This year I rated 406 prospects overall. The complete list can be found here.

The lists are broken down into five different categories this year: Quarterbacks/Running backs, Receivers/Tight ends, Offensive line (T/G/C), Defensive front (DE/DT) and Defensive back (LB/CB/S). It’s important to note these are my personal rankings after months of evaluation. To be rated I need to have seen at least two full games of a player, preferably more. This is not in any way indicative of anticipated draft order. 


The diversity here is a bit overwhelming, as several of these players are more edge rusher than traditional linebacker. I evaluated an inordinate amount of off-ball (inside and non-pass rushing) backers this year even though more than half here likely won’t be drafted.



Overall Rank

Vic Beasley



Dante Fowler



Stephone Anthony



Eric Kendricks



Shaq Thompson



Benardrick McKinney

Mississippi State


Jeff Luc



Paul Dawson



Taiwan Jones

Michigan State


Shane Ray



Eli Harold



Kwon Alexander



Randy Gregory



Denzel Perryman

Miami FL


Davis Tull



Hayes Pullard



Lorenzo Mauldin



A.J. Tarpley



Mike Hull

Penn State


Kyle Emanuel

North Dakota State


Ramik Wilson



Zach Hodges



Lynden Trail

Norfolk State


Ben Heeney



Bryce Hager



Tony Washington



Jordan Hicks



Zach Vigil

Utah State


Max Valles



Alani Fua



Geneo Grissom



Junior Sylvestre



Martrell Spaight



Zack Wagenmann



Jake Ryan



Deiontrez Mount



Damien Wilson



James Vaughters



Sage Harold

James Madison


Quayshawn Nealy

Georgia Tech


John Timu



Houston Bates

Louisiana Tech


Marcus Rush

Michigan State


Henry Coley



Amarlo Herrera



J.R. Tavai



Derrick Malone



Cole Farrand



Brock Hekking



Mark Nzeocha



Edmond Robinson



Qushaun Lee

Arkansas State


Trey DePriest



David Mayo

Texas State


Aaron Davis

Colorado State


Chi Chi Ariguzo



Thurston Armbrister

Miami FL


Michael Doctor

Oregon State


A.J. Johnson



The two at the top are both pass rushers extraordinaire. Beasley gets the edge over Fowler because he’s a little faster to flatten his tack around the edge and also has a better chase gear in run defense. Both are very skilled with a bevy of rush moves but also solid run defense, better than solid in Fowler’s case. Neither is on the Clowney/Mack level of a year ago, but they’re both ahead of recent high picks like Barkevious Mingo and Dion Jordan.

The next four on the list are all more traditional off-ball LBs.

Anthony has great length and short-area burst to the ball as either an inside backer in a 3-4 of a SAM backer in a 4-3. His anticipation skills aren’t optimal but he dramatically improved as a senior after a rough junior campaign. The arrow is pointing up, and he cocked back the bow with a superlative Senior Bowl week.

Kendricks has the instincts and is an exceptional tackler, someone who follows his hit with a wrap and the ability to quickly drop his weight. He’s undersized at just 6 feet and 230 pounds, and he’s not as lithe of an athlete as his brother Mychal, currently a decent starter in Philly. Kendricks is more of a clean-up tackler than a downhill force, but he’s very good at that role.

Thompson and McKinney are both difficult evaluations. The physical tools are obvious on both, but neither has a really definable position. McKinney brings great length and offers a physical style on the inside, and he’s a decent blitzer. He tends to play straight-legged and seldom ranges outside the way he’ll need to in the NFL if he’s inside. I know some see him as a pass-rushing edge guy, but he doesn’t bend the corner at all and is not a guy who can shed a block well. Thompson is a hybrid safety/linebacker with twitchiness but slow eyes to see the play. He’s likely a coverage specialist early in his career.

