Florida State may rule the ACC when it comes to national rankings but from the perspective of NFL war rooms Virginia Tech is the place to be. I count at least five Hokies as top 90 picks led by a pair of underclassmen corners. Here are the rankings of 129 NFL prospects from the conference.
|1-2||Jalen Ramsey||Florida State||CB||3Jr|
|1-2||Kendall Fuller||Virginia Tech||CB||3Jr|
|2nd||Brandon Facyson||Virginia Tech||CB||3So|
|2nd||Dadi Nicholas||Virginia Tech||DE||5Sr|
|3rd||Bucky Hodges||Virginia Tech||TE||3So|
|3rd||Ken Ekanem||Virginia Tech||OLB||4Jr|
|4th||Jacoby Brissett||North Carolina Ste||QB||5Sr|
|4th||Josh Jones||North Carolina St||S||3So|
|4th||Chuck Clark||Virginia Tech||CB||3Jr|
|4-5||D.J. White||Georgia Tech||CB||4Sr|
|5th||Adam Gotsis||Georgia Tech||DT||4Sr|
|6th||Chris Griffin||Georgia Tech||T||3So|
|6th||Ryan Switzer||North Carolina||WR||3Jr|
|6th||Nile Lawrence-Stample||Florida State||DT||5Sr|
|6th||Terrance Smith||Florida State||ILB||5Sr|
|6th||Davis P.J.||Georgia Tech||OLB||3Jr|
|6th||Juston Burris||North Carolina St||CB||4Sr|
|6th||Corey Marshall||Virginia Tech||DT||5Sr|
|6th||Connor Wujciak||Boston College||DT||5Sr|
|6th||Ryan Malleck||Virginia Tech||TE||5Sr|
|6th||Brice Hunter||Florida State||S||5Sr|
|6-7||Nate Andrews||Florida State||S||3Jr|
|6-7||Mike Strizak||Boston College||OLB||4Jr|
|7th||Demontevious Smith||Georgia Tech||S||5Sr|
|7th||Bobby Wolford||Boston College||FB||4Jr|
|6-7||Desmond Lawrence||North Carolina||CB||4Jr|
|7th||Patrick Gamble||Georgia Tech||DT||4Jr|
|7th||Nigel Williams||Virginia Tech||DT||4Jr|
|7th||Mario Pender||Florida State||RB||4Jr|
|7th||Reggie Northrup||Florida State||ILB||4Sr|
|7th||Mehdi Abdesmad||Boston College||DT||5Sr|
|7th||Jonathan McLaughlin||Virginia Tech||T||3So|
|FA||Brandon Chubb||Wake Forest||ILB||5Sr|
|FA||Dajuan Drennon||North Carolina||DE||3So|
|FA||Nazir Jones||North Carolina||DT||3So|
|FA||Landon Turner||North Carolina||G||5Sr|
|FA||Luther Maddy||Virginia Tech||DT||5Sr|
|FA||Brian Walker||North Carolina||CB||3Jr|
|FA||Jabari Hunt-Days||Georgia Tech||DE||4Sr|
|FA||Deon Clarke||Virginia Tech||OLB||4Sr|
|FA||David Grinnage||North Carolina St||TE||4Jr|
|FA||Marquel Lee||Wake Forest||OLB||3Jr|
|FA||Shadrach Thornton||North Carolina St||RB||4Sr|
|FA||Wyatt Teller||Virginia Tech||G||3So|
|FA||Demitri Knowles||Virginia Tech||WR||4Jr|
|FA||Giorgio Newberry||Florida State||TE||5Sr|
|FA||Steven Daniels||Boston College||ILB||4Sr|
|FA||Donovan Riley||Virginia Tech||CB||4Sr|
|FA||Jerod Fernandez||North Carolina St||OLB||3So|
|FA||Marquez White||Florida State||S||3Jr|
|FA||Derrick Mitchell Jr||Florida State||DT||5Sr|
|FA||Chris Milton||Georgia Tech||CB||5Sr|
|FA||Javonta Golden||Georgia Tech||S||5Sr|
|FA||Justin Simmons||Boston College||S||4Sr|
|FA||Sam Rogers||Virginia Tech||FB||3Jr|
|FA||Tylor Harris||Wake Forest||DT||4Sr|
|FA||M.J. Salahuddin||North Carolina St||ILB||4Jr|
|FA||Harris Williams||Boston College||G||5Sr|
|FA||Cam Serigne||Wake Forest||TE||3So|
|FA||Freddie Burden||Georgia Tech||C||4Jr|
|FA||Joseph Thuney||North Carolina St||G||5Sr|
|FA||Michael Rose||North Carolina St||DE||5Sr|
|FA||Marquise Williams||North Carolina||QB||5Sr|
|FA||Quinton Schooley||North Carolina St||C||4Sr|
|FA||Justin Thomason||North Carolina||DT||4Sr|
|FA||Jeffrey Schoettmer||North Carolina||ILB||4Sr|
|FA||Robert Brewer||Virginia Tech||QB||5Sr|
|FA||Michael Giacone||Boston College||TE||4Sr|
|FA||Dylan Intemann||Wake Forest||T||5Sr|
|FA||B J Goodson||Clemson||OLB||4Sr|
|FA||Quinshad Davis||North Carolina||WR||4Sr|
|FA||Hakim Jones||North Carolina St||S||5Sr|
Scouts will closely monitor the return of Mehdi Abdesmad whom they’ve stamped as a late round pick. The senior defensive tackle played in just three games last season before being sidelined with a knee injury. He’s big and athletic but must prove he’s fully healthy and start piecing together a full game.
