The NFL season is halfway complete, so it’s time to start looking more seriously at the upcoming draft. It is still way too early to come up with a definitive ranking, but I have spent a great deal of time watching games and talking to scouts and talent evaluators whose opinions I trust.
Remember as always, this in no way shape or form represents where I think a player will be drafted. This is my personal opinion on approximate ratings. Certain positions curry more value than others, which is why running backs and safeties do not appear real frequently here.
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. Showed he is human against USC, but handled it like a pro. Luck is a lock at #1.
2. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU. Playmaker with a little better innate cover skills than former teammate Patrick Peterson.
3. Matt Kalil, T, USC. Still mighty impressive even with little talent around him, and his lineage suggests he will continue to improve.
4. David Decastro, G, Stanford. Might be the most fundamentally sound guard to hit the league in years. Devastating run blocker.
5. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. Anquan Boldin clone with the intensity and physicality to thrive at the next level.
6. Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford. Reminds me a lot of Jake Long, but not as nasty. Can start right away at LT.
7. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. Vision is his calling card. A between-the-tackles slasher in the younger Clinton Portis mold.
8. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama. As talented as any player in this draft, but he must prove he is drug free and mature enough to handle the NFL.
9. Brandon Thompson, DE, Clemson. Impact pass rusher with good strength against the run. Better all-around than Da’Quan Bowers, plus he’s healthy.
10. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M. Still learning the intricacies but a very natural passer and exceptional athlete.
11. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State. Has a lot of the young Ray Lewis to him. If he can harness his wildness, could be a great inside backer.
12. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. Rising star with a presence about him that the great QBs have.
13. Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State. Can dominate when he wants to, more consistency would make him higher.
14. Alameda Ta’amu, DT, Washington. Interior force that reminds me of Casey Hampton, but he must keep his weight in check.
15. Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina. Not the fastest guy, but incredible catch radius and ever-improving precision to his game.
16. Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
17. Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
18. Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia. Spotlight: Heavy-handed guard has the footwork to handle playing right tackle in the NFL as well.
19. Quentin Coples, DE, North Carolina
20. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
21. Riley Reiff, T, Iowa
22. Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia. Spotlight: Not an elite athlete but a very savvy cover man with great intangibles.
23. Mike Adams, T, Ohio State
24. Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama
25. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
26. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College. Spotlight: Strong, physical inside presence but not quite as rangy as some. Has some Demeco Ryans to him.
27. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
28. Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
29. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
30. Devon Still, DT, Penn State. Spotlight: Like Corey Liuget a year ago, Still has blossomed from being a solid prospect to being a very good one along the line.
31. Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
32. Cliff Harris, CB/RS, Oregon
33. Kelechi Osemele, G/T, Iowa State
34. Mark Barron, S, Alabama
35. Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
36. Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina. Spotlight: Boom/bust pass rusher with a great first step. Has played better in space recently.
37. Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
38. Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State
39. Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
40. Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
41. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State. Spotlight: Would be much higher if he were younger; only Luck is a better thrower in this class.
42. Zebrie Sanders, T, Florida State
43. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington
44. Donta Hightower, LB, Alabama
45. D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama
46. Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
47. Billy Winn, DE, Boise State. Good fit for an attacking 30 front scheme as an agitating end.
48. Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
49. Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
50. Mohammed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
51. Matt McCants, T, UAB
52. Matt Barkley, QB, USC. Spotlight: I’m not buying into the love, but there is enough here to like that I won’t write him off. But I see an awful lot of Brady Quinn when I watch Barkley.
53. TY Hilton, WR, Florida Atlantic
54. Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M
55. Bruce Irvin, LB, West Virginia. Spotlight: Shares a lot of attributes with Jabaal Sheard
56. Kheeston Randall, DE, Texas
57. Trumaine Johnston, DB, Montana
58. Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State
59. Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
60. Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy. Spotlight: Reminds me of Dumervil or Mathis, short/speedy edge rushers that create problems for tall, lumbering tackles.
61. Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
62. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
63. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
64. Donte Paige-Moss, DE/OLB, North Carolina
65. Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
66. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. Spotlight: The immovable object nose tackle, but he moves well for a big man.
67. Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee
68. Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
69. Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska
70. Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
71. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
72. Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
73. Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State. Spotlight: A giant among boys at his level, has the physical ability to make the jump.
74. James-Michael Johnson, LB, Nevada
75. Stephon Gilmore, DB, South Carolina
76. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma
77. Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
78. Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
79. Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
80. Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska. Spotlight: Very light but has great instincts and good pop to his hits. Good 4-3 Will backer prospect.
81. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
82. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
83. Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State
84. Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
85. Denard Robinson, RB/RS, Michigan. Spotlight: I see Robinson as a Dexter McCluster/Brad Smith kind of weapon. He’s faster than both but I worry about durability.
86. Ryan Steed, CB, Furman
87. Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana Tech
88. Tony Dye, S, UCLA
89. Tank Carder, LB, TCU. Spotlight: A taller version of Eagles rookie Brian Rolle, an undersized but try-hard hitter with sound instincts.
90. Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa
91. Brandon Lindsey, LB, Pittsburgh
92. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
93. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
94. Brandon Brooks, T, Miami OH
95. Audie Cole, LB, North Carolina State. Spotlight: Reminds me of AJ Hawk but seems a half-step slower than the Packer backer.
96. Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
97. Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M
98. Malik Jackson, DE, Tennessee. Spotlight: USC transfer coming into his own, locating the ball better and improving his pad level.
99. Ryan Miller, T, Colorado
100. Eddie Whitley, S, Virginia Tech
101. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
102. Levy Adcock, T, Oklahoma State
103. Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State. Spotlight: Sporadic accuracy and trouble reading blitzes mars a great leader and strong arm.
Via Jeff Risdon/RealGM
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