2015 NFL Draft Outlook
From the great Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel
~Based on interviews with executives in personnel for five teams, it is possible to narrow down just a little bit the pool of players that might be considered by the Green Bay Packers regardless of position if they exercise their current 30th selection in the first round of the NFL draft April 30.
Prospects are conservatively divided into three categories: As Good As Gone — barring negative developments, these players have virtually no chance of reaching No. 30; Probably Gone — players who appear to have no better than a 50-50 chance of remaining on the board at No. 30; and The Next Level — players who figure to fall next.
The Packers have their own selection in all seven rounds. They’re also likely to be awarded at least one compensatory pick next month for the losses of center Evan Dietrich-Smith (Tampa Bay) and wide receiver James Jones (Oakland).
Here’s an early look at 55 players who figure to fit into these layers of the draft (underclassmen are denoted by asterisk).
AS GOOD AS GONE (10)
Amari Cooper*, WR, Alabama: 6-1, 211. In 2014, he broke the Southeastern Conference single-season record for receptions (124) and was second all-time in receiving yards (1,727). “Dynamic player,” one scout said. “Quick, fast, agile, good hands. Difference-maker.” Third-year junior with 228 receptions for 3,463 yards (15.2) and 31 TDs. “One of the better route runners to come out in a long, long time,” another scout said. “Very skilled, explosive and fast.” On Saturday, he ran 40 yards in 4.42 seconds.
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: 6-3, 215. Junior-college player for two years. “He’s more of a Larry Fitzgerald-type receiver in that he doesn’t have great speed,” said one scout. “I never see him beat people deep.
But if he is even with them he’s going to get the ball. Very good player.” Caught 35 passes in 2013 for Mountaineers before breaking out with 109 for 1,447 yards (13.3) and 10 TDs in ’14. “He’s got another level to his game that I don’t think we’ve seen yet,” another scout said. Admits that he loves trash-talking opponents. Made a ton of money with 40 time of 4.35.
Brandon Scherff, T, Iowa: 6-4 1/2, 319. Part-time starter at LG as a redshirt freshman in 2011 before starting at LT from 2012-’14. “I like (Bryan) Bulaga, but I think this guy is better,” said one scout. “I didn’t think Bulaga could play left tackle, but I think this guy can. Everybody thinks he’s the best guard, but I’d keep him at tackle and have him disprove he can’t play there. He got hurt early last year and never missed a practice or a game.” Like Bulaga, his arm length (33 3/8 inches) will be an issue for some teams. Massive hands (11 inches). “Real tough guy and can really run,” another scout said. “Good technician. Little stiff. Kind of straight-line. Not real good change of direction. But when he gets you he mauls you. This guy is a lot stronger than Bulaga. He’s tight and can’t use his length. I think guard will be his best position.” His 40-yard dash time was 5.05.
Andrus Peat*, T, Stanford: 6-7, 313. Third-year junior rotated at LT in 2012 before starting the past two years. “He’s the most talented (O-lineman),” one scout said. “His dad was really talented but fat. The dad was probably 6-2.” Todd Peat was a squatty guard for the Cardinals and Raiders from 1987-’93. “Ready-made NFL player,” another scout said. “Left tackle or right tackle. Little bit like Jake Matthews. He won’t be an overly dominating type athlete but just sound. Bigger than Jake. A very good, solid player, no question about it.” Arms were 34 3/8, hands were 10 5/8.
Marcus Mariota*, QB, Oregon: 6-3½, 222. Heisman Trophy winner in 2014. “Kid’s a good athlete,” one scout said. “I kind of like him. But he’s not a passer right now. He’s a thrower. He’s like a better Colin Kaepernick. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but this kid is kind of quiet. He’s going to be a project the first year. But, other than Andrew Luck, all those guys are.” Finished with a phenomenal NFL passer rating of 121.3, and also rushed for 2,237 yards (6.6) and 29 TDs. “You know he’ll put the time in to be a good pro,” said another scout. “That’s about as big an obstacle as there is at the position: guys that are willing to put in the time.” Hands were 9 7/8. Vertical jump of 36 inches. Ran 4.52.
