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  • Kiper: Kevin White debuts on Big Board

    Kevin White debuts on Big Board
    West Virginia wide receiver makes his debut, while a top QB drops off
    Originally Published: October 22, 2014
    By Mel Kiper Jr.

    The biggest mover in this week's Big Board is Kevin White, the wide receiver out of West Virginia in the midst of a spectacular season. I just see a player who has made himself better. He has become a little bit stronger, wins more battles for the ball, and even looks more sudden in his movements than he did when he debuted for the Mountaineers last season after two years at the junior college level. There are some other changes, but White's addition is perhaps the most notable this week.

    I'll keep scouting reports consistent week to week throughout the season and only make changes regarding recent performances, unless my evaluation shifts. That said, let's dive back into "the process" and another season.

    An asterisk denotes a junior for the 2014 season; two asterisks denote a redshirt sophomore.

    1. *Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon Ducks
    Completing more than 70 percent of his throws, hasn't thrown an interception -- and that's with a mess along the offensive line. But this will help Mariota; he'll be more ready for NFL life. He combines above-average accuracy and anticipation with an ability to get through his progressions and elite athleticism. How well he can take apart a defense with tools other than his legs matters in terms of how he is viewed as a prospect, but his ability to throw on the run or to simply take off and pick up chunk yardage as a runner is a major plus.

    2. *Leonard Williams, DL, USC Trojans
    Provides impact wherever he lines up. Quick for his size, he can move all over and won't get pushed around when he's inside. At his size (6-foot-5, 290 pounds), he's a special athlete who could line up as a defensive end and drive a tackle back, or line up on the outside shoulder of a guard and create problems with power and quickness. He's the kind of disruptive, versatile lineman who can succeed in any system. A potential No. 1.

    3. *Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide
    Should hit 1,000 yards receiving this week. Crazy good season. He's neither a pure burner nor an impossible matchup threat given his size (6-1, 210 pounds), but there's nothing he doesn't do well. He separates with ease and also has a good sense of how to find space against a zone. Where he really stands out is his ability to make contested catches. His work rate is legendary down there and will be a big selling point.

    4. *Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska Cornhuskers
    Missed a lot of time early, but is now healthy, if not 100 percent. A super-athletic pass-rusher with a lean frame and exceptional quickness, he could be a 3-4 outside linebacker or add some weight and be useful in a 4-3 scheme. How well he can hold up at the point of attack, particularly against the run, will be an area scouts focus on, but in a passing league, the greater focus will be on continued development as a pass-rusher.

    5. *Shane Ray, DE, Missouri Tigers
    Has tackles for loss in every single game. He plays with tremendous energy, beats blockers in multiple ways and gets to the passer, so it's going to work out. What I like about Ray is he combines a relentless effort level with a range of pass-rushing moves. He's not just a speed-rusher off the edge; he'll get on the inside shoulder of a tackle and drive through, creating pressure from the inside. Super productive.

    6. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M Aggies
    Well, he can't play defense. A very good athlete, Ogbuehi has transitioned from right tackle to left tackle, just as Jake Matthews did out of Texas A&M. Right now he gets a higher grade as a pass-blocker, but he's no slouch when it comes to creating a push as a run-blocker.

    7. Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa Hawkeyes
    No changes with Scherff. He can be better in pass protection, but he's pretty good, and is the best run-blocker in the class. He uses a powerful base and quick feet to simply overpower defenders, and he can move well and line up blocks in space. He's nimble and simply needs to work on technique and use all his tools in the passing game.

    8. *Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor Bears
    He's still a work in progress, but he continues to disrupt so I'm betting high. Has basketball-center length at 6-9, but also packs on more than 280 pounds, which he carries well, and it has allowed him to drive blockers. When he gets his long arms extended into blockers (or in passing lanes), he can shed quickly. How Oakman is used will be a question, but the former Penn Stater is a tantalizing specimen and is beginning to come into his own.

    9. *Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia Bulldogs
    Unstoppable when he has played, averaging more than 8 yards per carry, and I'm not knocking him here for not playing. I rank Gurley higher than he'll probably be drafted, given the way the NFL values running backs, but he could at least go in Round 1. He's a powerful runner with the ability to run away from a defense. When Gurley gets past the line of scrimmage, watch out. He can run high, which raises durability concerns that will certainly play into his draft stock.

    10. **Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia Bulldogs
    Has had a sack a week for the past month. A green but talented young player with great range against the run and the ability to blow away blockers with his first step and overall athleticism, but he's also undersized (6-4, 230 pounds), and evaluators will key on his ability to hold up and play with leverage. He profiles as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the ability to both rush the passer and drop into space and cover. Not a finished product.

    11. *Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford Cardinal
    Stanford has been disappointing, but I think Peat has played well for the most part. He's both powerful and nimble, with the ability to drive a defender back in the run game and the exceptional length and above-average footwork you look for from a pass-blocker.

    12. *Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin Badgers
    He's getting the ball a lot lately, which is a concern, but he has been exceptional. Gordon is an easy accelerator, and he cuts with explosiveness and little wasted motion. He'll miss a hole here and there in search of a bigger lane, but he has good vision, isn't afraid of contact, and has breakaway speed when he gets in space. Here's hoping health doesn't become an issue because of the workload.

