As has been the case in recent years, a host of next level talent can be found in the SEC. I presently give first round or near first round grades to almost a bakers dozen and depending on the underclassmen who enter the draft that number will only rise. Here are the rankings for 152 prospects from the SEC.
Top NFL Prospects from the SEC
|1st||Garrett Myles||DE||Texas A&M||3Jr|
|1st||O J Howard||TE||Alabama||4Sr|
|3rd||Daeshon Hall||DE||Texas A&M||4Sr|
|3rd||Armani Watts||S||Texas A&M||3Jr|
|3rd||Justin Evans||S||Texas A&M||4Sr|
|3-4||Ricky Seals-Jones||WR||Texas A&M||4Jr|
|4th||Josh Reynolds||WR||Texas A&M||5Sr|
|4th||Bryan Cox Jr||DE||Florida||5Sr|
|4th||Marquavius Lewis||DE||South Carolina||4Sr|
|4-5||Avery Gennesy||T||Texas A&M||5Sr|
|6th||Deatrich Wise Jr||DE||Arkansas||5Sr|
|6th||Alan Knott||C||South Carolina||4Jr|
|6th||T J Holloman||OLB||South Carolina||5Sr|
|6th||Fred Ross||WR||Mississippi State||4Sr|
|6th||Shaan Washington||ILB||Texas A&M||4Sr|
|6th||Skai Moore||OLB||South Carolina||4Sr|
|6th||Richie Brown||OLB||Mississippi State||5Sr|
|6-7||Speedy Noil||WR||Texas A&M||3Jr|
|FA||Donovan Wilson||CB||Texas A&M||3Jr|
|FA||Jamaal Clayborn||C||Mississippi State||4Sr|
|FA||Justin Senior||T||Mississippi State||5Sr|
|FA||Tim Kimbrough Payne||ILB||Georgia||4Sr|
|FA||Trevor Knight||QB||Texas A&M||5Sr|
|FA||Josh Walker||ILB||Texas A&M||3Jr|
|FA||Ralph Webb Jr||RB||Vanderbilt||4Jr|
|FA||Kivon Coman||S||Mississippi State||5Sr|
|FA||Brandon Holloway||RB||Mississippi State||4Sr|
|FA||A J Jefferson||DE||Mississippi State||5Sr|
|FA||Al Harris Jr.||CB||South Carolina||3Jr|
|FA||Fred Brown||WR||Mississippi State||4Sr|
|FA||Mason Zandi||T||South Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Nick James||DT||Mississippi State||5Sr|
|FA||Jordan Diggs||S||South Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Tolando Cleveland||CB||Mississippi State||4Sr|
|FA||Darius English||DE||South Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Chaz Elder||S||South Carolina||5Sr|
|FA||Chris Moody||S||South Carolina||5Sr|
Several sources tell me Jonathan Allen was graded by a number of scouts as the top senior prospect in the nation, which I found surprising. In fact on my board teammates Reuben Foster and O J Howard are both graded higher. While I like Allen’s game I don’t see him as an impact player or a top five selection at this point.
Though vertically challenged (barely 6-feet .5-inches) I project Reuben Foster as a three down defender at the next level with potential in a variety of schemes. I grade him much higher than former Tide linebacker Reggie Ragland at this point and feel he will be a top 15 pick next April.
I have much the same feeling about tight end O.J. Howard. He’s a receiver in a tight ends body and a legitimate downfield threat that consistently causes mismatches in the secondary. Howard’s blocking is underrated and like Foster, he’s a three down player. I’ll go on record and say Howard has the highest upside of any senior prospect presently on the Alabama roster.
Cam Robinson is not graded as highly on my board when compared to the way others view him. Why? On film Robinson is a nice sized offensive tackle with excellent strength. He’s also heavy footed, ineffective blocking in motion and struggles to adjust which has made him susceptible to quick opponents with inside moves I have a hard time believing he’ll be a left/weakside tackle at the next level.
