Pre-Combine Rankings and Mock Draft

nfl draft fever

The Combine starts this Friday which means the NFL Draft is creeping up. Below are links to Draft Fever’s Big Board (Top 50), positional rankings and mock draft. There is still alot more tape study and combine/pro day numbers to consider, but here is the initial list:

Mock Draft

Big Board

Positional Rankings

Senior Bowl Practice Review-Offense

Ladd Peebles Stadium

QB

Garrett Grayson and Bryce Petty looked like the top of this Senior Bowl quarterback class. Grayson showed good accuracy and showed the ability to put good zip on the ball between defenders. At times he does force the ball and doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he does show good accuracy to be a NFL quarterback. Bryce Petty looks like a bit of a project with a good arm and accuracy.Garrett Grayson SR Bowl

On the negative side Blake Sims looks more like a running back than a quarterback. He measured this week at 5’11” which makes it very difficult for a quarterback. Along with being shorter, he also doesn’t show consistent accuracy or a strong arm. Where Blake Sims does excel is in avoiding defenders and has a presence in the pocket. The quickness and shiftiness he shows in the pocket makes me believe that he can possibly be a NFL running back.Blake Sims SR Bowl

Overall this Senior Bowl Quarterback class was very underwhelming. It will be tough this year for a team in need of a quarterback as the overall quarterbacks in this draft is very weak.

RB

David Cobb from Minnesota stuck out as a standout player for me this week. He showed that he is an all-around back with the ability to receive out of the backfield and is very good in pass protection. Cobb is a bigger back at 5’11” 229 LBs, but shows quick, decisive running at that size.

David Cobb SR Bowl

Ameer Abdullah is a tough runner, but did measure small at 5’8”198 Lbs. He struggled in pass protection due to being overpowered at his size. However as a pure runner and pass catcher out of the backfield, he was very impressive.

David Johnson from Northern Iowa proved to be a very good receiver. He is a bigger running back at 6’1” 224 LBs and is a very tough runner. He has a little bit of a lack of shiftiness, but he can be a great complimentary back as a good receiver and tough runner out of the backfield.

WR

The wide receivers in this Senior Bowl class were solid during the week. There were a handful of standouts during the week and a few disappointing performances.

Sammie Coates to me looked like the top wide receiver in Mobile. He ran a little upright, but showed very good strong hands. Where he succeeded this week was his speed to burn cornerbacks and going up to get the ball in the red zone drill. The Auburn grad was very energetic and fun on the practice field, one time yelling out, “I’m gonna make that money!”Sammie Coates

Jamison Crowder from Duke was a surprise performer this week. He reminded me a little bit of Brandin Cooks with his quickness and natural hands. One negative is that Crowder at times struggled to get separation, however with his natural hands and quickness he was one of the top performers.Jamison Crowder

Phillip Dorsett looked like the fastest guy on the field and I would not be surprised to see this validated at the Combine. The Miami standout was a constant burner against the cornerbacks this week. He also showed good route running ability and natural hands. He only had 36 catches on the year and looks to be a great deep threat at the next level.

Phillip Dorsett SR Bowl

Tyler Lockett from Kansas State was one of my favorite players this week. Waiting for South team practice on Thursday, he was the first non-special teams player out of the locker room. Along with being first on the field he was also one of the last to leave signing autographs for kids and answering all the media’s questions. Lockett is just a guy that gets it also, he said in the media interview of him that he was willing to play punt return, kick return, gunner, and whatever a team wants him to play. He compared himself to Andrew Hawkins as a small guy who can be productive. Lockett is a high character guy, but he also showed natural hands and was a great route runner. At 5’10” 181 LBs, Lockett looks like he can be a very productive slot receiver. He is definitely a guy you root for at the next level.Tyler Lockett SR Bowl

Dezmin Lewis from Central Arkansas solidified himself as a mid to late round pick this week. Lewis displayed excellent hands and used his size well. At 6’4” 215 LBs Lewis has a huge catching radius, the one question when it comes to him is his speed.Dezmin Lewis SR Bowl

I was disappointed with Ty Montgomery this week. The Stanford Cardinal was more of an athlete than a wide receiver as he struggled creating separation and catching the football. He fought the ball during practice and did not have natural hands. He is fast and quick and I believe will excel as a punt/kick returner.

Rannell Hall from Central Florida is a player who I did not know a ton about coming in. Hall however showed very good body control and consistently made tough catches. He was able to get pretty good separation during the week and looks like a very good late round prospect. I will need to go back and look at some of his tape to further my evaluation of him.

