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Gil Brandt's Hot 100: Laremy Tunsil is top prospect in 2016 NFL Draft

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  • Gil Brandt's Hot 100: Laremy Tunsil is top prospect in 2016 NFL Draft

    Hot 100: Laremy Tunsil is top prospect in 2016 NFL Draft
    By Gil Brandt
    NFL Media senior analyst
    Published: April 18, 2016 at 01:08 p.m. Updated: April 19, 2016 at 01:48 p.m. 848 Likes | 45 Comments

    This is the 56th year that I have done rankings of NFL draft prospects. In the early years, from 1960-66, we put together a pre-fall rankings because from 1960 until the first common draft in 1967, the draft took place on the first Monday after Thanksgiving Day (for example, the 1966 draft took place on Nov. 27, 1965).

    In those days, we had about one percent of the information on prospects that we have today. Back then, there were not a lot of confirmed heights, weights and speed times that we have access to today.

    Prior to 1960, interest in the draft was almost nonexistent. At the 1964 draft, which was held on Dec. 2, 1963, we had less than 10 media personnel attend. This year, according to Greg Aiello of NFL PR, the league will issue around 1,700 credentials to media from around the world.

    Here are my Hot 100 prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft.

    1. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
    Tunsil (6-foot-6, 310 pounds, no 40 time) missed seven games during the 2015 season. In the six games that Tunsil did start, he didn't allow a sack, was called for one holding penalty and three false starts. Tunsil will play in the NFL for many years at a high level.

    2. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
    Ramsey (6-1 1/4, 209, 4.41 40) was a three-year starter for the Seminoles, and started 14 games as a true freshman (three at cornerback and 11 at safety). He was the first true freshman since Deion Sanders in 1985 to start at cornerback for FSU.

    3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
    Elliott (5-11 3/4, 4.47 40) rushed for 1,800-plus yards the previous two seasons. In the national championship win over Oregon, Elliott rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He's a very good blocker with plus-type hands. Elliott is durable, very competitive and smart. He will be a very strong candidate to be the NFL's offensive rookie of the year in 2016.

    4. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
    Bosa (6-5 5/8, 274, 4.75 40) worked out better at Ohio State's pro day than he did at the NFL Scouting Combine. He father -- John Bosa -- and uncle -- Eric Kumerow -- were both first-round draft picks of the Miami Dolphins. Bosa had 26 sacks over three seasons at Ohio State.

    5. Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA
    Jack (6-1, 243, no 40 time) has not yet run the 40-yard dash for scouts, but had a good pro-day workout on March 15 (40-inch vertical and 10-foot-4 broad jump). Jack played just 140 snaps before going down with an injury early in the 2015 season. Jack is an outstanding athlete who could also play safety or all three linebacker positions. Jack will be a Week 1 starter in the NFL.

    6. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
    Buckner (6-7 1/4, 286, 5.05 40) was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 after finishing the season with 10.5 sacks. He was a two-time team captain at Oregon. Buckner has big hands (11 3/4 inches), long arms (34 3/8 inches) and performed 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at Oregon's pro day. Buckner has a tendency to play too high at times.

    7. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
    Wentz (6-5 1/4, 237, 4.77 40) didn't start at NDSU until 2014. He missed eight games in 2015 with an injury, but returned for the FCS Championship Game and was voted its most outstanding player. Wentz is very smart and has a lot of upside.

    8. Jared Goff, QB, California
    Goff (6-4, 215, 4.82 40) started 37 games in three seasons at Cal, and had 96 touchdown passes. He didn't have a good team around him, and was often plagued by poor offensive line play (he was sacked 86 times in his college career). He had a poor game against Utah last season, throwing five interceptions. Goff threw 43 touchdown passes in 2015, which were good for third in FBS.

    9. Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
    Stanley (6-5 3/4, 312, 5.2 40) has 35 5/8-inch arms. He made 39 starts over three seasons, including two games as a true freshman in 2012 before getting injured. He allowed just two sacks, three holding calls and four false starts on 750 plays during the 2015 season.

