/310
#48 DT Travis Britz – 6’4/293
#45 DE Marquel Bryant – 6’3/254

ARKANSAS

*#84 TE Hunter Henry – 6’5/253

Hasn’t declared yet. My favorite prospect of the day. He’ll be my top tight end if he comes out. He is the prototype. Has the athletic ability to move outside and create mismatches. Has the size and strength to start with his hand in the dirt and block. He can be a starter right away, a good one at that. Does it all and could be a premier TE in this league.

*#3 RB Alex Collins – 5’11/215

Hasn’t declared yet. May finish as my top overall RB in this class. Love his running style. Very good vision, very decisive. He breaks tackles almost every time he has the ball. NFL caliber footwork and hip agility. Changes direction, fast in the open field. Team player. Great blocker.

*#55 LT Denver Kirkland – 6’5/340

Hasn’t declared. Moved to LT this year but I think he makes a move back inside in the NFL. Maybe a RT. Huge frame but not a good bender and he has heavy feet. Size helps but doesn’t solve his movement issues. I think he needs another year, right now I see a 4th rounder.

#73 LG Sebastian Tretola – 6’5/334

Has bounced around over past 5 years. Good run blocker. Little sloppy and lacks great lateral movement but he gets the job done often. May need time to develop physically and get in better shape, clean up some stuff but has solid backup potential. Day three guy.

#10 QB Brandon Allen – 6’2/210

Played his way in to serious draft consideration this year. I saw him plenty and while he lacks ideal triangle numbers and arm strength, he put out some of the mosrt gutsy performances I saw all year. Tough as nails. Accurate and decisive. He impressed me on a lot of occasions. Still a late round, backup type player.

Other Notables:

#93 DT DeMarcus Hodge – 6’1/340
#26 SS Rohan Gaines – 5’11/195

Dec 312015
 
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Jalen Ramsey, Florida State Seminoles (November 28, 2015)

Jalen Ramsey – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 31, 2015 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

HOUSTON

#3 CB William Jackson – 6’2/195

Fourth year senior, started off at a Community College for a year. He started showing signs of being a lockdown corner towards the end of 2014. Kind of a late bloomer, took him awhile to improve his body awareness and coordination. Still has a lot of room for growth. He can turn and run with anyone. Long strider with long arms, that’s nice to have against deep passing games. He isn’t very physical though and his ability as a press corner isn’t good. Upside prospect here that will need time to develop. 4th or 5th rounder.

#44 LB Elandon Roberts – 6’0/230

Fourth year senior that played a year at Morgan State. Pretty much a non factor until 2015. I’ve seen the Houston defense three times and Roberts is one of my top sleepers in the draft. This kid is a tackling machine. He can fill different roles. Fast and powerful with good body control. Violent intentions. He is a great mover in coverage, has the wiggle in his hips and tremendous balance. Roberts is undersized and may not be the fastest straight line athlete but what I look for in linebackers, Roberts has it all. Might be an ideal fit for the 4-3 WLB role.

#23 S Trevon Stewart – 5’9/195

One of the most productive careers you’ll find. Career started off with a bang as a freshman where he led all newcomers in the nation with 126 tackles. Showed the same ability in 2013 but also picked off four passes. Some started discussing him as a next Earl Thomas type. Not so fast there. Stewart is aggressive and feisty, yes. But he doesn’t have that kind of speed of reaction in coverage. Stewart’s lack of size is a major liability. He isn’t a guy to trust in deep coverage. Very grabby. He didn’t really take off to another level at any point. Late rounder at best that could be a great special teamer.

FLORIDA STATE

*#8 CB Jalen Ramsey – 6’1/201

Many expect him to come out. He’s likely a top 5 pick if he does. Widely considered the top defensive back in this class. He is also a track athlete. Ramsey can do several things on the field that make you say wow. I think he is better suited for safety however. He is a great tackler that wraps up and can deliver a blow. He has a nice feel for the game. With that said, as strictly a corner he is sloppy. Poor technique and lazy efforts at times. He knows he is talented and he cuts corners because of it. He can be beat by a good route runner with ease. If I draft him, I am letting him roam the field as a FS. He can be a star there.

*#44 DT DeMarcus Walker – 6’3/281

Junior that hasn’t come out. Had a huge 2015 season and many think he’ll enter the draft. Walker is a DT/DE hybrid. They move him around a lot to exploit matchups. He is too quick and elusive for interior guys, but too strong and powerful for the tackles. He would fit in nice with the hybrid NFL schemes. Very versatile kid that has a knack for finding the action. It can be hard to find DL that get in on the action so often. Walker is that kind of guy. If he comes out he is likely a top 45 guy.

#5 LB Reggie Northrup – 6’4/254

Fourth year senior. Core special teamer for a couple years and took over at MLB in 2014, leading the team in tackles with 122. Northrup was starting to look like a 1st round prospect, but tore his ACL and MCL in the Rose Bowl last January. He missed the 2015 spring but came back to start every game in 2015, again leading the team in tackles. Knowing he still has more recovering to do, I think this kid has the upside of a Pro Bowler. He owns the inside gaps as a run defender. He has the range to reach the sidelines. Effective blitzer and quick reaction guy. I don’t have much on him as a cover man. He may need to come off the field on 3rd downs but I think with another offseason of full recovery and training, he can be a starter in year one. Top 60 kind of guy.

*#27 CB Marquez White – 6’0/184

Third year junior. Also plays basketball for the Seminoles. Not sure what his plans are for this winter/spring. I haven’t spent a ton of time scouting White but I do think he is a more natural cover corner than Ramsey. More refined from a technique perspective. Has the length and quick feet to be a solid press corner. Shows a physical side. It seems to me that QBs avoid throwing his way more than Ramsey. We’ll see if he declares. Could be a 2nd round talent.

#99 DT Nile Lawrence-Stample – 6’1/323

Fifth year senior. Blue collar run defender that has some solid 3-4 NT potential. Plays low and strong. Tough as nails. Does the dirty work and probably goes overlooked by the common fan. Scouts know there is value with this kid. 4th or 5th rounder that is limited but some defenses really need this guy.

#24 LB Terrance Smith – 6’4/231

Fifth year senior that missed 2011 with a knee. Height/weight/speed guy that will do great in workouts. Interesting case here. He has some outstanding tape from early in his career. He was expected to be one of the top defenders on this team in 2015, but for whatever reason it didn’t pan out. He looked lost at times. When he isn’t in space chasing guys down, he looks very average. I wanna do more digging on him to see if there was an undisclosed injury or off field problem. 2015 is a mystery to me. He didn’t reach half the level I was expecting to see. I still think he has 4th or 5th round potential.

Other Notables:

#1 S Tyler Hunter – 5’11/205
#42 FS LaMarcus Brutus – 6’0/208

***********************************

OKLAHOMA

#3 WR Sterling Shepard – 5’10./193

If I had to choose one receiver in this class for my slot position, it’s this guy. I think Shepard has 100+ catch per season potential. He has elite stop and go ability. He’ll always be able to run himself open. Very competitive guy, loves to get after it in traffic. Doesn’t shy from contact. Strong hands and very good ability after the catch. Off the field Shepard is a tireless worker that is constantly trying to find the smallest of advantages to make himself better. If he can be put in to the right role, we are talking about a guy that will be among league leaders in receptions every year. I’ll have a 1st round grade on him.

#74 RG Nila Kasitati – 6’4/315

Fourth year senior. Doesn’t really look the part, might be a bit too soft and unathletic. Will bend poorly at times. But this guy can run block with the best of them. Very smart and savvy. Very powerful hands. When his feet are under him he can block anyone. If he can get in to better shape he has starting potential. Late rounder but one I would easily gamble on for development if he checks well off the field.

