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  • Mel Kiper's Too-Early 2017 Big Board

    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 a lot of pressure.


    7. *Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide
    With 29 mostly dominant starts in just two years at Alabama, Robinson is already a known commodity around the NFL. The 6-foot-6, 327-pound left tackle is pretty close to the range of "prototype" at the position and will be a top-10 pick with another solid season.


    8. *Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida Gators
    You can make the case that it was Tabor who was the most consistently effective Florida cornerback last season -- and Vernon Hargreaves III went No. 11 overall. Tabor has good size and soft hands for the position, and he has been a playmaker on defense.


    9. **Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan Wolverines
    There isn't much Peppers can't do on the football field, as he was dynamic on defense and in the return game; he also put in time on offense last season. This year, he'll be something of a hybrid as a guy with safety size and speed lining up in the box. Expect to be impressed.


    10. *Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State Seminoles
    The 6-foot-7 Johnson has been dominant as a left tackle since the Noles coaches moved him there halfway through his freshman season. He was superb as a true sophomore and is another good season away from a possible top-10 draft slot.


    11. *Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC Trojans
    An absolute burner who can affect the game as a cornerback, wide receiver or return man, his NFL future is at cornerback. Jackson lacks elite size for the position but is an exceptional athlete. He'll attempt to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the long jump.


    12. Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama Crimson Tide
    It was the 6-foot-3, 280-plus-pounder who led the Crimson Tide in sacks (12) and tackles for loss (14.5) last season. How good could those totals be when he sees more time after some draft departures? We'll see.


    13. *Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami Hurricanes
    Another player certain to be dissected based on the mountain of tape he has already piled up -- having thrown almost 800 passes, when many juniors are about to start for the first time -- Kaaya is a talented quarterback with a big arm, touch and growing poise as he reads the whole field. He continues to get better.


    14. *Charles Harris, DE, Missouri Tigers
    You also could make a case for Harris as the most disruptive defender in the SEC last year. He led the conference with 18.5 tackles for loss. Expect to see him become a hot name on prospect boards in the fall.


    15. Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan Wolverines
    Lewis could have factored into first-round talk had he jumped into the 2016 draft class, but he'll return and give Michigan two of the top NFL prospects in the country on one side of the ball. Lewis can really cover, but size will be the question mark. Can he stay outside in the NFL?


    16. *Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee Volunteers
    After he set the record for the most sacks (10.0) by a Vols true freshman in team history, Barnett came back and got 10 more in 2016. He has above average quickness and plenty of power as a pass-rusher.


    17. *JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC Trojans
    A prolific producer over two years at USC (143 catches) with a coveted combination of size and speed, Smith-Schuster isn't shy when it comes to delivering a blow or playing through contact. He is a fiery competitor. You'll get some Dez Bryant comparisons here.


    18. *Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State Buckeyes
    The Buckeyes didn't lose all of their defensive talent in the 2016 draft. McMillan was quietly one of the best players and leaders on the 2015 unit, after seeing plenty of action as a true freshman. He is excellent in pursuit and doesn't miss tackles.


    19. DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State Seminoles
    At 6-foot-3 and 273 pounds, Walker has the frame you look for on the edge in a 4-3 base. He broke out as a pass-rusher last year, with 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Another leap this season could lock him into the first-round mix.


    20. *Sidney Jones, CB, Washington Huskies
    Something of a hidden gem as an emerging prospect, Jones broke up a ton of passes last season and picked off four passes. He's consistently making great reads, and his hard work off the field has paid off.


    21. Jarrad Davis, OLB, Florida Gators
    Not an edge outside linebacker, Davis is a guy who can make plays all over the field, dropping into coverage and attacking the backfield. He's probably not much more than 230 pounds, but the range makes up for any size concerns.


    22. *Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn Tigers
    This is a big season for Lawson, who was working his way back from injury in 2015. The pass-rush potential is there, but so far, he's better at pushing with power and controlling the blocker.


    23. *Marquis Haynes, OLB, Ole Miss Rebels
    He can get to the passer, but the question is whether he can add some size to that 6-foot-3 frame so that he can hold up better against blockers when he's not winning with quickness. With 17.5 sacks in his first two seasons, the guy can cause problems.


