The Draft Evolution Player Rankings are a compiled list of NFL Draft Prospects that the writer believes have the best chances of success at the professional level. The Player Rankings are not written in conjunction with any Mock Draft, as mock drafts are based on who the drafter believes what player will be taken by which teams.
By: Joseph Potter
Date: 1, March 2015
First Round Prospects
Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Florida State University
Previous Rank: 1
Jameis Winston is one of the most frustrating players I have ever scouted. On one hand he has great field vision, makes excellent reads before the snap, uses his eyes especially well, is athletic, and has great arm strength. On the other hand he is jumpy and inaccurate under pressure, and has the overall maturity off the field of a sixteen year old at a frat party. Winston won the 2013 Heisman trophy and shows he is capable of being a franchise quarterback in the right situation, but also shows that he needs a father figure as a coach to show him tough love, as well as how to be a man.
UPDATE: Despite his rape accuser coming out with a tell all, Winston has kept his head out of the media. His bowl game showing, shaking hands when his teammates refused after the loss, shows a sign of maturity and leadership. He has a long way to go, and is on a short leash, but those are great first steps to rebuilding his image.
UPDATE: Jameis Winston showed better footwork and accuracy during Combine drills than he had during the season. Winston also showed in interviews that he was ready to move past his immaturity issues. This is a step forward, but one misstep can still kill his stock.
Shane Ray, Wheel/Defensive End, Missouri
Previous Rank: 2
Shane Ray may be the most athletic pass rusher in this draft. Ray uses superior quickness and high end speed to create mismatches with larger players, while using strength to swat tight ends away. Ray also has a great deal of versatility playing at both right and left defensive end, as well as spot linebacker duty when the occasion calls for it. Ray has 14 sacks on the season and is considered the top linebacker on the board.
UPDATE: Ray did not have a great showing in the Citrus Bowl but that does nothing to take away from the tremendous tape we have seen throughout the year. Ray garnered a good deal of attention from Minnesota and only had four tackles and half a sack.
UPDATE: Ray did not work out at the Combine due to injury to his big right toe.
Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle/3 Technique, University of Southern California
Previous Rank: 4
Leonard Williams is more than just a big body coming out of USC. Williams uses his three hundred pound frame extremely well and is quick for a man his size. The USC Junior uses a bull rush well and commands double teams, freeing up teammates to fly to the ball. His most impressive physical ability is how he is able to use his speed along with rip and swim combinations fluidly to beat multiple defenders, sometimes all on the same play. Williams has 6 sacks and 42 solo tackles as a junior this season.
UPDATE: The more I watch Leonard Williams the less sure I am of his position. He moves like a large defensive end but has the body of a defensive tackle. He also has a tendency to get high at times, negating leg strength. Overall his stock is as high as it was this time last month.
UPDATE: Leonard Williams had a great showing at the combine with exceptions of showing some type of power that would be functional on the football field. The consistent lack of functional strength only furthers my belief that he needs to have another solid defensive tackle paired inside for him to be dominant.
Danny Shelton, Nose Tackle/Defensive Tackle, Washington
Previous Rank: 3
Danny Shelton is the top Nose Tackle in this draft by a wide margin. Shelton is 6'2, 340 pounds, and as athletic as any of his 300 pound counterparts. Shelton has been known to run down running backs in the backfield, provide a pass rush -9 Sacks as a Senior-, and collect double digit tackles in games. If Shelton shows well in combine drills -3 Cone Drill and Lineman Drills- he has the potential to be a Top 15 pick.
UPDATE: The more I see Shelton play the more impressive he looks. Shelton looked great during the Cactus Bowl, generating a pass rush and plugging the run. At the Senior Bowl Shelton was unstoppable in practice and easily the most impressive player during the week.
UPDATE: Shelton's one functional problem on the football field is his lack of a nasty streak. At the Combine Shelton didn't show the functional power we would see from someone who just wants to beat his opponents into submission. He was weak hitting the pads. Shelton needs to show a mean streak at some point or he will continue to slide.
Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Oregon
Not only did Marcus Mariota win the 2014 Heisman Trophy but he also positioned himself at the top of most NFL Draft Boards. Mariota combined for a career 66% completion percentage and has been lauded for his stellar decision making ability -8.4/1 career TD/INT Ratio- as well as his athletic ability. Mariota is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck entered the NFL Draft in 2012.
