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2017 NFL Draft Underclassmen Projections, Tracker & Quick Analysis

2017 NFL Draft Underclassmen Projections, Tracker & Quick Analysis


Where are all the college football underclassmen going? Who’s coming out early and where will they be taken in the 2017 NFL Draft?


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95 players applied for early entry into the 2017 NFL Draft, held April 27th to the 29th. Below are all the FBS players leaving early along with their projections. The FCS players taking off early: WR Devin Childress, North Park; DT Jeremy Faulk, Garden City CC; DT Isaiah Golden, McNeese State; WR Derrick Griffin, Texas Southern; CB Titus Howard, Slippery Rock; CB Aaron Peak, Butler County CC; RB Darius Victor, Towson; DE Khari Waithe-Alexander, Southern Illinois

Quarterbacks

Jerod Evans, Virginia Tech

Projected: 4th Round
It’s a strange choice for the 6-3, 235-pounder who could’ve made himself into a possible top 50 pick – if not a top option – had he returned. He’s got the size and mobility, but he could be an interesting mid-round flier.

Brad Kaaya, Miami

Projected: 2nd Round
He’s not the sure-thing top ten pick he was considered to be before the season, and the 210-pounder has to add weight to his 6-4 frame, but he’s got the skills to grow into a gig. He’ll need time, though.

DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame

Projected: 1st Round
There’s no more polarizing quarterback prospect. Some think he could go No. 1 overall to Cleveland, others think he could drop to the second round. The 6-4, 230-pound redshirt sophomore has the upside and measurables to be a superstar if given time to develop.

Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

Projected: 2nd Round
Good luck figuring him out. There’s no question he can throw, but can me make the move to an NFL offense? And how quickly can he operate in a pro-style attack? The scouts are going to love the passing skills, but he’s not all that big at 6-2, 220.

Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

Projected: 1st Round
If he’s not a Cleveland Brown a few months from now, he’ll be a 49er, or a Bear, or a top three pick to someone who’ll give away the farm to move up to get him. He’s a better prospect than Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, even if he’ll need at least a year of seasoning to become the next great NFL passer. It’s all there – he just needs more reps and more experience.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Projected: 1st Round
Is he big enough? Do you care about all the interceptions? The 6-2, 215-pounder is an elite leader, dangerous passer, and he knows how to win, but can he hold up? He’s the face of the franchise type of quarterback you want – as long as he can stay on the field at the next level.

Running Backs

James Conner, Pitt

Projected: 5th Round
The 6-2, 240-pounder might be one of the better power backs in the draft, but he doesn’t bring anything special enough to get into the top 100 picks. He’s the highest of character players, and he’s a great story, but he’s limited. Getting knocked out of the bowl game with a concussion doesn’t help.

Dalvin Cook, Florida State

Projected: 1st Round
Sometimes, playing in bowl games helps. He might not have the power of Ezekiel Elliott or Leonard Fournette, but he’s an explosive, franchise-caliber runner who should be the first back taken in the draft.

Tarean Folston, Notre Dame

Projected: Undrafted
Uhhhhh, okay. He ran for 889 yards and six touchdowns three years ago, but didn’t do much last season after missing almost all of 2015 hurt. He’ll get a long look in a camp, but he’ll bounce around practice squads.

D’Onta Foreman, Texas

Projected: 3rd Round
The 6-1, 250-pound blaster of a back did what he could to carry the Texas offense, but he took a beating. While he might not have a long shelf life with his style, he could be a fantastic part of a rotation and a killer around the goal line. He needed to get out – he proved what he could do.

Leonard Fournette, LSU

Projected:1st Round
His stock dipped a little bit after an injury-plagued year, but the talent is there to be the best running back in all of football. Flip a coin on whether or not he’d have been a Dallas Cowboy if he could’ve come out early last year, but this season he’ll be someone else’s workhorse star.

Wayne Gallman, Clemson

Projected: 4th Round
A slippery-tough 6-0, 215-pound runner, he’s been a wee bit overshadowed by Deshaun Watson, but at times he was every bit as important to the attack over the last few years. He should be a great value mid-round pick after the first tier goes.

Brian Hill, Wyoming

Projected: 4th Round
A dangerous home-run hitter, he could be devastating in the right system. However, he’ll slip into the middle rounds – he’ll likely be a rotational back, not a featured, franchise star.