    24. Deatrich Wise Jr., DE, Arkansas Razorbacks
    He has impressive size and length at 6-foot-5 and about 280 pounds. Things really started to click for Wise as a pass-rusher last season, as he piled up 8.0 sacks in conference play.


    25. *Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia Bulldogs
    Health and mileage are concerns, as Chubb was lost to a knee injury last season after getting 219 carries as a freshman. But assuming he's able-bodied, Chubb is a great combination of size, speed and vision. Here's hoping he's at 100 percent.

    Others considered: Tyrell Crosby (OT, Oregon); Tyquan Lewis (DE, Ohio State); Tre'Davious White (CB, LSU); Jake Butt (TE, Michigan): O.J. Howard (TE, Alabama)

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  • Nick
    Mel Kiper's way-too-early Big Board: Top 25 2018 prospects
    by Nick
    Mel Kiper's way-too-early Big Board: Top 25 2018 prospects
    May 11, 2017
    Mel Kiper Jr.
    Football analyst

    Say so long to the Class of 2017. It's time for my annual way-too-early look at next year's (potential) NFL draft class.

    So how'd I do last year? Well, three from my top five went in the top six in the 2017 draft -- Myles Garrett (1), Leonard Fournette (4) and Jamal Adams (6) -- and another went 12th (Deshaun Watson). Tim Williams, on the other hand, dropped all the way to No. 78 after an inconsistent season. A few others dropped big time or returned to school for another season, but overall it was pretty solid.

    A few notes on my first 2018 Big Board:

    I'm not going to be too scouting-heavy here. My own reports on these guys are still half-formed, and so much will change between now and the 2018 draft.

    Keep in mind that several prospects here have only started one season, and so I'm projecting based on size, athletic ability, statistics and what I hear from people around the league.

    Speaking of sizes, what's listed here is what schools give out. These could vary greatly when players show up for the 2018 combine. True height and weight really matters for almost every position.

    Check out Todd McShay's first 2018 mock draft, and come back next week for my way-too-early rankings across every position group.

    Note: One asterisk denotes a junior, and two asterisks denote a redshirt sophomore for the 2017 season.


    1. **Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California

    Darnold has everything NFL teams want in a starter. He has a big frame (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), makes quick decisions and is an accurate and natural passer. He completed 67.2 percent of his passes last season and ranked second in the nation in Total QBR (86.8). He does have an unorthodox, long delivery, however, that will have to be retooled. And the third-year sophomore has only started 10 games.



    2. *Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

    There is some projection here because Fitzpatrick (6-1, 195) has played both corner and safety and appears likely to stick at safety in 2017. But the versatility is a plus, and he could be really good at either spot. He has eight interceptions in two seasons, and four of those were returned for touchdowns. I also like that Fitzpatrick will get after it on special teams. He had 11 special-teams tackles in 2016.


    3. *Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

    The buzz has been growing around the 6-5, 216-pound Allen, who can really throw. His numbers weren't great last season -- 28 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions while completing 56 percent of his passes -- but NFL teams will take into account the talent around him. And Wyoming is losing a few offensive players to the NFL, including center Chase Roullier, running back Brian Hill, wide receiver Tanner Gentry and tight end...
    -05-12-2017, 05:42 AM
  • Nick
    Mel Kiper's too-early 2016 Big Board
    by Nick
    Mel Kiper's too-early 2016 Big Board
    Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst

    There are hundreds (thousands?) of hours of work to be done on the 2016 NFL draft class, but as is custom, I have a first look about 355 days early. The usual question I get before you read this one: How was last year's offering? Actually, not terrible, at least at the top of the board. About 52 weeks ago, I had Jameis Winston at No. 1; Marcus Mariota at No. 4; Leonard Williams at No. 5; Amari Cooper at No. 6; Brandon Scherff at No. 7; Dante Fowler Jr. at No. 8; and Andrus Peat at No. 9. A couple of top-10 guys who fell dramatically were No. 3 Randy Gregory (off-field issues) and No. 2 Cedric Ogbuehi (knee injury), but both of those weren't about football.

    As for this class? My initial thought is it looks more unpredictable, just because there's SO much sorting to be done with the quarterbacks. It's just a really unsettled group at this stage. But that's part of the fun.

