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Weight Loss Hurts Mario Edwards' Draft Grade

Updated March 31, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Florida State defensive tackle Mario Edwards has a natural combination of size and speed with a NFL pedigree from his father. However, Edwards never produced up to that skill set as a sophomore or junior with a total of 6.5 sacks and 72 tackles over those two seasons. Still, Edwards had a quality 2014 campaign with disruption at the point of attack. Sources at the All-Star games in January opined that his physical talent had him as a potential late first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

However, at the Combine, Edwards checked in at 6-foot-3, 279 pounds. It was believed that Edwards had played in or around 290 pounds in college, and even that weight is undersized for the NFL. It appears that Edwards dropped the weight to run faster at the Combine. and sources say that was a bad idea. While Edwards had a fast 40 at 4.84 seconds, team sources say that Edwards' weight loss caused them to lower his draft grade, as it hurts his fit in the NFL.

At 279 pounds, Edwards doesn't have the weight or the length to have a fit in a 3-4 defense. His weight is too low for a nose tackle, and he isn't tall or long enough to be a five-technique 3-4. That rules out a lot of teams.

The weight limitations also extend to a 4-3. He is too small to play a nose tackle and eat up blockers in the trenches. The sub-290 Edwards' only real fit comes as a three-technique in a 4-3. That limits the number of teams that Edwards could play for, as there aren't a lot of teams running a Tampa 2-type system that is predicated on a fast three-technique. Not all of the other 4-3 defenses that have some flexibility with occasionally inserting a three-technique necessarily have a need for that.

Team sources say that after the weight loss, they lowered Edwards' grade to the late second round. Perhaps Edwards will help himself by checking in heavier at the Florida State pro day and on pre-draft visits in April.

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Ereck Flowers to Visit Bucs, Panthers

Updated March 27, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Miami left tackle Ereck Flowers is in the mix to be the first offensive tackle selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. Before the turn of the year, sources from multiple teams told us that Flowers had graded out as a first-round pick and that they could see him going in the top 20. With that being the case, a lot of teams are showing interest in Flowers as the draft approaches.

All four of the NFC South teams are showing significant interest. Sources have told us that Flowers will take pre-draft visits to visit the Buccaneers and Panthers. Carolina offensive line coach John Matsko flew to Miami to work out Flowers and take him to dinner recently. The Falcons are going to Miami for a private workout with Flowers, and the Saints will meet with Flowers before his pro day. The Bucs are coming to Miami to conduct a private workout with Flowers, and he will also go visit the team at One Buc Place.

Among other teams, Flowers will also have upcoming meetings with the Colts, Browns and Chargers in Miami. Flowers was extremely busy at the Combine, as had 28 meetings, and he has met or spoken with 31 teams thus far. Aside from Carolina and Tampa Bay, sources say that Flowers will have other pre-draft visits to NFL facilities. The 6-foot-6, 329-pounder is only 20 years old with a lot of upside to develop. He could hear his name called quickly on the opening night of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Teams Split on Marcus Peters' First-Round Chances

Updated March 25, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Every year in the NFL Draft, there are players who are first-round talents but end up falling because of off-the-field concerns. This year, one of those prospects is Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. He was enjoying a fine senior season before run-ins with the new Huskies' coaching staff led to him getting kicked off the team. Since then, Peters has been trying to convince NFL teams that his attitude issues are a thing of the past and he is worthy of being a first-round pick.

Multiple sources have told us that Peters did not interview well at the Combine and hasn't convinced teams that he truly has changed. There are still plenty of teams that are skeptical and a number of them have ruled Peters out as a prospect.

With that being the case, we surveyed teams to see if they believe that Peters will end up going in the first round of the draft. Two teams believe that a franchise will end up taking Peters in the first round, although they said their team would not draft Peters on Thursday night, and probably would not consider him on the second day, as they are set at the position.

Three teams told us that they believe that Peters will not go in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Two of those three teams could consider a cornerback on Thursday night. They think that Peters is going to slip to the second day of the draft, similarly to other troubled cornerback prospects like the Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu or the Rams' Janoris Jenkins.

It only takes one team to fall in love with the skill set, believe Peters that his problems are a thing of the past, and pull the trigger on him on Thursday night. But among five teams, the majority see him falling to the second day.

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Markus Golden Viewed as Mid-Round Prospect

Updated March 23, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Early in the 2014 season, Missouri defensive end Markus Golden's play helped Shane Ray jump start his breakout year. Golden was on fire in September, making a lot of plays in the backfield before an injury robbed him of a lot of the middle portion of the season. Still, Golden recorded 10 sacks, 78 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and three forced fumbles as a senior.

Because of his pass-rushing production, there are some projections of Golden being a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. However, the 6-foot-2, 260-pounder didn't impress at the Senior Bowl, as he made the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. Golden looked more like a tweener and may not have a true position. As a result, teams feel that Golden is more likely to be a mid-rounder.

Sources we've spoken to say that Golden has a shot at sneaking into the late picks in the second round. However, he is more likely to be a third- or fourth-round pick. Other pass-rushers who have been similar that have gone in that range include Alex Okafor (2013) and Carl Bradford (2014). Golden would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, as he doesn't have the size to play defensive end in a 4-3 and isn't the athlete to play outside linebacker in a 4-3.

Having said that, the NFL personnel we've spoken to aren't completely down on him. Some believe he'll be a nice value pick if he drops into the fourth round, considering his production at Missouri.

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DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman Viewed as Day 2 Talents

Updated March 16, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

It would be a surprise if Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker made it to the middle of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Even though Kevin White and Amari Cooper are expected to go before him, Parker is safely assumed to be a top-16 pick with receiver-needy teams like the Raiders, Bears, Vikings, Browns, 49ers, Dolphins and Texans all drafting in the top 16 selections. However, sources say that Parker is more of a second-round talent.

Sources from one team said Parker doesn't really run routes and is more of a downfield linear receiver. Another general manager said, “I don't see any special traits, but he's a good player though.” Those teams graded Parker in the second round, but all of them say that he'll go much higher than Round 2.

Breshad Perriman, meanwhile, has gotten a lot of hype and has been mentioned as a potential first-round pick as well. We reached out to sources to see where teams are grading Perriman. They said that they think Perriman will probably end up going in the second round. One team has a third-round grade on Perriman, and they felt the first round was too rich.

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Alexander, Hunter Grading in the Mid-Rounds

Updated March 9, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Two of the surprise early entries into the 2015 NFL Draft were LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter and outside linebacker Kwon Alexander. Both players were expected to return for their senior years, and NFL evaluators have told us that both early-entrants should have gone back to LSU. Sources from multiple teams have said that Alexander and Hunter are grading out as mid-rounders.

Some pundits have projected Hunter to be an early-round selection, but teams aren't looking him at him there. Multiple teams told us that they have a fifth-round grade on Hunter. One team said they have a third-round grade on him. The 6-foot-5, 252-pounder ran quickly at the Combine, but he didn't produce much in college. Hunter notched only 1.5 sacks in 2014 alongside 73 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and six passes batted. He will need to add weight to play defensive end in the NFL or he will have to move to outside linebacker.

Alexander was the opposite of Hunter. Multiple teams said they had a third-round grade on Alexander, while one team said it had a fifth-rounder for him. The teams that had the 6-foot-1, 227-pounder on Day 2 like the sideline-to-sideline speed that Alexander displayed in 2014 and at the Combine (4.55-second 40-yard dash). Like Hunter, Alexander could stand to add more muscle to his frame. However, Hunter had more production in his final season of college football with 90 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, one pass broken up, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks.

