Ohio State has a lot on the line when they take on Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game. A win would likely give them a shot at the National Championship. However, this won’t be an easy task as Michigan State’s defense ranks as one of the best in the country.
Darqueze Dennard|/CB/Michigan State: Darqueze Dennard is quickly establishing himself as one of the better cornerback prospects in this draft. He’s a big and physical defender who excels in man coverage. Dennard loves to play near the line of scrimmage where he can use his size to disrupt the timing of the route and his speed to turn and run. The one concern I have surrounding Dennard’s game is his zone-coverage skills. He has a tendency to raise his pads in his backpedal and allow too much space. This is someone who will reach his full potential in a man system where he’s allowed to play on an island. 2nd Round
Carlos Hyde/RB/Ohio State: Carlos Hyde is just now starting to regain his positive draft stock which was hurt a little from this past offseason’s bar incident. Because of his size, many are quick to shoe-horn Hyde into the role as a power runner. Truth is he also has the burst needed to press the line and quickly get through the hole. Hyde will surprise some with his ability to cleanly change direction and accelerate. This is someone who has the potential to be an every-down back at the next level. Maybe the best combination of power and quickness in this year’s running back class. 2nd Round
Bradley Roby/CB/Ohio State: Bradley Roby entered the season with a lot of hype, but hasn’t really done much to help his stock. He’s still a physically talented player who features good quickness, long arms and a closing burst. However, he doesn’t consistently make impact plays. Roby is someone who could put together a nice highlight reel but when you take a closer look it’s easy to notice his lack of consistency. He remains in the day-two mix because of his athleticism, but he’ll need some good coaching to reach his full potential. 2nd Round
Ryan Shazier/OLB/Ohio State: Ryan Shazier is another Ohio State prospect who fits in the overrated section in my book. He’s a good athlete who flashes a ton of potential but just doesn’t consistently make big-time plays. Too often he can be found making tackles several yards down the field. Shazier needs to do a better job playing with toughness and taking on blocks at the line of scrimmage. On the positive side, Shazier’s athleticism gives him the potential to develop into a four-down player. He does a good job holding up in coverage and has flashed the timing needed to be an effective blitzer. I might be a little low on him as a prospect, but he has yet to show me that he’s a game-changing player. 3rd Round
Shilique Calhoun/DE/Michigan State: Shilique Calhoun is having a breakout season which has put him on the draft radar. He’s a good athlete who plays with a high motor. His length is a major factor in his ability to generate pressure on the quarterback. However, there are a few areas that standout as concerns. Calhoun is more of a straight line athlete who doesn’t show great suddenness. At the next level, he’ll need to be able to quickly change direction to consistently generate pressure and avoid becoming a one-trick pony. 3rd Round
Jack Mewhort/T/Ohio State: Jack Mewhort is a decent offensive tackle prospect who shows some athleticism, quickness and good effort. He has the ability to shuffle his feet and protect the edge against speed rushers. However, he has a tendency to play high which impacts his change of direction and makes him susceptible to inside counter moves. Mewhort’s limited strength is also a concern as he struggles generating a push in the running game. This is why he might be a better fit in a zone-blocking scheme where he can use his quickness to seal defenders from the play. 4th Round
Florida State expects this contest to be a stepping stone to the national title game. On the other hand Duke, one of the best stories in college football this season, is happy to be in this contest. We hope for a good game but as everyone knows, the scales are tilted in Florida State’s favor.
Cameron Erving/T/Florida State: Erving is the latest edition of top offensive tackle talent being developed in Tallahassee. The former defensive lineman has taken well to his new position, displaying terrific fundamentals and blocking prowess. He’s a strong lineman with a high upside yet Erving is still rough around the edges and needs a lot of work on his game. 2nd Round
Timmy Jernigan/DT/Florida State: Like Erving, Jernigan shows a lot of inconsistency in his game but for all the wrong reasons. Jernigan is a gifted athlete on the defensive line with the ability to impact games as a pass rusher, run stuffer or chasing the action in pursuit. He also comes with great upside like his teammate but Jernigan’s inability to elevate his game, in part due to a switch of positions, and consistently play at a high level has scouts concerned. If Jernigan is put in the proper system and meets his upper most potential, he’ll be dominant in the NFL. 2nd Round
Lamarcus Joyner/DB/Florida State: If Timmy Jernigan is not meeting expectations then Joyner has exceeded them. A short (5-feet, 8.5-inch) defensive back with marginal (4.54s) speed, Joyner constantly makes plays on the ball against the run and pass. He’s a hard charging defender who sacrifices his body to make plays but poor measurables will push him down draft boards and limit the types of schemes he can play at the next level. 3rd Round
Christian Jones/OLB/Florida State: The Seminoles highest rated senior prospect entering the season, Jones offers potential as a three down defender in the NFL. The athletic linebacker has the skill set to play in a variety of defensive systems and the speed to make plays out to the flanks or down the field in coverage. Its just a matter of Jones elevating his game and consistently playing at a high level. 3rd Round
Kelvin Benjamin/WR/Florida State: Benjamin is in the midst of a breakout season as the redshirt sophomore has displayed game breaking skills as well as the ability to be a lethal red-zone threat. He’s a big bodied pass catcher with better than average game speed and a developing game. As we reported during our December 3rd podcast, Benjamin is seriously considering leaving for the draft. And though he could end up as a top 45 pick, I find it hard to rate a player that high at this point with so much unknown about him. 3rd Round
Telvin Smith/LB/Florida State: Smith is a lot like Joyner; he lacks classic NFL measurables yet does nothing but positively impact games. The Seminoles leading tackler, Smith flies around the field, pursuing the action with speed sideline-to-sideline. He’s a chase and run linebacker with an explosive style. Built more like a safety, Smith is likely to be exposed by NFL tight ends on Sunday’s. 4th Round
James Wilder Jr./RB/Florida State: Once upon a time Wilder looked like a big time running back prospect yet he’s struggled to improve on the field and presently shares the ball carrying duties at FSU. Wilder is a nice sized back who shows some wiggle in his running and the ability to run around or through defenders. In 2013 he looked solid, yet not exceptional in any area. Wilder is in a precarious situation; if he returns to FSU he’ll be a situational player supporting star talent. Yet if he opts for the NFL, as is rumored, Wilder is unlikely to be selected prior to the draft’s last day. 4th Round
Stanford hopes to make a return trip to the Rose Bowl while Arizona State could be smelling roses for the first time in a while. The talent level on the Sun Devils roster is deficient compared to Stanford, yet both teams offer prospects that have caught the interest of NFL teams.
