Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M. Previous Rank: 1 4/25/13: Joeckel is a very safe pick to be a franchise left tackle to lock down the blind side for his quarterback. He had a solid, but unspectacular, performance at the Combine. Scouts told WalterFootball.com that Joeckel looked better at his pro day. They were confident that he would go to the Chiefs at No. 1, but weren't convinced he's the best player in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The athletic Joeckel has the ability to be a shutdown pass-protector. The junior is very quick and agile; possessing the light feet and the speed to get deep in his drops to prevent speed-rushers from turning the corner. He has some ability in the ground game as well, but is more of a finesse, tap-dancing offensive tackle.
Joeckel and Texas A&M cruised against Missouri to conclude the 2012 regular season. He had a strong performance in November versus Alabama, too. Joeckel allowed a pressure or two, but wasn't beaten for a sack. He had some excellent blocks to allow quarterback Johnny Manziel to propel the Aggies to a road win over the No. 1 team in the nation.
Joeckel previously dominated defensive end Corey Lemonier when Texas A&M routed Auburn. Lemonier got moved around in the ground game and had zero pass pressure going against Joeckel. It was another superb showing by the junior versus a pass-rusher who could be a first-round pick.
Joeckel had a phenomenal game in the middle of the year, owning LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery. It was a complete performance from Joeckel as he shut down Montgomery's pass rush and moved him out of his gap in run defense. This was a statement game for Joeckel against one of the better defensive ends in college football.
Joeckel was superb in the first half of the Aggies' 2012 opener versus the Gators. He had some rough moments in the second half in pass protection and was beaten for a sack. Joeckel was close to giving up a few other sacks as well. It was a mildly disappointing performance.
Joeckel broke into the starting lineup at left tackle in 2010. The freshman quickly got accustomed to the Big XII and, after some early struggles, finished his debut season strong. He did a very good job of protecting the blind side of quarterback Ryan Tannehill as the junior signal-caller became a starting quarterback for the first time in his collegiate career.
Joeckel had an excellent 2011 season as well. He did a superb job in pass protection for Tannehill. Joeckel gave up some pressures against some of the elite pass-rushers he faced, but, overall, he did very well for a sophomore and rarely allowed his quarterback to get hit.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah. Previous Rank: 2 4/25/13: I think Lotulelei is about equal to Joeckel. Lotulelei is a safe pick to be an impact lineman in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. He has a unique combination of power, speed, technique and explosion. Lotulelei plays with a mean streak and is one of the most physical prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft. I think he has the best combination of flexibility and upside to adapt successfully to the NFL.
Lotulelei is a hot prospect and is traveling all over the country conducting team visits. He was pulled out of the Combine because a possible heart condition, but it turned out to be a bogus false-positive test. The same thing happened to Frank Alexander last year.
WalterFootball.com first reported that Lotulelei wouldn't play in the Senior Bowl. As a high first-rounder, he had little to gain from playing in Mobile and taking the risk of a serious injury.
In his final collegiate contest, against Colorado, Lotulelei had six tackles, a sack and a pass batted. His stat lines weren't huge in the latter half of the season, but he was still a disruptive force.
Lotulelei started the game against USC on fire with plays all over the field, including a vicious tackle for a loss and a forced fumble that he recovered after blowing up center Khaled Holmes. Lotulelei was held to consistent draws after the Trojans started double-teaming him.
The senior was dominant in the three games before that with a number of splash plays against California, BYU and Utah State. Lotulelei had seven tackles, a tackle for a loss, two passes batted and a forced fumble versus the Cougars. He picked up four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble versus Utah State. The standout tackle was even more disruptive than the numbers indicate.
Lotulelei totaled 42 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles and four passes broken up this season. He caused a fumble against USC, but was not officially credited for it. The Utes finished 5-7, so they didn't play in a bowl game.
8/9/12: The 6-foot-4, 325-pound Lotulelei was a First-Team All-Pac-12 pick in 2011 and won the Morris Trophy as the conference's top defensive lineman as voted on by the starting offensive linemen. He recorded 44 tackles, 1.5 sacks, nine tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. Lotulelei was a backup for most of the 2010 season, but the sophomore still had 21 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss. He is still developing and has tons of potential.
Lotulelei is powerful, extremely quick and very disruptive at the point of attack. Sometimes the big tackle can resemble Ndamukong Suh with the way he has the sheer strength to grab guards and toss them aside.
Lotulelei explodes off the snap to quickly gain leverage on the guard. He could fit in any NFL scheme, but could be a prototypical tackle for a 4-3 defense.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan. Previous Rank: 4 4/25/13: Fisher had an excellent performance at the Combine, and that was after he was the most dominant offensive lineman at the 2013 Senior Bowl. Fisher was excellent at nullifying defensive ends throughout the week in Mobile. He did extremely well in the one-on-ones, too. Fisher mirrored speed-rushers coming around the corner and used good strength to anchor against bull rushes. He was also effective in the ground game.
Fisher has versatility after starting at right tackle, guard and left tackle over his collegiate career. He eventually found a home at left tackle in 2011 and was an All-Conference selection. The 6-foot-7, 305-pounder dominated his level of competition.
