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Dane Brugler’s Top-60 Draft Board: Seven quarterbacks crack updated list

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  • Dane Brugler’s Top-60 Draft Board: Seven quarterbacks crack updated list

    Dane Brugler’s Top-60 Draft Board: Seven quarterbacks crack updated list
    Dane Brugler
    1h ago 15

    Four quarterbacks made my preseason draft board. Over a month into the season, the same four quarterbacks remain, but now they are joined by three more passers – one expected, two not as expected.

    Washington’s Jacob Eason is expected. A 6-5, 230-pound passer with elite arm talent, it hasn’t been surprising to see him performing well. The impressive skill set was obvious when he took the field as a true freshman at Georgia, but after missing the last two seasons, the sample size wasn’t there. Now that he has put five games on film for the Huskies, it is impossible to keep him off this list.

    The two other quarterback additions to the draft board are much more unexpected: LSU’s Joe Burrow and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. In fact, I extended this list from my top-50 to my top-60 to include both of them.

    It’s important to note that Burrow didn’t come out of nowhere. He was highly recruited out of high school and narrowly lost the quarterback battle with Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State. Last year in his first season at LSU, Burrow was solid and received mid-round draft grades from myself and others around the league. But so far in 2019, he looks like a much more confident and seasoned passer, flashing NFL starting traits.

    Facing Houston, South Dakota, UCLA and Texas Tech this season, Hurts has yet to be truly tested by a defense with a pulse, which clouds the evaluation. But that doesn’t mean you ignore what Hurts has put on tape, showing tremendous development as a passer, especially within the pocket. He benefits from an elite supporting cast with terrific protection, dynamic skill players and an offensive system that caters to his strengths. However, the execution and production are the responsibility of the quarterback and Hurts has been stellar. Five weeks into the college football season, I’m glad I don’t have to put a final grade on him yet, but NFL scouts are starting to believe in Hurts’ next level potential.

    It is still early in the process and this list will continue to fluctuate as we gain more information and learn about these prospects. But if the 2020 NFL Draft was tomorrow…

    *Indicates draft-eligible underclassman

    1. *Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State (6-5, 266, 4.76)

    Once the 2019 NFL Draft ended, Young was the clear No. 1 draft-eligible prospect for the 2020 draft class. Over a month into the 2019 season, he has only improved and widened that gap between him and the next-best nonquarterback in April’s draft.

    2. *Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (6-0, 232, 4.78)

    No, I don’t think Tagovailoa will be the consensus top quarterback for next year’s class. He won’t be for everyone due to his size and average arm strength. But for me, his anticipation, timing and improvisation skills separate him from the rest of the pack, making him QB1 at this stage in the process.

    3. *Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State (6-1, 200, 4.45)

    I received several surprised responses when Okudah cracked the top-five of my preseason draft board, despite only one career start. But his blend of length, physicality and read/react quickness are really impressive and why he continues to ascend as a player.

    4.*Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa (6-5, 320, 5.08)

    With Trent Williams choosing not to play for the Redskins this season, he has instead returned to college and is playing tackle for the Hawkeyes. OK, not really. But Wirfs is playing like a young Williams with his mix of power, athleticism and technically sound hands.

    5. *Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia (6-5, 318, 5.11)

    Yes, Thomas is OT2 for me with Wirfs one spot higher, but the Georgia left tackle has the talent to be a top-five pick. While he is dominant in pass protection with his quick feet and shock absorbers for hands, Thomas has also been terrific as a run blocker, shielding run lanes and eliminating second level defenders.

    6. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (6-6, 240, 4.68)

    After completing 59.4 percent of his passes last season, Herbert has 74.4 percent completions in 2019 with a 14-0 touchdown-interception ratio. Conservative play-calling has helped boost his stats, no question. But Herbert has clearly taken positive steps with his decision-making and awareness.

