USC leads the way in the PAC 12. They should win the conference then put at least two players into the first round of next year’s draft. Nine of the top ten NFL prospects on my board are underclassmen.
PAC 12 Prospects
|5th||Sean Harlow||Oregon State||T||4Sr|
|5th||J J Dielman||Utah||T||5Sr|
|6th||Dustin Stanton||Oregon State||T||5Sr|
|6th||Gavin Andrews||Oregon State||T||5Sr|
|6th||Ekuale Daniel||Washington State||DT||4Jr|
|7th||Luke Falk||Washington State||QB||4Jr|
|7-FA||Salamo Fiso||Arizona State||ILB||3Jr|
|FA||Caleb Smith||Oregon State?||TE||5Sr|
|FA||Manase Hungalu||Oregon State||OLB||3Jr|
|FA||Jordan Villamin||Oregon State||WR||3Jr|
|FA||Treston DeCoud||Oregon State||CB||5Sr|
|FA||Viliami Moeakiola||Arizona State||S||5Sr|
|FA||Victor Bolden||Oregon State||WR||4Sr|
|FA||Evan Goodman||Arizona State||G||5Sr|
|FA||Tim White||Arizona State||WR||5Sr|
|FA||Gabe Marks||Washington State||WR||5Sr|
|FA||Sam Christian||Arizona State||OLB||3So|
|FA||Demario Richard||Arizona State||RB||3Jr|
|FA||Ellis Jefferson||Arizona State||WR||4Jr|
|FA||Peyton Pelluer||Washington State||ILB||5Sr|
|FA||Robert Barber||Washington State||DT||5Sr|
|FA||Kody Kohl||Arizona State||TE||4Jr|
|FA||River Cracraft||Washington State||WR||4Sr|
|FA||Viliami Latu||Arizona State||DT||4Sr|
|FA||Edmond Boateng||Arizona State||DE||4Jr|
|FA||Eduardo Middleton||Washington State||G||5Sr|
|FA||Caleb Saulo||Oregon State||OLB||4Sr|
|FA||Shalom Luani||Washington State||S||5Sr|
|FA||Ricky Ortiz||Oregon State||FB||5Sr|
|FA||Cyril Noland-Lewis||Oregon State||S||5Sr|
|FA||Leon McQuay III||USC||S||4Sr|
I’m told scouts grade offensive lineman Freddie Tagaloa as a street free agent but I disagree. Tagaloa comes with tremendous size, excellent playing strength and the ability to control defenders. He’s really best in a small area and I feel he could be a solid back-up on the strong side at guard or tackle.
Not a whole lot on the ASU roster. Middle linebacker Salamo Fiso is a tough run defender with less than desirable size and average cover skills. Safety Viliami Moeakiola comes off a disappointing junior campaign. Based on his 2014 film I thought he could back up as either a strong or zone safety.
Cal could go from having the first pick of last April’s draft to no first or second day selections in 2017. Then again there are a few league wide scouts who feel quarterback Davis Webb is a big time prospect. They like his arm strength, accuracy as well as his growth potential.
Scouts also give safety Damariay Drew a big (3rd round) grade but I fail to see it. Drew is a solid safety but undersized and one dimensional in his game.
Cornerback Daruis Allensworth offers solid height, cover skills and looks as though he has the makings of a solid dime back for the next level.
Scouts grade cornerback Chidobe Awuzie as a potential second day pick and while he definitely shows flashes of big time ability I’ve also seen games where the senior goes flat. I’ve graded him as a 4th/5th round prospect but could see him moving into the third round with a big senior campaign.
I’m looking forward to the return of defensive tackle Josh Tupou. He’s a big, explosive and athletic defensive lineman whom I graded as a 4th round prospect off the 2014 film. Tupou was suspended last season and its good to see he has returned.
Oregon has put a lot of running backs into the draft but Royce Freeman is a little different from the rest. For starters he’s bigger and much more of a power runner compared to the smurf ball carriers that have come from the Oregon program recently. Freeman shows exceptional quickness for a bigger back and the ability to run around tackle. I’m hearing he’ll bolt for the draft if he turns in a big season.
Torrodney Prevot is an underrated prospect in my opinion. He’s a nice sized outside linebacker who plays athletic football displaying the ability to rush the passer or make plays in space. He has an upside and could produce on Sunday’s but has bigger issues at the moment. As has been well documented Prevot was suspended from the Ducks team pending on ongoing investigation into his alleged assault on a former Oregon athlete.
Pharaoh Cooper is a tremendous story and has gone from a player that suffered a gruesome injury a few years ago, when word was his playing career was over, to a prospect some scouts grade as a potential third rounder next April. Even with a good senior season followed up by good pre-draft workouts, the results of medical exams and MRI’s on his injured leg will ultimately dictate where he lands in the draft or if he’s even selected at all.
