Smith_FresnoRankings of the top NFL prospects from the Mountain West Conference. Included are 68 draft eligible players as well as notes from a number of prospects around the conference.

Boise State 

I graded running back Jay Ajayi as a fourth rounder but can tell you he’s graded much higher in the scouting community.  Several area scouts tell me they could see Ajayi landing in the second round if he has a good campaign then enters the draft.

Conversely receiver Matt Miller, who I stamped as a potential seventh round pick, does not even register on the radar for a number of scouts. 

Colorado State

I recently saw USA Today, a publication I wrote for in the not too distant past, rated Colorado State as the 73rd ranked team in the nation, which is surprising.  NFL prospects aside I’ll go on record and say the Rams will contend for the Mountain West title this year.  Scouts love the next level potential at CSU and it starts with tackle Tyler Sambrailo.  Several told be they think Sambralio is the one of the better senior tackle prospects in the nation and perhaps the tops offensive tackle on the West Coast. 

Linebackers Aaron Davis and Cory James are both undersized, chase and run defenders who could make rosters as back-ups/special teamers. 

Tight end Kivon Cartwright is another CSU prospect I rate highly.  He comes with natural pass catching skills and good length.  Speed will be the determining factor in his final draft grade as Cartwright does not present himself as a true seam stretcher. 

As posted on twitter the other day, I view quarterback Garrett Grayson as a poor man’s Blake Bortles.  He has a similar game and more than enough arm strength to play at the next level.  I would like to see Grayson be more consistent looking off the safety and not staring down primary targets but he has a great deal of upside.

Fresno State

Were it not for the amazing amount of offensive production that left for the NFL last April, Fresno State could be one of the better teams in the Mountain West.

Safety Derron Smith is the top prospect from the program in my opinion.  He’s a tough run defender with good ball skills.  Size is an issue as Smith may struggle to measure 5-feet/10-inches and 200-pounds.  That said he has a lot of Earl Thomas in his game. 

Scouts are very high on receiver Josh Harper who shows tremendous quickness and run after the catch skill.  For my money Harper is good but has no great physical characteristics which sets him apart.  Playing without Derek Carr this season will be a challenge. 

I feel linebacker Kyrie Wilson is a solid prospect with a large degree of upside and someone who will move up draft boards if he continues to improve.

Hawaii

I have a feeling its going to be another ugly campaign for Hawaii which is sad.  Its always nice to see the team from paradise be competitive.  Junior defensive tackle Calen Friel caught my eye on film.  He large, mobile and forces the action when focused on the task at hand. 

Nevada

I’m told scouts really like quarterback Cody Fajardo, who I stamped with a sixth round grade.  He’s a mobile passer with a good arm yet a signal caller who forces passes into double coverage and sprays throws. 

San Diego State

Ezell Ruffin is a solid receiver who could move up draft boards if he hits his stride.  He’s dependable, deceptively fast and wins out for contested balls.  He grades as a last day pick entering the season but could end up top 120 next April with a big year and good pre-draft workouts.

Junior Darrell Greene is a guard who really caught my eye on film. He’s big, strong and mobile.  Greene handles opponents at the point of attack while also displaying a lot of skill blocking in motion.

San Jose State

The return of linebacker Vince Buhagiar, who missed last season with a torn labrum, is something to keep your eye on.  Off the 2012 film he was a small yet intense linebacker who willingly sacrificed his body to make tackles.   At full health he projects as an eight linebacker/special teams player.

UNLV

Receiver Devante Davis is very impressive in all areas of the game.  He’s smart, tough and dependable.  Davis is a terrific third down receiver and really plays like the go-to guy opponents cannot stop.  He plays bigger and faster than his size/speed numbers and I feel he’s underrated in the scouting community.

Junior tight end Jake Phillips is one to watch.  He’s more a traditional player at the position, rather than the oversized receiver teams now want at tight end.  Phillips is a solid pass catcher that’s also dominant as a blocker.

Utah State

Last October, I informed an agent friend to keep an eye on then sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell.  After breaking Fackrell down on film I was even more impressed.  He’s big, imposing and forces the action up the field or outside the box.  I love Fackrell’s physicality as well as his instincts and discipline.  He does struggle making plays in reverse, showing stiffness and an inability to backpedal.  I presently grade Fackrell as a 2nd/3rd rounder and word as this time is he’s likely to enter the draft.

