In a Seinfeld episode titled “The Dinner Party”, Jerry sits in a bakery with a black and white cookie in his hands telling everyone, “Look to the cookie! Look to the cookie!” This year the cry in the scouting community will be “Look to the Buckeyes! Look to the Buckeyes!” as the next level talent on the Ohio State roster is immense, plentiful and leads the way in Big Ten.
|1st||Joey Bosa||Ohio State||DE||3Jr|
|1st||Eli Apple||Ohio State||CB||3So|
|1st||Taylor Decker||Ohio State||T||4Sr|
|1st||Jack Conklin||Michigan State||T||4Jr|
|1st||Darron Lee||Ohio State||OLB||4Jr|
|2nd||Connor Cook||Michigan State||QB||5Sr|
|2nd||Ezekiel Elliott||Ohio State||RB||3Jr|
|2nd||Christian Hackenberg||Penn State||QB||3Jr|
|2nd||Vonn Bell||Ohio State||S||3Jr|
|2nd||Cardale Jones||Ohio State||QB||4Jr|
|3rd||Shilique Calhoun||Michigan State||DE||5Sr|
|3rd||Adolphus Washington||Ohio State||DT||4Sr|
|3rd||Pat Elflein||Ohio State||G||4Jr|
|3rd||RJ Williamson||Michigan State||S||5Sr|
|3-4||Michael Thomas||Ohio State||WR||4Jr|
|4th||Anthony Zettel||Penn State||DT||5Sr|
|4th||Nick Vannett||Ohio State||TE||5Sr|
|4th||Joshua Perry||Ohio State||ILB||4Sr|
|4th||Jack Allen||Michigan State||C||5Sr|
|4-5||Joel Heath||Michigan State||DT||5Sr|
|5th||Billy Price||Ohio State||G||3So|
|6th||Ed Davis||Michigan State||OLB||5Sr|
|6th||Jordan Lucas||Penn State||CB||4Sr|
|6th||Kyle Carter||Penn State||TE||5Sr|
|6-7||Austin Johnson||Penn State||DT||4Jr|
|6-7||J.T. Barrett||Ohio State||QB||3So|
|7th||Akeel Lynch||Penn State||RB||4Jr|
|7th||Darien Harris||Michigan State||OLB||5Sr|
|7th||Braxton Miller||Ohio State||WR||5Sr|
|7th||Lawrence Thomas||Michigan State||DT||5Sr|
|FA||Jalin Marshall||Ohio State||WR||3So|
|FA||Darian Hicks||Michigan State||CB||3Jr|
|FA||Geno Lewis||Penn State||WR||4Jr|
|FA||Trevon Pendleton||Michigan State||FB||5Sr|
|FA||Aaron Burbridge||Michigan State||WR||4Sr|
|FA||Josiah Price||Michigan State||TE||4Jr|
|FA||Kodi Kieler||Michigan State||T||4Jr|
|FA||Tyvis Powell||Ohio State||S||3Jr|
|FA||Ralph Green III||Indiana||DT||4Jr|
|FA||Trevor Williams||Penn State||CB||4Sr|
|FA||Donavon Clark||Michigan State||G||5Sr|
|FA||Carl Nassib||Penn State||DE||5Sr|
|FA||Angelo Mangiro||Penn State||C||5Sr|
|FA||Benjamin Kline||Penn State||OLB||5Sr|
|FA||Michael Rouse III||Purdue||DT||5Sr|
Illinois has not had a player selected in the past two draft’s but Josh Ferguson could end the drought. He’s a shifty, third down back very effective catching the ball out of the backfield.
Nate Sudfeld will be a quarterback debated in the lead up to next April’s draft. As for my opinion, I believe he projects as a back-up at the next level.
On the other hand I feel Jason Spriggs is a tackle with starting potential, assuming he passes medicals. He’s not a flashy rather efficient and fundamentally sound.
Junior linebacker T.J. Simmons is slightly undersized but explosive and stands out in pursuit. He’s a scheme-specific player but has a good amount of next level potential.
From an NFL prospect point of view I love the Hawkeyes secondary.
Though he lacks great measurables junior Desmond King is a shut down corner with complete ball skills,.
Greg Mabin, another junior, has better size than his counterpart at cornerback and also offers next level ball skills.