Elijah Hood, North Carolina

Projected: 5th Round
First he was staying, then he had to miss the bowl, then he was going. He’s a good all-around back with nice hands, but this is a bad year for mid-level running backs to come out. The 5-11, 220-pounder will stick on a roster, but it’ll be a fight.

Aaron Jones, UTEP

Projected: 6th Round
The stats were a bit overblown, but the 5-10, 205-pounder could stick as a late-round flier who does a little of everything on special teams and as a reserve back.

Alvin Kamara, Tennessee

Projected: 5th Round
The 5-10, 215-pounder could be the mid-to-late round breakout back from the pack. He’ll fall after the first level, but there’s plenty of tread still on the tires – he could get a boost after workouts.

Marlon Mack, USF

Projected: 5th Round
He can play in the league, but it’s a bad, bad year for a mid-level NFL running back prospect to come out early. The 5-11, 205-pounder could’ve been the workhorse for Charlie Strong, but instead he’ll try to break through the pack and be a mid-round pick. The payoff could be massive for anyone who gets him after the fourth – if he’s still there.

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

Projected: 1st Round
It’ll be interesting to see what someone will want to do with him. He’s more of a fun toy of an NFL back than a true workhorse to run an offense around, but someone will love the multi-skilled back late in the first round.

Jeremy McNichols, Boise State

Projected: 2nd Round
He’ll get a big lift from the success of Jay Ajayi and Doug Martin, and could slip into the late first round with a little bit of luck. He’s more than good enough to be an NFL starter.

Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

Projected: 4th Round
Who’s going to take on the issues? There’s no questioning the talent of the 6-1, 226-pounder – he’s a first round talent. He’s got size, breakaway speed, and can catch, but can he avoid being a distraction? He’ll be a controversial pick for anyone who takes him – and some won’t have him on their board – but in terms of on-field production, there’s no question about what he can do.

Samaje Perine, Oklahoma

Projected: 3rd Round
How much can you count on him? When he’s right, he could be a terrific power back who can carry an offense, but he takes massive shots and gets banged up way too often.

Devine Redding, Indiana

Projected: Free Agent
The good: Indiana RBs Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard have been good enough at the next level to give Redding a long look. The bad: Redding isn’t Coleman or Howard. He’ll have to fight to make a squad.

Stanley Williams, Kentucky

Projected: 6th Round
It’s a curious move. He’s got the flash and the speed, but he could be turned into a third down back and might become a receiver with his wheels. He’s a dangerous home run hitter.

Joseph Yearby, Miami

Projected: 5th Round
Yeah, if you’re a running back, you come out early, but Yearby will have a hard time rising above the glut of mid-level running backs. A compact producer, he would’ve upped his stock in a big way with another year, but he’s good enough to get a shot at carrying a ground game.

Wide Receivers

Noah Brown, Ohio State

Projected: 5th Round
The measureables are too good to ignore, but the production wasn’t nearly up to snuff. He’s got the 6-2, 220-pound size, but he wasn’t enough of a deep threat. The workouts will move up his draft slot.

KD Cannon, Baylor

Projected: 3rd Round
Just how much did the big bowl performance help? It couldn’t hurt. He’s not the talent or prospect that Corey Coleman was coming out of Baylor, but he’s a playmaker who could instantly find a role as a No. 2 target.

Michael Clark, Marshall

Projected: 5th Round
Don’t be shocked if he gets drafted just on his upside and measurables. The Herd’s leading receiver – at least in terms of yards – he averaged over 17 yards per catch with five scores. With a 6-7, 212-pound frame, he’s going to be intriguing as the draft process goes on.

Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech

Projected: 3rd Round
Dominant at times in the ACC, he’s got good size and good deep ball skills, even if he’s not a blazer. One of the greatest receivers in Virginia Tech history, he’s ready – especially with QB Jerod Evans leaving.

Shelton Gibson, West Virginia

Projected: 5th Round
Ehhhhhhh, okay. He’s extremely quick, and he averaged over 22 yards per catch last season with eight scores, but the 6-0, 198-pounder could’ve used one massive 2017 season to crank up the buzz. He’s got the skills to make a team, but it’ll be a fight to bust through the pack.

Chris Godwin, Penn State

Projected: 3rd Round
The Rose Bowl star and leading Nittany Lion receiver is getting out while he’s hot. He’s got good size and solid enough deep skill to average close to 17 yards per grab, ripping up USC for 187 yards and two scores. A relative sleeper prospect, he was one of the few positives over the second half of last year’s Penn State debacle – he has No. 2 target potential.

