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Top 5 Draft Prospects by Position 2.0

Top 5 Draft Prospects by Position 2.0
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Quarterback

Headley

  1. Jameis Winston, Florida State
  2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
  3. Garret Grayson, Colorado State
  4. Bryce Petty, Baylor
  5. Sean Mannion, Oregon State

Nothing from the combine changed my opinion as to who is the best QB of the 2015 class. With the first pick in the 2015 draft the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select…Jameis Winston.

Juice

  1. Jameis Winston, Florida State
  2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
  3. Garret Grayson, Colorado State
  4. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
  5. Rakeem Cato, Marshall

Nothing to see here…moving on.

Running back

Headley

  1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
  2. Todd Gurley, Georgia
  3. Jay Ajayi, Boise State
  4. Duke Johnson, Miami (FL)
  5. Jeremy Langford, Michigan State

My top two backs remain the same as both Gordon and Gurley deserve a first round selection. However, Gurley will need to pass all medical tests first in order to solidify his first round status. Jay Ajayi and Jeremy Langford both moved up my board due to the fact that both backs possess a three-down back skill-set. If Duke Johnson can avoid injuries in the pros and find the right system for his running style he will be special.

Juice

  1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
  2. Todd Gurley, Georgia
  3. Tevin Coleman, Indiana
  4. Duke Johnson, Miami (FL)
  5. Jeremy Langford, Michigan State

1 thru 4 remain static and Jeremy Langford replaces Ameer Abdullah at #5. Still a fan of Abdullah’s but his 4.60 40-yard-dash at less than 210 lbs. and further evaluation of his film suggests his ceiling may be that of a situational player. He’ll be dynamic in the passing game and a good change of pace back but he’s not an every down option. I simply don’t see a lot of yardage after contact and his pass blocking will be called into question having not played in a pro-style system. As I wrote here I thought Langford could be a steal if he fell to Day 3. His 4.42 40-yard-dash is sure to have him moving up everyone’s draft board. That impressive forty time was a bit of a surprise but when you re-visit the tape he turns the corner on defenders with ease. He is a patient runner that throttles up-and-down effortlessly and has performed at a high level out of the “I” (a lost art). David Johnson of Northern Iowa really opened up my eyes as well during the combine.

Wide Receiver

Headley

  1. Amari Cooper, Alabama
  2. Kevin White, West Virginia
  3. DaVante Parker, Louisville
  4. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
  5. Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri

The top three receivers are all worthy of a top 15 selection. Not much separates them as they will all be great players. Amari Cooper makes it look easy and effortless on tape as he is the safest of the bunch. Kevin White who I raved about in 1.0 has the highest ceiling and solidified a top ten pick running a 4.35 fourty at the combine. DaVante Parker has a chance to be better than both with his physicality and body control in the air to snag passes at its highest point. But the receiver who opened my eyes the most over the last couple of weeks is Jaelen Strong out of Arizona State. Looking back at the tape Strong surely should be mentioned with the top 3 receivers in his class. He possess a lot of the same attributes as Parker and he plays physical, high points the ball in the air, and has great body control, often catching many back shoulder fades. Strong will make an immediate impact in the league and should warrant a first-round selection.

Juice

  1. Amari Cooper, Alabama
  2. DaVante Parker, Louisville
  3. Kevin White, West Virginia
  4. Rashad Greene, Florida State
  5. Phillip Dorsett, Miami (FL)

Kevin White is a specimen and I think the Raiders will make him the first receiver selected come April, if they don’t take one of the top pass rushers. However, my Top 5 remains unchanged, Cooper reaffirmed what I saw on tape and Parker is without question the best red-zone threat among this group. Very little separates the upper-echelon receivers in this draft. Jaelen Strong impressed but was unable to unseat either Green nor Dorsett. The former St. Thomas Aquinas standouts shined in Indy as well.