Senior safety Jordan Lomax is a Bob Sanders type; height deficient but explosive defending the run while also displaying ball skills outside the numbers.
The sleeper on offense could be receiver Tevaun Smith. I grade him as a 7th rounder, which I’m told is a smidge higher than scouts but the senior has a next level build plus deceptive speed.
Reggie Spearman must be mentioned here despite transferring from Iowa to Illinois State. The explosive linebacker plays with great suddenness and projects well on the inside of a 3-4.
It’ll be interesting to see how teams project Sean Davis at the next level. I have him as a late round safety but I’m told some scouts feel he can line-up at cornerback.
The other Maryland prospect to keep an eye on is defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson. Off the 2013 film I ranked Jefferson as a 5th rounder with the arrow pointing north. Jefferson played three games in 2014 before suffering a season ending knee injury. I’m told as of late scouts have marked him as a junior to watch.
If I was to compare James Ross to anyone it would be former Wolverine Dhani Jones. Like Jone, the senior lacks classic size but is explosive, fearless and football smart.
I liked Desmond Morgan’s game before his injury last season and feel he’ll be a solid last day pick that can line-up in sub packages as well as play special teams.
Graham Glasgow is a prospect I may be underrating a tad. He’s a nasty mauler that finishes blocks yet is only effective in a phone booth which limits his appeal.
Area scouts told me they stamped Mario Ojemudia as a potential third round pick. The senior defensive end has outstanding size/speed numbers and plays with great athleticism but he’s never nailed down the starting job on a consistent basis and has pedestrian production. Ojemudia offers a great amount of upside but needs to be a consistent producer before I grade him as a potential second day draft pick.
In my opinion Jack Conklin is a sure fire first round pick and top 20 selection. He possesses the size, temperament and intelligence to be an immediate starter at the next level. I also believe Conklin can line-up at left tackle on Sunday’s.
Another lineman on the Spartans I really like is defensive tackle Joel Heath. He offers size, growth potential (6′ 6″/295lbs) and plays strong football. Heath is equally adept at making plays on the ball handler as well as occupying blockers to create opportunities for teammates. I’m told scouts stamped Heath as a late rounder but I believe he’s middle round worthy and potentially a top 125 player should he turn in a productive senior campaign.
Quarterback Connor Cook and pass rusher Shilique Calhoun are a pair of overrated Spartans in my opinion.
Cook has the physical skills to start on the NFL level but makes to many head scratching throws which is worrisome. I don’t feel he’s worthy of being a top 15 choice as many predict.
Many salivate over Calhoun but I just don’t know where he lines up at the next level. He’s small for defensive end (250lbs) and lacks the speed for outside linebacker. Calhoun will be over drafted due to his pass rushing skills.
Expect a number of top 100 choices from the Gophers defense next year.
Area scouts rank Briean Boddy-Calhoun over teammate Eric Murray but my rankings are reversed. Both have next level ball skills but I prefer Murray’s size/speed advantage as well as his ability to make plays with his back to the ball.
I think highly of linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. He’s a scheme diverse three down defender that displays exceptional skill in space.
The best Sunday talent coming from the Cornhusker program can be found from the junior class and its on the defensive side of the ball.
Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine show flashes of dominance and offer big upside. Though I grade safety Nathan Gerry as a free agent he comes with terrific size and is someone who could move north on draft boards if he puts together a complete game.
Keep an eye on receiver Christian Jones, who was left off most scouting lists. He’s a big bodied pass catcher who showed well in 2013 then sat on the sidelines last year after injuring his left knee. Unfortunately additional surgery was required on the joint in April after Jones re-injured the knee. It was a minor procedure but Jones should be able to participate in camp next month.
Fullback Dan Vitale is someone I could see sliding into the late rounds as he’s a terrific fit in a west coast offense.
Wow, wow, wow!! I could go on for days writing about the next level talent on the Buckeye roster but time is limited and my writing’s mediocre, so I’ll be brief.
I’ve been high on Taylor Decker since his sophomore season and feel he’s worthy of top 20 consideration. Fundamentally sound and athletically underrated, he’s a solid athlete that can play left or right tackle. Practicing against Joey Bosa will just enhance his play and draft stock.
Eli Apple has the ability to be a special corner as he combines size, ball skills and a head for the position. He’s top 15 material on my board.