Jameis Winston*, QB, Florida State: 6-3½, 231. Led Seminoles to national championship in 2013 and won the Heisman Trophy. “Has an uncanny ability to know what’s around him and get himself out of trouble,” one scout said. Finished with NFL passer rating of 107.9, and also rushed for 284 yards (2.0) and seven TDs. Has had numerous run-ins with the legal system. “Someone will take him in the first round, but how could you even let that guy in the building?” another scout said. “The second law of thermodynamics basically is the more ways something can happen, the more likely it is to happen. That’s true of players. The more ways they can (expletive) up, the more chances they (expletive) up. This guy’s got a lot of stuff that would lean him more likely to be a bust than a good player.” Played two seasons of baseball at FSU as a closer-outfielder. “If he doesn’t (mature) he won’t be playing football,” a third scout said. “Knows how to play the position. I don’t think he’s Andrew Luck. He’s not a John Elway arm coming out, but he’s a talented kid.” Tested poorly with 4.97 40, 28½ vertical jump.
Melvin Gordon*, RB, Wisconsin: 6-1, 215. Finished second in Heisman Trophy voting as fourth-year junior. “Unique runner,” one scout said. “He’s got a little bit of Jamaal Charles in him. Upright, fast runner.
He’s quick and has very good feet.” Surpassed 100 yards in 22 of his 45 games. Also fumbled six times in his last five games. “He’s good, but against those slow (expletive) Big Ten guys,” said another scout. “That’s what bothers me a little bit.” Played at Kenosha Bradford. Ran 4.52.
Leonard Williams*, DT, Southern California: 6-4½, 302. Nicknamed “Big Cat.” “Probably the most talented player on the defensive side of the ball,” said one scout. “He’s an end and a three-technique. He’s quick, strong and plays athletic.” Has been compared to former Patriot Richard Seymour. Dominating presence for three seasons, finishing with 21 sacks and 36½ tackles for loss. “He’s not a gigantic guy,” another scout said. “He’s not (Ndamukong) Suh. He’s athletic. He moves around good. He played inside and was getting doubled and held and everything else.”
Randy Gregory*, OLB-DE, Nebraska: 6-5, 235. Played two years of junior college and two seasons at Nebraska, where he piled up 17½ sacks and 29 tackles for loss. “I think he’s better than Ziggy Ansah,” one scout said. “He’ll be pretty good. I think he could stand up, too.” Sidelined for two games and playing sparingly in two others last season due to injury. “He’s a run-around guy,” another scout said. “Athletic. Can chase things down. I can’t see him playing the point real well. He’s not that big. (Wisconsin’s Rob) Havenstein did a hell of a job against him.”
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: 6-3, 246. Fifth-year senior. “He’s a rusher,” one scout said. “He’s a better football player right now than (Shaq) Thompson. “He’s just running around being an athlete. If you played him as a 4-3 ‘will’ (weak-side LB) you’d take away what he does best. He can really run. He understands leverage. They don’t crush him.” Two-year starter with 33 sacks and 52½ tackles for loss.
PROBABLY GONE (remember, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was in the “probably gone” category last year at this time, and he slid….(8)
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville: 6-2½, 209. Hauled in 156 passes for 2,775 yards (17.8) and 33 TDs in four seasons. “He’s a large, smooth, play-making receiver who has average speed,” said one scout. “Very good hands. Has run after the catch.” Dogged by injuries as a senior. “He’s got size, speed and was dominating at the end of the season,” said another scout. “He looks a little faster than (Kevin) White.” Ran 4.45.
Ereck Flowers*, T, Miami: 6-6, 329. Third-year junior. “Big frame, good technician, good with his hands, good bulk and anchor,” one scout said. “Has ability to hold up against power rushes but also can handle speed. Physically and athletically, probably more of a right tackle in the NFL.” Started 2½ years at LT. Arms were 34½. Led O-line with 37 bench-press reps.