Tight End

Headley

  1. Clive Walford, Miami (FL)
  2. Devin Funchess, Michigan
  3. Maxx Williams, Minnesota
  4. Jesse James, Penn State
  5. Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State

My top three remains the same as I believe Walford, Funchess, and Williams are the three best tight ends of this class. Walford and Williams are both dual threat tight ends with the ability to play in-line and split out wide. Funchess hurt himself working out with the receivers and running a 4.70 fourty at the combine but when a team drafts him and convinces him that he will be a good tight end in this league Funchess will be just fine. Penn State TE Jesse James moved up my board with a good showing at the combine but what I am most impressed with is his size, 6’7 261 and the ability he has in the red-zone.

Juice

  1. Clive Walford, Miami (FL)
  2. Maxx Williams, Minnesota
  3. MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois
  4. Devin Funchess, Michigan
  5. Gerald Christian, Louisville

No movement at 1, 2, and 5. Funchess didn’t do himself any favors at the Combine and slides from 3 to 4. Nick O’Leary’s 4.93 40-yard-dash and below average run-blocking is why he falls out of the Top 5. MyCole Pruitt a relative unknown put on a show and demonstrated impressive speed despite weighing in north of 250 lbs. His film screams move tight end (81/861/13) and his hands are on par with Clive Walford’s. He truly is a wide receiver trapped in a tight end’s body and could be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. However, he still has a long way to go from a run-blocking standpoint.

Offensive Tackle

Headley

  1. La’el Collins, LSU
  2. D.J. Humphries, Florida
  3. Ereck Flowers, Miami (FL)
  4. T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh
  5. Jake Fisher, Oregon

The tackle position still doesn’t have your Top 5 pick stud and is still up in the air. Collins remained at number one on my list due to the fact he is who I thought he was, big body masher who plays with a mean streak and makes it a point to intimidate opponents. With the weight concerns out of the way Humphries projects as the tackle with the highest ceiling and could of easily ended up number 1 on my list. Check out the tape against Shane Ray, he held his own against one of the top pass rushers, if not the best, in this year’s draft. Another lineman moving up my board is Jake Fisher from Oregon. Fisher can start right away in a zone blocking scheme at right tackle. He is a former tight end who is quick and can move his feet effortlessly.

Juice

  1. Ereck Flowers, Miami (FL)
  2. La’el Collins, LSU
  3. Andrus Peat, Stanford
  4. Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
  5. D.J. Humphries, Florida

In version 1.0 I stated that this was a fluid Top 5. Lot’s of movement 3 thru 5 but I am sold on Ereck Flowers at #1. T.J. Clemmings formerly ranked at #3 is no longer in the Top 5 as I have re-assigned him to the Interior Offensive Lineman list. Clemmings only played offense for two years in college and while he is talented, he simply has a lot of technical work to do. He is routinely off-balance in pass protection and can get a little to high when coming out of his stance. Despite his lack of polish he was still effective against collegiate competition. However, the NFL is a different animal and in my estimation he is more suited for guard at this point. D.J. Humphries enters the fray at #5 primarily because he has managed to get to a playing size that will allow him to hold up in the NFL. Humphries has battled keeping his weight up (245 lbs. as a Freshman) and injuries during his 3-year stint with the Gators but he has the length, footwork and athleticism that NFL teams covet on the blindside.

Interior Offensive Lineman

Headley

  1. Brandon Scherff, Iowa
  2. Laken Tomlinson, Duke
  3. Cameron Erving, Florida State
  4. A.J. Cann, South Carolina
  5. Tre Jackson, Florida State

Not much movement here as Scherff is the best interior lineman in this class. Tomlinson, a four year starter at Duke will bring stability to any offensive line early in his career, very smart instinctive blocker who can start from day 1. Erving showed his versatility at Florida State moving from left tackle to center in the middle of the season. What was even more impressive was that he made the move without a hitch as he seemed to have been playing center all his life.