Every year, underclassmen enter the NFL draft thinking they will be early-round picks and end up being disappointed. According to the NFL teams we spoke to, Alexander and Hunter will be the latest players to follow this trend.

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Texans Expect Jadeveon Clowney to Recover; Be an Impact Player

Updated Feb. 20, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

In the Combine rumors from Thursday, Tony Pauline wrote the following about Texans' edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney pertaining to his recovery from a microfracture surgery:

"I've spoken with a number of people since the Senior Bowl who have openly said there is serious concern over Jadeveon Clowney's future. A variety of opinions have come from numerous sources, including those close to the Texans. I've heard everything from don't expect much from Clowney in 2015 to the belief he may struggle to ever regain full health from the microfracture surgery. The reasoning for the latter is Clowney underwent the procedure at an early age."

I spoke to sources inside the Texans' front office about this story, and they do not feel concerned about Clowney's injury. The Texans confidently believe that Clowney will recover and be the player he was expected to be when they draft him. A source told me, "We fully expect him to return and be an impactful player." At the East­West Shrine and Senior Bowl, Texans' officials were confident that "JD" would be fine and end up being a good player.

Houston doesn't mind the hate and doubt that is constantly coming about Clowney. It has been a source of motivation for him, and they say that Clowney has been diligent in his rehab. While agents and other team officials might be whispering doubts, the Texans are confident that Clowney will come back and make an impact.

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Glazers Comfortable with Winston; Have Him Rated Highly

Updated Feb. 16, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

I slotted Jadeveon Clowney to the No. 1 pick to the Texans in early December 2013 and didn't change it once. While many thought the team would move away from Clowney, I knew that Houston wanted Clowney.

This year, there is a similar situation with Tampa Bay and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. In mid-January, we wrote that the Buccaneers' initial preference was for Winston. Others, like ESPN's Pat Yasinskas and have also had reports that Tampa Bay favored Winston over Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. After speaking with sources in Tampa Bay and around the league, we've learned that the Buccaneers' owners, the Glazers, are comfortable with Winston, and they are on board with the Buccaneers drafting him with the first-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Sources say that entering the interview process, the Glazers want Winston. If he doesn't do poorly in the interviews and stays out of trouble leading up to the draft, Winston will be the first pick. The Glazers have a huge desire for a franchise quarterback, and have wanted that asset for years. Some sources say that the Glazers believe that Winston is that caliber of quarterback, and they want him to lead a resurgence in Tampa Bay like he did at Florida State.

Throughout their tenure in owning the team, the Glazers have allowed the football staff to make the moves they felt would improve the team. They haven't been meddlesome owners who have dictated which players to draft or sign to contract extensions. Thus, they will back general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith.

We heard in January that the front office preferred Winston, and the Buccaneers have graded him ahead of other quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford when they came out of Auburn and Georgia respectively. Yasinskas reported that Smith and the coaching staff with new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter also favor Winston.

Judging by the comments of sources in Tampa Bay, at other teams, and in the local media, the organization is coalescing around Winston. Sources say that Winston has an impressive football I.Q., so that part of the interviews should go well for him. If Winston handles himself well and avoids trouble before the draft, he looks bound for Tampa Bay. Ownership is on board with Winston being the leader of the Bucs' ship.

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Teams Don't Believe Marcus Mariota Will Slide

Updated Feb. 11, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

It's not a rare occurrence that a once highly touted quarterback prospect falls past where he's projected to be selected. Last year, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater suffered that fate. The year before, it was Geno Smith and Matt Barkley sliding out of the first day. This trend dates back to other quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers or Brady Quinn, and many are inclined to think it will happen again.

This year, the rumors have started up that a slide could happen to Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. However, we have reached out to sources from numerous teams, and they've told us that they don't believe that Mariota will slide. They feel he is very safe in the top 10. All of the teams said that Mariota has graded ahead of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, who was the third-overall pick last year, so Mariota should hear his name called quickly on draft day.

The 6-foot-4, 219-pound Mariota has an excellent athletic skill set with a strong arm, rare mobility, athleticism, and speed. Teams love him off the field. They value his work ethic, humility, desire to get better and locker room leadership. Mariota will need some grooming with his pocket passing, ability to work through progressions, presence under center, and accuracy. However, teams feel that he is at a similar level to Carolina's Cam Newton coming out of Auburn. With Mariota's work ethic, they feel he can be taught how to fix those issues like Newton or San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick.

Every team said that Mariota has graded ahead of Bortles. One team picking in the top 10 even said that it wasn't even close. Another team skilled at evaluating quarterbacks echoed those thoughts.

With that being the case, it is hard to see Mariota sliding out of the top 10, considering the number of quarterback needy teams. We reported a month ago that Tampa Bay is inclined to go with Jameis Winston, but Mariota shouldn't last long with Tennessee and the New York Jets needing franchise quarterbacks.

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Multiple Teams Grade T.J. Clemmings on Day 2

Updated Feb. 9, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Many high-profile NFL Draft analysts have stated that they view Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings as a first-round pick, with some projecting him to go in the top half of the first round. Entering the 2014 season, Clemmings wasn't viewed to be an elite prospect but media members got on the bandwagon during his senior year. However, a handful of NFL teams we've spoken to had the same opinion: None of them have a first-round grade on Clemmings. Four out of five put him on the second day, with one team saying they have a fourth-round grade on Clemmings.

Three NFL general managers told us that they have a third-round grade on Clemmings, but they believe that the team that likes him enough to draft him will take him in the second round. Another general manager said he has a day-two grade on him. The team that has a fourth-round grade on Clemmings could consider drafting an offensive tackle late in the first round, but happens to be down on Clemmings.

The 6-foot-4, 307-pounder didn't impress evaluators at the Senior Bowl, as he had some struggles in the pass blocking one-on-ones. He showed that he is raw and is still needing significant development to handle NFL pass-rushers. That is understandable considering Clemmings started out his collegiate career on the defensive line before switching to right tackle as a junior. Teams feel that Clemmings has a skill set to work with, but is too much of a gamble to take with a first-round pick, and they don't feel that he's worthy of that high of a draft grade.

Perhaps there are teams out there that view him as a first-rounder, but there was a real consensus of a second-day grade among the executives we spoke to.

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No Consensus on Paul Dawson

Updated Jan. 29, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

One interesting player in the 2015 NFL Draft is TCU inside linebacker Paul Dawson. The TCU defense came alive to help lead the Horned Frogs to a huge season that nearly secured them a berth in the college football playoff. Dawson came up huge for the defense, as he put up a huge stat line with 128 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, five passes batted and four interceptions. While Dawson had a big senior year, opinions on him are extremely split among NFL teams, and they are all over the map on where they grade him.

The team that was the highest on Dawson has him as a second-round pick, and the next-highest grade for Dawson is in the third round. A few teams have him as a fourth-round pick and said he could go somewhere on Day 3. Another team said that they've graded Dawson as a sixth- or seventh-round pick.

Dawson is listed at 5-foot-10, 240-pounds, but it wouldn't be surprising if he checks in smaller than that at the NFL Scouting Combine. That could send him to outside linebacker, and some teams don't like his lack of height and length in pass coverage.

Dawson has to hope that the team that views him as a second- or third-round pick is the one that drafts him; otherwise the team that believes he'll slide into Day 3 could be correct.

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Jaguars to Welcome Back Blackmon

Updated Jan. 27, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Sources with the Jacksonville Jaguars say that the team is currently planning on welcoming back wide receiver Justin Blackmon, and they are optimistic about his ability to contribute in 2015.