Arik Armstead*, DE, Oregon: 6-7, 292. Three-year player didn’t start until 2014. “He plays like a man,” said one scout. “Can be a five-technique. Damn right he has pass rush. Really a good player.” Finished with 10 sacks. “A little bit like Datone Jones but much taller and bigger,” said another scout. “Same kind of player. He has the athleticism but production has been minimal. When you’re a really tall player you have to have either really good strength or play with really good technique and fundamentals. He doesn’t have either yet. He plays hard. He’s got the ability. It’s just not totally there yet. He’s going to be a rusher on the inside.”
Mario Edwards*, DE, Florida State: 6-3, 279. Registered 7½ sacks in three seasons, including two as a starter. “Still kind of a project,” one scout said. “Big athletic guy. Just didn’t have much production or feel as a rusher. You hope he’d be a better rusher to take him in the first round but he’s got size and is athletic.” Father, Mario, played cornerback for the Cowboys after being drafted in the sixth round (2000). Also played some LB and FB. “Huge D-end but could even bounce inside and rush as a three-technique,” another scout said. “Very, very strong upper body. Plays the run extremely well but also can rush the passer.” Huge hands (10 7/8).
Shane Ray*, DE, Missouri: 6-3, 245. Declared a year early after being named Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year. “Tough, fast,” one scout said. “He’s better than the guy (Kony Ealy) from there last year. Little straight-line.” Posted a school-record 14½ sacks in 2014 to go with 22½ tackles for loss. “I don’t like him,” said another scout. “People see who he is, they’re going to fall off him quick. The body structure. No way in hell he can be an outside backer. Competitive, smart and reliable. Wins with effort, urgency and great first step. He has a degree of stiffness. He’s got to win with quickness because of his lack of size and strength.” Tiny hands (9).
Danny Shelton, NT, Washington: 6-1, 339. Three-year starter with 208 tackles (24 for loss) and 11½ sacks, including 9 as a senior. “True nose tackle,” one scout said. “Big body. Big noses go (early).” Another scout said Shelton moved as well as Green Bay’s B.J. Raji. Patterns his game after Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata. Dominated at the Senior Bowl.
Eddie Goldman*, DT, Florida State: 6-4, 336. Third-year junior. “He’s a powerful, explosive guy,” one scout said. “Strong at the point.” Two-year starter with 62 tackles (12 for loss) and 6 sacks. “Three-technique,” another scout said. “He can do it all. Plays hard.”
Dante Fowler*, OLB, Florida: 6-3, 261. Third-year junior, two-year starter. “Played on a very average football team but stood out,” one scout said. “You saw offenses (slide) his way. Double-teaming and chipping. Definitely a pass rusher first. He has the athleticism and skill to play outside linebacker.” Voted team MVP in 2014 after registering 8½ of his 14½ career sacks. “Probably has to be an outside backer for a 3-4 team,” another scout said. “Edge guy. He’s got those first two steps.”
THE NEXT LEVEL (37)
Devin Funchess*, WR-TE, Michigan: 6-4, 232. Enrolled as a WR, played 2012-’13 as a TE and went back to WR last year as a third-year junior. “He’s a wide receiver,” one scout said. “He’s not physical enough as an inside blocker. He’ll be like a hybrid player. He drops a lot of balls.” Terrific high school basketball player in Michigan; declined invitation as a freshman to double as a basketball player.
“Not crazy about him,” said another scout. “He won’t block. He’s got good hands but he drops balls. He can’t play tight end. He’ll get drafted high, too high for me.” Disappointing 40 of 4.70.
Jaelen Strong*, WR, Arizona State: 6-2, 217. Junior-college transfer caught 157 passes for 2,287 yards (14.6) and 17 TDs in two seasons for Sun Devils. “(Plays) like his last name,” said one scout. “Average to above-average speed. He’ll probably play early. His ceiling isn’t high, but he’s going to be a good, solid, starting wide receiver with good hands. Physical frame. Really good field awareness. Very good in the red zone. Just not a stretch-the-field vertical receiver. More of a short to intermediate type.” Ran surprisingly fast (4.44).