    10. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
    Conklin (6-5 3/4, 308, 5.0 40) was a walk-on and redshirted at Michigan State. He went on to make 38 starts for the Spartans. Conklin has played both left and right tackle, but his best position might be at guard. He's very tough and competitive. Conklin should be a starter in the NFL for a long time.

    11. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
    Rankins (6-1 1/8, 299, 5.03 40) made 26 starts over the past two years. Rankins is a very athletic and active player, but not very big; he has everything but size. Rankins has good short-area quickness and burst, and looked good in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl.

    12. Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
    Floyd (6-5 5/8, 248, 4.6 40) is a very good athlete. He had 4 1/2 sacks and 69 tackles in 2015 for the Bulldogs. Floyd looks better than he plays, but has great upside and some team will get that talent out of him. Floyd might play defensive end because of his speed and burst.

    13. A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
    Robinson (6-3 5/8, 307, 5.2 40) is a big man with power who also moves well. Robinson played both tackle and end at Alabama, and also played 139 snaps on special teams. As a five-star recruit in high school, Robinson excelled on both sides of the ball.

    14. Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
    Hargreaves (5-10 1/2, 204, 4.50 40) made 37 starts at cornerback for the Gators. In 2015, Hargreaves was targeted 48 times, and he allowed one touchdown and had four interceptions. Hargreaves will be an NFL starter and play for a long time.

    15. Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
    Lee (6-0 3/4, 232, 4.47 40) was a high school quarterback who played just two seasons at Ohio State. He is very athletic and can play in space. Some team might draft Lee and try to make him into a safety.

    16. Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
    Dodd (6-5, 277, 4.86 40) has a breakout season in 2015 and was outstanding in the national championship game against Alabama, registering three sacks and five tackles for loss. Dodd has good quickness to be a productive pass rusher. He plays hard and has a good bend.

    17. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
    Coleman (5-10 3/4, 194, 4.38 40) has outstanding physical tools. In 2015, he had 74 receptions and 20 touchdowns. Coleman can also return kickoffs. He lacks big hands. Also, Baylor does not run a lot of pass routes, so it might take Coleman some time to excel.

    18. Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
    Ragland (6-1 1/4, 242, 4.72 40) stayed in school for a fourth season and it shows. He's a very competitive middle 'backer, but did play some snaps with his hand in the ground.

    19. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
    Decker (6-7, 310, 5.15 40) made 42 starts at Ohio State, including 14 at right tackle and 28 at left tackle. In 2015, Decker had allowed just one sack, had one holding call and allowed four quarterback pressures in 606 snaps. Decker was also a very good high school basketball player and could have gone to a MAC school to play the sport. He should be able to play left tackle in the NFL.

    20. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
    Lynch (6-6 5/8, 244, 4.86 40) started 38 games and finished with a 22-16 record. Watch Memphis' upset of Ole Miss for the best of Lynch; watch the game against Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl for his worst. Lynch did well at Memphis' pro day. He has a strong arm, is a good athlete, and might need some time to develop. Lynch does have a chance to be special.

    21. Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
    Reed (6-2 7/8, 307, 5.2 40) is very strong and competitive. He played very well against the run, and had 53 tackles last season. Reed is a never-give-up type of player. He can play both defensive end and tackle.

    22. Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
    Butler (6-3 5/8, 323, 5.17 40) had a very good week at the Senior Bowl. He's a young player (just 21 years old), but is very strong and can push the pocket. He competes on every play. Butler will start on Day 1 in the NFL.

    23. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
    Nkemdiche (6-3 1/2, 294, 4.87 40) was a three-year player for the Rebels who started 10 games as a true freshman. He has Warren Sapp-like ability. Nkemdiche has great power. If he can stay out of trouble, he will be a very good player.

    24. Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
    Lawson (6-2 5/8, 269, 4.7 40) has not yet lifted due to a left shoulder problem. He recorded 12.5 sacks last season.

    25. Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
    Kelly (6-4, 311, 4.93 40) is a very good and smart player who made 36 starts at Alabama. He didn't allow a sack or get called for holding in 2015. Kelly will be a first-game starter in the NFL and play in the league for a long time.

