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    Richner: 2013 Prospects

    Preseason Prospect Review
    Last Updated: 10/14/2014 10:06 AM ET

    In the first of what will be a weekly review of prospects in college and NFL rookies, NFL Draft Expert Matt Richner breaks down his 2013 NFL draft eligible top college prospects at each position. 

    With each college football season there are handful of players who rise and exceed expectations (Cam Newton and RGIII) and players who fall short of expectations. With the upcoming college football season rapidly approaching, I have created a list of specific position groups of some of the intriguing prospect that NFL scouts will be keeping a close eye this season. Each of these lists is organized alphabetically by each player's respected school.

    Grade QB/Player School HT WT Wins TD INT TD/INT Yards Att. Comp Comp %
    Sr. Tyler Wilson Arkansas 6-3 220 11 31 13 2.38 4378 547 344 62.89%
    Sr. EJ Manuel Florida St 6-4 220 13 24 18 1.33 4344 510 337 66.08%
    Sr. Mike Glennon N.C. St. 6-6 225 10 32 14 2.29 3380 505 316 62.57%
    Sr. Landry Jones Oklahoma 6-4 229 29 93 41 2.27 12379 1628 1021 62.71%
    Sr. Geno Smith W. Virginia 6-3 214 19 56 15 3.73 7457 947 619 65.36%
    Sr. Matt Barkley USC 6-2 220 27 80 33 2.42 9054 1175 755 64.26%
                             
    Jr. A.J. McCarron Alabama 6-4 205 11 19 5 3.80 3023 376 249 66.22%
    Jr. Aaron Murray Georgia 6-1 211 16 59 22 2.68 6198 745 447 60.00%
    Jr. Casey Pachall TCU 6-5 216 11 26 7 3.71 2999 352 234 66.48%
    Jr. Tyler Bray Tennessee 6-6 210 8 35 16 2.19 3832 471 272 57.75%
    Jr. Logan Thomas V.Tech 6-6 254 11 19 10 1.90 3120 417 246 58.99%

    Quarterbacks: The two stars of the senior class are Matt Barkley of USC and Landry Jones of Oklahoma. Barkley, a consistent starter since his freshman year, will be expected to lead USC towards a national title run. Jones will need to work on his completion percentage, with the spread offense he plays in. I would like to see his completion percentage around 66-67%. Tyler Wilson of Arkansas will need to win at least nine games this year to receive a first round grade. The junior class has a very impressive ensemble. A.J. McCarron, led Alabama to a national title last year and showed he can command a huddle and can perform when the bright lights are on. I would like to see him be a little less conservative and air the ball out some more. Aaron Murray of Georgia is a bit undersized, but is a tough physical QB who showed a willingness to stand up in the pocket to make the critical throws. He will have to work on his ball security and increase his completion percentage; anything below 60% is unacceptable from a future first round talent. The two players who have scouts salivating the most is Tyler Bray of Tennessee and Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech. Bray leads his team up against one of the nation's toughest schedules starting the season against N.C. State, and then having a stretch where they play at Georgia, at Mississippi State, Alabama and at South Carolina. With a TD/INT ratio below 2.0, he has to work on limiting his turnovers. Both Bray and Thomas will need to record double digit victories, along with both improving a sub 60% completion rate to be considered a first round draft prospect.

    Grade RB/Player School HT WT Carries Yards YPC TD REC Yards YPC Rec. TD
    Sr. Andre Ellington Clemson 5-10 190 409 2355 5.76 25 45 273 6.07 1
    Sr. Robbie Rouse Fresno St 5-07 190 616 3157 5.13 25 47 359 7.64 3
    Sr. Kenjon Barner Oregon 5-11 180 304 1856 6.11 20 34 335 9.85 5
    Sr. Ray Graham Pitt 5-9 164 373 2229 5.98 21 62 459 7.40 2
    Sr. Christine Michael Texas A&M 5-11 213 441 2374 5.38 22 36 275 7.64 1
    Sr. Montee Ball Wisconsin 5-11 210 568 3310 5.83 55 49 526 10.73 6
                             
