The draft process is a long one, and this year I am attempting to incorporate more and more metrics and evaluation types. I will always focus on the idea of “Where He Wins,” meaning finding roles and responsibilities and traits where a prospect succeeds. However, I will fuse other evaluation techniques others have created.
Why so few EDGE players in the first-round? I am waiting for the Combine (yes, certain results matter). It will become more clear after that.
In what way will other metrics factor in? I’m not sure yet, but follow along with my process in this podcast.
The ages next to skill position players are how old they will be when drafted. You can find a full list here.
1. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon (Age: 21)
Where He Wins: Uses his mobility as a passer as well as a runner. Displays the necessary poise and patience to win inside the pocket and inside of structure, but can break that if need be. Keeps eyes up when evading pressure to locate open receivers. Can be quick in tempo or work through action/reaction/third progression.
2. QB Jameis Winston, FSU (Age: 21)
Where He Wins: It is *easy* to see how his game will translate. Awesome eye level in the face of a pass rush. Functional mobility to avoid pressure and find operable space. Anticipates passes more than any other quarterback in this class. Retreated more against interior pressure this season and forced passes, but those mistakes were exacerbated in 2014. Converts in pressure situations.
3. EDGE Randy Gregory, Nebraska
Where He Wins: There is plenty of edge speed and fluidity, especially laterally. Does not get the credit he deserves for hand use to win on first contact. Lifts and controls wrists to separate. Package the effort he gives on passing down get-offs. Actually plays the run well in many instances, like versus Wisconsin (watch it before citing Melvin Gordon III).
4. DL Leonard Williams, USC
NFL Comparison: Richard Seymour
Where He Wins: Amazing how often he wins despite putting himself one step behind. Just tremendous hands and length use to win with power and strength. Will likely fill a versatile J.J. Watt type role. Single handedly obliterated the Cal offensive line.
5. RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (Age: 20)
Where He Wins: A complete back who can be the foundation of an offense. Will pick up the yards blocked for him and also create on his own, both after contact and beating defenders’ angles. Agility to weave between lanes without wasted movement is a plus. Comfortable as a receiver on screens with patience to make most of blocks.
6. T La’El Collins, LSU
Where He Wins: Length and strength compensates for deficiencies in other areas. Gets to the second level very well and looks to maul. Does not get the credit he deserves in terms of mobility and functional athleticism. Will have one or three bad snaps per game, but luck partially determines impact.
7. LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
NFL Comparison: Sean Lee
Where He Wins: One of the best coverage linebackers I have seen. His Virginia game is my favorite of any prospect this year. Aggressive. Attacks ball carries rather than just waiting at the second level. Best at working around blocks with angles and quicks but not afraid to hold his own.
8. WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma (Age: 22)
Where He Wins: Wins in the big (catch point in contested situations) and small (separation and yards after catch) receiver games. Plays like a specimen at the position and there seems to be a lot of natural ability to work with, at a position where natural ability often separates great from good.
9. WR Kevin White, WVU (Age: 22)
Where He Wins: Another who wins in the big and small receiver games, although he had difficult separating in routes against multiple quality corners this season. One year wonder label is interesting, but I don’t see it as a negative. Would you rather he not have improved?
10. WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (Age: 20)
Where He Wins: Mostly wins in the small receiver game, and there is nothing wrong with that, but he did do a better job in contested situations this year. Still, I would not rely on him there. Creates so much separation with quickness, sustaining speed in routes and precision. Also a threat with the ball in his hands. He’s not limited, he just can't win everywhere. Again, that is fine.
11. S Landon Collins, Alabama
Where He Wins: I finally was able to get All-22 for Collins. There is a lot to work with. He was an impact play when aggressively moving forward. Also played single high when Alabama rotated safeties and looked more than competent and comfortable in that role.
12. OL Brandon Scherff, Iowa
Where He Wins: Scherff has a future at either tackle or guard, it just depends on the team that selects him. So much power and strength along with movement skills. Will fit in face up or zone specific schemes, although there is crossover on every team. Also wants to finish his blocks rather than just occupy.
13. LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
NFL Comparison: Thomas Davis (Andrew Parsons)
Where He Wins: Quickness, speed, comfort and aggression. Many linemen are now more scared of linebackers who use athleticism to get around blocks rather than meet them face up. The game seems to slow down for Thompson when attempting to force fumbles or make a play on the ball. Don’t worry about his position, just his role.
14. T Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
Where He Wins: I do not factor in injuries. Ogbuehi has enough strength, length and athleticism to hold up on the outside. There are real flashes of the complete package, he needs to win more often on first contact in order to sustain success.
15. LB Paul Dawson, TCU
NFL Comparison: Lavonte David vibes
Where He Wins: A missile from the weakside or in nickel situations. He stands 6’0/230 lbs, so is Dawson really undersized? He plays big thanks to power and aggression. He can impact any run and chase situation and looks comfortable accomplishing his assignment in coverage.
--- Ends first-round prospects ---
16. EDGE Dante Fowler, Florida
Where He Wins: Ahead of the game in terms of hand use and counter moves. Does not solely rely on athleticism. Continued to drop weight each year, and improved movement skills were the result. Was allowed to attack from multiple alignments in 2014.
17. EDGE Shane Ray, Missouri
Where He Wins: There is a lot of natural strength and athleticism to work with. Like other Mizzou edge players, Ray focuses on an outside rip moves and had success since he can turn the corner very well. A tremendous motor should be cited, too.