Fisher is very quick on his feet. He uses that quickness to get deep in his pass drop to cut off speed-rushers. In the ground game, Fisher is fast to fire downfield to hit blocks on the second level of the defense. The speed can also be seen when he pulls around the other side of the line. Fisher would be a very good fit in a zone-blocking scheme.
It would be good if Fisher added some functional strength for the NFL. That will help him to push defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage. He has the frame to add on another 15-20 pounds of muscle, which would be ideal. His final collegiate game was sheer domination.
There is definitely some upside for Fisher to develop at the next level.
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florda. Previous Rank: 3 4/25/13: Floyd had a tremendous Combine performance that showed he is just scratching the surface of his athletic ability. Floyd could become a special player in the NFL.
The junior played really well for the Gators in 2012 and was a disruptive force. He recorded 46 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and three sacks. Floyd made a real impact against Texas A&M and Tennessee when Florida's defense played great in the second half to lead to comeback road wins. He also played well against LSU. Floyd closed out the regular season with dominant performances against Florida State and Louisville.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pounder is extremely disruptive at the point of attack. He fires into the backfield to blow up runs and get pressure on the quarterback. Floyd is a good fit as a three-technique in a 4-3 defense and also has experience as a 3-4 defensive end. He mostly played defensive end as a sophomore in 2011, totaling 46 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, one blocked kick and one pass broken up.
Floyd has some natural power to go with his speed. His stock has been on a steady rise since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia. Previous Rank: 5 4/25/13: Jones had a disappointing performance at his pro day. It wasn't surprising considering that we at WalterFootball.com reported in January that scouts told us that Jones wouldn't work out well before the draft. His 40 time was ugly between 4.9 and 5.0 seconds. That is significantly slower than Manti Te'o, who was hammered for a Combine 40 time of 4.8 seconds. Scouts from the pro day told WalterFootball.com that Jones looked better once he started doing linebacker drills rather than the typical Combine-style tests.
Jones decision not to work out at the Combine wasn't surprising. Scouts at the East-West Shrine told WalterFootball.com that Jones would slide on draft day because they believe he will test poorly before the draft - which he has - and isn't a hard worker in the weight room. The scouts said that watching the game tape, Jones is worthy of being a top draft pick, but they don't believe he will go that high. Given that Jones doesn't attack the weight room, I had to slide him down some on my big board after having him ranked No. 1 for months.
However if you like Von Miller, then you'll like Jarvis Jones. They have similar styles of play as elite edge-rushers who also are strong pursuit run-defense linebackers. Jones isn't as explosive as Miller, but Jones definitely has a knack for getting to the quarterback.
Jones led the nation in sacks (14.5) and forced fumbles (seven) in 2012. He also had 85 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, three passes broken up and one interception. Jones finished the regular season strong with two sacks against Nebraska and announced he would forgo his final year of elligibility to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jones had two sacks and a forced fumble against Alabama. His sack-fumble was a phenomenal play on which he beat blocks from right tackle D.J. Fluker and running back Eddie Lacy to take down A.J. McCarron. Jones picked up another coverage sack later, but the Crimson Tide had a lot of success running straight at him. It was an ugly game for Jones as a run-defender.
The junior missed the Kentucky game with a knee injury and didn't look the same against South Carolina, but he came back with a vengeance against Florida. Jones had a massive performance to push his team to a huge victory over the Gators. He totaled 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Jones also made the game-saving play with a forced fumble around the Georgia 5-yard line in the final minutes. It was a tremendous outing that illustrated his ability to make big plays in big games.
Jones had a similar showing in Week 2 against Missouri with a game for the ages. He stepped up with huge plays to help lead the Bulldogs to a win. Jones picked up nine tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a pass batted and an interception returned 21 yards to the goal line. The turnovers he created came late in the game and sealed the win for Georgia.
8/9/12: Jones was one of the best pass-rushers in college football in 2011, tying for the second-most sacks in the nation, 13.5. He also had 70 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
Jones' speed and pass-rushing skills make him extremely disruptive. He has an excellent burst off the edge. His burst takes tackles by surprise and sets them up for him to burn around the corner or dodge back to the inside. As for Jones' pass-rushing moves. He has a good swim move, and his agility to weave around blockers is superb.
Jones has a non-stop motor and does well chasing down backs in run defense. He needs to improve his ability to defend runs coming straight at him.
The USC transfer has fit well in the Georgia defense and looks like an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. The 6-foot-3, 241-pounder should be able to add some bulk to hold up on the edge in the NFL.
Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon. Previous Rank: 6 4/25/13: Jordan used the Combine to show off his rare athleticism. He was extremely fast and fluid in the linebacker drills. The Oregon product is a natural 3-4 outside linebacker. Jordan needs to add weight for the NFL, but part of the reason why he is lighter is because he was held back from working out by a shoulder injury. Jordan had corrective surgery following the Combine. His weight gain will probably occur during the second and third years of his NFL career once he has the injury and rehab behind him.
Jordan recorded 44 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and five sacks in 2012. His pass-rush opportunities were hurt because the Ducks often dropped him back into pass coverage.
Jordan was a tight end early in his college career before switching to defensive end in 2010. Jordan had 33 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss as a sophomore. Jordan made real strides in 2011 and produced a lot more with 42 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. That made him a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection.