    Jr. Eddie Lacy Alabama 6-1 220 151 1080 7.15 13 13 149 11.46 0
    Jr. Knile Davis Arkansas 6-1 226 237 1485 6.27 17 21 140 6.67 1
    Jr. Le Veon Bell Michigan St. 6-2 237 289 1553 5.37 21 46 364 7.91 0
    Jr. Joseph Randle Okla. St 6-1 191 290 1668 5.75 26 80 693 8.66 3
    Jr. Marcus Lattimore South Carolina 6-1 232 412 2015 4.89 27 48 594 12.38 3
    Jr. Silas Redd USC 5-10 200 321 1678 5.23 9 13 67 5.15 0

    Running Backs: This is probably one of the fastest stable of running backs in a long time that will be coming out in next Aprils NFL draft. The group is led by Monte Ball, the All-American from Wisconsin who has racked up 49 career rushing TDs. Kenjon Barner of Oregon will need to step up and replace the production of LaMichael James to show scouts that he can be an every down back in the NFL. When the season ends he should have over 250 carries. The junior group has an impressive list of backs with Knile Davis and Marcus Lattimore leading the way. Both players show elite status with their size and speed, the only issue with both players is their health. If both players can stay healthy and stay productive, both should be first round selections come next April.

    Grade WR/Player School HT WT GM Rec. High Rec. Rec. Yards YPC Rec. TD
    Sr. Cobi Hamilton Arkansas 6-3 209 39 34 85 1519 17.87 13
    Sr. Terrance Williams Baylor 6-2 205 30 59 104 1462 14.06 15
    Sr. Quinton Patton La. Tech 6-2 195 13 79 79 1202 15.22 11
    Sr. Marcus Davis Virginia Tech 6 4 232 40 30 54 875 16.20 8
    Sr. Tavon Austin West Virginia 5-9 171 39 101 174 2124 12.21 17
                         
    Jr. Keenan Allen Cal 6-3 210 25 98 144 1833 12.73 11
    Jr. Nick Harwell Miami (OH) 6-1 195 25 97 161 2296 14.26 15
    Jr. Kenny Stills Oklahoma 6-1 190 25 61 122 1635 13.40 13
    Jr. Devin Street Pitt 6-4 190 24 53 78 1072 13.74 4
    Jr. Josh Boyce TCU 6 0 203 27 61 95 1644 17.31 15
    Jr. Justin Hunter Tennessee 6-4 205 16 17 33 729 22.09 9
    Jr. Robert Woods USC 6-1 190 25 111 176 2084 18.77 21
    Jr. Marquess Wilson Washington St. 6-4 190 24 82 137 2394 17.47 18
    Jr. Jared Abbrederis Wisconsin 6-2 190 27 55 75 1222 16.29 11

    Wide Receivers: It is hard to find the next physically dominating wide receiver in this group in the mold of a Calvin Johnson but that does not mean there isn't a number one receiver amongst them. Terrance Williams from Baylor should step in and take over for former first round pick Kendall Wright. Tavon Austin from West Virginia is another quick twitch slot receiver, who is Geno Smith's number one target. He reminds me of current Colts rookie slot receiver T.Y. Hilton. The junior class is ledby Keenan Allen, a physical receiver, who uses his body to shield defenders and is not afraid to go across the middle to make the tough catches. Robert Woods will probably receive the most attention of anyone in this class, he is an unstoppable force on the outside who has built great chemistry with Matt Barkley. Woods could vault himself into a top-10 selection should he achieve over 100 receptions and 15 TDs this season. Jared Abbrederis from Wisconsin is a player I thoroughly enjoy watching. He tends to make the big catches on third down, and always seems to be in the right spot at the right time. He is a play maker on special teams and will be looked upon heavily as Wisconsin breaks in a new quarterback.