*#1 LB Dominique Alexander – 6’0/220

Third year junior that is 50/50 on declaring. Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Freshman All American in 2013. Leading tackler. Very rangy, fast, and quick. Might be an ideal 4-3 WLB prospect. He can make plays all over the field. Can be a 3 down guy for a team right away. Has some star potential in him. He’ll make plays that a lot of guys simply are unable to. If he comes out he could be a top 45 guy. 3rd rounder at worst.

#19 OLB Eric Striker – 6’0/222

Popular name here. Fourth year senior that almost came out after last season. Has big time production. Led the Sooners on TFL and sacks each of the past three seasons respectively. Striker doesn’t pass the initial eye test. He is short. Doesn’t carry a lot of weight. Doesn’t have a long reach. He can produce in the NFL though. He can cover better than you would think. He defends the run with awareness and intelligence. Very savvy and quick reaction type. Striker has made some very good OL look foolish over the years. He isn’t a fit for everyone but knowing how solid of a kid he is off the field, Striker will make it happen in the NFL one way or another. Day 2 prospect.

#91 DE Charles Tapper – 6’4/283

Fourth year senior. He won’t jump off the screen and he hasn’t had enormous production. But talk to any Big 12 coach or player and they will tell you Tapper is one of the best DEs in the country. He is blue collar. Owns the line of scrimmage, rarely gets beat by a lone blocker. Very disciplined and smart. Has the physical tools that coaches love. He is NFL ready from day one. He’ll be a very solid DE in the NFL. Safe pick. Day 2 guy.

*#15 CB Zack Sanchez – 5’11/179

Fourth year junior. I’ve been told he is coming out but haven’t seen anything for sure. Some guys really like him. 12 INTs over the past 2 years. I think those numbers are a little inflated, I don’t think he is NFL ready. He has poor technique and gets away with murder downfield. Very grabby. I do like the attitude though and he tracks the deep ball well. I just think he needs another year. 4th or 5th rounder if he comes out.

CLEMSON

*#10 MLB Ben Boulware – 6’0/235

Third year junior. Hasn’t declared yet and I am split on whether or not he will. If he comes out, he will likely be my top LB in this class. I may even have a top 15 overall grade on him. Boulware is always around the ball, run or pass. Very instinctive and quick to the action. Low center of gravity and appears slippery to blockers. He is fast and powerful. Very good tackler that delivers a violent pop to ball carriers. Emotional leader of this team and is always on fire. Boulware is a 10 year starter in the NFL.

*#2 CB Mackenzie Alexander – 5’11/190

Third year sophomore. Broke on to the scene in 2014 with a Freshman All American season. I’ve been watching him all year and he has the goods from a physical perspective. Length, strength, speed, quickness, agility….it’s all there. Alexander is a fighter, constantly mixing it up with the opponent. If I had to nitpick, I’d say he struggles to maintain his physical ability when the ball is in there air. He loses balance and traction and has a tendency to get very grabby downfield. All in all he has the talent to be a star but there are several mechanical components to his game that need to be worked on. If he comes out he can be a top 15 guy.

*#90 DE Shaq Lawson – 6’3/275

Third year junior. Hasn’t announced a decision yet. Lawson wasn’t much of a factor until this year, playing behind Vic Beasley for his first two years. He really broke out this year and put himself in to 1st round territory. Lawson leads the nation with 22.5 tackles for loss. He is a complete defensive end that excels against both the run and pass. I can’t quite make up my mind on him. He’s good, but is he top 10 good? He lacks a couple of ideal physical traits but he has a technique-savvy player with a relentless motor. That is usually a nice combination when scouting a guy with such good production. I’ll spend more time on him in the coming months but he has a legit shot at being my #1 DE. I don’t see a major difference between him and Bosa.

*#98 DE Kevin Dodd – 6’5/278

Fourth year junior. Missed 2013 with injury. Dodd doesn’t get the attention that Lawson does but some people will have a higher grade on him. He has an NFL-ready body. A true 4-3 DE here that could start early in his career. He hasn’t seen the attention from opposing OLs that Lawson has, but I don’t want to use that against him too much. Power defender that shows proper mechanics across the board. Could be another 1st rounder.

#44 LB BJ Goodson – 6’1/250

Fifth year senior. Probably won’t get the attention that Boulware does but this guy is a player. Very physical, mean linebacker. A perfect fit for what we used to see in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Might not be the elite athlete that some are looking for but some LBs have a way of using sneaky speed and that’s Goodson for you. He can change a run defense from day one.

*#1 FS Jayron Kearse – 6’4/210

This year junior with some nice bloodlines. Nephew of former DE Jevon Kearse, cousin to former CB Philip Buchanon. Very experienced. Solid triangle numbers. Some love this kid but I think he is too long for his own good. Takes a long time to react and change direction. Misses too many tackles for a safety. He just isn’t comfortable or fluid as a mover. I think he is a late rounder if he comes out, others will say top 100.

Other Notables:

#19 WR Charone Peake – 6’3/215
#78 LG Eric Mac Lain – 6’4/305
#74 RT Joe Gore – 6’5/290

***********************************

MICHIGAN STATE

#18 QB Connor Cook – 6’4/220

Fifth year senior. A career record of 34-4 over his 3 seasons as the starter. He is in the running for the first QB overall. A good game against Alabama could go a long way. Has the size and arm strength. I have seen a ton of Cook over the past two years and I won’t have a 1st round grade on him. I may not have a 2nd round grade on him. He gets flustered in the pocket under pressure. He looks afraid at times. Doesn’t seem to be confident from the pocket unless he is completely clean. Another thing I want to look in to…he isn’t a team captain. A fifth year senior that plays QB and has been the starter for 3 years isn’t a captain? There may be something there.

*#74 OT Jack Conklin – 6’6/325

Fourth year junior. Began his career as a walk on. Became the starting LT right away in 2013 and was a Freshman All American. Conklin has been one of the top LTs in the country for years now, he is one of my favorites. He’s been a little nicked up with a knee in 2015 and it has definitely slowed him down. Tonight will be the freshest he’s been in awhile, looking forward to the matchup. He is a blue collar bruiser. Very big and tough. Shows refined mechanics from head to toe. Very hard worker. He doesn’t have the elite movement and it may prevent his grade from being top 10 overall, but he’ll likely finish as a 1st rounder.

#76 RG Donovan Clark – 6’4/325

Fifth year senior. Major test for him tonight. I think he can match up well against these big time Alabama DTs. Clark is as strong and powerful as it gets. If he gets inside position with his hands, game over. He drives guys backward more than any guard in the class. Big time run blocker. He can be out-moved by faster defenders though. Little limited at the second level and as a pass blocker. Day 2 guy I think.

#66 C Jack Allen – 6’2/296

Fifth year senior. Four year starter. Two time All American. Allen is the top center in the class according to some. Missed some time this year with an ankle. Leader of the OL, responsible for a lot pre-snap. Kind of like a second quarterback. Allen gets his hands on quick and will work his tail off through the whistle. Nice test for him tonight, as the one question I have is the ability to hold his ground against elite power. He’ll see plenty of that tonight.

#16 WR Aaron Burbridge – 6’1/208

Fourth year senior. Has been a steady contributor all for years. Became a go to guy in 2015, showing more big play ability than he had in previous years. He is thick for a WR. Capable of pushing DBs around and getting to where he wants. Lacks top end speed but he is an explosive route runner underneath. He can get open. Limited upside but a guy that can be a solid #4 or #5 WR in the NFL. Day three prospect.