UPDATE: While nobody doubts Mariota's skills I am hearing that many doubt his ability to adjust. After watching his tape I wonder myself how he will adjust. While players like Danny Shelton and Jameis Winston continue to do everything they can to impress Mariota has been the opposite, refusing an invite to the Senior Bowl, not rising to the occasion in the National Championship game -2 touchdowns and 1 interception- and doing what he can to seem forgotten. Mariota's stock doesn't change, but others have knocked him back a bit.
UPDATE:Mariota showed off his excellent athleticism at the Combine and proved he has the potential to be a franchise quarterback. At the same time he basically reaffirmed what everyone knew and the same questions persist as before.
Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Alabama
Previous Rank: 6
Amari Cooper is one of the most looked at prospects in this draft as the only Wide Receiver who could potentially go in the Top 5. The praise is not unwarranted as Cooper was a Heisman Trophy Candidate, has 115 catches, 14 touchdowns, and enough top end speed to beat receivers down-field. Cooper is good at creating separation and it was argued that he was the best player in college football in 2014.
UPDATE: Amari Cooper is the first player on this list who has been unable to go to any pre-draft function so far. That being said, Cooper had an impressive showing in the Sugar Bowl getting open often for nine receptions and two touchdowns against a tough Ohio State defense.
UPDATE: Amari Cooper had an impressive Combine, holding off strong performances from other receivers to retain the #1 spot at Receiver. Cooper's hands are large for a receiver -10 inches- and his change of direction is remarkable. Cooper will be able to cement himself as a potential Top 5 selection with an equally strong pro day.
Randy Gregory, Rush Linebacker, Nebraska
Previous Rank: 7
This has been a tough year for Randy Gregory as he has seemingly been on autopilot on some plays. Gregory has been battling an ankle injury, has been slower off the snap, has 18 fewer tackles, and 2.5 fewer sacks than he had in 2013. While ankle injuries are terrible for a player that depends on foot quickness to be effective, his drop in production is noticeable. If he can show he is over his lingering injuries during the Holiday Bowl and his Pro Day he will shoot back up the Prospect Rankings.
UPDATE:Randy Gregory showed tremendous explosive potential at the Combine and measured in with long arms -34 inches-, yet only weighed in at 235 pounds. He is limited to being a 34 Rush Linebacker, an end in the Wide Nine, or a hand in the dirt in an Over/Under 34 Scheme where his athleticism can be used to his advantage.
Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson
Previous Rank: 11
Vic Beasley is a great pass rusher who uses an impressive array of off the snap moves -including misdirection, inside slants, and speed rushes- to get into the backfield. Beasley also has surprising lower body strength as he can push bigger men backward off the snap. While Beasley can use a bull rush to keep opponents honest he prefers to use his speed as a primary method of attack.
UPDATE: The more I watch Beasley the more impressed I am with his athleticism. If Barkevious Mingo was taken sixth off of his athletic ability alone then Beasley could be taken much higher than expected.
UPDATE: Beasley wowed everyone at the combine with his athleticism, destroying the competition in every athletic event. Beasley may need to work on his hands but his functional strength on the move is more than satisfactory -Making me wonder who is watching tape on him at ESPN & the NFL media- and weight allow him to play the 43 5-Technique.
Brandon Scherff, Tackle/Guard, Iowa
Previous Rank: 9
Brandon Scherff is a poster-boy as to what a technically sound Left Tackle should be. Scherff has excellent hip movement, a great bend in the knees, and strong footwork. Scherff also has a right tackle's body -6'5, 320- to go along with Left Tackle skills and athleticism. Scherff should hear his names called before any other offensive lineman in 2015.
UPDATE:Scherff displayed good footwork for the most part -needs to improve his sloppy slide step- and athletic ability at the combine. He did nearly everything well at the Combine, except his rushed slide. His hands can be suspect at time but his overall ability hasn't changed. I would however like to see him display more quickness in space.