    26. Keanu Neal, S, Florida
    Neal (6-0 1/2, 211, 4.59 40) was very good against the run and will be average against the pass. His brother, Clinton Hart, played seven seasons in the NFL. Neal will be a great special teams player, and I think he will be a surprise with his play.

    27. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
    Fuller (6-0 1/8, 186, 4.32 40) had the fastest 40 time among receivers at the combine. He's a straight-line runner who needs to work on his route-running. Fuller is thinly built and had a lot of dropped passes. You can coach him to be a better route-runner and pass-catcher, but you can't coach speed.

    28. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
    Treadwell (6-2, 221, 4.63 40) has the size you want and is a lot like former Dallas Cowboys receiver and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. Treadwell plays faster than his timed speed. He has very strong hands and toughness for the position; he will block. Treadwell will fight for the ball. He wants to be good, but will he work as hard as Irvin did as a player?

    29. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
    Doctson (6-2, 202, 4.5 40) ran a faster 10-yard time than world-class sprinter and teammate Kolby Listenbee. Doctson has excellent ball skills. He was also an excellent basketball player in high school. Doctson missed the final three games of the 2015 season with a wrist injury. He's fine now, and will catch a lot of passes for some NFL team.

    30. Kamalei Correa, DE, Boise State
    Correa (6-2 5/8, 243, 4.69 40) is a very good athlete who plays hard on every down. Correa's best position might be outside linebacker in a 3-4 base defense. He is a lot like former Seattle Seahawks and current Oakland Raiders defensive end Bruce Irvin.

    31. William Jackson III, CB, Houston
    Jackson (6-0 3/8, 189, 4.37 40) has man coverage skills, as well as the size and speed you'd want. He is very good in press coverage. He had 24 passes defensed in 2015, which was the best in FBS last year.

    32. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
    Henry (6-2 5/8, 247, 4.54 40) is a power runner with good hands. He had 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns rushing in his Heisman Trophy season of 2015, including four 200-yard-plus rushing games (only Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson had previously done that in the SEC).

    33. Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
    Henry (6-4 7/8, 250, 4.66 40) is a very good athlete who needs to get stronger and become a better blocker. He ran very well at Arkansas' pro day, and has good hands. Henry had no drops last season and has an ability to get open.

    34. Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
    Spriggs (6-6 5/8, 301, 4.94 40) has 34-inch arms and athletic ability. He started 47 games for the Hoosiers. Spriggs has very good feet, but needs to be tougher.

    35. Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
    Joseph (5-9 5/8, 205, no 40 time) was a four-year starter for the Mountaineers, but suffered a knee injury during his final season. That will prevent Joseph from working out before the draft, but he expects to be ready in time for training camp. Joseph is a hitter who also has coverage ability.

    36. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
    Ogbah (6-4 1/4, 273, 4.63 40) has the speed needed to be a special pass rusher. He posted 13 sacks in 2015. He also has very long arms (35 1/2 inches). Ogbah needs to be better against the run.

    37. Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
    Apple (6-0 5/8, 199, 4.37 40) has the size needed for the position, but is not the best against the run. He was the defensive MVP in Ohio State's win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Apple has very good quickness and catches the ball well.

    38. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
    Alexander (5-10 3/8, 190, 4.47 40) has the speed and quickness needed for the position. He does a lot of trash talking, and has not had an interception in two years. However, he has not given up a touchdown pass in two years as a starter.

    39. Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
    Shepard (5-10 1/4, 194, 4.48 40) will be an excellent slot receiver in the NFL. He was a three-year starter for the Sooners, and also can be a punt returner. Whoever drafts Shepard will be very glad that they did.

    40. Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois
    Ward (6-5 1/8, 297, 5.11 40) was a high school wide receiver and safety. He's very raw, but has great upside. He will be a starter by his second NFL season and he'll play well.

    41. Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
    Jones (6-5 3/4, 310, 5.03 40) has very good athletic ability. He has the ability to dominate, but does not always play hard. If Jones can play hard on every play, he has a chance to be special.