Junior wide out Mike Williams is poised for a big season, which will equate to a big move up draft boards. Williams is a smooth possession receiver with game controlling skills.
Safety Jayron Kearse is another big bodied prospect with a tremendous amount of upside. He flashes big time skill but needs to consistently play at a high level.
Jeremy Cash has a game I like as he’s a tough run defender with better than average ball skills. He’s potentially a second day prospect if he plays well this season then tests well in the run up to the draft.
For all the accolades thrown towards corners PJ Williams and Ronald Darby last April, Jalen Ramsey was the most consistent Seminole defensive back on film in 2014. He comes with terrific size, a developed game and offers a huge upside. I could easily see Ramsey jumping into the top 25 picks of next April’s draft after a good junior season.
Several scouts grade cornerback D.J. White as a middle round pick but there a number of teams that have stamped him as the top senior at the position. Though I like his upside White struggles making plays with his back to the ball, which is always a red-flag for me.
Keep and eye on Jabari Hunt-Days, who missed last season with injury. I’m told he’s looked terrific as a pass rusher in the early going and is a prospect really flying under the radar screen.
Louisville offers three draftable defensive tackles with Sheldon Rankins being the best. The senior is well thought of by scouts as he combines power with playmaking ability.
Cornerback Tracy Howard draws a variety of opinion. Most scouts feel he’s free agent material, something I agree with, though I’ve been told he’s also received a few middle round grades. Howard offers solid ball skills but poor size/speed numbers which I believe will knock him out of the seven rounds.
Deon Bush justifiably gets a lot of ink but I’m very excited for the return of Rayshawn Jenkins whom I ranked as a middle round pick after his 2013 campaign. Jenkins missed last season with injury but is reportedly back to full health.
The Tar Heels have a pair of junior corners to watch. Desmond Lawrence offers nice size and sold ball skills while Tar Heel coaches rave about Brian Walker. Receiver Ryan Switzer is another junior UNC coaches speak highly of.
North Carolina State
There’s a lot of buzz Jacoby Brissett.
The senior has the arm strength and athleticism for the next level and I also like his patience in the pocket. Brissett is not a run first signal caller as he plays with a lot of passer intangibles. He needs to improve the details of the position as he’s a bit slow going to secondary targets and sprays throws on occasion but the tools are available for a big move up draft boards.
I’ll let others fawn over receiver Tyler Boyd and running back James Conner, both terrific pro-prospects. I want to speak of the great talent on the Panthers offensive line.
Adam Bisnowaty is a terrific prospect who can play either tackle spot at the next level. He’s fundamentally sound and makes great use of angles and body positioning to block the edge.
Dorian Johnson is a dominant mauler who annihilates defenders at the point of attack. He drives opponents off the ball and opens up the running lanes. Johnson is not a natural knee bender and shows some stiffness in his game but still offers starting potential on Sunday’s.
Jaryd Jones-Smith could end up the best of the bunch as he’s big, dominant and athletic. He really stood out on a rotational basis in 2014 and comes with great upside. Unfortunately the talented sophomore will miss the ’15 campaign after recently injuring his knee during conditioning activities.
Its been a struggle for Syracuse on the field and in war rooms very recently and there isn’t much light at the end of the tunnel.
Quarterback Terrel Hunt is an interesting case. Hunt possesses next level physical skills and flashed big time ability as a sophomore but makes a lot of questionable decisions and shows immaturity in his game. His potential is enormous but the ability to pull it together and play disciplined football is a big question.
Senior cornerback Maurice Canady is highly thought and scouts stamped him as a middle round choice but I feel junior Tim Harris is the better pro-prospect as he’s more explosive and seems more confident. Harris needs to improve his play when his back is to the ball but could develop into second day material.
Junior quarterback Greyson Lambert has terrific physical skills and looks impressive in the pocket. His decision making and accuracy are another matter altogether. For every outstanding throw Lambert makes he follows it up with a pass which makes you shake your head. In many ways he reminds me of another passer from the state of Virginia, Jim Drunkenmiller.
The talent in the Hokie secondary is terrific.
Kendall Fuller has long been labeled the most talented of the Fuller brothers and shows the ability to shut down opponents. Make sure to watch Brandon Facyson who returns to the fold after missing last season with assorted leg injuries. He looked brilliant on film during the 2013 campaign and is reported to be back at full health.
The other potentially dominant junior prospect on the Hokies roster is tight end Bucky Hodges. The athletic redshirt sophomore displayed dominant big play abilities last season as well as a large degree of consistency. His upside is enormous and despite the fact I’ve stamped him as a third round prospect, Hodges has first round potential. People close to the program tell me Hodges will bolt for the NFL if he puts together a productive campaign in 2015.
I’m sure the haters will be out in full force when I say I’m not in love with Dadi Nicholas and feel he’s overrated by many, even area scouts. He’s a very effective but undersized college pass rusher. Though reported to have run the forty in the mid 4.5’s, I don’t see that sort of player on film or a defender who shows great speed in lateral pursuit, something he’ll be required to do at the next level.
After having a player selected in the first round last April its quite possible no one from Wake Forest is selected at any point next year.
I’m a fan of Brandon Chubb, the nose tackle who projects to inside linebacker. He’s tough, smart and very quick but I struggle to see how he’s anything other than a late seventh round prospect.