    A couple of parameters: This includes all players who could be eligible for the 2016 NFL draft based on time spent in college, which means juniors and redshirt sophomores qualify. I'm not going to provide a lot of scouting notes at this point, with most of the evaluation work on this class still to come. Note that in two weeks, I'll release early rankings across every position group, about 200 players in total.

    An asterisk denotes a junior for the 2015 season; two asterisks denote a redshirt sophomore.

    1. *Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State Buckeyes
    John Bosa was the No. 3-ranked defensive end in my 1987 draft guide coming out of Boston College and eventually went No. 17 overall to Miami. I'd put No. 17 overall on the low end of any projections for his son. Joey has size (6-foot-6, 275 pounds), versatility that will fit any scheme and the ability to go around blockers or right through them. He has piled up 34.5 tackles for loss in two seasons, and that's without a developmental redshirt season.

    2. *Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss Rebels
    He will be coming back from a fibula fracture suffered in the Peach Bowl, but Tunsil is still just a true junior with two sparkling seasons of play against top competition, all following a highly celebrated prep career. A nimble but powerful left tackle prospect, he has all the traits you look for at that spot.

    3. *Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State Seminoles
    A does-it-all secondary talent who has already started 28 college games heading into his junior season, Ramsey would have been the top safety taken in the 2015 draft had he been allowed to enter. He has length, range and exceptional instincts to make plays all over the field.

    4. *Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss Rebels
    The top name in the incredible Ole Miss recruiting Class of 2013, Nkemdiche moved inside after starting his Rebels career on the edge. He has exceptional movement skills for a player his size (6-4,...
    -05-15-2015, 05:40 PM
  • Nick
    Mel Kiper's way-too-early Big Board: Top 25 2018 prospects
    by Nick
    Mel Kiper's way-too-early Big Board: Top 25 2018 prospects
    May 11, 2017
    Mel Kiper Jr.
    Football analyst

    Say so long to the Class of 2017. It's time for my annual way-too-early look at next year's (potential) NFL draft class.

    So how'd I do last year? Well, three from my top five went in the top six in the 2017 draft -- Myles Garrett (1), Leonard Fournette (4) and Jamal Adams (6) -- and another went 12th (Deshaun Watson). Tim Williams, on the other hand, dropped all the way to No. 78 after an inconsistent season. A few others dropped big time or returned to school for another season, but overall it was pretty solid.

    A few notes on my first 2018 Big Board:

    I'm not going to be too scouting-heavy here. My own reports on these guys are still half-formed, and so much will change between now and the 2018 draft.

    Keep in mind that several prospects here have only started one season, and so I'm projecting based on size, athletic ability, statistics and what I hear from people around the league.

    Speaking of sizes, what's listed here is what schools give out. These could vary greatly when players show up for the 2018 combine. True height and weight really matters for almost every position.

    Check out Todd McShay's first 2018 mock draft, and come back next week for my way-too-early rankings across every position group.

    Note: One asterisk denotes a junior, and two asterisks denote a redshirt sophomore for the 2017 season.


    1. **Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California

    Darnold has everything NFL teams want in a starter. He has a big frame (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), makes quick decisions and is an accurate and natural passer. He completed 67.2 percent of his passes last season and ranked second in the nation in Total QBR (86.8). He does have an unorthodox, long delivery, however, that will have to be retooled. And the third-year sophomore has only started 10 games.


    2. *Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

    There is some projection here because Fitzpatrick (6-1, 195) has played both corner and safety and appears likely to stick at safety in 2017. But the versatility is a plus, and he could be really good at either spot. He has eight interceptions in two seasons, and four of those were returned for touchdowns. I also like that Fitzpatrick will get after it on special teams. He had 11 special-teams tackles in 2016.


    3. *Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

    The buzz has been growing around the 6-5, 216-pound Allen, who can really throw. His numbers weren't great last season -- 28 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions while completing 56 percent of his passes -- but NFL teams will take into account the talent around him. And Wyoming is losing a few offensive players to the NFL, including center Chase Roullier, running back Brian Hill, wide receiver Tanner Gentry and tight end Jacob Hollister....
    -07-15-2017, 07:11 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 CBSSports.com

    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, 06:51 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.


    1
    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.

    2
    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.

    3
    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.

    4
    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
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