This week's Senior Bowl takes place on January 24th at 3 PM in Mobile, Alabama. While the Shrine Game is where scouts mostly look at later-round draft picks, the Senior Bowl is where the more well-known prospects make a bid for spots on NFL rosters. Practices and events will continue through the week culminating on Saturday with the game. Here's a full schedule of events. Just like the Shrine Game (here's my Shrine Game Big Board), I'll scout every single player in the Senior Bowl. Here are the players:
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska. Abdullah is one of the more well-known running backs in the 2015 draft. Some scouts have him ranked as a top 3 running back in this year's class. He projects as a 2nd round pick. He's drawn comparisons to Giovanni Bernard and LeSean McCoy, but he's buried in a deep draft class. That being said, Abdullah has the talent to be an every-down starter in the NFL, and teams will take a long hard look at him heading into the draft. Here's some film.
Adrian Amos, S, Penn State. Amos is a graduate of Calvert High School in Baltimore, the same high school that Mel Kiper graduated from. Expect some love from Kiper going into the draft. Amos is 6'0, 209 pounds, and has played both cornerback and safety at the college level. Scouts like his size, and think that he has the skill set to perform at the NFL level. According to NFLdraftscout.com, Amos projects as a 4th or 5th round pick. If you haven't seen Amos in action, here's some film. He'll latch on with an NFL team and has the potential to make an impact at the next level. He's one of the harder hitting defensive backs in college, and that will turn some heads.
Dres Anderson, WR, Utah. Dres Anderson is the type of prospect that can really benefit from a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. Anderson was ranked as a top 100 prospect early in the season, but his season ended early after a knee injury. Prior to the injury he projected as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. He's been criticized for his weight and build, but take a look at him on the field. He's fast, he's got good hands, and he has a knack for making big plays. If he can show scouts at the Senior Bowl that he hasn't lost a step, he''ll likely still go highly. The latest news suggests that he should be healthy in time to play. Here's some film.
Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford. Henry Anderson is also playing in the East-West Shrine Game. Anderson is a 6'6 295 pound defensive lineman from Stanford who projects as a 5th or 6th round pick. He's not an elite athlete, but he knows how to use his hands. Injuries are dropping his draft stock as well. Todd McShay thinks Anderson could outperform his draft position. I think with good coaching he could play a solid role in a line rotation, but he will get overpowered by top tier NFL offensive linemen at times. Here's some film of him in high school, since it's tough to find college highlights of him.
Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson. Stephone Anthony projects as a 5th round pick, and he's one of the better inside linebackers in this year's class, although Perryman is the class of the field. Anthony also played running back in high school. Anthony has a knack for making big plays on defense, like this one-handed interception. While Anthony won't be an every down starter right away in the NFL, he's one of the best defensive players at Clemson and will find a place on an NFL roster as a backup early on.
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn. Artis-Payne is one of the more hyped running backs in this year's draft. I've seen him rated as the 3rd best at the position behind Gurley and Gordon, and projected as a 3rd or 4th round pick. Payne was an elite junior college player before transferring to Auburn. He's an explosive player on the field, and is a threat to make a big play every time he touches the ball. Here's some film. As a Junior College player at Allan Hancock College in 2011 and 2012, Artis-Payne rushed for 3412 yards and 43 TDs. Over two seasons at Auburn, 2013 and 2014, his numbers declined and he finished with 2097 yards and 19 TDs. While there is a clear drop off in level of competition from Auburn to junior college, there's also a steep dropoff from the NFL to Auburn. I think Artis-Payne will ultimately be a solid rotational back in the NFL in a committee setting; I just don't picture him as a bell cow back at the NFL level. He's fast and explosive, but so was Dri Archer in college.
Deion Barnes, DE, Penn State. Barnes' entry into the draft was a bit of a surprise, as many expected him to return to Penn State for the 2015 season. He projects as a 5th round pick. While Barnes started out as one of the most highly touted freshmen in the country his first year in college football, he's lost some consistency later in his career. He'll need a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and in the Combine if he wants to improve his draft stock, but Barnes could be a good rotational defensive lineman at the next level, and could even develop into a starter. Here's some film.
Michael Bennett, DT/DE, Ohio State. Bennett is a solid defensive line prospect who projects as afirst or second round pick this spring. This season, he played one-technique and three-technique tackle spots on the defensive line, proving his versatility. Over his last 5 games, Bennett had 9.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. He peaked at just the right time to generate buzz among scouts. A strong Senior Bowl and combine could secure him a spot in the first round. Here's some film. Bennett is the type of defensive lineman that will occupy blockers and open up space for the linebackers behind him to wreak havoc on opponents' game plans with proper coaching.
E.J. Bibbs, TE, Iowa State. Bibbs is one of the better tight ends in this draft. He projects as a 4th round pick, and has also played fullback. With many teams using converted tight ends as fullbacks now, that experience will make Bibbs more attractive to scouts. However, a knee injury sustained on November 22nd will make some front offices hesitant to roll the dice on him. His career stats are decent. Over two seasons, Bibbs had 84 receptions for 844 yards and 10 TDs. That being said, Bibbs also has some problems with dropped passes, which will likely drop him from a starting option to a likely backup or H-Back role in the NFL. Here's some film. I feel like he may fall to the 5th or 6th round in this year's draft.
Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware. Nick Boyle is a 6'5, 270 pound tight end out of the University of Delaware. www.nfldraftscout.com rates Boyle as a 5th to 6th round pick. That's a pretty fair assessment of his draft value, but a solid performance could help his stock heading into the draft. Boyle was also a long snapper in high school (film here), which could help him stick on an NFL roster. His college stats were fairly average for a tight end, with 101 receptions for 984 yards and 12 TDs over 4 years. He's got a good physical build, and if he shows promise in the preseason as a blocker, Carden might see some playing time early in his NFL career. Otherwise he projects as a backup in my opinion.
Trenton Brown, OT, Florida. Brown projects as a 7th round pick or undrafted free agent. He's a big boy at 6'8, 350 pounds and has played at both tackle and guard. Brown is a JUCO transfer who has also played basketball. While Brown will likely start out as a deep backup on an NFL roster, teams will like his size and experience playing multiple positions. This'll help him stick with an NFL roster.
Ibraheim Campbell, S, Northwestern. Campbell is one of the better strong safeties in this year's draft class, and projects as a 4th round pick. He does some things well, but he also struggles with tackling technique on occasion. He's also struggled with injuries throughout 2014. While he's received some attention from scouts, I feel like he projects as a backup at best at the NFL level at least early in his career. Here's some film.
Shane Carden, QB, Eastern Carolina. Carden comes from an Eastern Carolina program that has produced four NFL Quarterbacks. Carl Summerall played two seasons for the Giants, 1974 and 1975. Kevin Ingram played for the Saints in 1987 as a replacement player. Jeff Blake had a decent NFL career in the 1990s and early 2000's, most notably as a Cincinnati Bengal. Blake had one of the prettiest spirals in football. Don't believe me? Check this out. Former Jags QB David Garrard is also an Eastern Carolina Alum. In 8 games this year, Carden has thrown for 2791 yards and 18 TDs, so he can definitely produce. Here's some film. Carden is a life-long underachiever it seems when it comes to being scouted. Carden was heavily under-recruited coming out of high school. Carden is rated as the #2 QB in the draft by www.nfldraftscout.com, yet they have him projected as a 3rd or 4th round pick. Carden is 6'2 and 221 pounds, so he won't hear height as a criticism at least. He's produced decent stats through his career at Eastern Carolina. While Mariota gets the hype going into Spring, some QB hungry team will look at Carden earlier than expected in 2015. However, given the volatility in the QB market, he may also fall. I haven't watched enough film on Carden either way to be positive, but I think he's at least comparable to Jimmy Garoppolo in skillset. He's definitely a player to watch going into the Senior Bowl.
