Draft Fever’s Big Board

Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina 6’5″ 266
Jadeveon Clowney is the most physically gifted talent in the draft this year. He has the rare combination of size, strength and speed. He excels in pass rush and has a quick first step. He is a very rare pass rushing talent. Clowney did play a little inconsistently this year and wasn’t as productive in his junior year. There is a little concern how he will hold up against the run. The main question is if he will get the NFL paycheck and be happy or if he will push to be the best. Overall he is very talented, but will need to play with a high motor to be a franchise difference maker. Clowney is a true boom or bust candidate, but is the most talented player in this draft.
Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M 6’6″ 308
Jake Matthews in my opinion is one of the safest picks in the draft. He is excellent in pass protection and very good in run blocking. He plays with great technique and is a natural knee bender. When he gets his hands on you in the run game, he has the ability to move you where he wants you to go. Matthews won’t overpower you in the run game like Greg Robinson can, but Matthews is much more refined and pro-ready in pass protection. Matthews may not have the upside Robinson does, but he is the safer pick and will be a top left tackle in the league for years to come.
Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo 6’3″ 252
Mack plays with a high motor and is a premier pass rusher in this draft. He was able to dominate offensive tackles this year with his strength and speed. A question of competition shouldn’t be an issue either, Mack dominated against Ohio State. He consistently bull rushed their right tackle back into the quarterback. He needs to improve a little in coverage and working in space. He is scheme diverse and should be a great pass rusher for years to come in a 3-4 Defense or 4-3 Defense.
Sammy Watkins WR Clemson 6’1″ 211
Watkins is a special wide receiver who excels after the catch. He is good in just about every aspect of being a receiver and is relatable to 2011 draft picks, Julio Jones and AJ Green when they came out. After catching the ball, he hits top speed quick and is shifty. Possesses great hands and will go up and snag the football with ease. He was consistently very productive at Clemson from his freshman year on. Sammy Watkins is the top wide receiver in this draft and an instant difference maker.
Greg Robinson OT Auburn 6’5″ 332
Robinson has the most upside out of any offensive tackle this year. He is a premium road grader (dominant run blocker) who is able to overpower defensive lineman. Greg Robinson, however, is not a finished product. There are still questions about him in pass protection and whether he can develop to do that consistently. At Auburn he did not have to pass protect very often, but when he did he showed good feet and strength. He has the capabilities to be an all pro offensive tackle with his big body, good feet and strength.
Mike Evans WR Texas A&M 6’5″ 231
Mike Evans has some of the best hands in this year’s draft and is great at winning jump balls. A big wide receiver, Evans is very tough to take down in the open field and does have some good speed. A little bit of attention has been taken away due to Johnny “Football”, but Evans is a great football player in his own right. He is a little raw and will need to work on his routes, but has a very high ceiling and could be special at the next level. A player I’d compare him to is Alshon Jeffery.
C.J. Mosley ILB Alabama 6’2″ 234
Mosley is a very athletic linebacker that led the Crimson Tide defense this past year. He is an excellent tackler who has a nose for the football. He can take on blockers and is very good at finding the ball carrier. Mosley is a very smart player who has a high football IQ. Mosley is excellent at dropping back in coverage but does not have the best hands. Another knock on him is that he is also a little undersized. C.J. Mosley can step in and be an excellent tackler and playmaker for the team that picks him.
Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville 6’2″ 214
Teddy Bridgewater is my top quarterback in this class. Out of all the quarterbacks in this draft he is the most pro ready. He has great mechanics and is able to read defenses. Has good accuracy and makes good decisions in the pocket. Bridgewater has excellent pocket awareness and throws on the run very well. Does not possess great arm strength but has enough to be very good. He may not have the biggest frame, but has shown good toughness. Overall he is a quarterback who has good accuracy on his throws, can read the defenses, and make good decisions. He’s worthy of a top ten pick.
