While I could easily get into why I disagree with most of McShay’s projections, I thought it would be interesting to sync my picks up with his “Top 32” as well.
The are ranked by my Big Board, thanks to the hard work done all year by my department, Optimum Scouting. The number in parentheses is McShay’s pick. For any guys far off between lists, I’ll give a little explanation on why that could be.
1. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska (1)
One of the better defensive tackle prospects in a while, Suh can play every defensive line position outside of 4-3 end and can be a hole-clogger or a dangerous pass rusher.
2. Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State (7)
A stud left tackle who didn’t allow a sack all season, Okung is, in my opinion, the only sure bet at left tackle in this draft. Long arms, good movement, and good balance.
Why we differ: McShay and company like Brian Bulaga over Okung for the main reason that Okung isn’t a “mauler” in the run game and has question marks about his ability vs. power rushers. I think he’ll be fine in the NFL with more coaching.
3. Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma (2)
To some the top defensive tackle and top prospect in this draft class, McCoy has great quickness off the line and plays with outstanding leverage.
4. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee (3)
The best playmaking safety in the draft since Ed Reed, Berry has the ability to drill the receiver across the middle and drop back in center field. He’s always around the ball.
5. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State (10)
Bryant is almost everything you want in a number one receiver. Huge hands, deep speed, great adjustment to the ball, and uses his body well. Questions about his routes will come up, but he might be a better prospect than Michael Crabtree was.
6. Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama (12)
In a draft full of playmakers, McClain is no question the best at the linebacker position. He will draw some comparisons to Patrick Willis with his athletic ability and smarts.
7. Joe Haden, CB, Florida (6)
A rare mix of speed, quickness and agility with size, strength, and leverage, Haden is as complete a cornerback as you’ll find coming out of college.
8. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame (UN)
Hailing from a Pro-style offense from a current offensive coordinator, Clausen is very pro-ready. His quick release, tight spiral, and his great touch should make him productive early on in his career.
Why we differ: Questions have come up about Clausen’s leadership role with the team and his overall character. From what I’ve heard some of that is well-founded, but I don’t think it will be as big a factor as everyone says it is.
9. Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa (9)
Struggled early in the year thanks to injuries, Bulaga has a rare mix of power, balance, and flexability that make him a dangerous and complete left tackle.
10. Derrick Morgan, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech (8)
A great pass rusher, Morgan has the size and athletic ability to play in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 as an outside linebacker.
11. DeMaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech (UN)
Likely gone unnoticed by the public all season, Thomas will emerge come combine time. He is a tremdenously talented athlete with great jump ball skills and a physical threat.
Why we differ: Thomas’s biggest concern is his route running and overall technique as a receiver. While at first thought it might have been better for him to mature another season, he won’t get much improvement playing in the Tech option.
1 2. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (11)
With prototypical size and a very accurate arm, Bradford seems like a safe bet to be productive out of the gate in the NFL with his play reading ability. However, his lack of mobility is my biggest question.
13. CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson (13)
Should have been one of the Heisman finalists, Spiller is as dynamic as Reggie Bush when he came out of college. A weapon as a runner, receiver, returning, and maybe even wildcat.
14. Navarro Bowman, OLB, Penn State (29)
While I didn’t like him as much early on, his ability to always be around the ball, his sound tackling, and his athletic ability to drop back in coverage puts him easily in the first round for me.
Why we differ: Bowman is somewhat of a bigger outside linebacker and questions come from where will he play in the NFL. He’s not big enough for a 4-3 ILB, he’s not quick enough to blitz as a weakside OLB, and can get overpowered on the strongside. With some good coaching, however, I think he’ll find a niche and dominate.
15. Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida (26)
At one point jostling with McClain as the top linebacker in this class, Spikes only fell because he wasn’t as dominate as years past. However, he has undeniable athletic ability and could fit as a 3-4 or 4-3 inside linebacker in the pros.
16. Earl Thomas, S, Texas (15)
A playmaker in college, Thomas should translate that skill to the next level. Though not as dynamic as Berry, Thomas can still track the ball very well and come up in run support.
17. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida (5)
He has Julius Peppers like size and athletic ability, along with that Julius Peppers-type potential. However, his raw ability hasn’t matured yet, and there are questions about his ability to be coach-able at the next level.
18. Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State (UN)
A guy who shut down stud receivers like AJ Green and a host of others in college, Cox is the most physical man to man cornerback in this draft. With great ball skills and a sound tackler, he’ll be a fit in many systems.
Why we differ : Cox doesn’t have great speed and his hips aren’t fluid enough to keep up with speedier guys. However, his technique can be improved, which I think will work wonders with his turn and run speed.
19. Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan (18)
The next in a long line of Michigan defensive players without great size but with great heart, Graham is the most explosive player off the snap in this draft and plays with unbelievably impressive leverage.
20. Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland (20)
A guy who’s slowly getting forgotten in fan draft circles, Campbell is definitely worthy of a first round spot. Great size, good intensity, Campbell can be a stud at left tackle with a little more coaching.
21. Taylor Mays, S, USC (23)
He’s starting to see his stock fall by the week, Mays just simply doesn’t make enough plays and doesn’t have the speed to make up for it. He’s a smart guy, very mature, extremely athletic, but he hasn’t put in on the field quite yet.
22. Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU (UN)
I preferably like LaFell a lot because he’s a very tough runner after the catch, breaks tackles using both speed and power moves, and is a consistent pass catcher.
Why we differ : LaFell isn’t a speed demon, and doesn’t have tremdenous jumping ability either. He’ll likely never be a number one, consistent guy, and maxes out as a Terrell Owens. But I’ll take TO on my team any day (minus the headaches of course).
23. Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma (14)
At one point viewed as a competitor with Okung to be the top tackle taken, Williams has slide down peoples boards among tackles because he wasn’t overly consistent this season and missed Phil Loadholt and Duke Robinson a lot this year.
24. Brian Price, DT, UCLA (19)
Some think Price is a Top 10 pick, but I however disagree. I think he’s got great talent and potential, but I think he needs a good defensive end and linebackers around him.
25. Eric Norwood, OLB, South Carolina (UN)
The best blitzing linebacker in this class, Norwood reminds me a lot of a better version of Clint Sintim of the Giants (taken in last years draft). Norwood could be a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 weakside guy and can make an impact from day one as a dynamic blitzer.
26. Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers (4)
As you can tell by the McShay ranking, some are very, very high on Anthony Davis. He has the size and strength to be a plow in the run game, and the arms and balance to be a great left tackle.
Why we differ: I see a lesser version of Flozell Adams and a guy that Dwight Freeney and other speed rushers would love to face. To me, he’s a very good right tackle in the pros.
27. Carlos Dunlap, DE/OLB, Florida (16)
He fell a little on my board for the simple reason that I think this draft class is really talented and deep. In most classes he’d be a Top 10 guy, but his inconsistent play won’t allow for his size to get him into that area in this draft.
28. Sean Witherspoon, OLB, Missouri (UN)
A high character guy who’s a leader and a great locker room guy, Witherspoon is a do-it-all type linebacker. He has the speed to move across the field and the quickness to blitz and blow up plays.
29. Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State (27)
Another lesser known cornerback in this draft class, Wilson is the line draftable prospect from the Boise State Broncos. Wilson is a great return man, but more importantly he smothers receivers and somewhat reminds me of Darrelle Revis.
30. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame (UN)
Wasn’t sold on Golden Tate most of the year, but he really shined once Mike Floyd when down. He makes the best of his smaller size and is a “ball grabber” and can fight for the ball in the air.
31. Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech (UN)
Though he has fallen on many boards in favor of the more complete Ryan Mathews or even Joe McKnight, Dwyer is my top power back in this class, and I think a team with a speedy starter (like Houston or Jacksonville) would be crazy to pass on this brute back.
32. Charles Brown, OT, USC (UN)
The sixth tackle in this big board, Brown may be as deserving as the above mentioned. He’s not a dominate left tackle prospect like Okung or Bulaga, but is a quicker, more fluid offensive tackle who could fit well in a zone scheme like Washington or Houston.
Check out www.NFLHouse.com for more great information and insight. Also, email me at EricG@nflhouse.com.
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