Joseph Cardona, LS, Navy. Cardona is one of the best long-snappers in college football. That being said, long snappers don't get much attention going into the draft. However, you do immediately notice when a long snapper isn't doing his job (look at last year's Superbowl with Manny Ramirez). Cardona is drawing attention from NFL scouts, and will likely at least go into the preseason with an NFL team. Film on longsnappers is hard to find, but here are some high school highlights of Cardona.
Imoan Claiborne, CB, Northwestern State LA. Claiborne is projected to go undrafted by www.nfldraftscout.com, but he has had a solid season for Northwestern state this year, forcing seven turnovers along the way. However, the numbers don't favor him from a scouting standpoint; 3 of those turnovers were fumble recoveries, and only 4 were interceptions (28th in the FCS). However, the lack in numbers is partly because teams largely avoided throwing to him. He looks sloppy in coverage on occasion, but his fundamentals are strong. He can also return kicks and played on punts and kickoffs, so he's able to make an impact on special teams as well. Here's some film. A solid showing at the Senior Bowl would help Claiborne out a ton. Claiborne's character may also make NFL teams willing to take a chance on him; he's a very family oriented player that will likely work his butt off in camp to earn a spot. With a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, Clairborne could slip into the later rounds of the draft. Right now, he projects as a UDFA. He's a player worth watching at the Senior Bowl.
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh. Clemmings is one of the better tackle prospects in this year's draft and may climb into the first round. He's 6'6, 315 pounds and has also played defensive tackle. Scouts expect Clemmings to play right tackle in the NFL. Clemmings will likely take a year or two to reach his prime in the NFL, but that's not a bad thing. He's a player that switched from defensive line to offensive line in 2013 and is now playing like a first round pick, after two seasons on offense. That's a kid I want on my team. A strong Senior Bowl will cement his first round status this spring.
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn. Sammie Coates is one of the better WRs in the 2015 draft class; Kiper has him projected to go in the first round. Coates is known mostly as a deep threat, and would be a great #2 wr with the potential to be a #1 in some NFL schemes. He makes some beautiful plays, and will be drafted in either the first or second round of the NFL draft. I expect Coates to make an impact on an NFL team for years to come. Here's some film.
David Cobb, RB, Minnesota. David Cobb is as projected 3rd round pick, but some scouts are falling in love with him and he might go higher than that. I've seen him ranked as high as the #2 RB in this year's draft. Some scouts also think he'll wind up being overlooked this year due to the depth at the position, so he's going to be interesting to watch heading into April. He's not the fastest running back available, but he can produce. Cobb should be able to break Laurence Maroney's single season school rushing record in the team's bowl game, needing only 34 yards in a run-heavy offense. Cobb has struggled with some minor hamstring issues this season but that hasn't stopped him from solid production. Some teams are going to like his size, but his tendency to get locked up in big bodies along the line will stop him from becoming an elite player at the NFL level. He projects best as part of a committee. Here's some film.
La'el Collins, OT, LSU. Collins is one of the best prospects in the 2015 NFL draft. He projects as a first round pick, and in November 2014, coach Les Miles predicted that Collins would be a top 3 pick in 2015. While Collins may not go quite that high, he will be a high pick in 2015 and will be an NFL starter for years to come. He should be fun to watch at the Senior Bowl. Here's some film.
Corey Crawford, DE, Clemson. Crawford is a guy that will benefit heavily from the interview and practice portion of Senior Bowl Week; he faced a one game suspension to open this season, and teams will have questions about that. He currently projects as a fifth round pick. Crawford once projected as an early round pick, but this season has been a disaster for him between the suspension and a decrease in production. He needs a huge showing at the Senior Bowl to convince teams to take a gamble on him. I think her projects as a rotational player at best in the NFL. Film on Crawford is tough to find, so I'll leave you with two plays from his time in college (here and here) and some film of him in high school (here).
Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke. Jamison Crowder is going to be one of the steals in this year's draft unless a team gets smart and grabs him early. Hes projected as a 5th or 6th round pick, but this is largely due to his size and not his ability; Crowder is 5'9 and 175 pounds. He can play at both WR and KR. While his size will scare some teams away, any team would be smart to take a chance on him. He has had solid production in college and has drawn comparisons to current NFL player Antonio Brown. Eventually NFL teams need to put away the rulers and put on the tape, because if you pass on Crowder because of his size you're passing on a potential big play machine. At worst, he gives your team a dynamic playmaker in the return game. I'm hoping this kid has a strong, strong showing at the Senior Bowl and Combine and opens some eyes, because he could be great. Don't take my word for it! Look at the film! At the end of the day, he reminds me of a TY Hilton-type of player. Great college player, but foolishly overlooked by scouting departments and allowed to fall on draft day. Crowder is the type of prospect that just might make 31 scouting departments in the NFL cry themselves to sleep at night because he was "too small" to be higher on their boards.
Carl Davis, DT, Iowa. Carl Davis is a 6'5 315 pound beast of a defensive tackle that will likely be selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. Scouts love his upper body strength and ability to handle double teams, and Davis has been a key component in Iowa's defense. Davis' stats aren't elite, but you don't need elite stats from a defensive lineman in a defense. You need a guy that is going to mess up the flow of the offense and open up room for the players around him to make plays. That's exactly what Davis does. Here's some film. He could definitely make a nice impact in the right system at the next level.
Devante Davis, WR, UNLV. Davis projects as a 7th round pick this spring. He's not a bad WR, but college football is filled with guys that aren't bad WRs. That doesn't bode overly well for his chances in the NFL, but he could catch on with an NFL team as a developmental player, either at the bottom end of the roster or as a practice squad player. He'll have to contribute on special teams early likely to stick with a roster, but a solid showing at the Senior Bowl could go a long way towards building some interest amongst scouts. Here's some film.
Dillon Day, C, Mississipi State. Dillon Day is also playing in the East-West Shrine Game. Day is a guy teams will look at near the end of the draft as a project player/backup. He was a solid college center, but he's not an elite prospect. He'll struggle against elite talent, but would be well worth taking a chance on late, as he might mature into a starter with some coaching. He projects as a 7th round pick or UDFA.
Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas. Diggs has had a solid career at Texas, but he projects as a nickel-type cb at the next level. He tends to disappear at times from a production standpoint, and isn't a shutdown corner. He projects as a 5th round pick, and that's a fairly decent assessment of his draft day value. He's not going to hurt your defense if you have to use him, but he's not going to do anything huge to stand out either. Here's some film. A big week at the Senior Bowl would definitely help his case.
Reese Dismukes, C, Auburn. Reese Dismukes is one of the best centers in this year's draft. He projects as a second round pick, and that's fair; centers don't generally go in the first round. Dismukes will compete for a starting role in the NFL early in his career.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami. Phillip Dorsett is a prospect on the rise. Two seasons ago, he dropped two sure TDs in a nationally televised game. Last season, he missed much of the year due to a knee injury. This year, he's been at the top of his game and propelled himself into a potential day 2 NFL draft pick, projected as a second or 3rd rounder. Dorsett also has experience returning kicks. Here's some film on him from 2012. And here's Dorsett in action this season. While he's not the type of player that's going to be a big play threat for your team every week, he can definitely plug in and play a solid role in an NFL offense as a complementary WR.