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri. Previous Rank: 7 4/25/13: Richardson had good performances at his pro day and the Combine to validate his high ranking. He has drawn interest from teams looking for a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end. Not only is Richardson an extremely fast and fluid athlete, he has a phenomenal motor, too. Richardson goes non-stop and is extremely disruptive defending the run and rushing the passer. He flies around the field and makes tackles outside of his gap.
Richardson caused havoc at the point of attack in 2012. He totaled 75 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, three passes broken up and three forced fumbles. Missouri did not qualify for a bowl game.
The game against Texas A&M was Richardson's final collegiate contest, and he collected five tackles, a tackle for a loss and a pass batted. Richardson missed the previous outing, against Syracuse, due to a suspension for violating team rules. He made seven tackles against Tennessee in his last previous action.
Richardson had a mixed game versus Kentucky, since he couldn't make plays going against guard Larry Warford, but Richardson did make an impact when taking on other blockers. He also returned a fumble 60 yards against Kentucky.
The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder played excellently in the middle of the season. He did well against Alabama, recording 14 tackles along with a sack coming from defensive end.
Richardson had 37 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, two sacks, one pass broken up and one forced fumble as a sophomore in 2011.
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina. Previous Rank: 9 4/25/13: There has been a nonstop buzz about Cooper, and he is in the running to be the first interior lineman selected. The super athletic 6-foot-2, 311-pounder could move to center and that is why he is ranked ahead of Chance Warmack. Cooper's college offensive coordinator John Shoop, a veteran NFL coach, said that Cooper is the best pulling lineman he's been around and is so athletic he could play fullback. If Cooper were used like that, it could make for an interesting goal line package in the NFL.
Cooper had a tremendous Combine. He was strong in the bench press, fast in the 40 and athletic in the field drills. It was a dominant showing of athleticism and explosiveness.
Cooper hit a great cut block in space during the season-opener to spring Giovani Bernard for a long touchdown run against Elon. That was a common refrain as Cooper did an excellent job of run blocking for Bernard in 2012. Cooper played well against Virginia Tech among others, and Bernard had a great year. Cooper was rock solid in pass protection all season as well.
The only issue for Cooper is size. He's undersized for guard and may have to move to center in the NFL if he can't add weight. Cooper is extremely quick and athletic, so moving to center shouldn't be a problem. That could make him more attractive to NFL talent evaluators.
8/24/12: Jonathan Cooper was a Second-Team All-ACC selection for the 2010 season. He did a good job as a run-blocker and pass-blocker. The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder was an excellent blocker for running back Giovanni Bernard in the 2011 season. Bernard had a tremendous freshman season with 1,253 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Cooper is a good athlete who also is strong at the point of attack. He could use more bulk if enters a power man-blocking scheme in the NFL. Cooper looks like he would fit best in zone-blocking scheme at the moment. Don't be surprised if he attempts to move to center, or there is, at least, talk about it.
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma. Previous Rank: 10 4/25/13: Johnson helped himself with a tremendous Combine performance. He showcased extreme athleticism and looks like he may have the most upside of any of the first-round tackle prospects.
Johnson (6-6, 302) was a 2-year starter and a good edge-blocker for Landry Jones. In his best tests of 2012, Johnson had strong games protecting his quarterback against Notre Dame, Texas and Texas A&M.
Johnson was the most second-most impressive blocker at the Senior Bowl - behind only Eric Fisher. Johnson was rock solid in pass protection in the one-on-ones. He clearly has been expertly developed by the Sooners coaching staff to protect the blind side. Johnson did a lot of pass blocking at Oklahoma for Landry Jones and that was apparent at the Senior Bowl.
Johnson has light, quick feet to get depth in his drop and negate speed rushes. He looks like he can stay at left tackle in the NFL and also has the frame to add more weight while maintaining his quickness.
There is a big demand for tackles in the NFL, and Johnson showed he has starting potential. A couple of scouts told WalterFootball.com that Johnson should go in the first round, which looked like a certainty after his performance at the Senior Bowl alone. There are plenty of teams that could use an edge-blocker of his ability.
There were a lot of doubts at Oklahoma entering the season if Johnson could handle left tackle, but he did extremely well for the Sooners. Johnson redshirted in 2009 before playing tight end and defensive end in 2010, so his athleticism can be seen in him trying a variety of positions.
DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama. Previous Rank: 8 4/25/13: There are a lot of medical concerns about Milliner, but he only missed one game at Alabama and it was against a cupcake. He was held out only for precautionary reasons. The injuries seem to be getting overblown, perhaps by teams that want him to fall to them.
Milliner resoundingly answered the speed questions with a sub-4.4-second 40 at the Combine. That kind of speed proved him to be a well-rounded cornerback prospect.
Notre Dame went after Milliner in the National Championship Game, but he held up well. Milliner had excellent coverage on numerous passes and started an interception with a pass breakup on a deep ball. He also showed that he could be effective against a good receiving tight end in Tyler Eifert, the Fighting Irish's best receiver.
Milliner accounted for four tackles and two passes broken up against Georgia in the SEC Championship. He came close to a diving interception, but the pick was overturned after replays showed that he had trapped the ball.
