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Mel Kiper's too-early 2016 Big Board

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  • Nick
    Mel Kiper's Too-Early 2017 Big Board
    by Nick
    Mel Kiper's Too-Early 2017 Big Board
    May 11, 2016
    Mel Kiper Jr.

    In what has become an annual tradition, here's the too-early look at next year's (potential) NFL draft class.

    The quick audit on last year?

    Not too bad!

    Joey Bosa was at No. 1, and a number of other early picks were close by. Jared Goff was my No. 1 quarterback, Jalen Ramsey was my No. 1 option in the secondary and the top three tackle prospects were Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley and Jack Conklin, just the way I ended up. It could always be worse.

    A couple of notes on what you see below:

    1. I'm not going to be too scouting heavy here. My own reports on these guys are still half-formed at this point.
    2. I also have (too-early) rankings across every position group done and will publish those next week.

    With that said, here you go.

    An asterisk denotes a junior for the 2016 season. Two asterisks denotes a redshirt sophomore.

    1. *Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M Aggies
    The value of guys who can apply consistent pressure in a pass-happy league has never been higher -- did you catch the Super Bowl? -- and Garrett is that long edge monster all teams covet. He has 24 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss in two seasons.

    2. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama Crimson Tide
    On a per-snap basis, Williams is as disruptive as any player in America, and I think he would have easily been a first-rounder in the 2016 draft. The question is whether he can be as dominant when he's playing more snaps.

    3. *Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU Tigers
    Big, bruising, fast ... but let's keep an eye on the mileage. Fournette is a dynamic talent, that rare running back who generates excitement for teams drafting in Round 1. But he carried 300 times last season and is at 487 carries in two years. Will LSU use him up?

    4. *Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson Tigers
    Had he been available for the 2016 draft, Watson could have challenged Jared Goff to be the first quarterback taken. Sure, he's a gifted mover (1,105 rushing yards in 2015), but Watson is a very good passer; he can drive it down the field and displays consistent accuracy and touch.

    5. *Jamal Adams, S, LSU Tigers
    I had his dad, George, in the 1985 draft guide, and Jamal might be even better. He was the top safety in the country as a high school senior and has continued to dominate at LSU. He plays with tenacity and aggressiveness. He can cover, attack the line and has good ball skills.

    6. *Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State Spartans
    A versatile, highly athletic interior defender who can be moved anywhere along the line, McDowell has length and strength. And he was disruptive last season, piling up 13.0 tackles for loss. Sparty lost a lot of talent on the defensive line to the 2016 draft, so McDowell faces...
    -08-01-2016, 01:35 PM
  • Nick
    NFL Draft Scout 2015 Draft Previews
    by Nick
    2015 NFL Draft: Baylor Preview
    By Dane Brugler Senior Analyst
    May 30, 2014 11:01 am ET

    Since head coach Art Briles took control of the program, Baylor has produced 18 NFL Draft picks, including a handful of first rounders. The Bears had at least one top-100 draft pick each of the last five years, but that streak was snapped with the 2014 class, despite having five draft total picks. However there is an excellent chance for Baylor to have multiple top-100 draft choices in the 2015 NFL Draft class.

    A year ago, Baylor was unranked entering the season and picked to finish middle of the pack in the Big 12 before going 11-2 in 2013, including the first BCS bowl appearance in program history. But the Bears won't be sneaking up on anyone in 2014 as Briles' crew will likely start the season ranked in the top-15 with one of the top offenses in the country, including a passing attack that returns several playmakers. Quarterback Bryce Petty might have the most production of any passer this season, but his NFL future isn't easy to predict, largely due to the offense he runs at Baylor. Nonetheless, he has several traits that make him an appealing specimen for NFL scouts.

    Baylor's top NFL Draft-Eligible prospects to watch in 2014:

    1. OT Spencer Drango, RS Junior (6-5 | 315 | 5.10 | #58)
    One of the top offensive linemen in college football, Drango has an impressive NFL skill-set as the game appears to come very easily to him, showing similarities to Dallas Cowboys' 2014 first rounder Zach Martin in some areas. The Bears starting left tackle the last two seasons, he has an easy kickslide with a wide base and the fluid lower body movements to properly protect the pocket from speed or power rushers. Drango is always alert and rarely caught off guard with a high football IQ and overall awareness to process situations quickly. He has the stone hands to jolt with little resistance, displaying the balance to handle defenders and stay off the ground. Drango has very few holes to his game, but Nov. 2013 back surgery is a bright red flag and definitely something to monitor. If healthy and there are no long-term concerns, he has the overall ability to compete to be the top tackle drafted when he goes pro.

    2. DE Shawn Oakman, RS Junior (6-8 | 285 | 4.92 | #2)
    A freakish specimen on the hoof, Oakman is just scratching the surface of who he can be as a football player. He started his collegiate career at Penn State, but several off-field issues and poor academics led to his dismissal by then head coach Bill O'Brien. Tabbed as angry and troubled, but not a bad kid, Oakman transferred to Baylor, sitting out the 2012 season, and played a part-time role in 2013, finishing among the Big 12 leaders in tackles for loss (12.5). While leverage will always be an issue due to his height, he plays much lighter than he looks with burst off the ball to rush the...
    -06-01-2014, 10:23 AM
  • Nick
    CBS Sports Very Early 2018 Top 100 Prospects
    by Nick
    An incredibly early look at the top 100 prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft
    It's never too early to start looking ahead at next year's NFL Draft
    by Chris Trapasso

    While the 2017 NFL Draft is still fresh on our minds, it's never too early to start looking forward at next year's crop of standout prospects. Here are the guys you need to know to get you ready for the 2017 NCAA season and ultimately, the 2018 NFL Draft.