    42. Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State
    Johnson (6-4 3/8, 314, 5.32 40) is very good against the run because of his lower-body strength. Johnson was also a very good high school basketball player. He plays faster than his timed speed.

    43. Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
    Whitehair (6-3 3/4, 301, 5.08 40) has started 51 games, playing left and right tackle, and left and right guard. Whitehair could also play center. He will play well and for a long time in the NFL.

    44. Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
    Clark (6-2 5/8, 314, 5.06 40) plays with good leverage and body control. He plays with power, but his production fell off late last season.

    45. T.J. Green, S, Clemson
    Green (6-2 1/2, 209, 4.34 40) was a wide receiver before moving to safety; he didn't have good enough hands for the receiver position. He's very athletic, but needs to get stronger and lacks instincts for the position. Green is a very good special teams player.

    46. Germain Ifedi, OG, Texas A&M
    Ifedi (6-5 7/8, 324, 5.27 40) has 36-inch arms and is a very big man who has played both right guard and right tackle. Ifedi has a lot of upside, but needs to cut down on his penalties.

    47. Jonathan Bullard, DT, Florida
    Bullard (603, 285, 4.93 40) has played both defensive end and tackle. His best position is at end. He's an athletic player with good strength.

    48. Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
    Bell (5-10 3/4, 199, 4.5 40) is a very good athlete who is good against the run and in pass coverage. Bell plays fast and has the ability to start in his first NFL season.

    49. Su'a Cravens, OLB, USC
    Cravens (6-0 3/4, 226, 4.64 40) is this draft class' version of Shaq Thompson, who was a first-round selection of the Carolina Panthers in 2015. Cravens is a very competitive player, but he is a prospect without a true position.

    50. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
    Boyd (6-1 1/2, 197, 4.5 40) ran better at Pittsburgh's pro day than at the NFL Scouting Combine. He is a very good route-runner, and made 254 catches in three seasons. Boyd also brings an ability to return kickoffs and punts. He has outstanding hands.

    51. Darian Thompson, S, Boise State (6-1 7/8, 206, 4.69 40)
    52. Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor (6-0 5/8, 311, 5.05 40)
    53. Devontae Booker, RB, Utah (5-10 3/4, 219, no 40 time)
    54. Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska (6-1 7/8, 311, 5.03 40)
    55. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (5-11 1/2, 187, no 40 time)
    56. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (6-4, 217, 4.79 40)
    57. Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (6-2, 212, 4.57 40)
    58. Sean Davis, CB, Maryland (6-1, 201, 4.46 40)
    59. Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia (6-2 5/8, 259, 4.8 40)
    60. Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford (6-3 5/8, 254, 4.71 40)

    61. Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford (6-4 3/8, 312, 5.32 40)
    62. Evan Boehm, C, Missouri (6-2 1/8, 302, 5.33 40)
    63. C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame (6-0 5/8, 220, 4.48 40)
    64. Jacoby Brissett, QB, North Carolina State (6-3 1/2, 230, 4.93 40)
    65. Deion Jones, OLB, LSU (6-0 7/8, 221, 4.41 40)
    66. Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (6-2 1/2, 251, 4.8 40)
    67. Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma (5-10 7/8, 181, 4.49 40)
    68. Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech (6-5 1/4, 316, 5.16 40)
    69. Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State (6-6 1/8, 255, 4.87 40)
    70. Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State (6-0, 207, no 40 time)

    71. Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana (6-0 1/8, 223, 4.59 40)
    72. Max Tuerk, C, USC (6-5, 298, no 40 time)
    73. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State (6-4 3/8, 251, 4.82 40)
    74. Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona State (6-3 1/8, 298, 5.17 40)
    75. Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State (6-1 3/8, 201, 4.5 40)
    76. Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas (6-3 3/8, 303, 5.02 40)
    77. Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State (6-5, 245, 4.72 40)
    78. Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn (6-5 1/2, 307, no 40 time)
    79. Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Maryland (6-2, 252, 4.75 40)
    80. Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech (5-10 1/8, 215, 4.58 40)