#89 DE Shilique Calhoun – 6’5/250

Fourth year senior. Almost came out last year, wisely chose to return for senior season. I wasn’t big on Calhoun last year but he looks a lot better right now. More quick twitch and reaction. Has the explosive first step when they let him loose to put a tackle on his heels. Calhoun has very good body control when he is moving at full speed and that is a big part of what makes him so effective. He can change his path at any second. First round grade here.

#8 DE Lawrence Thomas – 6’4/305

Fifth year senior. Incredibly versatile. I think he could fit in to any scheme and he could play inside or outside. That is rare to truly find. He’s been at LB, FB, DT, and DE for the Spartans. Thomas can get off the ball well with a lot of power and leverage. Good adjustments and post-engagement moves. Not a household name but he’ll be a productive player.

#92 DT Joel Heath – 6’6/296

Fifth year senior. Won’t jump off the stat sheet or the game tape but if you watch a lot of Michigan State, you’ll have a deep appreciation for Heath. He has a high upside. Very big and physical. Has good reach and nice frame. NFL coaches will look at him and think major potential. I don’t think he will be a star but he can be a solid rotational guy that can fill multiple roles. He has versatility. He sets the tempo inside for this tough defense. Day three guy.

#26 SS RJ Williamson – 6’0/216

Fifth year senior. Has been a steady contributor all four years. A lot of tackles and has shown a knack for the big play. He made some nice plays early in the year and I circled his name a few times. He tore his biceps in October and needed surgery. Looks like he is coming back for this game. Good for him and it will be a good test. I need to see more of him but he was having a great year prior to the injury.

Other Notables:

#45 LB Darien Harris – 6’0/220
#36 CB Arjen Colquhoun – 6’1/202

ALABAMA

*#2 RB Derrick Henry – 6’3/242

Third year junior. Heisman winner. Old school bruiser that would have been a top 10 pick a decade ago. Henry isn’t the most exciting guy to watch but he’s effective. He wears a defense down. Always pushing the pile, always delivering blows to defenders. He needs space though. If he can’t get to the open field, he isn’t as effective. He doesn’t elude defenders, he won’t miss contact in short spaces. I don’t like how upright he is and long limbed he is, it just screams injury because defenders will be diving at his knees from day one.

*#88 TE OJ Howard – 6’6/242

Hasn’t declared yet, many expect him to. Some think he is the top TE prospect in then nation. I don’t see it. He is very tools rich and could develop in to a matchup problem at the next level. He is a sub par blocker though and I don’t see anything special about his speed or quickness. Maybe he just doesn’t get the looks because of the scheme. I don’t know. Some say he is a 2nd rounder, I think more like 4th/5th.

#70 C Ryan Kelly – 6’5/297

Fifth year senior. Team leader. Three year starter. Very good interior blocker that has the size and strength to stone defensive tackles. Active feet and good flexibility. He can be a day one starter in the NFL. High upside center that I have a 2nd round grade on.

#17 RB Kenyan Drake – 6’1/210

Fourth year senior. A lot of hype surrounding this kid early on, as he’s always been a part of the RB rotation. Drake has been marred by injuries the past two years. When he’s on the field though, you are talking about elite level explosion and speed. He scares defenses every time he touches the ball. And we aren’t talking about a little guy here, he’s got some meat on those bones. If he can get the ball in space, he can outrun anyone. He won’t do much to create on his own though and he just doesn’t have the feel for finding lanes and creases. Dynamic threat but he is not a fit for every team. The injury woes may bump him down to round 5 or 6.

#76 RT Dominick Jackson – 6’6/315

Transferred from JUCO in 2014. Didn’t start until this year. Big physical guy that has interesting tools. Long and stout. Good feet in space as a run blocker. He can drive guys back consistently. Struggles against speed to the outside. Has the ability to play inside in the NFL I think. Day three guy.

*#86 DT A’Shawn Robinson – 6’4/312

Third year junior that has been dominating from day one. All American DT. Plays DE and NT in their multi front scheme. He is a major matchup problem for any lone blocker. He can beat you in several ways. He doesn’t jump off the stat sheet but that isn’t his game. You have to watch him to appreciate it. He demands a lot of attention. He doesn’t get pushed back. He shows a lot of range in pursuit, just a crazy good athlete. 1st rounder, maybe a top 10 guy.

#90 DT Jarran Reed – 6’4/315

Fourth year senior, JUCO transfer. Early in the year I said Reed was a better player than Robinson. I’m not sure I still believe that but Reed makes up for less natural talent with a relentless, overly aggressive style. This guy can help change a culture of a defense. All out kind of guy all the time. He makes a ton of tackles from the DT position. Shows tremendous hand power, always delivering a violent blow to blockers. I like Reed a lot, maybe as a top 20 guy.

*#4 FS Eddie Jackson – 6’0/194

Third year junior. Haven’t heard much about his decision to stay or go but I think 2015 proved he is one of the top safeties in the nation, if not the best. All American. Made the move to FS from CB and he has 6 INTs with an amazing 230 return yards and 2 TDs. He is a game changer. Very rangy. Very fast. Won’t shy from contact and makes a lot of difficult tackles. Everything I want in a safety, Jackson has and I think the best has yet to come. I may have a 1st round grade on him if he comes out.

#19 LB Reggie Ragland – 6’2/252

Fourth year senior. This school just continues to pump out NFL caliber inside linebackers. Ragland is the next one. He’s not the athlete that CJ Mosley was a couple years back but he is just as good of a run defender. He can own the inside running game. Great tackler. Takes on blocks. I think he has a lack of range to the outside though and he may be a two down guy only or a 3-4 only guy. Still valuable but not to every scheme. Day 2 pick.

*#93 DL Jonathan Allen – 6’3/283

Third year junior. Pass rush specialist that may have played his way in to a 2nd round selection this year. Led the team with 10.5 sacks. He’s not on the field for a large percentage of plays and in college, that bothers me a little. I need to see more of him defending the run, playing more assignment based football. Some are saying he has 1st round potential but I’ll probably have him as a day 2 guy if he comes out.

#5 CB Cyrus Jones – 5’10/196

Fourth year senior. Jones could be drafted in the top 100 overall based on his return ability alone. He is the best in the country. Very shifty and fast. Great vision. Could potentially see a move to WR down the road a la Devin Hester. As a CB, Jones has struggled with consistency. He doesn’t stick to WRs in man coverage the way you would think he can based on his workouts. I don’t see the natural feel for coverage, which is essential for the position. Not sure where to peg him. Probably a 3rd or 4th rounder..

Other Notables:

#14 QB Jake Coker – 6’5/234
#16 WR Richard Mullaney – 6’3/208
#30 LB Denzel Devall – 6’2/252
#25 LB Dillon Lee – 6’4/242
#24 S Geno Matias-Smith – 6’0/194

Dec 302015
 
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Su'a Cravens, USC Trojans (October 8, 2015)

Su’a Cravens – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 30, 2015 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

AUBURN

#5 WR Ricardo Louis – 6’2/215

Fourth year senior that hadn’t been given much opportunity until this year. He still looks raw to me, which is typical of receivers that come from this kind of system. He has some tools to work with. Auburn gave him a lot of rushing attempts as well. He can be explosive with the ball in his hands. Best case he is a late rounder.

#8 LB Cassanova McKinzy – 6’3/253

Fourth year senior that has been moved all over the defense. Part of me thinks it has helped him appear more versatile to scouts while part of me thinks his growth as a player has been stunted by the constant movement of positions a la Mathias Kiwanuka. He’s been productive everywhere. I think McKinzy can be an elite 3-4 linebacker or an above average 4-3 linebacker. He is extremely powerful on the move. Very good blitzer and very effective in pursuit. He has the short area explosion to beat blockers to a spot and the strength to deliver violent hits. He misses too many tackles to be strictly a run defending linebacker. He could be a guy that changes to pass rusher on 3rd down. Versatile tool set here but he won’t work in every scheme. Coaches need to be careful with him. Day 2 guy.