TE

Clive Walford was one of the better players at this year Senior Bowl and the top tight end. Walford was quick in his breaks and was able to get great separation in coverage. He also showed very good hands and great body control going for the ball. The Miami tight end did go to the ground a few times too easily, but was a definite standout this week.Clive Walford SR Bowl

Nick Boyle from Delaware proved to be a really good blocker this week. He was a big body tight end who also proved to be a reliable receiver. Boyle looks like a good mid to late round pick as a tight end with good size at 6’5” 267 LBs.

OL

La’el Collins looked to be the top Offensive lineman of the week. He showed a great tenacity when it came to run blocking and finishing his blocks. He looked pretty good in pass protection with decent feet. He reminds me a lot of Zach Martin of last year as a premium road grader. The decision for this offensive lineman will be whether to keep him at offensive tackle or kick him inside to offensive guard.Lael Collins

T.J. Clemmings an Offensive tackle from Pittsburgh had a lot of buzz going into the Senior Bowl week. It was almost unfair expectations for a guy who has only played offensive lineman for 2 years. Clemmings struggled in pass protection drills and looked like a project at offensive tackle. He has all the traits you look for, but it is a very raw prospect. Where Clemmings excels is run blocking, he is able to control defenderson the ground game. Even being a project at offensive tackle, he could still be a first round pick.

Rob Havenstein was a really good surprise this week. The Wisconsin Badger product is a massive tackle at 6’7” 332 LBs who looks to have a good career at the next level. He has good feet in pass protection and performed well against defensive ends during practice. Havenstein projects at the next level as a starting right tackle.Rob Havenstein SR Bowl

Ali Marpet was a mystery prospect this week from small school Division III Hobart College. Marpet showed really good movement skills at guard this week and proved to be draftable. One thing he needs to improve on is his ability to anchor against bigger defensive lineman. Overall though Marpet was a pleasant surprise at the Senior Bowl week.

Jamil Douglas played offensive tackle for Arizona State during the season, but was moved into guard for Senior Bowl week. He was very impressive in the pass protection drills with the ability to anchor against interior lineman. Douglas was solid all week and I believe was one of the top interior lineman during the week.

Trenton Brown is a giant at 6’9” 376 LBs. The Florida Offensive tackle showed surprisingly good feet for his size. During one on one drills, he was very tough to get around with his size and arm length.  Brown is a guy I need to reevaluate on tape as I look more into how well he moves in games.

K

Tom Obarski from Concordia-St. Paul surprised many with his power and accuracy this week. In special team drills he consistently hit 50 yard field goals with plenty of room to spare.Tom Obarski SR Bowl

Justin Manton from Louisiana-Monroe also looked good this week. He had plenty of accuracy and really excelled at kickoffs.

Draft Fever Update

The Deadline to declare for the draft is today, January 15th. You can look at the final underclassmen list up top on the NFL Underclassmen Tab. After this deadline make sure to keep an eye out for the Draft Fever Big Board, Mock Draft, and Positional Rankings. You can follow me on twitter for more details @nfldraftfever. I’m hard at work finalizing these lists.

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Thanks!

College Football Playoff Race

We are down to the last week in the College Football Playoff. The debate is heating up and there are six teams that will have their playoff chances decided this weekend. Here is a look at what I believe each of these 6 teams need to do in order to lock up a playoff spot:

TOP 4

1. Alabama (11-1)Alabama Crimson Tide

Their Resume: Alabama has been very impressive since their one loss at Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide has three wins against top 25 teams after a rivalry win against Auburn. A win this weekend will give them everything you look for. Quality wins, only one quality loss and a conference championship in the toughest conference in the nation. They also pass the eye test with a great stretch of games against LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn.

What they need to do to make the playoffs: A win against Missouri on Saturday will not only clinch a playoff spot, but more than likely the number one seed in the playoffs. A loss in the SEC Championship would diminish their chances, but not totally put them out. They would need some help most likely two out of these top six teams to lose.

.What they have left: SEC Championship Vs. Missouri

Oregon Ducks

2. Oregon (11-1)

Their Resume: They have three top 25 wins and a very good non conference victory against Michigan State. Oregon hasn’t even had a close game since their loss against Arizona beating teams by an average of 24 points. The Oregon Ducks will have a shot at the conference championship against Arizona which will just add to their impressive resume.

What they need to do to make the playoffs: Friday is a must win for Oregon against Arizona that will be for the conference championship. If they lose I do not see them getting a shot at the playoffs. With a win I believe they will be right there in the second seed for the playoffs.

