B/R CFB 250: The Overall Top 250 Players in College Football
Editor's note: This is the final installment in Bleacher Report's CFB 250 for the 2013 season. National College Football Lead Writer Michael Felder ranks the top 250 college football players, based on his scouting evaluations and scoring for his rankings at each position.
In this overall ranking, Felder lists players across all positions. Where players had the same score, he breaks the ties based on which player he'd rather have playing for his team right now.
In this slideshow, players ranked from 201 to 250 are included in list form. An individual breakdown is offered for each of the top 200 players.
As with the entire series, the evaluations and rankings are based on players' performances as collegians in 2013. They are not based on players' pro potential.
However, B/R NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller does offer a draft projection for each of the top 200 players (including players who would not be in the 2014 draft).
250-201. Best of the Rest
(Editor's note: Individual scouting breakdowns of these players can be found on the CFB 250 positional slideshows published earlier in this series.)
250. C.J. Brown, Maryland, QB
249. Devin Gardner, Michigan, QB
248. Vad Lee, Georgia Tech, QB
247. Taysom Hill, BYU, QB
246. Joel Stave, Wisconsin, QB
245. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma, OL
244. James Hurst, North Carolina, OL
243. Robert Kugler, Purdue, OL
242. Spencer Shuey, Clemson, LB
241. David Fales, San Jose State, QB
240. Stephone Anthony, Clemson, LB
239. Michael Rose, Nebraska, LB
238. Keenan Reynolds, Navy, QB
237. Keith Price, Washington, QB
236. D.J. Welter, LSU, LB
235. Marcus Whitfield, Maryland, LB
234. Jesse James, Penn State, TE
233. Nick Marshall, Auburn, QB
232. Sean Mannion, Oregon State, QB
231. Clive Walford, Miami, TE
230. Shaq Thompson, Washington, LB
229. Tyler Gaffney, Stanford, RB
228. Prince Shembo, Notre Dame, LB
227. Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State, WR
226. Shane McDermott, Miami, OL
225. Myles Jack, UCLA, LB
224. Blake Treadwell, Michigan State, OL
223. Nelson Agholor, USC, WR
222. Troy Niklas, Notre Dame, TE
221. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin, RB
220. Kenny Bell, Nebraska, WR
219. James Ross III, Michigan, LB
218. Matt Patchan, Boston College, OL
217. Kevin Hogan, Stanford, QB
216. Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame, LB
215. Deontae Skinner, Mississippi State, LB
214. David Andrews, Georgia, OL
213. Shaq Evans, UCLA, WR
212. O.J. Howard, Alabama, TE
211. Andre Williams, Boston College, RB
210. Alex Collins, Arkansas, RB
209. Dalton Santos, Texas, LB
208. Beau Allen, Wisconsin, DL
207. Ego Ferguson, LSU, DL
206. Braxton Deaver, Duke, TE
205. David Santos, Nebraska, LB
204. Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech, LB
203. Maxx Williams, Minnesota, TE
202. Ben Malena, Texas A&M, RB
201. Jay Ajayi, Boise State, RB
200. Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
199. Tre Mason, Auburn
Tre Mason is not a back who seeks out contact or thrives on delivering a blow. Instead, he’s a back with a violent running style who bounces off tacklers and is aggressive in getting on top of defenders. Mason is tough to bring down because he has great leg action and runs behind his pads with a solid body lean.
As evidenced by his long gains and kickoff return for a touchdown, Mason has both short and long speed. He is a rapid accelerator at the point of attack. After he makes a cut downfield, he can get back up to speed quickly. He has a proven ability to run away from defenders.
Mason is not a high-volume fumbler, even playing in an offense in which the quarterback rides the back on the read to extend the handoff process, but he has had some costly giveaways this season. With his running style, it is about keeping the ball tight to his body and covering up in traffic.
Good, quick reads are Mason’s big specialty. He’s more than the typical one-cut-and-go runner out of the zone-read scheme. He has the ability to get to the next level and pick through traffic and get to space. That yields a lot of first-down runs and five- or six-yard carries that go for 10 or 12.
Spotty quarterback play and the Auburn offense not being fully installed limit the number of times Mason has been targeted, but he can catch the ball. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands. Given his ability to secure the ball on the fly, he should be targeted more frequently.
Mason is a quality back who can be counted on to pick up positive yardage on most plays. He runs with the violent aggression of someone who is hungry to get those extra yards. That approach is reflected in his ability to get first downs and yards after contact.
Second round. He's going to be a good one. An all-around back.
198. Desmond Morgan, Michigan
Desmond Morgan is another linebacker who is not added to the rush often, but he understands his role when given the opportunity. He’s a splatter player who flashes early to give other rushers a chance to get to the quarterback.
Morgan makes first contact with lead blockers and helps spill runs to the edge so that James Ross III can make the tackle in a run-through lane. He fits well into the defense and truly understands his run fits.
The Michigan "Mike" linebacker has improved his ability in coverage this season. He is still not proficient at walling off the middle, and that has hurt the Wolverines at times.
Known primarily for his ability to fill immediately and push runs to his teammates, Morgan is an underrated tackler. He does have the ability to defeat a block and make a play. And when he gets into the open field, he closes down the cutback lane well.
An underrated player, Morgan understands where he fits in defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s scheme. When the tackle is there, he makes it, but he’s also comfortable when the goal is to help his teammates get to the ball.
Sixth round. Built like a safety, but runs like a middle linebacker.
197. B.J. Denker, Arizona
B.J. Denker can get the ball to his targets with good accuracy. He helps his playmakers pick up good yards in the flow of the game. Denker has to be accurate because most of his passes are extensions of the run game that powers this Arizona attack.
The Arizona quarterback is not a strong-armed player, but in his offensive system, he does not have to be. He can hit the wide-open deep ball when he has time to get his body into the throw, but he is at his best hitting the short passes that power this scheme.
Despite not being the same caliber of passer as others in the category, Denker is a great decision-maker because he makes such quality moves in the run game. This offense is powered by the zone read, and he recognizes when to let running back Ka’Deem Carey do the work and when to keep it himself to get big yards.
Arizona’s quarterback is not an easy guy to tackle. He’s slippery behind the line while buying time, and when he becomes a true runner, he knows how to make himself into a small target.
In a Pac-12 with Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley, Denker is the guy many people forget. He’s a quality quarterback capable of getting the ball to his targets, and he has a great understanding of the zone read.
Undrafted free agent. Intriguing upside, but inconsistency as a passer makes him a long shot.
196. Christian Jones, Florida State
As a newcomer to the position, Christian Jones’ evolution has been interesting to watch. He is not a good pass-rusher because of his lack of experience. Jones has no plan of attack, lacks true pass-rushing techniques and thus is often a nonfactor on the rush, outside of squeezing the pocket.
Jones’ background as a 4-3 linebacker helps him excel against the run. He understands how to flow backside and shut down the cutback lane, and he has shown the ability to set the edge and disengage to force the issue. His ability to play both quarterback and running back on the zone read is tremendous.
Part of what made Jones such an asset at the linebacker spot was his ability to get into coverage and be a factor. As a hybrid linebacker, he still has those skills to turn and run with a back out of the backfield or sink into coverage. Although Florida State does not ask him to do this much, he is one of the smoothest in transition at the position.
He's a very good tackler, and his speed and agility help mask some of his misreads from the position. Few can pursue as quickly across the formation the way he does.
Jones is the best athlete at this position in college football, bar none. His inexperience has slowed down his production, but all of the tools are there to be great. This season he went from having his move to hybrid linebacker questioned to becoming a legitimate power player at the position.
Second round. Has the quickness you want as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
195. Noah Spence, Ohio State
In his first year as a starter, Noah Spence has been a revelation at the position. He is still learning and developing his pass-rush skills, but he’s put together a great season on athleticism and just winning his one-on-one battles. Spence started out overrunning the passer and not having a plan to work back downhill. But as the season progressed, he’s stopped relying solely on speed and used his stop-and-spin or a swim move to push the tackle upfield and go underneath.
Spence has been interesting to watch in run defense because he’s not a particularly big player who sets the edge. He can hold on the edge, but his best quality is the quickness to go from setting a hard edge to shaking off a blocker and forcing a cutback or making a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
The Buckeyes sophomore has the physical tools to be a high-quality coverage man out of this scheme, a development that would free the Buckeyes to use more zone blitzes and confuse quarterbacks. Unfortunately, as a young player transitioning from more of a full-time defensive end to a hybrid player, Spence has not been able to show just what he can do in coverage.
Speed is Spence’s greatest asset and was his worst enemy early in the season. He overran both runs and passes, which took him out of position to make tackles. As the season has continued, his tackling improved because he was under control and in position.
Spence is not just the future, he’s the right now. He is the Buckeyes’ best pass-rusher and is a freakish athlete who can terrorize offensive tackles with his speed. As he developed more control to his game, he truly became a high-level ballplayer in 2013.
Second round. An impressive athlete, but he should dominate and he doesn't.
194. Denzel Perryman, Miami
Denzel Perryman isn’t a big asset to Miami against the pass. He is not a rusher with a plan when added to the mix, and the Hurricanes are better served using other linebackers to get pressure.
Here is where the Miami linebacker is at his best. He is a fill player who scrapes well to the football and gets in to stop running backs. His best asset is tracking the backside of the play to stop cutbacks and bring running backs down before they can get upfield.
Perryman is trying to figure out how to get to his landmarks and still see the receivers and the ball during his drop into coverage. It is not an easy skill to master, and the Miami junior has improved with more reps.
He is a good tackler who fights to get to ball-carriers and get them on the ground. He runs well through contact and understands how to use his leverage to squeeze down the air to make a tackle.
One of the ACC’s better linebackers, Perryman has good athleticism that allows him to get involved with plays all over the field. He is growing into a stout run defender, and 2013 was a major step.
Third round. A top-level athlete with run-down speed. Just a bit short for the position.
193. Tariq Edwards, Virginia Tech
Tariq Edwards is the rare linebacker who can do it all. He’s extremely comfortable in the pass rush, coming off the edge or through the interior to disrupt the quarterback. He’s not only good at getting to the quarterback, but at flushing the passer to other defenders.
The Hokies inside linebacker is a run-first player at his core. Every first step is down toward the line, and that is what defensive coordinator Bud Foster is looking for out of his players. Edwards gets down into the line quickly and spills the run wide to his athletic teammates.
The Hokies operate out of a base 4-2-5 defense, and because of that, they do not make a lot of situational substitutions. As a result, Edwards is comfortable playing the pass, can track running backs and has no problem sinking with a quarterback to mirror the drop.
Edwards certainly makes his fair share of tackles, especially when presented with a run lane or a chance to get to a running back in the backfield. He tracks the ball well from the inside to the edge and can run down his mistakes.
In Edwards, the Hokies have a solid linebacker who is capable of stopping the run first and being active against the pass second. He can get after the quarterback, get back into coverage and is stout against the run.
Seventh round. Athletic, but he struggles to get off blocks to make plays.
192. Arthur Lynch, Georgia
Arthur Lynch fits into that traditional role as a reliable threat at the tight end spot. If his quarterback puts the ball on his body, he will come away with the grab.
First and foremost, Lynch is a blocker. He is a big part of why the Dawgs’ running game did not dry up and disappear as the running back injuries mounted. He gets good drive off the line and is comfortable blocking zone, power and isolation plays.
Lynch is not a great route-runner, but he understands how to be a big target. The Dawgs don’t send him out on complex routes. He is largely a guy tasked with getting open and letting the quarterback get the ball into his hands for a first down, touchdown or a dump-off pass.
The Georgia tight end is not a burner. He’s another guy who is at his best sitting down in a space, not trying to outrun defenders. However, there is some quickness to Lynch that allows him to flash in open areas, tremendously helping his quarterback.
He is another quality, reliable tight end built in the traditional mold. Lynch blocks exceptionally well and is comfortable floating against a zone to find space for his quarterback to make plays.
Fourth round. Not the most athletic guy, but a classic in-line prospect who can play all three downs.
191. Curtis Grant, Ohio State
Curtis Grant is not a pass-rush guy and is not added to that mix very often for the Buckeyes. As a result, he does not have a large number of sacks or quarterback pressures.
The Buckeyes junior is another true downhill player. Although most people look at tackles as an indicator of run defense, Grant’s contribution comes in more than just tackles. He’s a player who splatters runs to his outside defenders, allowing guys to make tackles in run-through lanes.
Adequate is the best word to describe Grant in coverage, as he possesses the athleticism and know-how to succeed in that area. His big move comes with getting more comfortable understanding how to relate his drops to the quarterback and possible route combinations around him.
Although Grant is not a tackling machine like teammate Ryan Shazier, when the opportunity presents itself, he does not hesitate to get the ball-carrier on the ground. He’s a sure tackler who tracks offensive players well.
Grant often goes unnoticed in the Buckeyes’ linebacking group because he lacks flash. However, in that scheme, he collides with lead blockers and linemen, spilling runs to Noah Spence and Shazier. That’s an underrated skill at the position, but a must for a defensive system to work.
Fourth round. Can play inside or outside linebacker, just has to improve his strength.
190. Jermauria Rasco, LSU
Jermauria Rasco is an active defensive end who pushes the pocket from the outside. He’s not great at disengaging, but he does have the ability to give chase and be disruptive in the pass game.
Against the run, Rasco is a quality player. He’s capable of setting the edge, something LSU lacked a season ago. He does not run around blocks, and although he does not split defenders well, he gives the linebackers room to operate by turning runs back to the interior.
Rasco is not the high-pressure guy off the edge that Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery were for the Bayou Bengals in 2012, but he is a stout defender. He’s strong against the run and is a big enough body to be an every-down player, not just a pass-rush specialist.
Second round. Another athletic edge-rusher from LSU, Rasco has the tools to be a starter at outside linebacker.
189. Frank Clark, Michigan
Frank Clark plays like an older player than his three seasons would indicate. He understands how to work his skills to his advantage, pushing upfield to get underneath tackles and slapping away hands to keep defenders from grabbing him. He isn’t an elite athlete at the position, but he’s a relentless pass-rusher.
The run is another area where Clark simply knows what he’s doing. He holds the edge well and pushes back against tackles to turn runs inside. Clark has also developed an ability to split defenders, disengage and get to the running back, something his team needs him to do.
Clark is Steady Eddie on the edge, a guy who can get pressure on the quarterback and hold his ground against the run. What he lacks in dynamic ability, he makes up for with a true understanding of playing the position.
Fourth round. A throwback defensive end with good strength but questionable speed.
188. Brandon Ivory, Alabama
Brandon Ivory is not much of a pass-rusher. In fact, when the Tide are facing passing downs or opponents who use the pass heavily, the tackle is pushed out of action because he brings little to the table to help in those efforts.
Ivory is at his best against the run. The big junior leans on centers and forces teams to commit a guard to aid in run defense, which helps Alabama stop the run. He occupies two bodies, does not allow the linemen to get a lateral push on him and gives his linebackers chances to fill gaps.
Although he is a one-dimensional player, Ivory does his job well. He clogs up the middle and keeps guards and the center from getting to the second level. That is what helps ‘Bama get stops in the run game.
Second round. Has the size and scheme versatility teams want.
187. Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Robert Nkemdiche is not a steady factor against the pass the way many expect a high-profile defensive end to be in the college game. He can push the pocket and overpower tackles, but he needs to master the ability to disengage and make a move to the quarterback.
Against the run, Nkemdiche proves his worth. He is an every-down defensive end because he is strong enough to the edge against offensive tackles on any given play. He is the rare freshman who can get full arm extension, turn blockers, disengage and work his way to the ball-carrier.
Nkemdiche is not the sack machine that people wanted when he came out of high school, but he’s been a treat to watch. The freshman does things in the run game that go unnoticed by casual viewers, but that frees up his teammates to make plays. He is a monster against the run, a rare trait for someone so young.
Early first round. The total package, Nkemdiche is a future No. 1 pick at defensive end or defensive tackle.
186. Hayes Pullard, USC
Hayes Pullard can push to the quarterback when given the opportunity. When he is added to the rush, he can also allow his teammates to get freed up by drawing the protection.
The USC linebacker is a quality run defender who fits well into the new-look Trojans defense. As the line occupies gaps, Pullard is free to run through in pursuit, and he makes tackles well as the run-through player.
As USC’s best interior linebacker, Pullard is comfortable in coverage when given the chance. He’s quick enough to cover running backs and is capable of going from checking the run to sinking into coverage.
Pullard tracks the ball well and has gone from a question mark in the new scheme to a great fit under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast. He scrapes across to the play side well and then squares up to consistently get the ball-carrier down.
Pullard is another linebacker moving from the 4-3 into more of a 3-4 role who transitioned well and found a way to continue playing at a high level. Pullard moves well in the box, and the new scheme helps ensure that he excels in tracking down ball-carriers.
Second round. Aggressive and fast, but undersized for the inside.
185. Jibreel Black, Michigan
Jibreel Black is an underrated interior rusher of the quarterback. He is a senior who has mastered his craft and understands when to use certain rush techniques. He is a quality presser of the pocket, but when given a chance to disengage, he can rip and slap away hands to get a shot at the quarterback.
Against the run, Black is again a savvy player. He pursues straight down the line well, pushes to keep bodies off his linebackers and splits defenders when necessary. The tackle can get upfield at times and works hard to stop being pushed laterally by the offense.
Black is as steady of a player as they come nationally. He has a strong understanding and feel for the game that allows him to give his team exactly what it needs. He’ll split defenders, hold the point or disengage to make a play.
Undrafted free agent. Doesn't pop off the film as a defender.
184. Antonio Morrison, Florida
Antonio Morrison, much like the rest of the Gators team after the loss of Dominique Easley, was not much of a pass-rusher. With no interior presence, the middle was clogged up and there was no way to come off the edge and bring heat.
Here is where Morrison excelled. He is a downhill player who wants to collide with linemen and backs at the line of scrimmage and make plays. He’s a comfortable scrape player to the edge and fills holes with strength.
Morrison understands where to get in his drops, but he is not a fluid player in space against the pass.
Morrison is a tackling machine. He flies to the football, keeping his head behind the ball-carrier and exploding to make tackles. Morrison set the tone in the interior for that defense.
The Gators backer was a force when he was healthy, worthy of being one of the top linebackers in the nation. He filled holes well, scraped to contact and always looked to play down the hill.
Fourth round. Not fast enough for a smaller body type.
183. Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
Xavier Su’a-Filo is very good at man-on blocking against the pass. He maintains a good pad level and can control one-on-one blocking situations. His issues come with a changing defensive alignment or pressure from depth. Su’a-Filo struggles to pass off defenders to the tackle or center and then engage the charging added rusher.
The UCLA junior is athletic and aggressive against the run. He fires out of his stance, tracks linebackers at the second level and moves his feet well to get sound position on defenders. Su’a-Filo doesn’t bring a lot of power to his blocks, but he does bring good technique, and that creates space in the run game.
Su’a-Filo is a good guard and is having a solid season. When he has a faced-up assignment, he is a sure thing thanks to his technique and athleticism. If he improves his ability to move defenders off the point, he can improve his standing among the nation’s elite.
Early second round. An earth-mover in the run game, just needs to get better protecting the passer.
182. Jarvis Harrison, Texas A&M
181. Anthony Steen, Alabama
Anthony Steen is the quintessential Nick Saban interior lineman: great technique, good power and the ability to consistently get things done. In pass protection, he keeps a good base, is capable of deciphering stunts and has a punch that knocks defenders off track.
Here is where Steen’s power gets to take center stage. He is at his best getting on top of defenders and pushing bodies out of the way. Thanks to Bama’s use of more zone-heavy runs, he gets to show his athleticism in getting to the second level to move linebackers.
Steen is Steady Eddie on the Alabama offensive line. He’s a good pass-blocker who closes down gaps and helps out his center, and he is a very good run-blocker who gives plenty of space to T.J. Yeldon.
Early second round. Powerful and stout, but struggles in pass protection when blocking alone.
180. Brett Hundley, UCLA
Brett Hundley is an accurate passer. He puts the ball on his receiver’s body and allows him to get up the field in a hurry. Unfortunately for the Bruins signal-caller, the lapses in his accuracy are most often disastrous.
UCLA’s sophomore has one of the strongest arms in the nation. He can push the ball down the field with good velocity, and he has a knack for fitting slants into tight windows with good pop.