Eric Ebron TE North Carolina 6’4″ 250
Eric Ebron is a very talented tight end. He is explosive with the ball and stood out at the NFL combine when he ran a 4.6. Very easily the best tight end in this draft with his great receiving ability. He gets knocked on a little bit because of his blocking, but I believe he is a very willing blocker. Ebron has been very productive at North Carolina, leading the team in receiving his final season. My main knock on him is he will make the outstanding catch, but sometimes has mental lapses and will have a few easy drops. He can come in and be a playmaker and reminds me of Vernon Davis.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S Alabama 6’1″ 208
Ha Ha can be a playmaking safety at the next level. He is a ball hawking safety that ended last year with 5 interceptions for the Crimson Tide. He is not only a ball hawk free safety, but he has plenty of ability to come down and make a tackle. Not a very physical safety like Calvin Pryor, but is a solid tackler. He has the ability to line up one on one with wide receivers and is very good in coverage. The team that gets Ha Ha will have a ball hawking, playmaking safety for many years
Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh 6’1″ 288
One of the most disruptive players in college football this year, Aaron Donald was an absolute stud on Pittsburgh’s defensive line. He racked up 28.5 tackles for loss along with 11 sacks on the year. He is best suited to come in as a three-technique in a 4-3 defense to provide pressure up the middle. Not only did his play on the field impress scouts, but also he aced the pre-draft process. He performed well at the Senior Bowl and the Combine where he recorded a 4.68 in the 40 yard dash. The one question that remains is how Aaron Donald will hold up against the run being a shade under 6’1 and only 288 lbs.
Zack Martin OT Notre Dame 6’4″ 308
Zack Martin is a premium road grader along the offensive line. He lined up at left tackle at Notre Dame and was an excellent run blocker. He has the strength and technique to move defensive lineman. He is also very good in pass protection and shows good technique. A concern I have is his shorter arms which could make it difficult to transition to left tackle at the next level competing against longer defenders. He could start his career at guard and be a very good one. Zack Martin will be a solid pro player whether that be at tackle or guard.
Taylor Lewan OT Michigan 6’7″ 309
Lewan is an Offensive Tackle who has the size and athleticism to start at the next level. He has a bit of a nasty streak and plays hard through the whistle. He is not fully polished though as he sometimes gets lazy with his technique and is occasionally beat. However, this is an offensive tackle with major upside when it comes too translating into a starting offensive tackle.
Anthony Barr OLB UCLA 6’5″ 255
Anthony Barr is a long, lean pass rusher, who has major upside at the next level. He was highly productive the past two seasons at UCLA despite facing double teams frequently this past year. Barr is extremely athletic and shows the ability to move laterally along with great speed. He is a little raw at the position as he switched from running back two years ago. Barr has a noes for the football though and flashes for big plays. At times he has struggled to hold up against the run and disengage off blockers. As a pro, he has the frame to put on weight and keep his athleticism. I see him as a 3-4 OLB who could develop into a very good pass rusher.
Kyle Fuller CB Virginia Tech 6’0″ 190
Kyle Fuller has good size and did a great job this season in blanketing top wide receivers. He shows really good feet and the ability to change direction quickly. Fuller has the ability to be physical also and is good in run support. He did have to end his season early due to hernia surgery in November, so he only had a half season of production. Fuller shows good speed on tape and is verified running a 4.49 at the NFL combine. There are not really many weaknesses to his game other than not being an elite athlete. I believe Kyle Fuller can come in right away and be a difference maker on defense.
Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma St. 6’0″ 202
Justin Gilbert is the most athletic cornerback in this year’s draft. He has the size, speed, and excellent foot speed to develop into a great NFL cornerback. He has added value to the return game, as he was a dangerous returner for the Cowboys. As a cornerback he shows good change of direction and great ball skills with his ability to quickly break on the ball. He has all the measurables, but at times he allowed his receiver to get too much separation in man coverage. He often showed good make up speed, but on tape allows the wide receiver to get separation. He can work through this at the next level and develop into a solid NFL cornerback.
Calvin Pryor S Louisville 5’11” 208
Pryor is a very physical safety who flies all over the field. Along with being really physical he has great ball skills and great hands. He at times over pursues and is caught out of position. Out of the top two safeties in this draft, he is the more physical and better tackler. However, he is not as good in coverage as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 6’0″ 207
The most polarizing and debated player this year is Johnny Manziel. He was a great playmaker in college and always seemed to find a way to make the big play. However, it is still a mystery if that will translate to the next level. He has a great pocket presence and is the best on the run. He has a good arm and shows very good accuracy. His feet and mechanics are not what you’d like. Manziel often times does not take the easy check down and often forces the big play. If he wants to be successful at the next level he will have to learn to take what the defense gives him. The biggest example of how Manziel could struggle at the next level was the game against LSU. They kept him in the pocket he got frustrated and started to force the ball instead of taking the check downs. His size is a question and the ability to escape NFL defensive lineman will be also. Overall there are a lot of questions how Manziel’s game will translate to the next level, but the upside is their where he could be a franchise quarterback. He is the ultimate boom or bust quarterback in this year’s draft.