    Pos Year Player School HT WT Starter
    RT Sr. Brennan Williams UNC 6-7 310 20
    LT Sr. Ricky Wagner Wisconsin 6-6 320 24
                 
    LT Jr. Luke Joeckel Texas A&M 6-6 310 26
    LT Jr. Chris Faulk LSU 6-6 323 15
    RT Jr. D.J. Fluker Alabama 6-6 335 21
    LT Jr. Taylor Lewan Michigan 6-7 310 21
    RT Jr. Jake Matthews Texas A&M 6-5 305 19
                 
    OG Sr. Chance Warmack Alabama 6-2 322 25
    OG Sr. Larry Warford Kentucky 6-3 343 24
    OG Sr. Jonathan Cooper UNC 6-3 310 35
                 
    C Sr. Barrett Jones Alabama 6-5 311 35
    C Sr. Khaled Holmes USC 6-4 310 24

    Offensive Line: The offensive line group is probably the deepest of any position group for next April's NFL Draft. There are five likely first round selections just from the tackle group alone. Texas A&M bookends Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews are poised for another great year; both have typical l size and good athletic ability. They will be tested when they go up against Alabama on Nov. 10. A big shock to most college football fans, Wisconsin has another NFL caliber lineman in Ricky Wagner. He has the frame and athletic ability to anchor an NFL line, look for him to improve on his run blocking abilities this season.

    The Guard category is led by Chance Warmack of Alabama, and Larry Warford of Kentucky. Warford, is as physically imposing a lineman as they come, he can really move a pile and is capable of shutting down the dominating interior lineman. He was responsible for giving up only one sack all of last year.

    Barrett Jones of Alabama, last season's Outland Trophy winner switches from left tackle to the center this season. He is a smart, versatile lineman who can play all across the line. He should be taken in the first round come next April.

    Year TE/Player School HT WT GM Rec. High Rec. Yards YPC Rec. TD
    Sr. Chris Gragg Arkansas 6-3 236 38 41 50 714 14.28 4
    Sr. Philip Lutzenkirchen Auburn 6-5 255 38 24 44 489 11.11 14
    Sr. Joseph Fauria UCLA 6-7 255 29 41 80 973 12.16 13
                         
    Jr. Tyler Eifert Notre Dame 6-6 249 25 69 90 1155 12.83 7

    Tight End: Notre Dame is going to be known as Tight End U, with their ability to produce NFL caliber tight ends such as Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, and soon Tyler Eifert. At 6'6" and 250 lbs, he has great size, soft hands, which are evident by his 90 career receptions and over 1100 receiving yards. Chris Gragg should put up some impressive numbers as the former WR looks to be one of the main targets of Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson. Keep an eye on Joseph Fauria from UCLA, he stands 6'7" and shows a good amount of athletic ability. He probably won't put up impressive numbers this year because UCLA will be starting a redshirt freshman at QB, but in the red zone and on short yardage situations he should have a few opportunities to show his strength. There are a number of NFL teams that would love to have a man of his size as a weapon to use in the red zone.

    Year DE/Player School Pos HT WT GM Season Sacks Sacks TFL FF
    Sr. Trevardo Williams Connecticut OLB 6-1 234 38 12.5 19 27 4
    Sr. Brandon Jenkins FSU DE 6-3 260 39 13.5 21.5 36.5 2
    Sr. Michael Buchanan Illinois DE 6-5 240 34 7.5 9.5 19 1
    Sr. John Simon Ohio St. DE 6-2 263 38 7 12 31 1
    Sr. Dion Jordan Oregon DE 6-6 243 33 7.5 9.5 18.5 1
    Sr. Gerald Hodges Penn St. OLB 6-2 237 21 4.5 4.5 12.5 2
    Sr. Travis Johnson San Jose St DE 6-3 244 37 9.5 19 27.5 0
    Sr. Margus Hunt SMU DE 6-8 280 40 3 8.5 16.5 0
    Sr. Chase Thomas Stanford OLB 6-4 240 39 10 23 46 8
    Sr. Alex Okafor Texas DE 6-4 260 39 7 9.5 20 4
    Sr. Sean Porter Texas A&M OLB 6-2 230 39 9.5 11 28 1
                         