Dante Fowler, Defensive End, Florida
Previous Rank: 10
Dante Fowler leaving Florida is an admirable choice as he is showing loyalty to the man who brought him to the school -former coach Will Muschamp- but at the same time he can't do that as a professional. Fortunately Fowler is an athletic beast with a non-stop motor, a 260 pound frame, and a huge amount of potential. The biggest issue with Fowler is his perceived inability to play the Rush Linebacker, if he proves he can play from the 2 Technique -Two Point Stance- his value will increase.
UPDATE: While I don't think he has shown enough hip flexibility to stand up and play in coverage, I do believe Fowler can stand up and play against the run. That is an improvement, but the Combine will be his biggest test.
UPDATE: Dante Fowler had the best Combine out of any Edge player sans Vic Beasley. Fowler was fast, explosive and had long arms. His hips are still too stiff but he has the body to add strength and showed why he is highly coveted.
Trae Waynes, Cornerback, Michigan State University
Previous Rank: 14
Trae Waynes is arguably the best Cornerback in this draft. Waynes has six career interceptions and excels at play-making. Waynes also has seven passes defensed -12 career- and has a total of 31 tackles. Waynes has good hips, a strong nose for the ball, was a second team All-American, and first team All Big Ten player.
UPDATE:Waynes showed a lot of athleticism and great speed at the Combine.
DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver, Louisville
Previous Rank 12
DeVante Parker may end up as the steal of the first round as almost nobody is talking about his immense talent. Parker was hampered by a foot injury that caused him to miss the final seven games of the season, but when healthy he was phenomenal. Parker put up 214 yards on 8 catches against two of the top fifteen players on this board, including the #9 ranked P.J Williams. After his injury Parker was on pace to gain over 1700 receiving yards and score fifteen touchdowns.
UPDATE: While Parker may not be as polished in his overall route-tree as I thought -Rounds some off- his hands seem better than I first suspected. His massive game at the Belk Bowl, despite not garnering a touchdown, was a great way to open eyes on a national stage.
UPDATE:Parker had a good Combine showing speed -4.45-, and explosion -125 inches-, with a long body -6'3 with a 33 1/2 reach-.
P.J Williams, Cornerback, Florida State University
Previous Rank: 8
P.J Williams is by far the best Man Cover Cornerback in this draft class due to his aggression and ability to jam receivers. Williams is built in the mold of a Derrelle Revis or Richard Sherman in the way that he is a virtual blanket that you can put on an island and let him isolate a side of the ball. Williams is excellent in press man coverage, has good hips, and uses his long arms to get into passing lanes well.
UPDATE: There were rumors that some NFL teams liked teammate Ronald Darby over P.J Williams. Don't believe the hype, Williams was a better player during the season than Darby and is still the better player.
Kevin White, Wide Receiver, West Virginia
Previous Rank: 25
Kevin White's athletic ability and hands make him a target for many NFL teams. White reminds me of Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Travis Benjamin, only four inches taller and less refined route running. While Benjamin will always be a third or forth receiver, White has the potential to become a "Y" as a deep threat.
UPDATE: Kevin White had an excellent Combine showing off his athleticism, speed, and surprisingly good anticipation.
La'El Collins, Left Guard, Louisiana State University (LSU)
Previous Rank: 15
La'El Collins is an extremely versatile offensive lineman that has played Left Tackle, Right Tackle, and Right Guard in his career at LSU. Despite his versatility his best fit may be at Guard where his slow footwork won't be a huge issue. Collins is good blocking on the ground and for the air attack, showing pretty good fundamentals and strength. Collins has a strong ability to get inside of a defensive lineman and use his hands to turn opponents in the running game to open holes.
UPDATE: La'El Collins was beginning to plunge down my board until the Senior Bowl when coaches moved him to Guard. Collins proved he could be a rookie starter at Guard in the NFL therefore cementing his spot in the first round.
Shaq Thompson, Strong Safety/Linebacker, Washington
Previous Rank: 13
Shaq Thompson is a bit thin weighing only 230 pounds, but he is the premier ball hawk in the 2015 Draft at the linebacker position. While Thompson is not a threat to get a sack, he is a threat to get an interception -5 Career-, get a tackle for loss, and to cut off outside running lanes before they form. Thompson could also play safety if the circumstances called for it.
UPDATE:Thompson measured in at 5'11 and will probably transition to Safety.