Here is where Hundley is behind the curve. He is indecisive with the football in his hands. He holds the ball, wavering between throwing or running, and that indecision costs him. It allows rushers to get to him and close run lanes. It also allows defenders to close on receivers to shut passing windows. Uncertainty limits his effectiveness.
When Hundley makes up his mind to move, he can get loose with the best of them. He’s big, can shake off tacklers and is fast enough to outrun front-seven defenders to the corner for first downs.
All of the tools are there, but the indecision handcuffs Hundley at inopportune times. It limits his real production, despite his numbers looking good. Hundley has to improve his decision-making and find a way to get comfortable looking down the field in the face of a rush.
Late first round. Has the tools to be a future No. 1 pick, but it all depends on his development.
179. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
Laquon Treadwell has great hands, especially for being merely a baby at the position. He has massive paws that secure the football. He catches it away from his body and makes it nearly impossible for defenders to separate him from the catch.
This Ole Miss Rebel still has a lot to learn about running routes. He relies heavily on his muscular 6'3'', 215-pound frame to get himself open instead of letting the route do that for him. However, the true freshman does show a tremendous knack for sitting down against zone coverage and making himself a big target.
The freshman is no burner on the field, yet he shows enough speed to be a problem for safeties and some nickel defenders when he works across the formation.
There are very few receivers who fall into the power category after the catch. Treadwell is the rare exception. He’s a monster who bullies defenders, moving them out of his way, daring them to tackle him and reaching for extra yardage as corners clutch his ankles.
Treadwell has become the favorite target of Bo Wallace and is the go-to receiver when the Rebels need a crucial first down or touchdown. He’s a beast with the football in his hands. Although he is not going to fly past defenders, he will outmuscle them to the football.
First round. Total package. Just needs time to mature.
178. Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
Tyler Boyd can snag any pass in his catch radius. He showed that from his debut and for the rest of the season. If the ball is in the air, he is going to attack it. He is still developing his concentration and ability to make tough catches in traffic, but he will always compete for the football.
Boyd is learning, and it helps that he plays with Devin Street. Instead of relying solely on speed, he is figuring out how to make the subtle moves that give him advantages against defenders.
Boyd is capable of getting behind defenders out of the gate. He explodes off the line and eats up cushion quickly. The freshman also explodes in and out of breaks, something that helps him get open.
The freshman is slippery. He can give a leg and take it away to avoid defenders, and he doesn’t mind muscling up when he’s boxed in to pick up the extra yards. With the football in his hands, Boyd turns into a return specialist, and that helps him after the catch.
Boyd’s a surprise to some on the list, but not to those who have watched the Pitt freshman play. He’s a sure-handed receiver who can cause serious problems for defenders once the ball is in his hands.
First round. Ideal size, speed and ability.
177. Carl Bradford, Arizona State
In the pass game, Carl Bradford has two big assets: Will Sutton playing on the interior, and his understanding of not getting deeper than the quarterback. Bradford pushes upfield, stops, gets extension on tackles and then works back downhill to get to the quarterback.
Bradford is a strong player who can collide and disengage quickly to slip the blocker and get to the mesh point. Although he is strong enough to hold the edge, a good tackle will wear on him, freeing up space in the run game.
As a junior, Bradford has emerged as a quality contributor for the Sun Devils. He benefits from Sutton’s inside push, but he provides advantages of his own with his blend of power and speed. Bradford is an active player in both facets of the game.
Fourth round. Bradford's pass-rushing and run-stuffing production are sound, but his speed and strength will be questioned.
176. Byron Marshall, Oregon
Byron Marshall does not go out and deliver the blow, but he does have great balance and good leg drive that allows him to bounce off would-be tacklers, push the pile and pick up yardage. He does not go down with arm tackles, which is a major plus for the Oregon Ducks, a team that pushes him to run through tight seams.
As is the case with most Oregon backs, Marshall certainly has the speed to get loose on the edge. He is more than just a one-cut-and-go player. He has the ability at the second level to start and stop and push his carries from a short gain to a longer rush. His speed is not elite, but it is enough to take advantage of out-of-position defenders.
Marshall is a safe option for the Ducks. While not as explosive as De’Anthony Thomas, he also does not put the ball on the ground. He runs through traffic safely and is capable of protecting the ball from punches and swipes.
Marshall is growing into a solid one-cut-and-go running back. He diagnoses the blocks ahead of him well, which makes him dangerous as the defense is following the zone read.
He’s not a natural catcher of the football. If the Ducks decide to work Marshall into the passing game, he could be a tremendous asset. But he has not received enough game reps this season to develop as a receiver.
Marshall is a perfect fit for the system. He’s a quality back who can get loose when the opportunity presents itself. He is safe with the football and shows an ability to run through contact that makes him Oregon’s best option at the position.
Third round. Has all of the athletic ability, but he needs to show consistent production.
175. Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
Hroniss Grasu is capable in pass protection, and he blocks Oregon’s slide protections and rollout schemes quite well thanks to his athleticism. He’s not a big body, but he has good feet, gets a good punch and can move laterally to get in front of rushers to protect the quarterback.
In the run game, Grasu proves his worth with that top-level athleticism at the position. He moves well in the Ducks’ zone-blocking scheme and is able to get bigger defenders moving sideways so that he can control them and open run lanes. Grasu can move, and that ability allows him to reach defenders and give backs seams to run through.
He is one of the best true spread centers in college football. He moves laterally as well as any lineman in the nation and brings quality understanding and technique to the scheme. He is not a massive body who moves defenders with drive blocking, but he is great at getting defensive tackles to move laterally and then directing them to create openings.
Late second round. An exceptional athlete with first-round upside.
174. Sean Parker, Washington
Sean Parker is a senior who has spent a lot of time working down into the box, so he certainly understands how to make run fits and when to shoot past a blocker versus when to string a play out. He doesn’t always execute well, but he certainly understands what he is supposed to do.
The senior is capable of doing a little bit of everything for the Huskies. He’s played in the intermediate coverage areas. He’s been asked to get deep down the field. He’s shown an ability to work tight zone coverage off blitzes, matching receivers in almost a man look.
Parker does miss tackles at times when he comes up out of control. The big issue for him is gathering himself after making the proper run fit or driving on a pass thrown in coverage.
He is a good safety who has made some big plays for the Huskies. He is not afraid to sacrifice himself to make a play. The big thing for Parker is controlling his game in an effort to limit mistakes. The kid fights to insert himself into plays and is a good player.
Sixth round. A bit small for an NFL strong safety.
173. Xavier Grimble, USC
Xavier Grimble has good hands, although he does at times rely on catching the ball with his body. Jumping up to catch instead of staying on the ground and using his hands is part of Grimble’s game, although it has not hurt his ability to make catches in traffic.
The USC tight end is a good blocker at the line of scrimmage. He can push the issue against defensive ends and possesses the athleticism and technique to get to the second level and create space.
Grimble is a good route-runner, although he sometimes fades on routes. Instead of truly working the route, he relies on his body to create the space. He trusts his quarterback to put the ball where only he can get it, and that means he doesn’t have to run routes as crisply as other players.
Grimble can get on top of defenders, but he is not a guy with good separation speed and the ability to run away from opponents. That is all right because Grimble is a monster who plays violently with the football in his hands.
Grimble is another violent athlete at the position. He is quick enough to make defenders miss, but he’s at his best shedding tacklers and running through contact to pick up the extra yards.
Third round. Capable of doing it all but lacks production and raw athleticism.
172. Trae Waynes, Michigan State
Trae Waynes, like teammate Darqueze Dennard, is not pushed into action against the run very often. The sophomore is still working to diagnose where he fits in the run game, and at times he's late to turn the run back inside or shoot inside to impact the play.
Waynes is growing into the exact type of player head coach Mark Dantonio and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi are looking for at the position. He’s comfortable being all alone, and he is at his best playing press man. He is still developing the awareness of other players on this list, but the technique and skills are there.
The sophomore is a quality tackler. He secures the tackle in coverage and works to limit gains. However, when approaching tackles either in zone or secondary-run fits, he leaves air in space that allows ball-carriers to pick up yardage.
Waynes is overshadowed by Dennard, but the younger corner is not a free pass for opponents. He gets tested and responds to the challenges through good technique and pushing to battle for the ball.
First round. An impact player in his first year, Waynes has prototypical NFL cornerback tools.
171. DeAndre Coleman, Cal
DeAndre Coleman is a big kid who is more athletic than offensive linemen anticipate. He is capable of running stunts to open up interior spaces, and he is capable of pushing the pocket with a solid use of his power.
Teams are pushing away from Coleman in the interior with their runs—and with good reason. He’s a big body who moves well and is capable of pushing linemen back into running backs and altering their path on any given play.
He’s a good football player on a team that is in serious transition. He has transitioned well into the new scheme, but the Wolverines made the move a bit slower. Still, Coleman has found a way to make plays when possible.
Fifth round. Looks the part, but NFL blockers will handle him until he learns to play with leverage.
170. Jacoby Glenn, UCF
Jacoby Glenn is still learning how to make run fits out of zone coverage and operates primarily as a secondary run defender. As a freshman, Glenn is making his biggest impact in the passing game.
Glenn sees the ball well and, thanks to his coaches, is allowed to make plays as he understands what is happening in front of him. He plays a lot of zone coverage where he drives on the ball, and his reaction time allows him to break up passes that would usually go for completions.
He’s another player who will give up his body to try to get players down on the ground. He’s still learning to work angles and leverage, but with his length he is growing into a sound tackler.
As a player who came in, sat a season and exploded on the scene, Glenn is a surprise at the position. There’s a high ceiling here. Glenn has shown to be great in coverage, and as he grows the confidence needed to be left on an island, he'll continue to improve.
First round. Get ready to hear his name a lot. NFL teams love his speed and size combination.
169. D.J. Lynch, Bowling Green
A good linebacker in the rush game, D.J. Lynch is not a guy who gets added to the mix very often, but he is certainly capable of making an impact when given the opportunity.
This is Lynch’s strong suit. He uses the backside A-gap to make tackles, and on runs toward him, he has no problem shedding when asked to take on a blocker and make a play. He’s a quick player who can also avoid a block to get to the ball-carrier.
Experience is a big plus for Lynch in coverage. Although he’s not fluid moving away from the line, he’s comfortable getting to his landmarks and tracking the ball out of the quarterback’s hand so he can drive to the receiver.
Lynch moves well to the football and delivers a pop upon arrival. He makes a lot of tackles moving side to side. When he gets a chance to square up on an opponent, he does not waste it.
He’s not a big name, but he plays big football. Lynch is the cornerstone to the very good Bowling Green defense. Although many people do not see the senior play, he goes out and balls week after week.
Sixth round. Size and speed make a move to inside linebacker best for his pro potential.
168. Charles Sims, West Virginia
Charles Sims is durable and dependable, but he’s not a true power back. That said, he does bring a real presence to the spot, including an ability to break tackles, bounce off defenders and use his leg drive to pick up extra yards.
Sims is not a player with elite speed, but he does have a good burst when he sees daylight, and that allows him to generate space in his runs. He has speed to get to the first-down marker but not the acceleration or top-end speed to consistently get to the end zone.
With Sims, the West Virginia Mountaineers have a smooth and reliable ball-carrier. He’s someone who should probably receive more touches because he is sure with the football and a safe bet to pick up positive yardage. He doesn’t fumble and carries the ball securely, which is a big asset to his game.
Sims has an innate ability to find space. Because of his style and use of burst, he also knows how to create space by setting defenders up to use their pursuit against them. He cannot only read blocks but read defenders to help set up blocks. That’s a plus for a running back.
He’s extremely comfortable catching the football. He’s not always a smooth catcher of the ball, but he is someone who certainly gets the job done and can be counted on to bring in passes.
Sims is a high-caliber running back, a player who can consistently pick up positive yards, make a defender miss and stretch for that extra yard at the sticks. He is a player who can be counted on out of the backfield in the pass game and as a quality rusher.
Fifth round. A very versatile back, but he doesn't have good power or speed.
167. Lamin Barrow, LSU
Lamin Barrow, like most of the LSU defense, struggled to get to the passer in 2013. He’s not a natural pass-rushing threat. He had some success but was largely pushed off course into the mix of bodies instead of getting to the quarterback.
Against the run, Barrow is at his best. He’s a good flow linebacker who tracks the backside A to make tackles. The senior got off to a slow start, but over the course of the season, he hit his stride and became the tackler that LSU needed out of the linebacking corps.
Barrow can get to zones and is capable of sinking into coverage. But he is not a fluid athlete moving away from the line. He can wall off the middle, but he has a hard time transitioning from his drop into moving to match crossers.
As LSU’s run defense improved, Barrow’s tackling got better. He’s fought through blockers to get to tackles and is doing a good job of consistently getting his targets down.
Barrow made himself a quality linebacker for LSU. He did his best to pull this defense through some tough times. Although it was not perfect, he put together a solid season. He certainly deserves to be on this list.
Third round. Versatile, attacking run defender who projects best to inside linebacker.
166. Eric Kendricks, UCLA
Eric Kendricks is at his best in coverage, leaving him out of the pass-rush mix for the Bruins. It helps that in rush scenarios, Anthony Barr is on the edge, reducing the need for blitzers from the interior.
The UCLA junior is a prime example of the versatility that coaches are looking for out of the linebacker position. Although he is not the prototype, Kendricks knows how to get downhill, is fast enough to replace in a vacated gap and wants to tackle at the point of impact.
As a smaller player, Kendrick has the ability and the fluidity to be exceptional in coverage. He can open his hips, is comfortable moving away from the line of scrimmage and understands how to carry receivers in the open field.
Kendricks is a tackling machine. He is the type of player who scrapes across the top well, and because his teammates can set the edge, he runs right into the tackles. He has the speed to track down runs to both sides of the formation.
He’s another in the new breed of inside linebackers. Kendricks runs very well, understands where he fits in the defense and wants to make tackles at the line of scrimmage. He’s also solid against the pass, something that is a must in today’s college football world.
Third round. Has all the tools, but struggled to stay healthy in '13.
165. Kasim Edebali, Boston College
Kasim Edebali is a long player who uses his arms to get separation from blockers and disengage to get to the quarterback. The senior is also good at working leverage to squeeze the pocket or work underneath a blocker by slapping his hands away to get across his face.
Edebali uses his length in the run game to separate from blockers and make a tackle. Unlike other defenders, the BC end brings a good power base and the ability to set the edge. He can control the blocker and still disengage to make a play.
Edebali has flown under the national radar because he plays at Boston College. That said, the kid from Germany has a lot of skills, few bad habits and is still learning how to use his length.
Undrafted free agent. A productive college player, but he lacks the explosive ability needed for the NFL.
164. Travis Swanson, Arkansas
Travis Swanson is quick off the ball and uses good hand placement against bigger defenders. As long as the senior keeps his pad level low and stays under control, he can control the line of scrimmage and stop defenders from walking him back into the quarterback.
Although a knee injury took away a little of Swanson’s mobility, he has played well in the run game. Swanson is quick enough to pull out in front of the back, and he shows a knack for getting to the second level and targeting defenders.
One of the nation’s best centers, although he did not have the season he wanted to have in 2013. Being asked to pass protect for an inexperienced quarterback gave defenders more time to work on him and the entire offensive line. Swanson excelled against the run.
Early second round. Has potential, but he has to be smarter about picking up blitzes.
163. Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State
Another reliable pass-catcher at the position. Jeff Heuerman is good in space and has had some trouble in traffic, but he is a quality safety valve for quarterback Braxton Miller.
The Buckeyes’ versatile player is a good blocker. He’s not a true fullback, but he is capable of getting out in front to lead the charge, and he is also showing the ability to be effective in pass protection.
Heuerman is still figuring out the route running in the Ohio State offense. Against a zone, the junior understands how to sit down and be a target. However, against man coverage, Heuerman is still learning how to work routes to create space.
He has very good speed, something that often goes unnoticed. He is capable of exploding off the line to make coverage difficult for linebackers, and when he is flexed out, his blend of speed and size makes him a difficult matchup for defensive backs.
In Heuerman, the Buckeyes have a player who is still growing into the role as the offense evolves under Urban Meyer. This year, Heuerman took a big step toward being a weapon for Ohio State, as he’s shown an ability to slip out into routes, be a physical player and help out his quarterback.
Seventh round. Lacks the speed and playmaking ability to be drafted higher.
162. Bishop Sankey, Washington
Given his small stature, many expect Bishop Sankey to fill a more scatback-type role on the field. However, the junior is a beast between the tackles, and his height does not stop him from being truly difficult to bring down. He explodes into tacklers, bounces off contact and maintains both his balance and leg drive in the process, allowing him to pick up positive yardage.
Sankey is not the fastest back, but he has enough get-up-and-go to be a factor on longer runs down the field. That speed also allows him to transition from interior rushes to bounces outside, where he can outsprint linebackers to the edge and get on top of defensive backs in a hurry.
Given the number of carries that Sankey gets as the Washington Huskies’ workhorse, he has great ball security. The fumble in the Oregon game sticks out like a sore thumb, but Sankey rebounded in that same game and played solid in a losing effort. He’s safe with the football in his hands.
At 5’10”, Sankey is one of the nation’s shorter backs, yet he finds his way through the trees in the interior. That is a testament to his vision as a runner. He feels the action around him so well, recognizes defenders fading away, sees blockers giving him an opening and gets to those spots quickly.
He’s better at pass protection than he is at catching the football, but in a pinch, he can be called upon to help out quarterback Keith Price as a safety valve. Catching the ball consistently is not a skill that Sankey has added to his set.
Sankey is a treat at the running back position, a guy who can do everything in the run game that a scout or coach would ask. He runs between the tackles surprisingly well for a guy of his measurables and still can get to the edge to pick up extra yardage.
Fourth round. Lot of wear on his tires, but he could be an NFL starter.
161. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
Taylor Kelly is an accurate thrower, particularly with the short and intermediate passes that dominate his offense at Arizona State. He consistently gets the ball into his teammates’ hands and, most importantly, puts them in position to keep running and making plays.
He is not a strong-armed QB, but thanks to his offense, he does not have to be. He’s at his best dinking and dunking, taking what the defense gives him and pushing the ball out to his playmakers on the edge.
Kelly is a quarterback who can run and throw the ball on any given play. He understands when to call his own number on the zone read, when to tuck and run on a pass play, and when to throw it away or dump it off in the pass game.
Much like Bryce Petty at Baylor, Kelly is a great fit for his system because he is capable of getting loose. That makes him more comfortable in the pocket and more dangerous for opponents.
In Kelly, the Sun Devils have a good quarterback having a great season. He’s made some mistakes, but as he settled into 2013, he’s shown a quality knack for putting the Sun Devils in the end zone.
Second round. A good all-around athlete, but he might be a little small for the pros.
160. Preston Brown, Louisville
Preston Brown is another linebacker who knows how to get to the quarterback. His team has used the blitz packages well in 2013, and he's shown an ability to bring pressure and flash to get his teammates loose.
Brown is a big-bodied, downhill player. He’s at his best moving toward the line of scrimmage and sifting through the wash to make a play. He can take on bigger-bodied linemen, shed and still make tackles.
Although he is a bigger guy, Brown looks comfortable in coverage. He recognizes landmarks, can move out of the backfield to track linebackers and, if pressed into carrying crossers, knows how to trail with good angles.
He’s another tackling machine, thanks to Louisville allowing him to scrape and funneling plays to its interior backer. Brown gets downhill in a hurry, forces backs to make a decision and reacts well to close the gap and get them on the ground.
Brown’s another in a crowded cast of very good interior linebackers. With Louisville showing true comfort in going from 4-3 to 3-4 looks, Brown’s ability to excel in both schemes makes him a valuable asset.
Seventh round. A big, strong player, but he lacks speed.
159. Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Chris Borland is adept at getting active behind the line of scrimmage when he’s added to the pass rush. He’s a banger who will take on a blocker and pressure an interior lineman to help get teammates free.
Borland excels against the run. He’s a true banger when pushing to stop it. He is the rare linebacker who is as good at hammering and splattering runs as he is shedding blocks to make tackles.
Borland is not great in coverage; however, he does show a knack for driving to the football after getting to his landmark. He can come downhill to make a tackle, and that is a plus.