The Beavers have an underrated trio of offensive linemen with next level ability.
Sean Harlow is possibly the best pass blocker of the three as he shows footwork off the edge and uses outstanding body positioning to seal defenders from the play. Harlow is also effective blocking in motion. Dustin Stanton is slightly bigger and also effective on the second level. Gavin Andrews is the biggest of them all (over 325lbs) and showed a lot of skill in 2014 before being sidelined last year.
All three are solid late round picks who can line up at tackle or guard.
At one time I graded tight end Caleb Smith as a potential middle round choice but his career has seemingly petered out. Smith offers terrific size/speed numbers and does a decent job catching the ball, though he’s never been a big part of the OSU offense. He missed last season with injury then left the team in July.
Christian McCaffrey aside, there’s not a lot of next level talent on the Stanford roster to get excited about. McCaffrey is a guy who’ll go early in the draft as an offensive minded head coach will drool over his big play ability and versatility.
Peter Kalambayi draws a variety of opinions and was on a number of underclassmen watch lists around the league prior to the 2015 season. Kalambayi often comes out of a three point stance or stands up over tackle which makes him tough to scout.
The Bruins have a trio of senior linebackers I am partial to.
Isaako Savaiinaea is a tough, in the box defender who stacks well against the run. Jayon Brown is undersized but explosive in pursuit and constantly around the action. Deon Hollins is another who comes up short for the tape measure but forcefully makes plays in every direction. In the end I believe all three will make NFL rosters as 7th/8th linebackers and special teams players.
Cornerback Fabian Moreau is someone that must be monitored. Opinions on him are all over the place and some stamped him as a second day pick last year before he was lost to injury. Scouts grade him as a UDFA, and I agree though at times (particularly last year’s contest against BYU) Moreau looks dominant.
The Trojans roster is loaded with talent and if they get solid play from their quarterback my opinion is they will win the PAC 12 and compete for a spot in the final four.
Juju Smith-Schuster is a big time receiver and the go-to guy defenders cannot stop. At face value he’s a first round pick but fact is USC receivers fail to live up to expectations once they arrive at the next level. I’m willing to bet Smith-Schuster breaks the mold.
Adoree’ Jackson is another versatile college star who plays offense, defense and brings the element of dynamic return specialist. Personally I feel his greatest value on Sunday is lining up at cornerback as he displays solid ball skills to compliment his incredible athletic ability.
The Trojans have four offensive line prospects that are next level worthy.
Chad Wheeler is a highly rated offensive tackle who blocks with a nice combination of strength and fundamentals. On film he grades as a second round choice but he has a host of off the field issues which will raise red flags and push him deep into the draft.
Zach Banner has tremendous size and can be an overwhelming force but needs technique work and must improve his balance. I feel he’s more of a developmental prospect.
Guard Damien Mama is another massive road grader who easily controls opponents but is only effective in a small area.
I feel Viane Talamaivao is the most underrated member of the unit as he’s powerful at the line of scrimmage and also effective blocking in motion. He offers a terrific amount of upside.
Quarterback Max Browne is the “x” factor for the Trojans. As of last August area scouts and some affiliated with the USC program confided in me they felt Browne was a better pro-prospect than Cody Kessler, a third round pick last April. Many believed he should’ve been the Trojans starting signal caller in 2015. Browne has next level size and Sunday arm strength and now gets an opportunity to show them off.
The Utes are another team with numbers on the offensive line.
I grade Isaac Asiata as the top prospect on the unit and have been high on his next level potential for two years. Asiata is a powerful, consistent lineman also effective on the second level. He offers size and growth potential.
J J Dielman is out of position at right tackle but displays the athleticism, agility and footwork to slide to the left side. Dielman needs to improve his strength at the point yet is a solid development prospect for a zone blocking system.
Conversely left tackle Sam Tevi is better off on the strong side as he’s a powerful mauler best in a small area.
Lowell Lotulelei, younger brother of Star Lotulelei, is just as powerful, explosive and disruptive as his older sibling. He’s a little smaller than his big brother but will be a first round pick if he continues to develop his game.
Washington has a ton of next level talent on the defensive side of the ball beginning with safety Budda Baker.
The junior moves well in every direction of the field, has a terrific closing burst and covers a large area. He has the speed to recover and Baker plays aggressive football, wrapping up ball handlers in the open field to make the tackle. He holds his own in coverage, easily running downfield with receivers then tracking the pass in the air and displaying next level ball skills.
Linebacker Azeem Victor is another highly rated underclassman. Slightly undersized, Victor stands out in coverage and is terrific making plays in space. His speed and ability to pursue the action are impressive.
Several grade Luke Falk as a big time quarterback prospect for the next level but I disagree. Falk is relatively accurate and does a nice job commanding the offense but his arm strength is poor and will limit the way NFL teams can use him.