Darron Lee could be a stronger, more explosive version of Ryan Shazier while Vonn Bell is rounding into a complete safety.
I presently grade nine Buckeyes as top three round players and feel receiver Michael Thomas, tight end Nick Vannett and possibly linebacker Josh Perry could contend as top 100 selections.
Many have stamped Christian Hackenberg as a franchise signal caller but I don’t see it. While he offers top 15 physical skills his defensive reads, decisions making and often sporadic accuracy worry me.
Anthony Zettel is a prospect I may have underrated. He possesses the measurables and nastiness to be a big time player but really needs to put it together.
I’ve seen Keith Lumpkin receive some high grades but I’m not a believer. To me he’s just a big body rather than a good offensive tackle as he’s stiff, off balance and best in phone booth.
Receiver Leonte Carroo is small but has shown game breaking skill on occasion. His return abilities could elevate him up draft boards.
Not a whole lot on the Badgers roster compared to recent years.
Jordan Fredrick was someone who caught my eye as a sophomore but his game has regressed. Cornerback Shelton Sojourn flashes skill but has poor size/speed numbers.
Top NFL prospects from the American Athletic Conference. The league had a pair of first round selections last April but I see nothing but last day choices on the board as of now, with Temple and Cincinnati leading the way.
|5-6||Bryce Williams||East Carolina||TE||5Sr|
|6-7||Jamie Byrd||South Florida||S||5Sr|
|7th||Derrick Calloway||South Florida||DT||3Jr|
|7th||Darrell Overton||East Carolina||OLB||4Sr|
|FA||Zeek Bigger||East Carolina||ILB||4Sr|
|FA||Joshua Hawkins||East Carolina||CB||4Sr|
|FA||Sean Price||South Florida||TE||4Sr|
|FA||Terrell Stanley||East Carolina||DE||4Sr|
|FA||Quincy Mckinney||East Carolina||G||4Sr|
|FA||Demetris Anderson||Central Florida||DT||5Sr|
|FA||Ike Harris||East Carolina||T||5Sr|
|FA||K’Hadree Hooker||East Carolina||DT||4Jr|
|FA||Maurice Niles||Central Florida||DE||5Sr|
|FA||Dontae Levingston||East Carolina||T||4Sr|
|FA||Eric Lee||South Florida||DE||4Sr|
|FA||Anthony Lennon||East Carolina||S||4Sr|
UCF has had players selected in the first round during each of the past two draft’s yet may not have a single player chosen next April. While I stamped junior corner Shaq Griffin as a sixth round pick there’s a long road from my ranking to this actually taking place next April.
Scouts have a high opinion of offensive lineman Parker Ehringer and its easy to see why. He’s a nasty blocker with terrific power. I disagree with scouts who stamped him at offensive tackle as I feel he’s best at guard.
The Bearcats have a number of receivers that intrigue scouts including Shaq Williams who I feel is slightly underrated. He’s a slot receiver that also helps out returning punts.
Despite putting a player in the first round last April the UConn program has fallen on hard times. Andrew Adams is one of the few draftable prospects from the senior class, possibly the only draftable senior, and though a solid football player with instincts I wonder how he’ll test in the run-up to 2016.
Keep an eye on tight end Bryce Williams. He’s a tough, dependable pass catcher and a prospect who could catch fire with a good senior season followed up by solid workouts in the lead up to April’s draft.
The same upward movement on draft boards is possible for linebackers Darrell Overton and Zeek Bigger. Overton is the better athlete while Bigger’s the better football player. Both are size deficient.
I liked Ryan Mack as a prospect when he wore a Louisville jersey and believe he’s late round worthy and can line up at right tackle on Sunday’s.
Receiver Tevin Jones is another prospect that offers possibilities at the next level as fifth man on the depth chart.
From what I’m told area scouts really like safety Jamie Byrd. Built more like a corner than safety, he’s explosive, goes sideline to sideline and comes with solid cover skills.
I fully believe Temple will return to a bowl game this season as they are solid on both sides of the ball.
Dion Dawkins was a left tackle who impressed me. He’s a terrific pass protector with a nice degree of athleticism and foot quickness. My grade is based as much on Dawkins potential as his present playing skill.
