The ACC offers a nice crop of next level talent headed by the nation’s top quarterback prospect. The league also possesses a variety of potential Sunday starters I presently grade as top three round prospects.
NFL Prospects from the ACC
|1-2||Brandon Facyson||CB||Virginia Tech||4Jr|
|2nd||Bucky Hodges||TE||Virginia Tech||4Jr|
|2nd||Derrick Nnadi||DT||Florida State||3Jr|
|2nd||Matt Dayes||RB||North Carolina State||4Sr|
|2-3||Donnie Miles||S||North Carolina||4Jr|
|2-3||B.J. Hill||DT||North Carolina State||3Jr|
|3rd||Harold Landry||DE||Boston College||3Jr|
|3rd||Jeremiah Clarke||DT||North Carolina||3So|
|3rd||Alec Eberle||C||Florida State||3So|
|3rd||John Johnson||S||Boston College||4Sr|
|3rd||Dalvin Cook||RB||Florida State||Jr|
|4th||Tony Adams||G||North Carolina State||3Jr|
|4th||Marquez White||CB||Florida State||4Sr|
|4-5||Marquel Lee||OLB||Wake Forest||4Sr|
|5th||Charles Clark||CB||Virginia Tech||4Sr|
|5th||Roderick Johnson||T||Florida State||3Jr|
|5th||Patrick Towles||QB||Boston College||4Sr|
|5th||Terrell Edmunds||S||Virginia Tech||3So|
|5-6||Johnathan Howard||WR||North Carolina||4Sr|
|5-6||Isaiah Ford||WR||Virginia Tech||3Jr|
|6th||Brad Watson||CB||Wake Forest||4Sr|
|6th||Ryan Izzo||TE||Florida State||3So|
|6th||Ryan Switzer||WR||North Carolina||4Sr|
|6th||Kenneth Ekanem||OLB||Virginia Tech||5Sr|
|6th||Travis Rudolph||WR||Florida State||3Jr|
|6th||Jaylen Samuels||FB||North Carolina State||3Jr|
|6th||Freddie Stevenson||FB||Florida State||4Sr|
|6th||Nathan Andrews||S||Florida State||4Sr|
|6-7||Matt Milano||OLB||Boston College||4Sr|
|6-7||Josh Jones||S||North Carolina State||4Jr|
|6-7||Wilson Bell||G||Florida State||4Jr|
|6-7||Bobby Wolford||FB||Boston College||5Sr|
|6-7||Mike Strizak||OLB||Boston College||5Sr|
|6-7||Desmond Lawrence||CB||North Carolina||5Sr|
|7th||Andrew Motuapuaka||ILB||Virginia Tech||3Jr|
|7th||Nigel Williams||DT||Virginia Tech||5Sr|
|7th||Demarcus Walker||DE||Florida State||4Sr|
|7th||M.J. Stewart||CB||North Carolina||3Jr|
|7-FA||Joshua Banks||DT||Wake Forest||5Sr|
|7-FA||Bradley Chubb||DE||North Carolina State||3Jr|
|FA||Elijah Hood||RB||North Carolina||3Jr|
|FA||Dajuan Drennon||DE||North Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Kareem Are||G||Florida State||5Sr|
|FA||Chris Griffin||T||Georgia Tech||4Jr|
|FA||Jerod Fernandez||ILB||North Carolina State||4Jr|
|FA||Jack Tocho||CB||North Carolina State||4Sr|
|FA||Ju’Michael Ramos||WR||North Carolina State||4Sr|
|FA||Mack Hollins||WR||North Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Cam Serigne||TE||Wake Forest||4Jr|
|FA||Trey Marshall||S||Florida State||3Jr|
|FA||Jonathan McLaughlin||T||Virginia Tech||5Sr|
|FA||Ro’Derrick Hoskins||ILB||Florida State||rJr|
|FA||Jacob Pugh||OLB||Florida State||Jr|
|FA||Truman Gutapfel||DT||Boston College||4Sr|
|FA||Cam Phillips||WR||Virginia Tech||3Jr|
|FA||P.J. Davis||OLB||Georgia Tech||4Sr|
|FA||Mario Pender||RB||Florida State||5Sr|
|FA||Caleb Peterson||G||North Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Jesus Wilson||WR||Florida State||4Sr|
|FA||Augie Conte||G||Virginia Tech||5Sr|
|FA||Nazir Jones||DT||North Carolina||4Jr|
|FA||Wyatt Teller||G||Virginia Tech||4Jr|
|FA||Bentley Spain||T||North Carolina||3Jr|
|FA||Lucas Crowley||C||North Carolina||4Sr|
|FA||Mikey Bart||DE||North Carolina||4Sr|
|FA||T.J. Logan||RB||North Carolina||4Sr|
|FA||Kermit Whitfield||WR||Florida State||4Sr|
|FA||M.J. Salahuddin||ILB||North Carolina State||5Sr|
|FA||Bra’Lon Cherry||WR||North Carolina State||4Sr|
|FA||Freddie Burden||C||Georgia Tech||5Sr|
|FA||Jon Heck||T||North Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Patrick Gamble||DT||Georgia Tech||5Sr|
|FA||Samuel Rogers||FB||Virginia Tech||4Sr|
|FA||Dravious Wright||S||North Carolina State||4Sr|
|FA||Kevin Kavalec||DE||Boston College||4Sr|
|FA||Monty Nelson||DT||North Carolina State||4Sr|
|FA||Thomas Brown||OLB||Wake Forest||4Sr|
I am amazed at how little love quarterback Patrick Towles receives from scouts. The Kentucky transfer has terrific size, an NFL arm and a lot of really good tape from last season. While he stumbled in a few games and there have been accusations of immaturity, I believe the physical ability along with the flashes Towles displayed last year deserve a middle round grade.