Jaelen Strong, Wide Receiver, Arizona State University
Previous Rank: 19
Jaelen Strong is a big, strong wide receiver with good hands and route running ability. Strong's one of best attribute is what he does after the catch, using his athleticism to outrun defenders. Strong runs good routes and rarely drops a pass making his run after the catch ability stand out that much more. Strong has more potential to make a Top 10 surge than any receiver in this draft.
UPDATE: Strong showed good explosion and burst at the combine; his big frome is only offset by his small hands.
Second Round Prospects
Melvin Gordon, Running Back, Wisconsin
Previous Rank: 21
Melvin Gordon is your classic one cut running back who beats defenses with vision and burst through a hole. Gordon had one of the best seasons rushing in college football history in 2014 with 2,336 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns, building on his 2013 campaign where he gained 1,609 yards. Gordon has good hands and above average blocking. In 2014 Gordon won the Doak Walker award and was an ESPN All-American First Team selection.
UPDATE: Gordon has the average speed of last year's running back class but is quick quick and explosive through holes. Gordon also has more muscle on his frame than originally thought.
Bernardrick McKinney, Middle/Inside Linebacker, Mississippi State University
Previous Rank: 18
Bernardrick McKinney is a powerhouse of a linebacker, difficult for interior linemen to move and a powerful force on the goal line. McKinney is 249 pounds, muscular, and explosive to the point of impact. McKinney tries to wrap up everything, even if it isn't needed. The problem with McKinney is the same with many larger players, he has rigid hips when turning and running.
UPDATE: At this point McKinney is strictly a MIKE Linebacker.
UPDATE: Bernardrick McKinney is faster, running a 4.66 forty yard dash, and and explosive than originally believed. His hips are still more stiff than an outside linebacker but he has the agility to play the 34 Inside position.
Dorial Green-Beckham, Wide Receiver, Missouri
Previous Rank: N/A
Beckham showed flashes of brilliance in 2013 using his huge body -6'5, 237- and excellent hands. Beckham's awareness is second among this class only to Amari Cooper. While his athletic abilities have been greatly exaggerated, Beckham may be the most imposing receiver of 2015. Beckham is raw, and whoever drafts him will need to work with him to improve his route running and ability to get off the bump and run
Eric Kendricks, Inside Linebacker/Wheel, University of California Los Angelous (UCLA)
Previous Rank: 20
Eric Kendricks is a guy with a unique skill-set at linebacker. Kendricks has the mobility to play the WHEEL, run stopping ability to play the Mike, and strong enough at the point of attack to play the STUDD. In the 34 he is strong enough in coverage to play tight ends over the middle. Kendricks can play every linebacker position at a high level sans the Rush Linebacker position. His ability to be a jack of all trades will look appealing to more creative defensive coaches.
UPDATE: Kendricks weighed in around five pounds lighter than expected -232- which eliminates him from being a 43 Middle, but allows him to move to Wheel in the 43. He still needs to work on tackling behind the line rather than at the line.
Ronald Darby, Cornerback, Florida State University
Previous Rank: 22
Ronald Darby is the second corner in the best Cornerback tandem in the NCAA along with P.J William. Darby is aggressive, athletic, and is capable of competing against bigger receivers. Darby can also play off man against faster receivers and recover well.
UPDATE: Despite what some teams are leaking Darby is not better than P.J Williams and I have come to question his straight line speed. If Darby can run a strong 40 at the Combine his stock will rise.
UPDATE: Ronald Darby ran a 4.38 forty yard dash at the combine and showed great athleticism and burst. He also came in at a half inch taller than expected.
Malcom Brown, Defensive Tackle, Texas
Previous Rank: 23
Malcom Brown has a very strong skill-set that reminds me of Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Billy Winn. While Winn, a rising star for the Browns, went largely overlooked out of Boise State in 2012, Brown will not. Brown is fast, strong, and shows a strong pass rush, making him difficult to plan for. Brown can play in the 43 or 34 and could slide into a starting lineup early in his rookie year.
UPDATE: Brown has a problem with keeping his hands high and too far outside. He is athletic and remains in the early 20's.