Wyoming

Walker Madden, Wyoming’s starting left tackle last season, received high praise from scouts but left the team due to personal reasons.   

Senior linebacker Mark Nzeocha reminds me a bit of Christian Kirksey, third round pick of the Cleveland Browns who played his college ball at Iowa.  While I don’t grade Nzeocha as draftable at this point, he has that same undersized yet explosive, speedy, sideline-to-sideline style of play.


Rnd

Name

School

Pos

Yr
2-3Kyler
Fackrell
Utah StateOLB4Jr
3rdDerron SmithFresno StateS5Sr
3rdJoshua HarperFresno StateWR5Sr
3rdTyler
Sambrailo
Colorado StT5Sr
4thJay AjayiBoise StateRB4Jr
4thGarrett
Grayson
Colorado StQB4Sr
4thCory JamesColorado StOLB4Jr
5thDarrell
Greene
San Diego StG4Jr
5thDevante DavisUNLVWR4Sr
5-6Donte DeayonBoise StateCB3Jr
6thEzell RuffinSan Diego StWR5Sr
6thCody FajardoNevadaQB5Sr
6thKivon
Cartwright
Colorado StTE5Sr
6thTrent
Matthews
Colorado StS4Jr
6thJamal EllisFresno StateCB3Jr
6-7Kyrie WilsonFresno StateILB4Jr
7thMatt MillerBoise StateWR5Sr
7thAaron DavisColorado StILB4Sr
7-FABrett BoykoUNLVT4Sr
FAMark NzeochaWyomingOLB4Sr
FAArmand NanceBoise StateDT3Jr
FATyeler
Davison
Fresno StateDT5Sr
FABernard BlakeColorado StCB5Sr
FAWes
Schweitzer
San Jose StT4Jr
FAEddie
Yarbrough
WyomingDE5Sr
FATerry PooleSan Diego StT4Sr
FADeandre JonesWyomingCB4Sr
FAJake PhillipsUNLVTE4Jr
FACalen FrielHawaiiDT4Jr
FATravis RacitiSan Jose StDT5Sr
FAPatrick
Mertens
WyomingDT6Sr
FADarian
Thompson
Boise StateS4Jr
FACody WichmannFresno StateG5Sr
FAJack LammNew MexicoG3So
FAWalker MaddenWyomingT5Sr
FAJared RobertsColorado StK4Sr
FASonny
Puletasi
WyomingOLB5Sr
FABill VavauUtah StateG4Sr
FAKarl
Mickelsen
Fresno StateILB4Sr
FAJalen
Claiborne
WyomingWR4Sr
FAConnor RainsWyomingT5Sr
FAJeremy IoaneBoise StateS5Sr
FAAlex WheatUtah StateWR4Sr
FADontrell
Onuoha
San Diego StDT5Sr
FADominic
Rufran
WyomingWR4Sr
FAJoshua
Quezada
Fresno StateRB5Sr
FAVince
Buhagiar
San Jose StILB5Sr
FAVandrell
Sullivan
UNLVWR5Sr
FAMoses SamiaHawaiiDT5Sr
FAKyle RobertsNevadaT5Sr
FABryan LarsenUtah StateDE5Sr
FACorey BellBoise StateOLB4Sr
FACurtis RileyFresno StateCB5Sr
FAKevin WhimpeyUtah StateT5Sr
FAJamal PriceNew MexicoG4Sr
FABeau YapHawaiiDE5Sr
FACharles
Keeton
Utah StateQB4Sr
FAJoey IosefaHawaiiFB5Sr
FAZachary VigilUtah StateILB5Sr
FARonald ButlerUtah StateWR4Sr
FARichard
Turner
NevadaWR4Sr
FABroderick
Hekking
NevadaDE5Sr
FAKody AfusiaHawaiiG5Sr
FACharles
Garrett
NevadaCB5Sr
FASean
Shigematsu
HawaiiT5Sr
FAJavarie
Johnson
New MexicoOLB5Sr
FACrusoe
Gongbay
New MexicoRB4Sr
FASaqwan
Edwards
New MexicoCB5Sr