Milliner notched 10 tackles and a pass broken up against Texas A&M, but he had some ugly plays, too. One was when Milliner was burned for a 24-yard touchdown on a corner post route. He had a mixed outing the week before versus LSU and didn't play well against Mississippi State either. Milliner had pass interference and special teams penalties, a missed tackle and allowed some catches in the matchup with the Bulldogs. The junior did block a field goal and record three tackles though.
Milliner was excellent against Tennessee with five tackles and one pass defensed. He made three pass breakups with one being a deflection that was intercepted by Alabama. Milliner had a great game against Ole Miss with a pick, half a sack and four passes broken up. He picked up two tackles and a pass broken up versus Arkansas. Milliner almost hauled in an interception with a long return, but it was ruled that he had trapped the ball.
Milliner was dominant in Week 1 against the Wolverines. He returned an interception 35 yards, plus had five tackles and four passes batted. Milliner's one mistake came when he lost his footing and fell down in man coverage. That allowed the receiver to get wide open for a score.
Milliner totaled 54 tackles, two interceptions, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and 20 passes broken up in 2012. He tied for first in the nation with 22 total passes defensed. Shortly after the season ended, Milliner declared for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Milliner recorded 27 tackles with nine passes broken up in 2011 as the nickelback. The sophomore led the Crimson Tide's defense with three interceptions.
Milliner (6-1, 182) has the skill set to be a man-coverage corner. He is fast enough to turn and run with receivers, but also has the size to defend big receivers. Milliner has great length and quarterbacks struggle to get passes by him.
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama. Previous Rank: 11 4/25/13: Warmack didn't look great in the track tests at his pro day, but scouts said he was superb once he started doing guard drills. Warmack didn't hurt or help himself with his performance. He did fine at the Combine, but that isn't an event where he is going to stand out.
Warmack dominated the Fighting Irish's defensive front seven in the National Championship. He took on Notre Dame's tough defensive linemen and blasted open running lanes. Warmack was great at hitting blocks on the second level to spring his back into the secondary. He was rock solid in pass protection despite being beaten for a sack by Georgia's John Jenkins in the SEC Championship.
Warmack was dominant in the Crimson Tide's 2012 season opener against the Wolverines. The senior blasted open holes in the ground game and protected his quarterback well. He had some pass-protection issues versus Western Kentucky, but bounced back against Arkansas.
Warmack played well versus Ole Miss, Missouri and Tennessee. He didn't do as well against Mississippi State, but rebounded with a nice performance against LSU.
8/9/12: Warmack (6-3, 320) entered this season having started two years at guard for the Crimson Tide. He is a powerful road grader who did an excellent job of opening up holes for the Alabama running game in 2011. Warmack played better in the rematch against LSU than he did in the regular-season contest.
All year Alabama running back Trent Richardson had a ton of success running behind Warmack.
Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia. Previous Rank: 12 4/25/13: Ogletree was solid, but unspectacular, at his pro day. He previously did okay at the Combine, but wasn't as good as expected. The whole key to Ogletree's draft stock is teams feeling comfortable with him off the field. He is a top-20 talent, but probably will go in the No. 20-32 range because of those concerns.
Ogletree hurt his draft stock with a some teams because of a DUI arrest in early February. It just added to the character concerns around him as he was suspended for four games to start the 2012 season because of a failed drug test.
Ogletree was excellent after returning to the lineup following his suspension. He was a play-maker as a run-defender and was always around the ball. Ogletree totaled 111 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks an interception and five passes broken up this season. He decided to skip his senior year to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
8/31/12: Ogletree really came on in the second half of the 2011 season. In the final seven games, he produced 52 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles. Ogletree broke his foot in the season opener against Boise State, and that caused him to miss the next seven games. He really stood out with big games against Georgia Tech, LSU and Michigan State.
Ogletree had 34 tackles as a freshman in 2010. He is very fast and instinctive. The junior has the frame to get bigger and stay as a middle linebacker in the NFL. Ogletree has a lot of upside and it wouldn't be surprising if he pushed his stock into first-round consideration after the 2012 or 2013 season.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU. Previous Rank: 13 4/25/13: Ansah is this year's version of Chandler Jones or Jason Pierre-Paul; players with little college production who are great athletes and go in the first round of the draft. Like those two edge-rushers, Ansah is a tremendous athlete with a rare combination of size, speed and power. He excelled at the Combine and showed off his freakish skill set.
The Senior Bowl week could be indicative of how Ansah's career will trend in the NFL. He was quiet early in the week while getting his bearings against the higher level of competition. Ansah steadily improved to flash his superb athletic skill with the size, power and speed to be a force. By game time, he was dominant.
Ansah (6-5, 274) can beat offensive tackles with speed or power. Once he develops more pass-rushing moves and the ability to use his hands in combination with his feet, he could be deadly. The senior totaled 62 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, nine passes broken up, a forced fumble and an interception in 2012. He has exploded on the scene after making a grand total of 10 tackles as a junior and a sophomore.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia. Previous Rank: 14 4/25/13: Austin has been one of the fastest rising prospects throughout the draft process. He now stands a legitimate chance of being a top-10 pick.
Austin lit up the Combine with a scintillating 40 time of 4.34 seconds. That pretty much met expectations, and he kept up the momentum with a strong performance at his pro day.
Austin spent the last two seasons as one of the most electric play-makers in college football. He produced a ton of yards and touchdowns for West Virginia. Defenses were unable to match up effectively against him.