Brandin Cooks WR Oregon St. 5’10” 189
Brandin Cooks is a small, speedy wide receiver, who knows how to get open. He shows great route running ability and is tough to cover with his 4.33 speed and quickness. Cooks shows elite open field running ability, similar to Tavon Austin last year. The one main question is his size, but shows great aggressiveness winning one on one battles when the ball is in the air. He reminds me a lot of Steve Smith and I believe will be a good wide receiver at the next level.
Odell Beckham WR LSU 5’11” 198
Odell Beckham is a very good route runner who had a breakout junior year with over 1,100 yards and 8 touchdowns. Beckham has some very good speed and quickness and is dangerous in the open field. He has good hands and is very good after the catch with his quickness. Along with being a receiver, he adds an extra dimension of being a returner and was very productive in that aspect of the game. He isn’t the strongest receiver and a concern is how he faces press coverage. Odell Beckham can come in right away and be a good complementary receiver and return man with the upside of an explosive number one wide receiver.
Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan St. 5’11” 199
Dennard is the most physical cornerback in this year’s draft. He excels in press and man coverage and constantly does not allow separation. Dennard is very solid coming up to the line of scrimmage in run support and is an excellent tackler. Has OK ball skills, but sometimes fails to turn his head around in coverage. Sometimes he tends to grab when the ball is in the air and had a few pass interferences during the year. Another concern is he shows only adequate speed and can sometimes let faster wide receivers run away from him. At the end of the day, the team that drafts him will get a physical cornerback who is best at press and man coverage.
Morgan Moses OT Virginia 6’6″ 314
Morgan Moses shows great moving ability with his size. He is very good in pass protection and uses his long arms well. He looks like a future starter on the left side with his size and athleticism. One of his best traits is handling speed rushers with a very quick kick slide. This is shown when facing speed rusher Jeremiah Attaochu from Georgia Tech, who is a projected 2nd-3rd round pick. Moses did a great job limiting Attaochu’s pass rushing ability. One area that Moses will need to improve in is his run blocking. He isn’t a premium road grader, but he can still do an effective job in run blocking.
Kony Ealy DE Missouri 6’4″ 273
Kony Ealy is an athletic defensive end with a lot of upside at the next level. He is strong, fast and quick and uses these tools to beat the offensive linemen in a variety of ways. Ealy is also good at setting the edge and holding up against the run. Even though Michael Sam got most of the publicity on the defensive front Kony Ealy is the better football player. Ealy has a nose for the football and the versatility to play in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. He can sometimes struggle in space and may struggle a little dropping. Whoever drafts Kony Ealy will get a guy with a lot of upside to develop into a good pass rushing defensive end.
Jason Verrett CB TCU 5’10” 189
Verrett is a good football player as a smaller cornerback out of TCU. He does just about everything well as a defensive back. Verrett has good feet and change of direction in coverage. Along with the change of direction he has good speed running a 4.38 in the forty. He can also come up and play press coverage as well as play the run. The two main concerns from Verrett is his size, a little under 5’10”, and his injury history. Even though the league is moving towards bigger, taller corners, Jason Verrett remains a solid cornerback worth a 1st round pick.
Marqise Lee WR USC 6’0″ 192
Marqise Lee is an excellent playmaking wide receiver who experienced a little bit of a down junior year. A few of these reasons include shaky quarterback play and also injuries throughout the year. However he continued to show glimpses of his playmaking ability similar to his sophomore year. Lee doesn’t have blazing speed running a 4.5 at the combine, but can create separation with his quickness. He has good hands, even though he has the occasional drop. Lee has great toughness and always shows great effort, but the question with Lee is if he’ll ever become elite or just a good compliment wide receiver. I believe he has the tools to step in right away and be productive.