Dorial Green-Beckham*, WR, Oklahoma: 6-5, 237. “He’s the wild card of all of them,” said one scout. “He’s a first-round talent, no question. He may even be better than (Amari) Cooper. He’s that talented. But is there a team that will take a chance on him there?” Kicked out of Missouri after drug-related issues, transferred to Oklahoma but wasn’t eligible in 2014. Started 15 of 25 games at Mizzou, catching 87 passes for 1,278 yards (14.7) and 17 TDs. Ran 4.49.
Nelson Agholar*, WR, Southern California: 6-0, 198. Third-year junior coming off 2014 season in which he caught 104 passes for 1,313 yards (12.6) and 12 TDs. “Very similar to Marquise Lee,” one scout said. “Slender build. Good speed, not special speed. Good hands. Probably will make his mark early as a returner. He can line up in all the spots inside and outside.” Returned four punts for TDs. Ran 4.42.
Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State: 6-0½, 196. Consummate deep threat. “A vertical receiver,” one scout said. “That’s where he’s at his best. Hands are average. Route running was average. But a really good stretch-the-field vertical type. Probably not as fast as (Miami’s) Mike Wallace.” Three-year starter with 121 receptions for 2,503 yards (20.7) and 30 TDs; his 33 catches in 2014 averaged an astounding 28.2 (12 TDs). Ran 4.42.
Sammie Coates*, WR, Auburn: 6-1, 212. Fourth-year junior. “Once he runs fast they’re all going to drool over him,” one scout said of his fellow personnel men. “I’m not on board. He’s a large, explosive, stiff, inconsistent guy with big hands. I wouldn’t touch him, but I think he goes late second (round).” Finished with 82 receptions for 1,757 yards (21.8) and 13 TDs. Labored on a bad knee in 2014. Ran 4.43.
Maxx Williams*, TE, Minnesota: 6-4, 249. Third-year sophomore with 61 catches for 986 yards (16.2) and 13 TDs. “He’s one of those guys that jumps over people and stiff-arms,” said one scout. “Real good hands. He blocks downfield and can get on linebackers. He’ll (block) better in-line.”
His father, Brian, also played for the Gophers and generally started at center for the Giants from 1989-’99. “I would not put him in the category of an athlete like Jimmy Graham or someone like that,” another scout said. “You’re not talking about a dominating type player. Need at the position and lack of players there could move him up to the top of the second (round). If he’s bottom of the first round it’s an overreach.” Ran 4.78.
La’el Collins, T-G, Louisiana State: 6-4 1/2, 305. Started at LG in 2012 and at LT the past two seasons. “I think he has to move to guard,” one scout said. “Big and strong. His effort wanes at times.” Voted team MVP in 2014. Impressive week at the Senior Bowl. “Very talented, athletic,” another scout said. “Good size, good strength and a lot of production. Really effective at guard.” Arms were just 33¼.
T.J. Clemmings, T, Pittsburgh: 6-4 1/2, 309. Spent three seasons at DE (six starts in 2012) before starting at RT in 2013-’14. “An athlete first,” said one scout. “He has the athleticism to start. Just going to take a little bit of time. Still developing his technique, fundamentals and understanding the position.” Long arms (35 1/8). Scored 15 on the Wonderlic intelligence test. Turned down offers to play basketball at Providence and Seton Hall.
Cameron Erving, T, Florida State: 6-5, 313. Fifth-year senior moved from D-line to O-line in spring 2012. “He’s athletic,” said one scout. “Not a very good technician. Still learning the position.” Three-year starter at LT but forced to start the last five games at center in 2014. Arms were 34 1/8. “He’s a lot like Collins,” another scout said. “He could be a left tackle, center or guard. Very versatile second-round pick.”
D.J. Humphries*, T, Florida: 6-5, 307. Third-year junior. “He’s a smaller guy who has gotten bigger each year,” one scout said. “He’ll still need to continue adding weight and growth. He lacks anchor on bull rushes and isn’t going to generate a lot of movement with his drive blocks.” Missed half of the 2013 season with a knee injury and two games in ’14 with an ankle injury. “Talented kid,” another scout said. Arms were 33 5/8.