The senior totaled 114 receptions for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He also had 72 carries for 643 yards and three touchdowns. Austin was dynamic weapon who was able to consistently produce long scoring plays.
For the NFL, Austin is a deep threat receiver who will stretch defenses. He can burn secondaries with his explosive speed and will be a threat to score on any touch. Austin may have to be protected to avoid injury given his size. A lot of carries and receptions will lead to him getting hurt. He additionally has the flexibility to play in a West Coast offense or a pro-style offense.
Austin made his presence felt in 2010 with eight touchdowns on 58 receptions for 787 yards. The next season, Austin and quarterback Geno Smith lit up the secondaries. The junior caught 101 passes for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011.
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. Previous Rank: 15 4/25/13: Werner had a solid performance at his pro day and reportedly looked pretty good doing 3-4 outside linebacker drills. He didn't excel at the Combine, but that is not an event that really suits his game. Werner is more of a pure football player than he is a track athlete.
Werner had a phenomenal 2012 season. The Seminoles standout is extremely explosive off the snap with surprisingly good instincts. He has a ton of upside and is just scratching the surface of his ability.
Werner played well against Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl. Although he only had one tackle against the Yellow Jackets in the ACC Championship game, he handled their option run extremely well. Werner was in contain a lot of the game and held his ground without getting moved off the line of scrimmage. Against a tough attack, he showed nice instincts and the ability to read his keys quickly.
Werner had six tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, a fumble recovery and 3.5 sacks in the rivalry battle with Florida. It was a phenomenal game for him, but the Gators had a lot of success running against the Seminoles' defense.
Werner went four straight games without a sack before breaking the drought against Miami in late October with 1.5 sacks. He had an impressive performance and showed good instincts to cause disruption on plays aside from his pass rushes.
Werner received extra blocking attention after Brandon Jenkins went out of the lineup, and that helped teammate Tank Carradine have a breakout season. Werner started the year with four sacks in a dominating performance against Murray State.
The junior totaled 42 tackles, 13 sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, eight passes batted and a forced fumble during 2012.
8/9/12: Werner could be primed for a massive 2012 season. He outplayed teammate Brandon Jenkins at times in 2011. The Berlin, Germany product is a strong physical presence who plays with a mean streak.
Werner (6-4, 273) broke out with some dominating games and seven sacks last year. He also had 37 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble and eight pass breakups. Werner had 3.5 sacks as a true freshman in 2010. He is extremely physical and has a great motor.
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas. Previous Rank: 17 4/25/13: Vaccaro didn't run at his pro day due to a slight injury, so he didn't have the chance to improve on his 40-yard dash from the Combine. Some scouts have told WalterFootball.com that they are lukewarm on Vaccaro and don't believe that his play has met the hype. On the other hand, other scouts told WalterFootball.com they were disappointed when Vaccaro skipped the Senior Bowl even though they felt that he is a definite first-rounder and worthy of a top-20 pick.
While Vaccaro didn't have a good 40-yard dash at the Combine, he did well in the field drills. His performance shouldn't impact his stock significantly. The intelligent play-maker had a very strong season in which he displayed good instincts and range. The senior totaled 92 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, five passes defensed, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2012. Vaccaro also had some nice pass rushes on blitzes. He led Texas in tackles.
One of Vaccaro's most intriguing assets for the NFL is his ability to cover tight ends and slot receivers. Offenses have had a lot of success moving the ball and generating points with play-makers out of those positions, so Vaccaro has a big appeal to a number of teams.
Vaccaro had 67 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, seven passes broken up and two interceptions in 2011. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder was an All-Big XII First-Team pick that season.
Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU. Previous Rank: 16 4/25/13: Mingo looks like a solid first-round pick based on his extraordinary athletic skill set and upside. However, he hasn't helped himself by admitting to taking plays - and games - off.
Mingo did as well at the Combine as expected after ending the year on fire against Clemson. The junior was a disruptive presence and dominated the right tackle. Mingo produced some sacks and other tackles for a loss before having to leave the game in the fourth quarter with an abdominal issue. He really helped himself in that bowl outing, and it was probably his best performance of 2012.
Mingo finished off a disappointing regular season with a relatively quiet day. He had one tackle and some pressures versus Arkansas. Mingo was quiet for three quarters before coming alive in the fourth quarter against Mississippi State two weeks before that. He totaled four tackles and a sack.
Alabama's right tackle, D.J. Fluker had struggled all year in pass protection before facing LSU, but Mingo was a non-factor against him aside from two plays. Mingo drew a holding penalty and batted down a third-down pass attempt, but overall, Fluker kept him from making an impact against the Crimson Tide.
Mingo was also held in check Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, the best tackle he played this season. Mingo committed a couple of dumb offsides penalties that were poorly timed, but he still managed to make an impact otherwise. The junior beat a tight end for a sack, batted down a pass and had three tackles.
Mingo started out well against Florida. He pressured Jeff Driskel to help force a sack for Bennie Logan. Logan ripped the ball out and Mingo recovered the loose ball inside the Gators' 10-yard line. Mingo was getting pushed around in the ground game during the second half, and Florida had a lot of success running at him.