Juice

  1. Brandon Scherff, Iowa
  2. Cameron Erving, Florida State
  3. A.J. Cann, South Carolina
  4. Laken Tomlinson, Duke
  5. T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh

As I stated before T.J. Clemmings is now among the Top 5 Interior Offensive Lineman. He’s more likely to play right tackle in the pros but I think he could be an upper-echelon offensive guard in the NFL. Clemmings forces out Shaq Mason who excels in the run game and is terrific at engaging and blocking defenders at the second level. Unfortunately, Paul Johnson’s triple option at Georgia Tech involves a lot of cut-blocking and very little pass-blocking. Mason belongs at the next level but I don’t think he can start day 1, he will need more time to develop before becoming a dependable starter in the NFL.

Interior Defensive Lineman

Headley

  1. Leonard Williams, USC
  2. Danny Shelton, Washington
  3. Malcom Brown, Texas
  4. Eddie Goldman, Florida State
  5. Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma

Leonard Williams and Danny Shelton are no brainers as both possess attributes interior lineman struggle with, consistency and endurance. You rarely need to take them off the field as both can play in any formation or situation. Malcom Brown gets the nod at number 3 with his versatility to play in odd or even fronts. Very quick and instinctive player for his size with the ability to read and react to ball carriers.

Juice

  1. Leonard Williams, USC
  2. Danny Shelton, Washington
  3. Malcom Brown, Texas
  4. Eddie Goldman, Florida State
  5. Carl Davis, Iowa

Carl Davis post combine and additional film study has really made an impression on me, he may surpass Eddie Goldman when the evaluation process is done. Arik Armstead is ousted from the Top 5. Many evaluators are enthralled with Armestead’s tools and their is no denying there is a ton of potential there with his size, length and ability to push the pocket. However, he just doesn’t make enough plays in my opinion. His hand placement is decent and his initial push is strong but he has no secondary move to disengage and make the play. He is a true odd-man front, 5-technique and those players don’t grow on trees so he will be in obvious demand early. But, his tape suggests 2nd rounder to me. Substantial coaching and patience will be needed in order for him to be a consistent player rather than an athletic big man that flashes from time-to-time.

Edge Rusher

Headley

  1. Vic Beasley, Clemson
  2. Shane Ray, Missouri
  3. Dante Fowler, Florida
  4. Randy Gregory, Nebraska
  5. Bud Dupree, Kentucky

Vic Beasley is the big winner at the combine but it wasnt only his 4.5 fourty, his 35 reps, or his impressive lateral movements in the workouts, it was the weight at 246 lbs in which he did those feats. Only reason I had him at number 4 in my initial Top 5 list was because he was undersized in college and I wasn’t sure it would translate to the NFL. Beasley vaulted to number 1 on my list dropping Randy Gregory to number 4. Same questions I had about Beasley initially are the same questions I have about Gregory now. Can he hold up in the running game at the point of attack weighing only 235 lbs? Gregory is an excellent pass rusher but can he stay on the field when teams decide to pound the rock.

Juice

  1. Dante Fowler, Florida
  2. Vic Beasley, Clemson
  3. Shane Ray, Missouri
  4. Randy Gregory, Nebraska
  5. Bud Dupree, Kentucky

Vic Beasley is the big mover here and for good reason. You have to be careful putting too much stock into an outstanding Combine performance, but Beasley not only has the film to support his pass rushing prowess and the ability to set the edge but he managed to add the weight, without losing his explosiveness, in order to be an every down player in the NFL. I initially thought the edge rushing talent in this class was very good, but top heavy. However, now I feel like this is quite the class when it comes to edge rushers when you add: Preston Smith (Mississippi St.), Henry Anderson (Stanford), Owamagbe Odighizuwha (UCLA), Lorenzo Mauldin (Louisville) and Trey Flowers (Arkansas) to the mix.