A.J. Cann, G, South Carolina: 6-3, 313. Started 51 games at LG. “He has size, length, mass, toughs and he’s competitive,” said one scout. “He’ll need a little bit of work in pass pro, and the mental part will scare you a little bit.” Two-time captain. Arms were just 32 5/8. “Second round probably,” another scout said. “Good player. He’s got enough strength and he can move, too.”
Laken Tomlinson, G, Duke: 6-3 1/2, 323. Really helped himself during Senior Bowl week. “He’s a big, square, flexible athlete,” one scout said. “He’s got good movement. He needs to work on his technique and balance.” Four-year starter at guard. Arms were 33 5/8.
Donovan Smith*, T, Penn State: 6-6, 338. Fourth-year junior. “Big guy who is more athletic than his peers,” one scout said. “He has to work through some natural laziness.” Started for three years at LT. Arms were 34 3/8. “Looked good in the Senior Bowl,” one scout said. “Now he’s got to get through the interviews. He’s kind of a different kid. Not bad. Just different.”
Cedric Ogbuehi, T, Texas A&M: 6-5, 306. Started for 3½ years, including both tackles and guard. Followed Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews at LT in 2014. Suffered a torn ACL in third quarter of a bowl game and had surgery about five weeks ago. “He did everything as well as those two (Joeckel, Matthews),” one scout said. Arms were 35 7/8. He still has hopes of being drafted in the first round and playing this season. “He is really talented but soft and doesn’t play very strong,” another scout said. “I’ve been in there three years in a row and have never seen him practice. Guy’s always hurt.”
Brett Hundley*, QB, UCLA: 6-3, 226. Three-year starter redshirted in 2011. “The physical tools are there,” one scout said. “He’s going to need time. He’s going to have to go to a team that will need to have patience with him and just continue teaching him the game. A team at the top of the second (round) that needs a quarterback might throw him to the fire too early, and he’s not ready for that.” Operating a zone-read offense similar to the Eagles’, his NFL passer rating was 103.7. He also rushed for 1,747 yards (3.6) and 30 TDs. Idolizes Donovan McNabb. “I don’t think he can mentally process,” another scout said. “His arm and talent are OK. He’s got a lot of flaws in his game.” Ran 4.63.
T.J. Yeldon*, RB, Alabama: 6-1, 226. Shared carries with Eddie Lacy in 2012 before taking on the featured role the past two years. “He’s different than Lacy,” one scout said. “Lacy’s more power. This guy can run with power, but he also has some moves. I’d take Lacy over him. Only question I have on Yeldon, is he beat to hell and back? All those guys down there (Alabama) get beat up.” Carried 576 times for 3,322 yards (5.8) and 37 TDs, and caught 46 passes. “He’ll go right around 30, 35,” said another scout. “He and Gordon will fight for first back. He probably has the best feet of any back in the draft.” Ran just 4.61.
Todd Gurley*, RB, Georgia: 6-1, 222. Suffered a torn ACL Nov. 15 but expressed confidence he would play in 2015. “That guy is good,” said one scout. “He’s a man among boys. If you’re a deep team why wouldn’t you take a bona fide Pro Bowl back and just shelve him?” Finished with 510 carries for 3,306 yards (6.5) and 36 TDs, and also caught 65 passes. Won’t be 21 until August. “You’re talking about a running back that you will never see run (the 40),” said another scout. “You know he’s fast. You see it on film. The second combine (medical) recheck will be very important for him. He’s a top-10 talent, but he could easily go outside the first round because there’s a lot of backs in this draft.”
Jay Ajayi*, RB, Boise State: 6-0, 221. Fourth-year junior. “Big back with very good speed,” one scout said. “Really came on at the end of the year. He’s just a guy that runs hard. Very physical.” Carried 678 times for 3,796 yards (5.6) and 55 TDs. Ran 4.57.
Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State: 6-0, 208. Redshirted, then carried just nine times in 2011-’12 behind Le’Veon Bell. “He’s not Le’Veon Bell,” said one scout. “He’s a step below. But he can run, catch and do everything well. I’d take him over (Indiana’s) Tevin Coleman because he makes NFL runs. He has to pick and show vision and contact balance. When you spread out all over the damn field and they pitch you the ball and you pick a running lane (as Coleman did), that’s a little different (easier).” Carried 568 times in 2013-’14, gaining 2,944 yards and 40 TDs. Led all RBs with 40 time of 4.42.
Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE-OLB, Kentucky: 6-3½, 269. Started 36 of 45 games at both end and linebacker. “Very good athlete,” one scout said. “Has played both up and down. As he’s gotten better the defense has gotten better. Pass rusher. Great kid.
He can be a physical player.” Finished with 21½ sacks. “Athletic, but he’s got no instincts,” another scout said. “I just don’t think he’s real smart.” Scored 13 on the Wonderlic. Extremely soft-spoken.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA: 6-3, 267. Fifth-year senior who sat out all 2013 after undergoing hip surgery. “Kid’s got instincts and agility and strong hands,” one scout said. “Question is, how much bigger is he going to get? He wins with power.” His father, Peter, is serving three life sentences for a triple homicide shooting at Appalachian School of Law (Va.) in 2002. “Really athletic,” another scout said. “Tough. Just doesn’t have great instincts.” Huge hands (11).
Danielle Hunter*, DE-OLB, Louisiana State: 6-5, 252. Third-year junior. “LSU has these type players every couple years,” said one scout. “Barkevious Mingo was one. Really tall and long. Looks like a football player. He will run like a deer. Hasn’t had consistency of production yet. He was a 1½-sack guy this year, but that’s kind of been the norm. Mingo came out (early) and had 6 sacks and went top 10 (in 2013). Hunter is that type of player.” Two-year starter with 4½ sacks.
Malcom Brown*, DT, Texas: 6-2, 319. Started two of three seasons. “Typical Texas guy,” said one scout. “Has talent but little bit of an underachiever. He has more ability than he’s showing. He can be a three-technique or a shade. Has some upside.” Last season, he became the first Longhorn DT since Tony Degrate in 1984 to lead the team in both sacks (6½) and tackles for loss (15).
Jordan Phillips*, DT, Oklahoma: 6-5, 329. Started four games in 2013 before suffering a back injury that required surgery. Came back to start all 13 in ’14 before declaring early. “He has a bad back,” said one scout. “He has quickness and he can run, but he plays so damn high and he cannot get off a block. It could be back-related. If that’s not an issue, he has something that you can’t coach, and that’s physical talent. I think he’s tough enough. He’s just not a good player. He does not dominate. He’s not effective. That bothers me. Character-wise, everything’s positive about him.” Finished with 58 tackles (nine for loss) and 3½ sacks.
Carl Davis, DT, Iowa: 6-4½, 320. Fifth-year senior and two-year starter. “He has some ability, but he’s lazy,” one scout said. “He was off the field (late in the season) on passing downs and didn’t seem real upset about it. Nice kid.” Played extremely well in the Senior Bowl. “He plays like he is, a nice guy,” said another scout. “Never finishes things. He has talent but wasn’t very consistent. His character is impeccable. He’ll get drafted pretty high, but he scares the hell out of me.” Massive hands (11).
Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State: 6-2, 293. Two-year starter with 18 sacks and 31½ tackles for loss. “His true position is three-technique,” one scout said. “Good football player.” Both of his parents graduated from West Point. “I thought he disappeared too often in games,” another scout said. “Enough athletic ability. Not sure if he’s quick enough for a smaller guy to win on a consistent basis. Doesn’t always finish plays. He’s not as talented as Jurrell Casey. Not even close to Aaron Donald.”
Shaq Thompson*, OLB, Washington: 6-0, 228. Winner of the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. “Really good athlete,” one scout said. “Not great instincts. He’s the best athlete on that team. He could be the best running back. He’s a rusher. He can play on and off the ball.” Third-year junior scored six TDs in 2014, including three on fumble returns and two as a running back.