Borland comes onto the list as a tackling machine at this position. He is a thumper who wants to stick his nose into the mix and get ball-carriers on the ground.
Another prototypical interior linebacker, Borland can take on blocks, shed blocks and get to the ball even at 5'11". He brings plenty of power to the field. He is an aggressive player who challenges every play.
Late second round. Doesn't have NFL height, but he is a playmaker around the ball.
158. Weston Richburg, Colorado State
Weston Richburg is one of college football’s headiest players on the interior of a line. He has elite quickness after the snap and the ability to stay low on larger defensive linemen in order to redirect them and keep them from pushing through to the quarterback.
Richburg has good technique from the center spot and that same elite quickness. He is one of the few centers who is comfortable pulling out after snapping the ball, and his speed allows him to lead his running backs down the field. Richburg does struggle with bigger bodies in zone blocking. They are able to move him off his point and get penetration into the backfield.
The Colorado State senior is a high-level center. He moves with great quickness and his technique is among the best in the country. What he lacks in power he more than makes up for with his low pad level, leverage and knack for beating defenders to the spot.
Fourth round. Sleeper potential, he just needs to get better at timing his blocks.
157. Cody Riggs, Florida
Getting downhill against the run is something that Cody Riggs seems to enjoy and do well. He makes some mistakes in pursuit, but he is a safety who is comfortable pushing down into the box to add himself to the mix against the run.
Riggs has laid big shots on people and been ejected for targeting. However, he arrives a step or two too late to truly break up the passes. That’s why he does not rank higher as a coverage safety.
Riggs is better coming downhill against the run, and he is able to get into the box and make a play. In the pass game, he secures a tackle to make sure there is minimal gain. When he gets an opportunity, he explodes on ball-carriers.
The Florida safety is a physical player who brings a toughness to the field on every snap. Although he doesn’t always break up passes, he does make people pay for catching the football, so there is legitimate value to his contributions.
Third round. Big potential and enough speed to wow NFL teams.
156. Su'a Cravens, USC
Su'a Cravens is not a primary run defender, but the freshman is finding his spots to make plays for the Trojans. He has great closing speed that shows when runs break the line of scrimmage.
The true freshman is another player who stepped in at the collegiate level, learned the game as he progressed and showed the ability to make a serious impact. Cravens closes on the football as well as anyone in the country, and that helps him get his hands on the football.
Closing speed is a big reason why Cravens is such a sound tackler. He flies to the ball and goes in for the tackle before the opposition has an opportunity to evade the approach.
Cravens is another player who is just scratching the surface of his talent. This year he proved he can run with the athletes in the Pac-12. His big moves have to come from taking an understanding of concepts and working them to gain advantages against opponents' quarterbacks.
First round. Has as much NFL potential as any safety in college.
155. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
Kevin Johnson will mix it up in the run game, and that is a plus because he comes from the inside out for Wake Forest, a team that uses plenty of swarming to stop the run. Johnson is a good piece in a Demon Deacons defense that uses all of its bodies to stop the run.
The junior is sound in both man and zone coverage. He does the little things right, and that leads to him being in great position to make plays more often than not. He understands how receivers are looking to hurt him and uses positioning and technique to take things away.
Johnson is a good tackler who is willing to give up his body to help his team make a play. He takes on bigger targets with reckless abandon and is a fighter when it comes to getting ball-carriers on the ground.
Johnson is a good, physical corner who the Demon Deacons rely on to make plays in the run and pass game. He’s a player who reads the quarterback in zone coverage and finds a way to insert himself into the play.
Fourth round. Ideal NFL size, but quickness and speed are questionable.
154. Marion Grice, Arizona State
Marion Grice is not a power runner by any means. He can shake off a tackle or two, but his value comes in his shiftiness, not in his ability to run behind his pads. The Arizona State back will run between the tackles when it is necessary, but he is not very effective against the bigger bodies on the interior of a defense.
Speed is where Grice excels, especially because it comes in a double dose. The senior has a great burst into and out of his cuts. Combined with solid quickness in space, Grice is a difficult target for defenders to get square in their sights.
He is a safe bet with the ball in his hands every play. Grice is a sure-handed back who secures zone-read gives and straight handoffs, catches in fluid fashion and protects the football in traffic.
Since power is not Grice’s strong suit, he relies on his vision to be effective. His eyes pick up on spacing, defender balance and pursuit angles. That helps him diagnose the best way to continuously attack opponents.
He has the best hands of any running back in college football. Catching the ball comes naturally to Grice. He is a most reliable target catching passes out of the backfield and from the slot position. He could easily be successful as a full-time wide receiver.
Grice is the most versatile player in college football. On a given offensive series, he can line up all over the field, everywhere from a Wildcat-type quarterback or a slot receiver to a traditional running back. He’s effective in space, makes defenders miss and has the best nose for the end zone in the game.
Third round. Exceptional do-it-all back with no power to move the pile.
153. Jeremy Hill, LSU
Jeremy Hill is truly violent in the run game. He is not a guy who seeks out contact, but when the defenders come, he is looking to make them hurt for their tackling efforts. He runs through arm tackles and defensive backs diving at his legs. He has tremendous leg drive and is seldom tackled by just one player.
Despite being a patient runner, Hill has great wheels when he sees daylight. He’s a runner with deceptively high top-end speed. Defenders seem to never truly close the gap on Hill as he pushes to get into the end zone.
Hill has fumbled, but he is by no means a true fumbling risk. Following a fumble in the Ole Miss game, he corrected his ball-security issues in a big way: securing the football from the quarterback, keeping it high and tight and switching hands to keep the ball away from defenders.
Hill has the ability to see everything: full cutback opportunities, creases between defenders, linemen set up to block at the second level and back-end defenders off-balance who give him an alley.
Hill is not a true passing option. At his best, he can be a target for quarterback Zach Mettenberger as a last resort. Catching the football is not why LSU puts him in the game.
Hill is one of the premier backs in college football. He has a violent running style in traffic, burst to explode into daylight and the top-end speed to go the distance. In Hill, LSU has a high-quality asset on the ground.
Fourth round. Has the size, but he lacks the touches that show he can perform.
152. Johnathan Gray, Texas
Johnathan Gray has a good-sized body, but because he runs more upright, he limits his ability to deliver a blow at the point of contact. However, he is a guy who runs through arm tackles, can shed smaller defenders and can get a good push for the extra yard when the defense closes around him.
He has tremendous speed, and that shows in both his short and long runs. Gray has a strong burst into the line, the ability to rapidly accelerate after making a move on the field and then good top-end speed to go the distance.
Obviously, Gray’s questionable fumble-not fumble in the Iowa State game raises questions about his ball security in the pile. But over the course of the season, he’s been reliable with the football. Gray is the Longhorns’ feature back because he does not put the ball on the ground. His coaches trust him to secure the football in big spots.
Gray sees the field at both the primary and secondary levels. He makes good initial reads, then is able to pick his way to daylight by reading defenders’ body leans, pursuit angles and his own blockers.
The sophomore is not the most reliable weapon out of the backfield in the pass game, but he has shown an ability to make catches when pressed into action. Gray is not a true receiving threat at the position.
After grabbing the reins from Joe Bergeron following his fumbling issues, Gray has shown why he was an elite talent coming out of high school. The running back uses a blend of shiftiness and the ability to break tackles to generate quality production. His vision at the second level helps him find the creases and extend runs.
Third round. Tons of potential, but injuries are piling up.
151. Kenny Shaw, Florida State
Kenny Shaw is the “Steady Eddie” of the Florida State Seminoles wide receiving corp. He catches everything thrown to him and has shown an outstanding ability to control the football while going to the ground.
Florida State’s elder statesman at the receiver position gets open because he knows the tricks of the trade. He pushes defenders to open up before forcing them to reverse field as he breaks away from the turn. Shaw understands what he’s doing on the field, starting with alignment and proceeding through his stem and push into the move.
Shaw is a tremendous route-runner, even though he lacks top-end speed. His biggest asset in the speed game is his quickness and ability to burst into and out of breaks.
After making the catch, Shaw is a high-quality possession receiver. He knows how to get to the sticks and can make a first move to extend the play. However, he is not the home run hitter at the position that some of the other wide receivers on this list are.
Shaw is reliable. That’s why he is such a big part of Florida State’s offense. He is always where he’s supposed to be, always finds a way to get open and knows how to pick up first downs.
Sixth round. Nice production, but small and not special as a receiver.
150. Derrick Malone, Oregon
Derrick Malone has been added to the mix for the Ducks as a pass-rusher out of Nick Aliotti’s sets, but his primary function in the pass game is in coverage. He’s a fluid athlete getting after the quarterback, but he’s better suited for the back end.
Here is where Malone shines. He has slid nicely into his role as the primary tackler in the run game. He handles cutback runs fluidly and with great pursuit and has the speed to outsprint bouncing backs to the edge.
Malone is smooth in coverage and runs well. He has the ability to recognize threats in his zone and drives well on the ball. He will fight to break up passes. In moving from the hash to the flat, his speed is a major plus.
He’s a sure tackler who knows where his help is coming from and uses the sideline and good technique to get ball-carriers down. He closes fast, shuts down the opportunity for cutback runs and puts offensive players into the dirt.
Malone emerged as Oregon’s best linebacker this season. He used the run-through opportunities to limit gains down the field. He does not get caught up in the wash tracking the cutback, and that’s a great skill to have.
Third round. Active, aggressive athlete, but a small frame for the NFL.
149. Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Jalen Ramsey is a freshman who the nation got to watch grow into his new role as the season progressed. Catching on in run defense was the part that still gave him trouble at times as he reacted slower than other safeties to transitioning into run defense.
The freshman was surprisingly smooth in coverage, better than most older safeties. He is a fluid athlete who does a good job matching receivers in zone while seeing through to the quarterback. Ramsey also is an exceptional man-to-man defender when pushed into action.
Ramsey is a very good tackler, which is refreshing for a freshman defensive back. He has great body control and understands leverage. He not only knows how to get opponents on the ground, but he also has a good feel for how to push ball-carriers back to his teammates.
Ramsey converted from corner to safety during the season and played exceptionally well for the Seminoles. The move is difficult in the offseason for experienced players, but Ramsey made it during the year and excelled in game action.
Early first round. Versatile enough to play cornerback or safety at the next level.
148. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Carlos Hyde has the look and feel of the classic power back, but the Buckeyes senior is so much more. He is less a blow-deliverer and more of an absorber who bounces off tacklers, runs through arm tackles and makes defenders have to secure his legs to bring him down. He has great leg drive and a frame, combined with balance that allows him to move piles and shake off defensive players.
As evidenced by his long runs, Hyde is faster than most defenses expect him to be. That said, he is certainly not a speed back, but he hits the hole hard at the line of scrimmage and can pick up an extra five yards once he gets going. Due to his size and deceptive speed, some defenders take poor angles on him, which allow him to turn the corner. Largely, Hyde’s runs come in the interior of the field because he lacks game-changing speed.
Hyde is the safe bet for Ohio State. He is a guy who can take the handoff, get positive yards in traffic and not have to worry about the ball squirting out and costing the Buckeyes dearly. Hyde is a good high-and-tight-tucking ball-carrier, and his frame allows him to ward off punches and swipes as he gets up the field.
Hyde has a good ability to find space and run to daylight. However, he also has a tendency to run into players, both his own and defenders, on his way to that crease. He has a way of seeing the hole where it is, rather than where it will be as he prepares for his next move. Luckily, his power allows him to shake off those defenders and still gain yards.
Catching the ball does not come naturally to Hyde, but he can still corral it when it is thrown his way. He uses his body too much, but because he is usually a last resort, he is open and not forced to make a clean-hands catch. This is definitely a skill that if improved would make him even more dangerous.
One of the nation’s most reliable backs, Hyde absorbs blows, uses his balance to dance off hits and then keeps chugging toward the end zone. His ball security is top-notch, and because he rarely takes a negative play, this grinder is a beast in the second half of games.
Fourth round. Amazing power, but he lacks speed at the next level.
147. Devonta Freeman, Florida State
Devonta Freeman is not a power back or a violent runner, but his balance and leg drive do give him the ability to absorb hits, bounce off tacklers and continue pushing for extra yardage. While he does not shy away from contact, the junior is best served picking his way through traffic, instead of just running over defenders.
The best part of Freeman’s speed is his initial burst. That surge carries him into the line of scrimmage. On slower-developing plays, it goes into effect after he finds his seam of choice. He has good but not great top-end speed, but the burst gets him away from defenders.
Freeman is safe with the football and covers it up in traffic. Even as he pushes for extra yardage, he maintains control of the ball. He carries it tight to his body, and because of his shiftiness does not allow defenders to get clean punches or swipes to dislodge the ball.
Freeman excels in this area. He finds space all over the field, picks his holes and then moves from one void to the next, thanks to his ability to read defenders, blocks and find creases between them.
Freeman is developing a reliable set of hands out of the backfield. Early on in the season, he was used primarily as a pass-protector. But as he showed a consistent ability to track the ball and make catches out of the backfield, more was added to his plate. He’s a reliable safety valve for his quarterback.
Freeman is not even the most talented running back on his team, but he’s the best back the Seminoles have because of his ability to blend together his skills. He finds running room where there appears to be none, can break tackles to get the extra yards and is a great option in the pass game for Jameis Winston.
Third round. A little small and not all that fast for a starting back.
146. Shayne Skov, Stanford
Shayne Skov has lined up inside and outside for the Cardinal, and from the inside spot, he brings plenty of understanding in the pass-rush game. The linebacker knows how to work stunts and attack weaknesses on the offensive line in an effort to not only free himself for plays, but to ensure teammates come unblocked and get to the passer.
Skov is another pure downhill-run defender. He is a player whose first steps are toward the line of scrimmage, and that helps him get there and be disruptive between the tackles. Skov has also shown the athleticism to play against the zone read.
The Stanford senior is best suited as an added rusher, not a pass defender. He understands the landmarks, but struggles to open his hips and run after committing to stopping the run first.
He is a good tackler who wants to come up and be physical, especially in the run game. Even when he approaches out of control, Skov understands when to hammer and when to splatter runs, giving his teammates a chance to clean up after him.
He is one of the nation’s better interior linebackers. Skov is great between the hashmarks. He wants to come up and make tackles, and the senior delivers a blow when he gets a shot to make a play behind the line of scrimmage.
Early second round. Bounced back after a rough 2012 to once again look like a 10-year NFL starter.
145. DeVante Parker, Louisville
DeVante Parker has high-level hands and ball security. He climbs the ladder well and consistently brings the ball down away from his body in traffic. His aggressiveness to the ball and great hands are why he is a sure thing in the red zone and when the Louisville Cardinals are looking for a first down.
Parker is not a precision route-runner, but he understands how to use his body to get open in big situations. In the red zone, he’s a master of the fade, pushing to the outside, while leaving himself space to work on the sideline. In the green area, he knows how to work defenders to create room at the sticks.
Parker has good speed, but a great burst is his big asset. He seems to have an extra gear out of breaks and when he needs to find space.
When the defense obliges by giving him space to operate, Parker can get to the end zone. However, his biggest value is catching balls in traffic, despite having defenders draped on him.
There’s a lot to love about Parker. He’s a physical receiver who wants to get the ball thrown his way in high-pressure and high-traffic situations. He attacks the football and, as he’s shown time and again, comes down with touchdowns and first downs.
Third round. Big and unstoppable in the red zone, but he won't blow you away with speed.
144. Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest
Michael Campanaro is a great pass-catcher. Although he doesn’t often make the exceptional catch, his worth is in making the same, confident snare play after play in an offense that routinely targeted him in space.
He is one of the best in the college game. He understands how to use his body to get open and works defenders to create space. He pushes guys hard upfield to get back downhill. He also understands stemming inside to expand into space. And he brings an understanding of sitting in a zone to be a target for his quarterback.
How fast is the Wake Forest Deacons receiver? Fast enough. He is not the guy to blow by defenses or take the top off a unit, but he’s fast enough to explode into space and hurt a defense when it gives him room.
Campanaro is fast enough to be dangerous. His run-after-the-catch game is solid. He forces defenders to make a sure tackle. If the tackle is not good, he will slip the defensive back or linebacker and pick up that extra yardage that just demoralizes a defense.
It’s a shame that Campanaro got hurt, going down in the Syracuse game on Dec. 2 witha broken collarbone. He is a truly exceptional college wide receiver. He has great body control and understanding of routes and defender positioning, and simply put, he catches everything.
Sixth round. High-motor, short-yardage guy who lacks size.
143. Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin
Jacob Pedersen is a “Steady Eddie” type of player. When the ball is on his body, he will reel in the catch, making him a reliable target for quarterback Joel Stave. He’s not the guy to make the circus grab, but he’s certainly a player who can get a first down.
Muscling up at the point of attack is the prime directive for everyone on the Wisconsin roster, and Pedersen fits the bill perfectly. He moves bodies in the run game, pushing the edge in zone blocking and climbing to linebackers when asked to get to the second level. Pedersen is also reliable in pass protection.
Pedersen is at his best against zone coverage, finding a hole and sitting down. That includes peeling off the edge in play-action to hit vacated underneath space. Down the field, Pedersen is comfortable getting open, using spacing concepts.
Pedersen is not a burner who can get open through speed alone. However, the Wisconsin tight end does understand when to hit his top speed, usually in an effort to get into an opening or reach for a first down.
Pedersen is one of the most reliable tight ends in the country. He will find a way to get open down the field, and in the run game he is one of the nation’s best blockers. The run game at Wisconsin gets the love, and not only does Pedersen play a part in that success, he is also key to the passing efforts.
Sixth round. Small for a tight end, but a good overall athlete.
142. Blake Countess, Michigan
Blake Countess, even when he’s moved inside to play some nickel, is not a stout run defender. He is at his best cleaning up the mess after the front seven makes the initial hit.
The Michigan corner is at his best in zone coverage. He sees the quarterback well, has a great ability to break on the ball and recognizes threats in his area. He matches patterns to take away quick hits, and on deeper drops, if he's asked to defend two vertical routes, he can come off one to get to two and still make a play, if the interior receiver doesn't bend it inside enough.
Countess is not a great tackler, but the Wolverine will get ball-carriers down on the ground. That’s a testament to him working to make plays after runs break the line of scrimmage and making sure he secures opponents after completions.
After missing 2012 with a torn ACL, Countess rebounded strong in 2013. It’s not just the interception numbers, but rather his reads to make plays that make him an asset. He does a good job of seeing the whole field through his coverage area.
Third round. A little small for NFL standards, but he has room to grow.
141. Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Accurate passing is one of the areas where the LSU quarterback has improved mightily under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Zach Mettenberger has found a groove in hitting his spots on the slant and the out. He’s also throwing amazing back-shoulder throws to his targets.
This is where Mettenberger is the king of the castle. The senior has the strongest arm in the collegiate game. He can spin the ball with zip, and when he uncorks the cannon to throw deep, there are few receivers who can outrun the unload.
This is the area where Mettenberger has improved the most in 2013, even more so than his accuracy. It is not just decisions about avoiding throwing balls in traffic or trying to muscle balls into spaces he shouldn’t. Rather, his positive reads are the biggest leap. He understands where his advantages are and uses them to put stress on the defense.
LSU’s quarterback will hang in the pocket to make a play, especially since he becomes a major threat when he is forced to move—thanks to his lack of elusiveness. In a crowded pocket, Mettenberger still has problems, especially with defenders near his legs.
No quarterback has taken as big a leap in 2013 as Mettenberger. He has grown from a shaky liability to a solid threat at the position. He is a big-time asset for the Bayou Bengals.
Second round. Has top-level passing ability, but injury and off-field concerns hurt his stock.
140. Blake Bortles, UCF
The Knights quarterback delivers the ball with tremendous accuracy from inside and outside the pocket. He’s accurate on the run, an added asset to his game that allows him to deliver balls on the money while evading trouble.
Blake Bortles has an above-average arm that helps him drive the ball down the field. He’s capable of making all of the throws, although, like some other QBs, his deep balls lose velocity and hang in the air at times.
The UCF signal-caller is smart with the ball in his hands, although he does take risks when he is trying to make a play. He has such good ability to evade the rush that in his push to extend plays and make something happen, he sometimes does too much.
Bortles is very good in the pocket, thanks to that ability to evade the rush. He understands that he can hang in the pocket until the last minute and still make plays. That understanding keeps him very cool between the tackles.
