Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
WR Robert Woods, USC
Woods is not going to outrace anyone to the post. What he will do is run precise routes and use his change of direction to get open. Once he learns to secure the ball on every catch, his skill set will be complete.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
If Hopkins ran in the 4.4 range, he would be the top receiver on any team’s board. Speed is not the essence of his game, but getting himself into the right spot to make the catch is. He is fast enough once the ball is in his hands.
WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Patton is the best blocker among the top wideouts, which is a real plus in the eyes of the Houston coaching staff. Great at following the ball into his hands, he also knows how to free himself from coverage with a variety of moves.
ILB Kevin Minter, LSU
An inside linebacker needs to read the play right the first time or he will be out of position to limit the gain. This capacity is where Minter is the best of the ILBs, compensating for his lack of coverage skill and the physicality to make the big hit.
SS Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
The difference between strong safety and free safety in today’s NFL is slim. That narrow distinction makes it hard to determine where a player fits in. Cyprien, however, is the strong type who plays the game in an all-out manner.
DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
Wade Phillips likes to flip his defensive ends from one side to the other, run stunts, and basically keep the offensive line sufficiently confused. Williams is versatile enough to play most of his snaps on the center’s shoulder, and then trade places with J.J. Watt or Antonio Smith at either end. Try keeping track of that trifecta!
OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jones has problems with his neck, has just one year as a starter and did not dazzle any scouts at his pro day. But on film, this guy is always around the ball making things happen. Outside linebackers are the most coveted defensive position, and someone will gamble that his 4.91 40-yard time is not a true reflection of his ability to affect the game.
FS Eric Reid, LSU
Reid is the top-rated safety that will still be on the board when the 27th pick comes around. His style of play is more ballhawk than smash-mouth tackler, and the Texans are desperate for a safety that can create turnovers.
DE Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist
Long, fast and strong, this native of Estonia is still adapting to the American version of football. Even after five years on the SMU campus, he has yet to understand how to stay motivated on every play. When you are 6’8”, put up a 4.6 40-yard time and can pump 38 reps on the bench press, the number of coaches convinced they can make you an All-Pro are almost endless.