NFL Hot Press

Landon Collins Viewed as Strong Safety

Updated Nov. 30, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

In the pass happy NFL featuring some dangerous receiving tight ends, the safety position is taking on increased importance. The consensus top safety prospect for the 2015 NFL Draft is Alabama's Landon Collins. The Crimson Tide junior is expected to declare for the draft, and scouts are grading Collins for the next draft. While many have stated that Collins is a safety that can do it all, sources with NFL teams feel that Collins is a strong safety prospect and is not a safety who can play the deep end of the field as a free safety.

Sources say that Collins has some limitations in pass coverage. Those could be seen in a few games season, but especially against Ole Miss. He can struggle to play man coverage on tight ends and wide receivers in the deep part of the field. At the next level, he'll need to be protected from those kind of mismatches. They feel that in the NFL he is going to be better playing closer to the line of scrimmage and should excel as the eighth man in the box. The 6-foot, 220-pounder is a physical tackler and a good run defender in the tackle box.

For the purposes of comparison, sources say that Collins game is similar to Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam and Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger. The difference is that Collins is bigger a version than both of those players, but he is a comparable player with a similar style of play. Elam was a late first-round pick, while Swearinger went in Round 2. Sources believe that Collins will go ahead of both of them.

Collins has 68 tackles with five passes broken up and three interceptions in 2014. He is grading out as a first-round pick, and teams feel that he is ready to compete quickly in the next level.

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T.J. Yeldon Grading Late First, Early Second

Updated Nov. 28, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Two years ago, Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon and Georgia running back Todd Gurley were freshman superstars who were expected to be the next great running backs in college football. That has been the case for Gurley, despite injuries and a suspension. Yeldon has been a solid contributor for the Crimson Tide, but he hasn't been the dominant runner like Eddie Lacy or Trent Richardson were in their final seasons for Alabama. Still, NFL scouts told us that Yeldon is grading out as a late first-round or early second-round pick.

Statistically, Yeldon isn't having the kind of season that many expected. Yeldon has averaged 5.0 yards per carry for 758 yards with six touchdowns. Yeldon hasn't been as impressive as teammate Derrick Henry, but both have been reliable backs for Alabama, and the Crimson Tide coaches have trusted Yeldon to be their third-down back in pass protection.

Sources say that Yeldon is a smooth runner with quickness, elusiveness and cutting ability. They feel that he runs a little upright, as a result of his height, and needs to improve his ball security. He can improve on those issues at the next level.

NFL teams are hearing that Yeldon is going to declare for the draft, so they are scouting him as if he'll be in the 2015 class. Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon are expected to be the first two running backs selected. Yeldon could be in a crowded group of backs that could go in the late first or second-round. That group includes Indiana's Tevin Coleman and Miami's Duke Johnson.

Because of Alabama's rotation at running back and working the ball to wide receiver Amari Cooper, Yeldon should be fresh entering the Combine, and a fast 40 time could help him to be a Thursday night pick.

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Sources Say Dorial Green-Beckham Likely to Declare

Updated Nov. 22, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Dorial Green-Beckham, one of the most physically talented wide receivers who could be in the 2015 NFL Draft class, has been ineligible to play for Oklahoma this season after leaving Mizzou, but that still hasn't stopped NFL teams from preparing for him to be in the draft. Sources told us that Green-Beckham is likely to declare for the draft, meaning he would never end up playing football at Oklahoma.

Green-Beckham had a couple of arrests for marijuana at Missouri. The final straw for him was an incident where he allegedly pushed a woman down some stairs. Because of that, sources say that Green-Beckham is going to need a strong advocate and representative to help him overcome the domestic violence red flag. Violence against women is a hot button issue with NFL teams in the wake of the Ray Rice controversy. Plus, we know that one team, the Houston Texans, had a zero tolerance towards players that had a history of violence with women long before the Rice controversy. That was an order that came down from owner Bob McNair.

That being said, sources say that Green-Beckham has been a model citizen at Oklahoma, and he isn't a bad-character person. They say that he has been a positive presence in the Oklahoma program.

As for his draft hopes, Green-Beckham is probably more likely to be a second-day pick. Arizona Cardinals cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was suspended for his final season of college football for numerous off-the-field issues, and he was selected in the third round. Mathieu was also very undersized, and there aren't questions about Green-Beckham's skill set.