Bortles was on the fringe of many folks’ radar entering the year, and he exploded on the scene as a big-time player at the position. He’s an accurate passer who rarely puts his team in bad situations and has the athletic ability to get himself out of trouble.
Early first round. He'll be a top-10 pick whenever he decides to head to the NFL. Mobility and accuracy.
139. Gator Hoskins, Marshall
Gator Hoskins has very good hands and is no stranger to making quality catches down the field. The Marshall tight end has had a few drops, but he has good concentration and is one of the more reliable receivers.
This is the most underrated element of Hoskins’ game. Although he is primarily a receiving threat, he has a good ability to block both on the line and down the field. He comes off the ball, can work in pass protection if needed and blocks for his receivers well in space.
Hoskins is not the best route-runner, but that is largely a product of the offense in which he plays. He is asked to get open more often than he is asked to work precise routes. Hoskins knows how to get open, and for the quick screens that he works in this offense, that is plenty.
He has very good speed, hence the Herd trust him to work screens that ordinarily are reserved for wide receivers. He can get on top of defenders quickly, and he’s quick enough to get to the middle of the field before safeties have the time to react and jump his routes.
He is one of the better tight ends in the nation. Hoskins has flown under the radar for many folks. He has a polished game and understands where he fits in his offense, and he has a knack for getting into the end zone.
Seventh round. More fullback than tight end, but his speed and strength are NFL-caliber.
138. Devin Funchess, Michigan
Devin Funchess has great hands. He catches everything thrown his way and is no stranger to battling defenders to secure the football. He can climb the ladder to make the grab and is comfortable catching the ball and squeezing it away from his body.
Blocking is what keeps Funchess lower on the list. He is far from a complete package. He is not very good in pass protection. He is clearly a better option running a route than helping max-protect. In the run game, much like the entire Michigan offensive line, Funchess struggles to get push and generate space to run.
The sophomore does show a good understanding of spacing and how to work routes to get open. He understands using inside releases and stems to the post to get toward the numbers on a defender. Funchess also is doing a better job of knowing when to keep running versus sitting down and just being a target.
He has elite speed at the position. Funchess is the rare tight end who can run away from defensive backs in the pass game. Funchess can beat people off the line, and as he gets down the field, he eats up cushion and forces defenders to open hips and run.
Blocking is where Michigan’s tight end needs to improve to be one of the game’s truly elite tight ends. His hands, speed and ability to get open are already at a high level.
First round. A complete tight end, he's just waiting to be draft-eligible.
137. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
Lache Seastrunk is a back who runs behind his pads and keeps his pad level low to explode through contact. Although he is not a power back, he is a runner who does not shy from contact, shakes off defenders and continuously picks up extra yards. He is a true run finisher.
The Baylor junior’s speed is among the nation’s elite. Seastrunk accelerates rapidly, can start and stop on a dime, and then return to top speed quickly. At his top end, he runs away from almost every defender. Because he hits top speed quicker than most backs, it allows him to get the corner or burst through a seam for big gains.
Seastrunk has been safe with the football in 2013, a major plus for Baylor’s feature back. His big improvements have been securing the ball in traffic and keeping the football tight as he pushes to pick up extra yards and finish runs.
As the nation’s premier one-cut-and-go back, Seastrunk makes quick diagnoses at the line and then uses his burst to get upfield. With a clear path, Seastrunk is phenomenal. However, at the second and third levels, he is less capable of diagnosing defenders’ vulnerabilities and making the second cut.
Seastrunk is not generally a target for the Bears in the passing game. He’s not a natural pass-catcher, as Baylor uses him in pass protection more than out in routes.
Seastrunk is a high-level running back who benefits from a system designed to help a back of his ilk flourish. Behind the zone-blocking scheme, with defenders frozen by the zone read, Seastrunk is able to get the ball, make one cut and get out of the gate and past defenders.
Second round. Spread offense and average vision hurt his stock.
136. Steve Edmond, Texas
Steve Edmond can be a problem for quarterbacks when he gets a shot to rush the passer. He pushes through well, and even though he is rarely the primary free runner, he does draw interest and gives Texas help to get to the passer.
The Texas junior hammers the run game. He plays well off of Dalton Santos and tracks the ball to make a play. Edmond understands where he fits in the gaps and works good angles to make sure runs do not break the Texas defense.
Edmond is a big-bodied player, but he moves well in coverage. When he’s in the game during passing situations, he walls off the interior and drives well on the ball. He does a great job of playing deep to short and then making a tackle.
One of the better tacklers on the Texas roster, Edmond gets good results. He understands leverage and how to play off his teammates, something many tacklers fail to do. He plays good team defense. Part of that is making tackles in tight spots.
Edmond’s season came to an end when he lacerated his liver against Texas Tech. Prior to that incident, he was a big-production player who did all of the little things for the Longhorns. He was not the big-play guy or a flashy player, but he was what made things work in Austin.
Sixth round. Big, strong linebacker with limited outside speed.
135. Dante Fowler, Florida
Dante Fowler does not have a wide variety of pass-rush moves. His best quality is playing in a defense that uses shifts and motions pre-snap to confuse the offensive line. Fowler needs to develop a swim-and-rip move in addition to his speed to consistently get pressure on the quarterback.
Despite his lack of pass-rush consistency, Fowler is a force against the run. The shifts at the line allow him to use his quickness to knife into the backfield and disrupt plays before they happen. Fowler also has the speed to get to the edge and track down ball-carriers from the backside.
Fowler is not a pass defender. The Gators don’t have a strong pass rush, so Fowler is needed in that dimension. The sophomore is also not a plus in coverage. He is much better going forward and getting into the backfield than he is sinking into open spaces to defend the pass.
Fowler is a good tackler. He is a guy who runs to the football, gets players on the ground and looks for chances to create turnovers. He is an athlete who understands how to track the ball-carrier and stop him for minimal gains.
Florida’s hybrid linebacker is a quality player. He is among the nation’s best against the run, finding a way to get penetration and create problems in the backfield. He needs to develop pass-rush moves and coverage skills to be a well-rounded player. But against the run, he is a beast.
Early first round. We're looking at a future top pick. There's nothing he can't do.
134. Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
Ra'Shede Hageman is inconsistent in his pass rush. He has the physical tools to be a threat, but has yet to polish his technique and work it consistently enough to be a continual problem for offensive linemen.
Because Hageman is so athletic, he does have the ability to make plays almost at will in the run game by getting less talented linemen to create space for him. His first step and ability to explode off the ball generate space, and he can split blockers in order to disrupt play in the backfield.
The Minnesota senior has improved his discipline in the run game, and it has benefited him and his team in a big way. If he could develop pass-rush moves, he would be an unstoppable force for the Gophers.
Early second round. One of the most naturally gifted players in the nation. Has to play with better leverage.
133. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
Gabe Jackson is a quality pass-protection guard. As long as he can get his hands on the rusher, he can control the action in a tremendous way. Blitzers and rushers working angles give him trouble, but Jackson has the ability to ride them past the quarterback when he cannot get in front of them.
Gabe Jackson has high-level hand placement and an ability to lock onto defenders in the run game. He keeps his hands tight and delivers a wallop when he gets to the opponent. Jackson also tracks well at the second level or when he is pulling to pick up his targets and clear a path.
Jackson is a high-level guard for Mississippi State. What he lacks in true foot quickness he makes up for with length and the ability to redirect defenders. He’s a fighter in the pass game and a guy who is looking to get on top of defenders when blocking the run.
Early second round. Run-blocking power is exceptional, but he gets lost in pass pro.
132. Chris Smith, Arkansas
Chris Smith is a strong defensive end, and he has shown an ability to beat tackles off the edge. His relentless push has helped his teammate, Trey Flowers, emerge as a capable defensive end, as Smith flushes quarterbacks in his direction. Smith has a nice spin move and the ability to get upfield before working back down to the quarterback, separating from the tackles.
The Arkansas end is strong and can set the edge, but he is also quick enough to slip blockers to get into the backfield. His problem in the run game is gambling on the slip to make a play, and then being washed out of position. When his focus is holding the edge, he gets results.
If Smith was not in a league with Michael Sam having a phenomenal season or Jadeveon Clowney projecting to be the first pick, he’d likely be a household name. Smith is a heck of a player and shows that every week, despite playing for a team that is less than stellar.
Late second round. A solid 4-3 defensive end prospect, Smith just needs to make more explosive plays in space.
131. Mike Davis, South Carolina
Mike Davis is the proverbial bowling ball of a running back. The kid is built for power with his short frame and thick core. His violent running style welcomes contact, and with his solid balance, he is able to pinball off would-be tacklers and continue to drive his legs, pushing piles and finding daylight.
Davis has an “end-zone gear.” When he sees the pylon, he can turn his speed up enough to get the ball into the scoring area. Play to play, his speed will not wow folks, but he gets on top of defenders in a hurry, allowing him to deliver the blow rather than absorbing an impact.
This is Davis’ bugaboo. He had two costly fumbles against Missouri that, luckily, did not cost South Carolina the game. The sophomore has to improve his ball security, valuing the football on an every-play basis.
Davis has a knack for getting into the open field and finding space. He recognizes when to bounce his runs and when to fight through traffic, and he knows where the sticks are to move the chains.
Davis has the most underrated hands out of the backfield in college football. He is a reliable and natural pass-catcher. That consistency allows him to be a factor all over the field in the pass game.
Davis is having one of the best years of any running back in college football. He’s capable of scoring in short yardage, from distance and is a major factor in the passing game. He is not higher on the list because of his fumbles. Improved ball security is a must for the Gamecocks running back.
Second round. Has the potential to be a top back.
130. Sam Carter, TCU
Sam Carter is, in the eyes of many, a glorified linebacker for the Horned Frogs, dressed up in safety clothing. He plays the run like a back in that he can set an edge, push through outside shoulders of blockers and track the back-side A-gap well.
Carter’s range is limited, but he’s a monster in underneath coverage. He patrols intermediate areas with great understanding of how to be a problem for quarterbacks. His biggest asset is the quickness to move from a possible blitz threat to a guy who can undercut quick routes to outside receivers.
Carter brings the wood when he patrols the intermediate zones and in the run game. He’s a player who understands how to play in close quarters, and that’s a plus for his run duties. He also has the ability to play in space and make open-field tackles.
He’s not a traditional safety, but he’s a very good player who deserves recognition because he plays his spot very well. Few safeties are as comfortable in the box as Carter.
Fourth round. Ideal player versus the run, but he has to improve in coverage.
129. Jeremy Gallon, Michigan
Jeremy Gallon does a good job of catching the football all over the field. At times he secures it with his body, but the senior receiver has very few drops, which is a positive. Gallon understands how to secure the football before he tries to evade tacklers.
Despite being an experienced receiver, Gallon is not a great route-runner. Gallon is at his best finding seams in the defense and beating zones, not stacking defensive backs and stemming them to create space.
Gallon is not a burner, but he has great burst, which helps him outrun defenders who take poor angles and would-be tacklers who dive at where he was. Gallon doesn’t have superior top-end speed, but the burst combined with his quickness is enough to make him a dangerous receiver.
That burst and his solid vision make Gallon a true threat after the catch. Plus, for a smaller receiver, he has great balance and a tremendous ability to break tackles. Thanks to that, the guy is a first-down machine.
Gallon is a possession receiver with the ability to be so much more. He’s a weapon on the edge because he is so adept at finding space in open zones, and he flourishes with a scrambling quarterback. The senior is dangerous on the extended play.
Fourth round. A nightmare with the ball, but smaller than you'd like and not a fit for every team.
128. Anthony Johnson, LSU
Anthony Johnson has not had the season many expected. Despite being very quiet in spots during the season, teams had to account for him in pass protection. He is a body who can push the pocket. When he’s engaged, he can break through double teams to make plays.
Because he still brought his power to the table, Johnson was a tough player against the run. He forced teams to double team him and was capable of forcing runs to spill before backs were ready to get lateral.
This was a lackluster season for Johnson and the bulk of the LSU defense. The team did not generate great pressure consistently, and that cost them in the back end with big pass plays. He flashed enough to warrant inclusion, but ultimately, with the tools Johnson has, he should be much higher.
Early second round. The athletic freak you want, but wish he played with better impact/production.
127. Anthony Harris, Virginia
The long safety for Virginia is a confident run defender. Anthony Harris comes up to secondary run-stop, taking good angles to ball-carriers. He has a clear understanding of where he fits versus the run.
A true opportunist in coverage, Harris is an interception machine because he sees the whole field and makes good breaks. Although he doesn’t flash big to prevent big tosses, he does react well to get there and impact the play.
Harris is a sure tackler who does a good job securing the opponent. In the open field, the junior shows good hip fluidity in reacting to moves while reducing the space between himself and the ball-carrier to force the issue.
Harris is a good player who had a phenomenal season when it came to getting interceptions. He does a lot of things well at the safety position and is still developing skills in coverage to control the field.
Sixth round. A good athlete, but he might not be aggressive enough for the NFL.
126. Nick O'Leary, Florida State
Nick O’Leary has good hands, although he has dropped a couple of balls. He’s a reliable receiver who makes the sure catch more often than not. O’Leary is not the spectacular acrobat in catching the football, but he often does not have to make the circus grab.
He is one of the best blockers in the nation. O’Leary takes real pride in firing off the ball and moving bodies at the point of attack. He wants to hit defenders down the field to spring backs and receivers for extra yards.
He is an accomplished route-runner. He knows when to sit down in a zone and just be a target. He also understands when to try to outrun a defender, such as a linebacker, and when to simply use his body to create space on the same route against a defensive back.
He has good speed, although he is not running away from most college defensive backs. Unlike other players at the position, O’Leary’s game is not rooted in his ability to outrun players.
O’Leary is a violent athlete blocking for ball-carriers and is even more aggressive with the football in his hands. He plays every snap like it is a fistfight, and that brings a legitimate toughness to his team’s game.
Fifth round. Needs to continue to build on strong 2013 and erase subpar first two seasons.
125. Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama
Jeoffrey Pagan, like teammate Ed Stinson, fits into the traditional mold of eating space and collapsing the pocket around the quarterback. Pagan has shown some ability to disengage, but his primary role is occupying bodies and constricting the pocket around the quarterback.
Pagan is a squeezer. He has a strong body that can hold off tackles, and that allows him to stop zone runs and create space for his linebackers to fill. It takes two linemen to push Pagan off his point, and that is exactly what his coach is looking for at his position.
The junior from North Carolina has shown an ability to be a big-time player, especially against the run. Pagan collapses the pocket and possesses the athleticism, when the opportunity arises, to give chase to quarterbacks.
Third round. Has upside, but he gets protected by the Alabama scheme.
124. Henry Anderson, Stanford
Henry Anderson rebounded from injury to be a major player against the pass. Unlike Ben Gardner, Anderson fit into the more traditional, space-occupying role at the defensive-end spot. Anderson’s ability to consume blockers allows the linebackers to get to the quarterback and make plays.
The senior from Atlanta is extremely stout against the run. After missing time, he started against Oregon and showed the ability to set the edge and dominate defenders, freeing his teammates to make tackles, flowing over the top to the football.
Anderson missed much of the season with a knee injury, but his timely return, when Gardner went down for the year, was a big reason why Stanford was able to upset Oregon. The senior gets a strong push against the run, controls the line of scrimmage and disrupts opponents in the run and pass game.
Third round. Has starting potential, but bouncing back from knee injury is key.
123. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
The first Nebraska corner on the list is a guy who, although physically larger, is not as influential against the run as his teammate, Ciante Evans. Stanley Jean-Baptiste is not often the primary run defender for the Cornhuskers.
He’s another corner capable of moving between both zone and man coverages. Jean-Baptiste is more comfortable playing from off coverage to see through his area to the quarterback. He is one of the best at recognizing drop depth and shoulder turns to transition into breaking on the ball.
He has missed tackles on the edge coming up on receivers, but he has worked to come under control when his team needs a stop. He will fight to push receivers toward the inside, giving linebackers and safeties time to flow for help.
He’s another very good corner for Nebraska. He is a guy who shows folks that playing off coverage does not mean playing soft coverage because he understands how to see through his man to the football so he can make plays.
Second round. A physical boundary cornerback with prototypical size, speed and length.
122. Fou Fonoti, Michigan State
Pass protection is Fou Fonoti’s biggest weakness. He tends to reach on blocks, get overextended and has a tough time getting good depth against speedy edge-rushers.
Here is where Fonoti excels. He is a mauler, a guy who enjoys beating up opponents and does a solid job finishing off blocks. Fonoti embodies that Michigan State attitude of wanting to KO the opponent, and the run game is where he gets to be physical.
In the collegiate game, if a team is looking to run the ball behind a tackle, there is no one better than Fonoti. He roots defensive ends out of the way, smashes into linebackers and consistently outmuscles his opponents. What he lacks in pass protection, he more than makes up for in the run game.
Seventh round. Aggressive and nasty, but he's not a technician or a great athlete.
121. Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
Stephon Tuitt has elite skills as a pass-rusher, although this season, injury and conditioning have prevented him from being the premier rusher at the position. That said, Tuitt does show a knack for getting to the quarterback. He can disengage from tackles, has the speed and strength to beat them to the edge or overpower them back into the quarterback, and requires attention from tight ends or backs.
Tuitt’s game has taken a step back against the run in 2013. Still an elite talent, Tuitt can hold the edge, but has not shown the same knack for disengaging and making plays in the backfield against the run.
Without high-quality linebacking play, Tuitt’s been forced to do more and he's failed to rise to the occasion on an every-game basis. He is still one of the best ends in the game, but just did not meet this season's elite expectations, falling short in these rankings as a result.
Late first round. Has an NFL body and the athletic ability to make it count.
120. Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
Cody Prewitt is a solid alley-fill player for the Rebels. He’s a fighter to the football who uses good leverage on his approach to make sure he’s operating within the confines of the scheme.
Prewitt is big for a safety, but he is strong in coverage. The Rebels ask him to cover underneath routes more than play the deep ball, and he responds well. Prewitt patrols the interior of the defense with confidence, and he breaks on the ball downhill quickly.
The Rebels’ safety is a striker. He delivers a blow when he gets to the ball-carrier. But when he gets his frame moving, he still has the ability to adjust to the opponent and make a play.
Prewitt is a big-time hammer at the safety spot. Although he’s not a guy with tremendous range, he’s great for controlling the interior of the defense and stopping intermediate routes from going for big plays.
Fourth round. He has ideal size, but a lack of speed shows up on film.
119. Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
When Antonio "Tiny" Richardson is engaged and can diagnose the defender across the line from him, he is one of the nation’s elite pass protectors. Unfortunately, when the picture across the line changes frequently or the defender has multiple pass-rushing moves, Richardson has problems maintaining his control of the situation. An expected speed-rusher opting for a bull rush, or vice versa, is a situation that catches Richardson off-balance and susceptible to the move.
If Richardson can get locked onto a defender, odds are that defender is in trouble. The problem is that Richardson has a tough time getting locked onto defenders at times. Hard inside moves in the run game are able to slip past him. Zone blocking is an issue for him, especially when asked to get to the second level. However, he’s a terror for defenders when he gets to his assignments.
Tiny Richardson has the type of talent that every coach is looking for at the tackle position. A true blend of power and athleticism, the junior is still learning the position and how to handle changing threats and multiple rush moves. This season, he has shown flashes of greatness and just must work on improving his consistency and ability to get to the second level.
First round. As the man who shut down Jadeveon Clowney, Richardson has it all.
118. T.J. Jones, Notre Dame
T.J. Jones has really improved this season in securing the football. He’s cut down on costly drops and proved that he can make tough catches, even with defenders draped over him. He battles for the football and has become a big part of the Irish offense.
The Notre Dame wideout has shown a better understanding of how to get loose against a defense through route running. He gets into and out of his breaks quickly, comes back downhill to help his quarterback and makes sharp breaks to get open before a defender can recover.
Jones has good speed. He has the ability to eat up cushion and get on top of defenders. Jones also has shown a knack for pulling away from the defense with a burst that buys him some separation to make a play.
Here is where Jones separates himself consistently from the other Irish receivers. He’s dynamic after the catch. He can take a quick screen or a smoke route and get quality yards. When he catches the ball downfield, he’s a cut or two away from getting into the end zone.