Keep an eye on Bowling Green transfer Gehrig Dieter, a tall possession receiver with reliable hands whose been all but ignored by scouts.
Now that Hunter Henry has departed I’ll be excited to see what Jeremy Sprinkle can do as the Razorbacks starting tight end. Sprinkle may not be the natural pass catcher of Henry but he’s just as fast and a much better blocker.
I’m hoping to see a healthy Keon Hatcher return to the field in 2016. The talented wide out missed all but two games last season with a broken foot and had further surgery on the injury this past May. After his 2014 campaign I graded Hatcher as a potential third round pick.
For some reason scouts have dismissed defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter but I feel he’s late round worthy and a potential rotational lineman on Sunday.
If he performs as most expect then declares for the draft, as most expect, its not out of the realm of possibility Carl Lawson is the first player from the state of Alabama selected in next April’s draft. He’s a difference maker up front and a talented pass rusher out of a three point stance or standing over tackle.
I like Montravius Adams but would like him even better if he started playing to his size. Adams looks very athletic for a 6-foot/3-inch, 300lbs defensive tackle and easily moves around the field yet all too often is taken from the action by a single blocker when he shouldn’t.
While talk of the safety position at Auburn usually centers around Johnathan Ford, I feel junior Tray Matthews is the better NFL prospect at the position. Matthews, a transfer from Georgia, has a slight size advantage and shows a bit more force in his game.
Caleb Brantley has traits similar to Jonathan Bullard and in the end I think Brantey is selected a round earlier than Bullard. The junior is incredibly quick and plays with an explosive style. He has the ability to rush the passer or chase the action laterally in pursuit. Brantley must improve his strength at the point but that should come in time.
I believe Jarrad Davis has the makings of a three down linebacker and comes with a nice degree of scheme versatility. His lack of height (6-feet/1.5-inches) may concern some teams.
I really like what I’ve seen from Jalen Tabor the past two seasons and firmly believe he could be a first round pick in 2017 if he stays healthy and improves his game.
The cupboard is nearly bare at Georgia from the NFL prospect point of view. If Nick Chubb shows no ill effects returning from the knee injury which kept him on the sidelines during the second half of last season he will make a big move up draft boards.
Junior guard Isaiah Wynn is a large mauler who stands out run blocking and also shows potential as a zone blocker.
Junior lineman Kyle Meadows is a terrific offensive line prospect with a nice upside. He’s agile, fluid and blocks with solid fundamentals. While he holds down the left tackle spot for Kentucky, I ultimately feel Meadows is best as a zone blocking guard on Sunday.
LSU has a host of next level talent and should win the SEC then contend for the national title. If they don’t it may be curtains for Les Myles.
I’m not going to pontificate over Leonard Fournette and say what’s already been smentioned. It will be interesting to see if he plays not to get hurt this season or asks for a reduced workload in preparation for the 2017 draft.
I will rave about Malachi Dupre. The speedy wide out is a legitimate deep threat as well as a dependable receiver. I like just about everything he offers though Dupre must get a little stronger as he may struggle handling jams on Sunday.
Travin Dural has outstanding computer numbers and is also a very good receiver prospect. He’s not the flat out burner of his teammate rather sneaky fast and will stretch it vertically on occasion.
Tre’Davious White surprised many by returning to LSU for another season and now moves towards next April as one of the elite corners in the draft. He offers terrific ball skills and is rarely challenged by opposing quarterbacks. He must get stronger and White measures under 6-feet tall, an important mark for many teams. He still grades as a first round choice on my board.
Compared to scouts I’m not overly excited about Ethan Pocic. I like his competitiveness and football IQ but he’s not a dominant mauler on the inside and shows a little stiffness in his game. Several teams grade Pocic at guard rather than center and some have slotted him as a tackle for the next level.
Junior defensive lineman Davon Godchaux displays himself to be a difference maker on inside. He’s quick, explosive and easily moves about the field. I gave him a fringe first round grade but could see Godchaux making a move up draft boards.
Quarterback Brandon Harris is underrated in most scouting circles and has the physical skills to develop into a next level signal caller.