18. DL Henry Anderson, Stanford
NFL Comparison: Chris Canty
Where He Wins: He might play with high pad level, but Anderson has tremendous strength through his hands and couples it with great length to press and push his opponent backwards. Will work best as a 3-tech, but might give some teams looks as a 5-tech. That versatility will be nice for teams who use multiple fronts. He displayed a variety of moves in 1 on 1s.
19. DL Preston Smith, Miss State
NFL Comparison: Malik Jackson
Where He Wins: Converts speed to power very well when on the outside/edge, and uses quickness with strength when moved inside. Many teams could benefit from utilizing an outside to inside disruptor. Gives me the warm and fuzzy feeling Malik Jackson did.
20. CB Marcus Peters, Washington
Where He Wins: Aggressive with movement skills. That is a nice combination. Peters has experience in press or off coverage, and has exhibited sticking in the hip pocket of receivers downfield and reacting to breaks/movements when giving a cushion.
21. EDGE Vic Beasley, Clemson
Where He Wins: Extraordinary edge speed and will turn the corner if he gains a step on the opposition. Once his opponent compensates for that edge speed, he will attack inside. Flashes length to separate from time to time. His edge burst alone can be a trait worth using.
22. EDGE Eli Harold, Virginia
Where He Wins: All athlete with a foundation to work on. He might be this year’s “don’t count it twice” poster boy, but he might also qualify for mass x athleticism metrics, which have been quite good in the past.
23. DL Danny Shelton, Washington
Where He Wins: A flash player whose performance was likely limited by the number of snaps he was asked to play. Place him in a rotation and his impact will likely be greater. Can occupy blockers other disruptors and also has tremendous strength. Needs to use his hands inside on counters rather than outside.
24. TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota (Age: 21)
Where He Wins: Has put together some of the best highlight reel catches we’ve seen at the position. Has been impactful both inline and when split in the slot or out wide. Only needs to be willing and adequate as a blocker to stay on the field on all downs, and he is at least that.
25. T T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh
Where He Wins: Length and strength. As Lance Zierlein said, he has the level of ability to be a starting tackle. Is it inexperience or rawness that is causing him to not trust his feet or not utilize an inside armbar to prevent lateral moves?
26. WR DeVante Parker, Louisville (Age: 22)
27. DL Arik Armstead, Oregon
28. EDGE Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington
29. WR Devin Funchess, Michigan (Age: 21)
30. CB Kevin White, TCU
31. RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (Age: 22)
32. CB Quinten Rollins, Miami (OH)
33. RB Duke Johnson, Miami (Age: 21)
34. RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State (Age: 21)
35. RB David Cobb, Minnesota (Age: 21)
36. WR Jamison Crowder, Duke (Age: 21)
37. WR Devin Smith, Ohio State (Age: 23)
38. T Andrus Peat, Stanford
39. RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska (Age: 21)
40. EDGE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA
41. C Cameron Erving, FSU
42. DL Grady Jarrett, Clemson
43. DT Eddie Goldman, FSU
44. EDGE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky
45. DL Malcom Brown, Texas
46. WR Breshad Perriman, UCF (Age: 21)
47. WR Justin Hardy, ECU (Age: 23)
48. WR Rashad Greene, FSU (Age: 22)
49. T Ereck Flowers, Miami
50. T Jake Fisher, Oregon
51. LB/EDGE Benardrick McKinney, Miss State
52. CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
53. CB Steven Nelson, Oregon State
54. RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (Age: 21)
55. DL Carl Davis, Iowa
56. WR Nelson Agholor, USC (Age: 21)
57. TE Jean Sifrin, UMass (Age: 27)
58. WR Tony Lippett, Michigan State (Age: 22)
59. WR Sammie Coates, Auburn (Age: 22)
60. G Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech
61. DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
62. G Tre Jackson, FSU
63. TE Clive Walford, Miami (Age: 23)
64. RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana (Age: 22)
65. T D.J. Humphries, Florida
66. WR Tre McBride, William & Mary (Age: 22)
67. TE Ben Koyack, Notre Dame (Age: 22)
68. CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
69. CB Jalen Collins, LSU
70. DL Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
71. WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State (Age: 22)
72. S Chris Hackett, TCU
73. G A.J. Cann, South Carolina
74. G Laken Tomlinson, Duke
75. G Arie Kouandjio, Alabama
76. WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State (Age: 21)
77. EDGE Danielle Hunter, LSU
78. DL Michael Bennett, Ohio State
79. C Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
80. S Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
81. S Gerod Holliman, Louisville
82. T Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State
83. CB P.J. Williams, FSU
84. EDGE Nate Orchard, Utah
85. WR Phillip Dorsett, Miami (Age: 22)
86. LB Denzel Perryman, Miami
87. CB Jacoby Glenn, UCF
88. G John Miller, Louisville
89. DB Eric Rowe, Utah
90. EDGE Za’Darius Smith, Kentucky
91. CB Josh Shaw, USC
92. OL Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah
93. CB Alex Carter, Stanford
94. RB Mike Davis, South Carolina (Age: 22)
95. RB/HB David Johnson, Northern Iowa (Age: 23)
96. EDGE Trey Flowers, Arkansas
97. WR Dezmin Lewis, Central Arkansas (Age: 22)
98. LB Kwon Alexander, LSU
99. WR DeVante Davis, UNLV (Age: 22)
100. DT Terry Williams, ECU