Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Give this son of Missouri all your flyover state jokes, I can handle them, because we're going to talk about corn this week. Yes, corn. And it's draft-related, I promise.

What else is new in the land of the NFL draft? Fans in Chicago and New Orleans are boarding the quarterback train and we're only three games into their respective seasons, so which quarterbacks are worth tracking? I'll give you my current top 10. We're also going to look at the names to know when you watch college football this weekend and how injuries are already reshaping the draft landscape.


— When Cal met Washington last weekend, 23 NFL scouts were on hand, according to one of those scouts who texted me from the press box. And for you rumor-crazy Chicago Bears fans, I did also hear from scouts that general manager Ryan Pace brought four scouts with him to the game. Feel free to connect those Jared Goff dots if you'd like.

— I promised we were going to talk about corn, and we are. Corn Elder. He's a lights-out cover corner at the University of Miami. Scouts are raving about him, and for good reason. Per Pro Football Focus, Elder is the top-ranked cornerback in the nation so far.

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The best quarterback since Andrew Luck? That's what you're about to read—and it's not crazy talk.

What else can you look forward to in this week's article? We'll take a look at the team with the best chance to have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft—per those guys who were really good at math in school—and what the current standings would do to the first round of the NFL draft (it's crazy). But the meat-and-potatoes portion of the Scouting Notebook this week comes in the form of a scouting report on fantastic Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley and a look back at some of the summer hype that gets scouts in trouble.

But up first, here's the news for the week.


— Starting the week with news that isn't really "news" but is worth talking about. Cardale Jones opened the draft season (which really starts right after the previous draft ends) as my No. 1 quarterback. Of course, that grade always came with an asterisk that he's ranked there based on three games, and that the evaluation would absolutely change with a bigger sample size. Well, now that sample size is here, albeit just six games total, but Jones has struggled with accuracy and decision-making in the Ohio State offense. That, for now, is pushing him out of the top quarterback spot (Cal's Jared Goff took over that spot) and out of my top 32 players.

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Depending on how Week 1 went for your favorite NFL team, you may be reading this Friday morning looking for information about the top draft prospects who can come in and start the rebuilding process in your city. You could also be a fan of a team that looked dominant, and you want to see me admit to being wrong about one of your favorite players—and you're going to see that here.

You're also going to get a brand, spanking new mock draft (based on the definitive Bleacher Report NFL Power Rankings), a breakdown of the best quarterback prospect I've seen this season and a whole lot of news and notes from my conversations with coaches and scouts. And if you're a college football fanatic, like me, you'll get a list of players to watch and know for this weekend's games.


—Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood has suspended star wide receiver Leonte Carroo, adding to the laundry list of problems the program has endured this season (including players arrested for robbery and a coach that pressured professors to change grades). Carroo was supposed to be a bright spot for the team, but he's now sidelined after allegedly slamming a woman onto the concrete outside the team's facility, per Patricia Alex of the Record.  

—Carroo received a late first-round grade from me over the summer, but obviously this puts his draft stock into a tailspin. It's best to wait and see with situations like this, but the early word is not good for Carroo's future.

Ben Margot/Associated Press

If you're like me and suffering from a football hangover this morning, well, let's grab a bloody mary together and power through this thing. But really, wasn't it great to watch real football last night?

This week's Scouting Notebook is a big one. I'll unveil my top 32 players—and look at how they did in Week 1 and where they'll play in Week 2—while also looking back at last year's first mock draft, taking a closer look at Alabama running back Derrick Henry and laughing out loud at my Eric Fisher scouting report from 2013.

But first, the news. 


Last week's article led with Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, who had a terrifying moment when he collided with a goal post after catching a touchdown, causing a fracture in his neck. Speaking to team sources this week, I'm told Williams is expected to miss 8-10 weeks but should be at 100 percent health following that time needed for the bone to heal.

— Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III injured his knee and will be out three to four weeks, per team sources. I asked around to NFL scouts this week about Wright, and the general feeling from the four "early looks" I received is that Wright is too small and not powerful enough to be a Round 1 player a year from now.

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The NFL regular season hasn't even started, and yet every day I'm asked countless times who teams should be looking at, where college prospects will be drafted and who the quarterback for the Chicago Bears will be next year (I really wish I knew this one, too). Well, today, some of those questions are going to be answered.