Rashad Greene, Wide Receiver, Florida State University
Previous Rank: 17
Rashad Greene is like a poor man's Odell Beckham in a couple ways. Greene, like Beckham, has excellent body control and hands. Other than that Greene was a high school track and field star who has the ability to get open down-field -14 yards per catch-. Greene has a tendency to round off, and sometimes drift on his routes, which are his biggest criticisms. Green finished the regular season with 93 catches, 1306 yards, and 7 touchdowns.
UPDATE: Greene had a decent game against Oregon in the Rose Bowl with 6 catches for 59 yards, however did not compete in the Senior Bowl.
UPDATE: As the process goes on I find more issues with Greene's game I don't care for. Green has less strength than anticipated and can be knocked off routes by an aggressive Corner. Green plays best in space and may be relegated to being a "Y" in the NFL.
Andrus Peat, Left Tackle, Stanford
Previous Rank: 29
Peat is everything you would expect from a Stanford offensive lineman. Peat is athletic, smart, has good hips, hands, and instincts which serve him well in pass protection. He also has good footwork but needs to develop ways to work on quickness if he is going to jump Brandon Scherff.
UPDATE: Peat falls because footwork and quickness. His footwork isn't as consistent and is often slow. This is something that is correctable but causes me to think when deciding on a franchise Left Tackle.
UPDATE: Peat is all limbs with little torso. This has upside and downside, but also means he can push defenders with his strong lower body.
Landon Collins, Strong Safety, Alabama
Previous Rank: 26
Landon Collins is a rocket at Strong Safety. Collins has a nose for the ball that is eclipsed by very few people and runs through his tackles well. Collins is extremely good close to the line in run support but drops due to a habit of taking bad angles and poor tackling technique. Collins has huge upside and should be the first safety taken.
UPDATE:Collins showed better hip-flip at the Combine than he did during the season. His abilities in space are still cause for concern.
Maxx Williams, Tight End, Minnesota
Previous Rank: 30
Maxx Williams was one of the most underutilized talents in College Football over the past two seasons. Williams has superb athleticism, agility, hands, and good route running ability. Williams also combines those traits with a solid frame -6'4, 250 pounds-. Williams should be the first Tight End taken in the draft.
UPDATE:Williams was the only Tight End to impress at the Combine and will probably be the only tight end taken in the first two rounds
T.J Clemmings, Offensive Tackle, Pittsburgh
Previous Rank: 36
T.J Clemmings is extremely athletic with good fundamentals on the offensive line. While Clemmings has all the ability of an All-Pro offensive lineman within three feet of the line, he struggles at times in space. Clemmings will get out to the second level quickly but has a tendency to lunge when attempting to block, which he occasionally does while run blocking on the line of scrimmage.
UPDATE:Clemmings has arms about two inches longer than I expected and showed good explosion at the Combine.
Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle, Florida State
Previous Rank: 27
Eddie Goldman is another well coached, athletic play-maker from the stellar Florida State Defense that won twenty-seven straight games. Goldman is equally adept at stopping the run and applying pressure to the Quarterback. Goldman is the type of player who may need a year as a rotational player, but could be a long time starter in the NFL.
UPDATE: Goldman did not compete at the Combine.
Gerod Holliman, Free Safety, Louisville
Previous Rank: 31
Two words describes Gerod Holliman's skill-set, "Ed Reed". Holliman is a big, physical Free Safety with amazing ball skills and strong tackling ability. Holliman's biggest issue is that he rarely played top flight competition, -Murray State, Florida International, and Wake Forest- but could surge up the boards with a strong Combine.
UPDATE: Holliman did not compete at the Combine.
Cody Prewitt, Free Safety, Ole Miss
Previous Selection: N/A
Cody Prewitt is a highly athletic Free Safety with good ball skills and hip flip. Prewitt also has ideal size at 6'1, 208 pounds. Prewitt high points the ball well and wraps up well when tackling. Prewitt however has a habit of shooting inside when the run is around the 6 or 7 hole and misses tackles when he does. There are also times when he will take poor angles against the outside run. Prewitt could be a strong second round selection.
Laken Tomlinson, Offensive Guard, Duke
Previous Rank: 33
Laken Tomlinson emerged from the Senior Bowl as one of the players who improved his draft stock the most. Tomlinson showed he is not only a great run blocker but a strong pass blocker, holding his own against Defensive Tackle Danny Shelton during the week. Tomlinson may also be the most intelligent offensive lineman in the draft, double majoring in Evolutionary Anthropology and Psychology at Duke.