Safety John Johnson looks every bit as instinctive and intelligent as former teammate Justin Simmons, selected in the third round by the Denver Broncos last April. I do believe Johnson has better playing speed and like Simmons, is a second day prospect.
Cordrea Tankersley was stamped as one of the best senior cornerback prospects in the nation and its easy to see why. He combines terrific size, outstanding ball skills and plays with next level instincts. Assuming he plays well in 2016, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tankersly ends up as a top 18 selection next April.
I may be underrating tight end Jordan Legget a tad but I like tight ends that catch the ball as well as block and Leggett is deficient with the latter. There is no denying he’s a legitimate downfield pass catching threat but I question whether or not he’s a three down player at the position.
I am a firm believer in the next level potential of DeShaun Watson and feel he’s the cream of the crop at the quarterback position by a wide margin moving towards the 2017 draft. Though he needs to improve his downfield accuracy Watson’s combination of athleticism, arm strength and the general ability to command the offense are impressive.
It was surprising how blasé I felt watching the Florida State film. Unlike years past there were no players who jumped out at me.
I do like Derrick Nnadi, the big, powerful space eater with excellent short area quickness and a nice change of direction. I graded him as a second rounder but could see Nnadi making a big move up draft boards.
Keep an eye on redshirt sophomore center Alec Eberle who I feel has star potential.
Grades for Louisville prospects, specifically on defense, are all over the board.
Several scouts grade safety Josh Harvey-Clemons as a second day pick but I feel he’s of the last day variety. On the other hand most grade defensive tackle DeAngelo Brown as a free agent but I feel he’s worth the investment of a late round pick.
Devonte’ Fields is an interesting case. When on the field and on his game he flashes first round ability but his size/speed numbers, playing consistency and off the field issues make him a risky top 32 choice.
I’m hoping outside linebacker/pass rusher Trevon Young is able to return to health in 2017 as I believe he’s a legitimate mid-second day prospect.
I stamped Brad Kaaya as a second day pick but feel the potential is there for him to move into the first round if he continues to improve. I just don’t think his film screams first round to this point. Kaaya throws with a smooth over-the-top delivery, finds the open wide out and challenges the vertical game. I’d like to see him drive his deep passes more rather than throw floaters but he offers a nice upside.
Junior center Nick Linder could be selected earlier than older brother Brandon, a third round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. The younger Linder plays with great awareness, fundamentals and is effective on the line of scrimmage as well as blocking in motion.
Scouts gave some very high grades to the Tar Heels seniors but I rank junior safety Donnie Miles as the best prospect on the team. He’s a hard hitting safety and a strong open field tackler with solid ball skills while also offering the ability to make plays sideline to sideline.
North Carolina State
The Wolfpack have a pair of second day selections starting with senior running back Matt Dayes.
Compactly built at just over 5-feet/8-inches and 200lbs, Dayes has tremendous quickness, an excellent burst and runs with deceptive power. He’s also a terrific cutback runner who regularly makes defenders miss.
I’m also high on defensive tackle B.J. Hill. The explosive defensive lineman offers a potential in a variety of schemes and comes with a nice upside.
The Panthers have three very good offensive line prospects.
Senior guard Dorian Johnson is dominant in all areas. I gave him a high grade after his sophomore season and he improved off the 2015 film. Explosive as well as fundamentally sound, he’s a powerful blocker who drives defenders off the line while also displaying skill in motion.
Senior tackle Adam Bisnowaty did not show as much progress as I hoped between his sophomore and junior seasons but he’s definitely a next level prospect. Bisnowaty is a smart position blocker who gets the most from his skill. My concern is Bisnowaty possesses neither next level footwork for the left side or the needed power to line up on the right side.
It’s a wait and see situation for Jaryd Jones-Smith who missed last season with a knee injury but if the big tackle can pick up where he left off in 2014 Jones-Smith could be the highest rated NFL prospect on this unit.
Eight months ago when Bucky Hodges was considering entering the draft the consensus opinion told the tight end he should return to school for another season. Yet when I re-watched the tape this summer I saw a prospect that was just as athletic and effective catching the ball downfield as any tight end available last August. Another good season and Hodges could move into the first round of the 2017 draft.
Brandon Facyson is another Hokie junior with first round potential. The corner did a terrific job returning from injury last season and looked dominant in spurts. He offers big time potential and I would expect him to be out the door with a big campaign in 2016.
Wake Forest has three seniors on defense highly rated by scouts that must be watched.
Linebacker Marquel Lee is a terrific athlete with the size and speed to be a three down player on Sunday. Defensive tackle Josh Banks is a little undersized but very quick, explosive and could end up as one of the better three technique prospects next April. Cornerback Brad Watson has next level size and has shown himself to be effective in a variety of systems.