What they have left: Pac-12 Championship Vs. Arizona

Florida State

3. Florida St. (12-0)

Their Resume: They’re still undefeated. Florida State continues to find ways to win close games against average teams. They do not have a signature victory as they’ve only beaten the number 19th and 21st ranked team. Notre Dame looked like a signature win, but they have been exposed as an average 7-5 team. They really haven’t passed the eye test, but you have to give them credit for going undefeated. They will have another chance to add to their resume against their toughest opponent yet with Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship.

What they need to do to make the playoffs: They need a win and they’re in. Going undefeated and winning the ACC Championship will be plenty for getting a bid to the College Playoff. With a loss I believe Florida State is done and do not have a chance at the playoffs. In case of a loss, Florida State would not have a signature win on their schedule.

What they have left: ACC Championship Vs. Georgia Tech

tcu logo4. TCU (10-1)

Their Resume: TCU had a big statement blowout against Texas on Thanksgiving day. They have looked good all season and pass the eye test. TCU also has two top 25 wins on their resume with a very impressive blowout of Kansas State. Their one downfall is losing a close game at Waco against Baylor. Baylor is also fighting for a playoff position, but I believe TCU right now has looked better and has a better resume with their non conference victory against Minnesota. A win this weekend will also give them a share of the Big 12 championship.

What they need to do to make the playoffs: The four spot in the playoffs is where things get interesting. TCU has one more chance to be impressive to look good for the playoff committee against Iowa State. I believe they will need to beat them soundly to stay in the top four with Ohio State and Baylor on their heels. If Baylor looks good this weekend it could lead the committee to look at Baylor and TCU as a tie, which I believe Baylor would get the nod due to head to head.

What they have left: Vs. Iowa State

First 2 Out

Baylor Logo5. Baylor (10-1)

Their Resume: Baylor has impressive victories against Oklahoma and TCU, with a chance for a third against Kansas State this weekend. They have one bad loss against West Virginia by fourteen points that I believe holds them back. They also only won by two points against Texas Tech this past weekend. Their non conference also includes SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo. I believe right now TCU has the advantage over Baylor in the eye test and a better resume. That could change this weekend as a win will most likely give them a share of the Big 12 championship with TCU.

What they need to do to make the playoffs: Baylor needs a win and to look good doing it against Kansas State. TCU has looked better than them and they do not have the resume that TCU does. A convincing victory over Kansas State could change that. I believe if it is neck and neck between TCU and Baylor then the victory over TCU gets them into the playoff. 

What they have left: Vs. Kansas State

ohio state6. Ohio State (11-1)

Their Resume: Ohio State will have a chance to add to their resume with the Big Ten championship this weekend against Wisconsin. However, they do lack quality wins as the only top 25 victory they have is against Michigan State. They also have a bad loss against Virginia Tech. They have looked good since that loss, but do not have the quality wins to jump Baylor or TCU. Another wrinkle to their resume is that JT Barrett looks to be done for the year and they will have to rely on Cardale Jones. The playoff committee does consider injuries, so I do not believe they will put an Ohio State team without their starting quarterback over Baylor or TCU.

What they need to do to make the playoffs: They need to win against Wisconsin and do it convincingly. Cardale Jones must look good in order to pass the eye test in front of the committee. I do not believe they have the resume to pass TCU or Baylor. More than likely I believe they are going to have to rely on a few losses in front of them to make the playoffs. I think they are a distant third behind TCU and Baylor for that fourth spot after the JT Barrett injury.

What they have left: Big Ten Championship Vs. Wisconsin

Senior Bowl Accepted Invites

Senior Bowl

Every year the premier senior talent meets in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. The invites are flying out right now as the top seniors around are accepting the trip. So far there have been 41 accepted invites to the 2015 game. Here are the projection for the teams of each accepted Senior Bowl invite:

North

OFFENSEshane carden
QB
Shane Carden, East Carolina
RB
David Johnson, Northern Iowa
Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
WR
Dres Anderson, Utah
Vince Mayle, Washington State
Justin Hardy, East Carolina
TE
Nick Boyle, Delaware
E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State
OT
T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh

DEFENSEBud Dupree
DE
Nate Orchard, Utah
Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky
Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville
DT
Louis Trinca-Pasat, Iowa
Carl Davis, Iowa
OLB
Mike Hull, Penn State
CB
Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
Eric Rowe, Utah
Quinten Rollins, Miami (Ohio)
S
Adrian Amos, Penn State
Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
LS
Joe Cardona, Navy