Team contacts say that Blackmon has successfully completed a treatment program after being suspended for the 2014 season for repeated failed drug tests. Thus far, Blackmon is said to have passed the necessary drug and alcohol tests to get reinstated into the NFL. Sources say that Blackmon has his affairs in order and is very motivated to resurrect his NFL career. Blackmon's goal is to be the Comeback Player of the Year next season.

Getting a healthy and motivated Blackmon could be huge for Jacksonville and make a big difference in the development of second-year quarterback Blake Bortles. Blackmon could combine with Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee to provide Borltes with a trio of receivers to make plays for him. If Blackmon is able to get reinstated, that would allow Jacksonville to focus on improving an overmatched offensive line. Sources with Jacksonville feel optimistic that Blackmon is going to stay out of trouble and is ready to provide an impact for the Jaguars.

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Mike Martin Deserving of Promotion in Houston

Updated Jan. 20, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

One of the most improved teams in the NFL this past season was the Houston Texans. Their seven-win improvement was a team effort with huge contributions coming from the scouting staff as well as the new coaches. One of the assets in the Texans turnaround was a strong front office and scouting staff led by general manager Rick Smith.

Houston's director of college scouting, Mike Maccagnan, was hired away by the New York Jets to be their new general manager. Also, assistant general manager Brian Gaine is a finalist for the Philadelphia Eagles general manager job. Fortunately for the Texans, they have an in-house scouting star to replace Maccagnan in southeast area scout Mike Martin.

Martin is held in high regard and viewed as one of the best college scouts in the league. He was the scout who helped lead the way for the Texans to sign Arian Foster as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He also was part of Houston targeting Duane Brown late in the first round, a long-term left tackle, and a starting cornerback in Kareem Jackson.

In the past two years, the Texans have leaned heavily on Martin in drafting three young talented starters from his territory, including wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, safety D.J. Swearinger, and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans also depended on Martin for some late-round and undrafted free agent steals last offseason with running back Alfred Blue, fullback Jay Prosch, cornerback A.J. Bouye and cornerback Andre Hal.

Martin has led a Texans scouting staff that also hit on the best defensive player in the NFL in J.J. Watt, and you could make a strong argument that Watt is the best player in the league at any position. Some other good picks they made like Glover Quin and Connor Barwin left the team because of salary-cap limitations. Those moves helped Maccagnan's resume in landing the Jets' general manager position.

With Maccagnan in New York, it would make sense for Martin to be promoted to the director of college scouting before another team swipes Martin away from the Texans. Front-office changes are rampant across the league, and Martin is on the radar. With the opening of their college scouting position, Houston has an opportunity to maintain possession of one of the best talent evaluators in the business and keep Martin to help maintain the rebuilding of the Texans.

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Buccaneers Currently Prefer Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota

Updated Jan. 15, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Tampa Bay landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft has sparked a heavy debate with Buccaneer fans and the media covering the team about which quarterback is the top prospect between Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Per our sources with the Buccaneers, the organization currently prefers Winston over Mariota.

Sources say it is early in the process, and things could change in the months to come. Coaches getting involved in draft evaluations can make a big difference in a team's thinking. However, our sources don't view that as likely. They say that as long as Winston interviews well and doesn't get into trouble in the months leading up to the draft, they feel that he will be the top pick in the draft.

I would agree with Tampa Bay's thinking that Winston is the far superior prospect on the field. Off the field, the advantage swings to Mariota, but in speaking with evaluators at other teams, they all feel that Winston is the right pick for the Buccaneers. Sources from the Bucs and multiple teams also agree with my contention that Winston is a better prospect than Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, and Cam Newton, who went first overall in the 2009-2011 drafts.

A lot can change in the spring months leading up to the draft, but entering the pre-combine training, Winston is the favorite to go first overall to Tampa Bay.

Check out my mock draft, where I have Tampa taking Winston No. 1 overall.

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Titans Will Consider Quarterback at No. 2

Updated Jan. 11, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Recent reports came out that the Tennessee Titans could look to address a position other than quarterback with the second-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. ESPN's Chris Mortensen stated that Tennessee was content with Zach Mettenberger moving forward as their starting quarterback. Our sources with the Titans said that Mortensen is correct that they are indeed content with Mettenberger, but they will consider a quarterback with the second-overall pick, and Mettenberger's rookie year won't prevent them from taking a signal caller at No. 2.

Sources with Tennessee feel that they have to get the quarterback position right, and they can't pass on a potential franchise quarterback. Overall, the Titans were pleased with Mettenberger in his rookie year and aren't opposed to entering training camp with him as the favorite to be the starter. However, the importance of the position compels Tennessee's front office to take another quarterback if a potential franchise quarterback is there at No. 2. If Mettenberger beats out Mariota/Winston, and Mettenberger becomes a good starter, then Tennessee could have a valuable trade commodity in one of its quarterbacks.

Sources with the Titans say that Mettenberger had a nice rookie year, but couldn't stay healthy, and they believe they have to get the quarterback position right. Thus, Mariota or Winston landing in Tennessee is still very likely.

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Teams View Alvin Dupree Mid-First to Early-Second

Updated Jan. 4, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

It can be hard for prospects to stand out when they play at Kentucky. A few years ago, former Kentucky guard Larry Warford (Detroit Lions' third-round pick) didn't receive the hype of other guard prospects like the Titans' Chance Warmack (Alabama) and Cardinals' Jonathan Cooper, but Warford has been a steal for the Lions and should have been drafted sooner. Apparently, teams are learning from Warford, as Kentucky defensive end/outside linebacker Alvin ‘Bud' Dupree is being viewed as a potential first-round pick. Multiple teams told us they feel that Dupree could go as high as the middle of the first round and shouldn't fall lower than early in the second round.

One team told us that they view Dupree as a mid to late first-rounder. Another said a late first-round to early second round as to where they viewed the appropriate value for Dupree.

The 6-foot-4, 264-pounder has impressed talent evaluators with his combination of speed, athleticism and strength. Dupree had 74 tackles with 11.5 tackles for a loss, one pass batted, one interception, two forced fumbles and 7.5 sacks in 2014. He was more disruptive than the numbers illustrate. As a junior, Dupree recorded 61 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, one pass broken up and seven sacks.

Sources say that production is a concern, but part of the lack of sacks is that Kentucky played eight read-option teams this past season, so Dupree had fewer pass-rush opportunities.

Dupree will get the opportunity to help his draft grade at the Senior Bowl. If he does well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones, that could ease the production concerns and help him to reach the high projection as a mid-first-round pick.

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Sources: Beddingfield Deserves GM Consideration

Updated Jan. 2, 2015
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

As the Bears and Jets conduct their general manager searches, sources say that one name who should be included is Titans director of college scouting Blake Beddingfield. League contacts say that while Beddingfield has gone under the radar, he's an excellent talent evaluator and knows how to build up talent on a roster.

Sources say the Titans 2-14 record this season is misleading as to the superb job that Beddingfield has done. Beddingfield took over leading the Titans college scouting and setting their draft board in 2012. The previous year, Jake Locker was the Titans' first-round pick, and Beddingfield made it a priority to build a young nucleus on offense to help their young signal-caller.

Tennessee has a talented young offense with left tackle Taylor Lewan, guard Chance Warmack, center Brian Schwenke, wide receiver Kendall Wright, wide receiver Justin Hunter, and running back Bishop Sankey. Assuming the Titans draft either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston, the new quarterback will walk into an offense that is ready to grow up around him with early-round talents one the line and at the skill positions. If the Titans don't draft one of those quarterbacks, it's because they believe they got a steal on Day 3 with Zach Mettenberger last year.

