Pickin’ Bolts: NFL Draft Top 50 Prospects

Credit: AP Photo

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Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

Here is my top 50 NFL Draft prospects. It’s fairly conventional at the top but I have a lot Wide Receivers rated quite differently than is typical. I’m sure you disagree but that’s how these things work. Enjoy.

  1. Laremy Tunsil OT Mississippi – Best OT prospect in at least 5 years but may have character issues.
  2. Myles Jack LB UCLA – Could start in NFL at LB or S or RB Jack truly is Jack of all trades. Elite athleticism. Knee injury is probably not as serious as feared but could limit career. Would have #1 if I was completely sure about knee.
  3. Jalen Ramsey CB/S Florida St. – Could be shutdown corner, even better as safety. Olympic-caliber athleticism.
  4. Joey Bosa DE Ohio St. – Less than elite athleticism but tenacious and strong. A tactician who will not be denied.
  5. DeForest Buckner DE/DT Oregon – Big and tall; an ideal 3-4 DE but would work fine as a 4-3 DT.
  6. Ezekiel Elliot RB Ohio St. – Running ability, pass-catcher, blocker, a rare 3-down back who is absolutely elite.
  7. Jared Goff QB California – Tremendous production with very little talent around him. Somewhat less than ideal size. 3-year starter; mentally and physically tough.
  8. Carson Wentz QB NDSU – Prototypical NFL size, above-average athleticism. Competitive and smart. Ran pro-style system in college.
  9. Vernon Hargreaves III CB Florida – 3-year starter in SEC. All SEC each season. Undersized but elite talent and ballhawking abilities.
  10. Ronnie Stanley OT Notre Dame – Plug and play at LT. Needs to add strength but great feet and experience in pro-style offense. Doesn’t have Tunsil’s athleticism or upside but can be a Pro Bowl LT.
  11. Shaq Lawson DE Clemson – Was overshadowed in CFB final when teammate, Dodd, notched 3 sacks to his 2. But easily the 2nd best pass-rusher in draft. Looks bigger than his listed 270.
  12. Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson – Why do people think he’ll slip out of 1st round? Undersized but plays bigger. Absolute shutdown potential. CFB title game changed when he left with injury.
  13. Andrew Billings DT Baylor – Best potential NT in draft. Oakman got all the attention on Baylor’s defense but Billings made all the difference.
  14. Laquon Treadwell WR Mississippi – Slower than idea but has a big frame and plays bigger. Catches contested passes – reminds me of Michael Irvin.
  15. Chris Jones DE/DT Mississippi St. – Lives in opponents backfields. Strong, quick, disruptive.
  16. Sheldon Rankins DL Louisville – Yet another DT/NT prospect. Tremendous versatility. Strong and quick.
  17. William Jackson III CB Houston – Elite athleticism & best size as true CB. Production matches athleticism.
  18. Jarran Reed DL Alabama – Experience as 4-3 DT, 3-4 DE, NT, strong and well-coached. Isn’t great as a pass-rusher but shows potential there.
  19. Leonard Floyd OLB/DE Georgia – Smaller than ideal as a DE but quick off edge & has experience dropping into coverage.
  20. Michael Thompson WR Ohio St. – QB play & scheme at Ohio St. limited production. Arguably best height/weight/speed/hands combo in draft. My fave WR.
  21. Cody Whitehair G/T Kansas – May not have length to play tackle but played it at elite level in col. Possible RT, or merely elite Guard? Tactician and very strong base.
  22. Josh Doctson WR TCU – Fast WR with reliable hands and solid size.
  23. Jonathan Bullard DL Florida – Smaller and lighter than most 3-4 DE prospects. But amazing quickness and underrated strength. Lives in opponents backfields.
  24. A’Shawn Robinson DL Alabama – Greying beard make him look 30+ but this man-child has surprising athleticism. Gets caught coasting sometimes but has super high upside.