South

OFFENSETy-Montgomery
WR
Jamison Crowder, Duke
Ty Montgomery, Stanford
OT
Jake Fisher, Oregon
OG
Robert Myers, Tennessee State
Laken Tomlinson, Duke
C
Reese Dismukes, Auburn
Hroniss Grasu, Oregon

DEFENSE
DE
Geneo Grissom, Oklahoma
Trey Flowers, Arkansas
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA
Preston Smith, Mississippi State
DT
Grady Jarrett, Clemson
Joey Mbu, Houston
Gabe Wright, Auburn
ILB
Stephone Anthony, Clemson
CB
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregonifo
D’Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic
Senquez Golson, Ole Miss
S
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
Jaquiski Tartt, Samford

You can follow up to date Senior Bowl Accepted Invites at
seniorbowl.com/accepted-invites.php

College Football Playoff Race

The College Football Playoff Debate is heating up. With only three weeks to go in the season, the playoffs should include four of these seven contenders. Here are my current rankings of the top 7 contenders:

TOP 4

1. Alabama (9-1)Alabama Crimson Tide

What they have going for them: Alabama has looked like the best team recently with a 59-0 win against A&M, a win at LSU and against Mississippi State. Their one loss was a close game in Oxford against the 8th ranked Ole Miss Rebels. Based on the eye test, leading the SEC and a big win against Mississippi State makes Alabama the top team.

What they have against them: Alabama currently only has one top 25 victory. This past weekend wasn’t a great weekend for Alabama past opponents. LSU lost to Arkansas and Texas A&M lost to Missouri. However, if they win out they will have wins against Auburn and the SEC East which should give them the Resume they need to be the number one team

What they have left: Vs. Western Carolina, Vs. Auburn, SEC Championship

Oregon Ducks

2. Oregon (9-1)

What they have going for them: They have three top 25 wins and probably one of the most impressive resumes around. Currently Oregon has taken down the teams ranked 10th, 11th and 20th. Their only loss was a close one against 15th ranked Arizona. Oregon has also been playing extremely well since the October 2nd loss with an average victory of 21.6 points.

What they have against them: Oregon really doesn’t have a signature win. They have a lot of good wins, but the lack of a signature win separates Alabama from Oregon. The SEC in my opinion has been a better conference this year then the Pac 12 also.

What they have left: Vs. Colorado, At Oregon State, Pac-12 Championship

Florida State

3. Florida St. (10-0)

What they have going for them: They’re undefeated. Florida State has found a way to win every game they have been in. They have played some decent teams with wins against Notre Dame, Clemson, Louisville and Miami. It looks like they will run away with the ACC Championship.

What they have against them: They do not have a win over a top 25 team. The non-conference win against Oklahoma State looks even worse now that they are 5-5. With this soft schedule, they haven’t looked impressive in their victories. If it was only about going undefeated Marshall would be a top 4 team. Florida State is in the top four because they are undefeated, but one loss I believe would eliminate them from playoff contention.

What they have left: Vs. Boston College, Vs. Florida, ACC Championship

tcu logo4. TCU (9-1)

What they have going for them: TCU has an impressive resume this season. So far they have two wins against top 25 teams Kansas State and Oklahoma. Their one loss was a close one against Baylor in Waco. If they win out it looks like they will be Co-Champions of the Big 12.

What they have against them: They stay in the top four, despite their struggle to beat a bad Kansas team. Even though they still won, it does keep the distance between them and Mississippi State much smaller. If they do end up Co-Champions with Baylor the committee will most likely look at Baylor as the champions.

What they have left: At Texas, Vs. Iowa State

Next 3

Mississippi state5. Mississippi State (9-1)

What they have going for them: They are a one loss SEC West team whose only loss was to a very good Alabama team. They have a quality win over Auburn and could get another quality win in the Egg Bowl over Ole Miss. Mississippi State passes the eye test too with Dak Prescott and a very good defense.

What they have against them: Just like Alabama they currently have only one win against a top 25 opponent. However, they are not in position to play in the SEC championship. With one of the criteria the committee looks at being conference champions, it could leave Mississippi State out of the top four teams. Right now they are on the fringe with their resume, but there is a possibility they get pushed out by a conference champion.

What they have left: Vs. Vanderbilt, At Ole Miss

Baylor Logo6. Baylor (8-1)

What they have going for them: Baylor has two impressive victories against Oklahoma and TCU. The win against TCU means if they win out they will be looked at by the committee as the Big 12 champions. Other than their one loss Baylor has looked pretty impressive winning at an average of 34.5 points per game. Baylor still has Kansas State left which would give them another impressive victory.