    81. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (6-2 1/4, 226, 4.79 40)
    82. Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah (6-1 7/8, 217, 4.65 40)
    83. DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, William & Mary (6-0 3/4, 201, 4.54 40)
    84. Isaac Seumalo, OG, Oregon State (6-3 7/8, 303, 5.19 40)
    85. Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan (6-4 1/2, 321, 5.28 40)
    86. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State (6-4 3/8, 223, 4.78 40)
    87. Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor (6-0 1/8, 201, 4.43 40)
    88. Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State (5-10 3/4, 182, no 40 time)
    89. Joshua Perry, ILB, Ohio State (6-3 3/4, 254, 4.68 40)
    90. Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, West Virginia (6-2, 243, 4.73 40)

    91. Nick Martin, OG, Notre Dame (6-4 1/8, 299, 5.02 40)
    92. Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama (5-9 7/8, 197, 4.47 40)
    93. Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU (6-5 5/8, 305, 5.23 40)
    94. Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU (6-5 1/4, 326, 5.57 40)
    95. Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech (6-4 1/2, 293, no 40 time)
    96. Blake Martinez, ILB, Stanford (6-1 5/8, 237, 4.71 40)
    97. Joe Dahl, OG, Washington State (6-4 1/8, 304, 5.18 40)
    98. Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame (6-0 1/2, 293, 5.07 40)
    99. Artie Burns, CB, Miami (Fla.) (5-11 7/8, 193, 4.4 40)
    100. Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU (6-0, 197, 4.37 40)

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  • Nick
    Gil Brandt's Hot 100 + 40: Leonard Williams top prospect in 2015 NFL Draft
    by Nick
    Hot 100 + 40: Leonard Williams top prospect in 2015 NFL Draft
    By Gil Brandt
    NFL Media senior analyst
    Published: April 23, 2015 at 02:15 p.m. Updated: April 23, 2015 at 07:21 p.m. 48 Likes | 10 Comments

    Every NFL draft is a little bit different. While this year's class probably doesn't have as many elite players at the top as we've seen in previous years, there will be a lot of very good players from the middle of the first round to the middle of the second, starting from about No. 12 on my Hot 100 rankings to about No. 50. That tier of players is probably a better group this year than it was last year. In particular, there's a very strong group of wide receivers and running backs this year.

    In addition, I believe the top three players in my rankings each have the ability to be perennial Pro Bowl players.

    Without further ado, here are my Hot 100 prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft. The 40-yard-dash times listed below were hand-timed.

    1. Leonard Williams, DL, USC
    A three-year player, Williams (6-4 5/8, 302 pounds, 4.91 40) is a special athlete who totaled six sacks in the 2014 season along with 76 tackles and 22 quarterback pressures.

    2. Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida
    Fowler (6-2 5/8, 261 pounds, 4.56 40), a three-year player from Florida, can play standing up or with his hand on the ground. He had 8.5 sacks and 60 tackles last season.

    3. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
    Of Cooper's (6-0 7/8, 211 pounds, 4.31 40) 124 catches last season, 77 of them went for first downs, and he had 16 touchdowns. He had six drops, including four vs. LSU.

    4. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
    White (6-2 5/8, 215 pounds, 4.27 40) played two seasons at West Virginia and broke out with 109 catches and 10 touchdowns as a senior. Of his 163 targets, he had just five drops.

    5. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
    Winston (6-3 3/4, 231 pounds, 4.91 40) redshirted as a freshman and played only two years, but he's very smart and has a good football IQ. Last season he completed 305 of 467 passes, with 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

    6. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
    Gurley (6-0 5/8, 222 pounds, no 40 time) will have to be medically cleared from his knee injury. Before he was hurt last season, he rushed for 911 yards on 123 carries (7.4-yard average) with nine touchdowns. He will block and can catch out of the backfield.