Mingo recorded his first sack of the year against Towson. He came close to a number of sacks against Auburn and Washington, but put regular pressure on the quarterback. Mingo saw some double-teams his direction. He had 38 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and 4.5 sacks in 2012.
Mingo proved this year that he should be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Mingo is very undersized and not strong enough to be a 4-3 end, so if he is drafted into a 4-3, he should be an outside linebacker who plays some defensive end in obvious passing situations.
8/9/12: Mingo (6-5, 240) had a breakout 2011 season. He showed blinding speed and was a disruptive force. Mingo totaled 46 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble. He had 35 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and six pass breakups in 2010.
Mingo has some serious explosion. He is lightning fast off the edge and looks like he could be a pass-rushing demon at the next level. If Mingo can fill out his frame more, he will be a high draft pick.
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. Previous Rank: 18 4/25/13: Scouts told WalterFootball.com that Moore is very immature and they believe he will indulge in the party scene that comes with being an NFL player. They also said Moore can struggle against the run but is great in pursuit and plays balls to the wall.
More recently, sources suggested that character problems will sink Moore to the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft even though he is a first-round talent. For Moore to pan out, he will need to go to a good coaching staff and locker room that can provide him with guidance and leadership to force him to mature.
Moore had a disappointing Combine with a low total on the bench press of 12 reps and a slow 40 time. He had to improve on his numbers at his pro day, and he did on the bench press. Moore's lift total grew to 19, but he was unable to run the 40 because of a leg injury.
Moore had a good performance in his collegiate finale with five tackles, a tackle for a loss and a lot of pressure on Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. Moore picked up a sack and five tackles versus Alabama in early November. He was banged up this year, but played through the injury.
The junior had a great game against LSU. He was tough at the point of attack and made a number of tackles in pursuit. Moore recorded a sack at the end of the first quarter with a rush to the inside. He was too fast and strong for the LSU's third-string left tackle. Quarterback Zach Mettenberg stepped up to buy a moment, but Moore quickly changed direction to run down Mettenberger from behind.
Moore later caused an incompletion with another hit on Mettenberger. Moore hurt his ankle in the second quarter, but gutted it out and was hobbling around between plays. He played well despite the injury with 10 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack and a pass batted.
Moore was one of the most consistent pass-rushers in college football this year and one of the nation's leaders with 12.5 sacks. Perhaps even more impressive than that, Moore led his team with 85 tackles - four more than the next closest defender. He also had 21 tackles for a loss, two passes broken up, two blocked kicks and a forced fumble.
Moore played the joker outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense prior to this season. That's the same position Von Miller used to play. Moore played traditional defensive end in 2012. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder needs to add more weight for the NFL, but looks like a future first-rounder.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee. Previous Rank: 19 4/25/13: WalterFootball.com has learned from scouts that Hunter has graded out as a first-round pick, which isn't a surprise with his combination of size and speed. Hunter used the Combine to show that he is regaining the speed and explosiveness he displayed before his 2011 knee injury. The 6-foot-4, 196-pounder blazed a 4.44-second time in the 40-yard dash.
Hunter started out the 2012 season slowly. He didn't have the same explosiveness or deep speed. Hunter was held to less than 80 yards early in the season by multiple opponents including N.C. State, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama. Mississippi State cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay kept Hunter from getting separation and held him to two receptions for 41 yards. It was a disappointing performance for Hunter, but he played much better after that.
Hunter looked like he was gradually regaining more speed and explosiveness late in the season. He had a huge day against Missouri. Hunter made some great receptions on high passes and totaled 141 yards and a score on nine receptions. He had nine catches for 181 yards and three touchdowns the week before against Troy after a solid showing against South Carolina. Hunter finished the year with 73 receptions for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns.
Another thing that hurt Hunter's explosive plays in 2012 was a switch in his role in the offensive scheme. Early in his collegiate career, he was playing the X (split end) receiver. That position sent him down the field more often. Hunter was moved to the Z (flanker) receiver this season as the Volunteers had Cordarrelle Patterson playing X.
The Z receiver runs more routes in the short to intermediate part of the field. The Z is also asked to take on more dirty work like blocking. The coaches trusted Hunter more than Patterson in that role, and it did make Hunter more versatile for the NFL.
Hunter had 16 receptions for 403 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman in 2010. He looked poised for a massive 2011 season and started out the year with 16 receptions for 302 yards and two scores in the first two games. However against Florida, on a routine 12-yard catch early in the third game, Hunter went down with a torn ACL following a leaping reception. It was a surprising injury as he did not take a shot to the knee, or have another player fall into his leg in a manner that typically causes knee ligament tears.
Hunter possesses a rare combination of size and speed. He has the skill set to be a big impact No. 1 receiver.
Matt Elam, S, Florida. Previous Rank: 20 4/25/13: Sources have said that Elam has mixed grades with some putting him as a first-rounder and others as a second-rounder. The teams that put him in Round 2 have concerns about his height and some off-the-field issues.
Elam is said to have performed extremely well at his pro day. He showed ball skills and fluid athleticism in the pass-coverage drills. Elam put together a solid performance in the 40 and the field drills at the Combine, too.
The junior also had a phenomenal 2012 season and was a consistent source of big plays. Elam has ball skills and is very fast, which together allow him to cover a lot of ground in run defense and in pass coverage. To top it off, Elam is a punishing hitter. He is a violent safety who blasts offensive players at every opportunity.