Louis Nix DT Notre Dame 6’2″ 331
A true nose tackle that can move is hard to find in this draft. Louis Nix remains the top nose tackle in this draft for his ability to move and be disruptive. He had a little bit of a down junior year with injuries and ended up having to end his year with a torn meniscus. Nix, when healthy, was a disruptive NT, using a variety of moves to get to the quarterback or ball carrier. He is very quick given his size. If he plays a little more consistently and stays healthy, he can be a BJ Raji type of player in the middle.
Chris Borland ILB Wisconsin 5’11” 248
Chris Borland is a star inside linebacker who knows how to find the football. Borland does just about everything well and is outstanding at working through traffic and finding the ball carrier. He has the ability to be a good pass rusher too, working through the offensive line. An absolutely terrific tackler, Borland has great pop when he reaches the ball carrier and holds his ground. There is no questioning Chris Borland’s football ability, the questions come when you take a look at his measurables. He is short and not overly athletic. His short arms make you question whether he can take on blockers at the next level. However, I believe he is such a special football player that he will work through his physical limitations. Look for him to go in the second round, but at the end of the day I think he is definitely worth a first round pick.
Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio St. 6’1″ 237
Ryan Shazier is the most athletic linebacker in this year’s draft based on his ridiculous numbers posted at his pro day and the combine, including a 4.38 forty and a 42 inch vertical. He is an explosive athlete who combines that with great instincts. He was highly productive with the Buckeyes posting high tackle numbers. Not only can he find the ball carrier, but he also has a little bit of pass rush ability. Shazier is a little undersized and sometimes struggles taking on blockers. At times he can over pursue the play, but remains a great run and chase linebacker. His best position is lining up as a 4-3 weakside linebacker, and allow him to use his athleticism to get to the ball.
Dee Ford OLB Auburn 6’2″ 252
Dee Ford was a highly disruptive pass rusher this year for Auburn registering 10.5 sacks. He shows great ability to bend the edge and uses his great speed and strength to get to the quarterback. Dee Ford has great strength shown with his 29 reps on the bench press to go along with his 4.5 speed. The main question that remains with Dee Ford is how he will hold up against the run. Right now I believe he is best as a 3-4 outside linebacker and will need to develop his ability to play the run to be an every down player.
Blake Bortles QB Central Florida 6’5″ 232
Where I rank Blake Bortles will probably be one of my most criticized rankings. I believe that Bortles has the tools to be a good NFL starting quarterback, however he is still a developing final product. He has a good arm and decent mobility to move within the pocket. When he has to make the NFL throw, he has the ability to drive it down the field. He also, however, has some major questions to his game. Blake Bortles is not always the most accurate quarterback when throwing the ball down the field, and decision making at times can be questionable.  When he has a clean pocket he is great, however if you get pressure right in his face the interceptions start to come and he starts forcing the ball. When throwing the deep ball, at times it seems to float and gives the safety time to get over to it.  So in conclusion, I see a big quarterback with a good not great arm, has questionable decision making at times, decent accuracy, and can struggle with pressure to his face. I would not use a top ten pick on this guy because of the amount of questions I have on him and do not believe he is able to step in right away and play. With a few years working with an NFL coaching staff he could potentially be that Ben Roethlisberger type quarterback, however there is a chance he comes in and is Blaine Gabbert.
Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU 6’3″ 244
Van Noy is a very instinctive player who was a major playmaker at BYU over his career. Van Noy shows good speed and quickness to get past blocks and to the ball carrier. Much like Anthony Barr, he has a nose for the football and creates a lot of turnovers shown by his 7 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles over his career. Van Noy has good pass rush ability and will be scheme diverse at the next level. He is not overly fast or strong, but will be a good football player at the next level.
Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama 6’7″ 322
Cyrus Kouandjio is a very talented and gifted offensive tackle. He came to Alabama as a very heavily recruited offensive tackle and overall had a good career for the Crimson Tide at the left tackle position. Kouandjio is a very strong and big tackle, who does a good job in run blocking with a powerful punch. He is also very quick off the snap and does a good job in getting in front of his opponents with his hands on them. In pass protection he is still a little raw and sometime struggles to get out quick enough against faster defensive lineman as seen in the game against Oklahoma. Kouandjio has some injury concerns with his knees and whether that checks out with the NFL teams. Cyrus Kouandjio is a guy I believe you can start off on the right side and will eventually develop into a good left tackle.

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