I’m an unabashed Jeff Luc fan and wrote about him earlier. The fact he’s not going to be drafted until the 5th or 6th round baffles my football mind. Dawson is just as devastating with his downhill hitting and supreme instincts. There are flags with his poor athleticism and issues with chronic tardiness and lackadaisical attitude off the field at TCU, a great program with a task-master coaching presence.

Taiwan Jones really showed up strong during Shrine Game week, and his Spartans film reveals a player who probably could have done a lot more if asked. He’s a great fit for a 3-4 team looking for a strong inside backer. That means you, Green Bay…

My low evaluation of Shane Ray was formed well before his recent drug arrest. His entire game is based on winning with his first step, and his terrible Combine performance coupled with his turf toe diagnosis shows that first step is tenuous. I do like his effort and backside pursuit versus the run. He would be even lower if I re-did these rankings in light of recent events. On the flip side, I would elevate Mauldin several spots as I saw a little more Louisville after finishing the rankings and seeing him more as a pass rusher, which is a better role for him.

I’m also glum on Perryman, a short, 2-down, between-the-tackles run defense specialist. His game is basically a smaller (by 30 lbs), less rangy Jeff Luc. If he went to Miami OH instead of The U a lot more people would see him in that light.

Going deeper, these late-round and UDFA guys are going to have to prove it on special teams. That’s advantageous for long athletes like Hodges, Emanuel and Trail. Timu and Rush are players who could surprise at the next level after being overshadowed in college.


Oh the depth! There aren’t any elite prospects or even surefire NFL #1s, but there are a freakish amount of quality players here. Some are more ready than others, and team situations will dictate which players appeal to some more than others.



Overall Rank

Marcus Peters



Kevin Johnson

Wake Forest


Eric Rowe



Trae Waynes

Michigan State


Jalen Collins



Quinten Rollins

Miami OH


Steven Nelson

Oregon State


Ronald Darby

Florida State


Ifo Ekpre-Olomu



Byron Jones



P.J. Williams

Florida State


Josh Shaw



Quandre Diggs



Alex Carter



Darryl Roberts



D'Joun Smith

Florida Atlantic


Craig Mager

Texas State


Senquez Golson



Kevin White



Tye Smith



Doran Grant

Ohio State


Troy Hill



Bobby McCain



Imoan Claiborne

Northwestern State


Lorenzo Doss



Justin Coleman



Nick Marshall



Justin Cox

Mississippi State


Charles Gaines



Damian Swann



Donald Celiscar

Western Michigan


Jacorey Shepherd



Levander Liggins

Louisiana Tech


Ladarius Gunter

Miami FL


Greg Henderson



Cam Thomas

Western Kentucky


Deshazor Everett

Texas A&M


Julian Wilson



Bryce Callahan



Cody Riggs

Notre Dame


Bernard Blake

Colorado State


Raymon Taylor



Peters is my #1 because he’s the most versatile in coverage. He proved he can be on an island with an opponent’s top receiver and fare well, but he can also fit in off-man coverage and zone shells. The natural stickiness, instincts and confidence are all very strong selling points. Unfortunately he has earned a flapping flag for his intransigence with coaches and hot-headed selfishness on the field, traits which ultimately got him booted from the Huskies team. He’s also got some soft tackling on his resume.

The next four all hit the generally regarded benchmarks for being very good NFL corners. All are at least 6 feet tall and run no slower than 4.5. All have excellent burst to the ball. As an added plus, all are pretty good against the run too.

Johnson is the slowest of this grouping, but he’s also the most instinctive and best in shorter-area coverage. He’ll need safety help over the top with faster wideouts, but he can lock down bigger receivers and intermediate routes. He played at Wake Forest in the 175 pound range and that’s a real concern, though he impressed by still looking quite explosive and twitchy after packing on almost 15 pounds at the Combine. He’s the best of this group but also the riskiest on the field.

Rowe is a converted safety who is my draft crush of the year. His length, speed and click/close explosiveness portend very big things at corner, though he needs experience and is probably best-served playing in a zone or outright at free safety early in his career.