    7. *Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama (6-5, 320, 5.30)

    It is tough for an Alabama left tackle to be underrated, but that is how it feels with Leatherwood. I ranked him as my No. 16 overall prospect in August, mainly because he wasn’t yet proven as a college tackle (started at right guard in 2018). However, Leatherwood has played as expected so far in 2019 – dominant.

    8. *Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (6-1, 195, 4.50)

    There isn’t a better brake-and-balance athlete in college football than Jeudy, which allows him to win with his releases, out of his breaks or after the catch as a ball carrier. In a loaded class, I don’t believe he is the “consensus” top receiver, but he will be a dynamic weapon in an NFL offense.

    9. *A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa (6-5, 284, 4.75)

    Stat sheets are always misleading, but it is surprising to see Epenesa with only one tackle for loss and one sack through four games. He is seeing more attention from offenses, which is the main reason for his unimpressive production, but Epenesa needs to adjust and turn up his impact.

    10. *Jordan Love, QB, Utah State (6-3, 224, 4.68)

    “Mahomes-like” was mentioned when discussing Love with NFL scouts this summer for my quarterback preview. Although his decision-making requires maturing, Love is a loose passer with the arm talent and movements that help him create magic as a ball-handler

    11. *CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (6-1, 192, 4.48)

    The Oklahoma juggernaut offense continues to roll and Lamb is a key cog in that machine. He has above average ball skills and football intelligence and his route-running continues to mature every time he takes the field. On the season, Lamb is averaging an astounding 25.9 yards per catch.

    12. *Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama (5-11, 192, 4.32)

    Speed kills – and Ruggs might be the fastest player in college football. He is averaging a touchdown every 3.6 receptions and has made plays on special teams coverages as well. It wouldn’t be a shock if he is WR1 on some team’s draft boards because of his impact potential.

    13. *Grant Delpit, SS, LSU (6-2, 206, 4.56)

    With his anticipation and closing speed from the safety position, Delpit has Pro Bowl potential in the NFL. But if he wants to reach that level of player and be a top-10 pick next April, he must improve his consistency as a tackler downhill and in the secondary.

    14. *Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado (6-2, 224, 4.55)

    Shenault was my WR1 in the preseason, but there is very little separating all these talented wideouts and his injuries could be the difference in being the first wideout drafted or the fourth. Regardless, Shenault has all the talent to be a top-15 pick.

    15. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama (6-2, 202, 4.42)

    Aside from Justin Herbert, Diggs is the highest-rated senior prospect on the draft board. While he still needs to tweak some of the technical aspects of the position, Diggs is a freakish athlete with the ceiling to be an NFL team’s top cornerback.

    16. *Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson (6-3, 228, 4.55)

    Is Simmons a better safety or linebacker? Or maybe he’s better in the nickel? Regardless, smart defensive coordinators find a role for his versatile skill set. With his blend of length, athleticism and toughness, Simmons is the ideal modern-day defender.

    17. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (6-4, 325, 5.02)

    When scouting 300-pound defensive linemen, some show explosiveness in their lower body while others explode with their upper body. The rare ones do both, which is why Brown is the No. 1 interior defensive prospect at this point in the process.

    18. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU (6-0, 194, 4.46)

    I still have some questions about Fulton’s ball tracking skills downfield, but his athletic twitch and physical nature allows him to stay attached to receivers, making them uncomfortable. With true freshman Derek Stingley looking like the real deal, LSU has one of the best corner tandems in the country.

    19. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina (6-5, 308, 5.06)

    Still young in football years, Kinlaw is explosive off the ball with the length and contact balance to force his way through the line of scrimmage. Kinlaw, who leads the Gamecocks with 4.0 sacks, is still discovering just how good he can be.

    20. *D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia (5-9, 215, 4.47)

    Swift entered the season as RB1 and, thus far, he hasn’t done anything to change that. Despite defenses knowing that Georgia wants to establish the run, he is averaging 7.9 yards per carry in 2019, showing off his blend of elusiveness and run toughness. Swift is also averaging 12.5 yards per catch.

