NFL Draft Notes: Running Backs, Defensive Line, Linebackers, Secondary

     

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spoke to a number of scouts in recent weeks gauge the early opinions on next year’s draft class. The entire article is worth a read if you’re looking for some insight into the 2015 draft class.

Here are some notes of interest McGinn’s article.

Running Backs

  • According to scouts that McGinn spoke to, there’s a chance that Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordan could be a top-15 selection next year.

He’s a bigger version of Jamaal Charles,” one scout said. “He’ll run 4.42. He’s really good.

  • Georgia’s Todd Gurley was considered by some to be a top-5 player before he suffered a season-ending ACL tear not too long ago.
  • Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon is also in the discussion to be a first-round running back based on his talent level.
  • Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, Miami’s Duke Johnson, Boise State’s Jay Ajayi, and Florida’s Matt Jones in the discussion to be selected “between the 25th and 60th picks.
  • Interestingly enough, Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah drew some comparisons to Giovani Bernard and LeSean McCoy.

Defensive Line

  • USC DT Leonard Williams is considered to be a “top-five” talent, who could post an impressive 40 time in the 4.7’s, according to scouts.
  • Florida State DT Eddie Goldman and Washington DT Danny Shelton are both in the mix to be drafted in the first round.
  • Beyond them, Ohio State’s Michael Bennett, Iowa’s Carl Davis, Alabama’s Jarran Reed, Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips are considered to be second-round talents.
  • Some teams have reportedly projected Nebraska DE/OLB Randy Gregory to a top-15 selection.
  • Another edge rusher who could be gone in round one is Florida’s Dante Fowler.
  • According to McGinn, Missouri’s Shane Ray, LSU’s Danielle Hunter, Utah’s Nate Orchard and Louisville’s Lorenzo Mauldin are unlikely be available by the time third round is underway.
  • Florida State’s Mario Edwards is an interesting players as scouts said that he has the ability to play anywhere on the defensive line, which could lead to him being selected in round one.
  • Kentucky’s Alvin Dupree is also in the mix to be a first-round selection.
  • Baylor’s Shawn Oakman has reportedly drawn “mixed reviews.
  • Meanwhile, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun and Arkansas’ Trey Flowers are seen as 4-3 defensive ends with pass-rush potential.

Linebackers

  • Mississippi State’s Benardrick McKinney could be No. 1 inside linebacker in next year’s draft class and a possible first-round if he declares.
  • Miami’s Denzel Perryman looks like a second-round talent.
  • UCLA’s Eric Kendricks (5-11½, 229) and Clemson’s Stephone Anthony are expected to come off the board in round three.
  • Washington’s Shaq Thompson is considered to be the top outside linebacker prospect in next year’s class.

“Really good athlete,” one scout said of Thompson. “Not great instincts but he’s got a chance. He’s the best athlete on that team. He could be the best running back. He’s just running around being an athlete. First round.”

  • Clemson’s Vic Beasley could also be a first-round pick as well, but some see him as a more complete player than Thompson.

Secondary

Interestingly enough, one scout referred to next year’s crop of cornerbacks as a “suspect group” and added that there is a chance that no one will go in round one.

Corner is not a great group overall unless somebody really comes on,” one scout said. “It’s a suspect group. I don’t see one in the first (round) but I’m sure somebody will run well and sneak up there.

  • As for the safety prospects, there appears to be some depth at the position.
  • Michigan State’s Trae Waynes could be the first defensive back to drafted next year.
  • Mississippi State’s Will Redmond in the discussion to be the second player taken, possibly in the late-first to early- second rounds.
  • Florida State’s P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby are likely second-round options, along with Notre Dame’s Cody Riggs.
  • Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is an interesting player as many had him highly rated for the year plus, but McGinn mentions that he projects as a nickel back.
  • Oregon State’s Steven Nelson and Mississippi’s Senquez Golson are likely to be taken in the first three rounds.
  • Alabama S Landon Collins will likely be the first safety drafted if he declares.
  • Scouts believe Louisville’s Gerod Holliman should return to school for another season.
  • Michigan State’s Kurtis Drummond and Samford’s Jaquiski Tartt could be the next players to come off the board.
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