Jamil Douglas, G, Arizona State. Jamil Douglas is also playing in the East-West Shrine Game. Douglas projects as a 5th or 6th round pick, but he's going to go higher than that. While he'll be switching from tackle to guard in the pros and has a tendency to play high, this kid is a great athlete. He can squat 565 pounds and has a body fat index in the teens. With coaching, this kid could be an every down starter in the NFL. Here's some film.
Kurtis Drummond, FS, Michigan State. Drummond is a solid player who currently projects as a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft. Drummond has missed a few key plays, dropping two potential interceptions in big moments. That being said, he's critical of himself for those mistakes. Here's a look at him on the field. Drummond came from a solid, solid secondary that featured first round draft pick Darqueze Dennard, so this is a well-coached unit. With Drummond's work ethic and self criticism, he could be a very good NFL player with the right system.
Alvin "Bud" Dupree, DE, Kentucky. Dupree is a fast, hard-hitting pass rusher from the University of Kentucky. While he played defensive end in college, a better position for him in the NFL may be outside linebacker. He's fast enough to drop into coverage (how fast? He was clocked at 20.5 miles per hour during a game last year. That's not a typo.), and he's a little light for an NFL defensive end.Scouts love his speed off of the line, and his college coaches love his work ethic; he gained 15 pounds of muscle mass and was willing to switch positions to help his team. Dupree will likely wind up as a first round pick, and the "experts"" tend to agree with that assessment. Dupree would be a great fit as an OLB in a 3-4 defense at the next level.
Andrew East, LS, Vanderbilt. Andrew East is the #1 rated longsnapper in the nation, and may be able to stick with an NFL roster in 2015. That being said, he will either be drafted in the 7th round or sign as an undrafted free agent if he gets a shot with an NFL team, since longsnappers are generally not a highly valued position for rookies. They are rarely noticed unless they screw up (think Manny Ramirez in the Superbowl).
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon. This kid is one of my favorite cornerback prospects in the 2015 draft. Ekpre-Olomu is almost guaranteed to be a first round pick in the draft. He's easily a top five player at his position in this class, and I'd rank him #1. He's a hard-hitting, intelligent player with good instincts with the skill set to start for an NFL team as a rookie. He's going to be fun to watch.Here's some film. UPDATE: Ekpre-Olomu suffered a major knee injury in practice, that will end his college career and put his draft status in question. He'll still catch on with a team, and I think he'll still be a great player, but the injury will drop him a bit.
Cameron Erving, C, Florida State. Cameron Erving is rated by many as the best center in the country, and projects as a 1st or 2nd round pick in 2015. He's 6'5, 308 pounds, and has started at both tackle and center in college. He also has experience playing along the defensive line. Scouts love his blocking ability, and the only thing he really gets docked for among scouts is consistency. If he can improve his technique, he can be an NFL starter for years to come. Here's some film.
Kaleb Eulls, DT, Mississippi State. Eulls projects as a developmental/rotational defensive lineman at the next level. He's currently projected as a 6th round pick. Eulls transitioned from QB in high school to DT in college, and his greatest tackle was made on a school bus in 2009 after a student pulled and loaded a gun with the intent to commit an act of violence (film here). This is a heads-up, quick thinking guy that isn't afraid to put his own life on the line to protect those around him, and that suggests a solid team player to me. I think this kid's character is phenomenal, and his work ethic will be an asset to any NFL team. While he fits best in a rotation early on, he has the potential to be a locker room leader as well.
Tayo Fabuluje, T, TCU. Tayo Fabuluje will also be playing in the 2015 East-West Shrine Game. Fabuluje projects as a 7th round pick or undrafted free agent. Scouts don't like the fact that he missed the 2013 season or the fact that he gained weight during the offseason. He's also bounced around a bit with transfers. That being said, scouts seem to at least be interested in him, as he has been generating some buzz lately. He'll be a guy to watch in the Shrine Game, and could make a roster as a backup.
Jake Fisher, T, Oregon. Jake Fisher is one of the better offensive tackle prospects in this draft, and projects as a second or third round pick. Fisher has started at both offensive tackle positions in college, but his skill set favors a right tackle role in the NFL. Scouts love his agility, his ability to get downhill, and his strength, but his foot movement suffers badly when he tires. That's something he'll have to work on to be an every down starter in the NFL, but he's at least a very capable NFL backup at this point. When Fisher missed time this season, Oregon's offensive line play in general was terrible, but once Fisher returned, their play immediately returned to a high level. This suggests that Fisher is capable of playing a major role on an offensive line, and given some time to develop, he could become a decent NFL starter. Here's some film.
Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas. Trey Flowers is one of the more intriguing defensive end prospects in this year's draft. Last year, Flowers was rated as a likely 3rd round pick by the NFL Draft advisory board, and elected to return to Arkansas for this season. His draft stock has risen slightly, as he now projects as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Scouts love his versatility, but he doesn't look the part of an elite prospect on defense; he just doesn't have the extremely fast burst needed to be a featured player in an NFL defense. He'd be a great fit in the right system, but he'll need some coaching at the next level. Here's some film.
Jalston Fowler, FB, Alabama. Jalston Fowler projects as a 4th or 5th round pick in 2015. While he's the best pure fullback in the 2015 draft, the fullback position is an almost forgotten position, and this hurts his draft stock. Fowler is a talented lead blocker, and would be a valuable asset for any run-heavy offense. Here's some film.
Andy Gallik, C, Boston College. Gallik is one of the better centers in this year's draft. He projects as a 3rd round pick, and is also capable of playing guard. While Gallik isn't as talented as Dismukes, he's been a featured part of Boston College's offensive line and has great instincts that will still help him compete for a starting role at the NFL level. He'll need some coaching, but he's got the talent to grow into a starting role, especially with good coaching. He reminds me of Russell Bodine in ways. Film is tough to find on him, as is the case with pretty much all center prospects, but here's Gallik back in the day as a guard in high school. He's a player that is poised to benefit from the Shrine Game.
Max Garcia, C, Florida. Garcia transferred from Maryland to Florida in 2012. He projects as an undrafted guy, but is a player that could see some attention late in the draft as a utility o-line prospect; he's potentially able to play both guard and center at the next level, and teams will look for that type of versatility, especially in a backup. he's a bit small at 6'4, 295 pounds, but teams may take a chance on him later in the draft.
Clayton Geathers, S, Central Florida. Geathers projects as a 6th round pick in 2015. He's a guy that scouts think will have to make an impact on special teams to make an NFL roster early in his career, and if he can make an impact there in practices this week, teams will be more willing to take a chance on him in the draft. Here's a video piece on him.
Markus Golden, DE, Missouri. Golden is one of the better defensive ends available in the 2015 draft, and could also be converted to a 4-3 OLB. He projects as a 2nd or 3rd round pick, and has a knack for making big plays in big games; he was the MVP of this year's Citrus Bowl. Golden is generating some buzz among scouts heading into the Senior Bowl, and could be an interesting prospect. He plays a bit upright and takes a bad angle on occasion, so he'll need some work to take the field regularly at the next level, but with proper coaching, he could be a decent NFL player. Here's some film.
Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss. Golson is one of the key members of the Ole Miss defense, and losing him to the NFL will sting. He's smaller than scouts like for an NFL CB at 5'9, 176 pounds, but he logged 9 interceptions this season, especially shining in big games. Some scouts are projecting him as a nickel CB at the next level. He currently grades out as a projected 2nd or 3rd round pick.Here's Golson intercepting a pass against Alabama to seal a victory at the end of the game. Here's another big play. The next play isn't one of Golson's better moments, but it shows his speed. Here's Golson missing a tackle on Trent Richardson....twice in the same play.