#17 LB Kris Frost – 6’2/240

Fifth year senior. Two plus year starter. Has the triangle numbers that coaches want to work with. Second on the team in tackles. Appears to be a technician type, works hard to do things the right way. I think he lacks the natural feel for the position that I look for but he can hang around. There is untapped potential with him I think. 5th or 6th rounder that could at least be a good special teamer.

#3 CB Jonathan Jones – 5’10/181

Fourth year senior. A lot of fight in this undersized body. Jones can be beat by the bugger, more physical receivers routinely. He will be limited in the NFL when it comes to his role and position on the field. But this kid fights hard and can move with anyone. He has good body control underneath and always has another gear to catch up if need be. Very fast and agile. Jones gets his hands on a ton of balls. 23 pass breakups and 7 INTs over the past two years. Day 3 corner that could out perform several CBs drafted ahead of him.

#82 WR Melvin Ray 6’3/215
#6 DE DaVonte Lambert – 6’2/280
#24 FS Blake Countess – 5’10/185

MEMPHIS

*#12 QB Paxton Lynch – 6’7/245

Hasn’t declared yet but many expect him to be a top 5 pick if he does. He’s been a flavor of the month type. In a class that lacks the true no doubt prospect at QB, many have turned to Lynch as the guy with the highest upside. The body is there. The arm is there. The stats are there. The arm is there. He does have almost everything I want in a QB prospect. I question the accuracy though. I question his ability to read defenses quickly and efficiently from the pocket. I think he presents a much bigger risk than someone like Goff. I will say this though, Lynch is awfully similar to what we saw out of Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 when he came out of Miami (OH). If he comes out I would have a 2nd round grade on him but he would likely be a top 10 guy at worst.

#77 LT Taylor Fallin – 6’6/330

Fifth year senior. 3 plus year starter. Fallin has had a couple not so serious injuries over his career but all in all, he is a solid NFL prospect. I don’t think he projects to left tackle in the league. He looks like a guard to me. Just doesn’t keep his head up and feet moving out in space. He looks good when things are in front of him. Could be a really good run blocker but he can be beat by quality pass rushers. Day three guy but someone that could evolve in to a quality starter.

#87 WR Tevin Jones – 6’2/223

Fifth year senior. Won’t jump off the screen. Won’t stand out on the stat sheet. But Jones is one of my WR sleepers in this class. He has elite level ball skills. Built like a truck and shows precise route running ability. Jones didn’t get a ton of looks in this offense that loved to spread the ball around. He got the short end of the stick and in another offense, he could be a bigger name. Also a very good special teams defender which is important for late round WRs. I like this kid as a day three gamble.

#5 WR Mose Frazier – 5’11/190

Fifth year senior that initially walked on after playing at Arkansas Pine-Bluff. Led the team in catches each of the past two years. Slot receiver type that has dynamic speed and agility. Can be a nice underneath weapon for someone. He may run sub 4.4 at the combine and/or Pro Day. He doesn’t factor downfield too much and struggles to get the ball in traffic, but in space he can be a threat. Day three guy here.

Other Notables:

#40 TE Alan Cross – 6’1/235
#53 LB Leonard Pegues – 5’11/243

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NC STATE

#54 LT Joe Thuney – 6’5/295

Fifth year senior. Versatile guy that has seen plenty of action at RT, LG, and LT. Solid and strong presence. Can anchor against the bigger defenders and showed good footwork on the edge this year. I think he projects inside at the next level. Has starter potential down the road. 4th or 5th rounder.

#12 QB Jacoby Brissett – 6’4/231

Fifth year senior that started off at Florida. Dual threat that is still a pass first, run second kind of guy. Good decision maker from the pocket, protects the ball and avoids the head scratchers. Solid game manager type. Brissett has average arm strength but consistent accuracy. I think he can stick somewhere as a backup for a few years at the very least. You can work with a guy like this. Day three prospect.

#90 DE Mike Rose – 6’3/252

Fifth year senior. Leader of the defense. Ton of experience. Rose lost about 15 pounds prior to the 2015 season and it made a huge difference. He showed some signs of being a top tier pass rusher this season. Very refined from a technical standpoint. Strong hands, light feet. He finished 2nd in the ACC with 10.5 sacks this year. He faced off against some future NFL OL this year and he simply looked better than those guys. Rose won’t be a household name but I am confident you’ll know who he is in a couple years.

#11 CB Justin Burris – 6’0/207

Fifth year senior. Four year starter. Not a speed and quickness guy but Burris fits the mold of corners that have the size and length to alter guys at the point of attack and throw off the timing of what offenses want to do. Burris has some nice tape against his toughest competition this year. There is some sleeper potential here. Late rounder.

Other Notables:

#71 LG Alex Barr – 6’8/318
#60 C Quinton Schooley – 6’2/299
#1 SS Hakim Jones – 6’2/206

MISSISSIPPI STATE

#15 QB Dak Prescott – 6’2/230

Fifth year senior. Almost came out last year, wisely chose to return for his senior season and he did everything scouts said he needed to do. He cleaned up his mechanics. He showed better decision making from the pocket. He cut down on turnovers. Prescott is going to be a favorite among some NFL coaches. He has the talent. All American and 1st Team All SEC in 2015. Prescott changed the Miss State program in his five years there. He can handle the leadership role and all that goes with it. Top tier kid on and off the field. In a year where the QB rankings will be different all over the league, I still see Prescott as an option for being the first one taken.

*#1 WR De’Runnya Wilson – 6’5/220

Third year junior. Haven’t been told he’s coming out but he may choose to after a couple of strong years and Prescott leaving school. Wilson is a matchup problem. Very tall and long but has some bulk to him as well. I don’t think he completely understands how to use his body yet but there is an upside here that coaches will want to work with. When he attacks the ball, he can get to it before any DB. Lacks the top end speed and there is some developing coordination going on with him still so there is a risk here. Maybe a 3rd rounder.

#70 LG Justin Malone – 6’7/320

Fifth year senior. Missed 2013 season with a foot injury. Has been a 3+ year starter. Bug and physical guy with a great wingspan. Hard guy to get around. Plays with good knee for a guy this big. There is a lot to work with here. I’ve been told there may be something chronic going on with that foot so he will need some extra medical screening but he has an upside you want out of a day three pick. Already has some NFL ready traits to him.

#23 CB Taveze Calhoun – 6’1/180

Fifth year senior and 3 year starter. Long and lengthy cover man that has the quick turnaround speed to stick with speed downfield. Has always been a good ball skill guy. Can get his hands on a lot of passes. I’ve seen games where QBs don’t throw his way for an entire half. Calhoun has the ability to start in the NFL. If he was more physical he could be a 2nd rounder. As of now I have him around 100 overall type.

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TEXAS A& M

*#74 OT Germain Ifedi – 6’6/335

Fourth year junior. Not sure if he is coming out or not. Some said he would be the next 1st round caliber OL to come out. He hasn’t lived up to expectations but there is a definite upside. He has tools, namely size and natural power. He can stifle the strongest of defenders with his long arms. He has the feet of a right tackle though, not the left side. There are some legit concerns about his work ethic and desire to get better. Conditioning has been an issue since day one for him and even watching his film now, it’s easy to notice how deflated he gets late in games and drives respectively. He could be a day 2 guy if a coach sees the upside but more likely a 4th or 5th round grade.