    21. *Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (6-3, 205, 4.47)

    Although he must mature as a route-runner before he is ready for NFL man-coverage, Higgins is a big play waiting to happen with his lithe, athletic adjustment skills. With his quick-twitch reflexes and ball skills, he is able to use every inch of his frame to expand his catch radius.

    22. *Jacob Eason, QB, Washington (6-5, 230, 5.06)

    With his size and arm talent, it hasn’t been a surprise to see Eason thriving with the Huskies. Through five games, he is completing 71 percent of his passes for 1,243 yards, 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Eason is still a work in progress mentally, but so far, so good.

    23. *Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma (6-4, 328, 5.29)

    Despite losing four starters from last season, the Oklahoma offensive line has done a nice job in 2019 with Humphrey as the glue of the unit. He is only a redshirt sophomore, but he plays like a senior (and future NFL starter) with his veteran awareness and movements.

    24. *Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (5-10, 218, 4.53)

    Taylor’s ball security and versatility on passing downs remain under the microscope, but Wisconsin is working to expand his responsibilities in 2019. As a runner, he is close to the total package with his combination of vision, footwork and decision-making.

    25. Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame (6-5, 242, 4.56)

    After a slow start to the season, including an uninspiring performance vs. Georgia, Okwara looked extra motivated vs. Virginia. He finished Saturday’s game with 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and numerous other hurries, showing why NFL scouts are high on his pass rush upside.

    26. Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama (6-6, 315, 5.14)

    After a breakout sophomore season, Davis was the first to admit that he disappointed last season as a junior. He returned for his senior season and is making the most of his final season in Tuscaloosa, playing like a dominant run defender.

    27. Lucas Niang, OT, TCU (6-6, 336, 5.26)

    With his length, body girth and lateral footwork, Niang does a nice job handling edge rushers and winning the corner. He stays coordinated with his lower half to mirror speed and although he must improve his placement, Niang is active with his hands to counter rush moves.

    28. *Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia (6-3, 224, 4.78)

    One of the more polarizing prospects in the 2020 class, Fromm doesn’t have elite physical measurables and won’t be a fit for every offense at the NFL level. But he is highly accurate with the football intelligence and intangibles that will turn pro coaches into believers.

    29. *Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State (6-5, 264, 4.67)

    Similar to his sophomore tape, Gross-Matos is still developing his pass rush set up and sequence to be a more efficient edge player. But the raw talent is easy to spot and has led to rush production, leading Penn State with 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks through four games.

    30. *Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU (5-10, 196, 4.42)

    While his inconsistent ball security and finishing skills are bothersome, Reagor is an explosive play waiting to happen. And not only does he have pure speed, he understands route leverage, allowing him to shift gears and uncover from defenders.

    31. *CJ Henderson, CB, Florida (6-1, 196, 4.43)

    It has been an up-and-down season so far for Henderson, struggling in run support and battling injuries. But his coverage skills at his size are why he is considered a first-round possibility.

    32. Trey Adams, OT, Washington (6-8, 304, 5.27)

    Ultimately, the medical evaluations at the combine will determine Adams’ draft grade, but on the field, he is taking care of what he can control and playing at a high level.

    33. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (6-3, 212, 4.88)

    How Burrow performs against Alabama and Florida will tell us much more than Texas and Vanderbilt. But he looks like a much-improved player in several key areas.

    34. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia (6-2, 202, 4.53)

    Hall has tremendous length and ball skills, but there tends to be too much feast or famine on his tape, which is why there is probably a better chance he lands on day two on draft weekend.

    35. *Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (5-9, 212, 4.52)

    There are a lot of split opinions on Etienne in scouting circles. He is a dynamic playmaker due to his speed and cutting skills, but he needs to become a more well-rounded player.

    36. *Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest (6-5, 278, 4.78)

    Not only does he look the part, but Basham has better-than-expected burst off the ball. His relentless energy makes him tough to slow down and demands extra attention.