Beddingfield has been a college and pro scout for 16 years, as he worked his way up in Tennessee's organization. Many of the names being discussed for the Bears and Jets have been general manager retreads who were let go from other teams. There haven't been many general managers in NFL history who had success in their second attempts at leading a franchise. League sources say the both the Bears and Jets should be giving Beddingfield serious consideration for their general manager positions.

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Bears Should Hire Alonzo Highsmith as General Manager

Updated Dec. 29, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

After a disappointing season, the Chicago Bears cleaned house by firing general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman (go here for all of the Black Monday Firing Grades). Once again, Chicago is looking up at rival Green Bay atop the NFC North. The organization will start its search for new leadership, and it would make sense to go to its rivals for a general manager to change things in Chicago.

Packers' senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith is the right-hand man for general manager Ted Thompson. Highsmith helped the Packers to their string of six straight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl Championship in 2010.

Numerous sources we've spoken to around the league believe Highsmith would be a great choice as the Bears' general manager and could engineer a quick turnaround for Chicago. Highsmith knows the Bears well as a division rival and also would give Chicago an intimate knowledge of their top competitor in the NFC North that the Bears must find a way to beat. Highsmith knows the strengths and weaknesses of both Chicago and Green Bay.

Executives from around the league say that Highsmith has a great eye for talent, works tirelessly, and is especially good at scouting quarterbacks. Highsmith has played with and has been a part of teams with great quarterbacks, going back to playing with Mike Shula in high school, as well as Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde in college at the University of Miami. Highsmith played with Warren Moon and Troy Aikman in the NFL, while being part of Brett Favre's tenure in Green Bay, and was part of the Packers drafting and developing Aaron Rodgers. Figuring out what to do with embattled starter Jay Cutler will be a critical decision for the new Bears' general manager, and Highsmith is a perfect candidate to tackle that job.

Highsmith has learned under some of the best general managers in the NFL over the past 15 years in Ron Wolf and Thompson, so he's ready to lead a franchise as the general manager. He also learned from coaching greats in Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Don Shula, and his father, Walter Highsmith.

As a running back, Highsmith starred at the University of Miami before playing for the Oilers, Cowboys and Buccaneers. After his NFL career, Highsmith was a professional boxer and compiled a 27-1-1 record in his pugilist career. Highsmith was hired by then-Packers Executive Vice President/General Manager Ron Wolf in 1999 to be a college scout for Green Bay. After serving as an area scout for many years, Highsmith was promoted to his current spot in 2012. Working closely with Thompson has given Highsmith a perfect position to prepare for running a franchise.

Sources say that Highsmith has a tremendous work ethic from his time as a player, professional boxer, and area scout. Given his background, he works very well with NFL players and is able to identify with them. With his personal and organizational leadership skills, he can get a franchise working in one direction from the front office into the locker room. Everything he does at Green Bay is about winning as an organization, and sources believe he will build that kind of atmosphere in any team that hires him as its general manager.

Highsmith could also be a candidate for the opening with the New York Jets, so if the Bears want to land Highsmith, they should move quickly to steal a top executive from their biggest division rival.

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Matias, Kouandjio Grading as Top Guards

Updated Dec. 26, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

With the college football regular season finished, NFL teams are able to start ranking players according to their draft grades. One position that has some depth and parity is the interior of the offensive line at guard. Sources with NFL teams say that no guard has received a first-round grade. According to league contacts, the guards who have graded out the highest are Florida State's Josue Matias and Alabama's Arie Kouandjio. Both players have received second-round grades.

Sources say that Kouandjio and Matias have prove to be well-balanced blockers. They both have the size, strength and quickness to be starting left guards in the NFL.

The next tier of guard prospects is comprised of South Carolina's A.J. Cann and Florida State's Tre Jackson. Both have received third-round grades. Previously, sources said that Cann was a poor man's Larry Warford (Lions) or Gabe Jackson (Raiders). Both of those pros were third-round picks, and Cann is smaller than both of them. Some in the media have hyped Cann as a potential first-round pick, but sources with NFL teams say they've given Cann a third-round grade.

After that group, there are some mid-rounders. Duke's Laken Tomlinson has received a mid-round grade, and he'll probably go on Day 3.

Overall, sources say this is a decent guard class, but it lacks a rare talent and doesn't have a player worthy of a first-round pick.

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Cody Prewitt Receiving Late-Round Grades

Updated Dec. 23, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Entering the 2014 season, many considered there to be two top safety prospects in the SEC with Alabama's Landon Collins and Ole Miss' Cody Prewitt. Collins was coming off a quality sophomore season, while Prewitt had a strong 2013 campaign and was a First-Team All-American selection by some media outlets. Prewitt totaled 71 tackles with six interceptions, seven passes broken up and two forced fumbles.

As for this season, Collins excelled and confirmed an early-round draft grade, while Prewitt underwhelmed.

Prewitt had a significant drop-off in production in 2014. Prewitt totaled 60 tackles with two passes broken up and two interceptions. He had some issues in coverage, especially against Auburn, and didn't play physical football. Playing soft as a senior didn't make a good impression on NFL evaluators. He had an occasional big hit, but shied away from some opportunities and gave the impression that he was protecting himself from injury.

Sources say they are unimpressed with Prewitt and have graded him on as a day-three prospect. One team said they were grading him as a late-round pick or priority undrafted free agent.

Perhaps Prewitt can improve his grade with a strong performance in an All-Star game and the NFL Scouting Combine, and it only takes one team to grade him higher and pull the trigger on him. However, it currently looks Prewitt is a candidate to be one of the surprise players to fall in the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Ereck Flowers Earns Top-20 Grade

Updated Dec. 20, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

A year ago in the back half of the 2013 college football season, Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson became a hot draft prospect with a meteoric rise into the top five. Robinson ended up being the second player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, but for a long time, no one was mentioning him along with higher-profile prospects like Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Michigan's Taylor Lewan. Robinson ended up being picked ahead of both of them.

This year, another tackle prospect is hot with NFL teams but isn't getting a lot media attention from the media or draft pundits. That player is Miami junior left tackle Ereck Flowers. The 6-foot-6, 324-pounder has an excellent combination of size, strength, quickness and athleticism. He has been a physical run blocker for Duke Johnson while being very reliable as a pass protector. Multiple teams told us that Flowers is grading out as a first-round pick if he enters the 2015 NFL Draft.

Sources with one team say that they have given Flowers a top-20 grade. Other teams rate him in the first round as well. They all expect Flowers to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

This season, Flowers has had a number of impressive performances including his game against Nebraska when matched up against edge rusher Randy Gregory. Gregory had a couple of nice plays, but the majority of reps against each other went to Flowers. Any NFL team would like that level of play against a top-10 talent like Gregory. Flowers missed a few games with a torn meniscus, but returned to the field in impressive fashion against Florida State.

Flowers hasn't received the attention of tackle prospects like Stanford's Andrus Peat, Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi, Iowa's Brandon Scherff or LSU's La'el Collins. However, like Robinson a year ago, NFL teams feel Flowers could end up getting drafted ahead of many of those more highly touted players.

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Multiple Teams Issue Second-Day Grade for Shaq Thompson

Updated Dec. 18, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Washington's Shaq Thompson was one of the players who received a lot of acclaim this season. The biggest reason for that was that the athletic linebacker took over duties as a running back for the Washington offense for a few weeks. With his contributions on offense and defense generating headlines, some draft pundits projected Thompson to go high in the first round. However, two teams we've spoken to say that they are grading Thompson as a day-two pick.