#5 RB Tra Carson – 6’0/235

Fifth year senior that started off at Oregon and sat out 2013 after transferring. Led the Aggies in rushing the past two years respectively. Bruiser with some long speed if he can reach the open field. I think he has some interesting upside. Catches well. Blocks well. Wasn’t in the best offense for his abilities. Day three back that could easily factor early in his career at the next level.

#56 C Mike Matthews – 6’2/290

Fourth year senior. Three year starter. The next Matthews in line, this family has been in the NFL for years and it is worth something. Matthews is a tad undersized but big enough for center in the NFL. Technician with good footwork. Mechanics are always on. Smarts are always on. Excels blocking at the second level. Maybe an eventual starter once he can gain some man strength.

#1 CB De’Vante Harris – 5’11/185

Fourth year senior with a ton of experience. Solid cover man that lacks a physical side. Doesn’t track the ball well downfield, may be best with things in front of him. Day three guy.

Other Notables:

#83 DT Alonzo Williams – 6’4/305
#95 Julien Obioha – 6’4/280

LOUISVILLE

#98 DT Sheldon Rankins – 6’2/303

Fourth year senior. Broke out in his first year as a starter in 2014 with 8 sacks and 13.5 TFL. Added another 6 sacks and 12 TFL in 2015. Rankins is very stout and very active. These are the kind of DTs I really like. They are tough to block because they can play with a really low center of gravity and there is enough athletic ability to out-maneuver blockers. He is very well developed physically and mechanically. May not be a top tier prospect but I bet he contributes early in his career and out performs several DL that are drafted ahead of him.

*#25 SS Josh Harvey-Clemons – 6’5/230

Fourth year junior that played 2 years at Georgia. I need to see more of him, I’ve only seen him in passing. Someone I trust told me this kid has some Chancellor in him which is some high praise. We’ll see. I don’t have an evaluation on him yet.

*#92 DE Devonte Fields – 6’4/245

Big 12 Freshman of the Year at TCU in 2012. He wasn’t coachable and had some issues off the field, was eventually dismissed from the program. Spent a year at Community College and is now here. Had a nice year. 8.5 sacks and 19.5 TFL. Reports are he matured and there are no issues off the field and he’s been a saint with this coaching staff. Has the first step burst and bendability that coaches want. He has another year left if he wants it, but I’ve been told he has the NFL in his scope. If he checks off the field well, he can be a day two guy that fits best in the 3-4 schemes.

#13 LB James Burgess – 6’1/228

Fourth year senior and 3 plus year starter. Speed and explosion is his game. Very fast to react and will often beat blockers to a spot. Wrap up tackler that delivers violent blows. He can cover well. True three down linebacker that needs to be in space to be most effective. Won’t thrive in traffic. Top 100 guy for sure.

Other Notables:

#78 RT Aaron Epps – 6’7/288
#44 Pio Vatuvei – 6’2/296

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USC

#6 QB Cody Kessler – 6’1/215

3 year starter. Enters the bowl game with 87 TDs/18 INTs over his career. He was my favorite senior QB coming in to this season and he still is. He played in a pro-style offense with a ton of pre-snap responsibility. He’s been making NFL-caliber reads. The learning curve with him will be a lot less than some of these guys coming from the shotgun-only, spread offenses. I like Kessler under pressure. He hosts a quick release and accuracy. He’s tough in the pocket. There is a height issue and an arm power issue. He doesn’t drive the ball downfield and I don’t think even he has the confidence throwing to the far sidelines. He may be limited physically. The comparison I have always seen with him is Drew Brees. A guy that can absolutely thrive in the right system with the right coach. But he’s not a guy that succeed anywhere. 2nd or 3rd round is possible but round 4 or 5 is more likely.

*#21 LB Su’a Cravens – 6’1/225

Third year junior, third year starter. Has been a stud from day one. Safety/Linebacker hybrid that was mainly at LB in 2015. I think that is where his future is in the NFL unless someone can find a Kam Chancellor role for him. He isn’t as good though. Cravens lines up all over the field. It seems like they just tell him to attack the action. He is constantly around the ball. Very fast and decisive, consistently reaching the ball carrier before a blocker even has an opportunity to get his hands on. Cravens is more than an athlete. He is very smart and aware, very mechanical as a tackler. If he can pack just a little bit of weight on without losing speed, he could be a star in the NFL. A true 3 down linebacker that can cover, rush the passer, and defend the run at a high level respectively. I think he deserves a 1st round grade for most schemes.

#99 DT Antwuan Woods – 6’1/320

Fifth year senior. Has been a solid contributor for four seasons. Initially comes across as a one dimensional run stuffer but he has move movement ability than you think. He plays real hard. Always wins the leverage battle. Tremendous lower body strength. He can be an immediate contributor to a team that needs a run stuffer. Day three guy but one that will out perform several guys drafted ahead of him.

#52 DT Delvon Simmons – 6’5/295

Started off at Texas Tech for two years, sat out 2013 because of the transfer. I think he is a very good 3-4 DE prospect. He can overpower guys, just a country strong kind of kid. Doesn’t get moved. There is some quick twitch to him as well, he can react well and get off blocks. There is some interesting upside here. Day three guy.

Other Notables:

#23 RB Tre Madden – 6’1/223
#31 FB Soma Vainuku – 6’0/255
#56 LB Anthony Sarao – 6’0/235
#93 DE Greg Towsend – 6’3/275

WISCONSIN

#61 LT Tyler Marz – 6’7/325

Fifth year senior and three year starter. Very solid technician here. I remember watching him in 2014 thinking he would be a potential early declaration. I loved his consistent approach to defenders. Excellent body control. Easy hand power. The more I have watched however, the more holes I see. Marz may not be a good enough athlete for the left side. He doesn’t bend very well either. Good speed rushers with good leverage will eat him up. Drew Ott, DE from Iowa, absolutely dominated him this year. It was an ugly performance for Marz especially considering Ott is the kind of DE that Marz should thrive against. I am now thinking he may need a move inside. 3rd or 4th rounder.

#38 LB Joe Schobert – 6’2/236

Fourth year senior. Has had 32 TFL over past two years. Schobert isn’t your traditional Wisconsin linebacker. He excels in space and has plenty of long speed to him. He can play well against the fastest offenses in football. Very savvy as a blitzer off the edge. Takes the proper angles and will finish plays. Schobert struggles to perform in traffic. Good blockers can lock him up. He may need to be a weak side guy in a 4-3 so he can track plays from behind. Very good in pursuit but not so much when the action comes at him. 4th or 5th rounder.

#7 S Michael Caputo – 6’1/206

Fifth year senior. We are all looking for the next Jum Leohnard, some say this is the kid. He’s made a few All American teams over the past two years. Excels in space tackling, a lost art among defensive backs these days. Nice guy to have out there for that reason alone. Savvy in coverage but there is some stiffness to him. Won’t make a ton of plays in coverage. Could be a solid special teamer and backup for both safety positions. Day three guy.

Other Notables:

#86 WR Alex Erickson – 6’0/197
#2 Joel Stave – 6’5/219
#3 S/WR Tanner McEvoy – 6’6/231
#5 CB Darius Hilary – 5’11/187

Dec 292015
 
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Corey Coleman, Baylor Bears (October 17, 2015)

Corey Coleman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 29, 2015 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

CALIFORNIA

*16 QB Jared Goff – California – 6’4/215

Widely, but not unanimously, considered the top QB prospect in this class. As clean a thrower as you will find in the group this year. Spins it real well and is very far along when it comes to putting proper touch and zip in the ball depending on the situation. Top tier accuracy. I like his poise. He is always under control, never too high and never too low. That’s important. Has better running ability than you think. Goff had a rough stretch halfway through the season. Just got caught up trying to in games by himself. I am totally confident in him as a passer. My issue is the same one I had with Sam Bradford years ago. Does he have the body to take hits on a weekly basis from NFL pass rushers? You’d hate to spend a high pick on a guy that in only a matter of time will break in half. Goff needs bulk, and plenty of it. Still will be a 1st rounder and is in the running for #1 overall.