    37. *A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson (6-1, 192, 4.49)

    Although his aggressive tendencies will work against him at times, Terrell has the length/speed combination that NFL teams are looking for at the position.

    38. *Tyler Biadasz, OC, Wisconsin (6-2, 322, 5.26)

    Biadasz is only average athletically, which can be exposed at times, but his smarts and technically sound approach help give him the advantage one-on-one.

    39. *Xavier McKinney, SS, Alabama (6-1, 204, 4.60)

    The leading tackler of the Tide’s defense, McKinney (13 tackles on Saturday) is playing with improved play speed, confidence and consistency so far in 2019.

    40. *Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama (6-5, 258, 4.65)

    If healthy, Lewis is a first-round pick – he has that type of juice off the edge. Unfortunately for Lewis, he has missed most of the last two seasons and already had a procedure in 2019.

    41. *Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State (5-11, 189, 4.46)

    Averaging 22.1 yards per catch, Wallace is a 5-foot-11 receiver who plays like he is 6-foot-3 with the way he highpoints and attacks the football downfield.

    42. *Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington (6-2, 244, 4.63)

    Now that he is healthy, Bryant already has season-highs in catches (23) and yards (334) through five games. His athletic profile is in the Evan Engram or Noah Fant mold.

    43. Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma (6-2, 302, 4.92)

    Humans who are 300-plus pounds shouldn’t have movement skills like Gallimore. The production isn’t always there, but the traits (burst, power, speed) are certainly present.

    44. *Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State (5-9, 205, 4.46)

    Although he is averaging under 4.0 yards per carry in 2019, Benjamin has been a warrior for the Sun Devils, running with tremendous determination to create his own yardage.

    45. *Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State (6-4, 318, 5.20)

    A former top recruit, Wilson is living up to that hype as a junior, using his power and foot quickness to penetrate the pocket and make stops vs. the run.

    45. Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee (6-3, 259, 4.67)

    Although he has only one sack through four games, Taylor has been disruptive off the edge. However, he needs to be more consistent in the run game to be a top-50 pick.

    46. Ashtyn Davis, FS, California (6-1, 201, 4.44)

    While his overaggressive nature will backfire from time to time, Davis’ play speed, smarts and toughness are a terrific combination that make him easy to spot on tape.

    47. *Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State (6-3, 264, 4.79)

    Averaging 1.5 sacks per game (third best in the FBS), Weaver has been tough to slow down in 2019. He isn’t a top-tier athlete, but his snap timing and hand violence create pressure.

    48. *Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest (6-3, 224, 4.56)

    The ACC leader in receiving yards (515) and touchdowns (six), Surratt has outstanding body control and twitch, flashing skills similar to 2019 second-rounder JJ Arcega-Whiteside.

    49. *Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford (6-1, 188, 4.47)

    A scheme-specific outside cornerback, Adebo has some stiffness in his transition and his aggressive nature often works against him, but the ball production shouldn’t be ignored.

    50. Jared Pinkney, TE, Vanderbilt (6-4, 250, 4.78)

    A “jack of all trades, master of none” tight end, Pinkney might not be a dominant pass-catcher and blocker, but he is a steady option in both categories.

    51. *Lloyd Cushenberry, OC, LSU (6-3, 312, 5.21)

    There has been good and bad on Cushenberry’s tape in 2019, but the raw traits are what has me hooked on his next level potential.

    52. *DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (6-1, 178, 4.46)

    With an undersized frame, there isn’t much about Smith that screams playmaker, but he finds space in coverage, finishes grabs and creates after the catch.

    54. Khalid Kareem, EDGE, Notre Dame (6-4, 262, 4.84)

    Although not on the same level athletically as Okwara, Kareem already owns an NFL frame, sets a hard edge and beats up blockers with his bull rush.