Last year I wrote how impressed I was with linebacker Tyler Matakevich as he’s just a good football player with a sixth sense for what’s happening on the field. He’s not the greatest athlete but when I watch Matakevich I’m reminded of Stephen Boyd, a fifth round pick of the Detroit Lions in 1995 who went on to become a four time Pro Bowl selection.
A note on former Temple receiver Robbie Anderson who looked like a prospect in 2103 then sat on the sidelines last year after being ruled ineligible. Its been reported he will be playing at Florida Tech this season and he’s worth monitoring.
I want to like Keyarris Garrett as he presents himself as a strong, possession wide out who wins out for contested passes. At the same time he also shows too much inconsistency and a bit of foolish play in his game on occasion.
The draft board of top NFL prospects from the Mid-American Conference. The conference has a number of draftable receivers from the senior class and a pair of underclassmen from the lines of scrimmage to keep an eye on.
|4-5||Jordan Williams||WR||Ball State||4Sr|
|6th||Kevin Mabon||WR||Ball State||4Jr|
|6-7||Willie Beavers||G||Western Michigan||5Sr|
|6-7||Tony Annese||S||Central Michigan||4Jr|
|FA||Trayion Durham||FB||Kent State||5Sr|
|FA||Chris Gallon||WR||Bowling Green||5Sr|
|FA||Tyree Holder||CB||Ball State||4Jr|
|FA||Ramadan Ahmeti||T||Central Michigan||5Sr|
|FA||James Knapke||QB||Bowling Green||4Jr|
|FA||Darius Conaway||CB||Ball State||4Jr|
|FA||Ronald Zamort||CB||Western Michigan||5Sr|
|FA||Brandon Greer||CB||Central Michigan||4Sr|
|FA||Jalen Schlachter||G||Ball State||5Sr|
|FA||Travis Greene||RB||Bowling Green||5Sr|
|FA||Horactio Banks||RB||Ball State||5Sr|
|FA||Pat O’Connor||DE||Eastern Michigan||4Sr|
|FA||Zach Colvin||DT||Bowling Green||5Sr|
From what I’m told linebacker Jatavis Brown was given free agent grades by scouts, in large part due to poor measurables. That said he’s an explosive linebacker who goes sideline to sideline. I could definitely see him making it at the next level as an 8th linebacker/special teams player.
Quarterback Kyle Pohl was also handed a low grade but I like his poise, QB intelligence and accuracy. He outplayed Christian Hackenberg during the first half of the Zips loss to Penn State last season. Arm strength is a question but Pohl’s intangibles are enticing.
Ball State has a pair of receivers that stand out. Senior Jordan Williams is considered a potential top 100 pick by some area scouts as he’s a big bodied receiver with a fluid style. I rate junior Kevin Mabon slightly lower that Jordan and though he does not have the size of his teammate, he’s a better pass catcher.
Let’s see (and hope) if receiver Chris Gallon can stay healthy this season. Gallon blew me away as a red-shirt freshman as he was a dominant pass catcher that could not be stopped. What eventually stopped Gallon the next two years were knee injuries as he’s played in just seven games since 2012. Gallon, who measures in the 6’ 4.5”/240lb range, could eventually move to tight end if he stays healthy.
Alonzo Russell is another receiver from the conference to watch. He entered his junior season with third round grades on my board and I was told Toledo coaches considered him a “leave early” player. But a disappointing season in 2014, in part due to injury, halted any thought of an early exit to the NFL. Russell can play and he’s got sneaky speed so the potential is there for a move up draft boards.
If there is a leave early player presently on Toledo’s roster its Trayvon Hester in my opinion. The junior is a powerful defensive lineman who flashes play making ability. I grade him as a 5th rounder but I always leave wiggle room and could see Hester move into the third round if he improves his game while remaining dominant.
Count Tajae Sharpe as still another draftable receiver from the MAC. Like many of the wide outs already mentioned, Sharpe is a possession receiver with a smooth style. There’s a lot to like about his game and Sharpe could land in the early part of day three next April.
Left tackle Tyrell Smith has the makings of a starter at the next level. He’s been a two year starter, possesses terrific pass protection skills and does a good job run blocking.
I was glad to hear scouts believe Willie Beavers could be drafted. If you search this site I’ve given Beavers late round grades since the end of his freshman year. He’s and explosive lineman who moves well on his feet. I feel Beavers has the necessary skill to line-up as a zone blocking guard.