A.J. McCarron (Alabama): “He wins.” No, his team wins. He plays on his team. Winning at the collegiate level has nothing to do with NFL success and McCarron will likely prove that if he is over drafted. He has poor pocket presence that is masked behind a perennially talented offensive line and middling arm talent in masked by talented receivers and an offense that does not ask much of him. If a team wants to over draft him, that is their mistake.
James Wilder Jr. (FSU): I really like Wilder and think that he has a lot of physical tools to be a good running back. The issue is, his aggressive, high running style lends itself to injury which is going to keep him off the field in the NFL. It is not that he is not talented, it is just a matter of him not being able to stay on the field to be a featured back.
Mike Evans (Texas A&M): Evans has a lot of things to like with his dominating size, hands and ability to take over catching point. Despite this, a lot of his production happens on broken plays and it is hard to evaluate whether or not he can get open conventionally. Not saying he is a sure bust, but it is hard to project him with the way he has played in college.
De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon): Thomas has speed for days, but is he really a first round receiver? He will be making the transition from running back which will already curtail his impact, but also his size is not going to do him any favors. He has had some injury issues in college and his diminutive stature could put him at risk in the NFL.
Brandon Coleman (Rutgers): Coleman is another big bodied athlete that people love to drool over. This year has been a major down year though. Yes, he has a terrible Quarterback, but he has looked downright lackadaisical on the field at time. I don’t care how bad your QB is, you have to give effort on every snap. Other than that, Coleman still looks like an unfinished product. There is something there, but not the Megatron-type of player some are seeing.
Jace Amaro (Texas Tech): Amaro is a phenomenal mismatch. His size and athletic ability in the open field can truly mess with any defense. However, he has a huge issue making contested catches or putting himself on the line for a catch. In my eyes, a tight end is still a safety valve and if they can’t make a tough catch over the middle, what more are they to a team?
Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama): Kouandjio is a powerful athlete who would do a great job in the NFL at guard, but he lacks the elite speed and recovery to be a left tackle. Too often he is beaten by faster pass rushers and that is going to kill him and his quarterback in the NFL.
Taylor Lewan (Michigan): Seeing a lot of mock drafts putting Lewan in the mix for a Top 10 pick, but I just don’t see it. Athletically, Lewan is all there, but he has some kinks in his technique that will get exposed at the next level if he does not fix them. 1st rounder? I would say so, but not a Top 10 player.
Cyril Richardson (Baylor): Athletically gifted players may be a theme in this article. Richardson possesses a lot of tools to be a good guard, but he does not flash functional strength at this point to be an immediate impact as an interior lineman.
Jon Halapio (Florida): Halapio is a bull, using his size and strength put defenders on the ground and stonewall them as a protector. However, it is just that strength and size that aid him, his fundamentals are a little bit more than questionable. He has a lot of natural gifts, but he needs to improve his hands, footwork and the angles he takes in blocks or smarter defenders will embarrass him in the NFL.
James Stone (Tennessee): The Tennessee line is very talented and Stone is no exception, but he is not a complete center. while he has the natural strength to bully defenders, he lacks the agility and speed to be effective in space. He is incredibly good as a college center, but his lack of athletic ability makes him scheme dependent in the NFL.
4-3 Base Defense
Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame): When he gets to the combine, no doubt that Tuitt will absolutely blow the workouts out of the water. That is what he is, Tuitt is a freak. Unfortunately, he lacks the infield awareness and is often seen looking a bit clueless on the field. Not only that, he also has issues with his stance that negates his natural strength. He is going to be a good player in the NFL, but he is going to need a lot of work before he is effective.
Daniel McCullers (Tennessee) : McCullers is a freak of a man at 6’8″ and over 320 pounds and he can actually move pretty damn well for a man his size in space. However, he has issues getting off of blocks which will be a huge issue in the NFL. He has the strength, it is just a matter of technique. He is getting a lot of Top 100 hype but his current skill set puts him somewhere in 5th round.
Chris Smith (Arkansas): This is a bit on me to be honest, I love Smith’s ability to rush the passer. His length, athletic ability, and devastating first step make him an absolute beast on passing downs. Alas, he has no interest in stopping the run. He seems to play slower and gets pushed around on running downs and that does not look good in terms of versatility at the next level. He is going to be a great pass rusher in the NFL, but his stock is low due to how disinterested his is with stopping the run.
Trent Murphy (Stanford): Murphy has length, strength and a high motor but is not a great athlete. He is able to beat college tackles easily but he will get stifled at the next level where edge protectors are much more athletic and can negate his ability. People are way overhyping Murphy because of his numbers and because of the team he plays for. There are things to like about Murphy, but he is no where near the high level pass rusher that people are making him out to be.
A.J. Johnson (Tennessee): Johnson puts up a ridiculous amount of tackles and he plays in the SEC so he gets overrated by the media. Johnson can only operate “in a phone booth” and has serious issues operating is space and will constantly get moves put on him. Tackle numbers are one of the most inflated stats in the game and people are looking at Johnson way too fondly because of it. He may have the instincts, but he lacks the ability to operate in space to be an NFL linebacker.
Ryan Shazier (Ohio State): I really like Shazier, but he is not the player he is not being made out to be. He is a great athlete and is always around the ball, but he still has issues getting off blocks in the run game. He is an instinctual player and plays very fast, but that won’t matter if he gets steamrolled by by offensive lineman. he has a lot of potential and I have even floated the idea of a move to strong safety.
Anthony Barr (UCLA): Barr has gotten a lot of hype over the past year and a lot of that is warranted by his freak athletic ability. However, he has not improved since last year and is showing signs that he won’t be the player a lot of draft people thought. Yes, he has length and speed but he lacks strength, awareness and bend to be an effective edge defender. Some people are putting him over Clowney in their draft rankings and that is absolutely insane. Barr is more of a Day 2 pick who will need to be schemed into being effective. He does not possess the ability to shed and be a true, every down, difference maker.
Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State): Gilbert is a great athlete and can run in a straight line with anyone, but he is not physical enough to be an NFL corner. He doesn’t like getting involved with the receiver and if it comes to stopping the run, he is basically a non factor. There is some things to like in terms of upside, but no way is a corner who hates contact a first round pick.
Loucheiz Purifoy (Florida): Easily one of the most overated players in the entire class. People drool over Purifoy’s athletic ability and reference Patrick Peterson (What?!) as a comparison. Yes, Purifoy is a great athlete, but he lacks the football instincts to be an NFL corner. He is often out of position at the college level and doesn’t seem to know what is going on. He has a place in the NFL as a special teams player, but he is not a starting corner.
Craig Loston (LSU): Loston is a similar player to former LSU Tiger, LaRon Landry. Like Landry, Loston is a great straight line athlete and a cruise missile when it comes to tackling. However, his agressive style is more detrimental than positive as he often lets up big plays by over pursuing in coverage or trying to make a big tackle and missing completely. Lost is still a bit raw and there is lots to love, but he is not going to immediately impact the game.
Tre Boston (UNC): Boston is another very good athlete whose range is very attractive as a free safety. However, his awareness is worrisome and he often takes himself out of the play, especially as a run defender. Boston is talented, but Safeties are supposed to be some of the most well rounded players on the field and he is not that.