    7. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
    A three-year player, Mariota (6-foot-3 3/4, 222 pounds, 4.43 40) does not call plays or take the ball under center, but he averaged 9 yards per play and had a 42-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

    8. Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
    Scherff (6-4 5/8, 319 pounds, 5.00 40) is a four-year player who has great punch and was well coached at Iowa. He's very much like Zack Martin...
    -04-26-2015, 05:11 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, 04:12 PM
  • Nick
    2015 NFL Draft: Week 2 Prospect Preview
    by Nick
    2015 NFL Draft: Week 2 Prospect Preview
    By Dane Brugler | Senior Analyst
    September 4, 2014 12:16 pm ET

    Although the slate of action for week two of the college football season isn't as monumental as last week, there are a handful of pivotal match-ups that will help shape the college playoffs, led by Michigan State traveling west to play Oregon. These two programs have played four times in the past with the home team winning each match-up, another factor that favors the Ducks. However, the Michigan State defense is comparable to Stanford's, which has shut down the Oregon offense the past two years.


    QB MARCUS MARIOTA, rJR, Oregon (6-4 | 215 | 4.52 | #8)
    The early favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Mariota is the ideal quarterback orchestrating the Oregon offense with his intelligence, athleticism and tools as a passer. He is a quick thinker and diagnoses the action with a calm demeanor, swift eyes and light feet in the pocket to feel his way around the noise, extending the pocket or picking up yards on the ground with his gazelle speed. Mariota has a tendency to stare down his targets at time, but he throws well on the run with excellent field vision and the arm talent to spray passes to all levels of the field. Michigan State's aggressive defense will be an excellent test for Mariota's anticipation and ability to manipulate defenders.

    DE SHILIQUE CALHOUN, rJR, Michigan State (6-4 | 257 | 4.72 | #89)
    A year ago at this time, the Spartans pass rush was a question mark, but Calhoun emerged as one of the top up-and-coming defensive ends in the country in 2013. He finished with a team-best 7.5 sacks last season and notched his first sack of the 2014 campaign last week. Calhoun bends well off the edge with natural flexibility and coordination in space to easily change directions, something that will be tested when Oregon threatens the edges. Calhoun needs to develop a functional power element to his game and his snap anticipation and technique are both underdeveloped, but the unpolished skill-set shows a lot of promise and facing an athletic and versatile offense will be an excellent test.

    CB IFO EKPRE-OLOMU, SR, Oregon (5-9 | 195 | 4.46 | #14)
    Arguably the top cover cornerback in all of college football, Ekpre-Olomu is widely considered the top senior defensive NFL prospect by several in the scouting community. He has many of the requisite skills to survive in both press and off-man, displaying quick diagnose skills, twitchy reaction time and the athleticism to break on the ball. Ekpre-Olomu shows swivel hips, smooth footwork and explosive lower body skills to close in a hurry on the ball. He lacks ideal strength and build and can be easily tied up by blockers on the perimeter, but he doesn't shy from throwing his body around in run defense. Ekpre-Olomu vs. Michigan State's Tony Lippett will...
    -09-04-2014, 03:23 PM
  • Nick
    Brandt's Top 125: Manziel leads the pack
    by Nick
    Hot 100 + 25: Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney lead draft class
    By Gil Brandt
    NFL Media senior analyst
    Published: April 24, 2014 at 11:52 a.m.
    Updated: April 24, 2014 at 07:56 p.m.

    With the draft officially two weeks away, I've updated my list of this year's top prospects to include 75 more names, from Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron to Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp at No. 125.

    Several names that had previously dropped out of my top 50 make a reappearance on the bigger list, obviously. You'll also notice that the player I listed as my draft wildcard in my previous rankings has now cracked the top 25.

    Here's take three of my prospect rankings, otherwise known as my Hot 100 plus 25.

    1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
    Manziel (5-foot-11 3/4, 205 pounds) is a unique athlete who produced 10,000 yards of offense in two seasons with the Aggies. I had his 40 timed at 4.56 seconds at the combine. He's a very smart player and has great vision at quarterback.

    2. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
    Clowney (6-foot-5 1/4, 266 pounds) did not play well in his last season, but he has great talent and is an outstanding athlete with speed -- he was clocked at 4.47 seconds (hand-timed) in his combine 40.