What they have against them: They have one bad loss to West Virginia where they were beaten by 14 points. Baylor also has had a very soft non-conference schedule playing SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo. The main thing that will hold them back is a combination of the weak schedule and loss to West Virginia.

What they have left: Vs. Oklahoma State, At Texas Tech, Vs. Kansas State

ohio state7. Ohio State (9-1)

What they have going for them: Ohio State has played much better since the loss to Virginia Tech. JT Barrett has improved throughout the season which has led to their 8 game winning streak. They also have a solid win at East Lansing over Michigan State. Right now it looks like they are in line to be in the Big Ten championship against Wisconsin.

What they have against them: An early loss against a bad Virginia Tech (5-5) team at home is their killer. They also only have the one signature win against Michigan State on their resume and  The Big 10 is not as strong as the other major conferences so their soft schedule plays against them. They will need to have an impressive finish to the season to be in that final four.

What they have left: Vs. Indiana, Vs. Michigan, Big Ten Championship

NFL Draft Fever Big Board

It is getting close to that time of the year again. Here is a quick look at the initial Draft Fever Big Board:

Leonard Williams

  1. Leonard Williams, DT, USC

Williams is an extremely disruptive player on the defensive line with 54 tackles and 4.5 sacks already this year. He does a great job disengaging blockers and finding the ball carrier. At 6’5 and 300 LBS he has the athleticism to be scheme diverse at the next level as a 3-4 DE or a 4-3 DT.

marcus mariota

  1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Has all the tools to be an NFL QB along with his blazing speed. Has a lot stronger arm than people give him credit for. Mariota shows very good poise in the pocket and is a very accurate passer. The question remains how he will adjust to the NFL game coming out of the Oregon offense.

Randy Gregory

  1. Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska

The best edge rusher in this draft. Shows a great get off and has the knack of getting to the quarterback. He missed the first few games with a knee injury, but has bounced back well. He is scheme diverse at 6’6’ 245 as a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 DE.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Alabama

  1. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Cooper has everything you want when it comes to a wide receiver. He has great hands and is a great route runner. In Lane Kiffin’s offense he has really shown to be excellent in the open field. He doesn’t have that elite size, but he is an all-around elite wide receiver. Look for Cooper to run a blazing 40 yard dash and be a top ten pick in this year’s draft.

Jameis WInston

  1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

Winston will be one of the most controversial prospects in the draft. On the field though he has all the tools to be an NFL Quarterback. He has great size, accuracy and arm strength. He has poise in the pocket and unbelievable anticipation throwing the ball on time. He does sometimes get in trouble trusting his arm too much and forcing the ball. There are also the off the field questions where his maturity is an issue. It should be interesting where he ends up in May.

Cedric Ogbuehi

  1. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

It looks like Cedric Ogbuehi is the next Offensive tackle from Texas A&M to be drafted in the first round. Ogbuehi has great feet and is very good in pass protection. He will need to get a little better on the ground game, as sometimes he lacks power at the point of attack. Ogbuehi has struggled a little bit in the past few SEC games, but I think it is too early to drop him as he has all the raw tools to be a starting offensive tackle in the NFL. He has recently been moved back to Right Tackle.

Todd Gurley

  1. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Gurley is one of the most talented running backs to come out in recent memory. He has the size, speed and playmaking ability to make people miss. He is not only a threat on offense, but in the kick return game as well. Don’t expect the suspension to take a hit to his draft stock. Look for Gurley to be a first round impact running back.

Landon Collins

  1. Landon Collins

He is the complete package at the safety position. Landon Collins comes up and plays the run just as good as any safety in the country. He is a viscous tackler and attacks with speed downfield. In coverage he is a ball hawk with playmaking ability. Look for him to be the first safety drafted this year.

Shane Ray

  1. Shane Ray, OLB, Missouri

He is a freak athlete with great speed and quickness. Ray is a high motor player who has great quickness to get around offensive tackles. Shane Ray is an impact player who currently has 12 sacks on the year. He sometimes struggles to disengage off of blockers and gets moved in the run game. Overall he can be a great pass rusher as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Brandon Scherff

10. Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

Brandon Scherff reminds me a lot of current Dallas Cowboy Zach Martin from last year. He isn’t as good in pass protection as Martin, but he is an excellent run blocker. Scherff does an excellent job reaching the second level and has an extremely violent punch. He needs to improve in pass protection and more specifically the ability to anchor. This goes along with his lack of balance, but he is the best run blocker in this year’s draft. He could start off his NFL career at guard before moving to tackle.