Antwan Goodley, WR, Baylor. Goodley projects as a 4th or 5th round pick in 2015. He's got solid hands and good speed, but he's a bit smaller than scouts like at 5'10. I think he'll be a great asset for an NFL team, and some scouts agree; he's been compared favorably to Anquan Boldin by at least one NFC scout. Here's some film.
Doran Grant, CB, Ohio State. Grant currently projects as a 3rd round pick, but his draft stock is on the rise as he generates interest among scouts. This rise could continue heading into the Senior Bowl. Grant is one of Ohio State's fastest players, and his speed could help him make an impact both in an NFL defense and on special teams, a factor which will make it easy for him to stick with a pro roster. Scouts like his value as a nickel corner and special teams contributor. Grant has allegedly run a 4.32 40.
Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon. Grasu is another member of the top tier of center prospects in 2015. He's dealt with a leg injury this year, which may impact his draft status; scouts will be looking to see if he's healthy at the senior bowl. He currently projects as a day 2 prospect (2nd or 3rd round). I've seen Grasu ranked as the top center in the draft, over Dismukes, and that ranking is one I can agree with; although I prefer Dismukes, Grasu has drawn comparisons to NFL center Alex Mack. Grasu should be one of the top 2 centers off the board in the draft. Film is notoriously tough to find on centers, but here's a piece on him.
Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State. Grayson is one of the toughest quarterbacks to scout in this draft class. He's very polarizing, with some scouts loving him and calling him the third best QB in the class. Other scouts think that he's overrated and are skeptical. He projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick, and will be extremely interesting to watch in the Senior Bowl. This game could make or break his NFL draft status. Here's some film. Grayson had 32 TDs and 6 interceptions in his final college season, but right now he's fighting to improve his draft stock. He projects best as a solid NFL backup with the ability to come in and perform as a spot starter in emergency situations.
Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State. Greene was Mel Kiper's favorite senior WR heading into the 2014 season. He dealt with a concussion in October, but has recovered. The film on him is decent; he's a physical WR with good hands and decent separation skills that will eke out a sizeable role in an NFL offense early on in his career. He's been compared to Emmanuel Sanders, and may be the best pure route runner in this year's draft class. Greene is a solid NFL prospect, and projects as a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Geneo Grissom, LB, Oklahoma. Grissom switched from DE to OLB this season for Oklahoma. He's had a solid season, but sprained his MCL against Texas Tech and could miss the rest of the season. A projected 3rd round pick, Grissom could see his draft stock slide because of the injury. It's extremely tough to find film on Grissom, and this is the type of prospect the Senior Bowl could really have helped. He has also played at tight end, and I view him as a project player at the next level. Hopefully he comes back healthy and does well.
Ladarius Gunter, CB, Miami. Gunter currently projects as a 4th round pick. Gunter is a decent coverage guy with solid, solid technique, and could also be moved to safety in the NFL. That being said, he's not as physical as some guys in his size range. I think he'll stick with an NFL roster and will see regular playing time, but he'll need some work to become an every down starter. Here's some film.
Marcus Hardison, DE, Arizona State. Hardison projects as a 7th round pick or UDFA currently, but his draft stock is on the rise as he's generating some buzz amongst scouts. He's a big boy at 6'4, 300 pounds, and could transition to DT in the NFL. Scouts love his awareness and his heads up playing ability, and he could be a deep sleeper heading into the draft. He plays like a much smaller guy, and makes some great plays. I think he could be an outstanding rotational guy early on in his NFL career, and may work his way into an every-down-starter role. I really like this kid, and think 31 NFL teams will have missed on a great value when he is drafted. Hardison is the type of defensive line prospect that will make teams regret passing on him for years to come. Here's some film.
Justin Hardy, WR, Eastern Carolina. Justin Hardy is a 6'0 188 pound projected 2nd-3rd round pick at WR who also happens to be QB Shane Carden's best friend on the field. Hardy has a knack for making plays, and his draft stock is on the rise. Here's some film. Hardy projects as a slot receiver in the NFL; he'll be a good tool for any offense but will not likely be a #1 guy. That being said, Hardy also has experience as a kick returner, and that could help him eke out a decent role with an NFL team. I view Hardy as a T.Y. Hilton-type prospect that could surprise a lot of people with the right team. His college QB throwing to him at the Senior Bowl certainly won't hurt his draft stock. I'm interested to see how he performs.
Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State. Harper is one of the better WR prospects in this year's draft, and nfldraftscout.com has him projected as a 2nd round pick. Depending on how the draft falls, I could see him slipping into the first. I picture him as a #2 WR on an NFL roster, and he could definitely help a team like Seattle. Here's some film.
Anthony Harris, S, Virginia. Anthony Harris has established himself as one of the top safeties in college football, and nfldraftscout.com has him rated as the #1 SS in the draft, projecting as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. I think that ranking is a little high. Yes, Harris is a solid college player and makes big plays. That being said, for every big play made by Harris, the film shows a bad angle or poor tackling technique. He's physical, but he needs to wrap and not lead with his head in order to succeed in the NFL. While he may emerge as a starter in the NFL, I'm not completely sold on him yet. There's a lot to like in his game tape, but there's also a lot to worry about. If he can get consistent, he'll be a good NFL player, but he needs to stop making mental errors and maintain proper position and pursuit on every play. Here's some film.
Rob Havenstein, T, Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin football program is known for three things. Russell Wilson, running backs, and offensive linemen. Wisconsin has long churned out NFL caliber players on the offensive line, which is a credit to their system. Havenstein hopes to be the next NFL offensive lineman out of Wisconsin. He projects as a late round pick (nfldraftscout.com has him as a 6th rounder), but there's a lot to like about this kid's character and work ethic. Havenstein arrived in Wisconsin as a 6'8 380 pound prospect. By 2013, he had shed 53 pounds, weighing in at 327 pounds. His coaching staff at Wisconsin love his work ethic, calling him one of the hardest workers on the team. In the words of Wisconsin offensive line coach T.J. Woods, "he works hard. He comes to practice every single day and works as hard as anybody in that group. And I think he genuinely cares about being perfect and sharpening his sword and perfecting his craft. He has a passion for it, and it really irritates him when he's not doing it right. You can see that by the way he prepares every single day." While Havenstein will likely start out as a backup in the NFL, his work ethic and size will get him a shot with a professional team. A strong showing at the Senior Bowl could easily propel him into the middle rounds of the draft, and in a few seasons, Havenstein could be a starting offensive lineman in the NFL. I think he's underrated.
Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State. Heuerman is one of the better tight end prospects in a weak 2015 draft class. He projects as a 4th round pick, and is coming off of a spring 2014 foot injury. He's been used more as a blocker than as a pass catcher during his college career, but could benefit from some added bulk. He'd be a decent H-back/blocking TE type of prospect for an NFL team, and at least could be a decent backup. Here's some film.
Jordan Hicks, OLB, Texas. Jordan Hicks is a talented player with a long history of injuries. His injury history will make some teams devalue him due to fears that he won't last in the NFL. He plays with a high level of intensity and tackles with good form, assets which translate well into the NFL. Hicks is talented enough to be an every down starter on some NFL teams. That on-field intensity will constantly be discounted by the fact that Hicks missed portions of the 2011, 2012, and 2013 season due to injury. Hicks projects as a 4th round pick, largely due to his injury issues. Without the injuries, he'd probably be a 2nd round player. If he can stay healthy in the NFL, Hicks will be an absolute steal in the 4th round of the draft. Here's some film.