A mock draft the day of the draft isn't going to be 100 percent accurate, so a mock draft nine months before the first round definitely won't be. This isn't about being accurate in late April, but about highlighting top players as of Week 1 and pointing out some perceived team needs on paper before the games start. It's equal parts fun and educational, zero parts predictive. If you can read this with that in mind, you'll be better off.

And before the comments even start—the draft order is based on Super Bowl odds via Vegas Insider, just in reverse order. Vegas thinks the Jacksonville Jaguars have the worst chance to win the Super Bowl, so they get the first pick, and so on. 

Now that the ground rules have been laid out, let's do this.

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Welcome back. It’s been a while.

The 2015 college football season is here, and the NFL season is waiting around the corner—like an old friend at the bar with your favorite drink in hand. Football is back, which means it’s time for long sleeves, warm chili, Oktoberfest beers and NFL draft talk. 

Every Friday from now until the NFL draft on April 28, 2016, this will be your one-stop shop for all of the important news, notes, rumors and analysis surrounding the draft. Here you’ll find rankings, mock drafts, player evaluation notes and tips on which games to watch so you can be up to date on the best prospects in the land.

If you’re new here, hopefully you come back every Friday. If you’re coming back for year two of the Scouting Notebook, it’s good to see you again.  

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Pack your bags, double-check your directions and get ready for one hell of a road trip. That's what every regional scout in America is doing as college football gets underway, and at Bleacher Report, the work is the same. 

With the 2015 season right around the corner, the job of NFL and media scouting departments is to identify those players worth looking at this year. NFL teams and their staffs of 10 scouts are attacking a list of over 500 players from over 100 schools that need to be looked at this fall. When you're a one-man show, the work is a little different but nonetheless challenging, as you try to get together a list of who needs to be watched.

Thus the Watch List is born.

This preseason Watch List isn't a set of rankings—these players aren't yet ranked, which is why they're listed alphabetically. The rankings will come soon enough. This is more of a resource for you—the fan—to use each Saturday as you're watching college football. 

The players listed here are thought, at this time, to be the best of the best. That doesn't mean they're the only players who will be drafted, as part of the fun is finding that Ali Marpet at Hobart when you're out on the road. That said, if a player isn't on the radar before the year, it's a tough road to get noticed. You need a big year statistically, or you must be the type of player opposing coaches will rave about to scouts when they come in with a bag of doughnuts and a carton of coffee each week.

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One year ago at this time we were talking about Marcus Mariota (my preseason No. 1 overall player), the question mark of Jameis Winston's off-field issues and the huge potential of Brett Hundley at UCLA. We knew that Mariota and Winston were special, but a post-draft 2015 big board was missing names like Kevin White (WR, West Virginia), Maxx Williams (TE, Minnesota), Ereck Flowers (T, Miami), Bud Dupree (EDGE, Kentucky) and Marcus Peters (CB, Washington).

A big board this early isn't about accuracy or where players will be drafted; it's about how good they are right now and how high their potential is. For example, Hundley last year showed high potential but regressed in his final season before becoming a fifth-round pick. But this board can be your summer watch list and a basic guide for where players are ranked heading into the season.

A lot can change. A lot will change. But that's just football.

Ready for 2016? You should be. Early indications are this will be a loaded class.

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

It's never too early for a mock draft. Even if we just closed the book on the 2015 NFL draft, every team in the league has already assigned scouts to start work on the upcoming draft class, and at Bleacher Report, it's the same.

A wildly early mock draft isn't meant to be an accurate picture of how the draft will go, but more of a watchlist for which players are currently considered the most promising and a look at areas where teams could use help. With that said, I'm using the 2015 draft order as a guide, and many juniors listed here may not enter the draft.

Who comes off the board first in 2016? Find out inside.

B/R via AP Images, Getty Images

The 2015 NFL draft class will be remembered, and judged, on the careers of Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Already, folks want to compare this class to the Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf group—or Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III—but the 2015 draft is about more than just the quarterbacks. 

This is the year of the edge-rusher, and with six players at the position holding a first-round grade, that label is warranted. But how about the wide receivers? Five prospects there could see the first round. The same goes for the cornerback class, where five more players have a first-round grade. And we can't forget the running backs. Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon are set to break the trend of waiting to select a ball-carrier until Day 2. 

All in all, the 2015 draft class is a good one. It's not great—not like 2014—but when comparing it to 2013, 2012 and 2011, the talent level is solid. If the two superstar prospects at quarterback play more like Eli Manning and Philip Rivers and less like Leaf, this group could be remembered for quite some time.