1. Jadeveon Clowney — Defensive End — South Carolina
My highest ranked defensive end prospect since Bruce Smith came out of Virginia Tech in 1985. Clowney's defensive playmaking skills are off the charts and the 6-5 ½, 270 pounder has great edge speed and closing skills to the ballcarrier. Despite constant double-team blocking he recorded 54 tackles, 23 ½ tackles for losses, 3 forced fumbles and 13 quarterback sacks in 2012.
2. Teddy Bridgewater — Quarterback —Louisville
Bridgewater is a tremendous overall athlete who has excellent size, a strong arm and he has 1st rate accuracy skills in the pocket. His ability to move around outside the pocket is outstanding and he buys extra time for his receivers to get open downfield. The 6-3, 220-pounder completed 66.9% of his passes in 2012, he threw for 5,847 yards and 41 touchdowns.
3. Tajh Boyd — Quarterback — Clemson
Boyd reminds me in so many ways of former Tennessee Titans QB. Steve McNair. The Clemson standout passer is one tough dude hanging in the pocket until the last second to make a throw, he throws accurately from the pocket, he has excellent mobility skills and he is dangerous running with the ball. He completed 67.2% of his passes in 2012. Boyd passed for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns as a junior. He would have been the first QB. off the 2013 NFL draft board, had he decided to come out early.
4. Marqise Lee — Wide Receiver — USC
The 2012 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 scores for the Trojans. The 6-0, 200 pound Lee has very sure hands, great foot speed and explosive openfield moves. Lee is not only a gold chip "stretch" receiver, but he also excels in the return game averaging 28.5 yards per runback on kickoff returns.
5. Jake Matthews — Offensive Tackle — Texas A&M
Jake has some strong football genes in him being the son of former Houston Oilers NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. The 6-5, 305 pounder is a very good technician, he is a strong in-line run blocker and a very good pass protector. Has started for the Aggies since midway into his freshman season. This season he plays left tackle for the Aggies.
6. Taylor Lewan — Offensive Tackle — Michigan
Lewan is tough, strong, a mauler as a run blocker and his size and length makes him a very good pass protector. The 6-7, 310 pounder has 35 starts at left tackle for the Wolverines and he moves his feet so smoothly for a big man. He has skills in the same area code as another former Wolverine standout in former Miami Dolphins and current St. Louis Rams left tackle Jake Long.
7. Sammy Watkins — Wide Receiver — Clemson
The former prep track star put up great numbers as a freshman totaling 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 scores, but DeAndre Hopkins became the "go-to" wide receiver in 2012. Watkins now becomes the #1 receiver for the Tigers in 2013 and will better his 57 catch, 708 yards and 3 touchdown totals of 2012. This young man can really stretch the deep areas of the field, but he needs to refine his short to medium pass catching area of the game in 2013.
8. Anthony Barr — Outside Linebacker — UCLA
Former running back who displayed tremendous openfield running skills and defensive trackdown instincts in 2012. Barr recorded 83 tackles, 21 ½ tackles for losses and 13 ½ QB. sacks at outside linebacker for the Bruins. Anthony's dad, Tony Brooks, and 3 uncles all played in the NFL.
9. Austin Seferian-Jenkins — Tight End — Washington
Jenkins is the most dangerous pass catching tight end in college football. His 6-6, 260 pound frame and outstanding eye-hand coordination makes him a huge threat in the short to medium range areas of the field and he has the speed to stretch the deep middle. An April DUI charge will not scare away NFL teams from falling in love with his tremendous football talent.
10. Cyrus Kouandjio — Offensive Tackle — Alabama
The former Parade Magazine All-American has quickly developed into one of the premier left tackles in college football. Cyrus is a quick-footed tackle, who knows how to use his arms and hands well in pass protection sets and he is a power-packed run blocker. Kouandjio is a very athletic and flexible 6-5 ½, 310 pounder.
11. De'Anthony Thomas — Halfback/Wide Receiver/Return Man — Oregon Thomas will be the 2013 version of what Tavon Austin brought to the table for West Virginia in 2012. Thomas has world-class sprinter's speed and he is so difficult to bring down in one-on-one situations out on the field. Last season Thomas rushed for 701 yards and averaged 7.6 yards per carry, he caught 45 passes for 445 yards and 5 scores, and the 5-9, 180 pounder averaged 17.1 yards per return as a punt returner and 24.3 yards per runback as a kickoff returner.