I've had Thompson listed as a day-two prospect because he hasn't had a season of big production. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Thompson is fast and athletic, but he's never produced a big year. Entering his Bowl game against Oklahoma State, Thompson has 71 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack, four passes broken up, one interception and three forced fumbles. As a tailback, he averaged 7.5 yards per carry for 456 yards and two touchdowns.

Thompson is a Will (weak side) linebacker for a 4-3 defense, but isn't as good of a prospect as Lavonte David, who was a second-round pick. After asking a few teams, they felt that Thompson was worthy of a top-100 selection. One scouting director said, "I agree with you, not in Lavonte David category, but will get drafted in the second or third based on athletic ability. Shaq is a 4-3 Will linebacker." We followed up with a general manager of a team that could use Thompson, and is interested in him. He also felt that Thompson was a second- or third-rounder.

Thompson is weighing his options on whether to declare for the draft. It only takes one team to feel that Thompson is a first-rounder and pull the trigger on him on Thursday night, but scouts and personnel men from multiple teams have Thompson as a second-day pick.

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Perryman, McKinney Grade as Late First, Early Second-Round Picks

Updated Dec. 13, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Over the past few years, it has been hard for middle linebackers to get into the first round of the NFL Draft. Similar to the running back position, middle linebacker has been downgraded in importance as the league continues on the path of being passing-oriented. As a result, some good college linebackers have fallen to the second day of the draft.

Two players who are on the brink of the first round in the 2015 NFL Draft are Miami's Denzel Perryman and Mississippi State's Bernardrick McKinney. Scouts told us that both are excellent players and future three-down starters in the NFL. They believe that Perryman and McKinney will be late first-round or early second-round picks.

For the second straight year, Perryman has been very impressive in the middle of the Miami defense. Perryman has 102 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, three forced fumbles, two sacks, four passes broken up and one interception in 2014. He is a tough run defender in the tackle box who happens to be a physical presence. Sources say they hear the 6-foot, 242-pounder doesn't time well in the 40-yard dash, but they feel he's a pure football player who has shown the ability to function in pass coverage.

McKinney, meanwhile, was a leader on a Mississippi State defense that had a good season. He had 61 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, three sacks, three passes broken up and a forced fumble this year. One of those sacks came against Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. McKinney (6-5, 249) is very athletic with the ability to play in pass coverage or rush the passer.

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Multiple Teams Down on La'el Collins

Updated Dec. 11, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

From conversations with sources on NFL teams, one of the 2015 NFL Draft prospects who seems to generate a variance in opinion is LSU left tackle La'el Collins. Some mock drafts have projected Collins to be a high first-round pick, but of the few NFL teams we spoke to, none of them are rating Collins that high. Where they rate Collins and how they view his future position in the NFL comes with different answers from each team.

The team that was the most down on Collins said they view the 6-foot-5, 315-pounder as a guard. However, their problem with playing Collins at guard is that he doesn't bend well and can struggle to create movement up front in the run game. They feel that Collins flashes heavy hands, but is inconsistent. In their opinion, Collins has looked bad this year compared to 2013, and they wonder if an ankle injury he suffered in Week 1 has held him back all season. They grade Collins as a second-round pick and a guard.

Sources from another team that is currently on pace to pick late in the first round and could consider offensive line with their first-round pick said that they view Collins as a right tackle in the NFL. They feel that he has the skill set to block on the edge but needs better technique. They think he could crack the late first, but is more likely to be a second-rounder.

The one area of agreement seems to be that Collins played stronger in 2013. A third team said Collins was much better and more consistent as a junior. They think that Collins could be a very good guard in the NFL and could play as a rookie at guard. They feel with continued improvement he does have the ability to play tackle as a pro.

It could help Collins to attend the Senior Bowl and show that he can handle speed rushers. There already some good pass rushers like Kentucky's Bud Dupree and Utah's Nate Orchard that have accepted Senior Bowl invites. After a season in which Collins disappointed, NFL evaluators and most teams project him moving to right tackle or guard, a big performance in Mobile is exactly what Collins needs to help his argument that he can play left tackle and is worthy of a first-round pick.

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Leonard Williams to Enter Draft, Signals Oakland

Updated Dec. 7, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Sources tell that USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams is going to enter the 2015 NFL Draft even though he has suggested he may come back to the Trojans next year in order to beat UCLA.

Williams plans to go pro and already has a favorite landing spot for his NFL home. Williams is considered to be one of the top prospects for the draft and a leading candidate for the No.1 overall pick. Currently, the Oakland Raiders are on track to land the first selection, and through the grapevine, Williams has let the Raiders know that he would love to play for them.

Williams was born in Bakersfield, Calif. and played high school football in Daytona Beach, Fla. Williams grew up a Raiders fan and has let it be known that he would love to play for his boyhood team.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Williams has some natural strength and is fast with the ability to play all over on the defensive line. He has 71 tackles, six sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss, one interception, three forced fumbles and three passes batted this year. Williams could stand to get stronger for the NFL, and gets in trouble when he plays too high, but a shoulder injury that required surgery could have impacted his power. Still, Williams is very disruptive and is capable of taking over games.

Williams has the ability to play defensive tackle or end in a 4-3 defense. He also could be an excellent five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. Oakland needs a lot of help on their defensive line. Rookie nose tackle Justin Ellis could be one long-term starter, but the Raiders need difference-makers on the front of their defense. Williams rushing from tackle or end could form a nice duo with linebacker Khalil Mack coming from the other side.

If Oakland lands the first pick in the draft, the Raiders will probably look to trade down with a team willing to give a package of draft picks in order to land a top quarterback prospect. With three quarterback-needy teams projected to pick in the top five (Tampa Bay, Tennessee, New York Jets), Oakland shouldn't have to drop down too far. The question will be whether trading down is worth the Raiders possibly missing out on Williams.

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Sterling Shepard, Eric Striker Plan on Declaring

Updated Dec. 5, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

We recently learned that Missouri turned Oklahoma wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was likely to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. He isn't the only Oklahoma product who is leaning that direction. Sources say that junior wide receiver Sterling Shepard and outside linebacker Eric Striker are planning on declaring for the 2015 NFL Draft as well. Their decision could change if they don't like the feedback they get from the NFL Advisory Board, but both are planning on skipping their senior season.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound missed the last three games with a groin injury, and durability is always a question mark with undersized prospects. For the NFL, Shepard projects as a speedy slot receiver. He could end up grading out as a day-two pick or mid-rounder.

This year, Oklahoma transitioned Striker from playing a typical 3-4 outside linebacker/pass-rusher into an outside linebacker who also drops into pass coverage frequently. He has been more of a 4-3 outside linebacker that splits plays blitzing and dropping into coverage.

Striker (6-0, 220) is a bit of a linebacker-safety tweener, and that hurts his draft grade. Like Shepard, Striker could be a second-day pick or a mid-rounder.

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Landon Collins Viewed as Strong Safety

Updated Nov. 30, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @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 - @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 - @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 - @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 - @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 - @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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Sources: Connor Cook Has High First-Round Potential

Updated Oct. 25, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota have received all the attention and headlines as the top quarterback prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft, however NFL teams believe that there could be a third signal-caller who ends up being a high first-round pick. League sources we spoke to, including one general manager, feel that Michigan State junior quarterback Connor Cook could possibly be a high first-round pick.

Sources say that Cook has a good skill set to be an NFL starter. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Cook plays in a pro-style system and has shown improvement with his ability to function in the pocket while working through his progressions. He has a quality arm and can make all the throws necessary at the next level. He also has underrated mobility. In many games, Cook will make some amazingly accurate throws into extremely tight windows for completions downfield, but also has some inconsistency with his accuracy on the routine passes.

