Post-NFL Combine: Joel Klatt’s top five players at each position
The Combine is over. Potential draftees were able to strut their stuff in Indy. Who moved up and who fell in Joel Klatt’s top five at each position? Check it out.
* — Junior who declared for draft early
** — Redshirt sophomore who declared for draft early
QUARTERBACKS (previous ranking)
1. *Marcus Mariota, Oregon
2. **Jameis Winston, Florida State
3. Sean Mannion, Oregon State (4)
4. Bryce Petty, Baylor (5)
5. *Brett Hundley, UCLA (3)
On Deck: Garrett Grayson, Colorado State
Still no change at the top of the list for the QBs. Mariota had a solid Combine in which he gained some much needed weight at the expense of a few tenths of his 40 time, which most NFL evaluators wanted to see. Winston threw the ball well and was a bit slower than most thought coming in, but he reaffirmed his status as a polarizing prospect with his personality and off-field issues. The fact that these two both threw the ball means that the other QBs were left in the dust and they were not able to create any momentum for themselves. Hundley was hurt the most and will have a hard time finding his way into the top half of the second round.
1. *Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
2. *Todd Gurley, Georgia (NR)
3. Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
4. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
5. *TJ Yeldon, Alabama
On Deck: Javorius Allen, USC (NR)
Moved down: Tevin Coleman, Indiana (2)
Gordon is a first-round talent regardless of his position being devalued in the NFL in the past four to five years. Gurley had an interesting week with his surgically repaired knee. He didn’t want all 32 teams poking and prodding his knee, but he is ahead of schedule per his doctor, James Andrews. He has tremendous balance, can find space in tight windows and has the explosiveness to create big plays. He was the most dominant player in the SEC before his injury.
1. Kevin White, West Virginia (2)
2. *Amari Cooper, Alabama (1)
3. *Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
4. *Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma (NR)
5. DeVante Parker, Louisville
On Deck: *Nelson Agholor, USC (NR)
Moved down: Phillip Dorsett, Miami (5)
This group is the deepest and most talented of the draft. I won’t be shocked if we see nine to 10 wide receivers selected in the first 50 picks. White was a man among boys at the Combine and should get selected in the top five, probably to Oakland. Cooper is only 20 years old but he is so refined as a player and route runner, it is hard to see him being able to improve by a wide margin. Green-Beckham has Calvin Johnson size and ran under 4.50 at the Combine. He is so talented that it will be fairly easy for an organization to overlook his off-field issues.
1. **Maxx Williams, Minnesota
2. Clive Walford, Miami (4)
3. Wes Saxton, So. Alabama (5)
4. Nick O’Leary, Florida State (3)
5. Jeff Heurman, Ohio State (2)
On Deck : EJ Bibbs, Iowa State
Devin Funchess may be evaluated as a tight end and immediately would be vaulted to No. 1 on this board. He played the entire year at wide receiver for Michigan and would be a fine NFL receiver, but he has drawn comparisons to Saints TE Jimmy Graham.
Walford and Saxton jumped up the board with strong showings in Indy, but this remains a thin class of tight ends. Williams had two years of eligibility remaining, but made a great decision entering the draft due to the lack of competition within his position group. He will get over-drafted because of need this year.
1. *Ereck Flowers, Miami (2)
2. La’el Collins, LSU (5)
3. *Andrus Peat, Stanford
4. D.J. Humphries, Florida (NR)
5. Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M (4)
On Deck : TJ Clemmings, Pitt (NR)
Moved out: Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State
This was my biggest change to date. I have moved Brandon Schreff to offensive guard and away from the top position on the tackles section. That has freed up the spot for Flowers, who likely will have to play some guard early in his career before ending up at right tackle. This is not a great class of tackles and I don’t think that you will see one of these players drafted in the top 10, which is highly unusual. However, these players slipping down the Big Board is great news for teams like Denver, which will be loading up on linemen in this year’s draft.
GUARD / CENTER
1. Cameron Erving, Florida State
2. Brandon Scherff, Iowa
3. Laken Tomlinson, Duke
4. Tre’ Jackson, Florida State
5. AJ Cann, South Carolina
On Deck: Josue Matias, Florida State
Versatility is so important for a young lineman who is not a surefire top-five pick in the draft. Erving played mostly offensive tackle the past two seasons at Florida State, but he was most natural when he moved to center for the last half of this past season. He is the best interior lineman in the draft, but Scherff is strong and nasty and could have a big impact as a guard in the NFL.
1. *Landon Collins, Alabama
2. Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
3. *Chris Hackett, TCU (4)
4. *Gerod Holliman, Louisville (3)
5. Derron Smith, Fresno State (NR)
On Deck : Jaquiski Tartt, Samford (NR)
Moved out: Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State (5)
Collins is the clear class of this group and the only safety that I am comfortable giving a first-round grade. The others will be bunched up together just outside of the top 50 and I think there will be a bit of a run on safeties in the back half of the second round and into the third round. Hackett is an intriguing player and TCU’s secondary was much better than people think.
1. *Trae Waynes, Michigan State
2. *Marcus Peters, Washington
3. *PJ Williams, Florida State
4. *Jalen Collins, LSU
5. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon (NR)
On Deck : Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest (NR)
Moved out: Kevin White, TCU (5)
I haven’t moved Peters past Waynes but I am close to doing so. Peters was kicked off the team at Washington, but none of his problems was related to off-field discipline; rather, you could argue that Peters cared too much about the success of the Huskies. Strong group and if Ekpre-Olomu can continue to show solid recovery from an ACL injury, he easily could rise up the board; however, time is running out before the draft.
1. *Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
2. Eric Kendricks, UCLA
3. Denzel Perryman, Miami
4. Paul Dawson, TCU (NR)
5. Ben Heeney, Kansas (4)
On Deck: Ramik Wilson, Georgia (5)
Moved out: Stephone Anthony, Clemson
McKinney did not run a solid 40 time and with Kendricks surprising some with his time, he is gaining some momentum at the right time. Perryman is undersized but has good instincts, and Dawson makes an appearance on the list. He was a disruptive player for TCU during its fabulous season.
1. *Dante Fowler Jr., Florida (3)
2. Vic Beasley, Clemson (1)
3. *Shane Ray, Missouri (2)
4. Eli Harold, Virginia (NR)
5. *Shaq Thompson, Washington (4)
On Deck: Nate Orchard, Utah (5)
Fowler had one of the five best Combines in Indy and solidified himself as the most NFL-ready OLB in the draft. He weighed in at 260 pounds which was a great weight, but then backed it up with great performances in the movement drills. This is as strong a group as there is in the draft other than at wide receiver.
1. *Randy Gregory, Nebraska
2. Alvin Dupree, Kentucky
3. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA
4. *Arik Armstead, Oregon
5. *Danielle Hunter, LSU
On Deck: *Mario Edwards Jr., Florida State
No change to this group as all of these players performed well in Indy. One of the only things that could be taken as a negative is that Gregory weighed in light at less than 240 pounds, which will have to be corrected before the season. Dupree continues to impress and was one of the more impressive performers in Indy with a fast time and excellent interviews by all accounts.
1. *Leonard Williams, USC
2. Danny Shelton, Washington
3. *Malcom Brown, Texas
4. Eddie Goldman, Florida State
5. **Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma (NR)
On Deck: Michael Bennett, Ohio State (5)
The DTs are another strong group and they were solid in Indy. Williams is the best player available in the draft and Shelton continues to impress everyone. Phillips is one of the more intriguing players in the draft as he didn’t have great production, but the athletic ability jumps off the tape. All of these players are strong candidates to get selected in the top 50.