*#4 WR Kenny Lawler – 6’3/195

Junior that hasn’t declared yet. He is 50/50 as of right now. Led the Bears in catches and TDs. There aren’t any real standout WRs on this team but Lawler has the best tool set and upside. He is the best hands catcher of the bunch and he hosts a nice combination of height/reach/leaping ability to make him a mismatch for most corners in one on one situations. Lawler can be tossed around by more physical cover men and is too easily altered by contact, but with the NFL trending towards quicker release passing games, Lawler could easily find a starting spot early in his career. If he comes out I see a day 2 pick here.

#9 WR Trevor Davis – 6’2/180

Fourth year senior. Came in to 2015 on everyone’s radar as one of the top kick returners in the country. He broke out as a WR as well. It helps to be in this scheme with this QB but he made some elite plays. Really good concentration downfield. Tracks the ball with balance and speed. He may be the fastest WR on this team, he can really run away from people. Slight frame and limited route tree will hurt his grade a little. Looking at a 4th or 5th rounder here with some interesting upside and roster versatility.

#1 WR Bryce Treggs – 6’0/181

Four year contributor, mainly as a screen game factor. Nobody has given this kid a ton of attention but he has a level of explosion and acceleration that lot of these other WRs do not. He can go from 0-60 in a blink. Tough with the ball in his hands, constantly gaining extra yards after contact. He is a a bit of a gimmick player but he can find a role somewhere. I think he has enormous upside from the slot. Day three target here with high potential.

#89 TE Stephen Anderson – 6’3/230

Fourth year senior. Listed as a tight end and I guess he starts with his hand in the firt every now and then, but he plays more WR than anything in this spread attack. Anderson has shown glimpses over his career of being a big time matchup problem. He was a huge factor in 2014. He may have actually suffered from a system full of quality WRs that simply got more looks from Goff. Anderson is a tweener without special physical traits. So I don’t see the point in spending anything more than a 7th rounder on him but like I said earlier, he’s made plenty of plays over his career. Someone could fall for him and draft him earlier,

Other Notables:

#10 WR Darius Powe – 6’3/220
#73 Jordan Rigsbee – 6’4/300
#13 DE Kyle Kragen – 6’2/245
#41 DE Todd Barr – 6’2/240
#7 LB Jalen Jefferson – 6’2/240

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NORTH CAROLINA

#12 QB Marquise Williams – 6’2/225

Fifth year senior. Was a backup for a couple years then took over in 2013 because of injury. Started off as a running QB that would be a passer second. Really turned a corner in 2014, setting several single season records. He’s been the leading rusher in addition to a very solid pocket passer. Williams is going to get a shot somewhere. He has the talent and the intangibles. He has choppy footwork and will lose his release point at times. I’ve seen him get too aggressive near the red zone and make some costly mistakes as well. He has what a lot of offensive coaches want to work with though. Anywhere from round 3-5 I think.

#14 WR Quinshad Davis – 6’4/220

In 2012 Davis was being talked about as the next big thing among ACC WRs. He had one of the best seasons for freshman in SCC history. 2013 was more of the same with 10 TDs…but 2014 didn’t go as planned. His weaknesses are obvious. He has a hard time getting open from man coverage. He has speed but lacks the short area quickness and agility. I think Davis can be a lethal red zone threat in the NFL but there are techniques and nuances to the position he needs to really work on. He has a high ceiling. If he works out well he could be a 3rd or 4th rounder.

#78 RG Landon Turner – 6’4/325

Fifth year senior. Three year starter. Turner is massive from head to toe, I wouldn’t be surprised if he weighs in higher than what he is listed. Naturally he is a very good straight ahead blocker, he can win battles in the run game consistently. He doesn’t get out of his stance laterally very well and he lumbers in pass protection. He can dominate guys when his hands are inside though. There is potential here. Good test for him in this game. 4th or 5th rounder.

#42 LB Shakeel Rashad – 6’2/235

Perhaps the linebacker that improved his stock the most via his game tape in this class. Rashad was a little-used rush linebacker/bandit for three years until the Tar Heels implemented a new scheme. He’s second on the team in tackles and shows top tier speed to the sidelines. He is a pursuit linebacker that works well in space. He doesn’t bring that ability to coverage and he struggles in traffic to find the ball, but Rashad’s speed and ability to close will be sought after. 4th or 5th rounder.

Other Notables:

#98 DT Justin Thomason – 6’4/295
#10 MLB Jeff Schoettmer 6’2/235

BAYLOR

*#1 WR Corey Coleman – 5’11/190

Fourth year junior that has already declared. I could write 300 words alone on his statistical accolades. Coleman was known as a workout warrior, hosting a team best 40, 3 cone, and vertical on a squat full of elite athletes. 2015 from start to finish may have put him in to top 10 consideration. His route tree is limited and the Baylor offense is very stat-happy, but Coleman has traits that will be attractive to teams in need of a young playmaker. Coleman has elite ball skills. Hands catcher. Will come away with the ball in traffic. I’ve seen several contested catches where it looks like he was being hung on to by defenders. Coleman is a strong kid. Plenty of muscle, tough after the catch. My issue with him is lack of effort on running plays, poor body language when things don’t go his way. He is a different player when the ball isn’t coming to him. That stuff worries me, especially with the WR position. He’ll be a first rounder but it he completely dominates the Combine, he could be the first WR taken.

#58 LT – Spencer Drango – 6’6/310

Fifth year senior. Has been starting his entire career. Has been the top LT in the Big 12 for a few years now. Drango almost came out in 2014 after an All American season. I think he will make a move to guard in the NFL ideally. He is a very good run blocker, can maintain power on the move. Lacks the ideal length and foot speed for the outside but in a pinch he could play tackle. Team leader, very good intangible guy. He is a blue collar player that will have a long career in the league. He is maybe the surest prospect on this team. Late 1st round is possible.

*#32 RB Shock Linwood – 5’8/195

Third year back that hasn’t declared. Big time explosion and change of direction. He may seem undersized but now a days with the committee approach tat many teams use, Linwood can be the gamebreaker most teams are looking for. He may run a sub 4.4 and I think he has more vision and awareness that some of the other backs that have cone out of Baylor in recent years.

#4 WR Jay Lee – 6’4/220

Fifth year senior. Lee is a height/weight/speed guy that doesn’t get thrown to a lot but he’s made several plays that leave you wishing he had more opportunities. The scheme and spacing helps but he has an upside based on tools that could get him drafted in round 4 or 5. He’ll need time to develop.

#2 DE Shawn Oakman – 6’8/280

Fifth year senior that started off at Penn State. Sat out 2012 because of the transfer to Baylor. Oakman almost came out after an 11 sack season in 2014, but that was only his first year as a starter and wisely chose to go back to school in 2015. Oakman is arguably the biggest “freak” in this class. What he can do in workouts is remarkable and rare. He has a combination of measurables that are very rare. He will be drafted based on upside, as he’s shown flashes of complete dominance. If you watch him a lot though, you’ll notice there are a ton of plays where he simply doesn’t factor. He still has some awkwardness to movement in short spaces. He doesn’t react well. He can really lumber around when it comes to changing direction. A guy this tall will always have a hard time winning the leverage battle, veteran NFL OL love to play against that. It will be a long road for him. He’ll make someone drool though and could be a 1st rounder.