Sources say that Cook needs to improve his footwork, accuracy, passing while under pressure, and overall consistency in order to be a high first-round pick. He has completed 61 percent of his passes for 1,868 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

If Cook finishes the season strong and enters the draft, he could be part of an interesting discussion at the top of the draft. Cook has a clean off-the-field profile unlike Winston, and Cook has shown more skills as a pocket passer than Mariota. Some teams could end up preferring Cook to those quarterbacks. Sources say that Cook has the potential to be a high first-rounder, but he hasn't proven it definitively yet.

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2015 Tight End Class Doesn't Impress

Updated Oct. 18, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Every draft class has some positions that are weak on talent. Back in 2013, quarterbacks were especially weak, while guard was very strong. Last year tight end was strong, while center wasn't as talented. League sources have told us that they are very unimpressed with the tight end prospects who are eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Tight end is so weak that currently the favorite player for the position is a conversion, tweener prospect in Michigan's Devin Funchess, who was the Big 10 Tight End of the Year but has since moved to wide receiver. Sources said they are excited about Funchess as a tight end, but that's if he can move back to the position. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder would have to gain some weight to serve as a blocker in the NFL, and his blocking would need a lot of development. It will be interesting to see if Funchess is willing to go back to tight end, or if he wants to remain at receiver.

After Funchess, sources say that Florida State's Nick O'Leary will probably be drafted next. The reliable O'Leary has been a solid receiver for the Seminoles the past few years. League contacts say that O'Leary is a solid player, but not special. They think he's going to be over drafted by a team that has a big need at tight end.

Another tight end who could go on the second day of the draft is Miami's Clive Walford. Sources say they like the size of the 6-foot-4, 258-pounder Walford and feel that he catches the ball well. However, they don't think Walford is all that athletic.

Last year, the tight end class was strong, as five were selected in the top 65 picks and two more went in the third round, including Eric Ebron, who was chosen in the top 10. Sources think the 2015 class probably won't come close to those numbers and are hoping that there are some breakout players in the second half of the college football season.

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Sources: Todd Gurley's Suspension Won't Hurt Him at All

Updated Oct. 10, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

It was a surprise to see Georgia running back Todd Gurley suspended indefinitely, and it appears his suspension is for an NCAA rules violation related to autographing memorabilia. Gurley has a good reputation off the field, so this suspension came out of nowhere. Sources from multiple NFL teams adamantly told me that this suspension won't hurt Gurley's draft stock.

Sources say that Gurley is just too talented and too good of a kid for teams to hold this suspension against him. They say that off the field, Gurley is a good worker and teammate who loves football. Last year, Texas A&M and future Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was basically suspended half a game for the same thing. NFL teams view this as more NCAA nonsense and a non-issue for Gurley's pro prospects.

The past three years, the 6-foot-1 232-pound back has been destroying teams with his combination of size and speed. Gurley has averaged 8.2 yards for 773 yards with eight touchdowns in 2014. He has 11 receptions for 53 yards. Gurley had huge games against Clemson, Troy, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

After his consistent play over the past three seasons with some dominant games against elite competition, Gurley looks poised to break the mold of teams passing on running backs in the first round. In the 2012 NFL Draft, three running backs were taken on Thursday night, and none were taken in the top 32 in 2013 or 2014. No draft prospect wants a suspension to answer questions about, but sources told us that they don't envision Gurley's suspension impacting his draft stock negatively.

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Sources: Ameer Abdullah Round 2 Possibility

Updated Oct. 2, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

It isn't easy for undersized running backs to go early in the NFL Draft, but one running back who has the potential to change that is Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah. We heard from NFL sources, including one general manager, who feels that Abdullah could end up being a second-round pick. Abdullah became Nebraska's all-time leading rusher this season and has impressed NFL evaluators.

Sources say they like Abdullah's versatile skill set. The slashing runner is tough for his size with excellent vision, fast feet, balance, and third-down potential for the NFL. This season, Abdullah (5-9, 195) has averaged 7.3 yards per carry for 833 yards and eight touchdowns. Even though he only has five receptions, Abdullah has shown enough where evaluators feel he'll be a good contributor in the passing offense.

Abdullah could use see his stock continue to rise if he keeps playing well and impresses at the Senior Bowl in the blitz-protection drills. It would be wise for Abdullah to go to Mobile, as his stock could continue to rise with a strong showing there. With his athleticism and speed, Abdullah should perform well at the Combine.

Throughout his collegiate career, Abdullah has stayed durable, and it will be important for him to maintain that this year.

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Vic Beasley is Comparable to Dee Ford

Updated Sept. 27, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

A year ago at this time, there wasn't a lot of buzz that Auburn defensive end Dee Ford was a first-round prospect for the 2014 NFL Draft. Ford came up with some big performances to help vault Auburn into the national championship, and in the process, Ford's stock rose. Clemson defensive end/outside linebacker Vic Beasley has had more draft buzz entering his senior year, and scouts told us they feel that Beasley is a comparable player to Ford.

Last year, some teams had second-round grades on Ford while other teams like the Kansas City Chiefs had Ford graded in the first round. Scouts feel that is where Beasley is ending up; as someone who goes in the back half of the first round or the second round. Of course, where he goes will also depend on the other talent in the draft class that could push Beasley higher or drop him lower. Pass-rushers are always in demand, and Beasley has scheme flexibility to intrigue defensive coordinators.

Scouts say that even though the Beasley is undersized, he is strong for his size, similar to Ford. Both of them have natural edge-rushing skills and are very skilled at finding a way to get to the quarterback. The 6-foot-2 Beasley weighs in the 230, and he'll have to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. He could line up as a defensive end in obvious passing situations.

Scouts say that Ford may have better instincts than Beasley, but Beasley could have more speed and athleticism to be able to play a variety of linebacker positions in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Overall, they are similar players that are being graded in the same range.

Beasley has four sacks, nine tackles, five tackles for a loss in three games so far this season. He had his way with Florida State left tackle Cameron Erving a week ago.

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A.J. Cann: Poor Man's Larry Warford

Updated Sept. 19, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

One draft prospect who has gotten a lot of hype recently is South Carolina senior guard A.J. Cann. Some have projected Cann to be the top guard for the 2015 NFL Draft and a potential first-round pick.

We spoke with NFL sources who feel that Cann is being overhyped to a degree. They like Cann and feel he is a quality player, but don't view him as a Thursday night prospect. They have Cann as a second- or third-round selection depending on the rest of the draft class.

Sources said that Cann is a similar style player, but not as good of a prospect as Detroit Lions guard Larry Warford or Oakland Raiders guard Gabe Jackson. Warford and Jackson were both early third-round picks in 2013 and 2014, respectively. League contacts say that Cann's game is similar to Warford and Jackson's in that he is a tough run blocker who can move people at the point of attack. He is strong and physical. However, they say that Cann struggles in space and as a result, he can have issues in pass protection. That could be seen last Saturday against Georgia, as Cann can have problems with interior speed rushers.

Our sources also said that while Cann (6-4, 311) has some size and strength to him, seeing him in person, he looks smaller than Warford (6-3, 330) or Jackson (6-3, 336). Considering Warford and Jackson were both third-round picks, league contacts said their teams probably wouldn't consider Cann until the third round. However, Warford was a steal as a third-round pick for the Lions, and Jackson is already starting for the Raiders, so Cann isn't in bad company when being discussed with those young guards.

Sources Identify Sleeper Quarterback

Updated Sept. 13, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

A year ago, there wasn't any draft hype about UCF quarterback Blake Bortles, but a great junior season gradually elevated Bortles nationally. His rise continued to make him the consensus top quarterback prospect, and he was the first one selected with the third-overall pick.