Eli Harold*, OLB-DE, Virginia: 6-3, 247. Third-year junior, two-year starter. “Good athlete, not elite,” one scout said. “Just a solid, productive football player. He’ll get six, seven, eight sacks a year. Probably never reach double digits, but you’ll like him because he plays the run well and rushes the passer well.” Finished with 17½ sacks.
Benardrick McKinney*, ILB, Mississippi State: 6-4, 246. Fourth-year junior, three-year starter. “He’s like a Dont’a Hightower,” one scout said. “Big, physical guy. I think he can (play every down).” Led Bulldogs in tackles past two seasons. ”
We don’t know if he can run yet,” another scout said. “I don’t know if he’s a dinosaur or he’s a new-breed backer.” Tiny hands (9).
Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami: 5-11, 236. Started 37 games over four seasons. “Explosive tackler,” one scout said. “Physical. Tough. He’s second or third round. It will be interesting to see how he runs.” Generally played middle linebacker but started all 13 games outside in 2013. “We’ve got people who love him,” another scout said. “I think he’s gotten too big. I talked to those guys (coaches) there and he doesn’t want to lose the weight. Doesn’t look like he can run as well as he should. Got some stiffness to him.”
Paul Dawson, ILB-OLB, Texas Christian: 6-0, 235. Two-year starter. Ideally suited for weak side in a 4-3 but also might be able to play inside in a 3-4. “Very instinctive football player,” one scout said. “Little bit of a freelancer. Kind of does his own thing, which coaches don’t love. But he’s got a lot of ability.” Regarded as a character risk by some teams. “He’s late for meetings, all that kind of stuff,” another scout said. “He’s just never done the right things.”
Trae Waynes*, CB, Michigan State: 6-0, 186. Melvin Gordon’s teammate at Kenosha Bradford. “He’s probably the best (corner) of the bunch,” one scout said. “He can press and play off. He can run. He’s got length. Very even-keeled. Good teammate. He’s not going to talk trash. He does a lot of good things, but he doesn’t have rare athletic traits. He could walk in and be a starter.” Fourth-year junior played 36 games in three seasons and intercepted six passes. “Those guys there have really been well-coached,” another scout said. “Kind of a weird built kid. He’s long, but he’s kind of thin. He can be a press guy but not very good playing off. At the right place he’ll have a chance to be a player.”
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest: 6-0, 188. Redshirted in 2010 before starting 41 games in four seasons. “He could be gone by 30 based on need,” one scout said. “Somebody’s got to go and if it’s going to be anybody it’s probably going to be him because he’s the most steady. I’d really have a hard time taking any corner in the first round. Very good technique, awareness, instinct, ball skills. All that good stuff. But he’s not a burner and he’s thin. Just a good, solid, all-around corner.” Intercepted seven passes.
Alex Carter*, CB, Stanford: 6-0, 196. Started for 2½ years and had two interceptions. “Tall, good-sized corner,” said one scout. “Solid speed, not special. Still developing his game. Fundamentally raw. I don’t know if he can step right in and start early in his career. He’s got man-to-man skill.” Tom, his father, was a Notre Dame cornerback drafted in the first round by Washington in 1993.
Jalen Collins*, CB, Louisiana State: 6-1, 203. Started in 2014 after serving as a nickel back for two seasons. “He won’t run well enough to be a first-rounder,” one scout said. “Real good size. Little raw. His ceiling is as a No. 2 type corner.”
Landon Collins*, S, Alabama: 6-0, 228. Played alongside Green Bay’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in 2013 before leading the Crimson Tide in tackles (103) as a junior. “Where did the Packers get Clinton-Dix (21)?” one scout asked. “He’s the same guy. Same grade. He’s OK. I’m not going to say sure-fire great. I think he’s smart and physical. He’s the best safety.” Added another scout: “I thought he was better than the guy in Green Bay. Little better movement.”
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