UPDATE: Tomlinson followed up a tremendous Senior Bowl with a pretty decent Combine.He missed a great opportunity to move up boards quickly.
Duke Johnson, Running Back, Miami (Florida)
Duke Johnson is an athletic running back who is defined by his vision and burst. Johnson may have the best field vision of any running back in this draft and the ability to hit the hole hard.There are few flaws in his game, he does everything well and could be taken earlier in the draft than expected.
UPDATE: Johnson measured in at an inch shorter than I thought but weighed seven pounds heavier -5'9, 207-.Johnson is the 2nd highest running back on this board.
Brett Hundley, Quarterback, University California Los Angelous (UCLA)
Previous Rank: N/A
Brett Hundley is a wildcard in the quarterback equation. Hundley has issues with his upper body passing mechanics which brings his draft stock down. At the same token Hundley has his head on straight, is smart, accurate, and mobile enough to avoid the rush. Hundley has good accuracy due mostly to his good footwork, but passes with a 3/4 hitch -arm only 3/4 of the way up- and he taps the ball, but his ability to make plays he could become the third quarterback drafted in the Top 10.
UPDATE:Hundley rebounded from some of his late season woes to have an excellent combine. His footwork looked improved, he had better touch on his passes, and he was the most athletic quarterback in the building.
Marcus Peters, Cornerback, Washington
Previous Rank: 35
Marcus Peters is one of the most physically gifted corners in this years draft. Peters is fast, has good ball skills, and a solid hip flip. Peters was also dismissed from the Washington football team for breaking undisclosed team rules lat in the 2014 season. This will not adhere itself to many scouts, but neither Peters nor the coaching staff seem to have any ill feelings toward the other.
UPDATE: Peters showed why he is a Top 10 talent at the Combine, but there was no word on what he told teams about why he was kicked off the Washington football team.
Jake Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Oregon
Previous Rank: N/A
Jake Fisher was one of the most athletic Offensive Tackles in the draft before the Combine and followed that up with a Combine performance that caught quite a few people by surprise due to his strong grasp of the fundamentals. Fisher also weighed in at over 305 pounds and has a nearly 34 inch reach allowing for him to keep defenders at bay when they rush the passer. The biggest problem for Fisher is that he is a back bender, he needs to keep his back straight and keep on balance.
Cameron Erving, Offensive Lineman, Florids State University
Previous Rank: N/A
Cam Erving is the most versatile offensive lineman in this draft logging extensivetime at all five positions along the offensive line. Erving has good footwork, hands, and awareness for an offensive lineman but needs to stay lower so he doesn't get pushed back into the pocket.
Sammy Coates, Wide Receiver, Auburn
Sammie Coates did not have an overwhelming season but has good size, speed, hands, and open field ability. Coates had a good week at the Senior Bowl and was a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy for community service.
UPDATE: Sammy coates is a big, imposing receiver who does most things well. While his size -6'3, 213-, athleticism, and speed create mismatches, his hands are suspect, as he had plenty of drops at Auburn. There are plenty of similarities with former Browns Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards, a high upside selection that could turn into a wasted pick if he Coates can't correct his issues with his hands.
Devin Funchess, Tight End, Michigan
Previous Rank: 39
Devin Funchess is a tight end with good height and speed that can also play receiver. Funchess has been highly utilized in his time at Michigan -62 Receptions in 2014, 5 games of 7 or more receptions- but did not produce many touchdowns. Funchess could potentially be great in a two tight end offense.
UPDATE Funchess had a poor Combine running much slower than expected and dropping some passes.
Kurtis Drummond, Free Safety, Michigan State
Previous Rank: N/A
Curtis Drummond was once seen as the top safety coming out in the 2015 draft, the problem came when he didn't improve during his 2014 season. He has good ball skills and smarts, but lacks a natural hip flip in coverage. Drummonds is a big safety -6'1, 208- with decent speed -4.65 forty- who should be an NFL starter.
Todd Gurley, Running Back, Georgia
Previous Rank: 28
Todd Gurley is the most gifted runner in this draft, however injury derailed his Junior season before it got started. Gurley has good speed, good hands, surprising strength, and adequate pass blocking ability. Gurley is at his most effective running off the tackles where he can get into space, and can be a threat in the passing game. If healthy Gurley would be the first Running Back taken in 2015.