Elam amassed 76 tackles, four interceptions, two sacks, nine tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and five passes broken up in 2012. He was an absolute force against LSU and was dishing out punishing hits all game.
The 5-foot-10, 205-pounder was considered the best safety in the nation, and the best player in the state of Florida, in the 2010 recruiting class. While some highly touted young Gators were quiet in 2011, Elam played extremely well. The sophomore had 78 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, two interceptions, seven passes broken up and two forced fumbles. He was all over the field and always around the ball for Florida.
Elam saw his first playing time as a true freshman in 2010, and he began to earn more playing time as the year progressed. Elam earned enough that he started, replacing disappointing junior Will Hill. Elam recorded 22 tackles that season along with a sack and a pass broken up.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington. Previous Rank: 22 4/25/13: Trufant is a definite first-round pick and could crack the first 25 picks. Prior to a superb pro day, he blazed a 4.38-second time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, which was huge for him as it resoundingly cleared up the concerns around his speed. Trufant looks likely to continue to rise up rankings given his size, speed and man-coverage skills.
Trufant was a key cog in the Washington defense the past few seasons. The Huskies' scheme regularly left him on an island without safety help over the top. He improved each year to the point where he displayed the ability to be a shutdown cover corner.
Trufant saw his first extended action as a sophomore in 2010 and turned in a quality season with 48 tackles, one interception and four passes broken up. He played very well for the Huskies in 2011, too. The junior had two interceptions, 14 passes broken up, two forced fumbles, and 64 tackles. He was one of the few Washington defenders to hold his own against Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, wide receiver Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams in the Alamo Bowl.
Trufant recorded 36 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, one interception, five passes broken up and a sack in 2012. Early in the season, LSU left him alone and attacked the Huskies' other cornerbacks. Trufant had a clutch game to help his team pull off an upset over Stanford. He was on an island in man coverage all night and had lock-down coverage. Trufant also made a leaping interception during the fourth quarter against 6-foot-8 tight end Levine Toilolo to clinch the game for Washington.
Trufant's stock has been on the rise since a fantastic week at the Senior Bowl. He showed serious man-coverage ability to win one-on-ones with wide receivers. Trufant has size, length, speed and can recover. He also was very gritty and competitive with receivers. It was clear that Trufant is very confident with a tenacious attitude and the mentality of a man-cover corner. The biggest criticism of Trufant is a lack of physical play.
Trufant could play in any NFL scheme. He has good feet and the flexibility to blanket receivers. Trufant turns quickly to run with receivers with the speed to recover. His length makes it very hard to get passes by him. He has the ability to match up against big receivers or speed threats. Trufant consistently gets overly physical with receivers and will need to cut down on that to avoid penalties.
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue. Previous Rank: 21 4/25/13: A hamstring injury kept Short from participating at the Combine. He previously performed well at the Senior Bowl and was consistently good in practice there. Pass-rushing defensive tackles are always in demand, and Short regularly puts pressure on quarterbacks. He has a nice combination of speed and strength.
Short recorded a sack against Oklahoma State in his bowl game, but was quiet otherwise. He closed out the regular season with six tackles and .5 tackles for a loss against Indiana.
The senior had an ugly showing against Penn State, but followed that up with a dominant performance versus Iowa. He recorded six tackles, four tackles for a loss and a sack. A teammate was credited with another sack, but it easily could've been split with Short. He was slowed by an ankle injury in the weeks before that outing, but looked back to normal against the Hawkeyes.
Short picked up eight tackles, a tackle for a loss and a pass batted versus Michigan in early October. Like Johnathan Hankins, Short's play cooled off after a hot start. He went five straight games without a sack after a huge September.
Short had a huge day against Marshall coming off Purdue's bye. He amassed three tackles for a loss, one sack, one pass broken up, one forced fumble and one blocked kick. Short was excellent in Week 2 versus Notre Dame, too. He beat center Braxston Cave and guard Mike Golic, Jr. for sacks and also forced a fumble that he didn't get credit for.
Short totaled 43 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, four passes broken up, four blocked kicks and a forced fumble in 2012.
8/9/12: Short totaled 54 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2011. He was quiet in the early going, but really played well in the the second half of the season. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder is a quick gap-shooting tackle who looks like a natural three-technique defensive tackle for a 4-3 defense.
Short benefited greatly from Ryan Kerrigan in his first two years. Short recorded six sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss next to Kerrigan in 2010. Short also had 41 tackles with two blocked kicks.
The senior is strong and athletic. Purdue does an excellent job of producing quality NFL defensive linemen, and Short appears to be the next in line.
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State. Previous Rank: 23 4/25/13: Rhodes needed a good performance at the NFL Scouting Combine to be a first-round pick and came through with one. He ran better than expected in the 40-yard dash and did well in the field drills. Rhodes followed it up with a quality performance at his pro day. Many believe that he will be the second cornerback selected.
Rhodes passed his biggest test of the his final collegiate season against Clemson. The redshirt junior didn't play a lights-out game in coverage against the Tigers' dynamic duo, Watkins and Hopkins, but he was solid and kept either of them from big plays when he went against them in man coverage.
