Although speculation for the 2015 NFL draft seems ridiculously early at this point, it gives fans a good feel for prospects to watch during the upcoming college football season.
Vic Beasley will likely be Clemson’s top draft prospect in 2015, and he has landed on the early big boards.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has him rated as the No.1 outside linebacker and the most NFL-ready prospect at the position. WalterFootball.com put out a mock draft recently that has the Clemson defensive end going with the 23rd pick.
Both of these projections are pretty accurate, although Beasley definitely has the chance to go higher than No. 23 overall in next year’s draft.
What Makes Him a Top Prospect
Beasley is regarded one of the top players because of his unique speed off the edge and ability to rush the passer. In today’s game, guys who can stand up and rush off the edge are very valuable. The way he plays his position compares somewhat to Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr, who were both top ten picks in this year’s draft.
At 6’2” and 225 pounds, Beasley doesn’t have the best size for a defensive end, but coming off the edge in a 3-4 defensive system would be the perfect fit for him.
In 2013 Beasley totaled 23 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, which really put him in the discussion for the 2014 NFL draft. After speculation that he could drop to the second round, Beasley decided to return to school.
Where He Stands
Todd McShay put out his 2015 NFL mock draft (subscription required) and has Beasley off the board at No. 20. The interesting thing is that he has four defensive lineman ranked ahead of the Clemson product. One of them is Leonard Williams, whom he has going No. 1. The other three, though, are defensive ends: Dante Fowler Jr., Mario Edwards and Shilique Calhoun.
While it is respectable that Beasley is still considered a first-round pick by McShay, he has the opportunity to be selected before those other defensive ends.
The knock on Beasley would be his size and ability to stop the run, but with teams in need of a pass-rusher off the edge, he has the potential to go in the top 15 of next year’s draft.
The need for these types of players is evident from taking a look back at this year’s draft. Obviously Jadeveon Clowney is a freak of nature and was justifiably selected No. 1, but there were no other defensive ends selected until Dee Ford at pick No. 23. Beasley will be classified as an outside linebacker for the draft process, just like the aforementioned Mack and Barr.
Those two players were selected very high, so I expect Beasley to be no different if he has another good year.
There will be many other factors that determine where Beasley lands in the draft, such as his performances at the combine and pro days. Teams will want to see how he can play in coverage, and his 40-time will likely hold great value. At this point, though, Beasley should be considered a top-ten player for the 2015 NFL draft because of what he brings to the table with his speed off the edge.