Chad Hansen, Cal

Projected: 6th Round
One of the pleasant surprises in 2016, he turned into the top target for Davis Webb, catching everything that came his way with 92 grabs for 1,249 yards and 11 scores. With decent size and great hands, he’s got a chance to stick on a roster, but it’ll be close.

Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech

Projected: 4th Round
He blew up as one of the nation’s most devastating deep threats, catching 82 passes for over 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns. Ultra-quick, he can be used in a variety of ways, but he’ll be a killer of a No. 3 target on the outside. Yeah, you come out after a season like this.

Jerome Lane, Akron

Projected: Free Agent
Uh, okay. The former linebacker has excellent 6-2, 220-pound size, and he’ll fight for the ball, but he’ll have to rock on special teams to make a roster.

Josh Malone, Tennessee

Projected: Free Agent
While he looks the part, can he do anything at a high enough level to rise up as a key part of an NFL receiving corps? He could be drafted late based on the measurable.

Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia

Projected: 6th Round
It’s all about whether or not he can find a niche as a slot receiver or a returner. There’s no size, but he’s a lightning-quick 5-8, 170-pounder who can make things happen on the move. It’s unfortunate – it would’ve been interesting to see what he could’ve done after another year with Jacob Eason.

Deon-Tay McManus, Marshall

Projected: Free Agent
It’s a reach. The team’s second-leading receiver might have to fight way too hard to stay in a camp, but he already graduated from Marshall and he’s not going to get more deep speed. However, at 6-1 and 230 pounds, he’s got an interesting frame.

Speedy Noil, Texas A&M

Projected: 6th Round
As the name would suggest, he can move, but is he worth it? He was just okay for the Aggies – catching 88 passes for just over 1,100 yards and nine scores – but he was suspended from the team. He’ll have to make it as a kick returner.

John Ross, Washington

Projected: 2nd Round
An elite deep threat, he could slide into the first round with a few good workouts. While he’s not going to be a franchise-making No. 1 target, he should be a devastating outside threat with the right attack.

Travis Rudolph, Florida State

Projected: 3rd Round
The 6-1, 189-pounder won’t be anyone’s No. 1 target, but he’ll be a rock-solid No. 3 who’ll be a team-leader and a high-character part of any locker room. Steady over his three years with the Seminoles, he’ll be ultra-reliable.

Curtis Samuel, Ohio State

Projected: 3rd Round
It’ll all depend on what you want to do with him. A jack-of-all-trades for the Buckeyes, he’s got the quickness, athleticism, and 5-11, 200-pound size to be a fun toy for a good offensive coordinator. He could slide into the second round with a few good workouts.

Artavis Scott, Clemson

Projected: 3rd Round
While he isn’t the talent that Mike Williams is, he was an ultra-productive part of the offense over his three seasons, stepping up with a 93-catch 2016 when Williams was hurt. He’s a good Clemson receiver – he’ll be fine.

Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M

Projected: 5th Round
He never lived up to his potential. While he was okay, he only caught 26 passes this season missing a slew of games. He’s got the 6-5, 240-pound size, and he could be devastating around the goal line, but he didn’t blow up like he should’ve.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC

Projected: 2nd Round
He was an NFL player from the very start, The 6-2, 220-pounder has he size and deep speed to rise up into the first round, but in a relatively deep draft, he’s more likely to fall to the early second – and someone will pounce to get him.

ArDarius Stewart, Alabama

Projected: 4th Round
A strong, tough receiver, he’s built like a running back, but the 6-0, 204-pounder wasn’t able to show off too much considering the issues with the downfield passing game. He might turn into a better pro than a college player once he gets a pro passer throwing his way.

Damore’ea Stringfellow, Ole Miss

Projected: 6th Round
With a nice combination of size and deep ball skills, he’ll be an intriguing late-round flier. He averaged close to 15 yards per grab as a Rebel, and someone will be interested in the 6-2, 215-pound size with his upside.

Mike Williams, Clemson

Projected: 1st Round
Really, is his neck okay? He was just fine this year after missing almost all of 2015 after colliding with a goal post, but NFL doctors are going to be looking for the slightest little issue considering he’ll probably be the No. 1 receiver off the board. The 90 catches for close to 1,300 yards and ten scores before the national championship looked just fine.