    55. *Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma (6-2, 243, 4.67)

    The heart and soul of Oklahoma’s new-look defense, Murray has the play speed that closes the gap in pursuit and the range to continue to grow in coverage.

    56. *Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama (6-5, 322, 5.28)

    A bulldozer in pads, Wills is a dominant run defender, which might lead to his transition inside to guard in the NFL. But he is improving each game at right tackle this season.

    57. Leki Fotu, DT, Utah (6-5, 332, 5.07)

    The combination of burst and power are rare to see in a man of Fotu’s size. He has done a much better job as a senior of using his gifts in unison to create backfield disruption.

    58. *Netane Muti, OG, Fresno State (6-3, 311, 5.18)

    After missing almost all of last season with an injury, Muti has been fantastic back at guard in 2019. His flexible lower body and strong hands are fun to watch do work.

    59. *Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State (6-0, 195, 4.47)

    The raw talent has always been clear with Wade, but the consistency is now starting to catch up as his ball awareness and transition skills blossom.

    60. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma (6-1, 223, 4.61)

    There is still much we need to learn about Hurts and his progress, but how can you not be impressed by what he has done to this point, regardless of competition?

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  • Nick
    East-West Shrine Game: 2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch
    by Nick
    East-West Shrine Game: 2020 NFL Draft prospects to watch include sleeper at running back
    These are the draft prospects you need to watch in the Shrine Game on Saturday
    Chris Trapasso
    20 hrs ago • 4 min read

    The East-West Shrine Game is the first big all-star game of the pre-draft process, and while not featuring as many high-profile prospects as the Senior Bowl, it's undoubtedly a worthwhile event in which a handful of participants will eventually make plays in the NFL. Some will become stars.

    Recent alumni include Jimmy Garoppolo, Za'Darius Smith, Justin Simmons, Terron Armstead and Shaq Barrett.

    Here are the five prospects from each team to keep a close eye on during this year's game.

    East Team

    Michael Onwenu, G, Michigan
    Onwenu is a large, heavy guard who carries his 350-plus pounds well. His frame is very unusual in that he has shorter arms and isn't imposingly tall. Because of his size, he's rarely pushed back into the quarterback and plays with high-level awareness of stunts and blitzes with just enough lateral movement to get to a secondary block when needed. Most offensive line prospects aren't "NFL strong" as rookies. It looks like Onwenu is.

    Kendall Coleman, EDGE, Syracuse
    Coleman is a technician with his hands, rarely letting offensive tackles to get into his frame, and when they do, his arsenal of pass-rushing moves allows him to counter. While not overly twitchy, Coleman is decently smooth once his momentum starts moving forward, an attribute which gives way to an effective inside move. Coleman needs to get stronger, because at times he can get manhandled. But the senior was productive thanks to his fundamentally sound hand usage during his time with the Orange.

    Parnell Motley, CB, Oklahoma
    On mostly average-at-best Oklahoma defenses, Motley stood out as a play-making cornerback. His pass breakup figures improved from nine to 11 to 13 in his final three seasons with the Sooners, and he hauled in six interceptions in that span. Listed at 6-feet and 180 pounds, Motley isn't super strong and his hips can be a little tight, but his feet are lightning quick, and he obviously plays with high-end awareness at the catch point.

    Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
    Highsmith went into the season with a fair amount of draft hype after 18.5 tackles for loss in 2018. Then, the 6-foot-3, 240-ish pound edge rusher amassed 21.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in 2019. He held his own against Clemson early in the year and flashed a nice blend of quickness, power, and hand use around the corner as a senior. There will definitely be Day 3 appeal with Highsmith in April.