    Jr. Corey Lemonier Auburn DE 6-3 242 27 9.5 11.5 18.5 6
    Jr. Bjoern Werner FSU DE 6-4 256 27 7 10.5 17 2
    Jr. Jarvis Jones Georgia OLB 6-3 241 22 13.5 13.5 21 2
    Jr. Sam Montgomery LSU DE 6-5 260 19 9 11 19.5 1
    Jr. Barkevious Mingo LSU DE 6-5 240 27 8 10.5 20.5 3
    Jr. William Gholston Michigan St. DE 6-6 278 23 5 5.5 17 1
    Jr. Jackson Jeffcoat Texas DE 6-5 245 21 8 10.5 27 1

    Pass Rushers: There are a number of pass rushers who are primed to take the next step towards being a dominant force on defense. Chase Thomas from Stanford is downright dominating and should be a top-10 selection next April. He already has hit the benchmarks you want to see from a pass rusher, with 23 career sacks and 46 TFL. When it is all said and done, he should have career numbers that mirror the former Aggie Von Miller. Brandon Jenkins from Florida State, reminds me of a young Peter Boulware, with his size and speed he should end his career with over 35 career sacks and 50 career TFL. The junior class is led by Jarvis Jones, the OLB from Georgia, who came on strong last season with 13.5 sacks. Jackson Jeffcoat from Texas and William Gholston have shown glimpses of talent but they need to be more consistent. Lastly, if you find yourself watching a Fresno State game, don't walk away when the opposing team sends its placekicker into the game. Magnus Hunt, the 6'8" DE, has 14 career blocks on his resume. He might not be taken in the first round come next April, but a smart team like New England could find a way to use him on special teams. (Team stats allowed are for rushing only.)

    Year DT/Player School HT WT GM Tkls Solo TFL Sacks FF Yds All. Yds/Game TDs
    Sr. Jesse Williams Alabama 6-4 319 13 17 10 4 0.5 0 938 72.15 3
    Sr. Everett Dawkins FSU 6-2 304 43 62.5 45 13.5 6.5 1 1075 82.69 8
    Sr. Jonathan Jenkins Georgia 6-3 351 14 21 14 6 3 1 1417 101.21 16
    Sr. Jordan Hill Penn St. 6-1 297 34 71 35 11 5 1 1733 133.31 13
    Sr. Kawann Short Purdue 6-3 315 37 116 89 33.5 12.5 1 2274 174.92 25
    Sr. Sylvester Williams UNC 6-3 305 13 54 23 7 2.5 1 1611 123.92 12
    Sr. Star Lotulelei Utah 6-3 318 26 65 23 15 3 1 1476 113.54 8
                               
                               
    Jr. Sharrif Floyd Florida 6-3 303 24 49 29 13 1.5 0 1752 132.69 16
    Jr. Bennie Logan LSU 6-3 295 17 42.5 23 7 3 1 1261 90.07 7
    Jr. Jonathan Hankins Ohio St. 6-3 320 26 83 35 16 4 0 1840 141.54 13

    Defensive Tackles: The star of the group (pun intended) is none other than Star Lotulelei. With a massive frame, he shows his true value by leading a Utah defensive front that gave up only 113.5 yards per game and eight touchdowns last season. Using the DT study as a barometer, we can see that players such as Jordan Hill from Penn State, and Kawann Short from Purdue fall short of the desired production one would like to see from a dominant defensive tackle. Everett Dawkins from Florida State and Sylvester Williams from UNC are two young players that have shown the ability to become a force in stopping the opponents running game.