Ishmael Zamora, Baylor

Projected: 6th Round
There’s a chance he could be a late round flier on measurables. The 6-3, 220-pounder could’ve been the star of the Bear passing game after finishing second on the team with 63 catches for 809 yards and eight scores.

Tight Ends

Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech

Projected: 2nd Round
By any chance, did you notice how down the tight ends were this year in the NFL? Hodges could be an instant starter with 6-6, 245-pound size and terrific quickness, catching 133 passes for 1,747 yards and 20 scores. The former quarterback will be an NFL passers’ best friend.

David Njoku, Miami

Projected: 1st Round
The 6-4, 245-pounder will be everyone’s draft-crush come April. With a freakish blend of size, hands, and skills – catching eight touchdown passes this year and averaging close to 17 yards per grab in his career. He’s hardly a finished product, but he’ll move his way into the first round after he gets through the evaluation process.

Offensive Linemen

Garett Bolles, Utah

Projected: 2nd Round
It’s the right move in a relatively light year for offensive tackles. The 6-5, 296-pounder is a mature 24 with a wife and kid, and he’ll be ready to roll from Day One. He could stand to add a little weight, but as is he’ll be one of the top run blockers in the draft.

Rodrick Johnson, Florida State

Projected: 2nd Round
While he’s not a bulky tackle, he can move well enough to be a good-value left tackle taken late in the first round or early in the second. He’s got the blasting ability to be used as a tough run blocker, but it’ll all come down to how his feet look in the offseason circuit.

Damien Mama, USC

Projected: 3rd Round
You know exactly what you’re getting. The 6-3, 325-pounder won’t play on the outside and will mostly work as a right guard, but he could be a top run blocker to move behind when a team needs a hard yard.

Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

Projected: 1st Round
Don’t think of him as a typical Wisconsin behemoth – he’s an athletic 6-5, 314-pound left tackle who should be the second lineman off the board after Cam Robinson. It’s a loaded draft up top, but he’ll be a steal in the 20s.

Cam Robinson, Alabama

Projected: 1st Round
And here’s the main man for anyone’s offensive front. The prototype, the 6-6, 310-pounder is a left tackle who can destroy in the running game. There might have been a few issues in his college career, but there aren’t any problems – he’s a top 15 pick without question.

David Sharpe, Florida

Projected: 3rd Round
Is he a tackle or a guard? He worked on the outside with the Gators, and he’ll get a look at right tackle, but at 6-5 and 357 pounds, he’ll quickly kick inside. The versatility and power, though, will get help his value – he’ll be tried out at several spots.

Defensive Linemen

Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Projected: 1st Round
Everyone has Myles Garrett going as the top pass rusher in the 2017 Draft. While the Aggie is a freakish talent with the upside to be a superstar, Barnett might not be as far behind as many might believe. Barnett is even more consistent than his SEC counterpart.

Caleb Brantley, Florida

Projected: 2nd Round
The 6-2, 297-pound defensive tackle isn’t about the stats. He can get into the backfield, and he’s solid against the run, but his job will be to hold up in an interior. He might be a bit undersized, but he’s active – he’s a part of a puzzle and versatile enough to start in any system.

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Projected: 1st Round
Yeah, this is the guy. If you’re looking to come up with everything you want in an NFL pass rusher, Garrett is it. While he was a marked man this year, and his numbers might not have been off-the-charts special, he’s a rare athlete with No. 1 overall pick potential and talent.

Davon Godchaux, LSU

Projected: 3rd Round
The ultra-active tackle got in on just about everything up front, making 62 tackles with 6.5 sacks this year. He’s not a space-eater at 6-4 and 293 pounds, but he can move, and he’s versatile enough to play wherever needed up front.

Charles Harris, Missouri

Projected: 2nd Round
A bit of a tweener, he’s the latest sensational Missouri pass rusher with hybrid skills. While he’s an end by trade, he could be move to an outside linebacker if needed with his 6-3, 255-pound size. In his last two seasons, he came up with 16 sacks with 30.5 tackles for loss.

Nazair Jones, North Carolina

Projected: 3rd Round
The excellent-sized interior presence isn’t just a good pass rusher, he’s solid against the run coming up with 70 tackles. With his length and quickness, he’s versatile enough to be used in a variety of ways.

Carl Lawson, Auburn

Projected: 2nd Round
A fringe first rounder, he’s an outside linebacker who’ll get work as a tweener of a pass rusher. He’s got the fire and the competitiveness, and he can get to the quarterback. Consider him a good value pick in the second round for a defensive end rotation.