  25. Jack Conklin OT Michigan St. – Strong, can be beat with speed. Probably limited to RT but a worker. Solid tackle prospect.
  26. Corey Coleman WR Baylor – Best of the smaller, shiftier WRs in draft. Elite speed. Doesn’t have poor hands but not as sure-handed as a few others. I have Coleman lower than most.
  27. Reggie Ragland ILB Alabama – A bull of a man. Good diagnosis of running game. Sure tackler. Probably a 2-down LB but can seriously help run-defense.
  28. Karl Joseph S West Virginia – Best safety prospect not named Ramsey (or Jack). Smallish but freakish hitter and great ball skills (5 INTs in 4 games before injury ended col. career).
  29. Vernon Butler DL Louisiana Tech – This class is so deep in interior DL. Strong with good bull rush. Not elite run defender but can get better.
  30. Ryan Kelly C Alabama – Best Center in draft. Travis Frederick upside.
  31. Jason Spriggs OT Indiana – Former TE needs to get stronger but quick and agile, will probably start at RT but legitimate LT prospect.
  32. Kenny Clark DL UCLA – This young defender is one of the best against the run. Probably most ideally suited for a 4-3 DT may grow into a 3-4 NT.
  33. Robert Nkemdiche DL Mississippi – Production didn’t match athleticism and character concerns hurt stock but has top10 upside.
  34. Kevin Dodd DE Clemson – Limited production until ’15 season and is older than most prospects so continued development is unlikely. But will be solid if unspectacular 4-3 DE.
  35. Paxton Lynch QB Memphis – May have highest upside of any QB in draft. Big Ben-type frame and athleticism. College system didn’t require him to make NFL reads/decisions at LOS. Needs to sit and learn.
  36. Hunter Henry TE Arkansas – Best TE in class. Sure hands. Blocked a lot in college. May be underrated because of system constraints.
  37. Emmnuel Ogbah DE Oklahoma St. – Plays stiff and not great against the run but despite lack of fluidity Ogbah has had tremendous colligate production. Probably a 4-3 DE.
  38. Noah Spence DE/OLB Eastern Kentucky – Smaller and not as fast as one would want for a 3-4 OLB but production is real good and plays faster than 40 time. Huge character flags – is he reformed?
  39. Eli Apple CB Ohio St. – Not a ballhawk but good coverage skills and athleticism.
  40. Shilique Calhoun OLB/DE Michigan St. – Another above-average Edge-rusher, probably best suited for 3-4 OLB.
  41. Kamalei Correa DE/OLB Boise St. – Underrated edge-rusher, probably a 3-4 OLB. Didn’t play against elite talent.
  42. Taylor Decker OT Ohio St. – Struggled at times. Almost certainly not good enough to be a LT. I think he’s slightly overrated because of the team he played for.
  43. Adolphus Washington DL Ohio St. – Stock drops due to depth of interior DL. Hard to favor over other DL but solid interior disruptor.
  44. Nick Martin C Notre Dame – More of a tactician than Alabama’s Kelly but nearly as good.
  45. Richard Higgins WR Colorado St. – Underrated WR with good size and athleticism and elite hands.
  46. Darron Lee LB Ohio St. – Smaller and lighter than ideal for an NFL LB, probably limited to a 4-3 OLB but flashes elite athleticism but too inconsistent. Likely to be a first round pick, also likely to underwhelm in NFL.
  47. Jihad Ward DL Illinois – His journey to the pros is an amazing story. Check it out. Tenacious and strong.
  48. Tyler Boyd WR Pittsburgh – Another underrated WR. Thinner than ideal but good height and solid speed with good hands.
  49. Kennith Dixon RB Louisiana Tech – Shifty and fast and stronger than expected. Probably best in RB-rotation but has starter ability.
  50. Artie Burns CB Miami – Ideal NFL CB size and speed. Great athleticism. Solid colligate production despite uneven coaching. Tragic family story. Great character.

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