The Big Ten offers a lot of next level talent with the Michigan program leading the way. I stamped a half-dozen from league with first round grades and four more are on the fringe of breaking through. Here are the grades for 146 next level prospects from the conference.
NFL Prospects from the Big 10
|1st||Malik McDowell||Michigan State||DT||3Jr|
|1st||Tyquan Lewis||Ohio State||DE||4Jr|
|2-3||Raekwon McMillan||Ohio State||ILB||3Jr|
|2-3||Sam Hubbard||Ohio State||DE||3So|
|3rd||Montae Nicholson||Michigan State||S||3Jr|
|3-4||Pat Elflein||Ohio State||G||5Sr|
|4th||Riley Bullough||Michigan State||ILB||5Sr|
|4th||Simmie Cobbs Jr.||Indiana||WR||3Jr|
|4th||Maurice Hurst Jr||Michigan||DT||4Jr|
|4th||Billy Price||Ohio State||G||4Jr|
|4th||Demetrious Cox||Michigan State||S||5Sr|
|4-5||Chris Godwin||Penn State||WR||3Jr|
|4-5||Garrett Sickels||Penn State||DE||4Jr|
|5th||Corey Smith||Ohio State||WR||5Sr|
|5th||Gareon Conley||Ohio State||CB||4Jr|
|5th||Jon Reschke||Michigan State||OLB||4Jr|
|5th||Marcus Allen||Penn State||S||3Jr|
|5-6||Jason Cabinda||Penn State||OLB||3Jr|
|6th||Dante Booker||Ohio State||OLB||3Jr|
|6th||Dontre Wilson||Ohio State||WR||4Sr|
|6th||Nyeem Wartman-White||Penn State||ILB||5Sr|
|6-7||Josiah Price||Michigan State||TE||5Sr|
|6-7||Brandon Bell||Penn State||OLB||4Sr|
|7th||J.T. Barrett||Ohio State||QB||4Jr|
|7th||Paris Palmer||Penn State||T||4Sr|
|FA||Andrew Nelson||Penn State||T||4Jr|
|FA||Jamal Lyles||Michigan State||TE||5Sr|
|FA||Kodi Kieler||Michigan State||T||5Sr|
|FA||Ed Davis||Michigan State||OLB||5Sr|
|FA||Darian Hicks||Michigan State||CB||4Sr|
|FA||R J Shelton||Michigan State||WR||4Sr|
|FA||Evan Jones||Michigan State||DE||4Sr|
|FA||Malik Golden||Penn State||S||5Sr|
|FA||Bri’Onte Dunn||Ohio State||RB||5Sr|
Dawuane Smoot received a huge grade from a number of scouts and it’s easy to see why. The senior is a natural pass rusher with an explosive style. I’d like to see him add a bit more size (he tips the scales around 260lbs) but I see nothing but upside in Smoot’s game.
Conversely offensive tackle Austin Schmidt is considered nothing more than a street free agent by scouts but I think in the end he’ll be a late round prospect. Schmidt is not a top athlete but a smart, tough blocker who gets the most from his ability. Scouts have communicated to me they feel Schmidt may be a sleeper of sorts in 2016.
I’ve been very high on Dan Feeney for a while and feel he’s probably the best pure run blocker I watched this summer. My one concern is he’s a bit one-dimensional as Feeney is only effective in a small area. As a result zone-blocking offenses are likely to knock his grade down a bit.
In similar fashion I’ve graded Ralphael Green as a draftable prospect since his sophomore campaign but I feel he’s more of a gap occupier rather than a play maker, which limits his appeal.
Junior wide out Simmie Cobbs Jr is a play maker who flashes skill but needs a little more consistency in his game. He has a ton of upside.
There is a lot to be excited about on the Hawkeyes roster, especially from the defensive side of the ball. This is the team I feel will surprise in the Big Ten and could end up with the conference title.
Josey Jewell is a complete three down linebacker who stands out in every facet of the game. He’s a tough run defender who sells out on the blitz while also showing skill in coverage. As with every junior, Jewell’s true size/speed numbers are the “x” factor. In the end it may not matter in 2017 as the Hawkeyes rarely have underclassmen depart for the NFL.
Entering the 2015 season I graded Desmond King as a first rounder and the senior was given a big preseason grade by a number of scouts. And while King was opportunistic in 2015, I personally believe his 2014 tape was better. Regardless, King is still a very good cornerback.
I liked what I saw on film from junior safety Miles Taylor as he’s a complete safety that can cover centerfield as well as defend the run.
Don’t be surprised if Jaeleel Johnson makes a dash up draft boards. Presently graded as a last day pick, the defensive tackle is quick, explosive and fluid. I’d like to see him add some power to his game and play like a 310lb defensive tackle but Johnson has a large upside and can line-up for a variety of defensive fronts.