Jones emerged this season as the Irish’s go-to playmaker in the pass game. He catches nearly every ball thrown his way and is a factor in both the short and long game. Jones’ skills make him a weapon all over the field.
Fourth round. An ideal possession receiver for the NFL, but not a star.
117. Marqise Lee, USC
Marqise Lee’s struggles have been well-documented in 2013. Coming into the year as the nation’s top-ranked receiver, Lee dropped balls early and late. He has missed on a few game-changers, and that is something a top-level wide receiver cannot do.
Lee tends to fade on routes, limiting space for the quarterback to throw him open. The junior rounds off breaks in moments when pushing hard in a straight line would leave him more open.
Like Sammy Watkins, what Lee lacks in route running, he more than makes up for with speed and quickness. Defenders are so terrified of Lee getting loose over the top that they overcompensate in their breaks, leaving him open on intermediate and underneath routes.
Lee is amazing once the football is in his hands. He is quick enough to make defensive backs miss, fast enough to blow by linebackers and has the vision to see poor angles and work them to his advantage.
Lee did not have the 2013 season that he wanted or many expected of him. But he’s still a problem for defenses because of his speed and dynamism after the catch. He’s not higher on the list because he was not consistent enough in his route discipline or concentration making a catch.
First round. Drops and injury hurt, but he's still a game-changing wide receiver.
116. Devon Kennard, USC
Devon Kennard has returned with a vengeance from the torn pectoral muscle that sidelined him in 2012. In a new defensive scheme, Kennard, somewhat undersized as a 4-3 defensive end, is allowed to flex his skills as a pass-rush linebacker. The senior brings big pass-rush moves, relentless pursuit and the skill set of a 4-3 defensive end to the linebacker spot. Because he’s standing up, the freedom he gets makes him even more dangerous.
After spending three years as a smallish rush end, Kennard entered the linebacker ranks with plenty of skills against the run. He shows a strong ability to hold the edge against bigger players, a knack for disengaging and still has the quickness to shoot the gap and create chaos in the backfield.
While the skills of the 4-3 end translate well to the rush aspects of the game, Kennard is still not comfortable against the pass. He is athletic, but he does not have a lot of experience opening his hips, sinking into coverage or running with backs out of the backfield.
Speed is Kennard’s biggest weapon, but it can hurt him when he overruns plays. As a whole, he is a reliable tackler who consistently gets ball-carriers on the ground for minimal gains.
Kennard is an elite pass-rush specialist at the hybrid linebacker position. The Trojan boasts speed off the edge, pass-rush moves and a plan of attack rooted in causing disruption. He must become a reliable option in coverage to be more complete. But when it comes to getting after the quarterback, he’s among the nation’s best.
Fourth round. Productive, but speed to the edges has to get better.
115. DaQuan Jones, Penn State
DaQuan Jones is a quality pass-rush guy from the interior of Penn State’s defense. He pushes the pocket and can disengage to get to the quarterback when he is in pass-rush situations. He is one of Penn State’s best options at trying to press the pocket.
In the run game, Jones is one of the nation’s better defensive tackles. The senior has no problem engaging offensive linemen, holding them off his linebackers and stopping lateral movement. When he does move laterally, he brings power with him, pushing linemen back and stoning the run.
Jones is more versatile than he often gets credit for at Penn State. He’s active against the pass and can do a lot against the run. He’s not a simple plug-in-the-hole player. He can push upfield, and that ability to contribute in different ways makes him a positive.
Third round. A huge man, but limited as a pass-rusher.
114. Devin Street, Pittsburgh
Devin Street has tremendous hand strength and the concentration to go with it. He can secure balls that are out in front, behind him and up in the air, all while keeping the ball away from his body and controlling possession.
For Street, the devil is in the details, which speaks to his meticulous route running. From the moment he comes off the line, he is working to set up the defensive back for failure. His inside stems force defensive backs to commit to the interior before expanding wide to give his quarterback space to put the football.
The Pitt senior is not a burner, but he has a good burst out of his breaks that allows him to separate from defenders and create spacing on his routes. He does not blow past defenders at the line, but his quick acceleration gets him as open as he needs to be.
After catching the ball, Street is a guy who tends to pick up what he can immediately. The senior is not as elusive as others in the category, but he understands how to get to the sticks or the pylon in an effort to help his team.
One of the hidden gems on the college landscape, Street is a big-time player who shows up every weekend. He gets open consistently. When the ball is in the air thrown his way, there's a good chance he's going to come down with it.
Third round. Big, strong receiver with good production, but not super fast or agile.
113. Eddie Lackey, Baylor
Eddie Lackey is a bear in the Baylor blitz packages. He’s comfortable coming from the outside or adding to the rush from the inside to help get to the quarterback.
Lackey is a fighter in the box. He’s not afraid to take on a fullback and turn the run back inside to Bryce Hager. Or, in the case of Hager doing the spilling, he has the speed to beat the back to the corner and get a stop for minimal to no gain.
Although Lackey has two interceptions, he’s not great in coverage. He’s better at being a part of the rush package than he is at sinking into coverage. However, he does handle coverage situations well enough to be a plus for the Bears.
Lackey does a great job of running down his troubles. He flows fast to the football, keeping his head behind the ball-carrier and shutting down the cutback lane. He gets his head across and puts ball-carriers down.
He’s not a player many would expect to be high on the list, but Lackey has earned his way near the top. He fights to make plays for Baylor and is a big part of the reason the Bears defense has had such a strong turnaround in 2013.
Seventh round. Seriously undersized linebacker who could use a move to safety.
112. Kenarious Gates, Georgia
Kenarious Gates is one of the top pass-blockers in the collegiate game. He maintains a good base, moves his feet well and controls his balance. Unfortunately, he is limited athletically. While his technique looks decent, Gates does not have an answer against fast rushers with a solid inside move.
In the run game, Gates is equally as sound. Because he is such a big body, he’s able to win his one-on-one battles. His footwork allows him to get on top of defenders. When he locks up with a defender in the run game, he is able to move him out of the way to clear room for his backs.
Gates is everything a coach could want out of a collegiate tackle. He rarely misses assignments and does everything the right way on the field. Although he’s limited athletically, his skill set is solid. Barring a future first-round draft pick on the roster, Gates would be the best option at the position for most teams.
Seventh round. Powerful, but he doesn't show much athletic ability or technique.
111. Telvin Smith, Florida State
Telvin Smith can be a good pass-rusher, but simply is lacking for opportunities to get after the quarterback because he’s a more valuable asset in pass coverage. The ability to get downhill is there. He’s just simply better suited for elsewhere.
Although Smith is not the prototypical downhill-first player, his speed helps him scrape across to make plays in dynamic fashion. He gets downhill in a hurry despite not being the shed-type linebacker who is prepared to take on blocks.
Like C.J. Mosley, Smith is a great asset in pass coverage. The Florida State linebacker can run with backs and tight ends, and he is extremely comfortable in zone coverage carrying or passing off crossers.
Smith is a good and sure tackler. His speed allows him to track down the run from the backside, and although he is a smaller player in size, his speed allows him to bring down bigger ball-carriers. No one outruns him to the edge, which is a major plus.
He’s been a true revelation at the position for the Seminoles. Smith filled a void that allowed Florida State to get its best athletes all over the field. He is not the prototype, but he is exactly what the ‘Noles needed on the interior of their defense.
Second round. A tremendous athlete, but he has the body of a safety.
110. Paul Richardson, Colorado
Paul Richardson has the Buffs’ most reliable set of hands. He’s shown an ability to make the spectacular grab and concentrates to make sure the easy tosses are secured as well.
The Colorado receiver runs good concepts. He understands how to go inside to get outside and how to push vertical to get back downhill. For him, the issue is being precise in his routes. He’s a lot better at simply getting open than at sticking every cut.
As the Buffs’ only true threat on offense, Richardson is often open because of his speed. He can fly on the field and has that deceptive, long speed that allows him to gobble up cushions on cornerbacks.
Richardson is not the most slippery fish on the dock. He has great straight-line speed, but he’s not a great stop-and-start player. The long speed means he can get away from defenders he has beaten over the top, but he is not a human joystick.
Richardson is one of the best and most reliable receivers in the college game. If a coach needs someone to take the top off a defense, Richardson is capable of doing that with his long frame. He produces consistently, even as the lone option on his roster.
Second round. Exceptional speed, but a little lean and inconsistent.
109. Chris Coyle, Arizona State
Chris Coyle is one of the best in the country at making the ordinary and extraordinary catches. He is a player who can squeeze the ball away from his body, catch it in traffic and secure the ball while under duress.
This is an underrated facet of Coyle’s game because of the perception of Arizona State as a finesse team. He blocks well at the point of attack. The Sun Devils even use him in the screen game to help block out in front of receivers or backs.
He is another elevated route-runner at the position. Coyle knows how to release off the line to make sure the safety sees an outside path before bending back inside to hit the void for his quarterback.
Coyle is rarely caught from behind because he is fast enough to be a problem for linebackers and safeties, a problem that starts when he comes off the line and then gets worse as he catches the ball with space to operate.
Coyle is another high-level tight end. He’s versatile enough to flex out and stand up off the line, but he’s also a physical enough presence to put his hand in the dirt.
Fifth round. Gifted, versatile player stuck between positions.
108. Kenny Guiton, Ohio State
Kenny Guiton, a backup, is one of the most accurate passers at the dual-threat quarterback position. He puts the ball out in front of his receivers on deep routes and shows an ability to hit his targets in holes in zones that help them gain extra yardage.
The senior has quality arm strength, as evidenced by his deep balls that stretch the field. He is capable of getting the ball in front of his speedy receiving corps, and that was a plus in Braxton Miller’s absence. Guiton can also deliver the ball with good pace into tight windows.
Guiton is a reliable decision-maker in multiple facets of the game. On the zone read, he trusts his reads of give versus keep, and in the passing game he does not test traffic; rather, he takes what the defense gives him.
Here is where Guiton is not quite the player Miller is. He can get loose, but he’s not as much of a home run threat as the other Buckeyes player at the position.
For most teams, Guiton would be the unquestioned starter; he just happens to play with a physical phenom in Miller. Guiton brings real skills to the table, and he shows them when he gets the opportunity. The Buckeyes senior is the rare backup who elects to stay despite having legitimate options for success elsewhere.
Undrafted free agent. A developmental player, but Guiton showed some promise as a passer in limited reps.
107. Derek Carr, Fresno State
Derek Carr is an accurate passer, especially in the underneath and intermediate zones. He throws a great slant and a solid comeback route, things that are staples in almost every offense.
The senior has a very strong arm. He can fit the ball into tight windows with zip. When asked to stretch the field, he can get the ball vertical in a big way. The arm is there to get the ball downfield; with a flick of the wrist, he puts the ball deep on opponents.
Carr is safe with the ball, a testament to his decision-making. The quarterback takes risks down the field, stretching the defense vertically, but he does not put the ball in coverage or in spots where the defense can get to it. He’s also not afraid to throw the checkdown or toss the ball away when nothing is there.
Here is where Carr takes a step back from some of the more elite players. Clean or crowded pocket, he has an anxious feel to him that causes him to fade and move unnecessarily.
Carr is a very good quarterback, even with the moving in the pocket. He has a tremendous arm, throws a ball that jumps out of his hand and delivers it with accuracy down the field.
Early first round. Has an NFL-level arm. He just has to get better versus pressure.
106. Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State
Nickoe Whitley is not a primary run defender, but he’s willing to come up and make plays in the box when the Bulldogs need him. He’s a good tackler and knows how to alley-fill.
The senior is smooth in coverage and understands the little things very well. He takes away areas by showing up for quarterbacks, but he also has the ability to read quarterbacks and break on the ball to make a play. He has good ball skills and tremendous reaction time.
Whitley has played a lot of football and understands the most efficient methods to get ball-carriers on the ground. He doesn’t waste steps in pursuit and does not often risk giving up a big play by gambling to make a tackle. He secures the opponent.
The Bulldogs senior is a cool customer with a lot of football under his belt, and it shows in his play. He knows how to get big plays out of the passing game, and he does a good job of minimizing risk in big spots.
Third round. Injury questions hurt the stock of this future NFL starter.
105. Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Hybrid linebacker Noah Spence has gotten a lot of the praise, but newcomer Joey Bosa has had a quality season as well. Bosa is still learning the 3-4 position, but as the season progressed, he figured out how to not only squeeze the pocket, but disengage from tackles and become a factor against the pass.
Against the run, Bosa gets to use his natural athleticism and skill set to make plays. The Buckeyes ask him to set the edge, but also allow him the freedom to disrupt plays in the backfield. Bosa happily obliges.
Bosa beat out Adolphus Washington to play the position, and it is clear the Buckeyes made the right choice. The freshman is active in both facets of the game, displays great athleticism in getting to the quarterback and creating problems in the run game. As teams scheme to stop Spence, it is Bosa who has seen his role increase. He is capable of being a true impact player at the position.
First round. The next great Ohio State defensive line prospect.
104. Ray Drew, Georgia
Ray Drew is the Bulldogs’ pass rush. He has grown from a space-eater who occupies bodies into a more assertive role in getting to the passer. Drew has shown an ability to disengage from tackles, push the edge and go underneath to pursue the quarterback.
In the run game, Drew does fill the more traditional role of pushing through the tackle to the guard, in order to free up his linebackers. The Dawgs junior does get reached at times and is indecisive against the zone read, which is partially why opponents gash the Georgia defense.
Drew’s a quality player at the position who stepped up for Georgia when the team clearly lacked an influential, traditional rusher. Drew is best suited for the prototype role, but he can fill in as a pass-rusher when needed.
Third round. Impressive athlete for his size, but a scheme-specific pro prospect.
103. Desmond King, Iowa
Desmond King plays for a team that requires its players to be run defenders, and King answered the bell for the Hawkeyes. He is a player who wants to mix it up in the run game and has shown an ability to shed blocks and make plays.
In the passing game, King is still growing into a quality cover corner. He’s good in man because of his instincts. As the season progressed, he picked up his play in zone coverage.
It is rare that freshmen step in and are very good tacklers at the cornerback position, but King certainly bucks that trend. He has shown a continuous knack for forcing the issue and winning battles with ball-carriers.
Because he plays at Iowa, the nation does not know his name, but King is one of the better corners in college football. He’s made some big plays for Iowa, has shown great ability down the field and is just scratching the surface.
Second round. Impressive instincts, but speed questions are legit.
102. James Franklin, Missouri
James Franklin is hidden in the SEC behind bigger stars, but he’s one of the most accurate passers in the conference. The senior finds a way to consistently deliver, and that’s a testament to his understanding of how to distribute the ball. He puts it on the money and lets his playmakers make plays.
Franklin is not a strong-armed player, but he is strong enough at times to take shots downfield. In the intermediate zone, he can drive the ball to the sidelines, but he is not a player who consistently can throw the deep ball.
He’s one of the best, not only in his conference, but in the collegiate game this season. He understands how to work the zone read, and more importantly, his decisions throwing the ball continue to put his team in a position to be successful.
Franklin is at his best buying time in the pocket with subtle movements. Down the field, he is a solid runner, although he is not quite the same escape artist as others on the list.
He’s another underrated player because he is overshadowed by the star power in his league. Franklin is a quality player, and although he missed time with an injury, he quickly picked up where he left off when he returned.
Undrafted free agent. A talented athlete who could see Brad Smith-like treatment once in the pros.
101. Andrus Peat, Stanford
Andrus Peat gets better every game at left tackle. He’s just a sophomore, but he understands how to control his body, has great foot quickness and quality technique. He stays within himself and stones rushing defenders.
Peat is quickly becoming an elite run blocker. He finishes off defenders, has the ability to reach ends in the run game and push to the second level to become a problem for linebackers. Peat maintains a low pad level for such a tall blocker (6'7''). When he locks on, he drives his legs and moves bodies at the point of attack.
The skills are there for Peat, he just needs to add polish and eliminate some of the mistakes he makes against more advanced pass-rushers. In the run game, he is already near the top of the game. Stanford is set for another season with this big kid as the anchor of the left side of the line.
First round. A star left tackle waiting to happen. He destroys defenders at the point of attack.
100. Jonathan Brown, Illinois
Jonathan Brown has grown into a solid pass-rusher for the Illini. The team struggled getting to the quarterback, but adding Brown to the pass-rushing schemes has helped it get more consistent pressure on the quarterback.
Brown is the heart and soul of the Illini defense, and the run-stopping revolves around him. He makes good run fits, and even when there is no fit to be made, he finds a way to get to the football.
The Illinois senior is tasked with coverage when he is not added to the pass rush. He is capable of transitioning well into coverage. He moves fluidly to play the ball and is not afraid to break on a pass after reading the quarterback.
Brown is a tackling machine. He understands that his team needs him to be everywhere at once, and he responds accordingly. He can’t afford to miss tackles because, often, misses turn into big gains.
Brown is one of the better outside linebackers in America. He flies to the ball and always wants to stick his face into the mix. He challenges every play. In his final season, he was the anchor of the defense.
Fifth round. Looks the part, but lacks NFL speed and agility.
99. Chris Hackett, TCU
Chris Hackett is a very active safety against the run. The sophomore fills the voids of the defense well. On runs to him, the safety plays the bounce well and is not afraid to come up and set an edge for the defense.
Hackett is very good in his coverage area. He has good range and also works well over the slot and playing the intermediate zones. The sophomore is a fluid athlete who is fast to the football.
As with the bulk of TCU’s defense, Hackett is a quality tackler. He presses the ball-carrier well and limits his options before going in to run his feet and make the tackle. He also understands how to work the edge and push ball-carriers into his teammates.
Hackett does a lot of things well for TCU. Getting active both deep and near the line is a big plus for the sophomore. His ability over the slot and working laterally in the intermediate areas makes him a valuable asset.
Second round. Hackett has all the tools NFL teams want; he just needs experience.
98. Dion Bailey, USC
Dion Bailey is a good run defender who is still feeling his way into the run fits from the safety spot. His speed helps him make plays. As teams run the ball, Bailey is always in the mix. Playing linebacker has helped him understand working in the box. He is just working to manage the additional space.
Early in the season, Bailey seemed lost in the back end of the field. He struggled with his relationship to receivers and working to landmarks versus breaking on quarterback reads. However, he’s made rapid improvements, become a reliable safety who can match receivers and is a threat to make a play by reading the quarterback.
Bailey’s speed runs him out of plays at time, but the junior has figured out how to operate in more space. He’s become quite efficient at using his speed to cut the space between him and the opponent and then works to get him on the ground.
Making the transition from an undersized linebacker to a safety was a plus for Bailey. The Trojans took him from being swallowed up in the wash to being able to see the game around him and fly around to the ball. That solid move by defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast produced a strong season by Bailey.
First round. A prototypical strong safety prospect with first-round potential.
97. Bradley Roby, Ohio State
Bradley Roby is one of the best run defenders at the corner position in the nation. He recognizes how to fill in space and where his defense needs him to get stops in the run. The junior comes off the pass quickly to alley-fill on runs that break the line of scrimmage.
Roby really struggled in coverage scenarios in 2013. When he was isolated on edge receivers, they were able to take advantage of him by creating space and catching balls over the top. In zone coverages, he, like the rest of Ohio State's secondary, struggled to make good fits to keep teams out of the intermediate areas.
Roby can certainly tackle. He takes good pursuit angles, wants to get physical at the point of impact and, if given a shot, will knock an opponent’s block off. He is also willing to run from distance to ensure a ball-carrier goes to the ground.
Despite a tough year in coverage, Roby has excelled at other facets and certainly belongs among the better corners thanks to the total package he brings to the game. While other corners disappear as they struggle in coverage, Roby was able to improve in other areas of his game.
Late first round. Has to prove his consistency, but size and speed are NFL-caliber.
96. Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
Vernon Hargreaves is a good tackler, but he is not a solid run defender. He’s far more valuable for the Gators in coverage than as a help defender.
The freshman is a quality pass defender. He has been overly aggressive at times, but that’s a plus as he fights in coverage to challenge receivers for balls in the air. When he gets beat, it is due to some inexperience and an overzealous mistake.
He is a sound tackler. When Hargreaves does give up yards in coverage, he pushes to make tackles to minimize gains. He’s another player who secures the tackle, wraps up the receiver and makes sure that a catch doesn’t turn into a touchdown.