Green-Beckham (6-6, 220) was one of the top recruits in the nation and has often been compared to Cincinnati Bengals stud receiver A.J. Green. Playing for Missouri, Green-Beckham totaled 59 receptions for 883 yards with 12 touchdowns in 2013. He finished the season strongly with impressive performances against Texas A&M (7-93-1) and Auburn (6-144-2) in the SEC Championship Game.

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Teams Don't View Shawn Oakman as a First-Rounder

Updated Nov. 14, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman generated a lot of buzz was at the start of the college football season. The 6-foot-8, 290-pounder opened the year with a huge outing against SMU and looked unblockable. There was a lot of talk about Oakman being a first-round pick, and a potential high one. As the year progressed, however, Oakman's play has tailed off.

We caught up with sources from multiple teams to gauge where they're grading Oakman, and there was a discrepancy. However, they all came back agreeing that they wouldn't take Oakman in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

One team that has drafted really well in recent years feels that while Oakman is overrated, he "doesn't suck." They feel he has upside and is a project similar to Cincinnati Bengals second year defensive end Margus Hunt. Hunt and Oakman are the same size with similar speed and athleticism. They say that Oakman looks the part and has tools, but is very raw. They feel his value is on the second day, perhaps the second round, but off-the-field issues from his time at Penn State could cause him to fall lower.

A general manager of a perennial playoff team was the most pessimistic about Oakman. He felt that Oakman was the most overrated underclassman and was a mid day-three pick.

Another team said that Oakman doesn't play up to his size and looks. They also suggested that he is a project like Hunt because Oakman does possess the size, speed, frame and athletic ability. However, they wouldn't take Oakman high. Oakman has 35 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks, one pass batted and two forced fumbles. His production is similar to what Hunt did in his final season at SMU.

While some teams obviously really don't like Oakman, others feel he is a quality developmental prospect. Given his skill set, Oakman looks most likely to be a day-two selection.

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Marcus Peters Unlikely to Be First-Rounder

Updated Nov. 7, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

The University of Washington announced Thursday that cornerback Marcus Peters was kicked off the team. The 6-foot, 190-pound junior was enjoying a strong season that had him as a potential top 20-pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. After being removed from the team, sources have told us that it looks unlikely that Peters could still go in first round.

Our sources said that a lot can change in the months to come, and if Peters cleans up his act while interviewing well with teams, perhaps a team picking late in the first round could take a chance on him. However, it is more likely that Day 2 is the earliest Peters should hope to go. Other cornerbacks with major off-the-field issues like Janoris Jenkins and Tyrann Mathieu were kicked off their teams before entering the draft and ended up going in the second and third round, respectively. Jenkins' situation was a little different in that he played his final season at North Alabama after getting kicked out of Florida.

Peters finished his 2014 season with 23 tackles, five passes broken up and three interceptions. He had an excellent game against Stanford with a pick and good coverage on Cardinal receiver Ty Montgomery. Peters had a solid game versus Jaelen Strong and Arizona State as well. Peters covered Strong better than any other defensive back this season.

The Seattle Times was the first to report Peters' dismissal and stated that Peters had multiple run-ins with the new Huskies coaching staff. He argued with coaches during the game against Colorado and a practice argument on Wednesday was apparently the final straw that pushed Washington to move on from the talented cornerback. Peters was suspended a game earlier in the season after throwing his helmet and gloves from being given a personal foul penalty for head-butting an Eastern Washington wide receiver.

In speaking with NFL evaluators, Peters will have to be accountable and show a change in attitude. Falling to the third day or going undrafted is possible for him.

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Bo Wallace Viewed as a Late-Rounder

Updated Nov. 1, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Prior to last Saturday, there was some media buzz building about Ole Miss senior quarterback Bo Wallace being a rising pro prospect for the NFL. The Rebels are one of the upstart teams, and Wallace helped Ole Miss to a huge upset of Alabama. While Wallace has generated some headlines, NFL teams aren't believers, and sources from around the league say they have Wallace as late-rounder or undrafted free agent.

The 6-foot-4, 217-pound Wallace has some size to him, but NFL evaluators say that they have questions about his arm strength. They also think his decision-making is lacking, and that he needs to improve his composure. Those issues could be seen in Ole Miss' loss to LSU last week. There could be some teams that differ in their view of Wallace as a pro prospect, but sources from a few teams they think that he's a late-round pick or an undrafted free agent.

In his third season, Wallace hasn't had a big season statistically, but is on his way to his best production. He has completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,075 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

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