Malik McDowell, Michigan State

Projected: 1st Round
While he’s only 276 pounds, and he’s not going to be used as an anchor, he’s an ideal 3-4 NFL tackle who can fly off the ball and own the backfield – when he’s 100%. He wasn’t quite right all year – playing in nine games – but that won’t matter. If he’s not the top tackle off the board, he’ll be second.

Al-Quadin Muhammad, Miami

Projected: Free Agent
Booted from Miami after a concern about NCAA violations, he’s got next-level skills, but he’ll have to make a team on special teams. The 6-3, 250-pounder came up with five sacks and 54 tackles in 2015.

Elijah Qualls, Washington

Projected: 2nd Round
There’s a chance he slides into the first round depending on whether or not someone’s looking for an anchor. Probably the biggest tackle who’ll go in the top 100 picks, the 6-1, 321-pounder just doesn’t move off his base. He can get into the backfield, too.

Garrett Sickels, Penn State

Projected: 4th Round
Will he be a defensive end? Undersized at 6-4 and around 250 pounds, he’s not build to handle a full-time workload up front, but he could be an intriguing mid-round pass rusher.

Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State

Projected: 2nd Round
With one of the best combinations of size and interior quickness in the draft, the 6-2, 310-pounder has just enough strength to hold his own against the run, but he’s a pass rusher. Opinions on him will vary wildly.

Solomon Thomas, Stanford

Projected: 1st Round
One of the most interesting pass rushing options in the draft, the 275-pound Thomas is bigger than Myles Garrett and Derek Barnett, and he could turn into the better all-around player. He’ll slide out of the top ten, but teams will be battling to move around to get a guy with his motor, his size, and his pass rushing skills.

Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA

Projected: 6th Round
While he just never turned into the killer he was supposed to become, the former superstar recruit was starting to look like a top run-stuffer before suffering a torn ACL before his 2015 season. He was okay this year, but he’ll be taken more on a projection.

Charles Walker, Oklahoma

Projected: 6th Round
Known mostly for leaving Oklahoma early to get ready for the NFL – and getting blasted for it – he was hurt for most of the season after rising up with a strong 36-tackle, six sack sophomore campaign.

Linebackers

Alex Anzalone, Florida

Projected: 5th Round
He was never, ever healthy. If he’s 100% and past the problems that kept him to just 18 games in four years, he’s a difference-maker on the outside with pass rushing potential. But there’s no way to rely on him staying in one piece.

Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

Projected: 1st Round
Everyone’s going to want him, but he’ll slide down late in the first round and probably to the early second if his workouts aren’t tremendous. It won’t matter – he’ll be someone’s leading tackler. At 6-3 and 230 pounds, he’s got the size to provide the pop to go along with his pass rushing skills.

Ukeme Eligwe, Georgia Southern

Projected: Free Agent
He only played one year at Georgia Southern, but he was a tackling machine with 104 stops. He’s an athletic 6-2 and 239 pounds, but he’ll have to make it on special teams.

Jermaine Grace, Miami

Projected: Free Agent
Way undersized as a linebacker, he’s a 6-1, 209-pound tweener who’ll have to make a team as a special teamer. He was booted off Miami after alleged issues with NCAA violations.

Tim Kimbrough, Georgia

Projected: Undrafted
Where does he play? The 6-0, 225-pounder will have to be a special teamer early on, but size and bulk will be an issue for the defense. He was third on the team in 2015 with 67 tackles before leaving the team prior to the 2016 season.

Elijah Lee, Kansas State

Projected: 4th Round
A killer of a loss for Kansas State, Lee led the team in tackles as a strong, tough leader of one of the Big 12’s best defenses. He’s undersized at 6-3 and 220 pounds, but he should be a good enough special teamer early on before finding a role in a linebacker rotation.

Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State

Projected: 1st Round
The 6-2, 240-pound thumper, McMillan lived up to the hype and turned into one of the most consistent, strongest inside linebackers in college football. He doesn’t have special athleticism – he could drop into the second round – but some GM is going to fall in love with the idea of the former Buckeye becoming the anchor of an NFL D.

Marcus Oliver, Indiana

Projected: Undrafted
The production this year was incredible, and he was one of the main reasons the Indiana defense stepped it up and was fantastic, but the 6-1, 240-pounder might have a hard time if he’s not a special teamer right away.