One of the best young corners in college football, Hargreaves came in as advertised for the Gators. He is a player who wants to make an impact and has no problem getting physical with receivers.
First round. A future stud at the position and projected first-round pick.
95. Tim Bennett, Indiana
Tim Bennett is one of the few corners who seem to genuinely enjoy getting active against the run. He is not afraid to mix it up on the goal line between the tackles. And in cloud coverage, he’s quick to come off in run support.
Indiana’s junior corner is a player who can travel between man and zone with relative ease. He matches patterns well, breaks on the ball quickly and has a very strong one-step-and-go reaction to get downhill on comeback routes.
He’s not the best tackler at the position, but he will get ball-carriers down on the ground. He flies around on the field, and when he is in coverage he works hard to minimize the gain after catches.
Bennett is likely the most underrated player on this list. He is not a household name, but in 2013 he showed he belongs among the elite at his position. He is strong in both man and zone coverage, and his reaction times are very good.
First round. Smooth athlete who loves to attack the ball in flight.
94. Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
The Florida State tackle is a squeezer and occupier at the inside position. He directs traffic by controlling the center and pushing to draw the guard’s attention, with the hopes of pressing the pocket from the middle and freeing teammates to get to the quarterback. When quarterbacks find the pocket due to the outside rush, Timmy Jernigan can disengage and become a sack player.
Much like in the pass sets, Jernigan is a man who looks to command a double team. The Seminoles have smallish interior linebackers who rely on speed, so it is his duty to ensure that those players get run-through lanes to make tackles. He does that job well and also brings a quickness to the nose position that allows him to be a bigger factor than most traditional players at the spot.
Jernigan is not a prototype player at the nose of a largely 3-4 scheme, but his athleticism and power make it work for him. He brings the strength to occupy two blockers and the speed and quickness to split those same defenders to make a play.
Late second round. Has all the tools, but his impact doesn't stand out on film.
93. Max Bullough, Michigan State
Max Bullough is one of the better rushers at the position because he has to be. His defense uses pressures to get to the quarterback, and that push to generate pressure means the linebackers have to be comfortable and understand how to reach the QB. Although Bullough doesn't have a high sack total, he does flush the pocket extremely well.
Bullough is at his best playing downhill, especially against the inside run. The Spartans senior is a physical presence who takes on blocks, sheds linemen and still makes a big impact on the play despite battling through contact.
Bullough’s biggest weakness is getting into coverage. He is not fluid in space, and moving backward is a problem for him. He does wall off the interior well, but he is not a guy who people want in pass coverage.
Bullough is one of the nation’s best tacklers. He does not overrun plays, breaks down and finds a way to consistently get ball-carriers on the ground. He is delivering the blow, even when tasked with shedding linemen in the process.
This is the prototypical middle linebacker for a 4-3 scheme. He flows downhill fast, can shed linemen and wants to play physical at every turn. He’s getting better in coverage, but as long as he’s on the field as a pass-rusher, he can help his team without being a coverage liability.
Third round. A lockdown run defender, but limited athlete.
92. Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Sammy Watkins has good hands when the ball is on his body. However, when he is forced to adjust high, behind or low, he struggles to corral the football. Often, in his push to make something happen after the catch, Watkins adjusts too late to the pass.
Watkins can get open against most coverages, although press man gives him issues when the defender knows how to push him to the sidelines or into the interior wash. While he can get open, Watkins has a habit of rounding off his breaks and drifting on routes. Against quality coverage, those become problems.
Speed is how Watkins makes things work. He is a wide receiver who, as long as he has a clean release off the line, can outrun defenders or force defenders to get turned around by his quick cuts. Watkins’ acceleration is top-notch, and his ability to start, stop and then start again is nearly unmatched in the college game.
After the catch, Watkins operates at an elite level thanks to his combination of speed, quickness and vision. The same vision that made him a phenom in the return game is what helps him slip tackles, break defenders’ ankles and scoot into daylight.
Watkins is, perhaps, the most dangerous weapon in college football. Short passes and handoffs have the same chance of going the distance. He is a scary task for defenses to tackle. His slippery elusiveness makes him a threat on every play.
First round. The best wide receiver prospect in college. A franchise-changing player.
91. Allen Robinson, Penn State
Allen Robinson has amazing hands. At 6'3" and 210 pounds, he’s a big, physical receiver who attacks the ball and can make tough catches in traffic. When the ball is in the air, it is his. That tenacity is reflected in his quarterback and coach’s willingness to give him the ball in tough situations.
Penn State’s leading receiver understands how to get open based on the route he is running. He lines up to get himself open, and then goes through his route, understanding how the defense will react, forcing its hand before getting back to the football.
Robinson is not a burner, but the junior is fast enough to create problems for a defense. He has deceptive speed that puts him on top of defenders quicker than anticipated and does not allow them to get prime position as he makes his breaks down the field.
The Nittany Lions receiver is big and physical after the catch, but he's not particularly elusive. His biggest plus is the ability to pick up extra yards behind his pads and that he always falls forward.
Robinson is a monster of a wide receiver. He has sure hands and is one of those big-bodied types who is open even when he’s covered. While he is not as dynamic as other players on this list after the catch, he makes up for it with his route running and ability to bring down tough grabs in traffic.
First round. The best wide receiver no one talks about. He has the size, skills to be a Day 1 starter.
90. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Jace Amaro is another tight end with strong hands who catches everything. He’s comfortable going down to get the ball or elevating to bring in the football. He has a strong grip that allows him to keep the ball and secure the catch away from his body, even as he absorbs contact.
Here is where Amaro takes a hit. He’s more of a receiver than a true blocking tight end. He will get in the way, be a bother for the opposition and help keep defenders off ball-carriers, but he is not a drive blocker who moves bodies.
Because Amaro is, in the bulk of the Red Raiders’ playbook, a giant receiver, route running is one of his best attributes. He is matched up against coverage players, including cornerbacks, and he shows a consistent ability to get separation because of an understanding of how to work routes.
He is one of the best speed players at the position. He’s capable of beating safeties and linebackers off the ball with ease and has shown an ability to stress nickel defenders as well.
He is one of the better players at the position. Amaro does not get nearly the recognition that he deserves. He epitomizes the new breed of athlete at the position who is comfortable lining up in the slot or flexed out on the line to create problems for defenders.
First round. The ideal flex tight end, he has speed and moves in the open field.
89. Aaron Murray, Georgia
Aaron Murray is one of the more accurate quarterbacks. He puts the ball where his receivers want to get it and does a good job of keeping the ball away from defenders. Even playing with a revolving door at the wide receiver position, Murray has been consistently accurate.
This is Murray’s big flaw. He does not have the same arm that other big-time quarterbacks possess. However, his arm strength does not hinder his ability to get the ball to the edges in the intermediate areas or to put zip on the ball. Murray is simply not the guy to make a living on deep balls.
Murray is good on the fly. He continuously gets himself and the Dawgs out of trouble with quick thinking. He knows when to dump off the ball, when to hang in the pocket an extra second and when to tuck the ball and get what he can.
The Bulldogs quarterback is cool under pressure. That is an underrated facet to his game. He has the ability to evade the rush, is comfortable throwing on the run and is even capable of getting down the field.
Murray is a high-quality QB. He’s quick on his feet, makes good decisions and can get the ball to his receivers. Although some of his longer throws float, he is very good in the intermediate range and can make plays for his team.
Fourth round. A late ACL injury really hurts his stock after a very good senior season.
88. Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Khalil Mack is a pass-rush guy who has to be respected. Teams scheme to run away from him, which is a testament to his blend of speed and power in getting to the quarterback. Mack has shown good strength in pushing back tackles into quarterbacks and has a strong up-and-under move.
The senior is a skilled run player, using the same assets that benefit his pass rush. He has the quickness to split defenders in order to make tackles and disrupt the mesh point. He also has the strength to set a hard edge and turn ball-carriers back into the interior of the defense.
Mack is not an accomplished pass defender, but he has shown some capabilities in coverage. He is a fluid athlete who can physically get into coverage. His issue is with technique and needing more experience and reps to get comfortable reading keys in the pass game.
Mack is a sure tackler against the run and pass. He works relentlessly to get the ball-carrier on the ground. When he gets his paws on an offensive player, he is able to wrestle him down. His closing speed gives him the ability to run plays down.
Mack excelled against the Ohio State Buckeyes and Jack Mewhort, one of the nation’s best tackles, and the rest of his 2013 season has been solid. As teams in the MAC scheme to avoid the pass-rusher, he’s started playing more in coverage and is developing that aspect of his game. Mack lives on the opponent’s side of the line of scrimmage and is a problem every time he gets to defend against the rush, run or pass.
Early first round. Mack has it all from an athletic standpoint. Should be a top-15 pick.
87. AJ McCarron, Alabama
AJ McCarron is an accurate thrower out of the pocket. He is able to put the ball where he wants it, avoids traffic and understands just how to get it into his receivers’ hands and away from defenders.
He has underrated arm strength. When he has to throw the bomb, he can put it out in front of the wide receiver. He also has no problem putting good zip on the ball to get it to his players in a hurry.
Game to game, McCarron is a high-quality decision-maker. He’s not afraid to throw the ball out of bounds, and he understands that turnovers are what his coach does not want. His lapses are few and far between.
Here is where McCarron’s lapses in decision-making become a problem. When the pocket gets crowded, he looks to get rid of the ball in a hurry, which leads to tosses into traffic. If a team can get him uncomfortable, it can create turnovers.
Where the traditional pocket passer is concerned, McCarron is very good. He does not have the mobility of other players in this category, and it shows with how uncomfortable he gets when asked to evade the rush. That said, in a clean pocket, he has good footwork and can get the ball to anywhere on the field.
Second round. Love the intangibles, but he doesn't have the best arm strength.
86. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Tajh Boyd is an accurate passer who avoids traffic for the most part. At times, he does let the ball get away from him. That includes allowing it to sail or short-arming throws, creating passes that hit the ground before reaching the receiver.
The Clemson senior has a strong enough arm to get the ball downfield a couple of times a game, but he butters his bread with shorter passes. He’s at his best working shallow to intermediate because his deep balls have fluttered at times.
Boyd’s big weakness is making his mind up before the ball is snapped, which leads to forcing the ball where it doesn’t belong. In general, the senior is safe with the football. That’s why he’s one of the best in the game. Although he is a pocket passer, he works the zone read well and is adept at deciding between the run and pass on packaged plays.
He is solid in the pocket, staying in to make throws and getting out when necessary. However, at times, such as the N.C. State game, he has shown that pressure rattles him and makes him less effective.
Boyd is a very good quarterback. His biggest assets are his legs, his willingness to use them and his ability to deliver accurate passes while changing his arm angle to get the ball off. He can freeze defenders while working packaged plays and still get the ball to his targets after going through his run-game read.
Second round. A smaller guy, but his mobility and deep accuracy are on point.
85. Bryan Stork, Florida State
Bryan Stork is the leader of a quality offensive line at Florida State. His biggest strength in pass protection is his ability to diagnose multiple defenses. That said, Stork is also a brilliant technician at the center position, using great hand placement, quickness and low pad level to keep defenders off balance and out of the backfield.
The Florida State senior transitions into run blocking quickly after the snap, and his quickness allows him to get on top of defensive linemen and move bodies at the point of attack. Stork is good at moving laterally to block zone runs, and he is able to get to the second level with power and control to help spring running backs.
Stork is having the best season for any center in the nation. He consistently puts Florida State into the right protections, wins his one-on-one battles and shows great athleticism to get out into space. He is the guy you want in the middle of an offensive line.
Fourth round. Mobile and smart, but he needs to get stronger at the point of attack.
84. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Operating out of a system where he is asked to hit his spots, Jordan Lynch is an accurate passer at a very consistent level. Lynch puts the ball where it needs to be, lets his playmakers find open spaces and delivers.
Lynch is not a driver of the football; he’s a dink-and-dunk player. That is not a knock, because he does well in his system. However, when asked to push the ball down the field, he struggles spinning it with distance.
The Northern Illinois quarterback is at the top of the food chain when it comes to making choices with the football. He’s great on the give versus keep and phenomenal in choosing when to throw and when to run the ball. He is a tough player but not a guy who takes unnecessary risks.
Every week, Lynch goes out and opponents know he is going to try to beat them with his arm and legs, and every week, he cannot be stopped. Even when opponents know Lynch is the key, they cannot corral him and stop him from making plays.
Lynch is the best that the non-BCS ranks has to offer, and he grew into an almost household name in his second season as a starter. The quarterback is a solid short passer and a great runner at the position.
Undrafted free agent. A position change is likely in his NFL future.
83. Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State
Ty Zimmerman is a safety who seems to enjoy coming up to play the run. He’s a great fill player who recognizes when the ball is crossing the line and shoots through to bang on running backs. He checks for cutbacks well and pushes his angles to limit gains.
The Wildcats senior is fluid in coverage and pushes to make plays in the back end. He reads the quarterback well, getting good jumps on the ball. By showing large, he limits the quarterback’s options and forces balls to be thrown shorter.
Kansas State’s safety is a quality tackler who flies to the football and mixes it up with very good aggression. Zimmerman is one of the safeties who does a lot by himself from a tackling standpoint. He comes to balance and puts ball-carriers on the ground.
He's a talented player who sees through his zone to the quarterback and gets a good jump on the ball to make plays. He is not afraid to lay the wood to ball-carriers. In the passing game, he works as well at preventing plays as he does reacting to quarterback decisions.
Fourth round. A big intimidator, but slow to recover against the pass.
82. Bennett Jackson, Notre Dame
Bennett Jackson is still figuring out the best run fits for the scheme, but he is one of the more active corners against the run. He will come up hard, stick his nose into the mix and help the front seven make plays.
Although he is not a lockdown corner, Jackson has had good success out on his own against some quality receivers. He has a good understanding of body control and is developing a reliable ability to play hands against receivers down the field.
Jackson’s a good, sound tackler. In coverage, he closes well and gets ball-carriers to the ground. In the run game, he recognizes help and engages opponents to help get stops.
One of the bigger surprises in a less-than-stellar year for Notre Dame. Jackson was challenged by teams and he rose to the occasion many times, fighting off deep balls thrown in his direction.
Fifth round. A technically sound cornerback, but a limited athlete.
81. Quandre Diggs, Texas
Quandre Diggs is very active in the run game. His ability to work from both the corner and inside spot is a testament to his skills. He understands leverage, how to get runs filtered back inside and when to slip blockers to make a play in the backfield.
Diggs is not the lockdown corner that many folks are looking for, but in zone coverage he is able to see the quarterback through the receiver. He also has good acceleration, which helps him close on the football.
Even though Diggs is influential in every facet of the game, he does miss some tackles. However, because he understands where he fits on defense, his misses still help the rest of the Longhorns defense make tackles.
Diggs is a player. He’s another guy who is a football player playing the cornerback position. He’s not a shutdown corner but is active in blitz packages, against the run and can make big plays on the football.
Second round. Versatile, fluid athlete who can play cornerback, nickelback or safety in the NFL.
80. Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
An unlikely run defender, Loucheiz Purifoy has shown that when his number is called he knows what to do in the run game. He does not want to be a cloud corner tasked with mixing it up every play, but when asked he does not hesitate to get active at the line of scrimmage.
Plenty will point out Purifoy’s few mistakes, made mainly because of his aggression. But the fact is Purifoy plays shutdown coverage for the bulk of games. It takes a lot to get open on him, and he makes receivers work. For quarterbacks to have success against him, the ball has to be extremely well thrown.
Purifoy will make a tackle, especially when he is in pass coverage and gives up a completion. The cornerback is also a quality pursuit guy on plays down the field, squeezing the sideline to try to minimize gains.
The Florida cornerback is a good player who plays on a team that had a tough season. Through it all, he was tough to beat, fighting off bigger receivers more often than not. There was no hiding the physicality that he brings to the position.
Second round. An impressive athlete, but too often he gambles and misses in coverage.
79. Terrence Brooks, Florida State
Terrence Brooks is quite capable of coming down into the box to help with run defense. He is a good alley-fill player. When he starts out lower in the box, he reacts quickly to the ball at the line of scrimmage.
The Florida State senior has great range and is a true leader in the back end. He helps get Jalen Ramsey set up and works with some young players to make sure areas are covered. He can get off the hash in a hurry, and when he’s pushed down into intermediate areas, his speed to the ball is truly outstanding.
Brooks is a good tackler, like most of the Florida State defense. He comes down into the box with a purpose and takes away the space between him and ball-carriers. In the pass game, Brooks closes well on the football, which puts him in a position to secure tackles and limit gains.
The senior is a very good safety who works the back end exceptionally well. He fights in the run game to get downhill to make plays, and in the pass game he understands how to let the quarterback’s eyes and shoulders take him to the football.
Third round. Excellent speed, but he disappears against the run.
78. Ahmad Dixon, Baylor
Ahmad Dixon is another safety who wants to get into the box whenever he can. He flies up hard to turn runs back to the inside, and on interior runs he picks his way through the trash to get to the ball-carrier.
Dixon often is so intent on getting to play the run that at times he flies down when he would be better served sinking into coverage. However, he does have decent range, and he is a guy who is very good at playing the intermediate routes while driving shallow throws.
At times, Dixon takes bad angles that lead to him going for a ride on bigger players. However, he is generally a good tackler and a guy who gets to the ball-carrier with the sole purpose of delivering punishment.
The Bears have a very good player in Dixon. He’s a physical presence from the safety spot against the run. Opponents’ receivers, quarterbacks and running backs all have to know where No. 6 is on the field on any given play.
Second round. Dixon has all the tools to be a starter from his first day in the NFL.
77. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
C.J. Fiedorowicz has reliable, soft hands. He’s the type of guy who becomes a quarterback’s best friend in the traditional tight end sense. Although he’s not a circus-catch player, he is the guy who will catch everything that is on his body.
He’s one of the best in-line blockers in the game. He comes off the ball with fire, can move defensive ends and linebackers and wants to hit defensive backs down the field to create space for the ball-carrier.
The Hawkeyes senior has a great understanding of spacing. Although he does not run the entire route tree, he does run the routes Iowa uses very well. He stems linebackers inside to expand into space, and he knows how to pressure safeties on the seam.
He’s not the fastest player, but he is certainly fast enough to get on top of linebackers. His speed is at times deceptive to safeties, who end up out of position and stuck on the hash against Fiedorowicz pushing the middle third down the field.
As a dose of the old-school, traditional tight end, Fiedorowicz is the best of both worlds. He is a guy who can help in the pass game but is equally comfortable doing the dirty work that comes with blocking.
Second round. Not always used correctly at Iowa, but a prototypical in-line tight end.
76. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
There are moments when Cyrus Kouandjio gets too high or out of position, and those create problems for the Alabama offensive lineman. But over the course of the season, his pad level has improved, making him a solid pass protector. Kouandjio is a guy who delivers a good punch, and thanks to his athleticism, he is able to change directions to thwart double moves from rushers.
This is another area where Kouandjio needs to focus on his pad level, but here, the junior does get tremendous results. As Alabama has increased its emphasis on zone blocking, it has forced Kouandjio to focus on more control at the second level to block smaller, quicker defenders. The result is an engaged player who runs and blocks well and does a nice job in finishing off blockers to spring his running backs.
Kouandjio is the best athlete at his position in college football. He has elite foot quickness and the ability to correct mistakes in his game that would usually result in sacks or tackles for loss with other tackles. When Kouandjio focuses on technique, he’s the best in the game. Unfortunately, there are lapses that stop him from being that elite player on every snap.
First round. A top prep player and now a top collegiate, he projects to be a top-20 player in the draft.
75. Tony Washington, Oregon
Tony Washington is in the speed, edge-rusher mold. He’s an athletic player who can explode past tackles and get to the quarterback to create problems. The Oregon junior has good balance; even as tackles try to push him off his point, he has the body control to stay on course.
Physical attacks neutralize Washington, forcing him off the edge and downfield to try to make tackles. He is at his best knifing between blockers to create problems at the mesh point.
Washington is effective in the Ducks’ multiple-front defense. He has the athleticism to play in coverage, but he’s at his best blowing past tackles to get to the quarterbacks. Against the run, Washington has to penetrate because bigger players can get the best of him.
Second round. Athletic, versatile pass-rusher who needs to make more big plays.
74. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
After a slow start, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has come on strong in the passing game. He is a big target with strong hands. He simply has to focus more consistently, a trait that has improved over the course of the season.
Here is where Seferian-Jenkins has made legitimate improvements over the course of the 2013 campaign. He is good blocking in space and capable of driving defenders to create room for his backs.
The first key for ASJ is that he clearly understands how to get open and make himself a big target. He has also improved his ability to work defenders through routes in order to get open. Jenkins has shown an ability to push inside to get outside consistently.
As one of the bigger tight ends who operates as a big pass-catcher, Seferian-Jenkin’s speed often goes unnoticed. He can get on top of linebackers and will push safeties vertically in a way that someone his size should not be able to do.
He is a huge target who understands finding space, creating space and helping his quarterback. He is a true tight end in every sense of the word, and even at his size, he has shown an ability to play both off and on the line with good results.
Second round. A gifted athlete, but off-field questions will hurt on draft day.
73. Hakeem Smith, Louisville
Generally, Hakeem Smith isn't a primary run defender, but he's a player who understands the alley-fill concepts well. He knows where to insert himself as the ball breaks the line of scrimmage and how to operate within the defense as a plug to stop leaks in the front seven.
Smith is a prototypical deep safety. He has great wheels, the ability to move around in the back end while reading the quarterback and great closing speed. Smith takes away huge swaths of field, forcing quarterbacks to look elsewhere and giving the rush time to get to the quarterback.
His safety partner, Calvin Pryor, is the best tackler at the position, but Smith is a tremendous tackler in his own right. He’s a guy who makes a lot of open-field tackles in pursuit, hoping to minimize big gains, and he’s phenomenal at cutting out the cutback for receivers and backs down the field.
An experienced talent at the position, Smith takes plays away before offenses have a chance to make them. He’s a solid tackler and understands just where he fits for his defense, helping others make plays while he patrols the back end.
Fifth round. Solid in coverage but not overly physical.
72. Cam Erving, Florida State
Cam Erving showed up big against Clemson’s Vic Beasley and proved that he can handle the speed rush off the edge. The converted defensive tackle is still figuring out how to deal with double moves and defenders who use their hands well, but he’s a physical blocker who wins most of his one-on-one battles.
This is where Erving shows some athleticism. He can get out and run at the second level, and when he gets to defenders, he’s bad news. He has a good power surge at the point of attack and can lock up with ends and push them off from holding the edge in the run game.
A reliable protector for Jameis Winston, Erving is also a big part of the Florida State running game. He’s still learning, but has enough skills and know-how to be a major problem for defenders.
First round. A hidden gem, he's smooth, fluid and comes with a big upside.
71. Anthony Hitchens, Iowa
Anthony Hitchens has been added to Iowa's blitz packages in spots, and he’s generated some positive results. He’s a dogged pursuer of the quarterback in those scenarios and will fight to get to the passer.
Hitchens excels against the run. He’s a great run-through linebacker, but he is also comfortable being a hammer-splatter player for his linebacking teammate, James Morris. Hitchens can get to the ball through linemen, and he will not hesitate to hammer plays back to the interior.
The Iowa linebacker is not the most fluid player moving away from the line, but he does understand how to stop crossers and drive routes better than expected. His experience is the best reason for his success in the back end.
Hitchens is great on the move to ball-carriers. He moves well from sideline to sideline, and he wants to get to the opponent in the backfield to make a big play. He secures the tackle well, even moving full speed, and that is a plus for a guy who moves like him.
Another Big Ten linebacker, Hitchens is among the best of the bunch. He flashes in a big way during Iowa games, and he is tough to block because he is such an active player.
Seventh round. Love his production, but he has to show much better athletic ability.
70. Marcus Smith, Louisville
Originally a pure defensive end, Marcus Smith has spent a lot more time standing up in 2013, and he’s produced solid results. Smith moves well to the football and has the ability to beat a tackle off the edge or get underneath the tackle en route to the quarterback.
Because he is a converted end who has been asked to stand up, Smith brings toughness to the position. He sets a hard edge and has the strength to disengage to make a tackle while maintaining outside leverage. He also has good quickness that gives him plenty of leeway in the run game.
The Louisville senior was impressive when asked to sink into coverage, something that is a rarity for converters at the position. He sees the field well, recognizes routes and has the agility to drive on the football.
Smith is playing in more space now than when he had his hand down every play, and at times the space gives offensive players advantageous angles. However, because he is a defensive end at the core, he pushes ball-carriers to his teammates.
With Louisville using more versatile looks out of its front seven, Smith may be a surprise to some. But he has emerged as one of the premier hybrid linebacker-types in the nation. He fights to the football, pushes through contact and has the athleticism to be a problem for linemen in space.
Third round. A monster 2013 season showed pass-rushing skills. Just OK versus the run.
69. Morgan Moses, Virginia
Morgan Moses’ team has had a tough season, despite the left tackle's best efforts in pass protection. Whether he was against Oregon's Tony Washington or North Carolina's Kareem Martin, Moses demonstrated solid body control, good balance and the ability to protect both inside and outside.
For a mammoth human being (6'6'', 335 pounds), Moses moves well. His athleticism allows him to get to the second level, lock up on linebackers and often put them in the dirt to finish off the block. His long arms and big frame make him tough to avoid for defenders looking to get penetration against the run.
Moses is a good player on a bad team, but his skills are real. His size makes it tough for defenders to get past him, and with his skill set, he handles different rushing styles quite well. Moses is a player who works to finish the block once he puts his big paws on a defender.
Third round. A huge man who shows up in the run game, but he's an average pass protector.
68. Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
Everybody plays run defense for Michigan State, its safeties included. Kurtis Drummond gets downhill quickly and does not hesitate to fly on the edge and shoot his guns to take a back’s outside hip out of the play.
Drummond’s responsibilities range from being a single high safety helping the corners to coming down in the box and covering tight ends and backs one-on-one. He does all things well, including recognizing the intermediate zone, giving up the shallow crosses and driving the shorter throws.
Because Drummond is a good tackler, driving shallow passes while playing deep to short is exactly what works for Michigan State. He is a great open-field tackler who makes ball-carriers uncomfortable by not going for moves and forcing them to do what he wants in order to make a tackle.
He’s a quality player who plays on defense, where he often goes underappreciated nationally. He has good range, great closing speed and is a sure tackler. He belongs near the top of the list because he can flat-out play.
Fourth round. Talented, but quickness in coverage is a question mark.
67. Trent Murphy, Stanford
Trent Murphy has a number of pass-rush moves. He can slap a tackle’s hands off him while getting upfield to get around the edge. Murphy’s also shown a quality upfield push, followed by a spin back to the inside. He is a polished pass-rusher with not just a single plan for getting to the quarterback.
Similar to his passing skill set, Murphy has evolved in getting to the running back. He uses the up-and-under move to shift from rushing the passer to tracking the running back, and his discipline and patience are phenomenal against the zone read. He is more than a “see ball, hit ball” player. Murphy pursues down the line, head behind the runner to take away the cutback and force the issue.
Getting into coverage is not Murphy’s strong suit, and he's rarely used there. Even on plays where he is supposed to peel with a back out of the backfield, he is not comfortable changing directions to turn and run. He’s a far better rusher and throwing-lane defender than an in-space pass-defense option.
He is a high-level tackler. Murphy uses tremendous pursuit angles, has an understanding of squeezing the cutback lanes and uses his disciplined approach to force the ball-carrier into choosing to run into him or back into the teeth of the defense.
Murphy can play with his hand down or standing up coming off the edge. He brings a physical, attacking style to the game, and he always plays on the opponent’s side of the line of scrimmage. When it comes to simply getting after the quarterback and stopping runs behind the line, the Stanford senior is at the top of the hybrid linebacking class.
Late first round. Not the flashiest pass-rusher, but Murphy gets the job done.
66. Dee Ford, Auburn
Dee Ford puts together speed and power with some quality go-to moves. He swats tackles’ hands out of the way to get to the edge. Ford also has the ability to recognize when he’s getting too far upfield. He can stop, push the tackle past him and get back to the quarterback.
Although Ford has to improve at using his strength to hold the edge, it is more an execution point than a lack of ability. He has to do a better job at picking his spots to be disruptive, especially against the zone read, so that he does not leave openings for opponents.
The Auburn Tigers defensive end came on strong after sitting out the first two games, excelling against Ole Miss and continuing to be a monster on the edge for most of the season. He has to improve his consistency against the run to move into the upper echelon.
Late second round. An explosive pass-rusher, but size concerns will affect his draft stock.
65. Connor Shaw, South Carolina
Connor Shaw is an underrated passer, even with several drops that have cost the Gamecocks. He finds his targets, delivers the football and seems to get even better at that delivery when he’s on the move.
He’s another QB with a strong-enough arm for the college game. His deep balls have good drive and he can find his targets at the sideline, and he's capable of all of these things while moving laterally. That is the trait that best reveals his surprising arm strength.
Shaw is one of the best in the game with the football in his hands. He knows when to give and when to keep on the zone read, and he knows when to scramble, when to move in the pocket and when to throw the ball away.
Not as slippery as some of the other quarterbacks in this list, but Shaw is capable of getting out of trouble consistently. Part of his elusiveness comes from defenders consistently underestimating his ability to get loose on the edge. Shaw has good wheels, and he can put pressure on a defense with his legs.
One of the most underrated players in the country at any position, Shaw belongs near the top of this category with other players who are viewed as superstars nationally. The senior makes South Carolina go, and he uses his arm and legs to power the Gamecocks.
Seventh round. A lack of accuracy and mechanics make him a long shot in the NFL.
64. Randy Gregory, Nebraska
Randy Gregory has been a revelation getting after the passer. He’s shown a good swim move and the use of a stutter to get tackles off-balance before exploding past them. Gregory is also a versatile player who can stand up or rush from the interior.
Very few players are as active at the position as Gregory. He can split defenders to get to the mesh point and is fast enough to close down to the interior after playing the quarterback on the zone read. The junior can also set a good edge in an effort to turn the running back inside.
Against both the run and the pass, Gregory is an active player. He is effective inside and outside, and he has developed a few solid moves to help him get free. He’s shown a knack for disengaging from tackles and has provided a much-needed spark in Nebraska’s rush.
Early first round. A future No. 1 overall pick at defensive end.
63. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Braxton Miller has made tremendous strides throwing the football. He has shown more trust in his receivers and an improvement in his willingness to distribute the ball. That shows in his ability and his willingness to hit tight ends, receivers and backs.
Of the dual-threat passers, Miller is the guy who best epitomizes arm strength. He has the ability to throw long-distance off his back foot and still drive the ball through cold and rain with accuracy. He’s a quarterback with a cannon attached to his torso.
This is another area where Miller has shown serious growth. He has gone from a player who would rather keep the ball than trust his playmakers if they were not wide open to a guy who understands how to take what the defense gives him. That’s a plus, and it shows in how the Buckeyes offense has expanded.
Miller brings a unique ability to evade defenders to the position. Not only is the junior able to run away from most tacklers, but he is also a stronger player than most at the quarterback spot. With that option, he’s able to physically break tackles and shed defenders, in addition to juking opponents.
Miller has put together a great season, despite missing two games due to injury. He is one of the premier athletes at the position, and under the tutelage of Urban Meyer, he has grown into a quality quarterback as well.
Fourth round. Has intriguing talent, but he isn't pro-ready as a passer.
62. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Marcus Mariota has misfired on some critical throws through the season. He is a quality passer in the short zone but is still trying to develop more accuracy and consistency in pushing the ball down the field.
Mariota does have the arm strength to push the ball vertically. He has shown an ability, both out of the pocket or on the run, to find his targets down the field and deliver balls out in front of his receivers.
The bulk of the season saw Mariota be one of the premier decision-makers at the position. He struggles at times when he gets rattled or when defenses change looks late, but he does know when to call his own number to get out of trouble. The sophomore does not force the ball into traffic, and that keeps him from throwing interceptions.
Aside from a knee injury that limited his mobility—most notably during the Stanford game—Mariota has been one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the nation. He has shown an ability to buy time behind the line and in the open field. He is one of the nation’s most dangerous runners.
Mariota is still developing as a passer, but he manages the run-pass element of his position very well. He’s a home run hitter running the ball and continues to show true growth in stretching the field vertically. The Oregon Ducks quarterback is one of the game’s best.
Early first round. Has everything NFL scouts want in a dual-threat quarterback. He's special.
61. Kareem Martin, North Carolina
Kareem Martin got off to a slow start, but he came on strong toward the end of the season. He has excellent strength and can control offensive tackles on the edge. Martin pushes them upfield to rip underneath or can engage with them, get his arms extended and then swim past.
The senior has the ability to hold the edge, get tackles’ bodies turned and set his teammates up to pursue. However, he’s also able to disengage and split defenders to make tackles on his own, when UNC’s linebacking cavalry does not show up.
Martin came on midyear to become a big-time player. He showed an ability to respond when his team needed him most, being a disruptive force behind the line of scrimmage.
Third round. Looks the part, but he lacks the athletic ability to be a productive edge-rusher in the NFL.
60. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel has seen his accuracy improve tremendously in 2013. The quarterback has found his receivers, put the ball on the money and then allowed them to make plays. He has had some crucial drops that hurt him, but he’s delivered quality balls.
The best way to term Manziel’s arm is certainly “strong enough.” The quarterback has no issue getting the ball vertically down the field, and he puts zip on it to get it into tight windows with relative ease.
Here is where the pressure of being "Johnny Football" shows itself. He tries to make plays where there are none, and that leads to forced throws, which then lead to interceptions. These chuck-and-duck scenarios look great on the outside, but they are big errors in judgment.
Simply put, he’s the best in the game at avoiding tacklers. Manziel is Houdini on the field, escaping bigger defensive linemen’s grasp and then making defensive backs look silly as he gives them a leg and takes it away. He is tough to tackle, and that’s both when he is buying time to make throws and when he breaks the line of scrimmage to run.
Manziel has been phenomenal in 2013, even with a step-back game against LSU. Despite his decision-making dragging him down, he’s been an elite player at the position.
Early first round. Doesn't have pro size, but instincts and all-around talent are rare.
59. Landon Collins, Alabama
Landon Collins is a physical specimen who uses that natural ability against the run. He comes down into the box hard but is still learning the best angles and run fits. He’s not a liability against the run, just a player who is quickly developing his plan to make an impact and who can get there in a hurry.
An injury to Vinnie Sunseri pushed Collins into every-down action, and he responded well. The sophomore has tremendous range in the back end, which comes in handy given Alabama’s deficiency at the cornerback spot. He breaks on the ball quickly and helps prevent deep throws by flashing in the zone.
The sophomore is emerging as one of Alabama’s most reliable tacklers. He moves to the ball quickly as runs break the line of scrimmage, and he uses his athleticism to corral ball-carriers. The closing speed he displays in coverage comes into play in tackling, as he engages ball-carriers before they can make a move.
He has the talent to be one of the best in the nation, and it shows, as he sits near the top of these rankings in his first season of significant action. He’s a tremendous closer. As he evolved in 2013, he showed all of the things that made him a coveted player out of high school.
First round. A future star at the safety position.
58. Rashad Greene, Florida State
Rashad Greene is becoming a premier player at the position. Part of that development is his continued improvement in concentration and hands. The junior is becoming more of a “hands-all-the-time” player as he grows into his role as Florida State’s feature receiver.
Greene is a good route-runner; he simply needs to improve his consistency and attention to detail. The junior shows great flashes of pushing to a defender's inside shoulder to then work outside.
Greene has good speed and quickness. He’s a player who can eat up cushion, get past defenders, stop on a dime and then get back up to speed quickly.
Greene’s agility makes him a big-time weapon for the Seminoles. He’s slippery with the football in his hands, and the receiver knows how to get to the first-down marker.
He is one of the most deceptive receivers in college football. Defenders forget about his speed and elusiveness. Then he catches the ball and makes them pay. Because there is so much talent around him, teams often forget that he is a killer in the open field.
Third round. Small, but good with the ball in his hands.
57. James Vaughters, Stanford
James Vaughters is the Cardinal outside linebacker who plays the most coverage, but he is certainly capable of getting to the quarterback when asked to do so. He can fight from the outside to the quarterback, beating tackles in the process.
Here is where Vaughters is among the best in the nation. He can set a hard edge for the defense, and when the opportunity occurs, he will insert himself into the play by disengaging and going to make a tackle.
Vaughters is a big kid who is comfortable getting into coverage. He is the best of the Stanford linebackers at moving away from the line. His best quality is recognizing trouble and moving to take it away before quarterbacks have a shot to make a play.
He’s another in a list of Stanford players who tackle well. He closes to the ball, knows where help comes from and shuts down the ball-carrier’s ability to do anything but get tackled.
Vaughters is a really good football player who fills in as a do-everything linebacker for the Stanford Cardinal. He does not make the highlight-level plays that teammates Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov make, but he’s the glue that allows them to be risk-takers.
Fifth round. Productive and stout, but he doesn't bring much pass-rush help.
56. Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Calvin Pryor wants to come down into the box, which some safeties lack in their makeup. He comes down with a fire and looks to make tackles close to the line of scrimmage. He understands leverage, will fight through blocks and is willing to give up his body to set the edge for his teammates to make a tackle.
The Louisville safety is a ball hawk, even with limited range. He is comfortable working the curl to flat and breaking on short routes to stone receivers. He also can play the deep third, reading the quarterback. He sees the QB’s eyes well, which helps him get a jump to extend his range.
The junior is the best tackler at the safety spot in the nation. He comes up with fire and control that allow him to mix into the run and get results. He can secure tackles in the pass game to minimize gains, and when the opportunity arises, he’ll knock an opponent into the dirt.
He’s an imposing player at the position. He wants to be physical. He wants to be a presence that receivers and running backs think about when they get into space. His instincts and understanding make him a step or two quicker than he probably truly happens to be, and that lets him go make plays.
Second round. Pryor has the size and speed; he just needs to improve in coverage.
55. Deontay Greenberry, Houston
Drops have been a bit of a problem for Deontay Greenberry in his second year at Houston. For the former 5-star receiver (per Scout.com), it is less about ability and more about concentration. He possesses the strong hands to catch away from his body and has proved it by Randy "Mossing" several defensive backs. He just has to focus on securing the ball before turning upfield and getting into traffic.
Greenberry understands how to set it down against zone coverage to become a big target for his quarterback. However, against man, the sophomore has to work to learn more about generating space. Less reliance on speed and more reliance on inside-out stems, climbing to the top side to open hips and pushing to weaknesses will help expand his game.
Greenberry has great speed, and that is his primary tool for getting open. His speed is what opens up the game. That is the reason his team knows it can put the ball in the air and let him run underneath it.
Speed is the medium by which Greenberry does his work after making the grab. He gets open through speed, and once the ball is in his hands, he has the scoot and the shake to find his way to the end zone.
Greenberry is a big, physical target who, should he improve his concentration and route running, will be at the top of the list in the coming years. As it stands right now, he’s a quality target who scares defenses plenty when he steps on the field.
Third round. Great production with a lot of upside.
54. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Brandin Cooks is one of the receivers to benefit from great ball placement by his quarterback, but that does not mean he lacks in the hands department. The Beavers wide receiver is a catching machine, and although he sometimes pins the ball against his body, he does boast some of the better hands in college football.
While playing for Mike Riley, Cooks has developed into a beautiful route-runner. Cooks leans well and pushes defenders to flip hips and turn and run before they should. He is also capable of climbing to the top side of defenders, allowing them to push to recover and then working back to the quarterback to create space.
Cooks is a guy who can get loose on defenders in a hurry. The senior possesses good explosion off the line, has the ability to reach his top speed quickly and then, after throttling down to make a catch, resume top speed in a hurry.
An accomplished punt returner, Cooks brings that same vision and quick thinking to the receiver position. He starts and stops on a dime, is able to get back up to top speed quickly and shows an ability to pick his way through traffic.
Cooks is a smaller-framed wide receiver who still uses great body control and exceptional route running to get open. He’s sure-handed and continuously finds a way to pick up yards after the catch.
First round. A playmaker with the ball in his hands.
53. Eric Ebron, North Carolina
He has some of the best hands in the college game, not just at tight end but at any position. Eric Ebron can make the big catches and concentrates enough to make the routine grabs all the time. He is UNC’s best option at receiver.