*#75 DT Andrew Billings – 6’2/300

Another underclassmen here, most expect him to come out. Has world class level weight room strength. He has set world records among weightlifters. Interesting prospect here. He looks really stiff to me. Doesn’t bend that well and won’t easily change direction. But he is explosive from a standstill and he has a lot of functional strength. He is being coached by the same guy that coached Aaron Donald, and he has been quoted saying Billings can be a better player in the NFL. That is extremely high praise. Upside guy here but at the very least he can be a stout run defender. 1st rounder if he comes out.

#92 DE Jamal Palmer – 6’3/250

Fourth year senior. Backup for 2 years, starter for 2-ish. His 2014 ended after just 5 games because of a knee. Palmer is the guy that jumps off the screen when you turn Baylor on to watch Oakman. He is explosive out of his stance and he has a violent approach to blockers. Relentless motor, wants to finish every play himself. He can react and change direction faster than Oakman, he can change direction faster. I’m not saying he’ll grade out higher but the gap between the two is not nearly as large as some want to think.

Other Notables:

#73 LG Blake Muir – 6’5/310
#61 Jarrell Broxton – 6’5/330

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NEVADA

#6 RB Don Jackson – 5’10/210

This will be my third look at Jackson. From what I’ve seen, he looks like a guy that could have a top 100 overall grade on my board. He has the NFL body already. Very muscular from head to toe but he also has the quick and agile lower half. He misses initial contact often and will surge through tacklers, always falling forward. Very aggressive, angry runner. Has rushed for just under 2,000 yards past two years. Hasn’t been used much as a receiver. I will spend more time on him in the coming months but I like what I see so far.

#8 DE Ian Seau – 6’3/250

Nephew of the late Junior Seau. Fourth year senior that spent a season at Community College. 1st Team All Mountain West in 2015, led team with 15.5 TFL and 9 sacks. Emotional leader of the defense that is constantly hustling to the ball. Relentless style. Bends the corner well and plays with stable legs and a strong upper body, Seau lacks some physical gifts but he can make up for some with consistent effort and positioning. He plays mechanically sound. 5th or 6th rounder that may fit best in a 3-4 OLB role.

#94 DE Lenny Jones – 63/270
#55 DT Rykeem Yates – 6’2/280

COLORADO STATE

*#82 WR Rashard Higgins – 6’2/190

Junior that most are expecting to leave early. 1st Team All American in 2014 after an amazing, nation leading 1,780 yard and 17 TD performance. He didn’t match that production in 2015 but it may have been impossible to do so. I saw a lot of Higgins last year and this year. While his stat line is different by a long shot, I actually like what I see now more than what I saw in 2014. Higgins does everything well. He runs quick routes that can get himself open. He attacks the ball in the air with his hands. He can outrun defensive backs downfield. What I would like to see more of is the effort as a blocker and selling routes against man coverage. If Higgins works out well, he will be a 1st rounder and potentially one of the first five WRs taken.

#86 TE Kivon Cartwright – 6’4/245

Sixth year senior that had a redshirt in 2010 and missed 2014 with a slow healing foot injury that required multiple surgeries. Was invited to the East/West Shrine game. Prior to the injury, Cartwright was on his way to being a top tier TE prospect. 2015 was a slow road back but he showed signs of being the guy everyone thought he would be. He can get behind a defense with above average speed. He makes tough catches in traffic. I want to see more out of him as a blocker. It seems he tries to simply get his hands on the defender rather than drive through them. I don’t think he has the potentual to be a receive-only TE, so he’ll need to clean that up.

#26 FS Kevin Pierre-Louis – 6’1/215

Fifth year senior. His teammate Trent Matthews gets more attention but I like Pierre-Louis more. He has the speed, both vertically and downhill, that jumps off the screen. He is very decisive and will attack the ball carriers. Good tackler. Can flip his hips and catch up to receivers. I need to see him more but in a class that lacks cover safeties, I think this kid has an interesting upside.

#31 OLB Cory James – 6’0/245

Fifth year senior and four year starter. James has played the strong side and in the middle. Both positions work for him, he has the tools/skills for them respectively. James is stout. He can take on a block without losing ground. He has the speed to reach the sidelines. He does look stiff in coverage and doesn’t offer much as a blitzer, but he has special team and solid backup potential. The body is there and he can fit in to multiple roles. Limited upside. 5th or 6th rounder.

Other Notables:

#71 RT Sam Carlson – 6’4/295
#25 WR Joe Hansley – 5’10/180
#9 DE Martavius Foster – 6’4/270
#90 DE Joe Kawulok – 6’6/250

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LSU

#74 RT Vadal Alexander – 6’6/329

Fourth year senior with a ton of starting experience. Has played in 48 our of 49 career games with 45 starts. Has played RT and LG. Will be playing RT in this game. 2nd Team All American in 2015. Alexander is massive, the kind of massive that makes other big guys look average. He is a punishing run blocker that can render a defender useless if he gets off the ball well and gets his hands locked on. Elite level power. His footwork and reaction speed can be exploited by low pad level speed rushers, but even those guys have ahard time getting around the wingspan of Alexander. He could project to guard or RT in the NFL. Day2 caliber pick.

*#77 OL Ethan Pocic

Third year junior that has not declared. There hasn’t been a ton of chatter about him coming out but I’ve been told he is 50/50 at this point. If he comes out, we are talking about one of the top 3 interior linemen in the class. Pocic moves very well. Easy bender and easy mover in space. He is stout at the point of attack, really anchors himself against power guys. He plays hard through the whistle. Pocic led the team in pancake blocks. He is a young kid with plenty of physical development to come. He can play all the interior spots, it simply makes a lot of sense for him to come out. He could be a top 45 pick.

*#65 LT Jerald Hawkins – 6’5/305

Another third year junior that has not yet declared but it looks like he will. I don’t like him much. Every game of his I have seen, I’ve made notes about how easily he was pushed back. He doesn’t dominate anyone. He has the length and feet, but I don’t see the guy that can lock a guy up and control. Maybe there is an upside I just don’t see.

*#18 CB Tre’Davious White -5’11/191

Third year junior, third year starter. 2nd Team All SEC and Thorpe Award Semifinalist. Wears the coveted #18 jersey for LSU. White is one of the best corners in this class if he comes out. Elite press cover ability with long arms and a strong jab at the line and easy turn ability. Can run with anyone downfield. QBs did not like throwing in his direction this year. He can do it all and showed some high level punt return ability to boot. 1st rounder if he comes out.

*#52 MLB Kendall Beckwith – 6’2/252

Third year junior that has not declared yet, but did submit the paper work looking for his grade. Between the tackles thumper that fits best in a 3-4 scheme. Can dominate at times. Very physical and hard to move. Fills the lanes hard, blitzes well. Will locate the football fast and work his way to it. Knows how to finish. Definitely has a lack of speed to the outside and shows heavy feet in coverage. I would advise him to go back to school, as there are too many holes in his game that the NFL just hates to see these days. He may need to play at a lighter weight.

*#92 DE Lewis Neal – 6’2/264

Third year junior that has not declared, but many think odds are trending towards him leaving early. Neal got off to a hot start in 2015, totaling 7 sacks in 6 games. A sprained ankle that he opted to fight though hampered him the rest of the season, notching only 1 sack the rest of the way. He is shorter than ideal and may not have ideal length for the 4-3 DE role. He can beat blockers off the edge though. Plays low to the ground with a strong base and quick hands. I think he should go back for another year, there isn’t anything that screams special in him. He could fall in to round 4 or 5 easily.