Zach Hodges, OLB, Harvard. Zach Hodges is playing in both the Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl this January. He's a projected 3rd round pick according to www.nfldraftscout.com. However, that rating might be slightly high. Hodges is a project player of sorts and will need time to develop at the next level. He could develop into a solid NFL backup, but he'll need a couple of seasons before he blossoms. The Shrine Game and Senior Bowl will go a long way to help teams make a decision on him. He shows flashes of talent, but he also plays a bit upright and will get swallowed up by NFL-caliber talent on the offensive line. Here's some film.
Mike Hull, LB, Penn State. Mike Hull is the second player from Penn State on this list. Hull leads the team with 99 total tackles this year; next closest player has 44. Hull doesn't have eye-popping numbers for a linebacker (only 2 sacks and 1 interception this year), and tends to make a few mistakes. That being said, he's recovering from a leg injury. Here's some film. With good coaching, I project him as a backup at the NFL level. He projects as a 6th or 7th round pick according to www.nfldraftscout.com. He could make an impact in the right system but he needs some work.
Tre' Jackson, G, Florida State. Jackson projects as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. He's a bigger guy, coming in at 6'4, 330 pounds, and also has experience playing defensive tackle. With his size, he could also move outside to offensive tackle. However, he's largely overrated as a draft prospect; scouts have noticed that Winston has faced a lot of pressure at times. Much of this pressure has come as a result of poor blocks by Jackson. I think Jackson projects best as an NFL backup with some upside. Here's some film.
Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson. Grady Jarrett gets downgraded by scouts due to his size; as a 6'1 295 pound DT, he's viewed as small for the position. That being said, smaller defensive tackle prospects can and do produce at the NFL level. Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald were both "too small," but that hasn't stopped either player from becoming a quality NFL starter. Don't count Jarrett out because of his size. Scouts have compared him to a slightly less dynamic version of Aaron Donald. Know who else received essentially the same scouting report, although he was in the league before Donald? Geno Atkins. Here's Geno Atkins' scouting report from 2010. Here's Aaron Donald's from 2014. Aaron Donald was drafted at 6'1, 285 pounds. Geno Atkins was drafted at 6'1, 293 pounds. Both of these players were smaller than Jarrett, and both have been extremely successful in the NFL. Grady Jarrett projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick according to www.nfldraftscout.com. He's also an extremely team-oriented guy. Even though he's too small to play in the NFL, scouts have said that Jarrett looks like a perfect 3 technique defensive tackle prospect for an NFL team. This kid is going to find a spot on an NFL team and he's going to be a starter. Besides, he's too small to sit on the bench, considering the fact that the bench will likely tip over when a larger, NFL-sized player sits down on it! I really, really like this kid and it's absolutely ridiculous that he's being downgraded due to his size when Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins show that you CAN succeed in the NFL as a DT in this size range!! I hope that Grady Jarrett has an outstanding senior bowl week and knocks some of the people that are downgrading him because of his size on their butts during practice as well. If I'm getting Jarrett as a 3rd round pick, I'm getting a steal this spring.
Chris Jasperse, C, Marshall. Jasperse projects as an undrafted free agent this spring. At 6'4, 287 pounds, he's a bit small for an NFL offensive lineman. That being said, he could also make the switch to guard at the next level; he's started at both positions in college. If he bulks up, he could wind up as a deep backup or practice squad guy early in his career. Jasperse is a guy that could benefit heavily from a strong showing at this year's Senior Bowl.
Anthony Jefferson, S, UCLA. Jefferson projects as an undrafted free agent in this year's draft currently, according to www.nfldraftscout.com. He struggled with injury issues through his career, and his lack of playing time at the college level has some teams shying away from him at the moment. That being said, Jefferson has looked decent when on the field, and could be a great developmental player to snag late in the draft. He's an injury risk, but late in the draft, the upside outweighs the injury risk. He could see his stock rise with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. Film on him is tough to find, but this video has some.
David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa. David Johnson is one of the guys I'm really excited to watch in the Senior Bowl. He's a small school player, an explosive kick returner, and could be one of the surprise running backs in the NFL draft. Him and Zach Zenner are my two favorite non-first-round running backs this year. I think Johnson is going to be a good player in the NFL, and will be drafted higher than the 4th to 5th round ranking given to him by www.nfldraftscout.com after a solid performance in the Senior Bowl. After the elite running backs are off the board, Johnson could be next. But don't take my word for it, here's some film. He could start out of the gate for some teams in the NFL. Oh, and he's a beast in the weight room too.
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest. Hey! Don't I remember watching Kevin Johnson in the NFL? Oh wait, never mind, that's Kevin Johnson the WR. Kevin Johnson is one of the better cornerback prospects in the 2015 draft. He's been rated as a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but that rating is low. Kiper's got him rated as a first rounder, and many scouts are falling in love with him as a player. Johnson is a playmaker that could shine in the right system in the NFL. Teams will enjoy watching him against top school competition at the Senior Bowl. Here's some film.
Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA. www.nfldraftscout.com has Eric Kendricks rated as a second round pick. That's a pretty fair assessment of his draft stock. However, scouts are mixed on him, some view him as a special teams or depth guy, others view him as a surefire NFL starter. Unfortunately, Kendricks has decided to not attend the Senior Bowl due to a hamstring injury, but I'll keep a scouting report of him in. He reminds some scouts of Chris Borland, and that's not a bad comparison; Kendricks is a tackling machine, and I think that he can be a very good player at the NFL level. He's not the hardest hitter at the position (that award goes to Denzel Perryman), but he is a very accomplished tackler with good technique and good coverage skills. I think he's worth a 2nd rounder. Here's some film.
Hau'oli Kikaha, DE/OLB, Washington. Kikaha is one of the players I'm really excited to watch in this year's Senior Bowl on defense. It's going to be awesome to see him, Nate Orchards, and Denzel Perryman in the same event. Injuries hurt Kikaha, but I have him rated as a first round caliber player. If this kid can stay healthy, he's going to have a strong NFL career. Want to know more? Here's my piece on him.
Arie Kouandjio, G, Alabama. The brother of current Buffalo Bill Cyrus Kouandjio, Arie Kouandjio is one of the best offensive line prospects in this year's draft. he projects as a 2nd to 3rd round pick, and at 6'5, 315 pounds, he looks the part of an NFL offensive lineman. Back in October, Kouandjio won an SEC offensive lineman of the week award for an entire game with no sacks, no penalties, and no quarterback pressures allowed. He's started every game at guard for Alabama over the past two seasons, and has performed well against NFL-caliber competition. He projects as an every down starter in the NFL, but for a fun blast from the past, here's a video of him as a high school player. He will likely start as a rookie depending on where he winds up.
Ben Koyack, TE, Notre Dame. The last great tight end from Notre Dame was Tyler Eifert, and he's done well with Cincinnati so far. While Koyack isn't the pass-catching threat that Eifert was, he's a solid blocker and is still a decent playmaker. He projects as a 3rd round pick in 2015, and could see regular playing time in the NFL early in his career. Here's some film.
Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State. Jeremy Langford is the third best RB in his conference, behind Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah. He projects as a 4th round picks, and although teams will love his production (lots of 100 yard games in college), they will shy away from his weaknesses in the short yardage game. Langford struggles with short yardage situations for whatever reason. For a big, physical running back, that's something that will need to be addressed before Langford can earn a large role in an NFL backfield. He projects as a part of a committee or a backup in the NFL. Langford IS a capable pass protector, which will help him stick with an NFL roster. Here's some film.
Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas. Dezmin Lewis is a 6'4 220 pound WR that runs a 4.41 40. Those measureables are enough to intrigue NFL scouts. That being said, Lewis is a small school player, playing for Central Arkansas University in the FCS. He'll get discounted due to his level of competition, and this is the type of player that can truly benefit from participating in the Senior Bowl. Scouts will get a chance to see him against top level talent and be better able to assess him. Lewis currently grades out as a 5th to 6th round pick. He's an intriguing player that could go anywhere from the middle of the draft to undrafted, depending on his performance in the Senior Bowl. I don't know much about him as a prospect, and I'm interested to see how he performs.
Tony Lippett, WR, Michigan State. Lippett is one of the more versatile players in this year's draft class; he's started games at both WR and CB this season. He's a decent athlete with good hands, and scouts will love his athletic ability. While he doesn't project as a #1 WR on an NFL team, Lippett does have the talent to make an impact on an NFL offense. He projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick, but some team may fall in love with him and take him earlier. Here's some film.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State. Lockett is a smaller player, at 5'11 and 175 pounds. Even given his small size, he projects as a 2nd or 3rd round pick in 2015. He's a fast shifty guy that reminds me of an Andrew Hawkins-type player with more raw talent, and Lockett can also return kicks. Lockett makes for a great slot receiver at the next level, and once generated 321 all purpose yards in a single game. Here's some film.
Kyle Loomis, P, Portland State. Loomis is one of the best punters in the nation. As an FCS player from the Big Sky Conference, he's come to the draft along a very different route compared to others. Here's a fantastic video piece on him. He spent time in the Army, and has more real-life experience than most kids in the draft. Loomis may be a punter, but he's got the life experience to be a great, great locker room leader. He projects as a 7th round pick or undrafted free agent, but given his life story and talent (he's one of the best college punters in the country). I'm rooting for him, and hope he makes an NFL roster. Not only is he a great player, but he's also a great person. Go get 'em Kyle. Here at www.mattandmikesports.com, we're rooting for you.
Jeff Luc, ILB, Cincinnati. Luc projects as a 7th round pick or undrafted free agent. He transferred from Florida State to pursue a chance to compete for a starting role; it sounds like Luc and a coach at Florida State had a poor relationship and that may have hurt his chances to play there. In Cincinnati, Luc has made a name for himself as a solid tackler. He's a bit slow for a linebacker, but he's got good instincts and tackles well. he projects as a solid backup at the next level. Here's some film.
Donatella Luckett, WR, Harding. Harding is an intriguing prospect. He comes from a Division II team and will likely start out his career as a practice squad or developmental player, but he's got some talent. He does some of the same things as Cordarrelle Patterson; he's been productive out of of the backfield and as a receiver. He reminds me of Dennard Robison without a good arm; Luckett has one passing attempt in his career. The result was an interception. He projects as a 7th round pick or UDFA, but a strong Senior Bowl performance will do a lot to convince scouts that he can compete against a higher level of competition. Some teams will look at moving him to RB. Here's some film.
Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State. Mannion is one of the top 3 quarterback prospects in this year's draft in my opinion. This time last year, many expected Mannion to be a first or second round pick, but a tough final season at Oregon state has derailed his draft stock a bit. that being said, he was given a 3rd round grade by the NFL draft advisory board before last season, and some now grade him as a 5th or 6th round pick. That rating is a bit low, and Mannion should be taken in the 3rd or fourth round pick. While he doesn't have the look of a franchise QB, Mannion could be a capable spot starter and a very solid backup at the NFL level early in his NFL career, and could develop into a solid starter with proper coaching.. Here's some film.
Justin Manton, K, Louisiana-Monroe. Manton is a versatile guy that can play both kicker and punter. That versatility will help him in a tough market that sees only one or two rookie kickers make an NFL roster most seasons. He projects as 7th round pick or undrafted free agent, but will struggle to make an NFL roster mainly due to the lack of available spots for a rookie kicker.
Ali Marpet, T, Hobart. Marpet is a 6'4, 310 offensive line prospect who can play at both offensive tackle and offensive guard. He's playing in both the Senior Bowl and the Shrine Game. Hobart projects as an undrafted developmental player hailing from a tiny program, but a strong showing at the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl would go an extremely long way towards piquing teams' interest in him. He'll need a lot of work to contribute in the NFL, but he could be a decent developmental practice squad player early on. Here's some film on him in high school, since his college film is impossible to find online.
Shaquille Mason, G, Georgia Tech. Mason is a nice depth pick in the 2015 draft. He projects as a 6th round pick, and has been a solid starter for Georgia Tech at guard over the last two seasons. He may not be a starter early in his career, but he could be a great developmental backup offensive lineman at the NFL level, and would be a value pick in the 6th.
Josue Matias, G, Florida State. Matias is one of the more elite guard prospects in 2015. He projects as a 2nd or 3rd round pick, and has also seen some playing time at tackle in college. He started his final 29 college games, and played a pivotal role in Florida State's solid offense. He projects as a borderline starter/solid backup early in his NFL career and will likely mature into a solid NFL starter quickly.
Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville. Mauldin projects as a first or second round pick, and will be used as a pass rusher at the next level. He's played both defensive end and outside linebacker at the college level, and will likely wind up as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. He tends to get trapped against decent blockers on the line. He's not going to be an elite player but he's got the talent to be a solid pass rusher. Here's some film.
Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State. Mayle's a decent WR with good hands and solid route running skills. Teams will like that when watching his game tape. He's a junior college transfer to Washington State, and he projects as a day 2 prospect, falling into the 2nd or 3rd round of the draft. He's not an acrobatic player generally, but he's dependable. Here's some film of him as a junior college player (here) and at Washington State (here).
Joey Mbu, DT, Houston. Joey Mbu is a relatively unknown defensive tackle out of Houston. Just a few weeks ago, Mbu was projected to go undrafted. Now www.nfldraftscout.com has him rated as a 4th round pick. He's definitely turning some heads, and is playing in both the Shrine game and the Senior Bowl. This kid is on the rise, and a big performance on in both games would propel him even higher. I like his value as a middle round player. Here's some film.
Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford. Montgomery is a solid prospect. There are some injury concerns, as Montgomery underwent arm surgery before the 2014 season. While he projects as a second round pick, some scouts have a first round grade on him. He's an extremely physical player that reminds me of Hines Ward in ways, and he could definitely contribute in an NFL offense. Here's some film.
Robert Myers, G, Tennessee State. Myers is an offensive line prospect that can play both tackle and guard. He projects as an Anthony Collins-type of player, a backup offensive lineman that can provide depth at multiple positions. He projects as a 4th round pick, and while he won't likely start out as an every down starter, he'll be a capable backup for multiple positions.
Connor Neighbors, FB, LSU. Connor Neighbors is one of the best fulllback prospects in the country, but unfortunately for his draft stock, Neighbors is a fulback. He projects as a 7th round pick or undrafted free agent. He's a guy that will likely have a tough fight to make a roster, but he has the talent to do it. Hopefully things work out for him.
Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State. Nelson gets overlooked a lot as a prospect. He does a lot of things well, yet he doesn't get the press that some of the more popular CBs do. I think he'll be a solid sleeper on draft day, falling into the 4th or 5th rounds (he projects as a 4th round pick). The film on him is decent, and he could provide nice depth for an NFL team later in the draft.
Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida State. Nick O'Leary is one of the best Tight End prospects in the 2015 NFL draft. He's a physical guy that can do a few things well. His main role will likely be that of a starting NFL TE or a TE2 at the next level, but he could also see some time as an H-back due to the physical nature of his play. Here's some film. He projects as a 3rd round pick.