The Rebels were decimated by underclassmen entries into last April’s draft yet still have a number of talented next level prospects on the roster.
I love quarterback Chad Kelly’s mentality and playing style but his accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. His reckless style of play may also be a hindrance on Sunday.
Damore’ea Stringfellow has a lot of LaQuon Treadwell in his game; he’s big, physical and consistently wins out for contested passes. He also lacks vertical speed which may suppress his draft stock a bit.
I’m a huge fan of Kendarius Webster and feel he offers starting potential at the next level. He’s a tough corner with excellent instincts and ball skills. As with most underclassmen true ht/wt/speed numbers will dictate much.
Scouts grade Tony Conner as a late rounder but I disagree and feel he’s a middle round prospect who could move into the draft’s second day. Off the 2014 film I graded Conner as a third rounder but a knee injury limited him to five games last season. He’s big, physical and can line up in zone, as a strong safety or potentially play as a one-gap linebacker on Sunday.
There’s not a lot of next level talent on the MSU roster.
Fred Ross offers adequate size and comes away with the contested reception but has no single outstanding next level skill. Scouts believe he can be a third rounder but off the film I’m not convinced.
Two defensive linemen stand out to me as top next level prospects.
Charles Harris displays himself as a much more athletic version of former Tiger Michael Sam. He’s a tremendous pass rusher with terrific quickness and speed off the edge. He must show ability playing in space, something Sam was never able to do, as Harris will be viewed as a 3-4 outside linebacker by most teams.
Harold Brantley showed great explosion and quickness throughout a terrific 2014 campaign before being sidelined in 2015 after suffering multiple fractures in an auto accident that June. He offers size as well as versatility. It was announced just weeks ago that Brantley was dismissed from the Mizzou program for “failing to fulfill academic expectations.” Hopefully Brantley finds a place to play in 2016.
By all accounts scouts graded just two Gamecocks as draftable prospects and Marquavius Lewis is not one of them, something I completely disagree with. When I watched the Hutchinson CC transfer over the summer I saw a terrific pass rusher with size, speed and athleticism. I’m of the belief Lewis is due for a big year followed by a big move up draft boards.
Cameron Sutton is a solid corner who also brings return skills with him. He has been a consistent defender the past two seasons and comes with next level ball skills. Sutton has a fluid pedal, smooth hip turn and does a great job tracking the pass the few times opponents challenge him. Forty times are important for his draft stock next April.
There is a lot to like about Volunteer signal caller Robert Dobbs. He has the arm strength, athleticism and for the most part, head to play at the next level. Yet in my opinion Dobbs lacks the wow factor I want in early round quarterbacks. He has an upside and a good senior campaign will boost his draft stock.
While many rate LSU running back Leonard Fournette as the top NFL prospect from the SEC, I grade Garrett Myles as the best. Myles causes an impact in so many ways and has so much upside it was a pretty easy call in my opinion. He’s a terrific pass rusher and not just off the edge as he shows a great inside move, makes plays running stunts up front and has the speed to run down ball handlers in pursuit. He does a solid job holding the point and shows skill playing in space. I love his game and his long term potential.
Teammate Daeshon Hall is a terrific defensive end prospect in his own right though not as explosive or fast compared to Myles. Measuring over 6-feet/5.5-inches, he offers a good amount of growth potential and Hall’s best football lay ahead of him.
Junior receiver Ricky Seals-Jones disappointed me last season. He has the size to dominate opponents but has too many mental breakdowns and drops too many passes.
Scouts love safety Justin Evans. And I mean love him as in first round potential, but I give a slight edge to his teammate, junior Armani Watts.
Watts is an explosive defensive back, aggressively defending the run and getting to the action with a great burst.
Evans is equally explosive and displays terrific speed in both a straight line as well as laterally. He has great range and quickly gets outside the numbers to make plays. Evans plays with a nice degree of suddenness but is not a sure handed tackler and all too often takes improper angles to the action.