Anthony Walker, Northwestern

Projected: 2nd Round
He’ll be an interesting call. While he might not have elite athleticism, and he might be limited to the inside, he’s way too productive and way too good of a pure football player not to be someone’s leader of a linebacking corps. He does everything well.

T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

Projected: 3rd Round
While he’ll get a boost because of his last name, he’ll become a factor on his own – if he can stay in one piece. The former fullback came up with 63 tackles with 11.5 sacks, and once he finds the right role in the right defense, he’ll be turned loose as a pass rusher.

Defensive Backs

Jamal Adams, LSU

Projected: 1st Round
Watch out for Adams to be one of the hottest prospects in everyone’s mock draft – where does he go in the top ten? There will be the wave of QBs, then the defensive linemen, then Adams – everyone wants a safety like Adams. The 6-0, 211-pounder is like another linebacker against the run, and doesn’t miss an open field stop.

Budda Baker, Washington

Projected: 2nd Round
A top 50 talent, he could slip into the first round in a safety-starved NFL. He’s not all that big, but he’s a special all-around defender and run stopper who brings the pop – even if he’s built like a slot receiver.

Gareon Conley, Ohio State

Projected: 2nd Round
While he flew a bit under the radar among all the Buckeye star defenders, but he’s been a key part of the puzzle. Versatile enough to do just about anything at corner, he’s versatile enough and athletic enough to move into the late first round with a good workout.

Malik Hooker, Ohio State

Projected: 1st Round
All teams are looking for playmaking safeties who know how to get around the ball. Hooker blew up in his first year as a major factor making 74 tackles with seven picks – taking two for touchdowns. With his size and ball skills, he’ll go in the top 15.

Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

Projected: 1st Round
It’ll be either Humphrey or Teez Tabor who’ll be the first corner off the board. Forget about all the issue in the national championship, the 6-1, 196-pounder is a terrific all-around defender who doesn’t miss an open-field stop and solid ball skills.

Josh Jones, NC State

Projected: 3rd Round
Watch out for him after the first two days. He’ll be one of the hot names after the second round with his 6-2, 215-pound size and outstanding tackling ability. He came up with 109 stops and three picks this season, with the skills to play either safety spot.

Sidney Jones, Washington

Projected: 2nd Round
Budda Baker was the best player in the Husky secondary, but Jones was the tough corner who held his own as a good open-field tackler who made play after play when the ball was in the air. He’ll go just after the first wave of corners, and that won’t be too bad.

Marshon Latimore, Ohio State

Projected: 1st Round
He’s not going to be the first corner off the board, but he’ll be close – he’ll go late in the first round. While the 6-0, 195-pounder might not be the best Buckeye corner prospect over the last few seasons, but he’s a dangerous all-around playmaker who can handle himself on an island.

Monte Nicholson, Michigan State

Projected: 5th Round
A big-hitter, he’s got good size and he’s physical, but he’s got his limitations. There have been few better open-field tackling defensive backs in the Big Ten over the last few years, but he’s a bit of a safety tweener. He’ll slide further than he probably should.

Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

Projected: 1st Round
Here’s the problem – where does he play? He’s not an NFL linebacker, and he’s not a ball-hawker as a safety, but he’s a great all-around football player who’ll be a terrific part of any defensive puzzle. Here’s the big problem, though – can he stay healthy? Shoulder and hamstring problems might drop him a wee bit.

Teez Tabor, Florida

Projected: 1st Round
If he’s not the first defensive back off the board, he’s a fast No. 2 as a potential franchise coverman who should go in the top ten. He was ready last year, and if he could’ve come out, he would’ve gone ahead of former teammate Vernon Hargreaves. All the skills are there to be special right away.

Marcus Williams, Utah

Projected: 2nd Round
An interesting all-around defender, he’s been among the Pac-12’s best ball-hawkers over the last two years, coming up with ten interceptions and 129 tackles. Consistent, he’ll be a terrific value pick early in the second round.

Howard Wilson, Houston

Projected: 3rd Round
In terms of his draft stock, he should’ve stuck around for another year, but he could move up quickly in the draft process with a few special workouts. He bounced back from an injury to pick off five passes as the star of the secondary, and he can hit, too.

Quincy Wilson, Florida

Projected: 3rd Round
Granted, he’s been the worst of the lot of Gator starting defensive backs over the last few years – and that’s still good enough to get him into the top 50. While he’ll start out as a corner, he’ll end up working as a safety with good size and just enough ball-hawking ability to eventually become a whale of a free safety.