NFL sources we've spoken to identified a sleeper prospect who has really impressed them. That would be Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson. Sources say they don't think Grayson will have a meteoric rise like Bortles into the top 15, but they say they could see Grayson grading out in the first few rounds and be this year's Jimmy Garoppolo.

Grayson has definitely impressed NFL talent evaluators, as they feel that he has a quality arm that can make all the throws. He has some mobility to make throws on the run. His character receives good marks, as he is viewed as a good teammate with leadership skills. While Grayson isn't a big quarterback, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is a similar build to Garoppolo. Grayson had a breakout junior season to lead Colorado State to a bowl game with a win over Washington State.

Grayson became the starter as a sophomore in 2012, but a broken collarbone shortened his season. In 2013, he completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,696 yards with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In two games this season, he has completed 44-of-81 passes for 568 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He contributed to Colorado State's season opening win over Colorado, and he followed that up by throwing for 434 yards against Boise State.

Sources say they expect Grayson's stock to rise over his senior year and during the lead up to the 2015 NFL Draft. Grayson is a sleeper quarterback prospect right now, but he may not be a sleeper for much longer.

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Duke Johnson Viewed as Round 3-4 Prospect

Updated Sept. 10, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Last year, Miami running back Duke Johnson was on his way to having a big season of around 1,500 yards before breaking his ankle against Florida State and missing the final five games. The 5-foot-9, 206-pound running back has shown impressive speed and playmaking ability since breaking into the lineup as a freshman. However, some of our NFL sources have told us that they believe Johnson will end up grading out as a third- or fourth-round pick.

Sources say that in order to rise, Johnson will need to improve his contributions in pass blocking and prove that he can stay healthy. Johnson isn't the biggest of backs, so showing that he can play an entire season is important for him. If Johnson can do that, he could make it into the second day of the draft next year if he decides to declare as a junior. If can't stay healthy, Johnson could fall into day three.

In his 2014 debut, Johnson had 90 yards on 20 carries. He also had a long reception that was called back by a penalty. However, Johnson's offensive line and new starting quarterback didn't invoke a lot of confidence that they will get Johnson good running looks this season.

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Teams Differ Regarding Mariota, Winston

Updated Sept. 7, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

About a week ago, we discussed the view of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston from one NFL general manager's perspective. He felt that Mariota was vastly overrated and Winston was the real deal. We reached out to more sources from around the league and got some differing opinions regarding those quarterback prospects. Some other teams stated that Mariota is not overrated at all, and that they have major concerns about Winston.

A high-ranking scouting director told us that Mariota is not overrated at all and that he's better than Blake Bortles and every quarterback prospect from the 2014 draft. He noted that Mariota is a tough player with athleticism, arm strength and size. Sources from another team said that Mariota will need to be taught how to thrive as a pocket passer, but he is known to be a good kid and hard worker, so they think he can learn it. They said he is in the same boat entering the NFL as Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick were.

Multiple teams said they have serious off-the-field concerns with Winston. As one team put it, "off-the-field issues are real and more than advertised." Other sources said that Winston is liked in the Florida State locker room and viewed as a leader. He is said to work hard and balances his commitments to football and baseball. However, in time away from the athletic facilities, Winston has a habit of getting himself in trouble. Sources from a quarterback-needy team said they are very worried about character concerns with Winston and his maturity off the field.

While there are some differing opinions about Mariota and Winston, there is a consensus about UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley. Every team said that Hundley is overrated, but has a lot of talent and upside. The other players who had a consensus opinion regarding them were Oregon State's Sean Mannion and Baylor's Bryce Petty. They were at differing ends of the spectrum, as all teams liked Mannion and were down on Petty. Being described as average was the kindest words shared about Petty.

Things will change over the next several months, but entering the 2014 season, there already is a healthy debate about the top quarterback prospects.

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Sean Mannion Impresses Evaluators

Updated Sept. 5, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

We've heard from sources in the NFL scouting community that some of the highly touted quarterback prospects are overrated. Among those categorized like that were Oregon's Marcus Mariota and UCLA's Brett Hundley. One the other hand, one quarterback prospect who has impressed sources is Oregon State signal-caller Sean Mannion.

The NFL is a pass-happy league that has an endless demand for pocket passers like Mannion. The senior has shown improvement over his three seasons as a starter for Oregon State. He made a big jump as a junior when he completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 4,662 yards with 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The 6-foot-5, 214-pounder has pocket presence, a good arm and field vision.

There are three things that Mannion must improve for the NFL. They are: accuracy, anticipation and footwork. He had a rough stretch last November that can be attributed to those weaknesses. One skill that Mannion does not possess is running ability. While he doesn't offer a running element, neither do a lot of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

Sources with multiple teams say that of the senior quarterback prospects, they are intrigued with Mannion and eager to see how he performs in his final collegiate season. League contacts made a point to say that Mannion was a good player, while stating that Mariota and Hundley were overrated. With a big year, Mannion could merit first-round consideration.

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NFL GM: Brett Hundley is Overrated

Updated Sept. 3, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

About a week ago, we caught with an NFL general manager to discuss the 2015 quarterback prospects as they stand going into the 2014 season. Scroll down to read about the GM's view that Marcus Mariota is "vastly overrated" and Jameis Winston is the "real deal." Another quarterback who has received buzz as a potential first-round pick is UCLA's Brett Hundley. The Bruins' junior signal-caller has been a part of a resurgence in the UCLA program since taking over as the starter before the 2012 season.

The general manager told us he felt that Hundley was overrated. He said he hasn't seen Hundley have a defining game against a big opponent. Last year, Hundley struggled versus Stanford, but he played better against Oregon than his numbers indicated, but still tossed two interceptions while completing 13-of-19 passes for 64 yards, as the Ducks blew out the Bruins 42-14. Hundley needs to help his draft stock by showing that he has the ability to put the team on his back and take down an elite opponent.

Many project Hundley to becoming a first-round pick, but that NFL general manager was unconvinced and felt that Hundley was being overrated in these early projections. Perhaps Hundley will change that during is junior season.

Hundley completed 67 percent of his passes in 2013 for 3,071 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. On the ground, he ran for 970 yards (748 net) and 11 scores. The 6-foot-3, 227-pounder has a physical skill set and is said to be a hard worker.

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League Sources: Bryce Petty More of a Day-Three Prospect

Updated Aug. 30, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

The Baylor Bears have become one of the best programs in the Big 12 and have been led by a prolific point machine for an offense. Senior quarterback Bryce Petty enters the 2014 season with a lot of hype as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

However, after speaking with one NFL general manager and some other league sources, they are all down on Petty and don't believe he looks like a potential early-round pick.

One league source said that Petty has received a lot of hype but he isn't very good and doesn't translate well to the NFL. Another league source was more blunt, saying he did not think Petty was good at all. The feedback from league contacts had Petty as a college system quarterback and more of a day-three prospect.

Petty (6-3, 230) is a dual-threat quarterback who completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,200 yards with 32 touchdowns and three interceptions. He ran for 339 yards and 14 touchdowns as well.

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NFL GM: Mariota, "Overrated;" Winston, "the Real Deal"

Updated Aug. 26, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Over the next few months, there will be many comparisons between Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Both are draft eligible, and most project them as the top two signal-caller prospects for the NFL. Entering the season, the consensus view has them pretty even as top-10 picks.