    Garrett Marino, DT, UAB
    A strong penetrator on the inside, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound Marino tallied 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss for UAB in 2019. And he reached those figures in many ways....
    -01-17-2020, 03:57 AM
  • Nick
    NFL Draft Preview: Winks' Top 100 NFL Draft Prospects
    by Nick
    April 14, 2020, 1:54 am ET
    Updated On: April 14, 2020, 3:50 am ET

    I did a lot of cool things last year with the NFL Draft -- and it led to an FSWA award (shoutout to me) -- but my process this draft season was much better because I had more time now that I'm a full-timer here at Rotoworld. Compared to other draft analysts, it's fair to say I lean a lot more on analytics, but I watched a vast amount of tape on all these prospects. Here are the things that I'm looking for at each position, which are ranked in order of importance to building a championship roster:

    QB: production, accuracy, decision-making, mobility
    CB: speed, agility, length, production allowed, ball skills
    EDGE: speed/burst, agility, production, size
    OT: pass-blocking, agility, size/strength, run-blocking, speed
    Outside WR: production, separation at LOS, speed, ball skills
    Slot WR: production, separation at LOS, agility, YAC
    LB: speed, coverage skills, tackle production, agility
    S: instincts, versatility, speed, tackling
    DT: speed/burst, production, agility, size/strength
    TE: speed, production, agility, size, run-blocking
    IOL: pass-blocking, run-blocking, size/strength, agility, speed
    RB: production, receiving ability, speed, agility, size, pass-blocking

    And for all positions, I'm heavily weighing youth (great players usually declare early) and prospects who went to good programs (great players usually play on good teams). With that laid out, here are my 2020 NFL Draft rankings:


    1. Joe Burrow - QB1
    Burrow (6’3/221) became the consensus No. 1 overall prospect after setting the new FBS record for passing touchdowns (60) in his Heisman winning season at LSU. His accuracy, poise, and ability to read defenses led to the second-best completion percentage (76%) since at least 1956, and are traits that typically translate to the NFL. His arm strength is quite average for a first rounder pocket passer, but doesn’t limit him from making downfield and sideline passes. A former all-state high school basketball player, he was able to average 24.5 rushing yards per game as an underrated scrambler, although he does most of his damage within the pocket. As a 23-year-old rookie with elite mental makeup, Burrow should be considered as a Rookie of the Year favorite and potential decade-long NFL starter, likely for the Cincinnati Bengals.

    2. Tua Tagovailoa - QB2
    Two ankle surgeries and a dislocated hip likely cost Tagovailoa (6’0/217) the No. 1 overall pick, but post-Combine medical scans have been relatively positive, although a redshirt rookie season can’t be completely ruled out. When healthy, Tagovailoa is a very accurate and aggressive in-pocket passer. He finished second in Total QBR among FBS quarterbacks...
    -04-14-2020, 04:37 AM
  • Nick
    CBS Sports' Nov. 2 NFL Draft Big Board for 2017
    by Nick
    NFL Draft Big Board: Alabama-LSU stocked with plenty of top-tier talent
    Five of the top 10 players on the Big Board line up in Death Valley on Saturday night
    by Rob Rang The Sports Xchange/ Nov 02, 2016 • 9 min read

    The polls might say LSU is not a top-10 team, but from an NFL Draft perspective, the Tigers' showdown with No. 1 Alabama Saturday night rates as the game of the season.
    A collection of future first-round picks will be on the field with five of the top 10 prospects on the Big Board squaring off. Five of my top 10 share the field in Death Valley on Saturday.

    The most fascinating battles of the game should be near the line of scrimmage with LSU's freakishly gifted running back Leonard Fournette and a powerful offensive line matching up against Alabama's No. 1-rated run defense, led by top-rated senior Jonathan Allen and inside linebacker Reuben Foster, the most explosive hitter in college football.

    Players are listed by name, position, school, year, height, weight and 40-yard dash time

    1. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M, Jr, 6-5, 262, 4.74
    With a nagging ankle injury, the Aggies held Garrett out against New Mexico State a week after he registered seven tackles, including 3.5 for loss in the October 22 showdown with No. 1 Alabama. The former consensus five-star recruit has been a terror since stepping onto the field for the Aggies, answering his breakout freshman season (53 tackles, including 14 for loss and 11 sacks) with an even better one last year (59-19.5-12.5). Boasting a prototypical blend of explosiveness, flexibility and length off the corner, Garrett has the look of a future Pro Bowl regular.