#45 LB Deion Jones – 6’1/227

Fourth year senior. Had to wait until this year to get a starting nod. He played really well all year, leading the Tigers in tackles. Jones is a little smaller than ideal but he can play big against blockers. Violent player that delivers a pop. He can stay on the field all three downs, showing decent coverage ability. I’ve seen Jones miss too many tackles in space. He is a weak side guy, so that is an issue. He is not Kwon Alexander from last year. I see him as a 4th or 5th rounder.

#28 FS Jalen Mills – 6’0/196

Fourth year senior and four year starter at CB and S. Has the movement ability to play both in the NFL. Very good footwork. He is quick and mechanically sound. Smart player, always moving in the right direction. He made a few All American teams although I think that was based on popularity more so than performance. Mills is a solid player but he isn’t very physical. He doesn’t have the catch up speed I want out of this style of a guy either. He had a great year in 2013 but didn’t take the next step up. He was hampered by an ankle early, missing 6 games and slowed in others. Solid cover man that can back up a few spots but I don’t think he has starting potential.

Other Notables:

#11 LB Lamar Louis – 5’11/227

TEXAS TECH

#62 LT Le’Raven Clark – 6’6/308

Fifth year senior. Has been First Team All Big 12 for three years in a row. Clark has received a ton of accolades from the media and coaches throughout his career. He rarely gets beat one on one. While he doesn’t always look the part and his technique is very inconsistent, Clark gets the job done. He can project to guard or tackle at the next level. He has a nice combination of size, strength, and foot quickness. Right now I see him as a 3rd round type that could be a versatile backup early in his career.

#21 RB Deandre Washington – 5’8/200

Fifth year senior that sat out a year with a torn ACL. Very good 3rd down back type with hands and blocking ability. High effort guy. I can see him being a factor for someone in the screen game. He has a nice feel for setting up blocks and defenders. Good acceleration and change of direction. 5th or 6th rounder here that can bring excitement to an offense.

#10 OLB Pete Robertson – 6’3/238

Fifth year senior. This is the one guy on this defense that I think has top 100 potential. Robertson is a fierce, aggressive player that pursues hard and angry. He has cruel intentions. Very powerful kid. Has some straight line speed to him as well but lacks the quick wiggle out of his hips. Might not be a guy that beats blockers off the snap but he can play. He makes guys adjust to him and Robertson is playing through the whistle at all times. He has led the Raiders in TFL and sacks each of the past two years. He can fit in somewhere. 3rd or 4th rounder.

Other Notables:

#9 DE Branden Jackson – 6’4/270

Dec 282015
 
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Eric Murray, Minnesota Golden Gophers (September 3, 2015)

Eric Murray – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 28, 2015 Bowl Games

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

PITTSBURGH

*#23 WR Tyler Boyd – 6’2/200

Third year junior that will most likely declare. Top prospect of the day. Has been drawing comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald since day one. All American receiver that has a big time skill set. NFL ready right now. First player in ACC history to record 1,000+ yard receiving seasons in freshman and sophomore seasons. Boyd doesn’t have the top tier triangle numbers but neither do a lot of the top WRs in football. He is as savvy as it gets, knows the game inside and out. Tremendous body control and ball skills make him a guy that QBs can throw to with a ton of confidence. Some minor off field issues need to be checked out but at the end of the process I except him to be a a first rounder.

#86 TE J.P Holtz – 6’4/250

Fourth year senior, starter for all four of those years. He’s been pretty much the same guy production wise every season but there were a few more big plays in 2015. Holtz has really good foot speed/quickness. He can get open underneath and sneak behind the second level more so than you would think. He had a few drops in the two games I scouted. He is a limited player but someone that can do everything well enough to make a roster somewhere. Late rounder.

#5 DE Ejuan Price – 6’0/250

Fifth year senior that started off at linebacker. Tore a pec in 2012 and had to sit out the year. Only played half of 2013 before injuring back, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. Once again missed all of 2014 with another pec injury. Price finally put together a healthy year in 2015 and he broke out in a huge way. 1st Team All ACC. 19.5 TFL and 11.5 sacks. Price will make a move to 3-4 OLB in the NFL. He is very short and stout, a build that gives him a big leverage advantage. He doesn’t do well off the snap but he can get rid of blockers and his relentless motor helps him make plays as things break down. His injury woes will scare some teams away but someone will be drawn to his ability to finish plays. He is a relentless, powerful defender. Maybe a 4th or 5th rounder if his medicals check out.

#6 CB Lafayette Pitts – 5’11/195

4 year starter. Very aggressive player that will play a physical brand at the point of attack. Very hands on kind of guy. Pitts has had stretches that lasted weeks where he looked like a top 100 overall player, but also ones where he was taken off the field by the coaching staff. Very inconsistent player that doesn’t have the short memory you hear defensive coaches talk about. Someone can take a chance on his talent in the late rounds. The ability is there.

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CENTRAL MICHIGAN

#54 C Nick Beamish – 6’3/310

Fifth year senior. Has started every game of his career. Has the body type and lower body strength for inside. Ideal kind of guy to man the position. He is smart and vocal. Very aware and rarely gets caught out of position. Good enough athlete to work in space, more than enough strength to handle the big boys. I think he gets drafted day three. Starter potential.

#89 TE Ben McCord – 6’4/240

Fifth year senior. Broke out in 2015 with a solid line of 37/370/5. Moves well and can easily line up in space and move with defensive backs. Good hands catcher, makes me think he was under utilized his first three seasons. He isn’t a good blocker though, lacks presence and power. Won’t get movement on anyone. Developmental guy that is likely a priority UDFA.

#21 SS Kavon Frazier – 6’0/218

Wore #5 all year but he is wearing the #21 jersey honoring a fallen teammate. Only pkayer on the team to wear it twice this year. Leading tackler, had a big senior year and may have played himself in to being drafted in the top 150. 2nd Team All MAC. Built like a linebacker. Attacks downhill hard, can lay the lumber. He isn’t a speed guy and he won’t cover well in the NFL. Limited but could find a role as a run defender. Late round or UDFA.

MINNESOTA

#31 CB Eric Murray – 6’0/199

2nd Team All Big 10 two years in a row. 3 year starter that has a shot at being a 1st round pick. Top prospect in this game. Murray combines size, speed, physical presence and awareness to make himself one of the top senior cover men in this class. I’ve only seen him twice and he wasn’t challenged much. I’ll need to do more work on him. His name comes up from almost everyone I speak with when talking about the top cornerbacks. There isn’t anything about his game that screams weakness. His lack of career INTs (2) has more to do with teams not throwing his way. He can be a shut down guy.

#26 LB De’vondre Campbell – 6’5/239

Fourth year junior. Played one year at junior college. Has the triangle numbers that could get him drafted based solely on that. Shows some ability as a weak side guy with his ability to pursue across the field and finish plays. He looks strong on the move and will tackle well, but he looks weak in traffic. Struggles to take on blockers. He is an upside guy that could be a Special Teams monster. 5th or 6th round.

#29 CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun – 5’11/190

Fifth year senior. Played a year at Junior College and missed 2013 with a knee. Very productive in 2014 and 2015. Solid cover man with anticipation and awareness skills. Very savvy. Good decision maker that rarely seems fooled. Might be limited athletically but has enough to be a factor in the NFL. Not quite on the same level as Murray but Calhoun will get selected. Probably a day 3 guy.

Other Notables:

#1 WR KJ Maye – 5’10/194
#55 Theiren Cockran – 6’6/258
#11 S Antonio Johnson – 6’0/208