We recently talked to an NFL general manager of a team who has a franchise quarterback, so he wouldn't draft either Mariota or Winston. That general manager said that Mariota is vastly overrated, and he doesn't view him as an elite quarterback prospect. Winston however, is the “real deal,” according to this general manager.

The NFL prizes pocket passing ability above everything else with a quarterback, and that gives Winston an edge over Mariota. Winston is a rare athlete who is a natural passer. His field vision and decision-making were phenomenal in 2013, and that helped him win a national championship and a Heisman. Mariota, meanwhile, is part of a college up-tempo spread offense. He uses his legs to make more plays that won't translate to the NFL. Mariota needs to show improved pocket passing potential according to that general manager.

Of course, the general manger acknowledged that there is a lot that can change in the months to come, as Mariota looks to improve as a junior. Winston will have the challenge of repeating his 2014 success while staying out of trouble. Other sources have expressed they have off-the-field concerns with Winston, and they want to see him show more maturity.

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Funchess Moving to Receiver is a Mistake

Updated Aug. 7, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Michigan's Devin Funchess was awarded the Big Ten's tight end of the year award in 2013 after he totaled 49 receptions for 748 yards and six touchdowns. Funchess was a dynamic weapon who presented lots of mismatch problems for defenses. Surprisingly, Michigan decided to move Funchess to wide receiver full-time in 2014.

Physically, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Funchess is a tweener between a tight end and wide receiver. For the NFL, the smart move would have been for Funchess to add weight and fill out his frame to help his blocking ability. At his size, Funchess has an advantage over many NFL defensive backs, but he could struggle to gain separation from cornerbacks. It's much easier for a player like Funchess to get separation running against linebackers and safeties compared to the fastest players on the field.

Receiving tight ends are a rage in the NFL, as they present so many mismatch opportunities. Funchess could have been a potential first-round pick if he stayed at tight end while gaining some weight and improving his blocking. Eric Ebron was a top-10 pick this year, while Tyler Eifert went in the top 25 the year before. Every team wants to find a Jimmy Graham weapon for their offense. Both Ebron and Eifert needed work as blockers when they entered the draft, thus Funchess could easily have received that same high-round consideration. Now, he looks like just another big receiver who may lack the speed to separate in the NFL. Those players are a dime a dozen and typically get selected in the mid to late rounds. Funchess was more special as a tight end. Don't be surprised if NFL teams move him back to that position in a year or two.

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Devonte Fields: First Round to Undrafted?

Updated Aug. 5, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Two years ago, TCU defensive end/outside linebacker Devonte Fields took college football by storm and was one of the best pass-rushers in the nation. We spoke with Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson at the Senior Bowl, and he said that Fields was the best pass-rusher he went against in college. That matchup came when Fields was just a freshman, so there was plenty to get excited about what Fields could evolve into once he gained experience.

Since that freshman season, Fields has gone off the rails. TCU head coach Gary Patterson criticized Fields' performance in spring practice after that season, and Fields was suspended for the 2013 season opener against LSU. He played two games before a season-ending foot injury. The off-the-field issues continued to be a problem for him, as he was arrested for a domestic disturbance with his ex-girlfriend. TCU moved quickly and said that Fields was removed from the team while the legal process played out. In reports, school officials have said if Fields was found guilty, there is no chance they would take him back.

Unsurprisingly, Fields' ex-girlfriend is backing off her story. That opens up the possibility that the charges will be dropped and that Fields will return to football for TCU. The Horned Frogs would certainly like to have the player who broke out with 10 sacks, 53 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, four passes batted, two forced fumbles and an interception in 2012.

While Fields may not be done with college football, he continues to do damage to his NFL stock. Sources say the character issues with Fields are huge and mounting. One team told us that stemming from their ownership, they won't consider drafting players that have had assault issues with women. That was before the controversy surrounding Ravens' running back Ray Rice.

Like Vontaze Burfict from Arizona State a few years ago, the damage from off-the-field issues could cause a first-round talent like Fields to ultimately go undrafted.

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NFL Teams Preparing for Jameis Winston to Enter 2015 Draft

Updated July 16, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Over the past months since winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and his family have made claims that they plan on Winston playing two more seasons of college football and another season of baseball for the Seminoles. Despite those claims, many fans and pundits have assumed that Winston would enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

We reached out to NFL teams to see how they plan to approach Winston this fall. Their response was they would scout him as if he'll be entering the 2015 NFL Draft. They will write their scouting reports on him and will wait until the end of the year to include their off-the-field and character assessments. With a prospect like Winston, who could be a high first-rounder, teams would rather be prepared for him to come out than having to start the process months later.

Scouts write reports on high-profile prospects who are viewed as likely to declare. Houston's Jadeveon Clowney, Buffalo's Sammy Watkins and Jacksonville's Marqise Lee were treated like they were seniors last year, but the vast majority of players that have eligibility remaining aren't scouted like they're entering the draft. Even with the comments made by him and his family, NFL teams are treating Winston the same as they did with Clowney, Watkins or Lee.

Over the years, many prospects have said publicly they plan on going back to school - until the time comes when they're starring at a big pay day if they declare for the draft. Some recent examples of that are Robert Griffin III and Jace Amaro. Around the NFL, teams are taking the stance entering the season that Winston will be like Griffin and Amaro.

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Vic Beasley Would've Been 2014 First-Rounder

Updated June 17, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

The 2014 NFL Draft was considered one of the strongest classes in years. However, the edge-rusher group was pretty weak overall. Once Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr were selected in the top 10, only one other pass-rusher was selected in the first round, Kansas City's Dee Ford, who was considered to be a reach. One player who probably would have gone in the top 25 had he come out was Clemson's Vic Beasley. Scouts tell that Beasley was coming in with a first-round grade before surprisingly deciding to return to school.

Beasley was a tremendous pass-rusher for the Tigers in 2013 with 13 sacks. He also picked up 23 tackles for a loss, 41 tackles, six passes batted, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. After dominating the early part of year, Beasley was clamped down by Florida State as the Seminoles blew out Clemson, but he ended the season in impressive fashion against South Carolina and Ohio State. Beasley had 14 tackles with eight sacks and a forced fumble in 2012.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder will have to move to outside linebacker in the NFL, but he would be a great fit in a Von Miller-style role. The athletic Beasley could also play in a 3-4 defense as an inside and outside linebacker as well.

Many college pass-rushers see a dip in production from extra blocking attention after a big season. That could happen to Beasley, but with his speed and athleticism, he should still make plenty of plays against ACC offensive linemen. If Beasley can stay consistent with his 2013 production, he could easily end up being a high first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

I currently have the Rams picking Beasley at No. 19 in my mock draft. Comment on this story here.

Benardrick McKinney Received Second-Round Grades

Updated June 9, 2014
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell

Every year, late in the college football seasons, scouts will put together draft grades on some players who end up returning to school. Some of them are a result of players who petition the NFL Advisory Board and end up remaining in the college ranks. Other times, scouts hear or anticipate that a player is coming out, yet they end up changing their mind to return.

The 2014 NFL Draft set a record for early entry prospects that left eligibility on the table to go pro. Many of them made regrettable decisions in leaving school. One of the few good players who decided to return to college was Mississippi State inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney. According to sources, McKinney received second-round grades and had a lot of believers in the scouting community.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder was considered to be a three-down middle linebacker who has the ability to play in pass coverage. Sources like his size and feel that McKinney has good instincts. McKinney has upside, and it is possible that he ends up improving on his draft grade during the 2014 season.

After redshirting in 2011, McKinney made a splash in 2012 and was a First-Team Freshman All-American by numerous media outlets. He recorded 102 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and four passes broken up. As a sophomore McKinney had 70 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks in 2013.

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