    3. Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
    Mack (6-foot-2 5/8, 251 pounds) is the real deal. He broke Kansas City Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson's NCAA career record for forced fumbles. In 2013, he had 10.5 sacks and three interceptions and was especially impressive against Ohio State in the season opener, posting nine tackles and 2.5 sacks. He ran a hand-timed 4.62-second 40 at the combine and posted a 40-inch vertical.

    4. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
    A third-year player, Robinson (6-foot-5, 332 pounds) played guard in high school in Louisiana and redshirted in 2011 before starting 24 games the past two years. He ran the 40 in 4.84 seconds (hand-timed) and had 32 reps in the bench press.

    5. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
    Matthews (6-foot-5 1/2, 308 pounds) stayed in school for his fourth year and learned the left tackle position. He can also play guard or tackle and is a good pass blocker. At the combine, he ran a hand-timed 4.91-second 40 and had 24 reps on the bench press.

    6. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
    Watkins (6-0 3/4, 202 pounds) is a very strong receiver with great speed -- he ran a hand-timed 4.34-second 40 at the combine. He had a great first year in 2011, when he had 82 catches and 12 TDs and averaged 25 yards per kickoff return, then missed three games in an up-and-down sophomore season. The highlight of his 2013 campaign -- in which he had 101 catches and 12 touchdowns -- was a 16-catch, 227-yard performance against Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. He finished his college career with 240 catches.

    7. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
    Evans (6-foot-4 3/4, 231 pounds) is a mismatch for...
    -04-26-2014, 04:49 AM
  • Nick
    Kiper's final 2018 NFL draft Big Board
    by Nick
    Kiper's final 2018 NFL draft Big Board and position rankings
    7:48 AM ET
    Mel Kiper Jr.
    Football analyst

    The 2018 NFL draft is here -- and now we can finally figure out where all of these quarterbacks are going.

    Below are my "final" Big Board and "final" position rankings for the class of 2018. I'm putting "final" in quotation marks because I'll be making a few tweaks up until the draft begins (Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and the ESPN app, in case you were wondering). I'll be talking to more sources and adjusting my rankings based on what I hear. And remember, my Big Board is not a prediction of where prospects will be drafted, only where I have them ranked.

    Notable: My Big Board goes to 300 prospects, and my position rankings cover more than 700. But it's important to note that the cutoff for undrafted free agents starts around 35 for positions like wide receiver. That means approximately 90 wide receivers have grades that are nearly identical. In short: Players ranked from 150 to 250 on my board are similar. It's splitting hairs.

    1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
    Previous rank: 1
    Barkley is the best prospect in this draft. His testing numbers at the combine -- 4.40 40-yard dash and 41-inch vertical -- were elite at any size, much less a 6-foot, 233-pound back. Barkley plays with tremendous balance, a great lower body and quick feet. He's a stellar runner both inside and outside the tackles, and he showed in 2017 that he's a true three-down back. He had 54 catches after having 48 combined in his first two seasons at Penn State. Barkley is a special talent.

    2. Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
    Previous rank: 2
    Chubb could have entered the 2017 draft and been in the first-round discussion. At 6-4, 269 pounds, he shows good takeoff from the edge, and he has an excellent mix of speed and power. You saw some of that speed and explosion at the combine, where he ran a 4.65 40 and had a 36-inch vertical. Chubb had 10 sacks and 25 tackles for loss (tied for second in the FBS) in 2017 and had 10 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in 2016. Chubb doesn't have quite as high of a grade as Myles Garrett did last year, but he's in that same tier.

    3. Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
    Previous rank: 4
    Smith is getting buzz as a potential top-eight pick. His tape is too good, and he's too athletic -- he ran a 4.51 40 at the combine -- for teams to be worried as much about his size (6-0, 237). He can get sideline to sideline in a hurry. A season after recording 95 total tackles and five tackles for loss, Smith had 137 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in 2017. He can blitz up the middle or off the edge, and I think he could play inside or outside linebacker. He's just a fun player to watch, and he was one of the best players on the field in both of the Bulldogs' College Football Playoff matchups.

    -04-24-2018, 04:08 PM