Ebron is not a great blocker. When he’s lined up on the line, he is adequate, although he does not move bodies. Flexed out, he is hit and miss on defensive backs. He is a more valuable asset running a route than protecting the quarterback.
The UNC junior is a good route-runner. He understands how to climb to the top side of defenders, when to sit down in zones and how to create space for himself.
This is another of Ebron’s big assets. He is a legitimate matchup problem for linebackers because he can outrun them down the field. He is also a weapon flexed against safeties because he can still get on top of them with his speed.
Ebron is the best tight end in college football this season. He goes out and makes plays despite being the most consistent weapon for his team. Opponents know the ball is going to him, and he still finds a way to get open and make big plays.
First round. A rare athlete with big-play ability.
52. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is not usually a primary run defender. Given Alabama’s cornerback issues, he has to work extensively in the back end, but he is a tremendous secondary run-fill player. He comes up under control, works within the confines of the defensive system and fills his alley with confidence.
The Alabama junior’s range is off the charts. He is the rare safety who can get to the sideline from the middle third and be able to make a play if necessary. He understands how to operate in myriad looks, including recognizing when to give help when the team is playing man looks.
Clinton-Dix is an under-control player. He comes to tackle with a purpose and recognizes that the goal is to minimize the gain, squeezing a play by using the sideline and other defenders, not just deliver a kill shot.
Alabama’s best safety is one of the best in this group because of his ability to truly do everything required of him. He works hard in coverage to help his corners, and when run shows, he comes down in the box with a plan to limit damage.
First round. The ideal free safety prospect for today's NFL.
51. Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
At first glance, Ka'Deem Carey appears to be a smaller back because of the way he can get loose and get to the edge. However, at around 200 pounds and standing just 5’10”, the Arizona junior is a load to bring down, as tacklers bounce off him. He is capable of delivering a blow and getting tough yards in the interior.
Carey has a solid burst that gets him into daylight and allows him to pick up extra yards. Although he lacks top-end speed, Carey is able to use his rapid acceleration to create space and pick up yards.
Carey rarely puts the ball on the ground. Because of that, his team involves him in multiple facets of the offense. He catches passes, pitches, takes zone-read gives, straight handoffs and secures the ball through traffic.
Vision is a tremendous asset for Carey. He’s a runner who does not run up his linemen’s backs and is able to find his way to space after hitting in the interior to start the run. Unlike many runners, his eyes don’t just take him to the edge. He looks for creases to get plus yardage on the interior as well.
Carey is one of the best pass-catching running backs of 2013. He does not fight the ball on flare routes. For that reason, he is a quality safety target for quarterback B.J. Denker.
What Carey lacks in speed, he more than makes up for with his vision and blend of power and versatility. He is a back who can run between the tackles and get tough yardage, but he has the quickness and burst to get loose at the second level. Throw in his vision to run off the zone-blocking scheme, and you have a guy who belongs among the nation’s best.
Third round. Needs a great 40 time to move up.
50. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
Shilique Calhoun is a controlled pass-rusher who excels at squeezing the pocket and then disengaging when the opportunity to make a play arises. He understands his role in blitz packages, and as quarterbacks get flushed, he uses his length to separate and track them down.
With his long arms and ability to disengage, Calhoun serves two major purposes in the Spartans’ run defense. First, he can hold the edge, turning tackles’ shoulders and allowing linebackers to fill to make tackles. Second, he is agile enough to split defenders and create disruption in the backfield.
Calhoun is one of the most underappreciated defensive ends in the country. He has played a major role in the Spartans’ defensive success, and that should not go unnoticed. He’s solid against the run and the pass, and he shows flashes of true elite capabilities in both facets.
Late first round. A future stud, Calhoun is an all-around talent at defensive end.
49. C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Because he is so skilled in pass coverage, C.J. Mosley does not often get the chance to rush the passer. However, when he is turned loose after the quarterback, he has a great understanding of how to add to the rush.
Mosley’s come on strong as an every-down run defender. He sticks his nose into the mix, sheds blockers and makes most of his tackles going downhill. He has a true understanding of how to fill in gaps as he gets over the top on plays.
He is the best linebacker in coverage in the country. He understands how to play zone and wall off receivers from getting to the vulnerable interior. When asked to play man coverage, Mosley can run with backs out of the backfield, and he recognizes when backs stay in to block and adds himself to the rush.
Mosley’s a sure tackler. He runs through contact, squares up on his targets and gets players down on the ground. He brings a punch when he gets a chance to tackle in close quarters.
Mosley is everything that a coach could want at the inside linebacker position. He understands the scheme, gets his team lined up and then goes out and makes plays every single week. He is a coach on the field who gets it done against the run and the pass.
Early first round. Prototypical NFL skills at inside or outside linebacker.
48. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Jadeveon Clowney is an explosive player who beats tackles off the line and then runs down the quarterback. At times he uses a swim, a bull rush and an up-and-under move, but if he’s going to get to the quarterback, it’s because he beats the tackle off the line.
Clowney's best move in the run game is the one that gained him all of the accolades: his hard inside step. When he beats his defender, he creates big plays. Clowney is strong enough to hold the edge; he just has to improve on disengaging when locked up with tackles.
Clowney is the most talented player at the position. Although hampered by injuries and illness, his presence was very real, and it forced teams to alter their entire game plan.
Early first round. The total package athletically, you just have to question his work ethic and desire.
47. Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Cyril Richardson is the best player on Baylor’s offensive line. That is most evident in pass protection. The senior moves well for a massive human being, but his biggest assets are his length and power. He can knock defenders off line with his punch, and his length allows him to carry stunting defenders down to the center or out to the tackles.
Even though Baylor operates as a zone-blocking team, that does not stop the Bears from being rooted in power. Richardson fires off the ball and has to work on staying low, but his raw power is amazing to watch in run blocking. He pushes defenders off the point, and when he gets a shot to hit linebackers at the next level, he does not waste them.
Richardson is a force, perhaps the most powerful player on the interior line this season. He moves bodies, is athletic enough to be a problem at the second level and is a quality pass protector.
Late first round. Combines power with quickness, just needs to refine his pass-pro sets.
46. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College
Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis is a capable blitzer, and when he is added to the mix, he can be an impact player. He understands his role in pressures, and that helps him work to squeeze the pocket off the edge.
Pierre-Louis is another linebacker who just flies around and tackles the football. His team funnels plays to him, and he knocks down ball-carriers at a great clip. He tracks the ball well and wants to put his nose in as running backs try to pick their way through traffic.
Pierre-Louis can sink into coverage, and he understands how to drive on routes. He is getting better at protecting the interior, and his ability to get from deep to short in the flat is solid.
Pierre-Louis is a sound tackler. He gets to the ball-carrier and puts him in the dirt in a hurry. The two things he does at a high level are track the backside A-gap for cutbacks and play the front-side bounce well. He explodes through ball-carriers.
Pierre-Louis is not on most casual fans’ radars, but he should be. He gets to the ball quickly and brings a hard-nosed approach to the game.
Seventh round. Impressive athletic ability, but size and strength are question marks.
45. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Jordan Matthews is another receiver who has earned his reputation for having some of the best hands in the game. He catches everything thrown his way: in traffic, on the sideline and balls at his ankles. Matthews has great hand strength and the concentration to make it all work.
The Vanderbilt receiver is the nation’s premier route-runner. Matthews understands how to influence defenders with his steps and body, and that helps him get open down the field.
While Matthews is an elite route-runner, he does not possess elite speed. Rather, the Vanderbilt receiver is just fast enough to find his way into the end zone. Matthews has good burst, which helps him get past defenders, despite his top-end speed not being elite.
Matthews is a slippery receiver. While he is not the speediest on the field, he has great vision. That vision allows him to outmaneuver defenders, set up blocks downfield and find a route to the end zone.
Matthews is a big receiver who finds a way to get open against double coverage, press man and in zones designed to stop him. He is Vanderbilt’s best weapon. Everyone knows it, and even with suspect quarterback play, he finds a way to impact the game.
First round. Not the fastest guy, but size and route running are excellent.
44. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
T.J. Yeldon is a high runner who does not get behind his pads. For that reason, he does not get the most out of his 218-pound frame. However, Yeldon does show an ability to run through contact consistently and is rarely brought down by arm tackles. He has good leg drive, but exposing his chest by running straight up limits his ability to truly attack.
Yeldon is a quick back. When he gets a chance in the open field, the more he runs, the faster he becomes. That's unlike other backs with a great burst who lack quality top-end speed.
Yeldon has focused on not fumbling since a costly giveaway in 2012. This season, the sophomore has been careful not to lay the ball down on the field. He carries it high and tight to his body, uses two hands in traffic and does a wonderful job of securing handoffs and heading into the line.
This is where Yeldon excels. Although he does not have the burst of some backs, he has quick feet and great balance, and those traits are put to use thanks to his vision. He can read the back side, the front side and take the temperature of blocks all at the same time, a special ability in a running back. His vision also allows him to recognize defenders who are off-balance and triggers where and how to attack them.
Yeldon is a sure-handed receiver out of the backfield. He rarely drops a catchable ball, is a natural pass-catcher and is a guy who understands how to be a target. Much like his running style, Yeldon is smooth in the pass game. He brings the ball in securely with his hands.
With great feet, vision, long speed and enough tackle-breaking ability, Yeldon is one of the nation’s best running backs. He has a blend of skills that allows him to succeed on every type of run play. That is rare at the college level.
First round. Curse of Alabama backs and lack of power keep him under Todd Gurley.
43. Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Blocking against the pass is Taylor Lewan’s big selling point in 2013. While Michigan has had issues on the offensive line, Lewan has shown an ability to be the rock on the left side, setting his edge in protection and standing strong. He has good feet, maintains his base, uses his hands well and is a monster in pass blocking. He’s a guy who is physical and aggressive in protecting his quarterback.
Lewan is a capable run blocker. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the offense needs more than one or two linemen who can get push and control the line of scrimmage. Lewan is capable in zone blocking. He can control his man and work to the second level, plus he’s athletic enough to get on top of smaller, quicker linebackers and speed ends.
Part of Lewan’s perceived struggles this season stem from a quarterback who is skittish in the pocket and constantly shifting protection angles. Add in a shuffling offensive line next to him, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Yet through it all, Lewan has been a hard-nosed ballplayer who handles his assignments well.
First round. Very powerful and technical, but he doesn't always finish plays.
42. Bryce Petty, Baylor
More often than not, Bryce Petty puts the ball on the money. He’s very accurate in the intermediate and short range, something that Baylor’s offense requires. Down the field he overthrows his targets at times, but the positive is he misses long—not short, where defenders can make a play.
Another strong-armed quarterback, Petty can push the ball vertically off a quick step and throw. When he sees daylight in the back end, he puts the ball out in front of his speedy receivers to make big plays happen.
Petty has been phenomenal with the football in his hands. He’s capable of pulling the ball down when he doesn’t see anything down the field, and he almost never puts the ball in jeopardy by throwing into coverage. He is a coach’s dream at the position because he is a player who truly values the football.
Petty takes off a little early at times, but as a whole, he is confident in the pocket and is willing to stand tall to make a play. His legs make him a bigger factor than the more traditional stand-and-throw passers.
Petty burst onto the scene this year as a different quarterback than Baylor had featured in the past couple of seasons. He has the arm to make all of the throws and is capable of evading pressure and making a play.
Early first round. High-profile arm talent with on-point accuracy. Franchise quarterback material.
41. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier is becoming a quality asset in getting after the quarterback. He is still learning how to get to the passer under control and avoid being knocked off course by linemen and backs, but he is impacting passing situations in the backfield, without a doubt.
The junior linebacker is a missile on the football field. This defense is set up for fellow linebacker Curtis Grant to splatter and hammer plays toward a scraping Shazier, and it works perfectly, because both players know their roles. Shazier pursues relentlessly and moves quickly to get to the football.
This is Shazier’s weakness. He understands the landmarks and how to take his drops, but he is far less comfortable seeing through receivers in his zone to the quarterback or recognizing when to drive on a shallow route versus when to sink for an intermediate pass.
Shazier will overrun a tackle or two in a game, but he generally keeps his head behind the football, tracks the ball-carrier well and ends up putting him on the ground. His teammates funnel runs in his direction, so he can make plays.
Shazier is a very good linebacker. He flies around the football and tackles everything when he gets a chance. He is not at the top of this category because he has holes in his coverage game, but he is certainly a plus on the field in most situations.
First round. The best first step at the linebacker position in college football.
40. Kyle Van Noy, BYU
Without a capable rusher on the opposite side to keep quarterbacks contained, Kyle Van Noy’s numbers have gone down, but his ability to rush the passer is no less tremendous. The linebacker has the speed to get around the edge on linemen, and he has the agility and body control to give tackles the up-and-under move as well as swim or rip-through blocks.
The BYU Cougar is versatile in his approach to the run game. He’s capable of engaging with linemen, tight ends and fullbacks and then disengaging to make tackles. Van Noy is also adept at knifing between blockers to disrupt runs at the mesh point.
Van Noy is an all-around beast of a defensive player, and nowhere is his freakish talent more evident than in coverage. Unlike most players at his position, he is a fluid athlete who moves well in both zone and man coverage. He can transition from a pass rush into coverage with a flaring running back. And when he sinks into zone coverage, he reads the quarterback extremely well.
In Van Noy, the Cougars have a sure tackler. The linebacker has balance, does not lurch, takes the air out of the play, uses the sideline and seems to always get the ball-carrier down on the ground. In his pass rush, he secures the sack as well as pushing to force the fumble, something many rushers fail to do.
Van Noy is a tremendous football player. He is not the same elite athlete as other players at the position, but he is versatile enough to be a problem against the run, pass and in coverage. His football savvy is a big weapon that puts him in the right place at the right time.
Late first round. A gifted athlete, but where to play him in the NFL is the big question.
39. Mario Edwards, Florida State
Mario Edwards is growing into the position every week and showing his comfort level with his new role. Edwards’ massive size and great strength make him a tremendous asset at the 3-4 end spot. He squeezes the pocket, manhandles offensive tackles and gives his rushing linebackers space to make plays.
In the run game, Edwards gets to do a lot of the same things that he did well in the 4-3. The big sophomore holds his ground well, redirecting runs back into his speedy linebackers. He is quick enough to stay beyond the reach of tackles in zone blocking and strong enough to stymie lateral flow.
He’s another player who is transitioning into the system and making it work for him. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's introduction of more 3-4 principles has highlighted Edwards’ best skills. His impact has been undeniable for the Seminoles.
First round. Athletic enough to play defensive end or tackle in either the 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.
38. Jay Bromley, Syracuse
Jay Bromley uses his length and his quickness at his size (6'4", 293 pounds) to get good push in getting after the quarterback. He is comfortable running stunts that take him out wide and help defensive ends get inside rushes. He also gets great extension and has the power to walk centers and guards back into quarterbacks.
The Syracuse tackle is not the plug on the inside that many other players are at his position. Rather, Bromley is a talented athlete who excels getting off the ball and disrupting the line of scrimmage. He can keep blockers off his body, steer linemen and then disengage to make plays in the backfield.
Syracuse’s mediocre season has kept Bromley from playing games on a big stage, but it did not impact his effectiveness. He is a big, agile and long athlete playing tackle who is capable of creating problems for offenses.
Fourth round. Athletic and quick, but he has to play stronger.
37. Jarvis Landry, LSU
Jarvis Landry has some of the most reliable hands in the game. He catches the ball away from his body and, more impressively, hangs onto the ball when he gets hit or falls to the ground. Landry is a guy who attacks the ball and makes sure that if he gets his hands on it, it is his ball.
Landry is a strong route-runner. He is a kid who is physical enough to lean on defenders to create space, which only serves to help his ability to get open. Landry stems defenders inside and upfield well, and then uses his body to create more space to make catches.
Landry is not one of the fastest players at the position. Rather, he relies on his physical style and superb route running to get open. He is not a take-the-top-off-the-defense type of receiver. Instead, he fills in the voids behind Odell Beckham, getting open by pushing defenders, then breaking off routes.
Despite lacking top-level speed, Landry is phenomenal with the football in his hands. He is as tough to tackle as bigger receivers and has the ability to make bigger defenders miss, thanks to his agility in space.
Landry is a receiver coach’s dream. He is a guy who bided his time being a monster on special teams, and that toughness and physicality carried over to his receiving game. He can take a hit, will deliver a blow and values the football enough to attack it in the air, regardless of circumstance. He also has a nose for the end zone and will fight to get there.
First round. Does it all and can play the slot or outside with great speed.
36. Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
Jared Abbrederis is the Wisconsin Badgers’ top receiving threat, but he has had some drops in 2013. Still a reliable receiver, Abbrederis is capable of making tough catches in traffic, and he is very adept at securing the ball once it hits his hands.
The Badgers senior excels in route running. He runs his routes deliberately, forces the issue with defenders and controls their movements with his steps. Abbrederis stems defenders inside to get outside, forces hips to open and can push a defender far enough upfield to create space underneath.
Abbrederis has very good speed for a receiver, and unfortunately for the Badgers' opponents, they continue to refuse to respect his wheels. Abbrederis gets on top of defenders quickly and gets up to speed rapidly. Before a defender can adjust, Abbrederis is by them.
Here is where the punt-return skills that made Abbrederis a fixture for Wisconsin come into play. He has great vision and understands how to work poor pursuit angles to his advantage after making a grab. The senior also sets his blocks up well down the field, something many receivers do not have a knack for doing.
Perhaps a surprise to many, Abbrederis is one of the best receivers in the nation. He uses his great route running and ability to get loose after the catch to manufacture yards in the Badgers’ play-action-heavy offense.
Fourth round. Strong hands and good concentration, but just not very explosive.
35. Ed Reynolds, Stanford
Stanford safety Ed Reynolds is a fighter in the run game. He’s generally a secondary run defender, but he comes ready to put ball-carriers down hard and put teams into passing situations by limiting yards.
Reynolds is one of the better safeties in the college game when the ball is in the air. He has great range and can get off the hash in a hurry, plus he reads the quarterback well, letting the QB’s shoulders take him to the ball. The Stanford junior has the best jump in college football.
Reynolds flies to the ball in the run game and comes up with business on his mind. In the pass game, he tackles well too. The safety understands when to secure a tackle and limit the gain and when to send a message.
In Reynolds, Stanford has one of the best players at the position in the game. He moves well in the back end and brings a feel for the game that allows him to make plays that most safeties simply do not. He has good speed and wants to be physical when he gets to the football.
First round. Great in coverage, but he has to prove himself against the run.
34. Derrick Hopkins, Virginia Tech
Derrick Hopkins possesses good quickness for a big man, and that quickness, combined with understanding leverage and power, allows him to move centers and guards out of the way in getting to the passer. He’s a strong player who fights through hands and rips to the interior to get to the quarterback.
The Hokies senior is a problem for opposing teams’ run games. He works to occupy two players, pushing to free up his linebackers so they can fast flow to the football. As runs turn away from him, he pursues well and sits waiting for the cutback to make plays.
Another in a long list of quality defenders for Bud Foster’s defense. Hopkins is the anchor of that interior. He is the biggest reason why the Hokies are stout against the run.
Seventh round. A solid nose tackle prospect, but doesn't offer much else.
33. Denicos Allen, Michigan State
Denicos Allen does not fit the traditional mold of the quarterback terrorizer, but the linebacker has found his niche as a pass-rusher. He’s active in Michigan State's blitz packages. Because he has the speed to come from depth or across the formation, he can be extremely disruptive.
Allen is a Spartan, and all of the Spartans play run defense. He gets downhill in a hurry and fills his gap, and when he has to set the edge, he hammers the blocker hard to keep the ball inside. This is a senior who not only understands the scheme, but also truly trusts it to work for him and his teammates.
Allen is a quality coverage linebacker. He’s a solid athlete who transitions well from run-first technique into coverage. He can wall off the interior and drive exceptionally well on shorter routes.
He another solid-tackling Spartan. He uses leverage and his own speed to create problems for ball-carriers. Allen's gap integrity limits escapes, and when he’s asked to tackle in close quarters, he truly wants to strike the opponent.
Allen is a high-quality outside linebacker. He’s not of the same caliber as Anthony Barr, but no one else in the category is either. Allen gets it done with smart football and makes an impact against both the run and the pass.
Fifth round. A great athlete, but he lacks size for the next level.