    1. Arden Key | DE | LSU | Junior
    At 6-foot-6 and just over 230 pounds, Key has plenty of room to grow into his gigantic frame. Even at sub-240 pounds in 2016, the Tigers sophomore had 55 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks after a freshman All-American season in 2015. If he adds some weight to his and builds on his first two seasons at LSU, Key is a prime candidate to go No. 1 overall.

    2. Sam Darnold | QB | USC | RS Sophomore
    Darnold shined in 13 starts as a redshirt freshman last season. He completed more than 67 percent of his passes with 31 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. And he ended the season on a high note. Darnold went bonkers in a crazy comeback victory in the Rose Bowl against Penn State. He threw for 453 yards with five touchdown passes and one pick. If he tightens up his delivery, and shows more consistency drifting in the pocket, he should be a top-three lock.

    3. Harold Landry | DE | Boston College | Senior
    Landry has everything NFL evaluators want in an edge-rushing specialist. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, he possesses quality outside linebacker size. The production is undoubtedly there too. Even as a sophomore in 2015, Landry had 16 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. In 2016, he led the ACC with 16.5 quarterback takedowns to go with 22 tackles for loss. With another big season, Landry will compete with Key to earn the No. 1 edge-rusher spot in the 2018 class.

    4. Mason Rudolph | QB | Oklahoma State | Senior
    Like Landry, Rudolph will check many boxes for NFL scouts and GMs. Firstly, he'll enter the 2018 draft with loads of experience. He's already started 29 games and thrown 958 passes. As far as efficiency, Rudolph's figures are stunning. He has 55 touchdowns to just 17 interceptions in his college career, including a 28/4 TD/INT ratio in 2016. Also, he's 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds and plays in the wide-open Big 12. A pure pocket passer with a strong arm, there's not much to dislike about Rudolph's game.

    5. Derwin James | S | Florida State | Junior
    A former five-star recruit with freakish athleticism, linebacker-esque hitting ability, and cornerback-like ball skills. That's a description of either former Florida State safety Jalen Ramsey or current Seminoles star Derwin James. At 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, James is enormous for the position. He's super-fluid on the field with quick play-recognition gifts, as evidenced by his 91 tackles as a true freshman in 2015. He missed most of 2016...
    -06-27-2017, 07:51 AM
  • Nick
    Gil Brandt's Top 150 NFL Draft Prospects
    by Nick
    Hot 150: Gil Brandt's top-ranked prospects for 2017 NFL Draft
    By Gil Brandt
    NFL Media senior analyst
    Published: April 17, 2017 at 01:42 p.m. Updated: April 17, 2017 at 01:56 p.m. 0 Likes | 0 Comments

    This is the 57th year I have produced rankings of NFL draft prospects. In the early years when I was with the Cowboys, we had only a fraction of the information we have today, with very few confirmed measurements and times for prospects.

    But that has all changed. I can now look at my database and pull the confirmed short-shuttle or three-cone time of the 947th-ranked prospect instantaneously ... and in a matter of seconds have on my computer screen in front of me all the third-down-and-short run plays he was involved in at his Div. III school.

    It makes an evaluator's job easier and harder at the same time. There's so much more to consider with the overload of information, but ultimately it's more accurate info, which should (in theory) make draft boards around the league more informed and precise.

    With that said, here are my "Hot 150" prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft.

    Myles Garrett - DE, Texas A&M
    Three-year player with the Aggies. Has long arms (35 1/4 inches) and is very strong (33 bench lifts at the combine). Had 31.0 career sacks at A&M, with only 12 coming against SEC competition. Can be a game-changer, but needs to learn pass-rush moves. Just turned 21 last December.

    Leonard Fournette - RB, LSU
    Three-year player at LSU. First player in Louisiana history to win national high school player of the year honors twice. Started six games in 2014, rushing for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns, with a 5.5-yard average. He also had a 26.0-yard average as a kick returner. Led nation in 2015 with 1,953 rushing yards (6.5-yard average) and 22 touchdowns, finishing sixth in Heisman voting. Suffered left ankle injury in 2016 fall camp and did not play well, finishing with 843 yards and eight TDs in seven games. In two career games vs. Alabama, rushed for just 66 yards. Very explosive runner. Had best 20-yard time of any running back at the combine. Looks like a linebacker when you meet him in person.

    Solomon Thomas - DE, Stanford
    Spent three years at Stanford, but only played two after being redshirted in 2014. Strong (30 bench lifts at combine) and explosive (35-inch vertical). Has great short-area quickness. Very tough. Outstanding character, intelligence and leadership skills; could one day hold political office if he so chooses. Best position could be left defensive end, but will be a very good tackle because of speed and quickness.

    Marshon Lattimore - CB, Ohio State
    Was at Ohio State for three years but missed 2014 season with a hamstring injury that required surgery. After limited play in 2015, started 12 games. Was targeted 35 times last season, with...
    -04-17-2017, 05:12 PM
  • Nick
    Kiper: Kevin White debuts on Big Board
    by Nick
    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...
    -10-23-2014, 04:21 AM