Tom Obarski, K, Concordia-St. Paul. Kicker is one of those rare positions where players from any level of competition can generate plenty of buzz heading into the draft. While Obarski isn't likely to get drafted (he projects as a 7th round pick or UDFA), he'll likely find a spot on a roster heading into camps, and could win a starting role in the NFL.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA. Odighizuwa wins the prize for most difficult name to pronounce in the 2015 draft, and I hope he gets picked in the 1st round so I can watch Goodell struggle with it on national television. That being said, Odighizuwa isn't a bad player. He's one of the better DE prospects in this year's draft, and projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick. He'll play at either DE or 3-4 OLB next season in the NFL. He doesn't have huge numbers, and he had surgery on his hip in 2013, but scouts love his versatility and size, which will help to keep his draft status afloat. He's a guy to watch at the Senior Bowl.
Cedric Ogbuehi, T, Texas A&M. Ogbuehi is one of the best offensive linemen in the 2015 draft. Had he entered the 2014 draft, he would have been a first round pick. He still projects as one. He's started at left and right tackle, and will be an NFL starter early in his career. Here's some film.
Nate Orchard, DE/LB, Utah. Nate Orchard is a sack machine. Orchard has produced 13 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss so far this season. He's a similar player to Washington DE/LB Hau'oli Kikaha (who you can also watch in this game), minus the injury questions. I prefer Kikaha as a player, but Orchard will also be a solid, solid player in the NFL. Orchard projects as a 2nd round pick according to www.nfldraftscout.com. Here's a short clip of Orchard on the field.
Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami. Perryman is the best inside linebacker in this draft class and one of the hardest hitting players in college football. He will be drafted in the first or second round this spring, and will be a starter in the NFL for years to come. I love this kid's talent and think he's going to be a special, special player. For more on him, check out my full piece on him. Perryman reminds me a lot of another University of Miami LB that wore #52 in college. Who? Ray Lewis.
Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor. Petty is a player that could see his draft stock pick up steam heading into the draft. He projects as a 3rd round pick, but this year's class is weak and strong showings at the Senior Bowl and combine could generate interest among teams. He projects as a backup in the NFL; he has a bad habit of locking onto a single receiver and has been compared to a more athletic version of Brandon Weeden. Playing in a spread offense in college also won't help his cause. That being said, he'd be a decent depth guy in an NFL offense. Here's some film.
Casey Pierce, TE, Kent State. Pierce is a small school guy that could really benefit from a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. He projects as an undrafted player currently, but a strong showing at the Senior Bowl could propel him into the later rounds of the 2015 draft. He projects as a developmental or practice squad player early in his career that could develop into a nice TE2 with coaching. He played quarterback in high school, and started his career at Kent State as a walk on. Now he's trying for a spot in the NFL. He's been fairly consistent in college, ending his college career with at least 2 catches per game in his final 18 games (and at least 3 catches in his last 13).
Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss. Prewitt is one of the hardest hitting safeties in this draft class, and currently projects as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. I really like this kid, he's extremely physical, and I'd love to see a team pair him with linebacker Denzel Perryman. That would make for an extremely scary defense. I think Prewitt has the talent to be an NFL starter(especially after a year or two of development on an NFL roster), and he's one of the best safeties in this class. How hard does Prewitt hit? Listen to this one! Still not convinced? Watch him hit Jordan Matthews so hard that Matthews pukes, here. He's aggressive, he's talented, and he's dangerous on the field. I think there's a lot to like, especially with the right coaching staff.
Hayes Pullard, ILB, USC. Pullard projects as a 7th round pick or UDFA in the draft. He tends to whiff on plays and isn't as explosive as I'd like to see for an inside linebacker, but he does some things well. I think he projects as a backup or practice squad early on, but if he can work on his consistency and play at a high level on every snap, then he'll see some playing time in the NFL. He's shown flashes of talent, but he needs to get more consistent to be a regular contributor at the NFL level. It'll be interesting to watch him work with the Senior Bowl coaching staff. Here's some film.
Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State. Randall could be a major sleeper at safety in the 2015 NFL Draft. He projects as a 5th to 6th round pick, but the guy is a great open field tackler. He doesn't generate the onfield force that a player like Prewitt does, but Randall consistently brings down opponents. His tackling technique needs a little work for him to be successful as a safety in the NFL, but he's well worth a middle-round pick. With some coaching up, he could be an NFL starter. Here's some film. Randall has great hands and spent two years away from football playing baseball as an outfielder and short stop. That will translate nicely into the NFL, as an intelligent defensive coordinator will give him plenty of chances to make plays. This kid could turn into an interception machine in the right system.
Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio). Quinten Rollins is a converted point guard who played basketball before switching to football for this season. He's extremely athletic, and is capable of making great plays on the ball, but his tackling technique needs work. He generates a lot of tackles for a cornerback, but he just needs to get more consistent with his form, which will come with time. That being said, he's got great hip movement and the physical talent to become an every down starter. Here's some film. He projects as a second round pick, which is fair since he'll need a season or two before reaching his prime in the NFL.
Eric Rowe, CB, Utah. Rowe is a decent cornerback prospect, and projects as a 3rd or 4th roundpick. He's a converted safety, switching to CB after three years as an elite player at the position. He's exceptionally fast, running a 40 in 4.39. Teams are going to fall in love with his versatility and his speed, and he could wind up starting in the NFL. If all else fails, he'll be a special teams monster, but he'll likely work his way into a starting lineup on a team. Here's a highlight.
Ty Sambrailo, T, Colorado State. Sambrailo is one of the more controversial players in the draft among scouts. Some have him projected as a first round pick, others have him falling to the second. Some scouts have a 5th round grade on him. The problem with Sambrailo is it's tough to get a real feel for his talent. He does some things really well, and struggles with other things. He's the type of player that scouts will pay a lot of attention to at the Senior Bowl. A good performance will keep him near the top of the draft, a poor performance may sink him into the mid to late rounds. It's extremely tough to find film on Sambrailo, but here's some film on him in high school at least.
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington. Shelton is a great defensive tackle prospect, and he'll likely be a first round pick in spring. He's projected as the top defensive tackle in the draft by some experts. He's the type of player that's not necessarily generate a lot of tackles, but he'll get caught up in the middle of an offensive line and wreak havoc, keeping the linemen busy while the players around him make plays. Here's some film. I view him as an elite rotational player or a decent starter at the next level, depending on the system. He's not going to make a lot of tackles, but he'll keep blockers occupied.
Austin Shepherd, T, Alabama. Austin Shepherd is another of a long line of solid Alabama offensive line prospects. Shepherd is a big boy, at 6'5, 320 pounds, and projects as a 4th round pick. He started the final 26 games of his college career, and only allowed two sacks in his final season. While he's not the sexiest OL pick in 2015, he will definitely be a solid NFL backup and could be a decent starter. As a 4th round pick, he'd be worth taking a long look at, especially for a team that needs help on the offensive line.
JaCorey Shepherd, CB, Kansas. Shepherd projects as a 4th or 5th round pick. He makes some nice plays on defense, and is good at reading an offense. He's a guy that could develop into an NFL starter and will likely generate some big plays at the next level. He's also willing to contribute on special teams, a trait that will help him to stick with an NFL roster (film here). He hasn't generated a ton of buzz among scouts yet, but he'll be a solid NFL prospect and should turn some heads at the Senior Bowl. Here's some film.
Blake Sims, QB, Alabama. Sims projects as a 6th or 7th round pick in 2015. He'll likely spend the early part of his career as a developmental prospect, but Sims is the type of player that could develop into a very solid NFL backup QB (or even a starter in the right system) given some time. In college, he worked his way up from scout team to starter. He could do the same in the NFL given time and the right system. That being said, a three interception game against Ohio State to bring Alabama's year and Sims' college career to an end will likely turn away some scouts. I think he'd be a solid player to target at the end of the draft, and could return some nice value on a late round pick. Here's some film.