12. Brett Hundley — Quarterback — UCLA
Hundley has only started one season for the Bruins, but the 6-3, 225 pound strong-armed QB. really impressed me with his accuracy throwing from the pocket and his ability to find the correct open receiver downfield in his first season as a starter. Brett completed 66.5% of his throws for 3,740 yards, 29 TD's and only 9 pass interceptions in 2012. Keep an eye on the development of Hundley in 2013 and he could vault up into the top-5 of this list quickly.
13. Johnny Manziel — Quarterback — Texas A&M
"Johnny Football" made quite an impact in his first season playing college football in 2012. The redshirt freshman won the Heisman Trophy and he looked so much like a younger version of what I saw in Steve Young when he was at Brigham Young. The 6-0 ½, 200 pounder completed 68% of his passes in 2012. He also threw for 3,706 yards, 26 touchdowns and 9 pass interceptions going up against the toughest competition college football can offer in the SEC. His foot speed and running skills made him quite a threat as he compiled 1,410 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. What impressed me the most was his quick release and accuracy skills throwing from the pocket.
14. Kyle Van Noy — Outside Linebacker — Brigham Young
Ezekiel Ansah got most of the attention last season due to his great athleticism and his journey into football, but the best defensive player on the Cougar team was Van Noy. The former prep wide receiver and track sprinter racked up 53 tackles, a team-leading 22 tackles for losses, 13 QB. sacks and he forced 6 fumbles. Van Noy is quite a threat coming off the edge and he has developed a very strong array of moves and countermoves to get away from potential blockers.
15. Stephon Tuitt — Defensive End — Notre Dame
Tutt is a big defensive end measuring in at 6-5 ½, and 305 pounds and he is perfect for a 3-4 alignment defense. But what stands out is his ability to push the pocket either off the edge or inside. Tuitt racked up 41 tackles, 13 tackles for losses and 12 QB. sacks last season for the Irish.
16. C.J. Mosley — Outside Linebacker — Alabama
Mosley is another one of the top linebacker produced by the Tide under Nick Saban. At 6-2, 235 pounds Mosley has the size to be physical in run defense and he also has the speed and quickness to drop back smoothly into his pass coverage drops. C.J. recorded a team-leading 99 tackles, 7 tackles for losses, 4 QB. sacks and 2 pass interceptions in 2012.
17. Antonio Richardson — Offensive Tackle — Tennessee
The 6-6, 320 pound offensive lineman was so impressive that the Volunteers moved senior offensive tackle Dallas Thomas to guard in 2012 so Antonio could play left tackle. Richardson has great size, quick feet and he has developed very good pass blocking techniques. His explosive qualities off the snap make him quite a run blocker also.
18. Bradley Roby — Cornerback — Ohio State
Roby, a former three sport standout in high school (football, basketball and track), has developed into one of the top one-on-one cover cornerbacks in the nation. Roby recorded 17 pass break-ups in 2012 and he also had 2 pass interceptions. Underrated as a run defender and the 5-11, 195 pounder recorded 63 tackles in 2012.
19. Donte Moncrief — Wide Receiver — Ole Miss
Moncrief has excellent size (6-2 1/2, 215), tremendous deep speed and 1st rate eye-hand coordination. Donte caught 66 passes for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012. This very physical and fast wide receiver will be a very well known football talent by the end of the 2013 season.
20. Jason Verrett — Cornerback — TCU
Verrett was considered one of the elite junior college defensive players when he came out of Santa Rosa Junior College. His transition to one of the toughest defenses in college football was quick. The 5-10, 180 pound cornerback excelled in man-coverage sets and he recorded 16 pass break-ups and 6 pass interceptions. Verrett also is fierce in run support and he registered 63 tackles. NFL scouts will really get excited to see his ballhawking skills and his recovery speed out on the field.
21. La'el Collins — Offensive Tackle — LSU
Collins was considered the top offensive tackle prospect in the Deep South when he came out of Redemptorist High School in Baton Rouge. The 6-5, 320 pound roadgrader excelled at guard in his first two seasons at LSU, but he has now been moved to the left tackle spot. Collins is the best offensive line prospect to don the purple and gold since Andrew Whitworth. His great size, long arms and quick feet will make him a top offensive tackle prospect for 2014.
22. Anthony Johnson — Defensive Tackle — LSU
"The Freak" was considered the best defensive tackle in the country when he came out of O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans. The 6-3, 295 pound tackle has played in the shadow of Brockers, Montgomery, Mingo and Logan the past two seasons at LSU, but it is now time for Johnson to turn potential into production for the Tigers. Anthony is cat-quick for a big man, he has excellent inside penetration skills and he is now starting to us his arms and hands properly to get off blockers in a quicker manner.