UPDATE: Todd Gurley's rehab is said to be on schedule and he should be ready for training camp.
UPDATE: Gurley refused to allow teams to examine his repaired ACL at the Combine. What is he hiding? This lack of disclosier hurts his stock.
Hronis Grasu, Center, Oregon
Previous Rank: N/A
Grasu is currently the top center in the draft but falls because of a foot injury that is healing far more slowly than anticipated. Grasu has good footwork and hand placement with athleticism expected from an Oregon offensive lineman. If not for the foot injury Grasu would be higher on this board.
Ereck Flowers, Right Tackle, Miami (Florida)
Previous Rank: 37
Ereck Flowers is an excellent run blocker, decent pass blocker, and excellent athlete that needs major refinements in his open field technique.Flowers is terrible in the open field, often diving at the knees of much smaller men. With refinement Flowers could be a very successful Right Tackle in the NFL.
UPDATE: Flowers lifted well at the Combine but failed to impress in drills. Flowers is a Right Tackle only at this point in his career.
Michael Bennett, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State
Previous Rank: N/A
Michael Bennett is an undersized defensive tackle -293 pounds- who excels as an inside pass rusher. Bennett is thick, strong, has long arms, and uses his hands well; yet is not great against the run. Bennett will be best on a team that believes in a strong defensive line rotation to keep their linemen fresh.
Ameer Abdullah, Running Back, Nebraska
Previous Rank: 34
Long thought to be the most overlooked running back in this class Abdullah is as fast as any Running Back in college football, and may be the best pass catcher of any running back in this draft. Abdullah dominated the Senior Bowl with over a hundred total yards from scrimmage.
UPDATE: Abdullah ran slower than expected at the combine -4.6- and with his lack of size his stock takes a hit. He is still a shifty runner who can excel in a rotation.
Stefon Diggs, Wide Receiver, Maryland
Previous Rank: N/A
Stefon Diggs is a player that has excellent hands, runs good routes, and has great blocking ability on the outside. Diggs is six foot tall, 196 pounds, and fast as he runs a 4.46 forty yard dash. While most people haven't heard of Diggs he is mentally tough, very intelligent, and one of the most overall talented receivers in this Draft. What hurts Diggs is his injury history, Diggs missed three games in 2014. Diggs had an excellent Combine.
Hau'oli Kikaha, EDGE, Washington
Previous Rank: 40
Hau'oli Kikaha is an athletic edge rusher who was often asked to spy running backs and cover slot receivers at Washington. Despite his disappointing Senior Bowl and sometimes questionable technique, Kikaha is a versatile player who can be called upon to either spy the run or rush the passer.
UPDATE: Kikaha didn't participate at the Combine, which he needed to do in order to recover his stock.
Denzell Perryman, Inside Linebacker, Miami (Fla)
Previous Rank: N/A
Denzell Perryman is an undersized inside linebacker -5'11, 236 pounds- who has a body type similar to former Miami Dolphins middle man Zack Thomas. Perryman one of the productive linebackers in College Football with a career 240 tackles including 27 for loss, but he isn't a threat as a pass rusher. While not being a pass rusher hurts him, his ability to stop the run, take good angles, and play with energy that makes him bigger than he is could make him a starter in the 43 for years to come.
Byron Jones, Cornerback, Connecticut
Previous Rank: N/A
The star of the 2015 NFL Combine isn't only an athletic marvel, but also an extremely good zone cornerback. Byron Jones has a great, low backpedal, pretty good hip flip, and good sideline coverage skills. The downside to being trained as a pure zone coverage corner is that you are trained to expect help to the inside and when a Safety blows an assignment it almost always means a big offensive play. Jones makes great plays on the sidelines but can be beaten inside if help is not there.
Tyler Lockett, Wide Receiver, Kansas State
Previous Rank: N/A
Tyler Lockett is being looked at as a pure slot receiver who has a chance to become a solid "Y" at some point in his career. Lockett has very good hands, runs good routes, and has good speed. In the end Lockett doesn't do anything to stand out, rather makes solid plays at a high level with a strong ability to run after the catch.