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2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 31, 2015 Bowl Games
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56
#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.
*#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.
#1 S Tyler Hunter – 5’11/205
#42 FS LaMarcus Brutus – 6’0/208
#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.
*#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.
#19 WR Charone Peake – 6’3/215
#78 LG Eric Mac Lain – 6’4/305
#74 RT Joe Gore – 6’5/290
#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.
#45 LB Darien Harris – 6’0/220
#36 CB Arjen Colquhoun – 6’1/202
*#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..
#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