Linebacker

Headley

  1. Eric Kendricks, UCLA
  2. Denzel Perryman, Miami (FL)
  3. Paul Dawson, TCU
  4. Stephone Anthony, Clemson
  5. Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State

What separates Kendricks and Perryman from the rest of the class in my opinion are their respective instincts, awareness, and playmaking skills. Kendricks moved way up my board to the number 1 linebacker in his class while Perryman remained at number 2. Both linebackers jump off the tape although they lack size, which I am not worried about too much. Paul Dawson had one of the worst combines which surprised me a bit. The tape shows Dawson using speed and elusiveness to attack ball carriers and quarterbacks but what he lacks is the speed to cover tight ends and backs out of the backfield. Dawson will surely drop out of the first round but has a chance to excel as a first and second down linebacker.

Juice

  1. Denzel Perryman, Miami (FL)
  2. Eric Kendricks, UCLA
  3. Stephone Anthony, Clemson
  4. Paul Dawson, TCU
  5. Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State

Lorenzo Mauldin never belonged in this group as he is more of an edge rusher type. In his stead, Benardrick McKinney moves into the 5th spot. McKinney has all the measurable attributes for the position but he doesn’t strike me as a particularly instinctive player when I watch his tape. However, strength, build and quickness suggests he may be able to provide an edge rush facet to his game that the other linebackers in this group simply do not have. Kendricks and Anthony move up as Dawson slides to #4. He looked dis-interested during the combine and performed poorly. His tape still remains absolutely breathtaking and that holds priority over any workout but his sterling Senior season accounts for most of his production during his collegiate career. No one on the list has a more impressive single season as Dawson, but his tape and production over the course of his career doesn’t compare to that of Perryman, Kendricks or Anthony.

Cornerback

Headley

  1. Trae Waynes, Michigan State
  2. Marcus Peters, Washington
  3. Jalen Collins, LSU
  4. Ronald Darby, Florida State
  5. Byron Jones, Connecticut

Marcus Peters combine and off field issues make him hard to place at the number one Cornerback in the class. His tape shows me someone with confidence, fluidity in his hips, and ball skills with playmaking ability. I go back and forth with him and Waynes. Waynes plays differently than Peters as he excels in man-to-man coverage with the ability to play bump and run coverage. He is more of an outside corner who lacks the hip movement and suddenness to bring him inside. Ronald Darby and Byron Jones excelled at the combine moving them up draft boards. Darby’s speed and quickness places him as one of the best slot corners in the draft. Jones showed out at the combine with his vertical and broad jump, add that to his natural instincts vaulting him up to number 5.

Juice

  1. Trae Waynes, Michigan State
  2. Marcus Peters, Washington
  3. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
  4. Jalen Collins, LSU
  5. Byron Jones, Connecticut

Byron Jones in, Kevin White out. Clearly Jones was a combine “winner” and White and combine “loser.” However, there isn’t much separating either corner in terms of the tape. That being said, I think Jones’ game will translate better to the NFL, considering he has the superior instincts in my estimation and more physical tools than White. White is a gamer but his ceiling may be that of a sub-package guy as opposed to an every down player. No movement 1 thru 3 other than the distance between Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters. Waynes’ blistering 4.31 40-yard-dash just may have made him a top 10 pick.

Safety

Headley

  1. Landon Collins, Alabama
  2. Shaq Thompson, Washington
  3. Gerod Holliman, Louisville
  4. Anthony Harris, Virginia
  5. Derron Smith, Fresno St.

Landon Collins is by far the best safety prospect in the draft. As for the others, is Shaq Thompson a saftey? Will Gerod Holliman show a willingness to tackle? Does Anthony Harris have the physicality to be a productive safety? Is Derron Smith’s technique an issue at the next level? Lots of question marks.

Juice

  1. Landon Collins, Alabama
  2. Derron Smith, Fresno State
  3. Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
  4. Damarious Randall, Arizona State
  5. Anthony Harris, Virginia

Damarious Randall replaces George Holliman at #4. Holliman doesn’t tackle and on the heels of a strong combine performance it prompted me to watch more of Randall’s tape. He possess cornerback skills with centerfield, deep safety awareness and instincts. That plays in the pass happy NFL.

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