Jalen Brooks has shown flashes the past two seasons and the athletic linebacker has the ability to develop into a three down defender and top 125 selection if he pulls together a complete game.
Were it not for being vertically challenged (5-feet/7-inches) its likely Will Likely would be considered a second round prospect. He offers terrific cover skills, impacts games returning punts and lends a helping hand on offense. Likely is still late round worthy and should thrive as a dime back/return specialist/special teamer on Sunday.
Ann Arbor is the place to be this year as I’m told almost a half dozen senior prospects from the Michigan program occupy the majority of the top ten slots on scouting lists.
Jake Butt would’ve been the first tight end selected had he entered the 20016 draft and barring injury he will be the top player on the tight end board next April. He’s a tremendous pass catcher who does a solid job blocking.
Jourdan Lewis is rated as one of the best cornerbacks in the nation by scouts and has the cover skills to justify the ranking. His size, which is almost 2.5-inches shy of the 6-foot demarcation line, will knock him down some draft boards.
The defensive line duo of Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley both receive high grades. Wormley, who measures 6-feet/3.5-inches and just under 300lbs, offers potential in a variety of schemes.
Let’s keep an eye on Graham Glasgow’s brother Ryan Glasgow and see if he makes a similar move up draft boards as his sibling did last year. Ryan plays on the other side of the ball but like his brother shows great power and intensity in his game.
Maurice Hurst Jr is one of those players who will make a big leap up draft boards if he continues to improve. I probably should’ve given him a higher grade than the 4th round I stamped him with but I’d like to see a bigger body of work first.
Safety Demetrious Cox and linebacker Riley Bullough both received top 60 grades from scouts but I disagree. I believe Bullough is more of a two down player while Cox doesn’t wow me on film.
Malik McDowell is a difference maker up front and justifiably draws praise from many circles but be aware. I’m told he has off the field/character issues which will raise red flags in war rooms.
Primarily last day picks coming from the Gophers though I do believe cornerback Jalen Myrick and safety Damarius Travis could move up boards. Keep an eye on Myrick; he’s got excellent cornerback size and developing skills.
If tight end Brandon Lingen takes his game to the next level he will move into the early part of the third day should he decide to enter the draft and a second day selection is not out of the question.
The Cornhuskers won’t be well represented in next April’s draft unless junior corner Josh Kalu enters the event. Kalu has shown the ability to shut down opponents and displayed consistent improvement with his ball skills.
Last year I graded Anthony Walker as a late rounder and the linebacker showed a lot of progress as a redshirt sophomore. He lacks classic next level size but is a terrific pursuit linebacker who constantly makes plays on the ball. He projects as a traditional weak side linebacker and may get consideration on the inside of a 3-4 alignment.
Matt Harris is well thought of in scouting circles and comes with the size and speed teams want. Harris has a lot of ball production and the ability to line-up in nickel packages on Sunday.
Last year was a banner draft for the Buckeyes as the program put five players into the first round and placed another five into the draft’s second day. Next April’s numbers will pale by comparison.
Tyquan Lewis is my number one rated Ohio State prospect. The junior defensive end is a terrific pass rusher that’s rarely knocked off his feet. I noticed something watching film over the summer; it was Lewis who primarily lined up over the opponents left tackle in 2015, not Joey Bosa.
While some fawn over Raekwon McMillan I think he’s a solid prospect to this point and nothing more. I also believe he falls way short of Darron Lee, the 20th pick of last April’s first round.
Scouts love Nyeem Wartman-White and grade the linebacker as a potential second day pick but I’m not convinced. He’s an athletic prospect with excellent playing speed but missed all but one game with an ACL injury last season. He also suffered a knee injury as a freshman after appearing in just two games so besides needing work on his game, Wartman-White has major injury red flags.
The Boilmakers have three potential second day picks according to scouts, players I grade as mid to late round selections.
Defensive tackle Ra’Zahn Howard is a big space eater in the middle of the line, displaying terrific short area quickness and the ability to make plays down the line of scrimmage. I feel he’s more a gap occupier rather than a playmaker which will depress his draft stock but in the proper system he can start on Sunday.
Jackson Replogle does make a lot of plays on the ball and comes with size and growth potential. Replogle flashes power but needs to play to his size on a consistent basis.
I’ve thought highly of Vincent Biegel the past two seasons and feel he’s a terrific linebacker prospect. He’s more of a 3-4 outside type, best making plays in the box or up the field. Biegel is a tough defender with excellent instincts.
Dan Voltz is being overrated by a number of people in my opinion. He’s a solid interior offensive line prospect but his injury history will raise red flags.