    Year LB/Player School Pos HT WT GM Tkls TFL Seas. Sacks Sacks INT FF PBU
    Sr. Arthur Brown Kansas St. ILB 6-1 223 37 118 10 2 2 1 0 2
    Sr. Manti Te o Notre Dame ILB 6-2 255 38 324 28.5 5 7 0 2 6
    Sr. Shayne Skov Stanford ILB 6-3 242 27 95 22 9 11 0 2 7
    Sr. Kevin Reddick UNC ILB 6-3 240 36 190 17.5 1 2 2 0 0
                               
    Jr. Alec Ogletree Georgia ILB 6-3 232 20 86 8.5 3 3 0 4 3
    Jr. Kevin Minter LSU ILB 6-2 245 25 76 3.5 1 1 0 1 1
    Jr. Andrew Jackson Western Kentucky ILB 6-1 265 13 75 17 3.5 3.5 0 1 1
    Jr. Chris Borland Wisconsin ILB 5-11 245 30 155 31.5 5 8.5 3 10 10

    Inside Linebacker: The cream of the crop for this group is Manti Te'o from Notre Dame. As a three-year starter, Te'o has amassed 324 career tackles and 28.5 TFL. He has been the leader of the defense from his first days on campus and NFL scouts love his attention to detail and leadership qualities. Kevin Reddick from UNC and Shayne Skov from Stanford should show an increase in production from the previous years and could vault themselves into round two of next year's NFL Draft. In the junior class, Alec Olgetree is a physical specimen. Unfortunately, he got himself into trouble this offseason and is suspended for the first few games of the year. If he keeps his head on straight and does what he is told, he could impress scouts and front offices with his new found maturity to go along with an already impressive skill set as an inside linebacker. Chris Borland is going to be one of those players that when you look at the stat sheet you will see he has 10 career forced fumbles to go along with 8.5 career sacks, but teams and scouts will mark him down for being under the 6'0" mark.

      Year DB/Player School HT WT GM INT PD Tkls TFL PR Avg
    DB Sr. Jonathan Banks Miss. St 6-2 185 32 12 16 131 9.5 10.6
      Sr. Xavier Rhodes Florida St 6-1 215 29 5 16 101 5 0
      Sr. Terry Hawthorne Illinois 6-0 190 33 5 16 118 8.5 7.4
      Sr. Micah Hyde Iowa 6-1 190 39 7 15 162 2 8.2
      Sr. Desmond Trufant UW 6-0 190 38 5 24 159 5 0
                           
      Jr. David Amerson N.C. St 6-2 194 26 13 5 109 1.5 0
                           
    Safety Sr. Kenny Vaccaro Texas 6-1 215 38 3 16 157 12 0
      Sr. Shawn Williams Georgia 6-0 218 40 4 7 111 5 0
      Sr. T.J. McDonald USC 6-3 205 30 6 8 163 5.5 24
      Sr. Robert Lester Alabama 6-2 210 34 10 17 99 3 0
      Sr. John Boyett Oregon 5-10 205 39 9 29 276 7 0
                           
      Jr. Eric Reid LSU 6-2 212 26 4 4 108 3.5 0
      Jr. Tony Jefferson Oklahoma 5-11 212 27 6 10 139 14.5 0

    Defensive Backfield: This group has some true ball hawks. Leading the way is junior defensive back David Amerson from N.C. State. He has 13 career INT's in only 26 games, an INT average of .5 picks per game. Amerson, equipped with a physical frame of 6'2", will need to work on his press coverage abilities this year. Jonathan Banks from Mississippi St. is another shutdown corner who already has 12 career INTs to go along with a punt return average of roughly 10 yards. Xavier Rhodes saw his numbers drop last season due to  teams avoiding him. Track his average yards per receptions given up this year to measure his true worth.

    The safety group is led by Kenny Vaccaro from Texas, he shows good sideline-to-sideline speed with 16 career Pass Deflections and 12 career TFL. T.J. McDonald is the perfect chess piece for defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's defense at USC. At 6'3", he is a physical force in the mold of last year's top safety Mark Barron. Eric Reid from LSU will have a lot on his plate this season. He will miss Morris Claiborne who went to the NFL and Tyrann Mathieu who has been kicked off the team. Reid has 4 career INTs, but will need to show scouts he can lead a defensive back field and take control of a young secondary.

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