Waynes is a pure man-coverage corner with the requisite swagger of a shutdown blanket. He’s got outstanding long speed and is feisty and aggressive both before the throw and with the ball in the air. He moves like a speed motorcycle, fast to top speed and blazing in a straight line but with some major issues turning on a dime once moving. Waynes also tends to exclusively play the receiver and not peek at the QB, which can lead to him being crossed up.

Collins also exhibits tightness in short quarters, but he is otherwise a high-end prospect who needs reps and a defined role, neither of which he really got at LSU. He could blossom into a Vontae Davis type of talent but don’t expect that right away. Some marijuana issues in college could dog him.

Rollins was once the best defensive point guard in the MAC. In just one year on the gridiron he showed enough to believe he could be a great hybrid CB/S in the NFL too. If he can learn to go from backpedal to driving forward smoother and not be fooled by savvy receivers, Rollins is going to emerge as a strong playmaking defender.

There are so many things to like about so many of the later prospects. If you want a playmaker, the diminutive Golson is an early option while Celiscar and Liggins stand out in the late rounds. Looking for a burner with active eyes? Roberts, Smith and Grant all fit the bill. Need a feisty slot guy? McCain, Mager (a hidden gem), Coleman and Diggs are all players who should be starters at that spot in the NFL.


Along with tight end, this is the weakest positional group in the draft. Not one earned a first-round grade, though there is a solid cluster of middle-round talents which features several players who should emerge as decent NFL players. Most of the developmental players are in-the-box strong safeties, a breed with dying demand in today’s pass-happy NFL.



Overall Rank

Landon Collins



Damarious Randall

Arizona State


Derron Smith

Fresno State


Ibraheim Campbell



Adrian Amos

Penn State


James Sample



Cody Prewit



Anthony Harris



Jaquiski Tartt



Chris Hackett



Durell Eskridge



Clayton Geathers



Kurtis Drummond

Michigan State


Damain Parms

Florida Atlantic


Cedric Thompson



Sam Carter



Dean Marlowe

James Madison


Brian Blechen



Jordan Haden



Gerod Holliman



TraMayne Bondurant



Ray Vinopal



Fritz Etienne



Tevin McDonald

Eastern Washington


Jacob Hagen



Erick Dargan



Jermaine Whitehead



Corey Moore



Ronald Martin



Dechane Durant

Northern Illinois


Isaiah Johnson

Georgia Tech


Ace Clark

Western Carolina


Ryan Murphy

Oregon State


John Lowdermilk



Collins is a player I liked less the more I watched of him. Alabama used him both as a single-high and even as a de facto linebacker. Maybe giving him just one role will let him thrive. He’s not blessed with quick acceleration or above-average speed and his inflated physique doesn’t help. Collins does have a very good football IQ and thrives on special teams so he’s not apt to bust. He could be quite good in the Deone Bucanon role of hybrid LB/S.

Randall’s high rank is based on what he can become, not what he showed for the Sun Devils. The speed, burst and lateral range are all above-average. Perhaps his best attribute right now is how well he controls his speed when approaching the point of attack; many safeties struggle to throttle down and gather to make the play, but Randall excels at this. The instincts? Not his strong suit, and he’s small at under 200 pounds with tiny (8.5”) hands.

Smith is the best safety in terms of what he can do in coverage and instincts, but his small stature (he’s 5’10” and not a great leaper) and oft-atrocious tackling scare me. He was better when playing with a stronger supporting cast in ’12 and ’13, and that guy could resurface at the next level.

Amos offers intrigue as a hybrid corner/safety with some ranginess. Campbell helped himself quite a bit with a strong Senior Bowl week, though he was a half-count late to the party on film too often.

Of the players ranked in the 100s, Drummond has the best chance of breaking out in the NFL. He was better as a junior than senior. The same is true of Dechante further down the list. Hackett would be a very good prospect but he’s a marginal athlete for the position.

Haden would have been ranked higher if he could ever have stayed healthy, but the litany of injuries caused him to retire from football.