23. Louis Nix III — Defensive Tackle — Notre Dame
At 6-2 ½ and 325 pounds Nix knows how to clog up the inside rushing lanes and he is also noted for his ability to push the inside pocket. Last season the mammoth noseguard racked up 50 tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for losses, 2 QB. sacks and 3 pass deflections. Manti Te'o got a lot of free runs to the ballcarrier due to Nix's ability to tie-up multiple blockers.
24. Will Sutton — Defensive Tackle — Arizona State
Sutton is not that big space-eater in the middle at 6-1 and 290 pounds, but he excels at pushing the inside pocket and he is a very good interior pass rusher. Sutton racked up 23 ½ tackles for losses and 13 QB. sacks in 2012 and he was the PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Sutton’s quick upfield movement skills and his outstanding hand usage remind me a lot of Cincinnati Bengals DT. Geno Atkins.
25. A.J. McCarron — Quarterback — Alabama
McCarron is smart, he can make all the throws downfield, he is very accurate throwing from the pocket and he has good mobility skills to buy time and escape a heavy rush. You have to love A.J.'s late game heroics and his ability to play big in big games. He played in a different style offense at BC, but in many ways McCarron reminds me of Atlanta Falcons QB. Matt Ryan.
26. Larry Webster — Defensive End — Bloomsburg State
The 6-6 ½, 250 pound former basketball standout made quite an impact in his first season playing football in 2012. The son of former NFL defensive lineman Larry Webster, was in on 15 tackles for losses and 13 ½ quarterback sacks playing football for the first time since high school. While he is still rough around the edges as a technician Webster has excellent size, a huge wingspan to throw over and he has natural pass rush instincts.
27. Adrian Hubbard — Outside Linebacker — Alabama
Hubbard is another long, real lean pass rusher with tremendous athletic ability from Alabama. The 6-5, 250 pound strongside linebacker specializes in rushing the QB. and he totaled 10 tackles for losses, 6 quarterback sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 2012. Adrian needs some work on his pass coverage skills, but he has outstanding athletic gifts and he can run the field like a much smaller player.
28. Jordan Matthews — Wide Receiver — Vanderbilt
Matthews, a former prep basketball standout, has developed into one of college football’s top pass receiving threats. At 6-3, 212 pounds Matthews has excellent size, strong hands, very good route running skills and he makes big plays after the catch. Jordan has caught 135 passes for 2,101 yards and 13 scores the past two seasons at Vanderbilt. He is the cousin of the greatest wide receiver to ever put on a jockstrap and a helmet in Jerry Rice.
29. Ryan Shazier — Outside Linebacker — Ohio State
Shazier has been quite a force on one of the top defenses in college football. The speedy 6-2, 225 pound weakside linebacker recorded a team-leading 115 tackles, 17 tackles for losses and 5 QB. sacks in 2012. He also excelled in man coverage spots and Ryan registered 11 pass break-ups for the Buckeyes last season. His quick moves to the ballcarrier and outstanding football instincts make him quite an outside linebacker prospect for the 2014 NFL draft.
30. Jackson Jeffcoat — Defensive End — Texas
Jackson, the son of former NFL defensive lineman Jim Jeffcoat, who played with the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills, has been a major edge force for the Longhorns. At 6-5, 250 pounds Jackson has a long, very lean build and an explosive initial surge up the field. He has recorded 32 tackles for losses and 12 quarterback sacks the past two seasons despite missing 7 games in 2012 due to a ruptured right pectoral muscle. If he medically tests out OK and can stay healthy in 2013 look for a big season out of Jeffcoat. His best position in the NFL may well be as a standup outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment.
31. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu — Cornerback — Oregon
Olumu lacks great size (5-9 ½, 190), but he has quietly developed into one of the top cover cornerbacks in college football. Ife has excellent ball reaction instincts and closing speed to the football. Last season Ifo recorded 20 pass deflections, 4 pass interceptions and he forced 6 fumbles. For a smaller cornerback Olumu will also come up quickly in run support and he is a solid openfield tackler.
32. Brandon Coleman Wide Receiver — Rutgers
At 6-5 and 220 pounds Coleman was a standout basketball star in high school and he has put those skills to great use out on the football field. The sure-handed Coleman gives defenders nightmares trying to guard him in one-on-one situations and he can make the tough catch outside his body radius. Coleman caught 43 passes for 718 yards, averaged 16.7 yards per catch and scored 10 TD's in 2012.
Later in the week (33-64) on my list of top players for the 2014 NFL Draft