    13. *Landon Collins, S, Alabama Crimson Tide
    Super versatile, he's what every NFL coach wants right now. He has been crucial this season because Bama's actually pretty weak elsewhere in the secondary. Collins can play deep -- making good reads and taking the right angle to the ball -- and also has the ability to line up close to the line of scrimmage and run with tight ends. A strong tackler, Collins is fearless in taking on running backs but shows good technique and doesn't just throw himself at the ball.

    14. **Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State Seminoles
    I initially dropped Winston a little too far based on a lot of initial feedback regarding his suspension earlier in the season, and him being here reflects that. But the off-field issues will matter a great deal during the draft process, no question. He needs time to prove doubters wrong. He has special instincts for a QB, and good training is obvious. Winston's natural gifts are clear -- size, arm strength, athleticism -- but so is the ability to manipulate the pocket, see pressure early and deliver the ball to the right target. Consistency with ball placement and timing is an area that will need to improve.

    15. Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson Tigers
    I've had Beasley in this range all year and he has played well. He offers great quickness and closing speed as a pass-rusher, and he's really impressive when he creates any space. Where he can struggle is when a good blocker gets his hands on him and forces him to play with leverage and counter. He can be highly disruptive, however, and has been in 2014.

    16. Danny Shelton, DT, Washington Huskies
    Shelton isn't a gap penetrator, but can shove his way into the backfield with strength. Shelton isn't "quick" but he does move pretty well for a huge man and is something of a clogger-plus. A massive defensive tackle at nearly 340 pounds, Shelton does have some ability to disrupt and good instincts in his ability to find the ball.

    17. La'el Collins, OT, LSU Tigers
    A big, powerful tackle with good length and the ability to really drive people backward in the run game, Collins could have entered the draft last year but he came back and I think he has showed improvement. A definite first-round talent now, he's another player you could see drafted and moved inside to guard if a team wants to get him on the field right away. He started there all of his sophomore season.

    18. *Shaq Thompson, OLB, Washington Huskies
    Keeps finding ways to affect the game. Thompson is undersized as an outside linebacker, and in some ways is position-less still, but he's an extraordinary athlete. The key for Thompson is to be able to play in space because he can get eaten up if a good blocker gets him engaged. But he's an effective tackler and playmaker, which is saying something for a guy who has played safety, running back and cornerback.

    19. DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville Cardinals
    Has great length, long arms, good hops, and a strong, chiseled, lean frame that will remind some of A.J. Green, and it all adds up to a guy with a huge catch radius. He'll make plays down the field, and he's good with the ball in his hands. He has played in really only one game so far this season due to a broken foot he suffered in August, but appears no worse for wear.

    20. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia Mountaineers
    Debuts on the Big Board after piling up huge numbers this season. White lacks elite quick-twitch explosiveness, but he's able to create space, and has good length at 6-3, the ability to make the contested catch, and he has been far more consistent with his hands. To me, he also looks stronger than he was last season, and I think it has made him a little faster. Last year was his first at WVU after transferring from Lackawanna College, a junior college program in Pennsylvania.

    21. *Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State Spartans
    Was a beast against Indiana last week, and we're all looking forward to Nov. 8 against Ohio State. Calhoun has impressive quickness and the ability to close in a hurry when he creates space as a pass-rusher, and has the look of a lanky defender who would specialize in getting upfield quickly, but he also shows plenty of strength and leverage against the run.

    22. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon Ducks
    Nothing new -- he has been steady. An explosive, quick-twitch mover, he's agile out of his backpedal, closes fast on anything in front of him, and he moves without wasted motion, allowing him to stick with really quick receivers. He's fearless in run support, too. Would have challenged to be among the top corners taken in the most recent draft. Stay healthy!

    23. *Marcus Peters, CB, Washington Huskies
    Has a chance to be the first CB taken were the draft this week. A very good athlete with good size for the position and top-of-the-charts ball skills, Peters has developed into arguably the top CB in the Pac-12 along with the guy in front of him here. He has played well so far in 2014 when he's been able to stay on the field -- the coaches made him sit out the Illinois game -- so coachability will be something to watch, but he's a competitor.

    24. *Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State Sun Devils
    Like the other WRs on this list, nobody has been able to cover him. He has great size and can make catches when covered. He has a willingness to attack the ball and use strong hands to catch almost anything thrown his way, even against contact. He's not a burner -- you see a little Mike Evans -- but when he's moving, he's plenty fast.

    25. *Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State Spartans
    Waynes has the potential to be the equal to Darqueze Dennard if he plays up to his potential, and you can see why. He's a playmaker who will jump routes and has good ball skills. He has a tendency to dive a bit near the line of scrimmage in attacking the ball carrier, but added strength could fix that approach.


  • #2
    Re: Kiper: Kevin White debuts on Big Board

    Kevin White reminds me a lot of Larry Fitzgerald. Admittedly, White is a Sr instead of a So, but I'd be more than a little surprised if he's available at 20.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Kiper: Kevin White debuts on Big Board

      Lots of potential picks at OLB, which I imagine the Rams would be thinking about. Only one top S, which the fans probably want. I'd be happy with another OL myself.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Kiper: Kevin White debuts on Big Board

        Im not sold on true franchise QBs in this draft in the 1st round.

        Kevin White..... well the only knock Im thinking here is that this team has gone to WV lots for offensive talent and has not much to show from it.

        If any year we need 2 1st rounders it is this upcoming year, as we still need players we should have addressed by using the last 2 drafts.

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