Florida State mixed in zone and man assignments, so Rhodes did not have to go against Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins exclusively in man coverage. Hopkins had 88 yards on five receptions, but 60 came on one touchdown reception against zone coverage where the safety failed to pick him up running down the field. Watkins had 24 yards on six receptions. Rhodes finished with three tackles and a pass breakup against Clemson.
The redshirt junior totaled 39 tackles, seven passes broken up and three interceptions in 2012, but teams mostly avoided him.
Rhodes was consistent as a cover corner in 2011, so teams threw away from him. The sophomore had 43 tackles with an interception and four passes broken up. Rhodes had an interesting conclusion to 2011. He was matched up against Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd and put together a phenomenal tape for NFL evaluators.
While providing blanket coverage against Floyd, one of the best receivers in the nation, Rhodes went down in a multi-player collision in the second half. He sustained a knee strain and was held out of the end of the game. Prior to Rhodes' injury, Floyd had only three catches for 22 yards.
Rhodes made an immediate impact for Florida State breaking into the lineup as a redshirt freshman. He recorded 58 tackles, four interceptions and 12 passes broken up, along with being named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Keenan Allen, WR, California. Previous Rank: 24 4/25/13: Allen finally worked out for scouts following his long hiatus and produced a much slower 40 time than expected. He ran in the 4.7-second range at his workout and clearly isn't 100 percent healthy.
Allen was unable to work out at Combine due a knee injury, so he had no shot to help his draft stock. Because of the inactivity, Allen was overtaken as the consensus top wide out by Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin.
The knee injury dates back to the fall when Allen was held out for the last three games of the 2012 season. He had five receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown versus Utah in his final game.
Allen's best performance of the year came against Washington State with 11 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. His score was a short pass that he took the distance from over 60 yards out.
Allen's best game of 2012 prior to that outing helped push his team to a 50-31 win over Southern Utah. He caught five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. Allen made the most of his own error on special teams when he muffed a punt. He picked up the ball and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. Allen totaled three returns for 94 yards. He also played really well against Ohio State.
Allen finished this season with 61 receptions for 737 yards and six touchdowns. Weak quarterback play from the junior's brother, Zach Maynard, hurt his opportunities this year.
8/9/12: The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Allen looks like he could have the talent to be a big-time receiver. Allen caught 46 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns as freshman in 2010. He put together a huge 2011 season, racking up 98 receptions for 1,343 yards and six scores.
Allen is quick, has excellent body control and is physical. Right now, he looks like a well-rounded wide out. Allen uses his size and strength to run routes in the short to intermediate part of the field. He also has no hesitation running crossing routes and is very adept at picking up yards after the catch. Allen is an aggressive playmaker who attacks the football in the air. He is sure-handed and well-developed entering his junior season.
Allen has the speed to run downfield and beat defenses over the top. He has a second gear and the explosion to break off big gains. Allen is faster than many defensive backs expect, and he is physical with defenders.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas. Previous Rank: 25 4/25/13: An injury kept Okafor from running at the Combine, but he previously performed well at the Senior Bowl. Okafor started out the week on fire before cooling down some. Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson told WalterFootball.com that Okafor was the best pass-rusher he went against in college, and NFL teams value that kind of feedback.
Okafor closed out his college career with a bang as he dominated Oregon State with 4.5 sacks, eight tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. Okafor came close to a few other sacks and set up his teammates to sack the quarterback. He dominated the right tackle with speed rushes and bull rushes.
Okafor had a late-season ankle injury that led to him playing very few snaps against Kansas State. Still, he almost recorded a sack of Collin Klein; Okafor started it, he but wasn't given credit statistically. Okafor had zero tackles the week previous against TCU because of the ankle injury.
Okafor was the Longhorns' best defensive lineman in 2012 and was a more consistent producer of splash plays than teammate Jackson Jeffcoat before the latter went out for the year. Okafor beat offensive tackles with speed, strength and a repertoire of pass-rushing moves. The senior totaled 54 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles, a blocked kick and a pass batted in 2012.
Against West Virginia, Okafor took the game over. He beat the right tackle with a speed rush just before halftime, dropped his shoulder to get leverage and planted Geno Smith on his back. The hit forced the ball out, and Jackson Jeffcoat recovered it just over the goal line for a Longhorns' touchdown.
Okafor made a game-changing play in the fourth quarter with Texas down by three. He bull rushed the right tackle straight into Smith. Okafor reached out while falling to the ground and slapped the ball out of Smith's hand. The Longhorns recovered the ball at West Virginia's 12-yard line, but they missed their field goal attempt. Okafor also registered a blocked kick in the game with a number of other pressures on Smith.
8/9/12: Okafor (6-4, 261) was one of the top defensive ends in the Big XII in 2011. He was a First-Team All-Big XII selection. Okafor totaled 58 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, three passes batted and two forced fumbles. He had 2.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2010.
Like teammate Jackson Jeffcoat, Okafor has a nice skill set with speed and physicality. Plus, he is adept at getting upfield and is a disruptive rusher. Okafor is very solid as a run defender. He holds his ground at the point of attack and does not get pushed around.
The Longhorns have lined Okafor up in a variety of places. He has done a lot of stand-up edge rushing over the tackle as well as blitzing over interior linemen as a linebacker. Okafor definitely has the length and athleticism to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.