David Yankey/G/Stanford: David Yankey is a powerful offensive lineman who excels at driving defenders off the line of scrimmage. He uses a combination of leverage, inside hands, a quick first step and a powerful leg drive to consistently open running lanes. Yankey also has the balance, fluid movements and anchor to hold up in pass protection. He brings added value because of his past experience playing left tackle. While not his ideal fit, Yankey can fill in at tackle if an injury should occur at some point in the season. 1st Round
Will Sutton/DT/ Arizona State: Will Sutton doesn’t have great measurables, but he continues to produce on a consistent basis. He consistently wreaks havoc in the backfield and disrupts the timing of the offense. Sutton uses his snap awareness, explosive first step and violent hands to put himself in position to make plays. He’s also isn’t just a player who focuses on shooting the gap as he also has the strength and balance to anchor at the point of attack. Sutton can occupy blockers, disengage and make plays away from his frame. His motor is also something that needs to be mentioned. He is constantly in pursuit of the ball and giving 100% effort. 2nd Round
Carl Bradford/LB/Arizona State: Carl Bradford is a really interesting prospect because of his versatility. He has experience playing several positions including defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. The key to his overall draft stock will rely on what position NFL teams feel is his best fit. I personally would love to see Bradford used in a traditional linebacker role. He features the balance to hold up in coverage, the quickness to make plays from sideline to sideline and the instincts to diagnosis post-snap information. His ability to rush the passer is an added bonus because Bradford could fill a role similar to the one the Denver Broncos have carved out for Von Miller. 2nd Round
Shayne Skov/LB/Stanford: Shayne Skov is having a major bounce back season after dealing with a slow recover from a knee injury suffered two years ago. This return to form can be directly attributed to the fact he has regained much of his explosiveness. Skov is now able to make more plays from sideline to sideline and behind the line of scrimmage. He always featured a good feel for the position but now he’s able to reach the ball carrier much quicker. It’s also important to note that he looks more comfortable and confident on the field. His draft stock will be helped by the fact that he’s scheme versatile in that he fits in either a 3-4 or 4-3 attack. 3rd Round
Robert Nelson|/CB/Arizona State: Robert Nelson is flying under the radar and deserves more hype as a draft prospect. He’s an excellent athlete who features fluid movements, good long speed and the balance to quickly close on the football. While he doesn’t have great overall size, Nelson has long arms which he uses to attack the ball at its highest point. Nelson is a threat to generate turnovers because he quickly gets his head turned around to locate the ball and possesses good hands. This is a player who’ll fit in either a man or zone coverage. He has experience using a trail technique where his speed and ball skills come into play. His balance and quick burst are what helps him excel in zone coverage. Nelson also shows the instincts needed to read the quarterback and jump routes. 3rd Round
Trent Murphy|/DE-OLB/Stanford: Trent Murphy is one of those players who does everything well but nothing really spectacular. Stanford uses him in a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role where he’s asked to set the edge against the run and rush the passer. Murphy generates pressure on the quarterback thanks to his snap awareness, good hand usage and balance. The issue is that he doesn’t feature a great burst off the line or the second gear needed to close on the quarterback. There’s a spot at the next level for Murphy, but he might be one of those players a team is always looking to replace with a higher-upside player. 4th Round
Marion Grice/RB/Arizona State: Marion Grice is the type of running back who’ll fit in today’s NFL offenses that like to feature pass-heavy attack. He’s a terrific receiver out of the backfield and is committed to squaring his body in pass protection. As a runner, Grice does a great job picking his way through traffic and using his second gear to break off big chunks of yardage. The one negative surrounding Grice’s game at this point is that he doesn’t run with a ton of power. He’s also use to working in a spread offense where spacing creates some obvious running lanes. 4th Round
Josh Mauro/DE/Stanford: Josh Mauro is a strong and athletic defensive end prospect. His best fit at the next level will be as a five-technique in a 3-4 alignment. Mauro possesses the ability to set the edge against the run, play two-gap football and also generate some pressure on the quarterback. I have concerns about his change of direction skills which limit his potential as a pass rusher. 4th Round