    2. Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama, Sr, 6-3, 292, 4.85
    With all due respect to Garrett, Allen was the best player on the field Oct. 22, registering six tackles, including a sack that showed eye-popping athleticism and technique as well as a momentum-stealing fumble recovery and return for a touchdown. Allen has recorded 18 sacks over the past 23 games, a pace more typical among speedy edge rushers. Quite the contrary, Allen is position versatile, making many of his flashiest plays inside while at defensive tackle. He reminds me a little of Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowler Michael Bennett, winning with an explosive upfield burst and powerful, coordinated hands.

    3. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU, Jr, 6-1, 230, 4.45
    Fournette returned from a four-week hiatus with a vengeance against Ole Miss in Week 8, setting a new school record with a staggering 284 rushing yards (and three touchdowns) in a 38-21 victory. Alabama is obviously a more formidable opponent. Fournette is an exceptional talent who I believe is the most exciting prospect at the position since Adrian Peterson. Like Peterson, Fournette gets a lot of attention because of his rare combination of size, speed and power but his vision and agility are the stuff of legend....
    -11-05-2016, 07:33 AM
  • Nick
    Top prospect on each team in CFB Playoff Top 25
    by Nick
    Top prospect on each team in CFB Playoff Top 25
    By Kyle Crabbs
    Published on October 31, 2017

    It is officially the heart of college football season. The CFB Playoff committee debuted their first Top 25 rankings of the 2017 season, a barometer of where the heavyweights across the land stand with their playoff resumes.

    The battle for a spot in the final four has just begun, as November and conference championships in early December will prove essential in sorting out the quagmire of teams slotted 3 through 13 (all with 1 or 0 losses).

    In the meantime, this is a great excuse to introduce the country to the best eligible 2018 draft prospect on each team in the CFB Playoff committee’s Top 25.

    1. Georgia Bulldogs (8-0) – RB Nick Chubb. Chubb gets notable competition from fellow RB Sony Michel and LB Lorenzo Carter. But Chubb has returned to form this year and brings balance, power and vision as a runner that in almost any other class would be widely regarded as a top talent.

    2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a true junior and widely regarded as one of the top overall players in the country. His size (6’1, 202 lbs) is notable for a Free Safety prospect, and Fitzpatrick pairs it with tremendous ball skills.

    3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1) – OG Quenton Nelson. Nelson is one of the 5-10 best players in this class hands down. But because he plays a non-premium position, the odds are he’ll slip into the teens. A middle of the road franchise looking to take the next step would love nothing more.

    4. Clemson Tigers (7-1) – DE Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell and fellow DE Austin Bryant (junior) have eclipsed double digit sack totals on the season and lead the way for a defensive line that may be comprised of four future first round picks. Ferrell is the best blend of traits out of that group.

    5. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) – QB Baker Mayfield. LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was close. But Mayfield’s ascension as a prospect is one of the most impressive improvements I’ve seen this year. Losing Dede Westbrook, Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine might have been the best thing to ever happen to Mayfield, who now puts the load on his shoulders alone.

    6. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1) – CB Denzel Ward. Do the Buckeyes ever run out of defensive backs? Ward follows in the footsteps of rookie sensation Marshon Lattimore as the latest Buckeye to emerge as a top prospect at the position.

    7. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1) – RB Saquon Barkley. I mean…come on. Barkley is a national sensation and the favorite for the 2017 Heisman Trophy for a reason. A true generational talent who does wonders for a Penn State team that would be high and dry without him.

    8. Texas Christian Horned Frogs (7-1) – LB Travin Howard. He’s a bit undersized, but Howard is a fast, twitchy hybrid player that fits Gary Patterson’s fast flowing style...
    -11-01-2017, 04:20 AM
  • 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