D'Joun Smith, CB, Florida Atlantic. Smith is an extremely tough player to find information on. He's an every-down starter for Florida Atlantic and has lead his conference in passes defended, but he doesn't seem to be generating a lot of buzz in the scouting community. I'm interested to see how he does at the Senior Bowl, but given the lack of information on him we're likely looking at a potentially undrafted player.
Derron Smith, S, Fresno State. Smith projects as a 2nd round pick, and is one of the better safety prospects in the draft. He's been compared to Earl Thomas by some scouts, and will likely be a starter at the NFL level. Here's some film.
Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State. Devin Smith is often remembered for one play, the catch, a beautiful one handed TD grab against Miami in 2012. That being said, he has generated plenty of other highlights during his college career (film here), including a 3 TD game against Wisconsin this year. He projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick currently, and he'd be a steal there. Smith could make a really nice #2 WR in an NFL offense, and will have an occasional huge game.
Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State. Donovan Smith is an interesting prospect. A player that wasn't expected to enter the draft until 2016, Smith entered with a year of eligibility left after finishing a degree in criminology. He projects as a 4th round pick. While he will need a year or two to learn, and could have benefited from another year of college ball, Smith could eventually develop into a nice NFL starter. He's a decent backup at this point in his career. His technique needs work, however; he plays too high and gets sloppy as he tires. Since it's tough to find any film on linemen online, here's some film of Smith in high school at least.
Za'Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky. Za'Darius Smith is playing in both the Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. Smith projects as a 4th or 5th round pick. Scouts like his hand use, but I think he's going to struggle against NFL blockers. Plus, his tackling technique needs a lot of work. While he does some things well, such as getting into the air to obstruct a passer's view, he also needs improvement if he's going to be a regular component of an NFL defense. I view him as a backup at this point in his career. Here's some film.
Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State. Preston Smith projects as a middle-of-the-draft player (3rd-4th round) who could climb into the 2nd or 3rd with strong showings at the Senior Bowl and combine. Scouts like his size, and he's been compared to Arizona DE Kadeem Martin. He needs some development, but he'll be a good player at the NFL level. Here's some film.
Martrell Spaight, OLB, Arkansas. Spaight currently projects as a 6th round pick, but scouts are warming up to him. He's a hard hitting tackler who's produced decent numbers, and he's worked to improve his skills this season. He's a project player at linebacker, but he'll make a living early on as a dominant, hard hitting special teamer on kick offs. Here's why.
Jaquiski Tartt, FS, Samford. Tartt is one of my favorite defensive small school prospects for 2015. The guy is a great safety, and even though he hails from a very small program at Samford, www.nfldraftscout.com has him projected as a third round pick. That's rare for a small school player. Last year Pierre Desir was drafted in the 4th round by the Browns. Tartt is a better player than Desir, and will go higher. Here's some film. He may not start immediately, but Tartt will become a major force on defense early in his NFL career. You heard it first.
Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke. Tomlinson has an interesting story. He was born in Jamaica, moved to Chicago at 10 years old, and is now one of the best offensive guard prospects in this year's draft. He currently projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick, but I'd take him in the 2nd or 3rd. The guy is a solid athlete and works his butt off in the weightroom. Here's some film of him working out. He could be a starter in the right system.
Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk State. Trail is an intriguing small school prospect. He's a hard hitting player but he's also extremely inconsistent. He barely played at Florida before transferring to Norfolk State, and he projects like an NFL backup or special teams player early on in his career. Here's a piece on him. He projects as a 4th round pick, and a strong showing in the Senior Bowl and Shrine Games will go a long way towards convincing NFL scouts that he can compete against a higher level of competition.
Louis Trinca-Pasat, DT, Iowa. Trinca-Pasat currently projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick. He's a decent player, and scouts like him, but he's not an elite prospect. I view him as a depth guy or part of a rotation at best rather than an every down NFL starter early in his career. He is a fast player, and plays hard every snap, so he'll at least see playing time at the NFL level.
C.J. Uzomah, TE, Auburn. Uzomah projects as 7th round pick or undrafted free agent at tight end in 2015. He'll likely start out his career as a developmental depth guy or a practice squad player. He's a guy that needs to use his pass-catching ability to catch on with an NFL team, and hasn't caught many passes in college, so the Senior Bowl will be extremely valuable for him. Scouts think he can play multiple positions, namely TE, H-back, and slot receiver. That versatility may help him stick with an NFL team. Here's a highlight.
Tyler Varga, FB, Yale. Varga is a small school player playing a forgotten position at fullback. He runs hard, and can be useful in the short yardage game if a team gives him a chance, but the fullback is a dying position in the NFL. Most scouts think he'll need to contribute on special teams in order to make a roster; he'll likely end up as a special teams player at the next level. I think NFL scouts are viewing Varga and Zenner in the wrong light, both have often been considered fullbacks, but neither is a true fullback. I think Varga, like Zenner, can make some plays on offense if he just gets a chance. He projects as a 5th round pick, but he may fall a bit on draft day. Here's some film.
Clive Walford, TE, Miami. Walford projects as a second or 3rd round pick, and many scouts rank him as the best TE prospect in the draft. He suffered from a torn meniscus in 2014, and that could make some teams nervous, but he's got the talent to be a starter at the next level. He finished his final season with 44 receptions for 676 yards and 7 TDs. Kiper is down on him, but I think the kid could be decent. Here's some film.
Kevin White, CB, TCU. The "other" Kevin White in the 2015 NFL draft projects as a 3rd to 4th round pick. Scouts aren't going to like his size at 175 pounds, but he's got the talent to be a solid backup or nickel CB and could be an asset on special teams. Here's a highlight.
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. Kevin White is one of the top two WR prospects in the 2015 draft, and projects as a surefire first round pick. Daniel Jeremiah ranks him as the top WR in the draft, comparing him to Julio Jones. Another scout has compared White to Larry Fitzgerald. White is going to be one of the best WRs to be drafted this year, and will be an NFL starter. I've got him rated 2nd overall, just behind Cooper. That being said, White has backed out of the Senior Bowl, so those hoping to watch him this week will have to resort to film.
Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma. Williams is a decent offensive line prospect, and will likely find a role as a backup on an NFL offense. He currently projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick. Williams has the size to impress scouts at 6'5 321 pounds, but he struggles in pass protection, and the NFL is a passing league. He'll make a nice developmental player who may eventually become an NFL starter.
Ramik Wilson, ILB, Georgia. Wilson is one of the better inside linebackers in this year's draft class, and projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick. He performed well in college, but he may struggle against NFL talent. Some scouts think Wilson will have to move to OLB in a 4-3 system to be effective at the next level. He's shown flashes of talent and has great college numbers, but I'm looking forward to see how he performs at the Senior Bowl. This is a kid that could either see his draft stock raise a round or two or drop drastically depending on how he does during the Senior Bowl and the Combine. He's definitely a hard hitter (film), but he's a bit of a project.
Gabe Wright, DT, Auburn. Gabe Wright is another "undersized" defensive tackle prospect in this year's draft. Scouts think he could play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3, although he's been an inconsistent player at times in his career. Wright currently projects as a 2nd or 3rd round pick, and has the raw athletic ability to hold his own in a rotation at the next level. It's tough to find any decent film on Wright, but here are some highlights from his days in high school (film).
There's the player list, now let's enjoy the practices and the game! I'll be watching. Join me? It's better than the Pro Bowl anyway!
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