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
2-3 Kyler
Fackrell
Utah State OLB 4Jr
3rd Derron Smith Fresno State S 5Sr
3rd Joshua Harper Fresno State WR 5Sr
3rd Tyler
Sambrailo
Colorado St T 5Sr
4th Jay Ajayi Boise State RB 4Jr
4th Garrett
Grayson
Colorado St QB 4Sr
4th Cory James Colorado St OLB 4Jr
5th Darrell
Greene
San Diego St G 4Jr
5th Devante Davis UNLV WR 4Sr
5-6 Donte Deayon Boise State CB 3Jr
6th Ezell Ruffin San Diego St WR 5Sr
6th Cody Fajardo Nevada QB 5Sr
6th Kivon
Cartwright
Colorado St TE 5Sr
6th Trent
Matthews
Colorado St S 4Jr
6th Jamal Ellis Fresno State CB 3Jr
6-7 Kyrie Wilson Fresno State ILB 4Jr
7th Matt Miller Boise State WR 5Sr
7th Aaron Davis Colorado St ILB 4Sr
7-FA Brett Boyko UNLV T 4Sr
FA Mark Nzeocha Wyoming OLB 4Sr
FA Armand Nance Boise State DT 3Jr
FA Tyeler
Davison
Fresno State DT 5Sr
FA Bernard Blake Colorado St CB 5Sr
FA Wes
Schweitzer
San Jose St T 4Jr
FA Eddie
Yarbrough
Wyoming DE 5Sr
FA Terry Poole San Diego St T 4Sr
FA Deandre Jones Wyoming CB 4Sr
FA Jake Phillips UNLV TE 4Jr
FA Calen Friel Hawaii DT 4Jr
FA Travis Raciti San Jose St DT 5Sr
FA Patrick
Mertens
Wyoming DT 6Sr
FA Darian
Thompson
Boise State S 4Jr
FA Cody Wichmann Fresno State G 5Sr
FA Jack Lamm New Mexico G 3So
FA Walker Madden Wyoming T 5Sr
FA Jared Roberts Colorado St K 4Sr
FA Sonny
Puletasi
Wyoming OLB 5Sr
FA Bill Vavau Utah State G 4Sr
FA Karl
Mickelsen
Fresno State ILB 4Sr
FA Jalen
Claiborne
Wyoming WR 4Sr
FA Connor Rains Wyoming T 5Sr
FA Jeremy Ioane Boise State S 5Sr
FA Alex Wheat Utah State WR 4Sr
FA Dontrell
Onuoha
San Diego St DT 5Sr
FA Dominic
Rufran
Wyoming WR 4Sr
FA Joshua
Quezada
Fresno State RB 5Sr
FA Vince
Buhagiar
San Jose St ILB 5Sr
FA Vandrell
Sullivan
UNLV WR 5Sr
FA Moses Samia Hawaii DT 5Sr
FA Kyle Roberts Nevada T 5Sr
FA Bryan Larsen Utah State DE 5Sr
FA Corey Bell Boise State OLB 4Sr
FA Curtis Riley Fresno State CB 5Sr
FA Kevin Whimpey Utah State T 5Sr
FA Jamal Price New Mexico G 4Sr
FA Beau Yap Hawaii DE 5Sr
FA Charles
Keeton
Utah State QB 4Sr
FA Joey Iosefa Hawaii FB 5Sr
FA Zachary Vigil Utah State ILB 5Sr
FA Ronald Butler Utah State WR 4Sr
FA Richard
Turner
Nevada WR 4Sr
FA Broderick
Hekking
Nevada DE 5Sr
FA Kody Afusia Hawaii G 5Sr
FA Charles
Garrett
Nevada CB 5Sr
FA Sean
Shigematsu
Hawaii T 5Sr
FA Javarie
Johnson
New Mexico OLB 5Sr
FA Crusoe
Gongbay
New Mexico RB 4Sr
FA Saqwan
Edwards
New Mexico CB 5Sr